Chapter 2:

Chapter 2: Seven Snakes

A Black Market LitRPG

“This was supposed to be an easy fight!” A meaty hand slammed the wooden table, causing the map made out of parchment on the table and empty mugs of ale to tremble. The same hand pointed menacingly at a group of young men, who flinched slightly.

“All you had to do was defend against the Red Lions, and instead, you idiots turned it into an ugly fight that got one of the fodder killed for nothing. We lost control of that entire block!” The owner of the hand berated the group, chiding them for their incompetence.

“It wasn’t our fault – Riker was too strong! We need more equipment and train-” one of the guys complained, infuriated at the one-sided scolding.

“You’re useless, Damian. I could easily beat him with one hand tied behind my back if I was there. Back in my heyday, I was a champion in this Sector! Me, Ulon Baktar! Even the Ardent Cretins was small fries during our time.” The gang leader of the Seven Snakes smacked his chest with that same meaty hand.

Then why don’t you go there and fight yourself, huh? Damian internally raged as Ulon Baktar went on a spiel about the good old days and how the Seven Snakes used to be a great gang, controlling more than five districts in the South Sector. Now they were a small-time racket, barely a factor in the criminal underbelly of Raktor. Damian was not even sure they truly controlled the district now, with the Red Lions moving in.

The only reason why most of the twenty gang members remained behind was that they were far too weak to join the other gangs, as well as being locals of this district right here. Their friends, family and acquaintances were all here – leaving the gang meant their relationships would be subject to abuse by Ulon, a form of blackmail. Damian grimaced, shooting a glare at Ulon. If only I had enough strength to kill him in a duel to become leader instead…

But it was not for lack of trying: Damian had seen other braver gang members get killed: Ulon had a unique necklace made out of three green crystals that healed him as well, causing any duel to turn into one of attrition. Until I find a way to overcome that necklace…

“Don’t you know how I became gang leader? I duelled the previous one as per tradition, winning easily! It is ALL of you, the useless trash, that is dragging down the reputation we once had!” Ulon accused.

Before Ulon could continue his monologue any further, the door burst wide open, causing everyone in the room to turn their heads immediately. A shocked murmur spread through the group like wildfire, their eyes not believing what they were seeing. What?! Alvin?!

Kyle Hawthorn entered, dragging the badly beaten-up Riker behind him, who was still slightly whimpering as the rough flooring continuously cut into his wounded limbs. Kyle had Riker’s enchanted metal pipe strapped to his belt, his clothes still stained with dried blood.

Tossing Riker to the side without care, Kyle walked up to face Ulon directly, who was still sitting behind the table in shock. “You are the gang leader of the Seven Snakes?” Kyle asked stoically.

“Al-Alvin, I heard from Damian that you were badly hurt. They thought you dead! Where did you find Riker? Was it another gang that intervened? Did we get back the block?” Ulon hardly cared about Alvin’s survival. He was far more happy about seeing one of Red Lion’s goons in terrible shape, focusing on Riker’s bruised face with glee. A victory was hard to come by in the Seven Snakes, even for all of Ulon’s ranting.

Kyle snapped his fingers once in the air, a light but somehow extremely clear and attention-grabbing action. “Answer the question.”

Ulon was slightly taken aback by the sheer confidence and authority that Alvin now radiated out of nowhere. Instead of replying directly, Ulon was more angered by the fact that this lowly fodder had the audacity to act like he was in charge.

“Yes, I am your gang leader, and I order you to get back in line before I punish you again! Seems like the gang fight has made you forget how things run around here!” Ulon roared as he stood up, clearly in a furious rage. Kyle, however, did not break his gaze, staring right into Ulon’s eyes.

“I heard you killed the previous leader in a duel. As per tradition, I challenge you to a duel for the position of the gang leader.”

The entire room was stunned, some even rubbing their ears to make sure they were not hearing things. Seeing Riker badly injured was one thing, but now the weak Alvin suddenly standing up to Ulon? Damian couldn’t believe what he was witnessing, attempting to step forward to intervene, hoping to save Alvin from a premature death. “Boss, please forgive him. He may be a bit muddled from the fig-“

Ulon only held up a hand, motioning for Damian to shut the fuck up, before he squinted his eyes at Kyle, completely serious. “You do know it’s a life-or-death duel?”

“Life or death only matters for you.” The arrogant reply and the nonchalant expression on Kyle’s face irked Ulon even more, pushing him over the edge.

“Good; if you want to be beaten to death so much, I’ll happily oblige. I won’t be killing off my property so soon, though – I’ll have you taste punishment!”

“Very well.” Kyle immediately delivered a solid kick in place, smacking the entire table right into Ulon and toppling him over his chair. The impact had the flimsy wooden table splinter apart in the middle, causing Ulon to be caught off-guard and slightly disoriented from the shock as he tried to recover.

Before Ulon could even make a move, Kyle grabbed the enchanted metal pipe from his waist belt, charging right in and smacking it as hard as he could on Ulon’s undefended head. A loud snapping sound was heard, Ulon’s forearm bone shattering in a desperate attempt to block, a solid gash of blood erupting.

[SYSTEM MESSAGE] Item [Enchanted Metal Pipe (Basic)] A pipe to bend the rules Active Skill: Reinforcement – Increased force when hitting MP Cost Per Activation: 2 MP Duration: Thirty Seconds Cooldown: Two minutes

However, unlike Riker’s activation of the engraving, Kyle’s pipe did not glow at all, showing no apparent difference from a normal pipe. He could not feel any bonus nor special effects happening either. It did not matter to Kyle for now – as long as the weapon existed, he could use it. It was all the same to him.

Instead of crying out, Ulon bore the pain and began to try and fight back while he still lay on the floor, throwing a few punches and kicks, engravings on the three crystals of his unique necklace glowing green. A green aura enveloped Ulon, healing the wound on his forearm like magic and mending slowly, the healing process of the body accelerated. “Hah, you think you can-“

Another quick smack on his arm interrupted Ulon, cracking his forearm again, followed by a flurry of rapid hits. Kyle wasn’t about to let Ulon heal, continuously whacking repeatedly, keeping up the barrage. Damian and the other gang members were rooted to the spot, none of them stepping forward to intervene in the duel as they watched a masterclass in unforgiving violence play out right before their eyes.

“Wai-WAIT! STOP!” Ulon screamed, sticking his other good arm out, which was unceremoniously hit by the enchanted metal pipe too. Kyle whacked with consistency, never stopping and with a constant breath, as though he was pounding a dough in a rhythm.

The beating continued for three minutes without pause, the necklace’s glow beginning to fade. Ulon could barely talk now, his face a complete mess covered in blood and snot, the green aura failing to keep up with the damage inflicted. Kyle finally grabbed the metal pipe with both arms before smashing it right down on Ulon’s head, a soft little spurt echoing through the office.

None of the other members dared to move even after the duel had ended, shocked by the sheer brutality revealed by Alvin. It was like a different human – no, a monster had awoken within Alvin.

Kyle was about to raise his metal pipe to hit Ulon again when an intrusive message in the form of purple ‘holograms’ appeared once again in front of him. He noticed no one else reacted to the appearance. I must be the only one who can see this.

[System Message] Killed [Ulon Baktar] , +500 EXP

[SYSTEM MESSAGE] Level Up!Level 2 ---> Level 9 [Stats Increase] All Stats IncreaseBonus Free Points Granted

Kyle rested his bloodied metal pipe on his shoulders and bent over to rip Ulon’s necklace from his neck, curious about the source of the green aura.

[SYSTEM MESSAGE] Item Obtained [Necklace of Healing (Basic)] For the timid of heart +3 INT, + 3 VIT, + 1 CHA Active Skill: Heal(Basic) – Restore a tiny amount of health Consumes internal arcia energy instead of user’s arcia energy Cooldown: Ten seconds

Arcia? Kyle did not focus on that right now, instead glancing around at the frightened gang members. “Anyone else want to try me?”

The gang members shook their heads rapidly, including Damian. While Ulon was a slob and a lazy leader, there was no doubt he was well-defended and had a solid constitution. The number of hits Kyle had to deliver to kill Ulon was a testimonial to that. Kyle didn’t even look tired out, his eyes still staring directly at them with rapt attention while his pipe still had beads of blood trickling down its length.

“No, leader.” Damian bowed immediately, a slight fear erupting on his face as he realised that Kyle could maybe beat all of them up without breaking a sweat. If I couldn’t beat Ulon in a duel, I certainly can’t beat Alvin now!

“Good. From now on, the gang is under me. The name shall remain the same. Who’s the oldest gang member here?” Kyle asked.

Damian and the gang members looked at each other, completely confused about Alvin’s apparent memory loss. Did he really not remember anything about the gang? “I’ve been here the longest, about five years now, Alvin.”

“Ok, the rest of you, dump him into the nutri-recycler or the airlock and get out of this room. Throw that ‘Riker’ guy into the cells. You stay. Also, from now on, my name is Kyle, got it?” Kyle motioned to the corpse of Ulon and the unconscious Riker with a dismissive tone.

Expressions of utter confusion were apparent to the gang members. They began to whisper among each other, wondering if Alvin finally went senile or was pushed to the edge by the near-death experience, creating a completely different personality out of nowhere. What the fuck was a nutri-recycler?

A loud and clear snap rang through the room again. “I said, got it?” Kyle stared them down with a stern expression, causing the rest of the gang members to nod their heads vigorously, exiting the room while carrying the dead Ulon and unconscious Riker, leaving Damian alone with Kyle.

Kyle kicked the broken table apart, retrieved the somehow structurally sound chair and sat down on it before staring right at Damian. “Name?”

“Alvin, do you not remember me? What happened to you in that fight? I swear I didn’t mean to abandon you; it’s just…” Damian rambled, before looking up into Kyle’s eyes, seeing that he was extremely serious and not in a joking manner. The blotches of blood that stained Kyle’s hair, clothes and face only made it more apparent.

“My name is Damian, leader.” Damian formally replied after a few seconds, to which Kyle finally nodded.

“I’m going to be asking some questions. You will answer immediately and directly to the best of your abilities.”

Damian nodded. Did he lose all his memories, and another personality took over?

“Good. I only need to know four things. First, economic factors. What is the current state of the economy? Average debt per person?”

“Eco-what?” Damian was already lost.

Kyle took a long deep breath, slowly exhaling in exasperation. Damian rubbed his hands nervously as he saw a glimpse of irritation cross Kyle’s face.

“Fine. What is the population of the city?”

“Yes, sir, the city of Raktor is home to approximately eight million people. We are currently in the South Sector.” He did lose all his memories.

“What is the level of technology here?”

“Level of technology…? Well, most of the new stuff runs on arctech, machinery and so on. I’m not sure how to explain it…” Damian scratched his head, completely confused as to what Kyle was asking.

Kyle frowned visibly, causing Damian to tense up slightly. “How does this city make money? Do you have a currency system?”

“Make money? Alvin, now you’re talking like some strang-“ Damian caught himself before he talked any further, aware of Kyle’s increasingly frustrated glare. “Ah yes, the city is a big trade hub, so most of the money comes from trading and services. We’re at the edge of the empire, bordering two other nations. There are a good number of factories in the South Sector, but they are still fairly new and not scaled up yet; mostly research. The currency is rakels.”

“So a nascent industrialisation society…”


“Ignore that. How do the Seven Snakes make money now?”

Damian was familiar with this, having been in the gang for nearly five years. Something Alvin should be familiar with too. “Oh, the usual. We provide protection services to traders and stall owners in this district as well as other shops. We also trade in alcohol and own a few brothels. Or at least we used to.”


“Yes, wine, moonshine mostly. There’s a citywide ban on alcohol and many other things now, so the gangs have been fighting or negotiating for every inch of territory to cash in on potential customers. That was why we were fighting for that area, Alv… Kyle. Leader, sorry.”

Kyle’s eyes seemed to light up. It seems that one of his first steps has already been accomplished. “How rich are we now relative to the rest of the city? Top 5%, I assume?”

“Pe-rc-ent? What’s that? Actually, we’ve been in debt since three months ago to the Crimson Swords in the East Sector.” Damian said with a sheepish smile.

Kyle’s eyes immediately lost their light, but he was unfazed. There was still a chance.

“You mentioned arctech; what’s that?”

“Arctech is equipment that relies on energy, specifically arcia energy that can be found stored in arcite ore.”

Kyle recalled seeing the term ‘arcia energy’ in the intrusive purple window previously for Ulon’s healing necklace. “Arcite?”

“A mineral that provides arcia energy, other than living beings like us and leylines. Something that powers weapons like your metal pipe.”

Kyle checked his still bloodied metal pipe, noticing the runes on it. It did not activate when he was swinging it for some reason.

“How big is our gang? This can’t be all the members, right? Where are the rest? I was told by a Red Lion member that we control an entire district.”

Damian was a bit ashamed, seeing Kyle ask it with such confidence. “This is the full strength. Twenty men are all we have. We barely have any money to recruit any more. We used to be bigger.”

Damian watched Kyle grip the metal pipe even harder, causing him to tremble slightly as Kyle’s face seemed to simmer with rage or disappointment.

Kyle pondered for a moment before realising something was missing. “Are drugs banned? Psychedelics? Hallucinatory products?” Kyle tried every term he could think of that Damian would register.

“Ps-ki-eric-ks? Drugs? What? If you’re talking about hallucinations, an engraved arctech array or a potion would be able to inflict illusions. We have alchemists in the city, though such potions are ridiculously overpriced and hard to procure. Only the well-to-do use them on the regular for parties…”

A small smile appeared on Kyle’s face as he heard the keywords he wanted to hear, which only frightened Damian even more. It was the smile of a businessman knowing he’d found a hole in the market.

“Now we’re getting somewhere.”


Level 9

Max HP: 58(+0)(+0)(+0)

Max MP: 0(+0)(+0)(+0)

Max STA: 58(+0)(+0)(+0)

[Status Effects] NONE


















Free Points







[Former Crime Lord]

A bigshot in your previous life, so much for that, huh?

+10 INT, +10 CHA

[Martial Arts Expert]

The best things between you and death are your fists

+10 STR, +10 DEX


Everyone has to start somewhere

+2 STR, +10% Increased Damage to Humans

Arthur Inverse
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