Chapter 8:

Chapter 8: Lesson Delivered

A Black Market LitRPG

Slavin’s originally confident face faltered slightly when he only saw Kyle alone, by himself. What the… where is the rest of the Seven Snakes?

But soon, that confidence was restored as he watched Kyle brutally defeat the Red Lion gang members one by one in devastating fashion. It was like watching a theatrical performance rather than an alleyway fight, a picturesque demonstration of prowess and perfection.

“Who the fuck is that? What are all you numbskulls doing? Get him!” Lionel roared, prompting the Red Lions on his side to charge forward to attack Kyle. However, one of them remained behind, clearly shaken.

“What are you waiting for?!” Lionel glared at him with a ferocious stare, but even his intimidation couldn’t stop the member from trembling.

“Lio-lio-lionel, that’s the guy! That’s the guy!”

“The guy? What guy? Speak clearly before I smack you myself!”

“He-he-he was the one killed by Riker two weeks ago before he went missing! It’s a ghost!”

“What?!” Lionel took another look at the guy attacking the Red Lions, somehow fending off three at a time in the narrow alleyway.

Kyle was also proficient with his legs, delivering strong kicks that cracked shins and jaws with precision. Already three members were out for the count, one having his limb horribly twisted and bent out of shape by Kyle’s martial grapples and body locks.

Before the others could reinforce the rest, Slavin reached out and grabbed a Red Lion’s head, smashing it against the nearby wall with a loud resounding crack. “Can’t just stand around when the boss is in action.”

The members of the Red Lion jostled about as the backline tried to urge the front forward, but the front was reluctant to face Kyle and Slavin on separate sides.

“Screw all of you; I’ll show you how it’s done!” Lionel roared as he shoved the members aside, coming to the front and charging at Slavin first. The neon red hammer swung wildly at Slavin, forcing him to dodge or block with his arms.

His right forearm took the brunt of a downward hammer strike, but somehow Slavin withstood the pain, allowing him to throw an uppercut at Lionel’s chin.

Lionel backed off instinctively, dodging the incoming fist and swapping the hammer to his left hand. With a sideward swing, he nailed Slavin right in the ribs, causing Slavin to gag and stumble backwards.

Slavin winced as he resumed his fighting stance, but a sudden sharp pain suddenly sprouted from where he’s been hit first on his right forearm, a searing fire almost burning through his nerves. It was as if there was lava flowing in his veins at a timed interval. Before he could recover, another jabbing pain erupted from his ribs once again. What?

With a smirk on his face, Lionel exploited the weakness, knowing his hammer’s arctech engraving effect had kicked in. Three more hits landed on Slavin, with the final one crippling his knee and forcing him down onto the ground. “That’s right, stay down like the little dog you are. AND YOU, YOU’RE NEX-“

Lionel was about to taunt the other attacker but soon noticed all six of his guys fighting Kyle had already been taken out. The last was dangling by the neck, Kyle nearly crushing it before throwing him to the side. Kyle did not kill any of them, keeping them barely alive.

Lionel instinctively gulped. Even he did not have the confidence nor ability to fight off six of his own members at the same time. And the enemy looked like he did it with just an enchanted metal pipe.

“It’s just one fucker!” Lionel laughed, fake bravado masking the fear in his heart. “He’s acting strong; he must already be tired or injured by now. GET HIM!”

The remaining five members hesitated momentarily before they noticed Kyle was showing slight signs of exhaustion. “RED LION!” One of the members yelled, spurring the rest to charge in tandem.

Good, I can now stay at the back and make a retreat if necessary. Lionel smirked to himself, moving slightly towards the back.

As the members rushed towards Kyle, Kyle stretched his limbs and massaged his sore shoulders. “A good warm-up. It’s been a while since I went to town.”

The first attacker approached, but Kyle threw his enchanted metal pipe into the air instead of preparing to parry.

“What..?” The first attacker glanced upwards, distracted by the soaring metal pipe, before a palm strike from Kyle caved in his lower jaw. The world spun around as Kyle grappled him, tossing him down onto the ground.

Two attackers rushed him from both sides, with Kyle dodging the first hit with a sidestep and grabbing the wrist of the second attacker, tugging him with a martial art spin. In a blink, Kyle spun around and used his body weight to slam them into each other, causing the two of them to topple to the ground. Kyle followed up by stomping hard on his groin, causing the man to let out an unearthly sound.

One last brave attacker charged Kyle, but the soaring metal pipe finally fell back, smacking the attacker right in the back of his head. Disorientated, he was no match for Kyle’s swift kicks and punches, forcing him to drop to a knee before Kyle delivered a spinning kick, concussing him.

“Fucking hell, he’s not wearing any enchanted gear either!” Lionel was panicking now, preparing to retreat while using the remaining Red Lions as bait. He began to walk to the other exit, only to find Damian and the rest of the Seven Snakes waiting for him patiently.

“The lesson isn’t over yet, Lionel.” Damian grinned widely.

At the roof of the flanking building, a lone civilian watched the battle intently, jotting down notes on a book and observing through the pulsating pipes. His eyes focused only on Kyle as he subjugated the rest of the Red Lions, writing down the observed strength and reaction of the Seven Snakes members. “Seven Snakes…”

“Didn’t know you were that strong.” Slavin flinched as Damian treated his wounds.

“I’m far from being strong. It’s not about strength; it’s about knowing how to use your body,” Kyle replied nonchalantly while observing the rest of the Seven Snakes tying up the Red Lions. They were now slumped against the side, with Lionel’s face barely recognisable.

Slavin obviously did not believe him after witnessing what he was capable of, but Kyle sincerely believed in what he stated. Strength? This is nothing compared to what I was capable of previously.

He had explicitly ordered the Seven Snakes to keep all of them alive. Kyle held Lionel’s armour piece and hammer in his hands.

[SYSTEM MESSAGE] Item [Chest Plate of Nullification (Basic)] Calms the nerves, especially when sore +2 STR, +4 VIT Active Skill: Pain Nullification – Reduce the pain experienced by the wearer by 50% MP Cost Per Activation: 5 MP Duration: Thirty Seconds Cooldown: Ten seconds

[SYSTEM MESSAGE] Item [Enchanted Flaming Hammer ( Basic )] A good ol’ one-two, except its only one punch Active Skill: Delayed Assault - Target hit will experience searing pain after five seconds, lasting for ten seconds MP cost per activation: 2 MP

I should learn how these types of equipment are made. Kyle made a mental note to ask Damian later. They seemed to be the primary way the locals of this world fought at a higher level than the ordinary human. Doesn’t seem too prolific either; it might be another market to enter.

“Sir, what are we going to do with them?”

“Haul them all into the holding cell and feed them all a Euria-enhanced Stamina Recovery Potion. Give them three a day, then stop for four days.”

Damian didn’t understand why Kyle was giving away his product for free when it could be sold for twice its cost through the brothel, but he nodded and followed the orders. “Does that apply to Riker as well?”

“No, don’t touch him. I have a special plan for him.”

An arctech wagon suddenly drove up near the brothel entrance, with four local enforcers stepping out of the wagon. They saw the entire scene, with the Red Lions tied up and Kyle ordering the Seven Snakes associates around.

Kyle glanced over his shoulder, noticing one of the enforcers approaching him, wearing a captain’s cap.

“Seems the rumour of Ulon dying was right. Been a while since I’ve seen the Seven Snakes this coordinated.” The enforcer captain remarked as he stood next to Kyle, looking at the scene with clear disinterest. Even the blood oozing and snaking towards the tip of his metal sole barely fazed him, as though gang fights were extremely common in the city.

Kyle reached into his suit’s pocket, retrieving a thick pre-prepared envelope and slipping it into the enforcer’s pocket. “Just a minor scuffle between friends. That’s all.” Kyle spoke softly before patting the shoulder of the captain.

“Indeed, just a minor scuffle. Nothing to see here. I suppose we’ll be seeing more of this, though?” The captain did not smile just yet, refusing to budge.

Kyle sighed briefly before retrieving another thick pre-prepared envelope and sliding it into the enforcer’s pocket again. “Yes, there will be more of this in the future. You shouldn’t waste your precious time attending to such minor incidents. Spend some more time with your families. Life is more important, is it not?”

“Indeed, it is. You have a good day, sir.” The enforcer captain grinned as he adjusted his pockets and tipped his cap before leaving with his squad.

Kyle soon left along with the prisoners, leaving Niko and the rest of the customers staring in awe. “Holy shit, did you see that? Who the hell was that? I don’t remember Seven Snakes having such a strong leader. Even the enforcers did not dare to arrest him directly.”

“Yea, that was amazing. I think the Red Lions might seriously be in trouble at this rate.”

“That kid can’t hold a candle to the Red Lion’s boss: not even the Left Paw himself! I’ve seen him in action recently; man’s a monster. If you thought this was cool, you ain’t seen nothing yet.”

Slavin cleared his throat, motioning for the customers to return to the brothel. Already the sex workers and other customers who had ‘finished’ during the fight peeked their heads out of the windows to watch the fight, witnessing Kyle.

“That man is the new head of Seven Snakes,” Slavin said proudly. “You better expect some big changes around here. And to those of you who were intending to steal from us, think twice.”

Niko was completely amazed by Kyle. The way the Seven Snakes appeared was far too cool as well. Could he even join a gang like that?

Back at the Seven Snake’s base, Kyle grimaced in his room as he removed his shirt. As intimidating as he looked, he did not manage to avoid a few hits, causing his upper body to be pretty bruised.

The Necklace of Healing provided some much-needed relief, restoring his HP back to full, albeit slowly, with the ten-second cooldown. A quick swig of a Stamina Recovery Potion also relaxed his muscles. Might be time to make some healing potions. I will have to discover the recipe again in a similar fashion. Should not be too hard.

Before the night ended, he called all of the associates into the common area again. “Great work out there. However, this is only the first of many skirmishes.” Kyle warned. “Starting tomorrow, we will be focusing on combat training ontop of the already existing physical training regime. I will be teaching all of you directly.”

A wave of murmurs spread through the associates, mumbling among each other. The brave gang member who was knocked unconscious smiled with expectation, hoping to prove himself against Kyle.

“Shit, he’s teaching us directly? Since when do gang leaders do that?” Another associate whispered to his friend.

“Fuck yeah, I want to be as strong as him. Maybe one day I’ll duel him and win.”

Kyle overheard that, smirking. “You can try. But before you continue dreaming, I’ll provide a demonstration to prepare you mentally.”

Kyle led the confused associates to another spare room, where a single Red Lion prisoner was tied up on a chair. He grabbed a nearby Euria-enhanced stamina potion, forcing the liquid down the prisoner’s throat. He then used the Necklace of Healing on him slowly, healing the prisoner to full health over a minute.

“Wha.. what’s going on?” The Red Lion prisoner was stunned. Was his captor saving him?

Kyle cut the ropes, setting the prisoner free to move about. He turned to face the Seven Snakes’ associates. “Since I took over, I noticed a clear lack of brutality in the way we fight, especially last night. Too hesitant. Too slow.”

Before the Red Lion prisoner could react, Kyle spun around and delivered a forceful elbow strike right into his nose, causing blood to spurt out and him to collapse on the ground, writhing in pain. The associates were stunned at the sudden outburst of violence but were soon reminded of how Kyle got into his position in the first place.

“Demonstration is over. From tomorrow morning, each of you will take turns to beat him up.”

In another district of the South Sector, the same observation book was being read by a well-dressed gentleman as he paced slowly through a large dining hall filled with people eating away at a grand feast. The candlelight and extravagant furniture were only contrasted with the lack of manners each of the diners had, eating like hooligans at a campfire. Food and liquids were tossed around.

“The Ilysian Punks and the Red Lions seem to be neck and neck, while the Wretches are still tending their wounds from the last three-way war…” The man muttered to himself as he trawled through the observer’s logs.

“SEBASTIAN!” A voice bellowed from the end of the long dining table, attracting the attention of everyone. “What are you doing, still working?! The Ardent Cretins don’t pay for overtime, you know?” A chorus of laughter erupted from the rest of the diners as a large man stood up and walked to Sebastian.

Sebastian bowed respectfully to the large man, holding the book to his chest. “Sir, as the dominator of the South Sector, it is essential to observe and keep track of every movement within that can potentially threaten our reign.”

“Yes, but none of the other gangs in the South Sector can currently match our sheer strength. Ten districts now, with even more to come! Even if we lost every member, there’s still me. I alone rule the whole damn place! ISN’T THAT RIGHT, BOYS?!”

“YES, SIR! ARES IS THE STRONGEST IN THE SOUTH!” The Ardent Cretins chanted in response, having practised it often.

“Damn right I am.” Ares nodded with satisfaction. “Now, work is important, but I order you to eat now with us!”

Sebastian begrudgingly dragged his feet to an open seat, plopping down on the bench while the diners feasted on the scrumptious food before them.

However, the observer’s book was still open on his lap, with Sebastian glancing at it occasionally. A log near the end caught his eye, however. “Seven Snakes has a new leader, and he beat up a dozen Red Lions alone with no arctech equipment? This will be a problem. Further observations will be needed. Perhaps a talk is necessary to soothe ambitions.”

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