Chapter 9:

Chapter 9: Red Lion

A Black Market LitRPG

“SEVEN SNAKES! COME OUT!” A man clad in reddish armour bellowed outside the base of the Seven Snakes, attracting the attention of many passers-by. He was flanked by a dozen lightly armoured individuals as well, all bearing the insignia of the Red Lions.

Many of the onlookers gathered far away, watching intently. It’s only been barely more than a day since the battle in the alleyway, but the word of Kyle’s prowess and his taking over the gang had already spread through the district. It was no surprise that the Red Lions would come to harass the Seven Snakes after such a harrowing defeat, where a dozen Red Lion members were captured.

“COME OUT NOW! TOO SCARED TO DEFEND YOUR OWN TURF?” The man continued yelling loudly.

The entrance to the base suddenly swung open, revealing an obviously disgruntled Kyle who had just woken up, his eyes slightly sleepy. “Who are you?” Kyle asked.

The man was stumped for only a brief moment before cackling loudly. Every movement of his seemed to be geared towards showmanship, showing off his equipment and his dominance over the ordinarily dressed Kyle.

Kyle squinted his eyes. He’s putting on a performance for reputation and rumours. Stereotypical.

“Don’t you know? I am the great Wrent, Left Paw of the Red Lion! It seems you’ve been taking good care of my boys.”


“And?” Wrent’s eyebrows twitched slightly at the defiant tone before he resumed his haughty attitude. “I believe you are keeping them as prisoners and would like to have them back. I’m sure you wouldn’t want to cause an incident here on this fine day, don’t you…?”

“How much?”


“How much would it cost in rakels to buy your members?”

Wrent’s expression darkened. “Are you implying that we, the honourable Red Lion, would ever be willing to sell our –“ A dark yellow potion sailed through the air, with Wrent stumbling to catch it.

Just as he was about to berate Kyle for tossing random objects at him, he took another look at the dark yellow potion, staring intently. “This… this is a Stamina Recovery Potion!” Wrent was no fool – he had already heard rumours of the Seven Snakes selling them through the brothel.

“There’s more where that came from. How many would suffice?”

Wrent coughed slightly, his eyes darting around. “Perhaps it would be best if we discuss this inside, away from prying eyes.”

Only the two of them entered the office, with Damian standing guard outside.

“I did not expect Ulon to fall so soon,” Wrent remarked as he glanced around the office, seeing most of the usual ornaments that Ulon loved to flaunt missing. “Did you come from another gang? I don’t recall seeing anyone like you.”

“No, I have been in the gang for a while now. I just felt I could do better.” Kyle replied, his back exposed to Wrent, who eyed him like a predator.

“Are you not afraid I would kill you right here?” Wrent smirked, his right hand slightly rubbing the pommel of a ruby-engraved sword with a wide grin.

“You can try if you want. I’m sure it will do wonders for your reputation,” Kyle replied apathetically, not in the least afraid of Wrent.

The sheer confidence exuded by Kyle slightly frightened Wrent, causing him to be a lot more cautious. This man is not the same as Ulon. The slow method may not work for him. I’ll have to fleece him as much as I can. There’s no way the debt Ulon racked up is gone within less than two weeks. I know they still owe a million to the Crimson Swords.

Wrent ran his hands over the holster of the guest chair before removing his sword belt and sitting down. “Perhaps your death does not affect my reputation as much as you think. No one knows that you’re the new leader yet.”

“Enough posturing. We’re both businessmen here. Let’s get to the point. So, how many?” Kyle began.

He has an intelligent head on his shoulder, and he immediately knew from the start that I didn’t care about the prisoners. A dumber gang leader would have refused based on pride. If we weren’t enemies, I would have recruited him straight away. Wrent was never worried about the prisoners. Kyle could kill them for all he cared, as long as he got ‘compensation’. The Red Lions were a business, not a group based on friendship.

Wrent still found interest in how Kyle was getting so many potions. He had heard the reports of the brothel giving potions to their loyal customers, which prompted him to send a dozen members in the first place. Of course, he planned to use his weight to pressure Kyle into giving more potions than it was reasonable. The Red Lions could then easily sell it off in a heartbeat or use it in their own training.

“You’re not getting these potions from Haui’s, are you?” Wrent tried to pry deeper.

“That’s a trade secret. How many?”

Wrent remained silent for a moment, calculating in his head. A ridiculous amount and cost should suffice. If he rejects, it will tank his reputation, and I will increase the rate of harassment whether or not he releases the prisoners. If he accepts, the gang will be financially ruined, and it will be an easy win.

“Five hundred Stamina Recovery Potions.” Wrent declared. Based on Haui’s pricing scheme, it was close to three hundred thousand rakels worth of potions. With Seven Snakes in debt, it was nearly impossible for them to even have that much in stock.

“Done. You’ll have your full stock in ten days. Let me draft a contract.” Kyle retrieved a placeholder contract, filling in the details before handing it over to Wrent for inspection.

Wait, that easily? The potions are worth three hundred thousand! Is he stealing them from an alchemist I’ve never heard of?

Wrent was still stunned when he read the contract. He checked over the clauses carefully, noting that everything was in order. “A non-aggression pact over the course of the contract…” This meant the Red Lion could not attack the Seven Snakes as long as they adhered to the contract terms. Are my Red Lions’ members really that valuable to him? What is he using them for?

As much as they were criminal gangs profiteering from illegal goods, contracts between gangs had to be adhered to. It was an issue of reputation – any gang who quickly broke any truce or ceasefire would immediately lose the trust of both the people and other gangs, leading them to be isolated. Even merchants would not dare to trade with them unless coerced by force. Going against a contract signed willingly was a surefire way to have enemies gang up against the one who broke the contract first.

Three hundred thousand rakels worth of potions was an eye-watering sum to Wrent. And he was basically getting it for free. “I accept.” Wrent signed the contract readily. The non-aggression pact is but a façade – the war happens through the businesses and market. If he is as smart as I think he is, I’ll need to move my plan much faster ahead.

“Good, send five people to collect fifty potions each day at dusk at this meeting point. Pleasure doing business with you.” Kyle led Wrent out.

When Wrent came back out, he let out a hearty laugh, attracting the onlookers who were curious about the resolution. “Seems like you got a good head on your shoulders, Seven Snakes. Smart of you to appease us so readily. Let’s return!” He ordered his men to march back to their district.

A showman through and through. Kyle returned inside, with Damian worried. “Sir, what was the agreement? Did we go into more debt?”

“A ten-day truce, along with five hundred potions in total. Fifty to be delivered a day.”

Damian was equally stunned, but not for the same reasons as Wrent was. “What? That’s it? We churn out two hundred a day, even while training!”

“It’s their loss. This gives us time to prepare, though we must shore up our finances. We’ll begin the combat training immediately; we’re on a timer now. For the potions, make sure the first three deliveries are not Euria-infused. We will only infuse them from the fourth day onwards and in a random fashion. Don’t want their alchemist spotting too much.”

Kyle acted as an instructor for the entire morning, teaching the associates fighting skills. He used the prisoners as dummies, sending in the associates one by one to beat them up while continuously healing them. The rest were divided into sparring pairs while an associate was beating up a prisoner. Kyle focused on sparring with Damian, drilling into him the fighting essentials.

[SYSTEM MESSAGE] Title Obtained [Healer (Basic)] This doesn’t seem like the right way to use healing… +5 INT, +10% healing effectiveness

[SYSTEM MESSAGE] Title Obtained [Martial Arts Instructor (Basic)] With great power comes great muscular bodies, apart from yours +5 STR, +3 DEX, +10% ability to break down moves

After lunch, Damian took over the training, allowing Kyle to focus on preparing for the end of the truce. He did not doubt in his mind that the Red Lion would begin to pressure them now that they were well aware of their ability to produce this many potions. As long as we can hold on for three days after the end of the truce, it’s a win for us.

Keith was in Kyle’s office, racking his brains over the gang’s finances and equipment, his head resting in his hands. “Is it doable?” Kyle asked.

“To get a similar armour set like the Red Lions? I don’t think so. It’s going to be far too expensive.”

“Hmm…” Kyle pondered. He needed to boost the combat capability of his men before the fight broke out. If they could not procure enchanted armour, what other methods did he have?

“Keith, one more task for you. Set up an induction program for new joiners, and procure a few armbands with the logo of the Seven Snakes on them. Have it done by tomorrow.”

“New joiners?! We’re so tiny. Who would even want to join us?”

Kyle glared silently at Keith, who immediately zipped his mouth and nodded.

More members can help bulk up our numbers, but we need a qualitative improvement across the board. The combat training could only last for ten days – not long enough to drill proper fighting skills into the associates. Sure, the physical training had been running for two weeks, but that was not directly translatable into fighting potential. Kyle needed instantaneous improvements.

His mind thought about the game-like interface that he now had. Supposedly killing people would earn him free stat points, and perhaps even titles. However, the points earned only gave him a slight marginal benefit. It was not worth it for the potential consequence of enforcers breathing down his neck for random murders happening across the Sector – even he did not think he could cover up every kill.

And the number of people he would have to kill in ten days would be absurd to reach a level where he could take on the whole of the Red Lions. He needed something different.

The main way to solve this would be to get more potions, but as it stands, there was no chance in hell that Haui had not heard about the deal with the Red Lions or the Lusty Arcian selling cheaper stamina potions for repeat customers. With the absurd number of potions being supplied for ‘free’, the market for potions locally must be in peril now.

Kyle decided to tackle this problem head-on, bringing a few associates to visit Haui’s shop. He stood just beyond the defensive line of arica traps which surrounded the alchemist’s house while the private guards immediately came out and stood opposite, wielding swords and blunt weapons, ready to fight.

The locals around the food market were scampering away, afraid of getting caught in the ensuing fight, while a few brave souls remained to watch the outcome. Even the local enforcers did not dare get in between, keeping a clear distance away as they observed carefully, reporting the meeting to their superiors.

Haui stepped out of the store in his alchemist robes, a slight grin on his face. “I was expecting you to come soon. Are you planning to raze, or to negotiate?”


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



[Necklace of Healing (Basic)]

+3 INT, +3 VIT, +1 CHA. Active Skill: Heal (Basic) – Restore a tiny amount of health. Cooldown: Ten seconds.




[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

[Potion Inspector (Basic)]

Ah, you seem to be looking for something very specific.

+5 INT, Increased description of potions examined.

[Potion Crafter (Basic)]

Mixing water with an existing potion might be inane but still worthy of recognition.

+5 INT, Increased description of potions examined, +5% chance to craft an intermediate potion when using basic materials

[Healer (Basic)]

This doesn’t seem like the right way to use healing…

+5 INT, +10% healing effectiveness

[Martial Arts Instructor (Basic)]

With great power comes great muscular bodies, apart from yours.

+5 STR, +3 DEX, +10% ability to break down moves.
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