73 The Vigilante of Alician City
The gutters had running water. Citizens carried their umbrellas as their shoes splash the puddles. A horse neighs loudly as its master cracks the whip. Above the streets there was a figure in a trench coat sprinting along the tiled roofs, his body moving with a blur as he leaps down, pummeling the man who tried pointing his pistol at the shadowy man.
"You!" shouted the man.
The shadow that tackled him from above didn't bother. A black flesh came out of the shadow's wrist and penetrated the man without mercy. The thin spear made of flesh slowly retracted while blood was dripping on it. The water from the roofs poured, leaving all the blood to go down the sewers. The shadowy man then pointed his palm towards the roof. The obsidian flesh grappling on, pulling the man away from the ground and into the darkness. His trench coat fluttered wildly as he sprints across the roofs and climbs on the tower. His face that had the appearance of a skull vanished and his ruby eyes were revealed.
"This power is indeed convenient," he said while holding on to the edge of a tower. It has been a week since he had established his presence over the city. In a single week, he had used the terror tactics of the Bleak Walkers on the criminal populace of this city.
He couldn't roam around with such torn up outfit so he had to use the clothes of the man that he killed. He then looted his money and used it to aid his life in this city. He learned that this was the Alician City and that the year was the eighteenth century of this world. The world had entered an Industrial revolution. It was a strange world where a certain maiden blessed by the goddess saved the world. That living person had become the center of the continent and has been worshiped as the prophet of the Gods. That same woman lives in her own sanctuary, isolated and neutral to the troubles of the world unless the laws that she had supported are broken. She was absolute and those who defy her words are treated like filth.
Lanon thought nothing of her and argues that she's just legend. If her words are law then he wouldn't be hunting down criminals who had strayed from the good path. He has been hunting down and he only had a little time to rest when it comes to killing the criminals that have been haunting the streets. To others his killings are that of a robbery, and that his actions are due to greed. But those who have wits have long figured out that he had been killing systematically the factions by starting from bottom to the top. He had been targeting the lower level criminals to make sure that the message was being sent to them. There was no reason for him to do this, and he only does this as an excuse for a purpose.
He climbed the tower and went inside the hollow of the tower. The room had a cushion and a worn down table. The floor was worn and the walls were dusty. There are webs around the room and on the corner were gears that had been dislodged by the tower's gear. The trapdoor was blocked by furniture that somehow was stored inside the tower.
He twisted on the cushion, he took his coat off and inspected the bullets that lodged on his body. It was stopped by sinews of obsidian-like flesh that weaved the moment his body takes damage. But he also realized that it was not invincible. The moment his body takes enough damage he felt his body stiffened. He was unable to move and was forced to retreat from the sidelines where he could recover his powers.
"For whatever reason, my strength had become superhuman. I can't leap off tall buildings but I sure can jump from this height and grabbed hold of something. Not to mention the ability to use the same mass of flesh to form a blade, shield, grappling hook, and even a mask that could cover my face. I had to be careful though, this power has made me powerful but I can tell that using it too much will prove my downfall. Not to mention that it is the reason why my body is as strong as it now."
The sinews of obsidian-like flesh acted as another layer of muscle that would be hardened, support, and wrapped around his bones and flesh. This allowed him to take damage. But using the sinews of obsidian flesh, he would also remove those sinews to form it into the shape he wants. To solve this problem he had to wrap the obsidian sinews outside his body. It handled better but doing this requires mental stamina and focus. Not to mention that this era didn't have the luxury of the old world. He had to face gunfire and had to rely on skulduggery to succeed in killing heavily guarded hideouts.
Calm criminals were his enemies and this world wasn't like the one that he fought for. The men were reliant on guns and those who have physical ability doesn't have the tenacity of the people that he knew. The police force was a joke and even the proclaimed maiden of the Gods was treated like a joke by the underground factions that he had faced. The honorable factions were pompous fools that did nothing but argue about politics and their status in life. The noble obliges that he admired nobles were gone and all they had was degeneracy and hubris that made him utterly disgusted.
He thought that this world would have a different set of morals but he was wrong. The child labor here was worst for there was an influx of children that had lost their parents in the war happening south of the empire. Not to mention that the Empire had been fighting many fronts. He has been sent into the heart of an empire that had lost her soul.
The place was packed with folks that came from their work. Their coats were wet and the floods had puddles on it. It was cramped and some of the patrons were standing while drinking their beer. The shelves behind the bartender were filled with differently colored bottles. The barmaids carried a round tray of snacks to the customers. The smell of tobacco mixed with alcohol was in the air. The bartender was wiping the mug as he caught sight of Lanon who was casually walking through the bar without people noticing. He was tangent and not once did they turned their eyes to him. The mouth of the bartender curled. His eyebrows creased as he places both hands on the counter.
"You are done with your work?" said the bartender.
Lanon nodded, "Yes. I would like a roasted duck leg and an apple cider please."
"Coming right up," he gestured at the barmaid. "Seems like your work has gone well. Follow me, I don't want to work on the details here."
Lanon entered the door behind the kitchen. There's a pot boiling and he could tell that some of the food here was reused again. He had seen worse kitchens than this. The bartender pulled a stool and lit the cigar he was holding. He didn't bother with the safety regulations of the kitchen.
"One week and your name haunt the underground factions! The Skulled Man, the monstrous man, and the Haunter. You have many names now."
"Not that I care about them."
Lanon turned his attention to the bartender. His name was Laos and he was the first man here that he helped. He found him cornered with men who wanted his head. They wanted his daughter and he refused out of principles and that he didn't want to patronize with drug-dealing bastards. When he was about to have his head smashed by the club that they were wielding. Lanon appeared from above and tore them apart like paper. Although bloody, Laos could not disregard the rescue. He owes him his life and his principles demanded him to return the favor.
"You should, friend. Many children cry in hopes that the man with the skull face would come in and save them from the depravity of the owners that treat them like dirt."
"I know. But I cannot save everyone. I have no dreams of becoming an omnipotent savior. Save it for messiahs and prophets."
"You say that but we all know here that the only reason you are not living here is that you fear for our safety. I offered you this home, and yet you refuse it."
One of the reasons was that Lanon had already murdered the gang that tried to take this bar. They have planned to transform this bar into their drug dens and the tunnels near the bar made it easier for them to control the supply line of drugs.
"I can't do that. The place is swarming with patrons and thugs. It is no easy matter to hide from them when I am covered in the blood of their friends."
"Had you ever noticed the way you speak? So grim!"
"That's how I talk. I can't change that."
"Where did you come from?"
"I am a wanderer."
"In this time?" he snorted, "Where most of the world is known?"
"My home is gone. The darkness took it all. I am all alone."
"Nonsense. You have us here. Even the barmaids want you! They have complained about your denseness!"
He smiled wearily. "I know that your girls are flirting, but I have no desire. I was a married man and in death, I won't betray the person that I had loved most in this world."
The bartender folded his arms and grinned.
"I can see why they want you bad. Girls really do like men that are strong, but have a weaker side they just want to fix up."
Lanon couldn't help but smile wearily. His heart ached as he remembers the smile of the woman he had loved so hard to the point of walking a world devoid of light. He cannot see that smile again and slowly he had started to forget about her.
"I would love to lounge off your beds but the place I am staying is enough. It has a great view and I can tell where the bastards might appear in that place."
"Your vision is splendid. You are a living hawk."
The aura vision that he had came from the sigils that were carved on his eyes. It was a mystery to Lanon why the dove of thorns and the snake of woes had turned into the Undying Hawk that allowed him to scour the land with his vision.
"So have you heard of the Sons of Helios?"
The bartender nodded lightly. His forehead crumpled and his eyes turned sharp.
"Old gang that was once proud and had a band. They changed when the blessed lady of the Gods appeared. Their pride turned to ashes the moment most of the enemies had been slaughtered. They were honest men I heard. But I bet that's a lie to make us folks think they are decent. They rule like lords and swat the kids like their machines that needed smacking. They rule the Dalis District, half of the street has thugs roaming around with their weapons brazenly on their pits and waist. They don't even bother acting like they do not own the place. If you want to rid of scum then I advise you to enter that place and neutralize the bastards."
Lanon tapped the kitchen counter for three times before standing up. He trod towards the back door and looked back at Laos, whose face showed worry for Lanon.
"Friend, if you ever tire of fighting. You can always rest in this tavern of mine. But that look on your face says that won't happen until you find a reason to. I wish you good hunting, friend. May our blessed maiden grant you victory as always."
The back door was closed and all that was left in the kitchen was the brief sound of rain and the boiling of Laos's pot.