The drizzling rain drifted through the streets like a fog diminishing the glow of the light signs. A drink can rolled into a dirty water puddle, just in time to block out Viper’s blurry reflection.
Viper still wanted to continue with his speech, but his time was limited. He had a second hand in his mind ticking down to the deadline the Boss had given him.
What’s so great about a stinky cat?
Viper turned the handlebars, and the motorcycle roared. Its headlights shone brightly as it charged forth towards Su Heting, moving as fast as lightning as it crashed through the advertisement signs along the way and raced its way before Su Heting.
Thin, drizzling rain dampened Su Heting’s hood. At the same time Viper came right before him, Su Heting sprang up like a suddenly released compressed spring. In the blink of an eye, he had leaped to half a man’s height.
Viper’s eyes locked on to Su Heting’s movements, but—
With an outburst of energy, Su Heting kicked out at the side of Viper’s neck. Viper did not even get to grab hold of the handlebars when his neck went crooked with a crack. His entire person went flying, and he crashed heavily into the signs at the side.
The motorcycle, having lost control, slid several meters against the ground.
For a moment, the air seemed to freeze. The rain was still falling.
Su Heting narrowed an eye as he suddenly felt the heat.
This kind of heat was an aftereffect of participating in the coliseum tournaments. It always sprang forth in moments of danger, as though one had been injected with a powerful stimulant. The various sensory functions could be enhanced, free from the restraints of one’s self-consciousness. It was like killing intent boiling over in a person hyperstimulated all over.
A crisp sound.
Viper twisted his head back into position with one hand, then shook his head from side to side as if to test its positioning.
A brown snake tail slithered out from behind him and stretched along the ground. The forged mechanical surface was coated with chain-like oval spots that looked remarkably similar to that of a real viper. As the tail slid against the ground, it made a disturbing, scraping sound—an indication that its underside was made of pure steel.
Viper’s upper half body was also changing.
Brown steel scales crept up his neck like a dense cluster of black ants. In the blink of an eye, they completely covered his face. An implant propped his head up, taking on a triangular shape that mimicked that of a snake.
“Stinky cat,” Viper said. “The fuck are you smug for.”
Viper suddenly leaped. The very next moment, he appeared in front of Su Heting. Su Heting retreated, only to feel a chill on his back, so he abruptly threw his upper body down. Like a steel whip, Viper’s tail swung in mid-air in a bizarre arc, slapping away the rain before it stabbed hard into the spot Su Heting had been in earlier.
Small cracks appeared on the ground. The bottom of Viper’s tail was glossy black. Just one look was all it took to see that it was a meticulously forged implant.
“Geez.” The speed of Viper’s reaction was much faster than before as he went around to the back. “Keep running, man!”
Relying on his tail for support, he initiated what Su Heting had done earlier and sprang up to kick a leg out towards the side of Su Heting’s neck.
Once again, Su Heting dodged, and Viper struck at empty air.
This is it!
Su Heting clamped down on Viper’s calf and leaned his body forward to slam Viper over from behind to the front.
As Viper suddenly left the ground and went crashing into the ground, he used both arms to block the blow. Sure enough, the moment he landed, Su Heting’s fist slammed into his head.
Viper did not expect Su Heting’s fist to hit this hard, and the impact of the blow made his arm go numb. All of a sudden, he lifted his tail and wrapped it around Su Heting’s neck in a stranglehold to yank the latter backward.
Su Heting’s hood slipped off. At the same time he was flung out, he kicked out at the ground and sprang forth again.
Blood spilled with one punch from his fist.
Viper thought Su Heting would take a short breather in between blows, but instead, the latter threw out punch after punch.
The drizzle gradually intensified. The sounds of “thud, thud, thud” as Su Heting relentlessly rained blows on him persisted to the point that it made one’s blood freeze.
Viper used his tail in turn to parry the blows, and blood drawn by the fists kept increasing. Even he was feeling the pain now!
That sense of excitement unwarrantedly held Su Heting hostage. It was as if he was dancing to Heaven’s beat in the rain as his fists kept landing blow after blow.
[Kill him! Kill him!]
There seemed to be voices shouting in his mind, amplifying in volume until it drowned out the sound of the rain.
Viper wrapped around Su Heting’s wrist, lifted him in the air with one deft move and flung him to the side.
Su Heting crashed into the cluster of advertisement signs. For a moment, all sorts of promotional slogans flooded his ears, cutting off the bizarre shouting in his head. The surrounding light signs fell noisily and went smashing all over his body.
But that sense of excitement did not subside.
“Soft silk stocking for you…”
Su Heting ripped off the squeaking billboard beside him.
Viper had an ill sense of foreboding. “You can’t be—”
As quick as lightning, Su Heting swung the billboard up and swatted the still-talking Viper over to the ground.
The billboard promptly broke apart, and the electronic components inside splattered in all directions.
Viper seemed to have taken the blow with his head as a few of the scales covering his face instantly went flying. His throat tightened, and the back of his head was slammed down hard to the ground. With no time to even think, he saw Su Heting’s hand magnified in that split second before the world before his eyes turned a shade of bloody red.
Pain instantly spiked, and Viper let loose a bellow of rage. He raised his hand to grab Su Heting’s wrist. His left eye could no longer see.
Su Heting took away that modified eye right off.
A hissing sound emitted from Viper, but it didn’t come from his mouth. Rather, it came from his head. The triangular implant that was an imitation of a snake on his head seemed to be leaking air. In no time, it deflated. A colorful stream of venom flowed down along his back, past his tailbone, and towards his tail.
Su Heting was exerting so much force in his hand that it looked as if he wanted to strangle Viper to death.
Viper’s head tilted back unnaturally. Rainwater scoured his wide-opened eyes. As he screamed in pain, he felt the venom coursing through his body like a real snake.
Su Heting pushed out his thumb, forcing Viper to expose his scaly neck.
“Call your boss.” His hair was soaking wet. “Now.”
“What bullshit… you… spouting.” Viper was just like a stranded fish who couldn’t breathe. His one and only remaining eye rolled up as he took a few gasps. All of a sudden, he gripped Su Heting by his wrist and hollered overhead, “Dumbfuck, you’re up!”
A man suddenly leaped down from the top of the old building, his short black hair splaying out in the air. One of his fluttering sleeves was empty—there was no arm. But he switched modes while he was on the way down, and with a swoosh, a bright, shiny steel blade extended out of his sleeve.
The sharp blade glinted as it went right for Su Heting’s head.
At the same time, Viper’s brown tail glowed slightly, and the portion near the tip was swapped over into a sharp needle that moved to stab Su Heting in the back of his neck.
The tide has turned!
Before Su Heting could advance or retreat, a spark at the back heralded the arrival of a bullet that blew off Viper’s tail with precision.
The bullet was almost kissing Su Heting’s skin as it sped past. He took time to touch his neck, then kicked out with his legs to somersault away in one nimble move.
The steel blade that descended from Heaven cleaved down impressively at the spot when he had just been.
Su Heting twirled around and greeted the new arrival with the steel blade with a kick to the chest, but the other man’s reaction was equally fast. He abruptly leaped back and evaded Su Heting’s blow before swinging his blade to slash again. Su Heting dodged the blow as well and raised his leg to step down on the back of the blade so that the other man had no choice but to bend down. Then he lifted his leg and bent his knee to slam it into the other man’s head in one swift, efficient move.
However, the man with the steel blade evaded the blow again.
The tip of Viper’s tail had all exploded, splashing venom all over the ground. He dragged his ruined body up and touched his tailbone. As he endured the pain, he commanded the man with the steel blade, “Hack him to death!”
This cat was exceptional in all aspects. King Shen would be hard pressed to win the match tomorrow.
“We have to eliminate him tonight.” Viper spat and started muttering, “Or the Boss is going to skin you and me—”
No sooner had he said that than a sudden burst of force came assaulting him from the side behind him. Viper had no strength left to dodge the blow, and the kick sent half of his body tumbling to the side.
This cat still has a fucking bodyguard!
Viper propped his body up in place after he rolled to the ground and tried to spring up again, but he had only just raised himself up when he suffered yet another kick to the chest.
This blow was far more brutal than the one before!
Viper’s body scraped across the ground as he went flying for several meters. His back slammed hard into a trash can. He promptly coughed out blood.
That trash can tipped over with a thunderous crash. Drink cans, discarded scraps, and the like all toppled over his body.
What terrible luck tonight. He really lost out big time.
Viper covered his eyes; the blood in his left eye had yet to stop, and now the blood in his mouth was surging up again. All he could taste in his mouth was the metallic taste of rust. He could not get a clear look at the new arrival before him, but the other party’s silence seized him with panic as he intuitively caught a whiff of danger.
Or he would meet his demise here.
Viper gave a cry of pain and raised his head to tell the man with the steel blade, “Leave, now!”
The man immediately put away his steel blade like a puppy obeying its command. Su Heting wanted to keep him behind, but he nimbly flashed past without even looking at Su Heting and sprinted over to Viper. He hauled the latter up with one hand, then took to his heels, carrying these moves out in one fell swoop without showing the slightest inclination to dwell on the battle.
The old building was all cement. The man with the steel blade flung his empty sleeve, and once again, switched modes. Several steel nails attached to a thread as thin as spider web shot out from his sleeve and stabbed into the wall. He hoisted Viper over his shoulder, leaped up in a few steps and swung over to the wall, speeding along it in a series of parkour-like moves. In just a few breaths, he disappeared into the night.
It was still drizzling.
Su Heting did not give chase.
Viper was his greeting gift to Wei Zhixin.
He shook off the water on his tail and saw Xie Zhenshu the moment he turned his head around.
“… Th, thanks, man.” Su Heting’s voice caught in his throat, because he had said one too many thank yous today, and he was not good at verbally saying his thanks.
Xie Zhenshu opened up the umbrella and inclined his head to look at the sky before looking at him. “Not going home?”
“Just about to.’ Su Heting stuck his hands into his pocket. Although that was what he said, he did not turn around.
The atmosphere was delicate. Rainwater trickled along his cheeks, and Su Heting shook it off. His gaze suddenly fell upon Xie Zhenshu’s equally drenched hair, and his brain clicked into gear as he thought of a wonderful way to express his thanks. His tail involuntarily stuck up.
Although the Black Market was not friendly towards the Hybrids, the Hybrids had their own recreation grounds. Su Heting was particularly fond of a certain activity there.
He deftly jumped across the water puddle and ran a few steps closer towards Xie Zhenshu, his expression serious as he asked candidly, “Wanna take a bath together?”
Xie Zhenshu leaned back slightly; he was unaccustomed to being approached. That pair of cat ears shook off several drops of rain right under his gaze.
“There’s a decent bathhouse not far from here.” Su Heting was all raring to go. His eyes shone. “It’s a must-do before my matches.”
Who could turn down a hot bath?
There were even hair-dryers he could use for free.
He supeeer loves it!