When Kiva heard these words, his body became filled with terror.
He hadn’t known who Shang was earlier, but now, he knew who stood in front of him.
Kiva’s insides shook, but he did his best to hide it.
“Then you should know how stupid it would be to kill me,” Kiva said with a calm voice.
Shang only smirked and looked into his eyes. “Why?”
“You know who I am, and you know how much my life is worth,” Kiva said. “Killing me would bring you nothing but momentary satisfaction while keeping me as a hostage gives you monetary satisfaction. One is worth more than the other.”
“You should know how expensive it is to become more powerful. Don’t throw millions of gold out of the window just because you feel like it,” Kiva said.
Shang nodded along.
Yep, Kiva Orvis was probably worth over 50 million gold.
“You know, you would have a point in other circumstances,” Shang said.
Kiva’s insides tightened.
“However, you tried to kill me back then, Duke Mithril has put a bounty of 20 million golds on my head after that, and you are actively killing the warriors,” Shang said.
“Why would you care about the people I’ve killed?” Kiva asked with narrowed eyes. “You’ve probably killed just as many people as me. I refuse to believe that all the people you’ve killed are deserving of their death.”
A couple of instances of Shang killing someone innocent shot through his mind.
“You’re right,” Shang said. “I wouldn’t care as much about the warriors under normal circumstances. Sure, I feel some kinship with them, but not enough to risk my life for them.”
“However, this is not a normal circumstance.”
“Let me just say that someone I don’t want to anger is invested in the warriors’ survival.”
Shang’s smirk widened.
“Also, Duke Mithril, as well as his people, are my enemy, and I don’t like to keep my enemies alive just for some money.”
“Additionally, you’ve seen my face, and I want to keep my return a secret for now.”
Kiva wanted to negotiate some more, but he quickly felt himself being pulled away as Shang ran off with him. Of course, Shang pocketed the corpses and their belongings.
“Wh-what are you doing?!” Kiva shouted in Shang’s grasp.
“You know, I don’t like lying,” Shang said with a neutral voice. “I need to send Duke Mithril a message, and the message needs to be authentic.”
Kiva wasn’t sure what Shang meant, but his fear increased more and more as time passed.
Shang charged into the swamp with Kiva Orvis and quickly searched for a good place.
And just a minute later, Shang found a suitable place.
Between a couple of half-dead trees, Shang saw a gigantic millipede oozing poison. A terrifying poison swamp had already formed around it, which released a sizzling noise.
The millipede looked over and saw Shang.
Shang only narrowed his right eye and looked at it.
In an instant, the millipede dove into the swamp and fled.
This was an Initial Commander Stage Swamp Millipede, and this was its nest.
Then, Shang stopped right beside the poison swamp.
“Do try not to drink everything at once, alright?” Shang said.
At that moment, Kiva Orvis’ world broke down, and his being was consumed by fear.
Shang shoved him into the poison swamp.
Which immediately began to sizzle.
Shang felt a burning sensation on his hand, but it wasn’t a big deal.
Kiva kept violently thrashing around below the surface as Shang’s hand kept his body underwater.
The swamp had turned silent, except for the sounds of violent splashing coming from this place.
Occasionally, Kiva’s hands and feet broke the surface, but they looked worse and worse as the seconds ticked by.
Eventually, Kiva’s skinless right hand fell off as he tried his best to escape.
For 30 full seconds, Shang kept Kiva’s body in the poison swamp.
Until he stopped moving.
Shang used his Darkness Mana to see if there was any life energy left in Kiva’s body.
He was dead.
Shang pulled him out and looked at him.
Half his legs were gone.
His right arm was missing at the middle of the forearm.
The skin of his entire body had burned off, and even a huge part of his flesh was missing. Obviously, his organs were also severely injured.
Kiva’s face basically didn’t exist anymore.
His eyes and nose were gone, just like his skin.
In comparison to Kiva Orvis’ corpse, Shang’s hand had only reddened.
When Shang saw him, he was surprised by what he was feeling.
He felt nothing.
He didn’t feel regret.
He didn’t feel satisfaction.
He just felt nothing.
It was like this was nothing special.
It was like this was normal.
‘Seems like I’ve truly gotten used to these kinds of things,’ Shang thought as he looked at the ravaged corpse.
‘Anyway, I should get onto delivering the message to Duke Mithril.’
Shang put Kiva’s corpse into his inner world and ran towards the north. This time, he didn’t need to run slowly to lure out his enemies.
As Shang ran towards the north, he retrieved a black mask from his inner world.
This was the same mask he had worn when he had acted as Zero.
Then, he put it on.
After fighting the Mages and Kiva Orvis, Shang changed his plans.
Instead of openly striding into the warrior’s academy and getting spotted, he decided that he would lay low.
If no one knew that he was here, no one could watch him.
That would make it far easier to ruin Duke Mithril’s territory.
After all, if one didn’t know what one was fighting against, one wouldn’t be able to prepare oneself adequately.
Two minutes later, Shang arrived at the border between the Empress Cobra Zone and the Adamantite Behemoth Zone.
It was currently night.
Shang scouted the surroundings and made sure that nobody was around.
Luckily, no sane person traveled through the Empress Cobra Zone during the night unless they were at the Late General Stage or higher.
The Empress Cobra Zone was deadly during the night.
When Shang saw that no one was around, he summoned a couple of sticks he had picked up on his way here.
Then, he went to work.
It took a couple of minutes, but Shang eventually managed to recreate the image in his mind.
Lastly, Shang positioned everything how he wanted.
A minute later, Shang looked at his creation.
The three headless corpses of the Mages were lying on the ground. Behind them, where their heads were supposed to be, Shang had stabbed one stake each into the ground.
And on top of the stakes were their heads, their gazes focused on Duke Mithril’s castle.
Originally, Shang wanted the corpses to hold the stakes, but it proved to be quite difficult to make corpses stand up without collapsing. So, he scrapped that idea.
However, behind the stakes was one more stake, far bigger than the others.
Like a tree, it continued for around two meters, which was where Kiva’s ravaged corpse hung.
One additional stick was placed horizontally to spread Kiva’s arms.
Yes, Shang had crucified Kiva’s corpse.
Lastly, Shang took out a couple of Space Rings and three Foci.
And he placed them near the corpses.
All of their belongings were in there.
Literally nothing was missing.
This was a message, and it conveyed three things.
First, that someone hated Duke Mithril.
Second, that the person sending the message was very powerful.
Third, that the person wasn’t interested in wealth.
The person was only interested in Duke Mithril’s death.
This was why Shang had left the Space Rings here.
‘I don’t need money,’ Shang thought. ‘On my journey, I have killed so many beasts and Mages. I probably have over 200 million gold in my inner world, and even if I need more, I have plenty of ways to get more.’
Shang glanced at Duke Mithril’s castle.
‘This is worth far more than a couple million gold.’
‘Let’s hope you don’t start panicking and do something reckless as your territory crumbles around you.’
‘Fear of the unknown is a terrifying thing, and it makes smart people do stupid things. The attack against the warriors is a prime example.’
‘Duke Mithril, you might not fear me today, but the terror of this message will only intensify as more and more things go wrong for you.’
‘Let’s have a good, clean match, okay?’