The Devil's Cage Chapter 7


Chapter 7: Second Skill

Looks like Im in big trouble! Kieran said lightly.

His intention was to get more information out of Colleen.

Ever since he was a kid, hed always had to work for a living so he had made a habit of never fully trusting anyone.

Especially in life-and-death situations like this one.

Youre not the only one in trouble, both of us are. Last night, there were witnesses back there when we killed those shooters. Those suck-ups will go and tell the Vulture all about it. If he finds out that both his men were taken out by us, he will start hunting us right away. Hell put all his men on the job. That f*cker will not stop until he sees our dead bodies hanging! Its how he defends his pride and ego! Colleen said through gritted teeth.

Then she turned to Kieran, My food will last me for about two days. What about you?

About the same, Kieran answered while opening his backpack wide, revealing the remaining canned food inside.

Kieran was honest, so Colleen felt that she had nothing to hide either. She walked to the other side of the storage room and took out a can of food and some biscuits.

Even if I rationed the food, it would only last me for a couple of days, Colleen frowned as she looked at the food in her hands. Obviously, she was not planning on doing that.

No matter how hungry or close to death she was, she would not do it.

How many men can you take on at the same time? she asked, looking at Kieran soberly.

If theyre bare-handed and unarmed . Two or three, I suppose, replied Kieran, acknowledging her question. He understood what Colleen wanted from him.

Although the two of them had teamed up the previous day against those two shooters and had accomplished what seemed like the perfect ambush, he knew that he had been very lucky to able to pull it off. Extremely lucky.

If it were not for Colleens help, he would have died by the guns of the shooters.

He still remembered his [Stamina] restrictions.

Once his [Stamina] reached its limit, he might not even be able to fight at all, only wait to be slaughtered like a lamb.

Do we have to face them head on? Kieran asked, taking into consideration his limitations and advantages.

What, youd rather set up an ambush? Colleen asked.

She seemed shocked at first, but eventually calmed down.

I suppose you are right. We are outnumbered and they have more guns, so if we face them head on, we cant win. An ambush is our only choice!

Kieran agreed with a nod of his head. Then he went on, You said that they were active around Sixth Broadway, right? I suppose they are not as familiar with the area as you are, and if they wanted to search for us, theyd have to split up. Even if they outnumbered us, splitting up would lessen their numbers!

Please dont tell me theyre more than a hundred! he added as a joke.

More than a hundred? They are not an army, you know! The Vulture has only about twenty men under his command. If he had hundreds, he would have taken down the rebellion in no time given what an arrogant pr*ck he is! Colleen answered with a smile.

She seemed to be affected by Kierans lighter tone of speech.

Then Colleens smile disappeared.

The Vultures men might not be familiar with the terrain here, but neither are you. You are from another area as well, she told Kieran.

Kieran agreed with her without hesitation. He had already acknowledged that he was new to the area.

You can use your dagger really well, Ill give you that. But are you sure that you are not just some guy I came across, but someone who can get the job done? she went on.

Kieran was taken aback by her critical eyes.

He knew that she was referring to that time during the previous night, when Colleen had been confronting one of the shooters and Kieran had backed up, stepped on a plank, and made a loud noise.

That was an accident! It wont happen again. Besides, we dont have any other choice. I dont want to stay here forever and starve to death, or wait for the Vultures men to find me! Kieran explained, trying to persuade her once again.

He did not want to risk their plans.

He had not minded fighting the Vultures men. If it were other thugs or civilians though, he would rather avoid the battle because there would be a much smaller chance of getting any good loot out of it.

The Vultures men were a different matter entirely.

One look at the guns on Kierans waist, and the thugs would surely drop their guns after getting defeated.

Although he did not know how much those guns were worth in the game, that was not going to stop him from collecting more. After all, he had entered the game for the money.

Basically, Kieran was willing to take any risk if the reward was high enough.

He might have already killed two of the Vultures men the previous day, but he still needed to spend six more days in the game. Only then he would clear the level.

He might as well strike first and eliminate any incoming danger, rather than sit around and wait in fear for the remaining six days.

Kieran was not a passive, weak kind of person.

For three whole years he had lived with his illness, both his will and character getting stronger in the process. As a result, he had a way more mature mindset than the rest of his peers.

He knew there were some things you could not run away from.

It was go big or go home. Either way, he would not just sit around and wait for his end to come.

He had made a choice by entering this underground game without any security measures, and the same was true for the Vultures men.

Of course, given the chance, Kieran would like to improve his odds and boost his confidence.

In real life, the information that he had been able to gather about the game had been too little. He had tried his best, but none of that information had proved to be any useful.

It was different with the Vultures men, though.

Judging by Colleens words, Kieran could guess that she was very familiar with the Vulture and his men, as if she had a bad relationship with them.

She would not be holding that big of a grudge against them if that were not the case, and her familiarity with the terrain made her an ally that Kieran did not want to lose.

Of course, I dont want to stay here forever either, starving and waiting to be discovered by the Vultures men. I like your plan, but I think you need to prepare better if you want to make it work, she said.

Prepare how? Kieran asked straightforwardly.

Like I said yesterday, Im good at evading. I think I should teach you some skills so that when you face them, youll have more options. Too bad Im not good with guns, Colleen said, shaking her head.

Without a strong body and adequate fighting skills, the majority of people would choose a gun for protection.

One could practice martial arts for ten years and still lose to someone who had only practiced for about three months, if they were smart enough and had put enough distance between the two Do you want to learn how to Evade from me? she asked him.

A system window popped up at the same time.

[Do you want to learn the Evade Skill from Colleen? Yes/No]

A new skill? Is she a newbie skill instructor? Or does this mean that Ive reached a certain favourable rating with her?

All sorts of questions started to pop up in his mind as his heart beat faster.

He agreed straightaway, Of course I do!

Kieran had only one skill in his arsenal, and as that skill had already changed his life drastically, he longed for more skills that could help him that way. Having been a substitute gamer for others in the past, he knew perfectly well that, excluding levels, attributes and skills were the only defining power in the game.

Attributes could also help in supporting the skills, and vice versa.

What happened next confirmed his hypothesis.

After he agreed, Colleen started to explain her evading technique and performed a demonstration for him. When the demonstration was over, a system window notification popped up.

[Agility reached F. Sufficient to learn the evading skill...]

[Skill Learned: Evade]

[Name: Evade (Basic)]

[Skill Type: Ancillary]

[Effect: Evasion Increased by 10%. You have learned battle evading techniques.]

[Consumes: Stamina]

[Prerequisite: F in Agility]

[Remarks: You can use the side roll or back roll to evade your opponents attack!]

Just as I expected, attributes and skills support each other!

That was the conclusion that Kieran reached after comparing both the skills he had acquired and the system notifications.

He also came up with another hypothesis, When skill levels increase, attributes increase as well.

He had yet to confirm that.

How was it? Did you get it? said Colleen, standing to the side after her demonstration.

She looked at Kierans vacant expression. She frowned a little, wondering if he was okay.

Obviously, she did not like the fact that he had not been paying attention while she had been demonstrating.

When Kieran noticed her dissatisfaction, he tried to distract her with a demonstration of his own.

He did a side roll, a back roll, a front roll, he even did a sideflip with a single hand. He performed all these moves with ease.

Colleens jaw dropped at the demonstration.

You do gymnastics? she asked.

Colleen, whom had been a member of her schools gymnastics team, was aware that for someone to reach this level two or three years of practice were necessary. A beginner might not even be able to do a decent flip, let alone a side flip with one hand, which was considered an extremely difficult move.

Nope, I just really like martial arts. Plus, I think that my body is quite flexible, said Kieran, trying to provide her with an acceptable explanation.

Although the game did not mention anything about keeping his player identity a secret, in this highly realistic game Kierans explanation seemed to work, whereas such an explanation in real life might have led people to think that he was crazy.

I see...

Colleen accepted his explanation.

Kieran was distracted once again when his eyes focused on his attributes.

His stamina had dropped from 100 to 80.