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177 Insignia

 ...

Around two days earlier...

Jin stood inside of the apartment building with a calm expression on his face. Even though the fire had already been taken care of by the firefighters, everything inside of the building itself had either turned to ashes or was badly damaged by the flames.

After a brief investigation, the firefighters came to a swift conclusion that the cause of the fire was gasoline. Not only was it obvious from the strong smell, but the unnatural way that the fire spread and was concentrated mostly in one specific apartment unit, it was not difficult to piece together.

They informed Jin that they would inform the proper authorities and launch a full investigation, but he had plans of his own.

'If it truly is Dragon Stone that's behind this then there's no chance that the investigation would make it far.'

Although he did not have any proof, it was the only lead he could follow. Also, they were the only ones who had a motive. Of course, there was always a chance that they were just the random target of a crazy arsonist, however, that was an extremely low possibility.

Jim reached down to pick up the small metal piece that flew by him when he kicked the door down to leave the burning apartment. As he examined the object, Jin noticed a small insignia in the shape of a dagger carved into it.

'I recognize this insignia.'

Now, he had a proper lead and a visible trail to follow instead of blindly chasing around for answers.

The insignia itself was barely discernable, however, you could tell that it was definitely made by human hands, not a machine.

Jin used to play a space-based MMO called Star Galactic Empires when he was still in high school. He logged thousands of hours on that game and it was one of his more hardcore gaming phases where he focused solely on one game.

Some people at his high school who were into the same game as Jin told him about some guy who sold authentic SGE merchandise for a cheap price.

Of course, at the time, Jin was not in the best of financial situations and could not afford to purchase such things at their regular prices. Even though it sounded a little shady, he still chose to pay the guy a visit on the off chance that what he heard was true.

Indeed, Jin did receive some SGE merchandise for a cheap price, however, when he got home and opened it he realized after examining it for a while that he had been scammed.

It was nearly a perfect copy, but Jin spotted some odd about the item. If he did not use a magnifying glass to examine it, he would have never seen a small dagger insignia carved into it.

At first, Jin did not want to believe it and did some extensive research, but he soon found out that he was not mistaken. No matter where he searched the item up online and enlarged the image, he did not see a dagger insignia on it.

After searching around through various localized forums, Jin came across a message board that spoke about a person referred to as Joking Dagger. What else did he see on the message board? The same exact dagger insignia that was on the SGE merchandise!

Apparently, this guy called Joking Dagger had quite the reputation. He was an artist of sorts who mostly did replicas of things, but he also owned a sketchy forge. It was called sketchy because of the people that were constantly going in and out of it at times.

Artist or craftsman often left marks on their works so that others would know that they were the one who created it. It was obvious that Joking Dagger was not afraid of his work being found out.

Jin was shocked that someone like him had the audacity to run a business in the open. Many of the other people on the forums had been duped by Joking Dagger and his craftsmanship. However, no one wanted to directly confront him because of some rumors of his ties with some shady people.

Jin cursed under his breath but, in the end, he decided against going back to confront him. He chose to simply suffer in silence as he did not want to risk putting himself in harm's way. After all, he had experienced enough confrontations while at school.

'According to my most recent memories, that place should still be there. If he's tied to a group of shady people, I have a good idea about their identity.'

Jin stepped outside of the apartment and turned to look back once more at the mess that was created. He was determined to find whoever was responsible for this and made them wish that they had never existed.

Jin used his Light Feather Steps movement technique and made his way towards Joking Dagger's shop.

...

A few minutes later, Jin stood in front of a small building with no windows and smoke coming out of a chimney located out back.

'I'll find out who purchased

"Move it you're in the way kid!" A burly man barked as he purposely bumped into Jin as he made his way to the door.

Meanwhile, inside the store, an intimidating group of men was taking to the man behind the counter.

"Yo, did ya finish what I asked for yet?" One of the men in the group asked.

"Heh, when do I ever not finish on time? Don't worry, I already have it packed up and ready to g-" As the man behind the counter was talking, he heard a loud breaking and crashing sound followed by the sound of something heavy slamming onto the floor. Everything went silent.

When the man behind the counter looked towards the door he was dumbfounded. The entire door had basically been blown to smithereens! His eyes then naturally drifted over to see a burly man lying unconscious on the floor with his eyes rolled back and foaming from the mouth.

"Hammer!" One of the men in the group said in a surprised tone of voice when they recognized the person lying on the floor.

Jin slowly stepped into the building as he swept his cold gaze across the members present.

Everyone set their sights on Jin, who had just entered, with confused expressions written all over their faces. They were waiting to see what managed to send someone as large as Hammer straight through a door and halfway across the room. However, to their surprise, nothing or no one else appeared after Jin.

One of the men in the group frowned and said, "Brat, did you see what or who did this?"

"Joking Dagger, we need to talk." Jin completely ignored the man who spoke to him.

In turn, this enraged the man and caused him to strut over in Jin's direction with his chest out. He tried to intimidate Jin with his posture, but he ended up looking like nothing more than a clown to Jin.

The man stopped directly in front of Jin and got close up in his face.

"Hey, you deaf brat?! If I ask you a question you answer it with no hesitation. You have a death wish of somethin'?" The man said as he reached out to grab Jin by his shirt collar.

"You're in the way." Jin said as his hand appeared to blur out for a brief moment.

Before he could even lay a finger on Jin, the man felt a sudden rush of pain coming from his abdomen area. The next thing he remembered was taking a similar trip across the room as Hammer. The man flew away from Jin and crashed into a table on the other side of the room. He was knocked out cold!

Everyone in the room was shocked! They did not see anything except a body flying across the room. It was starting to seem like some kind of practical joke at this point. After all, who would willingly believe that someone that size could knock people back such a far distance?

Jin was already infinitely close to breaking through to the next stage of the Heavenly Golden Body physique and so his physical strength and attributes were monstrous. Also, it increased the amount of control he had over every part of his body.

Jin then turned his attention to the person behind the counter. He recognized that person from his memories as the person who sold fake SGE merchandise. At the moment, the man called Joking Dagger was slowly trying to retreat to the door behind the counter. It was clear that he did not want to get involved and would leave things to those suited for the task.

After the initial shock was over, anger started to slowly replace the feeling of disbelief. Who was this brat to come in here and start asking questions after being so disrespectful? Did he not know where he was?

"Brat, you have no idea who you're dealing with. But, I'm in a good mood today so I'll give you a way out besides in a body bag. First, you'll kneel and beg for forgiveness and then we'll just break both of your arms. Since you're young, we'll show a bit of mercy and let you keep your legs." The man who appeared to be the leader of the group said.

Jin took one step and before the man knew it he was already right in front of him. The man was stunned as he reacted on pure instinct and swung his fist at Jin. He was just standing by the doorway, how did he get so close that fast?!

Jin moved his index finger to intercept the man's fist and lightly flicked it with his finger.

CRRRRACK!

The sound was something breaking and snapping rung throughout the room. Just as the man was getting ready to yell out in pain, he soon joined the same pile as Hammer and the other man who approached Jin earlier.

One move! Every single person who said anything or approached him had immediately regretted doing so! By this point, no one dared to look down on Jin.

The one named Joking Dagger was terrified out of his mind. Who had he offended to attract such a vicious enemy?

Jin disappeared from the spot he stood in which left everyone in a dazed-like state.

THUMP! THUMP! THUMP!

A few moments later, the sound of bodies hitting the floor nonstop echoed inside of the room. In the end, there were only two people left remaining, Jin and Joking Dagger. Everything was over in less than a single breath!

"What do you want? Money? Items? You can take it! Just don't hurt me!" Joking Dagger said as he slowly reached under the counter.

"Where are the people you sold this item to?" Jin ignored Joking Dagger's plea and tossed the small metal piece he picked up earlier on the counter in front of Joking Dagger.

"That piece? Yeah, I know who I sold that piece to but... Why should I tell it to a dead man?!" Joking Dagger pulled out a handgun he had hidden under his counter for protection and started to aim it towards Jin.

However, just as Joking Dagger was getting ready to pull the trigger, he felt something cold press up against his chin that made him instinctively freeze in place. It took a moment for his brain to process that the very gun he was getting ready to fire was now aimed to blow his own head off!

Moreover, he was the one getting ready to do it! Did he really almost just walk himself into the doors of death willingly?

Jin moved in and struck a few pressure points which caused Joking Dagger's body to become stiff and paralyzed. At the same time, he positioned the gun that was originally aimed towards him, up towards Joking Dagger's own head. The only part of Joking Dagger's body that Jin did not paralyze was the very tip of his trigger finger.

"I will not ask the same question twice, answer." Jin said in a calm voice. However, to Joking Dagger, that voice might as well belong to a demon.

"Guys! Two guys dropped by and picked it up earlier today! Said they needed it for some extra security! I don't know where they are though, I swear!" Joking Dagger said as tears began to stream from his face as fear had long since sunk in.

"You have three seconds. One..." Jin counted in an unhurried manner.

"They'll kill me if they found out I helped you! Please, I'm begging you don't do this!" Joking Dagger pleaded.

"Two..." Jin continued to count without a shred of sympathy in his eyes.

"Do you really want to go up against the Dragon Stone gang?! You'll die you know!" Joking Dagger said with a shaky voice.

"Thr-"

"I'll talk! I really don't know where they are, but a lot of members of Dragon Stone go to the Secret Lotus Palace in their spare time! You can probably find them there! I swear! Don't kill me, please don't kill me!" Joking Dagger would rather take his chances.

After all, if he remained silent then this person looked as if they would not have hesitated to act on their threat.

'Secret Lotus Palace?'

"You have my thanks. As a reward for your assistance, I will not take your life." Jin said as he turned to walk out of the building.

Joking Dagger was relieved. But when he noticed that he could still not move after Jin walked away he yelled out, "Wait! You can't just leave me here like this!" His finger started to cramp up and shake slightly from the overwhelming amount of fear.

Jin exited the building and pulled out his cellphone he kept in his pocket to search up the location of the Secret Lotus Palace. According to the information he found on the place, it was in simple words a hostess club.

'Dragon stone gang, this time I will be sure to pull you up from the roots.'

POW!

As Jin walked away from the building, the sound of a single gunshot sounded off.

...

'I've found you.'

After a bit more digging around for two days and using the collected information provided by Joking Dagger, Jin had finally located the two individuals responsible for starting the fire and attempted to burn them alive. Now, they were having a good time without any remorse.

Although he planned on going against the entire Dragon Stone gang, the main culprits still had to pay for their actions.

Jin stood on the rooftop to a building staring down at the two men and one woman exiting the Secret Lotus Palace. At the moment, they appeared to be heading towards one of the nearby hotels.

'You two have not only made a move against me but also endangered the person I swore to protect. For that, there is only one price to be paid.'

Jin suddenly vanished from the rooftops leaving no trace of himself behind in the process.