Chapter 175 A Brewing Storm
Blue Hillock City, Tulip Hotel.
A pale but mean-looking thug strode across the crowded lobby and went past the suites filled with waitresses. He walked along an inconspicuous alley into a hall guarded by several tough men, before finally turning into a remote location at the backyard of the hotel.
The ones waiting here were all young but amazingly talented people. There were even exceptional individuals amongst them that the castellan had recruited from several major cities nearby. Their talents were in various fields, but there was a common similarity to their appearances. The men were handsome, while the women were beautiful. Everyone one of them had pale complexions, vaguely resembling ancient nobility that never went out in the sun.
These young men and women gathered in small groups in the hall, corridor, and on the sofas, having passionate conversation with each other. Strangely, the use of odd words such as ‘blood treats’, ‘Embrace’ and the sort permeated their conversations.
Swiftsword Jake was used to this scene. He quickly went past everyone, and rushed to the secret room at the innermost section of the building. The group of people might look like they were flirting with each other, but in truth, they were spread out and positioned in such a way that they closely guarded the secret room.
Should any outsider that didn't belong to their ‘clique’ enter, they would likely be brutally torn to pieces in minutes.
The youths guarding the door took a good look at Jake before silently opening the wooden door behind them.
There was almost no furniture in the secret room, with the exception of bed so large it could be considered opulent. Two extremely attractive women, that were hardly wearing anything, laid on both sides of Mary, diligently serving her.
A naked young girl hung on the room’s ceiling, pinned by daggers on her limbs and chest. Drops of bright red blood seeped through the wounds, dripping down the dagger. Flowers of blood slowly bloomed on the bodies of the three people on the large bed, drop by drop, dyeing them crimson.
The three, however, were not worried by this at all. In fact, the two beautiful ladies even used the tip of their tongue to catch the dripping blood, letting out seductively lewd moans as they did so. They were thoroughly enjoying it!
The scene within the room was so extravagant and seductive, yet Jake didn't dare to stare. He bowed and spoke softly, "Mistress, the witcher-knights you had us observe have made a move. Around a hundred people suddenly surged into Blue Hillock City today. Though they tried to be covert, I've already sent someone to probe them. They are witcher-knights from outside. They’re spread all across the city, but the leaders have already made it to the camp!"
Mary suddenly sat up and coldly stared at her subordinate, "You have already probed them? You didn't startle or alert them, did you?"
Mary's blood red pupils lit up, and instantly the debaucherous atmosphere within the room vanished. All the blood servants immediately stopped what they were doing and anxiously waited for instructions from their master.
Mary's threatening stare terrified Swiftsword Jake. Hurriedly he explained, "There's no need to worry, Mistress! We did not use any of our own men to probe the knights. We had several street urchins annoy the targets. Some of them saw the unique runic weapons of the witcher-knights under their robes."
Mary finally nodded in satisfaction upon hearing this. Relaxed, she lied down once more.
"Do not forget your identity. You are a gang subordinate to a local noble. Just monitor them. Do not overstep your boundaries. As long as you do not do anything that oversteps the boundaries of your identity, they will not suspect you. Also, I need to know their purpose here!"
"This is simple! Mistress, the leader of that group of knights had already gone to visit the castellan in secret when I came here to report to you!"
"Mm? They went to visit Vanlier? Hahaha… this is rare good news!"
As Ninther strode back from outside with anger on his face, his direct subordinates were diligently organizing their equipment and treating their weapons and armor. These jobs were usually done by squires or servants, but now they had to do it themselves.
"Sir, did you get anything out of the meeting with Count Vanlier?" A deputy walked forward, and helped him unclasp the thick robe on his body. The other deputy also stepped forward and helped him remove the heavy armor, revealing the intricate silk underclothes beneath.
"Hmph! What could I have gotten?! Each of these nobles is slimier and slipperier than the one before them. He claimed that the witcher-knights here were not under his jurisdiction, and therefore he had no idea where they went. He only knows that they hired some local mercenaries before entering Greenland Forest." Ninther sat down heavily in a chair, his face still fuming with anger.
Using certain means, he determined that the plane invaders had appeared in the Greenland Forest. Rushing there with a large number of followers, he arrived only to find that the witcher-knight squad stationed there was absent. From the explanations of the apprentice knights that had stayed behind, the squad had moved out upon hearing news of a group of heretics.
Even though exterminating heretics was the duty of each and every witcher-knight, Ninther wished they hadn't heard of that goddamn news at this critical juncture. After all, all one hundred of the witcher-knights here were reassigned here from other places; they were utterly unfamiliar with the environment inside Greenland Forest.
It was a complete joke to have a bunch of horse-riding knights search for enemy tracks in a forest. If the party had a dozen people who were familiar with the local environment, everything would have been much easier!
"Sir!" A tall knight strode in from outside, "There are some fresh faces outside the camp. I’ve had some people look, and it seems they are the spying subordinates of the local gang. What do you think we should……"
"Ignore them!" Ninther waved his hand frustratingly, "We entered the city with so many men. That Count Vanlier is probably deeply concerned! It's normal to have some eyes on us. We’re heading to the forest the day after tomorrow anyway, after a quick rest. If they want to follow us, then let them do so."
Then, Ninther called for the tall knight, "Edward, come and take a look. Which route is the most suitable for when we enter the mountain the day after tomorrow? Perhaps we should split into ten smaller squads. This should make the search go faster!"
Right now, a large parchment had been placed on the wooden table. On the parchment, lines of different thickness and colors illustrated the geography around Greenland Forest, as well as the direction of rivers.
The entirety of Greenland Forest was wide on the northern end, and much narrower on the southern end, making it look roughly like a gigantic drumstick covering several hundred square kilometers. The central area was the Haynes Mountains, while the forest itself shared borders with three large provinces.
The Blue Hillock City they were at was located near the southern end of the forest, where it was at its most narrow. The city was also the most suitable outpost for the vanguard of an army in the south, in the Duran province. A little further, and there were only small towns and villages with very low populations. They were sufficient as a restocking point for small groups of mercenaries, but not for a large witcher-knight army.
Indeed, this knight army numbering over a hundred men was only a vanguard for the arriving main force. An army of knights numbering up to three thousand men was gathering at the capital of Duran province. Based on estimates, it would take them another 15 days, at their quickest, before they could arrive.
The sole mission of the vanguard was to establish a base for the main force, then to investigate the location of their enemies. Even a little information would be good.
Such a large-scale gathering of witcher-knights was the first in a hundred years. A gathering of knights on the same scale was also happening far away in the north, up in the two other provinces bordered by Greenland Forest.
The gathering of so many witcher-knights was certain to incite fear and terror among the local nobles. The nobles were prone to believe that the secret movements of the knights were a sign of the king stripping the nobles of their power. It was extremely likely to cause local backlash from the nobles.
Thus, finding the enemy quickly, defeating them, and exterminating them was the main problem the vanguard leader had to solve.
Supposedly, even two of the three Dragon Knights in direct service of the king himself had left their posts and were rushing here to eliminate this group of invaders that could bring disaster to this plane. Apparently, even the legendary Holy Knight Sir Willis would personally command the battle against the plane invaders then.
That's a Holy Knight that was at the Fourth Grade!
One has to note that he's the only Fourth-Grade Holy Knight of this plane!
Ninther could feel his heart aflame when he thought of having the chance to fight and charge alongside this legendary war god of a knight. He was willing to sacrifice his own life for the holy mission of "protecting the world", thus fulfilling the oath he made when he became a witcher-knight.
Eliminating the darkness, protector of the weak, fearless!
Ninther silently chanted the motto of the knights, the glint in his eyes becoming brighter as he did so.
The abnormal situation in Blue Hillock City was quickly transmitted by Mary back to the adepts' base.
But the four clan adepts were busy with constructing the temporary adepts' tower as well as creating guardian voodoo beasts. None of them could spare any energy to reinforce Greem, Mary, and Acteon.
The only thing they could do now was construct a large-scale illusion barrier as soon as possible, reducing the chances of the enemy finding the camp from the skies. As for this wave of a hundred witcher-knights, Greem and the rest had to find a way to kill them themselves.
If they let the opponent split into multiple squads and wander about the forest, who knew if they would accidentally wander into the illusion barrier.
Even though there were plenty of disagreements and discord between them, when the hostile army was arriving, Greem and the rest could only swallow their grudges and work together. Therefore, they met in a hidden valley to discuss their action plan.