In a world where only the strongest survived, Hotchbini was a beacon. When mercenaries talk about leaders of other groups, the opinions would differ. When someone mentioned Hotchbini, however, the mercenaries would be full of respect.
The intensity in Davidson’s eyes dulled a little. His fingers relaxed, and he stood there quietly, waiting.
A slender shadow walked through the door. Hotchbini had a head of golden curls, her green eyes, set on her gentle face, were bright and clear. Her well shaped lips were a deep pink, and her nose was slightly hooked. Normally a nose like that would make a person appear sly, but on Hotchbini it only made her look wise and collected.
Hotchbini appeared so much younger than her actual age. She looked she should be a teenage girl, but in reality she was the mother of nine children. When she was with Sayeed, she looked more like his younger sister.
Hogebili did not like to dress up and had often appeared in simply white dresses. This made her appear somewhat otherworldly.
"Mother," Sayeed called.
"Stay back," Hotchbini ordered. Sayeed was brave enough to fight Davidson, but in front of his mother he was still a boy that followed her orders.
"Ma’am," Davidson said. He took his hand off the sword and bowed to her. He could attack her son, but he must respect her.
"Davidson, why are you causing so much commotion?" Hotchbini asked. "Do you know what kind of influence this will have once the news gets out?"
"Ma’am, my brother Orwell was killed by your men, and all I want is justice," Davidson said, his voice cold. After any other incident, he could pause and take a step back. Only when Orwell was involved would he make such rash decisions. After all, Orwell was his only brother.
"Orwell was killed?" Hotchbini asked in shock. "What does that have to do with my people?"
Davidson waved his hands and a woman was brought to the front. "Ma’am, she was the only survivor. Not only did she witness the murder, she heard the killers’ conversation."
"Where did this happen?" Hotchbini asked the woman.
"In my home, ma’am," the woman replied fearfully.
Hotchbini saw the fear in the woman’s eyes and the sadness in her face. She remembered Orwell’s reputation, and it wasn't hard imagining what had taken place.
Hotchbini was once a slave, and she hated the men who would act on their urges without a second thought. She smiled coldly. "Keep going," she urged the woman.
"When Lord Orwell was…two people came in. A man and a woman. To keep Lord Orwell."
"Don’t be scared," Hotchbini said gently. "Be more specific. Don’t worry, no one will hurt you here."
"Thank you, ma’am," the woman said gratefully. She thought about the event for a few moments before continuing. "That’s all I saw, ma’am. When the killers came inside, Lord Orwell threw me at those people, and after that I just laid on the ground and pretended I had fainted."
"What a man Lord Orwell was," Sayeed mocked.
Everyone had heard the woman’s words. Orwell was clearly using the woman as a shield against the attack. The mercenaries chattered and murmured amongst themselves, laughing at how heartless Orwell was. Davidson’s face twitched. He was Orwell’s brother, and he knew how terrible Orwell could be sometimes. He knew full well that Orwell would not hesitate using someone else to shield an attack. He felt his face turn red from the embarrassment.
Hotchbini snorted. Even though she was a very controlled and sensible woman, she had a bottom line as well. She could not stand men who oppressed and took advantage of women. Whenever she heard about it, she would uncontrollably get angry. "Then?"
"The man looked at me, and I was so scared and kept still. Then the two talked."
"What did they say?"
"The woman said doing this would cause trouble, and the man said the princess is already here, and there is no need to be afraid of Glory mercenary group. The man also said that the bastard…Lord Orwell killed nine of his men and he couldn’t take it anymore."
Davidson’s body tensed up at the word "bastard." On the other hand, Hotchbini and her son had only laughed. Truthfully, everyone had thought Orwell was a bastard, and who knew how many innocent women he had assaulted. If it wasn’t for Davidson, Orwell would have never lasted this long.
Sayeed had no problem displaying his emotions. Hotchbini was calmer, but she was as uncaring as her son was. Orwell should never have lived as long as he did.
"What else did they say?"
"Then the woman asked what they should do with me, and the man said I was just a poor woman and he didn’t want to hurt me…" the woman said. She couldn’t control her emotions and started sobbing.
Hogebili walked up to her and patted her back. "Anything else?" she asked gently.
"The woman said Lord Orwell had died in my home and that Glory mercenaries would never let me go. The man said he couldn’t do anything about it," the woman said. She suddenly grabbed Hotchbini’s arm and shrieked, "Ma’am, please. Help me, please!"
"I said no one would hurt you, didn’t I?" Hotchbini said gently, taking the woman’s hand into hers.
"Ma’am, you heard what she said," Davidson said coldly. "I would ask you to hand over the killers." He was, in fact, at a disadvantage. It was strange trying to find justice for Orwell, since many of his victims did not get justice, but in the end Orwell was still his brother, and he couldn’t let his death go unavenged.
Hotchbini was silent for a few moments, then said slowly, "I want to investigate this first. We do, in fact, have a team missing right now. I will give you an answer when I finish investigating."
"What does your missing team have to do with Orwell?"
"What does his death have to do with us?" Hotchbini asked coldly. "The woman heard what they said. The princess is here. Which other princess is coming to Blackwater City except for the princess of Shansa?"
"If Orwell had nothing to do with the missing team, why was he killed?" Hotchbini asked. "I told you. I will give you an answer after I've conducted a thorough investigation. If the missing team is related to Orwell’s death, may I say he deserved it." Kindness and generosity didn’t mean weakness. When Ellisen Empire’s bandits were captured by her people years back, even the leader of the Glory mercenary group Anthony himself had come to her, asking her to release the prisoner. She resisted the pressure and executed the royalty of Ellisen she had captured.
"So you are protecting the killer?"
"I am trying to find the truth," Hotchbini said. "Sayeed, take the poor thing inside. You, go find the images of the missing team."
"Please, this way," Sayeed said to the woman politely. With Hotchbini against him, Davidson couldn’t do anything. Sayeed had the upper hand, and had won the day, but for some reason he could not feel joy. Instead, he found himself frowning and strangely anxious.
Davidson’s eye twitched a few times, but he did not stop Sayeed from taking the woman. First it was Orwell’s death, then it was the insults from his nephews, now this clash with Hotchbini. His anger was ready to boil over. The only thing that kept him from attacking was the woman’s status and fame. If he had really attacked her, it could potentially turn into a devastating power struggle between the mercenary groups. Now, he did not expect Hotchbini to hand over the killers. Even if she only verbally promised to find the killers, he would take his men and leave immediately.