A group of mercenaries hurried towards the building, led by a intermediate swordsman. The rest of the mercenaries halted outside of the building, and only the swordsman pushed open the door and entered the building. It was one of the forbidden places within the mercenary group, and not everyone could enter it.
Inside the building, Mooly Tawau was entertaining himself with a nature sound bird. These birds were very rare and valuable. Its feathers were radiant, and it sounded like a beautiful, constantly changing harp. When the bird was satisfied, it would sound bright and clear. When it was upset, it would sound sad and hoarse. The bird had become the staple of wealth among the wealthy and the powerful. However, because of the increased demand, the number of birds in the wild had decreased, and it had become more and more expensive.
Hotchbini sat next to Mooly Tawau and was deep in thought. Her son Saidy was sitting nearby and quietly conversing with an old man. Saidy appeared to be enraged, but he would never dare to explode here in front of his mother.
The swordsman hurried inside and said, "My lord, we found this in Orwell’s residence." He held out his hand and showed Mooly Tawau some Tiger of Tawau badges.
Mooly Tawau glanced at the badges, then turned his gaze back to the bird as if he did not care at all about the discovery.
"See, father! Orwell was the one that killed our men!" Saidy shot up from his seat, angered.
"Sit down," Hotchbini said, frowning.
Saidy froze. He clenched his teeth, then unwillingly sat back down.
"My god, stop playing with that cursed bird. Don’t you have something to say about this?" Hotchbini turned to Mooly Tawau and said.
"About what?" Mooly Tawau asked, turning around slowly.
"What do you think about this?"
"Why are you asking me? You make the decisions."
Hotchbini slapped the table and made a loud noise. Mooly Tawau jumped up from his chair and walked towards the swordsman. He grabbed the badges and played with them in his hands. "Do you really need my opinion on this? Of course this had nothing to do with Orwell."
"Father, they found this in Orwell's residence!"
"These aren’t coins; there's no reason to collect them," Mooly Tawau said, shaking his head. "Why would Orwell leave this in his home? Did he worry about everyone not knowing he was the killer? Or did he have a habit of collecting these? Found anything else there?"
"No, my lord."
"It's clear," Mooly Tawau said, tossing the badges to the ground. "This is planted evidence." He looked at Hotchbini, then he went back to his seat and began entertaining the bird again.
"Saidy, you see? You need to pay more attention to your father," Hotchbini said, shaking her head.
"What’s the hurry? They’re still young," Mooly Tawau said.
"Young? They are in their twenties. Think about us. What were we doing when we were their age?" Hotchbini asked. She finally found a chance to discipline her son, and she wanted Saidy to learn something from this. She didn’t need Mooly Tawau ruining this opportunity. Usually the father was the one to discipline children, but in this family, the roles were reversed. Hotchbini wanted to discipline her kids, and the "nice" parent was always Mooly Tawau.
Mooly Tawau grinned and didn’t say anything else.
Just then, a mercenary hurried into the room and screamed, "My lord! Urgent news! Shanteler is dead!"
Everyone in the room turned around, and their expressions hardened. The bird seemed to have realized its master’s change in emotion and returned to its cage. Its song stopped, which plunged the room into utter silence.
"Are you sure?" Mooly Tawau asked. He looked very serious, and the earlier carelessness was gone.
"Definitely, my lord," the mercenary said.
‘What should we do?" Hotchbini asked. Even someone as inexperienced as Saidy realized the impact of Shanteler’s death, let alone Hotchbini. Asking this question didn’t mean Hotchbini did not know what to do. It meant that she trusted her husband more than she trusted herself.
In the past, Mooly Tawau stayed away from the group’s business and only made appearances during the most urgent situations. He tended to relay his orders through Hotchbini, and time and time again proved his wisdom in doing so. For most people, Mooly Tawau did not have the charisma of a leader, but the ability. It was assumed that he led his mercenary group to glory because of his brilliant wife. Hotchbini, however, knew her husband's true intentions. They had been married for twenty years, and no one knew him as well she.
Mooly Tawau suddenly laughed. "Whoever it was, they had to force Anthony to appear? Soon this person will learn the price of angering Anthony."
"My lord, Glory mercenary group’s transmission portal was destroyed. They are completely cut off from White Mountain City."
Mooly Tawau’s hand shook. He stared at the mercenary, his eyes frozen rage.
"Looks like we need a plan immediately," Hotchbini said, shocked.
One accident wasn’t enough to change anything, and they had the ability to reduce the impact. Two accidents, however, produced a knot no one could undo. Knowing Davidson, he would come for revenge without consulting Anthony’s first. Hotchbini was worried because of the impending crisis.
"We're at war, then," Mooly Tawau said slowly.
"My lord!" Hotchbini cried out.
"I know what you’re thinking," Mooly Tawau said. "But we have no other choice. It’s better to strike first than to sit here and wait to die."
Hotchbini frowned. She knew what Mooly Tawau meant. It would be better to attack first, before Davidson, because that way they could mess up Davidson’s plan. Even though Davidson’s commanding skills were dubious, Glory mercenary group wasn’t one to mess with. The quicker they could calm the storm, the easier it would be preserve themselves. Mooly Tawau was right.
"It’s just…frustrating," Hotchbini sighed.
"I know it is," Mooly Tawau said, shaking his head.
"We have other choices," Hotchbini offered. "If we immediately send men to Anthony and explain the situation."
"No," Mooly Tawau shook his head. "If we don’t send the right person, Anthony would never believe them. Unless we show up ourselves, of course. But have you thought about how Anthony may react? Write his order and have us bring it back? Do you think Davidson would believe anything we present? Anthony would never use our transmission portal. If he did, I think I might alter the portal and cause the greatest mercenary of our time to disappear. Anthony could just take us out. Glory mercenary group would suffer great loss here, and he would want some compensation. We would be stupid to go."
Hotchbini fell quiet. Anthony would, no doubt, try to hold them prisoner. It was a risky move.
"You forget about time, my dear. The men who did this must have made sure Davidson heard about this before us. Davidson must have already prepared himself. Even if we could go to White Mountain City and explain everything to Anthony, conflict would have already ensued by the time we got back."
"Alright," Hotchbini said. "Alright. We are at war, then."
"It’s a good opportunity for us," Mooly Tawau smiled and told her. "Don’t forget about the army outside the city. The kingdom is only so big. Better for it to be in three people’s hands than four. That way we all live better. If we could eliminate those Glory mercenaries, Brotherhood and Thunderwind would take the chance and strike as well."
"I’ll go prepare." The two, in a few minutes, decided the fates of Glory mercenary group and themselves.
"Wait," Mooly Tawau suddenly said. "I think it might be time to trouble your kin. Anthony is a master swordsman. We need our own trump card."