Following a brief moment of time later, Jian Chen and his entourage arrived at the courtyards where the Carnage Mercenaries were located. The building the Carnage Mercenaries lived in wasn’t very small, but there had been no attempt made to clean the building at all. The simple doors were closed shut and had a layer of dust to them. At a glance, anyone would know that the area had not been swept in a very long time. Several footsteps could be seen right in front of the gates as well.
Jian Chen surveyed the courtyards for a while before chuckling, “I don’t know if the Carnage Mercenaries are too lazy to clean or if they’re lazy in general, but the fact that their doorfront is so dirty is quite unique.”
“The Carnage Mercenaries are far more secretive than we thought. If they were like the other powers in this city, then they would have kept their doorfront far cleaner than this.” Ming Dong replied in amazement.
“Why don’t we go in and take a look.” Jian Chen suggested.
One by one, they filed into the courtyards with their magical beast mounts while Dugu Feng swiftly strode forward to knock on the heavy gates.
Not long after, the gates began to open slowly to reveal a forty year old male. The man was bald, but his eyes were piercingly sharp and there was a very malevolent scar on his face that added to his intimidation factor.
Suspicious, the man’s eyes glanced over the young women in front of the gates before speaking with an impassive voice, “Who are you?”
“We are members of the Flame Mercenaries here today to pay a visit.” Jian Chen responded with a smile. He cupped his hands with practiced ease.
“The Flame Mercenaries?” The man muttered under his breath as his eyebrows furrowed together. This was a foreign name to him, and there was no faction called the Flame Mercenaries from what he knew about the Cloud Capital.
The man studied Jian Chen and the others a second time before his face darkened. “It is a rather inconvenient time for our Carnage Mercenaries to be receiving any guests, so if you could please return home.” As he spoke, the man’s head started to retreat back behind the door while he was closing it. Even as he tried to do so, he found that the door would not budge.
Dugu Feng’s hand was stopping the door from moving even the slightest inch, preventing the bald man from closing the door.
A sharp glare made its way into the bald man’s eyes as he saw this. “Sire, what is the meaning of this?” He questioned with a heavy expression.
Smiling, Jian Chen replied, “Is this how the Carnage Mercenaries treat visitors when they come to visit?” Walking straight in, he opened the next set of doors and headed into the inner courtyards.
Startled, the man moved to stop Jian Chen from heading further in. He also said, “Sire, this is the territory of the Carnage Mercenaries. If you continue to act in such an impetuous manner, then do not blame me for my rudeness.” His warning was clear and loud enough for the other sentries in the area to hear.
At least twenty men came running in from every direction, gathering in the courtyards. Each one of them had a penetrating glare that honed in on Jian Chen and the others with murderous intent that was filled with hostility.
Seeing the malicious expressions on everyone’s faces, Ming Dong and Dugu Feng revealed looks of disdain.
“The captain of our Flame Mercenaries personally came here to visit your Carnage Mercenaries; that much in itself is already a great honor. Yet, not only do you not reciprocate that kindness, you also turn us away at your door. Is that how your Carnage Mercenaries treat guests? Hurry up and call your captain at once!” Ming Dong sneered. The power of an Earth Saint Master came exploding forth from his body all at once. It filled the entire courtyard with a dominating presence and caused each of the Carnage Mercenaries to take a step back in shock. Straight away, even more of the mercenaries came running out from within the courtyards.
“Hahaha, if there are guests, then our Carnage Mercenaries will definitely welcome them with open arms. Please forgive my subordinates for not understanding that. I hope that you will forgive me for my negligence as well and that you won’t take this slight too seriously.”
Suddenly, a clear and crisp laughter could be heard coming from in front of them as three men with luxurious-looking robes came striding into the open area. The one who had spoken was the one in the middle. This man was about forty years in age and was rather handsome in looks. He had all five features still on his pale face, and his sharp eyebrows did nothing to hide the twinkling light in his eyes. His smile was filled with warmth and friendliness that left a favorable impression of him.
On his left was yet another middle-aged man that did not vary too much in age from him. This man wore an expensive white robe that was rather regal. A seemingly feral presence could be barely detected radiating from his body; a feeling like this gave off the feeling of a wolf hidden under a sheep’s skin. Something about him was off.
On his right was an elderly man approaching his seventies. His face was covered with wrinkles and half of his white hair was already gone so that very little remained on his rather ruined head. A sight like that made him look like he would keel over at any moment and die.
Despite his looks, the elder’s eyes flashed brightly with spirit and with unbelievable depth. It was almost as if a fog of smoke covered his eyes since one would not be able to see what he was thinking.
“We pay our respects to captain and the vice-captains!”
Straight away, the twenty or so Carnage Mercenaries began to salute the three men with eyes that reflected their worship.
Stopping in front of Jian Chen, the middle-aged man’s eyes landed on both Dugu Feng and Ming Dong. They were both standing right behind Jian Chen. Finally, his eyes moved to Jian Chen before he smiled and cupped his hands together, “This one is the captain of the Carnage Mercenaries, Zhan Tian. These two men next to me are my vice-captains, Shan Xiong and Mu Chi.”
Jian Chen’s eyes studied the three while simultaneously cupping his hands in return. “This one is called Jian Chen, captain of the Flame Mercenaries. This person here is Ming Dong, the vice-captain, and this is Dugu Feng, an elder of my Flame Mercenaries…”
When Zhan Tian heard Ming Dong’s name, his mind found it rather familiar as if he had heard it before. However, he paid it no mind since he had to greet the guests. Thus, he put the thought away for the time being. Putting up an amiable smile, he began to escort the group in, “Haha, please come in. We can talk inside.”
Jian Chen and the others were escorted by Zhan Tian into the inner halls, which were simple in decoration and did not at all resemble the halls of a place of a strong faction.
After a small discussion between Jian Chen and Zhan Tian, the two quickly got to the crux of the problem.
“Sire Zhan Tian, I can see that you and your mercenaries are all gathered inside and spend everyday cultivating with monster cores without ever going out. I can only assume that some family is behind yours, is that right?” Jian Chen didn’t hesitate to speak his thoughts at all.
Hearing Jian Chen’s statement, Zhan Tian had not been startled at all. It had been five years since he and his mercenaries had settled in this city, so what he and his mercenaries were doing in this building was already known as a public secret.
“Haha, brother Jian Chen, you are surely joking! My Carnage Mercenaries is only a small time group that relies only on me. What other family is there to support us?” Despite this, Zhan Tian displayed a small look of pain and what seemed to be misery.
Jian Chen had not expected to see such an expression on Zhan Tian’s face, but he immediately guessed that it was more likely than not that the Carnage Mercenaries had no one but themselves to rely upon.
With that thinking, Jian Chen immediately felt some happiness. “Sire Zhan Tian, this one didn’t come here for no reason. This time, I have a matter of business that I wished to discuss with you.”
Zhan Tian’s face immediately grew solemn as he stared back at Jian Chen with bright eyes to await the new few words from him.
“Sire Zhan Tian, you are more than aware of the rules of the Tian Yuan Continent. The strong feed off the weak, and only the strong are worthy of earning even more power. But gaining power isn’t as easy as it sounds, it is a very long road with plenty of obstacles. Lose your footing even once and you might not ever recover.”
“So I came today this time to see if you would like to join our Flame Mercenaries. With our powers combined, we will definitely increase the strength of our group. Would sire Zhan Tian agree to such an endeavor?”
Hearing this, Zhan Tian and the others could only stare in abject shock at Jian Chen. Not a single one of them thought that Jian Chen would come visit them with this goal in mind.
The three of them quickly regained their wits. Zhan Tian and the elder Mu Chi were both very calm on the surface, but Shan Xiong was not as well-tempered as they were. A look of fury overcame his face as he glared at Jian Chen with all the anger he could muster.
“So you wish for our Carnage Mercenaries to submit to your Flame Mercenaries? Hah, how audacious of you. How could you find it in you to even say such words?” Shan Xiong furiously roared.