It was around the middle of the month of Moruki that a group of soldiers that looked like the remnants of a defeated army appeared before Pale Symphoria . They came to Pale with a letter while she was busy reorganizing the army and gathering information
It was curious how this woman found this place, but standing before Pale was a woman with a hand on the curved sword by her waist and a smile akin to that of a predator .
Black hair that reached down to her waist and skin the color of honey . But what really described her best were those almond eyes of hers that never smiled . This was none other than Vine the Mad Blade and her Burning Bright Moons .
“…How did you find this place? I don’t recall telling you about it . ”
“, have some connections too . ”
That unreserved answer caused Pale to raise her brows a little .
“So, what business have you come here for?”
Pale bluntly asked why she was here . Vine wryly smiled .
“We lost, so we were thinking of resting here for a bit . ”
“…Hmm . ”
Vine had rallied the small clans against the dying Germion Kingdom . Their objective was only to delay the arrival of the Holy Knight, Sivara, and if possible, worsen the relationship between the Holy Shushunu Kingdom and Germion Kingdom, but the results they brough were better than expected .
Pale never really believed that they could win against Sivara, but after the urban battles spread, she got word through her information network that the eastern part of the north had been blocked . It’s likely that the War Princess’ influence is the reason why they ran here .
“I don’t mind if you take a rest here . But if you want, you could also join us like the Proud Clan (Leon Heart Clan) . ”
“Oh? Well, I’ll be the one to decide who my employer is . For the meantime, you’re my employer . ”
Pale offered for them to be directly employed by the Goblin King, but Vine politely refused it . This either meant that Vine didn’t trust the king or didn’t wish to collaborate with someone she couldn’t meet .
“That’s fine, just have an audience with him once . I can’t grant you permission to stay here with just my authority . ”
“Fine, but spare me being surrounded by goblins, okay? I’m a coward at heart . ”
For a moment, Pale narrowed her eyes . She considered the possibility of Vine going after the king . Vine’s skills were the real thing and have been proven more than once . Pale knew through her information network that the Valkyria were trying to gather the dark hands .
It wasn’t impossible for Vine to have taken the Valkyria’s offer .
“Sure . I don’t mind . ”
But despite knowing that, Pale gave her permission to meet the king .
“Thanks . ”
There was a thin thread of tension hanging between Pale and the smiling Vine .
“By the way, I don’t see Berk-dono anywhere . ”
“Oh, that guy had something to do and went back to the desert . ”
“…Is that so?”
Berk Alsen Royon . The man who could be said to be the conscience of the Burning Bright Moons was missing . There were plenty of reasons to doubt her, but was there any meaning in an assassin coming in brazenly from the front?
—Though I suppose if it’s you, it’s possible .
Pale said in her mind as she turned her back on Vine .
“Follow me . ”
Pale waited for Vine to order her subordinates, then started walking .
“Are Rue and Shurei doing well?”
“Yeah . They’re considered seniors at our place nowadays . They look after the new recruits . ”
“I don’t see them with you, though . ”
“I told you . I’m a coward . I wouldn’t take some bloody kids with me to a monster’s den . ”
Vine narrowed her eyes and said . Pale was as expressionless as ever .
“It almost sounds as if this place is dangerous . ”
“It is dangerous . To humans, that is . ”
There was a tension sharp as a blade in that short exchange . This place was the closest to the eastern part of Germion Kingdom . It was close to the border set by Blanche the War Princess of the Holy Shushunu Kingdom . A place that could be said to be an important transportation point through the highway .
Pale has heard of a skill among adventurers called Mirror Figure (Illusion) . With that skill one could change one’s appearance, so she tried to see if this person was truly Vine by talking to her . Considering how much she knew about the internal affairs of the Burning Bright Moons, it seemed reasonable to assume that this was indeed Vine herself .
But that only made the situation more dangerous .
If Vine was a dark hand, then her skill in the sword would be able to match or even excel the king . But just that alone would make it difficult for her to win . After all, the king did not rely only on his sword . He also possessed an overwhelming regeneration ability . Coupled with his endless stamina – as far as human standards go – Pale believed that there was no chance that the king could lose .
That being said, this was not an opponent they could defeat without any losses .
Pale decided it was best to be safe, so she first led Vine’s group to a room .
“Please wait here for a while . ”
The room she led Vine to was small but had a sturdily built door .
“Don’t make me wait too long or I’ll fall asleep . ”
“It won’t take that long . ”