Chapter 299: Ceasefire
Trunks didn’t pursue things either. He said with a sigh, “As a member of the Valley of Sunshine, it saddens me greatly that such a tragedy has occurred, but the first and most important point of business is to determine the truth of the matter. Otherwise, we’d suffer another series of assaults if our enemy attacks us again. That would be unbearable for any of us!”
None of the leaders present believed one iota of Trunks’ lamentations. The huge happenings in the mountain valley hadn’t affected the Soul Destroyers in the slightest. They didn’t believe that Trunks wasn’t laughing at their disaster on the inside. Of course, they wouldn’t be so stupid as to provoke Trunks at the moment, especially when the latter had just shown that he had the strength of a great swordmaster.
After an awkward moment of silence, Laureton finally opened his mouth, “I think the goal of the perpetrator were all of the forces in the Valley of Sunshine. The Soul Destroyers were lucky enough to avoid disaster. None of the people I sent to the mountain valley returned. Perhaps our Valley of Sunshine is facing a great deal of trouble this time.”
The forces had been locked in bloody battle just a few days before. They wouldn’t be having such a friendly discussion if it hadn’t been for mutual devastating damage they each had incurred. Florida stared discourteously at Laureton, his face clouded over with resentment and his voice cold and sinister, “What do you think we should do then?”
Taking a deep breath, Laureton seemed to choose his words carefully. His eyes, as large as bronze bells, swept in a circle across everyone’s faces. In a low voice, he said, “Let’s temporarily set aside the grudges between us and find out who the hand in the darkness belong to. The power to control the Valley of Sunshine will be handed over to whoever figures out the truth first. What do you all think?”
As the person who’d always grasped the major power in the Valley of Sunshine, Laureton was absolutely not someone this generous. In fact, he was famous for being as stingy as he was berserk. Truthfully speaking, these words shouldn’t have come from his mouth at all.
However, the strength of the Cairo mercenary band was now far weaker than before due to the huge change of scenery in the mountain valley. On the other hand, although the other three great powers had also suffered heavy losses, the Cairo mercenaries still wouldn’t be able to resist their combined might, even if they held the advantage of superior terrain in the Valley of Sunshine.
In that case, he’d rather happily and openly let go of the privilege that he no longer felt fully confident in holding on to. The ability to rule over the Valley of Sunshine could be the bait to seduce the three great powers, causing the alliance to fracture because of this hard to grasp benefit. Laureton was far from simple-minded, despite his brawny stature. He hadn’t come to sit on the highest position of the Cairo mercenary band without knowing how to scheme.
The moment Laureton’s words fell on their ears, the eyes of Adam Menlo and Katar, who’d been following Florida’s lead, flashed with wild ambition. The two silently glanced at each other for a few seconds before agreeing readily, seemingly unaware of Florida’s desperate eye signals.
The small forces who’d cooperated with Laureton, hesitated for a moment before nodding their heads in consent. Trunks also readily agreed upon seeing the majority of the forces nod with agreement. Everyone’s eyes then fell on Florida. Originally, Florida would likely have grasped this power as long as Adam Menlo and Katar supported him. He secretly cursed these two former allies and their families in his heart. Although Florida was extremely bitter inside, he could only nod and give his approval.
The big decision had been made. Even Florida couldn’t go against it!
“Very good. Then we can discuss the details for a bit and even draft an agreement. All of the forces in the Valley of Sunshine will be the supervisors in case someone refuses to admit to this later!” Laureton grinned blandly as he made a serious proposal.
This agreement was as ridiculous as a prostitute claiming to be a virgin, however, sometimes this was necessary. Although everyone knew full well that the agreement would be instantly torn apart if one side became powerful enough, there was still a need for rituals. This could offer a bit of psychological comfort, especially when everyone felt that a “secret enemy” existed in the shadows.
Therefore, the great powers, even with nefarious intentions, had to agree to these terms. The forces were temporarily agreeing to a truce as they put forth all of their effort to track down the hand in the shadows!
When Han Shuo learned all of this from Trunks, he only chuckled blandly without offering any comments. He didn’t explain anything to Trunks either and quietly left the Valley of Sunshine, a place where everyone was sucked into a huge whirlpool of conspiracies and suspicions.
Trunks’ hairs stood on end as he was creeped out by Han Shuo’s smile. He saw in Han Shuo’s eyes a trace of pride that was deliberately revealed, yet hard to see. Trunks suddenly realized something.
However, Trunks didn’t ask any questions. Upon Han Shuo’s leave, he immediately led the Soul Destroyers to raise a great hue and cry in the form of a large manhunt for the perpetrator. They looked even more hardworking than Laureton’s mercenary band.
In the process of this open and righteous search for the perpetrator, Trunks took the opportunity to conveniently carry out recruitment activities. The fame of the Soul Destroyer mercenary band gradually began to spread, attracting many fine experts to join them.
Han Shuo returned to Ossen City seven days after he’d left the Valley of Sunshine. He gave some instructions to the steward in the mansion before secretly leaving through the transportation matrix in Dark Mantle’s outpost.
Brettel City wasn’t a firm, stable city. As the former city lords had been habitually meek in the face of the invasions of the seven grand duchies, the guards here had become a motley array of cowards. Whether it was the city lord or the soldiers, they’d save their strength to run and flee even faster than the civilians when faced with a real attack.
Since Brettel City was often assaulted, the Lancelot Empire hadn’t wasted a great amount of money to build a transportation matrix either. After all, if a transportation matrix leading everywhere just so conveniently existed when the other grand duchies occupied Brettel City, no one could guarantee that the invaders wouldn’t just invade other cities of the Empire through the transportation matrices. While Brettel City was barren, Lancelot Empire had many flourishing and rich cities. Theoretically, if the invaders really entered the Empire’s other cities by using the transportation matrices, it’d bring about a danger no one could dare imagine.
Therefore, building a transportation matrix in this abandoned city was a double-edged sword. This resulted in a never-ending situation of suspension.
“Spring is truly here. It’s a pity that the scenery isn’t very pleasing!” Sitting inside a carriage, Han Shuo lifted the curtain to look at the scenery along the way and muttered to himself.
Ever since arriving at the transportation matrix in Seamist City, neighbor to Brettel City, Han Shuo had been sitting in the carriage in a slow approach towards his destination. On the way, beggars wrapped in coarse clothes wandered around. Flies flew back and forth over dead bodies on the two sides of the road. A thick stinking smell was always drifting about the place.
Seamist City was a rich city with strict defenses in the eastern part of the Lancelot Empire. However, when traveling to Brettel City from there, these desolate scenes were like heaven and earth compared to Seamist City. Han Shuo already discovered a dozen groups of bandits running rampant through the yin demons just three days into the trip.
These bandits were just regular robbers from the Lancelot Empire, and not the official armies of the seven grand duchies disguised as bandits. Even the steel-nerved Han Shuo was a little stunned at such a miserable situation. He personally killed no less than fifty of these beasts in human skin along the way.
“Bryan, I didn’t think your territory would be this kind of place. The tragic sights along the way are challenging enough for people’s nerves already. I think Brettel City will be almost unbearable for you.” Chester had disregarded life and death when he had begged to follow Han Shuo. He’d given up a good mission led by Emily and was even willing to be the coachman, so Han Shuo didn’t have to go to such a notoriously dirty, chaotic city by himself.
Han Shuo chuckled heartily as he thought about Chester’s somewhat insane courage, asking, “Chester, why did you follow me, even after I rejected you?”
Having focused wholeheartedly on being a coachman, Chester’s nerves had been toughened along the way. He suddenly whipped the handsome, uncommon warhorse to to prevent its curiosity from being drawn towards a corpse in the bushes. He answered Han Shuo like a philosopher, “If you wish to gain more, not only does the will need perseverance, but the vision has to be far and wide.”
“Interesting thought.” Han Shuo smiled slightly at Chester’s answer. His elegant voice resounded softly and indifferently as he calmly watched the civilians struggle savagely for a loaf of bread.
The situation in Brettel City was incredibly bad. Except for a few who were reluctant to leave their ancestral homes, as well as the nobles and soldiers who couldn’t leave due to their duties, the rest of the civilians tried to use every method to shake off the evil shackles here, desperately wanting to enter the rich and peaceful Seamist City.
However, the road to Seamist City wasn’t peaceful at all . Even if one risked their life to reach the gate, they’d be heartlessly refused without a huge entry fee. They would be left to fend for themselves even though they were also civilians of Lancelot Empire. After all, the poor civilians coming to Seamist City could only be the lowest of unstable, petty beggars. Seamist City couldn’t accommodate too many of these beggars to prevent an adverse impact on the image of the city.
Therefore, only noble merchants who could prove their worth could enter and live in Seamist City. Civilians from Brettel City were also allowed entry if they paid a hefty sum. Otherwise, the city guards would watch with cold eyes even if anyone died outside the city gates.
“My territory, I’ve finally arrived!” Han Shuo looked at the wide open gates of Brettel City and murmured emotionally in front of those broken gates.