Hearing what Fang Xingjian said, Audrey seemed to find this even more interesting as she let out a soft smile and asked, "You're here to look for the Star of Brilliance? Could it be that you're a robber and you're here to snatch my necklace?"
Fang Xingjian replied, "I'm not a robber. Unless I'm really left with no choice, I'm willing to pay for it. Of course, I can also help you do things in exchange for the necklace. You said that it's called the Star of Brilliance?"
"Buy?" Audrey seemed like she had just heard something funny and laughed out loud. She only stopped after a long while later, shaking her head as she looked toward Fang Xingjian and said, "Do you know how much money the Pop Clan has? We own almost half the food trade in the entire Northern Ice Region. The wealth of the Pop Clan is enough to even buy Northern Ice Region's capital city."
Audrey then looked at Fang Xingjian with slight curiosity and said, "With so much money, are there people can't we hire for the things we want done? It's true that you're amazing to have managed to sneak tracelessly into the garden in our backyard. But if we're talking about something you can help me with… Do you dare to assassinate the leader of the Eight Directional Crimson Dragon?"
The Eight Directional Crimson Dragon was the number one dark influence in the Empire. They controlled the strongest assassins, killers, and mercenaries in the south. They were said to be the strongest non-governmental power, and they did all sorts of dark jobs.
If it was said that the Great River Alliance led by the Fist Emperor was a triad, then the Eight Directional Crimson Dragon was a terrorist group through and through.
Their leader was Xia. No one knew where he came from or who his parents were. They only knew that he had been known as Xia from the moment he first joined the Eight Directional Crimson Dragon.
Now, more people called him the Undying Xia. He was one of the ten great Divine level experts in the Empire.
Hearing Audrey's words, Fang Xingjian fell silent for a moment before saying, "I don't know why you want to kill him.
"But if you were willing to hand the Star of Brilliance to me, putting killing him aside, I can at least guarantee that he won't be able to bring you any harm."
"Hehe." Audrey looked at this strange man and kept on dangling her feet. With fair skin that seemed as tender as a baby's, she revealed an amused smile.
She looked at Fang Xingjian and said, "That Undying Xia is one of the ten great Divine level experts in the Empire. I heard that he has experienced countless deadly situations, but he managed to survive through all of them. Back when he had yet to reach the Divine level, he had even assassinated a member of the Myriad Star Palace. He ended up being hunted down by the Myriad Star Palace and was on the run for three consecutive years. Despite this, he still managed to survive. And you're saying that you'll be able to fend him off?
"I don't know where your confidence comes from."
However, at the next moment, Fang Xingjian suddenly disappeared right before Audrey. She blinked and looked around at her surroundings, but he was nowhere to be seen. Their earlier conversation seemed to be just an illusion.
'Was that person earlier a man or a ghost?'
Just as Audrey was thinking of this, another elderly man appeared before Audrey. The man seemed to have a calm disposition, and the aura he exuded was like the strong waves of the sea, displaying a fierce and ambitious disposition.
However, right now, there was only fatigue in his eyes.
When Audrey saw this old man appear, she put aside her confoundment from Fang Xingjian's appearance and disappearance, and said immediately, "Father, are you here to persuade me again?"
"Audrey, the princess that I dote on the most," the old man called out. Then when he saw Audrey's cold expression, he let out a bitter laugh. "If the situation allows, I would be willing to let you find your own lover. Regardless of whether he is rich or poor, or even if he is weak or useless, it'll be fine as long as you like him.
"But reality doesn't allow me to do this. A representative from the Eight Directional Crimson Dragon will be attending tonight's banquet..."
"Eight Directional Crimson Dragon... You're really going to marry me to Xia?" Audrey stood up and said angrily. "That Xia! Don't you know what kind of person he is? He has countless women, and there are even rumors that he has built himself a paradise filled with all the women he grabbed from other places. The women there are never allowed to put on any clothes and have to engage in sex with him endlessly, day and night. You want me to marry someone like that?"
Existences like killers and mercenaries were very tense during battles. Thus, when they were able to relax, they tended to let their desires loose, indulging themselves in pleasures. Of course, there were also a small group of mercenaries who would look for simple things as their hobbies.
However, the Eight Directional Crimson Dragon's Xia was clearly not such a person. As the leader of an international terrorist organization, not only did he like to indulge in pleasures, but he was even more wanton than ordinary mercenaries.
After knowing of Audrey being the top beauty in the Northern Ice Region, he had gotten someone to send a letter indicating that he wanted to marry her.
To seek help on this matter, the old man had run to almost all of the various great influences in the Northern Ice Region. However, when they heard that they would be going up against the Eight Directional Crimson Dragon, all of them had shaken their heads and rejected his request.
As for the Empire's government, while they might help him in ordinary circumstances... What kind of situation was the Empire in at the moment? The First Prince was dealing with two Divine level influences, namely the Myriad Star Palace and the Full Moon Shrine.
The King and the Abyss Lord, on the other hand, were preparing for the operation of joining forces with the Mage Association to summon and kill an evil god. How could they possibly let themselves be involved in other complications and make an enemy out of the Eight Directional Crimson Dragon?
Andolf, the head of the Pop Clan, looked at Audrey with sympathy and said, "I don't have any way out of this. I'm really left with no choice anymore. For the past three months, the Eight Directional Crimson Dragon has only said a few words and we've already lost 30% of our businesses. If this goes on, even if Xia doesn't do anything, our clan will collapse.
"Father has let you down, but I really don't have any other way out. If you don't marry Xia, it won't be long before our entire Pop Clan deteriorates completely."
Audrey could not bear to see her father like this either. She sat down again without saying a single word and merely looked toward the flower fields outside as the grief in her eyes grew even stronger.
When her father, Andolf, saw the state his daughter was in, he felt great pain too. However, there was nothing he could do. He could only say, "This matter was still a secret at the beginning, but the other side seems to be unable to contain themselves any longer. Tonight, they'll send someone over to announce your engagement during the banquet.
"By then, the entire Northern Ice Region will know of this. They'll even be sending people to take care of you day and night..."
"Are they trying to force me to my death?!"
Seeing how Audrey appeared as if she were dead, Andolf let out a sigh and slowly took his leave. As a man, he had undoubtedly thought of fighting it out to protect his own daughter.
However, as the head of a clan, he did not have the courage to sacrifice his clan and fight against the Eight Directional Crimson Dragon.
After Andolf left, Fang Xingjian appeared once again. However, this time around, there were no changes to Audrey's gaze at all. She merely stared at the flower fields as if she were dead.
Upon detecting Fang Xingjian's appearance, she could not help but say, "How is it? Now that you know what has happened, do you still dare to do work for me?"
Fang Xingjian said, "I see. The Eight Directional Crimson Dragon wants to force you into a marriage? I understand. I'll help you fend off the Eight Directional Crimson Dragon, and I guarantee that Xia will never be able to force you to marry him. In return, you'll give me the Star of Brilliance."
Audrey threw an astonished glance toward Fang Xingjian, as if she had not expected him to say something like this.
A long while later, she burst out laughing, appearing as beautiful as if countless flowers had bloomed. Although Fang Xingjian's words seemed childish and and ridiculous, but at the very least, he was the only one who expressed that he was willing to help her.
"Don't put on a front. Just leave. Otherwise, if you are discovered by the guards, you won't be able to leave anymore.
"As for the matter with the Eight Directional Crimson Dragon, I can only blame my own bad fortune."The term here used was a more formal one, like adding a Sir or Lord as an address, suggesting that Audrey was either being very formal or cold toward her father.