Frank had never felt so unlucky before .
He was an ambitious man and always wanted to be successful . After working so hard, he finally reached the final stage of his plan but was completely ruined at the most crucial point .
Frank couldn't believe how a person could hold such a power .
When Frank first saw Rhode, he didn't put him in his eyes at all . While he still bothered to investigate on Starlight when it had first established, he didn't think that this man who 'appeared out of nowhere' would pose a threat to him . Still, he was rather surprised when he found out from Clinton about Rhode being a survivor of the floating ship attack who also escaped the assassins sent by the Country of Light .
However, he was only — just surprised — and that was it . He believed that Rhode wouldn't be able to guess the series of events that was going happen .
When Clinton failed to assassinate Rhode, Frank didn't seem to care . On the contrary, he felt happy . After all, Clinton was a traitor — even if his reason was for money, women or authority, betraying one's country was considered something despicable .
Alas, Frank had no idea that he would fall into the same hole as Clinton .
He swore to the Five Dragon Creators that he had never seen Rhode before . Even until now he didn't know why Rhode was hostile to him when they first met . If it wasn't because of that mage who saved him, perhaps he would've already died .
From that moment on, he decided to pay more attention to Rhode and it was also then when he began harboring doubts .
Did he know their plan or not?
But from the information that he gathered so far, it seemed unlikely for that to happen . This situation left Frank in a dilemma . Why did that young man hold a grudge against his mercenary group? Was it purely because of his personality? Or did he discover the Country of Light's plan to kill him? But no matter what the reason was, Frank couldn't afford to let Rhode roam free any longer . That was why he sent his men and that Mage as a backup just in case something unexpected occurred . Since he also received information that the Burning Blade was also nearby, he thought that it would be better if he could kill two birds with one stone .
Frank thought that his plan was foolproof and impossible to break, but reality brutally slapped him on the face and sent him to straight hell .
After sending out his men, Frank waited patiently for the good news . He was certain that they would've successfully wiped out Starlight and Burning Blade . This shocking event would throw the Paphield Region into chaos which he would surely take advantage of . Such a flawless plan… no doubt that the Association would praise him for his conduct . All he had to do was wait for that day to come!
Unfortunately, the 'good news' that Frank was eagerly waiting for was the news of his subordinates' death . Even the Mage wasn't spared .
It was just like a man who got drunk and had sex with a woman . But after waking up the next morning, he immediately found out that the woman he slept with was incredibly hideous . Such was a tragedy .
That wasn't all; Frank also received a hint of the Association's displeasure . While they hadn't issued a new official order to him yet, he was certain that even if he could survive their wrath, he wouldn't be sought after anymore .
However, he wasn't willing to give up just like that . Even until now he still couldn't fathom how Rhode managed to figure out his plan . It was a total mystery; it did appear that Rhode held a deep grudge towards him, but other than the provocation in front of the Mercenary Association, Rhode hadn't taken the initiative to cause trouble for them . Wasn't that strange? His way of taking revenge was too much!
Frank didn't linger on that thought much longer . At this point, whether Rhode knew his plan or not wasn't important . Since he had already killed that Mage, the result was clear as day . He must figure out a way to kill that young man and destroy his mercenary group . After that, he would think of another way to disrupt the Paphield Region . Frank believed that if he succeeded, he would be able to 'atone for his mistake and even if the association felt displeased about his initial performance, at least he would've some results to leverage on .
Frank suddenly felt motivated; for the sake of this glimmer of hope, he was willing to do anything .
He was now standing inside a deep cave . Then he frowned and stared at his subordinates with a gloomy expression .
They were in a spacious mining shaft . From the rusty tools, corroded wooden planks and a few charred minecarts, it was clear that this mine had been long abandoned . But compared to other similar mine shafts, there was a layer of white fog lingering in the air .
It was an odd phenomenon; why would there be white fog deep in a mining shaft?
Frank totally disregarded it and brought his men deeper inside . When the thin, white fog drifted past the men, it made them feel burning hot…
The torch lit up the darkness . But other than the light from the fire, there was something in the darkness peeping at the men .
Frank suddenly felt his body burning . The blood inside his body began to speed up as his heart beat incredibly faster . It was as though something was calling out to them inside the deep mining shaft…
And it was indeed so .
After turning around a corner, the men discovered a wide and tall cavern filled with white fog . When they surveyed the cave, they found a beautiful statue near a wall . This exquisitely crafted statue clearly was out of place — it was something that one wouldn't expect to find deep inside one of the mining tunnels . And anyone who lay their gaze on it would feel a chill down their spine as if there was a strong evil aura staring into their soul .
Frank walked forward .
As if responding to his movement, the thick fog split into two, revealing a path to a ladder and something… stranger .
A circular stone fountain .
Towering in the middle of the fountain was a ferocious beast with a pair of wings . A clear stream of water trickled down from its opened mouth into the basin . But what was odd was that the water produced no sound when it dripped down, instead, a wisp of white fog emitted from the basin whenever the water touched the stone floor .
Frank didn't appear to be surprised . His whole year had been a living hell for him, but that didn't mean that he sat down and twiddled his thumbs doing nothing but sulk . When was scouring the underground cave, he coincidentally found out this secret place .
He walked towards the fountain slowly and bowed his head . Then, he stretched his head to touch the clear water and drank it .
At the same time, he began to feel some kind of power burning inside his body — just like a volcano that was about to erupt .
Frank shut his mouth tight and clenched his teeth . The powerful force spread throughout his body, and when he couldn't bear it any longer, a deep roar escaped from his throat .
It felt as if something was hammering his head . Frank bent his waist and appeared to dip his head into the water . However, he managed to stop and slowly straightened his body .
When he turned around, Frank returned to his usual cold self .
"It's done, now it's your turn . "
He said to the mercenaries behind him .
Suddenly, a trace of red flashed in his irises .
No one answered him .
No one asked anything . They behaved like souless puppets . The mercenaries followed Frank's order unconditionally and queued before the fountain .
Each mercenary extended their tongue and licked the clear water .
At this moment, the mercenaries who drank the water repeated the same roar as Frank, and a similar red light appeared in their eyes .
"Yes, just like this…"
Frank smiled coldly as he stared at the mercenaries before him . He clenched his fists and felt an immense power surging inside his body .
"I will not fail this time . "