Translator: AtlasStudios Editor: AtlasStudios
The last ray of sunlight disappeared below the horizon . Deep darkness enveloped the entire village .
Usually, during this time, the villagers would have ended their daily tasks and visit the pub for leisure . Chatting, enjoying the food and alcohol to spend some time after a hard day of work . Afterwards, they would return home after getting drunk and dive straight into bed . Once the next day arrives, they would repeat that action, and that’s how they lived their days in a village .
However, it was a pity that they can’t enjoy it today . The pub was taken over by the “evil, irritating and terrifying” mercenary group, so they didn’t have the chance to drown their weary souls in beer . Moreover, early that evening, they received an indirect threat from a mercenary that was sent by that arrogant noble, ‘suggesting’ that they should stay indoors for their own safety or else they ‘might’ end up as bait for the undead creatures .
The villagers could only curse and swear behind the backs of those damn mercenaries and stay home obediently . Although some brave souls thought of challenging the curfew, they were reminded of the moaning guy lying helplessly in bed —- If they didn’t wish to face the same consequences, then it’s better to stay out of trouble .
And right now, the members of the Starlight Mercenary Group had already gathered at the square . They started to form a circle around a huge teepee campfire . The flames lit up the square, allowing everyone to see each other clearly . Celia quietly stood in the middle, with both hands on the sword hilt while her eyes were closed . The rest of them gathered together and carefully observed their surroundings . Although the undead creatures were troublesome beings, these people were accustomed to living this kind of dangerous life with Rhode . Besides, with the companionship of an angel, everyone felt emboldened .
Marlene opened her eyes slightly wider, revealing some confusion .
“Never did I expect them to appear in such a small village . That’s really odd . ”
“Is it really that odd?”
“Yes, it is . I had a few encounters with the church handling the devil worshipper during my schooling days in the magic academy . According to logic, the devil worshipper should hide in big cities because a bigger population meant that it was easier for them to escape undetected while able to cause grievous harm . To a devil, chaos, death, and demolition were what they wished for the most . A small village like this, to be honest, even if it burned down, the devils wouldn’t spare a glance at it . ”
“In normal circumstances, that’s indeed correct . ”
Rhode shrugged his shoulders .
“However if there’s something that the devils wanted from here, then it’s another matter . ”
Marlene slightly shocked after hearing Rhode’s reply . She immediately turned her head to the uncertain and quiet little girl sitting beside Lize .
“She… attracted the devil’s attention? Although this little girl has traces of devil descent, since there are countless of half devils around in this world, I doubt the devils would only pay attention to her?”
“As for this, I’m not too sure . ”
Rhode shook his head as he didn’t know much of this .
“However today, I sensed a faint evil presence from where she lived . That presence didn’t belong to Christie . Although Celia thought that the presence was left behind by Christie unknowingly, I felt that it wasn’t the case . Besides, I have sufficient reasons to prove this point . ”
After completing his sentence, Rhode opened his arms .
“According to the intelligence we received, it isn’t odd that this village got attacked by undead creatures every night . Yet, from the description by the village chief, I realized that there must be a large number of undead creatures, which is very odd . Because, if they want to offer sacrifices to the devils, then the safest way should be through carrying it out privately . Once the matter escalates, it will attract the attention of governors easily; which is why we’re here . Moreover, if they truly wanted to offer sacrifices to the devil, they shouldn’t have created so many undead creatures . After all, there are much more benefits if they offered the spirits to the devils . ”
“This indeed makes sense…”
Marlene couldn’t help but nod in agreement . Afterwards, she curiously stole a glance at Rhode . Although she had spent a lot of time together with Rhode and had already gotten used to his vast knowledge, at this moment, Marlene felt that Rhode had reached an omniscient level . Regarding matters of the devils, even the mages and clerics with higher rankings could not be certain sometimes . But Rhode had given her an ‘always-ready’ sensation as if he could immediately give you an answer no matter what you asked him .
Of course, Marlene didn’t know that Rhode had been granted the title of ‘walking library’ . And to him, the Dragon Soul Continent had no secrets . The devils were no exception .
“But if that’s the truth, why wasn’t Christie kept in captivity?”
Marlene was doubtful .
“And they could also send her away anytime right?”
“There’s not enough time . ”
Rhode shook his head .
“The reason why they created so many undead creatures was to expand the hell chasm . Obviously, the devils ordered them to capture the victim alive, if not, Christie definitely wouldn’t have lived til now . As for keeping her in captivity, there is no need for that . In fact, Christie’s previous way of life was almost equivalent to being a captive . She had nowhere to escape . Rather than taking unnecessary actions and attract suspicions from others, they’re better off maintaining the current situations . Only when the chasm is open, then they would start to capture her for real . ”
“What a poor child . ”
After hearing Rhode’s explanation, Marlene looked over to Christie . Christie was wrapped in a thick blanket, she raised her head and stared at the starry sky . Her frail appearance made everyone want to give her a warm hug .
“Since the devils are targeting her… Mr . Rhode, the reason you brought her here was to bait them right?”
“That’s right . ”
Rhode simply nodded .
“If that devil worshipper is a villager, then he knows that Christie is under my protection . Even using his ass to think, he can also guess that I wouldn’t give her up even if he said ‘I will be offering this girl to the devil as a gift, please show mercy to me’ . Not to mention, Christie and I look the same, anyone who sees us will definitely have this thought . So, I think he will change his mind and find trouble with me instead . Rather than leaving Christie in the pub to be captured by someone, why not keep her by my side . I don’t believe that worshipper has the patience to wait . Although this is only my guess, it’s better than it coming true . ”
“I understand what you mean, Mr . Rhode . ”
Marlene went silent for a moment and quickly understood Rhode’s thoughts . Afterwards, she didn’t say anything but quietly held onto her staff, waiting for the battle to begin .
Minutes and seconds passed .
The skies slowly turned dark . The lights within the village had started to extinguish . Soon enough, the serenity of silence became the main melody of the village . The mercenaries began to warm up to prevent any mishaps in battle . They checked their potions and polished their weapons . Even Lize had started to pray softly . It was only Anne who’d laid flat on her shield by the campfire in a deep sleep . Judging by her looks, she intended to sleep till morning .
Rhode raised his head and gazed at the moon .
The night sky under the Light Dragon’s Soul was always colorful . But for some reason, Rhode felt that the aura tonight was a little dull . Suddenly, a sharp, cold wind blew which caused the flames to dance . In an instant, the surrounding lights became much dimmer than before .
At this moment, Christie suddenly exclaimed . Her eyes snapped wide open with shock as she shot up and looked around in confusion .
“What’s wrong?” Marlene frowned and asked .
The little girl’s odd behavior attracted the mercenaries’ attention .
“… Someone… there’s someone… calling for me…”
The little girl’s eyes scanned the faraway darkness in fear and spoke softly . Her body was started to shiver, and her voice stuttered .
“… A voice… a voice that I have never heard before… it is so… sinister… makes me uncomfortable…”
At this moment, Anne suddenly woke and jumped . She instantly picked up her shield and observed the surroundings .
“Everyone get ready!!”
Rhode shouted and gave a command . The mercenaries quickly got into position and picked up their weapons and potions, observing the surroundings warily . The darkness remained the same, but the air had an ill-boding chill to it . Celia also raised her sword, engulfing it with a silver-white flame . Marlene spun her staff, causing magical energy to concentrate on the tip, emitting pure and brilliant light . Lize studied the surroundings seriously . Both her hands were flowing with holy energy as she charged a spell to its maximum power .
“I can sense it, Mr . Rhode . The evil aura is spreading . Something is coming!”
At this moment, from the area where the light from the fire couldn’t reach, something in the darkness started to move towards them .