The scarlet wine rippled in the wine glass under the shine of the magical crystal . Zieg Alanic sat comfortably on the chair in his straight tuxedo . His neatly combed hair was as meticulous as his personality . His confident face and dusky eyes gazed at the wine glass in his hand as though entering a meditative state .
There wasn’t much peace on the outside . Although a few days had passed, there were still flares, sword clashes, and swear words every now and then . Everything would turn silent… And after a few moments, it would repeat itself .
Zieg gazed at his wine glass while a half-naked and delicate woman leaning on him shuddering . A few moments before, she was trying to have an intimate contact with this handsome man . However, the bloody corpse of her companion by her feet warned her that it wasn’t a smart choice . But it was too late . She tried her best to refill his wineglass with trembling hands, at the same time gazing at the terrifying man before her .
The wooden doors swung open and broke the strange silence in the room .
“Damn it!” A man with a burly stature covered with hide from top to bottom entered the room . He undressed his raincoat and shook off the raindrops before sitting on a chair beside Zieg . At the same time, he kicked the stiff corpse away and snatched over the wine on Zieg’s hand to finish it in one go . “Woah, this feels great and there’s no difference from the hell on the outside . Those idiots told me they were capable of managing the place but it is still so chaotic after such a long time . Those city guards couldn’t even handle this situation and those idiots dared to assure me that everything is under their control? My *ss! Do they think that I’m blind or deaf?”
“How’s the situation?” Zieg tapped his finger on the table after ignoring the man’s blabbers .
The man let out a snort and spread out both hands . “It’s not looking good, Young Master . Those bastards chose the right place because we tried to attack but we couldn’t get our hands on them . Instead, we even lost a few of our men . But luckily, we have surrounded them entirely and it will be as hard as scaling the heavens for them to escape . Thanks to these bastards, no one has suspected our operations . But I think that this isn’t the solution because we don’t know what are those bunch of filthy undead creatures are thinking . Besides, we clearly threw a bait but it wasn’t taken by them . This is too strange… Should I investigate once more?”
“There’s no need to,” Zieg stood on his feet and picked up the pitch-black cloak and top hat from the rack handily to complete his rigorous outfit . His hands iswiped through every inch of his tuxedo and pants . “There’s no time left before the start of the parliament meeting . All we need is time and as long as there’s enough time… Delay them, and if you can’t kill them, at least you should prevent them from making it back in time . No matter what or how you do it, remember, I only wish that this parliament meeting will commence, proceed, and end peacefully like the other meetings that we have been holding . Understand?”
“Don’t worry, Young Master . Leave it to me . ” The man nodded while Zieg tidied his hat and cloak before opening the door . An old butler with an umbrella in hand stood before his young master .
“Don’t let down my trust in you . By the way, get rid of that junk,” said Zeig before he left the room .
The wooden door closed and the man sneered mischievously as he stripped his clothes off before the shuddering and ashen young lady . He gazed at his prey viciously while licking his lips .
What a nice meal this is gonna be…
The rain continued to fall and it had gotten heavier .
Rhode stood above a pile of rocks while rainwater flowed down his cloak . He gazed at the black silhouette of the hill in a distance while another figure emerged by his side .
“Mr . Rhode, I’m sure they’re up there,” Viktor fiddled with a stone in his hand that was engraved with a clear triangular imprint . The traces seemed to be from less than a day ago, to which Viktor heaved a sigh of relief . However, he lifted his head towards Rhode with complicated emotions .
It wasn’t difficult to arrive at Soraka Mountain through the intersection point . As a matter of fact, there wasn’t even one centimeter between both locations on the map . But there was this terrifying sensation where all kinds of monsters were lurking and ready to kill you . Furthermore, their appearances didn’t tell anything about their weaknesses . Moreover, there was also the unbearable, chaotic forcefield due to the conflict between the Dragon Souls . In fact, one who entered the intersection point would feel as though one was squeezed and deformed between two steel plates and the pain could make him crumble . Moreover, this wasn’t an illusion at all and it felt as though a virus was corroding your body . making you unconscious . The worst case scenario could even make one insane and commit suicide .
Due to this, the path towards the intersection point wasn’t as easy as it seemed to the eyes . In theory, it would require about one to one and a half days to complete the journey through the intersection point . Even a guild leader and a powerful swordsman like Viktor could remember the nightmare that scarred him even though he ran non-stop for two nights . Viktor strongly believed that he would never forget this experience . However, he had to brace himself to lead Rhode’s group back for the sake of his men and complete this mission .
But the truth was totally different from what Viktor had thought .
Although Viktor was mentally prepared for another torture, Rhode’s behavior made him feel that his fears were all pointless . At the edge of the intersection point, Rhode ordered everyone to consume the potions that he retrieved from his Spatial Bag . Even though this potion had a repugnant smell, its effects were obviously helpful . Viktor stepped into the intersection point fearfully but he could no longer feel the painful influences of the conflicts between the Dragon Souls . Instead, the vortex of power that once made him felt like a trembling rag had turned into a gentle, harmless breeze . Rhode’s mercenaries who entered the intersection point reacted completely opposite of what Viktor had expected . On the contrary, they lined up in an orderly circle and didn’t act like country bumpkins who rushed in to attack the strange monsters that they discovered . Anne brandished her shield and opened the path for everyone . The well-equipped Thieves sneaked closely while vigilantly watching all directions . Marlene instantly cast a defense wall whenever an enemy appeared while the archers would fire rounds and rounds of arrows at the unwelcome guests under Randolf’s command . Then, the Thieves would quietly deal the final blow to their enemies before continuing to move forward without any intention of pursuing the retreating enemies or eradicating them .
The whole process was as smooth as an industrial assembly line .
Viktor was astonished even though he was clear of Rhode’s abilities . However, the capabilities of a leader and his men weren’t necessarily proportional . This was especially so for Rhode who had established his guild for only a few months . Viktor was concerned about Rhode sending unsuitable men for the mission, but he realized that these mercenaries were far more impressive than he had imagined . They weren’t as clumsy and inexperienced . Instead, they performed in an organized and disciplined manner with rich combat experience that complemented each other . According to Viktor’s observations, these mercenaries were more powerful than the elites of his Cole Falcon Guild .
How is this possible? Where exactly did this young man come from?
Viktor had never thought that mercenaries recruited for only a few months would be able to perform as though they had been together for several years . Besides, they were this familiar with the intersection point… Viktor couldn’t help but suspect that Rhode had been doing something illegal . For instance, passing through the intersection point to engage in smuggling transactions with the Country of Darkness… If not, why were his men so familiar with this place?
Of course, now wasn’t the time for jokes .
Joey returned to Rhode’s side by running across the smooth, wet rocks agilely without any pauses . It seemed that he had gained a lot in the battle training . “Boss, my men have finished their investigations . Those guys seem to be around the bottom and halfway up the mountain . There are about 60 of them including sentries at the mountain junction . We have limited manpower so we couldn’t continue our observation . But it seems that that’s about all for their strength . ”
“Good . ” Rhode nodded in acknowledgment . He gazed at the nearby mountain before him that was shrouded in fog . “Mr . Viktor, what do you think?”
“Either we can sneak our way up the mountain to catch them off guard and escort the Chairman’s group back to the city or we can raid them to attract their attention . Then, my men can act together with yours and deal them a painful blow . This way, the enemy’s encirclement will scatter and it will be much easier for us to proceed,” explained Viktor .
“Good idea, Mr . Viktor,” Rhode nodded . “But your method is rather risky . Mr . Viktor, you mentioned that these guys have a close relationship with the current group of people in the city who are trying to seize the power of the parliament . So, if we start a frontal battle now, they would most likely alert their companions in the city and we will be in trouble…”
“Do you have a solution, Mr . Rhode?” Viktor nodded . In fact, he was worried about this problem too . However, he had no choice but to suggest this plan because Rhode brought along 30 men only while Viktor had about a dozen men left with the Chairman’s group . They would definitely lose in the number game, but…
“Kill them all,” replied Rhode firmly .
“Eh?” If it weren’t for the loud downpour, Viktor would have thought that he had misheard Rhode’s words . He gazed at Rhode while Rhode continued his sentence . “Although Mr . Viktor’s idea is good, I think a better choice would be to raid them directly, attract their attention, and wipe them all out at once . We only have two days before the parliament meeting begins and we have no time to waste on playing hide and seek . We have to raid and annihilate them before they can even alert those in the city…”
Rhode glanced towards his left at the uneven mountains that were covered in shadows, blocking his vision . Soraka Mountain City was located just behind the mountains and although the mountains were usually huge obstacles for Rhode, they became the best barriers in this instance .
“It’s a good opportunity tonight… The storm is strong and it makes it easier for us…” Rhode paused . “Mr . Viktor, this is my plan . In a while, both of us will meet up with your men in their hidden location . Then, we need to try and force a breakout . This way, we can gather most of the enemies’ strength and as long as we handle it well, we shouldn’t have a big problem wiping them all out . What do you think?”
Viktor pondered for a few moments . Got to say, this indeed was a good solution . However, Viktor was concerned about manpower issues so he didn’t mention it beforehand . Now that Rhode had suggested it… Was he really that confident with his men?
Viktor wasn’t aware that the reason why Rhode suggested this wasn’t just to prevent the city from facing problems . Instead, Rhode knew better than anyone else what the Country of Light was up to . Even if Rhode couldn’t exterminate them entirely, it was hard to guarantee that these guys would put up a life and death struggle and come up with anything that could incite conflicts . In order to avoid the possibility of driving them into taking desperate actions, Rhode wished to eliminate their strength as much as possible . As long as Rhode could cut off their limbs, it would be meaningless for the Country of Light no matter how devious their minds were .
“No problem, I agree . ” Viktor nodded because he had no other choice other than to believe in Rhode and his men .
“Good . ” The corners of Rhode’s mouth twitched . He turned over and instructed Joey softly . Soon, the young Thief disappeared into the rain while Rhode donned a black mask he retrieved from the inside of his cloak . “Alright then, let’s go, Mr . Viktor . ”