Leaving The City
The promised rewards of dinner and good accommodations were enough to cause the caravan servants to exert all their strength. Their eyes reddened with the exertion as the caravan sped up once more to the tune of numerous shouts.
“Faster! Hurry up…” The anxiety that she couldn’t display on her face made Anya recall the most dangerous deal she’d made— when she’d entered the endless wilderness to negotiate with those stinking orcs.
‘The crisis this time far exceeds our transaction with that tribe…’ Anya’s face was unchanging as she faced those orcs, but this time she was really starting to get nervous. After all, if her actions this time were discovered her entire clan would land in deep straits! Unrest and fear had tortured her so much these past few days that there were now more wrinkles above her eyebrows.
The front of the caravan suddenly stopped, causing a great disturbance behind it as some carriages were toppled directly. The scene caused Anya to be filled with anger.
“Whats happening? Why did you stop?” She called out to her personal servant, holding back the urge to use her horsewhip. “Head to the front and check what’s happening!”
However, before the maid even went out, a servant dressed in military clothing rushed over with a face full of sweat.
“Miss, it’s the paladins! There’s a whole team of them blocking the path!”
“Those damned official dogs…” A few servants grumbled in a low voice. In their point of view, the paladins had taken most of the profits from the Bane Family, leaving them with little of the profit. Even when they risked leaving New Silverymoon in the middle of the war they still chased after the caravan. Those paladins really were extremely hateful!
However, the news only brought terror to Anya when she heard it.
‘Did they find out?’ She felt her heart fall, feeling a chill like she had been dropped into an icy cave. Sadly, her subordinates were here. Anya had no choice but to put on a bold front and hurry forward.
She soon saw a team of paladins dressed in silvery armour standing ahead of the caravan, dazzling emblems of the God of Justice on their chests. The determination radiating from their eyes caused her unrest to intensify to the limit.
“Captain Elric…” she said as she stepped forward, barely forcing a smile as she found a familiar face among the paladins. “The Neon Merchant Group has always abided by the law. We even sold 80% of our goods in New Silverymoon, and you granted us the clearance to leave…”
Anya was speaking in a thick nasal voice, the trace of coquettishness in her tone a habit learned from her line of work. It was unfortunate that this approach had no effect on the paladins, and Captain Elric’s eyes were instead filled with disgust.
However, he didn’t say anything. He stood down respectfully, giving way to a female paladin standing behind.
‘The Holy Knight!’ The moment she recognised Rafiniya Anya felt despair well up in her heart, as if the bones had been pulled out of her body.
“Looking at you, I knew there wasn’t an error with our intelligence! Sinner Anya, are you still unwilling to admit your sins?” At the legendary realm, even simple questions from Rafiniya were terrifying. The power behind them pierced through to Anya’s heart, the horror almost causing her to collapse and confess.
“It was all arranged by the captain. Do you think I’d abandon a paladin’s honour just for your worthless dirty tricks?” Elric pridefully raised his head while, disdain filled his eyes. “Exterminating you within the city would be too conspicuous… However, it is different here. Surrender obediently, and you shall receive a fair trial. We never let villains go, but at the same time we won’t treat any good person unjustly.”
Elric was naturally confident in his team. They were composed of multiple high-ranked paladins, and their leader was the legendary Holy Knight! They could clear away all evil!
“In the name of Her Majesty, I request to search the caravan!” Rafiniya declared loudly. With Rafiniya and the paladins representing both Tyr and Alustriel, a majority of the people in the caravan started wavering. Many of them had been kept in the dark, and even the expensive mercenaries seldom knew the truth.
Standing against the Silverymoon Alliance and a greater god’s church, Anya was skeptical of who would be willing to stand along her regardless of how much she she offered.
“Captain Rafiniya, you have always been my idol… I believe in your personal integrity, but I am sure that there is some sort of misunderstanding…” Anya dismounted and gave Rafiniya a ladies greeting. Afterwards, she walked to an overturned carriage and tore the tightly wrapped oilcloth off.
“Please take a look… These are all common leather and majority are empty boxes…” Anya tried to show Rafiniya her transported goods. “Everything here is approved goods, there’s no contraband.”
“Your little tricks are nothing in the face of justice. Stop showing them off, it just seems ridiculous…” Rafiniya replied with a cold face, flipping over some of the leather.
*Clank!* The scabbard on her waist released a crisp buzzing sound, and a ray of dazzling bright light drew a beautiful arc mid-air.
*Kacha!* The axle of the carriage was broken, and the wood cracked apart. The horses ran away in fright, whining as they’d been broken out of their shackles. Their escape caused dirt to stain Anya’s beautiful skirt, but she didn’t seem to mind in the slightest.
Only one thought was cycling through Anya’s mind right now… They’d found out!
*Crash!* Splintered wood flew into the sky, revealing a layer of storage between the carriage’s storage and its bottom. A few pieces of dark red crystals emitting a bloody glow fell out. Even the merchants standing far away could smell the stench of blood.
“A blood sacrifice… For the blood essence to be this pure, just how many souls would it take?” Rafiniya’s hand trembled as she held onto the hilt, “You bear to sacrifice your own kind for those murderous evil gods?
“Your sins have been determined. The entire Neon Merchant Group and the Bane Family shall be punished for your sins!” Rafiniya announced loudly.
The paladins behind her unsheathed their longswords at the same time, their eyes filled with disgust and determination. The terrifying atmosphere caused those who hadn’t been aware to collapse suddenly.
“Dear Lord… This has nothing to do with me, I’m only a hired stable boy! Please forgive me… forgive me…” The legs of the coachman who was wearing a straw hat and coarse linen clothes gave way, and he directly fell to his knees with his whip still in hand.
Others reacted similarly. With both the monarchy and the theocracy against them, not many were courageous enough to fight back.
“Retreat!” The mercenaries employed by the caravans were more quick-witted than ordinary people. Sensing a bad situation, their leader immediately shouted as he fiercely whipped his horse. They intended to fall back.
The mercenary leader obviously knew the severity of this incident. Even if he was unaware of it and was innocent, the church would rather kill the victims than let a sinner go. He wouldn’t be able to prove his innocence! And with high-ranked paladins on the opposing side, there was no way for them to win the fight. Fleeing was the only choice.
”A vain attempt to escape punishment? Fools!” Rafiniya evaluated indifferently.
Even without her acting personally two of the paladins beside her rushed out. Summoning light flickered as several celestial horses emerged, the devoted comrades of pure paladins.
With the paladins being so strong, how could mercenaries on ordinary warhorses escape?
“Wait… I can testify… I didn’t…” The mercenary leader did not manage to escape far before he was caught. His face was in despair, and he went out screaming. Unfortunately, the cold-looking paladin did not utter any superfluous words and directly pierced his heart with a longsword.
Numerous paladins riding on their celestial horses surrounded the caravan, and sealed off all possible escape routes. Everyone was left trembling on their knees.
“Sinners! How much harm is done to the world because of your greed and evil?” Looking at Anya’s pretty face, Rafiniya’s flushed red with anger. “A source of evil like you, should not exist in this world… In the name of Justice, I shall judge you!”
Milky white light condensed on Rafiniya’s longsword, and Anya sent a meaningful glance to a trusted aide that was preparing to dash forward.
“These servants are innocent and unaware, please bestow them mercy and forgiveness....” She said at the end.
“Cunning evil sinner, are you still trying to display your hypocritical kindness?” A callous murderous spirit could be seen within Rafiniya’s eyes.
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