Chapter 98

Maheim raised his head. The commanders and staff sat in two rows in front of him. They were waiting for him to speak. At the front, Sedum sat silently while looking at the end of the table. It was now time for Maheim to use his loyal organization’s resources and people. Many were ‘sticky’ lifelong comrades. These were comrades who would run from the other side of the continent at his call.

“There are three problems,” Maheim spoke.

“Are we trying to snap off the Emperor’s neck? If not, please tell us freely. There haven’t been any problems that we haven’t been able to solve so far,” the first battalion commander, ‘Donini’ replied. 

He had a soft, convincing voice and a warm expression. He was already a talented warrior who had reached the first-level Awakened state. He was also in charge of information and intelligence due to his delicate and detailed nature.

Maheim laughed. Having these types of comrades was comforting.

“As you know, it’s about this Count’s stuff. It’s very troublesome. There’s no easy way out. First, the Han-Sung Clan will be looking for us soon, but we don’t really have a way to respond to their inquiry. If we don’t have something that we’re supposed to have, there’ll be misgivings. Additionally, who will believe it if we explain that we’ve been scammed?”

People coughed here and there inside the room. The Han-Sung Clan was a very tricky opponent. The weight of the case being brought up was not light.

“Second, there’s a possibility that the two commissioned by Count Essen will come. According to Sedum’s information, they are young but very wise and dangerous. The issue of how to deal with them without taking losses in the process is another big task. It’ll be difficult for them to find this place, but we’ll have to be thoroughly prepared in any case.”

This time, a groaning sound was heard across the room. The groans came from disbelief of Sedum’s information. How would someone outside the organization find this place? Also, how could two people go against all of them? 

Maheim’s face frowned awkwardly. It was a face he made to protect his son’s reputation.

“Thirdly, we didn’t get things right the first time. This means that the Count’s goods are somewhere else. Our prestige in the industry will drop if word gets out that we were unsuccessful in our operation. Given that it is already known that we’ve stolen the Count’s goods, it can be fatal to our business if the truth gets out. It’ll leave a bad precedent. Our commission fees will also fall. We’ve secured a hostage for negotiations, but I’m extremely suspicious about the hostage’s value in negotiations.”

Maheim paused and looked around the room.

“So… about that,” the second battalion commander, ‘Jessen’ slowly spoke out. He was a cruel man nicknamed ‘the Quiet Butcher’. He was also an Awakened Warrior who was well versed in poisons and illusions. He was also a central leader in the Dark Guilds. Although he was over fifty-years-old, he possessed very strong mental powers and was as cold as the deadly poisons he used.

“It’s just the two people who were hired by the Count, and a countryside Count at that. What’s so difficult? Once we have the goods, we can pass them over at a high price, so… it sounds like a simple problem? Shall we loosen some of our quick-handed kids?”

“It’s not that simple. The opponents are second-level Awakened Warriors. I’ve experienced it myself. Do you know what that level of combat power means?” Sedum said as he repeated the warning he gave to the other guild members.

“Fuck! When did we live on our swords alone? No one can withstand our barrage of dark attacks every day. People can’t live without rice and water, right? That’s how and why our Dark Guild has been able to survive in this position. One of us may be weak in combat, but our gang of savages knows that the mission isn’t finished until the enemy is killed!” the third battalion commander, ‘Sahyun’, spoke out. She looked to be around her fifties, but she was already over eighty years old. She was a top-notch veteran in the guild and an aunt to Maheim.

She was a third-level Awakened Warrior who specialized in biochemistry. Her combat ability mainly used wind and chemicals. She was a terrifying person who could destroy anything and everything within a 50-meter radius.

Sedum closed his eyes tightly. Suddenly, for the first time, the thought that his mission might fail came to mind. His thoughts quickly became a reality.

Kwang-

As if announcing the beginning of this reality, a thunderous sound reverberated throughout the room. With an entire wall blown away, two people slowly walked in, their silhouettes barely visible in the darkness of the evening. Dazzling halos surrounded their silhouettes.


Episode 2. Book 5: Investment – Chapter 4

[B304, E403, K234] 

[B207, F303, N204]

Kwang-

The right wall burst out. Everyone’s gaze instantly turned to the right.

Kwang-

The left wall collapsed next. All eyes and heads moved to the left. The Dark Guild warriors covered their eyes with their hands and stumbled backward in retreat. A bright flash of white light was followed by a strong wind.

All the lights that were lighting up the spacious meeting room went out in one moment.

Two intense rays broke through the darkness and poured into the interior. The beam of light illuminated the thick dust rotating like a tornado inside.

The two lights’ aura gradually increased as it came towards the people inside. The speed at which the aura approached was terrifying.

“Scatter! Hit it!” screamed Maheim.

Like a veteran leader, Maheim watched the situation unfold with calm yet narrowed eyes. At the same time as his order, Third Commander Sahyun bounced into the air.

Donini, the first commander, sharply moved to the left. Second Commander Jessen jumped forward while holding his hilt. Their movements were coordinated and very fast, as expected of Awakened Warriors. It was their Awakened instincts. They sensed and moved before reasoning. Nevertheless…

Sahyun, the highest-rated Dark Guilds warrior, narrowed her eyes while in the air. She could already sense the opponent’s movement with her Accelerated senses. There were two opponents, and the one approaching her was a woman. She had already sprayed out dozens of needles from her hand. They were deadly weapons with extreme poison applied to them.

“W-What is this?”

Sahyun, a seasoned warrior, was flabbergasted. Her opponent had sharply broken into different direction mid-air. She couldn’t predict her opponent’s new trajectory. She held her needles up again, ready to throw them at any moment. However, during that brief moment of hesitation, she felt something wrapped around her neck. Sahyun turned her head to her side. It was Biyeon’s noose skill!

“Keu-Euk-”

Sahyun let out an uncomfortable moan. The string around her neck was suddenly pulled taut. She screamed while opening her eyes round. Both of her hands were desperately grasping at the string that was tightly wound around her neck. Her neck bone nearly snapped as she was yanked towards the ceiling against her will. Her hazy eyes, as if she were in a dream, were staring at another scene occurring below her.

Kwa-Kwang-

Below her, chaos ensued. The attacking man was coming in like a storm. The tables he stepped on exploded like firecrackers in all directions. Only plumes of dust attested to his brief presence in the area.

Donini, who was trying to block the intruder from the left, was swept back by the momentum of San’s aura without being able to pull out his sword. At that moment, San soared into the air after stamping on a table.

San twirled his body in the air. In one turn, his right foot connected with the back of Donini’s leg, and in the next turn, his left foot connected onto Donini’s chin. Donini’s leg broke and splintered into pieces like a piece of dry wood, and his jaw shattered like glass. His face spun to one side, spitting out broken teeth from his mouth.

San made another revolution in the air, grabbing the neck of a nearby warrior before twisting it. Using the recoil, he glided atop the large central table as if riding a sled, and in just one motion, he was upon his target. Maheim, the leader of the Dark Guilds, couldn’t believe what transpired within a very short period of time. On his left, a white sword had penetrated halfway through his neck. It was shining a phosphorescence light. Also, his right hand was firmly stuck on the table with a dagger spiked through it. Right in front of his face, San held his sword in place and smiled brightly.

“Would you like to tell your members to back off? I’d like to have a conversation with you,” San said. His eyes were looking around his surroundings. He dug his sword a little further into Maheim’s neck. The blood that oozed from Maheim’s throat seemed to flow black against the fluorescent light of San’s sword.

The illusionist, an expert in psychological hallucinations and control, Jessen was muttering something with his mouth. As he looked vainly at the situation where Maheim was taken hostage, his expression became stiff. His forehead became greasy with sweat. San frustrated his efforts of creating an illusion with a bright smile.

“You should know when to stop, no? Shouldn’t you be concerned about your comrade? If you make a wrong move, then your colleague dies. By the way, those petty gods who you’re trying to talk to can’t do anything and won’t listen to you. Why are you still trying?”

Jessen’s face turned white as he hurriedly stepped backward. The spirits and gods he called were clearly rejecting his request. From the standpoint of the ‘spirits’, San’s will and presence were much larger than Jessen’s, so the priority was higher to follow San’s words than his request.

All the high-level warriors of the Dark Guilds nervously took a few steps back. Their fiery gazes were still fixed on San… With all the lights turned off, the halos surrounding the two intruders were creating a mysterious and terrifying effect, especially with a large amount of dust in the air.

Behind the man, a beautiful woman in her twenties pulled the rope around Sahyun’s neck and hung her on the wall. Then, pulling the string taut, she naturally stood behind the man who held Maheim. If the woman pulled the string a little harder, Sahyun’s neck bone would be broken.

“We have to take back our stuff. Of course, you have to return it, right?” his voice rang out.

“Or, you can pay the requested amount of money…” the woman in the back spoke out.

“How…” Maheim's trembling voice rang thinly. 

He chose to ask a question instead of answer. He couldn’t believe this was real. His entire Dark Guild was incomparably weak in front of these two. In addition, he couldn’t understand how his base’s iron-walled defenses were broken through so easily. How could the entire guild be defeated and near extermination within just moments? Even if he died…

San silently looked into Maheim’s eyes. San’s eyes seemed to say that he had a lot of time and nothing much to do. There was no rush anymore. Additionally, it wasn’t good to rush anything. There were separate transactions and further objectives that needed to be reached.

“Are you curious?” San asked quietly. 

Maheim nodded. San looked at Biyeon who stood behind him. Biyeon spoke clearly, “People in the industry who specialize in stealth and information have very similar mindsets. Because people like you conduct economically sensitive battles with much higher efficiency, defenses are also constructed in a very economically conscious manner. We came here earlier and did a brief reconnaissance, but there was no gap anywhere.”

“…”

“But your mindset is also your weakness and a limitation. Because combat resources are dispersed, your responses are rather slow and vulnerable to full-scale breakthroughs. So… our choice was to create a moment of confusion, followed by speed, and finally, grabbing only the most important figures. I hope you’re satisfied with this answer.”

“That’s how it was. Okay… then how did you find this base?” Maheim asked again. His dignified voice returned. He had passed the point of death dozens of times in his life, so he knew that he needed to read San’s intentions through his eyes. He understood that what the opponent wanted was a negotiation, not a confrontation. However, there was something he needed to check first.

How did these people find this place? His gaze landed on Sedum. Biyeon smiled lightly.

“In fact, we had a little bit of trouble finding this place. I sprinkled some scented perfume that’s said to only be produced near Count Essen’s estate, but the scent was so weak that it didn’t work very well. So, we searched the whole city. Well… it took some time, but it wasn’t all that difficult to find your location. It wasn’t that far from our common sense.”

“Common sense…?”

“Since you’re a group that steals and infiltrates, I first searched through locksmiths that make locks and keys. In any world, the profession of opening someone’s house is a group that requires the most unusual morality and brotherhood. Once the locksmith in town was scared, he introduced us to a few of his old friends. In addition, there were customers who wanted to know more about the underhand dealings of you shady people, so more information started pouring forward…”

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