There was some disapproval in the mercenary’s eyes despite his verbal deference. The neutral lands were filled with hidden talents, and there were countless among these assassins and mercenaries who possessed combat strength exceeding their cultivation. There were even some special abilities that could erupt with extreme power in special environments.
How could one kill off all these people? Even if Qianye was a fierce tiger, how could he withstand the onslaught of a wolf pack? This mercenary and his team didn’t count for anything in the neutral lands.
Of course, he wasn’t stupid enough to say this out aloud. The most important thing at the moment was to escape with his life. He might even get the five thousand gold coins since Qianye wanted him to spread the message anyway.
He clambered up slowly. He saw that Qianye had no intention of attacking and was just about to leave when Nighteye said, “Wait, take off your clothes.”
The mercenary trembled, and then said in an evidently panicked voice, “T-This isn’t too appropriate, is it?”
Nighteye’s expression turned cold. “You don’t need to leave anymore if you keep pretending. Any other person can send this message!”
The mercenary discarded any thoughts of getting through by a fluke and took off his combat attire. There was a look of pain on his face as he handed his clothes to Nighteye.
“What function does this suit have? Why does it enable you to move through the Black Grove?”
The mercenary replied honestly, “This is a product of Alloy Labs, capable of isolating the natives’ perception. Those who wear it won’t attract the forest’s attention as long as we don’t cause any damage. Such a suit costs three thousand gold coins at the very least, and is the only reason why our group dares to operate in the forest.”
At this point, he glanced at Qianye with an odd expression.
Noticing the change, Qianye asked, “What are you thinking?”
“Uh, y-you two caused quite a bit of destruction during the battle. Why didn’t the forest react at all? Don’t tell me you’re natives?” After saying this, the mercenary shook his head. “Impossible, natives won’t destroy the Black Grove and will even protect it at all costs.”
Qianye picked up a piece of burning wood and passed it to the mercenary. “Look.”
The mercenary sniffed the item and said in astonishment, “It’s wood from the Black Grove!”
He glanced over at the burning estate and suddenly thought of a possibility. “You mean the entire place was built from this wood?”
Qianye didn’t reply to the man’s question. “What’s your name?”
“Rockwell, known as Black Mosquito in the mercenary world.”
Qianye patted the man’s shoulder, saying, “When you go back, I’m sure you’ll know what you should and should not say.”
Rockwell left slowly and only hastened his steps after he was certain the two weren’t chasing after him. He thought back to Qianye’s words—there wasn’t any threat in them, but he could still feel a chill run down his spine. He knew he might have to spend the rest of his life in hiding if he were to speak too much after going back. Otherwise, he would likely lose his head someday.
Nighteye patted Zhuji. “Go, remove their combat robes.”
The little girl pouted. “Why don’t you go? Why must I do all the tedious stuff? I’m still young!”
Nighteye broke into a laugh. She knocked the girl’s head lightly and said, “Then what kind of job do you think is easy?”
Zhuji’s eyes lit up. “Fighting! I want to beat up people who can talk!”
“Off to work you go, I’ll let you fight next time.” Nighteye coaxed the girl off to work like she would a kid.
Qianye shook his head. “It looks like we have to let her join the next battle.”
“She’s still young!” Nighteye wasn’t quite satisfied.
“She’ll join secretly even if we don’t let her. Do you think she’ll watch obediently from the side? She’ll definitely remember your words.”
“Ah, this…” Nighteye didn’t know what to say. In the end, she said, “Kids these days…”
Qianye chuckled. “You must’ve been pretty disobedient when you were a kid.”
“No way! I’ve always been a lady!”
The Monroe princess, with her Eye of Destruction, was the incarnation of slaughter itself. After reaching the duke rank in the future, or even higher, her combat strength would be head and shoulders above the other major characters. Such a person was actually calling herself lady-like?
“Stop reading useless books in the future,” Qianye chided.
“Fine!” Nighteye replied with a harmless-looking smile.
Qianye had no way to deal with her. He went over to collect the spoils from the three enemies and began studying the unusual combat robes. These robes were weaved from special materials and constantly emitted a mellow fragrance that wasn’t easily discernible. Qianye discovered that this smell was similar to the core of the trees in the forest. That was probably the reason why the natives would overlook those wearing such clothes, thinking they were part of the forest.
The remainder were gold coins, munitions, and supplies—there was nothing special about them. Qianye and Nighteye had no use for these combat robes, but they would make for a small fortune when sold. The profits from dealing with this small mercenary band were quite good. Fighting and robbing was indeed the fastest way to fortune.
After organizing the spoils, Nighteye asked, “What’s the next step?”
Zhuji was also looking intently at Qianye and there was ample reason for this. The next battle would be her first formal battle. To this little fellow, it was almost like a coming of age ceremony and proof that she was now a qualified warrior.
Qianye brought out a map and studied it for quite some time. Yet, he still couldn’t form a plan.
They knew little about these desolate lands beyond the area around the small town. What they knew about the Wolf King and neutral lands came from the residents of the town and the Xue Brothers. They knew little apart from that. Although they had found some maps on the mercenaries, one could imagine the difficulty of forming an operation plan based on unfamiliar geography and names.
Qianye was somewhat regretful at this point. He should’ve kept Rockwell around and asked him about the surrounding lands.
Nighteye drew her finger across the map, saying, “Let’s walk along the outer rim of the Black Grove toward the northwest. Since those mercenaries are rushing over, there’ll be a sequence to their arrival. That’ll make it easy for us to destroy them one after the other.”
Qianye pondered for a moment. “How do we know if they’re here for us or not?”
Nighteye said indifferently, “The Wolf King has already turned this area into a no-man’s land. Why else would assassins and adventurers come here? All we’ll meet here are the Wolf King’s forces and mercenaries who want our lives. We can’t be wrong in killing them.”
Nighteye looked at him and said, “I thought you’d stop me because we might meet some unfortunate bloke who’s just stumbled into the area!”
Qianye replied, “It’s as you said. It’s their misfortune to have stumbled in. Getting killed is also their misfortune.”
“That’s a bit unlike you.”
“All those who want our lives will say it’s a misunderstanding after falling into our hands. I won’t risk putting you in danger for this so-called kindness.”
Nighteye’s gaze landed on the map, almost as though she didn’t dare look at Qianye. “Then, let’s set out.”
The quiet forest suddenly became quite clamorous as rumbling explosions and gunshots echoed from time to time.
Three faintly discernible figures were advancing slowly along the border of the Black Grove. They moved at a certain distance from one another but remained close enough to help each other out at the critical juncture. Apparently, it was a tacit understanding that had been born through countless battles.
The man at the front formed a sudden gesture. The three men halted their steps at the same time and retracted their auras, leaving only faint hazy shadows. The leader remained in concealment for a moment before moving slowly toward the border of the forest. There, under the cover of an ancient tree, he poked his head out to observe.
Upon looking, his aura was immediately thrown into chaos and his figure became much clearer than before.
The two companions were astonished and immediately assumed a combat stance. On the battlefield, a brief moment of carelessness could produce extremely serious consequences.
Fortunately, nothing happened, and the leader managed to contract his aura once more after that short lapse in control. He gestured at the other two to come and see.
The two arrived at the forest borders and hid behind the tree before looking out, exercising the utmost caution under all circumstances.
Despite being prepared, they almost lost their composure at the sight.
On a hill outside of the forest, there were dozens of wooden stakes with a corpse each hanging from it. These people were uniformly equipped and likely belonged to a single organization. It was the insignia on their attire that shook the three.
They retreated into the depths of the forest and gathered around a tree. There, they brought out a writing board each and began communicating rapidly.
“It’s the Predator Mercenary Corps!”
“Right, I saw their leader’s corpse.”
“Judging from the number of corpses, it seems they were completely wiped out here.”
“Are they here for the bounty?”
“Why else would anyone come here?”
“That means they probably died to the targets.”
“Very likely. By putting them on display like this, are the targets trying to warn the other hunters or provoke the Wolf King?”
“Both, I guess. Someone who dared to kill Gary won’t put the Wolf King in his eyes.”
“We need to reassess the risks involved.”
“My opinion is to retreat.”
After coming to a consensus, the three put away their writing boards. Their figures gradually faded as they made to re-enter stealth and leave this dangerous forest.
Unexpectedly, a voice rang out beside their ears at the same time. “I don’t agree.”
Shocked, the three looked over at the same time and saw Qianye standing not so far away, staring at them with a spurious smile. That gun in his hand filled their hearts with fear and trepidation.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
After stabilizing the release times, I'll start making up for the past chapters that I owe starting from next week.
TL: Legion ED: Moxie