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467 A Bewildering Situation

 "The situation in Soraka Mountain is far from good." Viktor could no longer remain silent. Although he didn't trust Rhode's group fully, he could only oblige since the King's Party had given the order. Viktor explained to Rhode the details of the current situation as soon as Rhode displayed the letter from the King's Party.

Viktor had brought his trusted men into Soraka Mountain after receiving the King's Party's order and investigated the situation. Viktor contacted the Chairman of the Soraka Mountain Parliament and gained his trust to protect him and his members. Viktor's group was responsible for guarding the surroundings since they would only be staying in Soraka Mountain for a short period of time. However, this was more than enough for Viktor.

The Cole Falcon Guild survived on intelligence. After receiving the right to enter the Soraka Mountain Parliament, Viktor's group inquired and found out the unstable factors in the parliament. Meanwhile, the Chairman and his members went out on a mine exploration and were raided. Fortunately, Viktor was well prepared for this and managed to rescue the Chairman's group. However, even so, the battle left the Chairman's group with injuries. The enemies encircled Viktor's group from all directions and blocked their paths towards the Soraka Mountain City. Even though Viktor was powerful, those masked enemies were no weaklings either. Viktor's group exchanged blows with them and some lost their lives. In the end, Viktor had no choice but to flee after failing to break through several times. Meanwhile, Viktor found out from his men who hid in Soraka Mountain that due to the Chairman's disappearance, the factions that leaned towards the Country of Darkness began to move. They took over the defenses and guards of the entire mountain and attempted to hold a parliament meeting without the Chairman. Judging from their methodical actions, this plan had been premeditated for a long time.

Viktor and his men faced difficulties in fighting off the mysterious guards and protecting the Chairman's group. Moreover, the current situation exceeded the scope that his guild could resolve. The guards' encirclement shrunk towards Viktor's group and out of desperation, Viktor broke through the 'intersection point' and returned to the Munn Kingdom to report to Royal Highness Lydia.

Got to say, Viktor was a determined and courageous person because it was clearly impossible to breakthrough the intersection point and return to civilization if he wasn't powerful enough. As a matter of fact, he almost lost his life.

"But since the enemies didn't reveal their identities, how did you know that they were sent by the Country of Light?" Rhode asked with puckered brows while Viktor displayed a bitter smile and shrugged.

"I knew you were going to ask me this question, Mr. Rhode. That's right, I didn't recognize those guys through any badges, appearances, or accents. In fact, those guys were extremely cunning. They were no different from bandits on the outside and we have searched one of their corpses and didn't find any items that indicated their background. It is apparent that they were well prepared for this raid, but fortunately, I ambushed and injured their commander. At that moment, I recognized an unusually familiar scar..." Viktor revealed a content smile. "That scar was left by my sword skill-Double Fangs. There is only one person with such a scar on that part of his body and that is Belmond Stemis from the Country of Light's Secret Special Forces. Then, I probed a couple more times and I confirmed that he was indeed Belmond and the mysterious men were members of the Special Forces."

"I see. So then, Mr. Viktor, how did you get to know Belmond?" Rhode didn't trust Viktor entirely. Rhode had heard of Belmond and he recalled that in the game, Belmond was indeed a miniature BOSS from the Country of Light. However, as a citizen of the Munn Kingdom, how did Viktor get acquainted with a member like Belmond from the Secret Special Forces?

"That was years back when I got wind of the Country of Light sending men to my Cole Plateau to wreak havoc. I traced my investigations to Belmond, but he fled immediately after realizing the unfavorable situation. I gave chase and got into a fierce battle with him. However, even though I injured him badly, he still managed to escape," Viktor shook his head and sighed. "That was a hard fight for me too, and I was lucky to deal a fatal blow to him before he escaped. I remember the scar clearly because if I can travel back in time to repeat the entire fight, perhaps I wouldn't be able to accomplish it that well." Rhode nodded as he empathized with Viktor's feelings. Indeed, amongst the players, there were also occasional 'miracles' in battles. For instance, there was an average player that exhibited godlike abilities through a freak combination of factors and annihilated the merciless BOSS by himself while his team watched with gawking eyes. Rhode watched the uploaded raid video and witnessed the player's smooth movements and flawless attacks. However, that player never succeeded in replicating his run no matter how many times he tried afterward.

It was so memorable because it was so difficult to achieve-Viktor's reason was relatively reasonable.

If this was the case, Rhode felt reassured. If Viktor recognized the background of the masked men through their orders and badges, the Chairman would definitely realize it too and his attitude towards the Country of Light would be obvious. No one was willing to be friendly towards a person who held a knife against their neck. If this was the case, even if Rhode rescued the Chairman, he couldn't prevent the fate of Soraka Mountain leaning towards the Country of Darkness. Therefore, Rhode was better off killing the Chairman and using the chance to find someone obedient and sensible instead.

Viktor was also aware of this, which was why he elaborated further while he was explaining to Rhode.

"But, I don't understand..." Lize mumbled. "Why would the people of Soraka Mountain lean towards the Country of Darkness? I've heard from Marlene that majority of Soraka Mountain is filled with humans. As for the Country of Darkness..." It was apparent what Lize was trying to convey even though she didn't complete her sentence. Indeed, the Country of Darkness was full of undead creatures and there would definitely be conflicts between humans and the dead. Therefore, why would the people of Soraka Mountain do the exact opposite and seek assistance from undead creatures that were hidden in eternal darkness? Didn't they have dignity and pride as humans and fear towards the undead and darkness?

"This isn't strange," Rhode gave a half shrug. "Actually, Soraka Mountain has been neutral in their stance and Lize, thoughts like yours are the main source of the problem."

"Huh? My thoughts?" Lize widened her eyes and gazed at Rhode curiously.

"There are no problems with your opinion and this is the biggest problem. The source of magical crystal minerals in Soraka Mountain makes them attractive for different parties to engage in trades. Of course, bargaining is unavoidable in such commercial transactions. However, the arrogant merchants from the Country of Light didn't see it this way because to them, the majority of Soraka Mountain is filled with vivid human lives. After all, the merchants are also humans and they shouldn't trade minerals with those evil undead creatures. Due to this, the merchants lowered the prices tremendously and frequently. Meanwhile, they would often propose some relatively demanding conditions which were unacceptable for Soraka Mountain. As a result, the people of Soraka Mountain proceeded to trade with the Country of Darkness. Perhaps the Country of Darkness had a clear understanding of their position, so they didn't propose irrational prices that came with demanding conditions and bargained only within the reasonable range. Furthermore, since it was purely commercial transactions, it was fine to trade with the party that could give them the most lucrative profits. However, the Country of Light's merchants accused Soraka Mountain's people of coveting money and surrendering to the intimidation of those disgusting undead creatures due to fear of darkness and evil..." Rhode let out a snort.

"Most likely, the bunch of idiot merchants was hoping to use this trade factor to apply pressure on Soraka Mountain, which proved to be somewhat effective. The idiots from the Country of Light went overboard after experiencing the sweet taste of success when they pulled similar tricks subsequently that infuriated the citizens of Soraka Mountain. The trade volume between Soraka Mountain and Country of Light declined while the Country of Darkness's increased. Thereafter, the Country of Light's merchants insulted Soraka Mountain on various occasions for their own injustice as they believed that they had suffered unfair treatment. If the citizens of Soraka Mountain didn't capitulate under the undead creatures' tyrannical abuse, why would they purposely decrease the trade volume with the Country of Light's merchants? The Country of Light's Parliament held a meeting with the Soraka Mountain Parliament after listening to the cries and complaints of their merchants. In the end, a new regulation was set that Soraka Mountain must export magical crystal minerals to the Country of Light with the lowest trade quota and price, which appeased the merchants to a certain extent. However, due to this, there were more dissatisfied citizens in Soraka Mountain and they attempted to seek protection from the Country of Darkness, which is a natural behavior," explained Rhode further.

Lize sighed with a complex expression. She indeed had such thoughts, but she became somewhat confused after hearing Rhode's explanations. "But... How did the Country of Light's army enter Soraka Mountain?"

Marlene glanced at Lize and patted her shoulder lightly. "Perhaps like Viktor's group, where they were treated as mercenaries."

Rhode had no doubts about this. " Soraka Mountain is located in the intersection between the sky guarded by the Dark and Light Dragon souls, where numerous monsters emerge endlessly. In order to prevent loss of unnecessary strength to these monsters, Soraka Mountain has been hiring mercenaries to resolve the chaos and disorder. Therefore, entering Soraka Mountain while pretending to be hired mercenaries would be less pressurizing even though they can't get close to the city."

Rhode puckered his brows and began to ponder. It wasn't strange that people from the Country of Light would appear in Soraka Mountain. According to Viktor, the only problem was that these people apparently had shenanigans with those parliament members that leaned towards the Country of Darkness and it was unknown if the parliament members approached the people of the Country of Light or the Country of Light took the initiative in proposing this scheme. Either way, Rhode felt the same.

The parliament meeting in Soraka Mountain was nearing. Rhode felt that the success rate of completing this mission was rather high since the meeting would need time to gather all the parliament members and could only begin after a certain procedure. But... "Mr. Viktor, how are your men doing now?"

"I've gotten my adjutant Vincent to evacuate the others and the Chairman's group. They are currently situated in a cave on a high cliff. The cave is surrounded by terrifying creatures but they're safe for the time being. Also, our supplies can last up to ten days," explained Viktor.

"How long did you take to reach here from Soraka Mountain?" Rhode questioned as he rubbed his chin.

"Hmm..." Viktor calculated mentally. "I've been escaping non-stop for about two days."

"Good," Rhode nodded after hearing the answer he desired. He turned around and gazed at Marlene. "Marlene, inform Randolf and Joey to ready their teams to move out. Also, get Lapis to provide 50 bottles of Protection Potion... We'll head out first thing in the morning tomorrow."

"Got it, Rhode." Marlene nodded in acknowledgment and left the room.

Meanwhile, Viktor revealed a smile. "To be frank, Mr. Rhode, I'm really envious that you have such wonderful assistants. If possible, I would like to exchange mine with yours."

"I won't exchange any of them even if you offer me a mountain of gold. They're my assistants and not equipment for exchange," Rhode answered plainly while Viktor burst into laughter.

"Hahaha... I'm just kidding, Mr. Rhode... But I have a question that I hope you can answer me seriously."

"Hmm? What is it?" asked Rhode curiously as he twitched his brows.

"Just now... the thing that was taking care of me... its body was filled with... erm... what exactly was it?" Viktor asked curiously with a shaky voice.