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471 Turnabout Chess

 When the flames exploded through the sky, Viktor's group felt the scorching heat hit their faces through the other side of the ice wall. Horrified screams sounded while Viktor witnessed a badly burned assassin pounding on the other side. The assassin wept as he slammed into the ice wall, but the flames continued to ruthlessly swallow his presence. In an instant, his voice was cut off and he slid to the ground.

"Argh..." Some of the mercenaries vomited at this horrible sight. Although they were elites who had killed countless people in battles, watching another human being burn in the oven so closely was another matter. Presumably, Viktor and his mercenaries would be living on vegetarian food for a long time after this battle...

The overwhelming flames behind the ice wall stopped burning abruptly and retreated like the tide. In a blink of an eye, the omnipresent flames that could engulf them vanished entirely. At the same time, the ice wall that protected the mercenaries reached its limit as it cracked crisply and disappeared.

Darkness once again became the main hue of the night.

The mercenaries exchanged glances in dismay. At this moment, the surroundings had returned to serenity. The violent storm continued to hit everyone's face, but this time, they felt calmness and tranquility.

The mercenaries widened their eyes in astonishment. They had just been through an aggressive battle... Wrong, they should have just been through a battle, right? That's right, the wounds on their body reminded them of that. However, for unknown reasons, everyone including Viktor was perplexed as the flames vanished too quickly. Everyone saw clearly that the flames weren't extinguished by the storm. Instead, they just disappeared as though they were a living body with self-consciousness.

Viktor's group was caught off guard as they had never seen such 'obedient' flames. In an instant, the mercenaries felt lost, soaked in the sudden sense of victory and excitement. However, this didn't mean that everyone behaved like them.

Rhode emerged from the darkness and approached Viktor while gesturing. Viktor reacted quickly with an awkward cough to gather his mercenaries' attention. "Why are you guys dazing off? This is only the start. Our mission isn't complete until we escort Mr. Chairman into the city safely. Get moving!"

The mercenaries stood at attention after hearing Viktor's command. After all, although such a scenario was rare, these experienced mercenaries wouldn't be as bewildered as newbies.

Although the danger was gone, the mercenaries continued to scan the surroundings vigilantly. At the same time, they sized up the corpses of those assassins. Most of the corpses had been burned pitch-black by the flame and only a pile of black dust was left. Perhaps, even the ashes of these pitiful assassins wouldn't remain after this stormy night.

Viktor's strong point was his meticulousness on several matters. His absolute calmness and observations helped him lead the Cole Falcon Guild. According to Viktor, there were about 40 assassins that attacked them, which was about the same quantity as he had predicted. However, a battle wasn't as simple as just gathering and beating up their enemies. The assassins from before were so scattered in formation that there must be other liaisons and guards on the backlines. In the face of any accidents, the liaisons and guards could stay away from danger and convey the latest progress to their master behind the scenes.

However, Viktor had no control over this. After all, he had limited manpower and he couldn't possibly figure out all the enemies' locations. Meanwhile, Rhode remained secretive and was unwilling to discuss much with him. However, it seemed to Viktor that Rhode had a grasp on the situation, which was why he suggested this raid. As for the sentries around the perimeter, they were probably already eliminated.

Like Rhode, the other members of Starlight concealed their appearances. Even though Gillian revealed her face for a while, she disappeared without a trace, which left the mercenaries with mixed emotions. They were thankful for their savior, but they didn't manage to catch a glimpse of their savior's face and couldn't even thank them if they wanted to. But Viktor knew that Rhode was equally helpless on this matter. After all, there were two people on his team who couldn't reveal their faces-Lize and Marlene.

As the heir of the Senia Family and a genius Mage, Marlene was a notable figure. As for Lize, she was Royal Highness Lydia's younger sister, and both of their political identities were powerful. Although the Munn Kingdom was a recognized witness when both parties signed the agreement, they were only in charge of witnessing and not supervising. Therefore, it wouldn't be advantageous for the Munn Kingdom if both of them were recognized by the enemies. On the other hand, Viktor understood that Rhode was doing this to avoid the attention of the Country of Light's Parliament. After all, Rhode's bad relationship with them in the Deep Stone City had spread all across the continent. Although the Country of Light's Parliament was far away from the Land of Atonement and their Southern lackeys were previously beaten to a pulp by Rhode in the Midsummer Festival, it couldn't be guaranteed that the Country of Light's Parliament wouldn't attack Rhode's group if Rhode were to spoil their plans again. After all, Starlight had just been established, unlike the Cole Falcon and Purple Lily, and were limited in numerous aspects. In order to prevent trouble, it was only natural to avoid direct conflicts and threats.

Viktor lifted his head and gazed at Rhode who appeared like a ghost from time to time. He let out a long sigh because there was still a long road ahead of him.

Everyone left the mountains and entered the forest safely under Rhode's lead. Only when the mercenaries entered the hinterland, they heaved sighs of relief. If those enemies caught up with them, they wouldn't mind letting them taste their own powers in this terrain.

At this moment, they finally witnessed Rhode's men.

Rhode's men stood at a distance and had no intention of conversing with the mercenaries. Although this seemed to be somewhat rude, these mercenaries knew that they wished to keep their identities a secret. Therefore, it was only apparent to keep a distance just like when they entered the Soraka Mountain for this mission.

Although the atmosphere was rather awkward, there were no disputes since all of them were professionals. Viktor represented his men and expressed his gratitude while Rhode accepted by nodding slightly. Then, the exhausted mercenaries took a quick rest in this peaceful place. Meanwhile, Rhode fulfilled his commitment by getting Lize to heal the Chairman's body/ After all, the chairman was an elderly man who had just gotten through a nasty storm. Fortunately, the Clerics were effective with their healing spells and furthermore, Lize's healing skills had improved dramatically under Mini Bubble Gum's guidance.

Rhode stood at the side, quietly gazing at everyone. He knew that this wasn't the end and it was more like a marathon. They were taking a temporary break and had to continue running afterwards. Logically speaking, although it wouldn't take too long to arrive at Soraka Mountain City through this forest, the situation wasn't this simple. According to Viktor, those clowns in the parliament had basically manipulated the guards surrounding the city. This meant that it was somewhat difficult to lead the Chairman's group into the city and Mithril Hall... However, Rhode had some other ideas up his sleeves.

"What do you think?" Viktor arrived at Rhode's side and asked softly.

Rhode shook his head slightly. "We should hurry as quickly as possible. Although I can confirm that we have eliminated most of them, I can't be sure that everyone has been killed. Moreover, even if all of them are annihilated, those bastards will definitely be cautious about the Chairman. My guess is that they will send some men here to check on the situation and by then, they will realize the truth. All we can do now is to settle everything before they find out about us..."

Rhode paused for a moment. Even though Viktor couldn't see Rhode's expression through the mask, he heard the slight urgency in his voice. "We have broken their puzzle and it's time for our counterattack, Mr. Viktor."

Night fell and another day passed.

Everything went according to plan.

Zieg turned away from the scroll in his hands and nodded in satisfaction. He picked up a quill pen and began to write a letter for his family. This scheme to head into Soraka Mountain was proposed by the parliament members of the Alanic Family. Zieg joined this scheme as the most prestigious star of the family. He knew what disaster awaited the beautiful Soraka Mountain City once they made the decision. However, this wasn't a matter of his concern. The most important goal for Zieg was to complete this mission for his family and promote his position within. Furthermore, the Alanic Family would gain huge profits from this upcoming battle.

Everything is fine and in place. No problems whatsoever.

Placing the quill pen on the desk, Zieg gazed at the letter before him pleasingly. The neat handwriting on the white letter described the series of changes in Soraka Mountain. After a few days of integration, the group of useless Soraka Mountain Parliament members finally convinced most of their counterparts who were in charge of various parts of the city to agree to the proposal. Although there were some members who rejected, there weren't enough of them to be taken into consideration.

The Chairman was Zieg's only concern and up until this moment, he didn't receive any news regarding him. This was what Zieg was most mindful of. Only those who personally lived in Soraka Mountain knew how influential and reputable the Chairman was. Although many of the parliament members were on the verge of agreeing to the proposal to hand over Soraka Mountain, these people would be useless in the presence of the Chairman and everything that they had done up till this point would be meaningless. Due to this reason, Zieg plotted the assassination of the Chairman to ensure success. But those idiots were too afraid of the Chairman's prestige and they lacked the guts to do it. This forced Zieg to send out his men to finish the job. If he could obtain the Chairman's head now, his upcoming plans would definitely be a success. But the problem right now was that he received no news about the Chairman at all.

Zieg felt uneasy. It was as though he was walking down a safe, flat road and was suddenly struck with strange feelings of flusters.

This isn't a good sign.

Zieg pondered for a few moments before lifting and shaking the bell on his table. Soon, an old butler opened the door and lowered his head while waiting for his master's instructions. "Send some men to the Dolan mountain and check on the situation. If those rats are still hiding in the cave, order our 'wolves' to force their way in. No matter what, I want to see that old man's head before the start of the parliament meeting!"

The old man bowed deeply and closed the door quietly without responding. Zieg sighed and lifted the quill pen once more.

Viktor led everyone through the terrain that he was rather familiar with and passed through the forest without any obstacles. As the sunlight from the third morning shone in their faces, a massive, formidable city presented before them.

Soro City.

Everyone sucked in deep breaths at the sight of the high walls and towers in the city they were so familiar with. As a region that had an abundance of magical crystal minerals, Soraka Mountain had advanced magical technology. Although it was inferior to Golden City, it was still far ahead of Deep Stone City. Tears of excitement rolled down the faces of the Chairman's group because after days of trudging and dangerous encounters, they had finally arrived at their destination. They were only one step away from entering their city and gaining victory.

But things weren't that simple.

Viktor stood before everyone with a grave expression instead of his usual smile. The Chairman's group calmed their nerves because they knew that things weren't as smooth as they had imagined. Indeed, Viktor gritted his teeth and bowed to the Chairman deeply.

"Every path that leads into the city has been blocked off," Viktor said solemnly.