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922 A Flaring Omen

 The murderer who killed the merchants was discovered during his act of crime. Then, he got into a violent clash with the soldiers and eventually committed suicide upon defeat!

This piece of news shook the entire Highland City. It wasn't because the murderer was captured so soon that caused an uproar. Instead, it was due to his identity. After investigations, the murderer was in fact the most prestigious elder in the city-Morey Heather!

Morey was a popular figure among the people of Highland City. He was once an official in law and order. He was upright, plainspoken, and often sided with the people against the unfair treatments and exploitations from the Country of Light. Although the Alanic Financial Group had always disliked him, they didn't have any justifiable reasons to get rid of him. On the other hand, Morey's actions also didn't threaten the Alanic Financial Group. Apart from fighting for the people's benefits, he always kept a low profile and had never thought of using his huge influence to bring forth changes. This was the reason why the Alanic Financial Group spared his life. If Morey attempted to turn himself into a revolutionary leader, he would have been in a certain grave by now.

The fact that the Alanic Family was able to secretly manage a city proved that they weren't the sort of people who would slaughter the entire family of a threatening person. Merchants were all about profits, so it didn't matter even if they let someone like Morey stay alive. After all, he was an honest person and wouldn't stir trouble. To the Alanic Family, Morey was also doing them a favor by leading the people who were obedient to his every word. Those people often complained to him first hand whenever they faced unfair treatments.

But who knew which idiot would take his place and gather the people against them if they were to kill Morey? The Alanic Family's most important goal was to earn money and they weren't willing to do anything that went against making money.

But it was meaningless to say these things now.

Morey's death caused a huge uproar in Highland City. Although it seemed like everything returned to peace after his death, Shane was aware that the city was like a volcano waiting to erupt anytime. Everything appeared calm now but once the explosion happened, there would be a massive, unprecedented disaster! His intelligence network indicated that many people were furious over Morey's death. They thought that Morey wasn't wrong and it was the greedy merchants who came here with ill intentions. Some people even believed that the merchants were the ones who forced an honest and upright man like Morey bonkers. This just proved that those greedy bastards must be chased out of the city! This is our responsibility! We must inherit and carry forward Morey's will!

Some other people strongly believed that Morey wasn't the murderer and was just a scapegoat for the murder cases! They are using this chance to wipe out those who oppose them while allowing the greedy merchants to pave their way in Highland City!

Although there were many different opinions, they weren't great news for Shane because all of the anger and confusion was targeted at the top management of Highland City: the Alanic Financial Group. If Shane didn't resolve this problem, Highland City would break out in a crisis!

Frankly speaking, Shane didn't believe that Morey was the murderer. Shane had been secretly managing the city for more than a decade and when he first arrived, Morey was the official of law and order. After Shane took control over Highland City entirely, Morey left the job. From what he remembered, Morey was quite powerful in strength but was merely an official in this border city, so how powerful could he be? How was it possible that he sneaked past hundreds of Viper Gang's soldiers and hanged the corpses on the stelae? Although Morey displayed strength that exceeded Shane's expectations during the battle, Shane thought that the strength was still within acceptable range. It was due to this reason that he felt that the situation wasn't this simple...

Flawless... Everything is just too flawless.

Such nasty incidents happened during the past three days and yet they were easily resolved on the fourth. Although Shane could comfort himself by saying it was due to him enhancing security around the city which forced Morey out of his concealment and got discovered, based on Shane's understanding of Morey, the latter wasn't a rash and stubborn person. If Morey were the murderer, he would have waited for a while after realizing the strengthened defenses. After all, Highland City couldn't possibly be on high alert everyday and as an ex-official in law and order, it wasn't difficult for him to gather intelligence on the security levels in the city. He could have chosen to lay low and strike again after the security levels dropped. Shane believed that he would be in a huge headache if Morey did that. But Morey didn't seem to be aware of this crucial issue. He simply murdered the merchants in broad daylight and was discovered by others... Was he that confident in his skills? Or were there other reasons?

Up until this moment, Shane felt that there was some kind of conspiracy behind everything that happened. He realized that he was like a clown of a character who was forced to be involved in a drama. Apart from mechanically following the script and speaking the lines, he couldn't do anything else. If he did, he would be chased off the stage by the crowd. But if he continued to follow the script, he might possibly end up in the fathomless abyss. Shane didn't feel great because he realized that the situation wasn't in his grasp. Instead, he was being controlled by it.

He had a hunch that this was only the start.

Not only Shane felt this way, but Clive also felt a huge headache.

"We can't remain silent anymore!"

Clive knitted his brows and snarled at the group of men.

"I've said it before that this is the critical period. We have to remain calm! Do you think that we can go up against the Alanic Financial Group with our strength?"

"Yes!"

The man smacked his hand on the table. He glared with bloodshot, furious eyes at Clive.

"We can't tolerate it anymore. Sir Morey was willing to go this far for us, but what have we done for him? Nothing! We were protected by him and left everything for him to handle. This isn't what Sir Morey can resolve alone! This is the problem of Highland City. That's right. Our strength isn't enough, but we have the entire Highland City behind us! As long as we gather the people and rebel, we will be the victors!"

"Are you out of your mind?"

Clive widened his eyes at his companion.

"You want to drag the entire Highland City into our conflict? Do you know how many weak and innocent people are there? Do you want their families to die in war? Is this what you want?!"

"So what?! We're no different from being dead, isn't it? Do we have a choice to choose if we're like slaves who struggle on whilst at death's door or heroes who die honorably? I've had enough. I've had enough of hiding behind others. We have to fight for our rights. I won't give up even if it turns into a river of blood. You can back off if you're afraid! You coward!"

"I'm not a coward!"

Clive gnashed his teeth and retorted.

"This situation is disadvantageous for us and we're like mantises trying to stop a chariot. We should be cautious under such circumstances..."

Pow!

Before Clive finished his sentence, the man clenched his fist and landed a heavy punch on Clive's face. Clive fell to the ground. The chairs and table flipped and the clamors instantly became silent.

"I've had enough of you, Clive. Cautious, cautious, cautious! Sir Morey is dead! His corpse is hanging with those greedy merchants, but all you can frickin' say is be cautious! You timid, cowardly man! Why did Sir Morey even think highly of a bastard like you! You're a gutless trash! I've had enough. Brothers, come with me if you're willing to save our home! If you're just cowards, you can stay here and tremble in fear with this idiot!"

The man stormed out of the room and one by one, members of the group followed him. The spacious room became empty. Clive laid on the floor and stared blankly at the ceiling. His cheek was stinging in pain, but his head was completely empty. He didn't know how things became this way and why the person he respected the most was involved with this conflict. But there was one thing that he couldn't be sure enough... A catastrophe in Highland City was imminent and it would no longer be just an uproar. Instead, it would be a war, where everyone-men, women, old, and young-would be dragged into the scorching blaze and blood would fill the entire city.

Will they be able to win?

Clive wasn't optimistic of their chances. The reason why he wanted everyone to stay patient wasn't due to weakness or fear. Instead, he didn't want the Light Parliament to intervene further. As the assistant of the city owner who dealt with the top management, he knew the nobles' knack of doing things. If this was all to the situation, the Light Parliament wouldn't step into the picture because Shane surely wouldn't allow anyone to weaken his authority. Therefore, he would definitely come up with ways to settle the problems. All in all, Clive's group would need to rely on the Alanic Family's 'selfishness' if they wanted to continue expanding their group.

But the extent would be completely different if the people rioted. In the past, riots in the city were mostly ignored by the Light Parliament. But now, Highland City was highly valued and if riots happened, the Light Parliament would surely intervene. When that happened, the Light Parliament might even send their army here, but on the other hand, the Void Territory would disapprove of their army from entering Highland City. Who would be on the suffering end if a conflict between both sides broke out?

The answer was self-evident.

Clive did mention about the risks, but they were overwhelmed by anger and weren't willing to accept his explanations. Perhaps these concerns were only delusions to them. Why will the Light Parliament send their army to repress us? Why can't it be us who chase away the top leeches of the city in the shortest time possible and become the city owner instead? Why don't we think on the bright side instead of the bad?

Humans hated wet blankets. They felt discouraged and disgusted whenever Clive told them 'it isn't time yet', 'we're not strong enough', or 'the time isn't right'. What makes you think that we're incapable and will lose? Those nobles and merchants may be powerful but they're still humans. They don't have a pair of pointy ears, wings, or tail, so won't they die with a sword to their heart too? What makes them think that we will tolerate their bullying?

When Morey was alive, everyone respected his opinion and didn't dare to defy. But now that he was dead and Clive was obviously not as respectable as him, nobody cared about his views.

"Clive, are you okay?"

At this moment, Clive heard a weak voice. He turned around and saw a young companion who was showing a bitter smile.

"You're still around..."

"I think what you said was right. But now..."

"Yes, it's all meaningless now."

Clive shook his head at the young lady and stood to his feet. At this moment, his gaze became incredibly determined.

"It's meaningless to talk about this anymore. Since they've already decided, I can only make up my mind too. I have no intention of doing so, but it seems like there's no way around. They will fail and the Light Parliament will send their soldiers to repress them. This is only a struggle with time. When that happens, Highland City will be doomed. All we need now is to have a stronger backing."

Clive turned to the young lady.

"I need your help."

"What is it, Clive?"

"If I recall correctly, the emissaries from Void Territory should still be within Highland City. I know that you've been managing this so I hope you can arrange a meeting for me and the emissaries; the sooner the better! It will be best if the meeting is held within the next two days. Be careful to not be discovered by others. I'll leave this task to you. Only the Void Territory can rescue Highland City now. This is our final chance to protect our home!"

Frankly speaking, Clive wasn't sure if this was the right choice because he didn't possess too much authority or capital to do this. On the other hand, the Void Territory wasn't that foolish to be easily convinced to send out troops to assist Clive too. He needed to convince the Void Territory that he held sufficient capital. For example, he would be able to manage Highland City well and become an impressive assistant to the Void Territory. But now, Clive didn't have that amount of capital. Not only that, but Morey was also dead and his men decided to split up with him. At this point in time, apart from the few loyal companions, he didn't have any more power. Although he believed that those people would understand their mistakes after experiencing bloody repression and return to him, it would be too late if he sought help from the Void Territory thereafter. Therefore, he had to convince the Void Territory to dispatch manpower to help him within the shortest period of time so he could resolve everything. If not, everything would be too late after the Light Parliament got involved. Fortunately, he understood his companions well. Although they were a bunch who would take actions quickly from exhilaration, it was due to their sudden actions that they might possibly catch the Light Parliament off guard. In the absence of a plan, the Light Parliament might take a longer time mobilizing the army. Perhaps this was a blessing out of misfortune.

"... Okay."

The young lady hesitated but eventually nodded.

"I will do my best. Although I don't believe that this will change anything, just like you said, we don't have any other choice now."

"Thank you..."

Clive lowered his head and heaved a long sigh of relief.

He didn't realize the glowing scarlet pupils in his companion's eyes.