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1017 Lost End

 The parliament took actions quicker than she had imagined.

Sonia clenched her fists when she saw the soldiers donned in the same robe and standing around the platform of floating boats. In fact, she swore that she didn't know where these strange soldiers came from. She lived in Casabianca for years, and as a parliament member, she knew every unit stationed. And yet, she had never met these people before. She thought that they were Nakvard's private soldiers when she first met them in the tomb. But after seeing them filling the streets, she overthrew this thought immediately. The soldiers were controlling the entire city and their numbers were sufficient to accomplish this mission. This left Sonia feeling dubious because it required a high amount of money to support the soldiers. Even if it were the five largest financial groups, it was impossible for them to provide the private soldiers to control the entire city. How did the parliament manage to do it without being discovered by the military, city guards, five largest financial groups, and archangels?

No matter how they did it, this meant that there was only one thing that Sonia and Lilian had to do-leave Casabianca immediately. As long as they leave this place, it would temporarily guarantee their safety.

Sonia thought of seeking assistance from the church and Mage Tower, but she wasn't sure if they were willing to help them. Civilian associations were always neutral in their stand and were rarely willing to be involved in political conflicts. If it were for the sake of the Light Dragon... But Sonia quickly gave up this thought after seeing the heavy-armored soldiers guarding the main roads. It was apparent that the parliament had also realized this possibility. The soldiers were neither obstructing traffic nor searching the pedestrians. They stood quietly in the corner like ordinary guards. Even though some civilians shot curious looks at them, there weren't any clashes between them.

"They sure are attentive to details..."

Sonia said softly, gnashing her teeth. The idea of escaping via the floating boat was no longer doable and they also couldn't seek help from the church and Mage Tower. Judging from this, they would most likely face the same consequences if they went to the Mercenary Association. In this case, if they were to seek assistance without being detected by the parliament, their only hope left was to look for the rumored guild of thieves. But the problem was that...

Sonia was a young lady and politician. She was neither a thief nor a mercenary, so how was it possible for her to have dealings with the villains! Even though she could also seek help from random thieves on the street, who knew what the thieves would do to them? Taking a step back, even if the thieves didn't hand them over to the parliament, they would most likely not end up safely in the thieves' hands. With Sonia's and Lilian's current strength, they couldn't kill anyone effortlessly as they pleased...

Almost all escape routes were blocked. In this case, perhaps the situation was harder than Sonia imagined. Not only that, but also from the fact that the soldiers took actions so swiftly, perhaps the parliament was entirely in the hands of Nakvard now.

Sonia turned around and gazed at Lilian behind her who had already taken off the hindering skirt and put on a more comfortable, traveling robe. The same went for Sonia. With their identities, it would be too striking for them to don the luxurious dresses. Besides, Sonia didn't dare to sell or give away the dresses. Before joining the parliament, Sonia was the third executive officer of Lockos financial group and wasn't only serving as a vase to put up a front. She was aware of how simple it was for a powerful organization to search for someone. Although it was possible for her to give away the dresses or sell them for money, this would leave traces to their location. But fortunately, her spatial bracelet could still be filled up with a pair of dresses.

It seems like this is the only choice.

"Lily."

Sonia looked at Lilian and called softly. In her mind, there was a route that could safely bring them out of Casabianca. But... if it weren't for the critical situation, Sonia wouldn't resort to it.

"Yes? What's wrong, Sonia?"

Lilian turned around and gazed curiously at the young lady. Sonia hesitated, before continuing to speak.

"Are you afraid of... stench?"

As the biggest city in the Light Mainland, Casabianca had an advanced underground water system. The water system existed longer than the parliament. It was built by dwarves and was currently resting in perfect condition under the city. In the pitch-black and tall water tunnels, one could see the natural stone walls by looking up as though it were the existence of a miracle. But constantly flowing in the water tunnel was turbid, foul sewage.

These two contradicting presences presented themselves before Sonia and Lilian.

Lilian gazed at the turbid sewage flowing by her feet with an unbearable expression. If she didn't cover her nose and mouth with a handkerchief. Oerhaps she would have fainted, rolling her eyes. She couldn't be blamed because this so-called underwater facility didn't exist only for show. On the other hand, not only were there chunks of filth in the revolting, murky water, but there were also limbs and corpses of humans and animals. The messy, scattered skeletons of poultry were also equally disgusting.

Sonia was nauseated by the rotten path before her. In fact, if it wasn't for the 'work requirements' that needed her to investigate this place, she wouldn't step foot into this place in her whole life, not to mention coming here for the second time. Back then, even though she wasn't willing to come to this reeking underground, she held on for loyalty. But it seemed like her faithfulness back then was the right choice.

"S-Sonia? Are we really going from here?"

Lilian gazed at the stomach-churning way before her and mumbled with covered mouth and nose. Sonia nodded.

"Yes, Your Majesty. This is the only safe. Our Lockos financial group is responsible for repairing and maintaining the water system of Casabianca. I came here for work and still remember the distributions of the water tunnels. We can leave the city through the tunnels. Even though I know this is uncomfortable, please bear with it for now."

"Okay then..."

Lilian hesitated, before nodding in agreement. No matter what, she knew that the situation was extremely critical and there wasn't time to delay. She gnashed her teeth and followed Sonia closely.

"But... Your Majesty, I have to remind you to be more careful. This place isn't as safe as it seems."

"Huh?"

Lilian detected the nervousness in Sonia's tone and stared blankly. Then, she quickly received her answer.

A deep, monster-like growl echoed in the tunnel. The murky sewage water went against the flow as a pitch-black, rotten corpse emerged from within, raising its head and gazing at the trespassers with its decayed eyes. It widened its mouth and let out a terrifying roar.

A red radiance flashed across the air.

Sonia unsheathed the sword and darted forward, slashing a perfect arc at the zombie. Shortly after, a blazing fire erupted and burned the zombie into a ball of flames completely. At the same time, they heard a series of similar growls echoing in the tunnel, as though responding to their intrusion.

Then, pitch-black figures emerged one by one.

"They actually escaped?"

Nakvard lifted his head with redness appearing on his determined expression. His eyes were as though burning flames, leaving a pressurizing sense of oppression. But despite that, the soldier standing before him didn't seem to have noticed his imposing presence at all. He nodded silently, waiting for the next order.

"Yes, Sir. We sealed the entire Casabianca. It shouldn't be difficult finding them, I suppose."

"I didn't expect that rascal to be this brave. It seems like I've belittled her. She is young and yet, she predicted my moves... Capture them. Alive. What I need most is a talent like her. Don't kill her, understand?"

"Yes, Sir. I'll look into it now."

The soldier clad in white cloth nodded, turned around, and left the room swiftly. At this moment, an old man standing behind Nakvard asked in uncertainty.

"Will everything be fine? The two archangels..."

"No problem. We purposely revealed several locations to lead the angels away. Perhaps they are battling the servants of my master now and won't return for the time being. Besides, it is pointless even after their return. When we've completely taken over control of this city and activated the enchanted field, they can no longer climb over our heads and act all high and mighty."

"But... where did that rascal get the information from? We didn't..."

"We will know the truth after capturing them."

Nakvard let out a snort and turned around.

"Alright then, I will be checking on the setup for the enchanted field. I'll leave this matter to you."

Nakvard shot another look at the meeting hall, where bloody corpses were occupying their respective seats. A few moments ago, they were still acting all arrogant. But now, these noble parliament members had become nothing more than a pile of rotten flesh.

"Since all of you are desperate to make us give in, I shall let you see the dignity and ambition of us humans. Even if we have to destroy this world, we will never succumb to any power. Only humans can decide their own fates-even if it's destruction and death!"