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202 Shift In Power

 "Do you know the level range of the monsters inside of the Blazing Tempris Domain?" Luna asked curiously. She understood that Izroth's information was severely limited to whatever he had been told by He Huian, therefore, she did not expect to receive that much additional data from him. However, it was still useful to know as much as possible about the place they were headed to.

"I'm afraid the answer to that question currently eludes me. However, I can say with some confidence that the level range of the monsters should be within somewhere in the thirties. But, there's still a chance that we may run into a monster in the lower forties." Izroth replied.

Izroth and Luna continued to talk about not only things regarding the Blazing Tempris Domain but also included some conversation of their overall day in the picture.

For some reason, Luna felt comfortable speaking to Izroth. It was not always easy for her, or rather it was next to impossible, to find people who she was comfortable speaking around. Of course, she could still talk to others without an issue, however, it was only when necessary and she did not waste words on small talk.

As for Azalea, she simply led the way in silence and it was almost as if she was not even there.

Around twenty minutes, Izroth's group came upon a long river that stretched almost as far as the eye could see.

"According to the Realm Chart, this river runs all the way through and into the Blazing Tempris Domain. However, it becomes a bit strange the more I look at the border into the domain." Azalea said.

"Oh? Explain." Izroth said as he looked over at the Realm Chart in Azalea's hands.

"Our location is roughly around this area." Azalea said as she pointed to a spot on the Realm Chart next to the river.

Luna moved in a bit closer to take a look of the Realm Chart as well. This was her first time seeing one with her own eyes and it was incredibly detailed.

"However, no matter which way we attempt to enter into the Blazing Tempris Domain, we have to travel through one of five junctures where the lava flows." Azalea said as she dragged her finger across the Realm Chart and pointed to one of the nearest junctures.

"Then, what is it that caught your eye?" Izroth asked.

"At each juncture, there are two letters sitting by right next to it. At first, I gave it a simple glance and thought that it was something assigned to a specific juncture. However, once I reexamined it, I found that the symbol does not change and is present at every position into the Blazing Tempris Domain." Azalea said as she pointed out the two letters on the Realm Chart.

"That's... VI? Those are not regular letters. If I'm not mistaken, VI is the Roman numeral used for the number six." Luna said.

"The number six? What does that have to do with anything?" Azalea said in a doubtful tone. Why would the creator of the Realm Chart write the number six in Roman numerals instead of just putting the number itself?

Luna, however, shook her head and responded, "I'm not sure. But, it's possible that the number six is important somehow. As for how it's important, I can't say. Then again, it's also possible that it has anything meaning to it that we are unable to determine until we actually arrive at the location."

"There's no point in overthinking it too much. We will find our answer once we reach our destination." Izroth said.

...

Somewhere in the small village outside of Amaharpe known as Argusa's Top...

Silent Steps opened the door into one of the bigger buildings inside of the village with anger apparent in his behavior. After being killed by Izroth, he had to walk all the way back to this location from Amaharpe.

"Haishe! Get out here right now or I'll drag you out myself!" Silent Steps shouted. He was furious at the moment and none of the Fatal Touch members wanted to cross his path in his current mood. However, there were a few members who had a weird look in their eyes that borderline on the expression of pity.

"Hai-!" Silent Steps was ready to yell and cause a commotion until Haishe appeared, however, he did not expect for him to show up so fast.

"I'm right here. You should learn some proper manners. Instead of barging in and screaming like a wild animal, a simple message would have sufficed. How pathetic." Haishe said as his cold gaze swept across Silent Steps. There was a look of disdain in his eyes as if Silent Steps' tantrum was unworthy of his attention.

"You...! You didn't obey orders and ran away during the middle of a fight like a coward! You are not worthy of being a part of my Fatal Touch organization! Do you have anything to say for yourself?" Silent Steps spoke in a fast and unrestrained manner.

It was obvious from his furious appearance that he was looking to take his anger and frustration out on someone. Luckily, he felt that now would be a good time to do so on Haishe since he would be justified. After all, even if Haishe disliked him, he was still a part of Fatal Touch and had to follow his orders.

Haishe grinned and had a look of pity in his eyes as he observed Silent Steps.

When Silent Steps saw that smug look on Haishe's face, he wanted to rip it off with his bare hands and smash his face into the dirt where it belonged. What gave him the right to look down on and mock the leader of Fatal Touch?! The number one assassin in the gaming world!

"You're finished! I hereby expel you from Fatal Touch! Everyone, get this trash out of here!" Silent Steps ordered in a vicious tone of voice.

Everyone looked at each other with strange and awkward expressions. When Silent Steps swept his gaze across them, they avoided direct eye contact with him.

"What are you all waiting for? Do you want to suffer the same fate as him?!" Silent Steps said as his voice deepened and his facial expression darkened. However, even with his threat, not a single player made a move against Haishe.

"Are you done howling and crying like a child who doesn't get his way? You still don't understand, do you? Well, let me help to clarify the situation. Surround him!" Haishe ordered. As soon as he gave the order, the other players in the building encircled Silent Steps with their weapons drawn. Even those players who were so loyal to him before were amongst the encirclement.

"What's the meaning of this? Do you honestly believe that you can get away with this, Haishe?! Are you forgetting that my influence is still above yours?! Even if you kill me here, I will be back for revenge and kill everyone here!" Silent Steps spoke with the words leaving from between his teeth.

He was trying his hardest to hold back his rage, however, it was getting increasingly more difficult to do so.

"It is as you have said, Haishe. This one has lost his way. The look in his eyes is that of a madman with no path before him to walk. He has lost sight of the grand picture and lingers inside a pool of malevolence... Revenge..." A voice sounded out from the second floor of the building. However, it was too dark on the top floor to see anyone or anything up there.

"It can't be...! It's you!" Silent Steps was shocked when he heard the voice coming from the second floor. It only took him a brief moment to piece together a few things. Haishe's more than usual aggressive arrogance and why everyone was willing to encircle him. It was not until that moment that he realized how truly grim things had become for him.

"Jiang Da, do you know your crimes?" The voice from the second floor echoed out. The room was completely silent as he spoke as if everyone was afraid of offending the person up there. Jiang Da was Silent Steps' real name.

"I have nothing more to say." Silent Steps said in a voice so cold that it could freeze over the sun. He knew that no matter what words left his mouth, the end result would be the same. Therefore, he would not bother wasting time trying to talk his way out of it. After all, Haishe would never allow him to do so now that things had gotten to this point.

Haishe had a look of triumph on his face. He had planned and imagined this moment for many years now. Who would have thought that Silent Steps would practically hand him the leader role by his own actions and constant failure? It might as well had been sat into his lap!

"Face it Jiang Da, you have become sloppy ever since you've started playing RML. Your skills have deteriorated and you're no longer irreplaceable. You could not afford to be as arrogant as the other games and yet, you let your own foolishness blind you. How pitiful. What should I do with him?" Haishe said as he locked his gaze onto Silent Steps.

"Deal with him as you see fit. As I've said before, you have my full support now, Haishe. Do not make the same mistakes as that one." The voice said before going silent.

"Of course, I thank you for your support, Sword Saint Igazanali." Haishe said as he gave a respectful salute with his fist cuffed. He then turned his attention towards Silent Steps with no look of mercy in his eyes.

"Kill him." Haishe ordered with a sense of satisfaction and victory washing over him. The era of Silent Steps leading Fatal Touch was over. It was now time for a new era, his era, the Haishe era. It was time for Fatal Touch to become more than a mere organization with members for hire. As for achieving this goal, his plan had already been set in motion.

...

'The lava seems to flow on endlessly.'

Izroth, Luna, and Azalea had arrived at one of the junctures that led into the Blazing Tempris Domain. Just as Azalea predicted, it took them nearly one hour to reach this point. Along the way they ran into a few wild monsters, however, they were only normal monsters in the lower thirties. Therefore, it only took a few moments to deal with them.

"Let's go." Izroth said as he took the lead since they had arrived at their destination. There was a long simple stone pathway that spanned across the river of lava that was at least 200 meters long.

The moment Izroth took his first step onto the path, his HP immediately dropped by 25%! He instantly retreated and held his arms out in front of Luna and Azalea, preventing them from taking another step forward.

"What happened?" Luna asked. She was baffled by how Izroth's HP suddenly dropped out of nowhere. She cast Cure twice on Izroth in order to bring his HP back up to full.

"The moment I stepped onto the stone pathway I received damage." Izroth explained as he lowered his arms.

"How are we supposed to get across? Even at my top speed, I would die before being able to reach the other side." Azalea said.

"Having a bit of trouble getting across?" The voice of a woman sounded from not too far away from Izroth and his group.

'Hm?'

When everyone turned to see who it was that spoke to them, they saw a woman with two male players behind her. From a glance, one could tell that the woman was a fighter class. As for the two males, one of them was a mage class, and the other was a tank class.

The woman had long purple hair that dropped down to the lower end of her back, however, it was tied up into a long ponytail. She possessed amethyst color eyes with her pupils resembling that of a dragon's and a stunning appearance that men would fawn over without end with curves in all right places.

"Allow me to introduce myself. I'm called Mirage, and I believe we both have a mutual problem that we can help one another solve." Mirage said.