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 Looking at the symbol on his hand, Rhode was lost in thought.

He was familiar with the Burning Blade; it was a long-established, strong, well-loved, and well-respected mercenary group. Although they were always in the middle of leveling up and down between mercenary guild and mercenary group, it could be seen from their member turnover rate, that the Burning Blade was a very attractive mercenary group. Their leader, Hiller, was also not bad; he was very calm, brave, and smart. From what Rhode remembered, it was Hiller who brought his men, bravely trying to "bring order out of chaos." Unfortunately, they were only a single force. In the end, they still disappeared in the sea of people.

However, that would be a story told in the afterword. Now, what Rhode cared most about was whether or not the injured mercenary really was a Burning Blade mercenary group member. If he was, then why was he in such a bad condition? Since the Burning Blade was that strong, there should be nothing here in Twilight Forest that could threaten them. He even brought his own Starlight to come here for vacation. But the Burning Blade actually encountered trouble?

The first thought that flashed through his mind was that the Jade Tears that attacked the Burning Blade. However, he quickly erased the thought due to the message Old Walker had sent via the Spirit Bird. The Jade Tears weren't yet moving and didn't seem to be in a hurry either. Rhode's group looked like they had came here for vacation, but the group of people that were suppose to come kill them were actually the ones who came here for vacation. It seemed like they didn't give a sh*t about him. They were just a bunch of trash that took money without working. Indeed, a professional person wouldn't betray their own mercenary group because of money, right?

Moreover, the Burning Blade was strong; even if there were ten Jade Tears, they still couldn't be compared to the Burning Blade. So, would they even dare attack the Burning Blade? Weren't they afraid that if they offended the Burning Blade mercenary group, they might get flatten to the ground? Although the Mercenary Association had prohibited the fight, if one of the top three mercenary groups wanted to completely destroy the Jade Tears mercenary group, then even the heavenly king wouldn't be able to protect them. Frank also wasn't a fool; why would he made such a mistake?

He was holding onto the badge while thinking, but in the end, he still couldn't think of anything. According to the current situation, it might be because the Burning Blade's mercenary came here for an adventure, accidentally encountered something, and then fell from the cliff. That sounded more logical. As for what actually happened, he still needed to wait until the injured person woke up.

Rhode quickly commanded everyone to take a break. He had a bad feeling about this deep within his heart; he knew the reason why, but Rhode was still very cautious and once again contacted Old Walker via the Spirit Bird. From the news he had gotten, it seemed that the Jade Tears mercenary group still didn't have any movement.

It seemed the danger wasn't from them.

Then, where did the dangerous feeling come from?

Rhode didn't get the answer immediately as he had hoped. Although the mercenary still managed to escape death, it was only because of Lize's healing spell. According to Lize, he was still injured very badly and wouldn't be awake anytime soon. Besides waiting, there was nothing else he could do.

Of course, he could only hope that nothing bad had happened. There was already enough trouble recently.

But life was always like this; the more you wish for something not to happen, the more it will happen.

Looking at Lize who was standing before him, his head couldn't help but start hurting.

"You want to ask about Celia?"

"Yes, Mr. Rhode."

Lize tilted her head, feeling curious.

"I was really curious about the relationship between the two of you. Is she really your subordinate? And why have I never heard about it before?"

"..."

Rhode scratched his head, not knowing to answer. He was not a magician that never dated a woman before. Whenever a woman mentioned another woman, it usually wasn't good.

At first, he hoped that the other two woman would take the opportunity to stand up and help him, but he was disappointed.

Anne was sleeping on the soft grasses as always. It seemed like there was nothing in her life beside eating, drinking, and having fun. Marlene also seemed to have been infected with the same disease with Lize. Her hands were holding her cheeks while dozing off, and Rhode didn't know what she was thinking of.

In any case, there was no reinforcement.

"She really is my subordinate." Rhode really didn't lie. From another point of view, summoning spirits were indeed his subordinates. "Well... because of a lot of things that happened before, she decided to look after me and help me. It's just like that."

Rhode was very clear: when talking with a woman, he must be vague and shouldn't explain the meaning too clearly. Men were sometimes too logical and wanted to explain everything clearly. However, in a woman's opinion, that would make it seem like he was either underestimating her intelligence or else feeling guilty. Since they both weren't stupid, the matter was already obvious enough and he didn't have to explain it in details like asking her why did she have to use a skirt and such, right?

This was the difference between men and women. For men, they would need a very detailed and clear explanation even if it had happened in the past. That was why men couldn't understand why women still kept pestering them even though they had explained so clearly. However, it was different for women. Especially it was regarding another woman. Since he could even clearly remember the nail polish that she wore and the reason she came here, then if it not because he cared about the woman, why would he remember that much?

He wouldn't repeat his mistake from when he was young... It was really a life lesson.

As expected, after hearing Rhode's answer, Lize nodded. She seemed to have understood what Rhode meant.

Done.

Although she still seemed confused, she didn't continue to ask. Rhode finally felt relieved. Even though he didn't know what Lize thought about his answer, since she accepted it, he knew didn't have to continue thinking about this problem. In this world, it was happier to know less.

At this time, a painful sound echoed.

"Ugh..."

"He's awake!"

After hearing the sound, Lize quickly turned around and ran towards the tent. Rhode's expression turned serious as he followed her. When he arrived at the tent, he saw that the mercenary was gulping a lot of water right after he woke up. It looked like he almost died in the desert and finally found an oasis to satiate his thirst. Lize was sitting beside him, carefully holding the water bag to avoid any trouble.

"Ah..."

After drinking half of the water bag, the mercenary sighed deeply. After that, he turned around and look at Rhode.

"Thank you, thank you for saving me. If not for you guys, I might have already..."

"No problem, it's what we're supposed to do."

Rhode waved his hand and stopped his words. After that he stretched out his hand to hand over the badge.

"This is yours, right... I'm really curious, as a member of the Burning Blade, how could you be so badly injured here?"

"This..."

Looking at the badge, that mercenary was surprised for a moment. After that, he seemed to have remembered something and suddenly jumped up.

"That's right, we encountered an attack! Damn it!! I need to go back quickly, ah..."

But just when he woke up, he could felt an intense pain in his body. His face turned green and sweat fell from his forehead. It could be seen just how severe his injury was. Lize quickly held him and helped him lie down once more.

"You cannot move; you have suffered a very heavy injury which hasn't fully healed yet..."

"But but I cannot waste my time here. I need to quickly go back to the Mercenary Association and ask for their help... Damn it..."

"Did something happen to the Burning Blade?"

After hearing what he said, Rhode frowned. It seems like it was just as he expected. However, Rhode was still very curious. In Twilight Forest, what could injure such a strong mercenary group until they asked for the Mercenary Association for help?

"That's right, Lil-Mister."

After carefully looking at Rhode, the man quickly corrected his sentence, lest trouble befall him.

"If I remember correctly, you are the Starlight mercenary group leader, right?"

"That's right, it's me." Although the sentence from before made Rhode frown, since he managed to quickly rephrase it, Rhode would just pretend that he heard nothing. "Can you tell me what happened? If you need, I think I can help you."

"It's like this..."

After hearing until here, or maybe because he knew that he was badly injured and unable to finish his mission, he could only sigh and quickly started to explain what happened.

After the Mercenary Joint Meeting has ended, Hiller brought his mercenary group to the Twilight Forest. First, because it was on to their way back to Lightwind City, and second, because he has the same idea as Rhode. He wanted to train his subordinates. Although the prohibition was one month, as a mercenary, it was important to keep fighting from time to time.

At first, things went pretty smoothly. However, something suddenly happened, and the Burning Blade entered Wind Snake territory and was attacked. In the beginning, they didn't really care about the Wind Snake, since it was a magical creatures that was often seen. But the things that happened next were beyond their expectations, and the Wind Snakes kept increasing. When they realized it was that bad, they had already been surrounded by the Wind Snakes.

Since it was difficult to escape from that situation, Hiller decided to send a small group to break out of the Wind Snake encirclement and look for help.

However, their luck wasn't very good. No matter how weak ants are, but hundreds or even thousands of them was enough to make people die. Same goes for the Wind Snake; although they managed to break the Wind Snake encirclement, but they were still heavily injured. As the last survivor, this mercenary fell off the cliff when the Wind Snakes chased after him. Luckily, he was saved and survived.

"Encircled by the Wind Snakes?"

After hearing it, Rhode found it somewhat unbelievable. A group of Wind Snakes numbered only in the hundreds; it might be strong enough to attack a small mercenary group. But it wasn't supposed to be strong enough to attack a fully-armed mercenary group, right?

"How much do they number?"

Upon hearing this question, the mercenary that was originally calm exposed a frightened expression.

"Thousands! It's thousands of them!"

After hearing this, Rhode's heart sank.

He lifted his head to look at Lize. At this moment, she was clenching her hand as if she thought about something and glanced towards Rhode.

It seemed that they guessed it.

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