"Master, something's not right." Celia came to Rhode's side and softly said. "I feel like someone is observing us. I think that we shouldn't focus just on the front; we also need to watch our backs."
Rhode answered while putting on an act. Actually, he had already discovered the Druid that was hiding by the wall. The Druid's techniques were able to trick the mercenaries, but they wouldn't work with Rhode at all. Rhode pretended to be unaware and purposely wandered near the Druid while exposing his back. Even though the Druid was able to camouflage perfectly, but he was still a human with a soul, after all. Although it was only for a short instant, Rhode was able to sense the malicious intents from the Druid. In fact, this Druid's 'brave battles' had attracted Rhode's attention previously. Even though Rhode easily killed a few of them, his end goal was to snatch this Druid's life. Rhode knew what the Druid was plotting since he didn't escape or attack foolishly.
It was due to this reason that Rhode had a clear understanding of the Druid's mentality and actions. Obviously, this Druid held a huge resentment toward Rhode and his men. To stay around after witnessing the deaths of his own kind showed his determination. Previously, the purpose of Rhode and Gillian giving a two-man comical show before this camouflaged Druid was to anger him. However, even though Rhode thought what they said was enough to trigger some actions from the Druid, there were still no movement. This proved that the Druid not only had a determined mentality, but that he was also calm. If not, the Druid would have already seized the opportunity to strike after Rhode when his back was turned.
Gillian and Rhode's thoughts were interlinked, so they knew what this Druid was plotting. On the other hand, Celia was a little more dim-witted. Although she felt that someone was indeed hiding by the sides, she didn't understand the situation as much.
Suddenly, a crisp sound was heard. Everyone lifted their heads toward the source of the sound anxiously. A piece of gravel had fallen off the wall and smashed into several pieces upon landing.
Not bad. He knows how to attract attention. There's a bright future ahead of him.
Although Rhode thought this in his mind, his expression didn't change at all. Instead, he drew his sword.
"Everyone be careful!"
Rhode came to an abrupt halt as though he had discovered something.
"Beware of your left!! Take note in your defense!!"
Suddenly, a figure from the left wall darted out. It dashed toward the mercenaries along the wind.
The mercenaries quickly reacted, but the attacker was too quick for them. They subconsciously dodged and baited the attacker into their group in order to surround it.
The Druid missed.
The Druid had no choices left. After the mercenaries dodged his attack, he remained calm as his target wasn't the mercenaries.
The Druid let out a bellow and supported himself with his left hand on the ground while half kneeling. Suddenly, dozens of thorns shot out from the ground in all directions.
Fortunately, the mercenaries dodged in time and no one was injured. However, it was almost a tragedy for the Ophenians. It was nothing for the mercenaries who were experienced in facing such ambushes, but it would mean their lives for the researchers. Although the researchers had experience living in the wild, it was totally different when it came to battling.
In an instant, the Ophenians fell to the ground and three to five of them were struck by the stone thorns. Coincidentally, two of them were carrying heavy bags and their contents scattered all around. The already fragile slab carved with essential details were smashed into pieces as they crashed into the ground.
"Go, protect the rest."
Rhode commanded. The mercenaries quickly gathered the remaining researchers behind them. Then, they didn't dare move an inch as the Druid stood before them with an Ophenian's neck in each hand.
This was the Druid's plan. Since the sneaky attack didn't work, he could only take advantage of the situation.
However, the Druid didn't expect that Rhode had been observing his movements and was also waiting for him to reveal himself. In the end, he had no choice but to grab two of them as hostages.
Time seemed to have frozen at this instant.
Rhode said with a gloomy face and a deep, angry tone. Although he was actually thrilled, he had to continue with his act. Of course, Rhode didn't want the Ophenian researchers to find out his plans.
The Druid let out a grim laughter.
"Why must I let them off? How would people like you who only know how to destroy out forest even understand our feelings?! This is revenge! An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. You people killed my companions and now I will let you understand the pain!
"If you have maybe a little intelligence, you should know that they're the ones who attacked us first."
Normally, Rhode would have attacked by now. However, he chose to calmly negotiate with the other party.
"If they didn't attack us, why would we need to kill them?"
"It's only right that you people receive your punishment!"
The Druid snarled. Along with his movements, the researchers that were choked by the neck let out a horrified shriek.
"Anyone who protects the Yellow Warbler is the biggest blasphemy to nature's god!"
Protects the Yellow Warbler?
Rhode was taken aback.
So... That's why.
"It's possible if you want me to release them. Give me the Yellow Warbler in exchange!"
"I don't think that's necessary."
Before the Druid could finish his sentence, Rhode's voice sounded so close to him. The Druid frightenedly widened his eyes as he didn't know when Rhode had arrived before him. What came after was pain in both of his arms; his wrists trembled in intense pain. The palms on his wrists were gone.
"Thanks for the help, but your work ends here."
A scarlet red radiance flashed.
The Druid felt his entire world flip and he flew off to the attack. As he heard Rhode's words, the last thing that he saw was his own headless body collapsing.
What did he mean?
The Druid had no more chances to understand the real meaning behind Rhode's words, because, at this moment, the endless darkness had consumed him.