Sol's companions crowded around him to catch a glimpse at the content. Even though Sol was the most steady person in the entire group, he appeared seemingly to be struck heavily by a large hammer on the back of his head and couldn't differentiate between coordinates. However, he forcefully sucked in a deep breath to calm himself down and shook his puzzled head.
"I don't know, but the stamp on it looks real. The other party wants us to join and fight for him. As a reward, he will permit us to have our own homes in the Land of Atonement and guarantees that we will not be persecuted there..."
"Let me take a look."
The red-haired young lady took over the letter and the crowd shifted to her side to listen attentively. "... As the overlord of Paphield, I invite everyone to my territory in the name of the overlord. If you are willing, I believe that we will have a great time working together. I need your strength as Half-Demons to fight for me. As a reward, I will accord you the privileges of residing in the Fortress of my Land of Atonement. You will live as an official civilian of the Munn Kingdom. I understand your predicament, and I guarantee that none of you will be mistreated in my territory..."
The bustling broken hall gradually quietened to a silence as the red-haired young lady read aloud while the ice-cold wind whizzed. "... As keepsake, I have included this badge. If you are willing to visit my Land of Atonement, head to the Fishermen Tavern in Black Fin Coast. I've prepared chariots there and as long as you flash this badge, the chariots will transport you to the Land of Atonement and there won't be any obstructions along the way. I sincerely look forward to your arrival. Grenbell Overlord, Rhode Alander..."
The red-haired young lady lifted her head and turned to Sol. The latter took the letter over from her and slid the hard object out of the envelope. A badge in the shape of a four-pointed star emanating faint magical radiance landed on his hand. Sol gazed with a complicated glint and the others broke the silence.
"What should we do? What do you guys think?"
"Why does this sound like a trap to me? Is the Grenbell overlord really that kind? We're Half-Demons! Aren't they afraid that the Church will reproach them for offering shelter to us?"
"I feel that it's strange too... The overlord wouldn't be thinking of sacrificing us for some mysterious and terrifying rituals, right...?"
"How is that possible? That guy's an overlord and Munn Kingdom's overlords are recognized by Royal Highness Lydia. If they were to carry out some evil rituals, how would Lydia allow them to? Besides, since the overlord appeared to be sincere in his invitation, I don't see anything wrong with us trying it out."
"But the Land of Atonement isn't near and it's winter now. Even if we move out tomorrow, we will need several days to reach there. I heard that the Land of Atonement is by the borders of the Munn Kingdom, so wouldn't that be dangerous?"
"You're such an idiot. The letter clearly stated that the overlord needs our strength for battle, so why would he need our help if it isn't a dangerous place? Do you think that the military troops under the overlord are just for show? Surely there must be some dangers around for him to accept us. Can you use your brains?"
"I think... There's no harm in us trying. Since the other party appears sincere in inviting us, we might have a chance to break away from this nomadic life, isn't it? Didn't we escape all the way from the Country of Light for this opportunity? I don't care what you guys think, but I'm definitely going!"
"What if it's a trap? Aren't you afraid? Besides, if he just wants to make use of us..."
"What has that got to do with anything? Even if the situation gets worse, it won't be much worse than now, right? We will at most die and finally free ourselves."
The remaining group pondered in silence. Indeed. Just as their companions had mentioned, how bad could the situation turn? They had inherited the powerful strength of the Demons, but it didn't bring them any benefits at all. Their strange appearance scared everyone wherever they went and they had to sneak around like thieves even when purchasing food. Humans weren't willing to get along with them and were afraid to be seen as the believers of the Demon. If this group of Half-Demons didn't rescue this honest old man from the hands of the Cultists, perhaps he wouldn't be willing to help them.
However, they knew that they couldn't move forward relying on such kindness. Perhaps they might change the opinions of one or two people, but they couldn't alter the opinions of most people. It was this reason that the members of the Demon Hunter Squad was mentally exhausted. They felt that they were going against a massive, invisible fate and couldn't resist and overthrow it no matter how hard they tried. Some of them even considered leaving the territory of the Country of Light once and for all to seek shelter in the Country of Darkness. Although the Country of Darkness wasn't all that nice in treating Humans, the Half-Demons weren't fully Humans already, after all.
Under such a predicament, this letter that came from the Land of Atonement sparked their hopes. They didn't know if this was a request from heaven or enticement from hell. In an instant, tongues were wagging in the group, but no one could convince anybody. Although all of them suffered from persecution and gathered together as a result, their opinions weren't aligned at all. Some of them had enough of the torturous days of banishment and wandering aimlessly in their lives, which was why they were determined to take the risk. However, some were worried that it would be a trap to bait them into another conspiracy.
"Brother Sol, we'll leave it to you to make a decision."
In the end, the group failed to come to a conclusion. Therefore, they shifted their gaze to Sol who was pondering in silence. However, before Sol voiced out his opinion, the red-haired young lady beside him let out a cough. After making sure she had captured everyone's attention, she continued.
"Overlord of Grenbell... I've heard about him. He's the popular Mercenary Overlord, eh?"
"Now that you've mentioned..."
"It's indeed him..."
The title of 'Mercenary Overlord' instantly reminded them. Even though they hadn't been to the Munn Kingdom for a long time, they did hear about Rhode's famous name, especially the rumors spreading among the mercenaries. He led a mercenary group with insufficient members to guild status and also became a noble overlord, which sounded too 'encouraging' for the mercenaries. Various rumors about him had been spreading and even the Demon Hunter Squad which normally didn't interact with Humans had also heard about this 'Mercenary Overlord'.
The group had a mix of complicated emotions. An overlord born from a mercenary was much easier to approach than pure nobles. However, rumor has it that this overlord wasn't one to mess with. He was considered a public enemy of the South, but on the contrary, Northerners were singing praises for him. But no matter which side it was, there were still worrying signs in the evaluation of the 'Mercenary Overlord'. All in all, he didn't seem to be a kind-hearted man.
Sol lifted his head and gazed at his companions. He sucked in a deep breath and continued.
"We shall head to the Land of Atonement... No matter what he wants us to do, this is our only chance, after all."
"But Brother Sol, that man doesn't seem to be a nice person..."
"It is this reason that we must head over all the more."
The group jumped back in surprise because why would Sol take the risk despite knowing the dangers? Sol let out a bitter laugh and spread his arms apart.
"You see. Since even we know that the evaluations of this overlord aren't great, I'm sure he knows about it too. We naturally will be on the alert after hearing the rumors and since he still invited us, it proves that he isn't helping us out of sympathy. Instead, he truly needs our strength. The letter clearly indicated that he needs the strength of us, Half-Demons, to fight for him, so there surely won't be easy battles in future. This isn't giving alms to the poor, but rather a business transaction. We contribute with our strength and he gives us a shelter where we can fit in. I think that's a fair exchange. So I've decided to head into the Land of Atonement. No matter what, this is our only chance left."
The group pondered in silence, but eventually nodded in agreement. However... Some of them were still concerned.
"I don't really trust that overlord. It's understandable that he welcomes us, but he guarantees that we wouldn't be discriminated in the Land of Atonement... This sounds more like boasting to me."
Although the group was dubious, they were clear that they had no other choices left.