As expected, Silas's bad premonition was true. A member of the Regis Clan possessed innate forbidden magic.
Unwanted memories flashed in Silas's mind from when he was only fourteen...
Houses burning, people wailing as the air was filled with a metallic smell and burnt bodies.
A silhouette of a young woman in front of a blazing tall gate was sprawled on the ground while two more silhouettes of men each holding a stave dragged her up.
The young woman turned to look at someone from behind. Her face was smeared with blood, and black soot. Her eyes were moist but no tears fell down. She smiled, and even with all the blood and soot on her face, her beautiful face radiated.
"Everything is over. But you'll be fine."
'This is not the time for this!' Silas snapped back to reality and shook his head. He took a shaky breath as he pushed the memories out of his mind.
He could not afford to get distracted. Right now, he had to focus and act wisely. Depending on the magic the woman's cousin possessed, the mercenaries of the Mercenary Hall might be in danger. If mercenaries fell one by one trying to capture this man, the one who would benefit the most was the Royal Army.
'No. Not just the army, but the whole Empire,' Silas thought through gritted teeth.
The power struggle within the Empire had gotten worse over the years. While the Conclave of the East had been a neutral faction, because of their network and dealings with other nations outside the Empire, the Royal Army had been secretly doing its best in dealing a blow to their combat and mage forces. After all, they still had an agreement with them.
And this event was a good chance for the army to cripple the Conclave's power. Apart from that, they were using the Regis Clan. Although this old noble family had been a recluse for more than a hundred years, their strength should not be taken lightly. If they managed to overcome this event, the Mercenary Hall would be implicated with the Royal Army.
How should he reply to the woman's question that would be beneficial for the Mercenary Hall
After a pause, Silas finally answered. "I probably can't if I am in the same situation. But I am not, so I really can't relate."
The woman sighed.
[You're right. Mr. Silas, I have said what I must. Please leave. If your allegiance to the Mercenary Hall meant anything to you, then heed my warning. Do not become the Royal Army's pawns.]
"Aren't you going to try and ask for my help" Silas asked, trying to gauge how the woman would react.
[Help On what]
"I may be the only one who can give you information on what is happening outside. Regarding your cousin... Well, you know the Mercenary Hall is part of the Conclave, with its network, it will be easier to track down your cousin. Besides, if the Conclave finds out about the real story behind your cousin's bounty, we may find a way to turn the situation your clan is in for the better."
The woman fell silent.
Silas was patient. He waited for the woman to think about his proposal. Of course, he hoped she was considering his proposal and not left him hanging.
After a few minutes, the woman spoke once again.
[Our Patriarch wants to talk to you. I will open the door and let you pass. But if you do anything suspicious or even think of anything malicious, the array will kill you.]
Silas was surprised. So this was the reason why the army did not pursue invading the Regis estate's inner land. The defensive array around it had such effect.
But that was unimportant right now. Finally, his questions would be answered. If things went smoothly, he could also establish an 'alliance' of some sort with the Regis Clan.
"I promise you, I only have good intentions."
[The array will be the judge of that.]
The woman responded.
Soon the hidden door that Silas failed to open made a sudden jerk.
Silas turned just in time to see the gap widen. He almost felt his jaw dropped when he saw the woman standing a few feet inside the door.
The woman seemed to be in her early twenties wearing a loose white shirt with a knee-high blue skirt. She had shoulder-length black hair and dark gray eyes. A feature that was common to a member of the Regis Family. But what surprised Silas was how beautiful the woman was.
"Let me introduce myself, I am Pheobe." The woman greeted with a smile. She stepped to the side and gestured Silas to enter, "Please enter from here and let the array search your soul."
Silas cleared his throat and nodded, "R-Right."
He entered through the door and immediately felt an invisible veil wrap around his body. A feeling of being spied on came over him, but it only lasted for a couple of seconds.
"Seems like you passed. Follow me, Mr. Silas. The Patriarch is waiting."
The door slowly closed by itself as Pheobe turned and went further inside a darkened path.
Silas took a deep breath and followed her.
'Now I just hope Gage could hold on a bit longer,' he thought, remembering that Gage was still keeping the army occupied outside.
At the Mercenary Hall.
After Kyran's visit, Celine immediately issued a locked down. She ordered all mercenaries who were inside the stadium to stay while the hall personnel fixed all the damages.
Then she reminded all mercenaries as well as all the Hall personnel to not breathe a word of what had happened until she talked to the President. After that, she told Marley to get hold of the President as soon as possible.
Now, Celine was in her office waiting for Marley's update.
Dante was also inside. He stood near her study table with a thoughtful look.
"Hall Master, why did you let that man escape" he asked carefully. He was convinced that back when Kyran was warning all the mercenaries, Celine had a chance to stop him from escaping. However, she did not make a move and even let him go.
Celine looked at him while she leaned back in her chair, "What do you think of him"
Dante frowned at the sudden unrelated question, "Hall Master"
She took a deep breath. "He did a roundabout way to tell us about the truth behind that generous bounty."
"To be honest, I just found his way of doing things annoying."
"Yes! Isn't it It was very annoying. But I vaguely feel that it was not his idea," Celine replied and crossed her arms.
"You mean someone told him what to do"
"Hm..." Celine slowly nodded her head.
She remembered how intrigued she was from Kyran's mysterious aura and even wanted to make him her new toy.
"Argh!" she suddenly stood and slammed her hands on the table.
Dante stepped back from surprise, "H-Hall Master"
Then she remembered how Kyran leaned down and whispered in her ears. Even when the situation was not good at the time, she became very excited. And his voice...
The scene from when Kyran removed his cloak flashed in her mind. She was very expectant at that time to finally see his face...
"Argh! Too young! He's too young! Why" She screamed and glared at Dante.
Black lines appeared on Dante's head as soon as he realized what Celine was thinking. Why was she concerned about the wrong things at this time
"Playing with my maiden heart like that! Too annoying!" She continued to shout.
Dante's brow twitched, 'M-Maiden...'
While Celine looked young, her real age was not a secret, especially to all mercenaries.
Dante could not help but remember Kyran's appearance. He was probably in his early twenties No, he looked even younger than that. He was a man so he really did not understand Celine's frustration.
Still, he had to admit that with Kyran's strength, any woman would be attracted to him. And when he wore a cloak to hide his appearance and age, it added to his appeal.
But to Dante, that was not his concern. From the time he found out that the man he fought was just a young man, it somehow explained why he possessed such strength.
'Well, initially I thought he was older and a veteran fighter,' he thought.
Celine sat down abruptly and took a sharp breath.
"Anyway, I did not plan on letting him escape. But when he was saying his little speech, I suddenly remembered what he whispered to me," she said.
Dante's brow twitched again, 'Now she decided to answer my question.'
"Whispered" he asked.
Celine nodded and closed her eyes, "It did not make sense at first but... I have to talk to President Callan before making a decision. You prepare as well, knowing the president's relationship with the Regis Patriarch, I am sure he will agree."
'Agree' Dante wondered but did not ask. "Yes, Hall Master."
A soft knock on the door interrupted the two and Marley's voice was heard from the other side.
"Come in," Celine replied.
Marley entered and bowed to Celine then to Dante before saying, "President Callan already replied. He said to reach him on his private channel."
"Alright, thank you. By the way, how are the repairs going" Celine asked.
"The people from the Blacksmith Order arrived half an hour ago and are still estimating how to fix the stadium's floor and wall. After they confirm it, they will meet with our mages on how they can rebuild the whole array formation."
Celine frowned, "Can't they just restore the affected part of the array formation"
"I am not sure, but from what I heard from the Order's apprentices, it seems the whole array formation was damaged."
"What" Celine was shocked.
If the whole array was damaged, that meant they had to rebuild it from the ground up. How long would that take
Marley felt Celine's apprehension so she hastily added, "I will confirm the details with the Master Blacksmith the soonest I can."
"Yes, Hall Master."
"You may leave now. Thank you, Marley."
Marley bowed again before she turned and left.
Once the door was closed, Celine and Dante exchanged glances. They did not have to voice what each of them was thinking. After hearing Marley's report, they had another affirmation of how terrible Kyran's magic was.
The whole Mercenary hall was also the whole array formation. Normally, if one part of the building was destroyed, it was easy to repair the formation and reactivate the whole defensive array.
'But to damage the whole array just by 'destroying' parts of it... Void magic, huh.' Celine sighed.
She looked at Dante and said, "I will go to my private quarters to talk to President Callan. I want you to go to the armory and tell Francis to prepare my equipment. You too, if you find anything from the armory that you believe will be helpful against his magic, tell Francis that I gave my consent for you to take it."
"Yes, Hall Master."