”Lady Kally, did you really know where we are going? ” Rowan could not help, but ask. A few hours passed by, but they were still in the woods.

”Of course, darling. It was.. Uhm, this way? ” Kalliste pointed randomly on the right. ”Just trust in big sister, okay? ” Though she had a dazzling smile on her face, she was comically crying inside. Her out of tune voice almost sold her out.

What the hell have I gotten myself into?

She quickly turned around to hide the droplets of sweat that started flowing down her face. She felt as if there were butterflies in her stomach. They gave the feeling of uneasiness.

Meanwhile, a mischievous smirk was plastered on Rowans face. The tiny star that rose in the corner of his mouth brought out a sense of playfulnesses, however, he was indifferent and combined it with the cool detachment on his eyes.

Big sister, huh? He was savoring this moment. It was refreshing to talk with someone who was not afraid of him. The first time that he felt like an ordinary boy.

He looked at the way she pointed.

But that way was a… He held his thoughts to himself. He knew this part of the forest like the back of his palm, however, he stayed silent. She was obviously lost, and he wanted to see how the girl would handle the situation that she created.

Interesting, he thought as he watched her disappeared in a distance.


A few minutes passed when they finally came to a dead end. They were now standing over the edge of a steep cliff which served as the frontier of the ocean and land. The height overlooked an enormous sea of wonder. The water was exceptionally azure under the bright rays of the sun. The surface looked as though it was covered with billions of sparking gems that was being swept away by the huge waves as they crushed on the seasoned rocks with mighty forces. All while kissing the shore of white sand with gentleness.

Though the view was breathtaking, Kalliste could not truly appreciate its beauty. Her knees suddenly gave in, and she slumped to the ground. As a seasoned veteran, she was someone who never wanted others to know her weakness or fears, for it was a huge disadvantage on the battlefield. However, on that moment of truth, the mask that she had for over a century, finally crumbled.

Perhaps because she was now a child that it became hard to suppress her emotions? She had no idea.

”Lady! Are you alright? ” Rowans heart almost skipped a beat when she suddenly fell. His hands twitched for a moment.

With a blink of an eye, he was already by her side. He immediately noticed how her small body trembled uncontrollably. With eyes wide open and rugged breath. Her vision was fixated on the ocean.

”Are you… ” Rowan stopped talking midway. Seeing the terrified expression of the girl, he immediately understood how she felt. However, he had no idea on how to lighten up the mood.

Rowan sighed, and without any second thoughts, he gently grabbed her and brought her on his embrace.

Though he offered no words of comfort, his actions was enough to calm Kalliste down.

He was also confused himself. He had never done something like this his entire life, so why would he show concern over a stranger?

It seemed that I needed to gain better outlook on life in order to see wider versions of things.

”Thank you, darling. I am better now. ” Kalliste said softly.

The latter was frozen when he heard her angelic voice. It was alluring and tantalising to the ears. As wistful as the wind, and light like a water spray. Rowan glanced at the girl. She now had a faint smile on her face.

He found himself glued on the spot as his emotionless face blossomed with crimson fire.

She rewarded him with an exquisitely stunning smile that stole the light from all the immortals and celestials in the nine heavens, causing them to be too ashamed to show themselves. Rowan instantly diverted his eyes. For some reason, he could not reciprocate her gaze.

”Come, I would show you the way out. ” Rowan diverted his thoughts as he helped her up.

”Lets go? ” As soon as he held her hands, he felt an electric wave that entered through the tips of his fingernails, and spread throughout his body. He did not mind it though, and tightly gripped her slender, silky hands. As though he was afraid to lose her one way or another.


Meanwhile, on the other side, The Order of Serpents, an infamous group of mercenaries gathered. They were lazily basking upon the glory of the forest as they waited for their leader. The area was packed with taupe brown, archaic trees. The gentle giants stood serenely, not minding the presence of the mysterious group.

Up above the tall branch, Porteur Aim was laying down as he gazed down on his colleagues. Unlike him who liked to nap, the others seemed to have their own world. His eyes, the shade of acorns, stopped when he saw Aloisia. He felt his blood rushed up to his face when he saw her. Though she had a lose, black clothing, it did not hide her burnished complexion, her nice, sculpted body got his attention even more. Long legs that accentuated her thin, tapered waist.

Porteur stared at her with dreamy eyes. She was the content of his dreams almost every night. How could he forget the first time they met. Her long, shadowy, black hair was like a silky thread as it danced with the wind. Plump lips like strawberries, and eyes like the deepest shade of the night. Though she was not talkative, Koa, her twin brother, covered up for her. They may share the same face, but their personalities were different.

Goosebumps suddenly electrified his whole body when Aloisia looked at him. Porteur froze like an idiot.

He immediately diverted his eyes away from the twins. His vision landed on the grassy side of the clearing. There, he saw Terrence Ciaom. Another member of the group. The man was busy practicing his sword skills. With every step, dry leaves and small twigs crackled beneath his feet.

”Does he ever get tired? ” Porteur asked himself.

For three years since their group was created, the only times he saw the man relaxed was when they were eating or sleeping. He was already used to the sight, however, he could not help, but admit that Terrence was the most hard working amongst them. He used to be pale and skinny, but years of hard work showed a huge difference from the Terrence of the past then at the present. His fit clothing hugged his mascular body nicely. With broad shoulders that spoke of strength and a slightly crooked nose that he probably got from years of fighting. He also used to be slightly taller than him, but now, Terrence was already a head taller than him. The most attractive part of him would probably be his eyes. They were a perfect combination of the spring sky, at the same time, the emerald giants. Even a man would be attracted to him. They held a mysterious charm that could attract anyone. Certainly a dream man for every woman.

Porteur yawned when he was hit by the gentle wind. It was followed by the orchestra of birdsongs that made him drowsy. he straightened up, ready to welcome the dreamland, with Aloisa in it.

However, it was shattered when he heard the high pitched voice of Scipione Rolid. Even if he did not saw who shouted, he was sure that it was Scipione. The loudest and craziest of their group.

”That scumbag! Of all times, he just had to scream when I almost in paradise. ” His face wrinkled. He had already mastered the arts of not giving a shit towards the others, especially someone like Scipione. However, the bastard seemed to know how to get under his skin. He once again peered down and gave Scipione an uninterested look.

Scipione stood in the middle and seemed to be talking about something, but Porteur did not care. In his eyes, the man was like a prostitute. For any amount of money, he would gladly open his legs and welcomed anything as long as he was paid. He somehow understood his actions, though. Unlike them, the man used to be a beggar when he was a child. However, the day he worshiped money and material things was the day he left his humanity for good.

Porteur rolled his eyes as he wondered how Scipione was able to glide with an athletic grace even with his Samson physique. His angular cheekbones was sculpted into shape by a talented craftsman. With sharp contour that almost looked perfect. Perhaps he could have been handsome, if not for his shoulder length cinnabar hair that was greasy and braided like a thick rope. His eyes reminded Porteur of the dark, buttered chocolate that only nobilities could afford. However, his supercilious personality made him the ugliest person that he had ever seen. All that arrogance with no grace, utterly toxic.

Porteur spat on the ground. He could never get along with someone like that.

”Sir Aim, sir Grakobuldo would be here at any moment. Why don you get down here and join us? ”

Porteurs thoughts were interrupted when he heard a gentle voice. He narrowed his eyes on the last member of the group. Lucas Palihor smiled innocently while looking at him. Those who did not know him would think that Lucas was the sheep surrounded by wolves, however, it was not the case at all. The man specialised on deception. He hid his true nature with his kind smile and gentle voice.

His most noticeable features would be his bright, chocolatey, latte brown eyes that gave away the gentleness of his features. One look and it could soothe anyone. A skill that hid his brutal nature. With a mohican cut and scythe-shaped eyebrows. An aquiline nose and high cheekbones sat above an oaken jaw. His packed shoulders and sturdy physique could not be hidden with his black and white, sleeveless tunic that reached his mid thigh.

Porteur ignored the man and scanned the small glade instead. It looked like a frozen frame that was perfecty enhanced by the rays of the sun. Suddenly, a pair of jays that screeched up high in the canopy of the tree got his attention. He quietly observed the birds. They drifted across him in a flash of white and red, as though trying to size them up. A smirk etched on his face upon seeing the furtive bird, full of suspicion.

He knew who it belonged to, however, he stayed silent. His thoughts was interrupted again when the heavy footsteps from nearby brought him out of his trance. Soon enough, Rique Grakobuldo, the mysterious leader of the group entered the scene. He had a serious look on his face as he eyed them one by one. The black tunic that was hidden underneath his old, brown cape covered his bulky physique. Another thing was the double scar on his right face. It looked like a small valley that was ripped into his flesh. A flaw in his visage that would remain there forever. A cold reminder of what he had experienced. A symbol of everything that he had lost and sacrificed in the past.

Meanwhile, Rique ran his hands through his oily hair and it stuck in clumps. The paths of his fingers had visible, snowy flakes that could be seen right down to the scalp. Perhaps it was time for a wash. After all, the cologne that he used could not mask the stench. He was also the tallest of the group, and possessed a particular charm that made his members felt safe, enough to follow him around. Like a natural born leader.

”Listen up. Today, we go for a hunt. They wanted the target back, alive. A handsome reward would be waiting for us if we completed this mission so you lots better not get any mistakes. ” His voice was deep, enough to install fear of normal people. He eyed his subordinates one by one.

”How boring. And here I thought that we were being dispatched on another country. Or better yet, hunt a wyvern on the sea, or play with a gargoyle. Anything, but that. ” Porteur once again yawned as he said these words. Though the reward was tempting, he would rather spend his days sleeping than to find someone.

”Porteur was right, boss. I would rather train than to find some missing person. ” Even Terrence Ciaom, who stopped his practice argued. As someone who dreamt of joining the Imperial Knights, he would rather spend his time training in the way of the sword.

”Say, boss. How much was the reward again? ” Scipione Rolid, grinned madly. He was like a maniac as he licked the sword on his hands. Just thinking about the handsome reward made him drooled in excitement.

”Could I take his limbs, or his arms as a reward if we found him instead of money? My collections were quite old and I required something new for my research. ” Lucas Palihor said with a gentle voice. However, the murderous glint in his eyes, as well as the wicked smile on his face brought out his true feelings. At that moment, he was like a predator, ready to devour anyone who fall for his kind smile and gentle words.

Meanwhile, the twins stayed silent. They already had a hunch about their target, however, they shut their mouth closed.

Seeing their hesitation, Rique brought out a black envelope and distributed it among the others.

”This was a highly classified information so make sure that you destroy the evidence after you read it. ”

”But, boss. Could we at least know the name of the target? ” Scipione asked. He had no intention of reading it, but the word classified information got his attention. It must be a high ranking noble, or an aristocrat.

”The third prince of this Empire, Prince Rowan Lacarus Clevario. ”

This turn of events came as a huge shock to the group. Even Porteur, who was still on the tree almost lost his balance. The twins sighed. They already knew that this day would come. Terrence only blinked twice before regaining his previous pose. Though Lucas smiled, he was already having an advanced plans on how to preserve such a precious body. His hands twitched uncontrollably with excitement as his heart pounded heavily in his chest.

It was not everyday that they got a mission to hunt a prince. Another thing, the reward was exorbitant that they could probably live for few years in luxury.

”If you all got my point, then move your assess already! We would have to separate in order to find him quicker. Let us meet when the rooster sang upon the lemon, and the sun gave in to the darkness of the moon. ”

As soon as the words escaped his lips, all of them suddenly vanished in thin air. All with a serious look on their faces. How could they resist the special code that was made for A-rank and S-rank Mercenaries?

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