Admiring the feather once again, a delightful grin appeared on Rielon’s face. The divine presence coming from it made him believe that it could be the key for him to break through the triple S ranking. He was already on the verge of breakthrough when everything suddenly changed as those voices out of the sky declared their new ‘decrees’. It was a ridiculous thing to believe in, even from hearing it in his own mind.
To seal up every being’s potential is to change the very laws of nature itself. Even those of the rumoured divine realms do not have that sort of power. The seals made bottlenecks tighter, and stopped people from cultivating away from their home land.
He kept up his end of the bargain, giving Kairos a detailed record of everything that happened two months back.
“Everything you need is in this book. Unless, those kidnappers could travel without meeting a single beggar, thief, or woman of the night, otherwise there are nothing that could escape my notice.
Beware of your opponent though. You are far from a match against them, and I suggest you flee, even now” A grim look shadowed over him as he handed the book over.
But Kairos only replied with a resolute gaze and he took the book without hesitation.
Before they leave, the king of thieves halted Kairos then gave him small token while looking at him in the eye, “Lord Kairos, this is only the start of our wonderful business relationship. If you need my help in the future, look for anyone belonging to the undercities of the Silent Lambs and show them this token. Of course, it will come with a price, but this is the help you will need to save your brother”
When the boys left the compound, Rielon mumbled to himself, “A treasure. This feather is the real deal. Why would the immortal give them this, and just how many he has that he could give me one?”
Unknown to him of course, Kairos actually did not worry about Rielon finding out about the Zhu Que. If anything happened, he could always contact Old Ye, even from far and that would definitely resolve any problem that this ‘King’ among thieves could create.
Back in Saint City, a trade war launched by the Devilhearts family upon the Snowdrifts’ shop, has reached full force.
Headed by Calculus, many reputable suppliers started to raise the resources’ prices against them.
During the initial chaos, they could still secure materials from those that had a better relation with them, but because they had no backers, in just a short while even those few businesses started to take advantage of the situation.
Xuan Xian, who controls the flow of finance of the shop, and the 3 master artisans, found themselves at a complete loss against this giant noble house.
It was at that time that an unexpected person rise as their hope. Lyla, the mother of Jim.
She quickly took control of the situation, earning respect from everyone in the shop, and began to plan a retaliation. Living in a shrewd merchant’s house for such a long time had developed her abilities in a way no one had noticed before.
Sitting by the table at the guest room, Lyla had made the place a temporary office. Scattered notes prepared by Kairos were all over the table, all of which entrusted to her by Xuan Xian. She opened one of the pouches prepared by Kairos, numbered as ‘First’, and an impressed smile danced on her face.
“This amount of preparation. It’s like the boy could see into the future”
After Kairos looked through the notes, a shudder ran through his body. Nothing could have prepared him for who, and what, he is about to face. The royal family of Silent Lambs Empire, Phrixus.
This is a notorious family, well-known for their ownership of powerful artefacts from the immortal realms. They are difficult to deal with, and extremely arrogant towards their neighbours.
Their destructive and covetous nature had them led their Empire to subjugate the nearby free-states, until only the Saint Empire is left to defend against their expansion.
The ancient Saint Empire boasted to be a titan in their size, and under the pro-cultivator ruling of Emperor Enki, had become great enough to deter the smaller but more aggressive Silent Lambs Empire from launching an all-out war.
However, the relationship between the two empires are still volatile and small skirmishes became a daily event, to which some say are merely a test of power. And the day when Saint Empire fails this test, would be the day of conquest.
When he found out that Jones has been captured by the Phrixuses, he immediately questioned the reason behind it. From his knowledge, Jones never shown any relationship to people in power, otherwise the boy would never have ended up alone after being orphaned.
The only thing strange about all these is the fact that he has a family name—an uncommon thing except for nobles--, and additionally a middle name that is not traditions of Saint Empire.
If Jones is in fact somehow related, and running from the Phrixuses, then this kidnapping would become more explainable.
He walked to the gathering of the Snowdrifts, and then seated down with a grim look on his face.
The others quieten their discussion, and waited to hear what he has found from the records.
After a brief pause, and taking a deep breath, Kairos began with an unexpected announcement. Those that have come to aid him should return to Saint City, right away for he has decided to carry on this quest alone, or more accurately put, together with his father, Vouno.
The questions began to pour in as they are bound to. Especially his immediate team mates, who are also asked to return.
Each of them, in the Snowdrifts, are buddies that have survived death-defying battles. Especially, the 4 who had grew up together with him.
He waited for their bombardment of questions to end, hearing each one as carefully as he could. Then when they asked all that they wanted to know, and he heard as much as he could, Kairos replied to them.
“According to Rielon, the culprit to this kidnapping is none other than the Phrixus family. As you should know, they are not easy to deal with, and has shown a tendency towards wiping out their foes. Their idea of destroying their enemies will not end with merely our deaths, should we fail. But indiscriminately, also every person who are related to us.
Perhaps the borders of Saint Empire could deter a war, but their agents still reach their hands over to where they don’t belong. So, for the sake of being safe instead of sorry, all of you please return”
“Alright, I think we’ve heard you” Alan spoke up immediately, silencing the others that wanted to reply, “But the 4 of us are coming with you. You know that we cannot leave Jones alone without doing a single thing, and much less leave you to handle these by yourselves. Besides, your point is moot.
Except Jim who have a mother, and a delinquent father, to return to, the rest of us 4 have no fear of their worst”
A grave, but powerful, unyielding look are upon all the 4 of them. It was Jim that continued Alan’s pause, “You’ve already said, the Phrixus’ retaliation drags every person related. No matter you like it or not, I’m already involved”
“And, so are we”, the four team leaders, Long, John, Silvers and Sasha represented those of the Snowdrifts and spoke up, “We’re coming along no matter what, we’ve started this together, so let’s finish it together as well”
After a silent moment of thought, Kairos looked up at each of his friends, “The retaliation will be bigger when more are involved, and I don’t want to see that. But perhaps you’re right. All of you are already involved.
However, once I start moving, I have no plans to fail”
The others all nodded at his declaration. Vouno who was standing nearby saw their absolute confidence in his son. The way Kairos spoke is so much more matured than the little boy, just a few years ago, that stuck close to him and did not want him to go to work.
He would have believed that the person who spoke and have the total trust of his men, to be an aged veteran if he did not see or know it was from his son.
A gentle smile erupted on his lips, the pride of his life has blossomed into a strong young leader, loved by his friends.
“Ohhhhh!!! My son has grown up so well!! Wah!” With a sudden outburst, Vouno embraced him, laughing and crying with pride at the same time.
Then he dropped an embarrassed Kairos and smacked him soundly on his back, “Father is so proud of you. Father can stop worrying about you now”
“Gah! Owh, dad… that hurts”
The others laughed at this rare interaction, and the seriousness of their mood lightened at once.
They continued their discussion, with Kairos leading the conversation. In their young hearts, they felt that if they could trust anyone to come up with a solid plan, it would be him.
“The easy part is to trace Jones’ location, but escaping with our lives is…. nearly an impossibility. Once we retrieved Jones, we have to leave the Silent Lambs Empire very quickly. Snowdrifts, you will be the support for our escape, and I will assign each of you to an area, with a specific task. Pay attention to my signal and execute your objective.
Father, and the 4 of you, please come with me, of course.”