Back in Saint City.
On the table, which Lyla has converted into her work desk, an un-rolled slip of paper have the words: You’ll face a shortage of materials. Wait for 3 days and open the second pouch.
She had done as the paper slip asked and waited. During those 3 days, all the merchants that stopped supplying the Snowdrifts shop were paid a visit by the tax collectors of the local magistrate office.
Their charge, on Serge’s account, is ‘the wilful manipulation of prices’ and ‘attempted monopoly of markets’. Price manipulation and taking monopoly of a trade is in fact not an illegal crime, but instead warrants the governors to tax those merchants for any profits made that way.
Of course, things never go innocently when tax collectors are involved. Whether the profit is made from their plans, or not, everything is found taxable by Serge’s eyes.
Soon, the all the suppliers are driven into a panic. Those that had no relations with the Devilhearts were the first to pull out. Returning to the same price, or even lower, to sell their materials to the Snowdrifts shop.
And immediately, the tax collection at their places ceased.
Those suppliers that have a good relationship with the Devilheart family, started pleading the latter to relieve them of the price changes. And after 3 whole days of pressuring, Calculus finally gave in, grudgingly.
At that time, Lyla opened the second pouch as instructed.
Within the slip is an even odder message: Sell away a frost and fire runic weapon to the Devilheart family. Wait 7 days and open the third pouch.
Their mission started immediately. A few black shadows flitted towards the wall of the palace where the royal dungeon is near to. To enter the palace, they need to cross the exterior walls and go undetected by the palace guards. The thief that was with them, brought them to a place to wait, and then disappeared back into the shadows.
They started counting down within their hearts, estimating the time needed for the patrols to change shift, and make that blind spot appear.
Time went by excruciatingly slow. And without them looking, the first patrol team finally walked to the side of the compound to hand over to the second patrol. They marked off the names of those who finished, and wrote down who is in charge now. If anything goes wrong during this time, the heads of every member in the second patrol will also go wrong.
At this time, hidden from view in a waterway, the thief that came with Kairos made a few seals with his hands and chanted, “Darkness to conceal, and light for mirages. Come, my shadow clone!”
A dark figure that looked similar to the thief but completely insubstantial appeared by his summon, and it obediently awaited his commands.
“Go!” The thief sent it with a wave of his u hand, and the shadow clone disappeared only to materialise on top of the tall palace wall.
It jumped in undetected, heading swiftly towards the royal dungeon. Then at the exact moment where the patrols were busy handing over, it tried to run pass the only blind spot that would occur in that situation. Of course, the patrol leader is standing in attention as their lookout, and he saw the shadow that tried to bypass him.
“Halt! Who goes there?” A great yell alarmed the other guards in the nearby guard post.
They picked up their weapons and went to chase the shadow clone that is fading away even now. As the others went to give chase, the patrol leader continued as the lookout instead of being drawn away.
If Kairos and the others arrived, they will surely be caught. But fortunately, due to their soul perception, the boys did not give away their position. Next to them, Vouno also started doing a few seals with his hands.
“Father, you don’t even need to use those seals”
“It’s more fun this way, bwahaha!” He laughed then released another shadow clone, an exact replica of what the thief did. Then this clone followed Vouno’s instructions and tried to sneak in.
“HAH! You tried to outsmart me you knave! I’ll have you know, I’m too clever for you. WAIT, do not run…” The patrol leader shouted when he saw the second clone dashing towards him like a shadow, then rapidly changing directions after being spotted.
He left the dungeon entrance unmanned, and gave chase immediately, having no more personnel to send after the intruder.
With this opening, the group quickly went in, and at the dungeon door left a small pack of explosive before continuing in. A quick search immediately led them to the discovery of Jones’ location. It wasn’t too difficult to find, being the only prison cell with two guards by the door.
A dim-witted looking man along with his extremely frustrated looking partner. The two guards turned and looked at Kairos’ 6 men group and shock ran across their visage, then their hands flew to their hoisted weapons.
“Something is off” Kairos warned immediately, his instincts set off like bells in his head, and they took a step backwards, “Northern sword formation, Variation 3. Northern Sword Saints Array”
The others became surprised at Kairos’ decision, even Vouno who already learned of the prowess of his formations.
The 3rd variation of the Northern Sword can be considered as a martial art on its own. They trusted in his instinct and quickly gathered into position just as the first guard charged at them.
The one that were looking frustrated now struck at them with a powerful force behind his blade. In his mind, he rather a good fight than to put up with his imbecile companion any long, but being merely C rank he was quickly repelled and stabbed through his stomach by Kairos.
With a kick to free his weapon, the boy sent the man flying across the room after drawing blood, surprising his own group at his coolness.
“Don’t lose focus” He chided his friends and his father. They immediately focused on hand and looked at the left-over guard who had not moved from his position. By now they have realised that this person is the one that made Kairos wary and they immediately unleash the fullness of their strength.
From Mid C rank, each of them quickly jumped to B rank, and then after a while Peak B ranked. Kairos, because of his unique compatibility with the Origin cultivation method became the only one that gained the power of A rank, though not truly at that ranked yet, he did not gain the instinct to hover on the air for a short period of time.
“Hahahahaha!!” The dim-witted looking guard suddenly laughed and slapped his knee, like he was watching a great show. His laughter turned into a snicker, and then a sneer, then when he looked up once again and stared at them, he seemed to have undergone a complete change.
He no longer gives off a feeling of being incompetent and slow-witted, but instead seemed like a hunter that finally cornered his prey, “Impressive, incredibly impressive. All these C ranked tools that stood beside me had not noticed, but you appear to identify what I am hiding almost immediately. Let me guess, you are Kairos, am I right?”
Their group is right now using an advance technique of disguising themselves, but it did not seem to fool this guard before them.
A complete silence was the only reply he received, but he only continued sneering, “Tell me how did you know I was faking my rank?” he asked with both curiosity and a hint of the violence he is intending to bring.
The guys in the formation started undulating razor sharp sword Ki. This Ki is not directly from each of them, especially since none of them are actually swordsmen, it is instead formed from their internal energy powering the array they are in and transforming into a refined sword.
Unlike normal Ki, Sword Ki has a kind of edge within it that could slice apart anything that touches it. With its domineering strength, it made swordsmanship a popular art that allows a weaker amount of Ki to successfully clash against a stronger force.
When Kairos instructed them to get into this formation, he is hinting them that they are weaker than the foe before them.
Sensing their caution and fighting intention, the last guard instead felt a great enjoyment, and then he slightly bowed towards them, “Nice to meet you. My name is Syriong, and I am the guardian of the realm”
When he finished his words, he stopped hiding his true ability, and they finally realised his level.