The soldiers around Ayse were shocked to see such a beautifully elegant yet deadly monster right in front of them. “You…You work with monsters?!” Leopardo turned towards Nightingale, putting her in a bind.
While The Southern Star scout did warn them beforehand that Meomi could turn into a Werecat, this was still acceptable as the Therianthropy spell had been widely recognised as a pseudo cure against the rat virus. However, Nightingale had not mentioned anything about the secret organisation being affiliated with actual humanoid monsters.
“I did not know how to properly convey it in the reports because it just sounded unbelievable.” Nightingale immediately knelt down admitting her mistakes.
“Did Bison not know about it?” Leopardo questioned. The team leader should have warned him about it.
“He’s also aware of their organisation working with monsters. I had assumed that he would have informed you about it before your meeting with them since you were more likely to believe it coming from him.” Nightingale answered and Leopardo sighed.
It appeared that it was his own fault. Bison had mentioned the need to talk privately with him, but given their dire situation the Grandmaster had sent him off to gather more soldiers from the surrounding smaller towns. As the Leader of Southern Stars, he had read through the reports briefly, yet it had been enough to convince him that Jin’s organisation was just amazing by itself.
“Do you have a problem working with us monsters? If so, allow me to call off my comrade who is prepared to risk his life to protect you and we shall all leave your Southern Capital be.” With that one sentence, Ayse had practically robbed them of any real choice on the matter. “By the way, don’t even think of backstabbing us. If one of your men dares to attack any of us, I will personally assist the Phoenix in obliterating your entire Southern Capita instead of helping you.” Ayse threatened Leopardo, since his soldiers had immediately directed their spears towards her at the first mention of her being a monster.
“Is that why you did not wish to work with us in the first place? Because you are a beast monster?” Leopardo asked her directly. “Then why do you fight against the Demon Rats instead of joining them?”
“Have you ever considered that we ‘beast’ monsters have our personal lives too? That not all of us are the same, just like not all of you humans are completely good or bad? It might surprise you, but we generally do not wish to get involved in your petty games.” Ayse replied. “Phoenixes are supposed to be solitary creatures, known for avoiding mankind at all costs, yet now one is flying right here… Do you really want us to believe that this one’s merely bored? Confess! What have you done that caused it to gather such a massive horde against your Capital City?!”
“We have no -” Before he had a chance to deny anything, a thunderbolt from the sky struck him down, forcing him onto his knees. “I can do this all day. The more you try to deceit this pair of eyes, the more you will suffer. Although I’ve been told to avert the incoming disaster, I will not hesitate to strike you down.” Ayse met the angry stares at the soldiers. “And that includes all of you.”
“I already have my own suspicions of what is really going on and if those are true it does not look good for you. Either you speak up now, admitting the real situation and we can try to remedy it by defending you bunch of pricks or I shall assist the Phoenix in its path of vengeance.” Ayse stated with a sort of hardened temper in her, ready to strike Leopardo once more.
“Enough! We don’t have time to waste. Fine, I admit that our leader, Saberteeth had stumbled across a pair of eggs during his last expedition to calm the volcanoes further south. With the loss of our Scholar, Saberteeth had been trying his best to fulfil that role to avert any major catastrophes. Those eggs had looked amazingly beautiful reminding him of pearls from the ocean. He had no idea what exactly they were but he imagined that whatever was inside of them, if we could tame one of those creatures, it might help us in the defence against possible threats. It was only once he returned to check the Grand Library did he realise that the eggs he had stolen belonged to a Seven Oceans Phoenix. All the more we found out that we struck gold because of its miraculous dung.” Leopardo explained. “So, I am guessing the one flying towards us must be the mother who wants her eggs back.”
“Then where are the eggs being hidden?” Meomi now also turned aggressive and pointed her gunblade towards Leopardo’s throat.
“I’ve already satisfied your curiosity more than enough. Either you can help us, or I ask you to get out of our way. That Phoenix might significantly destroy our capital but it won’t be able to exterminate our collective. Even my life is just a small price to pay for it. We will simply rebuild again with their bones and feathers as part of our foundation.” Leopardo replied sounding like a man with nothing more to lose, despite Meomi pushing her gunblade closer on to Leopardo’s neck.
“My my. Ladies, you do know that you just have to call me out, right? Killing him won’t be fun nor will it help our cause at all.” A Shadow Portal appeared and a familiar voice sounded out.
Kraft grabbed the fallen Interim Leader by the back and put his hand on top of his head. Only unlike with the dungeon supplier, the pulling of information from Leopardo was an extremely painful process. He struggled to pull Kraft’s hand away since he could feel the other party pull his mind apart like a person rapidly pulling the tapes out of a cassette and leaving it to dangle once the deed was done.
“Heh. As expected. It seems his memory is incomplete, someone must have fizzled it via magic. I believe that leader he trusted so much also fuddled with his mind as a safety precaution. There are indeed at least two eggs. One of them appears to have been deliberately broken or maybe it had hatched, but had died a terrible death soon after.” Kraft analysed. “I will get Tinda to follow the leads which might lead to that egg as a confirmation while Narris will pursue the possibility of there being another intact egg.”
“So does that mean that the second egg is a diversion to the egg they kept hidden?” Meomi questioned and Kraft could only say that was an assumption based on his memories. It made Meomi furious as she used the hilt of her gunblade and knocked him out. But Leopardo, still a veteran combatant stopped her movement and blocked the attack. The Devil Fox was however surprised he was still able to move despite having his mind torn and literally pushed him down with his chi.
Some of the soldiers got a bit restless but Ayse’s glare and the thunderbolt raining down next to their feet were enough to keep them away for the moment except for two Black Cloaks who had enough of this charade and charged towards them. As brave as they were, a direct hit from a bolt of electricity, downed them immediately, paralysing before they could do any damage. Ayse’s electrical barrier blocked a salvo of incoming arrows and burned them into ashes.
“You were going to let your entire capital die just for an egg?! Are you mad?!” Meomi asked and Leopardo bided his time to strike opportunistically when he felt that Meomi lowered her guard. However, he had not taken into account that Kraft the crafty fox was formidable in his own right and he shot his No Mercy at his legs. To Ayse and Meomi’s surprise, it was some sort of glue shot instead of a proper shot. They both looked up, hardly able to believe that Kraft could be this compassionate.
“Why are you so simple minded? If I kill him, it defeats the purpose of this operation.” Kraft shrugged his shoulders. “Because of a few rotten people, they will allow a massacre to take place between the monsters and humans. As much as I like bloodshed, I do not appreciate meaningless ones.”
“Well, thank goodness Qiu Yue did not agree to help this bastard,” Meomi said as she stared at Nightingale for a moment before diverting her eyes away to the battlefield. “At the very least, we will be helping those monsters to find ‘peace’ more than these humans.”
“That I can agree with.” Ayse nodded her head and went towards Leopardo. She stepped on his chest and pushed it down so that it felt as if it was going to pierce through the chainmail armour he was wearing. “Listen you prick. We are going to save your people and once that is done, you are going to owe us one hell of a favour. Don’t think we will do this as charity work!”
“That’s fucking blackmail!” Leopardo coughed.
“That’s the whole fucking point.” Kraft chuckled as he pulled out a piece of paper and brought it near Leopardo’s finger which he later pricked for blood to ooze out. The paper lit up before disappearing and Kraft thanked the two ladies before disappearing. “That was quite fun. Now I will leave the rest in your capable hand, ladies.”
“Thanks again.” Ayse waved him goodbye and without warning, she jumped into the grey thunderous skies and disappeared. Meomi on the other hand demanded Leopardo to send an emergency missive to the entire wall, announcing their cooperation with Jin’s minions.
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