Eternal Dominion watched the players from either side of the battle fighting with each other behind him. As a player belonging to Luori City, he felt extremely dispirited for all his fellow mercenaries.
He had already heard from his comrades that both sides had been fighting it out with one another for the longest time. Apparently Todd was supposed to be in one of these four parties, yet in the end, after all the fighting, Todd was nowhere to be found. It was like they had planned out a monumentally grand scheme to steal the sun from the sky, yet all they stole was a matchbox, and it even turned out to be g*dd*mn empty; how could anyone bear this level of frustration?
The coalition of Luori City players were feeling precisely this particular emotion right now. Every mercenary channel quickly spread the news the moment they discovered Todd was not with this final party. Black Forefinger had also informed all his fellow mercenaries from Yunduan City who were participating in this subterfuge the moment he was defeated. The passionate fight between both sides coincidentally stopped at the same time as well, with members from both sides staring at one another, suddenly realizing how pointless this was.
Indeed, there was nothing more pointless and disheartening than finding out that what they had accomplished had been entirely meaningless.
The players from Luori City instantly felt this fight was entirely fruitless once they found out Todd was not here. On the other hand, the players from Yunduan City felt as if all the hard work they had been doing all this while was meaningless as well, since they had yet to receive the message about Todd’s safe delivery to Luori City, yet their plan to stall for time had already been exposed by the enemy.
It should not have ended so quickly! The Yunduan City players were all feeling regretful since the reason for this had been due to the sudden inclusion of Eternal War mercenary group. Oh heavens, where in the world did these bunch of b*st*rds come from! Just having one or two experts of their caliber was already unreasonable enough, but to actually have an entire mercenary group of them? Where’s the justice in that?, all the players thought with great indignation.
“If Todd’s nowhere to be found within these four parties, then where exactly is he hiding right now?” Eternal Dominion did not bother lamenting too much as he calmly continued to focus on their mission goal.
“Well...” None of his underlings could answer him.
“Anyone know?” Eternal Dominion called out, heavily hinting his willingness to reward anyone who could give him a straight answer.
No one answered.
“This is so strange. When they left that river valley, they clearly had only split up into four parties, not five!” someone wondered aloud.
“River Valley?” Eternal Dominion started. “So if he’s not here, wouldn’t that mean he’s still in the valley?”
Everyone was stunned. The more attentive players among them had instantly glanced over to the faces of those Yunduan City players to look for signs from their expressions, and they indeed noticed a row of regretful expressions the moment Eternal Dominion said that.
“Did anyone from your group split off into the valley and take a look?” Eternal Dominion asked those mercenaries from Luori City.
“Nope…” Those who replied looked ashamed, as they were embarrassed that they had actually missed such a possibility. In truth, it was not that they failed to review this option, but rather the person who did consider this possibility became selfish.
At this point of time, that selfish man had to share this piece of information as well. After he heard that the four parties outside the river valley had been taken care of and had yet to find any trace of Todd, he immediately blurted out as if he had suddenly made the realization, “I got it, he must be hiding in that valley, hoping to enter the city via the valley!”
He had no choice but to say it now. He believed that no matter how stupid his fellow mercenaries in this coalition were, they would easily make the same deduction once they believed Todd was still in the valley. If the lot of them were to rush over to the valley to check, then his scheme to intercept and kill Todd by himself would be exposed; he would have likely dyed the river red as a result. Thus, he decided to make the first move instead, messaging everyone to report his inference and quickly added, “I’m near here, I’ll lead my men into the valley! Everyone, hurry!”
He would be the only fool here if he still had designs to take this mission for himself.
Besides, he could not take it for himself even if he wanted to. This was due to the fact that even now, he had yet to even caught a glimpse of YMH and his men.
The team of Archers that he had sent in advance had been running all this while and were about to reach the very walls that surrounded Luori City, but they they had yet to find any trace of them. Meanwhile, they had came up with nothing as they made their way through the connecting path between the branches of the valley.
“Could it be that just as they ran past here, they had already made their way through before we were even here, so we had them sandwiched between us?” that mercenary leader muttered.
Southern Lone Blade furrowed his brow, as he had already felt this was a little strange.
“Brother Southern Blade, what are your thoughts on this?” It just so happened that this mercenary leader had even asked for his opinion by name. He could tell that the man had been thinking over this for quite some time, and was at a loss. Besides, now that he was no longer able to have this cake to himself, his will to fight had also dropped hugely.
“Let’s first get your men from outside to properly watch this valley. They are sure to discover them if they do appear,” Southern Lone Blade replied.
“Relax, I’ve already got my men situated around for this. They confirmed they saw no one making their way up,” that mercenary leader said.
“Then they must still be in the valley!”
“They must be!”
“Could it really have been coincidence, time and time again that led to a strange combination of circumstances that caused us to never cross paths?” Southern Lone Blade wondered.
“Some of you, continue on forward and meet up with those that headed back. If you meet them, stall for time; the rest of the guys will reach you soon enough,” the mercenary ordered, his words unable to hide how downcast he felt about this situation.
“Brother Southern Blade, let us walk through here once more!” he pointed towards the passage that connected horizontally, “Perhaps they are coming this way.”
Southern Lone Blade was a little hesitant to take up this offer; he was worried the men would not be headed in this direction. Even though he had an accord with this mercenary leader to leave that Video Mage to him, it was evident that the words of this man might not hold any weight in this current situation, now that reinforcements were coming their way. Just in case they were headed the wrong way and YMH and his men were going the other direction, he was worried that the Video Mage would have already been slain by the time he rushed over, and the heap of equipment that person would drop would naturally land in their hands as well!
But if he thought of this in another sense, he could not be in two places at one himself, so there was no way for him to head in two different directions at once, anyway. Hence, he finally decided to remain with this mercenary leader and his men after careful consideration.
That mercenary leader was no longer in high spirits like before, appearing sullen as he sighed from time to time, looking entirely listless.
Nowhere to be found! Just as Southern Lone Blade and everybody finished traversing through the gully, they could already hear the sound of footsteps pounding upon dirt from outside the valley, as the reinforcements arrive en masse at their location. The entire trip over had been very tense since the Yunduan City players had also came along looking to support YMH, thus both parties maintained their battle formations as they rushed over as fast as they could.
In such a situation, it was actually the Eternal War mercenary group that arrived first. Southern Lone Blade and the others had just stepped out from the interconnecting passage when they saw a continuous stream of players show up, fearlessly leaping down the valley and landing neatly right before them. The person taking the lead slowly got up, his hand lightly tapped his temple, counting the number of players present before laughing, “You got here really quick, Foeless!”
Southern Lone Blade had no idea who this newcomer was, but turning his head over to look, he saw the ugly look on the mercenary leader, who was staring at this man without saying a word. More and more players gathered behind him; it was clear there were a great number of Fighters among them, which clued in Southern Lone Blade to realize who these people were: the Eternal War mercenary group!
That meant this person that had come forward must be the man who was also one of the Five Unyielding Experts, Eternal Dominion? Southern Lone Blade had only heard of this man previously, and this was the first time he had actually seen this man in person, so he could not help but glance at him a few more times. Eternal Dominion was already greeting this mercenary leader with a broad smile, ignoring that stinkface he was showing.
“Have you found Todd yet?” Eternal Dominion asked.
“What are you doing here?” the mercenary leader whom Eternal Dominion had called “Foeless” evaded his question.
“Same as you, of course, we’re doing the mission!” Eternal Dominion answered cheerfully.
The mercenary leader Foeless had a clear look of distaste. This was not the first time Eternal War had tried to snatch a mercenary mission from under their noses, and by the look he was showing, he had never once been their match.
At this time, a message from the right side of the valley came through. Both teams had linked up with one another, but they had yet to locate their target.
“Nowhere as well?” Foeless was absolutely taken aback by this, gazing over at Southern Lone Blade, befuddled.
“Hmm, what’s the problem?” Eternal Dominion came forward and butted in.
“It’s none of your business,” Foeless narrowed his eyes as he whispered to Southern Lone Blade, “Nothing here either.”
Before Southern Lone Blade could say a word, Eternal Dominion had already smiled at him and said, “I don’t think I recognize this bro here!”
“I’m from Linshui City, Southern Lone Blade,” Southern Lone Blade calmly introduced himself.
“Ah!” Eternal Dominion looked extremely astonished when he learned this, gazing over at Foeless. “You guys even hired external help? You didn’t do that just directed at me, did you?”
“Hehe, that’s not the case. I’m here on personal business; I only just encountered them along the way,” Southern Lone Blade evenly explained the matter to Eternal Dominion for Foeless.
“Oh…” Eternal Dominion hummed, turning back towards Foeless, “So you were just saying, what did you discover?”
“They’ve already brought Todd out of the valley. Quick, go chase after them!” Foeless was not in the mood.
“That’s childish,” Eternal Dominion pointed his finger at Foeless and laughed, “You wanna trick me just like that? That’s too immature.”
“Seeing you guys step out from there, that probably meant you came from the right branch of the valley. In turn, this mean they are not there, nor anywhere in the connecting passage, so should I take a left here, or right?” Eternal Dominion lifted both his hands respectively as he asked.
His left was pointing towards the dead end, while his right led him back to the fork.
Logically speaking, YMH and his comrades should definitely not be in that dead end, but Southern Lone Blade and the rest had already circled the valley an entire round by now, and that dead end was the only place they had not actually been to. There was a strong possibility that was where they were right now.
Everybody heard as Foeless gritted his teeth and said, “Left and right, let’s each pick one.”
“Oh? Then where are you guys going?” Eternal Dominion let the other make the first choice.
Foeless chose the path leading towards the dead end at Southern Lone Blade’s suggestion.
“Good, very good. We’ll take that way too!” Eternal Dominion called out and led his comrades forward.
“You…” Foeless was so mad he could barely make out the words, finally yelling, “You’re clearly trying to KS us!”
“That right! Surely you already knew that? What, is this your first day meeting me? You’re so ridiculous!” Eternal Dominion turned his head to say, as he and his pack of associates swaggered in the direction of the dead end.