The Hall that used to be magnificent was now in ruins. Two people were standing in the center of what now remained of the Hall. They were both glaring at each other, but only one of them was injured after their confrontation.
Mervin’s left side of the body was entirely covered in blood, and a gashing wound was open on his shoulder. The men waiting behind him were already by his side now. Their Auras were menacing, but it was not enough to intimidate this enemy.
However, the plan of his enemy had already failed, and the longer he would stay here would draw the attention of people who could take advantage of this situation to reap the rewards.
“I hope to see you again, Lord Mervin. Don’t die on their hands.” The man said as he felt people approaching this place.
He gestured to the cloaked person behind him and they both vanished from the place leaving behind only sparks of Blue Lightning.
Mervin fell on his knees and panted. He had never felt so close to death in his entire life. That man was an Overlord of Battles. He was already lucky enough to have survived the assassination attempt, and now he had almost no strength left.
“I think we should return to the Ianserk Valley,” Selena suggested. Her face was pale with fear.
“No.” Mervin stood back on his feet and controlled his breath. “If we leave now then Yuren will fall in their hands, and who knows what would happen after that.” He needed that Dryad and just couldn’t let anyone else get their hands on her.
Mervin had already waited for 10 thousand years for the day Yuren would appear in front of him. And the day was so close now.
“Mervin, I understand what you are thinking but we must go there now.” She said solemnly. “It was Thunder Crazed Laurent just now. We were lucky that some people approached this place or if his sister had joined in the fray, we were dead. Do you understand that?”
Mervin clenched his fists as he remembered how helpless he felt in front of the man he faced just now. And now he was even more determined to get his hands on the Dryad as soon as possible.
“You should leave the court and return to the Valley.” He said after he thought for a while. “If anything happens to me, reveal the truth to the world.”
Selena could only sigh at his decision. She knew that no matter how hard she would try to persuade him, he wouldn’t give up this opportunity.
“Alright, I will return to the Valley before dawn.” She said. “Let’s get out of here now. You won’t survive if you are attacked in this condition.”
The destruction of the Ianserk court last night had alarmed the entire Star. The other Elven courts had asked for an explanation. After learning that it was Thunder Crazed Laurent, none of the Royal Courts offered to help. Laurent had called it a personal Vendetta against Mervin Ianserk and his Wife. Of course, only a few people knew that he was after the Dagger and for some fun. He was famous for his eccentric behavior.
Mervin had gone into hiding and had not explained as to what he had to do with Laurent and with the man named Yuren. With the reward he had put on, two groups were formed. First were those that needed the Vial of Dew of Life for themselves or someone of their organization or family. The second group was of those people that had no use for the Dew of Life and coveted the dagger instead.
Yuren’s whereabouts were still unknown.
Aizen’s group stood outside the ruined Ianserk Court. They had all dressed up in similar cloaks and masks. This helped them deter people that were also present here. No one wanted to mess with a group of 6 people when they had no idea how powerful the people behind those masks were.
Irina observed the surroundings and then closed her eyes to use her Clairvoyance. She could already see through all the secret passages and hidden rooms inside the court. They were here not for Mervin’s whereabouts but Selena’s. She needed to be taken out before taking action against Mervin or else their efforts will be for naught, and the war will ensue.
She opened her eyes after a while and nodded to them.
“There’s a secret underground passage that leads to the Northern Woods. Mervin is there with a dozen people inside a very strong Illusion. His wife is not with him.” She told what she had seen. She had already drained her mana to find Mervin’s location and needed to get some rest as her head hurt. “There are no leads to her location. I can’t search for her from here.”
“She must have returned to the hidden abode of the Ianserk Clan,” Aaron concluded.
“Should we go after Mervin then?” Alexa asked.
“No,” Aizen said and thought for a while. “We need to take care of Selena before we act against Mervin.”
“How are we going to do that? If she’s really inside the Clan, then we cannot enter there even if we find the place. That would be committing suicide.” Alexa said worriedly.
“We must lure her out,” Keira said.
“It’s better to let her stay there.” Aizen thought for a while and said. “Keira, Irina, can you find the Ianserk Clan’s location?”
Irina and Keira were quite surprised when they heard this. Alexa hadn’t said wrong, entering the Clan was akin to committing suicide. And if Aizen was planning on this, then it was not a good plan.
“What’s your plan?” Keira thought for a while and didn’t reject his words.
“We will make the Ianserk Clan give us Selena. The clans stay hidden for a reason, and once their location is announced to the world, they would be in grave danger. Those old men that have abstained from the worldly affairs would rather give us Selena than to face being targeted by the world.”
“But it’s not going to be easy for us to find that Place. No one has ever found it.” Keira said with concern.
“If we force Mervin to go there in haste, would you be able to track where he might go?” Aizen asked Irina.
“I can try.” She wasn’t sure but she had some confidence.
“So we are finally paying a visit to Mervin?” Aaron chuckled as he asked.
“Yes.” Aizen grinned. “But it won’t be just us.”
They all returned to the Inn and sent a message to Walden, asking him to forward it to the people who were present in Gathering for the dagger. They waited to receive the confirmation from him as they readied themselves for the battle.
Early in the evening, after their message had been forwarded successfully, Aizen opened the space channel and brought them not far away from where Mervin was hiding. This part of the woods was covered in an illusion making it a maze.
Mervin was hiding at the center of the maze inside a giant tree, and there was no path to reach him once someone stepped into this illusion. But this was all futile before Irina who had seen through it all and showed them the path that didn’t trigger the illusion.
They were all already covered in Aizen’s darkness that helped them stay undetected by Mervin and his people. They carefully sneaked their way in and arrived at a couple of thousand meters away from their targets.
According to Irina’s intel, there were 9 people at the peak of Ancestral Strength and 4 who were in the early False Origin phase that guarded the surroundings of the giant tree. Other than them there were 2 people at the peak of Royal strength, that stayed beside Mervin and maintained the Illusion.
Mervin was completely healed now and he was someone who was at the peak of False Origin. It was good that they weren’t here to fight to the death with him. All they needed to do was to get rid of his lackeys and force him to return to the Ianserk Valley.
The message they had sent earlier contained the coordinates of this place, and soon people would be arriving here to confirm the information.
Aizen stayed back with Irina to protect her as she kept a lookout for the people that would soon arrive here. She was also keeping a close look at Mervin. The drain on mana didn’t take away the strength of the person, but it did leave a heavy load on the mind. She wouldn’t be able to fight and focus on her clairvoyance at the same time.
Keira was the first to run into the enemy hideout. She vanished from her place leaving behind only sparks of purple lightning, and not soon after was heard the last cry of a man. The enemies were alarmed as they all rushed towards Keira. Then Aaron and Alexa came in from the flanks and dealt with the people in Ancestral Strength. It was just like 3 lions barging inside the herd of sheep.
Lysaria served as a decoy as she kept too many people from crowding on Alexa and Aaron. She battled with her Axes in a valiant and calculated style that made it difficult for the enemies to approach her.
Keira alone was fighting the 4 in the early stage of False Origin. Their battle was not of weapons but the elements. Fire and water chased after her, but she was too fast to even catch with the eyes. Her two short swords were coated in her Purple lightning as she cut through the wooden element and approached its wielder. The fourth man built a wall mud just as she approached her target. The ground beneath her feet tore open and she had to fly in the air where the clouds of fire awaited her.
A smile crept on her face as she confirmed the distance between her and her allies. She had already brought her targets to the desired distance away from the rest.
Aizen stood in a daze as he heard the ripping of air and watched the rain of lighting in the distance. It was a beautiful cage of death. Those four had been stunned inside the rain, and the next moment they silently fell in the abyss of death. What remained of the place was a distorted and charred land and surrounding trees that were on fire.
Keira had already used some considerable strength with this technique but she still had enough to keep off Mervin if he decided to join the fray. She came back and stood by Aizen’s side. Aizen nodded to Aaron and the rest as they kept fighting.
After a few minutes, Lysaria had enough of stalling people for the time. She channeled her strength and the ground beneath the feet of her enemies shivered. Alexa and Aaron gathered by her side, and they all utilized their earth element.
Unfortunately, only False-Origin and above could fly, unless they had wind as their element or had wings. The rest of the enemies couldn’t even take time to use their elements to protect them. The ground greedily pulled them in it and rendered their all movements. They were soon inside the earthen coffins where they couldn’t even take their last breaths. Their bodies were silently crushed under the immense gravitational strength of the earth.
Mervin still stood by the side of those two illusionists, but Irina had already seen him running deeper inside the woods. What stood by those two illusionists was only an Illusion.
All of them gathered back together as Irina kept an eye on Mervin who was on the run. They didn’t chase after him and let him escape. People had already arrived nearby and were watching them.
The stalemate lasted for a few minutes before a hand emerged from inside Mervin’s chest, and the illusion evaporated. The Man killed off the two illusionists in rage before looking at Aizen’s group as if they had cheated him.
But soon after, the man behind him told something, and they chased in the direction Mervin had gone to.
Irina opened her eyes and nodded to the rest. It was the confirmation that Mervin had come to a stop and hid somewhere safe. Aizen opened the space channel and brought them all back to the Inn. They needed to recover their strengths before paying another visit to Mervin.
Their cat and mouse chase had continued for almost a day. Mervin was injured by Keira and Aaron but it was nothing serious. He had gone deeper and deeper into the woods to hide, but every place he tried to take refuge in was discovered by them and informed to other people as well. They always arrived ahead of others to alert Mervin and keep him in a fight, before eventually stopping and gathering back. Even if Mervin suspected that he was being played he couldn’t think much. How they behaved was as if they didn’t want others to take advantage and reap their reward.
The deeper woods were full of ferocious beasts and nobody could be careless there anymore.
Mervin was quite depressed as he just couldn’t stay hidden at a place for long. People were coming onto him from several directions, and the concept of death lingered in his mind heavier than ever.
He eventually gave up the hiding plan and used a treasure to wrap him to the Ianserk Valley. The treasure left no sign of space fluctuation to be detected.
Unfortunately for him, Aaron had left his dragon breath in the wound he had given him earlier. Though it had pretty much healed, a wisp of it remained and Aaron had gotten the general idea of the direction he was in before the breath vanished. And after another day of encountering beasts and going deeper and deeper into the woods, the Valley was discovered by Irina.
It was time to commence the second stage of their plan.
♛ Author’s Note:
The new Poll for the Story of the Month is up on my Patreon. It will be deciding which story I will be focusing on this month, let’s see what happens. The result comes out on Sunday.
To know the result, you can join my discord server. The link is on the ToC page. See you there!