“Latina, I told you to stay home, didn’t I?” An exasperated voice bellowed out on the wide pathways of Huuring City. A middle-aged woman, who had thick brown hair with tinges of grey within, pointed her finger straight at a poor little lass, who stood still and took the scolding. “You need rest! Return back to base right this moment!”
“Aunt Natalie! I’m fine, really!” Latina didn’t flinch. She had been scolded many times before, and she would always reply with ‘Sorry, I won’t do it again,’ or ‘Sorry, I have learnt my lesson.’ However, this time, she was adamant on following Natalie to meet the young heroes that had saved her life. “I didn’t even suffer a single scar! Look, I’m in the pink of health! I don’t need to lay in bed!”
“That’s not the point!” The brunette rolled her eyes. “You were almost killed yesterday! There’s no way that you’re mentally stable! Take some time off and lay in bed! You have to sleep!”
“Do you really think that I can close my eyes after that experience?!”
“!!!” Natalie swallowed her words. She hadn’t considered that aspect. Latina was still a child, twelve to be exact. She may have some months of mercenary experience under her belt, but girls her age should be enjoying life indoors and studying studiously in a local school. After nearly being torn apart by the bear-type Spirit Beast, Latina was sure to be haunted by nightmares of the worst kinds for the next few days.
“Hahaha! Come on, Natalie! Just let the girl follow us!” A third voice snickered, bringing both the ladies attention onto his thin body. His cheeks caved in, the man was as gaunt-looking as a ghost, with a few deep scars riddled over his chin and forehead. Donning on loose garments that seemed capable of falling off his neck bone at any given moment, the man gave a dirty smile, squeezing out all of the oils from his pimples.
“Winfred, this doesn’t concern you.”
“I doubt it. You hired me to serve as your guide to the Crypt of the First Men, and I get to decide who I want to bring to meet these valiant heroes.” Winfred winked at Latina. “Her desire to meet with the young foreigners is as strong as mine. You shouldn’t be one to deny the girl of her eagerness, right?”
“Urghhh, fine…” As much as Natalie wanted to handcuff Latina and strap her to her bed, they were already halfway there to the inn where Shin and the others were resting.
After getting her life and the lives her comrades saved by the seven youths, Natalie wanted to fulfil her promise to them as soon as she possibly could. Hence, once returning to Huuring City, the seasoned mercenary instantly travelled to Winfred’s abode and hired him as a guide for the group. Among the numerous guides in Huuring City, Winfred was the most experienced in leading people to the Crypts of the First Men. Being a Spirit Adept guide, his services were among the most expensive in the city, but Natalie didn’t care about that. A debt left unpaid is a debt that would haunt her for life. Thus, she had to bring Winfred to the group as soon as she could. Alas, that was a mistake.
“Senior Natalie, what a pleasure to meet you again.” As the group of three approached the inn, Shin and the rest of the Imperius Academy students were already waiting outside, seated on the stone benches in the middle of the afternoon breeze.
“Young heroes!” Shuffling her feet forwards, the matured lady bowed her head. At the same time, Winfred, who had been wearing a happy smile the entire time had long dropped his jaw. His pupils were shaky, and he smacked his lips trying desperately to hold back the scream of joy that was on the edge of his throat.
‘She’s way more beautiful than I imagined,’ thought Winfred. He had seen many girls over his fifty years on this earth, and the sweet beauty right in front of him completely takes the cake. Not to mention, three others would easily claim the top spots of most gorgeous women in Huuring City. They were clean and had an air of dignity surrounding them, entirely unlike the coarse broads that they had here in this god-forsaken town. That aura, that untouchable aspect that the girls had, just made him want to defile them even more.
The shock on the man’s face quickly turned into a neutral grin as Winfred moved the muscles in his mouth to control his desires. Every fibre in his being was screaming for Winfred to jump forward like a lusty leopard, stripping the girl bare as she wailed helplessly while he fucked the living shits out of her.
Winfred was part of the upper-class in Huuring City. Anything that he wanted, he could get. Women, money or territory. The man had it all. Though, it was only at the level of what a man could get in a rural town where the population barely exceeded ten thousand. If Winfred left the city, he would be a nobody, if he stayed, he would have to continuously lavish in the same luxuries that he had gotten bored of years ago. Therefore, one could imagine Winfred’s delight when he heard that the Witch in the South had personally visited their town, accompanied only by a group of Spirit Adepts.
If he could at the very least savour the taste of an untouchable fruit, Winfred would willingly give his life to the Immortal above. But he lacked a plan to meet the youngsters. The group had skipped the banquet that was thrown in their name and instantly went missing to the public eye. Just as he was drawn back to ground zero, Natalie had appeared like an angel descending from the heavens and had brought news that they were looking for a guide to bring them to the Crypt of the First Men, a perfect opportunity for the lustful demon to strike.
Thus, Winfred hatched a plan. He would hire some of the city’s best mercenaries to knock them unconscious during their travels, and he would get to spend a few rounds with Kanari as per the rest of the mercenaries. A win-win situation for him and his good pals. Unfortunately, things don’t always work as planned.
“I have brought the guide as I promised.” Wholly unaware of the plot, Natalie thought that she had done a good deed by bringing Winfred immediately after Shin requested for a guide.
“Greetings, my humble name is Winfred. It’s an honour to finally meet the young heroes that had saved Huuring City.” The dirty old man offered a handshake to the nearest person, which just happened to be the black-haired beauty that he sought to mount. However, instead of accepting the said handshake, Kanari just narrowed her eyes.
“Winfred is the best guide in Huuring City! His knowledge of the region around the Crypt of the First Men is second to none! I’m sure that his services as a guide would prove most useful in your quest!”
“I see. I didn’t know that hiring a guide in Huuring City meant bringing an entire mercenary troop.” Shin replied. His face was beaming the entire way, not flinching in the slightest.
“What do you mean?” Stunned by the response, the middle-aged lady looked at the young man oddly. She still believed that Winfred had left his home alone.
“What a liar!” Isadore was more quick to action. Instead of wasting any more of their saliva, the silver-haired man raised his spear straight at the trio that had just arrived.
“W-What are you doing?!” The female mercenary cried out. She had come all this way from the city centre and yet, these young heroes that had saved her life yesterday were now pointing a weapon in their direction.
“You came with a dozen men, all exuding malicious intent that could be felt all the way from the city! What’s the meaning of this?!” Isadore hollered back, the spear in his hands glistening under the radiant sun.
“WHAT?!” Natalie screamed out. She had brought a dozen men? Where were they? Natalie had only told Winfred that she was coming to the tavern where the young heroes were staying.
‘Wait does that mean…’ Her widened eyes slowly showed comprehension as she immediately turned to Winfred. If Natalie had waited a few days for her senses to recover, perhaps she could sense the shadows that had been trailing behind them for the good part of an hour. If Natalie had contained her excitement and impatience to please Shin and the others, perhaps she would have thought twice about hiring Winfred. But she didn’t.
“WINFRED!!! What have you done?!” Hugging Latina, the Moon Mercenary treaded to the side.
“I didn’t expect that your senses were that keen.” Since there was no longer a need to keep up the pretence, Winfred showed his true colours. A dozen men sprinted forward from their hiding grounds and immediately took place next to their employer. “We can do this the easy way. Give us the women, and there’ll be no blood. If you prefer the hard way, well…”
Brimming with insatiable lust, the mercenaries all summoned out their Spirits. Of the twelve men that gathered, all of them were Rank 30 Spirit Adepts, and if Winfred were included, it would be a thirteen versus seven battle. Yes, stories floated about that the seven heroes had defeated a Spirit Spectre, but Winfred didn’t believe it for the most part. Even if they killed a Vaishya, Winfred amounted that to luck or possibly a successful sneak attack. Against these odds, Winfred would be fucking Kanari in no time.
“WINFRED!!!” Natalie was livid. Her benefactors had given her a task to hire the best guide in town, and she had actually invited a pack of wolves into their humble abode. Pushing Latina towards the inn, the middle-aged woman summoned out her trusted sword and stood in front of the youths.
“Young heroes, run away! I will try to hold them back for a few moments! Please, just run away!” It was her fault for bringing Winfred in the first place. Natalie would rather pay with her life than to allow her benefactors to get into any sort of harm.
“Hahaha! It’s useless! What can you possibly do to stop all of us, Natalie! When I’m done with the beauties, I’ll go for that young lass you have! Though I’m not into children, there’s a first time for everything!” Winfred didn’t care anymore. He was about to violate many rules, and once the City Manager gets wind of this, he would arrest and possibly behead all of them for raping the distinguished guests. Since Winfred was already going to be a wanted man, he might as well enjoy his time as a free man.
“YOU FUCKER!!!” Natalie immediately charged into battle, ignoring the fact that she was outnumbered. However, just before her blade could reach within two metres of the thirteen hooligans, a force pulled her straight back, roughly landing her next to Latina.
“You stay there. We’re not just down with you yet.” Shin spat out while dispersing the water hand that grabbed Natalie.
“Young hero! I-…!”
“Enough!” Isadore pointed his spear at Natalie’s neck. While they still didn’t believe in the Moon Mercenary just yet, they didn’t want her to pass on that quickly either. “Just sit still, we’ll deal with you later.”
All of the seven summoned out their Spirits and a torrent of spiritual pressure towered upon their opponents. It wasn’t the first time that others had lusted over their flesh. They had gotten into countless fights during their travels, and it had become so cliche that they had started to get bored with the routine. It was just in another’s day of work for them. However, this time, Shin knew that they needed something more than just beating the crap out of those hot-blooded ruffians that only thinks with their crotch.
“Guys, stand down.” The black-haired boy lazily said. “I’ll take them all by myself.”
“You sure?” Kanari raised her brows and questioned back.
“That’s the only way that those idiots down there would learn.” Shin pointed to the city centre as he said those words. Though their stay in Huuring City was short, trouble seemed to follow them wherever they went. Fighting thirteen Spirit Adepts wasn’t just a boast of might, but it was also the only way to send a message to prospective assholes that dared to aim them in the future.
“Alright then.” The seven all released their Spirits and stood back. There was not a single shred of doubt or a single voice of concern from their mouths. “Just don’t destroy the place.”
“No promises.” Shin allowed the Sovereign Koi to float over his head as he took small steps towards his foes. Over the four years, the little cerulean Koi had become not so little anymore. With a length capable of wrapping itself around Shin’s round face, the fish Spirit flapped its fins joyously as if it were about to participate in a never-ending barbeque buffet.
“Just you? You sure are conceited, he~ro!!!” Winfred attempted to land the first strike by charging forward with his dagger Spirit. All that stood before him and the sensuous flesh of Kanari’s was this black-haired young man. He wanted a taste of that woman as soon as he could! However…
From Shin’s feet, a rapid current, one equivalent to that of a newly broken dam, gushed out straight at Winfred, forcing him, as well as his compatriots to take a hit and flow downstream, twenty metres away from the inn. Confused as to what hit them, the Spirit Adepts all heightened their senses to the maximum as they left the line of fire of the river that Shin had just created. Before they could make heads or tails of what happened, a sonorous voice entered their eardrums, increasing their heartbeat per second by a significant margin.
“I’m not a hero.” Shin’s eyes glowed in a majestic azure hue while the water-elements danced in pure joy. It may be the dry season in Huuring City, but Shin raised the humidity to that of a monsoon, bringing sweat back to the mercenaries faces. They didn’t understand it. They outnumbered him thirteen to one, and yet, the mercenaries still felt fear when facing this boy was almost half their age.
Shin raised his hands and continued to create water from the rocks and soil that lay beneath him. It came all so effortless to him. If Shin wanted a river, he would make one. If he wanted a lake, he would create two. Soon, the entire area in front of the inn had become flooded, as if a hurricane had just struck this barren landscape. Now that his preparations were complete, it was time for Shin to mete out the punishment.
“I’m just a tyrant that fights for what I protect.”