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“We are not looking for them for trouble. Rather, trouble has come to us. In the form of the Maelstrom Team,” Rui spoke as he watched Roy Wayne stroll around the marketplace as if no one else was around.
Roy Wayne abruptly stopped in his tracks.
“You wish to deal with House Baratheon’s Maelstrom Team? It seems the Holy Dawn Evil Six has got quite the guts,” Roy Wayne cackled immediately afterwards.
Moss looked warily at Roy Wayne, who seemed to have turned somewhat mad.
“Don’t worry. It’s normal for these corps arcane masters who have been stationed at strange areas and seen strange things to act this way,” Donna said loudly to Moss, as if she didn’t mind being heard by others.
“Rest a.s.sured, we are no friends with those fellows from House Baratheon. In addition, these types of conflicts are rather necessary to achieve a certain sort of balance between powers within the world of arcane masters, if not the entirety of Doraster. As you lot are much friendlier than those fellows from House Baratheon, I can help you… only I do not wish to lead you to your deaths at their hands.”
Roy Wayne pulled on the ends of his hair as he turned and looked at the Rippers behind him, who had already taken off their masks. “Wellington, seeing how they spent so much effort to drag you guys out, you all must have encountered the Maelstrom Team in the past. Just tell them whatever you know. Help the Evil Dawn Holy Six, and your future atop Doraster will be much safer, provided you don’t do anything extremely bad.”
“They are all demons.”
The members of the Rippers were extremely vicious and evil people, yet the moment the Maelstrom Team was mentioned, their faces became filled with terror.
“We have never had a direct encounter with them. Everything we know comes from the tales of others who have crossed paths with them and survived.”
The one eared arcane master said in a trembling voice, “It is said that amongst them, ‘Demonic Eyes’ Rintucci has mastered the Eyes of Bewitchment. Meanwhile, ‘Demonic Blade’ Rinbowen is the strongest a.s.sa.s.sin. But that is not it. Rinbowen has also mastered a legendary skill which allows him to completely ignore an enemy’s attacks at certain instances. It’s said that as a result, he can disappear into the arcane energy of your own attack or simply tear right through it!”
“Continuing on, ‘h.e.l.l’s Emissary’ Rindy is a master of various restraint and control skills, and is considered by some to be the strongest control arcane master. ‘Demon of Calamity’ Rinchenson is not only an expert in using taboo skills to call down vicious winds and thunderous storms, but also powerful summoner. He raises several powerful beasts on the demon infested lands near Maelstrom Island.
Sweat gathered at the tip of Moss’ nose. Just listening to the explanation had caused him to envision four terrifying demon kings standing atop a ma.s.sive island covered with black clouds.
The one eared arcane master continued, “They were the ones who wiped out Jean Vick’s entire team.”
“Jean Vick, the captain of the Octopus and the one called the Terror of the Seas? He died at their hands?” At this moment, even Roy Wayne was taken aback in shock.
“The friend I heard this from was one of Jean Vick’s henchmen who was fortunate enough to survive the battle.” The one eared arcane master took a deep breath as he slowed said, “I also heard from this friend that the most terrifying thing about the Maelstrom Team was not these four, but their invisible fifth member.”
“Invisible fifth member?”
Rui, Carter and Donna exchanged looks as their faces turned solemn. “What do you mean?”
“My friend believes that the Maelstrom Team has a fifth member hiding in the shadows. During the great battle between the Maelstrom Team and Jean Vick and his crew, Jean Vick’s more powerful underlings prepared their killer moves. But right at the critical moment as they were about to release their attacks, they all inexplicably died. As the killer was not one of the four known Maelstrom Team members, everyone concluded that it was their fifth member even though no one got a clear look at the killer.”
As he spoke, the one eared arcane master became increasingly terrified as sweat began dripping from his body like rain. “The members of the Maelstrom Team are all demons. My friend disappeared soon after meeting with me. I am certain that they killed him to protect their secrets. Later on, the news that I met with him emerged. Afraid of being targeted by the Maelstrom Team, my teammates and I fled here from Maelstrom Island and gained the protection of the Burning Corps.”
“So it was just because of the benefits. You also had this reason for agreeing to cooperate with us.” Roy Wayne cackled. “If it were me, I would have spilled their secrets to everyone. This way, there wouldn’t be a reason for them to have to kill you.”
“No! Mister Wayne, you don’t understand. The reason they are called demons is because their methods are extremely cruel and ruthless.” The one eared arcane master trembled as he said, “Just to scare others, they once skinned dozens of arcane masters and stuck their bodies atop one of Maelstrom Island’s peaks, where they screamed miserably for several days until they died.”
“Only by being so cruel can one establish such status and infamy atop a place like Maelstrom Island, which abides by the law of the jungle.” Roy Wayne clicked his tongue several times before continuing, “I quite agree with their actions.”
“How terrifying…” Moss felt a chill pervade his body.
Just imagining the miserable screams released by dozens of skinned arcane masters as they bled to death was enough to cause his legs to go limp.
“No one has ever seen this fifth member… none of the trackers under Jean Vick’s command were able to sense his presence either.” Rui’s eyes turned cold. “It seems like this fifth member of the Maelstrom Team is a shadow dancer level a.s.sa.s.sin.”
“Heralded as House Baratheon’s strongest arcane team, this level of strength is nothing surprising. As I mentioned earlier, trying to kill them is really no different from committing suicide.” Roy Wayne pulled on his hair as he said, “I am not looking down on your abilities. I hope you understand.”
“But then again, you were the ones who killed Dias and his followers. Although you are no match for them one on one, perhaps you can make a miracle in a battle between teams,” Roy Wayne cackled once more.
“Anything else you can tell us?” Rui asked as he ignored Roy Wayne’s behaviour and looked at the Rippers.
The four members of the Rippers conversed between themselves for a moment as they picked each other’s brains and tried to determine if there was anything else about the Maelstrom Team that they had learned from their friend.
Before long, their one eared captain opened his mouth once more and said, “The battle between Jean Vick’s group and the Maelstrom Team lasted quite a long time. As such, during the Maelstrom Team’s deciding attack, they also suffered some counter attacks. Rintucci seems to have a weak body which is unable to endure strong shocks. Meanwhile, Rinbowen’s skills are incapable of penetrating through some Materializations and the vast majority of metals. Finally, before Rinchenson begins his summonings, the sky will become covered with black clouds. That is all I have for you.”
“Great. This information is already incredibly precious.” Before Rui and Carter could open their mouths, Roy Wayne had already broken out in praise.
Afterwards, he pointed to his right and said, “Look! My men have already brought your friends over.”
“Belo! Teacher Ciaran!”
As Moss raised his head, he saw Belo and Ciaran walking over behind two arcane masters of the Burning Corps.
“The underground arena is around here?” Carter asked upon seeing Ciaran and Belo.
“Of course. Although everyone approves of this black market, we still cannot hold everything out in the open.” Roy Wayne laughed as he watched carriages entering and exiting the nearby fair-trade market. “The ma.s.sive influx of people over there provides us with a great cover for those entering to watch the fights.”
“Have Ayrin and the others begun their training already?”
“Yes. They have all gone their separate ways and started training. Everything is going smoothly.”
“Have we obtained information about the Maelstrom Team?”
As everyone engaged in quiet conversation, Roy Wayne led them past several normal looking stores until they finally arrived before a signless building which looked like a warehouse.
Roy Wayne’s footsteps became heavier as they approached the building’s iron door.
A small opening appeared over the door, revealing of pair of beady eyes which proceeded to carefully scan each and every one of them.
“Seen enough yet?” Roy Wayne shouted impatiently. “If you still don’t open the door, I’m going to come up there and tear your eyes out.
The iron door immediately opened. As light streamed into the darkness, Moss counted eight or so powerful-looking arcane masters with extremely fierce eyes. However, from their behavior, it was clear that they were extremely loyal to Roy Wayne.
Moss felt increasingly uncomfortable as he followed Roy Wayne into the building. Afterwards, the iron door slammed shut.
As his eyes acclimatized, a pa.s.sage behind the arcane masters leading down into the ground revealed itself to Moss.
Warm air carrying the faint stench of blood wafted out of the pa.s.sage.
The stairs going down were a crimson red, as if they were covered with congealed blood.
Moss was immediately reminded of a slaughterhouse.
After walking several meters down, Roy Wayne abruptly turned to Moss and said, “Come on, innocent and naïve youth! I welcome you to the true form of the black market. Feel free to look around and talk to the people here. It will only make you smarter. Perhaps it will improve your future too!”
Afterwards, Roy Wayne’s foot tore through the air, kicking open the thick and heavy looking iron door before him.
Angry shouts sounded from within. It appeared that several people had been leaning against the door and been sent flying as Roy Wayne kicked it open.
Shouts and screams echoed out from within as a wave of heat and an indescribable stench a.s.sailed Moss, nearly causing him to faint.
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