Chapter 209: The Headhunting Houses
A voice full of enthusiasm and fighting spirit rang from behind them. Even without turning their heads, Charlotte, Ferguillo, and the rest knew that it was Ayrin who was approaching them.
“How’s it going? Did you guys also receive news from the Office of Special Affairs?” Ayrin hurriedly blurted as soon as he reached the group of people, “You know, the news that we will be conducting missions to specifically deal with the Evil Dragon followers.”
“We just received the news not too long ago. We have all decided to participate. I assume you are as well?” Ferguillo calmly asked as he looked at Ayrin.
“Haha, you all are indeed brave warriors.” Ayrin excitedly looked at Charlotte, “We will be able to run missions together.”
Charlotte slightly blushed.
“Man, can’t you just hide your feelings, even a little bit? Don’t forget that the rest of us are all single,” Ivan said half-jokingly. He shook his head, “But it’s still too early for you be happy. For such a large-scale operation involving so many arcane teams, you two might not be able to be on the same team even if you want to.”
“Why?” Ayrin became dazed. “Are the teams going to be arranged by academy?”
“The teams will not be arranged by academy, but by the skillsets and fighting styles of each individual arcane master,” Ferguillo calmly explained, “The Office of Special Affairs will thoroughly analyze every aspect of every arcane master before making any arrangements. For example, if you had strong offensive capabilities but a weak defense, they would probably pair you with a teammate who was really good at defending. Or if you were a relatively negligent individual without any scouting arcane skills, they would probably pair you with a teammate who was extremely meticulous and good at detecting ambushes. By doing this, the Office of Special Affairs can create synergized and well-balanced teams which allow each member to shine by utilizing their respective strengths as much as possible. This maximizes the battle power of each team and the arcane teams as a whole. Moreover, due to the special circumstances of this operation, it is also likely that they will not be especially assigning arcane masters with rich combat experience to act as team captains for us.”
“So it’s like this. But our coordination and performance last time seemed to be so good. Perhaps we will actually be grouped together.” Ayrin scratched his head, then spontaneously exclaimed, as if he had discovered a new continent, “By the way, how come it seems like there are suddenly so many strange looking arcane teams all of a sudden? Moreover, they all seem really strong!”
“The majority of them are from the Kingdom of Doa.” Ivan glanced towards Ayrin, then icily said, “You have remained within the athlete village and focused on training, so you wouldn’t know that several hundred of the Kingdom of Doa’s arcane teams have come to Eichemalar these last few days. They have probably come to cooperate with us in these missions.”
“They are from the Kingdom of Doa?” Ayrin was greatly shocked, “How come we needed to invite over so many arcane teams from the Kingdom of Doa to cooperate with us in this mission? The strength of the arcane teams of our Kingdom of Eiche is not enough?”
“Thus, we predict that we are going to be moving against the main encampment of the Evil Dragon followers this time. It seems like we have finally determined its general location after searching for it so long. But it seems like the size of the main encampment has already surpassed their original predictions to the point where they are afraid of losing control of the situation with just the arcane teams of our Kingdom of Eiche.” Ivan looked at the several arcane teams walking atop the street in the distance. He grimaced, “However, it is not good for us to have so many fellows from Doa here.”
“What do you mean Ivan?” Ayrin turned his head and looked at Ivan. Ayrin seemed to be the only one who had heard the sudden increase of hostility in Ivan’s voice.
“You have never been part of a corps, so you there are some things which you don’t understand,” Ferguillo gently explained in place of Ivan, “Although we are allies with the Kingdom of Doa, our two kingdoms naturally still harbour separate, selfish interests. The simplest example of this is what happens when two teams from different teams encounter each other. They will try to steal from each other, and this in turn often becomes a battle of life and death. Every year, there are a lot of battlemaster teams from our kingdom who enter the demon forests to hunt giant beasts and monsters. Some of them are killed upon encountering teams from the Kingdom of Doa, sometimes before they even see their killers. This is especially true in areas which neither kingdom has very much control. Furthermore, there are many a times where we end up being unable to locate the corpses of missing teams.”
“The main reason arcane masters exist, other than defending against invasion by Evil Dragon followers, is to maintain the balance of power between the kingdoms.” Seeing the look of astonishment on Ayrin’s face, Ferguillo calmly added, “Forget about the two kingdoms, this kind of competitive relationship also exists between the various families. These battles of life and death frequently erupt between arcane teams from different families.”
“You mean that some teams end up fighting against each other for selfish reasons even though they are all supposed to be working together to fight the Evil Dragon followers?” Ayrin asked, sucking a deep breath.
“That is just how the relationship between us and the Kingdom of Doa is. It’s because neither side has the power to suppress the other. We just merely happen to have the same dangerous enemy.” Ferguillo nodded, “As for the arcane teams of our Kingdom of Eiche, the Office of Special Affairs has specific rules disallowing internal killing. However, there are still some arcane teams which kill when the opportunity where they will not be discovered presents itself. Normally in these circumstances, they will kill the entire other team, making it very hard to find the culprits.”
“Let me use another, simpler example which you might have an easier time understanding,” Ivan said, looking at Ayrin. “Let’s say we were to encounter Golden Stag Academy’s team in the wilderness while doing our mission. Considering Rinsyi’s character, he would probably try to kill all of us.”
“If you put it this way, it actually makes sense.” Ayrin thought for a while, then vigorously nodded, expressing his agreement.
“Anyway, moving on. Ayrin, just what exactly is Teacher Carter’s plan? Moss has been spending every day just eating and drinking and hasn’t trained at all. I’ve heard that Stingham’s the same and is just spending every day chasing after and flirting with pretty girls.
“I don’t know… I also don’t know what plans Teacher Carter has come up with. However, regardless of what arrangements he’s made, there are definitely reasons behind them.”
“Seeing you so full of confidence, I feel like you believe that you can even defeat Dragon Breath Academy’s team if you face them.”
“Of course. To begin with, our goal was to become the champions of the national tournament.”
“That wasn’t just a motto?”
“Of course not. From the start, we planned on trying our hardest to defeat everyone and become the champions.”
Ivan, Ferguillo, and the rest gossiped amongst themselves as they walked with Ayrin towards the arena.
When they were about a block away from the Arena of Fire and Blood, Ayrin, Ferguillo, and the rest simultaneously saw an arcane team exit from one of the hotels and head directly towards them. It looked like the team had been waiting for quite some time.
The arcane team was comprised of four people. Each of them wore an extremely peculiar hooded robe. The robes were dark-green, and the hoods covered their entire heads. Even more strange was that these robes seemed to have camouflaging abilities. As they approached, the colour of the outer layer of the robes began to continuously change to match the colour of their surroundings.
“Excuse me, you are Ayrin from Holy Dawn Academy’s team, right?”
The four stopped just before Ayrin and the rest. Afterwards, the tallest amongst the four spoke towards Ayrin with some difficulty. Based on how he spoke, it seemed like he didn’t speak the common language of Doraster very often, as he wasn’t very proficient with it.
As he spoke, the four all raised their heads, allowing Ayrin and the rest to clearly see the masks they wore.
The team of four was comprised of three boys and one girl who seemed to be about the same age as Ayrin and his group. Their skin seemed to be quite rough, as if they all spent every day exposed to the wind and sun.
However, what caused shock to flash through the eyes of Ayrin and the rest was that while the skin of these four people were covered in strange dark brown splotches, there was a patch of natural, silvery white skin on their foreheads in the shape of a perfect crescent moon.
“I am Ayrin. Are you all an arcane team from the Kingdom of Doa?” Their unique appearance caused Ayrin to be dazed for several seconds before replying.
“We are not from Doa.” The tallest boy, who seemed to be captain, shook his head. Afterwards, he slightly bowed out of politeness and introduced himself and his team, “We are an arcane team from House Eclipse Moon.” As he bowed, the crescent moon-shaped mark on his head seemed to slightly glow.
“House Eclipse Moon’s arcane team?” Ivan, Charlotte, and the others all trembled. Even Ferguillo’s always calm expression changed.
“What is it?” Ayrin quietly asked Charlotte after feeling the atmosphere abruptly change.
“House Eclipse Moon is an ancient family from a forest at the westernmost edge of the Kingdom of Eiche. They are the mortal enemies of House Roland. Beginning from childhood, members of both houses will kill members of the other house. It’s to the point where they consider each other’s territories hunting grounds. For their coming of age ceremonies, they are required to acquire ten skulls of people from the other house. Thus, although both houses reproduce quite well, they have always maintained a population of less than one thousand,” Charlotte quickly explained to Ayrin in an extremely miniscule voice. “The arcane masters which come out of these two houses are ones which have known killing since birth… they are killers with immense combat and killing experience. The girl called Megan on Golden Stag Academy’s team is from House Roland. It is rumoured that her hands have been drenched in the blood of countless people.”
“These two enemy houses require the skulls of ten people from the other house for their coming of age ceremony?” Ayrin couldn’t help but gulp a breath of cold air as he suddenly felt the four people facing him become a little bit scarier.
“Correct. Moreover, House Eclipse Moon is mainly filled with male arcane masters. Female arcane masters usually don’t have much status. For this arcane team to contain a female means that this female is incredibly strong,” Charlotte continued. She couldn’t help but also measure up the female arcane master, who was the shortest of the four.
As if the female arcane master had suddenly felt something, she looked at Charlotte. A silvery white light abruptly shot out from within her pupils, causing Charlotte’s breathing to unconsciously stop.
“They are mortal enemies of Megan’s house… that means they are here to deal with Megan then?” Ayrin looked at the extremely prudent female arcane master, then couldn’t help but ask, “So why have you all come looking for me?”
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