"What are you trying to do?!" Kurdak's body immediately tensed up. It was finally coming! Moonshadow wanted something from him after all!
"I'm trying to help you," Arikos said casually as if he didn't see Kurdak seeming like he was going to explode at all.
"Help us? I don't think there's much I need your help for," he coldly said.
"Isn't someone from other factions trying to cause you trouble just now?" Arikos said and shrugged. "You see, I don't think he's lying. You're a talented person and it's a waste that you're running a tavern here. You'll no doubt have ambitious factions trying to use you to their own ends."
"Then why are you trying to help me? You want to take me into Moonshadow?"
"You're smart!" Arikos snapped shamelessly. "As long as you include your and Vera's names in our register, then you'll save lots of trouble. For instance, the harassment you're experiencing now might eventually turn into threats and assassinations. All it'll cost you to remove that is two simple names."
"I could do the same by signing our names to the mercenary association or the Federation of Nine Cities," Kurdak spat.
"But they can't shield you as well as we can, right?" Arikos said confidently, "Currently, I'm sure all the residents of Lance know which guild is the most powerful. I can say without exaggeration that with me around, protecting you two shouldn't be a problem. However, you must give us a reason to do so, and that is joining us."
"Do you think we'll be that easily convinced?"
"Of course not!" Arikos fanned his hand in front of his face. "I can also ensure that you'll get to live as you have! That's the kicker!"
"What?!" Kurdak thought he misheard.
"That's it. I only need you and Vera to be phantom members. You don't have to do anything for the guild. It's just a formality."
"Why would you go out of your way to help us?"
"Heh, why do you guys always think of me as the bad guy?" Arikos said with a troubled look. Whether it was genuine or an act couldn't be ascertained.
"Cause you keep acting like one on Chino," Kurdak pointed out without holding back, "You dumped Ley into that mess and killed Legg, the barbarian king. You almost caused Eirinn to die in the hands of Stokians too and almost got Ley killed by Saron. What part of it wasn't bad?"
"But they all came out of it fine, didn't they?"
"Their luck was good is all! You didn't do anything about that!" Kurdak yelled.
"Alright, fine!" Arikos raised his hand in surrender. He shifted to a solemn look and said, "I'm sorry, truly."
Kurdak was taken aback. He tilted his head at Arikos, confused at what he meant.
"Those were all done on the chairman's orders. I have to obey him," he sincerely said, "But, personally, I quite like those two brats. Both Balor and Leguna."
"Where's Balor?" Kurdak asked.
"He was killed by me," he said with a pained look, "Or you could say he was forced to death by me. He pierced his own heart with a sword."
Kurdak kept silent. It looked like Arikos wasn't lying. That means he didn't know anything about Balor becoming a shadow creature. In other words, Balor's later disappearance had nothing to do with Arikos. Did that mean Moonshadow had no hand in it?
Where did Balor vanish to then?
Arikos didn't know what Kurdak was thinking and continued, "The plans against Leguna were either orders from the chairman or something the chairman came to an agreement with Larwin about. I… was only the one who put them into action."
"How can I trust you?" Kurdak said seriously.
"I don't have any way of making you, but you must let Vera come with me," Arikos said, "Her life might be in danger."
"Why?" Kurdak's eyes glowed sharply, like back then, the moment Vera was mentioned.
"Because of Alfreid. I have interacted with that old fox for quite some time, so I know him well. Even though he was kind enough to let Vera go, that didn't mean she has escaped his control. She's the only trump card that can stop Leguna and he definitely wouldn't give up on her that easily."
"You mean that Alfreid probably has something planted in her?" What Arikos just said made quite a lot of sense to him.
"It's a certainty!"
"How are you so sure?" Kurdak asked.
Arikos looked rather annoyed. After a moment of silence, he said, "You'll know after you bring Vera along with me to meet someone."
"Can I refuse?"
"Nobody can before Moonshadow." Arikos was insistent because he promised that child he would take care of his sister well. He wouldn't stop at anything to fulfil it.
"Alright…" Kurdak helplessly said. He knew there was no benefit to going against Moonshadow, so it was best to comply. No matter which continent he was on, it seemed that he was constantly troubled by the big wigs. Was there no place he could truly settle down at?
Vera was currently working as a server in the tavern. Fortunately, everyone had heard of Kurdak's reputation and didn't dare reach out to bother Vera despite her amazing figure.
Kurdak told the napping Manhattan what he was about to do and left the place to a young man working there before leaving with her.
"I see, so that's what happened…" Vera saw Arikos in the tavern early on, but since he had been visiting them often, she didn't really pay him much heed. She nodded with understanding after Kurdak explained why Arikos had come.
By the time they reached Moonshadow's internal headquarters, Kurdak and Vera breathed a sigh of relief. It seemed Arikos really wasn't trying anything funny. Otherwise, countless blades would be held at their necks the moment they entered.
Arikos brought the two into a room in the far corner and knocked on the door. He said respectfully, "Sir, I've brought Miss Vera here."
"Alright, thanks. Come in, all of you!" The voice inside came as a surprise to Vera and Kurdak. They had heard it somewhere before, but they couldn't quite recall where.
They looked at each other and saw in their eyes confusion. But since they were already here, they didn't intend to back off. Nodding slightly, they entered the room.
The two were taken aback once more once inside. There was an elf sitting in the room with a head of long, blonde hair. The wrinkles on his face were apparent. While he looked past his middle age, he seemed even more handsome and charming than Alissanda.
As Vera liked Kurdak and Kurdak didn't swing that way, they weren't surprised at his looks. Instead, the elf was someone they knew.
He was the one who met Kurdak after he was at his last breath from taking Moonsink Cycle, Eiron Bator.
"You are…" The two weren't able to recognize him immediately and only stared at him intensely.
"Children, it's my, Eiron," he said, not minding their forgetfulness at all.
"Elder Eiron?!" Both Vera and Kurdak widened their eyes.
It was then when Kurdak suddenly recalled what Balor said about Wayerliss, that he was an elf. Was Eiron's other identity the chairman of the guild, Wayerliss?
"I'm happy to be able to see you again." Eiron greeted them as a human would. One look at Kurdak and he could tell what he was thinking. Smiling, he said, "Don't misunderstand. While I'm an elf, I'm not the chairman of the guild. I'm not even a member here, and I'm definitely not Wayerliss."
"Then why are you here?" Kurdak asked curiously. Didn't elves keep to themselves secretively? While Eiron had traveled the human realm before, he wouldn't suddenly feel like coming to visit Moonshadow, would he?
"I'm only trying to make up for a wrong," he sincerely said.
"A wrong?" Kurdak and Vera didn't understand what he was talking about. Eiron had saved Kurdak's life before. He seemed kind and benevolent. What wrong had he committed?
"Yes, a wrong my child committed is also mine to bear," Eiron said with a troubled look, "My child is the chairman of the guild. You humans call him Wayerliss Deepshadow."Previous Chapter Next Chapter