-Chapter 55, DGM-
After tidying up the practice area, Hank found his newly bought excellent steel armour and changed into it. His other hand grabbed a completely new and thick steel round shield. His warhammer had also been replaced with a new excellent steel warhammer. When these equipment accompanied his 2 meter bulk, he looked like a bulky tank in human form.
Greedin had also changed into his new equipment.
Link had also changed into a suit of lightweight leather armour for easier movement.
The three of them then set off to the the bazaar in the east-side of river valley village.
River valley village was not big; it did not pass 500 meters in circumference. However, due to its close proximity with the hot springs capital city1 and that king’s road passed through it, travelers passed by here often. There were all kinds of people in this village and hence Link and the mercenaries were not very eye-catching.
After walking for around 5-6 minutes, the three of them reached the entrance of the village’s bazaar.
Because the bazaar had large amounts of domesticated animal trade, farmers from Gwinnett forest often came here to purchase or sell off livestock such as cattle and sheep. The prices of these animals were particularly high, so to avoid the livestock from running about, a wooden fence was erected around the entire bazaar. The entrance of the bazaar even had two military men keeping watch. Inside the bazaar, there were even more military patrols to prevent riots or disturbances.
As a mercenary, Hank has a good relationship with the military patrols. Walking towards a patrol, Hank passed a silver coin to him furtively, grinning. “John, has anything happened in the bazaar recently?”
Pocketing the silver coin, John brightened. He shook his head, “Nay, today’s bazaar is pretty peaceful. There aren’t even any quarrels.”
”Ah, alright. Have you seen Lucy?” Hank asked.
Lucy was beautiful and had a body to die for. Furthermore, as a mercenary, she preferred to wear leather armour for convenience in fighting. The leather armour tended to amplify her figure, and she was often the talk of river valley village as well as the dreams of many bachelors. All the villagers knew about her existence. Even if one hadn’t met her, her reputation would have preceded her.2
Of course, John recognised Lucy. In fact, she was one of her many admirers.
He shook his head. “Nay, she didn’t come to the bazaar at all today, or else I would’ve definitely known!”
When these words were ou, Hank, Greedin and Link’s eyebrows creased. It seems like something really had happened to her!
Seeing their expressions, John urgently asked, “What, Lucy wasn’t together with you guys?”
Although he merely looked concerned for Lucy as an admirer of hers to Hank and Greedin, Link saw much more than just that.
Although John did seem a little nervous, when his gaze was bewildered when he talked. It seemed like he knew some information.
Link walked up and held two gold coins between his fingers. At the same time the brilliant gold shine of the gold coin shone out, Link adjusted his position to block the vision of others as he ensured that only John could see the gold coins.
He softly said, “Tell everything you know to me, and these two gold coins will be yours, John.”
Seeing that John was still hesitating, Link quickly shot him a question, “Do you know why Lucy won’t look at you?”
“Why?” John instinctively asked.
Link sneered at him. “She told me before that a person like you was unreliable. She didn’t feel secure around you. I thought this was just an excuse, but it turns out she was right. If you’re still thinking about your own safety when things have already turned to this point, then why are you even chasing after her?”
After Link’s ridicule, John’s face immediately flushed. “How said that I only care for myself? Do you even know who you’ve provoked?”
“…I can’t say!” John cut off his words at the last moment.
Five gold coins appeared on Link’s palm. The dazzling gold of the coins were alluring. John gulped down his saliva. This amount was far more than a big half of his year’s salary. Shifting his eyes to the side to confirm that nobody was looking, he finally said in a small voice, “If something has really happened to Lucy, then it can only be the work of the syndicate. I can only say this much.”
After speaking, he stared at the gold coins in Link’s hand.
He did like Lucy, but Lucy had not even spared him a glance and had even provoked the syndicate. She was practically a dead person walking. In John’s eyes, a dead person had no worth compared to gold coins.
Link threw the coins at him before turning to Hank and Greedin. “Let’s go, we can’t find any more information here.”
Since it was the work of the syndicate, their methods were definitely covert. The bazaar had huge volumes of people entering and exiting it everyday, and there would be no tracks left behind. Even if Link used low level magic to pursue their trails, it had little use.
Link was well aware of who the mafia was. If the dark brotherhood was the largest underworld influence in the western parts of Gwinnett forest, then the syndicate would be an enormous underworld criminal power which covered the entire human world. They had originated from the southern liberty trade alliance3 which had spread like the plague. Over a thousand years of growth, its network of influence extended all across the human world.
They also had their roots in the Gwinnett forest; they occupied the entire south of Gwinnett forest.
When compared, the dark brotherhood was like the local tyrant while the syndicate was a ferocious dragon in the underworld. Although the human nations had repeatedly suppressed the influence of the syndicate, the syndicate would always return and reestablish.
They were like something that could not be completely cooked, tenacious weeds that could not be completely uprooted.
Link knew that the reason why the the syndicate organisation could not be completely cleared was because behind the syndicate stood a being on the legendary tier that possessed a near immortal lifespan.
He was a lurker of the shadows, a grandmaster thief, one of the kings of Feloma continent’s underworld as well as the original founder of the syndicate — Morris!
This person held peak legendary-tier strength, and had even touched on a few god-domain mysteries. In the previous game world, to ignite the god fire seal, he had colluded with other gods of the darkness. This had caused the entire syndicate to turn into a tumour for the world of light.4
Because of this, Morris had turned into the game’s number one ultimate boss. That year, Link’s guild, the trade union, had obtained the first kill on this Boss.
Thinking back to the thrilling fight that had transpired in the previous game world, Link murmured in his heart, ‘Morris, have you already begun to step into the darkness?’
The syndicate in Gwinnett forest was only a branch of the main organisation. Link would not stumble into a massive boss like Morris, or Link would be headed to his death.
He needed to think carefully.
Evidently, Hank and Greedin were also aware of the syndicate’s existence. On their trip back, both of them were silent. It wasn’t that they wanted to give up on rescuing Lucy; they wouldn’t dream of it. However, when faced against a colossal monsters like the syndicate, they did not know how to begin going about to rescue Lucy.
After walking for a few minutes, Link had more or less sorted out his thoughts.
Firstly, what was the goal of the syndicate?
Gold? This was probably one of the syndicate’s goals. Although the syndicate shouldn’t lack money, who wouldn’t like having a little more cash?
The next feasible goal was probably…Taurus’s magic runes.5
This magic runes was a crucial part of the plan for helping the demon Taurus to escape from the tower he was sealed in. Now that it had been lost by Witt, the dark powers behind the syndicate would definitely aim to retrieve the magic runes. At this moment, Morris was already in cahoots with the other gods of darkness. Naturally, the syndicate had become a hunting dog for the dark powers.
‘Demonising magic runes should be the foremost goal of the syndicate.’ Link determined. If this was the case, then unless the definite location of the demonising magic runes were disclosed, Lucy’s life would not be under threat.
However, while she was captured, the syndicate would definitely put her under intense torture and interrogation. Once she broke and revealed that the demonising runes were with Link, Lucy would be killed and Link would sink into huge trouble.
Irregardless of whether Lucy divulged the truth, Link would not blame her as if he had been put into her shoes, he would throw out the information without hesitation once the torture began.
At present, their priority was to quickly ascertain Lucy’s location and bring her out.
As his thought swarmed about in his head, Link had formed a rough plan by the time the three people had reached river valley village’s inn. He turned to Hank who had been silent all the while, “How should we find the informers of the syndicate in river valley village?”
An airtight organisation with no backdoors did not exist. Every organisation would have external informers. This was very important as it allowed every branch to communicate with each other easily instead of pointless misinformation and miscommunication.
As a mercenary, Hank was much more familiar with the underworld than Link. When he went to Gwinnett forest to work and eat, he had to naturally pay respects to the mountain tops.6 Whatever he could touch and whatever he could not touch was all ingrained deeply in Hank’s heart. The syndicate was one of the things that he could definitely not get involved with.
Hank replied, “River valley village’s casino should have some of them.”
“The casino it is!”
-Chapter 55, end-
There. Hopefully qidian doesn’t request a shutdown before i hit 100 chapters or start posting ahead chapters like for heavenly jewel change or something. mAn i feel like the syndicate