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Kang Xue watched the little girl devour the food. She smiled at Larissa and reminded her not to eat too fast, “Eat slower, or you will choke; no one will take the food from you.”
Only then did Larissa eat slower, and Kang Xue put the water bottle next to the little girl, “Here your drink,”
Larissa’s little hand reached the bottle. She tilted the bottle instead of opening the bottle cap with a frown on her forehead. The little girl was clearly confused about how to drink the water from the bottle. She tried to pull the bottle cap, but her effort was futile.
Kang Xue cracked into an amusement smile and stood up, “This is how you open the bottle.” She twisted the bottle cap and gave it to the little girl, but Larissa did not take it. It was a mix of shyness and fear from the early encounter. She looked at her mother; only then did she take the bottle when her mother nodded to her.
Melina watched Kang Xue teach her daughter how to drink the water from the weird bottle. Various kinds of thoughts crossed her mind. She thought this group might not be bad people with how they treated her and her daughter. Giving them good food and water, not treating them like a prisoner. Then she looked at the food in front of her, and she had never eaten food like this in her life. At least she never saw this kind of food in the four human kingdoms.
’Who are they? Where are they from?’ Those two questions kept popping out in her mind. Then Melina recalled all the questions thrown at her, ‘Dimensional Tower? Players? Are they part of a cult or something?’
”Eat the food, Lady Melina. That might be your last food,” Kang Xue’s voice brought Melina back from her own thoughts. The Queen raised her head and looked at Kang Xue, “What do you mean?”
”You are not supposed to see our faces, yet you barged in and saw our faces. I would like to help you out of this situation, but it all came down to my Supreme General’s decision. Come up with an equal trade, then it may change the outcome,” said Kang Xue.
”Why do you help me?” Melina looked at the black-haired girl across from her.
”We are not mindless murderers. We avoid killing you and your guards while trying to achieve your goal, especially children. I don’t want any of us to kill your…”
Kang Xue did not finish her words, but Melina could fill the rest of the words by herself. The girl was not helping but being burdened with killing her daughter.
Melina fell into deep thought, thinking about what she must do to save herself and her daughter from these people, ‘An equal trade for my and my daughter’s life? But I don’t know what they want from us, and I don’t think they are money-orientated as well. What can I give them?’
’They want information about the players and the dimensional tower… So they want information, but I don’t have valuable information for them… Wait…’ Melina did not know why, but this reminded her of her husband’s secret vault. The only place she could not enter was the castle. She did not know why, but she did not bother asking. If her husband did not want her to know, there was no need to know. However, it was different now as that vault might contain information these people were looking for.
’But I don’t know if that vault has the information these people want. What if the vault does not have the information they want? Let’s take the bet rather than doing nothing,’ Melina started to eat the food in front of her. “You must be one of the strongest warriors. Are you sure you’re staying here instead of helping your friends?”
Kang Xue shrugged, “They should have returned by now. They don’t need my help.” As soon as she finished her words, the door opened. Zhang Mengyao returned, and her black armor was stained by blood, a sign that she had just returned from the battle.
Zhang Mengyao took off the armor at the sight of two people eating the food. Behind the armor, she was wearing casual clothes, long black pants, and a white shirt. She stretched out her arms and sat across from Larissa and Melina, “Continue eating. We will have to talk after that.” After that, she took out her own food from the inventory and started eating together.
Melina’s mouth hung open as she could not believe Zhang Mengyao had already returned. It was not even ten minutes had passed since she left the room. This was just too fast, including the traveling time to reach the rebellion force and return to this village; this was just too fast. From this, she learned one thing. This unknown force was strong, without a doubt. Even though the number of the rebel army was just a few hundred, the fight should take longer.
Larissa stealthily looked at Zhang Mengyao. Upon noticing Zhang Mengyao did not mind her eating, the little girl continued devouring her food. Ten minutes later, everyone finished her food. Zhang Mengyao wanted to say something, but she stopped and looked at the little girl. She was uncomfortable speaking with the mother with the daughter here.
”I don’t think she wants to leave me in this foreign place,” Melina indicated that Larissa would cry if she was separated from her mother. Of course, there was also a selfish objective why Larissa had to stay with her. She wanted her daughter as a chip to soften the two women, so the negotiation could go smoothly.
”I have told her the consequence of seeing our faces, and I have told her to come up with an equal trade if they want to keep their lives. So let’s hear what she has to say,” Kang Xue smoothened the talk so the little girl did not hear the words death, kill, and other traumatizing words.
Melina nodded her head at Kang Xue. She was thanking the latter for helping the talk and sparing her daughters from the violent words. The Queen took a deep breath and spilled her husband’s secret vault. She told them that her husband might know about this Dimensional Tower and players. She told Zhang Mengyao that only the King and his successor could enter the vault. Of course, Melina did not forget to explain the situation with her kingdom, which was currently going through internal strife.
Zhang Mengyao furrowed her brow, “I see, you are saying your husband has the information we want, and you are willing to be the bridge between your husband and us, but your kingdom is currently going through internal strife. So, you are saying that we have to help your kingdom’s internal affairs, then we can meet your husband. Is that what you are trying to say? You want to use us to quell the rebellion? What a smart Queen.”
Melina flinched and straightened her back. She regretted trying to use these people to fight the rebellion army. Then she noticed Kang Xue was shaking her head.
”Let’s change the deal. I will ensure your and your daughter’s safety from the rebellion army, and in exchange, you have to be the bridge between your husband and us. Then, we want information inside the vault in exchange for your and your daughter’s life. Realize your position; you are not in the position to negotiate with us!” Zhang Mengyao said her piece and stared at Melina.
Melina let out a sigh and nodded in response. There was nothing they could do since her and her daughter’s life was in these people’s hands. She was not in the position to make an offer. It was a quick discussion. After that, Melina left with her daughter, heading toward their temporary lodging with her niece, Carina Stanion.
Meanwhile, Zhang Mengyao called her people into the room and opened up a discussion, “We have to change our approach. I have talked with the noble, and one of them is a Queen of the Athilia Kingdom, the woman in the red dress. However, even she does not know anything about the dimensional tower and players. Our target is the King of the Athilia Kingdom. The King may know something.”
”As for how we approach the King, we will use the Queen and the princess. We will hide our identity as the players that must clear the dimensional and approach the King through the Queen. I have a plan in my mind. The Athilia Kingdom is currently in a tough position because of the internal strife, so we can be the hero for the Athilia Kingdom and help them quell the rebellion. We will make the King indebted to us and get the information from the King. That’s a tough route, but we will cut one of the potential enemies. Or we can exchange the Queen and the princess for the information.”
The first one to raise their hand was Virion and Moonsong. Both raised their hands together, “You can speak first, Legion Commander Moonsong.” Virion allowed his superior to speak first.
”I am sorry that I have to say this, but I don’t think we should trust humans. They are cunning. Even if we help and save the kingdom from the rebellion, the King may not share the information with us. All our effort and sacrifice will be useless, so let’s not take the risk and exchange the Queen for information.” Moonsong voiced his thoughts regarding humans. Of course, he said that from his experiences in Lukan when the human kingdoms betrayed them repeatedly.
”I agree with Legion Commander Moonsong,” Virion voiced his agreement.
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