Unsealing Emptiness -
Chapter 364: Plan.
Zier was the only one contemplating his options.
The recent choices he had made were all done so without giving it another thought.
He chose to follow that man whom he came to admire at first sight on that night simply because of a gut feeling.
Even now, when logic ushered him to accept Ember’s offer, a part of him was certain that remaining loyal to Ozul would be far a far better choice.
He shook his head and smiled. He wanted to one day become a free man. A free man like ‘him’.
‘He’ didn’t ask him to become his subordinate and Zier was certain that even if he were to leave so suddenly, he wouldn’t be stopped.
On the other hand, becoming Ember’s disciple and joining her secret organization meant he would be bound.
He unconsciously clenched his fist.
‘I don’t have any power. I don’t deserve to be a free man... But I’m certain... I’m certain that he can give me wings...’
Even Zier didn’t realize that his thought process was a little strange. He had no reason to put so much faith in Ozul, yet he thought following that man blindly was his only choice.
. . .
While Ember was trying to entice the trio into joining her, Ozul had already reached the forest.
Even if the forest stretched for miles in that direction, he had no trouble finding the Tiger Fangs. He only needed to look for a dense source of Spiritual Essence near the outskirts to find them.
“That’s a lot of them,” he muttered while counting their numbers.
Right as he got there, his focus was caught by the two people right in the middle of the group of thugs.
‘Those two are of Nascent Soul Realm in the first stage Soul Nurturing that the old lady talked about...’
He was only confident in killing them by surprise. Fighting them head-on would be difficult unless they were both overconfident.
There were also five people who were at the peak of the Core Formation Realm, only a step below from Nascent Soul Realm. Other than them, there were tens of other people at the first stage of Core Formation as well.
‘That isn’t important.’ Ozul reminded himself that he wasn’t here to kill them.
It didn’t matter if he had to ability to take out all of them at once. His task was to make sure that the County Lord’s heir was abducted.
On his way here, he had already checked the County Lord’s estate and roughly estimated their strength.
If he excluded the County Lord’s father who was at the peak of the Liberation Stage of Nascent Soul Realm, then with the Tiger Fangs’ numbers, they definitely had a chance of winning.
It was just that abducting the heir amidst that chaos wasn’t feasible even then.
‘Are they just stupid or do they have a plan?’ he wondered in his mind before carefully landing near them.
At the same time, a plain black mask appeared on his face in case he won’t be recognized even if someone saw him. Using the Purity for the mask was pretty convenient since it didn’t seem to hinder his vision as he could shift the mask with mere alone.
He hid behind trees and used the Purity under his feet to make sure that he didn’t make any noise.
As he closed in on the group, he saw them either eating, drinking, or sleeping in the tents.
They didn’t have anything to do at the moment.
He wanted to go closer, but that wasn’t possible without alerting them.
The only thing he could make out from their faint voices behind the trees was that even the rest of the members didn’t know when they were planning to kidnap the heir.
With nothing else to do, many of them were drinking and discussing and insulting the County Lord.
‘It seems I will have to stay with them until I know exactly when they will attack the estate.’
Ozul sighed before finding a suitable place to hide and maybe doze off for some time. If they made any significant movement, he would immediately know.
He didn’t have anything better to do anyway because there was no solid plan for the time being.
He was debating whether to sneak into the estate when the County Lord’s father confronted the Tiger Fangs’ leader and assassinate him while the Tiger Fangs’ leader’s attention was diverted, or to somehow let the Tiger Fangs’ leader know about County Lord’s father.
None of the options seemed feasible as he saw it. The first option would raise suspicions even if he killed the old County Lord without leaving any evidence, whereas the second option might cause the Tiger Fangs’ leader to abandon the abduction entirely.
Just like that, another tired sigh was carried by the winds and heard by them alone.
. . .
“No drinks from now on! Stay sober for these two days ya drunkards!”
“Sharpen your weapons and prepare yourself. We are taking that bastard out in two days!”
The man with red hair and sharp white teeth shouted as he held a long red sword resting on his shoulder.
Another man with blonde hair and a scar from through his closed left eye stood behind him in an imposing manner.
That man with red hair was the leader, and the blonde hair one was supposed to be his right-hand man who would have married the leader’s sister who was killed by the County Lord’s son.
Ozul hid between the trees and noted their appearance. Both of them were in the first stage of Nascent Soul Realm, but the red-haired man seemed a lot stronger if he were to compare their Spiritual Essence.
‘In two days, huh... Most likely in the dark of the night,’ he speculated before disappearing from his place.
The Tinger Fangs were going to move in two days. There must be something happening in two days for them to wait that long. If they were going to madly charge in there and try to kidnap the heir, they wouldn’t have waited any second.
As far as Ozul had seen, the Tiger Fangs didn’t seem to prepare for anything either.
Hence, Ozul came to the conclusion that something must be happening in the County Lord’s estate in two days.
He could only find out if he went there in person, so he sped back to the County and headed directly towards the County Lord’s estate.
Sometime later, he arrived near the estate.
It spanned over a few acres, and while there were guards roaming about, it was a lot easier sneaking inside.
He kept his black mask on since it was convenient.
As it was night, there weren’t many outsiders on the estate; yet one would find it difficult to count the number of people going in and out of the buildings.
He was practically a shadow as he moved about the estate without making any noise.
Soon he reached the roof of the main quarters from where he could frequently hear the conversations inside. Ignoring the useless chatter of the night guards or the maids, he focused on the voices from the biggest room in that quarter. Such rooms usually belonged to the Lord of the estate.
It was difficult to understand the conversation from the roof, so he released the Purity and turned it into a black mist that surrounded him while moving near the window of that room.
From afar, one would only see pitch black as if their eyes were playing tricks on them in the veil of the night. If he were to run away like this, unless someone used some kind of artifact, they would find it almost impossible to keep track of him.
It was all because he could blend in the dark of the night.
With such a trick in his hands, Ozul confidently hid beside the window.
“... discussed before.”
“I SAID THE MATTER HAS ALREADY BEEN DECIDED!”
The thundering voice of the man from inside the room not only alarmed Ozul but even the guards stationed around. They quickly scattered about in fear.
The man who shouted was the County Lord and the other person involved was his son. The boy he had to make sure was abducted by the Tiger Fangs.
“It was a decree from His Majesty himself. What is more important? Your fun with some women or a king’s decree?”
Ozul noticed the County Lord’s voice suddenly getting softer after he lost control just a moment ago.
‘That kid is spoiled,’ Ozul noted as he read the County Lord’s emotions. ‘And he is the reason that his son turned out to be like this.’
Shaking his head, he continued to eavesdrop.
“All those towns and villages are under my jurisdiction. If I don’t go there to appease the people after their crops were burned, then His Majesty might just give my position to someone else.” the County Lord shook his head as he explained to his only son who had only ever disappointed him in his life.
“Alright! At least give me some guards then. I can go and get that woman myself if you won’t help!” The teenager shouted back in anger.
“It’s our vassal’s daughter, not just some random woman that you can forcefully take. You want all our vassals to revolt against me?”
Ozul’s eyebrows raised in understanding as he listened to their conversation.
After a few minutes, he left the estate as quietly as he had entered after confirming the intentions of both parties.
The County Lord was going out of the estate for a few days, only leaving his loyal guard who the Royal Family sent as with the Howling Province’s Lord. That guard was also at the first stage of Nascent Soul Realm.
Once the County Lord wasn’t here, that left only a single Nascent Soul Realm expert guarding their estate. Hence, the Tiger Fangs believed they could easily come and go from there since they had two Nascent Soul Realm cultivators.
Only they didn’t know about the County Lord’s father who mostly remained in seclusion, cultivating and enjoying his peaceful days.
Lying on the roof of one of the tallest hotels in the County, Ozul wondered what he would do.
‘Hmm... that might work...or not...’
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