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Chapter 809: a.s.sa.s.sin Union (Three in One)
“The two intermediate wizards told us everything they knew, your Majesty.”
The voice came from an intelligence officer. Abel was listening to him inside his palace in the duchy of Keyen. The two intermediate wizards didn’t last a night before they decided to open their mouths. According to them, both of them and the two archers belonged to the a.s.sa.s.sin Union, which was the largest a.s.sa.s.sin a.s.sociate throughout the entire Holy Continent.
Whether it was knights, warriors, or wizards, everyone had their own demands for wealth or resources. This was the case for Wizards, especially. Since they had no rights of openly interfering with any worldly affairs, a tribute from the duchies they served was about the only source of income for them. Needless to say, it wasn’t enough to buy some of the better gear. Sometimes, it wasn’t even enough to maintain some of the training materials.
It was somewhat for wizards with a heritage. Take Wizard Morton, for example. He was good at making runes, so the wealth he gained from doing that helped him acc.u.mulate some wealth for both himself and his disciples. For wizards who didn’t have such blessings, the only thing they could rely on was their fighting capabilities. Fighting became the only way that they could try to afford magic gemstones or magic towers.
It was the same for those two intermediate wizards. After becoming members of the a.s.sa.s.sin Union, the only thing they relied on to create wealth was their ability to kill. Because of this, they managed to become wizards far stronger than the regular ones.
Abel inquired, “I don’t remember ever offending the a.s.sa.s.sin Union in any way. Why did they go after me?”
The a.s.sa.s.sin Union doesn’t usually target those with high status. It was the minimum requirement for them to survive on the Holy Continent.
The intelligence officer explained, “Your Majesty, the Holy Continent has suffered greatly from the lack of agricultural produce. From some research we have conducted ourselves, we found a list that the a.s.sa.s.sin Union created. To much concern, there are names of other prominent figures on this list. They are probably trying to gain some momentum after so much chaos took place.”
Abel asked, “So who made a list?”
The intelligence officer told what he knew, “The two intermediate wizards didn’t know, so I’m afraid we can only ask the a.s.sa.s.sin Union directly. Still, there hasn’t been a single case when the a.s.sa.s.sin Union disclosed any information about their client.”
“There is still something that we can guess, however. Thes one that attempted to hire a.s.sa.s.sins after you, your Majesty, they spent about twenty million gold coins and two thousand intermediate magic gemstones for it. There are only a selected few who had the resources to offer a price like this.”
That was way too much of a price. Actually, not even the five duchies Abel defeated could do something like this.
Abel said with a grim look, “So they’ve had my name on their list for about a year. Why didn’t the intelligence agency tell me after all this time?”
If Abel could be blunter, he was about to say how extremely dissatisfied he was with the intelligence agency he’s spent so much on. It wasn’t just the invasion of Neking City. The Intelligence Agency didn’t even notify him about the a.s.sa.s.sination attempt this time.”
The intelligence officer bowed, “My sincerest apologies, your Majesty. We’ve always had our men watching over the a.s.sa.s.sin Union, but the ones we’ve sent aren’t quite experienced enough to discern some of the more cla.s.sified information.”
It was a reasonable excuse that made Abel more at ease. He was about to complain about how much money he spent, but realistically speaking, money wasn’t the only thing that was needed. Time was also very important.
The intelligence agency was built from what was left from the previous duchy of Carmel. Abel was the one who really kick-started its development. While it was true that he invested many more times than most other states, he didn’t wait long enough for his own agency to flourish. For an intelligence agency, centuries or even millennia would be needed for them to grow.
Abel turned to Burbridge, “Contact the a.s.sa.s.sin Union for me, butler. Ask them to give me the list.”
He then turned back to the intelligence officer, “I want you to start investigating the a.s.sa.s.sin Union now. I need to know all their locations throughout the human world. Also, this is important. I must know all the ident.i.ties of their disclosed members.”
The intelligence officer bowed, “I won’t disappoint you this time, your Majesty!”
The intelligence officer could hear the disappointment in Abel’s tone. It wasn’t like he had no idea where it was coming from. The intelligence agency would spend an enormous amount of wealth each month, but they never did manage to meet Abel’s demand at any time. Apart from shame, he could also feel a fire inside of him. He was very determined to locate every member of the a.s.sa.s.sin Union.
After annexing the duchy of Keyen, Abel chose to stay at his palace at Billy City for the time being. He was waiting to attend Duke Kenneth’s inauguration ceremony after three days. There would be many important guests, so he couldn’t miss it.
To fully come out of the political stage, Duke Kenneth chose a city that was purely known for its economy. For him, his main goal was to focus on becoming a rich and influential n.o.bleman.
Inside the palace at Billy City, there was a teleportation circle that was fully installed. Many more were on the way. They were all labeled on the order list that was created by the Liante City Wizard Union. Abel’s reason for this was very simple. He wanted every city in the duchy to have its own teleportation circle. Without those, information could not flow freely between different important locations.
He was planning to learn from his experiences in Neking City. With the teleportation circles in place, he could move out the important officers during times of invasion. News of an invasion could also travel very quickly. This way, he could send in reinforcements before a second or third city fell. The intelligence agency still needed time to grow, so this was his way of protecting it for the time being.
While Abel didn’t have a lot of powerful knights under his command, for the time being, things could grow quite fruitful once all of the “dragon blood wall-breaking potion” was used up. It would be fifty head knight commanders in just the duchy of Carmel. Once everything was ready, they could use the teleportation circle to go to any of the cities that might be under attack. Only then would the duchy of Carmel become a truly powerful force of its own.
For the time being, the duchy of Carmel was still relying on the sky s.h.i.+ps the dwarves gave. Abel had a technological advantage, but after months or in just a few years, the other duchies and empires would surely figure out ways of dealing with them. With more time than that, they might just develop new weapons to counter them.
On the second day, just when Abel was about to welcome a n.o.bleman family that once belonged to the duchy of Keyen, Butler Burbridge went into the guest room with a gloomy look on his face.
Burbridge bowed, “Forgive me for my sadness, your Majesty.”
“You are forgiven.”
“News arrived from the a.s.sa.s.sin Union. They refused to provide any information about their clients, and they demanded the duchy of Carmel to return the intermediate wizards it seized. Under this premise, they promised to cancel the order of a.s.sa.s.sination this time.”
Abel said with a stare, “That’s it. They really had me angry now.”
The a.s.sa.s.sin Union was pretty much the oldest a.s.sociation on the Holy Continent. Its influence was everywhere. The members weren’t just humans. Elves. Dwarves. Even orcs were included. With enough money paid, this organization could help its client get rid of any sort of trouble.
Before chaos took place on the Holy Continent, the a.s.sa.s.sin Union had been hiding the whole time. It was waiting for an opportunity, an opportunity for it to rise in the midst of everything that was happening. Abel became a clear target for them as he was both extremely powerful and influential.
The a.s.sa.s.sination happened right before the order was sent. Twenty thousand gold coins and two thousand intermediate magic gemstones. Actually, if the a.s.sa.s.sination Union knew that Abel was a head knight commander, this mission would’ve never happened. Wizards might be stronger than head knight commanders, but his keen senses as a head knight commander were enough to deter any ambush attacks.
Abel said to Burbridge, “Bring the intelligence officer here. I need to know the progress of this investigation.”
The intelligence officer quickly rushed over. He was holding a pile of parchment papers in his hand. There was sweat all over his face, and he had bloodshot eyes. He didn’t sleep the entire night, but he was clearly in a very excited state.
The intelligence officer handed the parchment paper to Abel, “Your Majesty! The intelligence agency did everything in its power to a.n.a.lyze every piece of information it has about the a.s.sa.s.sin Union. So far, we have collected paperwork to summarize where its influence is distributed. The intelligence agency is still trying to contact the intelligence agency of different duchies. We are trying to purchase anything that they’ll put on the table. We must wait for a few days.”
Once Abel took the parchment paper, he could see a report on the a.s.sa.s.sin Union’s location. They were everywhere. As long as it was a city in a human duchy, the a.s.sa.s.sin Union would have its own building.
Abel was infuriated to see that there was a headquarter in the duchy of Carmel, “Hear my command: If they are within the border of the duchy of Carmel, arrest anyone who is affiliated with the a.s.sa.s.sin Union. Kill everyone who resits.”
“Yes, your Majesty,” Burbridge replied, quickly wrote on the parchment paper, and pa.s.sed the paper to Abel. With just a quick scan, Abel took out a stamp from his portal bracelet and placed a mark on it. After that, Burbridge took it away so knights could go implement the orders on their own.
Abel continued to read information about the a.s.sa.s.sin Union. While the a.s.sa.s.sin Union continued to hide, its most important leader continued to live out in the open, Kilmber, the advanced wizard. Despite being the a.s.sa.s.sin Union leader, Wizard Kilmer scarcely interfered with much of the internal affairs. His job was pretty much just to collect money for the a.s.sa.s.sin Union. Other than that, he used his status as a level seventeen wizard to keep the a.s.sa.s.sin Union as it was.
Usually, the a.s.sa.s.sin Union was run by Head Commander Acton and Elliot the Intermediate WIzard. The location of the headquarters had always been a myth. The a.s.sa.s.sins that went were sent through the teleportation circle. They had no idea where the destination could be. Even if they did, they had no idea where the specific location was.
Abel said calmly, “They are careful, aren’t they? Hey, spend that to buy information on the a.s.sa.s.sin Union’s headquarter. I don’t care how much you use.”
He then tapped his finger on the parchment paper, “Also, I want to make an announcement: I, Abel the grandmaster blacksmith, will be officially putting up bounties for Head Commander Acton and Elliot the Intermediate Wizard. If anyone could bring me their heads, I’ll build an entire set of magic equipment for them. If anyone can bring me Wizard Kilmer’s location, I’ll make a magic staff for him. I won’t be providing the ingredients for it, though.”
Head Commander Acton and Wizard Elliot could be killed with money, but Wizard Kilmer was someone that only Abel could bring down. Apart from a level seventeen wizard, not a lot of people could threaten Wizard Kilmer’s life.
“Yes, your Majesty!”
The intelligence officer’s eyes were gleaming with enthusiasm. Abel was like a force that couldn’t be reckoned with. Head knight commanders and intermediate wizards were like nothing to him, and his existence alone threatened the life of an advanced wizard.
The Pute Valley of the Kingdom of St. Anwall was special. All of its channels connected to the outside world were blocked. The only way to get in was via a few selected channels underground. Most of the time, apart from a selected few, most people were sent here via teleportation circles.
The main purpose of the teleportation circles here was to deliver all kinds of message notification to the outside world. It was all up to a spirit called the stab spirit. The stab spirit was a spirit with advanced level intelligence. It was responsible for controlling all the administration work on the Holy Continent.
This was the headquarter of the a.s.sa.s.sin Union. Lives were taken here every day. Every life that was taken added more coins to the a.s.sociation’s purse. Inside the a.s.sa.s.sin Union a.s.sembly hall, Head Commander Acton and Wizard Elliot were discussing current affairs.
Head Commander Acton smiled as he sipped on his wine, “Our time, friend, it has finally come!”
The a.s.sa.s.sin Union relied on times of crisis to further develop itself. Unlike peaceful times, there weren’t so many laws and other rules to stop them from doing business. Now that the states were so busy handling their own internal matters, they were free to do as they please. Even the major n.o.blemen and royals were starting to hire them. It was their time to prove their worth.
“Abel’s still alive,” Wizard Elliot spoke, “No one knew he was already an intermediate wizard. With the lightning device beside him, the two intermediate wizards didn’t stand a chance. If we want to get him the next time, he has to be out of the sky s.h.i.+p’s range first.”
Head Commander Acton sneered, “The duchy of Carmel thinks it can just get us to tell them about our clients. How naive of them. Abel really thinks of himself as the king of this world, doesn’t he?”
Wizard Elliot sounded a little hesitant, “We should be careful with him. I don’t know what he’s capable of, but he’s killed a lot of people. Four advanced wizards and six advanced orc priests. I don’t think I need to remind you how dangerous he is.”
Head Commander Acton spat, “Well, screw Abel and screw the duchy of Carmel! We are from the a.s.sa.s.sin Union. If he crosses us, all our brothers kill him. That, and whatever land he rules.”
A staff came to the door, “Sir!”
“In!” Head Commander Acton said with a displeased tone.
The staff bowed once he entered, “I have news from the duchy of Carmel. All our missions there have been sacked. The majority of our men have been arrested. A few are on the run, but none of them can get out of the duchy of Carmel.”
Head Commander Acton smashed the red wine gla.s.s on the ground, “The duchy of Carmel!”
Wizard Elliot shook his head, “Abel’s too young to know about us, it seems. We need to show him what the a.s.sa.s.sin Union is about.”
Head Commander Acton slammed the table, “Send more a.s.sa.s.sins! Abel is at Billy City. It’s a city that was just claimed by the duchy of Carmel. I reckon we can get him with an absolute order to kill. If someone manages to get him, he’ll claim all the rewards and a bonus from our organization.”
He then stared at Wizard Elliot. Without permission from Wizard Elliot, he couldn’t send the absolute order to kill, which was the most frightening type of order in the a.s.sa.s.sin Union. If the absolute order to kill was sent, the a.s.sa.s.sin Union would continue to send out men until the target was dead. There was no way that negotiation of any sort could cancel this.
Wizard Elliot nodded his head, “Agreed. The a.s.sa.s.sin Union has to respond to this.”
Another staff shouted at the door, “Sir!”
Wizard Elliot spoke to the staff that was already inside, “You, go do the work. Get the one outside in.”
The staff was a bit scared when he walked in, “Um, reporting: the duchy of Carmel has just sent an official declaration from Grandmaster Abel himself. He’s planning to buy two of your heads with a whole set of magic equipment he’s going to forge.”
“What? What!” Wizard Elliot stood up and screamed. The price was a whole set of magic equipment. Apart from the three hundred knights he commanded, barely anyone else had the privilege to receive it. Also, the Miracle City just sent out news that Abel found a new way to forge. The new technique he developed could create a magic knight big sword that had prolonged effect, which was something that most head knight commanders could dream of.
For the last two years that Abel became the king, most people guessed that he spent most of his time on forging the magic equipment set for his three hundred knights, but the truth couldn’t be further from that. He did the forging in the dark world, so there was actually more time for him to make more than three hundred sets. Most of his time in the real world was spent doing work for the duchy of Carmel.
Anyway, Wizard Elliot and Head Commander Acton were now very afraid. The scariest part wasn’t the fact that their lives were threatened. The scariest part was that the a.s.sa.s.sin Union was actually a very loose a.s.sociation. Profit was its only concern, so there was a very high chance that his colleagues might just come for him.
Head Commander Acton thought the same. His combat qi slowly raised as he stared at the working staff in front of him. He was starting to grow paranoid.
The staff tried to ignore the threatening look on Head Commander Acton’s face, “Also, sir, if I may continue, Grandmaster Abel also put up a bounty on Wizard Kilmer. He’s willing to create one magic staff for it.”
“No, dammit! Go tell Master Kilmer about it, quick!” Wizard Elliot screamed.
Abel was serious, so it seemed. He was probably planning to kill Wizard Kilmer himself, and it wouldn’t be long before he could find where he lived. Wizard Kilmer was not a rat without a home. He had his own magic tower situated at the Pute Valley. It was a bit far from the a.s.sa.s.sin Union building, and it served as a watchtower for those who tried to spy on the organization.
Unlike Wizard Elliot, Head Commander Acton didn’t understand how tempting the magic staff Abel created was. With the right staff in hand, a wizard could turn the situation around in the most crucial of moments. The ability to create it was what made Abel become a grandmaster blacksmith in the first place. Now that he’s resting from his blacksmith career, many enthusiasts would surely come to him if he was to open his business again.
Also, the request wasn’t to fight Wizard Kilmer. It was simply his location. No one was going to turn down a mission this safe. Actually, even Wizard Elliot was a little tempted to take this job if it weren’t for the fact that he was one of Abel’s targets.
An angry noise came when a white light appeared, “What did you do this time? Tell me!”
It was Wizard Kilmer. He was inside his own magic tower the whole time, and news of Grandmaster Abel suddenly came to him. He knew how dangerously influential Abel was. Not a lot of people were willing to make an enemy out of him. Also, the lightning group behind Abel was also a very frightening group. Take Wizard Dunn, for example. He was rumored to be the strongest level seventeen wizard in all of the Holy Continent.
Wizard Elliot quickly knelt, “What do we do, Master? Is it too late to give Grandmaster Abel the client list?”
Wizard Kilmer shook his head and sighed, “It’s too late. You don’t know what Abel’s like, do you? He is a vengeful one. Now that you’ve already tried to kill him once, he’s going to come to you until he’s absolutely done.”
As an advanced wizard, Wizard Kilmer knew very much about Abel. Abel was a.s.sociated with the death of all of his enemies. It was always like this, no matter what stage of life he was in.
Head Commander Acton screamed, “Well, declare war, then! Wage war with the duchy of Carmel, and Abel’s going to know what we are capable of!”
Wizard Elliot tried to calm things down, “I’m not saying that’s the wrong call, Acton, but we can’t do that. We have no in the duchy of Carmel. We need to send more men to infiltrate before we openly declare war.”
They only had one choice. If they could kill Abel in a very short time, then all the imminent threat would be removed. However, if they took too long, an infinite number of knights and wizards would find the a.s.sa.s.sin Union location.