The Red Leaves Cove was about two miles north of River Cove town. There were many maple trees in the area and every fall season the whole cove would be covered in red leaves, giving it its name.
The shape of the cove was long and narrow, with a small stream flowing through the middle. Because it was fall, the stream was almost dried up, exposing a big area of the riverbanks.
In a grove beside the riverbank, stood a solitary log cabin.
Surrounding the log cabin was a thick blanket of darkness. These were where all the thieves of the Syndicate hid. They were experts of camouflage. Even the birds, and other small creatures there had no idea of their presence.
The interior of the log cabin was sparse. Hanging in the middle of the room were two iron chains where Lucy's hands were each hung. Her hair was messy, the leather armor was stripped off from her body, and her whole naked body was marked with bruises and bloodstains from lashings. In some places, her skin was whipped into minced meat; you could almost see the bones inside.
The Syndicate had always been extremely brutal in the treatment of their captives. Lucy had only been captured two hours ago, but already they had tortured her to the brink of death.
A dark shadow stood at the corner - this was the executioner in charge.
"Well, pretty lady, are you still unwilling to speak?" His voice was exceptionally calm and gentle, it sounded like he was conversing with old friends.
Lucy's head drooped weakly, she let her fiery red hair fall on her face. Streams of blood trickled down her body, forming pools of blood on the floor.
Once she heard the voice of the dark shadow, her body automatically started to shiver. In the past two hours, every time the voice emerged, it was accompanied quickly after with whips.
As expected, a black whip conjured out of the darkness like a venomous snake from the dark shadow's hand. Smack! It hit Lucy's chest, and the whip coiled back immediately, bringing with it a piece of her flesh.
The thrashing this time was especially heavy-handed. With an incredible force, the whip penetrated Lucy's chest. Lucy felt a sweet taste in her throat as blood rushed up, but she swallowed and forced it back down.
Her face contorted slightly, then it carved out a wry smile, "Don't you have any other tricks apart from whips?" Lucy said weakly.
Lucy could handle the pain just fine. She had been a mercenary for such a long time and had suffered through much worse than this. Once, they were catching magma spiders on the volcano of Blackstone Hill in the North. The fire spider had spurted its acidic saliva on Lucy and the pain she felt then was immeasurable-she could recall it vividly even now.
But she didn't make a peep from that kind of pain, so even if the whip was doused with salt water, it would still be nothing she couldn't bear!
As soon as she finished the sentence, the whip came again. This time it was on her face. But because her thick layers of red hair covered her face, the whipping was not so bad, but still, it did leave a deep bloody line.
"Why do you have to keep it a secret?" the black shadow's voice finally showed a slight change in tone, "If it's money you want, I can give you 1000 gold coins right now, you can take the money and go wherever you want, and live the rest of your life in luxury...."
"Stop dreaming!" Lucy spat out blood in the direction of the corner, "I'll come back and kill you all!"
She was no damsel in distress who could do nothing but cry and wait to be rescued. Her nickname among the mercenaries was Fire Rose. She would pay whatever debt was due, whether it was a debt of gratitude or revenge. She vowed that if she ever escaped this place, she would come back and repay what these cowards hiding in shadows did to her in kind!
"I hate to disappoint you, but you will never live to do so. No one will come to save you. I should, perhaps, inform you that we are members of the Syndicate. Your two mercenary friends stand no chance against us, not that they would even risk it, hehe," the black shadow mirthlessly laughed, and continued, "After all, your torture has only just begun. If you don't talk now, I will teach you what hell on Earth is like!"
The moment she heard the word Syndicate, her heart sank. Of course, she knew the Syndicate. It was a venomous snake entrenched in the Firuman continent. The southern part of Girvent Forest was their main territory.
Their power far outweighed that of the Dark Brotherhood by ten, maybe a hundred times over. This is much beyond what the Flamingo Band of Mercenaries had the capability of fighting against. Even if Jacker and Gildern came to save her, they would only be meeting their end here.
If the one who captured her was the Syndicate, then it seemed she had no chance to survive after all.
She laughed bitterly, in her mind there flashed a picture of a thin and frail figure - that of the genius young Magician. The Lord she had just recently sworn her allegiance to; would he come and save her?
She wasn't sure.
In her memories, the young man's attitude had always been calm and indifferent. His eyes did not seem to ever move; they were dark and black, deep and quiet, as if nothing would ever rouse his feelings.
When she cleaned his room, he never even set his eyes on her. Her sensational figure, her beautiful face, none of it ever attracted him. His eyes were forever fixed on his spells and magic. The most reaction she got was a simple "thank you" when she was done, and nothing more.
For such an impassive person, she could in no way discern what kind of place she had in his heart and mind, but, she guessed, she probably wasn't all that important to him.
Ah, I was planning to focus on my Battle Art practice the next few days. But I guess I won't ever have the chance to do it now, Lucy sighed internally.
A brilliant path lay right in front of her, but just as she was stepping up to it, right at the last moment, a venomous snake jumped out and bit her. And now, everything crumbled, all that was left was darkness.
"Do you get it now?" in the corner, the dark shadow spoke once again.
Lucy bit down on her lips, shook her head, "I will never tell you."
Syndicate's power was huge, even if her Lord Link was a powerful Magician, it was possible that even he might not be able to defeat them. It would be understandable for him to not come and save her, but she could never break her oath and betray him.
"What a tenacious young lady. I do admire you, haha." Out walked a figure from the dark corner, his features were gradually emerging, and this person was dressed like a typical thief-masked, and clad in brown leather armor. His left hand was carrying a whip dripping with blood, and his right hand was holding a sharp dagger.
He threw the leather whip away, then swung the dagger around, and with silent steps walked up to Lucy. He reached out his hand and lifted Lucy's chin, then laughed and said, "Do you see this dagger? It's called Dissector."
As he was speaking, he traced a circle on Lucy's breast with the dagger. His voice became even more gentle as he said, "It is exceptionally sharp. For those who refuse to cooperate, I will cut open their flesh bit by bit. I will cut open their chest, so they can see their hearts beating. Then I will cut open their guts, so they can see their own livers, intestines and the rest. But don't worry, I will be very gentle, so it won't hurt too much, and you won't die quickly."
"You're a demon!" Lucy finally felt a real terror. She never feared death, but she did fear this horrifying torture.
"Thank you for that compliment," said the thief, smiling cruelly. His eyes were extraordinarily cold, "Now, this is your last chance. Will you speak, or will you stay silent?"
For an instant, there was hesitation in Lucy's mind, but she forced it away quickly. She bit her lips and said, "I'd rather die. Then I'll be up there in the kingdom of gods looking down on you as you're going to hell!"
"Ahhh" the thief sighed, the dagger slowly approaching and was about to pierce through Lucy's bloody chest.
But right at this moment, someone knocked on the door, and a voice from outside said, "My Lord, the River Cove town mercenaries have sent a message."
The thief immediately stopped his actions, put the dagger away, and patted Lucy's face. "Oh, so your comrades have come to die. They are just as stupid as you are."
As he spoke, the thief opened the wooden door and walked out.
Lucy's eyes suddenly sparkled. Is he here to save me?
She knew Jacker and Gildern well enough to know that they would definitely come to rescue her, but they had no way of finding her this fast. the only person who could figure out where she was taken and send a messenger in this short period of time was Link.
In this moment, a mixture of emotions churned inside her-there was joy, worry, and gratitude. In her mind, the figure of that young Magician had now become clearer and clearer.
Outside the log cabin.
As Andy heard the message from his underling, his brows furrowed. Why would there be a Magician among them? Damn it all!
They demanded Lucy be safe and without harm, but she had been beaten until her whole body was bloodied and bruised. This could pose some problems. He contemplated and said, "Go tell them to come to the Red Leaves Cove."
"Yes, my Lord." The thief turned around and left.
Andy stared at the back of the thief and thought, Normal people wouldn't know about Magic Runes and they certainly wouldn't dare touch it. Only Magicians know its true value. It seems it really has fallen into the hands of a Magician. Ha! Only three of them, and they still want to fight me, what idiots!
Andy then whistled, and not long after, a black shadow appeared from the bushes. "My Lord, what are your orders?"
"Assemble all Night Blade members and tell them to wear their anti-magic armor and carry their anti-magic daggers! And bring me my anti-magic gear!" Andy ordered.
"Yes, my Lord."
Mockingly, Andy said, "A Magician? Let's see what you can do."
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