Chapter 54:

A Powerful Strike (Part 1)

The Children of Eris

Shortly after opening their new orders from David, the Raven had excused itself to the bathroom, then investigated the building’s security. Bookmark here

Ten minutes later, the Raven returned and had fully memorised the layout of the building, the number of guards and where all of them were. Bookmark here

There were two hundred of them in total, but there were only forty in the basement guarding the prison cells. Bookmark here

However, for Mania, their numbers were irrelevant.Bookmark here

As more buyers took their seats, Mania and the Raven slipped away and snuck downstairs to the prison cells.Bookmark here

In twenty gigantic prison cells along a single corridor were hundreds of slaves of all ages and races, wearing nothing but torn rags and heavy chains and collars. Bookmark here

The thugs guarding the slaves were distracted and talking among themselves when Mania and the Raven arrived in disguise. Bookmark here

“Lord Kelsey?” One of the guards asked, recognising their disguises. “What brings you down here, my lord?”Bookmark here

“…Is this the only way in and out of this corridor?” Mania asked.Bookmark here

“Yes, my lady,” the Raven reported, stepping to one side.Bookmark here

“Are all the slaves, both the sold and yet to be sold, kept here?”Bookmark here

“Lady Kelsey?” One of the guards asked.Bookmark here

“Yes, my lady,” the Raven said.Bookmark here

Mania grinned. “Perfect.”Bookmark here

The illusion surrounding Mania collapsed and, with a crack of her whip and a sadistic cackle, she struck.Bookmark here

She cleaved eight of them in two, then sliced through another six before the others could process what had happened. Bookmark here

“Squirm for me, worms!” Mania purred, licking her lips.Bookmark here

The guards drew their swords and charged at Mania. Bookmark here

Normally, Mania would’ve toyed with the guards more before killing them, but they were on a tight timetable and she didn’t want to waste a second. Bookmark here

A few managed to slip past her but the Raven promptly cut them down with its daggers and throwing knives. Bookmark here

Soon, there were only five guards left alive, shaking and whimpering.Bookmark here

Three of them dropped to their knees and begged for mercy, but Mania cut their heads off.Bookmark here

The last two tried to flee down the corridor away from Mania and the Raven, despite it being a dead end, but the Raven threw three knives at them and they fell down dead.Bookmark here

“I’ll destroy the locks and open the cages. Recover your knives and make it seem like there was more of a struggle down here,” Mania ordered.Bookmark here

“As you command, my lady.”Bookmark here

Just as Mania gave her orders, both she and the Raven paused.Bookmark here

Their battle was over, but they could hear the sounds of an intense battle raging upstairs. Bookmark here

Mania clicked her tongue.Bookmark here

Someone else is raiding this place.Bookmark here

***Bookmark here

A minute after Mania and the Raven had descended to the prison cells, the Paladins were ready to conduct their raid on the venue.Bookmark here

Most of the buyers had arrived with their guards, all of whom were wearing masks to conceal their identities, and, gathered in the alleyways around the auction house, were heavily armed members of the Paladins.Bookmark here

Since the Great Disaster had begun, the Paladins in Stonefall had been investigating all potential leads on who was behind it, including the Sons of Tartarus. During their investigations, Isabella and Christoph had learned of the slave auction house purely by coincidence. Bookmark here

They’d been tailing some known members of the Sons and seen them enter the building, then Isabella and Christoph had snuck in and discovered its true nature.Bookmark here

Now, on the eve of a new auction about to begin, Lawrence, Christoph and two hundred other Paladins had surrounded the building. Bookmark here

Half would charge in and secure the building; the rest would stay on the perimeter and prevent anyone inside from escaping. Bookmark here

“On my signal,” Lawrence whispered; the soldiers around him nodded.Bookmark here

He peaked out of the alleyway and saw eight armed guards by the entrance, scanning their surroundings for any threats. Bookmark here

If the Sons of Tartarus hadn’t lost Sylvan’s intelligence network, then they would’ve known days in advance of when the Paladins were going to raid them.Bookmark here

Lawrence, however, didn’t know about that; he simply believed that the Sons were arrogant and lax with their security. Bookmark here

Lawrence took a deep breath, exhaled, then yelled, “Charge!”Bookmark here

The Paladins burst out of the alleyways and easily cut down the guards outside. Then, per their orders, half charged into the venue and the rest surrounded the building.Bookmark here

Countless swords were drawn inside the venue, the buyers gasped in horror and many tried to flee, as Lawrence and the Paladins stood proudly before them.Bookmark here

“Don’t let any of them escape!” Lawrence roared.Bookmark here

***Bookmark here

As Mania and the Raven finished breaking the slaves out of their cells, a few guards ran down the stairs screaming for backup, but the Raven silenced them with its throwing knives. Bookmark here

With no other witnesses nearby, Mania conjured her portal and then addressed the crowd. “Ladies and gentlemen, today is the best day of your lives. My name is Mania and I have come here today to save you all.”Bookmark here

The slaves cautiously listened as children wept into their parent’s arms and some slaves threw up after seeing the state of the guards. Bookmark here

“This portal will take you safely to our castle where you will be looked after and protected,” Mania continued as the Raven finished breaking the chains off the last few slaves. “Right now, this building is under attack by a rival gang and they mean to kill every last one of you.”Bookmark here

Well, not that I would know. They could be.Bookmark here

“Therefore, I offer you a choice.” She smiled reassuringly at them and then said loudly, “Either you stay here and die, or come with us and live.”Bookmark here

Hundreds of slaves looked anxiously at the dead guards, then at Mania, and then they craned their heads to the ceiling when they heard the sounds of battle.Bookmark here

One by one, the slaves stepped into Mania’s portal and found themselves in the Dread Keep’s courtyard, where Rebecca, Eva, Hilda, Jessica and her team, the servants, and the Machai were waiting for them.Bookmark here

Rebecca wasn’t sure how many slaves Mania would be bringing back with her but, based on the money she’d given them, Rebecca had assumed there’d be a maximum of twenty. Bookmark here

Mania had rescued hundreds of them. Bookmark here

“My lady,” Eva whispered with a warm smile.Bookmark here

Rebecca nodded and smiled back. “I know.”Bookmark here

Thank you, Lord Allaric, Lady Mania. Bookmark here

***Bookmark here

The last slave stepped through Mania’s portal just as the battle started to grow quieter upstairs.Bookmark here

“How many did we get?” Mania asked the Raven.Bookmark here

“Eight hundred and ninety-two, Lady Mania,” the Raven replied.Bookmark here

“Splendid. The Dark Lord should be quite pleased.” Then, she narrowed her eyes and scanned the desecrated room. “There were definitely no witnesses, right?”Bookmark here

“No, Lady Mania.”Bookmark here

“Good. Then, no point in staying here any longer.”Bookmark here

The two stepped through the portal back to the Dread Keep.Bookmark here

Bookmark here

Two minutes later, the Paladins reached the basement and were horrified at what they discovered.Bookmark here

You can resume reading from this paragraph.