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Three hours later with a short break to water and rest the horses as well as themselves, they found themselves at a crossroad waiting for the troop from Knights of The Mystic Dragon. They dismounted stretching their legs as a lone horseman rode toward them a moment later. He stopped his horse a few yards back from them, the horse seeming a little on edge as it sidestepped, neighing and pawing at the ground.
“It’s the scout from Knights of The Mystic Dragon,” Celty spoke looking toward the man. His horse still acting edgy. “Something is wrong with that horse.”
Kirito looked to her then to the man as he noticed the horse was acting slightly strange as well. At that moment Creed walked past Celty and Kirito.
“Dismount!” Creed demanded of the scout.
“Creed?” Celty questioned him as he walked past, and she lifted from her sitting place on the ground.
“Who are you?” The scout questioned the man that demanded he dismounts his horse.
“It doesn’t matter who I am! I told you to dismount!” Creed repeated still walking toward him.
“Creed what are you doing?” Celty questioned.
Creed ignored her still walking forward as the scout drew his blade. The scout’s eyes narrowing at the man coming slowly toward him.
“Identify yourself or I will have no choice but to attack.”
“No!” Celty called out to the scout as his horse moved toward Creed. Celty grabbed Creed’s shoulder, stopping him as he looked back at her. “What are you doing, Creed? You're going to get yourself killed.”
Creed laughed. “That will be a cold day.”
Celty shook her head. “Don’t be a fool. He is a scout from the Knights of The Mystic Dragon. There is a troop following him. If you kill him, they will come after you. After us. Not to mention this is where I have to hand him off.” She reminded him as her head motioned to Kirito behind her.
Creed laughed again. “I am not going to kill him. I’m not even going to rob him. His horse is in pain. As long as he is mounted on the poor creature it will remain in pain.” Creed looked to the scout again. “I told you to dismount. Now do it.” Creed pointed at the horse. “Look at his left hind leg.”
Celty looked to the scout’s horse as blood was running down the animal's leg. “Do as he said, your horse is hurt and needs medical attention.”
As Creed started moving toward the scout again the sound of thundering hooves was moving toward them. Celty looked down the road as she saw the large troop coming toward them quickly. Her arm lifted as she pointed behind him. “Here come the rest of your men. If we were lying, we would be mounting our own horses and getting out of here. Please get off your horse so he can help him.”
The scout turned to look behind him as his troop was coming quickly toward them. The Grandmaster Knight pulling away from the rest as he now led the troop. His horse sped past the scout and came to a quick stop in front of Kirito. He dismounted grabbing Kirito’s shoulders with a wide grin. Releasing him he turned and looked to the scout as Sixth Knight, Sir Kedieg and the others stopped behind the scout.
“It’s alright. They’re not a threat.”
Creed turned and looked to Klein. “Tell the idiot to dismount, his horse is hurt.”
Sir Kedieg and Klein looked to the horse as they heard the man announce the issue at hand. “Left hind leg.” Looking at the leg, Sir Kedieg grabbed the reins of the horse holding him still.
“Dismount, soldier,” Sir Kedieg told him.
The scout slid off the horse as Creed stepped up to them. His hand going to the horse’s neck as he stroked it gently and talked softly to it. He looked to the man who had the reins. “Can you hang on to him?”
“Yeah, he is not going anywhere,” Sir Kedieg told him.
Creed opened his panel retrieving a healing salve from his supplies. Working some into the wound he found a thorn stuck in the horse's leg. He growled, shaking his head as he pulled the thorn, tossing it off into the grass. Once he was finished doctoring the horse he looked to the scout. “Take better care of your mount or you will be walking. Not everyone is as nice as me.”
The scout nodded and bowed to Creed. “Thank you and I am sorry I was so quick to judge.”
“I don’t blame you for that. Not everyone can be trusted.” Creed smirked as he walked away, a thought running through his mind. I am one of them.
Celty walked up to Kirito and smiled. “I guess this is the end of the trail for us. It was nice meeting you.”
Klein smiled at her. “Thanks for meeting us here to drop him off.”
“Not a problem,” Celty replied.
“Do we owe you anything?” Sir Kedieg asked her as his horse walked up behind her and he dismounted.
Celty turned toward him still smiling. “No, Lady Tanya already took care of me, but thank you for asking.” She turned back to Klein and Kirito still smiling. “Good luck on your mission.” She bowed to the Knights then turned walking back toward her horse.
Kirito watched her walk off as he then turned to Klein. “I’ll be right back.”
“Huh,” Klein questioned as he watched Kirito dart off toward the girl, Celty. “Uhh… Well… hurry up we have to get to the Western Guild.”
“Yeah yeah,” Kirito called back. “Celty,” He called to her as he trotted up behind her. “Can I talk to you for a second?”
Celty turned to look at him as she took hold of Clouds reins. “Sure, what is it you need?”
Kirito took hold of her arm and started leading her away from her horse and the others, this causing Creed to dismount.
“Hey! What the hell are you up to?”
Kirito looked over his shoulder at the man. “Chill. I know Celty IRL. I just need to talk to her about something before I forget.”
Klein blinked a few times with a very confused look on his face as he scratched the back of his head. He does? He thought to himself as he watched them walk further away.
Not walking off too far from the others, Kirito spoke not looking to Celty as he did. “Can you use that spell you used in the village, so the others can’t hear us?”
“Mhmm,” Celty confirmed then came to a stop as Kirito faced her. “Mystic Hands of Silence I invoke you.” she paused for a second as the field wrapped around them. “We got a little more room since Cloud is not in here with us, but don’t get too far away from me.”
Kirito nodded as he looked around them the others watching them closely. His head shook as he looked back at her. “Are you going to be at the castle when we return?”
“I am going to try to be, but I don’t know where my research is going to lead me.” She looked over at the troop when something dawned on her. Aaron was not with them. “Hm, something must have come up,” she mumbled softly.
“Huh?” Kirito questioned as he looked toward the troops as well.
“Aaron, my Vice Master.” she looked to Kirito. “He is not with them.” She fell silent for a second and opened her panel. “Do me a favor.”
“Yeah, what’s that?”
“Open your panel and play around with it for a second then message Klein. Ask him where Aaron is.” Celty told him. “Tell him Tanya messaged you and was trying to get a hold of him and he has not responded back.”
Kirito nodded and did as she asked of him. While he did this, Celty watched Klein open and read the message then start to reply. She looked back to Kirito so not to raise suspicion. “You know,” she started, “If you’re going into battle with them you need something to distinguish you as an ally and not the enemy. And I don’t know what kind of weapon you have, but I can guarantee it’s not as good as what the members of the Knights of the Mystic Dragon have.”
“PFFTT!” Kirito expressed as he looked to her. “Don’t underestimate my knowledge of weapons.”
Celty chuckled. “I am not. I just know the types of weapons you can buy in this game, and none of them can stand up to the Mystic Sword of Whitehaven. The swords the Knights carry were forged in game from a dragon.”
“You mean like the one you have on your hip now?” Kirito asked.
Celty looked down letting her hand rest to the hilt. “No, this sword is the pure power of the dragon it came from. The Mystic Sword of Whitehaven was forged by an armor smith but was created from items of the dragon. They’re stronger, not magical.”
“You mean like how you explained to me about the crystals, horns, and scales can be used for potions.”
“Mhmm, the dragons can be used for many things from potions to weapons and armor, and medical usages. They’re very useful both alive and in death. It’s the reason they must be watched over very closely. Poachers would kill them all off just to gain riches from what can be created from them.”
Before Kirito could respond to what she told him a soft chime sounded. Opening his panel again he read Klein’s reply. “It seems Aaron got called off to work this morning after they talked to you. Klein said they are just biding their time until he gets off in another hour.”
Celty nodded slowly as she started pushing buttons on her panel and swiping things left to right and back again. After a few minutes, she looked to Kirito as his inbox chimed again. “Put that stuff in your inventory. That’s the best I can do for you right now, but it will work for this little battle you’re getting drug into. Do not let that sword get away from you and if anyone asked Tanya sent it to you.”
Kirito looked at what she sent him as he placed it in his inventory. It was the white and blue trench coat of the Knights of the Mystic Dragon Guild and the Mystic Sword of Whitehaven she had sent him. “Do I want to know how you got your hands on this stuff?”
“Ehh, might not.” Celty chuckled. “Just use them and be safe, and I will see you guys in a few hours. As Tanya, of course.”
Kirito nodded. “I guess we are done here then, and you be safe as well out gathering information.”
“I will,” Celty told him with a confident smile as she dropped the barrier around them. The two turned and walked back toward the group, Celty stopping at her horse, mounting it and Kirito walking over to Klein.
“Again. Be safe and good luck in your battle.” Celty told them as she looked their way. From the troop, a few nodded at her, others giving her a wave of hand as she pulled Cloud’s rein to the right and the six of them road off further into the West.
It was hours after the Knights of the Mystic Dragon had come and gone. They delivered their message to Guild Leader Thoin, thoroughly hitting a nerve with the man. After their announcement, the Knights of the Mystic Dragon then took their leave to find the Clan of Dragon Slayers.
Within a couple of hours of locating them, their troop, the men and women of the Knights of the Mystic Dragon made quick work of them. The Knights of the Mystic Dragon suffering little to no casualties from their battle with the Dragon Slayers. However, the Clan of Dragon Slayers were all but wiped out. The ones left standing were arrested and locked away for their crimes against the dragons, the Clan now officially disbanded by none other than Vice Master Aaron.
When the Vice Master and the Grandmaster Knight of the Knights of the Mystic Dragon reported back to Guild Leader Thoin and Grandmaster Freiveth, they both acted relieved that the Clan of Dragon Slayers were wiped out. They thanked the Vice Master and the Grandmaster Knight graciously for their help, but Aaron could tell Guild Leader Thoin and Grandmaster Freiveth were fuming on the inside, ready to explode. They hid it well but could not hide it from him nor Klein. However, neither was going to stand there and try to learn why. They had other more important things to contend with. So they took their leave, leaving them to their own.
However, little did they know they did not leave them as alone as they believed. They had a visitor hiding in the shadows waiting and wondering what type of information might be gathered by remaining behind, spying on the Guild Master and his Grandmaster. She hid in silence, waiting and watching in the depths of the shadows within their castle walls.
Pacing the floor of his Conference Hall after the Knights of the Mystic Dragon had gone, Guild Leader Thoin waited, knowing that at least two of the men that led the Dragon Slayers were still alive and walking free. Suddenly, and making the Grandmaster flinch. A loud ‘thud’ echoed through the room.
“HOW THE HELL DO THEY DO THIS!!” Guild Master Thoin bellowed as his hand came down on the tabletop.
Freiveth pulled on the hem of his robes. “They are not the Central Guild for nothing. Their Guild members are strong and skilled. Most are at the height of their levels in HP, XP, and skills and are soon to level up. So far the game has the ceiling as Level 75. Lady Tanya is wrapping up level 70 and Sir Aaron is completely maxed. The rest of the Knights are in the sixties. Even most of the lower ranking members are in the upper fifties. Compared to them we are flies on the wall waiting to be swatted.”
“That comparison really sucks, Freiveth. I would like to think I am stronger than that since I did survive this little skirmish,” Cerrakor said walking in with Seveani at his side.
“Yeah thanks, asshole. I have been here too long to be called weak,” Seveani, Cerrakor second in command boasted.
“Where have you been?!” The Guild Leader belted out. “I was starting to think you were dead!”
Cerrakor looked to Seveani with a disgusted look. “Their Vice Master and new Grandmaster Knight decided to leave a few Scouts behind.” He looked to Thoin. “We could not get anywhere close to being out in the open or we would have been caught.”
“So, in other words, you were hiding like a couple of scared rabbits,” Freiveth said with a smug smile.
Suddenly Seveani’s sword was at his throat. “Would you like to say that again?”
“This is treason!” Freiveth growled looking at the Guild Leader.
“Go complain to the Central Guild. Maybe they can help you out there because I don't give a shit.” Cerrakor chuckled. “We might work for you, but we are not your fucking lap dogs.” He looked to Thoin. “They killed or arrested every one of my men.”
“You think I don’t know that?!” Guild Leader Thoin growled as he continued to pace the floor. “We are just going to have to recruit more men. Stronger men. We have to get our hands on that egg before it hatches.”
Cerrakor laughed aloud. “If the rumors are right about that egg, we don’t have much time.”
“If you would have found reliable men and women that could fight. We would not be in this mess.” Thoin growled.
“Reliable! You two are the ones that wanted to test them to see how strong they were. Putting them against one of the strongest Guilds in Tarragonia. We fight dragons, not armies.” Cerrakor reminded them.
“If you cannot stand up against the Knights of the Mystic Dragon. Then there is no way you could stand against the Divine Dragons and the Clan of the Spirit Dryads that protect them.” Freiveth informed him.
“Pfftt… You just keep your little acts going, and we will take care of the rest. That egg will be ours soon enough.” Cerrakor told them.
Thoin looked to the two men. “We need to find a way to eliminate the Central Guild. They are too powerful and will only remain in our way, foiling our endeavors.” His hand slammed down on the tabletop once more. “Blast their Noble and Righteous acts to protect the dragons!”
Seveani chuckled as he walked toward him. “If you're going to remove the Central Guild you will have to take out the North, South, and East as well.”
“There are just as many that stand against as there are with the dragons,” Cerrakor replied, “It’s just a matter of finding them.”
“Which takes time. Time is something we do not have. That egg will be hatching soon!” Thoin bellowed.
“Yeah yeah, so you have announced already,” Seveani said sitting down at the table next to Freiveth, lacing his fingers as his arms rested to the tabletop. “You know there might be a way to do this if we can get some dirt on Tanya. She can’t be as much of a saint as everyone believes.”
“How can you say that about Lady Tanya? She is an upstanding person in the Tarragonia world,” Freiveth rebutted.
Seveani patted Freiveth’s cheek still chuckling. “Of course, that is what she wants everyone to see. However, I’m sure there is another story behind that pretty little face of hers, and it could probably bring her Guild crumbling down.” He grabbed Freiveth’s chin between his thumb and index finger looking into his eyes. “We just have to find out what her dirty little secrets are. Her Guild rose to fame all too quickly. There has to be something there to explain why. No Guild I have ever known has ever done as well as hers in such a short time, nor do as well as it continues to do so. Somebodies dick is being sucked.”
“And it’s not ours,” Cerrakor replied chuckling hardily.
Seveani laughed. “Exactly.” His arms folded in front of him as he sat back in his chair.
The three men then looked across the room as a loud ‘thud’ echoed in the room. At the other end of the large table sat Cerrakor, his booted feet to the tabletop as he examined his nails.
“You two just keep Illusions of the Serpent on the up and up with the Central Guild. We will take care of disbanding the Knights of the Mystic Dragon and finding more men for the cause.” He looked up at the two. “And I think I might know the first group I might go and recruit.”
“And who might that be?” Thoin questioned curiously.
“The Clan of The Unseen,” Cerrakor told him.
“You know Celty is back, right?” Seveani asked Cerrakor.
“Yeah,” Cerrakor answered as he examined his nails again. “I saw her with that guy dressed all in black down at Xeskese River.”
“A guy dressed all in black? Did he have dark, short hair? About this tall?” Freiveth’s hand gestured.
Cerrakor nodded to all his questions as Freiveth chuckled lightly. “You do know who that is, don’t you?” He asked Cerrakor.
“Nope,” Cerrakor replied like it was no big deal. “Why the hell would I care about this one dude? He doesn’t look like he could beat his way out of a wet paper bag.”
Seveani shook his head. “Agreed, he is only one guy.”
Freiveth grinned wide. “I think the two of you need to go home and study up on your enemies. That so-called ‘dude’ is Kirito, he is a survivor of SAO.”
“So what, and my name is Cerrakor, a survivor of life,” Cerrakor rambled in the background as Freiveth spoke.
“The--Kirito? The SAO--Kirito?”
Freiveth looked to Seveani. “Do you know of another, dumbass?!”
Freiveth looked to Cerrakor. “This guy is seriously OP!”
“So what? So am I.”
Thoin chuckled shaking his head as he looked to Cerrakor. “You’re dragon shit compared to Kirito, is what you are.”
Cerrakor’s chair slid back quickly screeching across the hard marble floor, he stormed toward Thoin, Seveani stepping between him and Thoin before he could get to him.
“He is right. There is not one of us in this room let alone one person in the Dragon Lance VR that could beat Kirito.”
Cerrakor threw his hands in the air and laughed. “So what if this Kirito is OP off the wall. Every man has a weakness. All we have to do is find it.”
Freiveth shook his head. “He has none. At least not in the VR world.”
Cerrakor started to laugh softly as it grew louder. “You don’t think so?” He continued to laugh. “I think you’re wrong. I overheard him say he knew Celty IRL.” A wide smirk crossed his lips as his hands rose from his sides. “We found his weakness, Gentlemen.”
Seveani pointed at Cerrakor as he looked to Thoin and Freiveth. “See? A man that knows how to use his head for something other than a hat rack.”
Cerrakor chuckled, turned and walked back toward his chair.
“Kirito is not the only one we have to worry about, Cerrakor. Their Grandmaster Knight is Klein. He is as beast as Kirito, and I know for a fact that man has no weaknesses.”
Cerrakor threw his hands up again. “We will deal with him then when the time comes. Until then we keep pushing forward.” He sat down again and looked to Seveani. “I am sure we can find something to hold over his head.”
Seveani smirked. “So when do you want to go talk to The Unseen?”
Cerrakor opened his panel and looked at the time. “It’s getting late. I say tomorrow about noon. I am sure we will catch them in Slycrest.” He grinned like a Cheshire cat. “It’s been a while since Creed has seen his woman. I am sure he will bed her well tonight.”
“Hopefully she will be able to ride after. It’s a long ride back,” Seveani told him smirking as well.
Cerrakor looked to Thoin and Freiveth once more. “We will get that egg and shut down the Central Guild, and we will do it all within a month’s time. Plus, give them all a few obstacles to hurtle in the process.”
“I hope you are right, Cerrakor,” Thoin told him as he turned swiftly and walked toward the doors of the Hall. “I do hope you are right.”