“No?” Behind his mask, Wilde's sinister, serpentine eyes narrowed.
His tone was one of pure asking. After all, as a loyal follower of Boss Lin, seeing someone shouting for Boss Lin’s help on behalf of a besieged enemy as well as slandering a patron of the bookstore before him were both baffling actions he hadn’t seen before.
But to a bystander, such a question was one that sent chills down spines.
After all, when someone drenched in blood and wielding a weapon appeared, one would still feel extremely anxious regardless of what that person said.
Naturally, Congreve was petrified, wondering exactly what had gone wrong and how another enemy appeared in such a crucial moment.
So close, it was just a little more!
A little more and Cherry’s life would have been taken by me!
The present Congreve despised the complacency of his past self from just a few moments earlier. If he hadn't beaten around the bush, perhaps he would already be savoring his victory...
Sadly, no matter how hard he regretted his past decisions, time couldn't be reversed. The only thing he could do now was to pray and cry for help.
At this very moment, his mind was buzzing with confusion. It was only after he vaguely saw the gory aftermath of the Blood Feast members skewered by tentacles did he truly process the nonsense that he had spouted.
This person is obviously affiliated with the bookshop... Isn't what I just said asking for a death sentence?!
"Wait, no!" Congreve shouted. "I-I'm one!"
Regardless if he wasn't a patron, Congreve had just bought himself a few more seconds and this would definitely provide an opportunity for Mr. Harper to rescue him!
“Hmm?” Indeed, Wilde loosened his grip subtly as he questioned Congreve with a bright grin. “Then tell me, what do you think of our great master Mr. Lin?”
How would I even know! I've never even met him before!
Nonetheless, I am willing to bet that this individual must be a vicious and nefarious individual. Someone who could command a Destructive-rank fiend like Wilde can only be some demonic god, or at least, a lackey of one!
Congreve thought to himself spitefully.
But on the surface, he displayed a look of sincerity. With a strained smile, he sang praises, “He is undoubtedly the mightiest, all-knowing…”
By applying his prior knowledge of the exultation existing religions gave to their gods, he had now acclaimed Mr. Lin to be somewhat of a higher deity.
Congreve quivered as he gave high praise, the only solace he had to quell his dread was that his last hope for saving was nearby.
Destructive-rank Mr. Harper would definitely bail him out. Both him and Wilde were of Destructive-rank, so a fight between the two should at least result in a stalemate!
As long as he could slip away during the fight, he could then regroup and come back stronger.
He had already long established a partnership with Blood Feast and was also the second most authoritative figure in the Chapman branch of the Ash Chamber of Commerce.
Not to mention that there was still the Path of the Flaming Sword to back him up if all else fails. Having been under their care for such an extended period of time, they would definitely send support to help him.
As long as he could successfully evacuate.
While holding to this remaining optimism, Congreve's mouth ran dry. He had already said everything that he could yet Harper hadn't appeared to save him yet.
His voice gradually softened till it finally went mute.
Only then did he realize the pin-drop silence all around.
No savior, and not even a single squeak could be heard.
Congreve's blood ran cold as he stared wide eyed at Wilde's amused gaze.
“Are you waiting for him to save you?”
Wilde mockingly loosened his grip, allowing Grady’s tentacles to swarm around Congreve, immobilizing him as they rotated him around.
Having been back facing Harper since the confrontation began, Congreve could now finally witness what his last hope had been up to.
Grady had already occupied the entirety of the private room. Including the proliferating elongated tentacles, its body mass carpeted the entire region. The entire room nowresembled a living nest of flesh and blood, continuously writhing and wriggling.
Its wolf-shaped skull rose into the air, slightly swaying like a rattlesnake.
And wrapped tightly within the living nest was Harper.
Innumerable tentacles were clutching his skinny frame, wringing him out like a damp rag. Copious amount of black oil-like substance was gushing out from within the folds of his bandages. A few of these tentacles even penetrated his body, seemingly like straws draining his mutated flesh.
As a hunter, Harper’s black blood hailed from being a 'Formless One,’ a type of dark monster that had no fixed form, having only a bandaged exterior maintaining their human shape.
As a result, his body was twisted like cotton. With many tentacles forcefully inserted into his oral cavity, he could barely make a sound. The only way to fathom his pain and suffering was by looking at the fear in those scarlet eyes of his.
He was in such indescribable anguish that he even cast a resentful gaze towards Congreve.
As if saying, If not because of you, I wouldn’t have met such a fate!
Wilde chuckled. "I’ve been hunting Harper for almost twenty years, but he seemed to have disappeared without a trace. Honestly, I had already given up and decided to spare him because it was not worth the effort anymore.
"Imagine my surprise that you brought him out of his exceptional hiding and straight to me with just one command.”
While he spoke, Harper, the once renowned hunter, already became a shriveled inky mass of a corpse.
Grady promptly devoured the remains of the Destructive-rank as if it were a plate of fries.
Congreve felt that something was seriously amiss.
The difference in strength between two Destructive-ranks couldn't be like an insurmountable chasm.
Harper, who had sold his soul to the Path of the Flaming Sword and managed to keep himself hidden for so many years, had offered little to no resistance against Grady.
Instead, he had been reduced to an easy meal.
“Oh right, I already knew that you aren't a patron of the bookstore, which was why I asked for your opinion. I actually did so for entertainment, to give you a false sense of hope before you die, and hear your praises of Mr. Lin."
This broke Congreve.
With tears streaming down his face, Congreve frantically shook his head. “No! Please don’t kill me! You can’t kill me!
"I am affiliated with Blood Feast, the Ash Chamber of Commerce, and Path of the Flaming Sword! You don't know what you’re getting yourself into! You will definitely regret it if you kill me!"
With a chuckle, Wilde signaled for Grady to finish the job.
However, at this moment, there were aetheric fluctuations and a few new auras suddenly appeared. Wilde's eyes narrowed as he cautiously surveyed the individuals that had appeared in the room.
Yet another Destructive-rank…
Indeed, among those individuals that had appeared via teleportation magic was a Destructive-rank.
Congreve could recognize that person just from his silhouette and began raspingly screaming for help, “Sir Lu, save me!
“Please save me!
“I’ve contributed a lot to 'Path of the Flaming Sword'!"
Evidently, this individual was also a member of the Path of the Flaming Sword.
And he seemed to have some interactions with Congreve in the past.
The individual who carried traits of a Northerner berated. Dressed in what seemed like warrior garb, he unsheathed a long sword as he stared directly at Wilde.
Congreve had hope once more and he placed his newfound faith in this new Destructive-rank.
Wilde also readied himself for combat.
This Destructive-rank was in a whole other ballpark as compared to Harper.
However, before anything occurred, an aetheric fluctuation of transmission magic appeared around this warrior by the name of Lu, causing his expression to change. He waved his arm in the air and barked out, “The bookstore and Path of the Flaming Sword have made a deal. The top has given the order to withdraw any assistance to Congreve. All forces retreat!”
All of the newcomers who heard the order made a hasty exit and disappeared without a trace…
Leaving behind an extremely awkward situation.
Congreve could hardly believe everything that had happened.
The backup from Path of the Flaming Sword had left as quickly as they arrived.
How... Can this be?! I was the enemy of myself all along?!
Isn't the bookstore the enemy?!
Why is the Path of the Flaming Sword retreating?
How and why did a deal between these two parties form?!
If the bookstore isn’t the enemy, then who is?
If the bookstore isn't the enemy but an ally of the Path of the Flaming Sword, yet I considered the bookstore as an enemy...
Unless…the enemy was me?
I was the enemy of myself all along?!
Congreve could only stare in stupor at the gaping maw of the beast devouring him as the last of his hope faded away.
After the hearty meal, Grady let out a satisfied belch. His enormous body had received more sustenance, especially from the blackened blood of Harper which made the dark veined patterns become more profound.
Retracting all of its tentacles, it transformed once again, this time back to its original form of a large white hound. Its beady black eyes blinked innocently as it stuck out its tongue and began panting.
Wilde approached Cherry and asked, “Miss, are you a patron of the bookstore?”