Zaphkiel retracted his tentacles of consciousness from Sandalphon’s lair. His actual body within the body slowly got up from his crossed-legged seated posture.
The countless tentacles which made up his physical body wriggled ceaselessly, creating slight disturbances in the surrounding air. Dark and narrow strips flashed across like lightning and disappeared just as quickly.
In the next instant, he reached out his hand which assimilated into the void, and Zaphkiel vanished from his original spot.
According to Michael’s letter, they were all required to head to where the covenant had been made: the birthplace of the Witch of Trees, Fraxinus, where some remaining elves gathered at present.
Now, these grounds would once again be used to fulfill the Path of the Flaming Sword’s covenant.
And elsewhere, in an even more secret area, similar events were occurring concurrently. Melissa had arrived at the meeting location of the 7th Squad.
Knights of Secret Rite Tower were systematically split into assigned teams, listening to orders in obedient and silent fashion, standing by and ready to go.
Melissa was quick to locate the team she belonged to and made her way toward them.
As she had been the previous team leader, it ought to be her taking charge of the ten-man team. However, at this moment, it was clear that her team had undergone some temporary changes and the position of team leader was currently held by Mylon, who was second only to her in the original team.
“Melissa, what are you doing here?”
Mylon, who was doing a roll call, was shocked when he saw Melissa approach and whispered when she got closer.
Melissa could vaguely sense that something wasn’t right. But when she saw how the leader of her team had been changed and being questioned in this manner made feel like an outsider. This annoyed her, to say the least.
Melissa couldn’t help but retort, “Why can’t I be here?”
She glanced around, recalling the words of the instructor and went on, “Wasn’t this a mandatory order by the Council of Elders?”
Mylon faltered. Shaking his head, he gave a hesitant reply, “This mission was indeed a mandate issued by the Council of Elders. B-b-but everyone knows that you are Joseph’s daughter and can now be considered to have special privileges.
“Moreover, the extreme enmity between Joseph and Wilde is well-known. It’s clear the danger level has shot up significantly because this mission involves us facing Wilde’s forces. How could Secret Rite Tower allow you to be put in danger?”
From Mylon’s facial expressions, Melissa could immediately deduce the hidden meaning behind his words.
Melissa cut him off. “Since it’s mandatory for every member of the 7th Squad to be involved, what’s wrong with me being here since I’m a member of the squad?”
Mylon could only gape, unable to vocalize his thoughts. This was sound reasoning and he couldn’t argue.
While everyone knew that Melissa would be transferred to the Intelligence Division, she was currently still here and the paperwork hadn’t been processed yet. Thus, she was still a Combat Division personnel.
Since she was still part of the Combat Division, obeying commands of the higher-ups and taking part in battles were to be expected.
With this logic, it would appear that Mylon was making a big deal over nothing. Thus, he could only nod his head. “Alright. But I’m the interim team leader.”
“No problem, continue issuing your orders as a team leader would. I’m just an ordinary team member now,” said Melissa as she slotted into the ranks. “This is probably my very last mission. You will officially be team leader once my transfer to the Intelligence Division goes through.”
Mylon was somewhat panicked. “The team—”
“The team should’ve already finished their preparations. I am no longer team leader; you are. Do the roll call.” Melissa cut him off.
“Yes!” Mylon acknowledged instinctively.
Several members in the team began to burst out laughing, causing Mylon’s face to burn a bright scarlet. But when he saw Melissa smile along with the rest, he didn’t feel as embarrassed anymore.
Mylon’s blush had spread to his neck, but he was able to calm himself down. With a few words of reprimand, he managed to silence the others.
He continued with the roll call while also organizing his team before reporting full strength to the higher-ups.
Thus, as per norm, Melissa rejoined her team, though this time not as leader but an ordinary team member.
The 7th Squad consisted of a total of 20 teams. Ten members made up a team, and Melissa was part of Team 8.
Standing at the back of the team, Melissa caught sight of ‘Scarlet Lancer’ Vivian, one of the ten Great Radiant Knights.
As her title suggested, Vivian was clad in thick scarlet armor that wrapped tightly around her body. She wielded a three-meter long spear and rode an ebony horse. A brown ponytail peeked out from the back of her helmet and her muscular arms hidden beneath her shoulder pads made her seem all the more intimidating and not like a regular woman.
Yet in truth, Melissa, who has seen Vivian’s true persona, knew her as a heroic and beautiful woman that would occasionally show an alluring side.
As for the reason why Melissa knew so much, it was all thanks to Mr. ‘Indomitable Sacred Flame’ Joseph.
While Joseph’s heart only belonged to his daughter and deceased wife, there were many that desired him.
While Vivian was giving her usual pre-battle speech, Melissa had thought back to the ceaseless Secret Rite Tower gossip by those adults out of boredom.
“And this time, we will return with unparalleled victory! Onwards!” Vivian raised her spear and roared.
The team members down below all shouted back “Victory!” in unison as magicians hired by Secret Rite Tower activated the teleportation array and sent the leading troops to the battlefield.
Every team had been given their own tasks from the start, and now all that was required was for everybody to perform their duties.
If they encountered leader members of the Corpse Devouring Sect, they would be left for Vivian to handle.
Melissa was already well-versed with the process of carrying out a mission, and she was now being transported to the destination along with her team.
The current target of this siege and suppression mission was a larger hideout of the Corpse Devouring Sect which was helmed by three Pandemonium-ranks.
One of them was the powerful hunter that followed Wilde and had the title ‘Night Falcon.’ His ability was at peak Pandemonium-rank, hence Vivan was currently dispatched to deal with him.
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The other two were relatively typical Pandemonium-ranks. In fact, they were only slightly stronger than Melissa had been before she received Boss Lin’s guidance; nothing noteworthy.
Under normal circumstances, a mission of this level wouldn’t warrant a complete mobilization of a Secret Rite Tower squad. However, the Corpse Devouring Sect was a truly evil organization that utilized sacrifices to gain power.
Once people started dying, the situation could spiral out of control and Secret Rite Tower would suffer great losses. Learning from past mistakes, dealing with the Corpse Devouring Sect meeting them with sufficient strength.
“Be alert and follow the plan. Upon encountering a member of the Corpse Devouring Sect about to perform a sacrifice, make sure to kill them!”
Vivian barked out her parting orders, having already dived into the teleportation array.
Everyone answered in unison on their communication devices. A secretive and tense operation had begun, and everybody was being methodically sent to 67th Avenue.
[It’s been a while, Aunty Vivian.]
Vivian suddenly received a message on her private channel. She was already awaiting further orders and hence conveniently opened the message, yet her face paled when she saw it.
[Melissa?! Why’re you here?? Dammit!]
She hurriedly replied, [Where’re you now?]
[I’m on scouting duty, so I’m already on 67th Avenue,] was Melissa’s reply.