This despicable human has killed dozens of their comrades, how would they not get angry at him?
Ciprus gripped the handle of his giant hammer tightly. He could barely lift it up as he had already consumed most of his elemental essence.
Although his physical body was strengthened after breaking through to the Saint-Class level, it was not enough to carry the massive hammer without the help of elemental essence.
Meanwhile, in a different area of the ongoing battle between the mercenaries and the wolf pack. Seira and the alpha wolf stood opposite each other.
They warily glanced at each other's movements with unblinking eyes. Their muscles were taut, ready to attack at any sudden movement of their opponent.
The alpha wolf grew impatient and disappeared from its previous spot. It dashed towards Seira at an imperceptible speed.
Subsequently, Seira took a step back as she felt a chill coming towards her. It was actually the alpha wolf's claw aiming straight at her face!
Seira slashed her short sword towards the outstretched claw of the wolf.
A furry wolf paw with sharp claws dropped on the ground. Blood gushed out unceasingly on the wolf's severed leg.
It then produced a bestial cry of pain, causing all the other wolves to glance at their leader in alarm.
The sound of more than a hundred wolves howls resonated within the forested region right outside the Cave of Endless Grievance.
The bird and other aerial beasts flew in alarm after they heard the howling of the wolf pack.
Seira tightly gripped her sword as she stared at the alpha wolf who was looking at her with extreme hatred.
Its eyes flashed with madness, but the pain it was feeling made it hold itself back from attacking the human in front of it.
It then produced another howl before escaping with its wolf brothers.
The mercenaries heaved sighs of relief after seeing the wolves retreat. They kept their weapons and sat on the ground while panting heavily.
They had truly exhausted a lot of their elemental essence from that fight alone.
Their enemies were merely wolves, but they were already in dire straits. How much more if they faced the much stronger Heavenly Winged Guardians?
The mission this time was truly hard, but the rewards were similarly abundant. So how could these mercenaries decline such a tempting mission?
Anyway, they only need one Holy Nourishing Crystal. After harvesting one crystal, they would immediately escape.
But after experiencing the earlier battle, they felt that they were very naive. How could they easily escape a forbidden region?
Ciprus unequipped his giant hammer and took out a Replenishing Pill from his storage space. This was a precious item personally concocted by the empire's top physician, Elder Sun.
The effect of such a pill was to replenish lost elemental essence. But the price of such a miraculous pill was also expensive, thus Ciprus felt a bit pinched after he consumed it.
The other mercenaries nursed their injured comrades. No one received any fatal injuries due to Cale's timely commands.
The latter took out a glass of crystal clear water from his storage space. He then gulped it down in one go.
After the liquid entered his stomach, he quivered in delight. His lost elemental essence was also being replenished. The crystal clear water actually had the same effect as the Replenishing Pill!
Cale then glanced mockingly at Ciprus who was still breathing heavily. But he also had to commend the man's strength. Ciprus alone has killed more than several dozens of those wolves. If not for his stupidity, Cale would have taken him more seriously.
"How is everyone?" A soft and charming voice reached their ears. They then glanced at the blonde beauty with a short sword strapped on her back.
She still had the cold look on her face exquisite face.
"We are fine, young miss Seira." The mercenaries flashed a forced smile.
"For those who want to return home, you may leave while we are still outside the Cave of Endless Grievance." Seira eyed the party who wore various expressions.
She already felt the negative atmosphere of everyone. She knew that foolishly going inside the cave would only get all of them killed.
The mercenaries glanced at each other after she spoke. They knew the danger inside the cave. One slight mistake will get them killed. Even if they were Saints, they could still not escape death.
"I apologize, young miss Seira. But I have to leave here. The rewards might be tempting, but it's not worth sacrificing my life." One mercenary bowed his head regretfully at Seira. He then left the party without turning his head back.
After one man spoke and left the party, many others followed suit. They were also shaken by the battle earlier.
They haven't even gone inside the cave, but some of them were almost killed.
They bowed at Seira one after another while eyeing the remaining mercenaries with a complicated gaze.
From the initial two dozen mercenaries, only six of them remained including Seira. Ciprus and his comrade Tyrone, who was also an Adamantine-Rank mercenary. There was also Cale and two more people. They all wore solemn looks as they gaze at the retreating figure of the leaving mercenaries.
"Pah! Those cowards!" Ciprus spat a mouthful of saliva while glaring scornfully at the silhouettes from afar.
Cale's eyes flashed for a moment as if he had thought of something. He then stood up and walked towards Seira.
"Young miss Seira, I remember about Lord Lexus' Dual Sword Army going out of Border City. I am certain that their goal is the same as ours. They should already be inside the cave. If we can overtake their army, then we can offer them our help. After all, how could they decline the help from three Adamantine-Rank and three Platinum-Rank mercenaries?" Cale smiled faintly while glancing at Seira. The latter's eyes twinkled at the former's words.
Right! What could be the Dual Sword Army's goal aside from getting the Holy Nourishing Crystal for the emperor?
"You're right. Everyone, take a rest for now. After thirty minutes of rest, we shall depart and search for General Lexus' army." Seira's tone was still nonchalant, but her voice contained a certain charm to it.
* * *
A few hours later.
Inside the Cave of Endless Grievance. A huge army of soldiers wielding dual swords was confronting an army of winged humanoid beasts.
The humanoid beasts had reddish skin. A pair of dark red wings flapped behind their backs as they fought fearlessly with the soldiers.
These humanoid beasts were the Heavenly Winged Guardian. They lived in groups of tens of thousands.
An adult Heavenly Winged Guardian has a core that can be harvested upon its death, the Holy Nourishing Crystal.
This crystal had various useful effects upon consumption. It was even capable of healing someone who was on the verge of death.
But these crystals can only be harvested from an Immortal-Class level Heavenly Winged Guardian.
The sound of fierce battle cries reverberated from time to time. Blood flowed in buckets as more and more soldiers and humanoid beasts died.
The metallic scent of blood gushed inside the soldiers' noses, but they were already accustomed to it.
General Lexus jumped out of his mount and charged towards the center of the huge Heavenly Winged Guardian army.
His eyes were cold as he brandished his Saint level dual sword. The beasts that came near him were cut cleanly in half.
They could not even utter cries of despair before the dismembered parts of their bodies were helplessly thrown on the ground.
The Heavenly Winged Guardians brandished their stone weapons towards the old general, but the latter simply swiped his dual swords while disregarding his defense.
His two swords sliced the stone weapons of the Heavenly Winged Guardians as if he was slicing tofu.
The two deputies were similarly unstoppable as they followed behind their general with an undying will.
The sound of weapons clashing against each other can be clearly heard. Thick amounts of blood flowed on the ground dyeing it with a reddish hue.
* * *
"They should be up ahead since the lair of the Heavenly Winged Guardians is close by," Tyrone whispered after checking the surroundings. It was not his first time going inside the Cave of Endless Grievance. He had come here a few years ago with a large number of mercenaries for the same mission of getting a Holy Nourishing Crystal, but only a few of them were able to escape alive.
After walking for a few more minutes, they heard the sounds of battle that shook the entire cave.
In front of them were two armies who were engaged in a vicious battle. Neither of them held the upper hand, but there were more Heavenly Winged Guardians than the number of soldiers.
"Let's go! We should help the old man's army!" Seira hastily rushed to join the fight. Her long blonde hair which was left untied fluttered elegantly along with the wind.
Cale and the other mercenaries joined the fray after seeing Seira rushing towards the battle...