1

At the moment, Niflheim and the 9th Division were positioned on the other side of a small hill roughly fifty hundred meters out from the Gale's Eye outpost.

Normally, it would be dangerous to get even this close to an outpost that had a First File among its ranks; however, the 9th Division was currently utilizing special talismans to minimize their presence. This was another gift provided to Izroth to make the completion of their mission a little smoother.

Of course, if they were reckless and got too close, even with the special talismans, their presence would undoubtedly be discovered.

After the group departed from the confines of the Ferae Jungle, they patiently waited behind the small hill for the Tempest troops to make their move. But, they did not remain idle the entire time.

Menerva sent two players from the 9th Division who possessed both a long-duration stealth skill and a reconnaissance-type skill to observe the situation at a closer range. She wanted to gather as much information as possible about their targets and made clear that no matter how irrelevant the information seemed, it was to be reported back to her.

Woosh! Woosh!

Out of nowhere, two players emerged from seemingly nothingness. However, none of the 9th Division members were startled by their abrupt appearance. After all, these were the two players Menerva sent out an hour ago to collect information from the outpost.

"Hollow Crane, Heartless Jade—good job making it back without attracting any attention to yourselves. So, what did you discover?" Niflheim asked as he approached the two along with Menerva.

"I'll go first." Hollow Crane replied as he stepped forward.

He then continued, "I overheard a few troops saying they would be departing from the outpost within the hour."

Niflheim nodded and said, "I know this. It was a good call to send the message when you did as soon as you heard it. Since they'll be departing soon, it means the intel we received from the War Intelligence Group is accurate."

Before the two left, Niflheim asked them to relay any information regarding their movement immediately via the group chat. After all, there were always unforeseen circumstances that could potentially change the pace at which Tempest decided to move.

Though Niflheim was pleasantly surprised by Hollow Crane.

Back when Hollow Crane took on the test to join the 9th Division, even though he was able to pass the first line, he was too hasty and underestimated what awaited beyond the third line.

As a result, he did not solidify his position past the second line and rushed to the third line. This made it so that he was just a regular member of the 9th Division instead of a 5-Man or 10-Man Leader.

That kind of poor judgment and hasty decision-making was something no one in command wanted anything to do with. However, Hollow Crane was one of the people Niflheim chose to be under his command.

After the test, Niflheim did not hear any complaints from Hollow Crane. Instead, he had been humbled after receiving that attack from Izroth and was the only one bold enough to use a skill in the test.

Niflheim believed that kind of person was capable of learning from their mistakes and overcoming them. Not to mention, it was not easy to find a bold person who knew how and when to take a step back after having failed.

A player with rough features that could be molded into something more—this reminded Niflheim of himself during the time before he joined Blue Oasis and became one of the Seven Captains of a famous guild.

"I'm aware. But I heard something else, too. It's something I wouldn't have normally brought up. However, Lieutenant Menerva said to report anything, no matter how insignificant, so I figured I could just wait to deliver it in person." Hollow Crane stated.

"Hm? What is it?" Niflheim inquired.

"Well, after I heard those guys talking about when they'd be departing, they mentioned something else. I'm not sure what it means or if it's even relevant, but they were walking about some hero showing up at the Night Lord's Crypt." Hollow Crane reported.

"Hero? Could it be that they know about Nova?" Niflheim thought to himself with furrowed brows.

"Is something troubling you as well?" Menerva asked as she glanced over in Niflheim's direction and noticed that he slipped into his thoughts.

"Perhaps..." Niflheim responded in a mutter.

He then asked, "Did they mention the name of the hero?"

Niflheim only knew about Nova, one of the seven heroes who faced the eternal darkness, being a part of the force assaulting the Night Lord's Crypt through Izroth.

Menerva, on the other hand, was present when Izroth met Nova. Therefore, she was also aware of the hero's presence.

However, Nova's existence should be one of the closest-guarded secrets of the forces stationed in the Land of Unity. Even some Generals were kept out of the loop.

The only reason Izroth knew was due to his connection with Commander Aurie, who was Nova's adopted daughter. And Niflheim, of course, found out through Izroth.

"Name? Yeah, I think it was something like Jinx? Joke? Or maybe Jax? It was a strange name, so I can't say for sure. But, I'm confident it was something along those lines." Hollow Crane noted.

"Jinx... Joke..." Niflheim uttered to himself.

As far as he knew, there was only one person among the seven heroes with a name even remotely close to what Hollow Crane reported.

"Jiox," Menerva said calmly; however, her mind seemed preoccupied as she spoke.

"Ah, yeah, that was it! Jiox—I'm sure of it!" Hollow Crane remarked.

"Could it be that not one but two heroes are joining the assault on the Night Lord's Crypt? If so, our side should have a much easier time overcoming that of Malentansium and Tempest forces. But... What is this feeling of restlessness I'm getting?" Niflheim thought to himself.

If there truly was another hero that would appear at the Night Lord's Crypt, then it was a good thing for Amaharpe and its allies. However, the fact that Tempest was aware of this information and still prepared to send out their forces just did not add up. That is unless they were already prepared and confident enough to face them.

"No one is to bring up this matter again. I will discuss it with Captain Izroth when it returns." Niflheim stated.

"Oh? What is it that you wish to discuss with me?" A voice sounded not too far away from Niflheim as a person appeared a few steps away. This person was, of course, Izroth.

"You've returned. Good, just in time." Niflheim said with a serious expression as he turned to face Izroth.

...

Niflheim took a few moments to explain the situation to Izroth.

"Jiox? Interesting." Izroth said calmly.

'I've seen him before, back when we were heading into the Chaotic Dogma Realm. If I'm right, he should be the one who was in the hooded clothing.'

Before they entered the Chaotic Dogma Realm, Izroth and the others met the seven heroes. However, just like Niflheim, Izroth also had a feeling of uneasiness about the situation. Though it was not for the same reasons as Niflheim.

In the Chaotic Dogma Realm, there was a team of players working with the Shadahi. But how could players like that gain access to such an important place with the help and influence of some powerful forces?

Although Izroth brought it up to Gear, there was nothing that could be done at the time. After all, to start an investigation against the seven heroes was the same as going against the people who saved the world and were practically exalted beings in the Mortal Realm. Not to mention, who would believe that they would side with the Shadahi?

How could one just suddenly accuse them of siding with those they fought so hard against? It would not make any sense whatsoever to those who heard it.

Of course, Gear took the matter seriously and said that he would personally look into it. But, after that, Izroth had not heard back from him or seen Gear since their run-in against the Envoy of the Netherworld.

Still, if there truly was a traitor among the seven heroes, then the Mortal Realm had a more pressing concern to be worried about. Someone like that had the knowledge and access to potentially cripple the Mortal Realm when it counted the most.

However, even if Jiox was showing up at the Night Lord's Crypt, Izroth knew that he could not just come to a conclusion too fast. In the end, he could be there to assist Nova. There was no guarantee that he was the traitor.