"Okay, I trust you." Holding the bottle of blood and standing still, Cage said to Kaido gently, "Get out of the woods and find the butler. Be a good boy."
"I'm not leaving!" Wiping his tears, Kaido cried and said, "Those people… They will beat you. I don't want you to be beaten!"
Many people said that children could be blunt. But on many occasions, what children said could be most touching.
Cage smiled happily after hearing that. Why should he not feel happy when he had a son who cared so much about him?
He only regretted that, as a father, he failed to create an environment where his son could grow up safely. His son would definitely be traumatized after this.
Cage said gently, "Be a good boy, or I'll be angry. Go find the butler. Got it?"
"I'm not leaving! I'm not leaving!"
Kaido grew stubborn and shook his head hard.
Seeing that, Cage was both sorry and anxious, fearing that the kidnappers were agitated by his crying son.
After all, the cries of little children could be very annoying for certain people on certain occasions.
Also, Cage found that all the Golden Sons had changed their expressions.
Growing even more anxious, he was about to demand his son to leave in a harsher tone in case the kidnappers changed their minds, when something unexpected happened.
One of the players suddenly became violent. He violently slashed to the side and chopped a tree as thick around as a bowl.
The truck of the tree collapsed, and the crown and branches crashed into the snowy ground, raising a white rustling mist.
Terrified, Kaido cried in a much lower voice and started to sob.
Everybody looked at the man who suddenly moved.
Cage's heart palpitated, knowing that it was not good.
He subconsciously clenched the Phoenix Blood in his hand.
Breathing hard, the player tossed his longsword to the ground and roared angrily, "Damn it! I hate this! I'm done!"
Cage was already prepared for battle, but he was surprised by what he heard.
The other six players, though also surprised, weren't as clearly stunned as Cage was.
Jess said coldly, "Roald, what's the meaning of this?"
"What do you think? I'm here to play the game, not to be a villain," the player named Roald roared and stepped back. "I have my own children. I can't watch this anymore, okay?"
Jess looked even colder. "But we had a deal!"
"And you think you can't go back on your promise?" Roald stepped back and waved his hand as if he were slapping something off. "When I was little, I swore to be a hero of justice, but what am I now? I don't want to do more wrong. If they're players, we can rob or kill them when we're stronger than them, but those NPCs can't respawn after they're dead. I can't do anything to them."
Jess fell silent.
"I have no objection if you want to carry on, but I won't be a part of it anymore."
Roald picked up his weapon, turned around, and left without any hesitation.
Briefly stunned, Cage couldn't be more delighted. Though he couldn't really understand the players' language, he could tell that they were having a disagreement.
Watching Roald go, another two players retracted their weapons and followed him in silence.
In no more than ten seconds, another two players gave up and left.
The player who was holding Kaido sighed and sheathed his longsword.
Staring at him, Jess asked hoarsely, "Are you leaving too?"
"Let's go." The player didn't leave alone. Instead, he went to Jess, grabbed his neck, and dragged him away, while saying, "It's unnecessary to carry on anymore. If we continue, we will fail even more miserably."
Though he seemed rather reluctant, Jess's body followed the player without much struggle. However, he said, "That bottle of blood is worth hundreds of gold coins, which means millions of yuan in reality."
"Yes, I know."
"Is it not tempting to you?"
"Of course it is, but you see cash carriers every day, and each of them may contain millions of yuan. Will you ever rob them? Jess, I think our negative feelings are magnified in this game, perhaps because we're powerful and unrestrained."
"This is different. Reality is reality, and a game is just a game…"
"But this game is too real. It's no different from reality."
The two of them chatted and walked away slowly.
Stunned, Cage watched all the kidnappers leave, and ran toward his son a long while later. He picked up his son with one hand and examined him. He was relieved to see that the boy was unscathed.
Burying his head in his father's arms, Kaido cried loudly.
He had been terrified during the past two days. Though the strangers never physically abused him and only cursed him at most, as a small child, he was still scared.
Staring in the direction the players left in for a while, Cage slowly stepped out of the woods with his son.
The butler had been waiting by the road nervously. Seeing his master and his young master, he instantly ran to them and was relieved to find that the young master was unhurt.
They went home along the main road.
After they walked a while, they saw a white storm pressing at them. Cage was about to take a defensive posture, but then he relaxed.
It was Andonara, with White Amber on her shoulder.
Having been close to her since her childhood, he recognized his niece by her figure even though she was far away.
Andonara approached in ecstasy. Looking at Kaido who had cried himself to sleep and Cage's broken arm, she burst into fury.
"Uncle, where are the people who hurt you?" asked Andonara dauntingly, holding the Hero's Sword.
Cage shook his head and said with a smile, "That's unnecessary. They're just kids who made a mistake. They've recognized their wrongdoing, and they'll change. Just let them go."
Cage shook his head firmly and then asked, "Why are you here? Weren't you going to search for the Hero's Sword?"
"It's the sword I'm holding!" Andonara secretly sighed.
She knew that her uncle was a good person. Although he loved communicating with Lamb Girls on how to take care of men's excessive energy, he was really a good person in general.
Cage's eyes glittered. But only one of his hands was available, and it was holding his son. So he said, "Let's go home before we talk about it."
They walked on for a while. Then, Roland landed from the sky, as White Amber had informed Roland that Cage was found using telepathy.
Seeing Roland, Cage said with a smile, "Hey, you're here too."
After Roland landed, he cast the healing technique on Cage the moment he saw the man's broken arm.
Cage smiled and said, "Thanks. Let's go home and talk."
Back in the manor in Reed Village, Cage took a shower, and young Kaido fell asleep in bed while the two treants tended to him.
When the players broke into the manor, both of the treants hid themselves.
It was very easy for them to hide. All they needed to do was to stand still among trees or grasses with their eyes closed.
Kaido had been frightened for almost two days. He was calling his dad even though he was sleeping.
Cage patted his son's head gently and then went down to the living room.
"This trip was really an eye-opener," Cage said with a smile. "I've never seen kidnappers who aborted their kidnapping when they were about to get the treasure they wanted. Roland, you Golden Sons are rather interesting."
Roland, however, blushed, feeling that Cage was mocking him.
Andonara asked, "What happened exactly?"
Cage told them everything.
Andonara burst into rage again. "Those goddamn Golden Sons are doing evil things brazenly just because they're undying."
Cage smiled. "That's fine. I'm told that many Golden Sons with black leaves have left this world. They couldn't stay much longer even if they wanted to, because they were hunted everywhere."
Roland nodded and said, "Cage, I think you should consider moving to another place."
Cage thought for a moment and said, "You do have a point."
He was a good person, not a fool. Now that his Phoenix Blood was no longer a secret, his son might be kidnapped again if he continued living here.
Also, what if the Golden Sons regretted their choice and came back?
It would be very stupid to stake his life on other people's kindness.
Andonara's eyes glittered. "Why don't you come to Delpon? Roland's manor is spacious and empty. Besides, Roald has a magic school in Delpon where Kaido can study magic. We can look after each other if we live together."
For Andonara, Roland was the most important person in the world, and her family came right next.
Her father had been a traveling businessman that she didn't feel very close to. It was her uncle who raised her. In her heart, her uncle was her father, and her birth father was more of a mere relative for her.
If her uncle came to live with her, she would feel much safer as the needy woman she was.
A magic school?
Cage was rather tempted.
Though his son was born much more talented than ordinary people with the Hero bloodline, he wouldn't mind if his son could pick up more skills and spells. The abilities that the Hero bloodline granted were limited and focused on dealing damage. If his son could learn ancillary spells like Healing, he would be stronger and with a better chance of survival.
Considering a moment, Cage said, "Okay, I hope we won't disturb you."
"Fantastic!" Andonara jumped to her feet in delight. "I'll pack up for you. We'll take off in a few days."
"Let's not rush into anything yet," Cage said. "We should at least wait until my broken arm recuperates, right?"
Andonara thought a moment and realized that they should. So, she sat down again.
Then, Cage looked at Roland and asked, "You're here for something else, aren't you?"
Roland and Andonara looked at each other.
In the end, Andonara said, "We're here for the ancestral Hero equipment."
She laid the Hero's Sword in her hand on the table and said, "There are another few pieces of equipment. I want to find all of them."
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