The Secretly Rich Man Chapter 1751-1760

Chapter 1751
Chuckling in response, Xanry then smiled before saying, “Before that, I’d like to head to the washroom first!”

“Sure thing!” replied Gerald with a nod. While he knew that Xanry was trying to escape, Gerald didn’t feel the need to expose him.

Whatever the case was, Xanry then got up and quickly left for the washroom.

Now that he had finally managed to escape from Gerald’s evil grasp, there was no way in hell that he was going to dare offend Gerald anymore.

Soon enough, the classmate party ended smoothly and Gerald drove home together with Juno…

The second they stepped into her house, Juno instantly smiled as she turned to look at Gerald before saying, “You’ve teased Xanry so much today, Gerald!”

Laughing heartily in response, Gerald then replied, “He’s at fault for offending me in the first place! I certainly couldn’t just let him off after he did that, could I? Besides, you’re happy that I teased him too, no?”

Upon hearing that, Juno nodded before delightedly saying, “Of course I’m happy! That guy’s been pestering me since my university days, you know? At long last, someone humiliated him!”

Since Gerald had humiliated him so much, she was sure that Xanry wouldn’t pester her ever again. That was one troublesome person done with…

At that moment, a tiny creak was heard…

Turning to face the door that had opened, the duo watched as Ray slowly walked out…

Upon seeing them, he then quickly jogged toward them while saying, “Mr. Crawford! Miss Zorn! You’re back!”

“We are, but why are you still up, Ray?” asked Juno.

“I… I’ve been waiting for you to return! Old Flint sent you something!” explained Ray.

“What? He did? What did he send over?” asked Gerald curiously.

Upon hearing that, Ray re-entered his room before returning with a box and handing it to Gerald.

“It’s this unopened box with a letter attached to it! I’m guessing that Old Flint wrote the letter!” explained Ray.

Hearing that, Gerald then took the box and quickly opened it… only to reveal a perfume bag inside that constantly emitted a faint, pleasant smell…

“…That smells so wonderful! I wonder why Old Flint sent you a perfume bag of all things…” muttered Ray.

While the gift was a pleasant surprise to both Ray and Juno, they quickly realized that Gerald was instead, frowning. Did the perfume bag symbolize something…?

Not even bothering to reply to Ray’s statement, Gerald then quickly began reading through Old Flint’s letter… and by the time he was done, his frown was much, much deeper than before.

Seeing how furrowed Gerald’s brows now were, Ray—who had never seen Gerald show such an expression before—couldn’t help but ask in a concerned tone, “What’s wrong, Mr. Crawford? What happened? Your expression looks so unpleasant!”

“Indeed! What did Old Flint say, Gerald?” asked Juno.

“…First of all, this perfume bag… It’s called ghost-luring perfume, and as its name suggests, it’s used to lure ghosts. Moving on to the letter, Old Flint apparently wants to head to a place called Grimhelm to investigate some secrets regarding vampires. Though he’s asking me if I’m willing to go with him, since he sent me this perfume bag, I’m sure he means business. After all, I told him to only send this particular kind of perfume bag over if major issues came up!”

Chapter 1752
After hearing Gerald’s explanation, both of them finally got the whole story. As it turned out, the perfume bag really did symbolize something.

“…Still… couldn’t the ‘major issue’ be a good affair?” asked Ray.

Shaking his head, Gerald then replied, “Unfortunately, I’ve heard tales of Grimhelm before as well. It’s an extremely vicious place, so the fact that he’s gone there must mean that he’s bumped into some trouble.”

Gerald also knew that Old Flint was wise enough not to send such a perfume bag over under normal circumstances. He would’ve only posted it when he was in urgent need of help…

“…I see! Then… When are we leaving?”

“We leave at nine tomorrow morning!” declared Gerald, knowing how urgent the situation was.

Following that, he turned to face Ray and Juno before instructing, “Ray, Juno, go wake Nori up and detail her on all this. Once that’s done, start packing up. I’ll be needing you three to follow me there!”

With how serious the matter was, Gerald needed all the help he could get. After all, with every additional person they had, the more power their party would possess.

Hearing that, Juno then replied, “Got it!”

Ray had no objections either, so the duo quickly parted ways with Gerald.

After that, all four of them quickly began packing up and readying themselves for the trip tomorrow morning…

While Gerald finished packing relatively early, he naturally had a restless night…

By early morning, all four of them were already up, and after cleaning themselves and having their breakfast, the party of four then set off.

With Ray being the driver, the party then drove all the way to the highway entrance—which took about half an hour—near the sea. According to the meeting time in the letter, Old Flint should be waiting for them there by then…

True enough, upon arriving at the highway entrance, all four of them saw an old person wearing a black windbreaker—as well as a black hat—sitting by the roadside, a sandalwood scepter in hand. It wasn’t hard to discern that that was none other than Old Flint. With that, Gerald then told Ray to stop the car next to him.

The second the car stopped, Gerald stepped out before respectfully greeting, “Old Flint!”

Nodding slightly with a grunt, the old man then got into the shotgun seat with Gerald’s help.

With that done, Gerald then told Ray that he would be driving next.

It wasn’t as though Ray had bad driving skills or anything, but the fact remained that only Gerald and Old Flint knew where their destination was. With that in mind, it would be better that Gerald drove rather than having to point out the directions to Ray throughout the entire journey.

Before leaving, Gerald made sure to ask, “Is there anyone else joining us, Old Flint?”

Shaking his head slightly, Old Flint then leaned against his seat, not saying a word…

Since he had a pair of sunglasses on, nobody truly knew whether his eyes were open or closed.

Regardless, seeing that he wasn’t going to get a reply, Gerald then stepped on the accelerator, driving straight into the highway…

“It’ll be about ten hours before we get to our destination. The three of you can get some rest if you want to. After all, we woke up pretty early!” suggested Gerald.

Hearing that, all three of them nodded. After all, there was not much else to do on the highway unless they came across any rest areas. With that, it wasn’t long before all three of Gerald’s companions dozed off…

When that happened, there was complete silence in the car. After all, Gerald was driving attentively whereas Old Flint remained as silent as ever.

Though such a situation would surely be tiresome for regular people—since a ten-hour drive was rather long—, it was a rather easy affair for Gerald. He wasn’t tired in the least…

Chapter 1753
It was at around eleven that night when Gerald and the others finally arrived at the Emerald Realm. The vampires’ territory was an old forest located on an ancient mountain there, and since ancient times, few had ventured into the forest to meet them…

Fortunately for the party, there were still some operating hotels and inns in the vicinity. With that in mind, the group of five could finally settle down and get some proper rest…

After booking some rooms, he allowed everyone to head to their respective rooms to get some well-deserved sleep. After all, they needed to be fully rested before officially entering vampire territory early the next morning…

By dawn, all of them checked out early and immediately began driving toward the old forest in the mountains…

After about forty minutes of driving, the car finally came to a halt at the foot of the mountain. Since the car couldn’t be driven any further, they had no other choice but to continue forward on foot.

Once they got their luggage, they began their journey up the mountain…

As they were walking, Ray couldn’t help but declare, “…I’m not sure about the rest of you, but the air here is amazingly fresh! It feels rather nice to be away from the hustle and bustle of the city!”

The others knew what he meant. After all, the environment here was definitely fresher compared to the city’s. Aside from the crisp air, they were also surrounded by the rejuvenating aura of the plants around them…

Regardless, after walking for about half an hour, the five of them eventually arrived at a village.

The village itself was built by the local vampires, and since they lived in such seclusion, their customs were naturally different.

With that in mind, the second the surrounding vampires noticed Gerald and his party’s presence, they instantly stopped whatever they were doing. As all the vampires stood up and stared vigilantly at the group, a man wearing a leather jacket walked up to Gerald, glaring at the youth as he asked, “Who are you people?”

Naturally stopping in their tracks, Gerald then smiled subtly as he replied, “Greetings! We’re merchants!”

“Hah! A merchant, you say? Look, I’ve seen tons of people like you, so cut the act already! Tell me, are you here for the treasure in the forest?” sneered the man.

Frowning slightly upon hearing that, Gerald couldn’t help but think that the vampires were a bit more difficult to deal with than he had initially anticipated.

After a slight pause, he then ordered, “Ray, bring the food out!”

Upon hearing that, Ray immediately took all the food out of his backpack before handing some to Gerald.

Taking the food, Gerald then handed them to the leather-coated man before saying, “We really are merchants! We’re here in exchange for some goods and local specialties! If you still don’t believe us, come examine our wares!”

Of course, Gerald was saying this to avoid the man from further being suspicious of them.

After hearing Gerald’s words and seeing the food, the man lowered his guard slightly before taking the food that Gerald had handed out to him.

Even as the leather-coated man was still inspecting the food, the other vampires were already rushing toward Gerald and his group.

While Gerald and the others quickly became the most welcome people in the village, it also caused their food supply to rapidly diminish as the villagers readily traded in gold for the wares.

Naturally, this made Ray, Nori, and Juno slightly worried. After all, if they had no food left, what were they going to eat when they ventured deeper into the old forest?

At that moment, a gruff voice could be heard shouting, “Step aside!”

Following that, everyone watched as a fat man fumbled forward with a few shabbily-dressed subordinates following behind him.

“Oho! Outsiders, hmm? What good things have you brought over?”

Chapter 1754
Looking at the large-bellied man—who was staring at Gerald and his group—, Gerald already knew that he was trouble. More accurately, he felt that the fat man was a bandit and a plain bully in the village.

While Gerald wasn’t too keen on getting into contact with him or his subordinates, he still put on a smile as he replied, “It’s just some food, but all of it has already been exchanged and taken by the villagers!”

Hearing that, the big-bellied man then raised his head before declaring, “Listen here! I’m called Fane and I’m the boss of this village! Since you’ve come to my village, you should hand us something as a welcome gift! Otherwise, it’ll be hard for me to allow you to stay here!”

Upon hearing that, Gerald instantly knew that Fane was merely a gangster trying to blackmail them for money. While the threats would surely fool the more gullible people, Gerald was experienced with people like Fane. With that in mind, he wasn’t about to allow Fane to take advantage of them.

Regardless, before Gerald could even reply, Fane—who had his gaze fixed on Juno and Nori for a while now—revealed a sinister smile before saying, “Oho, those two beauties at the back look rather nice!”

Hearing that, Gerald instantly stepped in between him and the two girls before staring straight in the eye at Fane while saying, “Sir, we’re merchants who are here to do business! Now that we’ve sold all our goods, we should leave!”

Just as he signaled for Juno and Nori to begin leaving, Gerald heard as Fane angrily shouted, “Stop right there! Did I say you could leave? I told you, if you wish to leave, you have to leave something behind! Otherwise, don’t even dream of getting out of the village!”

When he heard that, Gerald’s expression instantly soured. Looking at Fane—who was glaring all high and mightily at him—Gerald was pretty sure that the fat man wasn’t about to take him seriously anytime soon.

With that in mind, Gerald could only think, ‘How absolutely shameless… To think that he so badly wants to stand against me! Well, that’s just great! I won’t hesitate to deal with you too, then! Daring to even have ulterior motives against me… You truly are courting death!’

“Then, what exactly do you wish for me to leave behind?” asked Gerald in a casual tone.

Laughing out loud, Fane then declared, “You can either hand over all your money or leave those two women behind!” scoffed Fane as he snorted while looking lustfully at Juno and Nori.

“And if I’m reluctant to do either?” replied Gerald.

“You mother*cker! Are you playing dumb now? If you want to be this defiant, I’ll just order my men to ruin you!” growled Fane.

Before Fane could say anything else, however, he quickly found himself flying backward!

Naturally, this was because Gerald had made a move.

Not only was Fane vulgar toward him, but he even had such ulterior motives on Juno and Nori! The combination of the two was definitely enough to warrant being taught a lesson by Gerald.

Regardless, after seeing their boss getting beaten up, Fane’s subordinates instantly rushed toward Gerald to avenge him.

Of course, Gerald simply countered their assaults with lightning-fast kicks without the slightest hesitation.

As all of them were promptly taken out in a single hit, Gerald couldn’t help but feel that they were all idiots for even daring to look for trouble with him when they were so weak.

Ray and the others, on the other hand, simply watched the scene play out in silence. After all, they knew that nothing bad would happen to them with Gerald there.

Chapter 1755
Soon enough, night fell and the entire area was completely engulfed in darkness. With how silent it was, the crackling of the bonfire—that Gerald and his party had started in the yard and were currently sitting around—was crisp as day…

With the presence of a very large piece of meat for dinner—that was currently cooking over the bonfire—, it was evident that Gerald had saved some food for a rainy day. Gerald had made sure to keep some rations in his own bag, anticipating the possibility of the villagers exchanging all of the food in Ray’s backpack.

Due to how large the meat was, all five of them were sufficiently full by the time dinner was over.

With their bellies now filled, Ray couldn’t help but ask in a slightly worried tone, “…Do you think Fane and his gang will come looking for trouble with us tonight, Mr. Crawford?”

“Don’t worry, we’ll just take turns being on guard tonight. You can sleep first, and after two hours, we’ll switch places. That way, nobody will be able to sneak up on us!” said Gerald.

Even if Fane wasn’t present, Gerald would’ve still suggested for the same thing to be done. After all, they were currently in unfamiliar territory. With that in mind, they needed to be on guard at all times to prevent getting sneak attacked.

Inclusive of Old Flint, Gerald was more worried about Juno and Nori’s safety. He swore to himself that he wouldn’t allow either of them to suffer from any injuries or get hurt during this journey…

Regardless, Ray was naturally not against Gerald’s suggestion, and he nodded in agreement.

It was late into the night when Juno and Nori finally fell asleep, their shoulders leaning against each other. Old Flint himself could be seen meditating at the side while Ray eventually dozed off as he leaned against a pillar.

As for Gerald, he sat before the bonfire, keeping a lookout for danger while occasionally looking at the sky…

From where he sat, the night sky looked utterly picturesque. Soon enough, a bright crescent moon—that had earlier been blocked by clouds—revealed itself along with countless dazzling stars…

Due to all the neon lights and street lamps in cities, such beautiful sights were impossible to enjoy in urban areas. With that in mind, the natural beauty—that could only be witnessed out here in the wilderness—would surely be able to refresh anyone’s mind…

Whatever the case was, the night was uneventful and ended peacefully.

It appeared that despite Fane and his gang’s rashness, they knew their limitations well. After all, that group of bullies hadn’t caused trouble for Gerald and his party at all that night.

Even so, Gerald was abruptly awoken early that morning when he heard a racket nearby.

With that, the awakened Gerald—who had fallen asleep at dawn since he figured that nobody would be dumb enough to attack them in daylight—instantly ran out to have a look.

Shortly after, he came across a group of villagers who were discussing something while standing around a well. With how unpleasant their expressions were, Gerald could only assume that something bad had happened.

When the villagers noticed that Gerald was curiously walking toward them, they quickly surrounded him. Before Gerald could even ask what they were doing, one of the villagers pointed at him before asking, “Was it you?”

Raising a slight brow in his bewilderment, Gerald then replied, “…Was it me, what? What happened?”

Upon hearing that, the villager then harrumphed before furiously retorting, “Was it you who killed Fane? After all, he offended you yesterday!”

After the angry villager said that, the other villagers quickly pointed at the well, prompting Gerald to walk over and look down…

The second he did, Gerald was instantly greeted by the sight of a massive floating corpse… With how fat it was, he had no doubt that the body belonged to Fane…

Stunned that Fane would die so suddenly—and be found dead in the well of all places—Gerald then faced the villagers before asking, “How… Did he die?”

“…What do you mean, how did he die? Are you seriously pretending to be surprised that his body is here? You’re the only one here who has a grudge against him, you know? Who else could’ve killed him?” blamed another villager.

Chapter 1755
Soon enough, night fell and the entire area was completely engulfed in darkness. With how silent it was, the crackling of the bonfire—that Gerald and his party had started in the yard and were currently sitting around—was crisp as day…

With the presence of a very large piece of meat for dinner—that was currently cooking over the bonfire—, it was evident that Gerald had saved some food for a rainy day. Gerald had made sure to keep some rations in his own bag, anticipating the possibility of the villagers exchanging all of the food in Ray’s backpack.

Due to how large the meat was, all five of them were sufficiently full by the time dinner was over.

With their bellies now filled, Ray couldn’t help but ask in a slightly worried tone, “…Do you think Fane and his gang will come looking for trouble with us tonight, Mr. Crawford?”

“Don’t worry, we’ll just take turns being on guard tonight. You can sleep first, and after two hours, we’ll switch places. That way, nobody will be able to sneak up on us!” said Gerald.

Even if Fane wasn’t present, Gerald would’ve still suggested for the same thing to be done. After all, they were currently in unfamiliar territory. With that in mind, they needed to be on guard at all times to prevent getting sneak attacked.

Inclusive of Old Flint, Gerald was more worried about Juno and Nori’s safety. He swore to himself that he wouldn’t allow either of them to suffer from any injuries or get hurt during this journey…

Regardless, Ray was naturally not against Gerald’s suggestion, and he nodded in agreement.

It was late into the night when Juno and Nori finally fell asleep, their shoulders leaning against each other. Old Flint himself could be seen meditating at the side while Ray eventually dozed off as he leaned against a pillar.

As for Gerald, he sat before the bonfire, keeping a lookout for danger while occasionally looking at the sky…

From where he sat, the night sky looked utterly picturesque. Soon enough, a bright crescent moon—that had earlier been blocked by clouds—revealed itself along with countless dazzling stars…

Due to all the neon lights and street lamps in cities, such beautiful sights were impossible to enjoy in urban areas. With that in mind, the natural beauty—that could only be witnessed out here in the wilderness—would surely be able to refresh anyone’s mind…

Whatever the case was, the night was uneventful and ended peacefully.

It appeared that despite Fane and his gang’s rashness, they knew their limitations well. After all, that group of bullies hadn’t caused trouble for Gerald and his party at all that night.

Even so, Gerald was abruptly awoken early that morning when he heard a racket nearby.

With that, the awakened Gerald—who had fallen asleep at dawn since he figured that nobody would be dumb enough to attack them in daylight—instantly ran out to have a look.

Shortly after, he came across a group of villagers who were discussing something while standing around a well. With how unpleasant their expressions were, Gerald could only assume that something bad had happened.

When the villagers noticed that Gerald was curiously walking toward them, they quickly surrounded him. Before Gerald could even ask what they were doing, one of the villagers pointed at him before asking, “Was it you?”

Raising a slight brow in his bewilderment, Gerald then replied, “…Was it me, what? What happened?”

Upon hearing that, the villager then harrumphed before furiously retorting, “Was it you who killed Fane? After all, he offended you yesterday!”

After the angry villager said that, the other villagers quickly pointed at the well, prompting Gerald to walk over and look down…

The second he did, Gerald was instantly greeted by the sight of a massive floating corpse… With how fat it was, he had no doubt that the body belonged to Fane…

Stunned that Fane would die so suddenly—and be found dead in the well of all places—Gerald then faced the villagers before asking, “How… Did he die?”

“…What do you mean, how did he die? Are you seriously pretending to be surprised that his body is here? You’re the only one here who has a grudge against him, you know? Who else could’ve killed him?” blamed another villager.

Chapter 1756
“Look, I didn’t even leave the house! How could I have killed him?” explained Gerald.

While that was the truth, he knew the villagers weren’t going to buy it so easily. With that in mind, the best way to clear things out would be by investigating how Fane truly died.

Still, Fane’s death certainly explained why he and his gang hadn’t caused Gerald and his party any trouble the previous night.

Though Fane was definitely a villainous character that deserved retribution sooner or later, Gerald had to admit that his death was a bit too untimely.

Whatever the case was, Gerald then added, “…Look, before we start pointing fingers, let’s just get the corpse up first to see how he really died!”

Hearing that, the villagers couldn’t argue with Gerald’s logic, so they began tugging his corpse up.

The second the fat corpse was out in the open, everyone saw that his face had been completely ruined. With how badly his face had been clawed up, Fane barely had any notable facial features left.

Squatting down to get a closer look at Fane’s corpse, Gerald eventually found a deep gash in Fane’s neck. With that in mind, Gerald deduced that he had died from blood loss.

Once he got back to his feet, Gerald then turned to look at the villagers before displaying his hands while saying, “From what I can see, whatever killed Fane had sharp claws. I mean, just take a good look at his mangled face! There’s a deep gash in his neck too that could’ve only been inflicted by extremely sharp claws! With that in mind, I couldn’t have been the killer!”

Realizing that Gerald’s statement made sense, the villagers quickly accepted that he wasn’t the killer. However, if that was the case, then who was the murderer? What happened the previous night? Also, why weren’t Fane’s subordinates with him? All these were still mysteries…

All of a sudden, everyone suddenly heard a young voice shouting, “S-something terrible has happened! D-dead bodies!”

Turning around to see the nervous boy who was running toward them, the villagers exchanged glances before one of them said, “Calm yourself. What happened?”

“F-Fane’s underlings… All of them have died at their home!” exclaimed the terrified youth.

Upon hearing that, everyone instantly began trembling. Nobody could’ve seen this coming…

Regardless, Gerald and the villagers then hurried over to where Fane’s subordinates were staying. Upon arriving at the shabby-looking yard, everyone could see their dead bodies lying all over the yard. Upon closer inspection, all of them had died the same way Fane had, with bloody gashes on their necks. With that in mind, Gerald knew that the same person had done the deed.

“What on earth could have caused all this to happen…?”

“Indeed… could… could the ghost have come out of the forest?”

“T-that’s impossible!”

Though the villagers were now theorizing the current events among themselves, Gerald didn’t bother about them. Instead, he quickly returned to where they were staying, only to find that Ray and the others had awoken.

Seeing that Gerald had returned, Ray was prompted to ask, “Where did you head off so early in the morning, Mr. Crawford?”

Ignoring Ray’s question, Gerald instead turned to face Old Flint before saying, “Old Flint, please, come with me!”

Upon hearing that, the old man quickly followed Gerald out.

Curious, Ray followed both of them out as well. While Ray had no idea what was happening, judging from Gerald’s expression, he knew that it was a serious incident.

Chapter 1757
It wasn’t long before the trio arrived at the well.

Pointing at Fane’s corpse—that was now lying on the ground—Gerald then said, “Please have a look at this corpse, Old Flint! Something attacked him yesterday before tossing him down the well!”

Upon seeing the corpse, the shocked Ray then shouted in disbelief, “…I-isn’t that Fane, Mr. Crawford? We just met him yesterday! How could he die so abruptly?”

Not even bothering to answer Ray’s question, Gerald simply kept his gaze on Old Flint.

Old Flint himself simply stared at the corpse, clearly analyzing it. After a short period, he then said, “…This is the work of feral vampires!”

“Feral vampires?” repeated Gerald, surprised by Old Flint’s answer.

“Indeed. Only their kind would have such sharp claws that could easily kill. What more, if you pay closer attention, you’ll be able to see bite marks on his neck! It can only signify that his blood had been sucked up!” explained Old Flint.

“So, what you’re saying is that there are feral vampires in the forests around us? Why weren’t we attacked last night instead?” asked Gerald.

Seeing that Gerald was rather doubtful about his claim, Old Flint then replied, “That’s because the feral ones are afraid of fire. We had a bonfire burning last night, remember? That’s why the feral vampires didn’t go after us. My guess is that this Fane person must have gone out in the middle of the night. Seeing that they couldn’t target us, the feral vampires must have gone after him instead!”

Old Flint’s deduction made sense to Gerald, so he bought his words. To think that all this had been the work of feral vampires!

Whatever the case was, Old Flint then added, “We mustn’t linger around for any longer. We have to set off immediately!”

Watching as Old Flint then turned to leave, Gerald took one final glance at Fane’s corpse before following Old Flint together with Ray.

Once they were back home, they quickly packed their stuff and silently left the village. After all, if the villagers knew that they were leaving under such short notice, they’d surely attempt to stop Gerald and his party.

Regardless, after walking for a bit, they eventually managed to enter the old forest deep in the mountain…

Now enshrouded by trees, the group remained vigilant as they slowly proceeded.

While walking on, Ray couldn’t help but ask, “…What do feral vampires even look like, Mr. Crawford?”

Hearing that, Gerald wasn’t too sure how to reply. After all, he had never personally met a feral vampire either. With that, he then turned to look at Old Flint before saying, “Not a clue. Do you know what they look like, Old Flint?”

“Feral vampires have particularly sharp fingernails that can easily tear through human skin, not unlike a predatory animal’s claws. They’re also reliant on and enjoy drinking blood, so much so that they have a keen sense toward blood!” explained Old Flint.

Now understanding that they required blood to live, Ray then asked, “…If they’re as scary as you say, then why are we even looking for them?”

Hearing that, neither Gerald nor Old Flint responded. Only Gerald and the old man were allowed to know the reason for now, and until they arrived at the vampires’ territory, the remaining trio wasn’t going to get a clear explanation about their mission from either of them.

Until then, the trio simply had to focus on helping Gerald and Old Flint remain vigilant against surprise feral vampire attacks.

Not long after, the group was able to hear rather loud rustling from within the trees. Stopping in their tracks, Gerald and the others immediately heightened their vigilance!

Seconds later, a group of people—who were dressed in clothing that made them blend well with their surroundings—rushed out from the trees before quickly surrounding Gerald’s party!

Chapter 1758
“…Who are these people, Mr. Crawford?” whispered Ray as Gerald shook his head, a deep frown on his face. Quite frankly, he had no idea who they were either.

Following that, a man with a buzz cut stepped forward, staring at Gerald and his group before asking, “Who are you people?”

“Kind sir, we’re merely merchants who are here to have some fun!” replied Gerald.

“…Merchants you say? Out here in the middle of nowhere? Who are you trying to fool?” retorted the man as he glared at Gerald.

“You’re free to choose not to believe us. Regardless, what are you and your men doing all the way out here?” replied Gerald.

“We’re here to look for the vampires’ territory!” declared the man with the buzz cut, not seeing a reason to lie.

“…Oh? You’re here to look for their territory as well?” replied Gerald in surprise. To think that these men had the same goal as he had!

“Hmm? So, you’re saying we share a goal?” said the man as he signaled for the rest of his men to lower their weapons.

“Well then, if that’s the case, allow me to introduce myself! I go by Lech Zak, and I’m the leader of my team!” said Lech as he stretched his hand out.

Hearing that, Gerald then returned a firm handshake as he replied, “Gerald Crawford!”

Following that, Lech then said, “Didn’t expect to bump into other teams looking for the vampires’ territory as well!”

Nodding in agreement, Gerald then turned to look at Old Flint who had been standing behind him. Seeing that the old man wasn’t showing any response, Gerald was instantly relieved. After all, this meant that Old Flint didn’t have too much animosity toward Lech and his subordinates.

With that in mind, Gerald then turned to face Lech before asking, “Do you know where exactly the vampires’ territory is located?”

Retrieving a map from his pocket, Lech then spread it out for Gerald to have a look.

“We’re currently here, you see, and the vampires’ territory is within this mountain. With that in mind, we’ll need to dig our way into their territory!” explained Lech.

Hearing that, Gerald could instantly tell how well-prepared Lech and his subordinates were.

Regardless, since both parties were looking for the vampires’ territory anyway, they figured that they may as well just work as a team.

With that, after a short rest, the two groups then resumed their journey.

Eventually, they finally arrived at the area where they had planned to start digging.

“This is it, Gerald!” exclaimed Lech as he waved his hand at his team members—who were following behind—, indicating that they had arrived.

Chapter 1759
With that, Lech and his teammates retrieved their shovels—along with any relevant equipment—before starting to dig the earth beneath them.

“You guys keep an eye on things while we dig! Let’s get our well-deserved rest once we make it to the other side!” said Lech.

Knowing that it wasn’t easy to dig out a passageway and that it would be some time before Lech and his men were done, Gerald naturally had no objections.

After nodding in agreement, he then returned to his own party to start keeping watch.

Seeing that Gerald had returned, Ray then asked in a slightly worried tone, “…Do you trust these people, Mr. Crawford…?”

Understanding where Ray was coming from, Gerald then replied, “Don’t worry, I can sense that he’s a righteous man!”

Upon hearing that, Ray’s worries quickly subsided. After all, he trusted Gerald’s judgment.

“What about you, Old Flint? What do you think about Lech and his men?” asked Gerald as he turned to look at the old man who was sitting close to them. Throughout their journey, Old Flint had remained strangely quiet…

Regardless, the old man simply replied, “We’ll have more help with an additional team. There’s safety in numbers!”

Hearing that, Gerald then nodded in agreement…

After two hours, a loud sound could be heard coming from where Lech and the others had been digging. Guessing that Lech and his men had managed to dig out a passageway, Gerald and his party quickly ran toward the sound.

As they had guessed, a giant passageway was now visible for all to see… With how dark it was inside, it was pretty much impossible to tell what was down there…

Regardless, Gerald and his party were just in time to see Lech ordering his men, “You two! Get in there and scout ahead! If you find that anything’s amiss, get out immediately!”

“Copy that!” replied the two men as they switched their flashlights on and began walking into the newly formed passageway…

Reappearing minutes later, the two men then reported, “Everything’s normal inside! We can go through!”

“Excellent! Still, please be careful, everyone! Don’t move around recklessly and always keep a lookout for your team members!” declared Lech.

“Loud and clear!” yelled everyone in response.

“Come, Gerald! Let’s head in together!” said Lech as he looked at Gerald.

Hearing that, Gerald nodded slightly before entering the passageway by Lech’s side, the rest of Gerald’s party following closely behind them.

Once inside, they soon saw all sorts of colorful paintings on either side of the stone walls. From how primitive they looked, one could easily guess that these paintings had been here for ages…

“…Can you discern anything from these paintings, Old Flint?” asked Gerald as he curiously turned to look at the old man.

After looking for a while, Old Flint then replied, “…The pictures describe the history of the vampires’ development in ancient times! It very clearly describes the start of their species up till their eventual decline! With that in mind, I can safely say that we’ve made it into the vampires’ territory!”

Chapter 1760
Upon hearing that, Gerald and the others were pleasantly surprised. After going through so much effort, they had finally managed to enter the vampires’ territory!

“…However, the fact that those corpses were found dead like that… It can only mean that some vampires are still alive! They’re incredibly dangerous opponents, so please be careful, everyone!” added Old Flint.

Vampires in general were an independent race that almost never had contact with people from the outside world. It definitely explained why they resented those from the outside world so much. It was also the reason why they usually attacked any non-vampires on sight.

It certainly didn’t help that vampires were naturally fast and could easily kill any number of people they wanted.

“Not to worry, sir! All of us are experts at fighting, so we aren’t to be trifled with either! With that in mind, I believe that the vampires won’t dare to act all unrestrained on us!” replied Lech in a confident tone.

Upon hearing that, Old Flint gave no reply…

Regardless, after about ten minutes of walking, everyone finally made it out of the passageway that spanned at least a few hundred feet. Though they could’ve made it across much faster had they wanted to, they had taken their time while walking across since all manner of sharp gravel were scattered throughout the area. With that in mind, they were all honestly glad that they had thick-soled shoes on…

Either way, at the end of the passageway lay a gigantic hall… In the middle of the hall, was a wheel of sorts that only served to add to the area’s strangeness and mysteriousness…

After looking around, the astonished Ray couldn’t help but say, “Color me surprised! To think that such a large palace-like place would exist up here in the mountains!”

True enough, this place was much larger than the tomb they had seen in Ghost Country. With that in mind, it appeared that the vampires were extremely powerful…

Whatever the case was, the others then began curiously inspecting their surroundings… Gerald himself—as well as a few others—immediately went for the wheel in the middle of the room…

Looking at the wheel, Ray then asked, “Any idea what this wheel symbolizes, Mr. Crawford?”

Before Gerald could even reply, Old Flint explained, “That’s the vampires’ Wheel of the Sun and Moon! They use it to calculate time!”

“Calculate… time? Why would they require such a big wheel just to calculate time?” asked Ray.

“Oh, they didn’t use it to calculate regular time. Instead, the wheel calculates when they need to replenish their blood!” replied Old Flint, instantly causing a chill to run down Ray’s spine.

As it turned out, the vampires used this wheel to calculate when exactly they needed to suck fresh blood, and the thought of it alone was honestly spine tingling…

At that moment, one of Lech’s team members could be seen stretching out his hand to grab what seemed to be a pearl—that was embedded on one of the stone walls—as he shouted, “Hey captain, there’s a pearl here! I’m sure it’ll sell for a lot!”

Upon realizing what was happening, Gerald instantly yelled, “Don’t pluck it off the wall!”

Unfortunately, Gerald was too late.

The team member had already taken it off the wall, and he was now looking at Gerald in bewilderment, wondering why he was getting so worked up about the pearl in his hand.

Before anyone could react any further, a thunderous sound could suddenly be heard!

Turning to face the source of the sound, everyone’s eyes widened in horror when they realized that a massive stone had fallen and completely blocked the palace’s entrance!

“Everyone, duck!” shouted Gerald as he instantly pushed Old Flint and the rest of his party members to the ground.

The second his sentence ended, countless arrows began shooting out from the surrounding stone walls!

Sadly, some of Lech’s team members weren’t quick enough to react, which led to them getting pierced by volleys of arrows! Soon enough, those members flopped to the ground, dead and lying in their own pools of blood…

For those who managed to duck in time, none of them dared to even raise their heads, afraid that arrows would pierce right through their skulls…

Nobody could’ve anticipated there to be such a death machine in this place…

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