The others were a little confused after hearing Hei Bao’s words and wanted a better explanation. Hei Bao too noticed their expression and knew what they were thinking.
“The blood splatter here is only concentrated around the shackles. Look around, there is none outside and neither is in any other rooms. It seems like the prisoners were treated rather well and were not unnecessarily harmed.” Hei Bao explained.
The people looked around and indeed found Hei Bao’s assumption to be correct. There was no blood in any other rooms either. Even in the cages, only ten out of the nearly hundred cages even had any blood in them. And it did not look like it had been cleaned either.
“There is another thing.” Hei Bao spoke and pointed at the furniture and items in the hall.
“These seem like they have been moved around in a rush. Some of these things are randomly strewn about, and even the food was left unattended.” Hei Bao stated.
“That means…” A member of Hei corps spoke.
“Yes, they were taken away in a rush. My guess is that the beast attack probably made them scared. From what we saw before and what brother Lin Mu showed us, they even cleaned the traces of the attack and removed the wreckage of the broken carriage. They were trying to hide their tracks because they realized they were discovered.” Hei Bao explained.
“Hmm, but this should be good for us.” Teng Xiaolian added.
“How so leader?” One of his subordinates asked.
“Teng Xiaolian is right. Since the culprits left in a hurry, they should have definitely left some clues behind. From what we know, there were at least fifty or more mercenaries captured here. It would be a herculean task to transport them all to a different location in a short period of time and also erase all their traces.” Hei Bao answered while looking closer at the blood splatter.
Hei Bao also felt a little impressed but Teng Xiaolian’s intellect and was now feeling good that he had allowed him to come with them.
“Alright, everyone spread around and look carefully. This is extremely important for us.” Hei Bao ordered.
“Yes, captain.” His subordinates replied.
The others also went to look for any clues. Lin Mu did the same and extended his spirit sense in the cave. He was a little intrigued by the design of the cave. While it looked natural mostly, he could tell that the rooms that were in the cave were specifically made by carving in the rocks of the mountain.
Lin Mu’s spirit sense probed the surroundings while he walked and looked around. Even though he had come here yesterday, he had not spent much time here and didn’t get to see it clearly, thus he wanted to see what he could find.
Their search turned out to be successful as soon, one of the members of the Hei corps shouted.
“I found something!” The man shouted.
Lin Mu and the others soon gathered around the man after hearing him call everyone. Hei Bao was the first to walk forward and stood in front of the man.
“What did you find? Show me,” Hei Bao asked while extending his hand to him.
The man was holding a piece of cloth that was folded up. He handed it to Hei Bao, who quickly took it from his hands.
“I found this here beside the cage. I saw the strange blood drops which were spared in a linear manner and saw that they went in one direction. I looked at its end and saw this wedged at the edge of a box that was kept behind the cage.” That man explained while pointing at the cage and the box that was behind it.
“Hmm, looks like the mercenary who hid this piece of cloth injured his wrists while trying to hide it. Let’s see what it was that he tried to hide.” Hei Bao spoke and unfolded the piece of cloth.
The piece of cloth was rather damaged and looked to have been torn from the sleeve of a robe. Hei Bao carefully opened it and saw lines of text written on it with blood. The handwriting was rather bad, and it was barely legible.
It took Hei Bao nearly ten minutes before he was able to make out what was written in there. But once he read it, his face fell and a grim expression filled his eyes.
The others were not able to see it as he was facing way diagonally and the light was flickering under the torches, but Lin Mu and Teng Xiaolian who were standing close by could see it clearly.
“What does it say?” Lin Mu questioned with a straight face.
“This…” Hei Bao muttered.
He couldn’t continue speaking and simply handed the piece of cloth to Lin Mu while he clutched his forehead in stress.
Lin Mu looked at the piece of cloth and tried to make out what was written on it. Five minutes later, even he had a grim expression on his face. The others were now getting tense, and a strange feeling of dread was rising from the bottom of their stomach.
Hong Luo perked up a bit of courage and spoke up.
“What does it say, Brother Lin Mu?”
“The culprits… they are capturing the mercenaries for a sacrifice. They need their blood for something. The mercenary who wrote this was able to hear some things from the culprits’ conversations and was able to secretly make this. Apparently, they had found out that they had been attacked by the beast and had decided to escape from here. The mercenary was barely able to mention that in here and the writing seems to have trailed off from there.” Lin Mu answered with a heavy heart.
A collective gulp was heard in the hall as the tense expression were now changed to dread.
“Why do they need the mercenaries’ blood though does it say that?” Teng Xiaolian questioned.
Lin Mu shook his head in response before speaking.
“It only says that their master had ordered them to do so, and they have been doing it for a few months now. Hundreds of mercenaries have already been captured and sent to their secret location. Apparently, this is not the only place they are capturing mercenaries from and it has been happing in the eastern, western and southern regions as well.” Lin Mu answered.