Chapter 1 Hollowburg
Leo got off the plane.
He looked tall in his black trench coat and his eyes were sharp and energetic. His only flaw was his abnormally pale complexion.
Out of nowhere, a black Rolls-Royce limousine stopped in front of him, with dozens of military trucks behind it.
Dozens of burly, grim-faced soldiers moved into two square-shaped formations, taking less than three seconds overall.
Facing Leo, the soldiers shouted in unison, "Good day, Commander!"
Their loud and clear voices resonated throughout the vast airport.
Leo nodded calmly and saluted them in return.
At this time, the door of the Rolls-Royce opened and an alluring woman wearing tight black leather clothes and sunglasses stepped out.
She took off her sunglasses, revealing eyes so red that they seemed to be soaked in blood. Those eyes gave off a murderous feeling.
However, she was as docile as a sheep in front of Leo. This woman was called Nadine Moore. She was his shadow, his guard.
"Mr. Cohen, I've found her."
"Continue," Leo said, and waited quietly for her report.
"Her name is Lydia Henderson. She works at the International Trading Center Building. Her identity has been deliberately hidden, so this is all we have about her at the moment."
Nadine's expression turned grim as she carefully observed Leo's expression. Seeing no particular reaction from him, she felt relieved enough to continue her report.
"Phantom was in Emerdale a month ago but left the country and disappeared. Kate Lawson acquired the Fords' Vesper Corporation a week ago and became the new chairman of the board. End of report."
"Got it." Leo nodded, and then begun to cough.
He wiped his mouth and found some blood on his hand.
"Mr. Cohen, is it your old injury again?"
Nadine immediately pulled out a handkerchief, her beautiful eyes filled with concern.
Even though Leo managed to force his enemies into retreat in the battle on Elview Mountain, the ordeal left him with a persistent illness...
"It doesn't matter. Let's visit the Fords."
Leo waved his hand, clearly not as concerned as Nadine was, and walked toward the Rolls-Royce.
He did not speak anymore after getting in the car.
The scenery on both sides of the car swiftly fell back, and his mind drifted as well.
Five years ago, he agreed to marry Kate Lawson—the darling of Lawson family—and adopt her family name to repay his adoptive father, William Ford, and resolve the Fords' financial crisis.
Little did he know that it was all part of Kate's plot to steal the Fords' corporate secrets.
On his wedding day, he suffered inhumane abuse.
He was beaten, drugged, kidnapped, and finally thrown into the sea.
It was the sheer luck of fools that he didn't die that day. Not only did he escape death, but he even joined the mysterious special forces in Winbury, the Wyverns, later on.
Five years in the military had transformed him.
He became the God of War in the military, the Commander of the Wyverns, protecting Winbury and fending off enemies from all over the world.
He retired with honor, for it was time to settle the grudges of the past.
Furthermore, he could not forget the woman who he had once hurt so deeply.
Back then, he had been kidnapped to an abandoned warehouse at the pier. Beside him was also a woman who had suffered the same fate.
She was the one who had saved him. Unfortunately, he had been so delirious that he did not even know her name or appearance.
Nadine let out a quiet sigh when she saw the thoughtful and sorrowful look in Leo's eyes.
Compared to settling past grudges, he must be more concerned about the woman named Lydia Henderson.
"We're here, Mr. Cohen."
Nadine parked the car before a three-story antique villa by the street.
Leo nodded but did not exit the car immediately. Instead, he said to Nadine emotionlessly, "Keep investigating Miss Henderson. I want the results this evening."
Leo got off the car and stood outside the Fords' residence. He became lost in thought as he looked at the plants and trees in the yard.
Everything felt so familiar.
"I wonder how Caroline is doing..."
He seemed to see that young and vivacious girl in his memories in front of him, and a smile lit up his face.
Few could put such a pure smile on his face. Caroline was one of them.
Caroline was his adoptive father's daughter and they had grown up together. If not for Kate Lawson, they would probably be married by now.
He snapped out of his reverie and rang the doorbell.
No one opened the door.
He rang the doorbell again.
Still, no one came to open the door.
This was strange. There was no way that the Fords' residence would ever be completely empty.
He looked around and saw no movement inside the villa. It was quiet.
"Hold on, I'm coming..."
Finally, after he rang the doorbell a few more times, someone appeared.
It was a spluttery old man with a hunched back who opened the door.
"Gary." Leo greeted him with a smile.
The old man, Gary Harris, was the Fords' housekeeper. He was very loyal to William Ford.
Gary stopped midway into opening the door. He looked up and stared in disbelief at Leo for a good 10 seconds. "You're Leo!" he said excitedly.
His expression soon froze and became sorrowful instead.
"What's wrong, Gary?" Leo asked with concern.
Gary sighed and said sadly, "You're too late... I'm afraid that Mr. Ford won't make it."
Leo's smile froze. It felt as though a thunderbolt had struck him out of nowhere.
Three seconds later, his face became as ferocious as a man-eating beast. "What happened to Dad?" he asked in a cold voice.
William had always been in good health and it had only been five years since he left. How could William be on his death bed already?
Just then, a long-haired, curvaceous woman in a white dress walked up to them. She was holding the arm of a handsome man decked out in designer clothing. "Who is it, Gary?"
When she saw Leo, her expression went through a drastic change and she took a step back as if she had seen a ghost. "You're... Leo Cohen?"
"It's been a while, Caroline."
Leo restrained his murderous aura at once.
This woman was his childhood sweetheart, Caroline Ford.
"How are you still alive?" Caroline exclaimed incredulously, her face going from red to white.
"It's a long story."
Leo did not think much about her reaction; after all, he had been missing for five years.
The eyes of the handsome young man beside Caroline sparkled. He looked as if he had thought of something.
The look in his eyes became playful. "So, you're the loser who ditched Kate Lawson five years ago. I'm surprised that you're still alive."
Back then, the marriage between the Fords and the Lawsons was well-known in Emerdale, and it remained a hot topic to this day.
"Who are you?"
It was only then that Leo noticed the handsome young man beside Caroline, causing him to frown.
"I'm Caroline's boyfriend, Raymond Brown."
The young man wrapped his arms around Caroline's waist and did not bother covering up his provocative look. "Caroline told me that you're the reason why the Lawsons are destroying the Fords. I can't believe you have the nerve to return to Emerdale while the Lawsons are still looking for you. You have some guts, I'll give you that much."
Leo fell into silence and then looked at Caroline with a complicated expression. "Is that what you think, Caroline?"
Caroline bit her lower lip, her expression going through constant changes.
Finally, she stopped struggling and said calmly, "Since you're not dead, I won't hold it in anymore. I know why you've come back. It's because of me, right?"
Her eyes became filled with disgust. "Give up. I don’t want my boyfriend to misunderstand anything. You're the reason why my family turned out this way. Just thinking about you disgusts me."
She added, "Look at you. I don't know what you've been doing for the past five years but you don't have a single name to your name. Who would marry you? But Raymond is completely different."
Caroline changed the topic and took the initiative to hold Raymond's arm. "He said that he'd help our family’s business. He's my true love."
Leo could only sigh.
Having spent five years in the military, he no longer cared about having a romantic relationship. He cherished his familial bond with Caroline even more.
Things remained, but the people around him had changed.
His expression returning to normal, he stopped talking to them and went straight to the living room.
He wanted to check on his adoptive father's condition. It just so happened that he was familiar with traditional medicine.
"Stop. Who said you could go in?"
Raymond sneered, ready to grab Leo's shoulder.
Even though Caroline did not like Leo anymore, they were nonetheless childhood sweethearts. The thought of it made him uncomfortable all over.
He wanted to teach Leo a lesson.
Suddenly, Leo turned his head and gave him a cold look.
That look made Raymond feel as though he had been dropped into a pool of ice water. He was so frightened that he fell on his ass.