Junius led Shin and the twins towards the Main Hall where they will meet Ariel. For the children attending the harvest missions, all they needed to do was to form a group with a Spirit Apostle captain and receive any available missions from the Mission Chambers. Missions that are issued by the Mission Chambers have varying difficulties. Some were typical and easy assignments such as collecting herbs, but there were also more difficult missions such as subjugations of beasts.
For the harvest festival, the Mission Chambers would specifically find low tier missions for the children to experience. Adding to the fact that a Spirit Apostle had to be present at all times, the missions were generally safe.
“Oh isn’t that Ariel?”
Junius pointed to a wooden bench nearby. Sitting comfortably on the bench with her eyes closed was a red-haired freckled young girl. Her unkempt bed hair was unprofessionally tied into a bun as her mouth opened wide.
“As usual, that girl is unrestrained…”
Shin sighed as he saw his training partner’s appearance. It was common to see Ariel sleeping in bizarre places, especially in the morning.
“Okay, Shin! You go wake her up. Since we’re all here, we can go straight to the Mission Chambers.”
“What?! Why must I be the one who wakes her up? Can’t you do it?”
“Well, she is your wife…”
Enraged by Junius’ joke, Shin snapped back.
“Hahaha, I mean she’s your best friend! Come on, hurry up now. We don’t want to be late!”
“Then why can’t Ella or Emma wake her up?”
“Hmph! If you really think that I’m going near Ariel when she’s asleep, you’re terribly mistaken, Shin!”
“Hehehe, we shall leave Ariel to you…”
Junius and the twins had once witnessed Shin trying to wake up the slumbering Ariel. Annoyed by the noise, the young girl hurled her hands out in rage and landed a right hook straight onto Shin’s nose. Fractured and bloodied, it took the boy over three weeks to heal from that injury. There was no way they were risking their lives to wake up Ariel.
“Damn it… Why is it always me who gets the short end of the stick!”
Sulking, Shin slowly edged closer to the unconscious monster.
‘I have to keep my distance when I’m trying to wake her up…’
Simulating numerous scenarios in his brain, Shin was thinking of the perfect way of waking up Ariel without causing harm to his body. Luckily for him, there was a fallen tree branch nearby that he could make use of.
‘Perfect! Let’s use that stick to poke her!’
With a tree branch in hand, Shin tried to awaken the scarlet-haired girl.
“M…mmmm, huh? Shin, what are you doing?”
Sensing that something was approaching her, Ariel yawned while she opened her eyes. To her surprise, Shin was standing in front of her with a tree branch and was moving towards her.
“Oh, Ariel! You’re awake!”
Throwing the branch immediately, Shin greeted the sluggish Ariel. Rubbing her eyes, Ariel was not lucid to her surroundings. Shin began to perspire cold sweat as he was hoping that Ariel did not notice him trying to attack her with a stick.
“O…oh! Now that you’re awake, we can go receive our mission.”
“Ya… Hey, Shin… What were you trying to do with that tree branch?”
Unfortunately for Shin, Ariel had apparently seen him approaching her with a stick and throwing it away.
“Don’t play dumb, the one right there.”
Pointing to the stick that Shin threw away, Ariel demanded an explanation.
“I see… I get it now… Shin, seeing that we have not met for a few days, you have grown rather brazen. Looks like you need to be reminded of how terrifying I can be!”
Cracking her knuckles, Ariel stood up from the bench she was sleeping on and headed towards Shin.
“N…no! It’s a misunderstanding Ariel! Why are you getting so worked up! We need to hurry and receive our mission, we shouldn’t be wasting time here! HEY, JUNIUS HELP ME!”
Panicking, Shin tried pleading to Ariel. However seeing that she showed no signs of slowing down, Shin sought help from Junius. But all he saw was his older brother snickering at his misfortune.
“Prepare yourself, Shin!”
Raising her fist high in the air, Ariel threatened Shin.
Screams of terror echoed through the front of the Main Hall early this morning…
Frie Mountain. Residential area. Second Elder’s courtyard.
The Second Elder lived in a simple place. Grey walls with no extravagant designs and plain doors were the theme of the site. It seemed like a regular person’s house, not the abode of a Frie Clan High Elder. However, the Second Elder’s courtyard was huge. The old man frequently addressed his followers and needed a place where he could talk to them all at once. Hence, he designed the courtyard to be as vast as possible.
Currently, the Second Elder is sitting in a pavilion in his courtyard while drinking tea. Next to him were five young teenagers not older than twenty.
“Today is the day where the brat who awakened The Sovereign Koi undergoes his harvest mission…”
After the Second Elder took a sip of his tea, he addressed the five youths.
“That bastard Edward made preparations to protect that kid. He even placed Ariel into that brat’s team to deter attacks by me…”
The teenagers remained silent as the Second Elder began to brief them.
“He will be vigilantly monitoring me and my subordinates so it would be complicated for me to directly attack that demon spawn, but you five will be out of his surveillance radar…”
“I have rigged the harvest missions so that the brat with The Sovereign Koi will take a mission that leads him into the forest at the foot of the mountain. I’m sure you’re familiar with that place?”
The Second Elder’s question got received with an immediate answer from the five youths.
“Good… When the demon spawn enters the forest, that is when you will strike. Aim to kill, but crippling him would also be good. After all, you guys are only Spirit Apostles. I’m guessing that Edward would assign a Spirit Lord or someone equivalent to protect that group but I will be sending Bates in to give you cover.”
“Senior Bates? He’s involved in this operation?!”
Bates is one of the Second Elder’s oldest subordinates. Born a generation younger than the Second Elder, he had been the old man’s follower for nearly a century. One of the most potent forces that the Second Elder commands, Bates had recently crossed the Rank 60 threshold to become a Spirit King.
“Yes, but he would not assist you in killing the boy. After all, he has his own pride. He will shelter you from any harm that the expert Edward sent might inflict on you. So all you need to do is focus down the boy named Shin.”
The Second Elder explained the details of the plan.
“Elder, what if the people with him try to defend him?”
One of the teenagers asked the question that plagued his mind.
“If Ariel acts as his shield, try to cause as little damage as you can to her while trying to kill him. If we killed Ariel, the Clan Master might just execute us all. As for the rest of the orphans, do as you deem fit. But remember, killing or crippling Shin is the primary goal. Once that is achieved, immediately escape.”
Finishing his briefing, the Second Elder handed five black-coloured robes that covered the entire body to the teenagers.
“Wear this when you attempt the job… Do not disappoint me…”