Frie Mountain. Residential area. First Elder’s abode.
As Shin and Junius were busy contemplating how to efficiently pack their belongings, two brooding figures could be seen pacing around in circles as if impatiently awaiting the arrival of someone. The first person was an imposing, rough goliath. His chiselled face was hidden under the thick undergrowth of facial hair. The usual piercing gaze of his was replaced with saddened and worried eyes as he rubbed his knuckles in anxiousness. His broad shoulders and muscular body that had terrorised the orphans currently seemed so small.
Next to him stood a slim and lean middle-aged woman dressed in black attire with white fittings bordering its edges. With an additional broomstick, she would look no different to a Victorian-styled maid. Her long, wavy hazel-coloured hair was tied up into a small bun atop her head preventing the wind from messing up her look. Pure black spectacles covered her amber-coloured eyes, and her two freckles disappeared as she grimaced while staring at her companion.
The man and woman were two people that the orphans were extremely familiar with. Both of them had caused many nightmares for the orphans over the years.
“Lou, stop moving around… You’re making me dizzy.”
The woman adjusted her glasses up the bridge of her rounded nose while addressing the Instructor. Her furrowed wrinkles and deteriorating skin elasticity suggested that she had a few more years before menopause kicks in.
“Shut it Elizabeth… It’s not like you’re entirely calm too.”
“At least I’m not causing you a migraine. Your incessant shuffling is bothering me.”
“I can’t help it! Why isn’t the First Elder here yet?!”
The Instructor raised his head and turned to the direction of the entrance. Both the Instructor and the woman were told to meet with the First Elder in the evening, and the old man was currently over half an hour late.
“I understand your frustration, but the Elder is a busy man. In all my years being his subordinate, he has never been late for a meeting without good reason.”
The woman calmly retorted the Instructor’s query.
“Yeah… I know… It’s just that Junius and Shin are being relocated. Even though they did nothing wrong. I find it unjust that they have to suffer due to our negligence.”
“Lou… You’re still beating yourself up over what happened two weeks ago?”
The woman worriedly asked the Instructor. When the sturdy, middle-aged man first saw the condition the Junius was in, he had nearly burst out in anger. And after he sent the injured youth to the medical facility and charged into the Second Elder’s abode to demand blood, he had failed to uphold justice. Even the upper echelons of the clan had issued an official statement claiming that the Second Elder had nothing to do with the assassination attempt.
Unable to protect and eventually avenge his dearest pupil, the Instructor had been feeling down in the dumps ever since. And just this morning, he had received news that the First Elder was about to station Junius and Shin away from the clan. Although sending associates out of Frie Mountain was a common occurrence, the two orphans were too young and still in their development years. Without the constant the guidance of the Instructor and the high spiritual density of Frie Mountain, their cultivations might be stifled.
Thinking that the First Elder’s plan was unfair treatment, the Instructor requested a meeting with the elderly man. Unfortunately, he felt that his lone voice would not be sufficient to overturn the First Elder’s decision hence he roped in a helping hand.
And the helpful hand that came to his aid was one of the First Elder’s most trusted subordinates, the Headmistress. In charge of the livelihood of not only the orphans but the entirety of the younger generation in the First Elder’s division, this woman held incredible power. A single word of hers is worth thousands, and the First Elder always held her advice with high regard. Thus, with the Headmistress giving her endorsement, there was a glimmer of hope that the First Elder would change his mind.
Thankfully for the Instructor, he had known the Headmistress since he was young and they had often gone on missions together. Furthermore, he managed to build up some favours over the years. Hence, getting her to come on his side was rather straightforward.
“Yeah… But that’s not the point! The First Elder is making a grave mistake sending Junius and Shin out of Frie Mountain! They are two of the most talented youths of our clan! Sending them away would be severely detrimental to their development!”
“Yeah, yeah… Keep that vigour for when the Elder arrives.”
A soundless sigh escaped from the rosy lips of the Headmistress. She was reluctant to go against the First Elder’s wishes but seeing her friend so adamant in his belief, the Headmistress decided to put in a word or two on the Instructor’s behalf.
“Oh! Speak of the devil… Look, he’s walking over right now.”
Just as they mentioned the First Elder, a wrinkled, willowy old man sauntered in from a distance. His hands cuffed behind his back as he entered his abode while furrowing his brows looking down at the pavement. In deep contemplation, he did not notice the two figures who were anxiously awaiting his arrival for the past half hour.
The Instructor and the Headmistress shouted out to catch his attention. Otherwise, the old man might have passed them without acknowledging their presence.
“Hmmm? Oh, Lou and Elizabeth… Right, there was a meeting with you…”
The First Elder rubbed his forehead as if just remembering that he had an arranged appointment.
“Elder! We should not send Junius and Shin away! I…”
“Okay, let me stop you right there, Lou.”
The Instructor had spent the entire afternoon rehearsing his arguments on why the two orphans had to remain on Frie Mountain. He had even sat the Headmistress down to listen and critique on his delivery. Unfortunately, the First Elder was not going to give the muscular man a chance to present his points.
“I know everything you are about to say. In fact, I had the same ideas that you probably have. I had just finished a discussion with the Clan Master on how to proceed with Shin and Junius…”
The First Elder stopped the Instructor and begun to monologue.
“As you know, sending the two of them away is due to the danger that they are in. Although Ash might lie low after we stormed into his abode, the definite rift between us has only grown bigger. Sooner or later, Ash will send people to deal with Shin again. Additionally, Junius’ performance when fighting against the assassins was spectacular. Even now, I hear rumours about the child who fought off three Spirit Apostles on his own. There’s no way Ash would leave such a threat to mature quietly under his jurisdiction.”
Stopping midway, the elderly man went over to a nearby table to pour himself a cup of tea. Evidently, he felt fatigued and dehydrated from all the talking he did. Taking a seat on one of the many marble stools in the courtyard, the First Elder quenched his thirst before placing his teacup down.
“So we will be sending them to the Chilyoja Waypoint. Located less than twenty kilometres from the mountain, if they are ever in trouble, either the Clan Master or I can easily rush there to help them.”
“But Elder, if they are within reach, won’t the Second Elder also have a chance to deal with them?”
The Headmistress who had been silent until now tilted her head quizzically.
“Haha! Let him try! I have some connections in the area. Junius will be working for the Mayor of the district thus making him a civil servant of the Himmel Empire. Even I would be apprehensive to lay my hands on the boy.”
The Instructor heaved a sigh of relief when he heard that Junius would be working in the Mayor’s office. If the Second Elder wished to hurt Junius, all he had to care about was the backlash he would face from the First Elder. But if he laid hands on Junius when he was working as a member of the Himmel Empire, the Second Elder might face a felony.
“What about Shin?”
Noticing that the First Elder didn’t mention that Shin would be working for the Mayor, the Instructor asked about what would Shin be doing at the Waypoint.
“Hohoho, that boy is in even more secure hands. Even if the Frie Clan gathered all of its resources, we would be unable to pry Shin from that person’s grasp.”
The two listening to the First Elder gasped in surprise. Although the Frie Clan had fallen from grace, regarding overall strength, it was still amongst the best in the Himmel Empire. With three Rank 70 Spirit Emperors, there were little adversaries that could threaten them. If the full force of the Frie Clan was unable to contest with that person, does it mean that he or she had reached a boundary well above the Clan Master or High Elders?
“There’s no need to be that surprised… The person is someone you are familiar with. Let me give you some hints.”
The mischievous side of the elderly man surfaced as he saw the reactions of his precious subordinates.
“She’s around my age, has light blonde hair and once publicly spanked our current Clan Master in front of the entire clan.”
“It can’t be…”
The first two hints that the old man gave were rather broad. However, the last clue was a dead giveaway. There had only been one person in history that had dared to physically punish the current Clan Master, Enfen Frie. The story was a legendary one that revealed the dark annals of Enfen’s past.