“Since we have begun questioning the Dalits, the only thing that they could repeat was: ‘All hail the Allfather.’ It was as if they were possessed by some kind of demon.”
Lewis commented from the side of the mayor’s desk. Other than Junius, everyone else in the room had a basic understanding of what had happened. Hence, the conversation went straight to the core of the topic.
“Other than the fact that those deranged lunatics were chanting his name, do you have any evidence of the existence of this ‘Allfather?’”
The mayor rested his elbow on the desk and leaned on his arm.
“None, Your Excellency. After our questioning, the Dalits had returned to their dazed state, not responding to anything. In fact, we are worried that they might die of starvation if they continue to refuse to eat.”
“That’s a problem… Hah, Black Masks… Black Masks… In the end, all my recent problems stem down to this bloody organisation…”
Unable to hide his frustration, the mayor lashed out at the criminal syndicate.
“Your Excellency, has there been many occurrences dealing with the Black Masks in the waypoint?”
The Instructor’s ears perked up after hearing the mayor’s cry.
“Right, you are new to the town… In recent months, there has been a spike in bandit raids outside the waypoint, scaring away traders from approaching the town. Haven’t you noticed the lack of convoys?”
“Now that you mentioned it when we were on the road, there were no other carriages around.”
“Exactly, looking back, it might have been the Black Masks who instigated all those attacks. If not, why else would there be a sudden rise in bandits?”
As the mayor reflected, he found it more and more likely that the criminal syndicate was the root of recent crime.
“Maybe even the Watkin murderer is related to the Black Masks.”
“What do you mean, Your Excellency?”
The Instructor frowned as he heard the unfamiliar term.
“Ten days ago, there was a missing person report filed claiming the disappearance of a wealthy merchant, Andrew Watkin. He was last seen drinking with his friends, celebrating the expansion of his new store. They had the time of their lives, a certain friend of mister Watkin claimed. Partied till daybreak. After they had their fun, the members went their separate ways. In a drunken state, mister Watkins wandered through the empty streets of the town. And that was the last sighting of the affluent merchant.”
“Didn’t you say it was a murder?”
“I’m not done. The next day, a certain stable boy went for his routine morning feed and received both good and bad news at the same time…”
Laughing bitterly, the mayor stared straight back at the Instructor.
“Turns out, he wouldn’t need to feed the horses that morning. They already had their fill… Eating Andrew Watkin’s body that is.”
Stunning the Instructor and Junius, the mayor felt nauseous as he recalled the state of the body. The case had caused a considerable sensation in the waypoint, which was generally crime free. Only people who were fresh off the boat wouldn’t have heard the news.
“Yeah, mister Watkin’s body was dismembered and nearly turned into minced meat. Thankfully, the stable boy discovered him early when the body was still somewhat recognisable. Otherwise, there was no way we could identify the corpse.”
“Is this matter linked to the Black Masks too?”
“Inconclusive… But it was most definitely a premeditated murder. Only someone who truly hates mister Watkin could do such a gruesome thing. But being a merchant, Andrew Watkin had crossed many organisations and individuals. In fact, he was known for his unscrupulous methods. Thus, the list of potential suspects with motives is endless. Perhaps the Black Masks wanted him dead for some reason.”
“So that’s why the town is in a state of unrest…”
The Instructor finally understood why the waypoint, which was usually upbeat and brimming with life, seemed to be much less toned down. With bandits running rampant outside the walls and a murderer on the loose in the inside, it was no wonder that the townsmen didn’t want to go out.
“Exactly, you should notify your kin to be extra careful these days. Although we have constables working round the clock to maintain public order, it is better to be safe than sorry.”
“Duly noted. Thank you for your advice, Your Excellency.”
The Instructor thanked the mayor for warning him of the danger. Junius even made a mental note to inform Shin of the news that he had heard.
“Now back to the topic at hand, this ‘Allfather’ figure. Lou Frie, do you think he is real?”
“I cannot confirm that he exists, I certainly believe that there is a very powerful cultivator behind the Black Masks.”
“Hmmm? What do you mean?”
Reclining back in his chair, the mayor pushed for the Instructor to elaborate.
“The Dalits, they are most definitely brainwashed by a potent spiritual ability, one that manipulates the individual’s body.”
Staring blankly at the muscular man, the mayor went speechless for a while.
“You do know that what you are proposing sounds ludicrous right? It might be plausible if there was only one mind-controlled Dalit, but there are hundreds if not thousands of them. Are you suggesting that this ‘Allfather’ has the capability to do all that?”
“That’s why I require more information. However, I came to this hypothesis after fighting the Kshatriya.”
“When going head to head with that Kshatriya, I felt an enigmatic power, one that transcends even the strongest Spirit Users that I have ever seen, lurking inside those masks. What I theorise is that this ‘Allfather,’ is a powerful cultivator that is able to spread his power amongst all those who wear the mask. And for those Dalits, the same type of energy can be felt, albeit at a much smaller scale.”
The mayor felt a significant headache coming once hearing the words of the Instructor.
“Lou Frie, have you ever seen a Rank 90 Spirit Saint?”
Instead of replying to the absurd theory, the mayor raised a question to the Instructor.
“I have… Once… A Rank 90 Spirit Saint is unlike any other cultivators. Standing at the peak of the cultivation world, those entities are closer to gods than mortals. Although I was a Rank 44 Spirit Spectre at the time, as I walked closer to him, I felt the air thin, and the ground tremble. Of course, it was all in my head. And I wasn’t even anywhere close to him.”
The mayor’s eyes quivered as he recollected that experience.
“The insurmountable pressure had been etched into my bones. From that moment I knew, that the world that I knew and loved, was ever so small. If that entity wished for it, he could crush my entire world with the snap of his fingers. Do you get where I’m coming from?”
Shaking his head, the Instructor replied a negative.
“What you’re suggesting, that someone who can control all those Dalits, and distribute his power to his subordinates, should be a person standing at the peak, a Spirit Saint. Am I right?”
“So I’m going to tell you, a Spirit Saint has no need to for that. If this ‘Allfather’ figure was indeed into petty crime, he could just do as he please, and no one will have the ability to stop him.”
“Additionally, among every single Spirit Saint on the Terre Continent, none of them have the capability that you have just mentioned. Only a Spirit Saint with a Mind-elemental Spirit could accomplish that, and the only one that I know of has already ascended into the Immortal Realm five hundred years ago.”
Bringing up Spirit Immortal Dream, who ascended five centuries ago, the mayor shut down the Instructor’s arguments.
“I’m sure that the Black Masks have a leader, but I highly doubt that he brainwashed the Dalits and imbued some of his mana into those pesky masks.”
“Then, what other possible explanations could there be?”
The Instructor cried out.
“I don’t know yet, and that’s why I need more investigations. Regardless, I will send a report to the capital. But for your outlandish tale, I would spare myself the trouble of making me look like a fool to the high command.”
Discarding the Instructor’s hypothesis, the mayor made up his mind.
“I thank you for coming today to share your experience. But I believe that our business is done, for the little boy over here, I shall trust in Lewis’ evaluation abilities.”
Clearly, the Instructor’s ridiculous comments had irritated the mayor. Hence, the man passed the duty of evaluating Junius to his constable captain.
“I see… Thank you for your time, Your Excellency.”
If the mayor’s emotional state could be said to be slightly peeved, the Instructor was desperately trying to hold back his punches. However, as his status as a Frie Clan member, he cannot be seen assaulting a government official. Clenching his fists, the Instructor led Junius out of the chambers, with Lewis trudging far behind.