Himmel Empire. Chilyoja Waypoint. Constable headquarters.
The darkness of the night further enveloped the disorderly town as constables scurried through every part of the Southern Ward, hoping to find even a trace of the felon that they were chasing. However, unlike the constables who were working restlessly outside, the headquarters was relatively quiet.
Perhaps it was due to the lack of personnel in the building, the constable headquarters resembled a peaceful inn. Spacious and tranquil, if someone were to say that this was where the town’s best fighters assembled, no one would believe him.
And on a bench situated at the far corner of the assembly room, there was a single youth, sitting in a lotus position, mediating in patience. This morning, Junius had reported to Lewis for his first day as a trainee. Unfortunately for him, there were some unforeseen circumstances, and the constable captain had to leave the boy alone for the remainder of the day.
But before he left, Lewis had tasked some of his subordinates to guide Junius and give him a tour of the facility. Hence, Junius was led by some disgruntled junior constables to learn the ropes about his new job. However, after two hours, the junior constables were dispatched out together with the majority of the force, leaving Junius to wander about alone in the close to the deserted building.
Thankfully, the cafeteria was open and free to access for all constables. If not, Junius would not know what to do for his meals. And after strolling through the empty hallways for the fifth time, the youth got bored of the building. Finding a secluded place in the assembly room, Junius decided to cultivate quietly while waiting for Lewis to return.
“God damn it, the Watkin Murderer escaped again!”
At that moment, Junius’ ears perked up as a raspy voice sounded through the assembly room. Being forced out of his serene state, Junius eyes gradually opened up to look at the newcomers. Two junior constables, with their shirts drenched in sweat, removed their protective gear while finding a restful spot to regain their energy.
“And we almost had him! What’s with his crazy spiritual abilities. Not even the captain could find him!”
As a Spirit Lord, and a seasoned veteran of the force, Lewis had the detection ability equivalent of the most sensitive bloodhound. The fact that the Watkin murderer could evade detection for such an extended period of time was utterly shocking to the constables.
“Hmph! So what if he’s great at concealing himself? It’s only a matter of time before he gets caught! The four gates had been reinforced, and every constable in the town is working round the clock to apprehend him!”
One of the constables snorted as he reminded his buddy on the state of the waypoint. When the Watkin corpse was first discovered, Lewis had laid down the order to reinforce the walls of the town. Additionally, the constable captain commanded every single on-duty constable to cancel any plans that they had until the criminal was apprehended. Essentially, the murderer was like a mouse caught in a trap. There was only so much he could run before law enforcement catches him.
“Not to mention, the captain said that he must be severely injured. Give or take three days, perhaps we might seize a dead man instead.”
Speaking out a grim statement, one of the constables predicted that the murderer would bite the dust before they could catch him.
Overhearing their conversation, Junius scratched his chin in thought.
‘The murderer at large is more dangerous than initially thought? Is Shin still at Yakkyoku Clinic? I hope he’s alright…’
The youth’s mind wandered to the boy who was currently busy wiping down the dust and dirt from the outside of the decrepit building.
“Hey, what are you doing alone here?”
While Junius was lost in thought, a willowy figure crept up on him as tapped his shoulder. Glancing back, the youth saw a tall yet skinny young woman, who was wearing her best friendly smile. Donning on a black constable uniform, the woman, who looked no older than thirty, proudly displayed her array of badges on her right bosom. Clearly, she was someone of considerable importance in the headquarters.
“Yes, Madam! I was just waiting for Captain Lewis to return from his mission!”
Clicking his boots, Junius gave a salute, albeit a little clumsy, to the woman as he reported his situation.
“Haha, there’s no need to be so formal, you’re Junius right?”
“Madam, you know me?”
Confused that a constable officer could recognise his face, Junius gave the woman a puzzled look.
“Senior Lewis mentioned you. Furthermore, I was present on the day you first entered the waypoint. My name is Aldea. Pleased to make your acquaintance.”
Aldea introduced herself with her most professional smile. She had used this expression of hers to charm numerous of her colleagues to do her bidding. And to a certain extent, she had captivated Junius a little. Her beautiful, auburn shoulder-length hair was tied into a bun, fully exposing the milky white nape of hers. With eyes as big as a panda’s, she could bewitch any unsuspecting male.
“Pleased to make your acquaintance, senior Aldea! If I may be so rude, may I enquire on when Captain Lewis will be returning?”
If he were entirely honest, Junius would like to return to the Mushinkei immediately. However, since no one had authorised him to do so, he was unsure of what action to take.
“Senior Lewis will not be returning today. He was caught up with work. Sorry to inconvenience you, Junius… I know that today is your first day with the force. You must be disappointed.”
Looking apologetic, Aldea attempted to soothe Junius from feeling letdown.
“No, it’s alright! I understand that captain Lewis is a busy man… But since he is not coming back, may I return home?”
“Of course! Why would we hold you here for no reason? You just came at a bad time. Today, nearly all the constables in the waypoint were mobilised. Ah! To make it up to you, why don’t I walk you home?!”
Aldea exclaimed as if she had thought of a great idea.
“I’m grateful for your kindness, but I cannot impose!”
“It’s not imposing! Adding to that, it is rather dangerous outside now… If anything happens to you while you are walking back, how could I report it to senior Lewis?”
“No buts! Come on, let’s go!”
Grabbing his hand, Aldea led Junius out of the assembly room and back to the Mushinkei.
The road back to the Mushinkei was straightforward and short. If unhindered, Junius could be back within half an hour if he took his time. However, there were copious amounts of constables marching by checking the identity of each citizen that was awake at this hour. Fortunately, Aldea was escorting Junius back. With her black officer uniform, the duo was hardly ever stopped by the patrols.
As the youth glanced around the neighbourhood, he could see worried citizens peeking out from the safety of their homes monitoring the situation of the streets. On each house door, there were newly added chain locks that further secured their homes. The roads that were bustling with life in the morning had turned deserted with very little wanderers roaming down them.
Sulking in discontent, Aldea could not help but comment:
“Terrible isn’t it? The state of the city that is…”
Nodding in agreement, Junius recognised that the town had become much different.
“It used to be a splendid and warm place. The Waypoint. But because of all these criminals, none of our citizens can live in peace.”
As she started to monologue, Aldea used her sharp nails to scratch the back of her ears.
“Junius, you should remember the current state of the town. Remember that this is what we as constables, should strive to prevent.”
“Haha, great! I believe that you would make a splendid constable in the future! I’ve heard that senior Lewis had personally accessed you and passed you with flying colours. So I will have high expectations of you!”
As the two continued to share their experiences, they reached an opulent building that stood over five stories tall. Although it was nearing the end of the night, all of its lights were still shining brightly illuminating the area.
“Ah, we’ve arrived. Alright, Junius I will see you tomorrow. I will make sure that there will be someone there to guide and facilitate your training!”
“Wait! Senior Aldea!”
Before the gorgeous woman could leave, Junius grabbed her sleeve to stop her from moving. Widening her eyes in shock, Aldea looked over her shoulder.
“Is something the matter?”
“Can I ask you a question?”
“Of course, ask away!”
“Do you know what happened to the plot of land over there?”
Pointing to the empty space directly opposite the Mushinkei, Junius asked this question. It was a query that Shin had brought up ever since he had first laid eyes on the vacant lot. At first, Junius thought little of it, but after he saw the way Ines was answering in trepidation, he started becoming curious.
Initially, probed a little, asking the various staff if they knew about the empty lot, but the majority of them ignored his question or just told him to ask someone else. And as more people avoided him, the more curious, he felt. With no one else to turn to, he could only rely on someone who was not related to the Frie Clan.
“Ah, that… That lot used to belong to the Awter clan. But ever since they fallen for grace, the mayor reclaimed that land. It had been on the market for quite some time, but no one wants to buy a cursed piece of land after all.”
Baffled, Junius could not help but ask.
“Yeah, cursed. Ah, could we continue this conversation another time? I think that my assistance is required somewhere else.”
“Oh, sorry for holding you up! Thank you for seeing me home!”
“Haha, no worries. Goodbye!”
Leaving Junius with those words, Aldea hurriedly left the Mushinkei, unaware of the landmine that she had set.
Not understanding why, those two words stuck in Junius’ mind like an earworm. Repeating the name of that clan mentally, Junius entered the lavish building, in search of his younger brother.