Once the public had found out that the long, feared Watkin Murderer had finally passed away, the entire waypoint collectively breathed a huge sigh of relief. Earlier on, with a convict on the loose, everyone was extremely fearful to go out, making a tense atmosphere for them to live in. Thus, once Lewis confirmed Gawil Jefferson’s death, he had ordered all the constables to spread the news.
There was a vital piece of information that he had censored though. To pay his respects for the tragic young man, Lewis deliberately concealed the Watkin Murderer’s real name. He did not want the Jefferson name to be synonymous with the Watkin murder. Lewis even sent his subordinates to the Jefferson Village to confirm the deaths of the villagers and offered to spend office money to build a memorial.
However, his headaches were far from over. After he found out that Andrew Watkin actually had ordered an attack on an innocent village, Lewis brought over some of his most capable constables and raided the Watkin home. Naturally, when Mayor Nadeo heard the news, he had immediately issued a search warrant.
Although Andrew Watkin was the mastermind, there were still his hired hands that launched the assault on the unfortunate village, that was still at large. Were they the elite mercenaries that Andrew Watkin had employed over the years? Or were they a much larger, nefarious organisation? Lewis wanted to get the answers.
Unfortunately for him, after an extensive search of the Watkin Mansion and countless of interviews with his family members, workers and even close associates, the constable office was unable to find any clues on the mysterious organisation that Andrew Watkin had hired.
With that, the commotion surrounding the Watkin Murder died down as quickly as it surfaced. Civilians in Chilyoja Waypoint returned to their comfortable way of life as the tight security at the gates began to slacken, resuming the high traffic of trade into the town.
From this day, no one will ever hear the name Gawil Jefferson ever again; but those two words were still fresh in a particular black-haired boy’s mind.
“Shin, so you were here! I was looking for you!”
The Mushinkei, the opulent building that was the headquarters for Frie Clan operatives in Chilyoja Waypoint, had five levels. Each floor had a specific purpose with the fourth and fifth being the residential areas. Being permanent residents in the Mushinkei, Shin and Junius knew every nook and cranny of the two top floors. Especially the secret place that they both loved to visit.
“Yeah… Do you need something?”
Resting on a bamboo mat, Shin was lying on all fours, restlessly gazing at the starry night sky above him. From the fifth floor, there was an inconspicuous stairwell to the roof. Not many people knew that there was roof access in the Mushinkei as there were a minute amount of people who have permission to enter the fifth floor. One would think that the rooftop of such a grandeur building would have elaborate architectures like a pavilion or a canopy. However, the place that Shin was currently at was utterly barren. Other than the bamboo mat that he brought up from his room, the roof was void of any furniture, making it inhospitable for any person to stay.
But that did not dissuade Shin from coming up here. Whenever he felt low or downtrodden, Shin would often secretly come up to gaze at the night sky, filled with twinkling stars that glistened like teardrops from the heavens. The cold breeze of the night that would usually deter a person from staying up here for an extended period of time seemed to give Shin an inexplicable warmth as he melted into his surroundings.
“Nothing… It’s just that you disappeared after dinner. I thought you went out or something!”
Junius gradually approached Shin, who was entirely focused on the cluster of stars that formed the milky way. Since no one really came up here, Marshall, the manager of the Mushinkei, did not bother to install any form of lighting to illuminate the roof; but Junius did not need to have artificial light to see his younger brother’s expressions. The radiant moonlight shone brightly upon the empty roof, allowing Junius to carefully examine the black-haired boy’s face.
“Is something bothering you?”
“No, why do you ask?”
“Don’t lie to me… Ever since that day, you have been barely eating! Even the usually bubbly Ariel seemed to be in a trance. Did something happen to you when you encountered the Watkin Murderer?”
It had been three days since Shin and Ariel were caught up in an attack in the Watkin Shoebox. Thankfully, the two came out relatively unhurt, with Ariel suffering slight bruises and abrasions. Well, they came out untouched physically, psychologically was another matter.
“Then why are you so depressed?”
“Shin, you know that you can rely on me!”
Tapping his chest twice, Junius urged his younger brother to depend on him more often.
“Fine… The Watkin Murderer’s name is actually called Gawil Jefferson…”
Sitting upright, Shin started to narrate the events of his encounter with Gawil Jefferson. From how they began to fight, to how he and Ariel defeated him. How he nearly killed Ariel, rousing the ire from the depths of the little boy’s heart and eventually, the tragic tale that made Gawil the way he was. Not missing out a single detail, Shin told Junius everything.
“Oh, wow… What a story…”
“I know right…”
After Junius heard the entire story, his mouth opened up wide as he wore a bitter smile. Gobsmacked by the revelation that the Watkin Murderer was actually a good person who was exacting vengeance, Junius did not know what to feel. His eyes wandered around before he saw Shin blankly staring into the night sky once more.
“So, why are you so affected by his story?”
Junius edged closer to Shin and tapped the boy’s shoulder.
“I think it’s because I no longer know what is right or wrong. Initially, when I first found out that he was a murderer, all I could think of is that I must escape with Ariel. So I fought with everything I had. I never felt my mind move that fast before! And when he was about to kill Ariel, I hated him with everything in my body. I wanted to kill him so bad!”
“Luckily, Lady Seph made it in time to save Ariel… And then, when she wanted to heal the man, I naturally protested. Why should such a bastard be allowed to live when he tried to kill us? But then, he goes and tells us that story…”
Swallowing a mouthful of saliva, Shin brought his knees to his chest as he hugged himself. Only by doing so, did he feel a little more secure.
“After I heard that story, all the hate I had for him mysteriously vanished. In fact, I felt sorry for him. All he wanted to do was to live his normal life and have his name remembered by others; but now, when I walk down the busy streets, I hear people still calling him the Watkin Murderer… Was what he did really wrong? He wanted to kill the evil person who killed his family… So why are people celebrating his death? He was the good guy!”
At that point, Shin did not notice it, but he was already shouting at the top of his lungs. Gawil Jefferson was clearly a good guy who was pushed to do a horrendous deed by a diabolical person, and yet all he got was people elated at his death. Although Gawil had tried to claim his life before, Shin could not help but feel the how unjust the poor man was treated.
“Shin… You sure are growing up…”
Bringing the trembling boy into his embrace, Junius lauded at Shin’s maturity. The boy was only ten-years-old, and he could already feel empathy for the person who had tried to murder him and his closest friend. If put into his situation, Junius did not know if he would behave the same way. After contemplating on the best way to cheer his little brother up, Junius flashed a jubilant smile as he said:
“Shin, have I ever told you of my dream?”
“I don’t think you have…”
“Initially, I wanted to climb up the ranks of the Frie Clan so that the orphan division will no longer be mistreated by the those from the main bloodline. However, after these few weeks in the waypoint, my dream has changed…”
Pausing his speech, Junius cleared his throat as the adorable black-haired boy stared at his elder brother with his crystal-clear azure eyes.
“I’m going to become a general!”