Himmel Empire. Chilyoja Waypoint. Western Gate.
“Hah… He really did go overboard…” A pudgy middle-aged man place his palm on his face as he let out a detached sigh. Like an eagle high up in the sky, Lewis’ eyes focused on the battlefield, or rather, slaughter field down below.
Thirty minutes had passed since General Elbert arrived to reinforce the border of the town under siege, and he wasn’t jesting when he claimed that there was no need for backup. Raising carnage amongst the five thousand filthy orcs led by the Tier 6 Orc King, the seasoned warrior pulverised his way through the endless ocean of enemies and sliced off their leaders head with one clean blow.
Without a central figure dictating their movements, the remaining orcs scattered around like petrified lab rats and did their best to retreat to safety. Unfortunately, their opponents weren’t that kind to let them run. Being sent from the Capital with the specific task to annihilate any Spirit Beasts that might terrorise the public, the elite team that came with General Elbert began to hunt down every single orc that they could find.
On this chilling moonlit night, the elementals danced with joy as thick elemental spiritual essence spewed out terrorised the fields filled with beasts. Being Spirit Lords and Spirit Kings, taking on five thousand Tier 3 Orcs were mere child’s play for General Elbert’s subordinates. Additionally, Lewis and the town’s constables had supplied them with additional support by shooting arrows and cannon balls at the beast horde.
“Sir! The orcs have mostly retreated! The town is saved!” From Lewis’ side, an officer exclaimed joyfully as he watched General Elbert mow down the final enemy.
“Yeah. What did the Orc King expect? Going against General Elbert and his team of elites is just suicide. Well, it can be considered a complete victory for us.” Elated that there were zero casualties, the Chief Constable stroked his smooth double chin as he smiled.
“*VVVVVVOOOOOOOOMMMMMM!!!!*.” While General Elbert and the others were celebrating their victory, the ground shook violently, forcing every single soul in the town to fall over. The mana concentration suddenly spiked up as many found it hard to breathe.
“What the hell?! Another attack?!” A deep fear crept up Lewis’ mind. It was a long time since he had felt such a dominant power. It felt as if the pressure being mounted on his body could crush his being with ease.
“N-No way! This is!” Mayor Nadeo, who was supervising the entire battle, gawked in horror as he realised the identity of the insurmountable pressure.
“Her Holiness, Althea?! Why is she releasing so much mana?!” Likewise, General Elbert recognised the crazy spiritual energy and turned his attention in the direction of Yakkyoku Clinic. The Spirit Saints of the cultivation world were lofty beings. They hardly cared about the happenings of the mortal world and would typically never move. After all, their inherent power was so overwhelming that normal humans would suffocate once exposed to their mana. Yet, Lady Althea had evidently started to fight something and was unleashing an absurd amount of mana.
At that moment, a pillar of black smoke erupted from Yakkyoku Clinic and burst into the atmosphere above, dissipating almost instantly. Once the darkness entirely disappeared, the mana being sent from Lady Althea did the same, and the town reverted back to its normal state.
“What’s going on?” With a raised eyebrow, General Elbert leapt away from the battlefield filled with dead carcasses of orcs and flew towards the clinic. Mayor Nadeo did the same. If something had occurred that required a Spirit Saint to take action, it meant that it was not small.
“Master… Who are they? Or rather, why were they targetting me?” Still weak in the knees, Shin lay his head on a nearby pillar as he asked the vital question. For the longest time, Shin had been shunned away whenever he needed answers, as the adults felt that he was too young. However, after two attacks by the Black Masks, Shin genuinely feared for his life now.
“Those people who attacked you are from the Black Masks. They…”
“I know that! What I want to know is why do they keep trying to kill me?!” Stopping his Master mid-sentence, Shin cried out.
“I don’t know Shin… That’s what I want to know…” Gritting her teeth so hard that blood started to drip down from her mouth, Lady Seph shrugged her shoulders. No one was more miffed about the attack than herself. Not only was her sole disciple targeted, but half of her clinic had been utterly decimated. Furthermore, she had no clue about why the Black Masks had behaved the way that they did.
“Shin… Earlier on, you said something about being transported into a different place. What’s that about?” Recalling that Shin had a peculiar experience, Lady Seph tried to see if it could be a possible lead. At this point, she was just grasping for straws. Any possible clue that could lead to her finding the bastards that wrecked her life was a plus for her.
“I don’t know… Suddenly, I just blacked out, and I felt myself falling into a foreign place. Over there, all that remained was just darkness.” Rubbing his head, Shin desperately attempted to narrate his entire experience.
“A foreign place, huh… Sounds odd. Perhaps the Allfather possesses a mental Spirit that can transfer consciousness… What else?”
“It was… Very dark… Very cold… Rather than terror, all I felt was dread for something… A dread for life… I don’t know… It still feels rather surreal to me.” Shaking his head, Shin tried his best to make sense of what had happened to him when he was sent away. However, due to his lack of experience, he was unable to fully articulate what had transpired.
“Interesting… Perhaps when interacting with the Allfather’s mana, you can actually feel his emotions or rather, what drives his power…” Lady Seph shot out a wild hypothesis after listening to her disciple’s account.
“I have a connection with the Allfather?! Is that why he keeps sending people to attack me?” Shin cried out in fear.
“As I said, it’s just a theory. A far-fetched one at that as well. Nonetheless, you should not leave my surveillance for a while. Just as a precaution.” Lady Seph consoled the frantic young teen with a warm smile.
“Okay…” Dropping down his eyes, Shin felt a surge of despondency hit him.
‘Why am I so useless?’ Cursing his own inability to protect himself, Shin despaired. He had been training in the path of a healer yet he had been unable to save his very first patient. Additionally, when fighting in the Uncharted Wilderness, he relied on Ariel’s explosive powers to decimate the Earthen Bear. And now, when someone was targeting him, all that Shin could do was play the damsel in distress and wait for someone to rescue him.
‘If Junius were here, he would have fought with everything that he got…’ Thinking back to his elder brother who was currently missing, Shin found himself sinking deeper and deeper into a state of depression.
“Lady Althea!!! Lady Seph!!! What happened here?!” A familiar voice rang from a distance, turning the heads of everyone present in Yakkyoku Clinic. General Elbert, Mayor Nadeo and Lewis all rushed to the half-destroyed building as fast as they could once they felt the Spirit Saint terrifying power.
“We were attacked. By the Black Masks.” Nonchalantly answering General Elbert’s question, Lady Seph shot out a brief remark while folding her arms in the akimbo position.
“WHAT?! They attacked the clinic?!” Mayor Nadeo couldn’t believe his ears. Who in the right mind would attack a Spirit Saint?
“Huh? Do you think that I’m lying and I destroyed my own home?!”
“No, no, no! Of course not!”
“Hah… Whatever… You should search the area for any more of them though.”
“Lady Seph… Could you show us the bodies? That way we would have more useful data.” General Elbert casually asked.
“They’re gone. Or rather, vapourised. The Allfather destroyed them after he found out that they were about to be captured.” In place of her disciple, Lady Althea spoke out to the muscular general.
“I-Is that so?” At her cool remark, the people who were gathered around the Spirit Saint dropped their jaw. They were all very clear of how powerful the being standing in front them was. To think that a leader of a mere criminal syndicate could actually smite someone under her control that easily.
“Elbert, when you return, tell the Emperor. No, tell that old bastard that hides in the shadow that I will be paying a visit to the Himmel Castle.”
“Seraphim, I’ll be taking my leave for now. However, I do expect you to send Shin over one day. After all, he still needs his healer’s licence.” Flashing an affectionate smile at the fatigued youth’s direction, Lady Althea addressed her disciple to bring Shin over to the Healer’s Association.
“Alright then. Shin! I’ll see you soon!” Turning into a ball of light, Lady Althea burst into the endless sky above and disappeared past the horizon in a blink of an eye. Being a Spirit Saint, her control over space was unparalleled and could traverse significant distances with a mere thought.
“Lady Seph, do you have a suitable lodging to stay in? If not, why don’t you stay in the Mayor’s Office while I send people over to help with the repairs?” With Yakkyoku Clinic broken to the ground, it was a rather inhabitable place for an elderly woman and a distressed young boy. Therefore, Mayor Nadeo offered them a place to stay.
“Oh, that sounds good… Let’s do it your way.” Too lazy to find an alternative, Lady Seph took Mayor Nadeo up on his offer.