The aftermath of the beast horde assault turned out to be rather lacklustre. Since General Elbert and his subordinates had cleared out the Orc King and dispersed the enemy, no one in the town was hurt by the beasts. Other than the hundreds of dead carcasses outside of the walls, everything seemed to be business as usual in Chilyoja Waypoint.
Naturally, neither Lewis nor Mayor Nadeo publically publicised that the beast horde was actually a distraction created by the Black Masks so that they could attack Yakkyoku Clinic, for fear of panicking their residents for no apparent reason. However, since Lewis was close to the Frie Clan, he did inform the residents of the Mushinkei of Shin’s situation.
Stunned that the young boy that they had been sheltering for three years had once again been targeted, Marshall and Riko rushed to the Mayor’s Office to check on Shin’s condition. Sadly, the black-haired teen was still pissed off at the clan for abandoning Junius and didn’t bother to meet up with his visitors. Nonetheless, the two still badgered the staff of the Mayor’s Office to let them through so that they could at least confirm Shin’s wellbeing. Only after Lady Seph personally assured them that Shin was doing fine and was smoothly recovering did the two Frie Clan members leave the area.
“Senior Marshall, we failed to meet Shin this time again…” Riko adjusted her grey cardigan as she wearily said. Being the front desk receptionist for the Mushinkei, the sultry young woman was one of the few people who spent an extended amount of time with Shin and Junius. It could be said that she treated the pair like they were her biological younger brothers. Yet, during these past few days, every time she walked past the familiar corridors of the fifth floor, the empty rooms of Shin and Junius always filled her with gloom.
“I know… What can we do? He’s still angry at the clan for what they did.”
“Hah… To be honest, how could we blame him? In fact, even I feel pissed that the Clan Master didn’t send a search party. Not even an explanation why too…” Shaking her head, Riko stared at the floor.
“Riko! We should not question the will of the Clan and the Clan Master. I’m sure that there’s a valid reason that hasn’t been disclosed to us.”
Putting her hands over her head, Riko briskly walked ahead of the Mushinkei manager and opened the locked doors of the closed building. Since they had left to find Shin, business for the Mushinkei was delayed until they had returned.
“Hey, hey… Where have you guys been?” A gruff and hoarse voice burst out from the side of the opulent edifice, stunning the two in the process.
“Lou! What a surprise. When did you arrive?!” Immediately recognising the instructor, Marshall gasped in delight.
In the three years since he left Shin and Junius under Marshall’s care, the Instructor had barely changed. From his signature thick and meaty muscles that were protruding out from every crevice of his robes to the unkempt beard that he hardly tended to. Everything seemed to have remained constant in his life.
“Brother Lou, what happened to you? You look spent!” After identifying the newcomer, Riko immediately rushed forward to give the man a hug. However, after getting a closer look, the alluring woman stopped in her tracks as she scrutinised the scruffy face of the Instructor’s.
Dark eye rings that penetrated deep into his skin hinted that he had spent many sleepless nights before his arrival in the waypoint. As Riko got closer and closer, a foul stench that petrified her nasal cavities prevented her from approaching any more. His entire attire dishellved and town, the Instructor, seemed to had run through a jungle with nothing but his two legs.
“Urgghhh, long story. For now, could you open the doors? I need a shower badly.”
“Yeah, you don’t say…” Pinching his nose as he approached, Marshall took out his key and unlocked the entrance.
“Oh, could you call Shin out? I need to talk to him.”
“I’m afraid that’s not possible.”
“Huh? Why not?” Raising his eyebrows at Marshall’s queer reply, the Instructor halted his steps as he was walking into the building.
“Shin no longer lives here. He is living with Lady Seph at the Mayor’s Office for now.”
“WHAT?! Why is he not living here anymore?!” Getting the shock of his life, the Instructor angrily bellowed, spitting saliva everywhere in the process.
“He found out that the Frie Clan was not going to send a search party out to find Junius. So he’s not going to listen to us anymore. And since he has Lady Seph with him, we are powerless to control him.”
“Oh… That makes sense.” Nodding to Riko’s explanation, the Instructor somewhat agreed with Shin’s decision.
Since he had been sent immediately to investigate Junius’ disappearance in secret, the Instructor was oblivious to all the happenings on Frie Mountain and Chilyoja Waypoint. Nevertheless, he was still concerned about his students’ wellbeings. Now that he found out that Shin was pissed off at the clan, the Instructor frowned deeply.
“Well, I still have to see him. I have found some clues regarding Junius.”
“Did you find him?! Where did he go?!” Riko’s eyes brightened up as she heard the Instructor’s words. Shin wasn’t the only one who was anxious after finding out that Junius had gone missing. Riko had suffered many sleepless nights, worrying about the fate of the Mushinkei’s adorable resident constable.
“No, I didn’t find him… Arghhh, what a mess!!! I’ll tell you about it later on. Let me take a shower and rest my body first.”
“Of course! Right, this way!” Rushing towards the male shower room, Riko prepared a fresh set of towels and clothes for the fatigued beefy man.
Himmel Empire. Chilyoja Waypoint. Mayor’s Office. Lady Seph’s Guest Room.
In the centre of the town, there lay an impressive lodging that was bordering on being called a castle. Luxurious decorations filled the backdrop of the building as some of the best craftsmen in the region designed the entire place from the ground up. Bearing the mark of the Emperor, the sole edifice to stand over fifty metres in height, the Mayor’s Office was without a doubt, a behemoth of a structure. One fit for nobility to call home.
Like any other noble’s house, the Mayor’s Office has multiple guest bedrooms to accommodate the varying number of VIPs that often visit the town. Therefore, each and every chamber was elaborately designed to breathe exquisiteness. Terrifying large silken beds that matched the size of a commoner’s room were routine in the guest rooms as all sorts of lavish amenities catered to the visitor’s every need. In fact, there was even a personal butler that would serve the guest if he or she so chooses.
“Shin… You can’t just ignore the Frie Clan forever you know.”
“Master?” Lying on top of the enormous bed that Mayor Nadeo had prepared for him, Shin was caressing Bingbing soft and beautiful fur as an adenoidal voice beckoned to him.
From the day that Shin was targeted, Lady Seph had heeded extra care when healing or tending to the disturbed youth’s needs. Although he was free from the scars of battle, internally, god knows what kind of psychological or spiritual injuries Shin might have suffered. Thankfully, after three full days of comprehensive examinations, Lady Seph could deduce that nothing awry was wrong with Shin’s spiritual body and otherwise.
Closing the medical journal that she was reading, Lady Seph brought up a topic that the both of them had been trying their best not to bring up over the past three days. Shin because he didn’t want to talk about it and Lady Seph because she didn’t want to bother Shin during his healing process. However, now that the boy had recovered, Lady Seph finally shot out the topic that she had been bottling up.
“I know that you are pissed. I would be too. But, shouldn’t you confront them like a man? Why do you just avoid them like flies?” It was a question that had been bothering the elderly blonde lady for weeks now.
“Master… It’s complicated…”
“Simplify it for me then.” Moving from the multi-purpose table to the side of Shin’s bed, Lady Seph stared at her conflicted disciple.
“Master… Alright then… I don’t know how to feel about the Frie Clan…”
“What do you mean?”
“On one hand, I’m grateful… No, all the orphans are grateful to the First Elder or the previous Clan Master that picked us up. After all, because of them, we managed to grow up with a family even though we were parentless from young. Yet, on the other hand, I know that we always be second-class citizens on Frie Mountain.” Recalling the numerous times where the clan favoured children from the main bloodline, Shin dropped his head down.
“Initially, I thought that the First Elder would always have our backs, even when the going gets tough, I’d always believed that he would come through. But now, when given a choice between Frie Mountain’s safety and Junius, the message was as clear as day. We are just expendable firepower to them.”
“I see… That’s why you’re so angry at them?”
“No! All I care for is Junius’ safety! I still can’t forgive them for abandoning him! So, even if they won’t find him, I will! He is… He is my elder brother after all…” A bitter smile crept up the young teen’s face. All these years, Shin had never publically claimed that the viridian haired youth that grew up with him was his closest kin. Yet, only when he was in distress, could Shin mouth out those words.
‘I’ll be sure to say it to your face the next time we meet. So don’t die on me, Junius!’
“*Knock!* *Knock!*. Master Shin, Madame Seraphim. The members from the Frie Clan are here to see you again. They are claiming that they have information about a boy named Junius.” A monotone female voice broke the silence of the room from the outside. The maid designated to Shin’s room had come to inform them of the Frie Clan’s arrival.
“WHAT?! Junius?!?!?! Send them in, please!!!” For the first time since that fateful day when he received the news at Aldrich’s Keep, Shin felt his blood pump rapidly as his heart rate drastically increased. His entire face flushed in fervour as he heard that there was news on the young teen. Finally, there was hope for Shin to find Junius.