The fight with the Tempest Wolf King had drawn in a massive commotion as high-level executives rushed from the town down to the scene of the battle. Even the constable captain, Lewis, was forced out of his office. Thankfully, there had been no casualties, especially on the part of the healers of Yakkyoku Clinic. Once the reinforcements arrived, injured from the trading caravan were moved closer to Chilyoja Waypoint, so that if another beast attack occurs, at least the defences of the walls could be used to destroy the savage beasts.
As day turned to night, the majority of all the injured had been given primary treatment and were on the fast road to recovery. Satisfied with his work, Shin retreated back to his room as he rested for the day. Bingbing, who refused to leave the embrace of the young boy, happily hopped on the bed, as if signalling for Shin to play with her. Being an ice-attribute Spirit Beast, the adorable gerbil hated the scorching hot sun and preferred to be active in the cold moonlight. That’s why Bingbing would typically hide in Shin’s robes whenever he was out in the day.
“Bingbing, stop jumping on the bed! You’re going to mess it up!” Shin lightly reprimanded the snowy white gerbil, afraid that it would pull the sheets off the bed.
Grabbing Bingbing by her sides, Shin placed her onto his lap and started to rub her belly. With her four legs pointed heavenward, the gerbil closed her pure black eyes and began to purr in happiness. Likewise, Shin was enjoying the comfortable feeling of her fur as a contented smile crept up his face.
“Hah… I really need to become stronger…” However, his joyful expression quickly turned into a bitter frown as he recalled the earlier fight against the Tempest Wolf King.
With his limited strength, all he could do was spectate the fight from a safe distance. He wasn’t even to protect himself from the discharge of the battle, requiring Bingbing to create an ice barrier to shield both Kesyl and himself. If the Tempest Wolf King wished to maul him over, the only thing that Shin could do was pray that someone strong enough was nearby to protect him.
“Bingbing, how do I become as strong as you?”
“*Yip* *Yip?*.” Puzzled by the sudden query, the gerbil cocked her head.
“What do you mean just sleep and eat well?! Hah, I can’t really talk to a Spirit Beast about this matter…” Shin chided himself for asking such a dumb question. “But honestly, I don’t know much about your heritage. Where you’re from, how did you grow to be so strong… Stuff like that… Could you tell me?”
Shin knew that Bingbing was a Kamaitachi and was currently a Tier 8 Spirit Beast. However, other than that, he knew next to nothing.
“*Yip* *Yip* *Yip* *Yip*.”
“Huh? You’re also not sure? From as long as you remember you were always with Master?” Shin was taken aback. It seems that the history between the Bingbing and Lady Seph was much more complicated than he first imagined.
“Well, whatever…” Giving up on that line of questioning, Shin fell down on his bed and rested his head upon a woollen pillow.
In Yakkyoku Clinic, there were many residential quarters. A few for the healers, a few for Lady Seph’s personal attendants and a few for the staff that run and maintain the building. However, in the entire clinic, there were only two rooms that could only be described as luxurious. As anticipated, the most palatial chambers were the ones of the sole Divine Healer in the building. Taking up almost half of the fifth floor, Lady Seph’s chambers consisted of her own personal library, an office and even a small laboratory for her do research. Knowing that the longer the famed healer stayed in the town, the more people would come to visit, Mayor Nadeo tried to make the best environment possible, and to a certain extent, he did just that.
Satisfied with her new chambers, Lady Seph had no issue with staying over for an extended period of time, even though there were pests that kept travelling from far and wide, just to gain an audience with her.
The next and only other residential room on the fifth floor was reserved for the sole disciple of Lady Seph. Although not as ostentatious as his Master’s chambers, Shin’s room was comparable to the one that he lived in the Mushinkei. Top quality linen sheets and well ventilated, there were very few rooms in the town that could match the comfort of his room.
“That constable officer’s skill… I wonder if I could use it…” Now that he had some time to think, Shin started to recall the mesmerising fire ability of the constable. Creating a flaming sphere that protected him and expanding it whenever he wanted, the ability seemed to be feasible for someone like Shin, whose first ability was to create and manipulate water.
“Maybe I’ll try it out in the courtyard tomorrow…” Putting aside the random thought that popped up in his mind, Shin sunk deeper into his bed as he allowed himself to enter the Garden of Hypnos.
Himmel Empire. Frie Mountain. Second Elder’s Chambers.
The time was way past midnight and residents of the entire empire had long gone to sleep. Well lit streets and commercial hubs had started to turn off, indicating that all who were out had to return to the safety of their homes. However, in a certain humble abode, an isolated room was fully lit up as numerous wide-awake individuals spaced about.
A grey-robed muscular man slowly turned in circles with his brows furrowed so close to each other that they nearly touched. His large frame towered over anyone else in the room, making him seem like the most influential person there. However, something was missing from his body. Only possessing a single right arm, the man could only use his overly brawny right arm to stoke his dishellved beard.
“Bates, sit down. There’s no need to be anxious…” The Second Elder, who was sitting at the head of the table, ordered the man.
One-armed Bates. Also known by many as Kingslayer Bates. One of the Second Elder’s most trusted aide, and the person who was central in the assassination attempt on Shin’s life many moons ago. Being a Rank 60 Spirit King, he was one of the strongest forces that the Frie Clan could call upon. Adding on to his extensive battle resume, Bates was a man to be reckoned with, and many younglings looked up to him for his composure in battle. Yet, at this very moment, the mighty Bates was shivering in anxiousness.
“Elder. We can’t do this. If we fail, not only would our entire division be affected, I’m afraid the Frie Clan might fall further into ruin!” Unlike his masculine and confident self, Bates was crying out in worry.
“I agree with Bates, Elder. The endeavour that you’re suggesting is absurd! Let’s not talk about the reprecussions if we fail. Even if we do succeed, the Frie Clan would be forever fragmented! Also, what would our children feel?!” One of the Second Elder’s subordinates cried out.
Every single one seated on the table of this secret meeting was part of the Second Elder’s highest aides. Each and every one of them was a Rank 60 Spirit King with years of experience following the Second Elder. Therefore, their words carried a certain weight as they served as advisors for the elder. Often times, just a single voice from the table would make the aged man’s mind waver, not to mention two. However, this time, the Second Elder’s mind was made up.
“My brothers. I gathered here not to counsel me, but to inform you of my decision! The Frie Clan has been stagnant for almost fifteen years since we destroyed the Awter Clan. When the previous Clan Master decided that we should go into seclusion, I was heavily against that. Then, the Elder Council put in his incompetent daughter in charge after he passed! We cannot be suppressed anymore!” In a fit of passion, the Second Elder slammed his hand on the table and stood up abruptly.
“We need to cleanse the clan from the weaklings that run it! Enfen, Edward, Lien… All of these people that think that they’re doing well for the clan. All that they’re doing is ruining it! That’s why I’m going to ask the Ferumris Clan to help us usurp them! And the first thing that we need to do is rid ourselves of the bad blood that we picked up from the Awter Clan!”
“… Elder, you…” Bates felt a chilling cold climb up his spine as he heard the elder’s words.
“It’s all that bastard’s fault! To think that we had picked up the Awter Clan Master’s son and even hand fed him all these years! What a joke! We annihilated that clan to finish everything and yet here we are growing a tumour within our reaches! That bastard Edward even wanted to start a war to end the Frie Clan because of him!!! We are caught in madness I tell you!!! MADNESS!!!” Unable to repress his emotions any longer, the Second Elder hollered out.
“…” An awkward silence hung over the executives on the table as they were unsure of what to say. It was rare to see the Second Elder out of control of his emotions.
“I will not take no for an answer, my brothers. We will take over this clan, and we will be the phoenix that rises from the ashes. The Frie Clan will reign forever…”