It didn’t take long for the annihilation of the entire Main Hub to enter the ears of the upper echelons of the three superpowers. Taking advantage of the inadequate protection that the town had, the Black Masks had gathered a significant force, consisting of an estimated three hundred thousand Spirit Beasts and marched through the Land of Dreams. However, the most astonishing fact wasn’t the fall of the Main Hub, but how the Black Masks had solicited the help of two additional Tier 9 Spirit Beasts, different from the ones that they used to bring down Aldrich’s Keep.
The downfall of the Land of Dreams sent shockwaves all throughout the modern world, and the leaders of the three superpowers went into panic mode. Traditionally, the Land of Dreams had served as a neutral zone where talks between the three superpowers could take place and remained as a symbol of world peace. Riddled with horrific events, such as the first great war that almost annihilated mankind to the grand massacre that Spirit Immortal Dream had inflicted onto her own people, the Land of Dreams served to remind the world how terrible conflicts could devolve into.
Yet, the symbol of peace, the monument that every soul in the world looked up to, was no utterly decimated once more. And who was responsible for the devastation that had befallen onto the innocents of the Land of Dreams? The Black Masks.
One whisper became two. Two whispers became four, and soon, the whole world knew of the names of the Black Masks and the Allfather. After the news broke that the Main Hub had fallen, the Kori Federation’s Dalgeom Sect had waged war on the Black Masks as they sought revenge for their fallen brother, Spirit Emperor Wangu. It soon became apparent that not only did the Allfather possess a massive talent pool of fallen criminals, but also a total of four Tier 9 Spirit Beasts in his command.
In response to the overwhelming threat, the Himmel Empire had dispatched their entire Second Army which contained a hundred and fifty thousand troops, to reclaim the Land of Dreams from the barbaric Spirit Beasts that roamed the land. It was the most massive military operation since the formation of the three superpowers.
Typically, such a significant military operation near their borders would be heavily protested by the Kori Federation. However, instead of voicing out their distress, the Kori Federation sent fifty thousand troops as well. The Black Masks syndicate had gone too far in their actions this time, and now, two of the mightiest powers the world has ever seen was going to retaliate.
The troops marched in search of any clues of the Black Masks and their dastardly Spirit Beasts. The Himmel Empire had even sent a total of three Spirit Venerates, while the Kori Federation had sent two, both of which were from the Dalgeom Sect which had lost a prized brother of theirs. Even the neutral organisation, the Healer’s Association, had sent out two Elder Healers led by the infamous Divine Healer, Lady Seph, to help facilitate in the destruction of the Black Masks from the Land of Dreams.
It was without a doubt, the greatest force ever assembled in recent history. Six Spirit Venerates, fifteen Spirit Emperors, dozens of Spirit Kings and Spirit Lords, and up to two hundred thousand soldiers. It was a force that would even make the Lantis Republic sweat, let alone a mere criminal syndicate.
Why was there such a drastic retaliation? Because of the massacre in the Main Hub…
“H-How?” Stepping through the blood-filled streets of the Main Hub, Shin covered his mouth as he found support through lying on the nearby pillar. However, even with the added support, Shin couldn’t muster up the strength to remain standing. Falling to his knees, the youth closed his eyes in terror.
“Bllleugghhhh!!!” Just a few metres away, Elrin was busy emptying out her guts at the horrific sight. Her eyes filled with tears, the young, sheltered lady was unable to take the gruesome sight of war, no… She was unable to stand the morbid actions of the Black Masks.
“…” Unlike the younger generation, the three Spirit Emperors were more immune to the horrendous spectacle. However, even they couldn’t hide the disgust and anger that they felt. Reginald clenched his fists so hard that his knuckles became white, while Madam Warulee bit on her lower lip till it bled. Only the black-robed guard of Isadore managed to keep his body functions in check, but the fiery glint in his eyes betrayed the fury that he felt.
And who could blame them?
On the once bustling pavements of the Main Hub, heaps and heaps of headless bodies were littered all over. Based on how there were footprints and freshly inflicted holes all over the corpses, one could guess how little the Black Masks cared about the people that they murdered. Men, women, children, elderly. Not a single soul was spared. Even in the roughest periods of war, no humane organisation on the face of the earth would desecrate a fallen victim’s body. Yet, almost all of the bodies here had been brutally beheaded, seemingly as if they were brought back to display on a trophy cabinet.
“Black Masks… How cruel.” Words couldn’t describe the feelings of those present. Cruel was a benign term while inhumane was too soft. To accurately describe how much hate and disgust Shin, Isadore, Elrin, and the Spirit Emperors felt, one had to invent a whole new lexicon.
“These are the enemies that the world face. This is the act of the Black Masks, the Allfather, and…” Shin grimly spoke out, his face ashen as his eyes burned in endless hate. “This is the act that Junius endorsed…”
“Seniors, I have a bold request… Give me some time, let me stay here and murder any remnants of the Black Masks! Even one day is enough!” From a distance, Shin caught sight of some remaining Spirit Beasts that seemed to be left behind by the horde. Taking advantage of the situation, the beasts stayed behind to feast on the buffet of fresh bodies, that still had a little bit of warmth. Unfortunately, their decision to dine alone would ultimately lead to their demise.
With nothing to vent his frustration, his overwhelming hate on, Shin feared that he would incur nightmares should he return to the academy. “Please! This is my final request!”
“…” The Spirit Emperors looked at each other, confused as to whether they should listen to the boy’s request. If they were asked this very same question just an hour prior, they would have most definitely turned the youth down and fly them back into Himmel Empire borders. However, no one could remain unmoved after witnessing such a barbaric act against life. In fact, they were even thinking of entering the fray themselves, just to enact the slightest bit of revenge upon the monsters that had caused this carnage.
At that moment, a green-faced Elrin bolstered up her resolve as well as she turned towards her Spirit Emperor bodyguard. “Uncle Reg… I want to join Shin! I can’t… Let this go without doing anything!”
“Senior, I too can’t overlook the actions of the Black Masks.” Isadore chimed in as well. In his hands, a resplendent spear, that was capable of mauling down even the toughest of enemies, was shining brilliantly under the afternoon sun. “I’m going to kill every single one of them.”
“…” Like a shadow that followed its master, the black-robed guard simply nodded his head and disappeared into the darkness. Although he wasn’t physically present, no one doubted that he would reappear once Isadore was in danger.
“Hah… What choice do I have?” Finally yielding to Elrin’s plea, Reginald gently stroked the young girl’s hair. If he had brought her back like that, the butler feared that a knob of despair would be tightened in the young girl’s heart. Hence, he decided to go along with the trio’s selfishness. “Support your friends all you want. I’ll be protecting you.”
“Madam Warulee?” Two down, one to go. Shin turned to the remaining Spirit Emperor and sought her approval.
“Argh, you’re really the most troublesome student I ever had! When we go back, stay the hell away from me, you understand?!” Madam Warulee snapped but eventually gave her consent. Although she seemed indignant to help Shin, her flared nostrils and eyes full of hatred towards the Spirit Beasts stated her intention otherwise.
With the consent of the Spirit Emperors, Shin immediately leapt forward to a nearby Spirit Beast with a vengeance. Casting a full spiritual body enhancement, Shin’s skin turned into a rich cerulean scaly surface, reflecting the glaring light from the empyrean sun, making him seem like a knight in shining armour, riding into battle.
Behind him, Isadore also sped forward with his majestic spear in hand. A close-combat expert, the silver-haired youth was capable of mauling down any Tier 1 or 2 Spirit Beast with a flick of his wrist. For him, the vanguard of any assault was the place to be.
Not to be outdone by her peers, Elrin summoned out the Rosary of Eternity and immediately used her Frigate Boots and launched herself dozens of metres forward. At the same time, she began to chant her very own cultivation mantra to help circulate the flow of mana within her petite body. Splitting the rosary up, Elrin sent a few of her pearls towards Shin and Isadore, forming two holy crowns of gorgeous pearls above their heads.
“In the name of the holy priestess of eternity, bless my allies so that they gain the strength to smite the evil that plagues the earth! *Sacramental Boost*!!!”
Resplendent light flowed from Elrin’s spiritual body into the floating crowns as the symbol of eternity glowed in a divine splendour. At that moment, Shin and Isadore felt a wave of vigour empowering every aspect of their bodies. Unlike the numerous fragrances that Cyphia’s purple plant produced, Elrin’s Sacramental Boost was capable of giving an all-around enhancement. From heightened senses to increased mana recovery. It was basically the best spiritual ability for any vanguard warrior that had to be in the thick of the battle.
“ARGHHHH!!!” Shin hollered out, bringing out all of the bottled out wrath and hate that he had.
Junius had escaped under his very nose yet again… He brought the members of the Dalgeom Sect to Mort Bay, only to be chased away by the terror that was the World Serpent. On the way home, he met the couple that colluded with Junius, and he moved to take them back for questioning. However, instead of giving him information about Junius, Star Face had murdered his own companion and took his own life right before Shin’s eyes. Worst of all, Star Face had pinned their deaths on Shin’s persistence of the truth.
Finally, when he returned to the Main Hub, Shin saw the thousands of dead bodies that had their heads brutally severed. Bit by bit, Shin felt his heart break into a million pieces, and he just wished to let it all out the old fashioned way…
In a primal rage…
Shin didn’t even bother using his created water or his Yellow-Eyed Dragon Needles. Using his bare hands, Shin ripped through the ten-odd Spirit Beast pack like a barbarian. One beast saw the imminent threat and bared its fangs at the youth. The Tier 2 Spirit Beast immediately charged forward to counter Shin.
“DIE YOU FUCKER!!!”
Instead of planning an optimal path to victory like he usually would, Shin grabbed the jaws of the Spirit Beast like a berserker and utilised all of his strength to rip the beast’s mouth in two. Typically, he wouldn’t have the raw power to perform such a feat. However, a combination of Elrin’s Sacramental Boost and the innate anger that pushed him past his limits enabled him to turn into a bloody marauder that crushed everything in his path.
Shin looked down at his two hands that had been pierced by the sharp fangs of the beast and snorted in disdain. Instantly casting heal, Shin felt a slight itch on the opened holes of his palms and watched as his body reverted back to its optimal state.
‘I will kill everything!!!’
Steam gushed out from his every pore, bringing Shin to a level that was hardly attainable, even by warriors that braved a thousand battles.
Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill! KILL! KILL! KILL! KILL!!! KILLLLLLLLL!!!!!!!
His mind was now focused on one thing, murdering every single enemy that stood with the Black Masks. Ignoring his pain. Ignoring his grief. Everything in Shin’s mind was focused on just one thing… The complete annihilation of the Black Masks.