The Himmel Empire. The Capital. The Emperor’s Audience Chambers.
The war between the Black Masks and the two superpowers closed out as quickly as it came to the scenes. After Lieutenant General Myron’s raid on the illusory beast horde, the forces of the Black Masks seemingly vanished overnight. Although the Second Army and the forces of the Kori Federation had taken down a combined total of twenty thousand Spirit Beasts, the leading pack of the group had disappeared into the burrows that were dug for their escape.
Three weeks after the collapse of the Main Hub, both the Himmel Empire and the Kori Federation ceased any military actions on the land, temporarily ending the war between them and the Black Masks. On the surface level, the two superpowers had won. Killing twenty thousand Spirit Beasts as well as forcing the Black Masks to go into hiding, if it were any normal circumstance, a victor would have been long decided.
However, the Black Masks and the Allfather had made it evident that they were no mere foe. With more than four Tier 9 Spirit Beasts in their grasp, the Black Masks was easily the strongest organisation other than the three superpowers. Taking out twenty thousand Spirit Beasts was just pulling a hair out of a bison’s body. Estimates vary, but some experts were saying that the Black Masks could have moved as many as a million Spirit Beasts into the Kori Federation, based on the tunnel system that was left behind by the syndicate.
Thus, to combat the rising threat of the Black Masks, a secretive meeting had been convened…
“Your Majesty. The communications have been set up. Everything is in order.” A purple robed eunuch bowed down with the elegance that had been hard-wired into his veins as he informed the golden-robed man seated on his throne. “Once you give the order, we will be connected with the leaders of the Kori Federation and the Lantis Republic.”
“Mmmm.” His Royal Majesty, Tenno, nodded. Stroking his straightened beard, the regal man checked himself in the silver mirror that his maidservant was holding. The two individuals that he was about to meet were leaders of the modern world. As a representative of his own country, even the slightest blemish might be reflected poorly in their eyes.
“Your Majesty, everything is in order.” The Imperial Groomer checked the Emperor one final time before giving the thumbs up.
“Good. Leave me.” Tenno dismissed his subjects, leaving only his most trusted eunuchs behind. For matters of the state, the fewer ears around, the better. “Connect me through.”
Krrrttt. Krrrttttt. Krrrrrrrrrrrrrrtttttt.
The two Cikai Mirrors before the Emperor showed signs of static before stabilising into two prim images. On the left mirror, a gorgeous woman dressed in a full marine robe with beautiful proportions that would make even the most experienced courtesan jealous. Her silky smooth grey hair was tied into a bun and held in place by a jade hairpin with a whale’s head, which allowed everyone to observe her small face. Whenever Tenno saw this woman, he couldn’t help but get taken aback by her crystalline green eyes that were uncommon for people from the continent.
On the right, a similarly good-looking young man was seated on an elevated throne. If they were going by looks, the man in the right Cikai Mirror would undoubtedly be the youngest. However, that couldn’t be farther from the truth. The man dressed in all white was without a doubt, the oldest among the three gathered. However, when he advanced into the Spirit Venerate realm, he chose to take the image of his sixteen-year-old self, due to the pleasant memories that he had when he was at that age.
‘There they are… The leaders of the Kori Federation and the Lantis Republic…’ Tenno sighed mentally to himself.
They were called ‘leaders’ but how much power do they really have? Just like how the Himmel Empire separated power between the Imperial Family and the Imperial Courts, the Kori Federation and the Lantis Republic had a firm separation of power as well. In the Kori Federation, the Master Sects were the ones calling the shots, and the government men were simply figureheads that did their bidding. The Lantis Republic had the same fate. Power was divided almost equally amongst the Eight Ancient Clans of Water. While the woman in the mirror was also a member of one of those clans, she didn’t have the authority to make decisions for all eight clans.
Nonetheless, they were still important figures in their own right. The woman was the nominated Chancellor of the Lantis Republic, and her name was as famous as the Lantis Republic itself. During the War of the Oceans, the woman had used her Colossal Leviathan to wreak havoc among the Spirit Beasts of the ocean. Additionally, her naval exploits were legendary, to say the least. No matter which navy she led, she would thoroughly defeat any enemy, further cementing the Lantis Republic’s claim to having the most invincible navy that the world had ever seen.
Through her exploits, many gave her a fitting nickname. One that still strikes fear to the Admirals of both the Himmel and Kori Navy. The Immortal of the Ocean, Jingyu Shenxian.
“Your Majesty, it’s been a while.” Shenxian broke the silence with a warm greeting. “How are your children?”
“They’re doing fine, thank you. How about yours?” The Imperial Emperor thanked the Chancellor and added his own statement within.
“Still the same. Many of them had already grown to adulthood, so I don’t really have to worry about them.”
“I see…” Tenno nodded in agreement. His very own children that had reached adulthood had already left the palace and ruled over their own territory. Very rarely would one of his adult children visit him, and he had to rely on that one bubbly young girl who still remained in the palace to keep him company.
Turning towards the right Cikai Mirror, Tenno gave the man a nod of acknowledgement and didn’t bother with any small talk. It was no secret that the Kori Federation was on bad terms with the Himmel Empire. If not for the Black Masks threatening to destabilise civilisation as they knew it, the two wouldn’t even bother to meet. However, as they say, the enemy of my enemy is my friend. For the time being, the two superpowers could set aside their differences to combat the existential threat.
“Your Majesty, let’s not waste any more time. We all know why this meeting had been called.” The man frowned and folded his arms. “The Black Masks. How are we going to murder them all?”
“Straight to the point as always, Prime Minister Duncan.” Tenno straightened his back.
Though the two leaders were technically on the same level, their experience levels were like night and day. Prime Minister Duncan Sephron had been holding his position for over forty years, and no one in the entire Federation dared to question his abilities. Not only was he the face of the government, but he was also part of the most senior Master Sect that had a Spirit Saint in its midst. Some say that the only reason why the Master Sects cared about the government at all was due to the Prime Minister’s voice constantly nagging in their ears.
Hence, he was well-liked by his fellow peers as well as the general public. On the other hand, the Himmel Empire hated his guts. Part of the faction that wished to stir up trouble with their neighbours down south, Prime Minister Duncan had always been a thorn in the Emperor’s side. Fortunately, his viciousness was now targeted at another entity, giving Tenno some breathing room to hopefully mend relations.
“Your Majesty. You should know that Wangu from the Dalgeom Sect had fallen to the barbaric hands of that criminal syndicate. All I want is justice for my fellow countryman as soon as possible.”
“My condolences.” Tenno showed signs of grief in his consolation. If the residents of the Land of Dreams were the biggest victims of the Black Masks, then the Kori Federation was undoubtedly the second biggest. Not only did the Black Masks bring in an absurd number of Spirit Beasts into their territory, but they had also lost a valuable asset in Wangu.
The Spirit Emperor of the Dalgeom Sect was not only one of the most prominent figures of his generation, but he was also one of the most likeable people in the Kori Federation. His honest and hardworking ethic brought him a fame that was unprecedented by a Spirit Emperor. Born with an average Spirit, Wangu worked his way to the top through blood, sweat and tears, amidst all of the criticism that told him that he was wasting his time.
Even the Prime Minister, who had lived for over three hundred years, could appreciate such a character. If there were more people like Wangu in the Kori Federation, they would have unquestionably taken over the entire continent by now. Thus, when the news came back that he sacrificed his life for the escape of his two junior disciples, federation as the whole immediately got enraged.
“Thank you, but Wangu’s soul can never rest in peace unless we eradicate that criminal syndicate that doesn’t know its place!” The Prime Minister’s face turned crimson as he became more and more agitated.
“I understand. That’s why I have called for this meeting to take place.” Tenno agreed with the Prime Minister’s claim. “We are currently at a disadvantage. The Black Masks are being led by a mysterious leader that’s easily at the Spirit Saint or Primordial Beast realm, and he has a variety of Tier 9 Spirit Beasts. For now, we know that he has four of them, but who knows the true number of Spirit Beasts that he really has? Not to mention, he is able to control beast hordes in the hundreds of thousands. Also, he has gathered all the outlaws and paupers into his organisation. The amount of power that the Black Masks have is unprecedented in the history of all criminal syndicates.”
The two leaders kept silent. Up till this point, they are in agreement. The Black Masks are a threat that must be eradicated. The problem was… How?
“This matter is complicated, and it will take much more than this meeting to find an answer. Thus, this is my proposal.” Tenno calmed himself down as he continued to read off the script that he had prepared for this very moment. He had to deliver his message with resolution so that he could convince the two leaders that his proposal is the best course of action for all parties involved.
“I propose we… No, let’s hold a global summit.”
The Uncharted Wildnerness. ?????????????????.
In a far and distant land, where no humans had ever tread before, there lay a tremendous palace that was easily as large as the Himmel Empire’s own Imperial Palace. Surrounding by tall verdant trees that reached for the stars, the palace was obscured from any surveillance units that roamed the skies. Unlike the forest that surrounded it, the huge dwelling was free from any forms of flora or fauna, as not even an ant could trespass into its white porcelain floor.
On any typical day, the palace would be completely serene, making it the perfect place for meditation or self-reflection. However, its tranquil state had been broken by the constant shuffling of feet by men trying their best to hurry to the Main Hall.
For the first time since its inception, the Allfather had gathered the majority of the Black Masks forces in one location, making all of the attendees sparkle up with anticipation. Could they be finally meeting their esteemed leader face-to-face? Or was there an even more tremendous event that was going to occur? No one really knew.
Over a thousand men and women, all donned in obsidian black robes, knelt down in wait before the pristine white altar. Leading the thousand Black Masks, were a plethora of Brahmins who were all in the Rank 60 Spirit King realm at the very least. Yes, the Black Masks had lost a few warriors during the purge from both the Himmel Empire and the Kori Federation, but the free advertising that they had gotten from every newspaper on the planet made their recruitment figures skyrocket.
Initially, high-ranked cultivators feared that entering the Black Masks would have given them a one-way ticket to hell. However, now that they knew of the four Tier 9 Spirit Beasts that were in the Allfather’s possessions, all their apprehensions washed away, and they willingly threw themselves into the embrace of the Allfather.
With over a hundred cultivators recruited that were over Rank 50, the Black Masks had only strengthened itself after the collapse of the Main Hub, easily making them into the fourth superpower of the world. Of course, a significant reason why the Black Masks gave themselves that assessment was due to the powers of the Nine Coloured Noble Beasts that served their almighty leader faithfully.
Turning into their humanoid versions, the nine Tier 9 Spirit Beasts stood right behind the white altar allowing all of the Black Masks present to witness their figures. Even though they had transformed themselves into humanoids, they weren’t able to hide the tremendous pressure and dread that they unconsciously release just by existing.
“Rarara, the Allfather is late.” The red-haired man yawned out his thoughts. Just like his beast state, Akai had a face full of hair, resembling that of a lion’s mane. Additionally, the green serpent tail of his had shrunk and coiled around his lean body.
“Akai… Rude…” The Gargantuan Treant replied to his partner. Since the treant was already considered a humanoid, the only thing that it needed to do was to shrink itself to a normal man’s height, just so that it could fit within the compounds of the Main Hall.
“That’s right, Akai! You shouldn’t question the Allfather!” Murasaki disputed Akai’s complaint. For Murasaki, fitting into the Main Hall wasn’t that much of a trouble. However, to avoid garnering too much attention, she transformed her lower body into that of a normal human woman. “The Allfather is the wisest person that ever lived!”
“Weren’t you just complaining about how he never assigned you to any missions because of your tendency to eat everything?” A blue-haired man teased Murasaki from the side. “You’re just defending him because you let you eat those humans.”
“Ao! How could you question my faith?! Let me tell you this, no one is more loyal to the Allfather…”
“Yeah, yeah. Save it for later.” The handsome man grinned and halted Murasaki from continuing. Taking one cursory glance at the crowd, Ao couldn’t help but feel proud for the Allfather’s accomplishments. “The Black Masks are finally turning into his vision… Looks like his promise to us will come to fruition, after all.”
“Nene, brother Ao! Did you doubt the Allfather’s words?” At that moment, a pink-haired young girl pulled on the blue-haired gentleman’s sleeves and asked with an innocent stare. Of course, every single one of the Noble Beasts knew that the girl was far from innocent. If they said the wrong words, she would become the devil’s incarnate and threaten their very existence.
“In the beginning, yes.” Fortunately, Ao was no pushover. Among the Nine Nobles under the Allfather, he was among the strongest. There was no need to fear the menace that was this little pink-haired girl. “But you have to understand this, Momo. The promise that he had given to us was so far-fetched back then that no one could have believed him. It’s only after centuries of preparations that these results could have been produced.”
“Hmmm, I don’t understand it!” Momo adorably cried out. “Nenene, you’re not thinking of undermining the Allfather again right?”
“Of course not.”
“Then I’m good! I don’t have to kill brother Ao!” Momo said those dangerous things with a beaming smile.
“Haha, I’m glad.”
While Ao and Momo had their own little play, two similar eyes glanced over with frustration. A golden-haired woman and a silver-haired man, both with features so identical that the uninitiated could easily have confused themselves over who was who, stared at the young pink-haired girl that showed such blind devotion to the Allfather.
‘We can’t go against Momo, Kin. She’s the Allfather’s pet.’ Sensing that his twin sister was about to erupt, the silver-haired man telepathically sent a message.
‘I know… Tsk, that’s why I didn’t want to join this stupid meeting! Just seeing her acting so innocent makes my heart retch.’ Kin sent back. ‘Gin, once we’re done here, fly me back as quickly as possible. I can’t stand another second with this bitch.’
‘Yes, yes.’ With his sister now calmed down, Gin could finally return back to focusing on the event.
“Shiro, now that I think about it, how was the clean-up? Did you manage to fool those idiots from the Himmel Empire?” While Kin and Gin were agonising over something else, Murasaki turned to a white-haired young boy, who was appropriately dressed as a child.
“Easy!” Shiro said that one word and turned around in triumph. There was no need for any explanations from then on. The Noble Beasts all knew of how powerful Shiro was. If he said that the mission was easy, then it must have been an overwhelming success.
“Silence. The Allfather is about to come on.”
Finally, a deep and booming voice echoed through the Main Hall, bringing all chatter to an abrupt halt. Once they heard that voice, the Tier 9 Spirit Beasts immediately shut their mouths and bowed their heads.
Being primal beings, the Nine Coloured Noble Beasts had always tried to compare themselves to one another. In fact, they had even created a ranking system where their ranks kept fluctuating each time they competed. Rank number two had also changed multiple times throughout the centuries, with either Ao or Momo taking that coveted spot. However, the number one position had remained unchanged since the inception of the Nine Nobles.
Standing at over two metres tall, the black-haired human that was emitting a tremendous amount of pressure was the insurmountable mountain that no Tier 9 Spirit Beast could ever hope to climb. Why was that? Kuro was the first Spirit Beast to ever join the Allfather, and he was the only Primordial Spirit Beast in the Nine Nobles.
Just seconds after Kuro’s declaration, a chilling wind descended upon the Main Hall as a wave of Black Energy congregated on top of the white altar. A Dark Sphere soon came into view, and the Allfather’s mana within the Black Masks gathered begun to bubble up with excitement.
[Welcome, my children! I hope that you’re doing well.]
A resonant voice sounded within the eardrums of those present, bringing them into a state of pure euphoria.
“Allfather! I finally hear your voice!”
“Oh, Allfather! Blessed Allfather that has come to smite the evil of the world!”
Crazed fanatics cried out in joy as they praised their almighty leader. Many people thought of the Black Masks as an organisation that did heinous deeds for their own benefit. However, in truth, it was a cult. A cult where they worshipped one god, the Allfather.
[I hear your love, and I graciously accept it. I have gathered all of you here for one reason, and one reason only. We have won! Phase one of the Grand Scheme is complete!]
“OOOOOOOOAAAAAYYYAHHHH!!!!!!” The hundreds of Black Masks screamed in excitement. For those that had newly joined the organisation during the mass recruitment wave, they looked around with a puzzled expression. They had only joined the Black Masks for the benefits and had no idea what the Grand Scheme was.
[We have moved our forces into the Himmel Empire and the Kori Federation! Furthermore, we have also secured a remote island base near the Lantis Republic. Bit by bit, the dream that I had envisioned is finally becoming a reality, and I have all of you to thank!]
“IT’S AN HONOUR TO SERVE YOU, ALLFATHER!!!” The Black Masks all replied in unison.
[I know that. That’s why I brought all of you here. To reward the valiant… And punish the deceitful.]
“???” Before the Allfather could give a proper explanation, an endless black mist flowed out of the Dark Sphere and targeted specific individuals in the crowd. Many of whom were part of the new recruits that had joined in recent days.
“I… C-Can’t breathe!”
“Mercy, Allfather!!! Mercy!!!”
All of the men and women that were targeted by the black mist fell to the ground in suffering, much to the surprise of those around them.
[Spies and traitors are common in other organisations. But they will never be common in the Black Masks.]
The Allfather knew that the wave of mass recruitment was a prime chance for spies to slip into their midst. Hence, he made sure that there were thorough investigations on every soul that stepped foot into his base. If there were any suspicion that the new recruits were an operative sent by the three superpowers or any rival criminal syndicates, the Allfather would do everything in his power to eradicate them.
In less than a minute, all those who were targeted by the black mist breathed their last and fell soullessly onto the ground. It didn’t matter if the person was a Rank 60 Spirit King or a Rank 30 Spirit Adept. Every single person that was exposed to the black mist fell like flies, showing the extent of the Allfather’s powers.
“The Allfather is wise! The Allfather is wise!!!”
[Now, that the meddlesome people have been dealt with, it’s time to reward all of you who stand.]
“!!!” Every single soul in the chambers felt their entire soul leap out in joy. Their hard work had finally paid off. Senpai had finally noticed them!
[I shall give you all a new surge of my very own mana. Take it as a second baptism if you will. Once you are blessed with my mana, I’m sure that you will be able to forge your own path into the precipice of the cultivation world!]
A second dark mist emerged from the Dark Sphere, thoroughly enveloping the entire hall. Feeling a surge of energy entering into their bodies, the Black Masks all fell on one knee as they fought off the pain of the new baptism. They knew that if they survived this temporary pain, they would be reborn anew.
[Good, then let us march! Use your power for the sake of anarchy! Use your power for the sake of your aspirations! Use this power for me, and the entirety of the Black Masks! But most importantly…]
Hearing the Allfather’s words, the Nine Nobles finally knelt down on both knees and dropped their heads as low as they possibly could. It was finally time for the centuries of preparation to bear its fruits. It was finally time for the Grand Scheme to be fulfilled.
[Use your power for the Great War ahead!!!]
~~~~ End of Book 6 ~~~~