Chapter 18: Soul puppet (2)

(Roderan’s P.O.V.)

“What happened to Urie and Hessoff?”

Roderan had returned to Don Jesef as per his new master’s instructions and was being questioned by the Don.

“Both are dead Don Jesef, we were ambushed by Don Gregorio and his men. It was a trap, and it is also very likely that they must have been the ones who attacked your brothel.”

Roderan knew that Don Gregorio was Don Jesef’s greatest rival among the Dons but all of the Dons were technically rivals. So there was no reason for the Don not to believe the words of his second in command. Also, the fact that he was a ‘Soul Puppet’ was impossible for someone such as the Don to detect.

Don Jesef slammed his fist against the desk he used in his own personal office. There was much bad blood between these two Dons and the recent events were disturbing to him. There was supposed to be a truce within the city and breaking that truce could lead to serious consequences. All of the Dons had agreed to this truce because the Head Lords of the city had demanded they reduce the scale of their activities for a while. The people of the city were becoming antagonistic and order needed to be maintained. Even if the Dons were criminals, this was a demand they needed to heed. Otherwise, there would be much loss of profit.

Their assets and operations would be raided and they would lose the protection that they had bought from the various lords. Even though this was a Republic, it wasn’t a true Democracy. Only the lords and the wealthiest of landowners had any say in the High Council and could become government officials. The most powerful of families were all members of the High Council. This was the ruling body of the Republic. The country itself was even called the Federation of Lords. That should tell you how powerful these lords were.

They sure love to pride themselves as a proper Democracy though.

Roderan sneered inwardly as he watched his former boss’s outcry of anger and rage.

Man, why did I ever serve such a scumbag as this?

Roderan understood Don Jesef’s concerns and this was why he mentioned Don Gregorio as the perpetrator.

This was a dangerous time with war looming between the Federation of Lords and the Merkan Imperium to the east. The High Council could not afford there to be strife among the populace with things being as they were. The Dons were to be left alone as long as there was no open conflict in the streets, but this supposed act by Don Gregorio would mean war between their two organizations if nothing were done.

“Fuck! What is that piece of shit thinking? Now of all times he wants to start a war? The other Dons will hear of this immediately! It’s time to call a meeting of the Dons before this gets even more out of hand. Don Gregorio will pay for this! Roderan, for now I want you to tell our men to lie low. We will protect our assets but no one is to retaliate. Is that clear?”

There was only the two of them in the office and so the only one who heard these orders was Roderan, and as the Don’s second in command, it would be his responsibility to relay them to the rest of the organization.

“I will see to it immediately Don!”

Roderan’s response was enthusiastic despite his will no longer truly existing. The Soul Eater intended, after all, to ignore these commands and use Roderan to incite the Don’s men. He immediately left the office and went looking for some of the Don’s men in order to enact the next part of his plan which was to use these men to attack one of Don Gregorio’s assets. Roderan left the headquarters of his former boss. 

From the trade district, the building looked just like any other merchant’s shop but within were the offices of Don Jesef. It was from that office that he oversaw his criminal organization. The trade district was bustling like any other day and there was nothing out of the ordinary. Roderan calmly made his way through the throngs of people towards a warehouse which was operated by Don Jesef located in another part of the district. It took him a while to reach the warehouse since the district was quite large.

Once he arrived, he quickly set about gathering as many of the Don’s men as he could.

“Listen up. One of our operations was hit the other night by Don Gregorio’s men.”

When the men heard that, there was an uproar as they shouted in anger.

“That fucking dirty bastard!”

“I can’t believe this shit!”

“Let’s fucking kill them!”

The men expressed their anger with their desire to kill.

This will be easier than I thought!

Roderan was still chuckling inwardly as his former boss’s reaction from earlier.

“They will pay for this! Get your shit and let’s go fuck them up!”

“Fuck yeah!”

“We’re gonna kill those motherfuckers!”

“It’s about fucking time!”

The men all cheered and excitedly grabbed their weapons and soon a dozen armed men were moving through the streets of the city without concern for who saw them. It wasn’t that uncommon to see an armed group moving through the city since many adventurers lived within the city and groups of them could be seen moving about. There were also many criminals and other questionable characters.

Either way, people made sure to give them a wide berth as they navigated the city streets to their location. Their target was a tavern in the western part of the trade district. The tavern acted as a front for the illegal drug trade which was Don Gregorio’s main business. He had his hands in a few other things but his biggest money maker was drugs. 

The group of men led by Roderan busted in through the door of the tavern and began smashing everything within. They did allow most of the normal customers to leave but when Gregorio’s men launched a counter attack a lot of innocent people were caught up in the melee.

Roderan’s group had the element of surprise and slaughtered Gregorio’s men who were unable to respond properly. They were caught almost completely by surprise and weren’t expecting an armed force to come barging down their door. There was supposed to be a truce after all and none of them were privy to the manipulation of Roderan who was merely a ‘Soul Puppet’. Once Gregorio’s men had been mercilessly slain, Roderan and his men then proceeded to trash the entire tavern including the secret rooms in the basement.

While Roderan’s former lackeys were destroying the place, he was also busy unbeknownst to them. His former subordinates were too busy trashing everything and stealing what valuables they could and had no idea that Roderan was crouching over the bodies of those who had been killed. You see, a ‘Soul Puppet’ possessed a unique ability which was very useful to a Soul Eater. It could temporarily suck in and house the souls of those it came in contact with who were recently deceased.

Once the ‘Soul Puppet’ had returned to Alek’s side, he could devour the entirety of the souls that were temporarily residing within. It was a queer ability but it allowed Aleks some flexibility when deciding on a course of action. This wasn’t the only application of a ‘Soul Puppet’ either. They could be used as eyes and ears for Aleks since it was possible for him to use his ability ‘Astral Projection’ to ride along with the ‘Soul Puppet’ without anyone knowing.

As useful as this ability was, there were of course downsides.

The first being that the ‘Soul Puppet’ could only house souls for a few hours before the souls dissipated. This went against the natural laws that had been set up regarding how souls were intended to return to the cycle of reincarnation and so they would eventually forcefully explode outwards from the ‘Soul Puppet’ given enough time. The ‘Soul Puppet’ itself would be lost as well as it couldn’t handle the backlash of power due to the explosion of ‘Soul Potential’. This method could also be used as a weapon which made this particular aspect of the ability less of a deficiency. The second downside was that there would be a loss of efficacy within the souls and the SP gained from this method would be half of what it would be if Aleks devoured the souls personally.

As for his ability to ride the ‘Soul Puppet’ with ‘Astral Projection’ it had a limited range and couldn’t be used indefinitely. It could also be detected by certain powerful beings if used too extensively.

While the hoodlums were distracted, Roderan made sure to gather all the hapless souls of those they just slaughtered and proceeded to slip away without the others noticing.

Looks like my work here is done, time to return to the boss!

The ‘Soul Puppet’ made its way back to the slums and from there into the sewers where Aleks awaited. Roderan appeared quite pleased with himself and couldn’t wait to report the success of his mission.

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