After the deed was done and the Don’s body had been removed from the office, Aleks walked back over to the Don’s former desk and sat back down in his chair. He reclined back once more and took a deep breath.
“Master, what now?”
Aleks glanced over to Lenia and waved for her to come closer.
“We have much work to do still. As for you two puppets, you have a long day ahead of you. Since the Don is dead, I am going to need you two to carry out a few tasks. Even though Gregorio consolidated most of the power from the various criminal organizations there is still quite a bit of confusion. We can exploit this and since we don’t have much time, we need to act quickly. I want you to give out orders to different groups, don’t let these groups know what the others are doing. Organize them as you deem fit. Have them loot, pillage and burn down as much of the city as they can. Kill as many people as possible, it doesn’t matter who they are. If the men question the orders, just make up some false reasons for what you are ordering them to do or promise them exorbitant amounts of wealth. I just need them to act and cause as much chaos within the city as possible for as long as possible. Is that clear?”
The two former subordinates of Don Gregorio who were now ‘Soul Puppets’ shrugged their shoulders, “Whatever you say boss!”
They no longer possessed a will of their own so they would carry out whatever orders Aleks asked of them.
Freddy scratched his head before asking, “Boss, what if they refuse to carry out the orders?”
“Simple, kill whoever refuses! Do I need to explain everything?”
“Hehe, no boss, I got it!”
“Good. Oh and that reminds me! I know Gregorio was having men move the wealth looted from the various Dons to different locations. Have them bring everything directly here as soon as possible. No need to sort or organize it, just have a group bring it all here.”
The two ‘Soul Puppets’ saluted Aleks and were dismissed. They left quickly to complete the orders that Aleks had given them.
“Is it really necessary to kill so many people master?”
Lenia seemed hesitant to ask but she pulled her courage together and said what was on her mind. She had no qualms with killing her master’s enemies or anyone who got in their way but the thought of killing innocents seemed to make her feel somewhat reluctant.
Aleks didn’t answer immediately and just stared at Lenia. He was both surprised and happy to see her questioning his actions. This meant that she was developing more individualism and her personality was finally beginning to take form. Lenia couldn’t see his expression beneath the mask and she began to feel nervous by his earnest stare. She was beginning to regret asking the question and started squirming a bit from side to side in anxiety.
“Relax. I’m not angry at you. Actually, I am quite please by your question. This means you are finally growing up so to speak.”
“Um, thanks.. Master. I’m sorry if I am being impertinent.”
Aleks couldn’t help but chuckle at her reaction. He had noticed that while her ability to converse was still somewhat immature, she was beginning to express herself more like an adult.
“Not at all. In reality, I do not take pleasure in wantonly killing even though my hands have been long dirtied with the blood of the innocent. However, this is necessary for our plans and it doesn’t really matter how many die. No one truly dies, their souls will just go back into the circle of reincarnation and they will live again. So what if their current personality is gone? In the end their lives are meaningless, mere food for the gods.”
Even though she said that, Aleks could still see some conflict in her expression.
“What exactly are we doing here then? Oh and what about that Paladin? Did he survive?”
“Unfortunately, the explosions of the ‘Soul Puppets’ were not enough to kill the Paladin and the knights that survived were able to carry him out of the tunnel. He is most likely recovering as we speak but he should be injured for several hours if not more. It will be enough time to complete our mission. The Paladin was the main concern those assassins had, but the chaos we are going to cause throughout the city will also aid them in completing their mission. When you wish to carry out acts in the shadows, it is sometimes best to divert people’s eyes. At times, half truths can be better than the truth itself.”
Lenia listened to Aleks’s words and tried to understand his intentions. She wanted to understand his plans in order to understand him better. It was difficult for her because of her lack of experience and short time accompanying him.
“Who are those assassins then? How will killing innocent people help them?”
Aleks was very pleased by the conversation and was happy to answer her questions this time since there wasn’t much he needed to do at the moment. He was consistently busy in the days prior and didn’t have sufficient time to really sit down and talk with her. He finally had the appropriate time to really explain things to her as he was going to spend some time improving her strength anyway and this location was safe for the time being.
“Those assassins belong to the Church of Murder. Although the Church of Murder has churches situated all over the continent, this particular group is based in the Merkan Imperium which is a rival nation of the Grand Republics. Also, the Church of Murder have no love for Tihr and his ilk. They were more than happy to sow the seeds of chaos and reap the benefits. It’s just too unfortunate for these assassins who won’t ever be returning home.”
Lenia placed her finger on her lip as she digested what Aleks had told her but there was one point she was confused about, “What do you mean they won’t return? Are we going to kill them? But aren’t they working with us?”
Aleks shook his head, “I told you before, you should trust no one other than me. We are still of use to them and so we are temporarily working side by side, but once they complete their mission, will we still be of use?”
“I guess not..”
“That’s right and so they will come after us next to remove all loose ends but what they don’t know is that we shall be waiting for them. Not only do we need to take care of them, but we also need to finish off that Paladin. We must leave none of them alive, only then can we leave this city safely without worry of being hunted down in the immediate future. Only then can we safely search for that place that has been calling out to me. But that is for later. For now, we need to make you stronger so that we can accomplish our immediate goals. Everything that has happened here has been my plan all along and even though a lot of it may seem unconnected or confusing to you now, you must take everything to heart. You must learn as quickly as possible because in the future you will be my right hand.”
Lenia hadn’t realized that her mouth was wide open as she stood there in awe of her master. At that moment, she felt deep admiration and respect for his cunning and intricate plans. She didn’t quite understand every step or why he did some of the things he did but she was beginning to comprehend more and more.
“So what do I have to do? How can I become stronger?”
Lenia moved to stand in front of the desk as she asked her master and was filled with excitement. Becoming stronger meant she would be of more use to her master and this only filled her with joy. If she could be of more use to him than that meant she would become even more important to him. She could barely contain her happiness.
Ohhhh, does this mean he will rely on me even more? Then maybe we can do that and that and maybe some of those things…
Aleks looked at Lenia strangely and could tell she was in her own world again. He found it cute because it reminded him of the way his sister used to act. She would also often go off into her own world.
“I can see you are happy about this, that’s good. You don’t have to do anything. Normally, the people of this world would need either faith, worship, or experience to advance. It doesn’t matter which church, temple, cult or shrine they belong to or whether they serve a god, a devil or some powerful ancestral being. The process is relatively the same but may vary slightly depending on what class they belong to or what faith system they follow. Either way, their experience is turned into power by the one they serve. Both receive something from this relationship. The higher being receives certain promises and once the person dies they receive the accumulated power and experience from that person’s soul. That person would then eventually be reincarnated and begin life anew. However, especially powerful or faithful individuals may even be rewarded by being allowed to live forever within the domains of the higher beings they serve. Of course this would only be for those truly faithful or those who are highly rewarded for meritorious service to their deity. Through this, they would forever become slaves of the divinity they serve but they could potentially live forever as long as their deity exists. As for the individual, well that’s obvious. They become stronger, more powerful, and there is even the potential to ascend themselves. This is difficult however and the gods that exist have a tendency to interfere in that process not allowing new divinities to ascend.”
Aleks stopped for a moment to let it all sink in before finishing his explanation.
“None of this applies to you though.”
“What do you mean master? How do I become stronger then?”
“Well, for now anyway, you become stronger through me. The people of this world need to fight, kill, train, meditate, study and reflect in order to increase their level and strength. It also requires divinity of some kind, whether it be through ancestral worship, worshipping the gods, devils or even demons. In most cases, some type of divine being is required for them to advance but there are some exceptions. As for you, I created you and I also have the power to make you stronger. That is why I have been devouring the potential of the souls of those we have killed. With the potential that exists in their souls, I am able to delve into the divine and do what only gods and their ilk can.”
Lenia gasped, “but doesn’t that mean you are like a god?”
Aleks slammed his fist on the table which surprised Lenia. She wasn’t expecting an angry reaction from him.
“Don’t compare me to those scum.”
There was a bit of an awkward silence between the two but after calming himself Aleks continued, “I suppose you aren’t entirely wrong though even if I hate to admit it. But, I am not a god. At least I don’t think I am at this moment. In truth, I don’t quite know what I am and there are still many mysteries of this world I don’t quite understand. That… we can talk about another time. For now, come closer. It is time to develop you further.”
“Do I have to do anything?”
“No, I just need to touch you. Physical contact is necessary for this to work.”