“What do you mean Shin was kidnapped?!” A pained shriek reverberated through the confines of Frie Mountain, scaring away all the birds which were resting comfortably atop their nests.
“Ariel, relax. Seraphim had sent me a message that she has a way to trace Shin’s whereabouts.” The First Elder tried to calm his agitated granddaughter with the most soothing voice that he could muster.
Once Shin was knocked unconscious, Lady Seph suddenly had a bad premonition. Sending her men to search for the disciple that should have reached home hours ago, the elderly woman confirmed her suspicions. Using Bingbing’s superior sense of smell, Lady Seph could trace her disciple’s footsteps and could guess what had happened.
“So where’s Shin now?” Ariel’s voice trembled with fear as she questioned her grandfather. Initially, it was supposed to be a happy day where she visited Shin at Chilyoja Waypoint. Ariel had even planned to buy a commemorative item to Shin so that he could have a relic to remember her by after he left for the Capital. However, now that she had received the bad news, all that she could think of were the whereabouts of her precious childhood friend.
“We don’t know. Seraphim is already moving out to locate him. Since she said that she has her ways, all that we can do is trust her.” When the First Elder first heard of the news, he dropped whatever he was doing and rushed towards Ariel’s side. Afraid that she might do something brash, the devoted grandfather had to make sure that Ariel was calm when she received the news.
“But what if Shin is in danger?! Lady Seph might be strong, but she’s still a healer! Grandpa! We must send help!”
“Ariel… We can’t really…” A tinge of uncertainty flashed through the aged man’s eyes as he replied to his angsty granddaughter.
“Are you going to abandon Shin the same way you did brother Junius?!” Before the First Elder could complete his sentence, Ariel shot out a verbal retort that shook him to the core.
“Please, grandpa! Please just save Shin!!!” Falling to her knees, the young girl weakly begged. Her voice had been clogged up by the feeling of anxiety that bottled up from her abdomen as her eyes turned red.
“Hah… Fine. I’ll go and assist Seraphim personally… However, Ariel! You must promise me to stay inside the compounds of my abode at all times. The Frie Clan is undergoing a period of unrest and Ash might strike the clan at any moment.” Finally acquiescing to Ariel’s demands, the First Elder deeply sighed.
“Thank you, grandpa!”
“Hah… Girls really are hard to keep at home… Lou! Elizabeth! Make sure that all the orphans and children from our division are safe. I’ll try to keep my absence short.” Addressing the Instructor and the Headmistress, who was observing the interaction from a distance, the First Elder hooked his arms behind his back before flying off in the direction of Yakkyoku Clinic.
“Shin… You have to be safe…” Muttering out in a voice only audible to herself, Ariel stared at the vast sky as she made that wish.
“Awter Clan?” Shin innocently asked.
It was not the first time he had heard of that name. During Junius’ investigations, the name of the Awter had come up a couple of times. However, thinking that it was just random babble, Shin largely ignored Junius’ claims.
“Yes, we were from the Awter Clan. Do you remember the reason why the Frie Clan was forced into seclusion in the first place?” Junius clenched his fists as he questioned Shin.
“Wasn’t it because they had fought a large-scale war that nearly decimated their entire force? Are you saying that…” Shin gasped in horror as he realised what Junius’ words meant.
It was no secret that the Frie Clan fought in a terrifying battle fifteen years ago. Although they had emerged victorious, the cost of that war was the crippling of the Frie Clan’s battle force. In the beginning, they had countless Rank 50 Spirit Lords and dozens of Rank 60 Spirit Kings. They even had over eight Rank 70 Spirit Emperors in their heyday. Unfortunately, due to the intense war that shook the entire western region of the Himmel Empire, the Frie Clan’s numbers dwindled significantly.
“Yes… The Clan that the Frie Clan battled all those years ago, it was the Awter Clan.”
Shin couldn’t believe his ears. If Junius words were accurate, wouldn’t that mean that the Frie Clan annihilated the Awter Clan and kidnapped the survivors to form the orphan division?
“The Awter Clan was a well-respected one. With their strength equalling and even surpassing the Frie Clan during their day. Together, the two clans dominated the western region of the Himmel Empire. Not one soul living here hadn’t heard of their names.” Junius began his monologue with a sombre expression. Evidently, during the time where he was missing, he had been familiarising himself with the history of the Awter Clan.
“Let me take over from here, Junius. It’s best that the young master hears the rest of the story from my mouth…” Before Junius could continue, a booming masculine voice called out to the two boys. From the side, the two-metre tall giant tapped Junius on the shoulder while shaking his head.
“If that’s what you want, Senior…” Moving away from the bed, Junius flashed Shin a warm smile. Using his eyes, Junius was hinting to Shin that he didn’t need to be alarmed and could trust the new person approaching him.
“Young master, it’s an honour to finally meet you. My name is Vellan Awter, one of the generals of the once powerful Awter Clan and one of its few remaining survivors. I apologise for the rough manner in which we had to treat you with. If we came for you in broad daylight, either Lady Seph or the officials at the waypoint would catch on to our trail. You see, we want to keep the fact that there were survivors of the clan…” Bowing his head, Vellan asked for Shin’s forgiveness while stating his reasoning.
“…” Unsure of what to say, Shin simply remained silent. He still didn’t trust the individuals that brought him here. After all, they were part of the Black Mask syndicate that was infamous for causing mayhem everywhere.
“Young master, I know that you are in shock and still need time to recover. Perhaps you can’t even trust us right away, and I understand that. However, could you at least take some to listen to my story?” Vellan pleaded.
“…” Shin gazed deeply into the muscular man’s eyes, hoping to find any signs of falsehood. After all, he was still wary of the entire situation that he was in. However, no matter how much he looked, all that Shin could see was a sincere person that truly wished to say his piece. “Fine..”
“Thank you!” Raising his head, Vellan sat down gently on the woollen bed that Shin was resting on, causing a deep depression due to his excessive weight.
“Before we can discuss the battle that ended our clan, it would be best for the young master to understand the beginnings of the Awter Clan. Have you heard of the legend of the first water elemental user? The lady who contracted the Celestial Water Dragon?” Vellan questioned the confused youth.
“Yes, I do…”
“Great! And did you know that the Celestial Dragon Lady gave birth to eight descendants?”
“Haha, then we can speed up the explanations. The eight children were born with exceptional talents, and their Spirits were all collectively described as the Eight Scions of Water. Monarch of the Oceans, The Colossal Leviathan. Champion of the Swamp, The Divine King Serpent. Terror of the Seas, The Abominable Cthulhu. Majesty of the Rivers, The Seven-Headed Hydra. The beauty of the Arctic, The Enigmatic Narwhal. Devourer of Tides, The Obsidian Xuanwu. Emperor of the Lagoon, The Heavenly Sturgeon. The Eminence of the Lake, The Sovereign Koi. Each and every one of these Spirits had made their mark in history.” As Vellan stated the Eight Scions of Water, a prideful tear glimmered in his eyes.
“However, towards the end of their lifespans, the eight children of the Celestial Dragon Lady started to have issues with one another. Alliances were made, and betrayals were common. In the end, disgusted by all the conflict, the eight children all branched out and created their own respective clans.”
“Eight ancient clans…” Shin was stunned by the new revelation. He had never heard the latter part of the story before. All he knew was that the Celestial Dragon Lady gave birth to eight exceptional talents, the likes of which the world had never seen before.
“Throughout the ages, the eight clans fought for dominance, and many of them had produced Rank 90 Spirit Saints that could shake the foundations of the entire continent. However, after aeons of conflict, and millions, if not billions of bodies slaughtered, the eight clans finally decided that enough was enough, and they unified into one entity. That’s right, the eight ancient clans had formed the Lantis Republic.”
“What?!” Shin gasped in shock. He had never realised that the Lantis Republic had such a marvellous history.
“The Lantis Republic instantly became a superpower in the world political state. Nearly every single water elemental Spirit User flocked to the archipelagos that housed the new government, hoping to learn from the best of the best, and well the eight ancient clans welcomed them with open arms. Among them, the Longyu Clan was the most receptive. Due to the gentle nature of their Spirit, the Longyu Clan had many issues when it came to firepower. Well, I guess you can guess which one of the Scions of Water I’m referring to…” With a playful wink, Vellan addressed the doubtful youth.
“Don’t tell me… The Longyu Clan’s Spirit is The Sovereign Koi?!”
“Bingo. However, not all members of the Longyu Clan would inherit The Sovereign Koi. Just like any other Spirits, just because your parents have one Spirit, it doesn’t mean that you would naturally obtain it. It is said that one in ten children from the purest of bloodlines would have a chance to awaken The Sovereign Koi.”
“A thousand years ago, a young man by the name of Longyu Yuan was slated to become the next heir apparent of the Longyu Clan. His father was the Clan Master of the Longyu Clan, and his mother was the most talented Sovereign Koi user in history. There was not a doubt in his family’s mind that he would too obtain the Eminence of the Lake. However, when the Day of Spirits came, instead of awakening The Sovereign Koi, he summoned out a mediocre fish Spirit.”
“Disappointed by his results, the Longyu Clan made plans for another one of their descendants, Longyu Yuan’s cousin, to inherit the position of Clan Master. Based on the rules set by the founder of the clan, to inherit the position of Clan Master, the descendant must have awakened The Sovereign Koi. When he came of age and discovered that fact, Longyu Yuan flew into a fit of rage. Challenging his cousin to a duel, he aimed to prove that he was far superior then anyone else in his age group.”
“And to prove he did… In fact, he was far more powerful as compared to his similarly aged cousin. However, Longyu Yuan went too far in the duel. Nearly crippling his cousin, Longyu Yuan was immediately stripped of his name and banished into exile. Unable to step foot on the Lantis Archipelago, he wandered around the Terre Continent, hoping to find meaning to his now demolished life. In the end, after thirty years, he had finally decided to settle down in one of the other major powers, the Himmel Empire.”
“Using his strength, Longyu Yuan established a clan on the western border of the Empire. Since it was a rather unwanted region, he managed to quickly gather up talent, mostly from underappreciated water elemental Spirit Users living there. In a mere twenty years, Longyu Yuan had gone from a vagrant rogue Spirit User, that had no purpose in life, to a Clan Master of one of the fastest growing clans in the continent that commanded over a thousand men.” At this point, Vellan requested Shia to get him a beverage so that he could quench his thirst.
“Since he was stripped of his name, Longyu Yuan had to come up with a new one. In the end, following the culture of the Himmel Empire, he called himself Sonadel Awter, and the clan that he established was named the Awter Clan. Under his watch, the Awter Clan thrived growing to match their rivals, the Frie Clan up north that stayed atop their holy mountain. All went well for Longyu Yuan in the first few years of the Awter Clan’s existence. He had even married one of the most sought-after beauty in the land, and gave birth to a wonderful baby girl.”
“However, in a strange twist of fate, when the time came for Longyu Yuan’s daughter to awaken her Spirit, she obtained the one Spirit that he had longed for. The Sovereign Koi had made its appearance outside of the Lantis Republic for the first time since its inception. When she grew up, her son as well, inherited The Sovereign Koi and…” At that moment, Vellan stared intently at Shin.
“W-What?” Softly whispering out, Shin closed his eyes in trepidation as he could guess what the muscular man was about to say.
“The bloodline of the Awter Clan runs deep… Shin, you are the sole living descendant of Longyu Yuan. You are his great-grandson, and the heir apparent of the Awter Clan!!!”