Vol. 1: Chapter 25: A Cold Night

Warning: Gore Content 

A student was pinned on the wall. His neck was ruptured, and the innards inside were sticking out in the open. 

His eye sockets remained hollow, with a distraught expression plastered on its face. There were many scars and holes in it. 

His fingers were broken into extreme angles, with the nails dug out. Some of his muscles and bones could already be seen, his private parts were stuck on his mouth. His stomach was cut wide open, the intestines hanging out from it while some were on the ground.

One could wonder what sort of treacherous torture the student had experienced before he died.

It was the most disgusting scene, and the inquisitor couldn’t help but rush outside the room and vomited. 

“Check out the other rooms, quick!” Roman ordered the other guards while he called out for security.

“Security, this is Roman Kadlek, reporting! We have a case of murder in Dormitory B, room 125! The victim is a first-year male student! Requesting lockdown within all the dormitories and school premises, over!”

“Acknowledged. Commencing lockdown. Sending out additional guards and inquisitors, over.”  

In the security room.

“A student has been murdered! Call out the Imperium Guards, and sound out the alarm for lockdown! Assign it to level 3 and keep an eye out! Understood?”

“Yes sir!”

The officers went into action.

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An alarm rang out, waking Zachariel up. His eyes were wide open, sweat trickled over his body and he roughly breathed as he calmed himself down. `What was that?!`

He saw that the world was void of life. Many people laid on the ground, dead. He saw his parents, his sister, the twins, his classmates, and many other people. 

Some weird flying figures fell from the sky, blowing up after reaching the ground.

A figure stood at the mountain of dead bodies. When the figure turned around, his face was dim. It slowly opened its eyes. They were glowing, similar to the green lines in his body.

They looked at each other, and he was snapped out of his dream. While he was still in a daze, a shout was heard outside the room.

“Look over there and see if the students are still alive!”

Zachariel wondered what had happened. `What’s going on? Did somebody die?`

A knock was heard on his door. “Student, open up!”

Zachariel approached his door and opened it. “Sir, is something the matter?”

“This student is good, move! Student, go outside and join the other students. Don’t go anywhere else, understood?”

The guard had walked away before he could ask anything else. The other students went outside and he followed after them.

The students whispered. 

“Hey, do you know what had happened?”

“I don’t know! I just woke up and have the same questions as you do!”

“It looks like they are checking whether we are alive or in our rooms. I guess that somebody may have been killed or abducted.”

“Hey, stop chattering over there and gather up here!” A guard shouted at them. They shut up and followed at those in front of them.

Zachariel arrived at the large road. The students gathered there and the Imperium guards stationed themselves around, keenly observing the students and the surroundings.

A group of luxurious carriages arrived. Zachariel looked over. `The Emperor? Is it necessary for him to be here now? Also, those are insignias from the six Great Schools and other noble officials. What’s going on here?`

The carriages went inside. The students started gossiping around.

“Hey, look! That’s his Imperial Majesty’s carriage? What do you think he’s doing here?”

“This is probably a drill for the Imperium guards and his Imperial Majesty is here to look at their performance.”

“At this time of the day? Look, it’s still at dawn. I don’t think anyone would be in their right minds to conduct a drill especially at an hour like this.”

“What do you know? We’re still freshmen and our seniors have probably encountered something like this before.”

The senior students soon arrived and joined the group. “Zito, Edgar, do you know what happened?” Rainald walked alongside the two of them. Zito and Edgar were in Dormitory B, while Rainald was in Dormitory C.

“I think so. The guards were packed around the first floor in front of a room. I think it was Room 125. It looks like a murder was committed.” Zito replied to Rainald.

“At the dormitories? Impossible. The doors are reinforced with array formations that only the keys from their owners could be used to enter. Furthermore, if they had someone decrypting the formation, there are examiner bugs stationed around. Those at the surveillance should’ve seen something suspicious before anything would happen.” Edgar was doubtful.

“Edgar, think carefully. What if this is a planned-out murder, and those at the security have something to do with the perpetrators?” Zito retorted to Edgar’s arguments.

“But why would they go so far just to kill a student?”

“I don’t know, probably some deep hatred going around.”

As the other two were talking, Rainald saw Zachariel who was distancing himself from the other students. 

Rainald approached and greeted him. “Zachariel. It’s good that you’re here.”

“Did something happen, senior Rainald?”

“Yes, something happened at one of the rooms in their dormitory, as Zito and Edgar said.”

“Which room?”

Zachariel had a bad premonition about what had happened.

“Dormitory B, Room 125.”

Zachariel was shocked. His indifferent look and his cold heart were stirred up.

`Wait, isn’t that Hal’s room? Don’t tell me he died?!`

A cold and indifferent voice resounded within him.

`Zachariel! Why are you so concerned about him now? Didn’t you said it yourself that you will no longer care for his life and death?!`

A warm and concerned voice came right after.

`Zachariel! A person who you treated like a friend, and who treated you as a brother died! Wake up already!`

His head started to hurt.

First was that nightmare, and now this. He could no longer think clearly. He then remembered what senior Cody said that afternoon.

`If you keep up this behavior, you’ll not only lose the chance of listening to the thoughts of those who are around you but also lose them too, forever. You don’t want that to happen, don’t you?`

He knelt and held his head. 

`Forget them all!` `No, remember them!` `They no longer care for you!` `No, they do!`

The voices alternated in his head, bringing more pain than before

He gritted his teeth and winced in pain. 

“Zachariel, are you okay?!” Rainald was taken aback by Zachariel’s sudden change in his behavior. Edgar and Zito approached them too. “Rainald, what happened to him?”

“I don’t know, he just knelt and held his head. I think he’s having a headache right now.”

The commotion dragged everyone’s attention to them.

“What’s happening over there?” A group of guards closed in on them. They looked sternly at the four of them.

“Sir, my junior is suffering from headaches. I was about to bring him to the medical building for treatment.”

“is that so? You, check him out!” The captain guard pointed at one of his subordinates. 

“Stop!” The guards looked over. A tall handsome figure approached them. 

“That student is under my care, I’ll take of it here from now.”

The guards were shocked. The captain looked at his insignia and realized that he was a bigshot. “We’re very sorry, sir. We are just concerned about the safety of the other students, that is all.”

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“Good work, then. Now scram.” 

Concerned? What a bunch of hypocrites. If they were that concerned about safety, a student shouldn’t have died in the middle of the night.

“Yes! Let’s go!’ The captain dragged his subordinates out of there. 

“Sir Matthias-“ 

“Sleep.” Matthias conjured life mana essence and invaded Zachariel’s mind, comforting it and putting him to sleep.

“Edgar, Rainald, Zito, take him to the Prospect building, along with the other Prospect and Prospect candidates as well. Tell Vittorio to set the area into residential. We’ll talk later, go now.”

“Yes, Sir Matthias!” Zito took Zachariel and put him in his arms. The three left.

Matthias narrowed his eyes as he thought about what had happened to Zachariel.

`It looks like he’s suffering from an existential crisis.`

`He wants to reject the world, but his other self wouldn’t want to. A part of him still wants to believe in others, while the other has already lost hope.`

A luxurious carriage belonging to the Emperor strode out of the dormitory area. Matthias looked over.

`Hmm? The Emperor is leaving already?`

`Wait, the victim was named Hal Strom, right?`

He concluded something in his mind. 

`It looks like somebody’s going to be taught a lesson in the Imperium Palace later.`

He went back to Dormitory B and joined the investigation.

……

Imperium Palace.

The Emperor strode fiercely to Prince Kane’s bedroom. He barged at the door, waking up Kane.

“Father, what’s wrong? Why are you in my-“

Emperor Marcus lifted him and threw him to the other side of the room.

“You bastard. First, you were revoked of the chance of becoming a representative, and now this!”

“Father! I don’t know what you’re talking about! What do you mean I’m revoked of the chance of becoming a representative? Isn’t it supposed to be next month?!”

“You idiot! Looks like you’ve forgotten what I’ve told you before, huh?!”

He slapped his son. 

“That Matthias will surely select his representatives on the first day of school, and you’ve blatantly absented yourself during that day just because the son of a Golden Guardian pounded you to shame!”

“Father, I’m-“

Slap!

“And now, you’re still acting ignorant about the recent event?!” He slapped his son again. “Then tell me something about that Hal Strom who’s dead now?”

“Hal Strom? That guy is dead?”

Slap!

“Father! I really didn’t kill him! I just told them to make his life as worse as possible, nothing else!”

Slap!

“I said that I’ll be the one taking care of that Zachariel! You didn’t listen to me and acted on your own accords. Do you understand what you’ve done? Still not? Very well then!”

He slapped his son multiple times. Kane looked messy. Blood flowed out of his mouth and his face was red and in bruises due to his father slapping him non-stop.

“You’re a stupid piece-of-sh*t anyway so you won’t understand. I’m going to ground you up and make sure that you won’t do sh*t like this again!”

Emperor Marcus walked out of his room, slamming the door on his way out.

Kane was left laying on the cold ground, tears flowing out of his eyes. 

He couldn’t understand why his father hated him now, unlike the previous times where they were still playing and talking around joyfully.

`It’s because of that damn Zachariel! It’s definitely his fault!`

Kane swore that he will kill Zachariel, and the thought of killing his father, Emperor Marcus, came upon him as well.

`I will also kill that bastard soon! Just you wait!`

He thought of his mother whom he hasn’t seen ever since he was born. He nervously cuddled himself as he cried nonstop. 

`Mom, where are you?!`

The tears flowed to the floor, carrying his hatred for Zachariel and Emperor Marcus, and longingness for his mother.


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