“Please, enter and have a seat”.
Inside Don’s spacious school principal office, she welcomed in an old man, which seemed to look in his late fifties.
The man with light skin, orange hair and red eyes wore a gray suit with fine black designs and was none other than Binjo’s father, Dureil Derneldar.
“This is not a courtesy visit, so I will not have my secretary serve us anything”. From the very moment they sat and were eye to eye, Don’s loftiness embedded the air with coldness. To rebuke an important member of a great family, her temperament had to be domineering regardless of position or situation.
“I’m fine with simply receiving all the information related to the incident and the person who threatened my son”. Dureil said, attempting to keep a composed visage. As an Intermediate Core Breaker, when confronting a superior cultivator he used to clung into his statues to save his face. As for how a Core Breaker could attain placement in the main branch of a great family, in this particular case, it can be explained by luck and heritage.
“Of course, I have it all prepared for you, however, I cannot hand it over this instant. This incident caused our school several losses. Some, I admit, are negligible and already been taken care of. Others, on the other hand, have affected the school reputation and its reliability, which brings me to why I cannot share this information. As the highest school’s official that was on scene during the incident and as the principal of this distinguished institute, I’ve decided to utilize the school’s resources to methodically investigate the culprits responsible for this incident and befittingly punish them as a form of compensation”.
“The school’s resources are entwined with the number one great family of El-Eden, the Dauch family. Are you saying, principal Ram, that this matter was agreed to be dealt with by Dauchs?”
When Don refused to hand over the details of the incident, Dureil was discontented before she even expanded her reasoning, but when the involvement of Dauch family was mentioned, though not explicitly, he was relieved. In confrontations concerning Core Masters, Dureil had two options. To exhaust all of his connections and all the favors he accumulated over the years, or lower his head before the family head and beg for his help. Sure enough, he could also seek the support of the family’s founder, but then he may risk been personally demoted to the position of a mediocre branch family. Either way, the incident was connected to his son, and so the responsibility of making sure that it would not tarnish the family name was laid on him. Thus, up until Don said that the school will deal with it, Dureil was prepared to lose an arm and a leg.
Dureil was secretly joyed. In addition to his contemplation over his great luck, a piece of information he was not aware of, which Don idly revealed, gravely took him aback.
“Culprits” Don said to him. Not one person, like his son informed him, but more. As far as Dureil knew up until he heard it, only one Core Master came seeking his son. If Binjo was incorrect and more than one Core Master sought him, than the family head and founder had to be notified.
“No”. Don calmly replied to his inquiry. “The school’s resources that will be utilized are our esteemed Student Council Class”.
“What?! Are you intending to let a bunch of students act upon this matter?!” Dureil lost his poise.
The Student Council Class of Eden Formation was a well known entity that served solely the school principal and would listen to no one but her. Each and every member of the current Student Council Class was publicly recognized in the high class community as the Tal of school principal Don. They all were under the common age of graduation among Martial schools, thirty years old, and all at the Mist Lord level!
The Student Council Class was comprised of seven, twenty something, students. Although not even half the number of the Disciplinary Class, the strength of the Student Council Class was far above the Disciplinary Class and two years back had been proven when the Student Council Class managed to subdue a Core Master at the Advanced phase of the first level in an exhibition fight.
Since at the time the fight was exhibitory, many of the keen eyes observers could tell that the Core Master restricted himself from executing killing and critical strikes, but the Student Council Class’s performance still managed to impress, and the conversant crowd would not have argued in oppression of the Student Council Class in a serious fight against a Core Master in the Beginner or Intermediate phase of the first level.
Bearing that in mind, Dureil was certain that if the Core Master or Core Masters were able to elude Don, there was no one in school competent enough to subjugate him, her or them.
“Nothing else can be done. To avoid leakage of information, we temporarily confiscated every piece of technology that could enable students to record the incident. However, we could not and will not restrict their freedom of speech. A day after the incident, it seems that things are still quiet. Might be because no student talked yet, might be that students did talk, but whoever they talked to is careful due to the parties involved and decided to first investigate what happened before releasing it to the press. For that reason, at the scenario where eventually the incident will get publicized, by using our own students to solve it, even by just putting them on the pedestal to be looked at, the school will be able to restore a substantial public’s opinion while integrating an air of confidence and credibility among students, parents, school faculty and donors”.
“That’s… that won’t do, principal Ram!” Dureil protested. Of what he perceived from her priorities, though catching the culprit and punishing him, her or them was a preference, Don was willing to trade it for retaining the school’s image, which may place the culprit, yet again, as his problem.
Hearing him retorting, Don slammed the palm of her hand on her desk. “Dureil, you seem to forget the most important issue of this incident”, the hand that slammed the desk clenched into a fist as she responded.
From the other side of the desk, Dureil seemed confused for a short moment after the “THUMP!” sound. The desk definitely had a Peral metal frame, and the wood that it was made of, most likely, also was something precious. Otherwise, it could not have taken Don’s**** and produced such a loud sound.
“Principal Ram…” Dureil said, pondering how to interpreted her words and actions. As a person of the highest class, he was used to the bigotry and guile games that were inseparable part of the status. To lead on someone was the most common conversation technique, which was mostly used by middle class or lower class merchants, far beneath the likes of Eden Formation’s school principal. Nevertheless, that was what she done to him, and he, only at the end, noticed.
Dureil did not expect Don to by sly with him, or rather, he was unsure if she really intended to lead him on. She had no reason to, considering the relations of the school and his family. From his experience, by assessing her next words, he could tell the true nature of this whole conversation from Don’s perspective, if she led him toward exploitation or genuinely sorted their discussion, planning to keep the worst for last.
“What is that issue?” Dureil reverted to the unruffled mien he presented to so many of his kind.
“Do I have to say it? Very well, the one who’s responsible, or at least was the source that brought upon this incident, is your son, Binjo Derneldar!”
She led him.
“I don’t have to tidy up his misdeeds for you. You should perfectly be aware of the corrupt side of your son. His record started in the pre Core grades and steadily increased over the years. Usually, because of how close the school and the Derneldar family are, we try to sort the situation ourselves, at most, notify you and finish the matter with a contribution to the one that was hurt or complained. This time around it was too much, Binjo managed to offend experts, the culprits, in the Core Master realm, barely weaker than I am”.
“I don’t know who, but clearly, in the list of people he recently troubled, was someone with doting capable connections. Finding out whom he upset won’t be a problem, Binjo himself can compile a list. But let me tell you this, for the trouble this incident caused to the school, when that person will be found, if he or she is a student, the school would act accordingly and your son would be expelled!”
“What?!” Dureil roared and his complexion paled.
To go as far as expelling his son! The shame alone would lower his position in the main branch, add to it that his sixth son had the most promising future as a Martial cultivator, even if he seemed to care for it only when it fit him, how could he let this future rise to prominence for his name to slip in between his fingers?
There was no school in El-Eden that could extract his son’s latent potential, which he wasted so much of his wealth on, other than Eden Formation. Sure, there were the two other number one Martial schools of Tongguo and Shitou, but would anyone of the total three accept a student that one of the other two expelled? Implausible. Besides, the Derneldar family did not have relations with the two other schools, and considering Binjo’s upbringing… he would not stay long in any of them.
Dureil exhaled. Don did not repeated what she said and as a Core Breaker he had enough time to rearrange his thoughts. “Principal Ram, what do you want in order to terminate my son’s association with the incident?”
“Dureil, you seem to not understand. The consequences of Binjo’s misdeeds, at this point, are no longer something that could be compensated by a simple donation and the consideration of the school’s relations with the Derneldar family. Not even the school board would fight me on this”.
“Then by what means this matter can be resolved?” Dureil gritted his teeth. The “simple donation” Don dismissed was not something light like she made it sound. In this context it was equivalent to the Derneldar family’s annual donation to the school, not a sum that he could hold up on his own without adding a pound of flesh. What would be enough for Don, frankly terrified him.
Don opened a drawer in her desk, taking out a small squared piece of paper and with a pen scribbled on the piece of paper.
“Here”. Don handed the piece of paper to Dureil.
Taking the piece of paper gingerly, Dureil flipped it over and surveyed its contents.
Instantly as he read what Don written, Dureil’s pupils contracted and a drop of sweat formed on his forehead.
Pure white mist energy burst from Dureil hand and burned the paper into ashes as he jumped up from his seat. “You cannot be serious!” He bellowed. “That much… That much… Do you want us to borrow money from the other great families?! Principal Ram, you said that Binjo is the source of the incident, but what about your responsibilities toward you students? That assault on my son’s life was on school grounds-”
“Your son wasn’t harmed by the experts that barged into the school”. Don interrupted him as if she was prepared all along to this response. “Conversely, because Binjo attracted the attention of fiery experts, it was he that initiated the risk on the other students”.
“At first, I thought to address only to the school losses when I gave you the note. Now that you on your own mentioned the danger this incident delivered to the student body, it is clearly insufficient, won’t you agree, Dureil?”
Seeing that Dureil was too stunned to talk back, Don let a gentle smile adorned her and loosened the imposing atmosphere she instilled in the environmental essence of her office. At that moment, though she had a military haircut and was more domineering than most men, in addition to past the hundred and fifty years mark, her beautiful face shone smoothly like that of a teenage girl.
“But of course, as awful as it is, the school is willing to take the fault due to our close relations”. Don stood up and encircled her desk, standing before Dureil, who instead of showing relief, attentively waited for her to finish her piece. “There are a few condition, but nothing unfeasible to a great family. The number I wrote is one condition and is indisputable. The second is the temporary suspension of Binjo from school. Aside of him deserving a form of punishment, until the culprits will be caught, the risk of them returning and causing problems is still looming over the other students”.
“They will go overboard and come again?” Dureil muttered doubtfully.
If Don intends to truly just use the Student Council Class as means of dealing with the incident from the school’s stand point, then the culprits would remain loose. In that case, the culprits would not push their luck and probably give up or seek another opportunity for dealing with Binjo, which in turn will make the school the safest place for him. Also, if the culprits are gutsy enough to make a mess in the number one Martial school of El-Eden, they should even more so have the nerves to not give a damn about who the Derneldar family is, and make a move for Dureil’s estate in the main branch.
In this kind of situation where it is not about chasing after the culprits but fending their assault, Dureil could not even think of dealing with them using his own resource. His five eldest sons would also have to contribute everything they have, and since the assault might occur on the property of the main branch, notifying the head and founder would not be a matter of choice anymore.
“The school won’t take the risk”. Don said insistently. “As for the third condition”, she continued. “If this incident does involve another student and not an outsider, the Derneldar family will contribute a Mist Essence Amplifier”.
Dureil opened his mouth but tightly closed it before letting his voice out. ‘A Mist Essence Amplifier she demanded?!’ He wanted to shout. “Fine”. He said in dismay. “Is that all?”
“Have the money transfer to the school’s account and send the Mist Essence Amplifier by the end of the week. If it will turn out that no other student was involved, you can retrieve the Mist Essence Amplifier”.
Even time she did not give him. Helplessly Dureil asked. “Then, if possible, can you supply me the information you gathered of the culprits”. He wanted it from the start, even before he came to her office. But knowing now how troublesome they are, he was rather reluctant to the time he would have to deal with them.
Don released a fake sigh. “Yes, but only verbally”.
It was little, too little, but Dureil waited for her to start sharing.
“There were two culprits, but one remained hidden throughout the incident. The other one I personally dealt with. At first he used a concealment technique to look like a young boy to infiltrate the school. When I used my Soul Sense on him, I detected his true cultivation, the Advanced phase of the first Core Master’s level. But despite his lower cultivation, his appearance stayed vague due to his proficiency in the concealment technique. Other than that, he also used a peculiar dagger technique that was able to break my protective formation. However, it nearly consumed all of his mist energy, and he could not follow up with another attack. That’s when he used the rest of his strength to escape and the other one also disappeared. Such a high level of skill should be quite rare… You should already have an idea where to look…” Don altered the truth in a manner that actually caused the expression on Dureil’s face to be even more mournful. The place she hinted for him to look for one of the two none exists culprits was tightly discreet of its operatives. Only the likes of the number one and number two great families of El-Eden and the other two regions, could extract such information from that place.
“That is all”. Don concluded.
“Thank you”. Dureil had no other way to respond other than appreciatively.
Someone knocked twice and opened the office’s door.
Mizuri entered the school principal office together with Binjo and a slender brown skin man that seemed to be in his thirties, teacher Slaverin.
The two were tense but kept their gazes away from each other. The moment they crossed the doorstep, teacher Slaverin felt his body tightening up, as if an immense force bounded him to his place without the power to even talk.
“Dad?” Binjo looked at his father and right away he felt a wave of relief in his heart.
What happened the day before aroused his concerns. When vice principal Mizuri called him out in the middle of class together with teacher Slaverin, he was afraid that his bribes toward this lackey of a teacher were about to be discovered. It scared him how principal Ram would react, but seeing that his father was present, he did not care anymore; after all, his father was the younger brother of the current head of the family and the great grandson of the founder. Even if the relationship between his father and uncle was bad, his uncle was always good for him and his brothers. If he will beg him, any matter could be taken care of.
Dureil did not look affectionately at his and even rebuked him with his eyes, but Binjo did not notice.
“Dureil”, Don turned to the furious father. “This is Mr. Slaverin, a diligent teacher in the Intermediate building and a dedicated cultivator at the Peak phase of the Mist Master level”.
Don’s figure suddenly blurred, the next moment her left hand shimmered in azure light and like spear penetrated teacher Slaverin’s abdomen and exited from the other side, lifting him couple centimeters above ground.
Mizuri also ceased his curb on teacher Slaverin and the brown skin curly black hair man bent in pain, hanging and grabbing Don’s arm. Trying to speak, only blood came out of his mouth.
The scene made Binjo cower behind his dad, while Dureil expression only slightly soured. His son might have had a higher level of cultivation, but in terms of constitution they were worlds apart – unless, of course, it was Binjo himself who let out his wickedness.
The azure aura intensified and Don’s mist energy swirled. In a mere second she disintegrated the perfidious teacher Slaverin.