Don Gregorio glanced at Aleks for only a brief moment and then his eyes wandered restlessly to the two balconies above the stage.
He then pulled a pocket watch out of the breast pocket of his shirt and while checking the time said,
“Looks like it is just about time.”
As the drama of the play unfolded and it appeared to be winding down to the last moments, the Don looked over at Aleks and smiled mischievously.
“Do you know what happens when certain magic tools are overloaded with magical energy and then that energy is pushed past their tipping point?”
Aleks knew very well the answer to the Don’s question, but he remained silent. He had no desire in partaking in childish banter with a petty man such as the Don. Don Gregorio, thinking Aleks was ignorant of the answer, chuckled under his breath and then whispered.
The theatregoers within had no idea what was taking place. To them, it was just another evening at the theatre watching a tragic yet classical play. To Aleks however it felt like a dirty and invasive window into his own mind, but those were irrelevant thoughts now and he pushed them out of his head.
The Don’s whisper was barely audible for the moment he spoke, the entire building was rocked by two large explosions. The two lovers were exchanging their final vows as the play came to its climax. They were surrounded, with no hopes of survival and only a single vial of poison between the two of them. One of them was to drink the poison and the other would use a blade. But they were unable to pass on in each other’s arms as the play would have them do because their bodies were scattered over the front row due to the explosions.
There was a certain silence in the moment after the explosions hit, where one could even hear the sound of a pin drop. That only lasted that one moment however as a woman suddenly let out a cry as the head of the main actor rolled in front of her feet.
Chaos ensued as people rushed to escape from the theatre, fear motivating them beyond reason. They clawed and fought their way to the exit without regard for anyone else’s safety other than their own. People were trampled under the feet of those luckier than they and those who made it out of the theatre heaved sighs of relief. Many of them quickly distanced themselves from the entrance and ran to where they would feel safe.
The balconies where the other Dons of the city had been sitting and enjoying the play had both been reduced to rubble. They had all died without any knowledge of what was about to befall them, completely oblivious to the fate which had been decided for them by another.
Lenia had acted immediately of course. She was not aware that something like this would happen and her first thoughts were of protecting her master. She quickly jumped out of her seat and pulled the daggers out of the small sheaths that had been strapped to her thighs beneath her dress. Her eyes quickly surveyed the surroundings looking for any potential danger, but with the chaos it was difficult for her to see much.
Aleks had not moved even one inch and sat patiently in his seat. Lenia noticed her master’s calm and looked at him dubiously. Noticing his calm, she felt somewhat foolish at her actions but since she could not read her master’s intent she continued to remain on high alert.
Don Gregorio had not moved as well, instead he laughed loudly as he brushed the dust from the explosion off his clothes. There were a few others nearby who had remained standing in their positions but most had now fled. There was an occasional wail or cry of help from those unlucky ones who had been trampled on or who had become injured in the chaotic evacuation.
Finally, Aleks turned to Lenia and said, “calm down and sit.”
She continued to look at her master with uncertainty, but he repeated himself while motioning her to sit. Lenia finally complied and sat back down next to her master but she was filled with confusion. She couldn’t understand what her master was thinking but she realized he must have the situation under control and so she relaxed.
Don Gregorio clapped and loudly exclaimed, “It’s done!”
He then turned to Aleks and said, “Aleks, join together with me and the both of us can run this city! How about it!?”
The Don seemed to be in an excellent mood as he asked Aleks this question.
Aleks turned to look at Gregorio through the eye sockets of the mask. He made a short clicking sound of displeasure with his tongue and said, “so I can end up like those poor saps? I think not. We had a deal, that is all I want from you.”
His words were cold causing a brief moment of silence. Those that had remained within the theatre were all the Don’s men and they tensed up at Aleks’ words. They were expecting more violence to take place but Aleks showed no concern, even if Lenia became wary once again.
Don Gregorio finally broke the silence with a laugh, “…of course, Of course! I am a man who keeps his word after all. You got your mask didn’t you? I will have my men escort you out of the city through a secret passageway. It’s a shame, though. We could have done great things together. Well, now that our business is concluded we’re done here. I’m sure we’ll be seeing each other again. Rex, get your men and escort our fine friend here out of the city.”
Aleks stood and walked towards the mangled corpses of the dead Dons, “I wish to… pay my respects to the dead. One moment.”
Don Gregorio glanced at Aleks curiously and said, “I don’t get it, but so be it. Not like they’re going anywhere anyway, but you should make it quick.”
Aleks nodded and walked towards the corpses littering the floor. He momentarily crouched over them before moving on to the next. To anyone watching it would look as if he crouched over them momentarily, but in truth Aleks was devouring their souls beneath the mask. This was not something a normal Human would be capable of seeing.
This is a decent harvest. I gained a few thousand SP from their corpses, 3500 SP to be exact. Along with the SP I now have, I can strengthen Lenia and advance her rank. Now, onto the next stage of the plan.
After he finished he motioned to Lenia and followed after Rex, the Don’s man. Lenia followed quickly after him while keeping a cautious eye on all of the Don’s henchmen. She wasn’t about to let any of them out of her sight and glared at them violently. It was somewhat cute watching a woman as beautiful as Lenia glare at the henchmen with violent intent.
Rex led Aleks and Lenia out of the theatre and once they were gone from sight, the Don stood and looked towards the exit while chuckling maliciously.
“No one refuses my offer and lives. You won’t be leaving this city alive Aleksandros. There are powerful people who want you dead.”
News of the bloodbath at the theatre spread quickly but a response was slow in coming. The City Guard eventually moved into the Red Light District in order to investigate the attack. However, when they finally reached the theatre, they found none but the dead within and began a thorough investigation into the happenings of the night. They attempted to shut down the district but by then, all those involved were long gone.
It was difficult for the investigators to determine who had died in the explosion since it had caused a fire and the corpses had been too badly burned to be recognized. Although it was believed to be a quarrel between criminal organizations within the city and while normally they would turn a blind eye to their illegal activity, this had pushed things too far and had drawn too much attention. There were members of the nobility who had been in attendance within the theatre that night as well as members of the clergy of various churches.
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Fortunately, no nobles or clergymen had lost their lives and a great deal of coin changed hands in order to quiet the situation. This event was eventually blamed on foreign extremists and was settled as a closed case by the authorities. Even if the matter had been settled by those at the top, the common folk of the city were not convinced by the rhetoric. To them, this was another example of corruption by those in power and if something like this could be covered up so easily then what next? Many considered this and the anger that had been welling up for a long time would soon become a maelstrom that would sweep the city in its rage.
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