“I’m so sorry master, you just bought this beautiful dress for me and it’s already covered in blood!”
Lenia was visibly upset and seemed to have lost control of her emotions. Aleks was dumbfounded by her teary eyed face as she looked as if she would bawl any second.
“Um.. Lenia, it’s fine.. It’s just a dress.”
“No master! It’s a dress you bought for me!”
“Well… at least it’s red..” Aleks found himself at a loss for words. He was caught by surprise due to her reaction.
“Hmm.. perhaps it is due to a lack of emotional control or maybe this is a developmental stage..” Aleks muttered to himself while he observed the distraught Lenia.
“This is the first thing you bought for me… it’s ruined!”
“How frustrating.. It should pass though. Lenia! Enough!”
“That’s enough. I will buy you a new dress to replace it, forget about it for now.”
Lenia visibly calmed down after realizing she was showing Aleks quite the embarrassing scene. She was unsure what caused her emotions to go into turmoil like that. It was a sudden urge which overwhelmed her and she lost control momentarily.
“I’m.. sorry master. I don’t know what came over me.”
“It’s fine. I think it is just a side effect of the rapid development of your emotions and consciousness. It should pass.”
Lenia nodded and wiped the tears from her face using the sleeve of her dress. She suddenly sensed a dangerous presence and dashed towards aleks with her daggers at the ready.
“So, you’re here. Good. Than I assume you have what I asked for?”
Aleks seemed as if he were speaking to himself but a shadowy figure suddenly appeared from a corner of the ruined church. The figure was barely visible and almost seemed to fade into the shadows around it.
The figure responded in a muffled voice. It seemed it was being hidden by some magical effect or perhaps an ability possessed by his class.
“Who is he master?”
“Someone of use to us. He has brought us presents.”
“Presents!? What kind of presents?”
“The dead kind.” The voice responded while motioning towards the shadows near the entrance of the ruined church.
Several more shadows emerged but Lenia could tell that their presence was inferior to the first shadowy figure, they were obviously weaker and most likely the subordinates of the first. Even though her master had informed her already that they were here to help, she remained on her guard and didn’t lower her weapons in the slightest. She carefully eyed the shadows and was prepared to defend her master with her life.
“The bodies you requested, still fresh. Two males and one female that meet your requirements. You have such morbid hobbies, forgive me for not sticking around to watch your perverse fun.”
The shadowy figures quickly dispersed back into the shadows of the night and three corpses were left unattended by the church entrance. Aleks waited while scouting the area with his ‘Astral Projection’ ability to ensure they had truly left before continuing his plan.
“How dare they disrespect you like that master! I will kill every last one of them the next time I see them!”
Lenia was furious at the way the man had spoken to Aleks. How dare he accuse her master of having morbid hobbies!
Aleks remained silent and approached the corpses. He placed his hand over the bodies one by one and a strange and eerie presence filled the once hallowed halls of the church. A ghastly presence emerged one by one from Aleks’s body and entered the bodies of the now deceased denizens of this city.
“Arise my Soul Puppets!” Aleks said almost as if a chant and the bodies which had been previously deceased appeared to come back to life. They rose from the ground and stood before Aleks as if it were a completely normal occurrence.
“What will you have us do master?”
Lenia finally got a good look at the three and noticed that two of them were somewhat similar in features to Aleks and herself. Of course, they didn’t really look anything like the two but there were similarities which could easily fool someone if they didn’t know her’s and her master’s appearance well enough. The other person appeared to just be someone randomly chosen.
What is master doing now? I wish he would inform me of his plans.. I just can’t understand him.
“Good, you three should do just fine. Hmm, not really an exact likeness but with the dark of the tunnel and also with the false mask I prepared, it should do nicely.”
Aleks grabbed the face of the man at the forefront and moved his face from left to right while examining it closely. He then took a good look at the female ‘Soul Puppet’ and grimaced, “Not nearly as beautiful as Lenia but the blond hair is similar. It will have to do. Lenia, come here immediately.”
Lenia approached Aleks cautiously, curious at what her master was planning.
“Take off your dress.”
“Ehhhh…?” Lenia was shocked at her master’s sudden command and blurted out without realizing.
She began to squirm with embarrassment, “Master… here? Isn’t this place a little….”
“What are you talking about? Remove your dress and put it on this female ‘Soul Puppet’. I have more clothing for you within my ‘Soul Realm’.”
“Oh..” Lenia began to realize what her master was trying to do and she hurriedly took off her clothes. The eyes of the ‘Soul Puppets’ on her naked body made her feel uncomfortable but she understood that they were really just dead people walking and tried not to feel too embarrassed.
Aleks took out a much less conspicuous and more modest dress from out of his ‘Soul Realm’ and gave it to Lenia without glancing at her. She felt a little disappointed that he didn’t even peek at her but she quickly put on the new dress. She was unhappy about the downgrade in clothing but after considering that it was still a gift from her master she felt somewhat satisfied.
On the other hand, Aleks removed a purple robe which only bore a slight resemblance to the one he was wearing and had the ‘Soul Puppet’ at the forefront wear it. He also removed a fake gold mask and put it on the ‘Soul Puppet’s’ face.
“It won’t fool them for long, but if they keep mostly to the shadows it should work. The most important part of the plan is my presence. Thankfully, I will be able to exert my presence through the ‘Soul Puppets’. None of them have ever seen me in person and may have only heard descriptions of me. I have been careful to show my face as little as possible.”
“Aleks, what exactly are you going to have them do? How will these ‘Soul Puppets’ be of use to us?”
Lenia couldn’t hold in her curiosity any longer and asked her master in a straightforward manner.
“It’s good that you have an inquisitive mind Lenia. Let me explain briefly. I am going to have these ‘Soul Puppets’ gather the souls from those dead thugs over there and then I am going to have them wait a little while. After that, I will send them into the tunnel as a pleasant gift for our friends waiting within.”
Aleks could see that Lenia had no idea what he was talking about as she looked at him with a confused expression.
“Let’s just say that there is going to be a nice surprise in store for our dear friends. You see, when one of my ‘Soul Puppets’ houses a soul or souls for an extended period of time… Well, boom!”
“Ohhhhhh. I understand now! Master, you’re so cunning!”
Lenia finally understood and replied in a playful manner. She was admiring her master more and more with each passing moment.
“Are you sure this is going to work though master?”
“It will work. I already did a preliminary check of the tunnels beneath with my ‘Astral Projection’ ability and it is a relatively narrow space. The first two are meant to be a diversion and will explode simultaneously attempting to injure as many as possible. It’s the third, the one that bears a small resemblance to me, which will aim for the Paladin. It most likely won’t kill him, but we just need to injure him enough that he can’t act for a short time. When that happens, our rude shadowy accomplices can do their job and wreak chaos.”
“But Aleks… who are those people? And can we trust them?”
“There are very few we can trust Lenia. They are tools, nothing more. For now, we are of use to each other. As for later, that is difficult to say. They are here to kill certain people of influence.. Their concerns are not ours. We are here for the mask and to create chaos, nothing more. Let these fools kill each other while we profit from the shadows.”
Aleks turned to the ‘Soul Puppets’ once more while grinning wickedly beneath his mask, “Go, I will be watching from a distance. Lenia, let’s leave this place. There is somewhere else we need to be. Someone is desperately awaiting our favor.”