The man’s body fell forward from the momentum of the swing. He looked confused so Arc slapped him hard. It instantly sobered the man up. Anger was evident on Riain’s face but when he realized who was in front of him he gulped.
“I, I thought—” Riain stuttered. This was not the first time that the man experienced this phenomenon. Arc was sure his body remembered the beating that followed every time this happened.
“You thought what?” Arc interrupted him, frowning.
“Didn’t you leave…”
Arc raised an eyebrow from under his mask. “What you just thought because I was gone for a bit, you could invade my territory?”
“I wanted to…” His eyes drifted about.
Arc tapped his wrist and waited.
“I wanted to… well, I heard there were pretty… girls…”
Arc slapped the man on his unblemished cheek. It caused a tear in his scarred eyes, yet he didn’t retaliate and only trembled.
“Your stupidity continues to impress me.” Arc’s frown deepened. “You didn’t seriously cause trouble because you heard about two pretty girls, did you?”
“No… one of them is a duke’s daughter…”
Another slap rang out.
Riain, taking the slap without complaint, continued, “And, and the other one is the Black Swan’s Young Miss…”
Arc pushed him, causing him to lose his balance and take a couple steps back. Arc pushed him again, and this time it pushed him up against the wall.
“You, you, what?” Another slap. “Where did you get the gall to act up? Haven’t I beaten your ass enough times for you to learn your place?”
“Yes, yes I learned… I’m sorry about what has happened here. It won’t happen again.”
Arc grabbed him by the collar of his shirt and lifted him in the air. The sound of man’s obnoxious jewelry clattering about filled the ensuing silence. The man was muscular and tall. If Arc wasn’t in a disguise that made his own appearance look larger, the scene would have looked comical.
“Yet, you said that last time,” Arc said, breaking the silence.
“I haven’t done anything in awhile though,” Riain whimpered with trembling lips.
“So who is behind it?”
Arc, annoyed at the man’s obtuseness, increased the force he was using. “Well, who is supporting you?”
“No one… I told you… I just wanted to have some fun..”
Arc placed his hand on the man’s forehead. He was trying to see if the man was lying.
“You’re not lying.” Arc mumbled.
“I told you!” Riain’s nodded, his mood brightened a little.
“To think someone was able to block my powers.” Arc’s eyes turned sharp.
“N-, no! I, I… there isn’t anyone!”
“Who are you so desperate to defend?” Arc was convinced now. This man was stupid, but he wasn’t that stupid. He had even behaved himself for a while, but all a sudden he was trying to bring his men back together. Bullshit!
There were other signs too. A bunch of things were happening throughout the human kingdoms and even the demonic realm was on the move. Too many pieces were being moved around. Then there was the ominous feeling that he had been feeling lately. He was in the dark on too many things.
“Please believe me.” The fear was truly engraved into his body and he seemed to be about to cry.
Arc’s bloodlust filled the alleyway, causing Riain to clutch his throat like he couldn’t breath.
“That will be your last warning.”
Arc pulled back his bloodlust, and Riain took multiple gulps of air. “...I’m telling… the truth.”
By this point, Riain’s voice contained no emotions. Arc sighed and began to tie the man up, finishing up by gagging his mouth.
Arc snapped his fingers and teleported to the Children of Sin’s headquarters. He threw the bound up Riain into the center of a circular room.
It was dark and filled with long shadows. An elevated platform surrounded the ring. There were nine empty seats.
Arc looked at each seat and one by one he snapped, causing figures to appear with each snap. The muffled cries of Riain could be heard but not articulated.
A few of the figures that appeared just nodded but voices also filled the room.
“We greet the Master!”
“Praise the Dark Lord!”
“Guess he didn’t retire after all; number three you better pay up…”
“Boss I ran out of snacks…”
Arc snapped his fingers and all kinds of snacks flew into one of the figure’s pocket dimensions.
Arc didn’t show any reaction and merely pointed to the man tied up at his side. “This is the leader of the Thieves Guild. He is trash, but he is still a man that once held a powerful position. I believe he is hiding something, but I’m led to believe that for some reason my powers didn’t work on him.”
The air turned cold, but Arc continued, “If this is true then there is a powerful figure we don’t know about. Make it your priority to investigate the issue. Even if this is not the case, find out what is causing the recent moves in the human and demon realms.”
The tension could be felt. Some of them joked through it, some tried to just to brush it off, and others started to offer serious speculation. However, Arc cut the chatter with his stare.
“Report to Lab with any information you find, even if you believe it to be inconsequential.”
A shy but cheeky voice came out in stutters. “B-boss, umm will there… be a r-reward?”
Arc thought for a moment. He could feel the stares on him intensify. “Anything.”
“If it is in my power and your work warrants it then yes.”
The one who just spoke gulped with a red face.
Another one of the figures licked her lips, while pointing at Riain. “Can I do what I want to that man? I didn’t get to finish… last time.”
This was not Riain’s first time appearing in this room. He started squirming and his muffled screams intensified. Ultimately, his body faded into a spectacle of lights. He had chosen to take the penalty of death then remain there. His stats would drop and some of his equipment would be left behind, but he would escape the situation.
The woman who licked her lips frowned. Arc merely clicked his tongue and a powerful wave of energy surged out of his body. His entire body shook and a loud snap could be heard. His hand dangled in the air for a moment, trembling. He coughed up a mouthful of blood.
Riain reappeared. Shock and fear filled his face. By the laws that governed the world, he should have been safe now. He should have been in a temple far away. Yet, Arc refused him that. He summoned him back.
But challenging the laws that governed the world had costs. A severe recoil continued to rage through Arc’s body. Another mouthful of blood burst from his lips.
One should never force their will so strongly upon another.
“Do what you have to do.”
With that last command, Arc left his executives and returned to the slums. Not much time had passed but Arc was given no break. He wasn’t really needed for the matter concerning Riain. He might have caused a commotion but once the executives of Children of Sin took the stage then the issue would be resolved.
‘I acted properly, right? That is how the ruler of the shadows should act, right?’ Arc frowned. No one could give him such answers.
Arc shook his head. The next guest was in a completely different category. If one didn’t count the hidden experts of the older generations, then the man was probably the strongest in the entire Aoi Torii Kingdom. Sera’s father, a very overprotective man, was rushing to his daughter.
There was a good chance he would beat up some of his subordinates if he didn’t act, so Arc only sighed. It had been awhile since he had to go all out.