Joseph was walking along the ring-shaped passageway atop Secret Rite Tower. Many people moved along these passageways and would bow or nod and give a "Good morning, Sir Knight," whenever they passed.
At Joseph's side, Claude was looking through a file and said, "Teacher, our tracking and analysis of White Wolf's movements have narrowed down to the location of this place."
Joseph snorted an "Mmph."
Claude continued with his report. "These hunters' understanding of Norzin's structure is many times better than ours. They are just like a bunch of rats scurrying within the walls, only giving occasional squeaks but leaving no traces.
"Whenever our men are chasing them, these hunters always tend to disappear and we are only able to slowly do a ground sweep. However, this process is much too slow, so we used sightings of them to deduce and narrow down the range of where their activities take place."
Joseph narrowed his eyes and replied, "This city was built too long ago and the only true maps are the ones inside the heads of old people. Obtaining a complete map is practically an impossible task. There isn't anyone in the White Wolf organization capable of this, so I believe that someone is helping them.”
Claude immediately started taking down notes. While flipping a page, he remarked, "Over the last few days, we have already raided three of their large hideouts and have captured over twenty White Wolf hunters who are currently being interrogated.
"However, they are rather tight-lipped. We have tried using mind-related spells but the basic mental state of these hunters... are especially fragile, probably due to injecting sordid blood close to the threshold. Thus, they immediately go crazy when provoked."
"This method to avoid questioning has quite some originality. Becoming lunatics in advance means not having to fear divulging any information. I suppose we would only find a pile of mush if we smashed their skulls open," scoffed Joseph sarcastically.
“White Wolf are probably aware that they have no way out and are thus becoming even more frantic and illogical. They aren’t just limiting themselves to intercepting resources and are even causing destruction and killing all over, causing panic for citizens.” Claude then added, “It’s also gotten rather busy for Logistics recently.”
Having almost reached his own office, Joseph asked, “Is there any pattern to their destruction and killing? The Magic Ovum Mirror’s special characteristic is that it entices the heart. Their thirst for the Magic Ovum Mirror would have far surpassed their own desires. At such a time, the probability of them doing so to vent isn’t that high.”
“At present, they aren’t just wantonly killing but taking certain parts from corpses as well, probably wanting to duplicate some of Morphey’s rites. But, after we made comparisons, we haven’t been able to find any corresponding sacrificial rite conditions. However...I have a question.”
Claude frowned and posed his question. “Is the Truth Union really incapable of producing a complete schematic of Norzin? If that is the case, even a portion would enable our operations to run more smoothly.”
Joseph eyed his student, and smiled. “A portion of all these secret passageways and hidden spots were built by the Truth Union personnel. Do you think they would give you a complete map?”
“We don’t need a complete one, just a portion we can use.”
“Just a portion!” Joseph put up a finger. “And that would be enough for an architectural analysis to determine areas and point out where other secret paths are. Dear Claude, it’s alright to be dumb but I reckon that I would find an adorable little hole should I smash your skull open.”
Despite receiving such harsh remarks from his own teacher, Claude scratched his head and sighed helplessly. He had long gotten used to Joseph's mannerisms.
Even though Claude didn’t know what these secret passages were used for, it was clear that these scholars definitely couldn’t hand over those blueprints and might even flat out deny the existence of such materials.
“Just treat it as a training exercise. White Wolf can’t endure for much longer.” Joseph patted Claude's shoulder and muttered, “If we were to ask those Truth Union hypocrites, they would probably say that gathering comprehensive intelligence reports, analyzing clues, and tracking their movements are the job of our Secret Rite Tower’s Intelligence Branches. If we can’t even do this well, we might as well dissolve the Intelligence and Logistics Branches.
“Ridicule from outsiders would be more unbearable than whatever I say to you.
“But looking at things from a different angle, if we are able to find out where the Truth Union’s secret pathways and hidden locations are, we will definitely have secured next years’ expenditure funding.
"The Truth Union is so rich, the hush money they fork out definitely wouldn't be little," said Joseph as he scrutinized his disciple.
A new extortion scheme has already appeared...
Claude was momentarily dumbstruck. He shut his mouth and nodded, before remembering to utter an "understood."
Joseph put his hand away and continued to his office steadily. As he opened the door, he asked, "What about Scarlet Cult?"
Claude coughed uncomfortably, then cleared his throat. "After losing Morphey, Scarlet Cult has completely fallen into disarray and lacks any cohesiveness. A majority of their numbers were living dead controlled by Morphey. Now that Morphey has died, these bodies have since lost the ability to move and the remaining Scarlet Cult black magicians have either run away or sought out shelter from White Wolf."
"In any case, Scarlet Cult has ceased to exist."
"It really is terrifying. That Destructive-rank elf sage can really be considered a powerful entity," he lamented. "From the scene, Morphey was simply crushed."
Of course, the even more terrifying entity was the S-rank bookstore owner whom the Iris Clan's great sage acknowledged as a master.
The matter that day was only known by a few members of the Intelligence Branch and a few high-ranked knights in Secret Rite Tower.
However, the various guesses and discussions of this bookstore owner were mostly without exception, apprehensive and fearful.
"We really ought to thank Mr. Lin this time. Otherwise, we might only have known that there was another Destructive-rank black magician with more destructive power than Wilde hidden in Norzin only after Morphey had caused widespread damage."
"The Truth Union are really a bunch of good-for-nothings," sighed Joseph as he placed the file Claude handed over onto the table. "Carry on with your work, I'll look into it more."
Claude had originally come to deliver the file and thus, nodded and stepped out of the office.
The computer on the office desk suddenly indicated a notification.
Joseph clicked on it and realized it was an email.
[Respected Mr. Joseph, the elders have replied to your application request. Please take a look.
Knight Abraham Joseph. Your application for the transfer of the demon sword Candela has been rejected after much deliberation.
However, your opinions are an important assessment of the elder's views on S-rank zone 0113. Thus, the elders have already dispatched personnel to investigate. If the final assessment is identical to your opinion, your application would be reassessed for approval.]