Volume 2 – Chapter 43: Rebellion
“Thomas!” Nova screeched and threw herself at the broken french window.
The other exorcists also rushed to the window and watched as Baron Albert fell at an extremely rapid pace. In just a few seconds, he had already fallen to the middle of the castle. Pure black chains were hanging out of his sleeve, hooked to a window at the middle layer of the castle.
The Baron swung through the air and shattered the glass of the window, quickly disappearing from their sight.
“Why must you run, Father? Don’t you understand that once you run, nothing can be done anymore?” Tony stared in a daze, muttering to himself.
“Let’s make our way down too.” Meyer looked at Tony with a complicated expression.
With Tony around, the Albert Family would still have the chance to rise back up. But their reputation would take a big hit. It was impossible for them to be the leader of the exorcists in the Odia Region.
The exorcists all looked at each other awkwardly. There were so many of them, but not a single one of them was able to stop Thomas Albert. Now that he had escaped to another floor, with his understanding of the castle’s layout, it wouldn’t take him long to get out and head for the forests on the other side.
It was already dark outside, and most of them were still injured. They wouldn’t be able to do a large scale search. But by the time dawn arrives, Baron Albert would more than likely be gone without a trace.
“Sire Baron will not succeed.” Qin Lun stared out the french window at a spot far away and directed their attention there, “Look over there, where the road is.”
The Albert Castle was situated on top of a sheer cliff, but the hillside across it was far more even and had a dirt road. Between the two areas, the only thing connecting the Albert Castle and the hillside was a stone bridge.
At that moment, a line of fire, winding up the mountain, could be seen on the stone bridge. The line of fire was very eye catching. If they were all distracted by Baron Albert, they would not have noticed it. Now that Qin Lun warned them, they finally noticed the strange occurrence.
“Where did these troops come from? There seems to be a couple hundred people!” Meyer widened his eyes in shock.
Although the cliff the castle was situated on was one to two hundred meters tall, the only thing it had going for it was its rather steep terrain. Therefore it could only be counted as a hillside. The line of fire went from the bottom of the hill to the top, covering everything as far as they could see. A couple hundred people might be a bit too low of an estimate.
The first generation of Alberts had settled here and built the Albert Castle due to its defendable geography. The original intention for building the castle was to be a military stronghold against the Maize Witches.
The Maize Witches would have no choice but to face the Albert Castle if they wanted to invade the Odia Region. If they attacked the castle, the only route to do so would be the mountain road and the stone bridge. If they didn’t attack the castle and took an alternative route, their escape route might be severed, trapping them.
But with the passage of time, the Maize Witches had lost most of their power in causing large scale damage against humans. As such, the Albert Castle turned from a military stronghold into the present Albert Family’s private castle.
“It shouldn’t be the duchy’s army; they wouldn’t be able to get here so fast. They might be the civilians living in the towns near here.” Nova’s face became stern as she frowned. She turned and looked at Qin Lun suspiciously, “Dr. Stein, did you do something?”
Qin Lun’s eyes flickered with surprise. Lady Nova’s keen intuition left him a bit shocked, but it wasn’t like he was planning to hide this from the exorcist. They would quickly come to understand the inside story soon.
“I did. When Toddy was leaving, I gave him a suggestion—to spread the information that the Albert Castle might be the source of the plague.” Qin Lun slowly nodded his head and frankly admitted. “But Toddy had rejected my suggestion at the time. From the looks of things, something might have changed over at Hanson Town, so he had a change of mind.”
“How could you do that? Don’t you know that Odia Region’s situation is like a bucket of gunpowder? These people will turn the castle to ashes!” Lady Nova angrily rebuked him with wide eyes.
“If it weren’t for my suggestion, Thomas Albert would have already made his escape into the forest.” Qin Lun coldly spoke with a blank face, “If it weren’t for you guys still harboring doubts and unwillingness to conflict with Baron Albert, how would he be able to escape from nine exorcists?”
“You’re dodging the point! We were only suspecting Thomas and did not have definite proof of his relation with the plague!” Lady Nova finally lost her calm and shouted, “But you went ahead and did something that couldn’t be taken back! What if you were wrong?!”
The expression on Qin Lun’s face suddenly turned a bit strange. The tone he used to speak became even more serene as he turned his back to them, “If I were wrong, the most that would happen would be the loss of one Wellington Stein, and perhaps the Albert Family. It’s only a handful of lives.”
“I…” Nova was struck speechless as her face paled.
“Lady Nova, did you become an exorcist to protect the Albert Family or to protect the common people of Odia Region? If you can’t even get your priorities straight, why are you still an exorcist?”
Qin Lun’s chilling words were spoken in the same tone as before, but it delivered a brutal strike to Nova. A gripping pain came from within her heart as she stood rigid like a statue.
“Let’s go, we need to find Baron Albert.” Qin Lun finished his piece and turned back around to walk through the crowd, heading for the stairway.
Behind him, three younger exorcists immediately followed, while another two, who were slightly older than the rest, looked at Nova and sighed. They also followed him out. Only Nova, Meyer, and Tony were left.
“Nova, that kid, Wellington, spoke too harshly. You… shouldn’t take it to heart.” Meyer crinkled his brows together and spoke worriedly.
Pu! Nova, who was standing still, opened her mouth and spat out blood. Her tall and sturdy body started aging and hunching at a visible speed. Her fierce face turned from a youthful one into an old one as she shook her head and bitterly smiled.
“The things he said to me were right. My reason was influenced by my emotions when it comes to Thomas.” Lady Nova closed her eyes and took a deep breath, “But… Meyer, don’t you think Dr. Stein is a bit too cold?”
“Yes, I did sense it. Although this kid is righteous, it doesn’t mean he’s selfless. He should have his own goal. After this situation, the positions of the exorcists of Odia will reshuffle. No matter what, we can’t let him become the leader.” Meyer cautiously spoke, “Tony, you spent the longest time with him. What do you think of him?”
“Until the Albert Family’s suspicions have been cleared, I don’t want to say anything on the subject.” Tony answered expressionlessly, but a hint of confusion shone in his eyes.
The blond young man was not a fool. During the fight with the witch, he had been doubtful of Qin Lun as well. Although he did not manage to witness the conclusion of the battle, Dr. Stein’s fight with the two evil creatures was already strange.
Since Qin Lun could fight against the creatures and the witch, his previous actions of hiding and watching Otto die in battle was not appropriate. Of course, he couldn’t criticize Qin Lun just for that, since he was a doctor and not a fighter.
“Let’s go down too, to see Thomas. I have a feeling that we will see a lot of ‘nice surprises’ tonight.” Meyer also bitterly smiled.
Qin Lun quickly walked through the castle’s corridors with three exorcists following closely behind and two a distance away. He had yet to realize that his previous behavior had aroused the three veteran exorcist’s caution.
However, even if he did know, Qin Lun would not care. After all, he wasn’t doing this to become the leader of the exorcists of this region.
Qin Lun could have just given a perfunctory reply to Nova. Apologizing to a senior exorcist would cost him nothing, and he could continue to hide behind them without doing anything. But his choice of coming out aggressively and conflicting with Nova at such an important moment was for a reason.
Over a thousand people have come and blocked Baron Albert’s escape route. Unless he could fly and escape to the Maize Forest, he would have nowhere to go. The secrets of the Albert Family would probably all go public tonight, and Qin Lun’s mission would be complete.
However, the closer to the end he was, the more careful he became. There should be organizers for all of these people. A good number of them might be people like the Holy Healer. Toddy, mayors, security, and so on. If Nova and Meyer managed to unite the remaining nine exorcists here and used their own influence on the organizers, they might be able to settle this unrest.
If Albert Castle was not purged and Baron Albert continued to remain tightlipped, the Albert Family’s secrets would not be revealed. If Nova, Meyer, and the rest cared more about their friendship with the Albert Family and made excuses to wait until an order arrived from the Exorcist Headquarters, then Qin Lun would not complete his mission no matter how long he waited.
As such, Qin Lun chose to split the nine exorcists and prevent any unity.
His behavior until now was excellent—from the investigation, to discovering the purpose of the evil creatures, and then pointing out where the witch was, along with his treatment of the exorcists and killing of the witch. Now, he had even verified the suspicions regarding Baron Albert’s and made arrangements beforehand to prevent his escape.
Although this kind of cold execution made Nova and Meyer have misgivings of him, for the others, it left behind an impression of a firm and resourceful man. What some people might find unpleasant to the eyes, others might admire.
His belittlement of a veteran exorcist like Lady Nova also raised his prestige greatly and caused a couple exorcists to admire him. The three young exorcists that followed him closely were the result of his strong performance. These three exorcists were still young and did not have the deep-seated emotional ties with Baron Albert, like Nova and Meyer did.
With these three exorcists helping, plus another two middle-ranked exorcists, the nine exorcists were thoroughly split up. There was no longer any way to prevent the following rebellion.