Dragon Root Academy Staff Room
"Jun Fan. Why did you call for an emergency meeting?"
Principal Yao sat on the far table calmly drinking a cup of tea. He was quite surprised seeing Jun Fan looked so unnerved. The staff members left still at school have been cut down by a considerable amount. With the exception of a few high ranking members, most of them returned home to their families elsewhere.
"Principal...Xin Fan has been kidnapped."
Everyone froze for a moment unsure whether to believe the words coming from his mouth. Most were quite skeptical as this situation rarely occurred.
"Kidnapped is quite a strong word. Elaborate..."
"I mean exactly what I mean. Xin Fan has been kidnapped by black circus."
Principal Yao calmly put down the cup on the desk. He worriedly looked at Jun Fan's shaking figure.
"You are certain that is Black Circus? I mean...considering you relationship to them."
Jun Fan slammed the table uncharacteristically in anger.
"My relationship with them is my business alone and nobody else's. Han Zhong can attest to my words. Xin Fan was investigating a kidnapping by black circus. By the end of the day, he was gone. Who else could have done it?"
"Calm down Jun Fan."
A few members of the staff held Jun Fan back from lashing out to the principal.
"Have you tried looking for their base?"
"Of course I have tried. I tried the old location but another sector of the organisation took over it. They made a new hideout."
"So...now what are you going to do?"
Jun Fan took out a piece of paper. It was the invitation letter that the black circus distributed. He folded it over and threw it to the principal to read.
"Hmm...There is an auction? So what do you propose?"
"I just want permission. We only have a few people protecting the school right now. We cant afford to lose people patrolling. I want to personally raid them."
"Are you sure you are up to it?"
Jun Fan frowned. He then took off his shirt and turned around. Just below the nape of his neck was a branding from long ago. It was a image of a clown laughing burned onto his skin. There was a tattoo image of a knife overlaying the clown.
"Don't you remember who I once was? If it wasn't for lord Xin, we would not be having this conversation right now."
Principal Yao closed his eyes as if he resigned. He took out a paper, writing a few things before stamping it.
"Fine...I approve. You may access your storage. However if the child does not return, there will be consequences."
Jun Fan sneered as he took the paper.
"You know me too well."
"Power is everything. You are here because you are weak!"
It is now the second day of Xin Fan's indoctrination session. For the whole morning, he was forced to listen to Black Jacket's ranting on the law of the jungle. As he did the previous day, he was stabbed multiple times. He wasn't allowed to enter his domain as for every time he did, he would return with multiple cuts all around his body.
"Let me give you an example."
Black jacket grabbed a nearby rat that was feasting on the pile of meat in the room. He held it gently over his hand with his fingers delicately over its body.
"Did you know that a thousand of these ordinary rat can take down even a tiger. That is just like us. We are the rats. As much as we are hunted, we will always return."
Xin Fan watched as black jacket played around with the rat over his palm. He slowly grabbed it by it's tail and closed his hands.
"However once caught, there is no escaping."
Black jacket slowly crushed the rat in his palms suffocating it to death. The horrifying squeals of the rat was the only thing that could be heard from the room.
"If you don't want to be like the rat. Become stronger. Become ruthless."
Xin Fan slowly watched as the rat twitched in Black Jacket's arms. Maybe he is right? Maybe the only answer is to become ruthless. No...It's immoral...It's not right...
Once it stopped moving, Black Jacket threw the mouse onto the floor right in front of him. Xin Fan stared at the dead eyes of the rat staring back. He wasn't moving. He wasn't talking. Just staring as if he was in a trance. Seeing Xin Fan being unresponsive, Black Jacket decided to leave. He made sure that the room was completely dark with no a single stream of light allowed to enter.
"Just saying...You won't be talking to anyone but me. So you know, just saying."
The room was silent. Under the cover of the dark, everything was gone. The chair. The devices that were scattered on the floor. All gone under the cover of the dark.
'Xin Fan. Can you hear me!'
Xin Fan heard a familiar voice in his head. That voice. Xin Kong? I must really be going crazy.
'Xin Fan! Listen!'
There it was once again. Xin Fan broke out of his trance. Once again he heard the voice in his head.
"Xin Kong? How? Where are you?"
'Don't worry about that for now. This is serious. Also, you can talk to me by willing my image through the system. Don't talk out loud.'
'Okay. Is this okay?'
'Perfect. I saw through the system. Do not listen to anything he says. He is trying to break your mind and therefore control you. Inside here, the weather is beginning to look cloudy. For now just enter the domain.'
Xin Fan willed himself to enter the domain. As he entered, as he described, the sky was no longer clear. Dark clouds were covering up majority of the sky. Xin Kong walked over too him in worry. There was a screen in front of him showing just a pitch black image.
"Xin Kong- W...What is happening?"
Xin Kong looked up at the sky and back at Xin Fan.
"I believe that sky represents your mental state. In short, they are slowly corrupting you."
"What do I do?"
"Don't worry. This is my forte. The easiest way to break a suggestion is with a stronger suggestion. Repeat after me."
Xin Kong preceded to teach Xin Fan a set of mantras that he learnt when he first began as a daoist. It was a set of mantras focused on strengthening the mind against mortal thoughts. In the current situation, this was the perfect thing to use.
As Xin Fan chanted, Xin Kong started to see the clouds parting. After a while most of the clouds accumulated had cleared away.
"For now, It seems like we are safe. However, that Black Jacket would keep coming to try to break you."
"What do I do?"
"For now...Just play along. Pretend to slowly become mindless. However don't get caught up and actually be controlled."
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