Currently, in front of the town center, an entire crowd of people was standing. Along the sides of the crowd, squads of guards were standing fully decked in their gear looking ready for anything.
The crowd was standing in silence which was surprising to him as this hardly happened when such a large group of people gathered together. The people in the crowd seemed to be focused on the town center and seemed to be waiting for something.
A few more people slowly added to the crowd as they reached there from the various parts of the town. Feeling confused at this development, Lin Mu spread his spirit sense around and started scanning the crowd.
In a small surprise to him, he found the mute Ming brothers standing at the front of the crowd along with a few of the mercenaries they had taken with them. Not understanding what was happening he decided to go and talk with them.
Lin Mu waded through the crowd and reached the front of it, right where the mercenaries were standing. The people grunted and chided in displeasure at being moved around but didn’t do anything. Lin Mu didn’t pay them any mind either.
The Ming Brothers noticed him and felt a little surprised themselves. They poked a mercenary that was standing along with them to talk with Lin Mu. This mercenary evidently knew who Lin Mu was as he cupped his hands in greeting.
“Greetings Sir Lin Mu.” The mercenary greeted Lin Mu.
The other mercenaries too did the same thing upon seeing their companion do so. This turned into a wave of greetings that spread among the ten or so mercenaries that were present there.
There was no chance that the people standing in the crowd wouldn’t notice this, especially when they were standing in silence all this while. The people also heard the sounds of greetings and wondered if it was someone important that had appeared.
Knowing that this could turn problematic Lin Mu immediately gestured to the Ming brothers to silence the others. They having understood the implications of this, acted on it, and silenced the mercenaries.
Lin Mu then came forward and stood in front of them.
“What is happening here?” Lin Mu questioned.
“The High official is going to announce their decision to the crowd.” Said the mercenary who had been instructed by the Ming brothers.
“And what is this decision?” Lin Mu questioned, guessing about the possibilities.
The mercenary looked around and made sure that no one else was listening before speaking in a low voice.
“After meeting with us and also hearing the complaints of the commoners, the High officials have decided that they are going to launch a hunt for the beasts that have been attacking the people and also for the black-robed culprits.
Alarm bells rang in Lin Mu’s mind as he realized the implications of this. It would have been fine if this was done when he had not known about the ‘Invader’ but now it was a much more dangerous situation.
If the commoners were to find out about this incomplete information they may become too agitated and start looking for the culprits themselves perhaps. While this may actually end up suppressing the activities of the culprits, it could also just trigger them to do something that could be direr.
Lin Mu now knew that he would have to stop Hei Wan and inform her of the reality of the situation. Knowing that he perhaps didn’t have much time he turned to the mercenaries.
“Where are the high officials? Are they still in the town center or are they somewhere else?” Lin Mu questioned.
“Yes, they should be in the town center. Their carriage is still standing to the side, so this is most likely.” The mercenary answered.
Lin Mu rushed towards the entrance of the town center and was about to be stopped by the guards that were standing there. Not wanting to waste any time explaining to them, Lin Mu started chanting the severing heart sutra and targeted the two guards.
The effect of the chant was rather instantaneous as the eyes of the guards became dull and they entered a daze. With this done, Lin Mu easily entered the town center and looked around for Hei Wan.
He kept his spirit sense spread around so that he could find them as soon as they entered his range. Not sensing them on this floor, Lin Mu proceeded to the next. He already had an idea that she would most likely be in the office of the Town Head but didn’t want to make a mistake based on this assumption.
Lin Mu’s decision turned out to be for the better as he actually found Hei Bao right there on the second floor. The man also noticed him due to the spirit sense probe and looked at him. Seeing the tense expression on Lin Mu’s face Hei Bao instantly understood that a new development must have happened.
Guessing his thoughts, Hei Bao spoke.
“Leader is upstairs, let’s go.”
Lin Mu nodded and followed him upstairs. Now that he was with Hei Bao no one dared to stop him and he easily reached the top floor. Lin Mu saw Hei Wan exit the office and it looked like she was just about to go towards the balcony from where the announcements were made.
“Hei Wan wait!” Lin Mu shouted.
Hei Wan immediately turned to the source of the sound and saw Lin Mu coming towards her along with Hei Bao. She stopped in her tracks and waited for the two people to reach her.
“What happened?” Hei Wan questioned.
Hei Bao too focused on Lin Mu as he too wanted to know.
“We found Zhou Ye last night at the mercenary camp.” Lin Mu spoke.
A tense expression also appeared on the faces of the two people as they recognized the name.
“Let’s talk in the office.” Hei Wan suggested.
The trio walked into the office and then started talking. Lin Mu narrated the events of last night to Hei Wan and Hei Bao. He told them about the injured Zhou Ye and headless Ashen Cloak mercenary.
He told them about the ‘repulsive being’ that had risen from the corpse of the dead mercenary and how he knew what it was. Lin Mu then told them about the events of this morning and the story told by Zhou Ye.
After Lin Mu had finished talking, the two of them stood in silence for a bit before speaking.
“This ‘Thing’ that you saw, do you know what it is?” Hei Wan questioned first.
“Yes… It is an Invader.” Lin Mu answered in a grim tone.
The eyes of Hei Wan and Hei Bao went wide as they heard the word. It seemed as if they already knew what it meant or what it entailed.
“So, it is an Invader… ” Hei Bao repeated in ponder.
“You know what they are?” Lin Mu questioned.
“Yes, we do. This… is not the first time we’ve heard it either.” Hei Wan answered.
“What? Where have you heard it before?” Lin Mu asked.
Hei Wan let out a sigh and thought for a moment before speaking.
“Not many people are aware of the existence of the invaders. Perhaps at this moment, only the higher-ups of cultivation sects and some aristocrats know of their existence. Even we only know of this because or lord had once spoken to us about this.” Hei Wan replied.
“But if you know about the invaders then…” Lin Mu spoke and was interrupted.
“Yes, we know what they do. This is not the first time they have appeared.” Hei Bao spoke.
“Not the first time? They’ve appeared before?” Lin Mu questioned again.
“Indeed, while we don’t know the exact details of it we do know that they once appeared a long time ago. And also that when they appeared they brought with them immense destruction.” Hei Wan answered.
Lin Mu stayed silent after hearing her answer and pondered over it for a minute.
“Then I reckon you know what you should tell the people and what not?” Lin Mu asked.
Hei Wan nodded her head and spoke.
“Now I do. Thank you for rushing here and informing me, or this could have become a big disaster. I’ll keep the details to a minimum and change the search for the beasts to only a vigil. We will still search for the culprits though.
I’ve already asked for more reinforcements and they should be coming soon. So it will be fine if the culprits get agitated as well, we want them to do exactly that and reveal themselves.” Hei Wan explained.
“But are you sure that the reinforcements will be enough to handle them?” Lin Mu asked doubtfully.
Lin Mu didn’t think there would be much difference if more of the Hei Corps came. If anything it could actually end up causing a disadvantage to themselves.
“Yes, I’m sure of it. After all, this time there is a core condensation realm expert among the reinforcements.” Hei Wan replied with a little smile that was hidden by the veil.