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A secret meeting occured just an hour before the 'Ritual'.

Neither the king nor archduke Micheal were aware of it. Because the attendees weren't some wannabe terrorists or crony businessmen.

They were the four most influential people of the entire kingdom.

Duchess Serenthia of 'Sonya' faction.

Dukes Kriad and Corinthian of 'Rudolph' faction.

Duchess Seraphina of 'Merov' faction.

Since the beginning of the crown prince candidacy, they were competing against each other in open and dark, using every dirty trick in the book to gain an edge.

Their grudges, as old as a millennia and as new as a decade were common knowledge to any Spirited Palarian.

The popular perception was that unless the king himself ordered, the four wouldn't gather in a single place.

By sheer coincidence, if they did, it would end in a dispute. It usually would not get physical but even a verbal conflict between pillars of the kingdom had far reaching affects.

In the words of a retired diplomat:

'The kingdom would go extinct before they make up.'

The extinction seemed to have arrive today.

Not only was it was a clandestine meeting arranged with prior agreement but it's one made with the intention to cooperate.

"I'll be taking care of the King's side." The old woman with extremely heavy wrinkles, Duchess Seraphina said.

"Leave Miss Calamity to me." Duke Kriad raised his chin.

The gazes turned to Duchess Serenthia. A part of her mind was raging against her rationality, telling her to not take this step. But she exhaled lightly and said with killing intent. "I'll manage Micheal."

"Excellent!" Duke Corinthian clapped. "We'll be giving them proper concealment treasures. Let's compete fairly, hahaha."

His sarcastic words caused a chuckle in the usually solemn group. It was perhaps the only thing they all agreed upon.

*** *** *** *** ***

Trixy, a region under Archduke Micheal.

On paper, it's the most prosperous area with virtually negligible crime rate.

In reality, any crimes toward the 'spiritless' weren't counted as a crime. The entire non-working spiritless—children, elderly and patients—weren't even added into the population, thus pushing the wealth per capita.

It's a heaven for a spirited and hell for spiritless.

The biggest city of the region, Geulg, was the whole region put together into a single city and cranked up 10x.

The so-called 'successful' spiritless lived fine lives. Working hard in childhood to prepare themselves for a career, working hard in their adulthood to earn a livelihood until their death.

The mediocre ones? They were the labor that powered the system. Those who survived month to month.

The ones below, the spiritless who couldn't pay back the debts, recieved the worst treatment.

In the entrenched notion that 'Spiritless are failures', a failed spiritless was seen as the worst of the worst, a shame for the entire community.

Because they couldn't pay back the debts or committed crimes, they'd become 'public' workers, a fancy term for slaves, starting a hellish life.

Ironically, most of the ones who used these public workers and treated them harshly weren't the elite spirited, but their fellow spiritless who were more successful.

In an unawkened civilization, a situation like this would've sparked a revolution, ending in the toppling of the entire system.

But when the power in numbers got easily negated by few powerful individuals, Geulg continued on its trajectory without any instability.

The city promised to remain the simultaneous mix of hell and heaven.

There was just one problem.

Boom! Baaam!

Dum! Daaam!

Boom! Boom!

An elite township within the super city Geulg, spanning tens of thousands of homes, exploded into pieces.

Most of the spirited palarians living in the area, amounting to at least 100,000, died on the spot.

From the flames, ash and smoke, a few silhouttees shot out.

"For Equality!"

The three people team sought out the survivors at lightning speed and massacred them without mercy.

As the knife dug into the soft skin of young and wrinkled skin of the old, blood splurged into the air and splashed on the murderer's face.

"For Equality!"

The slogan of the group reverberated across hundreds of miles.

"Stop there!"

"You damn bugs!"

"I'll kill you all!"

The security forces that reached the site within minutes activated their powers to hit out at the terrorists.

The three team members gathered together and looked at the security forces with a smile. The group members wore only red skinsuit and a red, crying face mask.

That's why…the security forces didn't notice it until they stepped in.

"W-What is this? The land…"

"Retreat! Retreat right away!"

It was a bit too late.

Boom! Boom!

Bam! Bang!

The explosions engulfed the security officers, severely injuring the stronger ones and directly killing or crippling the rest.

Surprising the few daring people who quickly reached the site and were watching since a few minutes, even the attackers were also engulfed in the explosion and died an instant death.

Ten figures in red emerged out of nowhere, deliberately left a few survivors and headed closer into the city.

For the next thirty minutes, more than 300,000 lives were lost, all of them being Spirited.

Every terrorist spotted so far was dead but like ants of their nest, more and more just kept cropping up.

When the army moved to core areas of Geulg, the attacks shifted to the distant areas, taking out vulnerable spirited.

When this news reached Archduke Micheal, the old man felt his lungs explode in anger.

"Those sewer rats! How dare they?! Do they think they can get away because today is a special day?"

The Archduke's long beard swayed violently, caught up in the aura storm eminating from the old man.

"Rasal enclave was also attacked? Academy students died? The most talented geniuses of this century?"

The more he progressed, the quieter his voice got. Near the end, his jaw was clenched tight and he was shaking violently, as if he's about to explode.

"Those lowlives will pay!"

The Archduke smashed the communicator and bowed to the king. "Your Majesty, please forgive my impudence."

Without even waiting for a reply, the old man vanished.