I wanted to return to the mansion without bringing this fox girl with me, but she had insisted that she follow me to meet my other disciples.
At least she agreed to never reveal what happened with the Dark Sect so I don't need to alter her memories for that.
Where she had initially doubted everything I had said before, she now just nods along and believes everything I say.
She didn't even question me when I told her that I'm actually a Master at Heaven Sect and I'm only here for vacation, opting to just nod her head and smile at me.
Can a person just switch her thinking so easily?
Ah, maybe she got a little traumatised by the giant tentacle monster and she's using me as an anchor to maintain her sanity.
Since I'm already used to monsters like that thing, I forget that no one else on this Plane should have even heard of such monsters before.
Dragons are already considered legendary creatures on this Plane, so Great Ones should be beyond the scope of their imagination.
With that in mind, I suppose I should be impressed that she's still functioning properly instead of being utterly mindbroken by its presence.
Even that Dark Sect Practitioner managed to maintain his cognitive functions while bleeding out from his eyes, ears and nose, proof that he should be some big shot within the Dark Sect and a rather powerful Practitioner too.
Heck, I remember my first time standing in that thing's presence, pretty sure I was unconscious for at least a month while being plague with nightmares. Then again I'm not entirely sure if I was dreaming at that point of time. The Realm they inhabit is quite trippy.
And when I say 'month', it's a really rough estimate since there isn't really a way to tell the time when you're shrouded in complete darkness without a way to tell the time.
Guess I'm minding it less on taking this girl as my disciple now, she should be quite a talent herself.
And I finally got to know her name as Kiyomi while she already settled into calling me as her Master like it was a natural thing. Funny how things turned out this way.
I had thought this was the only surprise I was getting today but
I returned to the mansion only to see it completely engulfed in flames.
Like The entire building was on fire and my disciples, my sisters and the servants were just standing outside and watching it burn itself into the ground.
"Can someone explain?" I called out from behind, confused on why everyone was just watching their home burn instead of doing something about it.
""""We can explain!""""
I winced from the volume of their shouts.
"Ara ara? Is that you Kiyomi? What are you doing here?" Manami's voice cut through everyone else's.
The fox beside me stiffened, turning her gaze towards my other nine tailed fox disciple, "El Elder sister?"
What? So they were sisters after all? Didn't she say they were twins? Ah Fraternal twins, is that it?
"Ufufufu~ The way your tails were swaying just now Could it be?"
Kiyomi poked her fingers together, "Umm Yes Is he..."
"Ufufufu~ My Master? Yes. It seems we really can't escape our fate of sharing could we?"
I raised my hands, "Ok, first up. You two are sisters. That's fine and we'll talk about that later. Now the more important thing, why is our house on fire? Just one of you tell me, please."
All of them turned towards Elaria.
She smiled at me sheepishly, "Umm Cleansing?"
I raised an eyebrow, "Cleansing? From what?"
"Two parasites," Odriana answered with a hint of glee.
Two parasites? Wait They can't mean those two right?
"It's exactly who you think it is, Onii-sama!" Elaria huffed. "Those two have been corrupted by a dark force! They wanted to massacre the entire town for some dark god or something!"
Ok I know about the massacre part, but the dark god thing is news to me. How did she even You know what? I don't think I want to know.
But did they really have to burn the entire house down though?
As though reading my thoughts, Lian Li continued, "Since the house was contaminated by such filt-- dark beings, we can't be too careful! So we burned everything to make sure none of that corruption has a possibility to spread!"
Right I did teach them to be as thorough as possible I suppose Can't fault them for that.
But to think elder brother and father were involved in some dark god cult alongside the Dark Sect, I knew they weren't the real masterminds behind this.
I noticed someone missing, "What about Fred?"
Odriana shook her head sadly, "He was also one of them. We had no choice but to put him down."
"Ok So did you find out who was responsible for corrupting them?" I asked.
All of them stopped moving and stared at me.
I frowned, "Wait Did you girls just choose to set fire to the house without even restraining them in some way beforehand?"
That can't be it right? They were just talking about being thorough too.
Elaria poked her fingers together, "Umm We didn't see a need to restrain them?"
I face palmed. This is the typical 'Villain conveniently leaving the place and assume the killing method achieves its purpose, allowing said person to escape from right under their nose' scenario.
"Let me guess There's an escape route that these two know of but you girls don't?"
Elaria huffed, "That can't be Onii-sama! This entire building was built by our own builders! They couldn't have escaped that!"
I snapped my fingers, instantly dousing the flames to reveal a mass of burnt debris before me. With another wave of my hand, the debris were all levitated into the air, granting us an unobstructed view of a steel trap door buried halfway into the ground.
The passageway that led to Elaria's workshop was on the other side of that trap door.
"Er Whoops?" Elaria muttered sheepishly.
I sighed, letting the debris drop back to the ground, "Nevermind, this can be a problem for another day. I don't want to deal with two more Ah nevermind. What I want to know is, what do we do now without a house?"
Diao Chan raised her hand slowly, "Ummm Master? A million apologies for keeping this from you But Heaven Sect sent a message to us yesterday that they've already repaired your courtyard."
That was fast. I expected at least another month or so.
I raised my eyebrow at her, "And you tell me this now because?"
"Ummm Could I get a little spanking for the late news?"
This girl is beyond saving.
I guess it's back to the Sect again.
Oh wait, there's still the performance tomorrow, so I guess we'll only actually leave in the late afternoon. But seriously, they're expecting me to memorise and practice the second half of the script to perfection in a single morning?
I'd think if it was anyone else, they definitely wouldn't be able to do it.
"What about you guys?" I asked, looking pointedly at my sisters and the servants.
"Oh, we'll remain in town for now. We discovered some things we need to Expedite on," Odriana explained helpfully.
"I'll definitely rush back to your side after we are done, Onii-sama! Please wait for your imouto!" Elaria added.
Not exactly sure if I am looking forward to either of that happening But at least I get some semblance of my normal life back I suppose.
This whole entire thing was the exact opposite of what I had thought a vacation was going to be anyway.
First thing I'm going to do is sleep in my own bed for a week.
Ah crap, I can't do that anymore can I?
Well At least I have my disciples to comfort me
Gonna fluff Manami's tails lots later.
(Dailus POV) [The Elder brother]
I followed father through the winding tunnels that the hooded stranger had prepared for us in case of such an emergency.
I can't believe that detestable guy managed to corrupt her to this extent.
She chose to side with him, an outsider, over her own flesh and blood!
How could such a thing even be possible?!
Everyone knows your own blood relatives come first!
To think she would set fire to the mansion just to try and get rid of us, all because we set a bounty on that guy? She truly has been led astray.
Just you wait, when we get inducted to the Dark Sect, we'll grow our power and come back to take what is rightfully ours!
"Up here, Dailus," Father called out, climbing up a ladder that led to a trap door.
I followed my father up the ladder, finding ourselves in a dimly lit shack that was devoid of any furniture except for a chair in the middle of the room.
A chair that was currently being occupied by the hooded person that had approached us before.
"Ah, greetings Dark One, " My father bowed respectfully. "I'm afraid we have met with some complications on our side"
"I can see that," a disembodied voice answered him from underneath that hood. "All I told you was to keep the damn Orcs and Dark Sect supplied. Why did you have to issue a bounty on him?"
"He was a threat, as you could see," My father explained.
"You have touched the reverse scale of the dragon And because of that, everything we have done here has been for naught," the hooded one spat at us.
Tch Just because this person is someone important in some dark cult they think we are beneath them? We are still of a noble House you know? It's an honour for you we are even giving you that little respect!
Aren't you also acting as the Dark Sect's lackey? That's why you came to us to get supplies from them right?
Father rubbed his hands together, "Well, I'm sure we can recoup these losses after we--"
"A pawn that does not move as commanded is useless," the figure interrupted, standing up from the chair.
I bristled at that comment, "Hey! We're not your damn pawns! By right you should be grovelling at our feet! Feel thankful that we're even giving you this much face!"
The hooded person chuckled, "Really? Well I'll indulge you then. Both of you can give me all the faces you want."
That person raised his arm towards us before the room seemed to become darker.
Black smoke appeared from beneath my father's feet, covering him up in a manner of seconds.
There was an agonised scream before it was abruptly cut off, replaced with the sound of muted gargles and moans.
I took a step back in fear.
The smoke rescinded and at where my father had been, a monster that looked like a mass of flesh with multiple eyes, ears, mouth and noses scattered around on its surface. That monster didn't even have any feet, shuffling along the floor like a slime.
"Enough faces to go by, hmmm?" That person chuckled.
Right before my eyes, the mass of flesh shifted again, compacting themself and melding together like liquid before it transformed into a figure resembling father. The only difference was that his eyes seemed to lack the lustre of someone alive.
Another second passed and that monster's face shifted from father's to mine, then to Elaria's and Odriana's before shifting back to father's face.
"Yes, it's better this way. I should have just done this from the start," the hooded person nodded before turning to me.
My pants were wet now.
"Mer Mercy" I pleaded.
"Mercy? For some idiots who ruined everything for me? I think not. I told you I have no need for pawns who do their own things."
I turned towards the trapdoor to escape, but before I could even take a step towards it, the same smoke enveloped me brom beneath my feet.
The last thing I heard was the person thinking aloud, "Now How should I use these two to get to him?"