It has been almost a month since Hood had been to the bookstore and gifted Lin Jie Dark Ages, Rise & Fall of Alfords which he had gotten from the Truth Union's depository.
However, that bizarre night still remained fresh in his mind.
That had been a night that changed his life. From seeing the gleam of his blade up till the point where he got a direct insight into that man's soul.
What Hood felt during that experience was difficult to describe. It was as if the misty veil shrouding the entire world had, at that moment, been suddenly lifted.
All was revealed; everything of the past had become crude and false. And from then on, the truth was only what lay before him.
As such, with his eyes wide open, he looked up and gazed at that man.
A clear notion was imprinted into his mind.
—This was an existence he had to follow and place his faith in. This was his God and Lord.
Ever since he had directly observed the bookstore owner's soul, Hood was certain that his own soul had been tainted and completely transfigured into something he couldn't decipher himself.
At the same time, the anomaly to his soul had rapidly spread to his flesh and body concurrently, causing a third eye to grow on his glabella… From a certain angle, Hood now felt he had turned into a monster and could no longer consider himself a human.
However, this did not stop him from believing it was a gift from the divine. It was simply the price he had to pay for great power.
He called this third eye the 'All-knowing Eye,' to represent the favor bestowed on him by this great god.
With this eye, Hood was able to instantly gain insight to the thoughts of others and could even control another's mind with just eye contact alone.
Hood knew what he had to do. His Lord had granted him this power so that he could further spread ‘His’ name, allowing more to believe in ‘His’ wisdom!
As such, Hood could not fail his Lord’s expectations, and at the same time, it was his own belief as well!
Believing the Truth is an aberration, only having faith in Wisdom is absolute!
As a member of the Truth Union and President Maria’s nephew, Hood needed to correct this colossal mistake!
The scholars of the Truth Union had all been walking on a misguided path. And now, the Lord shall save them from their quagmire!
Therefore, even though Boss Lin hadn't provided any further instructions, Hood’s 'Wisdom-Seekers'—the group of young 'Truth-Seekers' had since renamed themselves after the trip to the bookstore—had been expanding.
Of course, in Hood's opinion, the Lord's inaction was also wisdom.
This was clearly a test of his ability and awareness.
If he needed to be hand-held all the time, the Lord could just do it himself, and would there even be any use for Hood?
The Lord's objective must surely be to train him with practical experience, allowing him to gradually grasp and master his newly obtained soul, body, and powers.
And once he had become much stronger, he would then be chosen to become the Lord’s right-hand man.
The Lord needs no deadweight!
Hood didn’t dare to slack off, largely because an organization named 'Corpse Devouring Sect' had recently emerged and were becoming prominent among criminal organizations in Norzin—Most transcendental criminal organizations in Norzin were on the bounty list of the Truth Union.
It was unclear how many members the 'Corpse Devouring Sect' currently had, but it was known that there were four rather lively mask-wearing superiors who had participated in Blood Feast in the past.
There was also a leader who rarely made appearances and also doubled up as the priest of 'Corpse Devouring Sect.'
He was usually spotted in a suit, wearing a black iron mask, and having a large 'dog.'
According to various information reports, the leader of this group was indeed the Destructive-rank black magician, 'Faceless Black Scale' Wilde!
Their methods of choosing inductees was uniquely simple and cruel—forcing ones they chose to read their holy scripture: Corpse Devouring Sect, Rites & Ceremonies.
And there were only two outcomes in store for those that saw this scripture.
The first was that the reader would instantly suffer from psychosis and die, usually from an imploded cranium. Sometimes, incessant malignant mutation would accompany this.
In the second scenario, readers would find themselves drowned in an overwhelming amount of forbidden knowledge and, as such, obtain great power. Concurrently, their personalities would also seem to change completely as they became utterly devoted fanatics of the 'Corpse Devouring Sect.'
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With such an effective selection process, the 'Corpse Devouring Sect' could be simply considered the worst of the worst.
Reading it meant insanity and death, or becoming a loyal follower.
The strength of it was truly unbelievable.
Yet, precisely because of this selection process, the scale of operation for the 'Corpse Devouring Sect' was still relatively small and didn't attract a whole lot of attention. This led many to doubt their existence.
Of course, there were also crazed fellows who would willingly seek them out to be 'selected,' hoping to prove the tenacity of their spiritual will.
Most of these people harbored hopes they could get in via a fluke and then free ride on the Corpse Devouring Sect's strength.
The results, though, were self-evident…
Some said that Wilde was a ghost returning from hell and it was all an act of revenge against Joseph and Secret Rite Tower for his downfall two years ago, while 'Corpse Devouring Sect' was all just a facade.
However, the true reason couldn’t be any less coherent to Hood.
Wilde was just helping his Lord spread ‘His’ faith.
Because this mighty black magician was a patron of the bookstore!
Corpse Devouring Sect had only started to spread extensively after Wilde had brought his four unknown entourage to visit Boss Lin!
Hood was certain that Wilde was also working for the bookstore owner—Corpse Devouring Sect was Lin Jie’s will!
This also meant that Wilde's alleged 'Corpse Devouring Sect' and Hood's ‘Wisdom-Seekers’ had similar origins!
Hence, Hood was now further assured—his Lord definitely had been observing him the entire time.
Even though it had never been mentioned explicitly, the Lord had set up a rival for him without his knowledge.
He definitely would’ve felt embarrassed now if he had slacked off previously.
The both of them were the bookstore owner's lackeys, and both had set up a group around the same time. The incompetent party would become the laughingstock among the two.
This is the Lord's inaction, truly great wisdom without saying a thing! Competition is the greatest motivator!
Hood was thoroughly impressed by the bookstore owner's wisdom.
At the same time, he also felt nervous and worried.
This really is nerve-wrecking… Wilde has Destructive-rank ability after all. He also has quite the reputation and can easily gather people. Even if the Corpse Devouring Sect only just started to move, they’ll soon be swarming with believers giving that crushing might.
Me on the other hand? As the nephew of the President of the Truth Union, people wouldn't voluntarily respect me even if they don't dare to offend me. My 'Wisdom-Seekers’ has only been formed recently, and I haven't even publicized it yet...
The Truth Union's structure is too complex and I don’t have that much power...
Upon hearing about Jerome’s inexplicable sudden death, the troubled Hood decided to head to the scene to look around.
En route there, amongst all the hurrying scholars, he couldn't help thinking, If I want to truly convert the Truth Union into the base of operations for the 'Wisdom-Seekers,' I will require someone comparable to Wilde. Someone with the same appeal, power, and leadership.
Just then, through the crowd of people, he made eye contact with Andrew, who appeared to be on a call.