Chapter 316: One of Our Own

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Joseph was practically dumbfounded.


Despite his many years fighting battles on the front lines and experiencing fine margins of life and deaths as well as having gone through the vicissitudes of life, seeing a Supreme-rank being with a physical lack of a brain still caused his mind to go blank for a moment.

This... simply didn't make any sense!


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When Raziel pulled his finger from his ‘skull cavity’ and laughed, the entire scene was an absurd, bizarre, and almost comical one.


But it didn’t elicit any laughter, just complete silence.


There was a singular expression on the faces of all present: a mix of horror and befuddlement.


Because they had all come to realize a simple fact.


If Raziel’s head was empty, by common logic, he was supposed to be dead.

Though Raziel was a Supreme-rank transcendent being, and the organ augmented most by aether for scholars was the brain (or in other words, the perk of scholars was the power of their brains), so there was no way the main body could have survived after such a vital organ was ‘destroyed’ to such an extent!


Who, then, was speaking and laughing with them at this very moment?


The ghost of Raziel? An apparition?


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Evidently not.


Joseph had come across such undead lifeforms before, with their bodies made out of pure energy. Yet Raziel standing before them was clearly in his own body and there wasn’t any external spillover of power that he could detect.


He was literally talking to everyone without a brain, yet viewed it as if it was absolutely normal.


Could it just be his flesh, an empty shell with a consciousness of its own that is now thinking and speaking with us?


This absurd idea struck Joseph.


Or perhaps... Just as he said, Boss Lin has already done a reverse mind control on him. Moreover, it's not like Ymir, no, Raziel said he saw through and nullified it.


Perhaps contrary to that, Raziel's thoughts had already been manipulated by Boss Lin at that time. By the time he had the notion that 'having no brains means that he can't be controlled,' he had probably already lost his sense of self.


But he hadn't seen it and even reckoned that this was a logical option and blew his own brains out.


Now, this fellow standing before us is nothing but a puppet subjected to Boss Lin's will!

Joseph had a flash of realization and felt like he had grasped the truth.


However, deep down, he couldn't be one hundred percent certain.

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The one in front was a true Supreme-rank, at a level where Joseph had yet to set foot in. And those thoughts that Joseph had were mere guesses... What if that seemingly absurd method could truly negate mind control?


However, if this speculation was correct, it would explain why Raziel hadn't come after them straight away and buried these bunch that had discovered the hidden secret in Machine Loop but was instead choosing to talk to them.


Joseph decided to test the waters first.


Maintaining his combat stance, he asked, "You mentioned that... the 'Clay Idol' Project was something that interested you as an academic, but now it no longer does?"

The morbid smile faded from Raziel's face. He shrugged, resuming his normal studious demeanor and sighed. "Of course not."


"But you've replicated at least a hundred T-1383s here," Hood interjected.


"That shows how much work and effort I once put in," Raziel said. "But I feel that this project no longer needs to go on and I don't want to put any more into it."

Andrew was taken aback. "No longer needs to go on...?"

The 'Clay Idol' Project was still ongoing, and although the stolen specimens were causing several huge setbacks to the project at the time, it could still be restarted.


"The truly perfect homunculus has already appeared and the rest of the experiment is optional. I just wanted to prove that the project was feasible, and now that the results are in, there's no need to continue the process," Raziel answered in a somewhat cryptic manner.


"Truly perfect homunculus?"


Andrew instantly thought of Mu'en, the bookstore assistant.

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"That's right, every inch of the perfect homunculus' body possesses absolute aetheric affinity. The untempered physical strength of a Pandemonium-rank knight, and most importantly... she possesses intelligence! Intelligence not inferior to a human!"


Raziel continued on enthusiastically, "And she was created by me from the start! It was I who gave her everything; intelligence, the body, and that perfect grade philosopher's stone that supplemented her foundations!"


Andrew's eyes widened.


Wait, that... philosopher's stone? That philosopher's stone refined out from Jerome; the philosopher's stone that was eventually given to Boss Lin! It was all Raziel's move!

Given what Raziel had just said, everything that happened suddenly became clear.


As a member of the Path of the Flaming Sword, Raziel originally had ill intentions toward Boss Lin but was manipulated in reverse and killed the traitor Jerome who had been supposed to take refuge. He had refined the philosopher's stone that was given to Boss Lin for supplementing Mu'en.


Everything was entirely devised by Boss Lin!


"Oh?" Raziel noticed Andrew's expression and thus smiled. "You've probably understood as well, right?"


I do get it. You're one of us... You should've said so earlier... Andrew nodded subtly.

Joseph eyed Andrew suspiciously.


This old fellow... How has he understood? Understand what?!


With a satisfied look, Raziel said, "Since you understand, then you should probably know what I'm going to do next, don't you?"

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His face had hints of strange expectation.


As the profound realization came over him, Andrew, who had figured it all out, suddenly knew why this Supreme-rank scholar lacking a brain had posed such a question.


He's actually lost the ability to think for himself. While he still retains his consciousness, he isn't able to think nor decide about something.... So he's waiting for instructions from 'one of our own.'


—Joseph mustn't be allowed to understand! This might be the only chance to completely control the Truth Union!


This notion flashed across Andrew's mind and he made a quick decision. "You are going to send out all those people that pose a threat, to prevent anything going wrong."


Raziel nodded haughtily. "Indeed."


Before Joseph could react, he saw runes light up in a ring all around them.


In the next moment, the sights of a familiar walkway greeted him, along with various personnel that were moving about.


Joseph had barely gained his bearings when he heard someone call out in surprise, "Chief Joseph, what are you doing here?!"


Raziel had sent him directly back to Secret Rite Tower!

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