Translator: AtlasStudios Editor: AtlasStudios
In the office of the private investigator.
“Sir, your request has been completed,” Detective Henry said to the gentleman in front of him with his hoarse voice. He heaved a sigh of relief. “This wasn’t an easy mission, nor was it too difficult, but it used up a great deal of our resources and energy. To be honest, I’m a little regretful. I regret setting too low a price for this mission.”
No, no matter what you say, I will not pay a single penny more! Klein emphasized in his heart. He pointed at the thick stack of documents on the coffee table and asked, “Is this the investigation report?”
“Yes.” Henry pressed on the report that had at least sixty pages and sighed. “This is the most troublesome report that I’ve completed…”
He hadn’t even finished his sentence when he saw Klein hand over four pounds in cash. His attention shifted to determining the authenticity of the notes.
“This is the remainder of the fees.” Klein held the thick stack of notes.
“You sure are a gentleman that keeps to his word. Sigh. I didn’t expect the investigation report to use this many pieces of paper. It was completely out of my budget.”
At that moment, Klein took the thick investigation report and stood up.
He gave a slight bow and immediately made his way to the door with his cane in hand.
Detective Henry’s last sentence was left stuck in his throat.
Hey, how can you expect me to pay for the paper used in the investigation report? That should be included in the fees already! Klein touched the five pounds eight soli he had left and muttered in his heart. He walked quickly onto Besik Street.
He surveyed the surroundings and confirmed that no one was paying attention to him before leaving the place. He found an opportunity to remove his mask.
Klein didn’t intend to head home right away. He wanted to search for a cafe and organize the investigation report. He wanted to find the houses that had a change in tenants after divining the red chimney. He could then conduct his search before dinner.
There were many cafes in the area, but none of them met Klein’s criteria. Ever since steam and machinery became the symbol of the times, more and more cafes had toned down on their decor and become something like cheap restaurants. They provided refreshments, coffee, bread, and dishes like pea and mutton stew to the busy workers. Thus, respectable ladies and gentlemen no longer went to cafes to discuss things. They no longer viewed these actions as being symbolic of their status. Various clubs started appearing and replaced cafes as a place for socializing.
After some time, Klein finally found a cafe that had a decent atmosphere.
He sat in a secluded corner and took a sip of his one-penny Southville Coffee before flipping open the investigation report.
“In Tingen City’s North Borough, South Borough, East Borough, West Borough, Golden Indus, Harbor Borough, and University Borough, there are a total of 1179 buildings that have a dark red chimney… Along the outskirts of Tingen City, there are a total of 546 buildings with the red chimney the requester described. This doesn’t include buildings in towns or villages that are relatively further away despite them falling under the jurisdiction of Tingen.”
“Below are the addresses and tenant records of each of those buildings. As per the request, the activities within the last three months are recorded in more detail.”
Klein flipped through page after page, occasionally making notes on paper he brought around with a fountain pen.
Finally, when he found the type of red chimney he had seen, he realized that there was a change of tenants in twenty-five buildings.
That’s not too many. I should try to finish my investigations within two days. After all, I’ve seen that red chimney and parts of the house in my dream. My spiritual sense would have a feeling of familiarity when I see those signs again. I’ll confirm the target that way. In other words, I’m a living investigation machine… Klein nodded. He split the buildings based on their location and planned to investigate fifteen of them that day.
He didn’t need to do a divination to get an answer if these investigations would prove dangerous.
Since there was a change of tenants, that would mean that the mastermind behind the coincidences had already left!
Let’s hope that the new tenants know what the previous tenants look like… But since the person behind the scenes can control my fate without anyone noticing, to the point of making the coincidences feel so natural, he would definitely have a way to remove any traces he might have left behind… Sigh, I can only pray to the Goddess and hope that he left behind some sort of clue… Klein sighed. He pumped himself up and put on his hat. He then grabbed his cane and the report before leaving the cafe.
Klein spent two soli on a rented carriage and visited fifteen buildings with the red chimneys before dinner. Unfortunately, none of the buildings was the one he saw in his dream.
It would be quite troublesome if tomorrow’s investigation yields the same result. He might still be living in the house with the red chimney even after I saw it in my divination. This could say that he is very confident and isn’t afraid of my investigation; in fact, he might not even be afraid of the Tingen Nighthawks. Or perhaps, he doesn’t know that he’s been exposed. That would mean that the power resisting my divination was a power not belonging to him… Klein stood in front of 2 Daffodil Street and analyzed the various possibilities.
A few minutes later, he patted down his tuxedo and pressed on his hat before taking out his key and entering the house with a smile.
He intended to prepare stewed mutton and honey glazed barbecue for Benson and Melissa that night.
At eleven in the evening, the siblings bade each other goodnight and returned to their respective rooms.
Klein closed the door to his room and stood before his desk. He looked outside the oriel window with the light of his gas lamp. At that moment, the streets were engulfed in darkness, with only a few street lamps illuminating the way. Stars dotted the screen that was the night sky. There were many stars, they were just not clearly visible.
“I wonder what Backlund is like, with its titles of the Land of Hope and the Capital of Capitals…” Klein muttered to himself. He extended his hand to grab his curtain, intending to draw it.
At that moment, a sinister wind blew at him without warning. The light from his lamp turned a dark green.
Klein subconsciously took a few steps back. His occupational instincts made him tap his left molars twice. At the same time, he leaned toward the bed and tried to reach for his revolver under his pillow.
In his vision, a face suddenly protruded from the wall above the desk and under the gas lamp. It was a translucent face without any eyes or nose. All it had was a mouth!
“Do not fire.” The face with a mouth spoke.
It can communicate? Klein already had his revolver in hand as he took aim.
“What do you want?” he asked in a deep voice.
The face chuckled.
Daly? Spirit Medium Daly? The Spirit Medium Daly who was sent to the Backlund diocese? Klein raised his brows in doubt.
“I know that this method of visiting you is a little rude. I should’ve given you a warning so you could make the necessary preparations. But it isn’t convenient for me to meet you right now, and so, I can only communicate with you using this little guy.” The translucent face laughed.
Even though the voice is different and jarring, the manner of speech is indeed Madam Daly’s style. The abilities of a Spirit Medium sure are cool… Klein reflected wistfully. He didn’t lower his revolver as he asked, “Madam, what do you want to talk about with me?”
“If I were you, I would first seal the bedroom with spirituality. Otherwise, your family members might think of you as crazy.” The translucent face quipped, “Heh heh, you need not be so cautious. I came back to Tingen in secret because of Dunn’s letter. You know that a Nighthawk cannot leave the area they are assigned to at will.”
“The Captain’s letter?” Klein didn’t approach the desk. Instead, he felt for the Holy Night Powder he had in the hidden pocket of his black windbreaker.
“Dunn and I are both Beyonders that started with the Tingen Nighthawks. We have always maintained a good relationship. Last Thursday, yes, Thursday, he sent me a letter and mentioned you. He said that you emulated the maxim of a Mystery Pryer, came up with a set of rules for a Seer, and claimed that it was effective in helping you grasp your potion. From then on, you no longer hear sounds and see visions that you shouldn’t. Dunn said that it was similar to what I did.
“Heh heh, are you not going to seal the room? I personally do not mind your brother and sister misunderstanding…” the translucent face said at an adequate pace.
So that’s the reason… She’s indeed Madam Daly… Klein heaved a sigh of relief, pushing the Holy Night Powder back into the inner pocket. He then walked to the desk and took out the silver dagger he used for rituals from the drawer.
He quickly built up a wall of spirituality before turning to the protruding face.
“Madam Daly, what else did the Captain talk about in the letter?”
“He only expressed his own confusion and said that he seemed to understand something — yet, he couldn’t describe it clearly. He hoped to get my opinion on the matter,” Daly said with the help of the face without eyes. “And when I read the letter this morning, I knew that you aren’t as clueless as you pretend to be. Heh heh, Mr. Moretti, I think that you have deduced the ‘acting method!'”
“That’s the reason you came looking for me?” Klein neither confirmed nor denied her statement.
Daly clearly knows about the “acting method”… He calmly made the judgment.
Daly’s translucent face revealed a slight smile.
“I believe that we should be honest with each other. I know that you have deduced the acting method, and you also know that I grasp the ‘acting method’ as well. Sigh. But what’s making me unhappy is that I used nearly two years to understand it — yet, you’ve only been a Beyonder for one and a half months.”
Klein fell silent for a while after hearing Daly. He then smiled honestly.
“That’s because I have you as my role model.”
He wanted to say that he was “standing on the shoulders of giants,” but ultimately decided not to give the Emperor Roselle a chance to appear in the conversation.