Translator: AtlasStudios Editor: AtlasStudios
2 Daffodil Street. Klein nodded at Azik and briskly walked to the door of his house, fished out his keys, and opened the door.
Melissa was already home, so she heard the click of the door lock and quickly came out of the kitchen and into the living room.
Upon seeing Klein, she said with eyes beaming with joy, “I bought groceries. There’s chicken, potatoes, onions, fish, turnips, and peas. I even bought a small jar of honey.”
Sis, are you also getting used to the occasional luxury? Klein chuckled.
“You’ll have to prepare dinner tonight. Count me out for I’ll be out of town. I might not return until dawn. Yea, I’m doing a favor for Mr. Azik, a teacher from the Khoy University’s Department of History.”
As he spoke, he turned sideways and pointed at the carriage that was waiting outside.
Melissa’s lips opened and closed twice, before she pursed them and said, “Alright.”
Klein bade his sister farewell and left. He got into the rented carriage that Azik had hired and traveled two hours and forty minutes to Lamud Town.
It was almost nine at that point. The sky was dark, and they could only rely on the crimson moonlight and the twinkling starlight that penetrated the clouds to illuminate the areas without street lamps.
After he instructed the driver to wait in town, Klein led Azik towards the ancient abandoned castle.
As they walked, he realized that Azik was walking faster, to the point of him having to break out into a small jog to keep up. In the end, it was Azik who led the way.
Klein wanted to say something initially, but cleverly swallowed his words when he saw Azik’s solemn expression and tightly pursed lips.
With such speed, they quickly arrived at the ancient castle.
The castle which was almost a wreckage extended itself in all four directions while its spire looked desolate, wild, eerie, and dark.
Azik looked at the ancient castle and slowed down his footsteps.
He stopped there and his gaze looked profound but lost, as though he was hovering between dreams and reality.
Suddenly, he groaned in pain, lifting his hand to pinch his forehead while his muscles looked distorted with agony.
“Mr. Azik, are you okay?” Klein asked carefully as he activated his Spirit Vision.
When they were onboard the hired carriage, making their way from Daffodil Street to Lamud Town, he had done a quick divination by flipping a coin to see if there would be any danger on their trip.
But he believed that divination wasn’t all-powerful, and he kept his guard up to prevent any misinterpretation on his part. Plus, Azik was quite mysterious. No one knew about his past, and it was uncertain how he would respond if he were to be stimulated by an encounter with his past. Caution and worry had accompanied Klein throughout the trip.
Azik didn’t reply immediately but took another two steps forward with a pained expression. He relaxed the hand that was holding his forehead. He then pointed forward with a dreamy tone.
“I’ve seen this ancient castle before in my dream.
“Back then, it was still complete with a robust outer wall and a high spire.
“I remember that there was a stable there, a water well there, and a barracks there. Over there was a garden that was used to plant potatoes and sweet potatoes…
“I remember there was a training field. My child, he was a boy. He was only about seven or eight years old, but he enjoyed running around while dragging a broadsword that was taller than him. He said that he wanted to become a knight when he grows up…
“My wife always complained about it being too gloomy in the castle. She liked the sunlight, the warmth…”
Klein looked at the color of his energy field, and what the man said made his scalp tingle. He was also slightly touched, as though he was experiencing a paranormal story himself.
The ancient castle is really related to Mr. Azik… Could he really be the first generation Baron Lamud, a transcendental creature that has lived for fourteen hundred years? Is he a human or an evil spirit? No way, there are no such things as evil spirits running around under broad daylight and getting involved with the Nighthawks… Klein couldn’t help with his thoughts and allowed them to clash against each other to ignite more ideas.
Just then, Azik stopped muttering and took huge strides through the main gate.
He walked all the way into the castle without Klein’s guidance. He found the hidden gear with obvious familiarity and opened the secret door to enter the basement.
Gripping his cane tightly, Klein followed behind Azik. They walked down along the stairs and returned to the place where there was a coffin.
Unlike the previous time, the coffin was closed and the warm and pure feeling was gone.
The coffin is closed… It must’ve been Frye. It’s his work ethic as a Corpse Collector…Klein nodded thoughtfully and watched the conflicted Azik walk in front of the coffin with his Spirit Vision.
Azik extended his hands to push the coffin lid until there was a gap.
He gazed at the skeleton without a skull for a long time, and he suddenly wailed in pain and sorrow.
Azik lurched backwards with heavy footsteps. He staggered and fell against the wall before Klein managed to respond.
He covered his face with his hands and sat there dispirited. The surroundings suddenly became even darker.
Klein quickened his pace and extended his hands, but he retracted them again, not daring to disturb the man.
Just then, his spiritual perception told him that the current Mr. Azik was very scary, so scary that the basement grew gloomy and terrifying.
Klein slowly moved closer to the stairs.
He trusted Mr. Azik’s character, but he was afraid that the man would lose control.
In such an uneasy situation, he waited for a few more minutes. Then, he finally saw Azik lower his hands and stand up slowly.
Mr. Azik seems to have changed… This is what my spiritual perception tell me… But in my Spirit Vision, his aura colors don’t have any obvious changes. His emotions are in low spirits, depressed and pained as before… Klein made a quick judgment and felt that Azik had become gloomier and more imposing.
“I recalled something, but it’s very minor.” Azik spoke with an emotionless tone.
Then, he looked around and said,
“I sense the power that made your fate disharmonious.”
“Huh?” Klein was stunned. Pleasantly surprised, he asked in reply, “Can you trace the source?”
The person behind the scene who stayed in the red chimney house created coincidences in secret and came to Lamud’s ancient castle to take away the black armored knight’s head?
What is he trying to do? What is his true intention?
“It’s been too long, but, I’d like to try.” There seemed to be a volcano that was close to erupting within Azik’s deep voice.
“How?” Klein asked curiously.
Azik walked before the coffin and gazed upon the skeleton inside it.
“He took my child’s skull. I want to find him through a blood connection.”
Your child? Mr. Azik, are you sure the black armored knight is your child? So you really are an antique… You really lost your memory after such a long time? This is the price you have to pay in order to obtain such longevity? Klein took a silent breath, feeling the odd sensation of interacting with a legendary creature.
Then, Azik extended his right hand and suddenly cut his index finger with his thumbnail.
A drop of fresh red blood accurately dripped onto the white skeleton.
It quickly seeped into the skeleton, and the entire skeleton suddenly turned blood-red.
Wah! Wah! Wah! Klein suddenly heard the sound of a baby crying and felt that there was someone staring at him from behind.
He drew his revolver and pointed behind him before turning around slowly. However, there was nothing in sight. Nothing existed behind him.
Even the stairway that connected to the ground floor was gone!
The sound of a baby crying drilled into Klein’s ears, and when he looked towards the coffin again, he was shocked to see that there were many shapeless and distorted faces rising amidst billowing black fog. Then, they manifested a strange door.
The illusory door opened and palish-white arms extended out, one after another, but they vanished into the black fog before Azik.
Through the crack that the door opened, Klein saw a white skull. It was thrown underneath a brown tree and reduced to powder as a result of the elements.
Countless palish-white arms were sliced off by the door that suddenly slammed shut as they fell onto the ground.
Then, Klein heard a long sigh, Mr. Azik’s heavy sigh, a sigh that seemed to have a rich history behind it.
Along with the sigh, the black fog dispersed and the sound of a baby crying ceased. Everything returned to its original state, except for the accentuated chill.
Klein clenched his chattering teeth and looked into the coffin. He saw that the red skeleton had returned to its original, crystal-clear white.
“I’m sorry. I couldn’t find him…” Azik said in a deep voice, his back to Klein.
At the same time, he closed the coffin.
“It’s not surprising that we couldn’t find him. It would’ve been a surprise if we could,” Klein comforted him.
Anyway, I’ve been disappointed many times regarding this matter… he added in his head.
Azik took another glance at the coffin before him. He turned around slowly and said, “I’ll continue investigating and I hope that I can have your assistance.”
“No problem. This is exactly what I wanted to do.” Klein held back his urge to tell Azik about the red chimney.
Because it was useless to bring it up. He could only rely on himself to confirm his target.
However, that solved one of his major problems, which was how he should involve the Nighthawks after he found the red chimney house. He didn’t believe that he could take out such a mysterious and scary puppet master alone.
Now, he could ask for Mr. Azik’s help!
Azik widened his mouth, but didn’t say anything in the end. All he did was sigh and walk towards the stairway quietly.
After leaving the basement and closing the secret door, the two of them walked along the road covered with weeds and brambles. Neither one of them spoke as they walked back from the abandoned ancient castle.
In the dark night, Azik suddenly said,
“Until this matter is resolved, I will quit my job and leave Tingen, to look for my lost past.”
“Mr. Azik, did you find out what happened to you?” Klein asked, having failed to hide his curiosity.