Translator: AtlasStudios Editor: AtlasStudios
“No, we are not…” Klein didn’t have the chance to retort before Benson interrupted with a smile. “Although Elizabeth is indeed a little young and her family is much more outstanding than ours, I find the two of you quite suitable for each other. But you might have to wait a few more years. She is still studying at a public school and wants to enter university. Marriage should be something to consider only six to seven years later. Of course, you can get engaged sooner than that.”
… Can you guys not think that far ahead? Klein took in a deep breath.
“I do not fancy Elizabeth, or, well, more accurately, I do not fancy a girl who is younger than me by too much. I prefer girls who are more mature.”
Truthfully, I can accept anyone within a reasonable age gap, just not now… He added inwardly in exasperation.
“You like girls who are more mature?” Melissa knitted her brows. “Then you should quickly settle the issue regarding your marriage.”
Ah? Klein couldn’t understand his sister’s leap in logic. He asked in confusion, “Why?”
Melissa explained seriously, “You will be about 25 when you finish saving up for your marriage. Girls that are more mature than you will either be married or engaged when they reach that age. Do you want to chase after a widow?”
What the… Klein thought to himself in Mandarin as he wore a blank expression.
Benson smiled and refuted his sister, “Melissa, you don’t understand. In this day and age, it isn’t rare to see women in their thirties who isn’t married or engaged within the middle class. They are mostly followers of the Goddess, and all have the ability to provide for themselves. They would rather be single than stuck in a marriage that they are not satisfied with. Yes, that’s what I read from the ‘Family’ magazine.”
“Is that so?” Melissa was a sixteen-year-old girl after all. She didn’t have a great understanding concerning matters like this.
Upon seeing his siblings getting roused up from the conversation, Klein coughed and said, “What I meant by mature is their mental state. They don’t need to be older than me. Furthermore, the person that should be worried about their marriage is Benson.”
I’m sorry, Brother, I had no choice… he apologized in his heart.
“…” Melissa froze for a moment, then nodded heavily. “That’s right!”
Benson was just about to elaborate on the marital problems of the middle class when he suddenly shivered. He looked at his sister who was staring at him and said, “I am now at the cusp of a turning point in my life. I have to devote all my attention to studying. I will only be confident of chasing after my desired girl when I have found a job that I’m satisfied with and have a reasonable amount of savings. Only then will I be able to provide her with a good life.”
Klein and Melissa froze, then asked in unison, “You have a girl that you fancy?”
Benson, who had merely given a perfunctory reply, was shocked. He shook his head in a hurry.
“No! I was merely giving an example!”
In a dark, gloomy house of Backlund, Hillston Borough.
A middle-aged man with graying hair sat silently on a rocking chair in front of an unlit fireplace with a dark colored pipe in his hand. He looked at the guest on the sofa.
He was the master of this building, Isengard Stanton, a private detective with notable fame. But he didn’t set up an office, merely hiring assistants to assist him.
Isengard, who was dressed in a white shirt and black vest, brought the pipe to his lips and inhaled in an intoxicated manner before slowing exhaling.
“The fee for a thirty minute consultation is one pound. If I were you, I would definitely not waste a second.”
The two ladies on the sofa across from him were Fors Wall and Xio Derecha. They had found materials relating to Rear Admiral Hurricane Qilangos and wanted to ask this detective to consolidate the habits and actions of their target.
Of course, they had removed Qilangos’s name and changed the description regarding supernatural incidents.
Xio Derecha handed the folder containing the documents to Isengard’s assistant, a browned-haired young man wearing gold-framed spectacles.
“Mr. Detective, I hope that you can find habits in the target’s actions using the material we have provided.”
Even though she wasn’t tall, Xio Derecha had an air of authority when she sat straight and spoke with a deep voice.
Isengard stared at her and received the docket from his assistant. He opened the folder and took out the material within.
He set down his pipe and focused on reading page after page without missing a single one.
Ten minutes later, this gentleman slowly tapped on the handle.
“The target has an obsession with the wind… He won’t stay for long in a polluted area in Backlund, the Capital of Dust. In other words, he could be staying at the Empress Borough, West Borough, Hillston Borough, Cherwood Borough, or the suburbs of the North Borough…
“The target is a psychotic serial killer with the need to kill someone every other day… The most logical thing he could do is to target the vagrants that have nowhere to go. Even the police have no records of the exact number of vagrants in Backlund…
“The target wouldn’t be living in an area too near or too far from North Borough or Backlund Bridge, which have the highest concentration of vagrants… It would be the act of someone unsophisticated to search for victims that are too close to him. That isn’t consistent with your descriptions… If the target has to spend a large amount of time before he can find someone to murder, then he might lose control of his desires and commit crimes that would easily expose himself…
“The target is an experienced sailor and has exceptional mobility in the water… A reasonable deduction would be that he wouldn’t be living somewhere too far away from the water. If anything unexpected happens, that would be his best means of escape…”
“In summary, we can outline the possible radius of activity for the target. He should be living somewhere close to the Backlund Bridge area. Perhaps somewhere close to both banks of the Tussock River—the West Borough or the Cherwood Borough…”
“I can only deduce this from the materials that you have given me.”
Even though they didn’t understand all of it, his deductions seemed to make sense. Xio and Fors looked at each other and nodded. They took back their materials and stood up to leave.
Seeing his assistant send off the two ladies, Isengard took out a bronze item from his vest pocket. It was an open paperback book. In the middle of the book was a vertical eye.
Isengard rocked his chair, rubbing the item while softly muttering to himself, “Qilangos has infiltrated Backlund?”
In a particular basement of Pritz Harbor.
The Hanged Man Alger sat in a chair, looking coldly at a struggling man.
This man was dressed like a sailor. His head was enveloped by a film of pale-blue water and his face was purple from holding his breath.
He was scratching at the film on his face with both hands, but all he could do was flick droplets of liquid.
Finally, he could no longer hold his breath and gave a signal of submission.
Alger smiled, then nonchalantly clapped his hands.
The thin film of water dispersed, turning into droplets that fell to the ground.
The sailor took in a deep breath and coughed violently. He coughed so hard that it tugged at his heart and lungs.
After waiting for the man to recover, Alger leaned back. He emulated the peaceful and calm tone of The Fool.
“Tell me the reason why Qilangos went to Backlund.”
“H-he’s there to complete a commission, but I’m not sure about the details.” The pirate had completely lost the will to resist. He answered honestly, “All I know is that he might receive something that he wants. Qilangos once boasted in front of us. He said that if this mission was a success, he would be able to obtain something he’s dreamed of getting for a long time. The Four Pirate Kings would then become the Five Pirate Kings.”
An object he’s been dreaming of obtaining? Alger knitted his brows and slipped into deep thought.
Klein didn’t rest on Monday morning. He followed his plan and continued his investigation on the buildings with red chimneys in Tingen.
Unfortunately, he didn’t come across his target.
He returned home near noon. He heated up the leftovers from yesterday’s dinner and paired them with bread before taking an hour’s nap.
At about twenty minutes to three in the afternoon, Klein put his book down and sealed his room with a wall of spirituality, once again entering the mysterious world above the gray fog.
He sat at the seat of honor at the ancient bronze table, extending his hand toward the crimson star representing Sun while ignoring the frequency of his heartbeats.
In the City of Silver.
Derrick Berg was sweating on the practice grounds. His vision suddenly blurred as a heavy fog entered his view. He saw The Fool sitting high above, deep within the fog.
He froze, then stopped whatever he was doing and bowed his head.
When the illusion vanished, he counted his heartbeats silently and carried his silver sword to a rest area quickly.
A thousand heartbeats later, he locked himself in a bathroom.
After about ten breaths, he saw the red light swell over him and swallow him in an instant.
Above the gray fog, Klein leaned back into his chair and tapped his left molar twice to stealthily activate his Spirit Vision.
He saw that the mottled color deep within The Sun’s Ether Body had turned pure, akin to the light of dawn. He smiled and said, “Congratulations, Mr. Bard.”
At the same time, he saw the stars behind The Sun’s chair shift quickly, turning into the symbol of the Sun.
It transformed without my will, as if it was a reflection of the Sun. Also, other than the palace, table, and chairs, the items that I conjure cannot be preserved once I leave this world… They are very special… There sure are many secrets to this world above the gray fog… Klein took in everything in front of him as he contemplated.
Derrick lowered his head and replied humbly, “This is all due to your assistance. This is but the beginning.”
He wasn’t surprised that The Fool knew that he had consumed the potion.
Klein took out his silver pocket watch and looked at the time. He chuckled and said, “Then let us start the gathering. Remember, the frequency, or should I say gap between the gatherings should be about the same in the future.”
As he was speaking, he established a connection with the crimson stars representing Justice and The Hanged Man before pulling them into the majestic palace.
Audrey looked at the scene before her and immediately greeted him.
“Good afternoon, Mr. Fool. I have a page of the diary of Emperor Roselle with me.”
“Good afternoon, Mr. Sun. Have you gotten the formula for Telepathist?”