Translator: AtlasStudios Editor: AtlasStudios
Klein opened the letter, feeling both expectant and nervous before he began reading Azik’s reply.
“… I thought about a few possibilities regarding the scenario you described, and I remembered a few things about Vampires and Mutants.
“Natural vampires were already on the brink of extinction before the dragons and giants bowed out of the stage of world history. Later on, they might occasionally be discovered. The Vampires we usually talk about, as well as those mentioned in folklore, are more similar to Beyonders. I recall that the name of a potion in a particular pathway is called Vampire.
“If your superior is now in a half-insane state, then it’s very likely that he mistakenly consumed such a potion. The result of mixing two potions from different pathways makes a half-insane state a certainty. Yes, I vaguely remember the pathway of the Evernight, which is also the Sleepless pathway as you know it, can be interchanged at High Sequences with the pathway of Death and the pathway of Giants. But it doesn’t include the Vampire pathway.
“Of course, we cannot rule out the possibility that your superior might have accepted it willingly. After all, Vampires have a long life, an exceptional constitution, and excellent looks. When compared with these benefits, accepting a state of half-insanity is reasonable.”
Klein froze when he read the letter. He didn’t expect Mr. Azik to provide him with this much information.
The Death pathway is also known as the Corpse Collector pathway. It can be interchanged at High Sequences with the Sleepless pathway. I knew about this from Emperor Roselle’s diary. But to think that it can also be interchanged with the Giant pathway after Sequence 4… The Giant pathway is the one that the City of Silver possesses, which is also the present-day God of Combat pathway… I’ve always suspected that Giant King Aurmir was the ancient God of Combat…
Yes, Emperor Roselle’s diary described the Church of the Evernight Goddess and the Church of the God of Combat as mortal enemies… Could this be because the pathways they possess can be interchanged at higher sequences?
If I follow this line of thought, I can find an explanation as to why the three ancient churches, the Church of the Lord of Storms, the Church of the Eternal Blazing Sun, and the Church of the God of Knowledge and Wisdom, are at odds with each other. That’s because the pathways of Sailor, Bard, and Reader can be interchanged at High Sequences!
Yes, during the end of the previous Epoch, the Pale Era, it ‘s likely that the fall of Death was caused by the Evernight Goddess and the God of Combat…
The Captain is perfectly fine usually, other than his poor memory. He doesn’t show any signs of half-insanity. I can rule out the possibility of him consuming the Vampire potion!
Mr. Azik has recalled quite a number of things recently… Could the Creeping Hunger have really stimulated his memories?
Klein nodded and continued reading the letter.
“Mutant isn’t the name of a particular species. It’s more like the description for many similar creatures. Under normal circumstances, they’re no different from an ordinary human, but there is an innate, suppressed, twisted desire in their hearts. This desire erupts when they come into contact with a certain scene or object. They become monsters, succumbing to their desires for blood and massacre.
“After everything settles, they will return to normal again. They become slightly more merciless and unfeeling after each time their desires erupt, this will continue until their souls are completely twisted.
“The only example of this that I can recall is the werewolf. They’re similar to humans for the most part, and they cannot be distinguished using most Beyonder abilities. But, during the full moon, the twisted desires in their hearts intensify, and their bodies also change accordingly.
“Your superior might be a potential Mutant. The death of your teammate might have triggered his true nature.
“These are all my personal guesses. I cannot guarantee that there are no other possibilities since I haven’t gotten all my memories back. Perhaps your theory of this being a precursor to losing control can also explain this.
“There’s no saving him whether he has consumed the Vampire potion, or if he’s a Mutant. Of course, many people have theorized that Mutants were originally ordinary human beings, but were put under a strange curse or corrupted by some evil god or devil, and, thus, transform into a different monster under certain circumstances.
“Also, I’m not too sure if you can treat him when you notice the warning signs of losing control. I would advise that you report this directly to your superior’s superior and hope that there’s still time.”
Klein looked gravely at the desk after placing the letter down. He slipped into deep thought.
He had to admit that the theory of a Mutant was a very possible one, but he couldn’t eliminate the possibility that it was a warning sign to him losing control.
All I can do is wait for Madam Daly’s reply… I sent the letter two nights ago, so she should’ve received the letter yesterday morning. If she replied immediately, I should’ve seen the letter last night or this morning… It’s almost noon… Does that messenger not dare to go near Chanis Gate? Or was Madam Daly held up by something? Klein shook his head. He still felt exhausted and used Cogitation to force himself to sleep.
In the hazy world, Klein was suddenly jolted to his senses. He knew that he was dreaming.
He then saw Dunn Smith in his black windbreaker appear in front of him.
Responding in a manner congruent with a normal dream, Klein gave a delayed greeting, “Good morning… Captain…”
Dunn nodded slightly and said, “Leonard found a clue when he was investigating the Lanevus case. He needs your help. The Mystery Pryer that the Holy Cathedral sent over won’t arrive until tomorrow morning because of a train fault.”
“Alright…” Klein replied in a fleeting voice.
Dunn thought for a moment before adding, “There’s no need for you to return to Zouteland Street. Head to 62 Howes Street directly. Leonard will be there waiting for you. It’s been hard on you.”
The moment he finished his sentence, Klein’s dream shattered. Klein instinctively opened his eyes.
Howes Street… Isn’t that the area where the Divination Club, my classmate Welch, and the member of the Aurora Order lived? There sure are many incidents lately, one after another, as if they’re culminating in something… Klein thought as he got up slowly. He washed up in the bathroom before changing into a white shirt, brown vest, and black windbreaker. He then picked up his hat and went down to the living room.
It wasn’t eleven yet, and Benson and Melissa hadn’t returned home. Klein informed Bella that he was going out and that she didn’t need to prepare lunch for him.
He then took a public carriage to Howes Street and saw the messy-haired Midnight Poet—Leonard Mitchell, whose hair exuded beauty, waiting for him in at building 62.
Leonard was still in a thin white shirt despite the chilly September weather. He had paired it with beige pants. He swept his green eyes at Klein.
“This might be the building rented by Lanevus under a false name.”
“How did you figure it out?” Klein asked out of curiosity.
Leonard pointed to his head.
“Since you found a clue from Hood Eugen and suspected that Lanevus was likely connected to that member of the Aurora Order—the cloth merchant Sirius Arapis—I had to change my line of thinking after my normal investigations revealed nothing. I started investigating the Aurora Order.
“The previous report told me that Sirius had interactions with many of the residents on Howes Street, so I searched every one of them and found a problem with this one.”
“What problem?” Klein asked.
Leonard raised his brows. “An obvious problem. The guest here appears very rarely. He claimed to be going to the Southern Continent to do business after Hanass Vincent’s death and never returned. His records are very realistic, and the police didn’t discover anything.”
“This could only be a coincidence.” Klein creased his brows.
“Of course, a coincidence. But when I showed the residents around here Lanevus’s picture, an old man felt that he looked similar to the resident at number 62, other than his different glasses.” Leonard took out a black-and-white photograph from his pocket.
Why didn’t you say so earlier… Klein lampooned inwardly. He entered 62 Howes Street with Leonard, and at Leonard’s request, he started to divine if there were any hidden compartments or secret chambers.
The result was yes!
“The secret chamber or hidden compartment in this building.”
Klein wrote down another divination statement. He took a seat on the sofa and closed his eyes as he recited the statement.
Seven times later, he entered a dream. His vision was blurry.
In the blurry world, Klein saw a wooden bookshelf. He saw rows upon rows of books. He saw that one of the books had been taken away. He saw the wooden surface beside the book open, revealing a hidden compartment.
The scene quickly disappeared as Klein opened his eyes and told Leonard, “In the study.”
Klein wound the topaz pendulum around his wrist and followed Leonard into the study. He saw the wooden bookshelf he had seen in his dream.
“Pull out that book, the place it’s covering has a hidden compartment.” Klein pointed at the book nearest to the sides.
“So it’s here… I couldn’t find anything when I searched the place, and I had no choice but to return to Zouteland Street to request for help,” Leonard grumbled as he walked over. He pulled out the book Klein had pointed out.
After searching the area, he finally found the mechanism to open the hidden compartment.
A letter lay silently in the hidden compartment.
A letter? Lanevus hid a letter here? Klein found it extremely strange.
After he divined to see if there was anything dangerous within the letter and received a negative answer, Leonard picked up the letter and opened the unmarked envelope.
Leonard pulled out the letter within and unfolded it.
Klein leaned forward to get a look of its contents. All he saw were the first few paragraphs of the letter:
“Hahaha, congratulations. Congratulations on finally finding this letter!
“This means that you’re not too stupid, nor too slow. You qualify to take part in this game of life and death that I’ve designed.
“Child laborers that die before their time. Factory workers who seldom live past ten years after entering the factory because of their working conditions. Female workers who risk severe illnesses for a meager salary. I see boundless resentment surrounding every factory, turning the surroundings oppressive and gloomy. This is the worst of times, and also the best of times. Our game shall take place under such a setting.
“Fools, prepare yourselves, I’m going to issue you a hint!”