Translator: Atlas Studios Editor: Atlas Studios
Klein backed up from the fork in the path, without touching Zreal’s corpse.
Thump! Thump! Thump!
Suddenly, a sound echoed in the distance through the empty sewers.
Klein listened for a few seconds before decisively retreating towards the exit, down the dirty concrete road that ran along both sides of the sewage channel.
There was no need to take risks in matters that didn’t involve him.
Klein closed the iron manhole cover after he climbed out of the sewers. After ensuring that the surrounding area looked normal, he returned to his rented room in the East Borough and changed out of his disguise.
Then, he put on his gold-rimmed glasses, walked to another street, took a rented carriage, and returned to Cherwood Borough in the silence and cold of three in the morning. However, he didn’t return to Minsk Street.
Then, Klein made another huge detour, and only after confirming that no one was following him, did he enter his house. He slept till dawn and was woken up by the doorbell.
He sat up immediately, put on his shirt, buttoned his vest, and hurried down to the first floor to open the door.
And even before that, his premonition ability as a Clown was already capable of naturally forming the image of the visitor in his mind.
The visitor was wearing an old coat, a brown round hat, and a tattered satchel. He had bright red eyes, a delicate face, and a quiet temperament. It was none other than Ian, the teenage boy who had come to entrust him with a job yesterday.
“Good morning, Detective Moriarty,” Ian greeted him and looked around. “Any progress? Yeah… I’m only asking because I happened to pass by.”
Klein nodded seriously and said, “Yes.”
“…” Ian seemed shocked as he didn’t say a word for quite a while.
After a while, he stammered in surprise, “Have you determined Mr. Zreal’s condition?”
“Yes.” Klein paused for a moment, then said seriously, “I found Zreal’s corpse.”
“Corpse…” Ian’s pupils shrank as he repeated it in a low tone.
He wasn’t too surprised, as if he had already expected the worst possible outcome.
Klein watched silently without interjecting.
“Sigh…” Ian exhaled and warily surveyed his surroundings. “Your efficiency is amazing. Can you take me to see Mr. Zreal’s body?”
“No problem. In fact, that’s what I was planning to do.” Klein then thought for a moment before saying, “I hope you won’t mention me when you call the police. Just say that you found the corpse yourself. I believe you know how to make up a reason.”
Ian wasn’t surprised; he knew that not every detective liked to deal with the police. In fact, except for the very famous detectives, who often gave advice to the police with mutual cooperation, the rest were discriminated against, ostracized, and even extorted from.
This was the current situation of the Loen Kingdom.
“Alright,” Ian readily agreed.
Considering that they were entering the sewers, Klein changed into a set of clothes worn by the common working class, put on a deer-hunting cap, and took a lantern with him.
Both of them took the public carriage to the East Borough. They walked for half an hour to reach the remote sewer entrance under the watchful gazes filled with numbness and malicious intent.
“How did you find it?” Ian asked, half-surprised and half-curious, as he watched Klein lift the manhole cover and climb down.
Klein focused on the area beneath him and answered casually, “Skillful training which includes many techniques in reasoning, investigation, tracking, and interrogation.”
Ian followed him into the sewers. He nodded without looking disgusted.
“… You seem to have received very professional training.”
Klein didn’t answer him directly. He held the already lit lantern and led Ian to the fork in the path where they arrived at the gloomy corner.
He narrowed his eyes as he approached. More of Zreal’s body was missing now when compared to the previous night. He was missing an arm and half of his ribs.
That’s not something a rat can do… Klein muttered to himself and didn’t inform Ian of this.
With the help of the lantern’s light, Ian was able to clearly see the corpse’s appearance.
He squatted down suddenly, vomited, and gradually vomited yellow-green bile. Klein took out the Quelaag’s Oil he prepared, unscrewed the cap, and bent over to place the mouth close to Ian’s nose.
Ian’s eyes lit up, and he calmed down.
Nearly twenty seconds later, he weakly whispered, “Thank you…”
He stood up slowly and examined the mutilated corpse a few more times.
“I can confirm that this is Detective Zrell.”
“My condolences,” Klein replied out of politeness. “I suggest you call the police.”
“Okay.” Ian nodded indiscernibly as he followed Klein back to the surface.
At that moment, Klein clapped his hands.
“This is the end of my mission. As for what should be done after this, that is up to you.”
Ian fell silent for a few seconds.
“I still owe you three matters. You can tell me now.”
“Actually, I can only think of one at the moment,” Klein answered frankly. “I want to know where I can get a gun and bullets, without needing a full class weapon permit.”
Ian spoke, almost without thinking, “Go to Bravehearts Bar at Iron Gate Street in the Backlund Bridge district. Find Kaspars Kalinin. Tell him ‘Old Geezer’ introduced you.”
“Alright, let’s talk about the other two matters in the future. I have a feeling that we’ll meet again.” Klein deliberately nodded casually.
Ian gave him a look but didn’t say anything.
The two split up and headed down different streets in the East Borough. The secluded spot, once again, regained its silence.
After walking for a while, Klein suddenly turned around and retraced his steps. He then hid himself in a secluded corner, peeking at the entrance to the sewer.
After waiting for two or three minutes, he saw Ian return silently as he looked around warily.
Klein withdrew his gaze in a timely manner, leaned his back against the wall, and listened.
He heard the scraping sound of the manhole cover being removed and heard someone climbing down.
Carefully poking his head out, Klein discovered that Ian had re-entered the sewers.
Was there a clue or something on Zreal’s body? Indeed, this matter goes deeper than it seems… He nodded thoughtfully.
Having satisfied his curiosity, Klein decided to leave for real and planned to seek out Kaspars, two days later.
At tea time, Viscount Glaint was in his home situated in Empress Borough.
The door to the study was tightly shut, separating the four people inside from the participating guests in the salon outside.
“Xio, Fors, this is the reward the two of you deserve.” Dressed in a pale yellow lace dress, Audrey pushed a bulging envelope across the desk to the two ladies sitting opposite her.
Xio wanted to say something polite, but her hand had reached for the envelope faster than her mouth. Feeling the weight of the money, she could only say sincerely, “Miss Audrey, thank you for your generosity. Your honesty makes you look even more beautiful.”
As she spoke, she untied the thin string around the envelope and saw the bills inside.
It was uniform gray paper money with black stripes. The stack was thick and exuded a special smell of ink, one that left one feeling refreshed.
“10 pounds…” Xio took one note out and checked its face value. Beside her, Fors, who appeared lazy and unbothered by money, had also leaned over.
This is at least… Observing the thickness, Xio tried to figure out how many notes there were.
She couldn’t help but exchange looks with Fors and saw the surprise in each other’s eyes.
This was obviously a lot more than they had imagined!
Audrey smiled faintly and said, “A total of eight hundred pounds. Decide how you will split the money between the two of you.
“I’m very sorry that this matter had placed you in danger.”
Eight hundred pounds… No, there’s no need to apologize. Even if we had to do it again and knew of the possible consequences, I would still accept the request… Even if it’s divided evenly, with my savings, it’s enough to buy the potion formula for Sheriff… Xio, who was slightly taller than 150cm, stared blankly at the notes in the envelope, wishing she could pull them all out and count them over and over again.
She believed that the generous and beautiful Miss Audrey wouldn’t pay them any less, but what if she had made a mistake counting?
Everyone makes mistakes at times! Xio raised her right hand, paused for a few seconds, then silently lowered it.
The corners of Fors’s lips couldn’t help but rise as she said wistfully, “This is even more than the royalties I’ve received for my ‘Stormwind Mountain Villa’ so far…”
Should I praise Miss Audrey or laugh at the poverty of an author? She added silently.
Viscount Glaint, who was sitting on the sofa, was also a little envious, but it wasn’t directed at Xio or Fors. As a viscount with a fairly good financial situation, 800 pounds wasn’t a large sum.
What he envied was Audrey’s ability to hand out money without feeling the slightest burden.
“Ahem…” Viscount Glaint cleared his throat, “If you can get the formula for Apothecary, I will also provide you with substantial payment.”
“We’ll do our best!” Xio answered without any hesitation. Then, she looked at Audrey. “We’ve recently come into contact with someone who’s suspected to be from the Psychology Alchemists, and we’ll soon have clues regarding the Spectator potion you’re looking for.”
Xio, I’m already at Sequence 8; far stronger than you… Audrey smiled in a reserved manner as she said, “I’m looking forward to it.”
With that said, the four began chatting about various rumors among the Beyonder circles while following Audrey’s example of finding books they wished to read.
Suddenly, Xio’s eyes lit up as she saw two hardcover books.
“History of the Loen Kingdom’s Aristocracy” and “Study of the Coat of Arms”
Meanwhile, Fors also found books that interested her.
“Geography and People of the Feysac Empire” and “Traveling the Northern Continent”
“Honorable Viscount Glaint, may I borrow these two books? I’ll return them soon.” Xio looked pleadingly at the owner of the study.
Glaint nodded without much care.
At his response, Fors hurriedly made a request as well and similarly obtained his approval.
The corners of Audrey’s mouth curved into a faint smile as she witnessed all of this. She looked modestly to the side, pretending to be looking for a book.
As a qualified Spectator who had just advanced, she had accurately grasped Xio’s and Fors’s preferences in certain domains after being in contact with them multiple times. Thus, she had made arrangements in advance without anyone realizing it.
Letting the one being guided feel like it was done out of their own will was a manifestation of the powers of a Spectator.
In the evening, Xio was curled up on the sofa in front of the fireplace, reading History of the Loen Kingdom’s Aristocracy under the gas lamp’s illumination. Fors had gone for a gathering meant for authors.
After reading for quite a while, Xio suddenly felt something strange about the hardback cover, so she carefully examined it and found an interlayer where an ancient piece of paper was hidden inside.
The front side of the paper was covered with the special symbols created by Emperor Roselle, and on the back was a paragraph written in ancient Hermes.
“Viscount Glaint’s ancestors deciphered some of Emperor Roselle’s special symbols?” Xio was suddenly excited.
She struggled to decipher the ancient Hermes as she muttered silently
“The Fool that doesn’t belong to this era.
“The mysterious ruler above the gray fog.
“The King of Yellow and Black who wields good luck.”