Translator: Atlas Studios Editor: Atlas Studios
Xio has been in the bounty hunter business for a very long time. Many things were done on instinct without any thought.
When she saw the patron who entered was nearly two meters tall, she instinctively lowered her head and continued to eat her pork sausage and french fries as if nothing had happened.
Although the food entered her mouth, Xio didn’t taste it at all. She endured dozens of painful seconds before she slowly raised her head and pretended to look around casually.
Soon, she saw that the patron who had just entered was sitting in front of the bar counter, waiting for his booze and lunch.
Soft, curly pale yellow hair, dark brown beast-like eyes, a slightly drooping mouth, an aura of solitude and malevolence… Little by little, the details came into Xio’s eyes, overlapping with the image in her head.
It’s the suspected murderer!
The man who killed Williams!
Xio lowered her head again and slowly stuffed the rest of the food into her mouth.
After a few minutes, she set the tray down on the bar, along with the glass, and left the Workers Alliance Tavern without looking back.
Due to her high boots, they effectively masked the most obvious features of her boots.
Outside, Xio slowed her pace and found a secluded spot to observe the people entering and exiting the tavern.
After waiting for a while, she finally found an acquaintance, a technician named Burton, who lived in East Borough and worked at the East Balam Dock.
The young man liked to treat himself to a cup of shoddy rye beer at noon or in the afternoon, and his salary only allowed him to afford such a beer, and he couldn’t drink it every day.
Xio nimbly darted over and patted Burton on the shoulder. She lowered her voice and said, “It’s me, Xio.”
“Xio?” Burton looked up and down at the short man and nearly failed to recognize him as the famous Arbiter Xio Derecha of the streets of East Borough.
“I have something to ask you.” Xio pointed to a nearby corner.
Burton followed in puzzlement, only to come to a realization when he arrived in a secluded corner.
“Are you doing a bounty mission?”
He had heard that Xio was also a bounty hunter.
“Yes.” Xio nodded perfunctorily, fished out five pennies, and tossed them around. “Do you know that tall man at the tavern?”
“You mean the one that’s this tall, has pale yellow hair, and wears a fierce look?” Burton gestured.
“Yes.” Xio took out the folded portrait and unfolded it. “You have to be sure.”
“That’s him. He’s been coming to this tavern often for the past two to three months. I’ve never seen him before that. He’s very fierce, completely unreasonable, and he’s good at fighting. It’s best that you don’t provoke him.” Burton glanced at the portrait carefully and gave some sincere advice.
Yeah, when I saw that person just now, it was just like my encounter with a ferocious beast when I was young. I felt that I was in danger and wasn’t a match for him, so I had to immediately avoid him… Xio secretly exhaled and asked, “Do you know anyone he’s in close contact with?”
“No idea. He’s not very sociable and he seldom speaks. We don’t even know what his name is. We have given him a nickname, ‘Giant.'” Burton curled his lips and shook his head.
Xio thought for a while before asking again, “Where else have you met him, besides the tavern?
“You can ask your friends the same question. Remember, it has to be a trusted friend.”
Burton recalled and said, “When I went to the Dock Union to do some work, uh—the East Balam Dock’s Dock Union, I would occasionally see him appear there. Xio, why aren’t you a member of the union? You’re so just, and those guys not only charge us 1.5 soli a week. But when the other docks go on strike, they’ll pay us half our salary just because we have to support our families!
“Lord, let’s just forget about it. In order to live a good life, we must help each other. However, once they organize a strike, they’ll come to an agreement with the lawyers sent by those rich people. Our situation doesn’t improve at all!”
“Stop, stop.” Xio lowered her right palm and said, “Apart from that, have you seen ‘Giant’ anywhere else?”
“No, my friends probably haven’t either. After all, we often discuss him in private,” Burton answered in a firm tone.
Xio didn’t say anything more and gave him five copper pennies.
“Drinks on me.”
“Don’t tell anyone about what I just asked. It’ll be very dangerous.”
Before she finished her sentence, she had already turned around the corner and headed towards the Dock Union located at East Balam Dock.
About ten minutes later, Xio saw the two-story yellow building.
She wore her canvas coat inverted and exposed the patches beneath, instantly transforming herself from a short worker to a vagabond.
Xio looked at the homeless people huddled around the corner, pinched her nose, and went over to sit down beside them. She glanced at the Dock Union on the opposite side of the street where people were coming in and out.
As the minutes passed, Xio endured the cold and the harsh environment while tenaciously observing the situation around the Dock Union and the surrounding area.
She clearly remembered Williams’s insistence on drinking, and she also remembered how she felt when she saw the newspaper that fateful day.
These feelings made her even more patient than usual.
At that moment, about eight people came out of the Dock Union, and they headed for the café across the street to have lunch in groups.
Xio narrowed her eyes and carefully scanned every passer-by to confirm their appearance.
There’s no one suspicious… Xio was about to look away and wait for the next batch of people when the door to the coffee shop creaked and was pulled open as the heat from within rushed out. A man couldn’t help but take off his gold-rimmed glasses and wipe away the fog with his sleeves.
Xio gave him a casual glance, and her gaze suddenly froze.
It always had that taunting smile!
Lanevus? Xio jerked her head back, not daring to look again.
The man from before had bronze skin and short hair, and his face was craggy. He was very different from the portraits, except that his eyes and mouth gave her a familiar feeling.
It was the feeling of taunting everyone!
Is it Lanevus? Can it be Lanevus? Xio bowed her head and stared at the flagstones on the street.
At the Sammers.
After a sumptuous lunch, the hosts and guests gathered in the activity room to chat, and they agreed to play Texas together.
Interesting rumors and humorous stories echoed intermittently as Klein maintained his smile, interjecting from time to time. He also saw the Sammer family’s two children entering and exiting energetically.
And next to him, Jurgen Cooper wore his usual serious expression, occasionally providing legal advice for the discussion.
Klein smiled, turned his body slightly, and asked in a low voice, “Are you bored?”
“No, their topics are very interesting.” Jurgen nodded seriously.
Klein was stunned and blurted a question, “Then why don’t you laugh?”
Jurgen frowned slightly and looked at him in puzzlement.
“Why are you smiling?”
“…” Klein’s mouth twitched, not knowing how to respond.
He was about to make a joke about how much Jurgen was like his cat Brody, forever so serious, when suddenly he heard a series of ethereal pleas.
Female… Miss Justice has found useful information, so quickly, based on the clue I gave her? Klein stood up and slightly bowed.
“I need to use the bathroom.”
In the bathroom, Klein locked the door, took four steps counterclockwise, and went above the gray fog.
His judgment was very accurate, as the plea came from Miss Justice.
Klein suddenly felt nervous as he emanated his spirituality in anticipation and seriousness to listen to her words.
After the usual honorable name, Justice recounted truthfully, “They discovered the clue you provided at the Workers Alliance Tavern in the pier district’s East Balam Dock. The person’s nickname is ‘Giant.’
“After tailing the Giant and figuring his in and outs, they discovered a person suspected to be Lanevus at the East Balam Dock’s Dock Union.
“Temporarily, they don’t dare to approach Lanevus because ‘Giant’ is very powerful and dangerous. They can only continue waiting for an opportunity.
“In the meantime, they’ve also asked if they could notify the police and collect the bounty after confirming that it’s Lanevus.”
Lanevus has a very powerful and dangerous helper. Does he have any other helpers? Is there a faction backing him? Why did he kill so many people? What was he planning to do by being in the Dock Union? A series of questions flashed through Klein’s mind, making him feel that things were much more complicated than he had expected.
As for the last request, his answer was undoubtedly—yes. He would even suggest to the other party that they should inform the church of the Evernight Goddess directly because there was a possibility of the police leaking the information.
Getting the Nighthawks of the Church of the Goddess to kill Lanevus is also a form of revenge! Klein silently murmured to himself. He had a strong urge to immediately confirm that the man was Lanevus, lest things changed because he waited too long.
He took a deep breath, suppressed his emotions, and undid the spirit pendulum around his wrist on his sleeve.
“There is danger going to the Dock Union for confirmation.”
Closing his eyes and chanting seven times, Klein opened his eyes and looked at the topaz pendant. He discovered that it was motionless, completely still.
The divination failed? Klein immediately frowned.
He changed the sentence he used, changed the divination method, but they all resulted in a failure.
After some careful thought, he thought of three reasons. First, there wasn’t enough information to make a divination. Second, Lanevus wasn’t at the Dock Union, making it difficult for the divination to succeed. And, third, Lanevus was just like Ince Zangwill who had items that could shield against divination.
An item to shield against divination… A benefit he obtained from that god’s spawn ritual? A little godhood of the True Creator? Klein thought for a few seconds, then decided that no matter what, he had to make a trip to the Dock Union.
There were certain things that needed to be done even though danger was a certainty!
If the two ladies were able to observe secretly without being seen, so can I… I only need to meet with Lanevus once and I can confirm it with divination…
Of course, I can’t be rash. I have to prepare in advance. For example, I have to send the All-Black Eye above the gray fog and not carry it with me. That’s to prevent the spiritual corruption of the True Creator from resonating with “His” godhood. Another example, I should elevate my height so that the “Giant” wouldn’t be able to recognize me as the “passer-by” from last night from my figure. For example, I should find a suitable and sufficient reason to not arouse suspicion. Yes, I can pretend to be a reporter and head there for an interview. I’ll visit Mike Joseph later and borrow his false reporter identification…
The corner of Klein’s mouth slowly curled up as he blanketed his body with his spirituality before descending back into the real world.