Translator: Atlas Studios Editor: Atlas Studios
Darc? The image of Darc appeared in Derrick’s mind.
He was of medium height, slightly plump, and strong. He was an optimistic, cheerful teenager who often beamed with a friendly smile. He was a classmate during general education and a teammate of the patrol squad.
But after this exploration of the Fallen Creator’s half-destroyed temple, he had become reserved and merely smiled at everyone.
Once he recalled Darc Regence’s changes, Derrick couldn’t help but quiver as he felt a chill down his spine.
Why did he suddenly come looking for me? Shouldn’t he be heading home after being removed from quarantine? At that moment, many questions arose in Derrick’s mind.
Suddenly, he thought of a possibility.
Elder Lovia knows that I’ve suspected that something abnormal had happened to them, so she sent Darc to deal with me?
Derrick was first shocked and filled with horror. But immediately following that, he felt that it might not be a bad thing.
Mr. Hanged Man said, “if there isn’t a suitable audience to testify for you, then you might as well use the Beyonder who’s monitoring you.” And now, the person monitoring me is in that corner. If Darc were to suddenly attack me, then he would definitely expose the fact that there’s something wrong with him!
This way, even if I don’t use Mr. World’s item, I can still make things go smoothly!
Derrick turned his head to look out the window.
At that moment, the frequency of the lightning had dropped to its nadir. Only after a minute or two would a bolt of lightning streak across the sky, illuminating half the sky. The entire world and most of the City of Silver was immersed in a deep darkness most of the time.
If he were alone, Derrick wouldn’t have searched for a candle to light. He liked to lie quietly in bed and think about all sorts of things.
Of course, he knew that this was actually rather dangerous. If there was no light to dispel the darkness, then monsters could suddenly appear, even within the City of Silver. However, Derrick was a Light Suppliant himself, so he came equipped with the attribute of light and wasn’t afraid of something similar happening.
Knock! Knock! Knock! Darc knocked three more times, as if urging the master of the house to open the door.
He wasn’t like that before; he was very polite… Derrick suddenly felt a deep sense of sorrow.
He took out a candle from a wooden box and placed it in the middle of the table. He then rubbed his fingers, creating a golden flame.
The flame lit the candle, filling the room with a faint but warm glow, and this was accompanied by a faint, pungent aroma.
The candles in the City of Silver were mainly made from the fat and oil refined from the bodies of monsters. They would have different smells due to their different origins.
After taking a deep breath, Derrick walked to the door with a strong sense of vigilance and opened it.
“What took you so long?” Darc asked with a smile.
“I was looking for candles,” Derrick replied.
He didn’t dare to leave his back to the other party, and he chose to walk side by side with Darc. With his classmate and teammate, he walked back to the table and took their respective seats.
“Do you want to try some of these recently dried Doom fruits?” Darc asked with a smile as he removed a small cloth bag from his waist.
Doom fruits were one of the very rare snacks in the City of Silver. It came from a plant called the Doom Blood Vine, a type of organism that didn’t need light to grow. It grew by absorbing the nutrients from rotten corpses. It had a tendency to attack and was considered quite a common weak monster.
Every Doom Blood Vine had many thumb-sized black fruits, which could be eaten directly. They were crispy and sweet, but they were unable to fill one’s stomach and didn’t provide the necessary nutrients. They could only be used as a daily snack. The merit points received from a single patrol could be exchanged for several large bags of them.
“No, there’s no need.” Derrick shook his head cautiously.
“Alright then,” Darc poured out a pile of black fruit from the bag, picked one up, and popped it into his mouth before noisily munching on it.
Derrick thought for a moment and took the initiative to ask, “Did you encounter any monsters in the underground area of the temple?”
Darc stopped chewing and answered with a smile, “There were quite a few of them, but they weren’t that powerful. They were easily eliminated by us. That place was destroyed for a long time, so the powerful monsters probably left a long time ago.”
He paused for a second, then he said with the corners of his mouth curled, “We found some strange plants at the bottom of the temple. They looked like mushrooms in the general knowledge class. They were especially bright and looked very appetizing.
“It’s been confirmed that they’re edible. They can bring about an enhancement in one’s spirituality and strengthen one’s body. If it’s combined with roasted monsters, then it will emit an unimaginable fragrance.”
As he said that, he took out a palm-sized mushroom-shaped object from another small cloth bag. The stem was milky-white, and the cap was bright crystalline red. It was also dotted with dark golden spots.
The mere sight of the plant made Derrick gulp a mouthful of saliva, as though he had been starving for days.
Under the illumination of the dim candlelight, the beautiful mushroom-shaped object had an alluring luster that whet his appetite in an irresistible fashion.
“Here’s one for you.” Darc smiled warmly.
“Okay, okay…” Derrick almost took action immediately as he picked up the mushroom-shaped plant to stuff it into his mouth, but in the end, he forced himself to open his mouth and say, “I’ll give it a try tomorrow.”
Darc didn’t say anything else. He pushed the mushroom in front of Derrick and continued to eat his Doom fruits.
With great difficulty, Derrick moved his gaze away from the “mushroom” and asked, “Did you make any discoveries on this expedition?”
“Yes!” Darc paused his snack-eating and held a black Doom fruit, replying extremely seriously, “We found a lot of murals, a continuous series of murals. Do you remember that statue in the temple?”
“Yes.” Derrick shot a glance at the “mushroom” and nodded. “A huge cross with a naked man nailed to it while hanging upside down, and its surface was deliberately smeared with a lot of blood.”
Darc fiddled with the Doom fruit in his hand and said, “The newly discovered murals tell us that the builders of the temple believed that the statue represented the Lord who created everything, the omnipotent and omniscient God. They believed that the Lord didn’t abandon this land, but instead helped us shoulder the vast majority of our sins when the Cataclysm came; thus, turning from an upright position to upside down, from walking freely to being nailed to the cross and bleeding in our stead.
“God’s grace knows no bounds. We are not the abandoned, but instead, the beloved chosen ones. Without the Lord bearing our sins and shedding blood in our stead, the City of Silver would’ve been destroyed long ago. Humans would’ve long ceased to exist!”
But, in the outside world, in the Loen Kingdom where Mr. Hanged Man, Miss Justice, and the others are located, there are no curses, no extreme darkness, no monsters lurking in darkness… We aren’t the chosen ones who are beloved… Derrick silently retorted inwardly.
“If that’s true, then we just need to change the symbols and the corresponding honorific name during a ritual, and we can receive the Lord’s response again…” Darc went on, describing the murals under the temple and speaking of his speculations. As this went on, Derrick found it increasingly difficult to resist the temptation of the “mushroom.”
No, I mustn’t eat it! If I eat it, I might end up like Darc and the others, completely corrupted by the Fallen Creator and become a fanatical believer… Even if there’s someone monitoring me, they wouldn’t notice anything amiss… Derrick felt a surge of horror that he had to do something to extricate himself from the situation.
Chase Darc away and return the “mushroom” to him? However, this is equivalent to giving up on this opportunity… Opportunity… Derrick’s gaze automatically fell on the yellow candle flame that was burning quietly.
“I’ll get you a glass of water.” He quickly went through the plan he had discussed with Mr. Hanged Man and calmly stood up.
Darc nodded as he threw the black thumb-sized Doom fruit into his mouth, munching at it noisily.
While Derrick poured the water, he deliberately slowed down his actions, lowered his head, and recited the honorific name of Mr. Fool. Finally, he said, “Your devoted servant prays for your attention.
“I pray for you to take his offerings.
“I pray for you to open the gates to your Kingdom.”
A strong gust of wind blew up inside the room as the power of nature, generated under the incantation’s influence, formed clear waves.
At the same time, Darc, who had just picked up a black Doom fruit, suddenly raised his head and looked at Derrick, who was facing him from the side.
Without answering him, Derrick held one hand over the Axe of Hurricane and stuffed the other into his secret pocket, removing the wall of spirituality on the exterior of the iron box.
Derrick cast an exceptionally guarded gaze at Darc, only to see the expression of his classmate and teammate darken as bright red traces appeared in his blue eyes!
In his hand, the Doom fruit strangely shed its outer darkness and transformed into a seemingly pale, fleshy color.
It wasn’t a Doom fruit, but a finger, a bloody finger, a human finger!
The pile of Doom fruits on the table were comprised of human fingers!
The brightly colored “mushroom” had also changed its appearance. It was no longer as beautiful, and it no longer flowed with an appetizing luster. It was a bloodstained scalp with short black hair!
Staring at Derrick, Darc opened his mouth, his voice cold and adrift.
“What were you doing?”
Backlund, 15 Minsk Street.
As soon as Klein, who had crawled into the warm world under his quilt, heard what sounded like a prayer from Little Sun, he struggled to get out of bed and conjured a wall of spirituality. He then took four steps counterclockwise and went above the gray fog.
Seated in the seat that belonged to The Fool, he didn’t hurry to examine Little Sun’s request. Instead, he made the Dark Emperor card, paper figurines, and other items appear in front of him on the long bronze table in a neatly arranged order.
According to The Hanged Man’s plan, the scene of The Sun stimulating the mutation of the exploratory team’s member would happen during a sacrificial ritual. That way, when the matter was concluded, it would be quite simple to make the object, that was borrowed from The World, disappear from the scene, wiping away all the evidence. After that, all the blame could be pushed onto Amon!
As for Mr. Fool, Klein had agreed to Little Sun’s request to simplify the ritual in an uncaring manner. All that was needed to be done were the key steps.
At this point, he was waiting for the prelude to the ritual to be completed so that he could respond.