Translator: Atlas Studios Editor: Atlas Studios
Seems to be of Balam lineage… a university lecturer… It really is Mr. Azik, not someone sharing the same name… Using the information provided by Old Kohler, Klein basically confirmed that the person the bounty was aimed at was the suspected descendant of Death, Azik.
Here lies the problem. Who or what organization is looking for Mr. Azik?
The Numinous Episcopate whose ultimate goal is to revive Death? Ince Zangwill who likes to play the mastermind behind the scenes?
It’s unlikely to be the latter. Ince Zangwill has Sealed Artifact 0-08, which allows a target to act according to his descriptions, and through a series of coincidences, he can achieve his desired objective. There’s no need at all for him to use the gangs and bounty hunters to find Mr. Azik…
Wait, what if this is actually an arrangement by Sealed Artifact 0-08? Realizing that he’s now the target of Mr. Azik but lacks the confidence to clinch victory in battle, Ince Zangwill is using 0-08 to instigate conflict between Mr. Azik and some particular faction, hoping to eliminate his enemy indirectly. And this reward was issued by that faction… It’s very possible!
However, I can’t rule out the Numinous Episcopate. To get revenge, Mr. Azik might have made contact with them. However, there were major differences between the two parties regarding the resurrection of Death, which eventually led to a falling out…
Klein instantly thought of two possibilities and the corresponding reasons.
He took a sip of his coffee and said to Old Kohler, “Help me find out who issued this bounty and its exact price. If it’s appropriate, I’ll take note of it while I’m at it.”
“No problem.” Old Kohler didn’t feel that anything was amiss with Klein’s request.
From a certain perspective, there were no essential differences between a private detective and a bounty hunter. The only difference was that the former would involve themselves in trivial matters such as catching adulterers in the act, finding cats, and helping others walk dogs, while they tended to use the powers of deduction more than brute force.
When Old Kohler finished describing what he had seen and heard, Klein briefly taught him some of the tricks of leading a conversation based on the Nighthawks’ curriculum, as well as the contingency plans for specific scenarios.
“It’s time for me to go to the docks. Thank you, Detective Moriarty, for allowing me to lead a good life once again!” Old Kohler picked up the old, worn-out hat on the table and thanked him sincerely.
The detective, in his view, not only provided him with a well-paid job, but he also taught him many useful things. Even if the detective no longer needed him as an informant, the skills he learned would allow him to barely survive in East Borough, especially since he was growing older and less capable of laborious work.
A good life? In my opinion, what you have now is the basics of what a person should have… After watching Old Kohler walk out the cheap coffee house, Klein sat there in a daze.
This was the first time that he had heard a friend’s name from someone else since his arrival in Backlund, and it was also the first time that he might have grasped Ince Zangwill’s whereabouts!
For the past three months, Klein’s main goal had been to digest the potion and enhance himself, especially after he killed Lanevus.
That was because he knew very well that he and Ince Zangwill, who was most likely a High-Sequence Beyonder, had an unbridgeable gap. He couldn’t be impatient for revenge, especially when it came to the chilling Sealed Artifact 0-08. He didn’t even have the intention to approach and investigate it.
Scenes from the Blackthorn Security Company in Tingen replayed themselves in Klein’s mind, and those bright polished shoes clearly appeared before his eyes.
Raising his head and slowly letting out a breath, Klein took his scarf and hat and walked out of the cheap coffee shop.
Hillston Borough, outside a rather old building.
Klein got off the carriage, pressed his hat, and went straight to the door.
It was Isengard Stanton’s house.
The great detective had written to Klein a few days ago, inviting him to come over to discuss a murder case.
Mr. Klein, who has been busy with the financing of the bike project, tactfully replied that he had no time to spare as a form of rejection. To his surprise, Isengard Stanton didn’t seem to mind and said that the case had hit a brick wall, making it unlikely that there would be any breakthroughs anytime soon. He was very willing to wait for Detective Sherlock Moriarty’s visit and expressed how he looked forward to an exchange that ignited sparks of wisdom.
As such, Klein could only first divine a suitable date for the visit, picking the closest date after the negotiations, which happened to be this afternoon. With that, he wrote back and fixed an appointment.
Ding dong, ding dong.
Klein rang the bell twice and stepped back to wait.
More than ten seconds later, the door creaked open, and the assistant of the great detective, Isengard, said with a smile, “Good afternoon, Detective Moriarty. Mr. Stanton is waiting for you in the activity room. Would you like coffee or tea?”
The assistant was thin and wore gold-rimmed glasses. He looked both refined and professional.
Klein looked up at him and said, “Tea. Be sparing on the lemon slices.”
“No problem.” The assistant led Klein into the living room, pointed to the activity room and said, “Sorry, our servants are only temporary, and they just happened to be on their day off today, so I can only trouble you to go over alone.”
Klein nodded and walked towards the activity room on the first floor.
As he lifted his hand to knock on the door, he suddenly felt that something was amiss.
I arranged a visit with Mr. Stanton a few days in advance. Why would I chance upon the temporary servants’ day off?
Klein’s eyes narrowed, and he pulled out a copper penny.
At this moment, the door to the activity room opened due to the knock, producing a tiny crack.
In the blink of an eye, as if some seal was lifted, the strong smell of fresh blood poured out and overwhelmed Klein’s nose.
From what he could see, the reclining chair in the activity room was overturned and was stained with dark red blood. A book lay beside it, its cover facing up.
With just that one glance, Klein felt as if he was seeing a murder scene.
The name of the book caught his eye: “The Devil’s Legend of Sivellaus Borough.”
Devil… Klein was about to make a move when a strong wind suddenly blew in the activity room, quickly pulling the door back.
Klein clearly saw the entire interior of the activity room.
The charcoal in the fireplace had long since burned out, and there was no longer any red embers glowing; the coffee table, the sofa, the chairs, the cupboard, and other items had either fallen or shattered. It appeared as if he witnessed an intense battle.
There was a lot of blood on the carpet and walls, and a lot of scorch marks, but there was no sign of a body at the scene, not even a stump limb.
Something happened to Detective Stanton? Klein suddenly took a step back, intending to first leave the place.
However, almost at the same time, he felt someone lock onto him.
Someone was staring at him with a cold and merciless gaze from an unknown location!
The moment he made a mistake in his response, he would immediately be met with a fatal blow!
How can this be a suitable day to visit Isengard Stanton? Was my interpretation of the revelation wrong? Klein didn’t dare to act rashly.
However, he was neither too nervous or flustered. Having experienced many battles and “performances,” he knew that he needed to stay calm during such moments.
Tap, tap, tap. Isengard Stanton’s assistant walked over with a tray.
On the tray was a tin teapot and two white porcelain cups.
The assistant froze in place when he saw the scene in the activity room.
He looked at Klein, his face suddenly filled with fear as he stuttered, “You… killed… Mr… Stanton…”
Every time he said a word, a piece of flesh fell from his face as blood gushed out.
After he finished speaking, his body was torn to shreds, turning into a dismembered corpse. It was as if he had always been in that state, with everything preceding this being him in a state where he was stitched up.
Clang! Crack! The tin pot and white porcelain cup hit the ground at the same time, rolling or splashing, and the tea water quickly soaked the area.
Klein didn’t move as he stood there watching everything that had happened. This was because he still felt like he was being watched.
The person who had caused this series of events appeared to be waiting for him to make a move before leaping onto his back and snapping his neck.
After an unknown period of time, in a silent and eerie stalemate, Klein saw the door to Isengard Stanton’s house open up as a group of policemen in black and white checkered uniforms stormed in.
When they found the nauseating and dismembered corpses on the floor, they drew their revolvers and pointed them at Klein who stood at the doorway of the activity room.
Despite facing the black muzzles of the guns, Klein relaxed.
The wordless gaze that seemed to hold a gun to the back of his head disappeared at that instant!
Klein raised his hands and laughed helplessly.
“I won’t say anything until I see my lawyer.”
Backlund’s Chissak Police Station.
Chained to a water pipe, Klein met Lawyer Jurgen once again.
“I will accompany you during the interrogation.” There was nothing unusual about Jurgen’s expression, as though Detective Moriarty belonged here.
Klein sighed and said, “What a tragedy. I should be considering what I will be eating tonight, not talking to a stone-faced police officer.”
The thing he was most thankful for today was that due to the Aurora Order’s investigation and the attention of the Rose School of Thought’s High-Sequence Beyonder, he didn’t bring any Beyonder items with him. His only revolver was easily concealed from the body search using a magic-like performance.
When he entered the interrogation room, he recounted the letter he received from Isengard Stanton about discussing a case without the police officer’s questioning.
“Later, we’ll go to your house with Mr. Jurgen to retrieve these letters. I hope they’re still there.” The officer in charge of the interrogation switched gears and asked, “How did you get to know Detective Isengard Stanton?”
Klein replied without hesitation, “Because of that serial murder case…”
At this point, he suddenly froze for a moment.
It reminded him of something. He had always suspected that there was a master behind the Devil dog, the person who had harrumphed when the Devil dog was killed.
Yes, the book Stanton was reading before the attack was “The Devil’s Legend of Sivellaus Borough”… Could it be that the owner of the Devil dog is beginning to take revenge after lying low all this time? And Detective Stanton was the person in the police records who provided the main clues or ideas. Furthermore, he was the one who received the bounty reward! Klein quickly had a theory.