Translator: Atlas Studios Editor: Atlas Studios
The royal family… Klein held the letter he received from Isengard Stanton and silently murmured to himself.
He looked up and outside the window, and he saw the rain pattering down. The gas lamps on the streets were giving off quiet halos.
Inside the living room, the coffee table was neat and tidy, with a few stacks of newspapers placed in the corner. There was silence all around him.
Klein sat on the sofa as he leaned forward a little. He sat there silently for a long time.
After nearly ten minutes, he exhaled and shook his head. Slowly and heavily, he tossed the letter into the trash can.
He slowly stood up and expressionlessly walked to the second floor.
And in the trash can, Isengard Stanton’s letter caught fire silently and quickly crumpled into black ashes.
On Monday morning, Klein stood in front of the mirror, pressed his right thumb and middle finger to his temples, and rubbed them with a little more strength.
When he was done, he turned on the faucet, lowered his body, splashed the cold tap water onto his face, and washed his face while having a fit at the cold.
After freshening himself up, he hung up the towel, walked to the first floor, and simply made a single-sided, well-done fried eggs with buttered toast.
Of course, a cup of black tea with a few slices of lemon quenched his thirst and reduced the cloy sensation he was feeling.
After breakfast, as he was idly flipping through the rest of the newspapers, Klein suddenly heard the tinkling of the doorbell.
Who is it? A new commission? Could it be that the Machinery Hivemind has already finished exploring the Amon family’s tomb? No, it can’t be that fast… Klein muttered as he put away his napkin and newspapers and walked slowly to the door.
When he held the handle, the image of the visitor outside the door appeared in his mind.
It was an elderly gentleman dressed to a tee. His snow-white shirt was starched, and a thick grayish-blue vest completely hid his belly. The long tailcoat had sharp lines without any blemishes on it.
The gentleman was wearing a pair of shiny leather shoes, so shiny that it was impossible to tell if he had walked through the rain or mud.
He wore a pair of white knitted gloves, with silver hair at his temples. His face was deeply wrinkled, and his light brown eyes were so serious that they didn’t contain a hint of a smile.
I don’t know him… Klein mumbled and opened the door.
“May I know who you’re looking for?” he asked politely.
The elderly gentleman took off his hat, pressed it to his chest, and saluted in the most standard manner.
“Mr. Sherlock Moriarty, I’m a butler who has come to invite you in place of my master.”
“Do I know your esteemed master? Why is he looking for me?” Klein’s head was completely filled with questions.
But at this moment, he had already noticed a carriage parked across the cement road. It had a deep black outer shell, and there was a curtain on the inside of the window. It was obvious that it was nothing ordinary.
There’s luxury amidst being low-key… Klein looked closely and suddenly saw that there was a coat of arms in a conspicuous part of the carriage.
The main body of the coat of arms was a vertical sword facing down, and the hilt of the sword had a red crown.
That’s the… Sword of Judgment… It’s the Sword of Judgment representing the royal Augustus family! Klein’s heart palpitated as he roughly understood the butler’s background.
Perhaps he’s a rather powerful Beyonder… Klein made a guess.
The professional and stern butler didn’t pay attention to his scrutiny. He revealed a polite smile and said, “You have never met my master, but in a sense, you do know him. You have been providing him clues about the organization that is symbolized by the tarot cards, and he has paid for the money you need.”
As expected, it’s the important figure that Talim mentioned. I’ve been using false information to fleece for funds and even submitted all the reimbursements that Old Kohler required to him… I can’t refuse his invitation now, especially when Talim is dead… Klein pondered for two seconds and said, “Did your master come to me due to Talim’s death?”
“Yes, Talim was his friend. He was sad and confused by his death, and he heard that you were there when it happened,” the old butler articulated clearly.
No, I wasn’t… Klein subconsciously wanted to deny it, but he ultimately could only nod.
“Yes, I saw Talim die in front of me.”
“It’s really a sad and regretful thing,” the butler said in a sincere tone. “Are you willing to accept my master’s invitation?”
Do I have any reason to refuse? That would just make me look very suspicious! I might even be killed on the spot by you… Klein looked at him and said, “I happen to have nothing planned this morning.”
“Alright then. Mr. Moriarty, please.” The old butler bent down slightly, extended his right white-gloved hand, and pointed at the carriage on the opposite side of the cement road.
Sigh, I’ve been trying to avoid getting involved with important figures. In the end, I have no choice but to face the person behind Talim after his death… I wonder if this would attract attention or lead to more in-depth background checks… I have to plan ahead and be ready to give up my identity and this foothold at any time… Also, I need to get the Human-skinned Shadow characteristic and the Deep-sea Naga’s hair and advance to Faceless as soon as possible! In that case, my ability to resist risks would more than double! When Klein put on his coat and hat and walked to the carriage with the royal coat of arms, he had already thought of the subsequent developments.
At this moment, the servant the old butler brought with him opened the door for him.
Stepping on the thick brown carpet, Klein looked at the wooden cabinets containing red wine, white wine, champagne, Lanti, and Black Rand, along with the crystal glasses. Klein felt rather restricted as he sat by the window.
Lanti referred to strong distilled spirits made from pure malt. There were many types, such as the sailors’ favorite Lanti Proof. The bottles displayed in the cabinets were obviously of high quality. As for Black Rand, they referred to strong distilled wines mixed with other fermented grains, which, like Lanti, was something unique to Loen.
As the carriage drove through the wet streets, Klein asked in passing, “Are we going to Empress Borough?”
“No, my master is waiting for you at the Red Rose Manor on the outskirts of Empress Borough.” The old butler didn’t hide anything.
Looks like this is the royal family’s manor… Klein thought for a moment, then he asked with a smile, “Can you tell me your master’s identity now?”
The old housekeeper’s back, which was already straight, became even straighter as he raised his chin.
“He is the descendant of the Founder and Protector. He’s the grandson of the Might-wielder, the fifth son of His Majesty, Duke of Lastings, His Highness Prince Edessak Augustus.”
So it’s the third prince, the second youngest prince, but he should be around 21 to 22 years old… Klein recalled what he had seen in the occasional descriptions in the newspapers and magazines at the Quelaag Club.
The horse carriage passed through one street after another, going from an artificial lake to the northwest. After more than an hour, they finally arrived at an extremely large manor.
At the entrance to the manor, Klein was inspected by two soldiers in red military uniforms and white trousers. He didn’t hide the existence of his gun holster and revolver.
He believed that there were definitely people around Prince Edessak who could tell that he was carrying a gun, and that it easily made things worse if he fooled them with illusions.
In any case, the prince knows that I’m a private detective, so his subordinates definitely wouldn’t send guests to the police station just because I was illegally in possession of a gun… Klein watched as the soldier took the gun holster and revolver before he was informed to take it when he came out.
After two more inspections, Klein followed the old butler, went around the main house, and came to a wide area with hills and flowing waters.
The only drawback of this place was that the vegetation had long since withered away in the dead of winter, leaving nothing but desolation.
Tap. Tap. Tap. Several horses came running from the distance and stopped in front of them.
A young man in white trousers, high-heeled black boots, a fitted shirt, and a dark rider’s tunic nimbly dismounted and walked over. Everyone else followed closely by his side.
He removed his helmet from his head and smiled at Klein.
“I’m finally meeting you, Detective Moriarty.”
Upon seeing this, Klein’s eyes lit up. It wasn’t because of how handsome he was, but because he looked like the Henry Augustus I imprinted on five-pound notes.
Edessak Augustus also had a rotund face and a pair of slender eyes, but he didn’t look serious at all. Instead, he always had a smile on his face, looking young and spirited.
“I didn’t know that you, Your Highness, were the one who entrusted me with the task.” Klein bowed.
Holding a horsewhip in his hand, Edessak weighed it in his palm and chuckled.
“I heard that you played an important role in the serial killer and Desire Apostle cases. Talim’s recommendation was indeed good. Sigh, who knew that he would be gone days after I was horse racing with him. He has gone to the kingdom of storm and lightning.”
Since the founding of the kingdom, the Augustus family had always believed in the Lord of the Storms.
Without waiting for Klein to answer, he said with a heavy expression, “The investigation into Talim’s death didn’t go through me, Mr. Moriarty. I want you to help me discover the truth.”
The conclusion given by the rest of the royal family? Your two elder brothers? This sudden level of in-fighting isn’t something I can handle… Also, Your Highness, your style is really direct… Klein sighed.
“I’m sorry, but I’d still say that Talim died of a sudden heart disease.”
“Is that so? News came from the Mandated Punishers that a detective by the name of Sherlock Moriarty had testified that Talim had signs of suffering from a curse.” Prince Edessak chuckled.
Klein could only respond with a wry smile, “Your Highness, you should know the principles I adhere to, I still wish to live another fifty years.”
“Wasn’t Talim your friend?” Prince Edessak asked.
Klein was at a loss for an answer when a maid suddenly came from the main room, quickly approached the prince, and whispered a few words.
Edessak’s face stiffened.
“Tell her that she’s not to go out!”
After he finished speaking, he took two steps forward. His serious expression softened, and a hint of softness and helplessness appeared in his blue eyes.
“But I will permit her to leave the room and walk around freely in the manor.”