Translator: Atlas Studios Editor: Atlas Studios
In Empress Borough, inside the opulent villa of Earl Hall.
The cold air was kept out by the windows and walls. The building’s interior was warm as though it were spring, and the fireplace was elegant.
Audrey Hall was having her measurements taken by the fashion designer, Mrs. Guinea, so that she could create a costume for Audrey for the new year banquet in consideration of her recent physical and emotional state.
At this moment, her personal maid, Annie, came close to her ear and whispered, “Lady Escalante is here.”
Such a fast response? Audrey was delighted, but she didn’t make an obvious show of it on her face. With a faint smile, she said, “Please get her to wait in my art studio. Hmm, for five minutes.”
“Art studio?” Annie asked in surprise.
“Yes, I’d like to ask her to admire my recently completed oil painting. She says that content that is painted in a relaxed state easily allows one to express their true thoughts and emotions,” Audrey explained unhurriedly.
Annie suddenly felt enlightened.
Less than five minutes later, Audrey entered the studio and saw Escalante admiring the paintings on the walls.
“That’s Mr. Cenci’s Inner Heart’s Night, a masterpiece that allows one to feel peace,” she smiled and introduced the painting to Escalante.
“Cenci’s Inner Heart’s Night? One of the top ten works of last year’s ‘top hundred century-old paintings’ that the Tussock Times voted for?” Escalante was obviously the kind of person who often read newspapers.
And as a Beyonder of the Spectator pathway, she had a good memory.
“Yes,” Audrey replied simply, as though it was a trivial matter.
“I actually have the honor of seeing the real deal…” Escalante looked up at the painting again.
She swallowed back the words “this is worth at least a manor,” unwilling to appear too philistine.
Audrey didn’t continue introducing the other paintings. She found a reason to send Annie away and motioned to Susie to “stand guard” outside the door.
Susie read her hint without any hindrance, wagged her tail, and scampered out.
Escalante closed the door and went back to the easel’s side. Before Audrey could ask, she took the initiative and said, “We have both the Human-skinned Shadow’s characteristic and the Wind-blessed potion formula. However, there is no need for us to sell it unless the other party is able to provide an irresistible offer.”
The willingness to negotiate means there’s hope! Audrey’s green eyes darted slightly as she asked with a chuckle, “What do you wish to receive in exchange?”
Escalante stroked her hair and gave her pre-prepared answer.
“2,500 pounds for the Human-skinned Shadow characteristic, and 3,000 pounds for the Wind-blessed potion formula.”
Quite a huge premium… Although Audrey didn’t find them expensive, she lamented the fact that the Psychology Alchemists’ premium had exceeded 50%.
According to the description given by The Hanged Man, under normal circumstances, the formula for Sequence 6 would’ve cost less than 2,000 pounds, but the closer it was to a High Sequence, the fewer potion formulas there were to circulate, making it very difficult to buy them. There was no normal situation, and what was even more important was that even if one chanced upon a sale, it was very difficult to ascertain their authenticity.
At that moment, Escalante added, “If the other party can barter with mystical items, all that’s needed is for them to be of roughly the same value.”
That is to say, you want mystical items more and can accept a price reduction for them… The Psychology Alchemists is one of the youngest secret organizations. They clearly haven’t accumulated enough in this area compared to the others… Audrey pursed her lips and said, “I’ll inform them, but I can’t guarantee that they’ll accept it.”
She wasn’t the least bit worried that the Psychology Alchemist would notice that she hadn’t been involved in any Beyonder gathering recently. After all, her schedule was rather tight—afternoon tea, music lessons, dinners, dances, equestrian training, language lessons, dancing lessons, and so on. There were too many opportunities for her to interact with different people. In that case, perhaps a particular dinner was a cover for Beyonder gatherings, or perhaps the music teacher was a senior Beyonder, and it was almost impossible for the Psychology Alchemists, who hid in the shadows, to investigate it when they couldn’t act openly.
Having said this, Audrey curiously asked, “Ms. Escalante, I thought you wouldn’t sell the Wind-blessed potion formula since it’s already at Sequence 6.”
“Heh heh, if there’s a chance, it might be more useful to spread this information out,” Escalante answered vaguely.
In her mind, although Miss Audrey was a new member who had a high level of importance attached to her by the organization, she was still a new member after all. There were many things she couldn’t know about.
Why? Audrey suppressed her doubts and smiled sweetly. She asked innocently, “Ms. Escalante, if this deal succeeds, can you count it as my contribution?”
Escalante broke into a laugh.
Klein “busied” all morning, until he returned to Minsk Street. He filled his stomach and prepared to rest; only then did he have the time and opportunity to listen to prayers above the gray fog.
Someone on Miss Justice’s side has the Human-skinned Shadow characteristic? Seriously? Either it doesn’t come, or it comes in pairs… As a secret organization, the Psychology Alchemists is quite qualified in the field of resources… Klein was suddenly left in the throes of happiness from having a choice.
Even if he counted the 500 pounds which The Hanged Man still hadn’t paid him, he only had 1,335 pounds in cash. This didn’t prevent him from seriously considering the request for a deal with the Psychology Alchemists.
After thinking for a dozen seconds or so, he passed Justice’s words to The Hanged Man to see what choice the latter would make.
3,000 pounds? Alger Wilson, who was still in Rorsted Archipelago’s capital, the City of Generosity, felt as if someone had struck him hard.
After he became captain of the Blue Avenger, he sometimes played the role of a pirate and sometimes a law enforcer, secretly exterminating several groups of pirates. But even so, the total value of his spoils of war didn’t exceed 2,000 pounds, and a portion of it had to be distributed to the sailors under him. Of course, this didn’t include the ships and cannons which were captured as they had to be handed over to the Church of the Lord of Storms.
This made Alger often sigh that most pirates weren’t rich, that they were used to squandering on having opulent lives—liquor, barbecue, whores, marijuana, and gambling had drained the pirates of their money.
Unless I meet a pirate crew with Beyonders, it would be very difficult to get rich so suddenly… Alger paced a few steps, then he made up his mind.
He took out a gold mask from his undergarment pocket.
The mask had rough facial features, and the way they were formed had the characteristics of a primitive human being from an ancient forest.
Alger sat down, humbly recited the honorific name of The Fool, and said, “… I’m willing to use this mystical item to barter for the Wind-blessed potion formula.
“As long as the user wears this mask, they will become extremely calm and emotionless. At the same time, they will also obtain an extremely strong regenerative ability, exaggerated speed, and outstanding strength, as well as grasp a certain amount of black magic and primitive curse techniques.
“Its weakness is that as the number of times it’s used increases, the wearer will become more and more unlike a human being. They will turn colder and colder, eventually treating themselves as a god.”
Sitting in his seat as The Fool, Klein looked at the 500-pound note in front of him, the 5 strands of dark-blue hair as thick as a tiny snake, and the simple golden mask. He tapped the edge of the long table with his finger, thinking carefully about what mystical items he could use for a trade.
The All-Black Eye? Certainly not. This is the main ingredient of a Sequence 5 Nimblewright Master. It’s just short of having Little Sun to obtain the method to remove the mental corruption.
Dark Emperor card? This card which cannot see the light of day has a value countless times higher than that of a Human-skinned Shadow’s characteristic…
Mr. Azik’s copper whistle? At the moment, its only function is the summoning of a messenger, and it’s an important tool for communication. I can’t sell it…
The copper whistle of the Numinous Episcopate member who left behind white feathers? Similarly, it can only summon a messenger, but the target on the other side of the messenger seems to be very dangerous…
Sun Brooch? This is something I want to use for myself. It effectively makes up for my weaknesses.
Master Key? It involves Mr. Door and has too many hidden secrets. In addition, just from the value of its effects, it pales in comparison to the Human-skinned Shadow’s characteristic…
Biological Poison Bottle? This is very compatible with my Spirit Body state. If I use it well, I can even fight a group of Beyonders…
Demon hunting bullets, purifying bullets, exorcism bullets? There are not mystical items and are considered consumable Beyonder weapons. They are of very low value…
The Book of Secrets? This isn’t a mystical item either. The Psychology Alchemists likely do not lack such knowledge…
At present, only the Beyonder characteristic of an Interrogator can be sold. However, the Psychology Alchemists wants mystical items. Furthermore, the trading venue is in Backlund, so it would easily expose information pertaining to Hero Bandit Dark Emperor…
Klein took this opportunity to sort out what he had and finally came up with a perfect plan.
He first took the form of Mr. World, manipulating him to take up a praying posture, and then he responded with a hoarse voice, “… I accept the price of 2,500 pounds, but give me two days to raise the money.”
Immediately following that, Klein threw the reply scenes of The Hanged Man and The World to the crimson star which symbolized Miss Justice.
After receiving affirmation from Miss Justice, Klein waited patiently all afternoon at Minsk Street.
It was late afternoon when the Machinery Hivemind member, Carlson, rang his doorbell.
Klein didn’t ask anything further. He followed the man to the Lever Cathedral near the West Balam dock and entered a three-story building next to the cathedral.
The signboard wrote: “Backlund Institute for Mechanical Research.”
How academic… Klein suddenly thought of the Blackthorn Security Company and cracked the corner of his lips into a smile.
Under Carlson’s guidance, he passed through some strange devices and found himself in a windowless room.
On the long table in the room, there were many items emitting strong spirituality, including the Human-skinned Shadow characteristic and the Specter Portrait Frame which was covered in black cloth. However, there were no characteristics left behind by the dead Beyonders.
Obviously, the higher-ups of the Machinery Hivemind don’t want me to know about the Law of Indestructibility and Conservation… Klein wasn’t the least bit surprised.
“You can choose one.” The hatless Ikanser pointed at the long table.
Klein “scrutinized” the items several times before sighing.
“There’s nothing I want.
“If I were to convert it into gold, how much would I get?”
He had already made up his mind that he wouldn’t obtain the Human-skinned Shadow’s characteristic from the Machinery Hivemind.
Although this could be explained as the need to create some mystical item or to try out a unique ritualistic magic, there was still a chance of exposing his own Sequence. In a situation where there was a better choice, Klein didn’t want to take the risk.
Thus, he intended to take only money!
Not only would this help him gather the 2,500 pounds that the Psychology Alchemists quoted, but he could also effectively dispel the Machinery Hivemind’s wariness towards him.
Ikanser was visibly relieved. He smoothed his hair and answered with a smile, “1,500 pounds.
“However, we encourage you to choose money, so a total of 2,000 pounds.”
Klein immediately revealed a sincere smile.