Translator: Atlas Studios Editor: Atlas Studios
Townshend Street, in between Empress Borough and West Borough.
Xio Derecha was standing in a dark, secluded alley. Even without looking up, she could see the countless magnificent palaces and tall Gothic towers in the distance.
It was the highest district in the whole of Backlund, and it was also where the Loen royal family resided.
It shared the same or even slightly higher status as the White Maple Palace of Intis and the Aurmir Palace of the Feysac Empire in the Southern and Northern Continent and in the entire world, but its name was neither romantic nor ancient.
It was called the Sodela Palace, and in ancient Feysac, it meant “balance.”
Xio looked away from the famous “Bell of Order” and directed her sight to the other side of the alley.
In the shadows where the street lamps didn’t shine, a figure slowly walked out.
The figure wore a golden mask that revealed the lower half of his face. He was none other than the mysterious person who had previously sold the Sheriff formula to Xio and had occasionally entrusted her with some tasks.
When Xio and Fors discussed in private, they both suspected that the person was from MI9.
“Any progress this week?” the man wearing the gold mask asked as per usual.
Xio shook her head.
“No, I don’t think anyone was keeping tabs on Capim before the incident.”
She paused for a moment, then she reluctantly asked, “Do you still want to continue investigating this matter?”
The masked man was silent for a moment.
“There’s no need, but if you hear anything related in the future, then contact me right away.
“Today, I’ll give you a new mission.”
“What mission?” Xio was completely in her bounty hunter state, ready to assess the risks.
The masked guy laughed.
“This is a very simple mission, and it’s one that you’ve been dreaming of doing.
“Seek to purchase the Sheriff and Interrogator main ingredients in all your circles, especially a special ingredient that can be directly concocted into a potion. If someone responds to it, we will pay for it.”
“The purchased ingredients will belong to me?” Xio blurted out a response.
This was her greatest concern.
“No, do you believe that such a simple mission would have such a high reward? Of course, if you’re able to fish out the person we’re looking for, it’s not impossible to negotiate and let you obtain the main ingredients,” the masked man said with a chuckle.
“But I don’t know the main ingredients of the Interrogator potion…” Xio hesitantly said.
“I’ll tell you later. This is also our advance payment. Even if we don’t find the target, you’ll have the main portion of a Sequence 7 potion formula, worth more than 600 pounds. I think you’re fully aware of our generosity,” the masked man said in a bewitching tone.
Generous indeed… Who’s their target, and why are they willing to pay such a high price to find them? Well, if he were from MI9, taking advantage of this mission to retrieve the Beyonder ingredients of the Arbiter pathway on the market should also be one of his goals. There’s no problem about wasting money… As quite an experienced bounty hunter, Xio instinctively thought of a few things.
After some deliberation, she nodded and said, “I’ll take this commission.”
“Very good.” The masked man’s tone turned relaxed as he surveyed his surroundings and said, “The Interrogator potion’s main ingredients are the horn of a Flash-patterned Black Snake and dust of a Lake Spirit.”
After saying that, he slowly retreated and melded into the shadows, disappearing into the corner of the alley.
“He really told me the main ingredients of the Interrogator potion…” Xio was momentarily stunned.
Only at that point did she clearly realize how much importance the masked man’s faction placed on this mission.
I wonder who their target is. It seems to be focused on some special ingredient that can be used to directly concoct a Sheriff or Interrogator potion… With this in mind, Xio suddenly froze up.
She remembered one thing. When she advanced to Sheriff, she had used a special ingredient she had bought through Fors, one that could be used to concoct the corresponding potion!
This… Is that their target? Xio instinctively decided to keep silent on this matter, to never tell the masked man anything.
She rubbed her fat baby cheeks and walked towards the street outside, ready to take a public carriage back to Cherwood Borough.
At that moment, she saw a brown carriage drive past. Her eyes were instantly attracted by the coat of arms on the carriage.
The coat of arms consisted of a single flower and two rings. There was nothing special about it, but Xio stared at it in a daze as though her gaze had frozen.
It was only when the carriage was far away, did she withdraw her gaze. Her mood immediately reached rock bottom. It didn’t turn for the better, even when she returned to the shared rented house.
Seeing that her friend was in a bad mood, Fors poured two glasses of red wine and brought them to her.
“What happened?” She sat across her and pushed one of the glasses toward Xio.
Xio looked down at the red wine. After a full two minutes of silence, she said in a slightly hoarse voice, “On the way back, I met someone I used to know.”
“Who?” Fors asked, cooperatively.
“Viscount Stratford,” Xio replied to any question she received without elaborating.
Fors thought for a moment and then she said, “This Viscount seems to be the captain of the royal guards?”
As a best-selling novel author, she would receive invitations from noblemen who liked literature and participated in afternoon tea parties and banquets from time to time. With her professional habits of collecting material as a writer, she would certainly volunteer to understand more famous noblemen.
It was at such a party that she got to know Viscount Glaint.
“Yes, he used to be my father’s deputy,” Xio said with some difficulty.
“Your father?” Fors knew that Xio came from a fallen aristocratic family and had some secrets. However, she didn’t know the specifics.
Xio picked up the glass of red wine and gulped it down, coughing a few times after she choked.
After calming herself down, she said, “My family was once part of the aristocracy. In its heyday, it even served as an earl palatine.”
“Earl palatine? What position is that?” Fors asked, half curious, half trying to soothe her friend’s mood.
“It’s equivalent to being the spokesperson for the royal family, nobles that are the closest to the throne,” Xio said in recollection, her face jubilant. “From that moment forth, our family had the fief a true earl would have, but it wasn’t as illustrious during the time of my father. However, we still held the trust of the former king, Might-wielder William VI. He was the leader of the Household Guards Division and the captain of the royal guards.”
Her tone gradually turned melancholic as she found it difficult to hide her pain.
“But seven years ago, he was accused of participating in a revolt, and he was eventually executed and deprived of his aristocratic title and fiefdom.
“Because of this, my family fell from grace, and many of my family members even died for no reason. In order to live, we changed our surnames and left East Tucker County…
“I don’t believe that my father would engage in mutiny. He was so loyal to the royal family, even more so than his belief in the Goddess! In order to… Anyway, I left my mother and my younger brother and came to Backlund, looking for a chance to improve myself, hoping to restore my family’s glory and my father’s reputation.”
Xio was vague about some of the things midway through her recount, but Fors didn’t mind. She sighed and said, “It’ll be very, very difficult.”
But she immediately smiled.
“But I will support you!”
And behind me is the mysterious Tarot Club! she added in her mind.
Night time in Tingen City, 2 Daffodil Street.
Melissa, who was doing math problems, turned her head to the door and looked at Benson who had just taken off his half top hat.
“Where did you go? Aren’t the results announced tomorrow?”
“They’re already available tonight, and I happen to know two of the city’s employees who are in charge of the unified exam,” Benson said with a smirk.
In early December, he had enrolled for the Civil Servant Unified Examination, selected a relatively uncompetitive position, and, in the process, established friendships with several civil servants and a number of examination candidates through his eloquence and communication skills.
“What was the result?” Melissa unconsciously put down the fountain pen in her hand.
Benson’s expression immediately darkened, but before Melissa could open her mouth, he revealed a bright smile.
“And I’m ranked quite high!”
“That’s great…” Melissa stood up and took two steps forward. “You have to start preparing for the second round of exams at the end of January. It’s held in Backlund. I need to prepare your luggage for you ahead of time… When are you planning on leaving?”
Seeing his sister’s concern, Benson walked into the living room, smiled and said, “I plan to do so after the new year. We’ll go to Backlund together and rent a house there.
“Regardless of the success of the exam, I’m prepared to stay in Backlund and try my luck. And you can take advantage of the New Year’s holiday to transfer to the technical school in Backlund to prepare for the entrance exam at the Backlund University of Technology and Industry in June.”
Just a month ago, the Backlund University of Technology and Industry had been reorganized and officially upgraded to a university for industry and technology.
Melissa’s lips unconsciously pursed as she quietly listened.
She looked around wistfully and replied softly, “Okay.”
Friday afternoon at the Quelaag Club.
Klein walked out and hired a carriage to head for Prince Edessak’s Red Rose Manor.
It was the place where Talim had gone to a few days before his death. As a qualified detective, he would be completely unworthy of the 100 pounds he was paid, if he didn’t hold any investigations there.
No matter what, I still have to put on a convincing act… Klein muttered as he sat in the carriage and enjoyed the scenery outside the window.
After his morning practice, he had roughly grasped the range of improvements in every aspect. Flame Controlling, Flaming Jump, and other Beyonder powers had become about 30% stronger. The might of Air Bullets and the length of the Underwater Breathing pipe had even increased severalfold. His divination and combat skills had also received a substantial improvement.
Paper Figurine Substitutes and Damage Transfer didn’t experience much change, but because of the growth of his spirituality, the number of times that they could be used had increased.
Klein finally arrived at Red Rose Manor amidst the rumbling journey and informed the two soldiers guarding the entrance of his purpose.
After passing the news, he met the old butler from before.
“You can ask everyone here.” The white-haired elderly butler paused, then added, “Except that lady.”
That’s what I want. I don’t want to get into trouble… Klein laughed casually.