Translator: Atlas Studios Editor: Atlas Studios
Mr. A? Mr. A of the Aurora Order? Klein, who had intended to cling towards the walls and shadows and proceed towards the door, shrank back silently.
Ince Zangwill should be working with some faction of the royal family… Those who are able to excavate and hide such a large underground ruin near Backlund must be one of the main powers in the Loen Kingdom…
With Ince Zangwill and 0-08 participating in this matter, the Church of the Goddess can be ruled out. Although the people of the Lord of Storms are a bit reckless and male chauvinists, it’s unlikely that they will work with the Demoness Sect. At least until now, there have been no Beyonders who appear to be of the Sailor pathway… In the same way, the Church of Steam and Machinery aren’t likely suspects…
Even the Aurora Order is involved? What are they trying to do?
Klein leaned his back against the wall and slowed his breathing, thinking and listening to the conversation in the middle of the hall.
After a short period of silence, a hoarse voice sounded, “It’s done.”
The answer was so concise that Klein couldn’t make out what they were planning.
The melodious and pleasant voice from before laughed in a low voice, “You don’t seem to trust us very much?”
“That’s right,” Mr. A answered bluntly.
“Heh heh, then I’ll be frank and describe our goal and why I’m seeking your cooperation.” The gentle female voice didn’t sound angry at all. “We’ve done certain things and left behind clear traces. Before we’re discovered by the Churches of Evernight, Storm, and Steam, as well as the military, we must do the corresponding cleanup, and this requires your help. Yes, it seems like you don’t really understand what I mean, so let me give you an example. Imagine—Imagine you performed a heinous crime like murder in a house, so what’s the best way of eliminating any evidence and clues?”
“There’s no need for that. It’s our goal to have others witness such an act,” Mr. A said indifferently.
… As expected of a member of the Aurora Order… They’re all a bunch of lunatics…Klein made a preliminary identification of the speaking man to be “Mr. A” who had killed the Intis Ambassador.
“… Suppose it were me, not you.” The clear, soft female voice had a faint wheezing sound.
After a second, Mr. A. replied, “Burn that house and bury all the clues there.”
The clear and gentle female voice had a smiling tone.
“That’s exactly what we planned. I’m in charge of ‘committing arson,’ while you can use this opportunity to go with this development to create a passageway or vessel, so as to allow your Lord to descend upon this world.
“And the only price you guys have to pay is to bear all the infamy and gain the most enmity from the military and the three Churches. But I don’t think you would mind that.”
“As long as we can welcome the return of the Lord, even if we’re abhorred by every single force, we won’t show any sign of cowardice.” Mr. A’s tone no longer appeared indifferent and distant.
Arson? The Aurora Order will take this opportunity to complete the ritual for the arrival of the True Creator? This is probably the third time… Why did I bump into this again… What a f*cking bad twist of fate… Klein couldn’t help but curse inwardly in Chinese.
At this very moment, he was extremely curious and wary against the things that were plotted by this particular royal family faction, Ince Zangwill, and the Demoness Sect. It was terrifying enough to even use the descent of the True Creator as a scapegoat!
Perhaps they’ve kept some cards up their sleeves and will eventually destroy the Aurora Order’s ritual in the end and destroy all the other factions except themselves…Klein calmly thought while feeling tense.
“It appears like you have no other questions,” said the gentle female voice. “This place is sufficiently well-hidden and can be used for the required set-up. You can do your ritual here at ease and won’t need to worry that it’ll be interrupted before you succeed. As for the things outside, we’ve already finished our preparations a long time ago. It’s just waiting for the ignition of a ‘spark.’ If you still have doubts, then you can make another round of checks.”
Just as Mr. A was about to speak, Klein heard a dull thud. It was the sound of the door opening.
“Who permitted you to enter? Didn’t I declare that no one is to approach this area?” The gentle female voice suppressed her rage.
“Lady Despair, there’s an emergency! Someone has infiltrated the basement! The higher-ups sent me to arrange for a follow-up and close the corresponding passages,” a male voice with a distinct Backlund accent responded very quickly.
The so-called “Lady Despair” maintained her silence for a few seconds, as though she was communicating with an unknown existence to confirm the situation.
Finally, she said without changing her tone, “Go back inside. Don’t come out again, nor allow anyone out. Wait until further notice.”
“Yes, Lady Despair!” The man ran towards the stone door, with a heavy thud sounding in the background.
From the place where Klein was hiding, he could clearly see the stone door leading to the back area. He waited for seven or eight seconds before a figure of normal height and build appeared.
Phew… The man took a deep breath, stretched out his hands, and bared his teeth as he pushed open the heavy stone door with a ferocious expression.
In that instant, Klein had completely taken in the man’s appearance and characteristics without missing a single detail. This was the Beyonder power of a Faceless!
That man’s skin was reddish-brown, and he was clearly of Southern Continent descent. His facial features had no special characteristics, making it difficult to remember him.
Due to him gritting and baring his teeth, he revealed a portion of his teeth. The third tooth on the upper left of his mouth flickered with a golden light. It was a fake tooth.
This… Klein, with the spiritual intuition of a Seer, frowned as he felt an inexplicable sense of familiarity.
Very quickly, he used his skills to recall the source of his familiarity.
The Hanged Man had once requested the Tarot Club members to find a man with reddish-brown skin and a thick Backlund accent who had the third tooth on his left missing.
The man’s name was Baelen, and he was involved in the escape and disappearance of many colonial island slaves!
And at this moment, the man in front of Klein was almost identical to the Baelen that was described by The Hanged Man!
The disappearance of the colonial island slaves…
The many tribes of the Southern Continent vanishing into thin air…
Baelen’s appearance here…
Capim, who took a large share of the underground slave trade, was protected by four Beyonders suspected to be of the Arbiter pathway. Among them, the strongest was a Sequence 6, and even a Sequence 5…
Capim constantly targeted relatively innocent girls in his abductions…
The passing of the Grain Act, the improvement of the textile machines all resulted in a large number of people losing their jobs…
Many female textile workers silently left East Borough after receiving new jobs, not leaving any clues…
The scattered dots instantly formed a line in Klein’s mind, pointing directly into the depths of the earth!
What are they up to, that they need such a large number of people, as well as so many pure and innocent girls? A ritual? An extremely terrifying ritual that takes a very long period of time while being held in secret? Klein’s pupils suddenly contracted.
Creak… Bang! The stone door closed and Baelen disappeared from his sight.
The hall was silent for a few seconds before Mr. A’s deep and hoarse voice rang out again.
“I smell an accident. Let’s begin. We need to hurry before it arrives.”
Lady Despair responded slowly, “That’s exactly what I was thinking.
“But I need you to send me to East Borough.”
East Borough? Klein had a bad premonition.
“No problem,” Mr. A answered with a lack of emotion.
Under the hood, a transparent and blurry book appeared in front of him. Accompanied by a distant and indistinct chant, he said, “I came, I saw, I record.”
The book quickly flipped open and stopped at one of the pages. Soon after, it began to emit a light blue and illusory light.
The light enveloped the white-robed Lady Despair, causing her figure to blur at first, then becoming indistinct.
In an instant, Lady Despair saw countless indescribable silhouettes. She discovered lustrous brilliances which contained the bright and pure splendor of endless knowledge at the highest point.
Her body was being dragged forward by a strange force as she rapidly tore through space. Not long after, she left her original spot and arrived at a secluded, uninhabited, and filthy corner of an alley.
She pulled down her veil to cover her face and looked up into the sky. The afternoon sun had once again been obscured by clouds and fog, turning pale and dark.
The light yellow fog wasn’t particularly thick, and it sank down to every corner of Backlund, giving off a slight choking sensation amidst its coldness and moisture.
It’s a pity that the haze didn’t reach the point when it’s in its worst and calmest state… The accident that happened to Trissy, the sudden and temporary loss of control over 0-08, the appearance of Azik, the destruction previously caused by Dark Emperor, these had complicated matters, garnering the attention of others. It forced the operation to be brought forward to today… Lady Despair surveyed the area, walked out of the alley, and into the streets.
Her steps were slow, as though she were wandering in a sea of fog.
Wherever she passed, the fog would unnoticeably thicken. Tinged with an iron-black color, it silently lowered the range of one’s visibility.
As she left the street, a sallow-faced tramp in an old jacket suddenly coughed violently and fell to the ground.
The two poor people close to the tramp retreated in horror, and then they covered their throats with their hands as they gasped for air. It was as if they were suffering from severe lung disease or bronchitis and could no longer breathe.
A haze which was a mixture of iron-black and pale yellow colors descended upon East Borough, the dock area, and the smoke-spewing factory district as it continued to spread throughout Backlund.
Various scenes in the distance were “drowned,” and even the towering clock tower was only a pale shadow. One by one, workers and poor people felt the discomfort as they fought against the cold, and the disorderly tramps fell one after another in the woman’s wake, their lives as fragile as the bubbles formed during laundry.
Lady Despair’s expression was calm and gentle, as though she were finishing a work of art.
Like an ordinary person, she walked among the pedestrians as she chuckled and said in a low voice, “The Loen Kingdom’s history will remember this day.
“The Great Haze of Backlund.”
The dark valley had been completely covered by the black, incorporeal water, but 0-08 didn’t stop writing.
It fabricated ridiculous and terrifying stories wherever it could land its tip on.
“… The dropping of pants didn’t affect Ince Zangwill’s performance, because he was wearing a long robe, perhaps having anticipated a similar accident…
“The Imperative Mage stunned Azik Eggers in the spot, robbing him of his two most powerful Beyonder powers at the last moment — truly a great assistant in every meaning of the word. However, the stacked door of the spirit world and the Underworld were attracted by Azik’s characteristic. It began being stirred by the powers of their battle, causing unpredictable changes.
“At that moment, an unknown existence was attracted, resulting in ‘Him’ passing by. ‘He’ took this opportunity to extend his hands into the real world. Oh no! ‘He’ caught Ince Zangwill!”
In midair, two bloody arms which were covered in squirming flesh suddenly appeared behind the clergyman-robed Ince Zangwill!
They caught Ince Zangwill’s shoulders, dragging him into the void and into the spirit world.