Translator: Atlas Studios Editor: Atlas Studios
Klein thought for a moment that he was mistaken.
However, the blurring caused by the rays of light wasn’t that serious. Being familiar with Leonard, he was able to quickly confirm his previous judgment.
In the time it took to take a breath, Leonard disappeared, the light dispersed, and the valley returned to its midwinter silence. The scene which Klein saw in the dream shattered as a result.
He opened his eyes and placed the badge he had obtained from Lanevus on the surface of the long bronze table.
Is it really Leonard, or a Faceless disguised as Leonard? Klein considered and flipped a gold coin.
His spirituality had told him through the medium that it was Leonard Mitchell, his teammate from the Tingen Nighthawks team!
Is he the “investigator” sent by the Church of the Goddess for the gathering, or is he risking his life to find an opportunity to find the revenge target while keeping the Nighthawks in the dark? Klein muttered to himself in suspicion. It was hard to make an accurate judgment.
And without any leads, his divination couldn’t provide him with any revelations.
After a few seconds of silence, Klein gave a self-deprecating smile as he drew a crimson moon on his chest.
“I wish him the best of luck. May the Goddess watch over him.”
Klein no longer bothered with the problem, and he planned on understanding more about the gathering before deciding whether or not to participate in the future or to warn Leonard Mitchell anonymously.
Backlund, in a secret room in the basement of the Steam Cathedral.
Ikanser took off his hat, pressed down his fluffy but not soft hair, and sat in the first seat on the left.
Then, he took out the ancient silver mirror of Arrodes from an inner custom-made pocket in his clothes and placed it in front of him.
To his right, across him, and diagonally across him, were the Machinery Hivemind deacons and captains, all of whom had been summoned by the member of the Divine Council, the Archbishop of Backlund, Horamick Haydn, for a meeting.
The white-robed archbishop looked like an ordinary old man, sitting calmly at the end.
Seeing that everyone had arrived, he looked around and softly said, “Let’s start with Ikanser. Tell me in sequence about the investigation over the past few days.”
Ikanser Bernard pushed his hair while flipping through the thick document file, and he reported in a concise manner, “Your Grace, we were in charge of Sherlock Moriarty. After a careful investigation, and with the aid of Beyonder means, we confirmed that he was pulled into the matter. Prior to the incident, there was no evidence that he knew of Prince Edessak’s problem.
“He and the dead Talim Dumont were friends, and he indirectly fulfilled some of the tasks entrusted to him by the prince, but there weren’t many problems. At most, he had falsely made some fraudulent claims for his expenses.”
At this point, Ikanser suddenly felt a little worried because Sherlock Moriarty was also an informant for the Machinery Hivemind, and his expenses here were likely to be somewhat exaggerated.
In any case, his job as an informant was very effective and very outstanding, enough to offset a lot of problems, and he hasn’t become our informant for long. The money involved was mostly just from commissions… Ikanser exhaled slowly and continued to report, “Our conclusion is that he’s considered an innocent party and that there is no hidden plot behind him. He once keenly noticed the danger of Red Rose Manor, but that is a typical example of coming to the correct conclusion from an incorrect deduction. He was afraid of the royal family’s internal strife, and for this reason, he had been slow in his work and didn’t do any substantial investigations. On this, he had reported it to us.
“Unfortunately, he still failed to avoid the matter, but he was lucky enough. He mentioned that the descendant of Death happened to be monitoring the vicinity of Red Rose Manor at the time; hence, he was rescued from the perilous situation when the meteorite fell. The signs at the scene are ample proof of how terrifying that strike was. It’s likely due to 0-08.”
Klein mentioned the existence of Ince Zangwill and 0-08 in his letter. As for whether or not he knew the former archbishop and the Grade 0 Sealed Artifact, no one was concerned about it, because he was with Azik Eggers for some time. It was entirely possible that he learned the information from him. This was also a conclusion that everyone subconsciously came up with.
As for matters regarding Grade 0 and Grade 1 Sealed Artifacts, the seven orthodox churches constantly shared information of the rough situation with each other—the numbers were shared, and there was no repetition.
“… However, we haven’t been able to grasp the entire situation. There are three matters that aren’t confirmed. First, 2-111 indicates that after Sherlock Moriarty fled into the forest, he didn’t immediately escape far away. Instead, he stayed on the spot and prayed to someone. Second, it’s still unknown when he and Azik Eggers got to know each other. Third, it’s still unknown how he escaped the underground ruins. It’s unlikely that he could’ve done so with his strength. And in this process, he had even destroyed the descent ritual of the Aurora Order,” Ikanser finally concluded.
2-111 referred to the magic mirror, Arrodes.
Horamick laughed after he listened to the recount and muttered, “Fraudulent claims of expenses…”
He then cleared his throat.
“In any case, Sherlock Moriarty is a hero of Backlund.
“If he hadn’t stopped the ritual in time, and if he had been frightened at that moment and had chosen to flee, then most of us wouldn’t be alive sitting here.
“Moreover, he has also displayed his faith in God and his friendliness towards us. As long as there isn’t too much of a problem with him, then we can pretend that we don’t know anything about his tiny flaws and secrets.”
“Your Grace, this is what we were thinking as well.” Ikanser heaved a sigh of relief and said, “I guess his prayers in the woods, including the ritual of blowing the copper whistle, were to get in touch with Azik Eggers. But the effects and speed can be different. In such a critical situation, the only thing he could do was to try to save himself, which is something that we deduced from the follow-up process.”
“Apart from trying to save himself, he could write his will,” another Machinery Hivemind deacon quipped before he immediately reported the portion he was responsible for. “… We haven’t found the underground ruin which Sherlock Moriarty described, even with the help of 2-111. We’re still temporarily unable to grasp the locations of the royal family’s High-Sequence Beyonders on that very day.”
“… It can be confirmed that the Church of Evernight received the information first. This came from a special channel of Earl Hall, but the specific situation is unknown.”
“… Most of the forces of the Aurora Order in Backlund have been eliminated by us, the Nighthawks, and the Mandated Punishers. However, I suspect that they still have some hidden strength…”
“… At the time of the incident, Sherlock Moriarty mentioned that Trissy was heading to Backlund, but no one has seen her ever since. According to Sherlock Moriarty, she was a key figure and was renamed Trissy Cheek.”
“… It cannot be determined what method the Church of Evernight used to capture the Demoness of Despair and the butler, Funkel. Results via divination tell me that they’re still alive, but they aren’t free.”
One by one, the deacons and captains reported on their findings while Horamick half-closed his eyes, seemingly deep in thought.
After a few seconds of silence, he opened his eyes and slowly said, “Put all efforts into finding Trissy Cheek—if she’s still alive.
“Pass me all the problems where divination has failed to provide any effective revelations. The Church has a Saint who is good at this, although it’s not necessarily more effective than 2-111.
“As for the surveillance and investigation of the royal family’s High-Sequence Beyonders, it can be tabled. There’s no need to worry. They’ve always known what we’ve been doing. It’s also a form of warning.
“Continue the search for the underground ruins and report it to the Evernight and Storm Churches.
“Ikanser, ask 2-111 how Sherlock Moriarty escaped the ruins, as well as when he got to know Azik Eggers.”
Ikanser looked at the archbishop, then at his colleagues before gritting his teeth and said, “Yes, Your Grace.”
He was sadly convinced that his legends were about to spread from just a few Machinery Hiveminds teams that he was in charge of to all the Beyonders of the Church of the God of Steam in Backlund.
After a very well-rehearsed process, he opened his mouth and said, “Honorable Arrodes, my question is: ‘when did Sherlock Moriarty get to know Azik Eggers?'”
The silver mirror which seemed to have eyes on both sides suddenly started to glow with an aqueous light, quickly forming a scene:
Sherlock Moriarty stood in a room, watching a rat with a rotting belly burrow into a hole a wall. Behind him was Old Kohler and the owner of a budget hotel.
“He got to know Azik Eggers while completing the bounty mission for him. That mission was issued by MI9, which originated from a coincidental conflict.” Ikanser interpreted the scene.
With that, he chose to answer the corresponding question. He held his breath as he waited for Arrodes to give the soul-piercing question.
As expected, he saw the bright red words: “Do you know the feeling of trying your best to win the favor of someone, but only to end up being abandoned without any progress?”
Th-this question isn’t sharp enough; it’s unlike Arrodes’s usual style… Ikanser suddenly felt that the blood on the mirror seemed to lack its usual horror and bloody sense. It appeared somewhat weak.
He didn’t bother to think about why and immediately opened his mouth to answer, “Yes.”
“Congratulations, you got it right.” A new line of text appeared on the surface of the silver mirror, its color was somewhat pale.
5th January, 9:00 a.m.
With a gray scarf around his neck, Klein arrived at Rose Wharf with his suitcase and cane.
The White Agate was docked there, unusually large compared to the height of a human. It was said to be capable of ferrying hundreds of passengers.
It had the rich characteristics of the age, with its chimneys, sails, and its twelve cannons on both sides of the ship—necessary for defending against pirates and other peers.
Under Captain Elland Kag’s arrangement, the chosen stocky sailors and crew lined up at the mouth of the gangway, some even deliberately revealing their legitimate revolvers, rifles, and knives.
This gave the passengers on board the boat a greater sense of security. They were no longer afraid of the journey that would take them nine days to complete.
Klein stood below, looked up, and climbed up the hanging ladder in the undulating blue water.
My travels begin… He took a step forward and sighed silently.