Translator: Atlas Studios Editor: Atlas Studios
The quality of sickleback’s meat was certainly not as good as that of murloc meat, but the spices synergized to form clear layered flavors which Klein was rather delighted to have tasted. He just couldn’t stop himself from eating after the first bite.
Actually, there are some local Beyonders who wish to leave this dangerous circle and lead a normal life. It’s completely possible for them to head to Backlund and open a Rorsted-cuisine restaurant, selling grilled fish as their specialty. With the city’s acceptance for many things, their business definitely wouldn’t be bad. The only problem is that many spices aren’t as cheap as they are here. The cost will be very high, and a location has to be chosen to cater to the target group… Klein put down his rather crude chopsticks and wiped his mouth with a napkin, letting his mind wander.
In his view, commoners were unable to find the means to get rich, mostly because they didn’t have enough vision. However, one’s vision was also limited by the education they received and their daily experiences. Bound by social class, it was really hard to escape from it and break through this limitation. The most effective way was to strive for a higher level of education, and the second was to take risks and head out on an adventure. Of course, the risk was huge, and many people vanished silently while taking this path.
Klein spent 2 soli and 5 pence for this meal, which wasn’t cheap, but he had always been willing to spend money on good food. Besides, his main expenses had been paid for by Danitz recently.
Pulling at his collar, putting on his hat, and holding his black cane, he walked out of Old John’s Restaurant, just in time to see a police officer driving a tramp out of the street.
The natives of the Rorsted Archipelago had darker skin than the people of the Southern Continent. It was close to the kind of bronze which was often a result of exposure to the sun. Their hair was mostly dark and naturally curled ever so slightly. They were quite different from the colonists from the Loen Kingdom.
It has been less than fifty years since the place had been completely colonized. At first, Loen had worked with the local kings and chieftains, under the name of the Mid Sonia Company to extract economic benefits, but later, the management of the company quickly fell into corruption as they fought for power, even provoking the enemy for personal gain by starting a war. Even what was even more absurd was that they would report each other, claiming that their competitors had received bribes. With regards to this, they would find a Member of Parliament backing them. During parliamentary hearings, they would attack each other, something that nearly resulted in suits 1 .
The natives would never have imagined that the powerful figures, who could make their kings and chieftains bend over, kiss the soles of their shoes, and deliver carts and carts of gifts, were actually unimportant people who weren’t even Members of Parliament in Backlund. Although most of them came from noble families, they were at the end of the line of any inheritance rights.
After that dispute, the King and the Prime Minister agreed to redeem the stock, shut down the Mid Sonia Company, and to send their fleet and troops to take over the Rorsted Archipelago in full force, bringing them under true colonial rule.
At present, the archipelago was governed by the governor-general’s office, Parliament, and the Courts. The upper echelons were all Loenese, and some of the middle-ranking personnel were Members of Parliament and court magistrates who were descendants of the original kings and chieftains. As for the low-ranking positions, they were opened to the educated natives of the region. This included police officers below that of superintendents.
It was a native policeman who was driving off the tramp with a baton, and his target similarly was of distinct Rorsted descent.
As soon as the policeman saw Klein in his double-breasted frock coat, half top hat, and black, civilized cane, he immediately put away his baton, straightened up, held his feet together, and saluted.
“Good afternoon, sir.
“How may I help you?”
Klein felt mixed emotions as he gently nodded.
“Are there no carriages here?”
“According to the regulations of the governor-general’s office, carriages aren’t allowed to enter this street. You’ll have to walk to the street ahead,” the policeman explained with both fear and enthusiasm.
“Thank you.” Klein casually praised him, “You speak good Loenese.”
The policeman was so pleasantly surprised that he became excited.
“I think—I think that this is an essential quality that a good policeman should possess.”
He originally wanted to say that he felt that he too was Loenese, but he was afraid the gentleman across him would end up angry.
Klein secretly sighed and slowly walked to the corner of the street.
Along the way, he saw that the local style of clothing was very different from that of mainland cities such as Backlund and Tingen. It was even different from ports such as Damir and Bansy, which had been colonized for more than two hundred years.
A decent man from Loen, dressed in a formal suit, wearing a top hat and a tie, and holding onto a civilized cane. This made the people around him subservient, afraid to look him in the eye or touch him. The rest of the natives or mixed-bloods liked matching a thick jacket with baggy pants, along with a cap from the mainland. They didn’t like black, and they preferred the colors: brown, tawny, and light gray. To Klein, this was indeed a little strange, but it also gave him a feeling of coming to a foreign country.
Of course, the natives of higher standing and those of mixed-blood also mimicked the dressing style of Loen, believing that this was a sign of civilization.
2 p.m., Swordfish Bar, an accepted gathering spot for adventurers.
There weren’t many customers, so Klein easily made his way through the tables to the bar.
He discovered that what was different from the other places was that there were three blackboards on the side of the bar that were supported by wooden shelves. Sitting on them were yellowing notices in white, with a variety of content, strange and varied. Some were hiring bodyguards, some were seeking help in finding people, some were investigating the situation on a particular island, and some were offering a high reward for the head of a particular pirate, while others claimed that they had obtained a treasure map and wanted to form a team. In short, the affairs that had been divided up between the private detectives and security companies in the Loen Kingdom still belonged to the adventurers here.
“A glass of Zarhar.” Klein tapped the surface of the bar counter.
It was a local malt beer, cheap and tasty, with a unique taste. It was loved by adventurers, something Klein had learned from Blazing Danitz.
“Three pence.” The bartender casually glanced at the customer, not showing any change in his attitude because of the stranger’s unfamiliar face.
With a beer in hand, Klein sat in a high chair in front of the bar, sipping bit by bit as he quietly listened to the drinkers around him. Through their conversations, he searched for a worthy target.
After nearly an hour, when the number of people in the bar increased, Klein finally heard something that might be useful.
His spirit was jolted and he became increasingly focused.
There were four people sitting at the table less than three meters away from him. They were feeling sorry for a man named Wendt.
“I always thought Wendt was out at sea. I didn’t expect him to be at home. He’s very sick.”
“Sigh, if I had knocked on his door two days earlier, he wouldn’t have died. You don’t know how terrifying the room was. Mushrooms were growing on his body in huge swaths of white.”
“Dogshit!” Stop it! Can’t you see I’m eating sausages?”
“Yes, yes, yes. Wendt’s room was filled with bugs, moths, flies, butterflies, bees, and cockroaches. Holy Lord of Storms, I couldn’t believe this was a place where a human can live. Even the police who came later were stunned!”
As the conversation passed into his ears, Klein slightly frowned, feeling that Wendt’s death wasn’t normal. Within a few days of his death, his corpse was already filled with mushrooms, and insects were crawling all over the room.
Something Beyonder related? With such an anomaly, the police would definitely report the matter to the Mandated Punisher team… It sounds like it happened three or four days ago. The things that needed to be taken care of should’ve been dealt with already… Klein seriously considered whether he should pay a visit to take a look. At the very least, the man called Wendt was a lone adventurer in Bayam. None of his peers wished to help him transmit the news of his death.
After listening for a long time, he gained a rough idea of where the place Wendt rented was. It was at the nearby 47 Blackhorn Street.
Having finished drinking the last drop of the Zarhar beer, Klein put on his hat, left the bar, and headed for the apartment.
After entering the door, he half-closed his eyes and murmured to himself, “The room that recently had someone die in.”
He repeated the statement seven times in a row, used his cane to quickly and easily arrive outside the room where Wendt used to live.
It hadn’t been rented out yet, and the anomaly inside had already been dealt with. There seemed to be nothing wrong with it.
Klein put away the note he had used to open the door, locked the door behind him, and walked around carefully.
After confirming the situation, he took out extract, essential oils, herbs, powders, and special candles, and he quickly set up a spirit channeling ritual in front of the bed.
Although it had been several days, making it only possible for him to obtain the most superficial, disjointed, and remnant bits of information, Klein thought that it was better to have some than nothing.
Without a doubt, he prayed to himself and entered the space above the gray fog. He responded and gave himself the power to channel the spirit.
The flame of the candle suddenly soared, tinged with a ghostly blue as it swayed.
Klein only felt everything fall silent, as if he had entered a realm that didn’t belong to reality.
His pupils were completely black, and even the whites of his eyes had been expelled.
He no longer needed to use the technique of dream divination. Having advanced to Faceless, with the help of the gray fog that made an initial entry into the real world, he was able to directly see the lingering spirituality of Wendt, a will that refused to dissipate.
There were three scenes. One was of a tall, thin, dark, curly-haired, sharp-featured Wendt coming to the body of a discarded corpse, astonished to see a glimmer from it before it condensed into a green gem filled with an aura of vitality. The second scene was of Wendt lying on his bed with his eyes closed, his mouth slightly open. His skin was covered with mushrooms of all kinds, the surrounding cockroaches and moths piled on top of each other, and on his chest, a silver necklace embedded with the same green gem from before. The third scene was of a pretty girl with flaxen-colored hair sitting at the edge of the sea with her eyes slightly moist. Lingering around her was Wendt’s reluctant voice.
“Raine, I’m about to die. I’m really regretful, regretful that I never told you that I love you. I want you to marry me…”
The picture shattered, and the spirit channeling came to an end. Klein looked around and saw that the house was still dark and gloomy.
This fellow is truly unlucky… Klein shook his head and sighed.
He already had a rough idea of the cause of Wendt’s death—his random act of picking up something.
The vast majority of Beyonders didn’t know about the Law of Beyonder Characteristics Conservation and Indestructibility, and they had never thought that the deceased of their kind would be able to release a characteristic that could become an ingredient. As this process was relatively slow, it was easy for them to be missed. Therefore, after killing a Beyonder, they would usually search the corpse and throw it away, making passersby like Wendt to luck out or some other creatures at the bottom of the sea or in the wilderness.
Wendt didn’t know that it was a Beyonder characteristic, and he had thought it to be a magical gem; thus, he made a necklace and kept it close to his body. Slowly, he was corrupted by the influence and died in agony.