Translator: Atlas Studios Editor: Atlas Studios
Under a persistent rain, mingled with the thin fog, the rows of street lamps tried their hardest to shine through the mist. The occasional horse carriage that proceeded down the streets was a common evening sight in Backlund.
Apart from these, Klein noticed a few gratifying changes while standing behind the window.
A crisp sound echoed in the air as a two-wheeled mechanical device rushed down the side of the street to the other end of the street. Its frame was black in color, with some parts revealing grayish-white steel. Under the illumination of the street lamps and rain, it sparkled with the beauty of metal.
On this device sat a man dressed in a postman’s uniform. He kept pedaling with his legs, apparently using a great deal of strength. Behind him was a wooden box that had been painted in green.
It’s been promoted very well… The white-shirted, black-vested, mature-looking Klein sighed inwardly when he saw this scene.
In a few hours within his return to Backlund, he noticed many similar mechanical devices, and they were none other than the bicycles that he had promoted and invested in!
From the newspapers, Klein knew that the Backlund Bike Company had done tons of advertisements. It even held a bicycle competition in boroughs like Cherwood and Backlund Bridge so as to garner the attention of others. Apart from that, they also actively promoted it to the government departments such as the postal service and the police departments. The results were said to be pretty good.
Their pricing strategy had followed Klein’s original suggestion, avoiding the middle-upper class who often used horse carriages. Instead, they aimed their target audience at those with weekly salaries of 1 pound 10 soli and above, such as technical workers, students with a decent family background, and clerical employees that often needed to travel outside. Therefore, a bike worth 3 to 5 pounds was affordable for the people in this demographic if they bit the bullet a little. And at the same time, they could flaunt it to the masses who had incomes that were lower than them.
The current issue is that Backlund often rains. It’s difficult to hold an umbrella while riding a bicycle… The next step should be a raincoat. Klein retracted his gaze, shook his head, and chuckled.
The place he stayed at was a high-end hotel in the Hillston Borough. It cost him 10 soli a night, making him feel quite the pinch. However, to match his persona, all he could do was bite the bullet and put up with it.
His idea of Dwayne Dantès was that he was a believer of the Evernight Goddess and a mysterious tycoon that came from Desi Bay. He had sold his original land and mines, planning to seek out brand new opportunities in Backlund. He had a certain level of interest in obtaining an aristocratic title, but he didn’t have the abundant wealth to do so. He had to first expand his social circle and begin making some investments.
The benefits of this identity was that it was clearly different from the characters Klein had previously acted as. It allowed him to very naturally interact with people from the middle-upper class, especially members of the military officers club and the Backlund diocese bishops of the Church of the Evernight Goddess. It made it convenient for Klein to continue his investigations into the Great Smog of Backlund while gathering intel before he made detailed plans to steal the Antigonus family’s notebook.
There were obvious disadvantages as well. Such a mysterious tycoon would definitely catch the notice of the Nighthawks and Mandated Punishers, so there was a certain level of background checks that he would have to undergo.
According to Klein’s experience, such an investigation would be done by the official Beyonder organizations under the premise that nothing important had happened. It could also be handed over to the police department, but in summary, not too much effort would be put into it, as it would be considered a routine check.
Therefore, Klein, who was considered quite an expert at disguises, had prepared a second layer to his identity as Dwayne Dantès to his designs, so as to deal with the background inspection.
This second layer to his identity was that Dwayne Dantès was a person who had adventured in the Southern Continent’s East and West Balam for some particular reason. He had used a nickname, and he spent more than ten years in that rather dangerous land filled with opportunity in order to amass a great deal of wealth.
Since the origin of his wealth wasn’t overboard, he had secretly returned to Desi Bay, and he forged a new identity. He had planned on beginning a new life in Backlund and gradually legalize his wealth.
It wasn’t rare to see such people in Loen. Their stories were acceptable and imaginable for an investigation. For this identity layer, Klein had left some inconspicuous clues in Conant City so as to indirectly reveal the “truth.”
These clues included but were not limited to the stubs of his scalped tickets from East Balam to Conant City, habits as a result of living in the Southern Continent for extended periods of time, as well as his wealth of unknown origins.
Klein believed that as long as Dwayne Dantès didn’t involve himself in any serious Beyonder matters, preparations such as this were enough to fool most routine background inspections.
And if he encountered an extremely dedicated official Beyonder who investigated it all the way and was even willing to seek the help of colleagues from the Southern Continent, then Dwayne Dantès had a third identity layer. It was that he was a cheat who had anti-divination measures to a certain degree. He disguised himself as a mysterious tycoon and spent large amounts of money in investments for this final scam.
This identity was enough to get Dwayne Dantès arrested, but the level of attention placed on him wouldn’t be too great. This allowed Klein to exit the stage without much trouble.
Compared to my first time in Backlund, the creation of a three-layered identity shows how I’ve really matured significantly… Klein slowly walked to the middle of the room as he cast his gaze on a full-body mirror in the corner.
His reflection had black hair and some strands of gray hair. His eyes were deep, but his experiences had left indelible marks on his face. He was a charming middle-aged man with a mature bearing.
The design of Dwayne Dantès’s identity wasn’t difficult for the present Klein. However, stealing the Antigonus family’s notebook from behind Saint Samuel Cathedral’s Chanis Gate was practically an impossible task for any external Beyonder. Even a King of Angels couldn’t guarantee success.
Of course, unlike other Beyonders, Klein had two advantages. First, he was once a Nighthawk. He had quite a good understanding of the internal procedures they followed, and he knew which matters he could exploit. Therefore, the first solution he eliminated was to become a particular Nighthawk, infiltrate it, and find a chance to pass through Chanis Gate.
There was a problem that existed in this. Nighthawks weren’t able to randomly enter Chanis Gate, even for the captains and deacons. Something had to happen first before they received the corresponding authority. Furthermore, Chanis Gate had its Keepers inside. Randomly entering or taking things would result in an attack on him, causing a battle to break out. Klein didn’t wish for his theft to result in any deaths or injury to the members of the Church of the Goddess.
After careful consideration, he placed his sights on the Keepers.
These elders were retired Nighthawks who volunteered to enter Chanis Gate. They were in charge of watching the Sealed Artifacts, and they were from a different department from the Nighthawks. They entered and exited using the underground passageway through the cathedral, and they never interfered with the Nighthawks’ work, nor would they be disturbed by the Nighthawks.
Perhaps a result of staying behind Chanis Gate for extended periods of time, these Keepers all had certain traits. They had cold auras and had deadpan expressions. Their skin was pale, and they resembled monsters from the deep darkness who were on the border of life and death. Klein believed that it wasn’t difficult for him to locate his target if he met one.
His initial plan was to rent a place in North Borough near Saint Samuel Cathedral. He would hire a butler, a valet, a maidservant, a gardener, a chef, and a carriage driver to have a front as a tycoon. Then, he would often head to the cathedral to pray piously, participate in Mass, donate money, and familiarize himself with the bishops and priests.
During this process, he would work hard to find suspected Keepers. He would choose two or three targets and observe their habits. When the opportunity arises, he would imprison one of them, change into his appearance or directly possess him, pass through Chanis Gate, and attempt to flip through or take the Antigonus family’s notebook away.
This was a very crude plan that was merely a train of thought. It needed to be perfected according to the intelligence Klein would slowly acquire.
For this matter, Klein’s second advantage was the Tarot Club. He had assistants that the Church of the Evernight Goddess and the Nighthawks would never think of. Furthermore, he could consider extending the recruitment of a Backlund diocese Nighthawk or Keeper into the Gathering. He could then complete the theft through this traitor, just like how Emperor Roselle was used to obtain the Antigonus family’s notebook by Zaratul.
I’ve got to frequently head to the cathedral. Only by doing so can I find a target… Klein faced the mirror as he silently nodded.
It had to be said that he felt conflicted. If a true Nighthawk or Keeper were to betray the Church to serve Mr. Fool, his first thought was to unleash divine punishment to get rid of this despicable traitor!
After exhaling, he gave a self-deprecating laugh. He wore his double-breasted frock coat and hat, walked out the room, and reached the streets.
With an umbrella, he circled to another street. Taking advantage of the distant street lamp and the drizzle, he suddenly changed back into Sherlock Moriarty.
Glancing at his wrinkled trousers, Klein stopped a carriage and planned on heading to Isengard Stanton’s house in Hillston Borough.
Half an hour later, the somewhat ancient and dark building appeared before Klein’s eyes.
He paid 2 soli for his ride as he walked steadily around the puddles amidst the drizzle that refracted the yellowish light of dusk before coming to the famous detective’s doorstep.
Putting away his umbrella, he reached out to ring the doorbell and waited for a moment before seeing a man with a wide face open the door.
The man had a head of malt-colored hair, grayish-blue eyes, and high cheekbones. He had the traits of someone from Lenburg or Masin.
Mr. Isengard Stanton’s new assistant? Someone from the Church of the God of Knowledge and Wisdom? Klein took off his hat and said with a smile, “Good evening, is Mr. Isengard Stanton home?”
“He is. He just had his dinner after a busy day at work,” the malt-colored lad replied politely. “May I know who you are?”
Klein chortled and said, “Tell the good detective that a friend of his has returned from his vacation.”
The young man was taken aback as he blurted out, “Mr. Sherlock Moriarty?”