Translator: Atlas Studios Editor: Atlas Studios
Upon entering the house, the first thing Klein saw was the foyer. It was very spacious here, with several chairs and umbrellas placed there. Furthermore, the furnishing was elegant, and the decorations were befitting of his status. If he hadn’t known of the structure ahead of time from his inspection, Klein might’ve imagined it to be the living room.
After passing through a second main door, the sight before his eyes opened up—it was a huge hall that could accommodate dozens of dancing guests.
In the middle of the hall was a brightly colored, thick, and plush carpet. Surrounding it were spaces covered with bright marble tiles, with a piano, stone sculptures, and other decorations decorating the hall. There were also stone columns that held up the second floor with inlaid ornaments.
To the left was a series of floor-to-ceiling windows, and beyond them was a lush, green lawn and blooming garden. To the right were walls, wooden doors, and a corridor that led to the lounges, storerooms, washrooms, kitchen, and butler’s room, etc.
The hall was two stories high, and there was a crystal chandelier hanging down from the ceiling. It instantly made one imagine what it would look like when night fell.
Ahead of him were two staircases that led to the second floor.
The winding corridor here was square in shape, and the emptied-out section in the middle happened to be where the carpeted hall was. All Klein needed to do was hold a cup of wine and stand behind the railings of the second floor, and he could leisurely take in the sights of a ball below.
There were many rooms on the second floor. There was a living room, an activity room, a dining room, washrooms, a billiard room, and many bedrooms. If any guests needed to stay for the night, they would stay there.
Similarly, on the second floor, there were two staircases that led to the third floor. That was where Dwayne Dantès stayed. There was an exaggerated master bedroom, with a bar counter-equipped open room that allowed one to sunbathe and enjoy the scenery. There was a study which could be deemed as a miniature library, as well as two changing rooms and small bedrooms for the valet and the maid on night duty. There were also rooms meant for the household members and bathrooms, but Klein was currently a single man.
As for the other servants, they lived in a terrace house behind the main mansion. In another direction was the stable.
The mansion’s underground area was equally spacious with a huge storeroom and wine cellar.
Taking off his coat, Klein stood on the balcony in the half-open room on the third floor with his back straight. He took in the sights of the surrounding streets and couldn’t help but sigh inwardly.
There really is a reason why it’s so expensive. The rent of 315 pounds really can’t be considered a waste…
He had already paid a year’s rent yesterday afternoon, and he could only force himself to enjoy this place that he rented.
Meanwhile, he had also directly paid Walter a year’s salary of 115 pounds. As it was very possible that he would flee once he obtained the Antigonus family’s notebook, he didn’t want to affect his butler’s livelihood.
By the same logic, he had long paid Housekeeper Taneja her annual salary of 42 pounds. It allowed this lady to realize how generous Mr. Dwayne Dantès was, as well as how mannered he was.
Through the two head servants’ negotiations and hard work, they hired all the servants. The annual salary of a male steward was 30 pounds; his valet, Richardson, was 35 pounds; the two footmen in charge of valeting guests and serving at the dining table each received 30 pounds; the two lady’s maids were 18 pounds each; the two chambermaids were 12 pounds each; and the two handymen were 12 pounds each.
Apart from them, the cook was 30 pounds; the assistant cook was 15 pounds; the scullery maid was 13 pounds; the parlormaid was 11 pounds; the nursery governess was 25 pounds, the steward’s boy was 10 pounds, the two coachmen were 25 pounds each; the two gardeners were 20 pounds each; the two laundresses were 10 pounds each—all for a total of 413 pounds. It cost about 8 pounds a week.
Together with the two head servants’ annual salary, Klein needed to pay 570 pounds a year, making it approximately 11 pounds a week. This was still without including the expenditures for food, clothes, and all kinds of daily necessities.
I’ll pay ten to twenty pounds a week without any income the moment I open my eyes… Klein did a mental calculation as he forced himself to cast his gaze onto the garden.
In the afternoon, he had paid off the rental fee for the two carriages and servants’ first week’s salary. Together with him giving Housekeeper Taneja 1,000 pounds for the daily expenses, he only had 1,286 pounds and 18 gold coins left. However, he would receive the payments from Miss Justice and Ma’am Hermit within the week.
I wonder how long that 1,000 pounds can last Taneja. Just to store up the required alcoholic beverages for the balls would cost a few hundred pounds… The rich Mr. Dwayne Dantès fell into deep thought and could hardly extricate himself from it.
To calm his emotions, he decided to head above the gray fog while the butler and servants were busy with handling the household chores. He wanted to study the strange puppet which Emlyn White and sacrificed.
After the Blood Moon happened, Klein had no choice but to return to the mysterious world and pull Fors into it. He resisted the urge to sleep as he listened to her drone on about her daily life in Backlund. After everything was over, he was just too tired. He accepted Emlyn’s sacrifice, and after confirming that there wasn’t anything weird, he returned to the real world and collapsed into bed.
After straightening his stylish dark-colored vest, Klein walked to the door and said to the awaiting valet, Richardson, “I have a habit of sleeping in the afternoon for forty-five minutes. I don’t want anyone disturbing me.”
“Yes, sir,” Richardson answered humbly.
He was an illegitimate son with mixed blood. His father was Loenese, a supervisor at a manor, while his mother was a native from East Balam who was a slave in the same manor. After he was born, he was met with discrimination and bullying. This resulted in a weak and submissive character, and because he was good-looking, he was suitable for valeting guests. He was selected by the manor’s master to be a valet before being brought to Backlund.
After both Houses of the Loen Kingdom had abolished slavery, he found himself out of a job. All he could do was seek the help of the City Family Servant Assistance Association.
Before Klein, he had served two households and committed some mistakes, but he did build up a wealth of experience. He caught Butler Walter’s notice, and he became Dwayne Dantès’s valet.
After looking at Richardson, who stood straight and tall, with a height that was almost identical to himself, Klein indiscernibly shook his head and sighed.
This guy that can clearly be a celebrity with his looks can only be a servant in this day and age. Furthermore, he’s such a tall man, but he appears cowardly and weak. However, this can also be considered an advantage. He’s obedient, silent, and submissive. He does whatever his master instructs him to do, and he will absolutely not dare to make his own decisions…
If I only have a valet with me requiring him to handle all kinds of matters, Richardson will definitely not be up to mark. However, I still have Butler Walter and so many other servants. He can handle the other matters with his experience and capabilities.
Without musing further, Klein locked the door and returned to the side of the reclining chair. He took four steps counterclockwise and entered above the gray fog.
He sat at the seat of The Fool, and he beckoned with his hand to make the charred Moon Puppet fly over and land before him.
After scrutinizing it, Klein didn’t discover anything odd about it. Hence, he conjured a pen and paper and wrote the divination statement: “Its origins.”
Putting down his fountain pen, Klein waited a few seconds before picking up the piece of paper and leaning back against his chair.
Hmm, my spiritual intuition didn’t stop me from making the divination statement. It means that the latent danger of the Moon Puppet isn’t as bad as the Rose School of Thought Beyonder characteristic… Klein mumbled as he skillfully recited the divination statement.
In the gray, hazy world, he saw an altar with a circle of fiery torches around it.
On the altar, there was what he suspected to be human skin with traces of blood everywhere. In the middle were three candles and a few puppets that resembled thin wooden poles.
These miniature puppets had curved eyes and mouths, as though they corresponded to the crimson crescent in the sky.
Therefore, they continued hanging their creepy smiles as withered grass and dried flowers remained embedded in their bodies.
A priest in a dark red robe was circling the altar with heavy steps, as though he was dancing a dance created by an epileptic patient.
At some point in time, moonlight gathered and shone on the puppet as it increased in brightness. Towards the end, it resembled the gentle ebbing of water waves.
The ritual quickly came to an end as the priest picked up a thin puppet and walked to the human body bound to a frame beside him. Instantly, he stabbed it through the body’s eye socket.
Amidst tragic cries, the scene quickly changed. The dead man with the Moon Puppet in his eye socket was buried somewhere in an orderly manner.
The scene once again skipped and showed further development. Every full moon or Blood Moon, the moon’s glow would scatter over the grave, seeping into it like water as the surrounding darkness turned gloomy.
Klein opened his eyes and adjusted his seating posture. He had a general idea of the Moon Puppet’s origins.
It came from a prayer ritual to the Primordial Moon. It was a ritual lasting for centuries!
Over the past few centuries, they had absorbed the powers of the crimson moon, mutating bit by bit until they were exhumed by the colonists.
They usually didn’t exhibit any oddity, and something only happened when a Primordial Moon believer activated them with the correct method. As for what would happen, Klein had no idea.
In a particular sense, these primitives are equivalent to the Primordial Moon’s Chosen ones… Last night, after I smote one to death, that evil god was enraged; thus, causing the Blood Moon? Klein gently tapped the mottled table’s edge as he came to a preliminary judgment.
Hmm, the Primordial Moon’s wrath directly changed the moon’s phenomena, making it a Blood Moon… If this theory is right, it means that in the domain of the crimson moon, the Goddess is inferior to the Primordial Moon. “She” might only have the title in name as “She” grasps a Grade 0 Sealed Artifact… Klein nodded slightly as he attempted to divine the weaknesses of the Moon Puppet.
This time, he saw sunlight and lightning.
This means that the Beyonder powers in the Sun domain and lightning from the Storm domain are best at dealing with it… As Klein interpreted the information, he threw the Moon Puppet into the junk pile and returned to the real world.
An hour later, Walter, who was wearing a starched suit and white gloves, knocked on the door. He bowed and said, “Sir, I’ll be printing your name card in a while. They will be sent to the neighbors along with some gifts.
“They will take a few days to observe to determine your situation. If they’re willing to accept you, they would send gifts and invite you to be their guests.
“Does your name card need a title added?”
Title… The Fool that doesn’t belong to this era? Klein lampooned as he replied with a smile, “Merchant Dwayne Dantès from Desi would suffice.”
Walter nodded and said, “Based on your wishes, I’ll immediately arrange for you to have etiquette lessons. The focus will be on dancing, and I’ve hired a professional teacher.”