Translator: Atlas Studios Editor: Atlas Studios
Amidst a soothing melody, Klein and Hazel began dancing with their backs straight. One was tall and slim, and apart from the clear difference in age, their movements, demeanor, and looks were highly compatible. It was a beautiful sight to behold, one that could almost be used as a prime example for dancing.
Klein took the initiative to break the silence. As they twirled, he casually said, “I often had nightmares some time ago, but thankfully I had the Goddess’s blessings. I prayed a few times at the cathedral and drank a few cups of holy water, and after that, I stopped jolting awake.”
Hazel silently looked up and, after two seconds, asked, “What kind of nightmare?”
To think you will be interested in such a topic… Will Auceptin was right after all… Klein replied with a smile, “I was being pursued by all kinds of monsters inside an abandoned, dilapidated cathedral.
“But you probably know, it’s almost impossible to remember the details in a dream. I find it difficult to describe those monsters.”
Hazel didn’t say a word, but her bright, brown eyes were colored with dissent.
That also meant that she believed that dreams weren’t necessarily impossible to recall.
Klein took a step diagonally with her in his arms as he said with a smile, “Indeed, I’ve had a very clear dream in the past.
“Back then, I was still in the Southern Continent. I dreamed of an inverted mausoleum. It was constructed from pitch-black stone columns that extended underground. There were zombies covered in white feathers that appeared from them in a bid to pull me in.
“I had such dreams for several days, and it’s really quite embarrassing. I was very afraid back then, so I frantically went to a nearby city and found a divination club. I got them to interpret my dream, and I received the conclusion that during one of my purchases of local goods, I had offended the faith of a tribe that believed in Death.
“Strangely, when I went to the tribe to apologize, gave them gifts, and participated in their celebrations, I never had that dream again.”
He had fabricated the story from his experience as a Seer. His goal was to pique Hazel’s interest to see if she would unknowingly reveal something. At the same time, this was a suggestion with a deeper meaning, one that wouldn’t garner suspicion. The deeper meaning was that Hazel could find a divination club member or a cathedral’s priest to interpret her dream if she was troubled by it. It was best not to make rash choices while blindly believing the contents of the dream.
When Will Auceptin mentioned that there was something wrong with Hazel and suggested chatting about dreams, Klein suspected that her dilemma stemmed from a dream that kept happening. Otherwise, it was hard to explain how, despite being at least a Sequence 8, she had a severe lack of knowledge towards the mysterious world with her blind arrogance. Furthermore, she was a lady from high society who had been educated at home. Thus, it made it difficult for her to make contact with unaffiliated Beyonders or those without clear intentions. After all, her father was a Member of Parliament who was definitely protected. She likely had no lack of Beyonders around her.
Therefore, Klein believed that Hazel might have made contact with something or had caught the fancy of some powerful Beyonder due to her personality. Through dreams, she was slowly guided to become a Beyonder, without giving her the necessary knowledge. At the same time, the entity enticed her to dig in the sewers to search for something.
There were two reasons that solidified his theory. Firstly, it was because of Will Auceptin’s words. Secondly, Sequence 5 of the Marauder pathway was Dream Stealer. It was impossible that it only had the one Beyonder power of stealing the intent behind an action!
Hazel quietly listened to Dwayne Dantès’s description as her mouth subconsciously gaped before closing again. After nearly ten seconds, she asked, “Why didn’t you head to the Goddess’s cathedral?”
As expected, she’s reacting to topics about dreams. However, she’s quite careful and doesn’t divulge anything… Klein smiled wryly and said, “There weren’t any cathedrals of the Goddess around. It was a region that held faith in the God of Steam and Machinery.”
Hazel didn’t continue the topic as she focused her attention back onto the dance, as though she was fully immersed in the music.
Klein also quietened down as he swirled around in the beautiful melody with the girl.
After the dance, he sent Hazel back to where she was standing, and then he headed for the long table due to his thirst, hoping to get a cup of sweet ice tea.
At this moment, he saw Bishop Elektra enjoying some red wine over there.
Unlike the Church of Storms and the Church of the God of Combat, clergymen of the Evernight Goddess were prohibited from excessive drinking. They needed to reject distilled spirits, and they could only drink champagne, beer, and red and white grape wine in moderation.
“How is it? This should be your first time holding such a grand ball, right?” Elektra smiled as he raised his cup.
Klein smiled and replied, “Very troublesome, and it’s also, hmm… The biggest problem is that having so many dances in a row is exhausting. I kept sweating and wanted to drink more water.”
Bishop Elektra chuckled and said, “When you’re here in Backlund, don’t slack on any physical exercise. At times, the social scene is more tiring than you can imagine.”
With that said, he said with a jibing smile, “Ma’am Oria has endorsed you, believing that your character matches your appearance.”
…I’d like to thank her for her endorsement… Klein was momentarily unable to find the words to reply with as he replied in a jokingly manner, “A person’s character cannot be identified from a single dance.”
Without waiting for Elektra to reveal a smile that all men understood, he switched to saying, “Your Excellency, I’ve recently involved myself in some business, and I’m afraid that I might offend a gentlemen in power. I’m a little worried.”
He was referring to the Coim Company and Baron Syndras.
Elektra took a sip of red wine and said, “Don’t worry. Backlund follows the rule of law. Besides, the Goddess will bless you.”
“That’s relieving. Praise the Lady!” Klein seriously drew the crimson moon on his chest.
After Elektra headed for the dance floor, his gaze darkened as he sighed silently.
He wasn’t feeling fearful or hatred. He just felt a slight guilty conscious. Up to this point in time, the Church of Evernight had been good to him. Although money was the reason, they had provided him plenty of help to the point of providing him some protection. Yet, he was planning to deal with the Keepers, as well as contemplating how to steal something from the core seal behind Chanis Gate.
Sigh, if this plan takes too long to complete, I’d really need periodic psychological treatment. Otherwise, I’ll have some mental problems… Klein monitored his emotions as he shook his head indiscernibly.
In an apartment in Cherwood Borough.
Xio came home with Feynapotter pies and Desi Bay sweet ice tea. As she put it on the dining table, she said to Fors, “Don’t eat too much of such food. It’s unhealthy.”
“Why do you say that?” Fors picked up a pie stuffed with fruits and ham before taking a bite.
“I read about it in a magazine. As a bounty hunter, maintaining one’s figure is a necessity.” Xio hesitated for a moment before pulling a pie to her mouth.
“You’re a Beyonder geared for combat, an extraordinary bounty hunter. There’s no need to bother about maintaining your figure.
“Perhaps, you might’ve missed out on your final opportunity to grow taller as a result. Oh right, I heard that the Warrior pathway has an effective way of raising a person’s height. It’s obvious just from looking at those barbarians from Feysac.”
Xio was taken aback as she suddenly sighed.
“But I was born as a half-Arbiter. I have no way of becoming a Warrior.”
Clearly, she had seriously considered it in the past.
Realizing that she had triggered her friend’s memories, she acted as though she hadn’t said a word as she focused on having her late dinner.
After they were done eating and clearing up, Fors pulled Xio into her bedroom and cleared her throat.
“You’ve helped me tremendously, so I plan on giving you a present.”
“What troublesome matter do you need help with this time?” Xio touched her short, blonde hair warily.
“…” Fors blinked as she suddenly reflected on her recent behavior.
She chuckled dryly and said, “This is for the past—the past.”
Without waiting for Xio to reply, she took out a metal box under Xio’s doubtful gaze, one that was used to store cigars.
“I don’t smoke,” Xio said with a shake of her head.
Fors tersely answered as she opened the box, revealing a translucent hexagonal pillar that was light-blue in color.
Xio’s gaze froze as she looked at the luster that streaked inside the crystal-like lightning as she instinctively asked, “Interrogator?”
“Yes, a participant at a Beyonder gathering was selling it cheaply. I was afraid of missing the opportunity and hurriedly bought it,” Fors said the complete truth. “As you know, I’ve recently been rewarded by my teacher because of something just a while ago. I’m not lacking in cash.”
Xio knew that her friend had been out recently, claiming that she was doing something for her teacher. However, she found it unbelievable that she could so easily buy her an Interrogator Beyonder characteristic as a gift. This was completely unlike her original lifestyle!
Is she still gambling, having earned large sums of money after becoming an Astrologer? Or did she finally cast her sights onto a bank vault and used her Door Opening powers to rob the cash inside? Many guesses flashed through Xio’s mind, but she wasn’t able to find the corresponding proof.
About two to three seconds later, she made a decision. She was to randomly pretend to head out two days a week, and she would secretly observe what Fors was doing.
If it wasn’t for her trust in her friend’s character and bottom line, she would have suspected that she had become the mistress of a powerful Beyonder or tycoon.
“I-it’s too valuable.” Xio waved her hand, in an attempt to reject the gift.
Fors had already thought of the excuse as she said with a smile, “I’ll have matters to trouble you with in the future. Just treat it as an advanced payment.”
“We are good friends. There’s no need to talk about payment,” Xio hesitated for a second as she said with a shake of her head.
I was waiting for you to say that! Fors immediately smiled and said, “Then treat it as an early birthday present. Don’t you reject it!”
“But my birthday is more than half a year away…” As Xio muttered, she eventually reached out and took the Interrogator Beyonder characteristic.
Sunday afternoon. Xio repressed her excitement and anticipation as she headed out as per normal. She planned on heading to a specific spot to leave a corresponding mark to schedule a meeting with the masked man from MI9 at some secluded alley.
After obtaining the Interrogator’s Beyonder characteristic and having digested her Sheriff potion, all she needed was the correct formula to advance to Sequence 7. It would be a crucial step for her investigation of the truth and restoring her family’s honor. Therefore, she was eager to receive a few more missions from the military to accumulate the amount of contributions she needed.
After doing all of this, she planned on circling East Borough first to see if there was any important news. Then, she planned on returning home to tail Fors, so that she could figure out what her good friend was up to, or if she was in any danger.
However, the moment she entered East Borough, she had a hunch that someone was staring at her.