Translator: Atlas Studios Editor: Atlas Studios
Who is it? As a Sheriff, Xio had a sharp intuition for monitoring others and for being monitored by others. Her heart tensed up as her mind raced to consider what had just happened.
In the past two to three weeks, she hadn’t encountered anything particularly noteworthy. The few criminals she apprehended weren’t Beyonders, and they were, at best, related to certain gangs. No one would offend a famous bounty hunter in East Borough for them. Therefore, she quickly narrowed down the list of suspects, and she vaguely guessed at the spy’s faction.
A member from the Aurora Order? I didn’t attend Mr. X’s gathering, and an accident happened. Apparently, it was quite a stunning scene… The person from MI9 said that Mr. X was assassinated on the spot, and had his corpse taken away. Furthermore, the assassin had used powers at the demigod level… Is the Aurora Order investigating the possible culprits? Every invitee is in their sights? Although Xio was careless and short-tempered at times, her thought process was relatively direct. But in similar fields, she had a strong intuition that allowed her to figure out the crux of the matter.
And on the matter regarding Mr. X’s assassination, she had once been thankful that Fors had stopped her from attending; thus, avoiding the accident. On the other hand, she felt that there wasn’t anything wrong about her, allowing her to stand up to the scrutiny of any investigation. Therefore, when she met the masked man from MI9 last week, she had been frank and confident, and she had accepted the mission to investigate the truth behind the matter. Unfortunately, she wasn’t sure which other Beyonders had participated back then, and she had no clues to kick her off.
Hmm, that man from MI9 said that the members of Aurora Order are either lunatics or potential lunatics. You can’t use common sense to guess at their actions. Even if they believe that there’s nothing wrong with me, they can kill me in passing to vent their anger as a warning to the real murderer… The stressed Xio walked forward as she revised her path in East Borough.
This new route allowed her to obtain the help of friends at any time. If she suffered an ambush, there was a considerable chance that she could escape or kill the assailant.
As she walked, Xio’s mind suddenly went into a daze, as she realized that she had unknowingly arrived back at her residence in Cherwood Borough at some point in time.
Xio entered blankly and drank a cup of water when she was patted on the shoulder by Fors.
“Accompany me to East Borough.”
Xio was taken aback as she found herself saying something very familiar.
“You want to head out to gather material?”
Fors immediately said that it wasn’t the case, indicating that she had previously accepted a mission to find the dust left behind after a ghost faded away. As the deceased had been given a send-off by the priests at the cemetery to their respective deity’s kingdom, there wasn’t any ghosts. Thus, they could only head over to East Borough to find targets.
Xio hesitated and said, “Can’t you push it back a day? I’m planning to participate in Mr. X’s gathering.”
Fors immediately wore a bitter look and said that she had delayed it by too much, and the mission’s deadline was looming.
Xio sighed and agreed to accompany her friend to East Borough to find a deceased person that had just died or one that hadn’t been discovered after a period of time since their death.
Just as the two were about to exit, Xio felt the wind strike her in the face as she trembled and snapped awake. She saw a wandering poet sitting in a corner, playing a seven-string guitar as he sang a folk song that was famous in the southern villages.
Xio frowned slightly as she rubbed her temples. She had a nagging feeling that her mind had gone adrift, but she couldn’t remember what she was thinking about.
She continued maintaining her vigilance as she followed her originally set route, entering a bar that sold lunch. On the way, she met an East Borough resident who would occasionally provide her with intelligence.
He was a man who was either twenty-three or twenty-four years old. He had thinned his brows, and his brown hair reached his shoulders. His facial features were rather soft, and he had put on cheap makeup. He gave off quite an odd vibe.
“Sherman, did anything happen in the past few days?” Xio greeted.
According to what she knew, this young man named Sherman had always thought of himself as a woman. However, fate had played a terrible joke on him, making him a man. This made him suffer serious levels of ostracization for many years.
Sherman grinned and said, “It’s been peaceful. No man offered to buy me any drinks.”
“Drinking is bad,” Xio advised him seriously, walked past him, and walked to the bar counter.
Sherman spat as he walked to the entrance, swaying his hips until he arrived at the condominium he rented.
He paused at the door for nearly a minute before walking two steps to the side and knocking on the door next door.
The wooden door creaked open as a low, female voice sounded with an undeniable sweetness to it.
“Have you made your decision?”
Sherman walked in and closed the door behind him. Looking towards the bed, he said to the black-dressed lady, “I’m still doubtful. I don’t believe that there’s something as magical as that.”
To him, the lady had a round face and a gentle and refined temperament. Not only was she sweet-looking, but she also had a different air to her. She was extremely charming and alluring.
Of course, to Sherman, he was more envious instead of smitten.
The black-dressed lady replied with a deadpan expression, “Haven’t you seen the picture of my former appearance?”
Her gaze moved as she couldn’t help but feel a sense of melancholy.
“But that might’ve been your twin brother. I find it difficult to believe that there really is a substance to change me into a woman…” Sherman said in a wavering tone.
The black-dressed lady chuckled without any humor in it.
“Then, you can pretend that it’s fake. You may leave.”
Sherman’s hands tightened as he fell silent for a long while.
“I-I’m willing to give it a try. Although I know that you might be bluffing me, I still wish to give it a try.
“Then, what should be the price I need to pay?”
“Listen to my instructions, and help me do certain tasks. Don’t worry. They will definitely be things you are capable of,” the black-dressed lady said. “To truly change your sex, you need to drink three potions and complete certain rituals. I’ll guide you.”
Upon saying this, she said in a self-deprecating manner, “You can consider your female name.”
At night, in the Backlund Bridge area, in a small alley at Iron Gate Street.
Xio stood under a street lamp that had been shattered by someone. She was recounting what had happened in the morning.
After confirming that she wasn’t being tailed, she returned to Cherwood Borough and secretly observed Fors. She discovered that her friend didn’t head out at all, staying at home like she usually did. She spent most of her time reading novels, newspapers, and magazines. She also drew the curtains in her room for nearly an hour, as though she was familiarizing herself with her Beyonder powers. Until she had nothing to do, she got a piece of paper and spent fifteen minutes writing the opening to her new book. Finally, she tore it apart, crumbled it into a ball, and threw it into the trash can.
She smokes and drinks excessively… Xio silently clenched her teeth when she saw a figure in a black suit walking out of the shadows from the other end of the alley.
The man was tall and wore a golden mask that revealed his eyes, nostrils, mouth, and cheeks. He was none other than the MI9 member who was in contact with Xio.
“Is there anything urgent?” he asked directly.
Although Xio was short, she said in a similarly domineering manner, “I was tailed in East Borough. I suspect that it’s someone from the Aurora Order. They seem to be investigating what happened during the gathering.”
The topic Xio had prepared to talk about was about someone she was asked to look for. She planned on using a clue that couldn’t be confirmed, to make a request for the emergency meeting to appear normal. However, she now had a more suitable excuse thanks to the Aurora Order.
“The lunatics from the Aurora Order are like that. Although they know that we’re also investigating the matter and are finding them, they don’t shrink back. If it’s not because of that, they wouldn’t always be suffering setbacks,” the golden-masked man said with a laugh. “To be frank, I’m very surprised that they didn’t directly surround you and bring you to a secluded place to interrogate and channel your spirit.”
Xio was about to answer him that the Aurora Order member didn’t tail her for long when she suddenly recalled the dazed feeling she found inexplicable. Hence, she deliberated and mentioned, “I’m not sure what I encountered. For a very brief period of time, I seemed to be in a daze and can’t remember what I recalled.”
The golden-masked man fell silent. After nearly twenty seconds, he said, “The investigation pertaining to you should have ended… The importance the Aurora Order has placed on this matter has exceeded my imagination. I will report this matter.
“Hmm… You mentioned that many Beyonders received the invitation but didn’t attend?”
Xio nodded and said, “The participants of each gathering doesn’t exceed a third of the number of people invited.
“This is mostly normal for a gathering. It’s not an exception for Mr. X’s gathering either.”
The golden-masked man considered for a moment before asking, “Are there any clues about the person I got you to search for?”
“The person whose original name was Trissy?” Xio shook her head after seeing him nod. “Not yet. She’s likely experienced.”
The golden-masked man immediately chuckled.
“The number of people she has killed is more than the number of bounty missions you have completed. If you have any clues, make sure not to approach her. She’s highly dangerous.”
Xio tersely answered and focused on the main topic at hand.
“Is there a new commission?”
“Why have you suddenly become so proactive?” the golden-masked man asked in surprise.
Xio frankly replied, “I’m almost about to save up enough points to exchange for the Interrogator potion formula. I wish to obtain it early.”
“Actually, there’s no need for that. You can directly exchange it for the potion, as it will save quite a bit of points,” the golden-masked man suggested in Xio’s behalf.
I already have the Beyonder characteristic! Xio shook her head and said, “That would still take a very long time. I might be able to buy the ingredients at other Beyonder gatherings.”
The golden-masked man didn’t insist as he said with a laughing sigh, “I wish you luck.
“This time, it’s a rather complicated commission. If you can complete it, you should have enough points.”
Xio held back her delight and asked, “What’s the mission?”
The masked man said with a slightly odd tone, “Take note of the people Viscount Stratford interacts with, and list them down in a report before submitting it to me.
“There’s no need for you to frequently monitor him. Whenever you are free or walk past, take note of it in passing. Trust me, you aren’t the only one working on this mission. As long as you hand over a report of certain value a week, it’ll be considered as you contributing a certain amount. This can be repeated every week.”
Viscount Stratford… Xio suddenly fell into a daze again, but this time, she knew why.
This viscount was the captain of the royal guards; he was once her father’s deputy!