In a small town on the outskirts of Backlund.
After changing into clean and dry clothes, Klein placed the wet bills on the surface of the table, one by one, waiting for them to dry naturally in the warm room.
During this process, he moved very carefully and very gently. Even his sneezing and coughing which were brought by the fever had been forcefully suppressed.
To make sure there were no mistakes, he didn’t dry them by controlling a flame.
Having done all this, he walked to the corner of the hotel room, where there was a full-length mirror.
Klein’s black hair was neatly combed in the mirror. He had a pair of dark brown eyes, and his face was thin and angular.
He had gold-rimmed glasses on the bridge of his nose and was beardless. He looked young but also experienced.
This was a modification of Zhou Mingrui’s appearance, with the traits of a native from the Northern Continent. Moreover, this was his youthful appearance during university when he was filled with vigor, one that had yet to be made fat by society.
He intended to go back to Backlund when things have settled down a little, and then he would get himself a legal identity for his current appearance. Compared to when he left Tingen, he had no shortage of appropriate channels. For example, he had Ian at the Bravehearts Bar, Miss Sharron’s circle, and Detective Isengard Stanton.
How nostalgic… Klein whispered. He busied himself with a ritual in the room where the curtains had been drawn. He planned to bring Creeping Hunger above the gray fog to study it safely.
Inside the silent, ancient palace, he appeared at the very end of the long bronze table, leaning back in his chair while holding a pair of thin gloves made of human skin.
Immediately after, he closed his eyes and extended his spirituality into the object that required sealing.
He immediately felt the hunger of the glove. It was as if it had a stomach that could never be filled, but above the gray fog, it was so tame that it didn’t dare let out even the slightest bit of malice. It was like a hunting dog lying there, not daring to move at all.
Then, Klein heard cries of indignation and groans of pain.
Many distorted, hideous, and grieving faces appeared in his spiritual perception, brimming with unspeakable melancholy and madness.
These faces were deeply fused with the Beyonder characteristics of different colors and different states. Wherever Klein’s spirituality spread, it would combine with the corresponding faces and use the powers it had.
This is the way to use it? Together with the help of divination, Klein made one attempt after another and figured out what the five souls that the Creeping Hunger could let out to graze.
The first was Faceless, but it only had the powers to change his appearance and build.
The second was Psychiatrist. He could make a target fall into a frenzied state, place a certain amount of psychological cues; and could simulate a dragon’s might, intimidating individuals and groups, and creating chaos.
The third was Interrogator. It allowed the wearer of the glove to be proficient in the use of all kinds of weapons, become a demolition expert, possess the ability to focus his mind, and have the ability to pierce a target’s Spirit Body.
The fourth was Nightmare. There was only one power, which was to drag someone into a dream without being detected. However, it was unlike a Beyonder of the corresponding Sequence. It was accomplished by Creeping Hunger, so the wearer could still move their bodies after entering a Nightmare state.
The fifth was Priest of Light. It allowed him to produce a halo-like effect, purifying all undead and foul creatures within a certain range. At the same time, he also had the singing ability of a Bard which could strengthen his companions, as well as summon the Light of Holiness which was weaker than Flaring Sun.
The limit is five souls, and the powers are fixed when “letting them out to graze” for the first time… This isn’t something I can decide for myself. It’s purely based on luck; maybe there can be three or just one… Klein thoughtfully nodded, sighed, and said to the suffering souls, “No matter what kind of people you were in the past, I will gradually free you from your imprisonment to acquire complete deliverance.
“In the future, the souls I graze will only come from people who have committed heinous and unforgivable crimes. For every such Beyonder I kill, I’ll replace one of you and release you, regardless of whether I need their powers or not.”
His solemn but gentle voice echoed within the ancient palace. The wailing souls quieted down, no longer writhing in a hideous fashion.
Phew… Klein exhaled, opened his eyes, tapped the edge of the ancient table with his fingers, and said to himself, That Faceless’s powers overlap with mine, so it’s completely useless. Once I have something to replace it with, I’ll release him first. Yes, when the time comes, I can attempt to channel his spirit and converse with him. Perhaps I might receive information regarding the high Sequences of the Seer pathway, as well as clues to the whereabouts of mermaids… No, there’s no need to wait for a replacement. In a few days, I can make the attempt when I fully recover from my cold…
The soul corresponding to the Priest of Light should be able to complete the incomplete formulas I previously obtained. Furthermore, he’ll leave behind the corresponding Beyonder characteristic. That way, Little Sun doesn’t need to worry about his subsequent advancements. Yes, he will be the second to be released…
As for me needing to feed a human’s soul and flesh to Creeping Hunger every time it’s used, that’s not something I need to pay attention to. I usually wouldn’t use it anyway. When using it, I’ll definitely be facing a terrifying enemy. In such a battle, there’s no lack of lives to cull. Even if there isn’t, I can throw Creeping Hunger above the gray fog and not be worried about it’s backlash, nor do I need to be afraid of harming the innocent. The worst outcome would it becoming unusable…
Putting his thoughts away, Klein tried to use the mystical item, Creeping Hunger, to divine the formula for the Shepherd potion but ended up failing.
He didn’t divine the origins of Creeping Hunger, afraid that he would provoke an unfriendly existence.
Although he wasn’t afraid of endangering himself due to the gray fog’s isolation and obstruction, doing so could likely damage Creeping Hunger.
I’ll consider trying that out when I no longer need it… Klein leaned forward and rested his elbows on the table.
He quickly recalled the previous matters and keenly noticed a detail.
After the Master Key was obliterated, its Beyonder characteristic didn’t disappear. Instead, it became dots of light, trying hard to converge…
It can be assumed that the Apprentice characteristic that’s formed in the end will no longer contain Mr. Door’s roars.
In other words, such a method can be used to rid the mental corruption inside a Beyonder characteristic!
But the underlying problem is that there’s no way to destroy a Beyonder characteristic which has solidified into an item under normal circumstances. Back then, I was relying on a ritual that could allow a true god to descend. It needed the prerequisite of a large number of innocent lives…
Also, once the All-Black Eye is shattered, the True Creator’s mental corruption that’s hidden within will definitely erupt. When that happens, who can withstand it? Do it above the gray fog?
As these thoughts crossed his mind, Klein remembered what could’ve happened at East Borough. He hurriedly conjured a pen and paper to make the appropriate divination.
After receiving the revelation, his expression sank, and slowly, he leaned back in his chair.
Below him, the endless gray fog floated in silence in a seemingly eternal unchanging fashion.
Audrey stood by the window, looking at the fog mixed with pale yellow and iron-black colors rapidly disperse. When she saw the heavy rain that was incompatible with winter, her heart felt more at ease.
After an unknown period of time, she and Susie waited for Earl Hall’s eventual return home.
“Father, how is it?” Audrey asked with concern.
Earl Hall smiled warmly as he handed his coat and hat to an attendant.
“It’s resolved, but the exact details are still unclear. My little princess, you’ve really helped me greatly this time. You deserve a ton of medals!”
That’s good, that’s good… Thanks to Mr. Fool’s reminder, thanks to the risky investigation of “His” adorer… Our Tarot Club has once again stopped the descent of an evil god and saved the world! Audrey’s heart was filled with pride.
Earl Hall took the towel from the maidservant’s hands, wiped his face, and sighed.
“However, this time, there were still some serious casualties. To think that Backlund’s smog could become so deadly… Although the statistics haven’t been tabulated, I estimate that more than ten thousand people died in East Borough, the dock area, and the factory district. Furthermore, the plague is still spreading, so please try not to leave the house for the time being.”
More than ten thousand people? That was a statistic Audrey could understand but couldn’t imagine. Only on the anniversary of the kingdom’s founding and during the parade, would she be able to see tens of thousands of people gathered together.
However, this didn’t stop her heart from feeling heavy as her mood suddenly turned gloomy.
Daisy stood outside her apartment, watching the doctors and nurses in white coats and masks enter and carry out the bodies.
She had long known the outcome. Her expression was numb and her eyes vacant. She subconsciously moved closer to the door.
At this moment, the police officer in charge of the cordon stopped her.
“Don’t go over. Do you want to be infected with the plague?”
Daisy stood there as she watched the two bodies being carried out. She saw her mother, Liv, hugging her sister, Freja, tightly. They were carried to a cargo carriage that was wrapped in black cloth and temporarily requisitioned. She then watched as they disappeared in front of her eyes as a white cloth covered them.
The carriage slowly moved towards the other end of the street.
At that moment, Daisy seemed to wake up from a dream. She turned around and ran at full speed, chasing after the carriage.
The ground was abnormally muddy after the rain. She fell and got up several times, leaving her body covered in dirt.
However, she was still unable to catch up with the carriage and could only watch it disappear around the corner.
Daisy slowed her pace, her body swaying slightly as her expression turned abnormally vacant.
She held onto the trees by the street and stared at the place where the carriage had left.
Suddenly, her entire body went limp, and she started weeping.
The voice was soft, low, sharp, weak, and lingered.
At this moment, in East Borough, the dock area, and the factory district, tens of thousands of people were similarly crying out in grief.
Empress Borough, Sodela Palace.
Wearing a crown above his resolute face and thin mustache, George III sat on the throne. He stared at the earl palatine in front of him without saying a word.
“Your Majesty, the people from the three churches are waiting outside for your explanation,” the earl palatine asked as sweat dripped down his forehead.
“Explanation? Prince Edessak was seduced by a Demoness, causing him to collude with a cult and attempt to rebel. That is the explanation! His schemes were exposed, and he has already committed suicide. What other explanations do they need!?” George III suddenly flew into a rage.
He took a deep breath and regained his usual solemnity.
“You tell them that anyone who obtains the corresponding aristocratic title via any means can get a seat in the House of Lords. The property restrictions needed for elections will be relaxed, and the invalid constituencies will be removed. This is to appease the factory owners and bankers.
“Similarly, the National Atmospheric Pollution Council will immediately make their final statement. The relevant bill will soon be passed, and the minimum safeguards and working hours will appear in the form of a law!
“The Poor Law shall be reformed in accordance with their requests… The Three Churches are permitted to send their personnel into the military!”
“Your Majesty…” The earl palatine was startled.
Such a concession was beyond his imagination, especially the last one.
George III flared up again.
“Tell them this! Since they want a new order, I will give them a new order!”
“Yes, Your Majesty.” The earl palatine didn’t dare say anything further and left the palace.
George III sat there, unmoving for a long time as though he was a stone statue.
After an unknown period of time, his expression suddenly turned gentle.