"It's all your fault!
"It's all your fault!
"Son of a bitch!"
Guillaume Bénet's fists continued to hit the air, his rage boiling over at a seemingly invisible creature.
His expression was twisted with hatred, and he didn't bother to suppress his emotions.
Aurore narrowed her eyes and gestured for White Paper to investigate the area.
But there was nothing there, just empty air.
Lumian clicked his tongue in annoyance. "He's been itching for a fight for a while now. Who's he blaming?"
Aurore shook her head and casually replied, "Maybe it's a bishop holding him back, stopping him from rising in rank and gaining extraordinary abilities. Or perhaps someone lured him into secretly worshiping a hidden entity, hoping to receive blessings and grow stronger…"
She considered that, as the sub-deacon of the Eternal Blazing Sun Church, a padre overseeing a rural cathedral, establishing contact with a concealed being wouldn't be easy on his own.
When it came to matters of supernatural power, he'd undoubtedly turn to the Dariège region's Church. The associated occult artifacts and sorcery grimoires would be handed over to the Inquisition for safekeeping or even sealing. They wouldn't be left at Cordu's cathedral. More importantly, it was impressive enough that he could command ancient Feysac. Languages capable of summoning supernatural forces like Hermes and Elvish weren't something a sub-deacon like him would encounter. And Aurore, through the Eye of Mystery Prying, had long determined he wasn't someone with innate spiritual prowess who could unintentionally attract malevolence.
Thus, without a certain someone's "guidance," how could the padre come into contact with a hidden existence?
Aurore considered the possibility that Guillaume Bénet had come into possession of a mysterious item without turning it over.
Lumian laughed at the idea.
"Can't the padre gripe over that hidden existence? He even dared to make Saint Sith feel aggrieved. It's not impossible for him to blame that hidden existence for enticing him."
After mocking Guillaume Bénet, Lumian analyzed seriously, "I've been thinking about why the padre suddenly fell into corruption. There are two suspects. The first is Madame Pualis. She's obviously very powerful. Whether it's Louis Lund, who gave birth in the castle, or the woman suspected to be her in the wilderness surrounded by the undead, it shows that she's not simple. She's involved with abnormal pathways and hidden existences. It's possible that she enticed the padre."
"By the way…"
Lumian smacked his head.
"What's wrong?" Aurore didn't know what her brother had realized.
Lumian replied solemnly, "Do you think the padre has ever given birth to Madame Pualis' child?"
"…" Aurore was filled with regret for believing her brother was on the brink of an important discovery.
She snapped, "Who told you that Louis Lund's child is Madame Pualis's?
"What if it's Administrator Béost's or a hidden existence's? No, no. If it was, you would have exploded and turned into a monster when you saw that scene."
"I just find Madame Pualis to be more dominant in her relationship with the administrator." Before the loop began, Lumian felt that the administrator, Béost, was a little weak. He couldn't keep the butler in check and couldn't keep an eye on his wife. When he appeared with Madame Pualis, he always tried to please the latter.
Lumian originally thought that the administrator loved his wife very much, but now, he had a new guess.
"Do you think the administrator is another fertility tool for Madame Pualis?"
"Perhaps." Aurore held her forehead. "The world of mysticism has really broadened my horizons. Many scenes that only exist in novels and imaginations have been realized… in some warped manner…"
After sighing, she muttered to herself, "There seem to be more than one or two children born in the castle. Where are they?"
Lumian thought for a moment and expressed that he had no idea.
Infiltrating the castle and conducting a search was out of the question. Not after what happened to Louis Lund and the events in the wilderness. Whatever it took, he wasn't about to cross paths with Madame Pualis again.
Aurore felt the same. After their run-in with Madame Pualis, the siblings wanted nothing more than to avoid her at all costs.
The padre grunted in frustration, downing a glass of red wine to take the edge off.
He let out a long breath, put down the tall glass, and walked to the bed.
It wasn't until the padre's breathing eased and he seemed to be asleep that Lumian mocked, "Look at him, crashing early. What, no late night rendezvous with his mistress? Oh, he doesn't smoke in private, either."
This was inferred from the absence of cigar cases, pipe, and other items in the bedroom.
Aurore chuckled and said, "He doesn't drink much alcohol either. Everyone says he's a pillar of propriety."
She dispatched White Paper to scout the bedroom. Finding nothing, it returned as instructed. Aurore turned to Lumian.
"You only mentioned one suspect. What about the other?"
"That sneaky owl. Always watching, never acting." Lumian voiced his guess. "It might have led the padre to the legendary Warlock's legacy."
"Mmm." Aurore felt that the possibility was quite high.
Lumian then suggested, "If that owl pays me another visit, we capture it and interrogate it."
"You sure you can take down an owl that has lived for centuries?" Aurore smirked.
"I've got you, haven't I?" Lumian flattered his sister.
Aurore scoffed. "Our chances aren't great, even with both of us."
"But we can't just sit around and do nothing. We need to find out what's going on before it's too late. As long as we don't interfere with the advent of the twelfth night, we'll be fine."
Lumian nodded heavily.
Aurore noticed his exhaustion and reached for White Paper, who had returned.
"You've been using your Spirit Vision too much today. Get some rest. We'll continue tomorrow."
She paused for a moment before continuing, "In the morning, I'll teach you the basics of the Hermes language. Then, in the afternoon, go see Pierre Berry and have a drink. I'll sneak into his sheep pen and see if I can get any useful information from his three sheep."
She thought this was the easiest route to investigate.
"Isn't that too risky?" Lumian asked, already on his feet.
Aurore reassured him with a smile.
"Don't worry, I won't pick a fight. I just need to talk to them in Highlander. It shouldn't raise any alarms. They might know something useful."
"I'll head to Ol' Tavern tomorrow afternoon. I'll try to get to know the three foreigners. They could be valuable allies."
Of course, he had to be careful not to reveal their identities as Beyonders.
"Okay," Aurore agreed with her brother's plan.
Lumian woke up in his dream bedroom, shrouded in a faint gray fog.
As he expected, all the gold, silver, and copper coins, as well as the axe and pitchfork he had collected, were gone.
The cycle had reset the dream.
I have to gather them again… Lumian muttered to himself as he left the bedroom and headed to the study.
He picked up the livre bleu from the table and flipped through it idly. Many of the words had been cut out.
Indeed, I was the one to send the request for help… He no longer felt anything about being the one who had sent the request for help.
He suspected that Aurore had guided him in sending the request. After all, he had no knowledge of mysticism back then, so he would have relied on a reliable messenger or a postman.
Speaking of which, Lumian realized that the postman who came once a week wasn't in the loop.
He figured that the officials probably prevented ordinary people from entering Cordu after receiving the letter.
Lumian looked around for a box to store the letter, but he couldn't remember how many similar items Aurore had in her collection, so he gave up.
He got dressed in a way that didn't affect his movements, grabbed his iron-black axe, and headed out into the wilderness filled with crevices. He walked towards the ruins surrounding the dark-red mountain peak.
Lumian easily dispatched the two familiar monsters. He slung the shotgun, cloth bag of lead rounds, and assortment of coins.
He moved forward cautiously, deliberately avoiding the path he had taken before, knowing that he was not prepared to face the three-faced monster.
As he made his way through the collapsed buildings and thin gray fog, the constantly alert him took a sniff.
He caught a whiff of blood.
After some thought, Lumian sneaked into the shadows and hid in a hidden space on the top of a half-collapsed house, peering through a gap between a few rocks.
In the distance, amidst the barren, rubble-filled wasteland, he saw a lump of flesh slowly wriggling towards a building.
The flesh was mixed with yellow fat, as if a creature had been crushed by a falling boulder.
Lumian pondered how to deal with such a monster. Should I behead it? But it doesn't even have a head.
Suddenly, several dark-black, fleshy ropes appeared out of nowhere and bound the blob of flesh tightly.