Chapter 931 New Method to Acquiring Intel
Glancing at Danitz’s expression, Anderson continued as though he didn’t notice a thing.
“However, their brains appear to have been eaten by zombies. They were fervent to the point of stupidity. They didn’t adhere to my sense of aesthetics. So after cheating them of their things, I quit.
“Eh, why’s your face a little pale. You’re even sweating. Did you get heatstroke? As a hunter, shouldn’t adapting to the environment be an intrinsic ability?”
Danitz lifted his right hand and wiped his sweat. Cursing inwardly, he forced a smile and said, “I’ve heard that once someone believes in an evil god, it’s almost impossible to escape the faith.”
As he spoke, he raised his chin slightly, wearing a look as though he was musing over the circumstances of his future death. It didn’t cross his mind that Gehrman Sparrow had just offended the Aurora Order and was being targeted by the True Creator’s believers. He also didn’t make the connection that he was believing in a suspected evil god, The Fool.
“Well said,” Anderson replied with a smile that didn’t have the slightest hint of gloom. “It’s not like I have any true faith. Back then, the incantations I said were lines I modified from the God of Knowledge and Wisdom. Since they don’t really enjoy using their brains, no—they don’t even have that. As long as you superficially appear devout, any random excuse can be used to fool them.”
Without waiting for Danitz to develop the discussion further, he asked, “Why are you suddenly asking about the Aurora Order?”
Danitz bit down on his roasted meat and slowly chewed and swallowed. After a deliberate pause of twenty to thirty seconds, he said, “I just recalled something. For some reason, Gehrman Sparrow has been identified by the Aurora Order as a high-priority elimination target. Oh right, there’s also the Numinous Episcopate. And both you and me are known to have relations with him.”
“You want me to be careful against the Aurora Order and the Numinous Episcopate?” Anderson nodded in enlightenment as he chuckled. “You’ve recently mentioned something similar. Rose School of Thought, Church of Storms, Loen military… Man, at times, I even feel that Gehrman Sparrow is more suited to being a hunter than me.”
Danitz could hardly retort as he nodded heavily in agreement.
Anderson thought for a moment when he suddenly changed topics out of the blue:
“What do you plan on doing here in West Balam? Helping Gehrman Sparrow with something?”
Upon hearing this question, Danitz fell silent for a second. He put down the item in his hand and tidied his clothes in an unhurried manner.
“Investigate the faith of the different classes of West Balam.”
This was determined after his discussion with Vice Admiral Iceberg Edwina. In common parlance, it meant: Investigating the developments of the various secret organizations and factions in West Balam.
Of course, this included some preliminary contact with the local ruling forces, and to figure out if they had any desire to purchase firearms.
“Investigate the faith of the different classes of West Balam…” Anderson repeated Danitz’s words as he reflectively raised his right hand to rub his temples as though he had a headache.
After the end of the Tarot Gathering, and warning Admiral of Stars to take note of the Aurora Order’s and Numinous Episcopate’s “investigations,” with the best choice being seeking the Moses Ascetic Order’s help, Klein busily finished the three-party transaction between The World, The Moon, and The Sun. He received 5,000 pounds in return.
After dinner, he bit on an unlit disguised smoke pipe as he read the papers. Then, he saw Miss Messenger walk out of the void to deliver him a letter.
Leonard’s… Klein reached out to receive it and noticed that Reinette Tinekerr didn’t stay at all. She had rapidly returned to the spirit world.
This also made him determine that Leonard Mitchell had already paid the mailing fee; hence, he took out his other hand and unfolded the letter.
“Ince Zangwill has appeared in East Balam. He’s suspected to have met with Palenque Taciblius from the Numinous Episcopate’s Artificial Death faction…”
Ince Zangwill… Klein ruminated over the name as he slowly leaned back into his reclining chair.
In the letter, Leonard wished that he could do some investigations in secret to figure out Ince Zangwill’s motives.
But the problem is that 0-08 has the characteristic of “any mention of it will be known.” Knowing of it also means being known by it. Besides, it’s good at arranging coincidences, making people follow its directions without even realizing it… Under such circumstances, it’s very difficult to avoid 0-08’s notice while investigating Ince Zangwill. Not only is there no chance of success, it’s also easy to expose myself… As Klein thought, he made Enzo walk behind him and begin massaging his shoulder.
He read Leonard Mitchell’s letter again, hoping to find more clues and incisive points for investigations from those few words.
East Balam… Numinous Episcopate… Artificial Death… Palenque Taciblius… Why is Ince Zangwill looking for them for? Trying to find allies for the true mastermind behind the Great Smog of Backlund, that royal family’s faction?
Artificial Death… Artificial Death…
As Klein thought, he suddenly recalled that there was a matter that no one knew other than himself and Mr. Azik.
The Evernight Goddess had preliminary gained control of the Death pathway’s Uniqueness—in other words, Artificial Death. Presently, “She” was usurping, digesting, and wielding the corresponding authority!
In other words, the Numinous Episcopate’s Artificial Death faction’s target of belief was, in a way, the Evernight Goddess. After the authority was fully transferred and seized, they were bound to suffer a purge before slowly merging with the Church of Evernight. Or they might continue their work, making contact with the other Numinous Episcopate factions and other secret factions while unnoticeably cooperating with the Nighthawks.
To Klein, this wasn’t anything of importance. What was important was, that in an ancient text he found before, it mentioned:
To artificially create Death, a number of Numinous Episcopate members had to pray to the Uniqueness daily, as though it was a true deity. It was an attempt to slowly awaken its sentience and allow it to come to life.
Of course, this was only one part of the overall plan which wasn’t critical.
Then, could it be possible that when Palenque Taciblius prayed to Artificial Death, he had mentioned Ince Zangwill’s motives and had sought blessings?
But he will probably never imagine that Artificial Death has already been controlled by the Evernight Goddess. Although it hasn’t become part of “Her” manifestation, it has already lost its “freedom.”
From this angle, directly setting up a ritual to pray to the Goddess might allow one to obtain Ince Zangwill’s motives… That’s quite possible! The more Klein thought about it, the more certain he was that his seemingly ridiculous plan would succeed.
And as for the reason why this could become a reality:
It was because the enemy’s “leader” was their “spy”!
After getting Enzo to stop massaging him, Klein slowly got up and paced about, considering if he should make the attempt, and if so, how.
Ince Zangwill is a traitor of the Church. He’s an insult to all Nighthawks. If there’s a chance to wipe him out, the Goddess should be very willing to see it happen. “She” wouldn’t mind providing some help…
But the Goddess is now in a critical stage of seizing the Artificial Death’s authority. “She” will not be able to provide answers for a long period of time, and “She” can only provide feedback to normal ritualistic magic. Besides, I also lack the corresponding materials…
Also, I’ve been constantly warning myself to be on guard. I must not fully trust and rely on the Goddess… On second thoughts, directly praying to “Her” to obtain a revelation might not be too good. I hope to maintain a safe distance… Amidst his thoughts, Klein felt a little hesitant.
He began letting his thoughts wander in a bid to find a more acceptable plan.
Suddenly, he had a more ridiculous idea.
Directly pray to Artificial Death!
This actually posed no danger. This was because Artificial Death wasn’t able to respond to prayers and rituals. If there was any feedback, it meant that it was essentially controlled by the Evernight Goddess. On the other hand, Klein had the feather produced and left behind from the Artificial Death Project. He also had Azik’s copper whistle. He didn’t need to spend too much time to gather the ingredients needed to set up a ritual for a revelation!
In addition, there’s a layer in between us. I’m not directly contacting the Goddess. Perhaps, this might even help “Her” further seize Artificial Death’s authority. Klein consoled himself as he began busying himself.
He first used the sacrificial and bestowment ritual. He brought back the two remaining feathers and some Full Moon Essence Oil, night vanilla powder, and other items which he had not used in a while to the real world. Then, he modified the sacrificial altar and completed the first part of the preparations. After all, he was essentially praying to the Evernight Goddess, he couldn’t be bothered to head out to buy ritualistic materials of the Death domain.
This was essentially the same as other normal ritualistic magic. With great familiarity, Klein lit the candles, dripped some essential oils, and drew the symbols for “human” and “concealment” on an artificial goatskin. Then, in the thin fog that spread, he pressed Azik’s copper whistle over it.
Immediately after that, he placed the white feather stained with pale yellow oil stains inside the silver bowl that had burning herbal powder. He then watched it curl without any signs of it turning black.
After exhaling silently, Klein took a step back and chanted in Hermes:
“You are the essence of death;
“You are the lord of the dead;
“You are the final home to all living beings.
“I pray for your help; I pray for you to tell me the motives for Ince Zangwill’s contact with the Numinous Episcopate.
Just as he said those words, the three candlelight burgeoned as though they brightened significantly but were tainted with a dark green. The surroundings turned cold and creepy.
Klein closed his eyes and entered Cogitation for thirty seconds, feeling uneasy. He walked in front of the altar, picked up the Full Moon Essence Oil and dripped one drop onto each of the three candles.
After doing this, he took away Azik’s copper whistle, grabbed the artificial goatskin, and moved it close to the candlelight representing “himself.” When it ignited, he threw it into the silver bowl.
With a whoosh, the white feather which didn’t show any signs of damage soared with pale-white flames, covering the entire silver bowl and obstructing Klein’s vision.
About three seconds later, the fire subsided, leaving a mound of powder in the silver bowl.
The powder moved without the help of any wind, forming one word after another:
“Possessed by an evil spirit. Requires exorcism.”