Bella's heart raced.
She felt as if she had finally glimpsed a glimmer of truth behind the shadowy image of the mysterious bookstore owner.
Firstly, if dated back to the First Era, then Mr. Lin certainly couldn't be human. That was because humans didn't really exist extensively during that period, or perhaps didn't exist at all.
Secondly, he couldn't be an elf, for the Elves only rose from the ashes of the Giants. It was only after the decline and fall of the Giants due to their large-scale wars did the Elves gain power and establish the Elf Kingdom, gradually replacing the Giants.
And in that fragmented history, the most notable and absolute powers documented were the Four Primordial Witches. However, these few only ever took on the appearance of women, so this possibility could basically be ruled out.
There were also several reputable dragons amongst Ancient Dragons, for example, Calamity Dragon Bakak, the symbol of devastation, Origin Dragon Felix, symbol of wisdom, and Sky Dragon Sliferin, symbol of aether.
However, the Sky Dragon could be eliminated from the possibilities.
Because this fossilized heart which they had brought was from the Sky Dragon which proved that Sliferin had died in the First Era.
As a dragon born out of aether, every part of its body was precious and powerful casting material. The heart, which was its core that transformed aether, was needless to say, the most valuable.
Without doing much, just igniting a tiny bit of aether contained within was more than sufficient to blow up a Destructive-rank.
However, most people wouldn't know how to make use of such a precious object. In the right hands, if this heart was used to create the core of a large-scale array or as a god-tier material in a scepter, it could absolutely amplify the prowess of the wielder.
Besides these, there were also some extremely ancient elemental beings from the First Era, for example, The Light Elemental Scholar, Alfred...
Bella listed down all the great beings of the First Era she had been aware of, but felt that her own knowledge wasn't comprehensive enough.
The head maid watched her mistress and silently decided to properly look up information about the First Era.
It didn't matter if she knew Boss Lin's true identity. What matters is that if Lin Jie was one of those immortal beings, he simply wouldn't be able to accept Cherry. This wasn't just an issue of race, but a fundamental difference between them.
Just like how a human cannot love an ant. This was an unrequited love doomed to fail.
It's my responsibility as an able assistant to make Mistress understand this and to minimize adverse consequences as best as possible, thought Bella to herself.
According to the current indicators, there's a slightly high possibility that Boss Lin was an Ancient Dragon. Judging from his personality and behavior, he's unlikely to be the Calamity Dragon Bakak.
Opening a bookstore, guiding people, a wealth of knowledge, omniscient and omnipotent... The Origin Dragon symbolizing wisdom was said to possess all knowledge in the world. All characteristics the bookstore owner seemed to have.
However, from what Bella knew, the Origin Dragon was only Destructive-rank whereas whether Mr. Lin could demonstrate powers surpassing Supreme-rank remains to be seen.
After exchanging a few pleasantries with Cherry, he suddenly became aware of strange glances coming from the head maid Bella.
The look in her eyes, with a hint of scrutiny, appeared like she was watching something suspicious.
And when she looked towards Cherry, her lips were pursed, as if she were uncomfortable.
Lin Jie was all too familiar with it. Wasn't this the sort of typical 8 p.m. soap opera plot where a 'young rich heiress takes a fancy to the poor fellow running a bookstore while the personal maid attempts to beat him away with a broom'?
Lin Jie raised an eyebrow. Although it probably wasn't that exaggerated, Cherry spending a great deal to gift a fossil was bound to cause some displeasure.
It would be understandable if Bella decided to stop Cherry from interacting with him for her mistress' best interests.
I wonder whether she'll take out a thick wad of cash in this storyline... Ahem.
He would never look forward to such a scene. My friendship with Cherry is priceless and can't be bought out with money!
Hmm, the Church of the Dome has been employing brutal means against heresy for so many years suggests that there's a great deal of money to be made... Murder and arson, these come hand in hand. The Church of the Dome wouldn't just do all of it for no benefit.
And even if theydidn't do so, the faithful of the Church of the Dome contribute as lot as a tithe annually... They are building chapels everywhere and the Pope, Saintess, and apostles are well-clothed and well-fed. All of this is money.
If the Church of the Dome is successfully taken down and replaced with Vincent, I'm sure all this money would be first spent on charitable facilities and helping the poor given the Father's character. But there's no end to these things.
As for the remaining money...
Perhaps donate it to the Ash Chamber of Commerce.
I believe Cherry will use it correctly, and it can be considered returning her politeness.
Lin Jie sat a little straighter as he thought about this. His eyes coincidentally met Bella's, and he flashed a slight knowing smile.
Bella was startled at seeing the twinkle in his eye. Has Mr. Lin perceived what I was thinking?
Is his smile an acknowledgement... He's a dragon!
Lin Jie shifted his gaze and moved the suitcase with the fossil aside. Smiling at Cherry, he asked, "Didn't you say that you need my help regarding a book?"
The blush on Cherry's face faded as she regained her composure and nodded. "This book was hidden away in Congreve's secret room and it was well protected."
She turned around and motioned to Bella, who then took out a book from under her skirt.
Under the skirt?
Question marks popped up in Lin Jie's mind. There were many pockets on the maid's dress, and it was just a book.
He took the book and his eyes narrowed slightly. There wasn't any text on the book's cover. The light brown cover felt strange, like leather, yet more delicate and softer, with some shallow lines.
Brushing against it, Lin Jie thought it felt like skin.
No, perhaps I'm wrong…
Lin Jie stared at the book in his hand and a thought came to his mind.
A human skin book.
This was a book bound entirely by human skin.
Lin Jie's guess wasn't groundless, for he had come across such things before.
In the past, when he was in the midst of a folklore study, he had once come across a remote village with this very strange custom where they took a piece of skin from the back of a deceased person and made it into a human skin drum.
Whenever that village held a sacrificial ceremony, every household would take out their family's human skin drum and beat it, symbolizing the beckoning of spirits to accept the village's sacrifice.
This example was mentioned in the book Ceremonies And Customs which he had given to Old Wil.
At that time, out of curiosity and research purpose, he asked to be allowed to observe the village's process of creating the human skin drum and the villagers had unexpectedly agreed with enthusiasm.
Those drums felt exactly the same as the cover of the book he was holding...