Witnessing Lin Jie fiddling with the stuck ring made Mu’en’s entire body go limp.
Walpurgis had specifically reminded her to recover that ring because it was the very same ring of contract Walpurgis had given to the Moon for safekeeping back then. The ring symbolized the covenant made with those who sought her protection; back when she still controlled the Night, that is.
Afterwards, as dreams extended into reality, causing the moon to die and have its power stolen, the ring was also taken due to its symbolism for its concepts of ‘contract’ and ‘compliance,’ making it an essential object to be used for the summoning ritual of the false god.
Though ‘Walpurgis Night’ represented the blessings and protection of the Primordial Witches, it was first established by Walpurgis, hence the name.
However, ever since the Third Era, Walpurgis’ anointed could no longer locate the Primordial Witch whom they were bound to.
Of course, after the Dark Age ended, they no longer required this protection and as such, each and everyone went their own ways, some perishing while others prospered.
Only those who viewed Primordial Witches as their faith would continue their persistence in pursuing any signs of the Primordial Witches in this relatively peaceful era.
The Iris Clan that Doris was affiliated with was one such example…
What was Mu’en going to do now?
Mu’en stared hard at the ring that was now steadfastly affixed onto the finger of her boss. Did this mean that the covenant had now been transferred onto her boss?
In most circumstances, the odds of such an occurrence was nil.
After all, this was a transcendental relic, and it was impossible for there to be no prerequisites involved.
For instance, the past iterations of popes had all regarded the ring as a sacred artifact and it was only explicitly worn during special ceremonies, and not a single one of them had received the ring’s approval.
Though Walpurgis was rather lazy and hadn’t set up any prerequisites, the ring itself still had an innate threshold—the bearer needed to possess a dream realm of their own.
Beyond dream realms, this threshold was unreasonably lofty. Besides the four Primordial Witches, no one could possibly achieve it.
That was the case… originally.
But Mu’en had already witnessed it with her own eyes… Boss Lin didn’t just have a dream realm, he had one where he held absolute control over it.
Mu’en was now at a complete loss.
“Hmm? Do you like this ring a lot, Mu’en?”
Lin Jie noticed Mu'en's gaze, but he still dragged on and made no conscious effort to remove the ring.
He shrugged helplessly. “This ring has probably been left alone for far too long, and it feels ‘rusted.’ I'll attempt to remove the ring with soap later on, and it will be yours."
Having a ring stuck after putting it on was a rather common occurrence. However, every problem has a solution, and the ring couldn't possibly remain stuck on the finger forever.
Mu’en was speechless at the bunch of hogwash her boss had just said. If this ring could be removed with soap, Boss Lin would be raking in loads of money already.
Given Boss Lin’s level, he definitely knew the symbolism of this ring.
This meant that he was doing it intentionally. He wanted to keep the ring for sure, yet refused to be direct and instead went as far as to tease her.
If the Boss desired the ring, the assistant could only relinquish it.
“No need, thank you for the offer, Boss. I think it rather suits you.
“I’m feeling tired, please excuse me,” with a deadpan expression, Mu’en gave a slight bow.
Lin Jie acknowledged, then watched the child turn and leave. He then returned his attention back to the ring.
Why does it seem like she's peeved...
Did she, in fact, want this ring, but I misread the signs and put it on, which made her feel like I was toying with her feelings?
Haa... It's really hard to guess what's on a child's mind...
Lin Jie thought to himself with the shake of a head. Or... was I too engrossed in conversing with Joseph and Vincent that I forgot to praise her?
Hmm… This could be the case. Her efforts were quite substantial, especially running the book cafe and keeping things in check. This indeed warrants a reward and I forgot to take this into consideration.
But now, he had to first deal with the ring and… that egg of probably some strange creature.
As he glanced at that insect egg, that baby 'silkworm' within seemed to shrink a little, and Lin Jie wondered if he was seeing things.
“Don’t be afraid, I won’t boil and eat you up.”
Lin Jie gently patted the egg as one would with a melon and the baby silkworm became still.
Lin Jie felt pleased with himself. This little thing seemed rather active, but it appeared like his words had gotten through and managed to calm it down, which meant that he had gotten its trust.
As expected of a sacred artifact worshiped by the Church of the Dome.
As for how it got this large, Lin Jie would probably have to ask the Church of the Dome how they managed to keep it alive for so many years after consecrating it.
Perhaps this is some sort of mythical creature passed down from the First or Second Era, but the Church of the Dome only knew to use it for synthesizing Holy Moon Essence to brainwash people and never once attempted to incubate it.
This was Lin Jie’s hypothesis.
However, he wasn’t sure what would hatch out from the egg either.
Moreover, what was he to do with the creature if it hatched out. Make it his pet?
Never mind, let’s leave it alone for the time being.
Lin Jie placed the egg beside the stone gargoyle, then hurriedly dashed upstairs to find some soap for removing the ring.
The motionless insect egg sat silently on the spot for a while, then suddenly it started rocking from side to side and fell onto the gargoyle in the process, causing its shell to be punctured by the sharp, pointed edges of the gargoyle’s wing.
Tiny cracks started to form on the silvery gray surface of the insect egg. The large ivory worm inside wriggled, and a head popped out of the shell. This larva consisted entirely of writhing, intertwined tentacles, with even more tiny, wavy tentacles for little feet.
At the moment, it was pulsing continuously and looked like a ball of fluff because it had been so densely compacted.
On its slightly larger head, a single yellow, bloodshot eye opened up.
If either Vincent or Joseph were on scene, they would have discovered that this creature closely mirrored the false god, just that it was merely lacking the sullied tint that shrouded it.
And from the false god's final attack—those white flapping tentacles—perhaps its true form had been just like this plump white thing.
With its countless tentacles wriggling ceaselessly, the worm emerged from the egg and crawled onto the stone gargoyle. The tentacles started anchoring onto the stone sculpture before finally blanketing it entirely. Once that was done, the larva's mandibles split open and chomped on the head of the stone gargoyle, as two separate tongues covered the sculpture's rubied eyes.
The larva’s frame began pulsating as if it was sucking on something. The core power within the stone gargoyle, those souls that nearly numbered a thousand stored within the sculpture, was ingested by this creature and the outline of skulls could be seen as they struggled against the larva’s body.
The ruby eyes of the stone gargoyles glowed a bright scarlet at first and struggled in a bid to transform, but eventually the glow as a portion of its head broke off with a loud crack.
Finally satisfied, the chubby larva released its grip on the gargoyle.
With a curious gaze, it stared at the stone sculpture. Then, akin to mimicry, its body began to undergo several transformations.
Four additional larger limbs grew out as well as two horns budded on the top of its head. Its single eyeball bisected into two and a long thin tail sprouted on its back. Finally done, it copied the half-sitting posture of the gargoyle.
Lin Jie was still unsuccessful in removing the ring. As he made his way downstairs, he made a startling discovery.
Sitting on the countertop was a… cat?!