Jerome’s eyebrows were tightly scrunched up and he was sweating profusely as he paced back and forth in his room apprehensively.
His appearance was standard of someone from the upper class—shiny slick hair, a wispy mustache with two long, thin ends, dressed in a tidy, extravagant suit with a rimless monocle to top it off.
However, his hurried pacing and nervous rubbing of his hands made him look more like a headless fly.
Jerome’s expressions were unpredictable as he looked down at the dimmed messenger crystal from time to time, muttering to himself incessantly.
“From what I last saw in the crystal, it wasn’t the bookstore owner that did it himself. But now, the question is, what is his actual relationship with Prima and why would he help her?
“Prima had never been down that street before, so she couldn’t be a patron of the bookstore. The bookstore owner has no reason…
“Wait, damn it! What did the dark elf just say? She couldn’t have sent Prima flying into the bookstore, could she?! That would be getting me into trouble!
“If that’s the case, then I have completely offended that person…”
Jerome’s face was now an ashen gray as he ruffled his well-kept hair with trembling hands.
As a member of the Truth Union, the memory of the operation to deal with the rain god some months ago was still fresh in his mind. That massive battle ultimately evolved into a fight of gods, and thereafter, the Aetheric Annihilation Cannon was also destroyed…
It was unforgettable for anyone present at the scene, and it would probably haunt them for the rest of their lives.
For Jerome, this incident provided him with another awakening.
Because, it was only by riding on the success of that operation had he truly become a core member of the powerful organization known as the ‘Path of the Flaming Sword.’
A core member was someone who received substantial backing, similar to Zukaiku or Rodney, whereby they could easily maintain two-way contact with the organization at any time.
One the other hand, the now deceased Heris, former leader of White Wolf, was only a lower-level member, who could only passively receive orders.
As an apothecarist who was relatively weak in combat power, Jerome only got to where he was today by relying almost solely on his ‘intelligence and scheming.’
Jerome stopped grabbing his hair and calmed himself down. However, a sinister expression flashed across his face as he growled through gritted teeth, “Why should I be afraid… He is undoubtedly strong, but I have the Path of the Flaming Sword backing me. A Supreme-rank like Rodney is merely a piece of trash who got everything handed to him by the Path of the Flaming Sword. If it were me, I would’ve performed much better.”
Both Rodney and Zukaiku were six feet under now, but this only meant they weren’t smart enough and weren’t of value.
To still fail after receiving so much resources from the Path of the Flaming Sword only further proved their personal incompetence.
Having been undercover within the Truth Union for an extended duration in the Truth Union, Jerome had managed to put a vice-chairman out of commission and under observation for a few months. He even managed to remain undetected through the few weeks of hectic investigation to find the mole done by the said vice-chairman.
“I’ve worked hard for so long, how can I just give up now!”
Jerome’s eyes flashed with malevolence. After pondering some more, he strode over a table and pressed the button located under it.
A faint rumble of cogs turning could be heard as a bookshelf shifted to the side, revealing a whole of bottles and containers containing elixirs of various colors and forms.
Jerome reached out his hand and selected a few bottles which he added to a mixing device hidden within his sleeves.
These elixirs were just semi-finished products, only a rough mix of several ingredients. Even in the eyes of other apothecaries, these were just harmless and common test products.
However, when mixed together, a powerful and entrancing hypnotic potion would be made.
Jerome named this concoction ‘Spiritual Touch.’
He had already tested it on more than ten people, and it allowed him to control Pandemonium-ranks without any restrictions.
The dark elf stalker was one of such test subjects. Jerome had also sprayed a mist of ‘Spiritual Touch’ on her, which misguided her to believe that this undertaking of hers was a transaction of Blood Feast’s.
But in truth, Blood Feast had temporarily ceased all large-scale operations after the founder, Zuikaku, had been captured. The only thing going on now was the internal power struggle within the top hierarchy of Blood Feast.
However, this was all in vain, for the Path of the Flaming Sword would soon send someone to take over.
Hence his deal with the dark elf was a falsehood from the very start.
“My dear vice-chairman Andrew, it’s all up to you now,” uttered Jerome as he broke into a sinister smile while stroking his tiny mustache. “In the end, you'll become my scapegoat.
“After all… You have more disputes with him than an insignificant character like me.”
Dwellings in the Central District were all classified according to the alphabet.
Starting from the center with ‘A’ and ending at the outer skirt with ‘Z,’ houses closer to the center were occupied by residents of higher status.
Of course, this status could be anything ranging from money, power, and popularity.
As for the nobles without any real power, those with common sense would’ve already sold their ancestral homes and moved out to the outer regions. Those that still clung onto the glory of their past lineage would get by rather miserably.
In order to make a desperate attempt to maintain a modest front, they would have to pay for a large number of servants as well as expensive daily necessities. Such an unsustainable manner of living was bound to catch up to them eventually.
In the beginning, they would need to rely on help from ‘friends’ around them. Next, they would smile their way into borrowing money before finally spiraling into a tragedy of unpayable debt…
A once feared noble clan would be completely reduced to a mere insignificance, with their dignified bloodline being the last and only article of value. The only way of repaying their debts was sending their female clan members to the chopping block, disguised as regularly held banquets.
Eventually, such a clan would have no choice but to commit mass suicide via poisoning, turning into a laughingstock passed on by word of mouth between the residents of the Central District.
Of course, when these dark secrets were removed from the equation, the affluence and extravagance of the Central District would no doubt be attractive to many.
The lifelong dreams of most ordinary Upper District residents would most likely be to own a property in the outskirts of the Central District.
Naturally, because he held a high position of vice-chairman in the Truth Union, as well as being of noble blood, Andrew resided in the Central District.
His address was B45.
“Jerome’s visiting?” Seated behind a wide table, Andrew frowned slightly when his servant reported this to him.
He recalled that Jerome, a Deputy Head of Medicine, used to be rivals with the now-missing Margaret despite being distant relatives. However, he was being unusually low-key now that she had gone missing. In fact, Jerome had even rejected his goal and gave up the position of Head of Medicine to another Deputy Head.
Making it appear that as a senior in the clan, the disappearance of Margaret had left him disconsolate and unable to put his heart into the matters of the Medical Department.
This seemed like a pretty innovative way to avoid suspicion.
But the question was… Why was Jerome calling on him at such a time?
Ever since the battle with the rain god, Andrew’s status within the Truth Union had been in free fall.
Previously, Andrew had sent that unhinged bunch of ‘Truth-seekers’ to investigate the bookstore. However, when he started to have second thoughts about the operation and retracted the order, he discovered that it was intercepted and the original order was carried out anonymously, which made him aware of the existence of a mole around him.
Andrew, however, didn’t believe that his trusted aides that were in the know would possibly betray him.
From various indications, this mole seemed to be everywhere at once, affecting the whole Truth Union despite having no form.
In addition, the investigation done using aetheric monitoring yielded no results.
Andrew had already come up with his own assumption.
It wasn’t that there were many moles, but rather, this mole could control others…
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