Wallis in his pigeon form trembled violently. The strangely frightening scene he just witnessed made him flap his wings in panic and he had nearly fallen down.
Louie had managed to successfully sneak into the bookshop rather quickly. He hadn't made any movements yet and, as usual, lurked in the shadows of the bookshelves.
This was routine, and no problems had arisen during this process.
The bookstore owner was focused on reading a book behind the counter and didn't seem to notice the intruder at all.
It was quite normal for a 'shadow assassin' to have such a successful and perfect infiltration.
After all, the art of assassinations were their specialty.
Even their physiques had been modified, allowing them to become umbra creatures. Usually, even Destructive-rank beings wouldn't be able to detect their existence, but for someone at Louie's level, as long as he didn't make a move, he could even hide from a Supreme-rank.
These 'shadow bugs' nurtured by the Path of the Flaming Sword were the highest-ranking lackeys in the organization's periphery. They were responsible for running communications with the lower-level members and doing all the secret dirty work.
This includes taking in and testing prospective recruits who wanted to join the organization as well as undertaking assassinations on behalf of the organization.
Wallis was introduced to this organization by none other than the current head of the Sapir Clan, 'Wolf King' Hoffman.
Indeed. The head of the Sapir Clan was also a member of the Path of the Flaming Sword.
Wallis was a trusted aide of Hoffman's and was naturally loyal to the old patriarch. Thus, he was temporarily accompanied by this shadow assassin to undertake an evaluation mission as any new member needed.
With Hoffman as a guarantee, Wallis' mission was basically no-brainer.
It was merely taking a special book from an ordinary secondhand bookseller, and the only thing of concern were other transcendent beings that were coveting the same book.
According to Wallis, none of them were a match for him, let alone his unfathomable shadow assassin partner, Louie.
This was a task as simple as taking candy from a baby!
...At first, this was how it ought to be.
But what happened next was something that Wallis would never forget.
And it all happened in an instant.
Louie had merged into the shadows between the shelves and Wallis' wings hadn't yet come to a halt; his pigeon feet had barely landed on the eaves.
Via his pigeon eyes, Wallis saw the still deeper darkness within the shadow seemingly burst forth.
Just as if it were a spider waiting silently for its prey, springing forth the moment a delicious meal falls into its web, capturing and devouring it.
A vague humanoid figure appeared to struggle wildly within the shadow and the whole patch of darkness writhed and rose as if it were boiling water.
It was Louie, and he was trying to escape—Wallis knew this for certain.
Only an umbra creature could do damage to another umbra creature in the shadows.
He must have surely felt that he would be out of danger if only he could get out of the shadow and return to normal human form.
But regardless of how the imperious shadow assassin struggled and twisted with all his might, even if the flat shadows raised and warped, Louie wasn't able to get out of the mire-like shadow.
Countless long shadow tentacles emerged all around, plunging into the humanoid shadow, twisting it, swallowing it…
Support us at Hosted Novel.
All without a squeak.
Then, the shadow went still again as if nothing had happened, except that it had suddenly grown a little larger.
The immersion was so great that Wallis could already sense Louie's utter despair.
And at that moment, the bookstore owner who had been absorbed in studying the journal suddenly turned his gaze to the shadow in the middle of the shelves and gave a creepy smile that implied a great deal.
Accompanying that smile were those deep, dark eyes that were like a frightening abyss that would devour one's soul.
He realized it right from the beginning!!!
Our plans, our tracks, Louie's infiltration and objective—he has a grasp on it all! He's literally waiting for him to get caught!!!
He's smiling, he's smiling! He's laughing at our ignorance!
How terrifying, this bookstore owner is as terrible as those rumors say. He doesn't reveal emotion and can slaughter Supreme-ranks as easily as cutting grass.
No, no. I have to run quickly, otherwise it will be too late!
The Path of the Flaming Sword, shadow assassins—they're all false, false!
The pigeon on the eave seemed to slip and lose its footing, then spread its wings with a panicky cooing and flew away without looking back...
Theodore sat nervously at the counter, awaiting the bookstore owner's final evaluation on the book that had caused so much trouble.
If even this last hope was not enough to help him… Theodore reckoned he would meet a sad end soon.
At his most desperate and anxious moments, he did consider taking the initiative to hand the book over to those people.
But logic had kept him from doing so.
Theodore wasn't a fool. As a secondhand bookseller for many years, he had crossed paths with many people with power and authority.
Those who stand above ordinary folks would never allow those who know of their secrets to live when it is in their own interests.
If Theodore were to expose himself and hand the book over to those people, he would never again see the light of day.
Thus, it was a desperate decision for Theodore to show the book to this fellow bookstore owner of sorts.
He waited in silence for about 20 minutes.
At first, he was very uneasy and kept fidgeting in his seat. But then, with Lin Jie's slow, gentle turning of the pages, for some strange reason, Theodore calmed down.
At least... This young bookstore owner took my request seriously. Even if he has no way of helping me, I have no regrets, for I have met a good man.
And, from Mr. Lin's eyes, it appears as if he can actually read these words... Who knows, perhaps it might work?
Theodore held on to this glimmer of expectation, but Lin Jie suddenly looked up at him.
No… He looked behind him and gave a vague smile.
"Um, Mr. Lin... What's the matter?"
Theodore glanced behind but saw nothing.
Lin Jie shook his head and replied, "It's nothing much. I just remembered something funny. By the way, I will probably need to study your book for some time. Could you leave it here with me? I'll return it to you in a few days."
Theodore was overjoyed. Leaving the book here meant that the bookstore owner had promised to help him.
He nodded at once. "Of course. If you want, I can even give you the book."
Lin Jie chuckled. "You don't have to go to that extent... Huh?"
He suddenly paused as he sensed Whitey getting restless in his arms. He looked down and saw the chubby cat's look of eagerness.
Lin Jie followed Whitey's gaze and noticed a gray pigeon outside the window flapping its wings as it took to the sky.
Slightly surprised, he petted Whitey's head. "You want to eat that?"