Greg froze when he heard that before shuddering and immediately raising his vigilance.
Here it comes… The technique often used by the bookstore owner, mentioned in so many reports.
Theft is never good, try looking at tinyurl.com/37k7u89t.
Starting a topic, as if it’s a normal conversation to talk about one’s woes while the bookstore owner played the role of a nice and good person. Yet in reality, that was all to entice the target into letting down their guard as traps were systematically weaved in, awaiting for the target to be caught.
Then, as the conversation gradually progressed, the rhythm would become entirely dictated by the bookstore owner as the target's way of thought subconsciously fell into his control.
When one’s information started to be revealed, the trust in the bookstore owner would also strangely reach an unfathomable level. The sort where one could sell their souls to the other party willingly.
Up till now, anyone that had entered the bookstore or interacted with the owner of the bookstore would basically become a fan of this demon as long as they didn’t show any clear signs of hostility.
It was as if someone had tampered with their perception… No, while Secret Rite Tower had yet to witness this process, they believed it to actually be some form of mind manipulation by the bookstore owner.
As for those that displayed hostility… they were pretty much rotting in their graves.
Greg had felt worried the first time he heard about this. His idol, Joseph, had been one such person.
Fortunately, Joseph remained rational and had an objective evaluation of the bookstore owner. He also had a clear understanding of the harm that the bookstore could cause.
The things that the bookstore owner asked of him had always been good, so Joseph had always helped him out of kindness.
…At least, that was what Greg thought. He attributed this to Sir Joseph's own personal will.
It really was like Sir Joseph to rely on his faith in justice to defeat the despicable methods of the owner of the evil bookstore!
While Joseph, who was at his lowest at that point of time, had been defeated by this demon in a moment of carelessness, Sir Joseph was still Sir Joseph. His indomitable will that burned like a flame was most worthy of following.
Therefore, as Joseph's apprentice on probation, he, Greg, could not embarrass his teacher in the face of the same trick!
Greg silently took a deep breath and steeled himself. He reminded himself not to reveal too much information and just casually mention a few words about his woes…
Thus, Greg uttered softly, “I was originally from another department and, in fact, should be considered an external staff and didn’t come from the Training Division. It was only later that I was valued by Sir Joseph and joined the Intelligence Division.
"Before this, I could only be considered a part-timer. To my colleagues… It looks like I pulled some strings to get where I am.” Greg couldn’t help smiling self-deprecatingly.
A greater reason was the high-profile way in which he spent on fan activities touching upon his idol. When people asked about it, they would assume it was connected to Joseph taking him on as a disciple.
As for his ability? In fact, that didn’t matter. Regardless of whether he was weak or strong, they only saw him as someone who did things that ordinary people thought were ridiculous and extravagant.
They gave him weird looks and gossiped behind his back… Even if there was no malice, Greg certainly felt uncomfortable. It was like being ostracized.
Greg certainly didn't usually complain to anyone in Secret Rite Tower, or to his family.
However, the person in front of him was neither a colleague nor a relative. He was an ‘enemy’ that he had only met once (and in the form of a cat).
There was no burden nor shame, and it did seem that… he was the perfect person to talk to?
However, such things would be too easy to use against him, so Greg would never reveal these dark histories to this demon. A degree of ambiguity as such was good enough.
Lin Jie crossed his arms and rubbed his chin as if in thought. “So that’s how it is. Annoyance because of prejudice… It’s indeed a problem that can’t be overlooked.”
He took a sip of his freshly brewed tea and continued, “I think you are probably averse to discussing this with others because their words and actions have already hurt your self-esteem. As a result, you don’t wish to care about how they react even if they hear your side. In any case, even if they see the error of their ways, whatever they have done and its effect on you wouldn’t have any change.
"In that case, why hope that these ignorant people change the way they view things? Telling others would only make yourself look childish, am I right, Greg?”
The startled Greg stammered, "How…how did you…"
"How did I know?" Lin Jie gave a cryptic smile. I’ll tell you, I’ve seen many teenagers like yourself and aren’t their problems always rather similar?
At this moment, Greg cursed himself for being stupid. Everyone knew that the bookstore owner was omniscient. Was there a need to ask such a simple question?
But… this was undoubtedly the true thoughts he had.
Lin Jie parted his hands and continued, "It's just some simple psychological knowledge and tricks. If you wish to learn, I can teach you.”
Greg shook his head quickly. "No, that won't be necessary!"
Deep down, he breathed a sigh of relief, realizing how close he had come to falling into a trap. However, it didn’t matter now. He was still clear-headed and absolutely wouldn’t take the bait.
As long as he was determined enough, there was no way he would allow himself to be manipulated.
"Alright." Lin Jie regretfully withdrew his intention of pulling out a book. "How about you treat me as a tree hollow?"
"A tree hollow?" asked the puzzled Greg.
“Tell the tree hollow what you can’t tell others, like your troubles and secrets. It wouldn’t respond, nor would it spread. It wouldn’t even have any opinions. It will just listen quietly, so you wouldn’t worry about it after.
"While I can’t compare with a real tree hollow, you and I are practically strangers. I definitely won’t be going to talk to your colleagues deliberately, so telling me all your woes is equivalent to venting to a tree hollow.
"Sometimes, keeping everything in for too long can be really uncomfortable.”
Lin Jie revealed his signature friendly smile and said, "What do you think about that?"
Even though that had been what he said, Lin Jie had already silently broadened ‘confide your troubles to me’ into ‘confide your secrets to me’...
To retain his customers, besides having good products, he needed to be more flexible as well.
Greg hesitated as he observed the kindly smile before him. This suggestion had been his exact thoughts…
Yes, we would just be talking about some unimportant things and not leaking the Tower’s plans. It’s fine, it’s just talking…
Ah, no no no no, what am I thinking about!
This is the start of the demon’s trickery. I mustn’t trust him! I have to control myself!
However, if I talk… wouldn’t I be able to gain the trust of this demon and perhaps obtain the key to turning the situation around and proving my value?
Greg was in a tangle for quite a moment before he gritted his teeth and said, “It’s actually not a big deal. Perhaps I will feel more at ease if I say it, but I have a question and I hope to know your thoughts on it.”
Lin Jie raised an eyebrow. "My thoughts?"
"Yes." Greg nodded. "If my teacher… Sir Joseph, if he were on opposing sides with Wilde, who do you think would have a better chance of winning?"