With great difficulty, Winston managed to snap awake following the explosions brought about by the shockwaves.
He didn't know how long he had been unconscious for, nor did he know where he was on the battlefield. The only thing fortunate was that he found Caroline nearby when he opened his eyes.
It seemed that he still remembered to protect the weaker chief of the Logistics Division just before he lost consciousness during the chaos.
Caroline had regained consciousness earlier than he did and was standing at the side, 'gazing' at the battlefield with her eyes closed and brows furrowed.
Cough cough... Ack.
Winston spat out a mouthful of blood. He patted the dust off his head and stood up.
As the aether within his body had been exhausted in order to resist the shockwave, Winston had no way to treat himself. He could only retrieve an already bloodstained bandage in the function slot of his armor and forcefully applied it on his upper arm to stop the bleeding.
Having bandaged himself, he ignored the pain throughout his body and staggered over to Caroline.
He glanced in the direction that Caroline was facing. Dust and smoke abounded, making it difficult to see anything, yet it was so quiet that only the whistle of the wind could be heard.
Apparently, Caroline had sensed his approach and said, "I'm trying to seek information pertaining to Joseph..."
Winston was stunned for a moment before he immediately blurted out with urgency, "How is it? Did you find any?"
The creases on Caroline's forehead deepened as she shook her head. "No..."
Halfway through her sentence, she groaned in pain as blood flowed from her eyes once more.
Fortunately, Winston was supporting her. Otherwise, she would surely have fallen to the ground.
Winston's anxious mood took a turn. He had realized what sort of danger this kind of action represented in an environment filled with aether produced by the clash of Supreme-ranks.
"…Don't push yourself too hard." Winston sighed.
"Currently, I'm the only one with the ability to look into things. If I don't push myself, who else can we rely on?" Caroline, whose eyes were bleeding, reached for her waist pouch out of habit. She wanted to grab a cigarette, but only managed to take out some tiny fragments of tobacco paper.
Together, the two found a relatively flat and spacious place to sit down and view the distant 'scenery' that was faintly discernible in the smoke and dust.
The battle of Supreme-ranks had finally reached a conclusion—
In the end, those two turned into balls of light respectively; one black and one white that erupted with darkness and light capable of devouring everything. The two immense powers clashed without any hesitation in the belief that they would definitely kill each other.
The center of the battlefield had now become a crater. Surrounding buildings had been reduced to black dust, and the entire area was now like a desolate desert reeking of death.
Due to the explosion of these two, no, three Supreme-ranks, violent aether was scattered throughout the entire battlefield, as if it were a contaminant.
Most normal transcendent beings would experience tinnitus and vomiting just by being in the vicinity. Ordinary folk in this position would probably suffer physical aberrations on the spot.
Beyond that, there was still a lot of residual power that would cause trouble. The Laws without any master dissipated throughout affected everything. People would inexplicably burn here, age and disappear, or even step into a dream realm...
Winston's conjecture was that the area within a large radius around 67th Avenue would become a new restricted area on file.
"Damn it…" Winston scratched his head in distress and cursed. "Under such circumstances, the majority in Secret Rite Tower will assume that Joseph is dead. The Tower won't send anyone in to die and would first seal this place in order to minimize casualties."
"Though I can't find him, I still sense that Joseph is probably alive..." Caroline muttered as she stubbornly continued to scan the battlefield with Eyes of Gazing.
"I'm sure he's still alive!" Winston insisted through gritted teeth. His past camaraderie and friendship with Joseph flashed in his mind.
....What a useless piece of trash I am. Was I able to even help Joseph with anything?!
It felt as if a knife was being twisted in his heart as regret and pain engulfed him. Winston really wished he could have died here alongside Joseph.
Winston hadn't even been able to regret after seeing Melissa disappear before his eyes. Now, he was equally as helpless with Joseph's disappearance. This uselessness made him feel like it was practically no different from betrayal.
"We can't give up yet," Winston whispered all of a sudden. "There's someone that can save Joseph."
"Boss Lin?" Caroline froze. "But..."
"No. Or rather, that's true in a sense. Boss Lin has already saved Joseph once. Now, we can only rely on ourselves to pull Joseph back from the abyss." Winston inhaled sharply, then said, "It's Andrew."
Caroline fell silent for a bit when she learned of Winston's choice.
"He too is one of the bookstore owner's lackeys. Since Boss Lin interfered, it means that Joseph is definitely still alive. Right now, only the Truth Union has the ability to freely enter and exit this battlefield. This is our only hope," said Winston as he observed the chaotic power of Law scattered throughout the battlefield.
His own communications device had been destroyed, so he could only find one that was still usable to call Andrew.
Lin Jie placed the clock in Ji Zhixiu's hand and encouraged, "It's actually rather cute, try touching it."
Ji Zhixiu trembled slightly as she took the small, exquisitely crafted clock, then forced a smile. "Indeed, i-it isn't scary at all. I won't be afraid."
While that was what she said, she didn't dare touch that worm at all.
Lacking the strength to awaken its ability was one thing. But if Ji Zhixiu was careless and accidentally made time flow forward or back, causing important events to change... she would become a great sinner.
She took a deep breath as she glanced at her hand that was still trying to resist. "I apologize for letting you see this embarrassing side of me..."
"Haha." Lin Jie waved her off and remarked with a smile, "Everyone has things that they are afraid of. Why apologize for such a thing?
"The key is that people need to overcome their own fears. What you fear is often fear itself. The more you are afraid, the more you have to face it head-on. Only then would you have the chance to grow. Don't be afraid to try, for it will only do you well."
It can be hard to make great work when its stolen from tinyurl.com/37k7u89t.
"Yes." Ji Zhixiu nodded at once.
Lin Jie had come out of the side hall mainly to wait for Greg as well as to pass the gift. At this moment, he was on the second floor and casually looked down.
Even after experiencing an earthquake with a magnitude of 7 or 8, A16 Manor still maintained its grand, indomitable aura. To the Ji household, the earthquake had merely been a matter of a few plates and chandeliers breaking, and there wasn't much anxious panic at all.
Lin Jie couldn't help but muse that even such a tremor wouldn't faze the rich, unlike his shabby bookstore that was always either leaking or drafty.
Lin Jie's heart really ached...
Ji Zhixiu waited silently by the side, observing the bookstore owner as he fell silent. A solemn look had appeared on his face as the panicking people below reflected in his eyes like ants whose nests were on fire. All living beings were merely parts of a small stage in his eyes, and he was the only audience.
Ji Zhixiu glanced down at the Clockwheel Worm in her hand. Exerting strength in her fingers, she clenched it tightly... If this was a stage play directed by Boss Lin—
She, too, wanted to be the main character.
Young Miss Ji took a deep breath. She absolutely couldn't be afraid. Otherwise, she wouldn't even be able to be a chess piece.
Just like Joseph and Wilde...
"I wonder how Mr. Wilde and Mr. Joseph are doing now? Speaking of which..." Ji Zhixiu said, somewhat sadly, "Those two can be considered 'book pals' of mine too. I had wanted to invite them to the banquet, but unfortunately..."
Not too bad, young lady... But these two would fight the moment they meet, right?
Lin Jie was, in fact, rather pleased to hear that. After all, his purpose in setting up the book cafe was to let his customers interact, spur each other on to study, and buy more books.
However, Joseph was on a mission now, and Old Wil was probably doing research. Given the latter's lonesome temperament, how could he attend a banquet of this sort?
"The two of them can't come," explained Lin Jie with a shrug.
Ji Zhixiu's heart skipped a beat. "Did something happen to those two?"
"No. How could something happen to the two of them..." Lin Jie pondered for a bit, then cracked a joke. "I just don't think your idea is reliable. The two of them would definitely fight if they met. And in the end, they would surely part on bad terms."
Part on bad terms?
Part on bad terms!
Ji Zhixiu's eyes widened. How could they part on bad terms? Of course, they had to be around before they could part!
Could it be Boss Lin is implying that... those two are still alive?!