Chapter 37: Put to Death
“Doctor Stein, please excuse my presumptuousness! You aren’t a native of Odia and also have not been an exorcist for long. How did you notice these two pieces of information that relate to the Albert family’s internal matters?” Lady Nova waved her hand to interrupt Maier and frowned at Qin Lun, who had his eyes closed and was resting. Even though she looked boorish externally, even more than a man, her mind did not lack the feminine touch. It was absolutely not an accident that she was able to become one of the leaders of Odia region’s exorcists.
While everyone else was shocked by the news recorded in the witch’s notes, Lady Nova still maintained her cautious and rational mentality. She quickly found the one thing off about these two pieces of information.
From the two pieces of shocking information, one was obviously related to the witch, Mary Claire’s, family name. It was the name of Steven Albert’s wife. Of course, the information by itself wasn’t much. In this world, many people had the same first and last name. There was nothing special about someone having the same name.
However, if combined with the second piece of information, those who knew the inner workings of the plague couldn’t help but doubt the Albert family. In the second piece, the Maize Witch called Mesa recorded a trivial event that happened at the edge of the Maize Forest.
At that time, a young couple brought a little boy to the edge of the Maize Forest and were met by assassins. One of the assassins was suspected to be Baron Albert. In the end, the young woman was killed, while the young man and the boy were brought away.
The only reason Witch Mesa paid attention to the event that occured at the edge of the forest was because the young woman who died surprisingly looked a lot like the missing witch, Mary, from over ten years ago. Also, the two new type of creatures brought by the assassins attracted her interest.
The exorcists could tell from the description that one of the creatures was the werewolf raised by the Albert family. The other creature sounded a lot like a gargoyle, in that it had bat wings and sharp claws, but it was a magic creature that the witches had never seen before.
Maize Witches could use magic to conceal their appearance. This was something every exorcist knew. Thus, if one of the Maize Witches liked the eldest son of the Albert family, Steven Albert, it wouldn’t be a big deal. It was just the Albert family banishing a witch. At most, it would be a scandal.
However, this piece of news just happened to occur a bit more than a year ago. After this piece of news, two strangers infected with the plague appeared in the Odia region. A normal villager might not know who those two people were, but the Odia region’s exorcists knew that the two people were court doctors from the Meiser Dukedom. They had come for the purpose of treating Miller Albert’s illness.
In other words, the exorcists all knew that the Odia region’s plague first broke out from Albert Castle.
However, most of the exorcists’ doubts towards Albert Castle were gone in a flash, buried at the bottom of their hearts. Afterall, the Albert family was the core of Odia Region’s exorcists. Since long ago, they had been at the forefront of every battle and earned everyone’s respect.
And now… Steven Albert’s wife was a witch? Albert Castle actually had two magic creatures? Besides the known werewolf, there was still a secretly developed magic creature?
What was the Albert family trying to do? Was Little Miller’s plague related to their research on magic creatures? Could the witch named Mary be the Albert family’s way of contacting the Maize Witches? Were Baron Albert’s organized expeditions into the forest all just a coverup?
Many questions flooded the exorcists’ minds. They weren’t fools. These two pieces of information were enough to set in motion the doubt they had buried deep in their hearts. Their understanding of the past clashed with the information in front of their eyes. For a short period of time, many people were unable to adapt.
Hearing Lady Nova’s question, Qin Lun opened his eyes. Looking at the ‘big lady’ in front of him, his eyes flashed with praise.
The authenticity of the news before them was not important. What was important was whether or not the one providing the proof was reliable. The conclusion was also not important. What was important was whether the process was rational.
Nova’s question was actually asking Qin Lun: “These two pieces of information, it isn’t strange for us exorcists to see the problem in a glance, but how can an outsider like you understand this insider information?” It must be known that the name of Steven Albert’s wife, as well as the Albert family’s accident, were all classified as the Albert family’s secrets.
Unless one had ulterior motives, why would a doctor like him concern himself with these things?
This was ignoring appearances and going straight to the root of the problem.
However, since Qin Lun dared to emphasize these two pieces of information, and even fanned the flames, he obviously wouldn’t be stumped by Lady Nova’s question.
“Lady Nova, I’m a doctor. I’ve no interest in the Albert family’s secrets, but…” Qin Lun calmly moved his gaze over the doubtful exorcists, “while treating Little Miller, I noticed that his illness was different from Odia’s plague. What threatened Little Miller’s life wasn’t the plague virus, but… long term malnutrition leading to the weakening of his body.”
“Doctor Stein, you mean to say…” The healer’s expression changed.
“Exactly. Before receiving my treatment, Little Miller had already been sick for over a year. The plague in his body had already reached a balanced state thanks to some sort of substance within his body. He is the origin of the plague in Odia.” Qin Lun nodded and said with certainty.
“As for why I know about Steven and Nina, it was because I intentionally asked the Albert family members when I wanted to get blood samples from them, in order to concoct a vaccine for the plague. However, looking back, the Albert family had long since had a cure. Otherwise, after accompanying Little Miller for such a long time, they would have long been infected.”
“Humph, no wonder the Albert family would rather ask a common doctor over letting our exorcist healers treat Little Miller.” The healer sneered, “Do you believe it now? I’ve told you long ago that this wasn’t an ordinary plague but an undying one”
“Undying plague?” Qin Lun’s eyes flashed, and he turned to ask.
“Undying plague is a type of living virus that has mixed with the power of the undead. It’s a weaponized disease developed by the witches. It’s main purpose is to cut down the ordinary people’s enormous population.” Maier glanced at Qin Lun and the healer, then quietly explained, “Actually, ever since the illness first broke out, there were some among us that harbored suspicions that this was an undying plague released by the witches, but who would have thought that it actually originated from… Albert Castle!”
Undying plague!? This new clue was like a lightning bolt streaking across Qin Lun’s mind. He suddenly recalled his first night in this world, when Frank had vomited that wiggling, dark green, life-like substance.
No, the final piece of the puzzle was still missing! Qin Lun squinted his eyes. He had finally put all the scattered clues together. Now, he was only missing a core piece; a crucial point that would reveal the whole truth.
“Lady Nova, we need to act before the orders from headquarters come, otherwise, it will be too late.” Maier said gloomily.
“…Alright. I agree on returning to the castle and confirming the truth.” Nova glanced profoundly at Qin Lun, “But the Albert family is still the core of the Odia region’s exorcists. I hope that everyone can stay cool-headed. Let me and Maier negotiate with the baron.”
“You’re not needed! Let me ask Father. I will prove the Albert family’s innocence!” A low voice suddenly came from the entrance.
“Tony…” The exorcists in the tent all turned away, not wanting to face the angry blond young man.
“Tony, you need to rest! Whatever the case, you’ve already used your heroic fight to prove yourself. I believe that when we get back to the castle, Baron Albert will give us a reasonable explanation.” Lady Nova stood up and said seriously.
The blond young man, with half his face covered in white bandages, swept his gaze over the exorcists in the tent. Fury and unwillingness showed in his blood red eye, like a flame burning on everyone’s faces. His line of sight stopped on Qin Lun for a moment, then he resolutely turned to leave.
His young and strong body suddenly slumped down, as if he had instantly aged many years. His figure seemed lonely under the light of the bonfire.
“Sir Tony, do you still remember the words you said to Otto and Will’s corpses?” Qin Lun suddenly opened his eyes and calmly asked.
Tony’s footsteps paused. His shoulders trembled. Without turning back, his strict words sounded like they were squeezed out word by word from between clenched teeth, “I naturally remember. Tony Albert is an exorcist before being a member of the Albert family.”
“Everybody go back and prepare. We head for the Albert Castle at once!” Maier waved away the exorcists in the tent with a serious face. “The witch’s reinforcements will soon be upon us. Before that, we must withdraw from the Maize Forest!”
The exorcists filed out, heavy expressions on their faces. For three hundred years, Albert Castle had been the base of the Odia region’s exorcists. Countless members of the Albert family had sacrificed themselves in battles against witches and evil creatures.
Thinking that they were about to call into question the Albert family’s loyalty to the Exorcist Oath, their moods weren’t much better than Tony’s.
The exorcists in the tent quickly vanished, only leaving behind a seriously injured Qin Lun and the healer who was taking care of him.
“Ok, Doctor Stein, you’re many times stronger than I thought. Your wounds have all been wrapped up. Take a rest, we’ll be heading out soon.” The healer patted Qin Lun’s intact left shoulder and smiled in comfort. He then turned to leave.
“Please wait a moment!” Qin Lun suddenly pulled on the healer’s clothes and earnestly said, “Perhaps I am unable to understand the respect that the other exorcists have for the Albert family, but I know that once the undying plague breaks out, tens of thousands of ordinary citizens in the Odia region will become corpses…”
“What do you want to say? Hasn’t everyone already made a decision?” The healer evaded his gaze and turned around, not looking into Qin Lun’s two eyes.
“You’re all soldiers. Compared to your own lives, honor is even more important. They are willing to sacrifice themselves, but their view towards life has also become more indifferent. After the undying plague breaks out, the Odia region will be covered in corpses. It might even extend to the entire Maize duchy or the entire continent!” Qin Lun said gloomily.
“In this camp, only a healer like you and I can truly understand the might of the undying plague. Questioning the Albert family isn’t important. We must quickly find the crucial element that allows Little Miller to survive the plague, the substance that can balance out the undead power. I’m afraid that… for this, sacrificing the Albert family…”
“What do you want me to do…” The healer’s two hands trembled. He looked at Qin Lun in shock, as if seeing a whole new person in the new exorcist doctor.
“I’d like to ask you to…” Qin Lun faintly narrowed his eyes, leaned towards the healer’s ear, and whispered quietly.