Volume 2 – Chapter 16: The Core of The Gargoyle
“Father, you…” Tony, a tall, handsome, blond young man, hesitantly called out from behind.
“Dr. Stein has the ability to cure the plague. He would’ve known about this sooner or later.” Baron Albert beckoned to Tony. “You should come too. Maybe we’ll need your strength later.”
Tony worked his jaw twice, but in the end, he made no more discouraging noises. He quietly fell in line behind the two men.
Baron Albert led Qin Lun and Tony into the castle’s main hall. He pushed open a secret door in the rear of the room, revealing an underground tunnel.
Qin Lun’s eyes flashed, and he readied his right hand behind him, the Crime Dagger slipping from his sleeve into his palm. Before he knew the baron’s true intentions, precautions needed to be taken. Awhile after the three men walked down the passageway, they reached a large and spacious basement.
The basement was square, brightly illuminated by lanterns. On the wall hung swords and flails and in the center was a stone slab, half a person tall. The gargoyle Qin Lun had seen last night was curled up and lying on it. To his surprise, this gargoyle was made of real stone, unlike the gargoyle from last night that was capable of moving.
“Is this the demon statue from the stone bridge?” asked Qin Lun, frowning.
“No, this is the murderer that ambushed your attendant! It’s a magical creature called a gargoyle!” The old baron carefully studied Qin Lun, trying to figure something out from his expression.
“Sire Baron, I have to say, your joke isn’t very funny. Magic doesn’t exist, let alone magical creatures!” Qin Lun said sternly, keeping a straight face.
“Hehe. Dr. Stein, you’re the best doctor I’ve ever met, but considering the limitations of your life experiences, please trust this old man. This world is not as simple as you think!” The old baron saw Qin Lun’s look and shook his head, smiling a little.
“I’ve heard that on the other side of the continent, people have invented huge, moving metal cars that don’t require horse or manpower. Perhaps in terms of science and technology, some historical truths will only get further and further away from us. However, some aristocratic families with a long lineage are still keeping many ancient secrets hidden. The Albert Family is one of them.”
“This…gargoyle is really a magical creature? And not a wild beast or just a simple stone statue?” The surprised Qin Lun touched the gargoyle’s hardened, batlike wing.
“If you still don’t believe me, I’ll prove it to you!” The old baron nodded at Tony, who was standing still nearby.
Tony gave Qin Lun a smile, and turned and walked to a corner, removing an object in the shape of a hammer.
“Please move away, Dr Stein!”
Qin Lun moved back a few steps, watching Tony raise the hammer high and smash the petrified gargoyle. Pieces flew all over the basement, the gargoyle slowly smashed into a pile of rubble.
“Dr. Stein, come see!” After Tony finished, the old baron walked forward two paces. Searching through the pile, he found a small stone glowing red and gave it to Qin Lun.
Qin Lun’s heart pounded as he took the stone. The stone was shaped like a baby’s heart, red and translucent. The inside seemingly contained a flow of magma, the rock feeling warm and extremely comfortable in his palms.
“Apostle 70053, you have come into contact with a gargoyle’s core for the first time. It is considered a type of magical item, classified as an equipment material and elemental energy source, satisfying line 320 of the Shattered Laws, opening the Law Item Exchange List!
“Notice: Apostles can access the Law Item Exchange List directly from their soul imprint. Apostle 70053, your soul imprint has already been linked to the special equipment ‘Death Notice.’ You can make direct inquiries from the Death Notice.”
Qin Lun’s eyebrows jumped. He still couldn’t fully control the Death Notice. It was not a good time to see the Law Item Exchange List right now, so he pushed aside the content of the notice.
“Is this the gargoyle’s heart?” Qin Lun looked questioningly at the baron and his son.
“This is what we call the gargoyle’s core, a magic item made by a sorcerer, it was specially made to allow the gargoyle to move.” The baron and Tony smiled and looked at each other.
Tony spoke, “Dr. Stein, do you believe us now?”
“It’s hard to believe that such a small thing can give a heavy stone statue the ability to move.” Qin Lun turned to the gargoyle’s core in admiration, lifting his head and asking, “Am I allowed to keep it?”
“Of course. Your attendant was the one who took the gargoyle down, so it’s natural that it belongs to you!” The old baron nodded while grinning. “Let’s head back up now. The basement isn’t a good place to converse. I believe you have many more questions to ask.”
“Sire Baron, could you tell me…those ancient, historical truths?” Qin Lun asked with caution, his eyes glimmering.
“Dr. Stein, I shouldn’t have told you any of this in the first place. The Albert Family has been protecting these lands for several hundred years, but we are currently helpless in the face of the current epidemic in the Odia region. You are the sole doctor who can solve this predicament. It’s crucial we obtain your help!” Baron Albert said with a slight smile.
“Now it all depends on what you want to do. Are you willing to follow the Albert Family, becoming one of us exorcists? If you do not wish to see the other, dangerous side of the world, we will not tell you anything else and ask that you keep everything we have told you a secret. As for the disease, we will do our best to compensate you monetarily.”
“Please give me some time to consider.” Qin Lun stammered.
“As you wish.” Baron Albert and Tony exchanged glances, then gave slight bows while wearing smiles.
After the three men returned upstairs, old butler Jason was looking for Qin Lun.
“Dr. Stein, your attendant has woken up!”
Qin Lun’s eyes flashed. He closely followed the old butler to Frank’s room, whereas Baron Albert and Tony did not. They knew that these two, master and servant, would have things to talk about.
“Why did you wait outside for so long? You knew you had lost a lot of blood! That was extremely dangerous!” After the old butler left, Qin Lun glowered at the hunchbacked servant.
“Young Master, I just thought that if I came a bit later, it would reduce the suspicion directed at you,” Frank mumbled in embarrassment.
“That doesn’t mean you can treat you life as a joke. You mustn’t be this reckless in the future. If you died, where would I find another servant?” Qin Lun’s face remained stern while he reprimanded Frank.
“Got it, Young Master!” Frank cracked a grin. “They didn’t doubt us, right?”
“Probably not.” Qin Lun gave a small smile. “You almost died. They wouldn’t assume you were hiding outside for that long, so naturally they wouldn’t put two and two together and think we were working together.”
“That’s right, Young Master, I also need to give you this!” The hunchbacked servant reached into his bosom for a small cloth bag and handed it to Qin Lun.
Qin Lun took it, opened the small cloth bag, and discovered an old brass pocket watch inside.
“Using the money you, Young Master, gave me, I went to redeem this. The Stein Family heirloom can’t be lost to strangers!” Frank beamed nice and wide, happy.
Qin Lun look at the old pocket watch in his left hand, his eyes twinkling. He thought back to the time when he had first entered this world. The first thing he saw was the ugly figure of the hunchbacked servant.
A slovenly, seriously ill servant who was trying his best to give his dead owner a decent funeral once again appeared in his mind. His thoughts moved onto last night, where without fearing for his own life, the ugly hunchback had charged the gargoyle.
Within Qin Lun sprung a strange, unknown feeling. A warm and charming smile gathered on his face, a trace of indifference filled with killing intent shimmering within it as well. However, his innermost feelings of murder were quickly replaced by the smile again.
He stood up, placed the pocket watch in his jacket pocket, and, smiling, patted the hunchbacked servant on the back.
“Rest well, recover soon.”
Walking out of Frank’s room, Qin Lun immediately returned to his own. He leaned back in his chair with his eyes closed. The first thing he did was review every action and word he’d said and done since last night, discovering that there were no glaring holes. Calming himself, he summoned the Death Notice.
There had only been three categories previously: law body, equipment, and storage space, but now there was another, the Exchange List.
Qin Lun carefully opened the Exchange List, discovering that most of the entries in it were grey, the content hidden. Of the colored entries, there were only two: one was “equipment materials,” the other was “crystal energy.”
Within the equipment material entry, he found only the gargoyle’s core. A purchase price of 500 Shattered Crystals was written behind it, while the sale price was just 100 Shattered Crystals, a surprising difference of five.
In the crystal energy entry were two items. One was the gargoyle’s core with the same purchase and sale prices while the other was a Soul Power Crystal with a purchase price of 10 Shattered Crystals and a sale price of just 2.
Qin Lun trembled a bit on the inside. He concentrated on the words, new words, “Shattered Crystals,” The Death Notice immediately gave a detailed introduction on it.
Shattered Crystals were made from half of Shattered Starry Sky’s basic World Law. This crystal was the intermediary between material and fictitious existences as well as the basic currency Shattered Starry Sky offered to apostles for transactions. Besides the apostles who had a soul imprint, lifeforms from Shattered Starry Sky and other worlds couldn’t see or touch the crystals.
Qin Lun contemplated for a moment. It was impossible for the Exchange List to have so little content. It was likely that he had not met many of the necessary requirements, causing so few to appear.
Meanwhile, in another room in the castle, there were other people who were contemplating and quietly discussing.
“A gargoyle? You’re sure that such a thing appeared?”
“Correct. Although this gargoyle was made shoddily, it was still a gargoyle. It’s quite possible…”
“Only a third of the Thousand-Year Contract has passed though….”
“What should we do?”
“Meeting the descendant of an exorcist takes time, not to mention that things aren’t very clear as of now. First get some people to survey the Maize Forest’s surroundings!”
“Then…are you going to prevent Dr. Stein from joining the team?”
“That man? Bring him along too!”
“But he’s just a normal guy!”
“Hehe, bring him there, and you’ll all understand….”