Volume 2 – Chapter 40: Nina Albert
The white figure standing in front of Qin Lun’s bed was somewhat illusory and indistinct. It resembled the image quality of a terrible 3D projection. When it saw the doctor slowly sit up from the bed, the white figure floated backwards until it reached a suitable distance before settling down.
“Dr. Stein, you already know my identity?” A surprised female voice rang in Qin Lun’s mind.
“I had an inkling of it back at the cemetery. During my time in the Maize Forest with the exorcists, we had obtained notes from the witch, Mesa’s, cabin. It had information on you.” Qin Lun calmly spoke. “What is going on with the grave of Mary Albert?”
“That gravestone wasn’t real; it was just an illusion I made.” The white figure sighed softly, “I had wanted to make you curious and come in contact with you while not alarming that person. But then you joined the exorcists, so I did not dare to contact you again.”
“Then why did you, once again, come to find me? Are you starting to trust me again?” Qin Lun placed a pillow against his back to prop himself up more comfortably. “What should I address you as?”
“Mary Claire died the moment I got married to Steven. Please call me Nina.” Nina tilted her head and calmly spoke, “You saved our child, I should thank you.”
“There are many exorcists in the castle right now, you aren’t afraid I will turn you over to them?” Qin Lun narrowed his eyes habitually.
“Hehe, my spirit is about to disappear. I came here purely to thank you, everything else is insignificant.” Nina covered her mouth and giggled, completely unphased by Qin Lun’s threat.
“Spirit? This isn’t your magic?” Qin Lun faintly frowned and asked in astonishment. “So a year ago, you really did…”
“Magic? Hehe, I already died a year ago!” Nina shook her head as if she had heard a small joke. “As a witch, my soul is linked with my heart core. If my heart core is shattered, then my soul will also quickly dissipate. My physical body has been dead for over a year. I don’t know why, but I only felt my heart core shatter two days ago.”
“Your heart core only shattered two days ago… so it was like that.” Qin Lun’s brow rose.
He suddenly thought of Witch Mesa’s two heart cores, it looks like the second one belonged to Nina. Although Witch Mesa had recorded the event from a year ago in her notes, she hid the events of how she had obtained her second heart core. She probably did not want other witches to know.
Nina, unexpectedly, did not disappear immediately once her heart core had shattered; her soul still survived until now. If that was the case… Qin Lun’s frown deepened as he fell into deep thought.
“After thanking you, my wish has been fulfilled. After dawn arrives, I will probably disappear.” Nina’s ghost pulled aside the curtains and bowed to him. “Dr. Stein, I hope you success in your endeavors. I will no longer disturb your rest now.”
“Please wait a moment, Lady Nina. Can I ask you some questions?” Qin Lun returned to his senses and hastily stopped Nina’s ghost.
“Of course, please ask.” Nina was a bit confused as she turned back to him.
“From Witch Mesa’s notes, we found out that Baron Albert had led two magic organisms to kill you a year ago.” Qin Lun contemplated before finally asking.
“However, besides your death, the notes did not have anything about Steven or Little Miller’s situation. I had taken a look at Steven’s grave and found it empty. Little Miller should have been infected at that time too. What I want to ask is, did the reason for you guys escape have to do with the Albert Family discovering your identity as a witch? Is Steven dead or alive? What is really going on with the plague that infected Little Miller?
“…I can’t tell you, they are all part of the Albert Secret.” Nina finally answered, after a period of silence, with a sigh and shook her head, “Although Baron Albert caused Little Miller to lose both of his parents at the same time, this has always been the Albert Family’s duty throughout the generations. Little Miller… in the end, he needs to rely on the Albert Family.”
“So you’re saying that the Albert Family did not go against the duty of the exorcists?” Qin Lun quietly asked.
“Of course! Although Baron Albert killed me, I do not blame him.” Nina spoke helplessly, “A millennium of duty, a millennium of guarding, a millennium of honor. This is the family precepts of the Albert Family, it’s just a bit too heavy.”
“Then what about Steven? If he is not dead, do you not want your husband to obtain freedom? He is not an exorcist, so he does not need to sacrifice his life for it.” A light flit through his eyes, after Little Miller was saved, Nina had no other desires. He decided to try another direction.
“Steven… it’s already impossible for my Steven to return.” Nina’s figure looked sad.
“Lady Nina, one last question. It’s been over a year since then, so why did you not ask anyone else for help? For example, Steven’s sister, Miss Laura, she cares greatly for Young Master Miller as well.” Qin Lun asked.
“The location of my death is on the opposite bank of the Crest River, near the edge of the Maize Forest so I can’t move too far from here.” Nina softly answered, “As for Laura… I did not want to disturb her life again.”
“Dr. Stein, I should bid farewell. Thank you again for saving my son!” Nina turned around and floated towards the window.
“Lady Nina, do you not want to see Miller and Elizabeth again before you disappear?” Qin Lun narrowed his eyes as he watched her leave.
Nina’s white figure shook slightly, but she did not stop and floated out the window.
This time, Qin Lun did not ask for Nina’s ghost to keep staying. He knew that he wouldn’t get anything out of her even if he continued to ask. Besides the answers he wanted, Qin Lun had obtained a lot of details on other things from his chat with Nina.
Witch Mesa’s notes had been confirmed. Steven’s wife was really a Maize Witch. Based on this, the second piece of information from the notes could be trusted. Baron Albert had indeed led two magic organisms to pursue them and killed Nina while bringing back Steven and Little Miller.
Although there was no evidence, Qin Lun believed that Nina was not lying. The Albert Family shouldn’t have deviated from an exorcist’s duty. However, that also broke the trail regarding Steven’s life and death, as well as the cause of Little Miller’s infection.
Qin Lun leaned against the soft pillow and closed his eyes to think. Although Nina’s appearance did not reveal the whole truth, it did not disappoint him. Nina did not know that he had no hopes of getting direct answers from her, but instead, he was using her reactions to confirm some of his theories.
Knock knock knock.
“Dr. Stein, are you awake?” The knocking from the door roused Qin Lun from his sleep.
“Please wait a moment.” Qin Lun shook his head and pulled out the pillow behind him. It looks like he had fallen asleep while thinking last night, still leaning against the pillow instead of properly lying down.
Swish, swish. The window curtains at the end of the room drifted with the cool breeze, the shutters still wide open.
Qin Lun stood up and walked to the window. He observed the cliffs facing opposite of the large forest. The air outside the window was a bit sultry since rain did not fall last night. Dark clouds packed the skies above, and the overcast felt somewhat stifling.
From what he could make out, it was already evening, he had slept a whole day. His chest and shoulder were still aching, but it was far better compared to yesterday. It looks like the Holy Medicine’s results were very good.
Grumble. Following his waking to the real world, a feeling of extreme hunger made itself known.
Qin Lun closed the window and went to the small table at the front of the room. He picked up a few pastries and ate them. The food had been delivered to his room last night by a servant. He had fallen asleep before he had the chance to enjoy them.
“Butler Jason, what time is it now?” He opened the door and asked with a smile.
“It is now the evening of your second day back.” The old butler held back his amused smile and kindly explained.
“I slept a day and night? It looks like I caused you guys trouble.” Qin Lun apologetically spoke, “Where are Lady Nova and the others? They must have woken up long before me?”
“Hehe, they did not wake up much earlier than you! Most of them slept until afternoon before finally waking. It looks like the workload this time was particularly heavy.” The old butler politely responded, “The banquet is about to begin, everyone is down at the hall. If you are injured heavily, you don’t need to force yourself to show up. Would you like us to deliver food to your room instead?”
“There is no need for that. There might be a storm tonight, I don’t want to stay up in my room by my lonesome self.” Qin Lun meaningfully spoke.
“Oh, alright. The weather has been stifling hot these past few days, there is a chance that we might have a storm tonight.” The old butler smiled, “Then please follow me, I will lead you to the banquet hall.”
“Butler Jason, if you resign from working at the Albert Castle one day, what would you want to do?” With his hands clasped behind his back, Qin Lun followed behind and suddenly asked.
“Eh? I never thought about that before. Why are you asking?” The old butler was surprised and asked in confusion.
“No reason, I was just asking.” Qin Lun shook his head with a calm expression, “How long have you served the Albert Family?”
“Hm… almost thirty years.” Jason sighed ruefully, “If I leave the castle, I really wouldn’t know what to do!”
“Hehe, you are such a loyal butler!” Qin Lun’s eyes flickered and he made a side comment, “Miss Elizabeth and Young Master Miller both grew up under your tender care.”
“That… is true. Young Master Miller has been especially obedient since young, fortunately, you cured him!” The old butler hesitated for a moment, before thanking him gratefully.
While the two chatted, they had arrived at the banquet hall. The banquet hall still carried out a salon-style buffet, allowing everyone to partake in good wine and food.
Qin Lun looked around the hall and noticed that Baron Albert had not arrived yet. Lady Nova, Meyer, and the other exorcists were all present. Tony sat alone in the corner of the hall, his head drooped down with unknown thoughts. The exorcists all held a cup of wine, standing around. The atmosphere seem somewhat depressed.
“Hehe, please excuse us for being late.” Baron Albert made his appearance at the entrance, Miss Laura, Little Miller, and Elizabeth standing by his side. The entire Albert Family was present.