* * *
“Those foolish bastards. Aren’t they just dancing to the criminal’s tune?”
Damon heard about what happened at the exhibition ground. He was already expecting something bad to happen when those senile old men approved of the event like they were trying to show off.
These days, he was quietly staying in his mansion.
This was because unpleasant rumors continued to spread about the Salvatore family and also because he wanted to use this chance to take a break.
‘I’ve been working way too hard all this time and I’m not even cut out for it.’
And so, Damon has been spending his days leisurely and lazing around to his heart’s content. Of course, he couldn’t be completely hands-off from work, so he stopped by the Alchemist Tower to check on the situation from time to time.
However the time he spent there was incredibly short compared to before where he practically lived in there.
“Why is this so long? Give me a summary.”
Damon grumbled as he leaned deeper into the chair with feet on the desk. Right now, he was reading a detailed report about the situation outside.
According to the report, a heretic was actually confirmed at the scene of the incident. Apparently, it was a heretic who controlled strange threads and crows…
Damon didn’t continue reading the report detailing the situation at the scene but paused at that part. That’s because when he read it was someone who manipulates threads, one person came to mind.
The strange butterfly owner who claimed to have a philosopher’s stone and made a joke out of Damon before. The man he met at the empty auction house in the middle of the night had definitely used threads that seemed like spiderwebs.
‘Don’t tell me he’s really connected to this?’
Suspicion and unease washed over him.
Damon frowned and put down the crumpled report. After which he pondered for a while.
But in the end, he decided it would be better to go take a look at the crime scene first so he got up from his seat. Of course, if people saw him at the scene of the incident, they would start to gossip so he had to go in secret.
Damon resigned himself to the annoyance and walked out the door.
* * *
Kalian was in a bad mood.
‘They’re completely playing with me.’
His face was ice-cold.
It was later discovered that the explosives were actually the souvenirs handed out in front of the exhibition hall. Since there were no explosives installed in the building, it would have definitely been useless even if all the visitors were evacuated outside. Moreover, if an explosion had happened while the people carrying souvenirs were scattered outside of the building…
The scale of damage could have been much bigger. In fact, if the culprit’s purpose was simply to simultaneously terrorize and cause confusion in the East, there was no need to use this method. They could just install the explosives in any place where people couldn’t see. Yet they openly played this kind of trick while Kalian and the guards were there.
The only way Kalian could see this was that they were completely being played with. Yesterday, he immediately ordered his men to investigate the people giving out souvenirs in front of the exhibition hall, but they were yet to get a clue.
Kalian fiddled with the tracker in his hand.
It was attached to the handle of Kalian’s sword in the form of a small jewel. After the incident yesterday, he eventually tried to pursue the heretic who escaped but he failed.
This was because the signal suddenly disappeared in a dark alley. At first, he thought the person noticed his pursuit and removed the tracker but that didn’t seem to be the case. He searched all over the alley for a trace of the broken tracker but couldn’t find anything.
So in the end, he could only search the surrounding area then go back to the scene of the incident to sort it out.
Later, when he asked the alchemist who made the item, they said the tracker generates a signal according to the body’s response so if the target carrying the tracker was dead or unconscious, it would be difficult to track them.
‘I can’t believe they gave me such a defective product.’
Albeit a unusual sight, Kalian felt irritated. Perhaps the alchemist could sense Kalian’s ire because they quietly commented that it would have been a better item if Damon Salvatore had made it.
However, Damon was conscious of the atmosphere outside and rarely came out of his mansion nowadays, so it was useless to regret it at this point.
Even now, Kalian was doubtful of what the alchemist said.
Is it that the heretic he was chasing suddenly died or lost consciousness in that alley?
Seeing as the tracker was still not picking up a signal, it was more likely to be death, but he didn’t find any such traces in that alley. So in the end, he couldn’t be sure of anything right now.
Which is why Kalian still carried the tracker with him, just in case something popped up.
‘You idiot! It’s the opposite, ok? You’re the one stopping me when I’m trying to get rid of the explosives right now!’
‘The explosion just now happened because of you.’
Kalian recalled what he heard at the scene back then and clenched the tracker tighter in his hand.
And that very moment, a signal came from the tracker.
A sharp gleam flashed through Kalian’s eyes.
* * *
“Hi, Mr. Gilbert.”
“Oh, welcome Mr. Snow.”
“Is Ms. Yuri around?”
At this time, Genos was at the coffeehouse. Although half his face was covered with a bushy wig, the exposed lower half of his face was stiff which was unlike Genos.
“No, she’s not here today.”
Gilbert, the owner of the coffee house, shook his head at Genos’ question. Sure enough, as Gilbert spoke, his face was a little dark.
Hearing that Yuri was not around, Genos’s face grew even more stiff.
“Is that so? Is she…taking a day off?”
“It’s not that…”
Gilbert hesitated then said.
“Actually, I haven’t been able to contact her ever since she left the store yesterday saying she had something to do.”
Yuri, who left the story yesterday saying she was taking the afternoon off, never came back in the end. She was even absent today without giving any notice.
However, Gilbert wasn’t angry with Yuri, instead he was worried.
“Ms. Yuri isn’t that kind of person…there’s a lot of horrible things out there, do you think something happened to her? And there was even an explosion yesterday…”
Yuri had never been absent from work without notice nor had she ever slacked off at work. Because she was such a diligent employee, he couldn’t help but feel worried immediately.
“I’m more worried because the time of the explosion just happens to overlap with the time Ms. Yuri left yesterday.”
They said there were unidentified casualties at the explosion yesterday. He didn’t want to have ominous thoughts but with the situation like this, his thoughts kept going in a bad direction.
“So you haven’t been able to see her since yesterday…”
Snow’s face grew even more serious.
“I was even thinking of stopping by Ms. Yuri’s house after closing up the shop later.”
Gilbert was so worried about Yuri that he couldn’t focus on the store the entire day so he figured it would be better if he closed up early and went to check on Ms. Yuri himself.
“Hello, did Ms. Yuri get off work already?”
“Ah! Ms. Anne-Marie!”
Right then, a happy face appeared at the entrance of the coffeehouse. Anne-Marie came looking for Yuri and when Gilbert greeted her, her eyes went wide.
Gilbert knew Yuri and Anne-Marie were next-door neighbors. So he quickly went over to Anne-Marie and asked.
“Ms. Anne-Marie, actually, Ms. Yuri didn’t come to work today so I was wondering if she was sick or anything, it has me worried…”
But Anne-Marie’s reaction after hearing Gilbert’s words was not encouraging.
“Oh, actually I came to the coffeehouse to see Ms. Yuri because it didn’t look like she’s been home since yesterday evening.”
Anne-Marie went to Yuri’s house both last night and this morning, but the house was empty every time she visited. Still, she figured Yuri would likely go to work so she went to the coffeehouse to see her…
Hearing about Yuri’s absence from Gilbert made Anne-Marie grow worried too.
“Did Ms. Yuri not tell you anything yesterday, Mr. Gilbert?”
Gilbert nodded at that with his face once again overcast.
“That’s weird. She’s never like that…”
Anne-Marie’s face was covered with dark clouds.
The amount of people who were thinking hard with serious expressions increased to three.
“Maybe we should tell the guards?” 
“For now…she might have just had something very urgent come up and couldn’t tell anyone before she left so maybe we should wait a little longer?”
When Anne-Marie brought up the guards because she felt anxious, Genos stopped her.
Gilbert and Anne-Marie still looked worried but they nodded because Genos’ words weren’t exactly wrong. If they jumped to a hasty conclusion and it turns out to not be a big deal, they might make things difficult for Yuri instead.
For now, since it was still barely one day, she might just come back in the evening today.
Still, Anne-Marie left to look through possible places Yuri might have been to. Genos also left the coffeehouse with a hardened expression.
Gilbert welcomed a customer while glancing at Yuri’s empty spot with a gloomy look on his face.
* * *
And at that time, Yuri opened her eyes.
It was dark all around her, making it difficult to know if it was night right now or an enclosed space without light.
Her head was still blank, and her body felt as heavy as wet cotton. Which is why it took her a little while to figure out her situation.
 Police is probably more accurate but I’m not sure they call it ‘police’, if that makes sense.
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