“Wow, can I empty my stomach a bit?”
Genos couldn’t help but frown when he saw the scene spread out before him. It was an enclosed space with poor ventilation, so the disgusting odor had piled up as time passed.
It had been a few days since Kalian’s search party discovered this place and even though they had done some cleaning, there were still enough noticeable traces to make you want to throw up.
Genos took an unwilling step inside.
He had barely taken a few more steps before the intense rotten smell of blood dug into his nose.
“Hey, you should have given me a warning ahead of time if it was this bad.”
Genos grumbled as he tried to calm his churning stomach.
“If I had known, I wouldn’t have bothered eating dinner.”
“I guess your stomach has gotten much weaker in the time I have not see you.”
Kalian, who came in right after him, said in a provokingly calm voice.
“I believe I roughly explained the situation to you before we came.”
“Hah? Just like you said, you explained it roughly. And very roughly at that.”
After hearing what Kalian said, Genos made an expression like he was in disbelief.
Kalian brought Genos here with what was truly a very simple explanation.
We’ve found some of the missing children. But they are already dead. We don’t know who the culprit is, so I’d like you to help.
After hearing that, Genos followed Kalian.
Of course, the fact that the missing children were found dead was a serious issue, but he never imagined that the scene would be so devastating. Naturally, the scene was far more awful when Kalian first discovered this place and it was in a somewhat tidier state now.
Nevertheless, this was something else.
Genos glanced at the bloodstains on the wall and floor, not wanting to imagine what it even looked like at first.
“I already had a bad feeling when I heard the children were missing but this case could be more vicious than I thought.”
He didn’t want to stay here long but since he was here anyways, he should at least get to work. Genos began to look around slowly and observe his surroundings in detail. He was focusing to see if there was anything that would trigger his foresight when his gaze fell on it.
Kalian quietly followed behind Genos without disturbing him.
In the midst of this, Kalian’s subordinate, Russell Harpman entered the room quietly. He glanced at Genos in front then he walked up to Kalian.
“What is it?”
“Has Lord Sheldon been put on this case too?”
Kalian’s men were surprised by Genos Sheldon’s sudden appearance since he had been excommunicated in a rather disgraceful manner. Russell Harpman was also inwardly startled before Kalian hadn’t given him a notice in advance. So he came as a delegate to ask about Genos Sheldon.
To that, Kalian gave a short reply.
“It’s still unofficial. Watch your words elsewhere.”
Hearing that, Russell nodded to show he understood then he left the room.
Kalian turned his head again and his gaze fell on Genos’ back.
After the explosion at the shopping mall, Genos accepting the reinstatement request from the Central Council. After which, he put his past as ‘Snow’ away and went back to the Sheldon mansion which had been empty for years.
After Genos’ excommunication, the people of the Sheldon family left the bustling city and went to settle in a remote village. So there was no one left in the Sheldon mansion apart from the custodian(house manager). Of course, it was obvious that once they heard of Genos’ reinstatement, those eager-for-success people would pack up their luggage and come back right away, starting with Genos’ father.
Kalian figured that that was probably the biggest reason why Genos asked the Central Council not to make any buzz about his return. There was no reason for the Central Council to refuse so they naturally accepted his request.
In the past, the name Genos Sheldon alone was symbolic but that was before there was a fatal dent in his reputation. So for the Central Council, Genos’ request was actually very much to their satisfaction. Afterall, from their standpoint, it would have been difficult to refuse if Genos wanted to wash away his disgrace of the past as a condition of lending his power of foresight again.
Because of this, Kalian thought Genos was somewhat foolish.
Honor was the only thing that mattered in this place and since his only bargaining price had disappeared, it was no different from working unpaid. Just like his father, Dominic Crawford, said the other day.
He could even ask for something else instead of honor.
However, as far as Kalian knew, Genos said he didn’t want anything in exchange of returning as the Council asked. Even Kalian found it hard to understand Genos’ selflessness at times.
Anyways, Genos returned because of all of this and the first thing he was given to do was none other than this incident.
Then soon, a small sound came from Genos’ mouth, but it was hard to tell if it was a groan or a sigh.
“Do you see something?”
Kalian walked up to Genos and asked.
“It went by quite fast so it’s a bit of a blur. Not sure how to explain it.”
Genos tilted his head.
“But…no. No, I think I’ll stay here a bit more and let you know when there’s something I can describe.”
He was about to say something but closed his mouth again.
‘…I thought I saw the Crawford crest.’
Genos stared at the blood stains on the floor, discomfort flitting through his eyes. However, what Genos could see was the future, not past.
So it was not certain that what he saw was connected to the culprit of this incident. Most of all, it was just an afterimage that flashed by for a second, so he wasn’t sure if it was really the Crawford family crest.
Genos took one last look around the room then he turned to where Kalian stood.
“I’d like to see another room.”
“Also, please explain in detail how the situation was when you first came here.”
“I’m sure that would be more damaging to your stomach than it already is.”
“I’ve finished digesting so I won’t be throwing up my dinner. Go ahead.”
Kalian explained like Genos asked and Genos quietly listened without stopping Kalian at all. Like that, the two of them walked out of the door and went to the next room which was also filled with a similar stench of blood.
* * *
The first place Yuri went to after leaving her house was where the secret auction was held during the festival. The reason she went out today was because of the client who asked her to look for a philosopher’s stone. Of course, that didn’t mean she had accepted the request.
But she felt she needed to look into it separately before deciding. And so she headed out. However, perhaps this was only natural, but the auction house had disappeared when Yuri came.
Since it was a secret auction held once a year, Yuri already knew that it was an empty building being used as a temporary auction side. Thanks to this, the building where the auction was held looked so clean and empty that it was almost wretched.
Still, just in case there was anything useful, Yuri looked around inside the building. But just as it looked from the outside, the only thing left in this place was foggy dust.
Yuri walked away, not disappointed at all. She already had a rough idea of who was running the secret auction behind the scenes. Since it was auction for nobles, it was only natural that nobles would be involved in running it.
So she planned on going over there and doing some investigation.
But right then, just as Yuri stepped out of the building, she sensed someone’s presence. For a moment, her feet stopped moving
‘Is it someone related to the auction house?’
Some unknown person suddenly entered the empty building alone and they were heading inside without any hesitation. Their movements showed they had a clear purpose. Which is why Yuri thought the person might be related to the auction house.
‘Should I catch them and interrogate?’
A chilly light flashed through Yuri’s eyes as she was wrapped in the darkness. She pushed down the hood on her clothes and began to walk through the quiet hallway.
She was heading in the direction of the person that just entered the building.
* * *
‘What the, isn’t this the auction house building?’
Damon Salvatore walked in the direction the butterfly led him then he suddenly came to a stop.
His eyes were fixed in front of him with a slight frown on his frame. He was thinking the path seemed familiar and when he finally saw the place, he knew it was definitely the building of the secret auction where he came to get the ‘philosopher’s stone’ at the festival last time.
‘Is it a coincidence, or…’
Damon furrowed his brows and stared at the dark entrance. However, the thread connected to the butterfly began to strain so he had no choice but to step into the building.
The auction house was very dark and quiet.
Only his footsteps rang out in the quiet night and it made it seem like you could hear a pin drop. Since he was with alchemy devices that could create miracles, there wasn’t any need for him to hide his footsteps.
While thinking that the atmosphere here was eerie, he continued walking with the white butterfly as a signpost.
Then he felt something rushing past his feet and yelled with a start.
‘Bloody hell, isn’t that a rat? This filthy…’
Damon’s face was filled with disgust. To think rats were roaming an auction house supposed to serve nobles. He didn’t know who the administrators or managers were, but they didn’t know the basics.
The fact that he attended the auction without knowing it was such a dirty place made Damon’s mood drop to the bottom.
He walked through the dark hallways, looking more alert than before.
‘F**k, feels like a ghost will just pop out.’
Today, he had prepared several alchemy devices that could attack or defend in case anything happened. So there was no reason for him to be afraid of anything.
However, maybe it was just him but for a while now, he’d been feeling uncomfortable like something was poking his back. It felt like someone was quietly watching him from behind.
Right then, something moved slightly behind Damon.