363 Studying Leads to Improvement
Lumian still vividly recalled the night he played King’s Pie. Nightmares haunted him repeatedly, and every time, he found himself in an ancient beige castle, its surface tainted with the marks of ages-old blood, its interior a horrifying canvas of madness.
Seeing his silence, Gardner Martin flashed a reassuring smile.
“Just remember to let Poufer choose first in situations like the King’s Pie game, and you’ll be fine.”
But I’m no longer the same person I used to be. Can I really depend on being the last to choose to avoid the problem when there’s the Blood Emperor’s aura corrupting my right hand? Lumian silently pondered for a moment before responding, “Yes, Commanding Officer.”
He then inquired, “Where is Red Swan Castle?”
He intended to scout the area when the opportunity arose. At the very least, he needed to pinpoint the location of the nearest cathedral.
“Quartier Éraste, near Emperor Roselle’s Summer Palace and the West Lognes Forest,” Gardner Martin replied succinctly.
Quartier Éraste was designated as 17. In Roselle’s time, it served as a suburban retreat for nobles and royalty, but now it was enclosed within the city walls, becoming one of Trier’s largest districts. Known as the barracks district due to its multiple army encampments, it was situated in the northwest, boasting a national park, West Lognes Forest, a conference center, and numerous arsenals. Additionally, it was home to the Church of the Eternal Blazing Sun’s largest cloister in Trier, the Sacred Heart Cloister.
Lumian recalled a map of Trier he had seen and nodded in acknowledgment.
“It’s near the square district.”
Emperor Roselle’s summer palace wasn’t situated in Quartier Éraste; it resided in the square district, nestled between West and East Lognes Forest.
Gardner Martin cast a glance at Lumian’s left hand.
“Why are you injured?”
Lumian smiled candidly and said, “I recently delved into the catacombs with a friend I met at a mysticism gathering and got injured.”
He couldn’t shake the feeling that the Iron and Blood Cross Order had an interest in the underground world, possibly with spies lurking around the tombs. It was safer to focus the lie on something else. The Curly-Haired Baboons Research Society also doubled as a mysticism gathering, after all.
Gardner Martin nodded with approval.
“Avoid unnecessary explorations and risks in the future. They won’t bring you the mystical knowledge you seek, nor will they yield valuable items. Only danger, danger, and more danger awaits.”
Is that so? Does the Samaritan Women’s Spring count as a high-value item? Lumian inwardly criticized. Nevertheless, he earnestly agreed,”Yes, Commanding Officer.”
Had it not been for Madam Justice’s request, he would have had no inclination to venture into the catacombs’ fourth level.
Now, the odds drew closer to zero. He couldn’t help but wonder if he might stumble upon another of Amon’s tombs!
After bidding farewell to Gardner Martin, Lumian hopped onto a public carriage headed back to Avenue du Marché.
As the carriage rumbled along, he leaned against the wall, letting various thoughts swirl through his mind. He used this time to relax and ponder any potential issues he might have overlooked.
Amidst the rhythmic sounds of horses’ hooves and the carriage’s wheels, a sudden thought struck Lumian.
Could the Rose School of Thought, after suffering another setback at the hands of Gardner Martin, decide to seek out others who were involved in the Tree of Shadow incident?
The Bliss Society only lost Charlotte Calvino and Susanna Mattise, the high priestess. There are still other members to contend with, such as Maipú Meyer, the former manager of Théâtre de l’Ancienne Cage à Pigeons, or the actresses who had once played lead roles there before departing.
I wonder if Susanna Mattise had divulged the details of the Tree of Shadow to these members. If she had, they would likely know that the high priestess’s true target was either me, Ciel Dubois, or rather, Lumian Lee…
If that were the case, the Rose School of Thought and the Bliss Society might redirect their focus towards me. That could spell trouble…
How annoying. I really wish I could eliminate every member of the Rose School of Thought and the Bliss Society…
Towards the end, upon realizing the various negative effects on him, Lumian cursed inwardly before controlling himself.
If it weren’t for the Actors’ remarkable skill in disguise and concealing themselves, he might have seriously contemplated eliminating all members of the Bliss Society to eliminate any hidden threats.
He suspected that the Flog boxing gloves might have a miraculous effect on individuals with twisted desires, like those in the Bliss Society.
How should I find them? Lumian fell into deep thought.
Just then, as the public carriage pulled into a halfway stop, a passenger boarded.
It was a boy, around seven or eight years old, dressed in a white shirt and a miniature black formal suit with matching shorts. He wore white socks and black shoes, had short blond hair, and his brown eyes held determination. His chubby cheeks suggested he still had traces of baby fat.
Oh, isn’t this Baron Brignais’s godson, Ludwig? Lumian’s mood brightened as he smiled.
Almost simultaneously, Ludwig noticed him
and his expression turned to panic. He swiftly attempted to disembark from the carriage.
He was still carrying the heavy dark-red hard school bag.
Running away from home again? Lumian thought as he stood up, alighting from the carriage ahead of schedule.
The boy had already disappeared from the vicinity of the stop sign.
He’s quite fast… Lumian identified the nearby footprints and calmly chose a direction.
Escaping a Hunter’s pursuit without addressing tracks promptly was nearly impossible.
After trailing the footprints for a couple of streets, Lumian turned into a secluded alley and approached a half-broken barricade that barely reached waist height. He couldn’t help but chuckle as he said, “Come out.”
Ludwig cautiously peeked his young face out from behind the barricade, a mixture of nervousness and resentment evident in his voice as he said, “You swindler, stay away! If you come any closer, I-I’ll devour you!”
Lumian raised his right hand and stroked his chin thoughtfully.
“Why did you run away from home again?”
Ludwig responded angrily, “It’s all because of all that damn homework!”
Lumian couldn’t help but tease, “Yo, you’ve learned to curse. You’ve improved since last time.”
He noted that Ludwig, even if his unusual appetite and eating habits were disregarded, seemed more like a real child now compared to their previous encounter.
With this in mind, Lumian concluded, “This proves that studying is still useful.”
Ludwig was momentarily taken aback and seemed to forget to retort.
Lumian sized him up and said sincerely, “You weren’t born with a high IQ; in a way, you’re relatively less intelligent. But if you don’t study, do your homework regularly, and occasionally take exams to gradually improve your thinking abilities, I can guarantee that someone like me could easily deceive you the moment you step outside, and you wouldn’t even realize how you fell for it.”
Ludwig muttered to himself in a daze, “Did I really improve? Is studying, doing homework, and taking exams really useful…”
You’re not born stupid, are you? Is your brain damaged? You believed me just like that? I can’t even imagine what would happen to you if you were thrown at the Salle de Bal Unique’s entrance… As Lumian muttered inwardly, his smile remained unwavering.
“That’s right. If you find it too burdensome, talk to Brignais about reducing the amount of homework. There’s no need to run away from home. Giving up on studying will only make you more foolish.”
At that moment, Lumian had a single prevailing thought:
It is better to keep such abnormal and brainless humans or humanoid creatures under the supervision of the orthodox Church.
However, wouldn’t the Church of the God of Knowledge and Wisdom be too arrogant to think that Baron Brignais could control a fellow who ate everything he saw?
He has already escaped twice!
If he hadn’t encountered me every time, he would have caused trouble long ago!
Ludwig fell silent for a few seconds before he spoke up, “Will you negotiate for me?”
Lumian didn’t hesitate in his response, “No problem.”
Negotiating was something he was quite experienced in, especially when dealing with his sister.
“Then I’ll trust you again.” Ludwig hesitated for a moment before making up his mind.
He then flipped over the dilapidated barricade.
Don’t say that. It’ll only make me feel like scamming you again… Lumian muttered and led Ludwig to the nearest public carriage stop.
On the way, he glanced at the boy’s filthy clothes and said, “Did you bring a change of clothes?”
“No.” Ludwig shook his head.
Running away from home without any spare clothes? Lumian asked in amusement, “So, what’s in your bag? Food?”
Again, Ludwig shook his head, displaying a rather obedient attitude.
It’s not food or clothes… Lumian cast a puzzled glance at the dark-red hard school bag.
“It can’t be filled with books and papers, can it?”
“No either…” Ludwig suddenly shut his mouth.
What could it be? Lumian narrowed his eyes.
At that moment, Ludwig asked innocently, “Is there anything to eat?”
“No, we’ll eat when we return to Avenue du Marché,” Lumian replied mercilessly.
What a joke. With your appetite, why would I use my own money to treat you?
Disappointed, Ludwig let out a sigh and began sucking his finger, as if he wanted to take a bite out of it.
Fortunately, their destination, Avenue du Marché, wasn’t too far away. After another stop, they arrived, and Lumian spotted Baron Brignais waiting at the entrance of the usury company. The gentleman visibly relaxed upon seeing Ludwig.
“This can’t go on,” Lumian interjected before the other party could speak. “Do you think I’ll keep running into him every time? Reduce his homework by half.”
Baron Brignais weighed the options for a moment. “Okay.”
Ludwig interjected in a hushed tone, “And add another dessert meal.”
With the godfather and godchild relationship seemingly back to normal, Lumian bid them farewell and couldn’t help but wonder, Why did the Church of the God of Knowledge and Wisdom send such an abnormal child to Trier?
In the hill district, in Deep Valley Town, in front of an old grayish-white house with only two floors, Valentine and Imre, now in possession of the brass key obtained from Celia Bello, stood behind the Deacon Angoulême with serious expressions.
According to the feedback from a Sealed Artifact, the brass key left behind by the mysterious entrustee of the gatekeeper’s disappearance pointed to this very building.