Chapter 458: Going With the Flow
Chapter 458: Going With the Flow
“Is this where Nicholas lives?” Annan looked up, squinting slightly and looking around.
It was the Noah Kingdom’s St. Bernie District and the location with the most intensive underworld transactions in the royal capital, commonly known as the “Underworld City”.
“Daddy’s General Store” and “Alberta Used Bookstore” were here. Annan had bought books with the Paper Princess nearby, not far from Nicholas’s residence. After hearing the Paper Princess’s words, they went straight to this place.
Their destination was a two-story low stone-walled villa. The surroundings were deserted, and the vegetation in the yard was not taken care of. One street away from this place was a high-rise residential area being leveled and rebuilt. The smell of stone materials would occasionally hit this place.
The environment here was relatively poor.
Moist, dark stone walls with layers of ivy were right outside. There were cracks in the old stone bricks too. It was an incredibly old house.
Generally speaking, it was difficult to imagine a researcher living in such a house.
Although Annan did not know much about Alchemy and Alteration Wizardry, he knew it would disrupt the experimental result. In addition, there could be problems with the reagent storage. They usually encourage “storage in a cool, dry, and ventilated place”.
But such thoughts disappeared as soon as Annan entered the house.
When he entered the room, it was evident that he had entered a certain septum. There was a slight resistance to his footstep walking into the house. It was like advancing against the wind but only for a brief moment.
In that instant, the air spontaneously formed a filter membrane, which directly filtered out the impurities and excess moisture on his body.
The air inside the room was exceptionally fresh and dry. Even the odor was eliminated after entering the room.
—Most notably, Annan and the Paper Princess did not detect the barrier before entering through the door. It was intricately designed to “trigger instantly when someone enters”. If it was a trap, they might have stepped in.
“As expected of Nicholas.” Annan was not irritated but praised, “Such a delicate barrier can still operate on its own after he leaves.”
“Indeed. This self-purification filter barrier alone is not something ordinary people can do.” The Paper Princess glanced around.
She was surprised to realize that this barrier was actually a composite barrier with a test tube rack as a fulcrum. It was complex enough but not cluttered. Nicholas’ approach to handling these details could even inspire the Paper Princess.
The Paper Princess also gave Nicholas high evaluations, “I didn’t need an intuitive understanding of his alchemy abilities before. But now…
“I’m afraid he has completed the [Supreme Crown].”
“He has definitely done it.” A heavy and deep voice resounded in the room.
Annan and the Paper Princess looked over.
A plaster statue of the same height as a man was found sitting cross-legged on the ground.
Its eyes were slightly closed and deep as if it was thinking about something in silence. The distressed expression on its face gave the impression of a philosopher. At the same time, he appeared like a monastic monk who strictly observed the precepts and had no desires.
“Father Stone.” The Paper Princess nodded to Him.
Father Stone just replied calmly, “You know, you shouldn’t come. Especially not with Annan.”
“But you gave me the address. You also knew I was with Annan, and you didn’t stop me.” The Paper Princess countered, “I thought that’s your attitude.”
“Maybe.” Father Stone did not say much.
He did not seem to be a talkative person. Instead, he merely raised his head.
Those eyes carved out of marble met Annan’s eyes as if they were living things.
“What do you want to know?” Father Stone replied plainly, “I might tell you according to the situation.”
He implied that there were certain words that he would not say.
“Did you let Nicholas go?” Annan cut to the chase.
If Father Stone could not even talk about this, there was no point in having a conversation.
Father Stone answered, “I did it on purpose. But Nicholas shouldn’t know about this. His escape plan was thorough.
“He used the opportunity of his soul being out of his body to create a ritual area in the sewers two kilometers away. He gradually severs the connection between his soul and his body and uses very little material to cultivate a temporary area for his prosthetic body. Then, he projects his soul into it in batches. Next, he combined the soul into soul-purifying medicine to reinforce the reagent, making up for the emptiness in his soul.
“In the end, he managed to escape.” “Warden,” Father Stone replied calmly.
“…But?” Annan knew Father Stone had something to add.
Then, it went as predicted.
Father Stone nodded and said calmly, “But he doesn’t know. All ‘palaces’ are my body, and all ‘sculptures’ are my eyes and ears. The royal city is a huge palace… His operation was exposed to my watch from the beginning; if I wanted to, I could make the sewer collapse instantly. I was in the same barrier as him. It was that simple.”
That was why Father Stone would be Nicholas’ watcher.
This was actually why he brought Nicholas to Noah’s capital.
As the Deity of Palace and Sculpture, his power could only be raised to the maximum in the capital. Then, he could monitor and control the palace at will and use sculpture as his “surveillance guard”. After all, only in the capital would he get enough palace with sculptures.
Even the body Father Stone was in now was not his main body.
That was because Father Stone existed in all sculptures. They were mediums in which He could be revealed to the world.
Unlike the Paper Princess, Father Stone was not a creation of the Elegant Elder that “gained sentience”. Instead, he was a student of the Elegant Elder… and one of the very few students who the Elegant Elder applauded. As a mortal, in just fifty years, he mastered the sculptural and architectural skills accumulated by the Elegant Elder over thousands of years. Then, he made almost trivial innovations to become a deity.
He was the only deity to become a Deity of Art in mortal form.
“But, why did you send him away?” Annan stared closely at Father Stone.
Father Stone replied calmly, “His talent can’t be used in Noah because of the lack of material here. So his hands will be tied.”
That’s a lie.
At least He did not speak the whole truth.
But Annan did not reveal it.
He just asked slowly, “So, Nicholas…
“He knows that he is a ‘mirror’, right?” Hearing this, Father Stone was silent for a long time.
After about half a minute, he spoke again, “It’s not something you have figured out on your own.
“Did the Faceless Poet tell you?”
“That’s right.” Annan replied in a deep voice, “But because of this, I managed to figure out some clues.
“For example… This is a fake Nicholas. He doesn’t have Nicholas’ soul, nor is he Nicholas’s artificial human. He just got a body with Nicholas’s thoughts.”
The Paper Princess on the side immediately shuddered and blurted out, “I didn’t say that!”
“I know. This is what the Faceless Poet told Annan. It seems that even Nicholas’s escape was fate itself.”
Father Stone replied calmly, “I can’t peep in the area where [Secret Keeping] is involved, but you only have a little time away from my sight. Only Faceless Poet has the opportunity to tell you this.
“[His] behavior is dangerous. You shouldn’t know you’re chasing a mirror because it’s your destiny. [TN: The Faceless Poet]
“As we all know, [Fate is the Wheel of Divine Transporter]. You will leave traces after you have passed it. If you chase your destiny, it becomes a paradox in itself. This will cause you to chase the mirror with your own will. You can’t get your mirror that way. It only appears in front of you when you don’t crave it.”
So, Henry VIII, Nicholas, and Bernardino appeared when I did not know about them?
When I chased Bernardino, it was to seek justice for Salvatore, not to find my mirror. That was why I caught him!
Annan came to a realization.
So when Annan was thinking about when to find Nicholas, the “Fourth Mirror”, Nicholas suddenly disappeared.
So new questions emerged from Annan’s mind:
Why would the Faceless Poet tell me such a thing?
Why did Father Stone let Nicholas go?
These two things were originally aimed at the same purpose.
The two deities acted according to the situation without communication but formed tacit cooperation.
“So, you intentionally make this false ‘Nicholas’ thinks he is Nicholas who has lost his memory and lives in the world as Nicholas?” Annan keenly captured their thoughts.
But… What’s the point?