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IRNDGL - Chapter 6: Corpse Devouring Sect, Rites & Ceremonies

"Ahh! W-was this written by you?"

Wilde's expression changed. He had originally been holding the book carefully but now, his actions were even gentler, as if he was dealing with a piece of fragile glass.  

Lin Jie's words were clearly printed there and in retrospect, all that had been said was clearly him recommending his own work.

Wilde glanced at the printed title, Corpse Devouring Sect, Rites & Ceremonies. He raised his head and asked with caution. "Is this your area of research? Rites and ceremonies?"  

Rites and ceremonies are easy to understand while Corpse Devouring Sect... This sounds like a certain religion… but I've never heard of it before.

There were three main faiths in Azir:

With knowledge as their conviction, the Truth Union.

Worshipers of the Moon, the Church of the Dome.

Believers of the Wall of Fog, the Church of Pestilence.

There are also other scattered religions that were rather obscure, but as a magician who wandered around and did jobs as a hired hand for various factions, Wilde would still know a little about them, yet, the Corpse Devouring Sect didn't ring any bells.

This sounds like the religion of a demonic tribe that eats humans. But if it isn't, that would mean...

Wilde felt his heart shudder. 

Scholars and academics tended to be lawfully goodandall this time, Wilde reckoned that Lin Jie would at the very least be neutral. That had been the reason why he didn't dare divulge too much of his own identity nor talk about his past.

The charity of these sorts of higher beings was usually temporary so neither could he be certain that this bookstore owner wasn't just running an experiment out of boredom to "talk a ruthless black magician into being good."

There might be unimaginable consequences if Wilde were to go against the wishes of this higher being.

However, this book written by Lin Jie had a sinister vibe. Without a doubt, the author was aligned with evil.

A formidable scholar that researches taboo issues was bound to be eliminated by the mainstream. Is this the reason for him being a recluse?! With a pounding heart, Wilde looked towards Lin Jie, who didn't mind curious gazes from customers and with a gentle smile he nodded with reminiscence. "Yes, this is a part of my research tasks that also changed my fate..."

"Never mind, it's something that happened a long time ago. There isn't any reason to dig it up all over again." Lin Jie sighed.

A long time ago? Fate-changing?   

An outrageous conjecture popped up in Wilde's mind, however, he noticed Lin Jie's expression and thus turned his attention to the slightly coarse book cover. "This book seems to be hand-binded," he remarked.

Lin Jie nodded. "Back then, I wasn't able to get it published due to unforeseen circumstances and could only retain this book which I hand-printed. I've decided to lend this book to you since we are kindred spirits. Of course, if you do not trust me, I can recommend you other books too!"

Before his transmigration, Lin Jie was a folklore studies doctorate student as well as a lecturer. There was a history behind the “Teacher Lin” title. Furthermore, providing life advice and doling out chicken soup for the soul wasn't something he learned overnight.

If Lin Jie hadn't chosen to transmigrate back then, he would likely be an associate professor and would have probably published the sixth edition of his books about popular customs.

While it wouldn't be especially outstanding given the many other "youngest associate professors" and "genius students", he was confident in his specialization. 

"Thank you. It is my greatest honor to read your work." Wilde bowed slightly and continued. "However, having the only copy of such an important book in the hands of a pathetic old man leaves me uneasy."

As a crafty old magician, Wilde wasn't worried about losing the book. However, this was a book that hadn't been published which meant that all the things recorded inside were of an experimental nature.

Who knew what sort of unimaginable outcome might occur because of him studying it?

From the look of things, it seems as though Lin Jie took him as some sort of guinea pig...

"Old Wil, there's nothing to be worried about. I believe that you would bring this book even more worth. My research only has value when it is seen by others." 

"As for it being the only copy? That's no longer important to me." Lin Jie smiled and gestured at the bookshelf behind him. "I now possess an entire forest. Besides, I can easily produce a replacement anytime. Knowledge in one's mind cannot be stolen while fame and fortune can be taken. But, in my opinion, those are just immaterial."  

Lin Jie looked intently at Wilde.

Accept it, Old Wil! This is already the last of my chicken soup!

Lin Jie could sense Old Wil's apprehension towards his research. However, this wasn't directed at the subject but rather, concern over what studying this might bring about.

As an empty nester, Old Wil might seem amiable, but his haughty and detached disposition had caused him to drift away from friends and family. As a result, he regarded academics with great importance.

He needed accomplishment, fame, and fortune of this aspect to fill the void in his heart! 

However, this was a morbid and bigoted mentality which distance himself further from society. Therefore, Lin Jie decided to guide him towards once again experiencing care and concern from others!

Wilde met Lin Jie's gaze and was momentarily startled. He took off his hat and said, "I've benefited from your advice."

His fingers holding the hat were trembling.

Fame and fortune are immaterial... Is this a warning to not divulge any of this information to others? He must have sensed that I've figured out his identity.

The black magician's heart grew heavier.

Lin Jie then continued. "Anyway, back to the topic. Since you could understand, cough, the devil's language, you should be able to understand this book, and if you think that it's good, I would be more than happy if you recommend it to others."

He revealed a polite smile that seemed full of hidden meanings.

Gazing at the book in his hand, Wilde nodded. "Understood, I will do my utmost."

It seems that he wants me to help propagate his work. This must be the price I have to pay.

Wilde felt his heart lighten.

There was a price to pay after all. Free lunches didn’t exist in this world. 

Wilde would have been even more terrified had Lin Jie continued with his generosity as it would mean a heavier price to pay in future, perhaps eventually costing him his life.

Propagating the contents of this book but never divulging the identity of the author... It seems like the only way to go about it is to first study the contents and pass it on to others verbally. I must be very prudent. Wilde thought to himself.

 "Well then, I should take my leave."

Wilde put his hat back on, then hesitated for a moment before drawing out a jet-black stone sculpture from his chest pocket and placing it on the countertop.

"Thanks for the guidance you have given me all this time. Please accept this small token of appreciation."

BeetleBarker's Notes:

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Special thanks to Tetra & Aco for editing and pr-ing
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IRNDGL Manhua translation by Zeroscans
Written by Great Calamity Of Fire (万劫火). Translated by BeetleBarker.