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IRNDGL - Chapter 14: Uncle, My Ass!

Raindrops lengthened into fine white lines, revealing their trajectory before becoming separate droplets in Ji Zhixiu’s field of vision.

A strong gale blew past, sweeping along the many sounds that took shape in her mind.

Dark clouds in the sky appeared to converge as she heard the rustling of leaves, swaying power lines, people running, water flowing, breaths, heartbeats, blood, spirit, aether...

Ji Zhixiu felt as if her soul had been extracted yet it wasn’t completely severed from her own body.

Her soul wasn’t like a soul. It started to extend, just like a giant octopus stretching its tentacles into the sky in all directions and coming into contact with everything in its surroundings.

Ji Zhixiu was first bewildered, then she became aware of her current circumstances.

She instinctively glanced in the direction of the bookstore and she seemed to see fog and nothing much else.

Through the transom windows on the door, she saw Lin Jie skimming through the shelves as carefreely as ever.

Ji Zhixiu’s gaze shifted to the stone gargoyle and saw close to a thousand souls of varying levels of putrefaction clumped tightly together above it, howling in grief with outstretched hands, as if trying to grab something in front of them.

Amongst them was a rather conspicuous and intact soul wailing in misery—The recently deceased “Rat” Ruen.

Ji Zhixiu didn’t see the “Loyal” sigil branded anywhere on his soul. 

Haywood’s sigil was really dispelled! The moment this notion popped up, those invisible floating tentacles had already hurtled over rapidly and were constricting Ruen’s soul that was already assimilated with the stone gargoyle

Ji Zhixiu suddenly felt a sharp pain in her mind, as if she had taken a hammer blow to the head.

“Uugh…” Ji Zhixiu groaned, steadying herself after taking half a step backwards.

She opened her eyes and glanced at the opened book in her hands, as her breathing got heavier.

“Haa… so that’s the case...”

The hunter sensed that her recently transformed soul—The huge, formless, soul floating around her like an octopus was unable to leave her surroundings for the time being. 

And the countless tentacles of this soul was currently wrapped around a frightened soul—Ruen.

His eyes widened as if wanting to speak but his mouth was tightly smothered by those invisible tentacles.

“An inextinguishable iron resolve used to strengthen the spirit… As expected of Mr Lin, transforming the structure of my soul with great ease and allowing it to be imbued with the great aether. I can be considered a Pandemonium-rank hunter not just in name. In Beast transformation state, it might even be possible to reach Destructive-rank.”

Ji Zhixiu muttered to herself as wiped away a trickle of blood that had flowed out of her nose. Her iron gray eyes shone as she chuckled, “Being supported this way isn’t too bad either.”

All of it had been accorded to her by Mr Lin.

Perhaps, she might already be long dead if this bookstore hadn’t opened its doors to her at the time where she was being pursued by her ex-comrades.

It wasn’t wrong to say that Mr Lin had given her a second lease of life.

Ji Zhixiu’s heart pulsated rapidly as she stood in the pouring rain. Finally, she bowed in the direction of the bookstore, silently expressing her allegiance and loyalty.

This was a show of reverence to a strong being as well as the etiquette of willingness to become a subordinate.

In Jin Zhixiu’s eyes, Lin Jie had imparted so much to her, made her stronger and had even removed a traitor. On top of that, he hadn’t asked for a single thing in return till now.

Therefore, it was most probable that he wanted to cultivate Ji Zhixiu’s strength to change the hunter’s social hierarchy.

Presumably, loyalty would be well-received by him.

So why don’t I be more obedient? But, to think of it… Mr Lin’s power is indeed deep and enigmatic.

In the state she was in a moment ago, Ji Zhixiu might even be able to see through gaps in a Destructive-rank’s aetheric disguise. Yet, she hadn’t spotted anything abnormal with Lin Jie.

He actually appeared equally as ordinary as when Ji Zhixiu viewed him with her naked eye!

He’s just too admirable!

——

Lin Jie was straightening up the books on the shelves. From the corner of his eye, he noticed Ji Zhixiu outside and her action of wiping away her nosebleed, followed by her bow in this direction.

Lips twitching slightly, Lin Jie temporarily stopped in his tracks feeling a little weird as he watched her disappear into the distance.

Hey, hey.

This lass… wouldn’t have a tendency to be easily infatuated, would she?

With such frequent visits to my bookstore... Could it be that she actually… no, no, no. It better not be!

Such impolite thoughts wouldn’t be good for both parties.

Lin Jie shook his head vigorously and completely got rid of that passing thought.

Once again returning to his own seat, Lin Jie casually picked a random book and continued to while away time.

It just so happened that the book Lin Jie had selected was the Little Prince.

A heartwarming children’s tale with philosophical undertones and a cute narration.

Lin Jie was perfectly satisfied and decided that his pre-bedtime reading material would be it.

Jingle! 

”Welcome.“

Lin Jie repeated these words out of habit before freezing up momentarily when he realized that it was a customer.

Ah? Is today an auspicious day? That rich young miss is a bringer of good luck indeed!

Lin Jie rose up slightly and looked towards the door, his eyes lighting up when he saw that it was a completely new customer.

However… this newcomer didn’t seem too friendly.

Baam!

The door closed and heaving thudding of leather shoes ensued.

Lin Jie first noticed the tall, robust body frame. It was elderly man dressed casually in a western suit but unlike his body, his face seemed slightly haggard and weary. 

Instantly, part of the already dim light was blocked out by this customer’s large body.

Lin Jie had no choice but to adjust the brightness of the light before putting on his typical professional smile. “Hello, may I know how I can help? You are able to read, borrow and purchase books here.”

Illuminated by the warm lights, that body built like a tank reminded Lin Jie of Schwarzenegger but the head full of white hair showed his age.

His sharp, weary eyes wandered all over the place, as if he was a resting lion inspecting his own territory.

Lin Jie found it difficult to discern this customer’s age right off the bat.

Then...uncle it is. I can’t go wrong by calling him an uncle.

After scanning the entire bookstore once, this uncle’s gaze fell onto the stone gargoyle on the counter. Eyes narrowing, he knocked on the table and spoke. “Are you the owner of this bookstore?” 

“Aye, uncle, that’s right,” nodded Lin Jie.

“...” Joseph was stunned for a moment before squeezing out a word through gashed teeth, “Uncle?”

Uncle, My Ass!

If it had been some young knight addressing him this way, Joseph swore he would bash in that fellow’s skull.

His chest heaved heavily multiple times but he swallowed his anger when he remembered that it was just an ordinary person before him.

Slam!

Joseph slapped his palms on the counter top and eyed Lin Jie carefully, “Is this stone gargoyle yours?”

BeetleBarker's Notes:

The Little Prince - Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

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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.