IRNDGL - Chapter 15: Truly Good Friends
Former Great Radiant Knight, Joseph had come to investigate the suspicious bookstore on 23rd Avenue where "Faceless Black-scaled Man" Wilde had spent an hour in.
Joseph had already gone through the information regarding this bookstore before coming over.
The intelligence report submitted was very detailed and thorough as the matter concerned a Destructive-grade black magician.
The background of this bookstore was spotless. The owner Lin Jie, was an out-of-towner from the Northern Highlands who set up his bookstore here three years ago. By a stroke of luck, Lin Jie's extensive and valuable collection of books caught the favor of the Ash Chamber of Commerce's vice-president and he was able to officially operate as a licensed business with their support.
These were all publicly recorded information within the Ash Chamber of Commerce's internal department. The obsession with cleanliness Druids had and the Ash Chamber of Commerce's reputation were two things that were undoubtedly credible.
And it seemed as if it was the truth indeed. The young man, as well as every corner of the bookstore didn't cause even the slightest disturbance to the aether.
To a person of Joseph's level, the flow of aether within the city of Norzin was very distinct and impossible to deceive.
Joseph came to the conclusion that the young man probably didn't know anything and there wouldn't be a need to spend too much effort interrogating him. Moreover, it was highly unlikely that Wilde would share his own personal information with this young owner so it just felt like a waste of time.
Joseph had made countless mistakes like this back in the day but now, he was experienced enough to know how best to prevent them.
Joseph had fully grasped the situation and the only anomaly was this stone gargoyle.
Besides buying or borrowing books, Wilde took an hour to leave a stone gargoyle here... There has to be a purpose. Could this be a coordinate...
Joseph fixed his pressuring gaze on Lin Jie and tried to determine whether the owner was lying. "Is this stone gargoyle yours?"
Upon hearing what was said, Lin Jie turned towards the stone gargoyle and shook his head in puzzlement. "Mm, It's a souvenir given to me by a customer."
Has this uncle taken a fancy to this art piece and wishes to purchase it?
Ah, that won't do. This souvenir given to me by Old Wil is of great significance.
While Lin Jie pondered how best to decline, Joseph's eyes caught sight of the register book on the counter top that had yet to be kept away and spotted a familiar name.
"Frank Wilde. He's your customer, am I right?" asked Joseph.
Naturally, Lin Jie didn't notice anything amiss nor did it cross it mind that someone could spot such tiny words on the corner of his register with just a single glance under this dim lighting. Moreover, Joseph had mentioned Wilde's full name.
Thus, Lin Jie became aware that this person knew Old Wil.
"Yes," Lin Jie nodded as he became more wary and wondered if this uncle was an enemy of Old Wil. Why does it seem like he came in wanting to seek vengeance...
Joseph brows furrowed. Why would Wilde give an ordinary person a stone gargoyle of this level?
This is definitely an archetypal stone gargoyle created by a black magician. It possesses extraordinary strength, at least a Pandemonium-rank!
It might even be capable of posing a certain degree of threat towards Joseph—breaking skin or causing him to bleed.
Moreover, he divulged his real name... No, wait a moment, perhaps revealing his name was intentional?!
The initial speculation was that the bookstore was a secret base for black magicians. But now that the bookstore owner was affirmed to be an ordinary person, the conjecture no longer held.
But if they were to treat the gargoyle as some sort of secret signal, then this place was just a location for black magicians to connect...
Noticing the uncle before him was in deep thought, Lin Jie now felt as if this person hadn't come with a vendetta.
Logically speaking, wouldn't the process of carrying out a vendetta begin with intimidation and threats, followed by an interrogation of Old Wil's whereabouts and recent activities before finally silencing me after I have talked?
It totally doesn't seem like it now. He merely asked a couple of irrelevant questions before mulling over it on his own. Can this even be called a vendetta?
Lin Jie had to change his thinking approach. Maybe, this uncle was Old Wil's friend?
While this uncle seemed uncongenial at first glance, Lin Jie could tell that he wasn't a bad person given his many years of experience at observing people.
The uncle might have entered in an overbearing manner but he had been careful with his actions and movements in order to not damage anything in the bookstore.
He hadn’t kicked down the door nor smashed the counter even though he could probably have done so with ease.
With this line of thought, it appeared that this uncle was actually a careful and gentle person.
Thus, Lin Jie cleared his throat and asked, "Are you by any chance, Mr Wilde's friend?"
Joseph was pulled back to reality and revealed an odd smile. "Friend? ...You could say that we go way back… Two years ago, we had a disagreement and parted on bad terms. It was only recently that I received information about him."
Indeed, thought Lin Jie to himself.
Two years ago... Wasn't that when Old Wil first came to the bookstore? A disagreement with a good friend! No wonder he was in such low spirits... Haa, Old Wil hasn't had it easy.
Living alone in this huge city, having relatives turn their back on him and having a disagreement with a good friend.
But now, this uncle has probably decided to take the initiative and reconcile with Old Wil. How great!
"Ah, so that's why. It's no wonder you were able to recognize Mr Wilde's item instantly. You guys must have been close."
Joseph replied casually as he continued to pry on the sly, "Indeed, we knew each other well. You could even say that we were bosom pals. I’ve never stopped looking for him these past few years."
Itching to chop off Wilde's head and ground his body to pieces would be a more honest description of the relationship that Joseph had with Wilde...
This had been nearly accomplished two years ago but Wilde had used some unknown method to avoid death.
Lin Jie was touched by the deep friendship the two old men shared. "It's certainly an enviable friendship that you two have. Unfortunately, I don't have Mr Wilde's address."
As if you know anything about us. Joseph's lips curled. He had unknowingly started chatting with the bookstore's owner.
This fellow's memory is going to be wiped away after I'm done anyway. It wouldn't hurt to have a little talk with him.
"Mr Wilde borrowed a book a few days ago and probably won't return for quite awhile. You might not get the chance to see him that soon... Perhaps you would like to have a seat and rest for a bit?"
Joseph looked up and found himself facing the young man's warm, kind smile. There was even a hot cup of tea prepared for him.
"Or perhaps, have a book to read?"
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