IRNDGL - Chapter 16: Children’s Bedtime Story
“Rest? Do I look that useless?” Joseph scoffed. However, his knight “Justice” sigil hadn’t sensed any evil intentions from this bookstore owner, thus giving the old knight a better impression of this young man.
Joseph’s indifference even started to thaw and unknowingly, he felt a rare inclination to chat with this bookstore owner that spoke to him casually and as an equal.
Perhaps after he became a Great Radiant Knight, it had been far too long since anyone dared speak to him so casually.
Since the bookstore owner was an ordinary person oblivious to the facts, Joseph didn’t need to put on the airs of a superior or senior.
Lin Jie shook his head and replied sincerely. “Of course not! It’s just… such recent gloomy weather would affect one’s joints. Are you having trouble sleeping? Your face seems a little pallid and I can’t help feeling that you are rather tired.”
Rheumatism and insomnia might be more common for older people at this age. Moreover, Lin Jie had noticed that Joseph’s right hand was a tad jarring.
Weariness of one’s spirit might not be very obvious but Lin Jie was adept at observing people and could notice it without much difficulty.
“May I assume it's because you spent a lot of effort in trying to find Mr Wilde?” Lin Jie sighed with lament. “I’m really glad that you guys have such a great friendship.”
Joseph’s mechanical right hand that was covered with a layer of synthetic skin twitched as doubt crept into his eyes.
How did this owner… No, it should be a coincidence.
But why do the words ‘joints’, ‘sleep’ and ‘Wilde’ put together seem significant, as if he’s pointing out something? And him saying ‘great friendship’ seems somewhat peculiar?
Still, it had been Joseph who said he was bosom pals with Wilde in the first place.
With a slightly complicated expression, Joseph said, “I’m not that sort of old person whose joints would ache when it rains. I’m also not tired because of this… Also, a book is unnecessary. I didn’t bring any money.”
Lin Jie pulled a stool over and sat down as he watched Joseph ramble on.
Deep down, Lin Jie was shaking his head. He knew right away that Joseph might seem coarse on the outside but warm and tender on the inside.
Lin Jie pushed the cup of hot tea towards Joseph and said, “There aren’t any charges for reading a book at my store but it's only limited to the section behind me. Have some tea to warm yourself up first.”
“I can help pass on the message to Mr Wilde that you are looking for him.”
Joseph took a sip but was unaccustomed to the taste of these tea leaves. Frowning, he shook his head. “There’s no need. I’ll leave after resting for a bit.”
At the moment he frowned, the dull pain in his head started to throb once again.
Damn it, it’s getting more frequent.
Joseph endured it, shifting the stool beneath him slightly. As his seating angle and attention shifted, he caught sight of the book Lin Jie had placed at the side.
Joseph’s eyes suddenly narrowed.
Seed of the Abyss?
“It just so happens that I’m reading this really relaxing children’s story. It’s really soothing for the soul. Perhaps you might want to try it out? I feel that reading it before bedtime really helps to relieve stress.” Lin Jie casually continued the conversation.
According to his literature and language teacher back in senior high, the tougher-looking a guy was, the more likely he was a gentle girl at heart.
Lin Jie firmly believed this without a doubt.
The person before him right now was a sensitive and gentle being who constantly clung on to that friendship. Therefore, Lin Jie was ninety percent certain that this old man belonged to such a category.
“Children’s story?” Joseph made a sound that was between a scoff and laugh. “Those funny and childish things. Young man, you aren’t a kid anymore, why do you like reading such books?”
“Well, it’s the best children’s tale I have ever read and it’s the only copy in Norzin.” Lin Jie regretfully withdrew his hand that held The Little Prince. “A pity…”
Joseph pursed his lips and pointed at the book in Lin Jie’s hand. “You mean this book? A children’s tale? Are you sure?”
What kind of children’s tale is named Seed of the Abyss? Is this a children’s tale for wild beasts of the dream realm?
Lin Jie nodded with slight bafflement. “Of course! It’s a really good children’s book, an absolute classic.”
Joseph couldn’t help suspect something was wrong but he hadn’t sensed any changes to the flow of aether yet.
However, he now had an urge to find out why a children’s tale would have such a title.
“Hand it over.” Finally, Joseph expressionlessly stuck out his hand and leaned in. “I’ll just take a casual look, consider it fulfilling your wish.”
Lin Jie smiled knowingly as he handed the book over.
Joseph pretended to casually browse the cover and title—Seed of the Abyss.
Can...can this really be called a children’s bedtime story?
As he took the book into his outstretched hand, Joseph suddenly felt a bout of dizziness.
The acute pain in his mind which he tried really hard to suppress intensified rapidly. Shadows clouded his vision and a soft muttering rang out in his ears.
A strange sensation started from the bottom of his spine, before seemingly engulfing his entire soul and sweeping away the pain.
Joseph started to lose his balance.
This relentless sensation was just too familiar!
Demon Sword Candela! Why does it seem to be resonating with something...
Why at this time?
Wait a moment, did this fellow mean this when he said ‘bedtime’?
Could this be a trap?
The bookstore owner’s voice faded into the distance as Joseph lost consciousness at this moment, and crashed to the ground.
“Hey, hey! Hey! Uncle!”
“Uncle, are you alright!”
“Hey, hey hey! Are you okay!”
Lin Jie’s expression changed as he flipped himself over the counter rapidly and went to support the uncle.
Don’t tell me… he’s gotten a stroke?
This uncle is a little advanced in age but his physique still seems healthy and unlike a person.
But he is elderly after all...
I’ve got to save him first!
However, after using up all his strength to lay Joseph on the floor, Lin Jie realized that this uncle’s breathing and heartbeat were both stable.
It didn’t seem like any strange ailment but more like a peaceful sleep.
Slightly doubtful, Lin Jie reached out to Joseph’s wrist and used his fingers to read the pulse.
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As a folklore studies scholar, it was normal for Lin Jie to know some basic pulse reading skills.
Lin Jie frowned and put down Joseph’s wrist. “Uncle, you are really fit. This pulse is even stronger than mine during my prime,” lamented Lin Jie.
But why would you suddenly faint?
It shouldn’t be anything to do with this book right?!
In this world, people wouldn’t just faint upon seeing The Little Prince, even if it was the last thing he did before fainting was taking the book, thought Lin Jie to himself.
It’s definitely unrelated. This is The Little Prince, a soothing children’s bedtime story that soothes the heart after finishing it and not something that induces a heart attack!
But as this uncle had fainted, Lin Jie could only sigh and temporarily help him rest comfortably. He would probe more when the uncle awakens.
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