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IRNDGL - Chapter 17: Butcher In The Rainy Night

Lin Jie remembered he had a spare foldable deckchair in his basement. It was narrow and not suitable for prolonged periods of sleep but it could be used for a short rest.

Lin Jie immediately went downstairs to bring the deckchair up. He had a habit of cleaning his basement every once in a while so the deckchair wasn’t dirty and he could use it right away.

“I knew he would be heavy, but I never expected him to be this heavy…” Lin Jie muttered, realizing his mistake after failing three attempts to lift up Joseph by his armpits. “He’s like a two meter tall grizzly bear covered completely in muscles!”

The difference in height hadn’t been that obvious when Lin Jie was seated on his high stool at the counter while Joseph remained standing. But now, Lin Jie really felt as if he was grappling with a large beast.

Joseph was at least two meters tall and had a body that was thoroughly encased in rippled muscles. Those fists of his were the size of sandbags and Lin Jie was certain that a single punch from them could pulverize a person’s head.

He has such a terrifying physique even though his hair has already turned white. Shouldn’t an ordinary elderly person be frail and skinny like… Old Wil? Lin Jie wondered as he watched Joseph lying motionlessly on the ground.

What do I do? I can’t just leave him there! If a customer comes in, I can probably try asking for help to move him together. But how could there be any other customers in this horrendous weather?

“Haa... Nevermind. I’m really very sorry but I’m left with no choice. I hope you can forgive me.” Lin Jie apologized sincerely.

Next, he reached out and grabbed the scruff of Joseph’s suit, huffing and puffing as he slowly dragged the heavy body up and onto the deckchair.

Bang!

Joseph’s right arm fell on the deckchair’s armrest, creating a loud metallic crash.

Lin Jie was startled and immediately glanced over at Joseph’s bare right wrist.

A silver metallic luster was especially prominent under the warm lights. Detailed scale-like markings were uniquely aesthetic, displaying the top-notch craftsmanship of this mechanical arm.

Lin Jie’s expression changed. This uncle… like Old Wil, is disabled?

Moreover, this exquisite prosthetic limb wasn’t something that most ordinary people could use. Lin Jie knew a little about these sorts of artificial limbs.

Lin Jie had previously done extensive research due to his curiosity about the technology in this world as well as his interest in folklore studies. All of this had also been for Lin Jie to understand the customs and ideologies of people in this world so he could integrate himself to this world better.

Although Azir seemed like Earth in the 80s and 90s, certain technology standards—especially mechanical and biological—had far surpassed Earth's level and gave rise to certain strange branches of science.

One such example was mechanical limbs.

However, standard mechanical limbs were already considered high-end goods that most people would never have any chance of using, much less the kind that Joseph used.

It was something that couldn’t be purchased just through monetary means.

“This grade of precision and weight definitely surpasses ordinary daily needs, huh,” Lin Jie muttered to himself. “In addition to this uncle’s startling physique and that overwhelming aura, could he be…”

Lin Jie felt that he was close to guessing this uncle’s real identity. “...A retired high ranking officer?”

Lin Jie nodded his head expectantly. Indeed, he had come across military personnel in the past, and the vibe they gave off was really similar to this uncle’s. All of them had these natural rigid and righteous vibes.

Also, with that tough exterior and hidden weariness he displayed, Lin Jie felt it was highly possible that this uncle was a veteran suffering from PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder).

The right arm he lost was probably due to his honor on the battlefield!

“No wonder he had a strange expression when I mentioned joints just now,” Lin Jie came to a sudden realization.

The mechanical arm was made of metal but what allowed it to move freely would be the electric signals from the nervous system to the prosthetic arm’s synthetic nerves and muscles. Lin Jie wasn’t too sure of the principles behind its operation but he knew one thing—the connection point of metal to joints would easily short circuit due to moisture. Thus, the effect of rainy weather on these artificial prostheses would more or less be equivalent to rheumatism.

“It just doesn’t feel very reliable, haa… Perhaps he fainted because there was an issue with the prosthesis? If constant electrical leaks… it would probably affect the nerves too.”

Lin Jie sighed and tucked Joseph’s arm away.

He took two steps back and watched the unconscious Joseph confined to the narrow deckchair illuminated under the dim lights as wind and rain continued to rage outside.

“Why does it suddenly feel as if I’m doing something strange…”

For a moment, Lin Jie felt as though he was some sort of murderous butcher on a rainy night.

Killing someone on this rainy night, dragging away the heavy body to a hidden store to do some unimaginable things before admiring his work as long streams of blood painted the ground red.

This was the sort of feeling he got.

“Ha,” Lin Jie shook his head and laughed. This imagination of his was really too vivid. Would any normal person think this way?...

However, as a kind and upright person, he was confident nobody would doubt his character even if they saw him in this situation that was very liable to misunderstandings!

As Lin Jie straightened his back, he suddenly realized that The Little Prince was still in Joseph’s hand and despite losing consciousness, his grip hadn’t loosened.

Lin Jie smiled, “Even tough, unyielding men can have fairytale-like dreams. Have a good rest.”

Thunk!

Lin Jie jumped when he heard a faint noise from outside the bookstore which sounded like something had dropped to ground. Slightly startled, he turned around.

What seemed like a hazy silhouette of a man flitted across the windows quickly, as if it was trying to get away as quickly as possible.

“Is someone there?” Lin Jie frowned and called out.

He walked to the door and opened it but there was no one outside. All he saw was a black cat scampering away in the rain. Moments later, it had disappeared from view.

“What… it’s just a cat, huh.”

Lin Jie waved to the cat and chuckled, “Hurry on home. It’s dangerous outside, be safe!”

BeetleBarker's Notes:

Is the black cat a good omen or a bad one?

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Special thanks to Tetra & Aco for editing and pr-ing
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Kofi: https://ko-fi.com/beetlebarker
Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/beetlebarker
BeetleBarker's Discord:  https://discord.gg/bEr3QYN
IRNDGL Manhua translation by Zeroscans
Written by Great Calamity Of Fire (万劫火). Translated by BeetleBarker.