George Byron, 24. A young scholar of the Truth Union, adept in alchemy and having a high level of mastery in magical assessment and aetheric traces.
As a recognized level two Truth Union alchemist, he could create tools that could defend against or even kill Destructive-rank entities.
Even though he had great investigative abilities, most of the time, he was usually employed as logistical staff responsible for providing combat personnel with appropriate equipment.
But due to the recent spate of events where combat was prevalent, the Truth Union was overwhelmed.
The Truth Union didn't lack logistical support, but lacked investigation personnel that were useful on the battlefield. Moreover, thelarge majority of their staff were civilians and simply had no wish to engage in battles.
Thus, Byron had been urgently dispatched to oversee the on-site investigations in the aftermath of this incident.
It was described as an incident, but this was entirely an act of terrorism.
"These black magicians are really a bunch of lunatics to actually invoke a Destructive-rank spell here! And there wasn't any response from the Aetheric Surveillance Network..." muttered Byron with wide eyes atop the rubble.
With a frown, he gazed at the surrounding ruins by the heavy rain.
The horrible circumstances weren't just limited to destruction, death, and injuries. What was even more alarming was the failure of the Truth Union's monitoring and forecast systems.
This meant that either the black magicians had a way to bypass the Aetheric Surveillance Network, or there were moles in the Truth Union.
Byron jotted down his conjecture in his notebook.
The deceased are Scarlet Cult leader 'Precant' Morphey and several other black magicians. Offensive means used by both parties are as follows...
All of the attacks were clearly targeted at the bookstore on 23rd Avenue. However, Scarlet Sect had previously always been in conflict with Secret Rite Tower as well as hunters. Why did they suddenly come here... Who exactly is in the bookstore?
Byron wandered over the rubble and casted his gaze at that bookstore.
The boundary they had established covered the surroundings and was currently altering the memories of all the people within the area. Only the bookstore wasn't affected.
Compared to the surrounding ruins, the middle of the street seemed to have become a huge chasm, separating two sides.
One side was the completely demolished district while the other seemed perfectly fine and as peaceful as ever.
The attack of Scarlet Cult's black magicians had been completely blocked by someone who had forcefully counter attacked and wiped them out.
The opposing side also had someone who possessed Destructive-rank ability or higher.
The Truth Union didn't know who the bookstore owner was and it signified that it could be a being that could prove uncontrollable.
"I'll head to the bookstore and check it out," Byron instructed a colleague at the side before jumping off the rubble and started towards the bookstore. That ordinary bookstore was just opposite the street. Through the fog, Byron could make out an indistinct and dusky glow from the windows.
It was as if a strange magic was enticing him to go over and find out exactly what was inside the bookstore.
He kept on walking and was almost upon the door.
Pa! A hand landed on Byron's shoulder.
"Stop." A gruff, solemn voice sounded.
Byron turned around and saw an aged but tall and muscular man. He frowned and asked, "Mr. Joseph, is anything the matter?"
The former knight rebutted with a question of his own. "What are you going to do?"
Byron answered matter-of-factly, "Investigating that dubious bookstore."
He held up his notebook and went out. "My responsibility is to get to the bottom of this matter and that bookstore is clearly one of the parties involved. I need to get the truth for the Truth Union."
Joseph growled, "For the sake of your rationality, do not go."
"Knowledge allows me to stay cool-headed and rationality is a quality that every scholar must have," replied Byron. "I would never waver and what you are doing is an insult towards my dignity.
"Even if you are a Destructive-rank knight and a respected senior, it doesn't give you the right to make fun of my rationality.
"Moreover, this is my responsibility."
Joseph often felt frustrated dealing with these blocks of wood from the Truth Union. He understood that without any actual evidence, it was impossible to sway these wooden blocks once they firmly believed something was the case.
However, the one before him was no simple fella. He could construct Destructive-rank equipment and had already reached a level where he could be called a 'master'.
Many of the refined equipment used by Secret Rite Tower were purchased in bulk from the Truth Union.
Perhaps, a large number of these tools were made by Byron.
"Secret Rite Tower has already classified this bookstore as an S-rank Zone, just that this information hasn't been passed on to the Truth Union's database. The bookstore owner has helped us this time, so you mustn't be unable to differentiate good from bad."
Joseph then eyed the bookstore and added, "I think the bookstore owner wouldn't like you going to interrogate him."
Byron's status in the Truth Union was sufficient for him to access confidential files.
His pupils narrowed. "S-Rank? In Norzin?" he exclaimed in disbelief.
It was natural for him to be in disbelief. In Norzin, the Truth Union's reach was basically all-pervasive so how could there have been an S-Rank zone right under their noses?
Even though S-Ranks were powerful, the Truth Union's aetheric network had been established by a mighty Supreme-rank entity. Theoretically speaking, nothing should have been able to slip through that net.
"What's wrong? Seems fake to you?" Joseph's lips twitched. "Just some time ago, a Destructive-rank black magician unleashed a Destructive-rank spell but that whatever network your Truth Union has didn't even react at all. In the end, it was the bookstore owner who stopped them quicker than Secret Rite Tower's response."
"This... This..." Byron stuttered, not knowing what to say.
Joseph scoffed. "You all ought to thoroughly investigate yourselves first."
At this moment, there was a jingle of a bell as the wooden door of the bookstore opened.
The two men immediately glanced over and saw that it was a beautiful elf in a white dress that stepped out from the bookstore.
Both men were momentarily stunned. Byron reacted this way because he never imagined an elf would appear from the bookstore whereas Joseph's mind went blank because of the flash of understanding.
When he had borrowed Seed of the Abyss, Joseph guessed that the bookstore owner was a being with longevity, with a high possibility of him being an elf.
It now seemed like this guess had finally turned out right.
Elves were an extremely haughty and xenophobic race and it was practically impossible to see them together with humans.
It could even be said that they were natural-born racists.
Tales of love between human and elf were all just but stories.
Besides having especially pure blood, the elf also glanced at the bookstore with a look of reverence after exiting it!
At this moment, Joseph obtained the answer for the final doubts he had in his heart. It was about time he returned the book... And the demon sword probably found its new owner.
That elf turned around and looked towards them before smiling brightly. "Humans, what are you all doing in front of my master's door?"