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IRNDGL - Chapter 98: Are They Alright?

"I am... a real living person!"

The bookstore owner smiled kindly at the three police officers with a slight hint of exasperation at being misunderstood.

"You..." Lyon gulped as a numbing sensation crept over him. This scene before him that went against logic made him feel as if his mind was being yanked around.

It felt as if his skull was being pried open and his brains forcefully being stirred by something.

A wave of nausea hit him as his pupils contracted. He felt his vision starting to whirl, and all that remained was that smiling face and the 'open-mouthed' rose.

In this indefinite span of time, the bookstore owner's face gradually became blurry and distant.

The gaping mouth full of sharp fine teeth got wider and wider. Flesh petals that were almost within reach and the squirming eyeball staring at Lyon were all that he saw.

Lyon's last bit of consciousness was frantically howling—You are not human! You're lying! How can you even be a real living person?!

He could even vaguely see the panic on the faces of the other two officers and sense their inner fear.

It was as if there was a straw connectingthe three of them and sucked out their thoughts, blending all of it together while at the same time forming a unique 'mixture' that allowed a temporary confluence of their hallucinations and thoughts.

Fear, panic, despair, shock, loss, hysteria...

All of it was interwoven and dissolved together.

However, this otherworldly sensory experience only persisted for a brief moment before they started being 'absorbed'.

Vaguely hearing the sounds of chewing and guzzling, his perceptive consciousness began to break down and a sense of emptiness started to take root.

Clubs, parties, and other desires he owned started to vanish...

Work, family... His own aspirations followed shortly after.

Jingle

The bronze bell on the bookstore's door rang out once more.

"What are you all doing?"

A forceful and slightly stern voice of a stranger sounded, and like a hammer, it shattered the formless barrier.

The flower with layers of blood and flesh within his vision instantly retracted, turning back into the form of an ordinary rose.

Krrack... It was like the sound of glass cracking.

Lyon regained control of his rigid limbs and frozen senses as the world before him returned back to normal.

However, his body was drenched in cold sweat. He staggered back, panting heavily as if he was gonna collapse from fear.

Thump! Thump!

Lyon's two subordinates fell on their butts and backed away limply, their faces ashen with despair.

The expression they had was as if all hope of living was gone.

While backing away, they tried their best to seemingly clamber up and run out while muttering incoherently, "No! Don't come any closer!"

Lyon's mouth went dry at this sight and his forehead was riddled with sweat.

This was no hallucination.

The three of them had nearly been 'devoured' by that strange flower just moments ago.

But why did it seem like his two subordinates had it worse?

As this thought went through his mind, Lyon suddenly felt his chest burning. He reached in and pulled out the necklace he had worn since young. This necklace was said to have been handed down through generations within his family and the pendant was inscribed with some unknown language.

At present, the letters appeared in burnt black and felt scorching to touch. Following that, the words on the pendant rapidly vanished, leaving behind just a smooth metallic appearance.

"..."

A vague snapping sound was heard as the metal pendant split in half.

Lyon clutched this heirloom pendant in befuddlement. He turned his gaze fearfully to the bookstore owner as if seeing a ghost, or an evil spirit.

Oh god! That audio-visual store boss was speaking the truth!

No! No no no! This fellow is a hundred times, no, a thousand times scarier than an evil spirit! Just a flower of his is a 'man-eater'!

Lyon felt a part of him had been 'eaten' but he couldn't pinpoint what exactly. All he felt was that his future had already experienced a severe change...

In the midst of his panic, he noticed the young man whose voice he had heard, which had fortunately halted the flower's devouring process.

He was a handsome young man with golden hair and blue eyes. A black windbreaker and long trousers made up his attire. Deep-set features like a marble sculpture gave him an air of natural righteousness and his eyes shone with a certain brilliance.

He stopped the two 'possessed' officers that were trying to escape frantically before knocking them out cold. Then, he calmly leaned them on the wall to the side before standing back up.

This chain of action and his image were just too brilliant.

It was exactly the same as when a savior appeared to save the day at the final crucial moment in a movie.

Lyon felt as though he had been 'rescued'.

But after three seconds in a daze, he realized that this young man looked somewhat familiar...

The more Lyon looked at him, the more that man seemed familiar.

Lyon racked his brains. A flash of lightning zipped across his muddled consciousness and he finally remembered— This was the young police captain that was newly promoted in recent years.

Claude. Yes, Lyon remembered that his name was Claude.

It was said that he was a commoner that started from nothing, purely relying on his own ability to garner continuous promotions. And it just so happened that the peak of his career coincided with the time when the Central District authorities decided to appoint an important position in the Upper District.

Lyon couldn't help thinking about the social events which he attended frequently. Sooner or later, this young talent with his status and recognition could...

Then, he watched as his 'savior', the young high-ranking police captain, shot him a look, sighed, and turned towards that 'evil spirit' and bowed formally.

"Hi, Mr. Lin. My name is Harry Claude, Joseph's disciple and a first-class police captain of the Central District. My teacher sends his regards."

Thump!

Lyon could no longer take the shock anymore and fainted, crashing to the floor instantly.

Lin Jie's lips twitched slightly as he glanced at the three police officers lying down.

"Are they alright?" Lin Jie asked with concern.

Scared witless from a chance encounter with their superior...

He couldn't help muttering, "Aren't they a little too timid..."

Claude maintained his smile, glanced at the still rose which seemed to be belching in secret, and thought to himself, How are you less self-aware than Teacher himself?

However, from his experience dealing with his own teacher, Claude replied calmly, "It shouldn't be too much of a problem. They just need a few months to recover and I'll just let them have a vacation. Please don't worry about their mental and physical health."

BeetleBarker's Notes:


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.