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IRNDGL - Chapter 106: Addiction

Gulp.

Vincent could clearly hear himself swallowing. At this moment, all was deathly silent.

He watched the bookstore owner handing over the silver holy emblem with a beaming face and didn't dare put his own hands up to receive it. 

Vincent was wrong! He had been gravely mistaken!

The problem was the bookstore owner and not the bookstore or other supernatural creatures!

Vincent had come across common creation techniques and methods used by black magicians when reading up in the church's archives.

More than a hundred souls were trapped within that stone gargoyle, acting as its core impetus and letting it possess immense power.

He could practically sense his certain death if the stone gargoyle was to 'come alive'!

Through 'Eyes of the Moon,' Vincent saw that every single of those resentful souls were transcendent beings that had died under excruciatingly painful and bitter circumstances. Their souls were fused together into a huge mass of energy and became the will of this stone sculpture.

This was a skill only a black magician of a similar rank could possess.

On top of that, the black magician who created this stone gargoyle must have definitely been extremely cruel to have killed so many people cold-bloodedly.

But regardless of who the creator was, possessing it meant that the bookstore owner was definitely a transcendent being of at least Destructive-rank.

That spine-chilling rose made Vincent feel as if he was staring at a dark abyss.Its avaricious mouth lined with teeth seemed as if it was always wanting to devour something... and anything devoured would never return.

Vincent's fear of this rose was even greater than that of the stone gargoyle.

"What's the matter, Father?"

Lin Jie watched the blindfolded priest in astonishment and wondered why the other party wasn't taking the pot. But when he thought about how this was a blind person, Lin Jie realized that passing it at a height wasn't the right thing to do. Thus, he placed the pot on the table, intentionally making a light tapping sound before saying, "I'll place it here then, please help yourself."

Then, Lin Jie casually added, "You seem a little pale. Are you alright, Father?"

"... I'm fine."

Vincent forced a weak smile as he wiped away beads of sweat on his forehead. With slight trembling, he answered, "Perhaps it's just the lack of sleep. The journey here was rather rushed and I didn't get too many good nights of sleep along the way.”

His gaze fell on the holy emblem on the countertop as he tried to calm down his pounding heart.

The only usable sorcery tool was now in the hands of the bookstore owner, and that line, "please help yourself," was absolutely a provocation and a threat. 

Unfortunately, Vincent was a mere priest without much combat skills. Without the aid of the holy emblem to support him, Vincent didn't even dare try to take it back as a feeling of hopelessness crept over him.

All he could do was abandon himself to despair and wonder what exactly this absolute powerhouse was up to.

"Heh, this is a huge misunderstanding. Colin has really gone overboard this time—Who knows how he came up with such a misunderstanding but he has clearly inconvenienced others now."

Lin Jie continued in exasperation, "But at least it's all good now. Please make sure to tell him the entire truth that I'm no evil spirit. Let's hope this baseless misunderstanding can be cleared up as quickly as possible."

You might not be an evil spirit, but you are definitely a more terrifying entity! howled Vincent deep down.

His throat was dry and his entire body trembled continuously. Vincent wasn't a cowardly person, but this persisting state of anxiety, fear, and constant throbbing came flooding all at once.

He couldn't describe this sensation, but he was still able to distinguish it.

This sensation wasn't psychological but physiological instead.

He was drenched in a cold sweat and was slightly gasping for breath. His heart pounded rapidly and he felt a numbing fear spread throughout his body.

His vision started to turn white.

With his mental state seemingly magnified, Vincent felt that it was even more unbearable and his muscles seemed to be on the verge of convulsing.

Breath, breath... My chest feels awful... I need a... smoke...

Vincent's fingers twitched subconsciously and he coughed twice, then reached into the cigarette case in his chest pocket.

He then pulled out one cigarette and attempted to light it as if it was his last hope of salvation.

A wonderful and impulsive thirst made him forget for a brief moment about the bookstore owner watching him. With his gaze firmly fixed on the tip of the cigarette, Vincent said, "I...I'll explain it well to Colin. I believe he will see you differently from now on."

He couldn't help but heave a sigh of relief as his frazzled mind reset itself.

It does seem like the bookstore owner wants to keep his identity a secret from his neighbor. I won't be silenced if I help him hide it... right?

But will Secret Rite Tower or the Truth Union not care about an entity like this?

Do I have to report this to the church?

Chirk!

Chirk! 

While in thought and saying this, Vincent had subconsciously struck the match twice but it hadn't lit up.

At this moment, Lin Jie reminded him, "Father, smoking is prohibited in the bookstore."

Vincent jolted because of the strict tone which reminded him of being reprimanded back in theology classes.

"I'm sorry!" He kept away the cigarette quickly and glanced up to meet the darkened face of the bookstore owner.

At a loss, Vincent suddenly felt panic-stricken.

His limbs went soft and his skin became numb. 

"I'm very sorry! I didn't know, I was..." 

"You couldn't control yourself. Am I right?"

The smile on Lin Jie's face disappeared entirely as he folded his arms. "Have you been feeling uneasy recently, sweating in your sleep, having changes in your mood, uncontrollable shivering, difficulty breathing, and an overwhelming desire to..."

Lin Jie pointed at the tightly gripped cigarette in Vincent's hand. "...smoke?"

His expression had turned solemn when he noticed Vincent's trembling and panting, and his gaze was now firmly fixed on the priest sitting opposite him.

From the moment Vincent had entered the bookstore, Lin Jie had realized that this priest didn't seem to be in a good shape mentally. However, Lin Jie had assumed this was due to work stress and a lack of sleep.

But as their conversation went on, he had caught on to the various mannerisms of this priest. And when Vincent took out a cigarette, Lin Jie was certain of his suspicions.

The priest sitting before him had an addiction!

However, the priest himself didn't seem to realize it and he seemed at a loss. This meant that he could have been set up by someone else!

Vincent staredat the cigarette in his hand with a dumbfounded look on his face.

Lin Jie's gaze remained firmly in place as he asked solemnly, "Father, where did this cigarette come from?"

BeetleBarker's Notes:

Smoking... kills~

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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.