IRNDGL - Chapter 110: That Child
Cherry? Cherry Chapman!
As this topic was already related to the Ash Chamber of Commerce, It didn't take much for Vincent to associate the name with one of the Ash Chamber of Commerce's three heads.
The 'Chapman Witch', Cherry Chapman, whose rise to power was fabled.
In actuality, lower level transcendent beings rarely knew much about beings of other factions and would have much less opportunities to know about those with greater reputations.
As a priest that frequently took on exorcism commissions and meditated daily, gossip wasn't a form of entertainment for Vincent, and his knowledge of those great beings was even lesser.
However, the Ash Chamber of Commerce was controlled by the Druid priests. While Druids were a small number, had a high threshold for induction, and rarely did any missionary activities, they were still considered a sect.
Moreover, they were a sect that collaborated with the church, so the Church of the Dome would still pay some special attention to the Ash Chamber of Commerce.
Especially... the half-breed's ascension to power that was both fabled and controversial, which meant that even Vincent knew the name of this new leader.
Lin Jie wanted to explain a little more about Cherry when he noticed Vincent's slight change of expression.
"Oh?" Lin Jie raised an eyebrow. "You know that child too, Father?"
"I think I do... The one from the Chapman Family?" Vincent asked cautiously and couldn't help inching backwards when he got an affirmative.
The bookstore owner had addressed Cherry Chapman as 'that child'.
Even though it was rumored that she had the appearance of a 12-year-old kid, the Chapman Witch's real age was over a hundred.
While such an age wasn't much of a deal amongst night elves, for humankind, this was a figure that surpassed the longest lifespans of ordinary humans.
This was a hundred years worth of true experience. Otherwise, Cherry wouldn't have been able to hold down a position in such a huge organization like the Ash Chamber of Commerce, even if she did have the rumored ability to manipulate the hearts of others.
It seemed like Vincent's previous guess was right... The bookstore owner is definitely an immortal!
Furthermore, the way he casually mentioned he would 'go ask her' showed that he was rather close to the Chapman Witch.
This meant that he could contact Cherry Chapman at any time and easily get her to investigate or do something on behalf of him.
Vincent was even more in awe of this bookstore owner's influence and treaded lightly. "Miss Cherry is really impressive. I've heard of her reputation for a long time and she has made quite a deep impression within the Ash Chamber of Commerce over the past few years. Mmm... she's really very great!"
Clearly, Vincent didn't boast much experience in praising others. Even though he very much wanted to curry favor with this bookstore owner who shared an 'extraordinary relationship' with the Chapman Witch, the priest could only mutter these few dry lines.
And that made him blush with inexplicable shame.
By logical reason, priests were supposed to be eloquent since they had the responsibility of preaching and providing guidance. However, Vincent really wasn't that good with words and often let the nuns or other clergy members handle such work.
He usually didn't have to speak much when he came out to exorcise spirits and would usually use text messages to communicate effectively beforehand...
Father Vincent prayed that the bookstore owner wouldn't see his true thoughts behind his own dim-witted image.
"Haha, how so? Clearly, she was still an insensible child and was sniveling when she came over to buy books for the first time. However, she's a little fella with real talent and character, and I expect that she's probably grown a lot since then."
Lin Jie couldn't help smiling warmly when he recalled the first time he met this obstinate and pretty little lady for the first time.
He smiled as though he was a parent hearing compliments about his child's good grades.
Vincent was relieved. It appeared that Cherry was just a fellow customer of this bookstore, just that it seemed like she was on very good terms with the owner.
But... Sniveling?! Is that a proper description of the 'Chapman Witch'?!
Vincent couldn't help thinking that he had heard wrongly.
After his reminiscing was done, Lin Jie kept his expressions back in check and continued his lecturing, "In any case, I'll get Cherry to investigate the Ash Chamber of Commerce. Meanwhile, you should observe those others who are smoking the same substance as you after you get back.
“Take note of their usage quantity, side effects, similarities, and... Try to reach out to that Seventh Apostle you speak of. Let him know what's wrong with you and don't try to hide it."
Vincent hesitated for a bit. "Wouldn't that be inadvertently alarming them?"
Lin Jie chuckled, "This is to protect yourself from being exposed due to the effects as a result from halting usage of the drug. If they truly supply many clergy members with Holy Moon Essence, then surely you wouldn't be suffering from anomalies. Don't worry, there's no way to avoid the risks of this kind of thing.
"At the end of the day, they aren't trying to kill you but merely to get you all hooked. When you show them you are just being honest, it wouldn't cause them to suspect you much and they would just continue scheming with means to brainwash you.
"On the contrary, if you act hesitant and try to cover it up, it means that you have perceived something wrong and no longer have absolute trust in them, see?"
Vincent nodded. "I understand."
"Very well. It's getting a little late, Father," Lin Jie finally said with a tinge of humor. "Don't keep my good neighbor waiting for too long. He's still waiting for your 'exorcism' update. I fear that he might make a police report if you stay the night here."
Then, he whispered, "Make a mental note if you notice anything that doesn't seem right and tell me about it next time.
"Keep faith in yourself and you will see the light."
After Mu'en helped record down the priest's personal details and collected the deposit, Vincent respectfully took his leave.
His forehead was full of sweat and his blindfold was completely drenched with it.
Vincent couldn't help letting out a deep breath once outside and finally unclenched his tightly gripped fists.
That's... way too frightening!
This was definitely the most mind-boggling 'exorcism' that Vincent had ever experienced. But for now, he needed to figure out how to appease the poor neighbor, Mr. Colin.
Vincent smiled wryly as he gazed at the book in his hand. Suddenly, a raspy, feminine voice sounded from behind him.
"A priest from the Church of the Dome?"
Vincent turned around in alarm and saw a pair of iron gray eyes, followed by a tall woman stepping out from the darkness. The lady was wielding a black cane and wore a blood-colored teardrop earring.
Her body emanated an eerie chill and a slight scent of blood, and Vincent sensed the same sort of terror he had when facing the countless vengeful souls within the stone gargoyle.
Alarm bells started ringing in Vincent's head.
A powerful hunter of Pandemonium-rank or higher!