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IRNDGL - Chapter 163: Living Parasites

Something alive?

Lin Jie felt his skin crawl when he heard those words.

He glanced at the report in his hands… Followed by the small sample of the Holy Moon Essence in a plastic bag clipped to the paper, maintaining a forced smile as he edged back tactically.

He then placed the file on the counter and slid it towards Claude, indicating that he had read it.

When the words 'something alive' was said, the entire essence of Holy Moon Essence was no longer viewed the same way.

The deep-rooted dislike of addictive substances turned into a hair-raising sensation of seeing something gross.

One had to know that Holy Moon Essence appeared in the form of a 'cigarette', and the users needed to take the steps of 'lighting' and 'inhaling' to use it.

That also meant that if there was something alive amongst its components, there was a high possibility that it would enter the user’s body via smoke.

There would also be a chance that it could have been inhaled by others nearby a user 'smoking' it.

It was then that Lin Jie suddenly remembered that Vincent nearly lit a stick of Holy Moon Essence in the bookstore back then, and he had nearly done so right in front of him. Fortunately, he caught Vincent’s strange reaction, stopping him from smoking in public, and instructed him to not touch it again.

Regardless of what was actually inside, the idea of 'something alive' would thoroughly gross out anyone.

Lin Jie’s gaze fell onto the sample once again. After calming himself down, Lin Jie mused, "That means to say, the addictive nature of Holy Moon Essence… could possibly be caused by this unknown component.

"It’s not a drug addiction but is something like a parasite."

Claude nodded rigidly. “Yes, according to the analysis results, the other components had a stabilizing nature, similar to preservatives and did not contain anything responsible for the addictive function. Therefore this unknown component is the most likely culprit.”

He turned towards the direct victim, Vincent, and said, “Father Vincent smoked the Holy Moon Essence for a short period of time. His symptoms weren't obvious at first, and he had stopped using it in time… This living organism is afraid of fire, so Father was extremely fortunate to have been burned. This resulted in them dying, so the priest did not suffer that great a poisoning.”

Vincent nodded his head with a grave look on his face. He didn’t give Claude any information regarding the Sun and the Moon which was a false god, so the latter probably assumed that he had mastered special fire powers.

“I still have to thank Boss Lin. If it weren’t for your warning, I would have become one of those unknowing addicts.”

Although he himself had completely destroyed the components of the Holy Moon Essence during his fusion with the Sun's Core, he still harbored great fear as well as anger and hatred in his heart.

Fear of what would have happened if he hadn’t run into Boss Lin.

His anger and hatred were due to the fact that there were even more innocent people who were still using Holy Moon Essence without a clue and willingly inhaling these unknown organisms into their bodies.

Vincent was not the first priest to use Holy Moon Essence. There was one other batch before him, and many of the other priests he knew also used Holy Moon Essence.

He didn’t know what the Church of the Dome had planned, but from their actions, he could deduce that it was definitely some sort of unspeakable goal.

Vincent had only discovered a small hint of the truth, and the Seventh Apostle, Vanessa, had sent someone to murder him indiscriminately without any trial.

It was well imaginable that even the slightest of whatever they were hiding wasn't allowed to be exposed at all.

Only they could expose everything!

This felt like a heavy burden on Vincent's shoulders. What spurred him on now wasn't just hatred but a sense of responsibility and duty.

It was just like how he used to help the parish community exorcize evil spirits out of the kindness of his heart… There were some things that were above hatred.

Vincent clenched his fist as his attitude underwent a complete change.

Lin Jie muttered, “So now, we still have to start with the Ash Chamber of Commerce… I just got a useful lead from Cherry.”

He told them about the situation of Congreve’s covert interception of the shipment, and the high probability of there being someone pulling the strings from the shadows.

If they could find out where that batch of goods had gone, they might be able to find out what the Church of the Dome was actually up to.

Claude finally understood. When he found out that the person on the other end of the communications device was Cherry of the Ash Chamber of Commerce, it felt as if he had seen a gold mine… 40% of the Intelligence Branch's funding came from the Ash Chamber of Commerce, who were truly their sponsors.

Back when Wilde was visiting the bookstore, Secret Rite Tower was suspicious and felt that it could possibly be the stronghold of black magicians. However, the bookstore was backed by the Ash Chamber of Commerce and thus, they didn't dare carry out a search.

Even having a just cause was nothing in the face of their funding being cut.

Of course, now he was further looking forward to what sort of useful leads that Cherry could bring.

Lin Jie picked up the communications device again and said, “Cherry, did you hear all that just now?”

Cherry replied, “I did.”

Her tone sounded a tad too excited. Something alive? The situation surrounding the Church of the Dome was far too interesting and it sounded like they had this plan to overthrow the Church of the Dome and start a new church.

Cherry supported this wholeheartedly.

This was because the Church of the Dome was an established power on the same level as the Ash Chamber of Commerce with close connections with Rolle Resource Development Company and often dealt with them.

Although the Ash Chamber of Commerce branch that Cherry headed had numerous warehouse reserves as well, there was nothing that could be done if the other party didn't pick theirs.

Hence, that was one effortless way for Cherry to make money.

But if they were to establish a new faith and if the ones starting it were Boss Lin’s customers, it was the perfect opportunity to monopolize the operation if they could really replace the Church of the Dome.

She could not wait to arrive at the bookstore.

Parties on both ends of the communications device had eager anticipation and awaited the investigation to continue.

And with the help of Mu’en, Vincent began his first preaching…

——

Church of the Dome, the Central Chapel.

A group of priests were waiting for the Pope’s summons.

They were all blindfolded, but it was clear from their expression that they had a different kind of exhilaration and their faces were flushed from excitement.

Most of these congregations were ordinary priests and nuns like Vincent. The most they would get to see the upper hierarchy would be seeing an apostle and receiving a simplified baptismal rite at a new apostle's appointment.

The Saintess and Pope, on the other hand, could only be seen from afar once every year during the ceremony for the day of the god's birth.

In their hearts, all they had was admiration, worship, and longing for their leader.

Now as humble ordinary congregations, being able to meet the Pope was simply the greatest honor they could have. The priests tried to suppress their excitement, but their faces and necks were red, and some were even trembling.

The beautiful Saintess watching from the side smiled warmly and called out a few names. “The few that I’ve called can follow me in first while the rest are to wait here for a while.”

This novel is _hosted_ by h0sted n0v3l.

"Yes!"

Those priests and nuns whose names were called immediately responded and drew the curve of the crescent moon on their chest before following the Saintess to the inner room.

Being blindfolded, they could not see that the marks on their red cheeks and neck were indistinctly twisting and squirming as if it were blood vessels, and also like… worms.

Search hosted.novel for the original.

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.