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CH 110

Chapter 110 “Coincidence”

This Translation is hosted on https://bcatranslation.com/

In the antique shop of the lower city, Duncan sits behind the counter with a weekly newspaper in his hand while reading the content. Suddenly, his eye blinked. Then from the somewhat dull eyes came a focused glint, followed by the fast flipping of the newspaper to the front page.

The headlines on the front were marked by the recent events in the city-state—His Excellency Valentine, Bishop of the Storm Cathedral, would soon preside over a large-scale prayer. The other branches will also partake in the prayers and ring the bells and whistles to bless the city.

And as a warm-up to this event, Administrator Dante Wayne congratulated the church on behalf of the city and offered various gifts last night…

There’s also the man’s picture printed in the newspaper. It’s a serious-looking middle-aged man with gray hair, tall and thin figure with a noticeable scar on his face. One of the eye was also replaced with a prosthetic one. That’s clearly a mark of a near-fatal accident.

Duncan’s gaze slowly scanned the newspaper further and instinctively shifted the image in his mind to that of Inquisitor Vanna’s face instead. The lady also had a striking scar on the face near the eye, which didn’t effect the sight thankfully.

According to what he knew, the city admin Dante Wayne was the uncle of the lady, and that both scars were the result of what happened eleven years ago. That’s when the riot by the cultists happened and the factory leak at the sixth block. It’s also the main reason both uncle and niece became such avid supporters of the Storm Church and actively fought to quell cult activities. They’re also victims of those filths.

This information wasn’t a secret in the city-state, something that could be found in official records and folk rumors. That’s how Duncan learned of it, by casually inquiring the neighbors and strangers.

Another eleven years ago, and again the “factory leak” in the sixth block…

Duncan silently turned the newspaper to the next page, gathering and combing through the various details he had been collecting in the recent period.

Fragments of the sun, the fire in his niece’s memory, Nina’s recent nightmares, the accident that happened to Inquisitor Vanna and Admin Dante, and the girl “Shirley” who seems to be investigating the truth and has an unknown origin… All these things revolved around the “factory leak” in the sixth block eleven years ago, and now the Sun Cultists are in the city again. He also learned of the sun god being a god-like creature that imitates a sun… and the thing was still seeking help from the outside!

Duncan didn’t intend to deal with the sun god yet, but he did get a little worried that this nameless fire might end up catching Nina and burning his niece when he was not watching.

To remedy this, he had ordered Ai to scout the city early in the morning today, so it would be a while before the bird returned. As for Nina, the girl was busy packing her books upstairs right now to leave for school. It’s getting lively in the morning with people passing his shop every second, a vitality he enjoyed.

“Uncle! I’m going to school!” Nina rushes down the stairs while carrying her schoolbag over her shoulder. She also has a piece of bread prepared for lunch based on the wrapping he’s able to see.

“Run slowly, don’t fall. It’s still early you know.” Duncan glanced at the girl helplessly and then remembered something, “By the way, today is your day to visit the museum?”

“Yes! I made an appointment with a classmate!” Nina turned to face him with a bright smile, “I won’t come back to eat lunch and will go directly to the museum with my classmate. You find something to eat on your own Uncle.”

“Got it,” Duncan smiled and waved his hand, “and slow down. Don’t rush and pay attention to the cars on the road…”

“Okay, goodbye, Uncle!” With the girl’s crisp shout and brisk footsteps, followed by the jingle of the bell at the door, Nina’s figure was gone and out of Duncan’s sight.

She crossed the road in front of the antique shop and raced into the morning light of Pland.

Alone again, Duncan recalled back to the previous “home visit” made by Mr. Morris and what was discussed: Nina had few friends at school, and most of her classmates didn’t like to deal with her.

But even if she has few friends, it seems that there are one or two classmates who have a good relationship with her. They’re willing to invite her to the museum so that’s good. Nina also seems to be happy right now, which is of course a good sign.

He inquired yesterday, and the classmate who was going to the museum with Nina was a quiet girl who also lived in the lower city. The two had only recently become friends and had a good relationship.

Duncan put the newspaper in his hand down and mused about what to do next. There won’t be anyone home until the evening, and today was another weekday so there shouldn’t be any business in the shop.

It’s a bit of a waste to stay here and look after the place when no one’s going to visit. Maybe I can go around the city, and perhaps…. investigate something.

First sending an order to Ai’s location so that the bird would continue her search while he went out, Duncan put on his coat and hung the temporary rest sign at the door before locking up the shop.

There were many people at the bus station when he arrived due to the peak hours for people traveling to work and school. Mixing in easily with the crowd, he first looked up the routes at the map hanging from the wall. His destination today would be the sixth block where the factory leak occurred according to official records.

Once he was sure of how to get there, Duncan withdrew his gaze and waited patiently in the crowd. Buses came and went, and several steam-powered buses took half of the people on the platform by the time his ride came around. The rumbling and bustling steam contraption didn’t give him much sense of reassurance in case of a fire, but he’s not one to judge.

Duncan followed the large crowd into the car and quickly found himself squished between others. He didn’t get a seat of course. Those were mostly reserved for the kids and ladies. Ultimately, he pushed his way into a corner near the backdoor and waited patiently for the bus to start.

The severely overloaded car started with the hoarse and laborious roar of the steam mechanism, a signal for the conductor to begin the difficult job of collecting the fares from the riders. By the time the conductor got to Duncan, the poor fella had already been through the washer in how messy his dark blue uniform had become.

“The sixth block,” Duncan flashed a friendly smile to the conductor.

However, the conductor was visibly stunned after hearing Duncan’s answer and asked again to confirm, “Huh? Where are you going?”

Duncan frowned: “The sixth block. I see the line is going that route. Isn’t the bus going there?”

The conductor was stunned again and then looked up at the road map posted on the carriage next to him. Quickly nodding like a dream: “Oh, oh, of course, we are going there. It’s just that no one usually goes there so I forgot… Four solas.”

Nobody usually goes to the sixth block? Eleven years have passed since the incident, and the area around that factory has not been rebuilt?

Duncan had some doubts in his heart, but he quietly bought the ticket and watched the conductor squeeze through the army of passengers like a warrior again.

The next step was to wait silently for the bus to arrive at the destination.

But at this moment, he suddenly felt a pair of eyes spying on him. It’s brief and hardly more than a glance, but Duncan’s sure it’s not an accident. There’s fear and a desire to dodge him based on his perception, which makes the ghost captain even more intrigued.

In the next second, he saw a small figure trying to flee to the back of the sea of riders.

Both of their eyes met in that instant, the latter freezing on the spot like a wooden statue.

It was a girl in a black dress, who looked about the same age as Nina, and wore a peculiar collar around her neck with a small bell hanging from the collar….

It’s Shirley.

Duncan slowly came to the other party like this and greeted the girl with a smile: “We meet again. This time, are you going to school?”

Shirley somehow dared to squeeze out a smile there. Although she once said that she wanted to hug the big guy’s thigh in front of the dog, but after realizing Duncan’s horror, her smile had become uglier than crying. “You… Hello…”

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