Translated by Addis of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
The sun was blazing in May in the Mediterranean, far hotter than in London. It didn’t take long for Duan FeiZhou to start sweating like rain. He couldn’t help but loosen his tie and unbutton the top button of his shirt. While he fanned himself with his jacket, he asked, “Are you sure this is the right place?”
Xenophon poked his head around. “I think the address is correct. Is Mr. Thales out of town?”
Z frowned. “I clearly sent him a telegram telling him we were arriving today.”
Suddenly, they heard a heart-rending scream from inside the house. Z kicked open the door and the other two leapt inside.
“Mr. Thales!” Z shouted. “Are you okay? Mr. Thales?”
“Aaahhhh…” came the old man’s scream from upstairs. Without another thought, the three men rushed up to the second floor. The second floor was empty, the windows wide open, while the curtains flapped in the wind.
“Where is everyone?” Duan FeiZhou looked around. They clearly heard the sound coming from the second floor!
Xenophon went to the window and looked down. “Strange, there’s no one outside either.”
Suddenly, a black shadow leapt down from above the window, and hit Xenophon squarely on the bridge of his nose. He stumbled backwards, as he covered his face and screamed. The black shadow swooped into the house, and rushed towards Duan FeiZhou with a swift movement.
Duan FeiZhou subconsciously raised his hand, ready to deflect the energy, just as he had done during the armor attack in Perlilla Manor. However, before he could do so, Z stepped in front of him, his mechanical prosthetic limb with its blade out as he slashed at the shadow.
The blade bounced off with a clang, and Z nearly fell backwards from the reaction, but Duan FeiZhou propped him up from behind.
The black shadow let out a cackling laugh. “Boys, it’s been a long time! Your martial arts are rusty! If I were still in the Abnormal Case Investigation Unit section, I would have knocked your heads together until they blossomed!”
Duan FeiZhou focused his gaze. The shadow turned out to be an old man dressed in black. He was short, with white hair while the top of his head was bald. He was wrinkled, hale and hearty. He was also wearing wide silver bracelets on the wrists of both hands. Just now he had used the bracelet to block Z’s attack.
Xenophon covered his nose and wailed, “How can you hit your own students?!”
Z grunted lightly, and withdrew his blade. “We heard the screams, and thought something had happened to you.”
Duan FeiZhou’s jaw dropped. So, this old man was the retired Mr. T of the Nightmen – Thales?
Mr. Thales pounded Z’s back. “That was a test for you! I’m really disappointed with the results. Everyone failed!”
Xenophon protested loudly,”You were the one who snuck up on me!”
Mr. Thales glanced at him. “What if I had actually been attacked? What if some thugs had taken me hostage and laid a trap on the second floor? You guys rashly rushing up here like that, weren’t you just throwing yourselves into a trap? How many times have I told you that the right way is to split up? One person attacks head-on, the others go around to the back. If you have enough men, leave a backup for support. How long has it been since I retired, and you’ve all forgotten?” He stared at Z. “Well, Xenophon has forgotten, but how come even you…?”
Z bristled. “Seriously, Thales, how many people in the world can hold you hostage? When I heard you scream, my first thought was that you were old and leggy, and had fallen down the stairs.”
They were both Nightmen, and while Xenophon spoke to Mr. Thales with a bit of respect, Z treated the old man with an even-handed attitude. It suddenly occurred to Duan FeiZhou that in fact, Z’s real age was about the same as Mr. Thales, so they should be considered equals, while Xenophon was a junior.
Mr. Thales was already old and wrinkled, but Z was still young and beautiful, so this was a wonderful sight. Would Mr. Thales envy Z’s youth? Would Z envy Mr.Thales for having a long and complete life?
The old man finished counting the Nightmen, then his sharp gaze turned to Duan FeiZhou.
“Is this the newcomer you brought in?” The old man looked at Duan FeiZhou from head to toe, then grabbed him, held his face and looked left and right, opened his mouth and checked his teeth, then made him turn around, just like showing the age of a horse, “Not bad, no missing arms or legs.”
“…Are you being sarcastic?” Z raised his eyebrows.
Mr. Thales said, “You’re not missing an arm or a leg either, but your arms and legs aren’t the same as those of ordinary people.”
Duan FeiZhou now understood why he and Xenophon were master and disciple. This pot calling the kettle black skill was really the legacy of a master! Z didn’t get very angry, probably from working with Xenophon who he had built up his even temper.
“How about it, can you train him?” he asked.
Mr. Thales stroked his beard. “Can’t you train him yourselves? Do I have to do it?”
“The telegram I sent wasn’t very clear. He isn’t a normal occult practitioner. He’s inherited the powers of two people, and is in a very delicate state. I’m afraid you are the only one who can train him.”
Mr. Thales nodded. “All right, then I’ll do my best.” He hooked an arm around Duan FeiZhou’s neck. “Boy, come with me.” Then he said to Z and Xenophon. “Make yourselves comfortable. You can use everything in the house, but you’d better help me cook dinner. Get your own ingredients. I don’t know how to cook, so I always go out to eat.”
Duan FeiZhou heard Xenophon mutter, “You aren’t afraid of being poisoned by us? Well, what a family of kindness and filial piety!”
Mr. Thales dragged Duan FeiZhou to a study on the third floor. At first glance it was just an ordinary study with a typewriter, pen and paper on the desk. The shelves were filled with hardcover books with exotic writing on the spines. However, when Mr. Thales knocked on the shelf, the books on it immediately scrambled to the sides to give way, and revealed a secret door.
When the old man pointed at the dark door, it opened automatically, and revealed a passageway with a staircase that extended downward. Mr. Thales went in first, “Come on, boy. Down there is my private study.”
Duan FeiZhou had no choice but to follow him.
The walls were decorated with candlesticks that automatically lit when Mr. Thales passed by, and they went out as he walked by. It was almost like modern sensor lights.
Duan FeiZhou initially thought that the candlesticks were enchanted with occult magic that could sense the human body. However he did not see the light from the candlesticks that was characteristic of occult magic items. So he could only speculate that Mr. Thales had taken the initiative to release energy to light the candlesticks.
At the end of the stairs stood a large double door, each with a line of writing on the door, the left side was “up with the shape of the bottom”, the right side was “down with the shape of the top.” There was also a line of writing on the top of the door, “To the triple great Hermes .”
“Hermes, the First Forerunner?” Duan FeiZhou couldn’t help but ask.
“And also the originator of alchemy.” Thales said. “I’m actually an alchemist.”
He snapped his fingers at the door, and it opened automatically.
Behind the door was a chemical laboratory-like room, with a table full of various glass containers, a strangely shaped furnace standing against the wall, and a number of crucibles on stands. Some of them were empty, but Duan FeiZhou noticed that some of them were boiling with a suspiciously colored liquid. A small bookshelf was stuffed with books that could fall apart at any moment. There were many pictures on the wall, including a red king sitting in a flask, a man and woman getting married in a pool, and a picture of what Duan FeiZhou thought was a diagram of the celestial bodies of the solar system, but when he walked over, he found that on the center of the sun was written “Earth.”
“That’s a Ptolemaic celestial chart.” Mr. Thales said as he came over. “The solar system as conceived by the ancient astronomer Ptolemy.”
“But that was a mistake of the ancients, wasn’t it?” Duan FeiZhou was quite puzzled. “Everyone knows that the earth revolves around the sun.”
“True, but it is actually a cryptogram drawn by alchemists. The graphics in it conceal alchemical knowledge. For example, the sun actually represents gold, the moon represents silver. Ancient alchemists seldom recorded their knowledge straightforwardly, instead they always used pronouns or metaphors.”
Duan FeiZhou thought he understood. His knowledge of alchemy was rather shallow. After all, Joseph Chester specialized in arrays and hadn’t left him any notes on alchemy.
“Did you learn alchemy after you joined the Nightmen?” Duan FeiZhou asked.
“No, I was an alchemist from the beginning, and was only later accepted into the Nightmen.” Mr. Thales had a nostalgic look. “When I was young, the Nightmen were quite nice to the occult practitioners. If an occult practitioner had never done anything bad and was willing to defect, he could become a member of the Nightmen. But now the culture has changed!”
“Nowadays, the Nightmen seem to be less tolerant of the occult practitioners.” Duan FeiZhou said what he was thinking.
“Yes, even if they are innocent occult practitioners, once you get caught, the only possibility is going to jail.”
“Why did it change?” Duan FeiZhou was very curious.
Mr. Thales thought about it. “Probably because the attitude of the lady above has changed. In the end, the Nightmen are her secret force, and must obey her words.”
Duan FeiZhou guessed that the “lady above” referred to Queen Victoria. The Nightmen, although nominally under Scotland Yard, actually answered directly to the Queen. The liaison between the Queen and the Nightmen was Secretary Carter. However, that guy was also bad news. If he hadn’t insisted on releasing Jack the Ripper, Duan FeiZhou wouldn’t have become what he was now.
“Sit down.” Mr. Thales pointed to a chair that had only one leg. Duan FeiZhou really didn’t know how the hell it stood up, but he couldn’t be picky. When he sat down, the chair let out a frightening groan. Duan FeiZhou didn’t dare to put his full body weight on the chair, afraid that it would collapse, so he had to use his legs to support himself.
Mr. Thales walked to the bookshelf, and muttered while he rummaged around. He pulled a book from the shelf, then turned around and threw the book at Duan FeiZhou! If he was hit by that big book, he would break his head and bleed!
Duan FeiZhou subconsciously activated the technique to shift the energy. The book hit the ground before it touched him, and at the same time, a flask on the table exploded with a bang.
Mr. Thales stroked his beard and smiled faintly. “You’ve already mastered it, kid?”
Duan FeiZhou immediately screamed in his heart that this was bad. The old man had planned against him! He deliberately hit him with a book to force him to use the occult technique of energy transfer! Now the old man knew that he had mastered the occult technique before he inherited Duncan’s and Jack the Ripper’s powers!
Duan FeiZhou’s thoughts were racing.
“I…I…I learned a little bit secretly…” He put on a guilty expression. “Z gave me some textbook notes. He said I could only learn theoretical knowledge, but I secretly tried…”
He didn’t know if this excuse would convince Mr. Thales. The old man stared at him without saying a word. Duan FeiZhou glared back in silence. Just when he thought the old man was going to report his anomaly to Z, the old man cracked a tolerant smile.
“Ah, I get it, I get it.” Mr. Thales patted Duan FeiZhou’s shoulder. “Anyone wouldn’t be able to resist such a great temptation, wouldn’t they?”
“Uh…Yes…” Duan FeiZhou smiled.
“Don’t worry, I won’t tell them.” The old man winked playfully. “Who hasn’t had a taste of forbidden fruit when they were young?”
He thought that the phrase of “forbidden fruit” was strange…
“Since you have mastered the method of transferring energy, I can save a lot of time on basic teaching.” Mr. Thales pointed to the broken flask fragments. They flew up and assembled themselves into the shape of a flask. The cracks gradually closed, and in a few seconds, it changed back into a complete flask.
Duan FeiZhou jumped up. “Coach, I want to learn this!”
“It’s easy. You’ll learn it soon.” Mr. Thales nodded. “Occult practitioners can manipulate energy, and with enough energy, they can recover the pieces. But the energy required for this operation is very powerful. If there is only energy generated in the human body it is far from enough. Also if you draw too much on your own energy, you will be weak and unconscious, or even die on the spot.”
Duan FeiZhou recalled his experience at the Perlilla Estate. He was holding the wind lamp given to him by Mrs. Vilyuy. The lamp had to be lit with his own energy, but because he used up too much energy, he eventually fainted. Yeats had advised him not to overuse the wind lamp again, otherwise he would lose his life. He asked, “So where does the energy come from?”
“Occult practitioners usually take care to store energy, and then extract it when they need it.” Mr. Thales replied. “Have you ever noticed Xenophon’s civilized cane? That is actually the prop he uses to store energy. Each occult practitioner has their own unique energy storage prop. Some are gemstones, some are metals, and some are wood.”
The old man raised his hand and showed his bracelet to Duan FeiZhou. “This is my energy storage bracelet.”
A memory rose in Duan FeiZhou’s mind. It was his first encounter with the occult world. He was held hostage on the streets of Aberdeen by the occult practitioner Palmer, who held a metal wand in his hand. So was that Palmer’s energy storage device?
Then he remembered the first time he sold blind boxes in the Secret Trading House. At that time, an old woman customer drew an energy storage crystal from the blind box, but she said the crystal wasn’t suitable for her, and exchanged it with another customer.
“Is it possible to accumulate energy with any item?” Duan FeiZhou asked.
“Of course not! It has to be an item that suits your physique to work, and everyone is different. Like Xenophon is better with wood. I prefer metal,” Mr. Thales said. He pulled open the drawer of the laboratory table, took out a pile of large, small and different colored stones and metal pieces, then snapped his fingers at a candlestick which lit the candle flame. He nodded towards them. “You try it.”
Duan FeiZhou hesitantly picked up an amethyst. “What should I do?”
“Try to store the energy in it. If it stores smoothly, it means the material is suitable for you. If it doesn’t, then change it.”
Duan FeiZhou stared at the amethyst in his hand and tried to draw the energy from the candle flame and transfer it into the amethyst.
Pop! The amethyst exploded.
Duan FeiZhou closed his eyes and wiped the remnants off his face. He said sadly, “I’m sorry…”
With a wave of his hand, Mr. Thales let the broken amethyst fly into the trash bin in the corner of the lab on its own. “It’s the first time I’ve seen someone blow up the energy storage crystal directly.” The old man had a complicated expression. “It’s kind of impossible to tell whether you’re too strong or too weak…”
Duan FeiZhou picked up another heavy gray metal block. Judging from the weight, it should be a lead block. He tried to store energy again. This time the lead block didn’t explode. Instead, he flew out of his chair and hit the lab wall hard, and left a Duan FeiZhou-shaped dent.
“… Has this happened to you before when you tried to transfer energy?” Mr. Thales stepped forward and peeled Duan FeiZhou off the wall.
“No. I remember nothing happening the first time I tried.” Duan FeiZhou touched his sore nose, “But the owner of the restaurant below me said that there were often inexplicable earthquakes in those days…”
Mr. Thales gave a long “ha-“, thought for a moment and said, “It seems that your energy is completely unable to be stored in the lead block, so the energy will become kinetic energy to bounce you off. You can try another material.”
Duan FeiZhou gently put the lead block back on the lab bench. The scene reminded him of a certain young wizard who went to a wand store to choose a wand and accidentally trashed the store. 1
Next he tried sapphires, emeralds, diamonds, tourmalines, rutile, silver nuggets, gold nuggets, and wood nuggets, none of which suited him. The bits in the garbage bin grew more and more painful to his nose.
It was a pity that there was no Voldemort in this world, otherwise he could have consulted him about what energy storage material he should use, and utilize the advice given.
No, if this went on, he would end up becoming like Voldemort himself by smashing his nose flat.
Finally, he picked up a brass block. He had no more hope, so he only drew a little energy from the candle flame, so that when he flew out and crashed it wouldn’t hurt too much. To his surprise, however, the energy blended perfectly into the brass block, as if a drop of water had blended into the ocean.
He tried again to pull the energy out of the brass block and convert it into heat.
Another candlestick in the laboratory instantly lit up.
Duan FeiZhou was overjoyed. This was the perfect energy storage metal for him!
“It’s ordinary.” He turned the brass block over and over, a little disappointed. He thought the energy storage material matching his own must be some kind of extremely rare, extremely precious material!
“Isn’t this great?” Mr. Thales said, “Cheap and common material is the best, even if you inadvertently lose it, you can quickly find a replacement. Those guys who are only suitable for rare ores are the ones who are miserable. Just buying energy storage ore will cost a lot of money.”
“So, there are benefits?” Duan FeiZhou looked at the ordinary metal block with some change of heart.
“Yes, don’t look down on brass! Z’s prosthetic limbs are basically made of brass, which is very good!”
Once he said that, Duan FeiZhou’s discrimination against brass immediately dissipated. The most suitable energy storage material in the world for him was the material used to make Z’s body. The mere thought of that made him a little excited.
Does that mean that by holding the brass block, he was holding Z’s body?
Sometimes DFZ’s thoughts surprise me, just laughing a lot. Thanks for the chapter and translation!!!
Is this going where I hope it might be going? ☺
DFZ is going to become an extremely formidable occult practitioner, that’s for sure… one who is HP’s nr1 fan too 😁
Thanks for translating and editing.
Duan feizhou has finally become stupid. 😂
I thought he would think that he can store his energy inside z’s limb.
Lol what is this logic this js like holding a glass of water and being like “I’m holding a human body”
DFZ’s brain is flying away again when it’s about Z HAHAHA
He could store energy in Z, I think?
Thank you for the chapter!
DFZ has the most random thoughts! 😂
Later, will he use Z’s limbs to store energy in a pinch??
Thank you for the chapter!