Translated by Addis of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
“What’s wrong with you fellows?” Fabian didn’t understand. “Aren’t you also occult practitioners? What’s all the fuss about?”
Duan FeiZhou looked at Xenophon and said with his eyes, you go explain. Xenophon pretended to look at the scenery.
Finally Z spoke up. “I think I need to think about it.”
Margaret glared at them. “Don’t you trust my skills? I may be young, but I’m experienced. I was my grandfather’s assistant when he was still alive, and after he passed away, I have made many prosthetic eyes independently, and the patients all said they were good!”
Fabian also said, “If you are worried about the risk of transplantation, you don’t have to be. We have never had a failure so far. Of course, there are risks associated with any surgery. But the worst that can happen is that you won’t regain your sight. It’s not life-threatening.”
Z raised the corner of his mouth feebly. “I’m not worried about your technique.”
“Then you’re worried that we’re asking too much? Our prices have always been unbeatable…”
Z got up abruptly. “I really need to think about it. Good-bye.”
He went downstairs without a backward glance.
Miss Margaret tugged her brother’s sleeve nervously. “Did I say something wrong again to upset the customer? Did I pull his eyelids too hard?”
“No, Miss.” Xenophon stood up and also walked to the stairs. “It’s that one’s problem.”
Fabian blushed. “I’ll take care of the guests in the future. Please don’t talk in front of them, Sister.”
Miss Margaret unexpectedly took the blame.
“It’s really not Miss Margaret’s problem.” Duan FeiZhou added. “My companion, he…He doesn’t really like occult practitioners.”
“But aren’t you also occult practitioners?” Margaret was unsure.
“That’s why it’s his problem.” Duan FeiZhou followed the others down the stairs. Duan FeiZhou had to run to the street before he caught up with Z and Xenophon.
Z took long strides and was in the lead, while Xenophon had to jog to keep up with him.
“Boss, what’s with your temper? Can’t you hold back when you have such an opportunity?”
“I’m not having a tantrum.” Z said coldly.
“Take a longer view, Boss – this is not sarcasm about your blindness. If you regain your eyesight, it will be easier to arrest occult practitioners in the future. A little intolerance is a big mistake!”
Z quickened his pace and completely left Xenophon behind. Xenophon stood on the street, looking helplessly at his boss’s distant back. Duan FeiZhou caught up with him and stared wide-eyed at the dark-haired, yellow-eyed Nightman.
“Go talk to him.” Xenophon said. “Even if they are occult practitioners, the siblings are good occult practitioners, and right now they are the only ones who can help the boss regain his sight. You advise him to hold his nose and put up with it.”
“You want me to persuade him?” Duan FeiZhou pointed at himself.
“He will be willing to listen to you.”
“I’m afraid my persuasive skills aren’t as good as you think.”
“You don’t need eloquence. I’ll teach you a phrase, and as long as you say this phrase, the boss will surely go to that pair of siblings with his ass high.” Xenophon hooked his finger to gesture for Duan FeiZhou to come close.
This was an occult incantation, and Duan FeiZhou was curious to know what it was.
“You just tell him…”
Half an hour later, Duan FeiZhou was standing outside the door of Z’s hotel room. He raised his hand several times to knock on the door, and then dropped it several times. The “magic spell” Xenophon had taught him was too unreliable. Would he really be able to convince Z with those words?
Before he could think of an answer, the door opened abruptly. Z leaned against the doorframe, his silver hair draped over his shoulders, a chill coiled between his razor-sharp brows. “What is it?”
“Can I come in?”
Z bristled and stepped aside.
Duan FeiZhou walked into the room, and heard the door slam shut behind him. Now it was just him and Z. He really didn’t know what to say, so he said flatly, “Xenophon asked me to persuade you.”
“Oh. So Xenophon asked you to come, and you came?”
Z’s voice sounded behind him, like a current burning through Duan FeiZhou’s skin. A tingle ran through him from his cervical spine to his ears. He whispered, “I wanted to come for myself…”
“Come for what?”
Duan FeiZhou rubbed his brow. He didn’t really know how to persuade Z. Was Z the kind of person who could be persuaded with just a few words?
“Of course, to persuade you to go back to Miss Möllen to get the prosthetic eye transplant.” He sighed. “I once learned of a way to make a list when faced with a choice. We list the benefits of regaining your sight on one side and the disadvantages on the other. Do you want to try it now?”
Z didn’t say anything, just sat down in front of the window and reflexively took out a cigarette. He intended to light it, but after a moment’s hesitation, he put the cigarette back in the box. Duan FeiZhou didn’t wait for him to answer, but went ahead and picked up the pen and paper that the guest room had prepared for its guests.
“The benefits of restoration of sight.” He wrote that on the paper. “First, you can catch the occult practitioners more easily.”
Z gave a light smile. “That’s true.”
“Second, you can read and write freely in the future, and you don’t have to ask for help when writing reports.”
“How is this good for me?”
Duan FeiZhou typed a lot of reports in the Abnormal Case Investigation Unit section, and found that a large part of them had to be entrusted to others because Z had no way to write them himself. If Z regained his sight, someone else’s burden would be lightened.
“It’s good for others.” He glanced at Z. “Third, daily life is easier, and one can travel alone.”
Z grunted, noncommittal.
“Why don’t you talk about the disadvantages?” Z interrupted him.
“I can’t think of any bad points.”
“The downside,” Z said, word by word. “Is that it’s against my principles to be a Nightman, and yet to have to beg for occult practitioners to help me.”
“There are many occult practitioners among the Nightmen, and I don’t believe you’ve never been helped by them even once in your life.”
“They’re my colleagues. It’s not the same.”
“All right then.” Duan FeiZhou picked up the pen. “I’ll write it down for you. It’s against the principles of the Nightmen.”
Z both cried and laughed. “You know why I hate occult practitioners,” he said. “If it weren’t for occult practitioners, I wouldn’t be living in this state.”
“But the Möllen siblings aren’t the same as the occult practitioner who rehabilitated you, so your resentment of them is unjustified.”
“I, the leader of the Nightmen, am the one who should hate occult practitioners the most in the world. And now I need the help of the occult practitioners to regain my sight.” Z laughed twice to himself, his voice dry.
“Don’t you want your sight back?” Duan FeiZhou asked.
“Of course I want it, but…”
“Do you think that once you have accepted the goodwill of the occult practitioners, you will never be able to hunt them down again?”
Z was silent for a long time, then said, “Many of my colleagues are occult practitioners. Mrs. Q, Mr. Thales, Xenophon, and you.” He deliberately added the ‘you’, then paused and continued, “I thought I could treat you all calmly, but I was wrong. I’m not that broad-minded.”
“Occult practitioners are not all bad people.”
“Nor are the occult arts a bad thing. It is knowledge and power. It just depends on who is using it.”
Z laughed lightly. “You’re talking more and more like an occult practitioner. Is it because after gaining powers, your way of looking at the world has changed?”
Duan FeiZhou raised his head and faced the white-haired Nightman. He could smell the faint smell of tobacco on Z’s body. In his absence, Z had been secretly smoking again. He said that tobacco was one of the few things that could stimulate his nerves and make him experience living. He had quit smoking for a while, but now he was back to it.
“You know I’m telling the truth.” Duan FeiZhou said.
Z twirled the unlit cigarette, and fiddled the pieces with his fingertips, “Even if I would, the Möllen siblings might not. If they knew how many occult practitioners I had arrested, do you think they would still be willing to make prosthetic eyes for me?”
“You don’t have to tell them, no one knows who we are.”
“That’s pretty open and honest.” Z sneered.
“I want you to go find the siblings,” Duan FeiZhou said. “I wish you could regain your sight.”
“You wish?” Z repeated the phrase.
Duan FeiZhou gritted his teeth, and decided to offer up the magic spell Xenophon had taught him.
“There’s a fourth benefit.” He surrendered his dignity. “If you regain your sight, you’ll be able to see me.”
“Don’t you want to see what I look like?”
Z didn’t say a word. After a while, he took off his gloves and raised his hand to touch Duan FeiZhou’s forehead. The cold mechanical fingers wandered along the arch of his eyebrows, then moved to the bridge of his nose, following the shape of his face all the way down. Finally his thumb rested on his lips, while the other four fingers rested on his chin.
“I know what you look like,” Z said. “I can feel it.”
“Do you know what color my eyes are?” Duan FeiZhou asked.
Z dropped his hand. The cold touch disappeared. “You tell me.”
“I want you to see for yourself.”
Z frowned, as if displeased. “You’ve learned badly,” he said. “Did Xenophon teach you that?”
“Yes.” Now that he’d seen it through, Duan FeiZhou had to admit it.
“Bad stuff.” Z muttered. “You’re all bad.”
The next day, they went to visit the Möllen siblings’ store again.
This time it was the younger brother, Fabian, who was behind the counter to receive customers. The sound of banging and tapping came from upstairs, it was probably Miss Margaret working up there.
“I want to ask you to make prosthetic eyes.” Z said openly.
Fabian welcomed them upstairs with fear and trepidation, then went to the third floor studio to call Margaret down. The mechanic lady, still in her work uniform today, smiled stiffly when she saw the three guests. She still thought they had left yesterday because she had inadvertently said the wrong thing.
“The transplantation of a prosthetic eye requires the complete removal of the original eye. The surgery is risky, so please be prepared. If you have decided to transplant the prosthetic eye, then you have to sign a disclaimer contract with us, plus pay half of the deposit.” Fabian’s sense of risk control was very much ahead of its time.
“How long does it take to make a prosthetic eye?” Z asked.
“If you order now, the earliest you can get it made is this fall.”
“Fall seems a bit too broad a time frame.”
“To make the prosthetic eye, we need a special occult material called Phantom Phosphorus Butterfly wing powder.” Fabian explained. “In this season, the Phantom Phosphorus butterflies are still caterpillars. They will only turn into butterflies in autumn. That’s why I said we must wait until autumn.”
“Is there no stock?”
“We don’t have any. We are the only family in Switzerland that breeds Phrynocephalus. Maybe there is a stock among foreign occult practitioners, but we don’t have a purchase channel to buy them.”
As soon as he heard “purchase channel”, Duan FeiZhou’s DNA moved. He was the master of the world’s largest secret trading house. Who else had a broader channel of purchase than him?
The Secret Trading House didn’t have Phantom Phosphorus Butterfly wing powder in its inventory, but he could buy it from his customers! Just like Evangeline’s request for occult medicine materials!
“What if we can get ready-made Phantom Phosphorus Butterfly wing powder?” He asked, “Assuming all the materials were available now, how long will it take to make the prosthetic eye?”
“Three days will be enough.” Margaret was confident. “The Phantom Phosphorus Butterfly powder is only needed in the final stage of prosthetic eye making. I have a lot of semi-finished products here. As long as you get the powder, I can immediately complete the production.”
Duan FeiZhou pretended to be indifferent and said, “Although Switzerland doesn’t sell Phantom Phosphorus butterfly wing powder, other places may have it. We may be able to buy it in London. How much powder is needed to make the prosthetic eye?”
Miss Margaret thought it over. “About ten grams for each prosthetic eye.”
That would be a total of twenty grams.
Duan FeiZhou wrote down the figure and smiled politely at her. “If only we could get the Phantom Phosphorus Butterfly wing powder earlier.”
Z’s fingers tapped impatiently on the table. He was surprised at how long it took to make the prosthetic eyes. “If we place the order now, the earliest we can do the surgery is in the fall?”
Fabian nodded. “I know you are from a foreign country, and can’t stay in Geneva that long. You can go back to your country first. I will send you a telegram to inform you when the prosthetic eye is ready. You can trust our reputation. After all, if we didn’t keep our word, we would not be able to get the recommendation of the Countess. Of course, we will also try to find the materials sooner. If we are lucky enough to buy a stock, we will be able to make the prosthetic eye in advance.”
Z sighed. He had to accept the result.
Fabian, whose legal sense was amazingly good, took out the contract (or disclaimer form) for Z to sign. Since Z couldn’t see, it was left to Xenophon to read the ten-page contract to him from beginning to end.
When he left the store, Xenophon stared at the thick contract in his hand and said with a dry mouth, “Boss, the deposit has been paid, you can’t renege. If you renege, I will join hands with everyone in the Abnormal Case Investigation Unit to force you to do the surgery by pressing on your head.”
“…Do you hate reading contracts to me that much?” Z said indifferently.
“Ten pages! The whole ten pages!” Xenophon waved the contract around, as the paper rustled. “And the kid wrote it in extra small letters on purpose!”
Z ignored his complaints. “There’s no point in staying in Geneva. Let’s leave for London in a couple of days. There is a daily flight to London from this airport.”
Duan FeiZhou followed behind them. When he heard them discussing which day to buy tickets, he couldn’t help but say, “Can we stay in Geneva for a few more days?”
Xenophon turned his head. “Do you want to take the opportunity to travel at public expense?”
“No!” Duan FeiZhou was righteous.
“To tell you the truth, I would like to.” Xenophon sounded sincere.
Duan FeiZhou’s reason for staying certainly wasn’t to pull the wool over Scotland Yard’s eyes. If he could beg for the Phantom Phosphorus Butterfly wing powder through the Secret Trading House, then Z would be able to undergo the operation in only a few days.
He wanted to take his chances. Even if he couldn’t buy the Phantom Phosphorus butterfly wing powder, he could at least take advantage of these days to travel or something.
Xenophon kept poking Z’s ribs with his elbow, as he urged him hard. “Boss, we still have a long time left to our vacation anyway, so let’s stay and have fun! We don’t know how long it will be until the next time we take such a long vacation!”
“Yes, yes! The Nightmen are so busy, we should cherish this rare vacation.” Duan FeiZhou echoed.
Z rubbed his brow. He said reluctantly, “All right. Then we’ll depart in three days.”
Xenophon raised his hands and cheered loudly. Passersby looked at him sideways, but he was unconcerned. It was only then that Duan FeiZhou realized, to his dismay, that Xenophon had already prepared a travel guide for their trip to Geneva. Xenophon pulled a notebook out of his pocket, quickly flipped to the bookmarked page, and began to recite, “Top Ten Things to See in Geneva. First Stop, Lake Geneva…”
Duan FeiZhou felt as if he were a kindergarten teacher taking the kids on a spring trip. He had to keep a close eye on the kids the whole time to prevent them from having accidents, or letting others have accidents. He was so tired that he didn’t have time to enjoy the trip.
They spent the whole day boating on the lake with gusts of wind sweeping past them the entire time, so much so that Duan FeiZhou felt as though his head was going to be blown out of shape from the breeze. After they returned to the hotel, he even had the negative thought of, I want to sleep, I don’t want to go into the Secret Trading House.
After having laid in bed for half an hour, he sat up with his teeth clenched. It was all for Z, he told himself.
He had a separate room at the hotel. He locked the door and dragged a chair against the doorknob. Then he closed the window and tightened the curtains.
After making sure the room was airtight, he took out the spell paper.
On this day, when customers arrived at the trading house, the first thing that caught their eyes was a piece of paper taped to the door, with a line of large letters written on it, which read, “Seeking 20 grams of Phantom Phosphorus Butterfly wing powder, price negotiable.”
The customers gathered in front of the notice and talked about it.
“It’s really rare that the Master of the Trading House actually takes the initiative to ask for a certain item.”
“What is a Phantom Phosphorus butterfly?”
“Are you really occult practitioners? That’s a butterfly native to Brazil, and the wing powder can make many occult items!”
“It sounds very rare. Is there really someone selling it?”
Duan FeiZhou sat behind the counter. Since the notice was posted, it was only necessary to wait for people with stock to come forward. He didn’t know if it was because of jet lag, but Al didn’t rush into the trading house before everyone. Half an hour after the opening, the teenager came late.
“Master, we haven’t seen each other for a long time! Are you still in Greece?” Al bounced around Duan FeiZhou.
Duan FeiZhou raised his index finger and shushed him. “Do you want everyone to know I’m out on a trip?”
Al immediately covered his mouth. HIs small eyes looked around for half a day to make sure no one was paying attention to them before he whispered, “Sorry, Master, I was in a hurry…”
Duan FeiZhou rubbed the teenager’s head. “I’ll be back in London soon. If you’re good, then I’ll teach you some new skills.”
He wanted to teach Al the secret dishwashing and cleaning techniques so that he could do his chores with half the effort in the future. He was such a black-hearted boss!
Al’s eyes sparkled, “Thank you, Master!”
At that moment, the teenager didn’t know what kind of chore hell was coming to him.
“Go greet the customers. If someone comes to the door to sell Phantom Phosphorus butterfly wing powder, remember to invite them over.”
However Duan FeiZhou was disappointed. He waited all night but no one came to talk business with him. The trading house had never been open all night, so the customers were surprised. The Master of the Trading House, who had always been a three-day fisherman, 1 had become so diligent now that he was that desperate for Phantom Phosphorus butterfly wing powder?
The next day Duan FeiZhou went to breakfast with dark circles under his eyes.
“Did you lose sleep last night, young man?” Xenophon asked in surprise in the hotel’s dining room.
“… Jet lag didn’t set in.” Duan FeiZhou yawned.
That day’s itinerary focused on various museums. Xenophon’s interest in history was surprising to Duan FeiZhou. If he had been in good spirits, Duan FeiZhou would have been as excited as Xenophon and wouldn’t stop wandering. Unfortunately, he was too tired. Jet lag and a night without sleep made him drowsy with everything in the museum. As a result, he fell asleep in the carriage on the return trip. His head lurched a little with the carriage, and finally he simply lolled and collapsed on top of Z.
Xenophon was sitting across from them, as he delved into a map of Geneva. He raised his eyes and glanced at his superior. The latter straightened his spine and didn’t move a muscle. “Boss, do you know what you look like now?”
“Like a pillow.”
When the carriage stopped, the compartment shook and Duan FeiZhou jerked awake. He wiped the saliva from the corner of his mouth, and asked, “Are we there? Great, I’m getting sleepy.”
Xenophon folded up the map, and was the first to jump out of the carriage. “I’m afraid not everyone wants to get to the end as quickly as you do.” He smiled as he walked into the hotel.
Duan FeiZhou was bewildered. He glanced at Z, who turned his head without speaking, and immediately left the carriage.
He wasn’t sure if it was an illusion, but he seemed to see on the shoulder of Z’s jacket, a darker spot of color than the rest…
I really hope Z can have his site restored. Glad he’s decided to go for it.
I wonder if there are other reasons than those of which we’re aware, why Z hates occult practitioners so much.
Awww, DFZ drooled on Z 🤤
Thanks for translating, the T/N and editing.
So funny that DFZ felt like he was watching children instead of vacationing.
So cute when he fell asleep on Z’s shoulder
Thank you for the chapter!
Xenophon, so clever and so snarky!
DFZ didn’t even realize that he was drooling on Z, lol.
Thank you for the chapter!
Ngl i want to see an older, jaded Al lmfao
Thanks for the chapter ♡♡♡♡♡