No Hero Volume 2: The Hero Grim Reaper
Original novel in Chinese by: 御 我 (Yu Wo)
Legend of a Hero Chapter 5: Publicly, the Hero in Need of an Identity – translated by Raylight
Don’t keep talking about Charles? Oh, okay! Then I’ll talk about the other people at home; they’re all very interesting too!
Dell-gē is the most interesting. He told me a lot of very interesting stories. May-gē likes to do a strange exercise that he said is called “yoga.” Bramble-shū is very serious and has a really fatherly feel!
Right! There’s also Briar. She is Bramble-shū’s daughter and is twelve this year.
She is my future fiancée!
Gēge?! What was that loud noise? Did you fall down? Are you okay?
After dinner, I called Olga to inform her ahead of time, and then both the young master and I stood up to go to X-Killer. Of course, we rode DSII over there.
I definitely have to go and get a driver’s license and buy a motorcycle… For the umpteenth time, this thought went through my mind.
After I got off the motorcycle, I tugged at my pants, a little unused to them. I suspected I would never be able to get used to the decorative designs on the side of the pants that were so revealing. Though I did not like this pair of pants, for the sake of not attracting trouble, I still decided not to wear the old-fashioned suit unless I was appearing in the capacity of a vampire.
After he stopped the bike, the young master suddenly called out to me.
“Yes.” My attention was instantly diverted from the pants to the young master.
The young master leaned on DSII and hesitated for a moment before he looked at me and said, “No matter whether you believe it or not, that mother and daughter pair was not used to divert attention from the robbery at the jewelry store.”
“If Young Master does not find it too much trouble, may I ask for you to explain in a bit more detail for me?” I asked the young master with a gentle smile.
Smiles had always managed to get the young master to relax. I hoped this would allow him to be able to open his mouth and tell me everything. Though telling me would not make any difference, at least saying it out loud meant he would not have to keep the burden to himself.
“Those criminals’ true motive is to… hunt down heroes.”
Hunt down heroes? I was dazed, and before I could regain my senses, the young master had already continued.
“To hide a robbery from the eyes and ears of a hero is actually very easy. One would only need to control two things – the surveillance cameras and the store employees. By changing the image recorded by the cameras, heroes would not be able to see the robbery happen with their own eyes. By controlling the employees properly, they would ensure that no one would press the police alarm. If they managed to do it like that, even I would not be aware of any robbery. This is something much easier to do than threatening hostages in the streets and blowing things out of proportion.”
The young master paused in his footsteps and looked at me as he said, “After threatening hostages in the middle of the streets, it would be extremely hard to escape afterwards. Get it?”
I nodded my head. Indeed, even if there were an opportunity to escape, if the police and the heroes controlled all the surveillance cameras within the city, it would be very easy to track down where the criminal escaped to.
“Then, what does Young Master mean about hunting down heroes?”
“Charles, you’re really dumb!” DSII suddenly reproached loudly. “Since heroes can hunt down criminals, criminals can also come around and hunt down heroes!”
“DSII, be quiet! You can’t speak out loud on the streets.” The young master patted DSII, and after seeing him calm down he continued his explanation, “Criminals are not people who would obediently accept a beating. In the past, there was even a period of time when criminals had gathered together and formed an organization. This organization didn’t do anything but go around hunting down heroes.”
Though I was a little shocked, it was not out unthinkable. Since they were criminals, they would not just allow people to keep coming and stopping them while they were conducting their activities.
“But later on, such large scale hunts became rare. That was because the criminals themselves knew that the number of heroes who truly proved to be a threat to them was not a lot.”
I gave a smile and asked, “The number that you said is ‘not a lot,’ is it four?”
The young master smiled too. “That’s right! Four. That mother and daughter pair was a tool to kill the four heroes. No matter what, the bombs on their bodies would have exploded. After I had gone up to the rooftop, I did indeed subdue the criminal immediately. However, the detonator wasn’t on his body at all. He was only a scapegoat. The detonator was in another place, in someone else’s hand.”
I was shocked and ended up staring directly at the young master in an extremely disrespectful manner.
The young master quietly said, “In the underworld, the hunting of the four heroes has never stopped. As long as someone is able to kill one of them, they would be able to become the underworld crime boss of Sunset City. So when First Wind heard my voice, he did not hesitate at all to pull Dragon Peace away without any regard for the mother and daughter’s safety. That is because…”
The young master paused for a moment, and then gave me a weighted stare. He said, “That is because we all know that the first person that the criminal wishes to kill is never the hostage, but the hero. Therefore, the first person that we have to protect is ourselves.”
The first person that heroes must protect is themselves. This sounds a bit strange. The main responsibility of a hero should be protecting civilians, right? However, after giving it some more thought, it seems to make sense. If the heroes themselves died, then what can they protect?
It was just that one could not help but feel a little disappointed. If even heroes gave up just like normal people, then for the mother and daughter who had been suspended on the rooftop, and the broken-hearted man who had been grieving below, what exactly could they pray for?
“Charles, do you know what the first thing a hero needs to learn is?”
“Is it… saving people?” I tried to make a guess.
The young master gave a smile and replied, “It is failing to save people.” He paused for a moment before he continued to speak. “So, you guys don’t have to worry so much about me. This is not the first time I have failed. I am only feeling a bit upset, but… It’s okay!
“Alright, let’s go! Olga and the others must have been waiting for a long time already.”
After saying that, the young master headed toward X-Killer. However, I could not help but open my mouth to ask, “Have all four of the heroes failed before?”
The young master stopped in his tracks, and then turned around to say, “Yeah, they have all failed before. However, they still continue to be heroes. It is because of that, that I can have a mutual understanding with the three of them. The other heroes are not taken into consideration by us.”
To have never failed before… means to not be considered a hero? This was a viewpoint that I had never thought about before. The heroes in the movies rarely failed, and even if they had failed temporarily, the person who was injured as a result of that was usually the hero himself. However, in reality, the price of failure was actually someone else’s life?
It sounds very trivial, but at the same time… morbidly heavy.
I caught up to the young master, temporarily putting all hero-related matters aside. We walked into X-Killer together.
Once we stepped in, we saw Jill and Luo Lun. Within the store there were five or six customers, and Olga, Jill, and Luo Lun were all busy attending to them.
At that moment, a customer turned around and upon seeing the young master, let out a scream of surprise. Then, her eyes glued themselves onto the young master. Once the other customers heard the scream, they all turned around one by one. The moment they saw the young master, their eyes all lit up.
Within the store, there were three photos of the young master hung up, each of them larger than the actual person.
Olga told us, “Feel free to take a look around.”
The young master nodded his head excitedly, and then immediately headed to the front of one of the photos and started sizing up the photo curiously. At our side, there was also another person looking at the photos. However, he did not seem like a customer, and there was even a rather professional camera hanging around his neck.
“Gē! Help me attend to Ah Ye for a moment.” Luo Lun shouted loudly, “Ah Ye, the one at your side is my brother.”
The young master immediately turned his attention to the person at his side. Remembering his manners, he gave his greeting first, “Nice to meet you. I am An Xiang Ye.”
The man turned around. He looked to be about twenty-seven or twenty-eight years old and had an extremely handsome appearance. However, his aura was very gentle and refined, giving people a favorable impression of him. He too replied back courteously, “Nice to meet you. An Xiang Ye, is it? I am Ji Luo Chu,1 Luo Lun’s elder brother.”
“Luo Chu–gē, you can just call me Ah Ye. This is Charles. He is… He is my butler.” The young master hesitated for a moment, but still introduced me as his butler. This was something that could not be helped. After all, when we came over previously, Luo Lun and the others had already heard me addressing him as “Young Master.”
“Ah Ye, is it?” Ji Luo Chu smiled as he commented, “Your hair color is really special. I rarely see this kind of silvery white hair, but it’s very pretty!”
“Thank you.” The young master showed a radiant smile.
“Moreover, it’s also very photogenic.” Ji Luo Chu turned around to look at the photos, and in a tone of exclamation, he said, “Nowadays, one can rarely see a youngster like you with this kind of aura. What is even rarer is that you can actually act the part of ‘Angel and Devil’ so well. Perhaps you are a natural actor!”
“Angel and Devil?” The young master tilted his head to one side and asked, “Are you talking about the black photos and the white photos?”
Among the photos hung in the store, two were from the white series. Another one was instead from the black series that was initially seen in the catalog. It was one of the photos where the young master resembled Dark Sun remarkably.
Perhaps I should discuss with Olga to tear down all of the photos from the black series. Otherwise, sooner or later, someone would suspect that the young master was Dark Sun.
“I have heard from Luo Lun that you are still a student? I am a photographer, and have formed a studio with my friends. Ever since Luo Lun took your photos and showed them to me, I have been wanting to ask you if you have any interest to also be my model?”
Hearing that, the young master paused for a moment. He turned around to look at me. I hurriedly moved forward, helping to spare the young master from answering. “Is it possible to give it a trial period first?”
“Of course, of course.” Ji Luo Chu looked at me, and then smiled as he said, “I didn’t think that Luo Lun was right! Even Mr. Butler is a pretty good model candidate. Do you want to try together?”
Once he finished speaking, I saw both of the young master’s eyes light up. I quickly rejected him, “No, no! I am a butler. I have no intention of working in another position.”
If I were to be photographed and there was no trace of me on the photo at all, it would definitely lead to an uproar.
“What a pity.” Ji Luo Chu gave a smile and did not really seem to mind me refusing him. He turned around to look at the young master and inquired, “Ah Ye, could you help me take down the pair of pants that is in the topmost section of the left shelf?”
The young master looked for the pants that were at the very top, and then walked over. He stood on his tiptoes and started to reach for the item on the shelf. Though I wanted to do the work for him, Ji Luo Chu had instead picked up the camera hanging on his neck to start to photograph the young master vigorously.
The young master froze for a moment and turned his head, looking at Ji Luo Chu with a puzzled expression.
“Ah Ye, look here!”
Luo Lun suddenly shouted from the side, and when both the young master and I looked at him… He was in the middle of contorting his facial features and making all sorts of strange faces.
The young master laughed and scolded him jokingly, “Luo Lun, what are you doing?”
Luo Lun gave no reply but only continued to do various kinds of funny faces, causing the young master to laugh nonstop. At the same time, Ji Luo Chu diligently abused the shutter button.
After a good long while, Ji Luo Chu finally stopped photographing. With a satisfied tone, he said, “Very good, you’re very used to the camera. Many people will freeze as long as they know there is someone filming them. No matter what ways others use to distract their attention, they wouldn’t be of any use at all, and they would still be very stiff. However, you simply don’t have that problem at all. It is as though you aren’t being photographed.”
Hearing that, I felt a shock in my heart. This is probably because the young master has faced countless cameras before when he is out being a hero. On top of that, he had mentioned the young master’s hair color from the very beginning, the same silvery-white hair as Dark Sun… This man, Ji Luo Chu, could it be that he has already started to suspect something?
After he finished taking the photographs, he started casually discussing the photos with the young master.
The customers left in twos and threes. Once the last customer in the shop had left, Jill immediately dashed over and screeched, “Ah Ye! Did you see? Even the customers were asking about you nonstop! The female customer just now really wanted to get your autograph, but Olga wouldn’t allow it.”
“Gē!” Luo Lun also ran over and excitedly spoke to Ji Luo Chu, “How was it? Wasn’t I right? I told you, right? You would definitely be satisfied with Ah Ye and Charles!”
“Yes, yes! What you said was completely right.” Ji Luo Chu smiled as he said that, and then he looked at the young master and asked, “Next time, why don’t you come to my studio to try and take some pictures? If you don’t have any issues with it, you can also treat it as an official shoot. Our studio is lacking in models.”
The young master did not look at me this time. He only tilted his head to one side and pondered for a short moment before he nodded his head and agreed, “Okay! Since school is about to end soon, I was originally going to look for a job anyways.”
“Oh?” Ji Luo Chu joyously said, “That’s just perfect! There are more photo shoot opportunities during the vacation period. Once the boss of my studio sees you, he will definitely be ecstatic!”
Seeing that the young master had given his agreement, Luo Lun and Jill were even more excited than Ji Luo Chu. The two of them started a debate – Luo Lun insisted that only the devil outfit was cool enough, but Jill liked the angelic disposition of the young master… Which reminds me.
“Mr. Ji, when you are taking the photos, please use the image of the white series.”
After I finished saying this in a very determined tone, I saw the startled looks on the others’ faces. I could only quickly add on, “T-That is because the master probably would not like the young master wearing clothes that are too- too… too much like a youngster’s!”
Actually, I had been thinking to use the term “strange,” but once I reached my words mid-way, I remembered that these strange clothes were from X-Killer, and moreover it was specially hand-picked by the storeowner Olga. To say that these clothes were very strange would obviously be very disrespectful; hence, I could only forcefully switch to another description.
I sneaked a look at the young master. Though his expression seemed a little puzzled, like he did not seem to understand why I had said that, he still nodded his head at me.
Seeing the young master nod his head, I became even firmer with my request. “Therefore, please take down all of the black series photographs, is that all right? Including those in the catalog. That is because if the master of the house were to see it, he might not allow the young master to be a model, and might even request for you to take down all the photos.”
Olga outspokenly and straightforwardly said, “No problem. It goes without saying that we need to get your consent before we can use these photos. I will delete all the black series photos from the catalog and replace the one on the wall with one from the white series. Like that, there won’t be any problems, right?”
“It’s a bit of a pity, since the model opportunities will be narrowed by half like this.” Though Ji Luo Chu had said so with a bit of a disappointed air, he still nodded his head as he said, “But it’s still fine, it’s better than not being able to use the white series. Right now, there are too many people who can act cool. On the other hand, those who have an angelic disposition are harder to find.”
Luo Lun cut in, saying, “Gē, then can I go to see your photo shoot?”
“I want to go too!” Jill immediately cut in.
Ji Luo Chu looked at the two with a faint smile. He said, “Okay! Olga can come along too…”
Everyone fell silent and looked at each other.
“Is someone screaming?” Jill asked in a small voice.
“It shouldn’t be anything big, right?” Luo Lun sounded a little uncertain as he said, “It’s only someone screaming. There are often people screaming on the streets…”
“No, this scream sounds like something has happened.” Ji Luo Chu frowned and said, “I’ll go out and take a look.”
After saying that, he started heading out. The young master shouted, “I’ll go with you,” and naturally I too followed. Following that, Luo Lun also came along.
Once we stepped out of the shop front, we saw a few people gathering at the entrance to the alleyway at the side of the building. To describe things in a bit more detail, a girl had fallen down at the entrance of the alleyway. The rest of the youngsters were standing at her side with varied distance. However, all of their gazes were directed toward that alley.
Ji Luo Chu walked to the front and then helped the girl stand on her feet. However, once she had stood up, she actually flung away Ji Luo Chu’s hand with a shocked and scared expression. She then ran away, staggering the entire way.
Once the rest of the youngsters saw the girl run off, they too started to disperse. As for the others on the streets, they seemed like they did not understand what had just happened either, and only looked on from the sidelines. Once the girl ran off, they too continued doing their own business.
So what exactly happened inside the alley? I felt a little bewildered. Judging from that girl’s and the others’ outfits… They seemed to be rambunctious children who were used to running around town, so a small matter should not be able to give them a scare.
Ji Luo Chu headed into the dark alley, and the young master and Luo Lun followed. I took a glance in the direction of X-Killer, and realized that Olga and Jill had not followed along. Then, I too headed into the alley.
Ji Luo Chu suddenly gave a loud roar and then turned around. He hugged the young master’s head and yelled to Luo Lun who was farther away from him, “Ji Luo Lun, turn around and face away! If I see you peeking, you’re dead meat! Also, call the police.”
Luo Lun immediately did so. He turned, faced toward me, and then nervously took out his cell phone from his pocket.
I walked past him, and the thick smell of blood immediately welcomed me. At the same time, I managed to get a clear look of the situation.
In the alley, there was blood and flesh scattered everywhere. The way it was scattered seemed almost as though someone had intentionally tried to use the blood to lay a red carpet in the alley. The main remnants of the body were leaning against the wall. Actually, it was mostly bones left – white bones with blood and flesh sticking to them haphazardly. The most complete section was the head, where we could at least still see some skin and an eyeball.
The blood smelled very fresh. It seemed like the incident had happened not too long ago… Fresh blood… What a waste…
“Charles!” Ji Luo Chu shouted at me.
I abruptly came back to my senses, and then replied automatically, “Yes?”
“Come over and cover the eyes of your young master properly… Don’t let him see!” Ji Luo Chu used an extremely stern tone in his last sentence.
“Very well.” I quickly stepped forward and covered the young master’s eyes.
Ji Luo Chu frowned and said, “Cover his eyes tighter! Don’t let him peek.”
I could only walk another step further and tightly wrap both my arms around the young master’s head. Only then did Ji Luo Chu nod his head in satisfaction. Afterwards, he did not pay any further notice to the young master and me. Instead, he walked forward and started to take photos from various angles with his camera, just a few steps away from the corpse.
At this moment, the young master suddenly pinched me. I returned to my senses, and then slightly relaxed my arms and adjusted my position. This way, the young master would be able to see the situation from the gap created.
A corpse that has been shredded into pieces… What kind of person could have done this?
If it were ten years ago, I would have been very certain that this was not the work of humans. However, now that there were more and more modified humans, a mechanical arm would be enough to shred a person.
Now, whether this was the work of humans or non-humans, it would be really hard to say for sure.
After Ji Luo Chu took pictures for a period of time, he lowered his camera. Seeing that, I immediately hugged the young master’s head tightly again, so as to prevent him from discovering the young master peeking at the body.
He walked over and told me, “Let’s go. If the police come and see us standing too close to the corpse, they will be very unhappy.”
I gave a nod, and while hugging the young master’s head, turned and brought him out of the alley… However, I found it a little funny. The young master had once chopped off DSII’s head without any hesitation. To him, the only difference between this corpse and the humans that are alive and kicking would probably merely be that he could not open his mouth to speak?
“The security nowadays is really just terrible!”
After walking out of the alley, Ji Luo Chu seemed to be very displeased. He turned toward his brother, and then in a firm tone that brooked no objection, said, “Luo Lun, from now on I will come and pick you up after work at night. You’re not allowed to run around freely in the middle of the night either!”
Luo Lun received a fright and shouted loudly, “Gē!”
Ji Luo Chu furrowed his brows. After he took out his cell phone and operated it for a while, he revealed an apologetic expression as he said, “I cannot stay and wait for the police anymore. The boss in my studio is looking for me.”
“Charles also can’t stay.” The young master looked at me as he explained, “He has requested leave for tonight and is going to look for someone!”
“Is that so? Then you guys should get going too.” After saying that, Ji Luo Chu turned to his brother and instructed, “Luo Lun, please invite Olga over. Request that she close the store for now and ask her to wait here for the police. She can accompany you to the police station to make a statement too.”
Luo Lun immediately started to say, “I can wait here by myself—“
“No way!” Ji Luo Chu interrupted his words with a low yell. This made Luo Lun’s expression turn mulish. However, he was clearly quite intimidated by his brother, for even though his entire face was filled with dissatisfaction, he did not dare to rashly talk back.
Just then, the young master burst out laughing. This made the two brothers, who were in the middle of fighting, pause and look at him in puzzlement. The young master smiled as he replied, “Luo Lun, my brother is exactly like yours. He’s always not allowing this and not allowing that, hehe!”
Luo Lun grumbled quietly, “Yours definitely doesn’t nag as much as mine…”
At this time, Ji Luo Chu’s cell phone rang again. His expression was full of apology as he said, “Sorry, I really do have to go. Luo Lun, go help Olga close the store.”
Luo Lun muttered “okay” and following that, went ahead and left first.
Ji Luo Chu showed a hesitant expression at this point. I told him, “It is all right. You can go first. We will wait for Olga to come over.”
After Ji Luo Chu left, the young master abruptly said, “Probably another incident just happened!”
I froze for a moment, and then asked in reflex, “Did Mr. Bramble and the others tell you that?”
“No. Ever since last night when I instructed them not to tell me the situations from the surveillance cameras, they still haven’t reported to me even now!” The young master tilted his head and looked in the direction Ji Luo Chu had left in. He said, “It’s because Luo Chu-gē left in a hurry.”
What relation is there between Ji Luo Chu leaving before us and an incident happening? I felt mystified and could only ask for clarification. “I do not understand, Young Master.”
The young master replied with a confident smile, “Ji Luo Chu. He is definitely First Wind!”
I was stunned and was not able to say anything for a long period of time. It had completely not crossed my mind that the young master would say something this shocking all of a sudden.
Once I thought about it more, I found it even stranger. I could only ask, “Young Master, Mr. Ji Luo Chu’s left arm has not been modified, but First Wind’s left arm has been modified.”
The young master chuckled as he said, “Charles, I look from head to toe like I don’t have any modifications, right?”
Hearing those words, I too started to smile. This was indeed true. Though the young master looked like he had not modified his body, the truth was that every part of his body had been modified at some point in time. If that was the case, then First Wind might have his own way of disguising such a thing.
At this point, the young master explained to me, “As long as I observe for a long enough time, I can ‘measure’ a person’s appearance in great detail. Though Luo Chu–gē’s hair color is a fairly ordinary shade of gold, there are still deeper and lighter shades to differentiate between even if it is gold in color. Luo Chu–gē’s and First Wind’s hair are both the same dark gold in color. His height, weight, the shape of his jaw, and the length of his right arm are all exactly the same as First Wind’s. Though his voice is a little different, First Wind’s voice is possibly altered. Therefore, Luo Chu-gē is definitely First Wind!”
I was a little shocked as I said, “If that is the case, then if we were to meet Solitary Butterfly and Dragon Peace as well, would Young Master be able to recognize them?”
“For Solitary Butterfly, yes. For Dragon Peace, possibly not.” The young master tilted his head, deep in thought as he said, “Dragon Peace is a little strange. With that body shape of his, it’s impossible to hide in the city without getting discovered. So, I think he doesn’t usually have that kind of body shape.”
I agreed whole-heartedly. Even werewolves after transformation would look like children in front of Dragon Peace.
“Young Master,” I suddenly realized something. “Perhaps Mr. Ji Luo Chu has also guessed your identity, just like you did.”
The young master rubbed his head, saying, “Yeah, probably because my hair color is still too obvious? But I can’t dye my hair… I hope Bàba can fix DSII’s body a little faster. This way, An Xiang Ye and Dark Sun can appear at the same time.”
I was still pondering over the question of why the young master’s hair could not be dyed when the young master tugged at my arm. He said, “Charles, go and look for the werewolf!”
I froze momentarily and took out my pocket watch to take a look. Then I said, “Young Master, it is only ten o’clock right now.”
The young master shrugged his shoulders as he said, “I will have Bramble-shū resume reporting the situations from the surveillance cameras. In a few moments, I will go and change into Dark Sun’s attire to go patrolling around the neighborhood for a while. You don’t have to follow me.”
So that is how it is. I bowed, and said, “Very well. Then, I do ask Young Master to take care.”
When I lifted my head up, there was already no one in front of me… The young master is really behaving more and more like the heroes in the movies—coming and going without a trace.
After I confirmed that the young master had indeed left, I glanced around. Once I ensured that no one was paying me any attention, I stepped onto the wall of the building, and then dashed all the way up.
Though I had accepted my friend X’s request, I truthfully could not say that I had been searching to the best of my abilities in these past few days. This made me feel extremely guilty. From now onwards, I definitely would have to start searching seriously.
I jumped onto the rooftop of the building and surveyed the surroundings. I started to analyze where I should start my search from. Sunset City was, after all, a big city, and if I were to search every alley it would definitely exceed the two week limit that X had asked for. Therefore, I had to start by searching the places where there was a higher possibility of finding him.
Hmm… Generally speaking, if a bloodthirsty werewolf wants to kill someone, either they will specially go out of the city to do so, or they will pick places within the city that are more impoverished and lacking. After all, even if the humans there were to simply vanish, it would not raise too much of a commotion.
Within Sunset city, the place with the worst living conditions was the southern part of the city.
X-Killer, the place where I was right now, was located in the western side of the city. Speaking of which, this area was indeed the Aristocrat First Wind’s area of influence. A photographer with an irregular work schedule, the composed manner upon seeing the mutilated corpse just now, and his rushing off because something had come up… Ji Luo Chu really did match the characteristics that a hero should have. The question is, does his little brother, Luo Lun, know about it?
“Do not think about heroes anymore.” I smiled wryly. Now was the time when I should be focusing on properly completing my friend’s request.
I looked down at the stretch of black earth. Tonight, there was moonlight in abundance. It was indeed a good occasion to be searching for werewolves.
Then, I shall start searching from the southwest…The southern side seems to be Dragon Peace’s territory. I sure hope that I do not run into him during these two weeks.
Following that, I started my lifestyle of going out every night to search for the werewolf Cornell.
Every night, the young master would go out at ten o’clock, and before I came back, he would go out for a morning run again. This made me feel extremely concerned. Could it be that the young master had specially left early and returned late so that I could have more time to search?
Bothered by my worries, I questioned Dell, who replied casually, “Yeah! The young master comes home at about two in the morning. If an incident happens, then his timing isn’t as regular. Sometimes, he doesn’t return until three or four.”
And then he goes out for a morning run at five o’clock? Does this count as having slept?
On the other side Mr. Bramble explained in more detail, “Butler, don’t be nervous. I have already asked the young master. The young master says that he actually doesn’t need to sleep every day. Even if he goes without sleep for a few days, he would still be fine. If he sleeps every day, two hours per day would be enough. Any more than that is excess and actually doesn’t help much.”
These descriptions really sounded extremely familiar. If it were not for the fact that the young master did not drink blood, I would believe that I was serving my fellow kind.
May also started smiling as he said, “The young master also used to do so in the past quite often. Though he would go to his room to sleep at ten o’clock, once anything happens, he would leap out from his bedroom window and only come home when dawn is about to break.”
So that is how it is. I relaxed a little, but I still continued to feel a little guilty. Hence, I put even more effort into serving the young master, and even made various kinds of different cuisines for the young master every day. Though the young master is not picky with his food and does not have any particular food preferences, he likes new things that he has not yet seen before. Therefore, as long as I used a method of cooking that he had yet to see, it would make him very happy.
For example, today’s dinner was Kaiseki cuisine.2 The young master had shown a face full of curiosity at the sashimi.3 When I was just about to bend over to pour the roasted barley tea,4 he had already spread a thick layer of wasabi5 and soy sauce on top of the sashimi. Just when the words, “Please wait a short moment,” had barely left my mouth, he had already shoved the entire slice of raw fish into his mouth.
“Young Master…” I was somewhat at a loss as to what to do. After all, I could not possibly ask the young master to quickly spit the food out.
After chewing twice, the young master’s face started to contort. He looked as though he was suffering a lot. I quickly served him the roasted barley tea and gently patted the young master’s back, telling him, “Young Master, please quickly drink some tea!”
The young master took the cup and finished the entire cup in one gulp. Then, he exhaled a very long breath before he nonchalantly said, “It’s really strong, but it tastes pretty good.”
Then, he picked up another slice of sashimi with his chopsticks, put on the same amount of wasabi, and shoved it into his mouth again… The young master’s tastes were as expected, also very “heroic.”
After dinnertime, the young master took out his homework. I helped pour a glass of milk for the young master and then turned away, intending to go clean up. However, the young master abruptly called out to me, “Charles.”
I stopped in my tracks and turned around to reply, “Yes.”
As the young master drank his milk, he said, “That day we were at X-Killer, wasn’t there someone who died in the alley? The autopsy report is out. The victim was a tourist and was torn apart with great force. His body pieces were strewn about, and there were quite a few traces of claw and tooth marks. The canines shown in the bite marks were abnormally developed and are definitely not the kind that a human would have. Other than that, they had also managed to collect animal fur. It is surmised that the person was attacked by a large animal.”
What kind of large animal could tear someone apart like that? Moreover, it was even in the midst of a large city. It simply was not possible that there was a previously undiscovered bear at large attacking humans here.
Other than werewolves, I simply could not think of any other possibilities. However, the location of X-Killer was in the west, which was in a completely different direction from the south, the place that I had been searching. Perhaps I had guessed wrong since the very beginning.
“What a pity that there aren’t any surveillance cameras in that alley.” The young master spoke in a tone full of regret. However, he smiled after that. “But we can still manage to find a few clues! For example, when the case happened, only the victim walked into that alley, and no one else.”
I was shocked, and words escaped from my mouth. “How can that be? Werewolves cannot become invisible.”
The young master laughed as he said, “Of course it’s not invisibility. The thing is, there is one place where surveillance cameras are absolutely unable to check. That’s the sewers.”
“If that werewolf was living in the sewers, then that would be really troublesome.” The young master said with concern, “The sewers of Sunset City are extremely tangled and complex, and moreover, a lot of vagrants live there. If someone were to dare to step into their territory, they would attack indiscriminately. Though they are really very weak, many do not fear death. To defeat them one-by-one under the constriction of not killing them is really very difficult.”
The young master looked at me all of a sudden, and warned me in an earnest tone, “Charles, I think it’s better for you to just search on the surface. As long as your brain doesn’t have a satellite navigation system installed, don’t ever go down into the sewers!”
Young Master, no one’s brain has a satellite navigation system installed in it…. I hesitated. Perhaps the young master did have one.
“Okay. Charles, you can go and look for the werewolf now.”
Upon hearing this, I froze momentarily but then replied hastily, “Young Master, it is merely eight o’clock at the moment.”
The young master shrugged his shoulders and said, “I’m going to go out now anyways! I have already made an appointment with Luo Chu-gē. I’m going to his studio for a test shoot today!”
I quickly said, “Young Master, please let me accompany you…”
“That won’t be necessary.”
I went blank for a moment. However, these words were not said by the young master. When I turned around, Melody was just walking in through the entranceway. She gave us a charming smile. “The young master has me for company!”
I started laughing involuntarily. The young master was openly laughing even more heartily as he said, “Melody, why are you dressed like that?”
Her outfit was a white high-collar blouse, and her hair was combed neatly and tied into a bun at the back of her head. She was even wearing a pair of gold-rimmed spectacles. With her tight skirt and the black high heels with thick-heels on her feet, she looked like a female executive from an office… except that that tight skirt was a tiny bit too short.
Melody turned around on the spot and exclaimed, “A shrewd and capable female butler! Isn’t that what I look like?”
I smiled as I shook my head. However, the young master nodded his head vigorously.
Melody seized the young master and looked at me. With a provocative tone, she said, “If the young master says I look like one, then I look like one.”
I gave a slight smile and did not pay any mind to her provocations. I merely briefed her, “It is great that you are accompanying the young master. Please remember, no matter what the photographer says, do not ever let the young master wear dashing clothes and a cold expression at the same time. That is because that kind of appearance is simply too much like Dark Sun.”
The young master showed an expression of sudden realization. Melody instead impatiently said, “Got it. Young Master, we’re going!”
I really did not understand why Melody was in such a rush. Other than the last time when we had gone out and coincidentally run into an incident, causing her to have no choice but to help delay time, I had never seen her have that much interest in accompanying the young master outdoors.
The young master laughed quietly. “I told Melody that Luo Chu-gē is a very nice person and also is very good-looking!”
So that is how it is.
“What?! What kind of secrets are you two whispering about! If you’re not going, then I’m leaving.” Melody pouted in dissatisfaction.
“We’re going right now!” The young master immediately grabbed Melody, not letting her leave, while at the same time bidding farewell to me, “We’re heading off now!”
“Very well, please watch your step.”
My gaze followed the young master and Melody as they went out the door. Afterwards, I changed out of my butler’s attire to the clothes from X-Killer, and as usual, I went out to search for the whereabouts of the werewolf Cornell.
1 “Ji Luo Chu”: Ji Luo Chu’s name (季洛初, jìluòchū) is formed the oriental way, with Ji being his surname and Luo Chu his given name, so we have opted to keep his name in pinyin. His brother’s name is Ji Luo Lun (季洛倫, jìluòlún). Ji means season, while the “Chu” in Ji Luo Chu’s name means “first.” It is the same 初(pronunciation: chū) used in First Wind (初風, chūfēng).
3 “Sashimi”: Just in case you don’t get it, sashimi is a Japanese dish of raw fish/meat sliced into thin pieces. The common types of sashimi include – salmon, swordfish, squid, shrimp, tuna, mackerel, octopus, and yellowtail. On the other hand, you also have less common sashimi like puffer fish and horse sashimi…
4 “Roasted barley tea”: It is a caffeine-free drink made from roasted barley and is popular in Japanese, Chinese, and Korean cuisine. For more info, go to wiki: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roasted_barley_tea
5 “Wasabi”: It is served in Japanese cuisine, usually with soya sauce to go with it. It gives a burning sensation in the mouth but doesn’t burn your throat as it is not oil-based. (Unlike chili peppers!) It is a root and is usually either finely grated for use or served as dried powder. You may have also seen it in ready-to-use pastes in tubes that look like toothpaste tubes in the supermarkets.