The passengers in Xavier’s cabin heaved a sigh of relief after the plane landed safely on the runway. Following that, they stared at him in blame.
“My apologies!” Xavier held his sister's hand and left the cabin, as if running away to the airport terminal.
“Hey wait up! Wait!” The man with the watch caught up to them, “You left your purse behind!”
“Oh, thank you Mister!” Jill thanked the man courteously, taking a pink purse with a cartoon bear on it.
“Haha, I’m just 25. Don’t call me Mister, just Crowley is fine…” This man who looked like an uncle with long sideburns smiled wryly, “And your names are?”
Xavier gripped his sister’s hand, and spoke politely, “I’m Xavier, and this is my sister Jill, we’re here to study…”
Crowley noticed the wariness in Xavier’s eyes, but he smiled without caring, “Oh I see… This is my number. I have some connections here in Thousand Bears City, so remember to look for me if something’s up.” Having said that, he handed a long string of numbers to Xavier and disappeared into the crowd.
“Jill, don’t just casually speak to strangers in the future!” Xavier reprimanded his sister after seeing Crowley off.
“But I felt like Mister Crowley was nice…” Jill bit her lips.
“Don’t rely on your instincts anymore. Live like a normal person!” Xavier sighed, seemingly relieved of all his burden. He hailed a floating vehicle and boarded it alongside Jill, the wheelless machine converging into the roads that were like a network of arteries...
Neither Xavier nor Jill realised that a strand of black hair had attached itself to them. It was a power that lay between material and secondary energy, so even with extraordinary powers the siblings didn’t detect it.
“I never thought I’d find the blood of the Snake Dowager while just looking around!” Leylin could sense the bloodline of the Snake Dowager in the siblings, even if it was extremely thin.
The siblings possessed extrasensory powers, able to foresee bits and pieces of the future. Although he hadn’t been masking his presence, the ability to sense him was still somewhat remarkable. Because of that, Leylin made an exception and put some attention on this pair of siblings, attaching a tracking spell to them.
Standing amidst the river of people, he observed his surroundings. The passersby walking to and fro did not seem to see him.
The high-rise buildings with over a hundred floors, the apartments, massive billboards, maglev trains and transparent tubes that served as streets… Everything gave Leylin a sense of extreme nostalgia. It was like he’d returned to his previous life.
‘No wonder I could see traces of civilisation in the world’s shadow force. Evidently they’ve undergone a few technological revolutions, and the population has grown to a frightening number…’
A rough estimate said the population of this Thousand Bears City was more than ten million. The information he’d gathered on the plane told him this was but a middle-tier city of one empire, which meant the population of the entire world most likely fast approached that of the Magus World. And this was inclusive of the subterranean world!
“It’s been proven that science and technology sustain the greatest growth of life for ordinary beings…” Without any extraordinary abilities, living together as a species and with technology was the best option, especially when there was a mastermind behind the curtains pushing for this development.
“In relation to the population, the number of extraordinary beings seemed to be suppressed…” Leylin thought of the wristwatch, Rapid Shadows. This device was commonly worn by ordinary citizens here.
“Extraordinary powers have been changed to devices. As long as one is able to fork out a little bit of money, even a child would be able to download a spell from the Shadow Weave?”
Leylin’s eyes conveyed interest, “This Mistress of the Night, Shar, what is she trying to do?”
He turned his gaze to a giant light screen in the sky. It was made of numerous points of light, currently showing an advertisement for some product. That changed as the time for news arrived.
“A mine containing a new energy source was discovered this morning, causing stock in the energy sector to drop drastically. The market is closed for the day.”
“The Prime Minister’s wife will appear at a charity even in the Shangri-La Hotel tonight, donating to the inhabitants of the thirteen coastal cities devastated by Hurricane Darkness. Analysts say that this…”
“The authorities have once again asserted their swift, resolute decision to clamp down on all illegal markets of Rapid Shadows 5.0. In a joint effort stretched across various parties, the target this time was the fabrication of false documentation, especially that specifically required to purchase Rapid Shadows.
“Emergency Notice: Amdo City was hit by a meteorite 3 hours and 12 minutes ago, causing an infrastructure collapse. The surrounding tremours were extremely powerful, causing financial damages amounting to 37.85 million. The number of casualties is unknown at the time of this report. The local garrison troops have…”
The reporter who wore a work outfit explained the disaster in a stern voice, as images of troops entering Amdo City was seen.
“Their reaction is pretty fast, huh.” Leylin shook his head and did not pay any further attention to it. A newly developed empire with a mysterious entity like the Mistress of the Night controlling it from behind the scenes could unleash extreme power if he stepped on it.
The ancient Netherese were an example. The golden period of the Nether Empire allowed it to rival even the gods!
Leylin had no doubts that, should Shar use some of her hidden cards, his very own voodoo dolls would be discovered sooner or later. However, they were only meant to distract her. He was already satisfied that they were able to last this long.
“Hmm, maybe I should watch the news more often, who knows if any news about the Snake Dowager may appear…” Leylin grinned.
According to his observations, the Shadow World now was a completely different world from the one that she spoke of. Just like the differences between the middle ages and 21st century of his past life.
An antique like her may not be tech savvy, captured on some fellow’s camera due to the technological advancement of this world. However, these were all minor details. Leylin believed that even it if were to happen, the Snake Dowager would sense the difference and conceal herself.
‘To put it in other words, after those voodoo dolls, the Snake Dowager will be the one who will divert the attention away from me…’ Leylin’s eyes flashed. Although he was invited here by the Snake Dowager, he had no intentions of playing the role of nanny.
‘Intelligence is the current priority. I can’t connect to the Shadow Weave recklessly, I need to find an opportunity…’ Leylin looked at the news that was being replayed, and suddenly got an idea.
Outside of the city, at the second level of a small villa.
Compared to the outside world which was so technologically advanced, this villa had a rather rustic and unadorned layout. Or in other words, it was old-fashioned.
“I never though we’d be able to live at home even if it hasn’t been maintained in so long.” Jill wiped the sweat off her cheek, and her dusty hands left several black streaks on her face. She was like a kitten playing around.
Xavier, wearing an apron, saw his sister and frowned, “You’re dirty! Hurry and wash up…”
This was their old home, one that had been abandoned for many years. If not for the fact that this place could allow them to commute to school, the siblings would never have stepped foot in this place. It took some dusting and cleaning up to make it fit for living.
“I wonder why Mom and Dad didn’t sell this place off back then. Is what they say true, that this is our heritage from several hundreds of years of ancestry?”
Xavier did not believe much of it. Finishing dinner, he placed a video call to a gentle and smiling older couple.
“I have organised the things…” Xavier nonchalantly said.
“Alright! Little Xav, you have to bear the burden of an adult and take care of your sister…” The middle-aged man said, before continuing after some hesitation, “Also...In our old home, between the layer of the two bookshelves, there are some things that you can have a look at…”
“Oh? That useless book? I have seen it several times since I was three…” Xavier said in an unperturbed manner.
“What?” The voice on the other end was raised by a full octave. The man grasped as his heart as if unable to believe what he had just heard.
“Isn’t it just a book written about some strange fantasies, magic and other nonsense? I can’t believe you actually stowed it away like some treasure, and the main point is you did not do a very good job of hiding it…”
Xavier rolled his eyes, before exchanging a few more sentences with his parents in a pacifying manner and ended the call.
“That book...This brings back some memories…” Through some sort of nostalgia, Xavier went to the study room in the upper level and found the book that was hidden between the two shelves.
Due to the accumulation of time, the cover of the book was now extremely faded and obscure, with a thick layer of dust gather on it. This caused Xavier to become annoyed before he cleaned up the place another time.
“It’s so ancient. I’d believe it even if someone said it was a thousand years old…”
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