Dunn Smith stared at Klein with his gray eyes for a full minute without a word.
Klein did not cower under the pressure of the silence and his gaze. He continued locking his eyes with Dunn.
“You must understand that once you consume the potion, there will be no room for regret.” Finally, Dunn spoke again in a deep emotionless voice.
Klein grinned and said, “I know, but I respect the voice in me.”
First, Sleepless does not meet my requirements. It was the same for Spectator which he heard from the Tarot Club based on description. He was unsure when he would come into contact with other Beyonder pathways. A slow remedy could not work for an urgent situation; therefore, there was no need for him to wait. By the same logic, Corpse Collector was eliminated as well, leaving the two choices—Mystery Pryer and Seer.
Under the premise that potions of the same Sequence were equally dangerous and him unable to obtain more information, as well as the fact that both Mystery Pryer and Seer met his requirements, then regardless of whether Emperor Roselle was making a passing remark or if he really regretted not choosing Apprentice, Marauder, and Seer, it was enough to tip the balance in his heart.
Furthermore, he could tell from the diary that as long as he figured out the true essence of digestion and acting, he would be able to avoid the negative effects the potion would bring to a significant extent. As for the murmurings and illusory enticements that could drive people to corruption and madness, he had already encountered that even without being a Beyonder!
“Alright.” Dunn stood up and picked up his halved top hat. As he put it on, he said, “Follow me down.”
Klein nodded and gave a gentleman’s bow in gratitude.
Tap. Tap. Tap. Both of them ventured down, their footsteps echoing through the silent and vast stairwell and passageway.
Klein suddenly felt gripped by anxiety as he tried to find a topic of conversation.
“Captain, you mentioned that taking the potion would not directly give me the corresponding knowledge on mysticism, that I’ll only have the qualifications to learn it. Then, where does the basic knowledge of mysticism come from? Did our predecessors risk their life for it or obtain it via other means?”
Every time he went underground, he would find the air especially fresh. Clearly, the ventilation was excellent. However, the occasional gust of wind made one shiver.
Dunn glanced at him, the darkness in his gray eyes appearing abnormally deep.
He answered calmly, “One of them is as you said, experimentation, summarization, and enhancement. Second, being bestowed by the gods. Third, heh. The dangerous murmurs that others can’t hear do not only growl and roar senselessly. At times, they will describe some matters regarding mysticism. But according to what I know, people who truly listen to the murmurs on a long-term basis have gone mad without exception. Or they would fall to corruption and become monsters. Of course, we must thank them. The notebooks they’ve left behind are precious treasures in the field of mysticism.”
Human lab rats? The underground passage’s cold humidity made Klein shudder suddenly.
Then, would my luck enhancement ritual which turned into “Social Network Magic” eventually lead to similar effects due to the crazy and horrible murmurs?
At the intersection, Dunn did not proceed toward Chanis Gate, nor did he turn to the weapons, materials and archives. Instead, he took Klein to the left and approached Saint Selena Cathedral.
Midway, he stopped. It was unclear what he touched to open a secret door.
“This is our Nighthawk team’s alchemy room. I will get Old Neil to retrieve the Seer potion formula and the corresponding materials from inside Chanis Gate. Heh, you have pretty good luck. The Goddess has blessed you with her favor. We should still have the materials needed for two Seer potions. If not, you would have to wait a long while.” Dunn pointed at the room behind the door. “Wait in here. Later, watch Old Neil concoct the potion. It’s the most basic part of mysticism studies. Oh, do not randomly touch things in there. They are either very dangerous, expensive, or both.”
With that said, Dunn added like before.
“Oh right, I forgot something again. Your becoming a Beyonder is a result of you having to face danger and the need to find the notebook. The meritorious deed was only a part of it; therefore, you will not be a member of our team for the time being. You will still be a civilian staff member with a corresponding salary. You will still do what I instructed you to do previously. One additional thing is to learn more about mysticism with Old Neil. You can arrange the time with him.”
“Alright.” Other than feeling a little disgruntled by the lack of a pay rise, Klein was in full agreement with the rest.
According to Dunn, there was still the process of learning and grasping one’s newfound powers after consuming the potion. If he were to become a formal member immediately and participate in paranormal missions, his death was certain.
Dunn turned around and walked two steps towards the intersection when he suddenly turned back.
I knew it… Klein was already used to the “style” of his Captain.
“We got something out of the Secret Order’s actions,” said Dunn with his usual expression. “It’s unlikely they will provoke you in the near future, but don’t be careless. It has to do with them being temporarily unable to confirm whether the Antigonus family’s notebook is important to them. From what we discovered, they have preserved some of the ancient customs and we can confirm that they are related to the Solomon Empire and the corrupted nobles of that period.”
“Got it. Thanks, Captain,” said Klein as he exhaled.
This was also one of the reasons why he did not wish to wait, grasping the chance of becoming a Beyonder in such a hurry!
As he watched Dunn leave and confirmed that he would not turn his head to say more, Klein slowly walked into the alchemy room.
The room had long tables. There were test tubes, pipettes, scales and crucibles. It resembled a chemistry laboratory from his previous life. It was just more spartan and ancient.
Other than that, there was a huge cauldron, a dark wood ladle, a translucent crystal ball, and other items. The Dark Sacred Emblem and other strange emblems were visible everywhere. They gave the room a tint of mystery.
Klein looked around with interest, but he was not stupid enough to touch the things.
After a while, he heard footsteps. Old Neil carried a tiny silver chest with complicated patterns. He was still wearing his unique classic black robe that seem anachronistic, matched with a felt hat with a rounded edge of the same color.
“Lad, I never expected you to choose Seer.” Old Neil put down the chest and used his somewhat turbid red eyes size up Klein. “Your personality is just like mine when I was young. You just don’t want to follow the masses. Not bad. Light these few gas lamps and close the door.”
“Alright.” Klein tried hard not to tremble as he lit each gas lamp in the alchemy room. He made dim light rule over the place once again.
Tak! Tak! Tak! The secret door was closed. He turned back to see the white-haired
and deep-wrinkled Old Neil using a bunch of strange tied tree branches to scrub
the black cauldron.
“The concoction of a Sequence potion is extremely simple, at least for Sequence 7 and below. There’s no need for a special flame or any additional ritual, much less an incantation. There’s no need for one to participate in it spiritually. All one needs to do is go according to the formula’s steps, add the precise amounts, and mix it. That will be all.” Old Neil’s wrinkles seemed to bloom from his smile.
“For real?” Klein questioned in surprise.
This sounds as simple as my luck enhancement ritual…
Man, it’s quite frightening when you come to think of it…
“Perhaps it’s a gift of the gods. Praise the Lady.” Old Neil drew a haphazard circle over his chest.
Following that, he opened the silver chest and pulled out goatskin parchment that exuded antiquity.
The yellowish-brown goatskin unfurled inch by inch, revealing words on it. Klein looked from a distance and realized it was in Hermes, a language he was very familiar with.
It was written in ink that resembled blood, seeming to still having its fluidity intact. But other than that, it did not seem extraordinary in any way.
“Seer: 100 milliliters of pure water, 13 drops of night vanilla liquids, 7 gold mint leaves…” Klein silently recited the formula’s content, but the rest of it was blocked by Old Neil’s wrist, preventing him from reading it.
“Pure water is water that is repeatedly distilled. Thankfully, I made some previously, so there’s no need to waste time on it.” While Old Neil gave the introduction, he took a large sealed glass bottle from the table with great familiarity.
He took off the stopper and poured about 100 milliliters of pure water into the cauldron without much thought.
Klein did not dare ask, afraid he would affect Old Neil’s concoction. After all, he was the one drinking the potion.
“13 drops of night vanilla juices. This can be extracted and stored as an essential oil ahead of time.” Old Neil took out a tiny brown bottle from the silver chest and with a pipette and dripped 13 drops into the cauldron in a relaxed manner.
A faint but easing fragrance emanated, making Klein feel an abnormal sense of peace.
“7 gold mint leaves…” Old Neil picked up a silver patterned can and removed its lid. With his bare hands, he picked up a few leaves and scattered it into the cauldron. He caught a whiff of a fresh and stimulating scent.
“4, 5, 6, 7. Perfect.” Old Neil chuckled and looked at the potion formula on the goatskin. “3 drops of poison hemlock. This isn’t something you should drink randomly. It can cause your entire body to numb to the point of death. In ancient times, it proved to be the best option for committing suicide.”
It’s not like I’m silly… Klein lampooned.
Old Neil changed pipettes and dripped the poison hemlock into the cauldron. The mixture caused a strange smell that freshened one’s mind.
“9 grams of dragon blood grass powder.” Old Neil took his time to reach his hand into the silver chest and pulled out a transparent test tube. There was some deep black powder inside.
He used a beaker and a scale to measure 9 grams of powder and poured it into the cauldron. He then stirred the mixture twice with the dark wood ladle. The laidback process to making the concoction made Klein a little worried.
“In fact, the materials from before were just supplemental. The exact amount doesn’t really affect the final outcome. Should I put a little bit more?” Old Neil made a joke. “The last two is what’s crucial. The amount can be slightly lowered, but it cannot be too far from the requirement, or your ‘enhancement’ can fail. Oh, the quantity cannot be any more, even just by a bit. If so, you will have to be treated for mental problems. It’s not impossible to die immediately.”
Klein immediately tensed up as he saw Old Neil pull out a black glass bottle from the silver chest.
“Lavos Squid’s blood, 10 milliliters. This kind of squid is considered an extraordinary biological species. It is clearly mutated. It is covered in mystery. Its blood will rapidly break down under sunlight and lose its unique qualities. It has to be stored in opaque material.” Old Neil’s tone no longer sounded relaxed. He quickly and carefully retrieved 10 milliliters of blood with a test tube.
The blood was blue like the sky. From time to time, it produced illusory bubbles as though it was connected to the spiritual world.
“After pouring the blood inside the test tube, the remaining drops are ignored as a form of precaution,” whispered Old Neil.
The moment the blue blood entered the cauldron and made contact with the liquid from before, it produced bubbling sounds. The surrounding light was dyed with a light blue tinge, making Klein feel a strange sense of distance but also familiarity.
It felt like the feeling of being in a mother’s womb. It elevated a human’s soul.
“The final item. Stellar Aqua crystal. 50 grams.” Old Neil’s voice sounded in Klein’s ears, jolting him awake as he looked at the table.
In the old gentleman’s hand was a piece of extremely pure crystal. Furthermore, the crystal appeared gelatinous, as though it was jelly from Earth. It lacked hardness.
Under the blue light’s illumination, it reflected bits of light as it seemed to contain a resplendent void of stars within.
“This is excellent material for the creation of divination crystals… Just a little less in consideration of any mistakes.” As Old Neil measured, he used a tiny patterned silver blade to extract the crystal.
“Pure water, night vanilla, gold mint leaves, poison hemlock juice, dragon blood grass, Lavos Squid blood, and Stellar Aqua crystal make up a Seer…” At that moment, Klein could not help but recall the formula.
With everything done, Old Neil poured in a few blocks of Stellar Aqua crystal into the cauldron.
Illusory fog instantly spewed forth, turning the alchemy room into a blur.
Klein seemed to see a vast array of stars amid the fog and felt like he was being observed by an invisible existence.
A few seconds later, the fog dissipated. Old Neil used the dark wood ladle and scooped out some sticky dark-blue liquid. It had strange characteristics—gooey and inseparable. Not one bit was left in the black cauldron.
The dark-blue liquid was poured into an opaque cup before Old Neil pointed at it.
“It’s done, your Seer potion.”