When Lucien was transcribing the sentences, a scarlet line of words suddenly emerged on the white paper, as if blood was leaking out.
"Stop what you're doing now! Or you'll receive a body!"
The quill dropped on the ground. Lucien pretended that he was scared, "I was just… just trying to make some notes… in case I might forget some of your requests…"
"We don't see any necessity to take this ridiculous notes. This is your last chance, Mr. Evans. Keep taking similar actions if you're looking forward to a dead body. Let me remind you… Thanks to what you did, one more finger for you tomorrow." replied the kidnappers.
Of course, the fact that uncle Joel and auntie Alisa were hurt was very painful to Lucien, however, he couldn't let the feeling of guiltiness and pain affect his judgement too much. From the moment Lucien decided not to cooperate with the kidnappers, he knew that there must be a cost. What he could do was minimise the cost as much as possible.
"I'll behave." Lucien tore the used paper up.
"The kidnappers can see me. That's for sure." Lucien silently thought in his mind, "But how? Are they observing me through the letter, or with something else? I shall figure this out next, but not in a hurry, in case they will find out what I'm trying to do."
Putting the letter back in the crate, Lucien lay in his bed, pretending he was totally out, while trying to cover the whole shack with his spiritual power to sense if there was any supernatural power around. At this time, using spells to help with the detection might put him in big trouble, since Lucien knew that his current biggest advantage was that the heretics did not know he was actually a sorcerer.
Except for the letter in the crate, nothing supernatural was detected in the shack.
In the afternoon, Lucien came to Gesu district and found the house at no. 116, that Elena introduced to him.
The location was even better than Lucien thought. Located beside the city wall, the house was far away from the gate, and thus the place was very quiet and isolated. Only a few two-storey small houses were sitting a distance away from no. 116, almost fully shaded by the many tall trees named Rava.
Earlier, Lucien had made an appointment with the agent. Knocking at the gate, he waited in front of the iron fence.
Soon a middle-aged man walked out from no. 116 and opened the gate. His beard was well-trimmed and his brown suit was neatly ironed. The agent looked pretty shrewd.
"You must be Mr. Evans," The man greeted Lucien, "I'm Brian. It's very nice to meet you. Everyone in the Association is talking about you."
Lucien nodded and extended his right hand to shook hands with Brian. Brian took a step forward and held Lucien's right hand with his both hands, to show his respect. Facing such a promising young musician whose talent was already recognized by the grand duke and the princess, Brian, of course, would show his greatest esteem for Lucien.
"Please let me lead you into the house and take a look around, Mr. Evans." Brian slightly bowed.
Under Brian's guidance, Lucien walked throughout the house and found that although the size of the garden and the lawn were not big, inside the house the decoration style was very elegant and unique. Compared with the present luxurious "Tria Palace" trend in decoration, this house looked neat in a very tasteful way.
The only disadvantage of the house was that the tall trees and the city wall shaded most of the sunlight, and thus the place looked a bit gloomy especially with the vines covering the outside of the house.
"It's a very, very quiet place, with no bright sunlight disturbing your music creation work." Brian tried to persuade Lucien to see this as an advantage instead of something not ideal, although poor lighting was the only reason that they were having a hard time renting the house out.
Lucien did not mind the poor lighting at all, since this could provide him with a safer environment to conduct his magic experiments. So he nodded, "Do you have the lease agreement with you?"
Brian was very happy, trying hard to prevent his crafty smile from showing on his face. He took out a pile of papers and handed them to Lucien.
Taking a rough look at the lease agreement, Lucien signed his name on it and took out a Thale from his moneybag. Luckily, as a rather promising musician, Lucien did not have to pay any security deposit.
Brian quickly wrote the receipt and took care of the agreement, and then handed a copy back to Lucien.
"This is a house with a decent size, Mr. Evans. You'll need at least… a steward, four servants, a cook, a gardener, a coach and a coachman. I can find these people for you from other associations," offered Brian fawningly.
"I'm pretty busy recently, and I won't be moving in very soon. You can bring them here next Monday and let me have a look." Lucien agreed but postponed it for a week, since he did not want anything to disturb him from saving Joel and his family. This week would be the key time for him to save the hostages.
Brian handed the keys to Lucien and left briskly. Lucien was by himself standing in the living room, staring at the stairs to the second floor.
There were four bedrooms, a study, a music practicing room and a decent-sized patio on the second floor. On the ground floor, there was a living room, a dining room, four servant rooms, a storage room, and there was also a basement. The kitchen was isolated, connected with the house by a door on the left. And the sewers were well-built, linked to the whole sewer system of Aalto.
If the kidnapping had not happened, Lucien would feel very excited and proud that he finally moved into such a nice place. However, now the only thing Lucien felt was anger and anxiety.
After a while, Lucien went back to his shack. He brought some clothes with him and took them back to the new house.
He left his clothes in the master bedroom and walked into the practicing room, which was built with a special kind of stone to prevent the sound from disturbing other people, and at the same time, to create a nice reverberation effect.
He closed the door and the curtain. The whole room was very quiet. Except for his own footsteps, Lucien could hear nothing else.
Sitting in the rocking chair, Lucien rocked himself back and forth in the darkness. Spreading his spiritual power within the room, he was carefully sensing the surroundings.
He wondered how the heretics would observe him without the letter.
For quite a while, Lucien found nothing. His awareness gradually reached out to every corner of the room.
At that moment, Lucien finally sensed what he was looking for—a tiny disturbance wave caused by a supernatural power, and he heard something buzzing lightly.
He didn't open his eyes and pretended to be asleep while thinking to himself, "Aalto Tigorid Mosquito? Did they mark the mosquito with their fiend power or was it directly Transfiguration?"
Lucien's purpose was already achieved. Now he was sure that the heretics were using the letter for both communicating and monitoring. However, when Lucien was away from the letter, they needed to use other ways to trail him.
The letter did not mention anything special in the evening, but only reminded Lucien to bring the letter with him if he was moving out.
Staring at the the shades of the night, Lucien kept repeating the process of making Crying Soul in his mind, to get familiar with it. However, it was not the proper time to make the potion yet. Lucien still had to take care of several things first.
In the morning of the second day, when Lucien was about to go outside, he noticed that there was a ball of paper beneath the door.
His heart suddenly sank. Lucien knew what was in it.
Slowly opening the paper ball, Lucien saw three fingers—two were long but with heavy callus, and one was stubby. The fractured white bones were slightly reflecting the sunlight.
Lucien closed his eyes to hold back his tears and to hide the anger and hatred. When he opened his eyes again, he also noticed a small black ball wrapped in the paper, with a scarlet line of words beside.
"That's what you wanted, Mr. Evans."