Beside the wall of the chamber, there was an oil painting that was half a man’s height.
The painting had brilliant green lands and a white round table with people having a meal around it. Even Kieran, who never received any kind of professional education about paintings, could tell through the strokes how happy the painted figures were.
No doubt, it was a great piece of art.
“What’s wrong, 2567?” Mary asked softly.
“Change the room of your father right away,” said Kieran before heading towards the painting.
Mary was slightly confused but she followed what Kieran said by calling the royal maids to move King James VIII out of the room on a soft mattress.
After the move, the young princess returned to the room and saw Kieran removing the painting from the wall.
“There’s something wrong with the painting?” Mary wasn’t an idiot. Kieran’s action was enough to tell her what she needed to know.
“Um. It’s poison.” Kieran nodded.
“Warren Palace might not have some powerhouse that could rival an entire army, but its hundreds of years of experience allows it to have the strictest procedures in filtering abnormalities. Aside from poison, even some unknown secret techniques shouldn’t be able to pass through the security here.” Duke Zilin shook his head with an inconceivable look on his face.
“That is why these guys used some very smart means.”
Kieran turned over the painting and revealed some mouldy spots on the canvas.
“The painting itself is fine but once mouldy, some of the paint material will release poisonous matter into the air, especially this kind of Scheele’s Green with its heavy composition of arsenide. Am I right, Perry Kaner?” Kieran then looked outside the door.
A figure emerged from the shadows as he spoke.
“I never really thought that you would be a master of poisons.”
Shock flashed over the shallow gray eyes of the Viper Sect leader.
She wasn’t surprised that she had been discovered, but she was rather shocked at how well Kieran knew the poison.
Even when it came to herself, after sniffing that special smell, her body would feel slightly numb before she reacted to the poison. And Kieran?
It was obvious that he noticed it the moment he sniffed it.
Despite her unwillingness to give in, Perry Kaner didn’t argue on the topic. She instead glanced at Duke Zilin, who felt like he met his greatest foe, and smiled.
“I am not a hostile person. Just look at Sir 2567 and our little princess here, their reactions are what they’re supposed to be.”
Perry Kaner then looked at Kieran again after glancing at the young duke.
“The one who placed the painting—no, the one who sprayed water on the painting—have you caught him?” Kieran asked.
“Unfortunately, no. Although I really wanted to acquire more leverage before discussing a collaboration with you, that culprit was killed the moment I arrived—the killing method was very professional, no traces left behind or any kind of smell. I had no choice but to appear before you.”
Perry Kaner then laid down the flying daggers at her waist and the short knives beside her feet, expressing that she was unarmed and now harmless.
“Collaboration? The last time we worked together, it was less than pleasant,” said Kieran.
“I can make it up to you. Aren’t you looking for Viper Sect’s secret technique? Or do you think my limbs might obstruct you in some way? Take any one of them or all of them, I don’t mind. Or do you think my face is loathsome? Destroy it as you like, I won’t resist,” said Perry Kaner calmly.
She sounded as if she wasn’t referring to herself when saying all of this but someone else. The contents of her words could strike chills absent of actual coldness in people’s hearts.
The young duke frowned, not knowing what happened to cause Perry Kaner to make such a resolute decision.
Also frowning was the young princess, as she had some inkling but didn’t ask further, passing everything to Kieran instead.
“Including your life?”
Kieran’s tone was even duller, colder than Perry Kaner’s. It shook her for a while even though she was holding up strongly. However, when she thought about the current situation, the Viper Sect leader was left with no choice, thus she nodded.
“Yes. If you… no matter if you agree to work together or not, the moment I decided to appear in front of you, I was ready to show my absolute resolution. Some of the remaining Viper Sect bastards, whom I thought were dead, yet are still alive, assaulted us. Other than me, no one walked out alive.”
Perry Kaner swiftly pushed away her original words and spoke even faster with a more inferior tone.
“Remaining Viper Sects?” Kieran squinted his eyes.
Of course, it wasn’t because of Perry Kaner’s words but because—sub mission!
The moment Perry Kaner spoke, the system notification came.
[Discovered sub-mission: Remaining Viper Sect]
[Remaining Viper Sect: The Viper Sect that Folly once destroyed didn’t only leave behind Perry Kaner and her branch. There was another unknown branch that survived too and their reappearance has brought death and destruction to Perry Kaner’s side. Now, the leader of Viper Sect seeks help, and your decision will be very important…]
From the moment the sub-mission appeared, Kieran never planned to give it up.
He inspected Perry Kaner again. His eyes made Perry Kaner’s heart skip a beat but no longer tremble anymore.
What else would she be afraid of if she no longer even feared death?
With an honest and frank gaze, Perry Kaner returned her resoluteness to Kieran.
Kieran then walked out of the chamber.
He, of course, wouldn’t believe Perry Kaner solely based on her words, even judging from the sub-mission. He knew she wasn’t lying, but who knew what else was she hiding?
Fortunately, Kieran was never lacking in candidates to test the waters.
Sharing the same vision as Fire Raven, Kieran saw two people appear in front of the palace.
“We have visitors. Duke Zilin, can you welcome them on my behalf?” said Kieran.
“Sure. But what about you?” the young duke asked after nodding.
“I want to have a look at the culprit who got killed,” said Kieran before turning to Perry Kaner. “Lead the way.”
Perry Kaner didn’t feel disgusted at Kieran’s order. Quite the opposite, as she was more surprised that Kieran didn’t reject her.
Although he didn’t say yes right away, as long as he didn’t reject her either, she still had hope.
To Perry Kaner, that last hope was also the last straw she had in order to save her own life, so she would hold onto it till her last breath.
Her attitude towards Kieran instantly took a drastic change.
“Sir 2567, please allow me to be frank. There aren’t really any valuable leads on the man. The killer is a professional, whether it is in killing or erasing traces,” Perry Kaner suggested softly while leading the way.
Kieran shook his head as he followed. “Wherever one walks, there are traces.”
Mary, who also followed, said in a less courteous way, “You might not have been able to find something but it doesn’t mean 2567 won’t find anything either.”