Kieran did not make his move right away, even though he was worried about Herbert.
He saw the three men turn pale from shock, panicking over the sudden explosion.
This was like luring a tiger out of its den!
The tactical strategy instantly popped up in Kierans mind.
"These three fellas seem to be worth more than they look. Maybe things haven't gone south completely yet!"
Kierans heart beat fast as he hurled the spear in his hand at the thick rope.
The three men shouted out in shock as they fell. Kieran caught them easily and quickly walked up the stairs.
His Strength had reached B-, so he could carry even more weight and sprint without a problem.
The only concerning matter was his Stamina consumption.
The underground door was smashed off by his spear, flying straight towards the burning wall opposite it.
A heatwave assaulted them instantly. The three men started struggling because of the sudden heat, but Kieran did not feel anything.
The burning heatwave before him was like a small breeze caressing his face. Even if he put his palm over the fire, he would not get hurt.
[Secondary Elemental Damage Resistance] was much more useful than it sounded.
Kieran scanned the dancing flames.
Common sense told him that there would not be any more ambushes, but special circumstances could not be predicted by common sense.
After a couple of dungeons, Kierans common sense had been replaced by vigilance.
"Theres no one inside the building or outside it!"
Finally, after a few seconds of scanning the area, Kieran was certain that it was safe. Doubts quickly started filling his mind again though.
The situation before him was the perfect chance for an ambush, but he had no time to spare while flames burned through the walls.
Although [Secondary Elemental Damage Resistance] granted him immunity against fire, if the structure collapsed, he would still suffer significant damage.
Kieran grabbed the trio, who had passed out again because of the heatwave, and dashed up the stairs and right through the window.
He broke the window and landed safely on his feet.
He was shocked to see Herbert lying on the ground unconscious.
"Huh? Whats going on?" Kieran was stunned.
Herbert had unexpectedly appeared outside the premises.
Kieran had thought that the mens boss would kidnap Herbert in exchange for the trio. He had even come up with a strategy to deal with the kidnappers.
However, he was proven wrong when he saw Herbert before him.
"If the culprit was not here for these three or for Herbert, then what did they come for?"
Kieran checked on Herbert. He was fine. He had just passed out. Then he turned around and watched the house being swallowed by flames.
Suddenly, a light bulb went on in his brain.
"It must be two different groups of people! The arsonist must have had nothing to do with these three! These men didnt mind hurting Herbert, but the person who caused the explosion had no intention of harming him. Otherwise, I would be looking at Herberts ashes right now! That explains why there was no ambush either!"
Kieran answered his own questions, but his brow was still furrowed. He was frowning even harder.
"The expedition to Isogu City hasnt even started yet, and theres at least two groups of people who want to stop Herbert from going. What secret does Isogu City hide?" Kieran thought.
Then he shook Herberts shoulder lightly to wake him up. After a few shakes, the old scholar woke up.
The first thing he saw was his burning house.
"Oh my god! It seems like Ill have to break my promise I wont be letting you read in my study!" he told Kieran calmly in a slightly amused tone.
He was not shocked at all. He was not even angry about it.
Kieran was stunned.
"Herbert, are you sure youre fine?" he asked worriedly.
Anyone could lose their mind if they went through tremendous trauma. Kieran had heard of it before, but he had never seen it with his own eyes.
The similarity between those symptoms and the ones Herbert was exhibiting was uncanny.
"Of course! My books might be burned to ashes, my notes might be destroyed, but everything is still safe inside my head! Everything that has happened has only confirmed my theories!" Herbert pointed at his head as he smirked.
"What theories?" Kieran looked at Herbert, whose smirk turned into a delighted, excited smile.
It seemed like there was no reason to be worried after all.
"The guardians! The guardians of Isogu City! The legend says that whenever someone gets close to discovering the secrets of Isogu City, the guardians appear and bury the secrets again! The real secrets are not about gold, of course!" Herbert said, sounding even more excited than before.
Kieran was glad that he was well.
"Bury the secrets once more? What about you then?"
Kieran looked at Herbert.
What better person to keep a secret than a dead man?
Most people knew the answer to that question.
It seemed like those guardians were capable of killing.
"Youre wondering why the guardians did not kill me? The legendary guardians are no executioners. They will give out a warning before they actually kill someone!" Herbert said.
"Sounds very... polite of them?" Kieran said with a frown. He could not understand why they would go that extra mile.
"Thats why Isogu City is so alluring! Its also why I needed bodyguards with real strength!" Herbert mumbled stubbornly as he gazed away with misty eyes.
What Kieran saw that moment was not a scholar, but a fanatic.
He cleared his thoughts and turned his attention back to the trio.
He could not understand the guardians gentlemanly actions, but he understood that Herberts enthusiasm for Isogu City was an obsession.
He understood that, just as he understood that he needed to speed up his interrogation.
Even though Herbert lived quite far from the city, a burning house would attract other peoples attention.
The police would arrive soon.
Kieran pushed the trio with his toes.
The three of them immediately woke up from their unconscious state with a shocked cry.
They looked at the burning house in panic, like little lambs looking at a hungry wolf. That expression did not match their tough image at all.
"Look at this! Your employer is really something! Not only is he ruthless, but his methods are quite extreme too! Think about it. If I had not taken you guys underground, what would have happened to you in the house? You would have been blasted to pieces or burned to ashes!" Kieran said in a serious tone.
The three of them grew even more anxious after hearing his words. Their panic made them almost stop thinking.
Their employer had just wanted to kill a witness.
"So you still want to keep his secret? Before, you guys were just blackmailers! Even if the police caught you, you would only spend a few nights at the station. Now though? He wants your lives! Dont you understand? Herbert is a witness, so that guy will have nowhere to run! You guys will only be truly safe when hes caught!"
Kieran opened his mouth again after a quick glance at their panicked faces.
They were on the verge of breaking down.
Just as hed expected, after another round of talking, the leader of the group opened up.