"It It's Hook! He gave us money to cause trouble at Mr. Herbert's place this afternoon!" the leader of the trio said with a slight stutter.
Kieran's sharp senses picked up something odd about Herbert when the name Hook was mentioned.
"What about him?" Kieran asked him.
"He's the right-hand man of Chief Officer Calkin!" Herbert said.
"The chief of police?" Kieran was stunned.
"No, no, no He is the leader of a smuggling organization, one of the gangsters around the station. I took a trip at Herl City once and came across him. We had some kind of conflict! After Pierre taught him a lesson though, he never dared cause me any trouble anymore," Herbert explained, shaking his head.
"So this could be Hook's much awaited chance to take revenge. Of course, it might also be about..."
Herbert did not finish his sentence, but Kieran knew what he was going to say.
It was about the expedition to Isogu City.
Someone wanted to stop Herbert from going, and from what Kieran had gathered, there were multiple factions with that same goal.
Compared to that street gangster though, Kieran was more concerned about the guardians, who had blown up Herbert's books and house.
"What happened during the explosion? How did you get out?" he asked Herbert.
"I was preparing the files for Isogu City, when suddenly a pain struck my neck and I passed out! I still have no idea who it was or what they looked like!" Herbert said with a bitter smile, guessing what Kieran wanted to ask.
"I'll go have a look!" Kieran pointed at the burning house.
The fire might have devoured all the tracks within the house, but there were still some tracks left outside.
Before Kieran went over, he did not forget his three captives. They were tied up tightly, but he still gave them a hard kick to knock them out again for Herbert's safety.
Herbert smiled in gratitude, and Kieran walked up to the burning house.
The fire was still burning hot, devouring anything that was left inside.
The first and second floor were completely burned. A giant hole that a horse wagon could pass through had formed on the study's wall.
"The explosion must have started here!"
Kieran looked at the busted pieces of wood outside the house and made an educated guess.
Meanwhile, he also confirmed that the explosion had not been caused by explosives. If it had, the house would not have burned so fiercely.
"There must be some kind of combustion aid around."
Kieran tried to sniff around for clues amid the burning smoke. After excluding gasoline and oil, he could not think of anything else. He looked down at the ground directly opposite the explosion point.
Although it was within the explosion's range, there were tracks even further than that.
Kieran activated his [Tracking] and saw a set of footprints before him.
The footprints were not complete. Each of them was only a half-print left on the ground. Kieran pictured the guardians moving on their tiptoes like cats.
He followed the footprints out to the garden. After about a hundred meters, they disappeared abruptly, as if they had never been there before.
Kieran frowned. He quickly searched around, using the area where the footprints disappeared as the center point of his search, but he found nothing.
No kind of movement would stop that abruptly, unless the culprit could fly or dig.
Even if they did though, there would still have been some traces left behind.
A wing's flapping or force of impact would have left a trace on the ground, and there would have been more obvious traces if the soil had been dug out.
If the culprit could fly or dig soundlessly, they would not have left any obvious traces at an 100-meter radius from Herbert's house.
There was only one possible explanation.
"They must have relied on some kind of special form of transportation, able to carry one or more men at once, not leave any obvious traces on the ground and make no noise. Could they have used some kind of mystical being?" Kieran guessed.
His mind instantly came up with a couple of mystical beings who fit that criteria.
Although technology was already advancing at an exponential rate in the dungeon world, it wasn't to the extent that one could invent a flying vehicle that could carry one or more men.
Plus, with the ancient city's guardians lurking around, Kieran leaned more towards the mystical way.
"The guardians could have some kind of mystical being So is the answer Isogu City's expedition?" Kieran mumbled to himself softly.
Then he took another careful look at his surroundings. After confirming that there were no stones left unturned, he returned to where Herbert was waiting.
"How was it?" Herbert asked while guarding the three captives.
"I found something odd!" Kieran briefly explained his findings, Herbert's eyes shining brightly.
"According to the legend, the guardians of Isogu City do have flying abilities! I never thought it would originate from a mystical being though!"
Herbert seemed to be quite familiar with mystical beings. He did not look as surprised as Kieran had anticipated.
Thanks to his expression, Kieran could confirm his theory.
As Kieran and Herbert discussed which type of mystical being had paid them a visit, three wagons dashed up to them. Dust was flying around the horses as they sprinted, making the wagons visible from afar.
"They were faster than I thought!" Kieran said in a strange tone, suddenly cutting the discussion short.
Thanks to his exceptional sight, he could see that the man on the first cart was wearing a uniform. Although the pattern was different than the previous ones, his identity was clear.
He was a policeman.
The two wagoners behind him were wearing normal clothes.
"Is that your students?" Kieran asked Herbert after giving a brief description of them.
"Yes! Harold, Cohen and Joanna!" Herbert said with a nod.
After a few minutes, the three wagons stopped in front of the house.
Two men and a woman got down from the last two wagons when the door was pushed open.
One of the men was tall and handsome, his fitting formal suit making his good figure stand out.
The second man was wearing a gunny shirt and bib pants. He was quite thin and short, and he had freckles on his face. He looked no older than a teenager.
The only woman among the three was wearing a white dress. She had delicate facial features and a lily on her head. She looked very graceful.
"Professor, are you alright?"
"What happened here?"
The three of them quickly walked over and asked about Professor Herbert's well-being.
Then the tall handsome guy turned around and looked at the police officer.
"Chief Calkin! I demand an explanation!" he said in an angry voice, addressing the middle-aged man who had just come down from the first wagon.
The other man and the woman also stared at the officer, sharing the same thought.
"I just got here myself. How could I explain when I know nothing yet? I need to talk with Mr. Herbert here before I can provide you with a reasonable explanation, alright? Are those the culprits? If you caught them, I have to congratulate you for your bravery, Mr. Herbert!"
The chief officer was a thin guy with an aquiline nose. His long, scrawny face seemed a little sinister, but his manner of speech was soft, as if he was a leaking wind box.
His soft words left the angry students speechless.
The three of them exchanged a glance before eventually turning their eyes to their professor.
Herbert redirected the attention to Kieran.
"Mind explaining the situation to Chief Officer Calkin here?" he said.
Kieran smiled and nodded as a notification popped up in his vision.
[Sub Mission Unlocked: The Troublesome Chief Officer]
[The Troublesome Chief Officer: Chief Officer Calkin has a bad reputation. Herbert does not like talking to a man like him, so he's hoping that you can explain the situation to Calkin on his behalf. Try your best to get more information out of Calkin. This will affect your relationship with Herbert, Harold, Cohen and Joanna!]
The Sub Mission made Kieran put up his poker face.
"So do you know Hook, Chief Officer?" Kieran asked directly as he walked up to Calkin.
Meanwhile, the [Half-Dead's Gaze] flashed on his right index finger.