"It was eliminated?" Kieran was struck by shock.
"They were torn down to their roots by the Cursed Society! This was the first battle of the Cursed Society when they reached the West Coast. The scene at the time was unbearable. The Cursed Five's spell-casting powers had shocked a lot of mystical individuals, but they were all wiped out by you!" Schmidt nodded with an odd expression on his face.
He gazed at Kieran out of the corner of his eyes, as if he was wondering how Kieran had done it.
"Our lead is gone! And you, my friend, are not some flower girl. Please don't look at me with such a disgusted expression. It makes me feel like some perverted uncle who molests little girls!" Kieran said in frustration before he looked at Schmidt and raised his brow.
"You are saying I should put on a new coat?" Schmidt answered jokingly.
Kieran rolled his eyes at his lousy joke.
"If I opened a dojo to teach young girls self-defense, the first move I'd show them would be the 'Nutcracker'!" he said.
"I believe your dojo would be bursting with students! It would be the dojo of the famous 'Bird of Death' after all!" Schmidt said in a mocking tone.
Bird of Death?
Elli had mentioned those same words before. "The Raven", "Ominous Bird" and "Bird of Death". Each and every one of them had confused Kieran.
At first, Kieran had thought it was a sarcastic comment because of [Crow's Black Feather], but when Schmidt mentioned it, he realized that was not the case.
"What 'Bird of Death'?" Kieran asked straightforwardly.
"You haven't heard? Before Rei disappeared, she made a prophecy about you! Assistant o' assistant with the form of a raven, ominously befallen. Bird of Death with a body of chaos and a heart of light, he who will reign the land with a kingsly might." Schmidt looked at Kieran with a bedazzled expression.
He must have been somewhere completely separated from this world. Otherwise, how could he not have heard of the prophecy that had taken the whole West Coast by storm?
Schmidt had also been hearing quite a lot of rumours about Kieran during the past two years.
He had heard that he had assassinated a king, started a coup d'etat, accompanied a scholar on an archeological mission and fought legendary monsters.
Kieran's resume made him sound like a protagonist of a fiction novel.
Another emergency brake. Fortunately, Schmidt had been holding onto the passenger seat handle above the window after his previous tragic experience.
"2567, you are not a new driver anymore! Stop acting like one!"
Schmidt looked at Kieran in dissatisfaction.
Kieran felt embarrassed under his gaze, not because of the sudden brake, but because of Nikorei's prophecy.
It was too embarrassing for him and his character!
He felt goosebumps all over his body. His embarrassment was burning hot in his head. He was almost certain that Nikorei had done it on purpose. He knew her too well.
"Rei must have drunk a little too much to produce such a prophecy. What the" Kieran searched for the right word to describe the prophecy for quite a while. "This is so messed up!"
"Messed up? No, no, no! Your actions prove that you are the Raven, the Ominous Bird, and the Bird of Death in Rei's prophecy! I can already picture the breaking news tomorrow! 'Death follows the Ominous Bird', 'The Bird of Death brought death back as promised', "The King will reign'...! Trust me, with Rei being mentioned in the news every day, they will not spare any praise for you!" Schmidt said in an excited tone, shaking his head in disbelief. He seemed to have brightened up.
"Stop! What we need to do right now is collect my rewards and head towards the recovery center outside the city to investigate!"
Kieran stopped Schmidt, who seemed eager to linger on the topic that embarrassed him to no end.
He sped up the car and drove towards the Fiery Hounds' meeting point.
However, on their way there, a question popped up in Kieran's mind that he could not suppress.
"Rei foresaw my return?"
Kieran believed that Nikorei deserved her reputation as the strongest shaman on the West Coast, but not to the extent that she could foresee the future. That sounded a little ridiculous!
"Rei would have been the world's strongest shaman, if it was not for a couple of accidents."
Kieran suddenly recalled what Simones had told him before.
"The world's strongest shaman? Then how powerful could that "Thing" Rei is dealing with be, if she had to unite the five major societies in order to take care of it?"
Kieran's curiosity about that "Thing" grew even stronger.
What was that "Thing"?
As he thought about that burning question, the Picard kept driving straight towards the Fiery Hounds' meeting point.
It was a two-storey building with a garden. No one was there this time around though.
The Fiery Hounds' rear guards saw Kieran and dashed out immediately. They were easily suppressed by him. They were just some common natives with minimal training after all.
Schmidt followed Kieran as he started to load the evidence into the car.
Unlike the Cursed Society's headquarters, where the evidence had been books and ingredients, the evidence there was mostly currency and jewellery. There were only two books related to [Mystical Knowledge], and the ingredients they found were also basic ones.
"They ventured into the mystic realm without magical items?"
Kieran recalled the thugs that had used magical weapons against his during their previous fights.
According to Nikorei's description, these people were not truly mystical individuals.
This did not stop Kieran from abiding by mystic rules though and claiming his rewards.
After all, in Kieran's eyes, the Fiery Hounds were a mystical society not that different from the Muller Society.
At the Muller Society's meeting point, the evidence had been more direct than the Fiery Hounds', where they had found only money and jewellery.
Kieran moved the box of jewellery, which would have required at least two grown men to be carried to the Picard. When the box hit the trunk, the whole car shook. Schmidt looked in awe of Kieran.
"How good are these people at accumulating illegal wealth?"
Schmidt knew what was in the box Kieran had carried. Some of that jewelry was worth more money than he could possibly earn during the rest of his life.
"The market demand is huge!" Kieran told Schmidt.
Kieran's gaze flashed over with a sense of respect for Schmidt. He could see that Schmidt did not feel any jealousy or admiration for him. He was just in awe.
The world was always in need of men with pure intentions. They were the very people who made the world a better place.
Kieran could not help but laugh when he saw Schmidt cursing the high-ranking figures that were aiding those illegal acts.
"Let's go to the recovery center outside the city! I am sure Simones has prepared dinner already!"
Kieran started the Picard with a sigh.
"If you don't mind, there's a fast food chain nearby. Its fries and burgers are not bad! My treat!" Schmidt said.
Kieran replied to his generous offer with two simple words.
Kieran had no comment on the taste of the burgers and the fries. Their names said it all.
Other than the place's speed and convenience, there was nothing else noteworthy about it. Kieran still took his time though.
He could even digest a rock if a sprinkle of salt was added to it to make it tasty. Any food he could put in his mouth was tasty enough for him.
"Am I eating the wrong way?" Schmidt unconsciously mimicked Kieran when he saw him munching off half of his burger in one bite and finishing the whole thing on the second one.
Schmidt choked on his food. He only felt alive again when he downed half a glass of his soft drink.
Schmidt wanted to rant when he was done drinking, but when he saw Kieran's serious expression, he kept his mouth shut and followed his gaze.
His jaw dropped when he saw what Kieran had seen.
A couple of buildings outside were covered by a thin layer of mist. The mist reminded them of a graveyard during the night.
However, there was still a ray of sunlight lingering around. They were not in front of a graveyard.
That was the recovery center.
The recovery center scene felt like a horror movie...