Kieran put on a surprised expression, although he was very calm inside.
When that Evan guy had displayed such immense influence all over the city, Kieran had narrowed down his guesses to a couple of candidates, and Duke Wayne had been one of the suspects.
His family had a powerful reputation in the city, but Kieran did not have enough proof.
Now he didnt need it anymore, though.
"So this is the citys greatest detective!"
Duke Wayne noticed the surprise on Kierans face and his mockery became even heavier.
"I thought you might need a whole week to help me find what Im looking for!" he said lightly.
There was no doubt that Duke Wayne was already treating the treasure of the Church of Dawn as his own.
"As a reward, I bet youd want to see your old friend."
Without waiting for a reply, Duke Wayne clapped his hands.
At once, Chief John was pushed out of the crowd, his hands tied and his mouth stuffed as he wobbly reached Kierans side.
There were clear marks of wounds on his body, made by whips and daggers. John was still bleeding.
However, Kieran was relieved not to be seeing his dead body.
"John, are you okay?"
Kieran helped him by removing the rug from his mouth and untying the bindings on his hands.
"Im fine!" John replied with a bitter, dark smile. The realization that the enemy was too powerful for him had caused him a mental breakdown.
Of course, most of his sorrow was directed at himself for not realizing that the man behind everything had been Duke Wayne. His integrity as a Chief Officer had taken a hard hit.
Duke Wayne, on the other hand, did not stop Kieran from untying John. He just stood there and watched them talk.
After two minutes, he opened his mouth again.
"Detective Kieran, it seems to me that youre satisfied with your reward!"
While Duke Wayne mocked Kieran, his men surrounded him and John, holding their guns up and pointing at them. The two-meter tall fellow walked over to Kieran and searched him for the notebook.
Kieran raised his hands, making the smile on the dukes face even wider.
He was happy with Kierans cooperation, and he thought that Kieran deserved to know more as a reward for his investigation.
"Swarko and Lushan were already one step ahead of you, Detective. The ally you chose was not as loyal as you think they were. But worry not, I will make them pay as well. After all, they were mere crooks who did everything wrong. Especially after that infuriating incident..."
Duke Wayne could not help it anymore. He laughed out loud when he saw Kierans face turn dark. When he was done laughing, he continued slowly, "The assault at St. Paolo School!"
"You cannot do this-"
"Of course I can! I can do anything I want in this city!" Duke Wayne said in a cold sharp tone, interrupting Kieran.
Kieran looked even more worried and upset, which made Duke Wayne laugh at him again.
"You are blinded by your own greed as well. What right do you have to take such an expression? Control that fake empathy of yours, you have a much more important task to do! Pathfinder, a title well-suited for you and Chief John here!"
Duke Wayne did not care about the guns and daggers pointed at Kieran. He just took the notebook that the tall fellow had gotten from Kieran and flipped through it. After confirming that the information in it was about the Church of Dawn, but it did not provide any way to proceed, he gave an order to his men.
The fake Swarko and Lushan had gone down the sewer before Kieran, so Duke Wayne had no time left to go through the information in the notebook. He was still confident that he was in control of everything, though, just as always.
As for why he had not sent his men after Swarko and Lushan first?
Duke Wayne believed that Kieran was a smart person, and he would not tell those two idiots anything.
Those two thought that they had known everything, but actually theyd been misled and eventually become pawn pathfinders.
Duke Wayne admired Kieran, and he had tasked him and John with the same thing.
Everything had gone as planned. It was quite interesting, actually.
Duke Wayne looked at Kierans ugly expression and laughed once more.
His laugh was soft and elegant.
The sewer cap was opened again, and Duke Wayne sent three of his men down. After they confirmed the coast was clear, Kieran and John were forced down together with the two-meter tall fellow while Duke Wayne followed behind them.
Out of the twelve men, eight of them lit up kerosene lamps and shed light into the underground sewer while the remaining three surrounded Duke Wayne.
The two-meter tall fellow was standing behind Kieran and John.
"This is Troot, my best man. He has saved my life countless times in the past. He likes to tear his enemies in half. I assure you that you do not want to get on his bad side and feel his wrath!"
Amid his mens protection, Duke Wayne looked calm.
The giant named Troot followed Duke Wayne with a vicious smile. Under the pressure of dozens of guns being pointed at them, John and Kieran were filled with fear.
John wanted to say something, but Kieran stopped him. He mumbled something to him, and John sighed instead.
Chief John was neither stupid nor stubborn. He knew what would happen if he tried to resist or make a move. The gunners around them would not mind teaching him a lesson or two.
They didnt need to aim for his vital parts. Just his limbs would cause him enough suffering.
Johns integrity was to blame for his anger.
It was the difference between his ideals and reality that made John suffer mentally, even more so when he had to compromise.
As Kieran looked at Johns expression, he felt helpless as well.
Not at the situation they were facing. That was under his control. No, it was the fact that he could not talk out loud with John.
Kieran really wanted to inform John of his plans, but his common sense told him that he should not.
"Lets go." Kieran assisted John and together they walked forward into the sewer.
Duke Wayne clapped when he saw them.
"I like to work with smart people!" he said as he signaled for his men to move as well.
In an instant, all his men except for Troot got in a special formation, placing Duke Wayne in the middle of their protection and watching for movement all around them.
Protecting Duke Wayne was their main task. Every single one of them was expressionless and machine-like, their eyes blank, without any light, as if they were the walking dead.
Real men of sacrifice.
When they watched the scene, Kieran and John looked at each other, reading the answer in each others eyes.
Kieran had heard from Guntherson about the men of sacrifice. He just hadnt expected to encounter them so soon.
"If you come across any men of sacrifice, dont bother tangling with them. They care only about carrying out their given task, even if they have to die in the process!"
Gunthersons words lingered in Kierans ears, but he had no intention of changing his plans.
When hed been thinking up his plan, he had already anticipated the worst outcome, and that wasnt the appearance of men of sacrifice.
Quite the contrary, their appearance was a better outcome than expected.
Fortunately, although John was wounded, he was not crippled by any means. Kieran knew why Duke Wayne hadnt hurt him that much. It was because he had no intention of keeping the two of them alive after he found the treasure. They would definitely get killed.
Actually, Kieran had kind of the same plan. When the treasure was "found", it would mean the end of Duke Wayne and his men.
He helped John up and walked further up front.
An awful stench bombarded their sense of smell. Beneath their feet there was a slimy sensation, as if they had stepped on something.
The sewer was actually half-abandoned. Had it been in full use, the situation would have been ten times worse.
Kieran and John were walking inside the sewer along with the men of sacrifice, who maintained the same blank expression. Duke Wayne had covered his face with a handkerchief that seemed to have appeared out of nowhere. He obviously couldnt stand the smell.
Troot was not overly fond of it either.
From time to time, there was some chit-chat behind Kieran and John. Kieran could not tell what they were talking about, but it was definitely nothing good.
The group ventured inside the sewer under those conditions for almost an hour. The stench had gotten much more worse.
Kierans sense of smell was already numb. It was the first time he had ever felt that having such a heightened sense of smell was not a good thing.
He wasnt about to complain, though. The trap that he had set up for his enemies was very close.