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Published at 26th of May 2023 07:23:49 AM


Chapter 155: 155 Jenna

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155 Jenna


The circumstances of Wilson’s rapid recovery were riddled with uncertainty. Lumian toyed with the idea that it was the work of a Sequence 8 “Doctor” from the Planter pathway, or a Sequence 9 “Apothecary” from its namesake pathway. Yet, his heart clung to the hope of unmasking Madame Pualis and her subordinates.

Had he pieced together the puzzle sooner, and had Wilson and his crew not gone far off into the distance, Lumian would have thrown himself from the moving public carriage, hot on their trail. He envisioned wrangling Wilson into some clandestine quarry cave, pressing him for answers about his miraculous recuperation.

If this saga bore no link to the evil god that Madame Pualis revered, Lumian was prepared to swallow his pride and apologize to Wilson, who, in turn, would owe Lumian his life for not permanently silencing him.

But, to snuff him out was also on the table. The ball was in Lumian’s court.

As the carriage came to a halt at its station, Lumian was the first to alight, retracing his steps to the alley where Wilson and his crew had disappeared.

No barricades existed here. It was a bustling place, with people constantly coming and going. Wilson and his gang hadn’t left any clear trail. Lumian devoted a painstaking quarter of an hour to trying to discern any signs of them, finally admitting defeat.

But he wasn’t beaten down. Wilson may have slipped through his fingers, but there were others like Will or Williamson. The Poison Spur Mob was a hydra of sorts, with a plethora of leaders just a notch above Wilson. Each had their own turf, their own dealings. They could run, but they couldn’t hide. Lumian just needed patience. Sooner or later, he’d cross paths with one or two of them. And they, undoubtedly, were more intimately involved with the shadowy forces pulling the strings behind the Poison Spur Mob than Wilson. They knew more!

Phew… Exhaling a deep breath, Lumian wrestled his impatience into submission, deciding to lay low and watch for a while before concocting a hunting strategy.

If the Poison Spur Mob truly was entwined with the evil god that Madame Pualis worshiped, then the leaders on par with Margot were either Sequence 8s, endowed with Beyonder characteristics, or they were spawn of an evil god, gifted with boons akin to a Sequence 8 Beyonder. They could even be stronger. If Lumian didn’t arm himself with enough intel and set an appropriate snare, he was likely to end up on the losing side.

I can’t forget I’m a Hunter, just because I’ve become a Provoker. Chiding himself, Lumian slipped down Avenue du Marché and strolled into the Salle de Bal Brise.

Given it was barely past three in the afternoon, the place was practically deserted. No music played, no one danced. His eyes immediately found Louis, the thug, nursing a glass of pomegranate ale at the bar counter.

 

“Soda?” Lumian grinned, sauntering over. “How about drinking something an adult would drink?”
Louis swiveled, meeting Ciel’s amiable smile draped over the bar counter.

The sight left him momentarily stunned, as if he couldn’t quite place the young man before him.

Was this the same Ciel who masked his wild ruthlessness behind a constant grin, one who’d resort to violence over the slightest disagreement?

He seemed more like a greenhorn, a naïve country boy who had just been roped into the Savoie Mob.

Louis gave his soda a wistful swirl, a bitter smile tugging at his lips.

“I’ve got to be at the baron’s side later. Can’t afford to get sloshed.”

Lumian’s eyes flicked to the bruised knot on Louis’ forehead, a chuckle bubbling up. He pointed at his forehead, commenting, “Still nursing that bump? How long’s it been?

“I ran into Wilson earlier. After I broke his arm and tossed him from the fourth floor, you’d think he’d be worse for wear. But he looked perfectly fine.”

Louis was taken aback.

“Seems so, at least on the surface. Wanted to say hello, but he hightailed it out of there too fast.” Lumian’s tone carried a hint of regret.

Say hello? More like you want to rough up Wilson again and not even give the guy a chance to heal, Louis thought, but he didn’t dare voice it.

His face took on a grave cast as he muttered to himself, “When we clashed with the Poison Spur Mob in the past, their wounded always bounced back in just a few days. The baron thinks they’ve got some Beyonders with a knack for healing. But for someone like Wilson to recover so rapidly from such serious injuries… that’s unheard of.”

“Could it be because you guys have never managed to put a serious dent in any of the Poison Spur Mob members?” Lumian’s voice was laced with mockery.

Louis pondered, then conceded, “There have been a few, but not many. Plus, we usually don’t see them again for a good long while. By then, they’re all healed up.”

So, Wilson’s recovery outpaces even Doctor and Apothecary Beyonder powers? Lumian managed to glean a crucial tidbit from Louis’s words.

Although it could point to a higher Sequence Beyonder on the corresponding pathway, it at least narrowed down some possibilities for him.

Just as Lumian was gearing up to probe the progress on gathering concoction ingredients, a stunning figure swept into the room.

A woman, ostentatiously attired, with her chestnut hair tied up, loose tendrils framing her ears, cheeks, and falling down her back.

Her face was dusted with powder, black eyeliner accentuating her blue eyes, lending them a deep, decadent allure.

At present, she was decked out in a bold red dress that left little to the imagination, sequins catching the light at strategic spots.

Isn’t this the chanteuse known for her bawdy songs at the Poison Spur Mob’s Salle de Gristmill? Lumian did a double take.

This was the Savoie Mob’s Salle de Bal Brise!

Still, Lumian couldn’t be entirely sure if it was the same woman. The singer had a mole by her lips, while this woman sported one at the corner of her left eye.

“Catching your eye, is she? That ‘Little Minx’?” Louis followed Lumian’s gaze.

Lumian chuckled. “How about we use a more respectful moniker? Manners matter.”

“You sound just like the baron sometimes,” Louis mused. “Her stage name is ‘Little Minx’, ‘Little Minx’ Jenna. She’s known as a ‘Showy Diva’.”

“And what exactly is a ‘Showy Diva’?” Lumian didn’t attempt to cover up his ignorance. After all, he was a newcomer to Trier, straight out of a backwater like Cordu.

Louis took a moment to recall the baron’s words and then delivered smoothly, “It’s all about her performance style, her acting, her flamboyant outfits. She’s a standout singer.”

She’s a chanteuse too? Lumian probed, “She performs at the Salle de Gristmill as well?”

“Sure does. As long as she’s getting paid, she’ll belt out tunes in any dance hall on Rue Anarchie.” As Louis spoke, “Little Minx” Jenna sauntered over.

Her blue eyes roamed the room, lingering on Lumian before moving to Louis.

“Ten songs, four verl d’or. I’ll keep a third of the tips thrown on stage.”

“Deal.” Louis had the baron’s approval.

Only 4 verl d’or for a night’s performance? Lumian found himself questioning. Had he overpaid Osta Trul?

In unfamiliar territory, he was woefully out of touch with the going rates.

Spotting his lingering gaze, Jenna swiveled her head, flashing him a grin.

“Feel free to let your eyes wander a bit lower.”

She was referencing her scantily clad chest.

For Lumian, whose only exposure to such scenarios was through novels, this was uncharted territory. Yet, his face betrayed no unease. Flashing a smile, he said,

“I was merely wondering. The last time I spotted you, your mole was by your lips. Now it’s nestled by your eye.”

Jenna’s reply came in the form of a captivating smile, which made Louis swallow hard.

“Are you from out of town?” Jenna queried.

Lumian bobbed his head in affirmation.

With a playful grin, Jenna leaned in, a finger tracing her cheek as she softly elucidated,

“It’s all the rage here in Trier. Ladies often sport a faux mole. Right in the middle of the cheek for elegance, smack in the middle of the nose for audacity, at the corners of the eyes for passion, by the lips for allure, and nestled in the décolletage for secrets…”

As she spoke, she sent Lumian a saucy wink, as if to say, “Today, I’m all about passion.”

Ah, Trier… Lumian could only shake his head in amazement.

Given their proximity, the intoxicating blend of Jenna’s natural scent and the heady perfume she wore invaded his senses.

This led Lumian to instinctively rub his nose.

Jenna’s reaction was immediate.

“Don’t tell me you still have your virginity? I’m not a street girl, but for you, I might make an exception.”

She took a moment to appraise Lumian, seemingly pleased with what she saw.

Virginity? Something that magically returns every morning at 6 a.m.? Lumian scoffed inwardly, his smile nonchalant.

“Right now? I’m afraid you might miss your performance tonight.”

Back at the Ol’ Tavern in Cordu Village, Lumian often had to match the locals in their coarseness, else he’d become the butt of their jokes.

Jenna’s response was a hearty laugh and a dismissive wave of her hand.

“I’ll find you after my set tonight.”

With that, she sauntered off towards the modest wooden stage at the front of the dance floor, keen to get a feel for the place.

Isn’t she jumping the gun a bit? Where’s the agreement on a time and place? Lumian mused to himself.

She was clearly just yanking his chain!

Louis chimed in, a tinge of envy coloring his voice, “Don’t fall for her act. She gets a kick out of toying with good-looking men. She won’t actually follow through.

“I reckon she’s Franca’s sweetheart.”

“Franca, ‘Red Boots’ Franca?” Lumian’s surprise was palpable.

“Red Boots” Franca was a key figure in the Savoie Mob, ruling over Rue des Blouses Blanches, and rumored to be a woman.

“Exactly,” Louis affirmed. “Franca appears to be the Boss’s mistress, but she seems to swing both ways. She and ‘Little Minx’ are thick as thieves.”

A lover’s lover… Lumian once again marveled at the peculiarities of Trier.

Louis watched Jenna, now swaying gracefully on the stage, a look of longing etched on his face.

“She wasn’t this mesmerizing when she first arrived in the market district. Over the past couple of years, she’s become more adept at presentation, more feminine. What a shame…”

“If you manage to climb the ranks and stand toe to toe with Red Boots, you might have a shot,” Lumian teased, stoking Louis’s ambition. He then shifted gears, “Any luck tracking down those three items I needed?”

Louis tore his gaze away from Jenna to respond, “I was just about to tell you, we’ve managed to gather them all.”

“That quick?” Lumian was taken aback by the Savoie Mob’s efficiency.

Why not start a factory? Why stick with the mob life?

Louis elaborated, “‘Rat’ Christo keeps a variety of critters, some rare, some less so. Some we could take off his hands for the right price. That’s how we got the lizard’s eye and the snake’s venom sac. The eagle’s nest rock was a bonus.”

“Rat” Christo, the one in charge of smuggling? Lumian mulled over this newfound information.





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