The Creatures That We Are - C.429: Man with a Smiley Mask

The Creatures That We Are

C.429: Man with a Smiley Mask

“Apologies for the late visit, sir.” the man with a smiley mask said in a slimy voice, being unnaturally polite. “I heard that you’ve been looking into us. Pray tell, is that true?”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about...” Dick vomited another mouthful of black blood clots, feeling an overwhelming pain throughout his body and a quiet burn in his internal organs.

“Why don’t we both be a little more honest to the other, Mr. Dick?”

The man took the handkerchief back. “You’re an awakener, a member of the intelligence department of the Hundred Rivers Union in Li City, and you’re looking into the Godbearer Cult’s work in the West Nation. I, on the other hand, am the sales manager of the Godbearer Cult in this country.”

Dick blanched and stopped trying to play dumb, shouting, “Come on! Kill me if you will, you piece of shit!”

“Mr. Dick.” The masked man chuckled. “If you think death is the worst fate that can befall someone, I’m sorry to say that you’re sorely mistaken.”

“Ugh...ack, ack...”

Dick started throwing up continuously. Writhing brown worms could be found amid the black blood clots on the floor.

Chen Ying felt a numbness in her scalp even though a watch didn’t even have a head.

The next few minutes, Dick cried out in pain while throwing up blood. Chen Ying couldn’t bear to keep watching, and she was running out of time with her Psychometry, so she fast-forwarded the memory.

Ten minutes later, Dick started begging, unable to endure the torment. “Please, kill me...please...”

“Oh, no, no, Mister Dick.” The masked man smiled coldly and politely at the awakener curling into himself with pain at his feet. “I’m a businessman, not an executioner. Killing is too savage an act for me. What do you say about a deal?”

“A deal...okay... Go on, go on...” Dick caved. He only wanted the pain and torment to end.

“It’s easy. You’ll keep working, and I’ll allow you to be healthy again. You only need to...”

“No, I...can’t betray my companions...” Dick’s last strand of rationality prompted him to hold onto his principle.

“You’re not betraying them. You’re not lying or hurting them. You only have to finish your job.”

“No...I must...I must notify...them...” Dick’s gaze lost its focus, and his mind was on the verge of breaking.

“What is your job, Mister Dick? Answer me.” The masked man’s voice plunged suddenly, a strange mind-altering psychic energy radiating from him.

“Investigate...the Godbearer Cult...” Dick said honestly.

“Did you find something?”

“I did.”

“And then?”

“I’m...telling the organization.”

“Yes, you’re telling the organization. Then your work is done. Tortured by the disease, however, you cannot finish the job. I can make you healthy again and allow you to continue your work.”

“Yes, yes...” Dick was ‘persuaded’.

“I only ask for your life. Isn’t that a generous offer?” the masked man said calmly.

“Life? Generous...” Dick seemed confused, and he wavered. What was left of his rational mind tried to stop him.

“That’s right. Everyone dies sooner or later. What difference does it make to die sooner? So life isn’t precious in itself, but it’s bad to leave a job unfinished. You’re an outstanding agent of the Hundred Rivers Union. You must complete your work outstandingly.”

“Yes, yes. I must...complete my work...” Dick had lost himself.

“I’ll help you finish your mission. The price is your life. Do you take the deal?”

“I do, I take the deal.” Dick’s eyes looked possessed. He had been persuaded by the masked man’s absurd way of negotiating.

“Congratulations, Mr. Dick. You’ve made a wise choice.”

The man took the Black Gold fountain pen from his breast pocket and yanked Dick’s shirt open, drawing a dollar sign on his chest.

“The deal is made. Pleasure working with you.”



Chen Ying screamed inside the bathroom.

Qing Ling immediately rushed up to open the door.

Sitting on the toilet, Chen Ying panted hurriedly with tears running down her face, her eyes widened.

“What’s going on?” Gao Yang and the others had gone up too.

“It was the Godbearer Cult. There were two of them... Their abilities were terrible...” Chen Ying’s voice trembled. Although she was reading the memories of an inanimate object, she had witnessed Dick’s terrible torture like she had been there.

Five minutes later, Chen Ying was sitting on the bed, holding a cup of hot tea, having explained what she saw through Psychometry.

“The man with a smiley mask was Hyena.” Lithe Snake scowled. “I’m familiar with the absurd way of negotiating, but it’s even more unreasonable now than before. His Talent must have leveled up.”

“Perhaps,” Officer Huang crossed his arms and tapped his chin with a finger, “That Dick was in great pain with his mind holding onto a strand, which made it easier for Hyena to take advantage of him.”

Lithe Snake nodded in agreement.

“Now we can be certain that once the target accepted a deal with Hyena and got marked with a contract with his fountain pen, they would become his puppets.”

Gao Yang thought for a moment before adding, “Hyena’s control over his puppets runs deep, allowing him to modify and delete parts of their memories, changing their behavior while the puppets are none the wiser. That’s why my Lie Detection didn’t work right on Dick.”

It was Buy Off, for sure.

According to the order of the Talents, Hyena must be No.7 among the Tails.

Wait, does that mean Tails don’t have No.1 and No.2? Since neither Zhang Wei nor I have joined them.

Anyhow, Hyena had companions. This mission was more troublesome than expected.

“How should we look for Hyena?” Nainai gnawed on the straw in her bottled yogurt. “The West Nation is big, and we ain’t the IBF. We can’t possibly knock on every door openly, can we?”

The others looked at Nainai with strange looks on their faces.

Nainai was surprised by the attention. “What? Did I say something wrong?”

“So you can speak normally.” Officer Huang laughed.

Nainai put her hands on her hip and stood up. “How dare you mortals question how this Empress speaks and acts...”

Gao Yang ignored her chuuni remark and turned to Chen Ying. “Have you noticed anything else in your reading? We have to find Hyena and the...” He tried to find an appropriate descriptor. “Astronaut.”

Chen Ying shook her head. “Neither of them show their faces or reveal any personal identifiable information.”

“Can you use Psychometry again?” asked Lithe Snake.

Chen Ying’s face, which had finally regained some color, paled again. “Yes, I can read an item twice or even thrice, but the second time won’t be as efficient, and more information will be lost. Besides, I’m not sure if I can relive Dick’s experience once more.”

“You don’t have to go back to that night,” said Gao Yang.

“Hm?” Chen Ying was a little surprised.

Gao Yang explained, “Hyena and Astronaut must have gone to Dick fully prepared. It’s clear from them keeping their faces obscured that they didn’t want to and wouldn’t have left any clues for us.”

“Makes sense,” said Officer Huang.

“But the fact that Hyena had found out about Dick’s investigation into the Godbearer Cult and gone after him means that Dick must have exposed himself somehow.”

Gao Yang thought for a moment before coming to a conclusion. “Read the watch again, Chen Ying. Focus on two people in particular. One is Dick’s friend from the intelligence agency, and the other is the woman Dick had taken home. They are the most suspicious. Find their information from the memories, and we’ll start from there.”

“Okay, I’ll try.” Chen Ying let out a long breath and stood up, putting on Dick’s watch and going back to the bathroom.

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