“…Master Bernardino.” Longjing Tea held his urge to throw up and barely suppressed the disgust tumbling in his stomach. After recovering himself, he respectfully greeted the old man.
As a matter of fact, it wasn’t like he had an ill opinion against Bernardino Telesio, nor was it about Bernardino’s words irritating him.
Instead, there was an immense sense of fear striking his nerves.
Those weren’t human eyes.
Those black runes flowed like living things under the face covered with withered yellow bandages. The runes were like cockroaches crawling on the ground, making a low, almost inaudible rustling sound.
Two rare gems were revealed in the gaps of the bandages.
It wasn’t a metaphor of the pupils as beautiful as jewels like Annan. Of course, there wasn’t any slight resemblance to Kafni’s doll-like eyes.
Instead, they were genuine gems.
One of them was a sapphire the size of a quail’s egg with many facets. Yet, no matter from any angle, the pure white, solitary rune remained suspended in the middle of the gem.
Bernardino’s left eye was a high-quality chrysoberyl  cat’s eye the size of an eyeball. There was a straight and bright gold vertical line on top of the jewel, and it seemed to shine steadily.
Longjing Tea could vaguely see that Bernardino’s eye socket had turned into a golden gem through the bandage.
Bernardino was covered in bandages as if he had survived a fire scene. So naturally, he wasn’t wearing any ring, necklace, or bracelet.
Perhaps the inlaid gem or the golden frame fixed to his eye socket was his curse vessel.
If the old man sat there without speaking, no one would think that he was a living person.
Just being watched by the old man’s two jewel eyes, Longjing Tea felt his body trembling uncontrollably.
That feeling was like wearing a sweater and walking against the wind in winter.
He felt the chill pierced from the chest to his back, seeping deeply into his bones.
Maybe it’s just an illusion.
“Don’t bully my student.” Suddenly, Clarence spoke in a low voice.
Clarence raised his right hand and pointed to Longjing Tea.
Longjing Tea keenly felt that the chills that crept upon his chest faded.
Longjing Tea could vaguely see that the tips of Clarence’s slender and sharp fingernails shone with a faint blue brilliance. What is that?
“It seems that you are quite satisfied with him.” Bernardino chuckled softly.
His laughter was dry and hoarse, not pleasant at all. It sounded like the smirk of a bad actor.
“That happens when Master Bernardino’s spirit grasps a hold of your heart.”
Clarence briefly explained to him, as if he sensed Longjing Tea’s doubts, “Your current soul rank is too low to see them.
“In addition to being good at manipulating emotions, memory, and perception, the Soul Snatch school is also good at controlling the ‘soul’ itself. Master Bernardino is a [Telesio Spiritual Monk] who specializes in controlling the soul.”
Clarence stated calmly, “One of the master’s eyes can destroy, absorb, and bind other people’s souls, while the other eye enslaves hundreds of souls. If your rank is higher, you can see the ghost behind the master pushing the wheelchair.”
So, that’s why he can control the wheelchair while both of his hands are entangled in bandages. Longjing Tea suddenly realized.
“Heh… manage to see Lafiss… What a great skill.” But the old man just let out another laughter again and said slowly in a low voice, “‘Fellow Spiritual Monks, can I regard this as your official reply?”
“That’s my reply.” Clarence replied calmly and earnestly, “You know, I’m not interested in this. I have my own path.”
He said, raising the index finger of his right hand and bending his knuckles slightly, “I won’t tell others that you have been here. But if you don’t leave, I can only report it to the tower master.”
Like writing in the air, the tips of his long fingernails glowed fluorescently, swiping rapidly in the air, leaving behind a dim azure blue light trail. These light trails remained vaguely in Longjing Tea’s vision, forming a somewhat complicated rune.
“Heh, heh, heh… things don’t have to go like that, Clarence. I’m not coercing you into anything. It’s just an invitation.”
While still curling up in his wheelchair, Bernardino let out his signature dry laugh, “If you don’t agree, just pretend I haven’t been here today.”
As he spoke, the wheelchair under him suddenly turned by itself.
Longjing Tea felt the familiar coldness creeping on him again. A soft yet solid power pushed him back. The door opened automatically, and all obstacles between the old man and the door were lined up to the sides.
Even the heavy bookshelves anchored to the ground by Swamp’s Black Tower made way for the old man.
As Bernardino passed by Longjing Tea, his wheelchair suddenly stopped.
The old man turned slightly and asked in a low voice, “Book of Divine Transporter?”
“…What?” Longjing Tea was stunned for a moment.
“Oh, you don’t know…” Bernardino sighed regretfully and shook his head, “What a pity…”
The old man didn’t stop after that. At the moment he crossed the door, the wheelchair disappeared.
While Longjing Tea was stunned, Clarence patted him gently on the shoulder.
“Don’t be nervous. He’s here because I’m about to advance in my rank. The master is here to ask me if I want to advance into a Spiritual Monk.
“It’s not about Gerald, and it’s not about Jude.”
What the hell? Longjing Tea was suddenly shocked.
I haven’t asked anything yet. How do you know everything? But, he calmed down almost instantly.
Clarence spread his hands, “See, this is the advantage of the rank difference. I’m just demonstrating it to you.
“Soul Rank does not fully represent combat power, but it determines how vulnerable you are to the transcended abilities.”
Clarence smiled helplessly, “If you want to keep a secret, it’s best to embark on the path of transcendence quickly.
“You have a soul that isn’t corrupted by the curse. Basically, everything you think about is reflected in my mind.”
“So, Master Bernardino also knows everything?”
“Not really. That isn’t necessarily true. The gap from Silver Rank to Gold Rank is unlike Bronze Rank to Silver Rank. It isn’t an improvement of one’s overall qualities.”
Clarence disagreed, “After entering the Gold Rank, what has changed is your race status. The abilities you had before will experience a significant shift too.
“After becoming a [Spiritual Monk], you will lose the ability to read minds and change emotions at will.
“If you want to get something, you have to give something. The bridge from the Silver Rank to Gold Rank cannot be filled with a curse.
“I know who killed my teacher and Jude’s situation. But I won’t avenge my teacher because his death is inevitable. Even without your lord, he will die there as well.
“It’s all because he went the wrong path, and it has nothing to do with me. That’s his destiny.
“As for Jude, he died for his reasons, but also because of my command. Thus, I will avenge him. But I will only kill your friend once because that’s what happened, giving your friend an equal fate.”
Clarence looked at Longjing Tea and replied softly, “Are you relieved now?”
Longjing Tea swallowed his saliva and smiled reluctantly, “I thought you were from the Prophet school… Talking about fate and all…”
“Prophets never tell the future they see to others.” Clarence replied calmly, “They’re just a bunch of cowardly ‘centaur’.”
He raised his right hand, showing off his long, dagger-sharp fingernails.
It was made of a centaur’s corpse and could tear apart “destiny”.
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