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We’ve Moved! If you notice any missing, empty, or incorrect chapters, please leave a comment below, and we’ll fix it as soon as possible. Regular updates will resume on June 10th. Thank you for your patience!
We’ve Moved! If you notice any missing, empty, or incorrect chapters, please leave a comment below, and we’ll fix it as soon as possible. Regular updates will resume on June 10th. Thank you for your patience!

Chapter 7: Rune Enigma


Suren’s gaze became increasingly serious. He picked up a fork and skewered a piece of bloodied meat, slowly bringing it towards his mouth. If he didn’t figure out a way, he would probably be tasting human organs for the first time. He knew that if he didn’t find a breakthrough, he would eventually be played to death by the “ghost species.”

The terrifying manor, the eerie dolls, and a ghostly species that enjoyed killing humans… Suren’s thoughts raced. Suddenly, he had an epiphany. “The eerie occurrences in this house have the ability to easily kill us, yet they haven’t… This indicates that this ‘eerie’ has intelligence, and it’s not low.”

The fact that the monster had intelligence was a good thing for him. He dreaded the thought of the monster only understanding instinctive killing, as that would be a dead end.

He was sure that fighting was definitely futile. However, based on his experience with horror games and movies, any NPC with intelligence could lead to a plot twist (clue) through conversation.

Clues in the study, corridors, and ballroom suddenly connected in his mind. Suren felt like he had probably found the key to the breakthrough!

Taking a deep breath, he decided to give it a try. Suddenly, his expression froze and he said something inexplicable to the empty space, “Miss Pestoia, can I talk to you?”

As soon as he spoke, it felt like time stood still. Even Suren, with a piece of meat halfway to his mouth, stopped in midair. Nearby, the bald man, with a mouth full of blood, clearly looked puzzled as to why Suren suddenly said something so nonsensical.

However, a response came from the empty space, “How do you know my name?”

It was still the same deep, eerie voice of the old lady.

Suren heard this and immediately realized that his reasoning was sound. Previously, that Marcus guy mentioned that the “ghost species” had discovered them but didn’t kill them directly, instead opting to play games like hide and seek, marbles, and bowling. As long as they followed the rules, they could survive temporarily, but breaking the rules would result in immediate death.

The current situation was similar—the eerie being could easily kill them but chose to “play” instead. This also proved that this “ghost species” was young, or at least mentally young.

At the dining table, apart from the corpses, there were only three dolls—a gentleman in a suit, a wealthy woman, and a young lady. The gentleman was seated at the head, clearly a family of three.

When Suren observed them on the table earlier, he had a feeling that he recognized the three.

When he thought about it more, he remembered seeing a family photo in the study. In the photo, the same three people were present, along with a little girl hugging a teddy bear.

Therefore, it wasn’t hard to guess that the little girl was the “ghost species.”

Underneath the photo, a name was clearly labeled, “Pestoia Isaac!”

Suren didn’t answer her question but instead said, “Can we chat?” Even though he didn’t know what the “ghost species” was, it was probably similar to the “ghosts” he was familiar with. Moreover, knowing that she was emotionally young, there was a lot of room for conversation (persuasion).

Thus, he needed to pique her interest.

He said, “I can tell you many interesting stories, dance, sing, perform shadow play, puppet theater… I think Miss Pestoia will like it.”

After saying this, the room fell silent for a while.

Suren thought the situation wasn’t quite ready, but at that moment, the scenery suddenly changed. The banquet hall transformed into a delicately decorated young girl’s bedroom. At the desk by the window sat a young girl in a princess dress, assembling some doll parts with runic symbols. She seemed very focused on her task and didn’t turn around, but instead said, “You haven’t told me how you know my name.”

Her voice was gentle and coquettish.

First step accomplished!

He had successfully piqued her interest.

Suren quickly observed everything in the room and said, “I saw your name in a photo in the study…” He spoke in a calm tone, hoping not to agitate her. He realized that the seemingly harmless little girl had a twisted mind that enjoyed killing people.

The girl asked, “How did you find out about me in the study?”

This was clearly about the incident with the Nutcracker.

Suren saw this as a good sign. At least she was initiating the conversation. He responded, “I noticed the doll’s eyes moved in the study.”

“Oh, I see,” the girl said, slowly putting down the rune doll in her hand.

As if time had stood still, she turned to face Suren. Seeing this, Suren’s eyes narrowed slightly, sensing that the storyline was about to take a major turn. As a precaution, he silently prepared himself to listen to the specialized BGM for watching horror movies—”Today is a Good Day.”

Sure enough, in the next moment, the girl, resembling the young lady, revealed the same deep, eerie voice as before, and asked, “Do you still want to chat with me now?”

The face in front of him was charred and wrinkled from high-temperature burns, with only three holes left for the mouth and nostrils. If a normal person suddenly saw this face, they would surely be shocked.

The girl was surprised that Suren showed no change in expression—no fear, no disgust, no terror. Instead, he stared earnestly at the girl’s face, with a warm smile still visible.

If you’ve seen a thousand horror movies, it’s probably hard to get scared.

In horror movies, there are numerous plots for “turning around to be killed.” With sulfuric acid, fire, dismemberment, abscesses… every horrifying and disgusting image is there.

So, Suren didn’t feel much about seeing this burnt face. He knew that showing fear or any kind of scared expression could possibly trigger an instant death effect, and the conversation would definitely not continue.

However, he successfully passed the first test.

Suren spoke calmly, “I can feel your loneliness, Miss Pestoia…”

He imitated the tone of the psychologist who once treated him and began the conversation.

The girl seemed stunned, as if she hadn’t considered how to respond if her terrifying appearance didn’t scare the other person. Suren didn’t give her a chance to attack and started telling his own story.

“I was often put in solitary confinement at the juvenile detention center. The juvenile detention center is a place for unruly kids. So, I can understand the loneliness of being locked in a small room alone…”

“I was born into a loving family, but when I was very young, my parents left…”

If you’ve read eight hundred books, you probably don’t think there’s anything new in the world.

Italian writer Carlo Ginzburg said that there are only thirty-six plots in the world: pleading, rescue, revenge, retaliation, pursuit, disaster, misfortune, pursuit, and request…

Suren saw the girl’s burnt face and immediately deduced multiple plots.

Burns? Either it was an accident, or she was a victim.

And what about the family that was turned into puppets, sitting neatly in the restaurant? Either it was nostalgia, or resentment.

Judging from the limited clues, this seemed like a harmonious family.

Pestoia was probably born into a loving family and was tragically killed in a fire around the age of ten. Her life was frozen in that year.

Suren could empathize because he was telling his own story.

Perhaps only fellow mental patients could understand each other?

He’d been through years of psychological counseling at the juvenile detention center and had read many books on psychology. Communicating with troubled children was like second nature to him.

Although this “eerie” was very powerful, with supernatural abilities that could easily kill one hundred of him, she was still just a young girl emotionally. If she had intelligence, she also had emotional needs…

This was what the specialist who treated him had told him.

The overwhelming need for survival drowned out any guilt Suren felt for manipulating the girl, and the two of them slowly began to chat.

“I’m Suren. Nice to meet you, Miss Pestoia.”

“Aren’t you afraid of me?”

“Well, I can tell that Pestoia is a kind girl.”

“No, I’ve killed many people.”

“I’ve also killed many people. When I was twelve, a group of ruffians insulted and killed my neighbor’s sister. I grabbed a knife and chased them three blocks, stabbing them to death one by one… The ones who kill aren’t necessarily evil; maybe it was those who had to die.”

The girl seemed to find some curiosity in Suren’s words from the burnt face. After a pause, he added some psychological suggestion, “Later, in the juvenile detention center, my doctor told me that bad people should be punished, but good people shouldn’t be harmed.”


Pestoia murmured as if half understanding, half not.

Regarding the meaning of a good person, Suren stated, “The difference between a good person and a bad person lies in whether they conform to one’s own values. So far, I feel like those guys deserved to die.”

Pestoia was very clever, and it was evident that she understood Suren’s implications. Her eyes showed a hint of cunningness as she asked, “So, are you a good person?”

“Of course.”

Giggles echoed through the room at his words.

The atmosphere suddenly became less tense.

Girls probably liked beauty, so the girl regained her appearance from the photo, with blonde hair and blue eyes, delightful and lovely.

Suren continued to tell her some happy and interesting anecdotes, and she also shared some past events at the manor.

“My parents were both very powerful alchemists, so they were always busy… only these dolls have been keeping me company all this time, but it’s a shame they can’t speak…”

Suren didn’t ask about the fire, as he could probably predict that it would trigger painful memories for Pestoia. They chatted about some lighthearted and interesting things for a while, and the plot continued in the direction Suren had anticipated.

Suren’s goal was to survive, and it seemed that he might not be killed. However, it felt like there was something more.

Resonance was always mutual.

Despite the absence of a relationship panel like in games, Suren felt like the girl was someone he could really talk to.

After chatting for a long time, Pestoia seemed to be very satisfied, and a sweet smile appeared on her face.

“Thank you. It’s been many years since someone has talked to me.”

However, she added, “But you can’t stay with me for too long… otherwise, you will become distorted.”


Suren thought it wouldn’t hurt to stay a little longer, but upon hearing Pestoia’s words, he realized that there might be other dangers in this space.

At this moment, Pestoia seemed to remember something. She went to her workbench and took the completed runic doll, placing it in a beautifully crafted box. She said, “This is a parting gift for you, Mr. Suren. Thank you for accompanying me in conversation.”

Upon hearing this, Suren knew that he had successfully survived.

Suren didn’t hesitate and accepted the wooden box containing the runic doll. It was a simple doll with yellow skin, and it felt heavy, as if it contained many metal parts. The most peculiar thing was that its surface had faint glowing runic symbols.

He didn’t ask many questions, but instead smiled and said, “Thank you for your gift, Miss Pestoia.”

“Mr. Suren, we probably won’t see each other again. Even if you come back next time, I might have forgotten you…”

As they were about to part ways, Pestoia’s face revealed a touch of sadness.

She then took a butterfly brooch from her clothes and pinned it on Suren’s chest. “This is my favorite brooch. It was a birthday gift from my mother when I was six. It’s also a little gift from me to you. I hope that after you leave, you can help me with a favor.”

Suren readily agreed, “Of course.”

“If you ever see my parents, please ask them…”

Pestoia paused here and didn’t continue.

Suren asked, “Ask them what?”

Pestoia’s voice suddenly became very distressed, with the old lady’s terrifying voice and the girl’s voice alternating, “Ask them… why they burned me to death.”

This statement sent a wave of inexplicable chills through the entire room.

What? Suren didn’t expect her to suddenly say something like this. He immediately realized that the truth of the situation wasn’t so simple.

So, Pestoia was burned to death by her parents? How could that be? In a harmonious and loving family, would the parents burn their beloved daughter to death?

Where was the problem?

Is there something wrong with Pestoya or her parents?

However, there was no time to think too much. At this moment, Pestoia seemed to have been touched by the devil in her heart. Waves of black mist rose up all over her body, and she was about to run away at the sight.

Seeing this scene, Suren decisively reached out his hand and touched her head gently.

Probably because her favorability was enough, Pestoia suddenly became quiet after being comforted. She slowly raised her head, and her eyes filled with red light gradually returned to calm.

Suren nodded solemnly: “Okay! I promise you.”

It turns out that she once bravely loved the world, but the world gave her endless pain.



We’ve Moved! If you notice any missing, empty, or incorrect chapters, please leave a comment below, and we’ll fix it as soon as possible. Regular updates will resume on June 10th. Thank you for your patience!
Mechanical Alchemist

Mechanical Alchemist

The dark dungeons lay hidden beneath the earth, a labyrinth filled with countless ancient relics and treasures. Within these shadowy depths, there existed oddities and aberrations, cursed objects lurking in the gloom… Abysses and caverns were home to eldritch gods and mythical races… Artificers, cursed sigil prosthetics, and the towering black citadels stretched upward like fingers to the unknown… A mad alchemist’s brew of steam punk essence, a dash of the arcane, and a generous helping of the supernatural, all swirled together to forge a vibrant and colorful fantasy world. I am the Puppeteer Alchemist. All that I behold are but puppets to me. I alone am legion!



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