This time, the doctor did not manage to remain indifferent. The unwanted visitor's bomb-like remark successfully shut him up as he didn't expect that to be his next words. A crack appeared on his calm facade, his expression briefly showing surprise. "How did my daughter become related to your family's heir?"
Conrad coldly looked at him, "I thought you arranged it. Didn't you tamper with the second batch's selection?"
"I don't know what you're talking about," Fred answered after a moment of silence.
His response made a few veins popped up in Conrad's forehead, his face looking as though he would charge at the doctor any time soon with his fist. It took the man almost half a minute to restore his previous calmness. When he spoke up again, his voice was full of sarcasm.
"You know what too? You're crazy. You should be treating yourself instead of experimenting nonstop here."
"Why do you think I chose to work under the director? I'm receiving therapy here every three days, for severe depression, and other psychological diseases which only the director could pronounce, don't worry."
"Worry? No, I'm actually glad to know. Because you've really turned into a madman."
"You're not as sane as you think as well. How about I ask the director a ward for you too? I'm sure he'll consent once he knows who you are, what kind of oddball you are, and how you are related to me."
"...Can we stop this? Damn, Fred! Do you think I don't know what you did these past few months? Those debts, the underworld, and that syndicate. You drove your daughter to despair so she could become like you. Because you're afraid that once you dive head on to experimentation, you won't be seeing her for decades, and you know your enemies would be targeting her by then."
The other man remained quiet, even looking bored by Conrad's statements. However, his silence confirmed the magnate's conjectures.
Conrad took big steps to arrive before the doctor, both his hands planted on the tabletop. With a serious expression on his face, he asked. "Now that your daughter is a host, why don't you just hide her here or personally guide her so she could reach the level which you failed to reach before?"
Fred looked away, sneering, "What kind of growth will she achieve in a messed-up place like this? She would only see her father receiving mental therapy while stupidly spending the rest of the time trying to bring back someone from the dead. Sorry, I don't want any of that. Also, can you stop acting like you're concerned with me or her? In her eighteen years of existence, you only saw her once, when she was still inside her mother's womb. And that was even a chance meeting between you and my then pregnant wife."
"You want your daughter to continue hating you?"
"She doesn't. Don't jump into conclusions. When I left her, I did not exclude her from those unable to inquire about me. She's not so stupid to not guess that something is suspicious about me. So stop making me appear like a bad father. Marry first and have a kid before lecturing me."
Conrad glared at him, "Fred Mendez. The reason I waltzed in here is that your daughter is causing my nephew to enter a battlefield which he shouldn't. It's your witch daughter that is leading my nephew, who is more like a son to me, into a battlefield which could easily cost him his life!"
"What do you want me to do then? Tear them apart?" The other man folded his arm as he leaned on his wooden chair's backrest. "If your 'son' is my daughter's main non-host supporter, you know the deal is already sealed. Unless a pig flies, and I'm saying this figuratively, their connection will always remain. Like the case between you and me. Anyway, a non-host staying at a host side doesn't mean a guaranteed early death. See, you're still alive."
Gio's uncle's lips twitched, and the glare he was giving Fred turned murderous. If only he didn't know that the other had superhuman abilities which could easily flatten him into a meat pie, he would have punched the hell out of this man.
The man cladded in a business suit looked up at the ceiling and pinched the part between his eyebrows. He really could not explain why he always grew irritated each time he spoke with this lunatic lovelorn.
"I'm the type of person who normally doesn't interfere in a youngster's love life, unfortunately, I can't risk the life of my empire's only heir. Truth be told, I don't necessarily need to tear them apart for real. Just separate them for three or four years and only have them reunite once your daughter is at least Level 5."
"You're scared my daughter will be tasked to kill him before then? Fool, I'm still alive. I'm the one who would be targeted for sure."
"Can you die?" Glared by the businessman. It might have sounded like he was cursing his Host, but actually, he was serious.
Conrad stared at his friend who had been reduced into a madman after his wife died. Fred used to be a high man, someone who could stand next to him. No, actually, he was way above him. As a very high-level host, he could even conquer countries and empires and declare himself a Great Emperor. And he was not stupidly making claims.
However, because of love, this great man chose to retreat from the world and hide into a normal husband's disguise. And then when his beloved passed away, he chose to also retreat from the non-hosts' world, rotting away in this abandoned mental hospital. The magnate was quite sad that his friend ended up like this just because a woman he dearly loved was killed. Honestly, he couldn't understand how someone could be so deeply invested in a person not related to him by blood.
He studied the doctor's tired face and then shook his head, not liking the thoughts swimming in his mind.
It was when Fred unemotionally asked, "So, are you now using one of the three favors?"
Conrad furrowed his brows and thought for a moment, weighing whether it would be worth it to use a hard-earned favor for this request. It didn't take long for him to realize that he would be doing this for that girl and his heir, so he nodded. "I don't want to, because it's only three and they could have been three life-saving talismans for me. But yeah, I'll use one here. Because by myself, I won't be able to tear them apart. I've investigated the two and they already seemed to be cohabiting... which means their relationship has already gone farther than one could imagine."
No father wanted to hear their daughter having intercourse with someone so the moment he heard the word cohabiting, ice began to appear on the peripheral side of the lab, literally. Fred suddenly found himself grabbing the edge of the table, looking as if any minute soon, he would flipping it over or throwing at Conrad's face.
Conrad scolded him, "What the hell are you getting angry about? Who asked your daughter to make my nephew her lover? Also, you know what kind of existence you and she had contracted! Stop acting like you only realized now."
"How would I know that they were in that kind of relationship already? There are tons of ways they could encounter each other. For example, my daughter stealing from your nephew's vault, or her hypnotizing him to give him a villa or two, not her sleeping with your damn nephew!"
'Aren't you a genius? Where's your IQ now? Flew away just because another man will be stealing your daughter away?'
'Freak, you abandoned her! And it's my heir who picked her up! And why the heck are you forgetting what kind of being the system is?'
The magnate, of course, did not reply this, but he was hoping the disapproval and anger in Fred's eyes were indications that he would be doing the move without wasting one of the favors. However, when time passed and the other increasingly looked like he was instead planning to butcher Gio, feeling helpless, Conrad was forced to say, "My favor is separate them for three or four years, not you murdering him, so stop whatever you are planning in your head."
The calmness and boredom on Fred's face could no longer be found, and only madness was there. Conrad thought, this crazy friend of his would surely have an extra therapy session this week.
After a few seconds, seeing that the quasi-doctor was gradually regaining his reason, Conrad deemed that it was already time to leave. He bade his farewell and his hope to not be compelled to visit Fred here again. He turned around and walked towards the door. The man was about to knock on it when he remembered to say, "Oh, before I go, I just want to tell you that my nephew made your daughter into the Silver family's heiress."
Conrad did not see Fred stiffening on his seat, eyes mellowing out due to something that he reminisced. When the non-host stepped one foot of the room, all he heard was a reply said with both relief and sadness.
It was still within devil's hour. One minute before 4 am, to be exact.
Around this time, Sofony was actually still traversing the darkness and following the footpaths leading to the main road. She didn't know that the person she badly wanted to locate but couldn't was actually more or less one kilometer away from the hut where she staged the carnage. If she would only go east of her current position, she would be able to discover that abandoned convalescence center. Of course, whether she would bother getting in was a different matter altogether. However, if there was a chance that she would, then she and her father could meet.
But just like what some wise dude said, 'Whatever will be, will be. And whatever will go wrong, will go wrong."
Unfortunately, the father who doesn't want to reveal himself to his daughter was just too strong, and was also more favored by both Lady Luck and the heavens. This was why even though the current distance between them was not very far... for now, and the many days to come, it would be the nearest they could be.
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