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“They are an inheritance. A relative left me the cards after his death. I didn’t even know magic really exists before they came to my possession.”

It was a loaded question but I was prepared. I had expected the question and was calmness personified as I answered. Unfortunately, the answer didn’t quite satisfied her.

“It is quite an inheritance Mr. Wong. Runes likes these can fetch a lot of credits on the magic market and you are telling me this relative just ‘gave’ them to you?”

“There’s a magic market?”

“Yes and we have one of the best in the world.”

“Here in Singapore?”

“Of course. This is Singapore where dirty money comes to get cleaned. You can find almost anything here and that goes for magical items as well, but enough deflection. You haven’t answer me yet. Why did your relative just gave you these runes?”

When you can’t tell the truth, deflect. When you can’t deflect, lie. So I lied. “He didn’t just gave them to me. He wanted me to do something with them?”

“What?”

“Mdm Nor, forgive me for saying but I get the distinct impression I’m being interrogated here.”

“You are.” Silence reigned as I digress the surprising news. I didn’t expect her to admit it and even Howard look a little surprise by the confession. We both looked at the woman who explained. “You are both outsiders so you don’t get it but what your relative did was very unusual. Magic is a secret art and magic-users are secretive by nature. We don’t just give out magical items, much less items as well made as these cards. We can use them as currency; we exchange them for knowledge; we pass them on as legacies. We do not give them out for free, even at the time of our death. It’s just not done. So I ask again Mr. Wong, what did your relative want you to do with them?”

My mind whirled at the important information Mdm Nor had given me. I had always thought of the cards as gifts from my father but technically that was wrong. My father just passed on the System, and it was the System that gifted me these cards. These cards might not have been made by my father. Worse, considering his reputation, they might not even belong to him! They could be stolen for all I know and I just brought them to the one place in Singapore that might know that.

I was in trouble. I thought using the dead relative card was the smart play but it turned to be anything but. Mdm Nor was waiting for my reply and for the first time, I realized the danger I was in. I quickly came to a decision. Since I was already deep in it, let’s jump in with both feet.

“My relative want me to create something that incorporate both science and magic.”

The woman’s eyes widen and I noticed that all talk in the restaurant had ceased. As I had guessed, they were all listening in to our conversation.

“That’s impossible.”

“Why?”

“Why? What do you mean why? It’s just is. You can’t combine science with magic. It’s impossible.”

“But why?” After a short silence where it was plain she had no idea what I was saying, I decided to press on with the lie. “From the message I was left, I am assuming that there had been attempts to combine the two but these attempts failed. The problem is I was not told the reason why magic and science can’t co-exist. I need someone who tell me these things. I didn’t even know magic existed till a few months ago. That’s why I wanted to see you. I need knowledge.”

“Why you? I’m sorry but what’s so special about you?”

“Since you got me here, I am assuming you did your research on me. You know what I do?”

“Tobias Wong, founder of 'The Fat Tinkerer'. A suit designer who gained a little fame recently due to his design of a battlesuit that is a variant of the classic Steambot.”

“You’re talking about the Jumpbot. You know about the design?”

“Not really. I read the reports but engineering is not really my thing. What does that got to do with anything?”

“The Jumpbot is a design that incorporates two different kind of technology, Steam and Clockwork. Now that’s not unheard of but I did something no one has managed to do; I got them to work together in levels unheard of before. My relative want me to do the same with magic and science.”

“Sorry for sounding like a broken vid, but why? I shall admit this isn’t my specialty but I heard stories of many people trying, and failing, to use them together. Why would this relative of yours want you to do this?”

“I don’t know and I don’t care but...well, if this is a puzzle no one had cracked before then I am really interested in it. Maybe that’s why I was chosen. He knows I would be interest in the problem.”

“So this relative of yours. Who is he?”

“I’m not at liberty to…”

“If you want help from the magical community, then you must.”

“I must?”

“Yes.” Her tone made it clear there could be no discussion in this matter. “You want us to tell you one of the deepest secret of magic. Something only mages of the highest tier would know. The council would demand to know more about you before giving you this info.”

“There’s a council? Not only is there a magic market, there’s even a magic council?”

Mdm Nor just smiled and nodded. It was answer enough.

“So you are willing to help?”

“It’s not up to me. For something like this, for us to give you our biggest secret, we need to go through a council and if they cannot confirm that this relative of yours really is a magic-user…”

Mdm Nor did not need to complete the sentence. I understood their position and honestly, I don’t blame them. It’s only prudent for them to know who they were dealing with. That left me with a problem; should I trust them with the identity of my father? More importantly, am I willing to forgo this chance to do something this incredible?

The moment I asked myself that question, I knew my answer. I was never ashamed of the being the son of The Mad Triple, and this science and magic question really is intriguing. I smiled and jumped into the unknown.

“His name was Diego San Martín.” Both Mdm Nor and Howard were shocked by the name. In the background, I heard the sound of breaking glass. Oh yes, they know who he is but I was not done. Time to go for the kill. “He was better known as The Mad Triple. He was my father.”

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Ghostman

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