Chapter 160 “The Most Outstanding Puppeteer”

On the Vanished, the bright sun shone hard on the scrubbed upper deck as a swirling green flame gradually dissipated over the surface. Alice watched the clearing with stunned silence as many items appeared before her.

“Th-This…… What is this?!” The puppet lady exclaims.

“You’re stuttering as if your head is going to pop off again. Haven’t seen pots and pans before?” Duncan teases from the side.

Alice stiffly swung her head around and faced the ghost captain who had just come out from the inside. “No, I haven’t seen these things before!”

Duncan: “…?”

“I haven’t seen them before,” Alice continued reasonably, “I’ve been in the box for so many years, where can I see these things?”

Duncan was shocked for a moment and then facepalmed himself: “… I forgot, okay, in some ways, you’re better than Shirley.”

Alice was about to step forward at this time to study the large number of things when she picked up on the name: “Shirley? Who?”

“Someone I met in the city-state. Maybe one day you will have the opportunity to meet her,” Duncan thought for a moment, “I think we’re quite relatable.”

“Oh?” Alice hummed merrily and quickly forgot the matter after circling around the pile of items.

“This is flour… Is this meat? It’s really different from the jerky on the ship… Is this vegetable? It feels so fragile, and it’s cold… What is this round… Ah, it broke…”

“Don’t crush the eggs!” Duncan realized how chaotic this puppet was once she started crushing an egg. Without delay, he stepped forward and swatted the lady’s hand back, “These things are supposed to improve the living condition on the ship!”

“Hehe…” Alice let out her signature giggle and withdrew her hand, “I’m just a little curious. It’s my first time seeing so many things.”

Duncan glanced helplessly at the puppet and understood what she meant.

Alice’s brain (if she really has this organ in her brain to begin with) has a lot of “innate knowledge”. She knows how to communicate with people, knows things that exist in the world, and even accumulates the first impression of the world by “listening” to the voices outside the box. However, she had always been in a sealed state. Strictly speaking, her real contact with this world only started not long ago, and as soon as she came out, she contacted the Vanished, a ship that’s absolutely not suitable for a novice who’s just starting out.

She lacks knowledge of the real world to the point a single piece of leafy green is an incredible object to Alice.

“The human city-state is such an incredible place…” Miss Doll issued a sincere sigh after taking in the colorful packages on the deck, “It must be much bigger than the ship, right?”

“…… Large, but much smaller than the Boundless Sea,” Duncan replied casually, remembering what he promised Alice after seeing the anticipation in those eyes.

He said he was going to take Alice to the city-state.

“I will solve the trouble on the city-state side as soon as possible and figure out your secret,” he said seriously to the puppet in front of him. “Until then, be patient.”

“Okay,” Alice showed a bright, carefree smile.

Being carefree does have its good points. Duncan had been accumulating a bunch of negative vibes from the things he discovered in Pland. With the doll’s interference, he’s finally able to relax for a moment. “Come help me move them into the kitchen. This pile over here can go into my personal quarters.”

“Oooh, OKAY!!” Alice immediately agreed with a salute of a proper sailor for some reason. “Will you use them for tonight’s dinner?”

Duncan turned his head and narrowed those eyes suspiciously: “It can be… but are you able to use them?”

“Nope!” Alice said of course, “But I can ask Mr. Goathead for help. He said his skills are better than 90% percent of the cooks in this world….”

“And you dare to believe him?!” Duncan popped his eyes in disbelief, like he was hearing the most insane comment, “You better not touch the ingredients until I go over there. I’ll make dinner instead. If you want to seriously learn how to make something edible, don’t learn it from Goathead. He doesn’t even have a digestive tract.”

“Oh…” Alice nodded meekly, then glanced at Ai who was pacing on the deck next to them. “Will Ai still go over to that side later?”

“Of course, there’s more stuff for her to transport later.”

“Are you still shopping?” Alice asked curiously, “What else do you want to buy?”

Duncan raised a raised eyebrow at the puppet’s face before forming a smile. Based on the glint in those eyes, he could easily guess what Alice wanted.

“I’m buying you something.”

Alice: “…?”


The city-state of Pland, inside Rose’s Doll House.

Duncan thought that the kind elven old lady might have misunderstood him, but no matter, he didn’t intend to explain in this case.

The main thing was that there’s no way to explain it – how was he supposed to tell her? Say that he really has a doll with a soul? That it could jump with joy and cry with sorrow? Say it’s balding, and now he needs to change out the old wig? In the best case scenario, the shop owner would only run to the church and report him. Worst case scenario, she might lash out with some elven magic or something and exorcise him like in the fantasy books.

So what exactly was the old elven lady thinking right now? To her, she’s found a confidant who loves dolls and is willing to devote a lot of energy to this area. In Pland’s high society, many people buy dolls, and many are really keen on collecting, but few showed such heartfelt affection and concern for dolls as this gentleman today, which gives her a feeling that it was as if the other party was not talking about “objects” when they mention their “dolls”, but a living person and a friend.

Even many puppeteers don’t necessarily have this attitude.

The two talked happily from that point forward, and Duncan finally got a lot of knowledge about dolls from a professional (although he doesn’t know how much of this knowledge could be used on Alice). The owner obviously hasn’t met such a close customer for a long time. After some conversation, the old lady couldn’t help but laugh and sigh: “I have lived in this city for up to four hundred years and survived seventeen city admins, but none of them really understood dolls…. Alas, it may not sound right for me to say this, but it seems to me that humans are a much more indifferent species than us elves.”

“I don’t know much about elven society,” Duncan said, trying to guide the other party to say more about her kind, “but I heard… the Wind Harbor is gathered with the world’s most outstanding craftsmen? The elves’ unique craftsmanship is world-famous…”

“Elves are indeed good at elaborate crafts, and we are a race that is naturally sensitive to mathematics and art – so most of the famous puppeteers in this world are also elves,” the old woman said frankly with genuine pride in her tone. However, it quickly changed in the next second, “But when it comes to the profession of a puppeteer, many peers from the other races have a prejudice against us elves… It is often said that elves are not so talented in craftsmanship, and the reason why we can produce so many puppet masters is entirely because of our life span being long enough to grind it out…”

Duncan suddenly didn’t know how to pick up from there: “This… well, I guess everywhere is the same. They’re your colleagues and peers but also your competition. So, what’s your evaluation of their opinion?”

The old woman bellowed out a laugh: “Me? I think they’re right!”

Duncan: “…?”

“I think they’re right,” the old woman repeated with a pleasant smile on her face, “every year on the Day of the Dead, I have to go to the graves of a few of my old colleagues to say hello. I would always tell them they were right, and if they have the ability, come up and beat me!”

Duncan: “…”

Are all the elves of this world like this! Why do I feel like there is something wrong with this trajectory of the conversation?!

“Aigh… I’m just joking,” probably noticing the expression on Duncan’s face, the old woman shook her head and moved on. “There’s no way we would have that many people to hate. The idea only came to be because everyone in our field likes to talk humor when we meet during our brief encounters. If you ask me, the most outstanding puppeteer is not among us elves but a human.”

“A human?” Duncan asked casually.

“Yes, not many ordinary humans know this name now…” the old woman said slowly with a slight emotion, “Her name is Lucretia Abnomar, the daughter of the famous ‘Captain Duncan’, the most outstanding puppeteer I have ever met…”

Duncan: “?!”