Maria’s panic intensified, causing her to instinctively take a step back, nervously questioning, “Who… Who are you… How do you know me?”
Jagoan snorted and replied, “What? Are you still pretending? Come, let me show you something!”
With those words, he retrieved the ring, which had started jumping again, from his pocket.
Playing her part convincingly, Maria displayed an even more startled expression and exclaimed, “Why do you have that ring? Give it back to me immediately!”
She lunged forward, attempting to snatch it from Jagoan’s hand.
Frowning, Jagoan observed Maria’s reaction. It seemed that she truly had no recollection of him, their encounter, or the ring.
She didn’t remember him saving her, nor did she recall giving him the ring willingly. However, Jagoan didn’t want to jump to conclusions.
Holding the ring aloft, he stated coldly, “You gave me this ring with your own hands. Do you want to admit it, or do you genuinely not remember?”
“Impossible!” Maria angrily retorted, “This ring is an heirloom passed down to me by my father! I’ve always cherished it as a treasure, and I would never have given it to you! You must have stolen it from me. Are you a member of the Warriors Den?”
Upon hearing her mention the Warriors Den, Jagoan grew even more perplexed. He couldn’t determine if Maria’s actions were genuine or part of an elaborate ruse. To probe further, he infused a surge of reiki into Maria’s mind, using a greater amount than usual.
Maria sensed a surge of spiritual energy entering her spiritual sea, but it had no effect on her thoughts. Nevertheless, she continued to cooperate, appearing calm as she gazed at Jagoan with vacant eyes.
Feeling that he should be safe after using a larger amount of aura, Jagoan questioned, “Do you still remember who I am?”
Maria shook her head.
Jagoan pressed further, “Have you ever seen me before?”
Maria mumbled, “I haven’t…”
Jagoan continued, “Do you recall the incident when you were nearly killed in Northern Europe?”
Maria nodded, saying, “I remember parts of it.”
He urged, “Tell me what you remember.”
Maria cooperated fully, responding, “I only recall events from Northern Europe. I packed my belongings and was preparing to leave, but then my memory was lost. I don’t know why I fell into a coma and woke up later. By that time, most of the people around me had been killed, and the ring my father gave me was missing.”
Jagoan persisted, “You know that the Warriors Den will hunt you down. Why did you choose to come to Aurous Hill and study at a university?”
Maria’s expression remained vacant as she explained, “Hiding forever is not a viable option. They anticipated that I would hide once again, and the more people around, the more inconspicuous I would become. So, I chose to go to a place with a large population and change my identity. It allows me to hide in plain sight and keeps them off-guard. That’s why I chose to come to China.”
Jagoan furrowed his brow and persisted, “But why did you specifically choose Aurous Hill? Why Aurous Hill University?”
Maintaining her composure, Maria responded, “I decided to come to Aurous Hill because my grandfather has influential connections there. He was able to assist me in securing a place at Aurous Hill University.”
Curious, Jagoan inquired, “Who is your grandfather?”
Maria revealed, “My grandfather is Larry Cole, the wealthiest man in Malaysia.”
“Larry Cole?” Jagoan had encountered this name multiple times during his time as a transfer student at Aurous Hill University.
He was aware that Larry had made significant donations to the university, contributing to its rapid development. Larry’s story had become a part of the university’s history. Thus, he was taken aback to learn of Maria’s connection to Larry.
With surprise evident in his voice, Jagoan asked, “What is your real name?”
Maria responded without hesitation, “My real name is Maria Clark.”
Jagoan continued with astonishment, “Larry’s surname is Cole, while your surname is Clark. How can he be your grandfather?”
Maria clarified, “Larry Cole is a distant relative of my grandfather. After escaping from Northern Europe, I sought refuge with him and asked for his help to ensure my safety. To avoid being discovered, we forged the identity of Cathy and he arranged for me to study at Aurous Hill.”
Jagoan inquired further, “Then why did you choose the Department of Archaeology?”
Maria explained, “I didn’t come to university to acquire knowledge but rather to safeguard my identity and ensure my own security. Among the various subjects offered at Aurous Hill University, archaeology is the only one that truly interests me. I have a strong passion for porcelain, antiques, calligraphy, and painting.”
Jagoan remained skeptical, the ring in his hand trembling once again. He asked her, “What makes this ring so special?”
Maria shook her head, saying, “I don’t know what makes it special. This ring is a relic left to me by my father. Before he departed, he entrusted it to me, urging me to keep it safe and prevent it from falling into the wrong hands.”
Deliberately pressing further, Jagoan questioned, “Then why did you give me this ring?”
Maria quickly responded with a blank expression, “You must be mistaken. I would never give away my father’s relic. It holds immense personal value to me.”
Frowning, Jagoan asked, “Tell me about your father. What was his name? What did he do? Where was he born and where did he pass away?”
Maria revealed, “My father’s name was Lucius Clark. He was born in Eastcliff and passed away in southern Yunnan. As for his occupation, I am uncertain. All I know is that he was a warrior and had always been at odds with the Warriors Den.”
Curiosity burning within him, Jagoan probed further, “Why are you and the Warriors Den enemies?”
Maria responded with a blank expression, “I don’t know…”
Jagoan locked his gaze onto her and continued his questioning, “Since you arrived in Aurous Hill, have you seen me?”
Maria shook her head, replying, “I haven’t seen you.”
Jagoan’s voice turned cold as he pressed on, “Do you know that your ring starts to jump when it is near you?”
Maria appeared bewildered, admitting, “I… I don’t know… I have never let this ring leave my side since my father gave it to me. I never knew it would react this way when it was away from me and approached someone.”
Jagoan coldly remarked with a huff, “When the ring first started jumping, I was driving away from Aurous Hill University, which means you must have been nearby at that time! What were you doing at Aurous Hill University?”
Maria explained, “Prior to today, I had only been to Aurous Hill University once, accompanying my grandfather to resolve an admission matter. We were searching for the university president and the Director, who oversees admissions.”
Pondering over the fact that the ring had also jumped in the underground garage of Thompson First Villas, Jagoan pressed on, “Have you been to Thompson First Villas?”
Maria answered truthfully, “I have been there once.”
Jagoan inquired further, “What were you doing there?”
Maria explained, “My grandfather’s old friend’s granddaughter resides in Thompson First Villas. On that occasion, my grandfather’s driver was picking up his old friend’s granddaughter for a dinner at our home, so I accompanied them.”
Curiosity piqued, Jagoan asked, “Who is the granddaughter of your grandfather’s old friend?”
Maria replied, “She is a lecturer at Aurous Hill University who just signed a contract with the university.”
Jagoan felt the need to verify Maria’s claims, so he probed further, “What is the name of your grandfather’s old friend’s granddaughter?”
Without hesitation, Maria responded, “Her name is Angela Lombardo!”