༺ A Corpse that Defies Orders (2) ༻
I looked around in silence. Except for the stunned bug that was lying on the ground, there were still plenty of others to extract information from. Of course, confidential information might be known only to their leader, but it didn’t matter. With this number, the quality of information can afford to be slightly lower.
It’s fine even if only their leader knew the mastermind or collaborator behind the Third Honor. In any case, they were the ones who showed their fangs to the Empire first, obsessed with their delusions of the Apels’ revival. They will definitely come up with other tricks, and we just have to find and kill them.
Yes, there was no problem.
‘Killing him won’t be a problem.’
After reaching that conclusion, I approached the bug. The Masked Unit members who were grabbing his arms quickly moved back, and the 1st and 4th Managers followed behind me.
I lifted the unconscious bug’s head to wake him up, but something was wrong. His eyes were rolled back and white, his body was crushed and unrecognizable, and there was blood at the corner of his mouth.
At my words, the Masked Unit member’s body trembled. He was already dead. It seemed like the 4th Manager failed to control her strength in her haste to kick him.
I looked at the bug’s upturned eyes for a moment, then applied force to my hand and burst his head open. It was meaningless since he was already dead, but I felt like I had to vent my frustration somehow.
After roughly wiping off the blood on my hands, I turned around. The 4th Manager seemed lost, and the 1st Manager was nervous.
‘What should I do?’
The 1st Manager deliberately delayed the interrogation process, and the 4th Manager had killed him.
Both were reprehensible enough if you ask me.
After looking at both of them alternately, I sighed lightly. I didn’t like how they were lowering their heads. Normally, I would’ve cast it aside. After all, it was expected that the 1st Manager would enjoy having new toys, and I knew that the 4th Manager was proactive in matters related to me.
Yet I didn’t confront the 1st Manager right away, and I stayed still knowing that the 4th Manager would rush out. It would be a bit hypocritical to scold them after all that.
Although I heard something unexpected in an unexpected place—
The more I thought about it, the more annoyed I became. I was about to wipe this frustration off my face when I noticed that my hands were still wet with blood. The 4th Manager, who had been watching me from the corner of her eye, carefully gave me her handkerchief.
“Executive Manager, if it’s okay with you, please use this…”
Her voice was stable, but seeing her trembling hand holding the handkerchief made me completely forget about reprimanding her. Yeah, luck wasn’t on my side. What just happened was just bad luck.
I returned the handkerchief to her after cleaning my hands. And I patted her shoulders as if telling her that everything was okay now.
“There’s really no one else who cares about me except for Fenelia. Thank you for getting angry in my place.”
Although she’d taken my work from me, she dealt with the target in my place. It was done in good faith, so I decided to let it go.
I left behind the 4th Manager and walked toward the 1st Manager. She trembled even more, perhaps thinking that all my anger would fall on her. Don’t worry. I won’t get angry at you.
“Yes! Executive Manager!”
It was funny seeing the 1st Manager shout with all her might and looking so nervous. I smirked and patted her shoulder.
“You just made a mistake. Right?”
“N-No, I should have done it faster.”
“It’s a mistake. You’ve been doing well so far, Elizabeth, so making a mistake occasionally is fine.”
As I consoled her, her trembling gradually subsided. Where can you find a superior who thinks about his subordinates like this?
“But you’ll do well this time, right?”
I was satisfied after hearing her answer like a soldier.
“Seeing how he’s aware of what happened in the North, there’s definitely someone collaborating with them.”
“I’ll figure it out!”
“Okay. Let’s do our best.”
Seeing how she nodded, made me think she was definitely going to do her job this time. The 1st Manager always showed results when she was serious.
“I’ll be going to the booth for a while. I need to show my face before the day comes to an end.”
We’d gone out with the excuse there was someone we had to meet, so they would get suspicious if I didn’t appear at all. I had to show my face at least once before returning.
* * *
I barely managed to calm down after watching the Executive Manager return to the Academy. My heart began beating really fast when he patted my shoulder and called me by my name instead of my position.
Things are really fucked up.
He was suppressing it deep down, but his composure had definitely been shaken.
Most people that have experienced war before have their own jinx. The Executive Manager was one of those people.
He never called anyone by their names. No matter the situation, he always called them by their designation. His jinx was calling us by our names.
In his two years in the North, he’d lost a lot of people he was close to by calling them by their names. Among all the people that were sent to kill Kagan, he was the only one who returned alive.
But calling me by my name instead of my position meant that he was so overwhelmed with rage that he didn’t he care about his own long held superstition. This only happened when he was truly furious.
‘Son of a bitch.’
I glared at the head of the leader of the Third Honor. I treated him well because he was a new toy, but I never expected him to cause something like this. I’m glad the Executive Manager didn’t let out his anger. Now that I think about it, not expressing his anger and hiding it was even scarier…
“Fenelia, are you okay?”
I turned my gaze from the headless son of a bitch to Fenelia. The Executive Manager, who had a special place in her heart, called her by her name. I couldn’t imagine how shocked she must have been.
She was still bowing her head and mumbling something. From Fenelia’s perspective, who lived only by looking at the Executive Manager, it must have felt like the sky was falling. I sighed lightly and approached her to offer some comfort.
It seemed like I was worried for nothing.
While leaving Fenelia behind, I walked toward the other Third Honor members.
I called out members of the Masked Unit. They also seemed angered. Well, it was expected. After all, someone had cursed the Executive Manager in front of them.
“Bring that here.”
I pointed to someone who seemed unconscious. They quickly walked toward him and dragged it to me. Since interrogation is only possible when they’re conscious, I slapped him to wake him up.
As soon as he opened his mouth to scream, a member of the Masked Unit put a gag in his mouth. Yes, they’re quick to catch on, making it easier to work with them.
“I didn’t want to go this far. But your leader was rude to us. That’s too bad.”
Taking out a dagger from my pocket, I was speaking when I suddenly thought it was strange. Why do I feel regretful? We’re the ones who suffered the damages unilaterally. Isn’t he to blame for not managing his leader properly?
“Now that I think about it, I’m not sorry.”
I could work comfortably.
After nodding, I checked out the state of the dagger then cut the skin of the Third Honor member before me.
How many cuts will you be able to handle? Try to resist as much as possible.
* * *
I managed to stop becoming a higher-up who unleashed his anger on his subordinates. It seemed like I’d developed patience. I used to lash out immediately, without giving it a second thought.
“Someone who achieved success through the blood of his comrades.”
I couldn’t help but frown at those words. Even if I’ve developed patience, I couldn’t help but feel horrible. The worst thing is that I couldn’t deny those words. After all, they were right.
I barely managed to cast those thoughts aside when I entered the Academy and was about to reach the booth. Oh damn, was I too late? I began walking faster but noticed that the booth was empty. It seems like I’m late, indeed.
I was about to return to the forest when I heard Louise’s voice. It seemed like she was sitting inside the booth.
“Why are you still here?”
“I’m the president of the club, so I wanted to wait at least until oppa’s here.”
I laughed at Louise’s words.
“What about the others? I’m sure they didn’t want to leave yet.”
“People from the three countries took them.”
Louise simply answered. However, I could already imagine how much Villar had struggled to do that. Taking them away from Louise was probably really hard. But then, who dragged Erich and Ainter? Was it the work of the three foreigners who had to keep the two in check?
‘They keep each other in check really well.’
No one took the lead. But at the same time, they didn’t let anyone take the lead. Their balance matched weirdly.
“Oppa, can you give me your hands?”
I extended my hands without thinking about it, then instantly regretted it. Although I had cleaned my hands, there was a chance there was still the smell of blood. She’s someone who needed to grow, only looking at good things. It wasn’t something she should smell.
But Louise didn’t seem to mind that. She put a small pouch on top of my hands. Luckily, it doesn’t seem to smell.
“I made it a lot sweeter this time!”
“They say it’s better to eat something sweet when you’re tired.”
My body hardened at Louise’s worried words.
“It’s just that Oppa looks tired. I wanted to be of help to you.”
“Eh… Oppa? Just like I’ve said before…”
“I should tell you if something is bothering me?”
Looking at Louise’s shy smile, I then looked down at the pouch. Sweet foods are good when you’re tired. From who did I hear that before?
“Thank you. I’ll eat it well.”
I smiled back at Louise, who was beaming.
After confirming that Louise had returned to the dormitories, I returned to the forest.
‘It’s better to eat something sweet when you’re tired.’
Then, I opened the pouch that Louise had given me and took out a cookie. It was a neatly shaped cookie that was carefully made by Louise. I couldn’t have imagined something so neat back then.
“Carl! I’ve prepared something good!”
“Ta-dah! How about this? I’m sure you don’t often get the opportunity to eat sweet things in the North!”
“Hey, have you checked yourself in the mirror? You look very tired.”
“Sweet things are the best when you’re tired! I’ve made these for you, so eat them!”
“Little brat, don’t sulk alone. If something’s bothering you, you can tell this noona anytime!” “
Perhaps it was because I heard those words right after hearing a similar thing from that damn bug, or maybe it was because I heard something similar from Louise. Memories from the past suddenly came rushing back to me.
I looked at Louise’s cookie for a moment and then took a bite.
Yes. Louise’s cookies are delicious.
The cookies I’ve tasted in the North were delicious too. They are the best among the ones I’ve tasted.
That’s why Louise’s cookies are also delicious, just like those I’ve eaten in the North.
Yes. Louise’s cookies are delicious. Definitely.