Omniscient First-Person’s Viewpoint Chapter 103

Chapter 103 - Off to Neverland We Go

༺ Off to Neverland We Go ༻



  I could still hear the regressor and Nabi fighting outside the building; echoes of a beast’s howling, deafening wind, and the inexorable destruction they wreaked upon their surroundings.


  Suddenly, Tantalus trembled. A Qi blade shot by the regressor must have struck the building’s outer wall.


  Feeling the vibration, Lieutenant General Ebon muttered in wonder.


  “He’s still facing the Cat King? He was this capable? Hm. Perhaps I should have witnessed the battle myself.”


  “I will go, sir.”


  The colonel volunteered, but Ebon immediately shook his head.


  “No. There is no need for that. If the Cat King holds the upper hand, she must be playing. If not, she will run on her own. You just need to focus on your duty.”


  “Yes, sir!”


  The colonel stayed faithful to his mission of keeping an eye on me. He stuck close to me whenever we passed shadows, fiercely scanning the surroundings, openly prepared to lop my head off if the need arose. Then Tyr would resign and aim for the next opportunity.


  Tyr was powerful but had no talent in a fight to protect something. Vampires were mostly immortal and could quickly regenerate even if their bodies were blown apart. In addition, they were practically invincible when near their Progenitor, who was the very source of bloodcraft. This led them to neglect defense.


  But with a hostage like me who’d die at the lightest poke, Tyr couldn’t choose such a means. It had to be a stifling situation for her.


  Sorry, Tyr, but see, I’ve got something to do.


  Ebon continued the search and eventually came across Azzy, hunched down in a corner. His eyes gleamed peculiarly for a moment.


  「The Dog King, the being who is perhaps closest to our yearning… I finally have her fully in my grasp.」


  Suppressing his strange excitement, Ebon shouted toward Azzy.


  “Finally found you, Dog King!”




  Azzy heard his voice from afar and promptly scampered over. Puzzled by the sudden increase in humans, she cast a glance at everyone.


  “Cat smell, human! Nice to meet you! Huh?”


  Then, discovering me all tied up, she cried out in confusion.


  “Woof? What’s that? What kind of play?”


  I answered honestly.


  “It’s what we call S&M play.”


  “Woof! I want in too!”


  “Woah now, good pups shouldn’t copy this.”


  “Woof-woof! Unfair! I want in!”


  The colonel pulled at me with a ferocious expression.


  Dear me, such a stiffy. Can’t even joke here. But oh, I bet the regressor would’ve shown a pretty fun reaction if she heard. It’s a bother when she’s around, but I kinda miss her now she’s gone.


  Ebon sent the others back to have a private talk with Azzy.


  “Dog King, I demand of you. Come with me to the surface.”


  “…Woof, again? A demand again?”


  Azzy exhaled like a deflating balloon, muttering with a disappointed face.


  “Me, won’t go.”


  Ebon wasn’t let down by her expected reaction. Instead, he asked the reason.


  “Why is that?”


  “Woof. Me, I’m good. I keep promise.”


  “You mean the promise with the Military State? The promise that if you wait here, they will one day fulfill the covenant and battle the Wolf King by your side?”




  Azzy nodded brightly, and Ebon scolded her for it.


  “How utterly foolish, even for a beast. You believe that? A promise in name only. Do you truly trust that the State will uphold their word and fight with you?”


  The way he saw it, she was a foolish beast clinging to an uncertain promise, and he was ready to ridicule her for it. But then, Azzy gave a big nod and looked up at Ebon, replying in a lively manner.


  “I’ll believe! Woof! If I keep believing, they’ll believe me someday!”


  The Dog King’s words embodied a determination that transcended mere truths or lies. She was vowing to trust humans for all eternity.


  Ebon swallowed the criticism on the tip of his tongue and lowered his voice for a moment.


  “Haha, that was a silly question. I apologize. Yes, this is how the Dog King is.”


  “Woof! It’s okay! Me, I’m good! Apology? Accepted!”


  “Then, I have no choice but to drag you along.”




  Azzy tilted her head confusedly at the abrupt statement.


  “Drag? Me, won’t go even if you pull though? Won’t go you know?”


  “No, you will.”




  Putting the perplexed Azzy behind him, Ebon shouted to the colonel.


  “Colonel, ready the chain.”


  “Yes, sir!”


  The colonel set his leather bag down on the ground and, after a brief search, pulled out a coiled chain.


  It was a metal chain crafted from level 4 alchemic steel, boasting a dark-blue sheen. It epitomized State alchemy, surpassing even the doors guarding the underground armory of Tantalus in durability. Evidently, the chain had taken up most of the space inside the leather bag. Once it was freed, the bag immediately sagged.


  While he undid the coil, the lieutenant general called out to Callis.


  “Lieutenant Colonel. I distinctly remember advising you to try using a chain before the mission. How did it go? Have you learned how to handle the Dog King?”


  Taken aback by the sudden address, Callis replied two beats late, requiring a moment to think back.


  “Ah, er, I… I apologize. I did not manage to find out. Even when I pulled at the Dog King with a chain, she did not budge from where she stood.”


  “How did you pull using the chain?”


  “Like a leash, wrapped around the neck…”


  “Whose neck?”




  Callis asked back dumbly, momentarily failing to grasp the question. Then, she quickly composed herself and answered.


  “I apologize. The Dog King. I put it around the Dog King’s neck.”


  “Hm. That is half correct. A shame. I had thought you, Lieutenant Colonel, would find the answer…”


  Ebon trailed off, pointing at Azzy. In response, the colonel nodded and strode over to Azzy with the chain.


  Meanwhile, Ebon continued his explanation.


  “Your train of thought was misguided, Lieutenant Colonel. What is the point of putting a chain around the Dog King? Does that make you as strong as her? Or, does the Dog King become as weak as you?”


  “Then what must be done?”


  “Did I not provide enough hints? You must do it the opposite way, I tell you.”


  The colonel had just chained Azzy, but not around the neck nor waist, rather around her right forefoot. Yes, he didn’t chain both limbs, and it didn’t seem to pose much of an issue. Azzy merely looked confused herself, not putting up any struggle. However, this chain wasn’t meant to bind the Dog King’s body in the first place.


  Ebon’s voice lowered a notch.


  “Lieutenant Colonel. Are you still loyal to us?”


  It was a question with a definite answer. Despite the turmoil in Callis’ heart, she had to express affirmation. So she promptly did.


  “Yes, sir! It is a given!”


  “Then, you must be prepared to follow our orders faithfully.”


  “I am, sir! I am ready to take any order.”


  “I commend your resolution. Since that is the case…”


  Ebon smiled coldly, then instructed the colonel holding the chain.


  “Colonel, chain the lieutenant colonel’s neck.”


  “…I, I beg your pardon?”


  Callis doubted her ears. She wasn’t even a beast, yet she was to be chained? And to the Dog King’s paw, no less…? Wouldn’t this be like Azzy holding Callis by a leash?


  「It can’t be. By opposite… he meant whom to use it on…?」


  The idea of being dragged around by a leash attached to the neck was an affront to dignity. Callis wanted to deny this situation, but with the lieutenant general watching and the colonel approaching, it was impossible for a mere lieutenant colonel like her to back out. So she pressed her lips shut, remaining still until the colonel chained her neck.


  The weight of the chain settled heavily on her shoulders, the chilling touch of metal snaking around her. Despite not constricting her yet, Callis felt her breathing become labored.


  But her trouble didn’t end there—she heard the click of a lock fastening. When Callis looked up, she saw a heavy, ink-black lock on the chain binding her.


  Her eyes trembled. She couldn’t take off the chain on her own now. Just like other animals couldn’t.


  “Continuing with the order, Lieutenant Colonel. Start walking. Until the chain chokes you.”


  She was to walk while wearing the chain.


  Azzy had stopped, showing no intention of moving, and the chain had a limited length; it wasn’t endless like the abyss. Therefore, if Callis kept walking, the chain would eventually tighten around her throat.


  Yet Lieutenant General Ebon spoke as if that was the goal.


  “S-sir, you mean…”


  “Yes, exactly what you are thinking. Keep pulling the chain… until you suffocate and lose consciousness. With your neck, Lieutenant Colonel.”


  Ebon’s voice echoed in the bewildered Callis’ ears.


  “Rest assured. The Dog King cannot harm a human… under any circumstances. Should you come to the risk of suffocating to death, she will be unable to bear the sight and follow you. She cannot let the chain connected to her paw kill someone, after all.”


  The plan was to take hostage of a dog’s boundless goodwill toward humans and use it as a tool for control.


  The Human Regime aimed to assert power over the Beast Kings by utilizing their understanding of beasts as a foundation. To handle the Dog King, they would tether a human to exploit her sense of virtue to stage a hostage scenario.


  Callis hated beasts. Her father had lost his life to their kind, and most criminals who committed felonies were beastkin. But now… she simply couldn’t discern who was animal and who was human.


  「…What about me then? I betrayed them to keep my life… and I’m acting loyal to save myself again. What does that make me…?」


  Her thoughts deepened, but the order didn’t wait for her.


  “The colonel would have taken your place if you were not here. I am giving you an opportunity. To contribute some merit. So obey my order, Lieutenant Colonel.”


  This was the ultimatum. Declining would be seen as insubordination, and considering their true nature, she would most likely die. And if she didn’t want to die immediately, Callis had to comply with the command that had her leashed.


  “Callis Kritz. Commencing, the mission.”


  Bracing herself, Callis began to walk away from Azzy, one slow step at a time. At first, Azzy only twitched her ears in response, but as the clinking chain rose off the ground, she sprang to her feet. 


  She finally realized what was going on.


  “Woof don’t do it!”


  「I, I have to live.」


  To live, she had to advance before death. That was the order. 


  Callis took another step.


  “Woof! No! Please. Woof, don’t do it.”


  「I’ve already sacrificed everything to survive. I can’t lose my life here, not after all that.」


  Clack. Something tugged on her neck. Callis had already reached the maximum distance. Feeling the heavy weight on her, she took yet another step.


  “Me, me. I’m a good Azzy. I, listen nice! Human, don’t want to hurt you. Woof, please. Woof.”


  「At least, if I follow orders now, recover my authority, and return home… I can live like before. I might even become level 4 like the Human Regime told me.」


  The chain tightened. The small gap between neck and chain gradually closed. As her composure crumbled, Callis’ breathing became thinner and thinner.


  “Woof! Woof-woof! Stop, woof!”


  I have, to live.


  Her instinct screamed, but she still couldn’t run. Ebon, a Star of the State, was glaring at her coldly.


  She had long stopped breathing. Callis felt her vision narrow… yet, she pushed herself even further.




  Just before Callis was about to pass out, Azzy couldn’t bear it anymore and leaped forward. The chain immediately loosened, and her forgotten breath returned. Callis slumped to the ground, intensely gasping for air.


  Azzy stood beside her with a woeful face.




  「Leading the Dog King to the surface with my life hostage, with the chain around my neck. That’s… the only, way for me, to survive…」


  Azzy would follow Callis now. She couldn’t leave her to die.


  Ebon went to Callis’ side to praise her.


  “Well done, Lieutenant Colonel. So you are at least capable of handling the Dog King.”

  It was another comment with a definite answer. Callis lied through harsh, panting breaths.


  “Thank… you, sir.”


  “I knew I was right about you. You are truly an outstanding talent! Good! We just need to ascend this way then!”


  They now had both the Dog King and the means to move her. All that remained was to return to the surface.


  But just as Ebon clapped in delight…




  Nabi rushed into the building they were in. Hopping as if suffering from burns, she clung to Ebon and began to whine.


  “Me-me-meow! Me-meow! It hurts! It stings!”


  Nabi was on the verge of tears, looking disheveled. Her hair had been cut unevenly in places, and scratches covered her arms and legs. She was even bleeding, though not severely.


  Nabi repeatedly licked the wounds on her hands, sobbing.


  “Nabi. What is the matter?”


  “Meow, don’t like that thing! Can’t see it and it’s all stingy-sting!”


  By “that thing”, she had to be referring to the regressor she had been fighting until just moments ago. Just what had she done to make the Cat King run off in such a sweat?


  Ebon examined Nabi’s injuries and fell into thought.


  「…The attacks were aimed to cause pain rather than to deal fatal wounds. Cats hate pain, so he made her flee by only targeting sensitive areas…?」


  Beast Kings were powerful, but they were still just animals at their core. And as faithful as they were to the instinct of life, they weren’t prone to taking risks.


  Since ancient times, the best way to deal with animals was to frighten them. As their survival instinct took priority over their hunting instinct, except for special cases like the Wolf King, humans would use sharp thorn traps or light fires to chase off Beast Kings.


  「Does he have experience facing a Beast King? How skilled. Since the Cat King has lost hostility, I must step in.」


  Reaching a conclusion, Ebon picked up his claws and got up.


  “It must hurt, Nabi.”


  “Me-meow! I hate it. The sting is like thorny vines!”


  “I understand. Then I will defeat him instead.”


  “Me-mya! Teach him a lesson! Mew could’ve won! Almost beat him! But mew left him for myew!”


  It seemed she wasn’t bluffing. The regressor appeared after Nabi, looking just as battered. Blood trickled from her mouth, and three wounds marred her face. The sleeves of her clothes had turned into blood-stained rags.


  「He is near death. Then again, a Beast King is no easy foe.」


  Apparently, Ebon only had to deliver the finishing blow.


  He fastened the claws onto his hands, one on the right, and one on the left. Click. They locked in, adhering to his body.


  Done readying himself for battle, the lieutenant general issued an order.


  “Nabi, take these people to the rooftop with the colonel. And Colonel, even the Progenitor is nothing to fear with Nabi by your side. Do not take your eyes off the hostage and make for the roof.”


  The colonel gave a spirited reply.


  “Yes, sir!”


  Ebon enjoyed the sensation of steel in his grip as he faced the regressor.


  Meanwhile, the regressor…


  “Oi! Here I’ve been fighting with my life on the line, so why have you been fooling around here?!”


  …Was yelling angrily in my direction, face flushed all red with agitation.


  Fooling around? Can’t you see my hands are tied?


  I quietly raised my hands to show her, but it only made the regressor scream hysterically.


  “Stop joking and do something already! If we lose her like this…!”


  “Who are you speaking to, you menace?”


  Ebon closed in on the regressor in the blink of an eye. She noticed this a beat late and hastily took up Chun-aeng to defend.




  Cl-clang. The claws danced in a dizzy flurry, launching attacks from all sides at the regressor. She gritted her teeth and parried her opponent’s weapons. After fending off the last attack, she switched to the offense and executed a cross-cut.


  The greatest advantage of the weightless sword, Chun-aeng, was its speed. Its wielder wasn’t constrained by stance and could immediately switch from defense to offense. The transition occurred without delay as she followed up with a super-speed slash.


  But it missed Ebon.


  He dodged the horizontal slash with surprising flexibility, then dug into the ground with his claws and charged, like a four-legged beast pouncing. The regressor let her adversary close the gap again in an instant.


  Ebon rammed into her with his shoulder. A painful groan sounded in his ears.


  “Now, it is crowded here, so let us fight somewhere wider.”


  He clearly intended on buying time. Realizing this, the regressor clenched her jaw.




  「I can’t believe… I have to trust that guy… in an important moment like this…!」


  And so, the Star and the regressor flew outside.


  It was a crossfire of purpose, wishes, desire, hope, and will, all conveyed through people.


  The stage was ready, and now, I just had to perform.


  I slipped out my fingers and quietly revealed a thumb—the biggest part of the undying’s arm that had exploded earlier, which I had secretly collected. At this moment, I had six fingers on my right hand.


  Now, let’s think. The colonel tied my wrist with rope minutes ago, but I had the undying’s thumb, which was the biggest remaining piece from the undying’s right hand. The finger I’d shown when I was being bound wasn’t mine. What did this mean?


  Well, naturally, it meant the start of fun magic!


  “We are leaving! Lieutenant Colonel, depart…!”


  Taking the lieutenant general’s order, the colonel hastily picked up his leather bag.


  Just then, a square paper pack plopped out from a gap in the bag. Landing on the ground, the pack opened wide, and the magic herb cigars made of catnip scattered everywhere.




  The colonel panicked. Putting aside the importance of the cigars, he foresaw what would happen

after they had fallen.


  Nabi stopped groaning, a gleam entering her eyes.




  She lunged for the goods out of reflex, sweeping together all she could with her paws, and made herself a mat of ten cigars. Then, she began to roll herself over them.


  The colonel yelped in bewilderment.


  “Please hold yourself back a moment, Nabi!”


  “Meow-! Mya-myaha-hah…”


  “Grgh! Why did it fall?”


  Why, you ask? Because you used a leather bag. You know, I can slit open a leather bag even with my foot. After all those times I cut up your bags, you still used one. Tsk-tsk. Did you not even read the news?


  Even if they were cultivating a world tree, these magic herbs for controlling the Cat King were exceedingly valuable. The colonel rushed to bend over and retrieve those precious items.


  At this moment, I didn’t exist in his mind. In other words, he wouldn’t notice whatever I did. So I stood above the colonel’s head, smiling a magician’s smile.




  I started with my left hand.




  Then my right.




  I slipped them out of the rope with natural grace, and the tight-looking knot melted like water. The knot structure itself was out of place—more precisely, put out of place—so it came loose instantly. 


  Escape magic was basic to a magician, and wasn’t anything to boast about. I supposed it might’ve gone differently with the lieutenant colonel.


  This is why you gotta check if a man’s fingers all belong to him when you’re tying his wrist.


  He could trick you with a fake finger and stick a thumb in a gap of the knot.


  Coincidentally, I met Callis’ eyes, which was a relief. It’d be more fun having an audience in this historic moment, right? I bowed to her, and while I was at it, threw her the undying’s right thumb.


  Alright. Since I’ve successfully escaped, I think it’s time I move to the next stage. I got out, Colonel. It’s time for you to do the same.


  I held up the untied rope, the State-made special product that was resistant to both heat and blades. It would never break in most cases.


  Holding it taut, I tippy-toed behind the colonel as he was picking up the cigars off the ground, and in a flowing motion, slung the rope tight around his throat.



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Omniscient First-Person’s Viewpoint

Omniscient First-Person’s Viewpoint

Status: Ongoing Author:
I, a mere con artist, was unjustly imprisoned in Tantalus, the Abyssal Prison meant for the most nefarious of criminals, where I met a Regressor.   But when I used my ability to read her mind, I found out that I was fated to die in a year…   And that the world would end 10 years later.


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