Omniscient First-Person’s Viewpoint Chapter 173

Chapter 173 - Taboo

༺ Taboo ༻



  In the outskirts of District 13, there was a small and dirty restaurant.


  Despite the cold-eyed owner constantly sharpening knives, ready to cook at any moment, the dust-laden tables, greasy dishes, and walls covered in mold instead of wallpaper made even Level 0 citizens turn away in disgust. It was no different from a barrier that drove customers away. 


  What did the owner cook? Why was only the knife kept carefully sharp in this filthy place? 


  For the first time in a long while, this deserted store, its very existence suspicious, welcomed a customer.


  It was clear he was from another District. The man wore a neat shirt with a tie, slightly lifting his elegant hat. A woman wearing a straw hat followed him with soft steps.


  The relatively well-dressed couple were startled the moment they entered, seeing the dirty walls and dusty tables.  


  “Uh…Hey, B, is this the right place?”    


  The woman following him stiffened her expression and replied.  


  “Affirmative…I mean, that is correct. From what I, the C…I know, I have heard this place is quite a popular restaurant.”


  “Are you sure it’s not a mistake? We came here because it was said that this was a restaurant in District 13 where for every two people who ate, one might die from how delicious it is. But this looks like a place where the two might die of food poisoning instead, no?” 


  “Hey, watch your words!”  


  As they lingered outside the restaurant without entering, the owner slammed the knife down irritably.


  The man flinched noticeably. The owner, with his unkempt hair, glared at the man and asked.  


  “What, you gonna order something?”   


  The man, losing his nerve, hesitated with uncertainty.


  “Excuse me, what’s the most popular dish here?”


  The owner grinned, baring his sparse teeth that were missing a few. 


  “Steak. Dripping with blood.”




  The man seemed to read the situation better than the woman. With a frightened expression, he quickly grabbed the woman’s wrist. They cautiously backed away, watching the owner discreetly.


  “E-Excuse us! W-We’ll come again n-next time!”




  Despite losing his first customer in a while, the owner showed no signs of regret.


  It was because this ‘restaurant’ was not actually a restaurant.  


  「So people still wander into such places. At least they had the tact to leave and save me the hassle.」    


  Restaurants were the most common storefronts in the Military State. Additionally, they were also places where strangers’ visits aroused little suspicion.   


  Thus, organizations created hidden contact points for secret meetings by disguising them as restaurants; it was for members to contact each other or gather in the case of an emergency.


  「The day of decisive action is near, so I can’t afford to cause a troublesome situation. Good thing I didn’t have to dispose of bodies….」  


  The owner opened the storage room. Instead of food ingredients, there was a dark space with wooden stairs leading downwards.


  Only days remained until the Shadow overthrew the Military State and took the back alleys. Although merely a low-ranking member, the owner was ready to flip the nation over its head as soon as the command was given.


  A dangerous smile appeared on the owner’s face…. 


  “You’re right. It’s a secret meeting place.”  


  I, who had just left the store, took off my hat and muttered. The Captain, too, nodded in agreement.  


  “There were circumstances that aroused suspicion. Paradoxically, there was an influx of people in this alley, which should not have had much traffic. Groups of people were observed visiting this store in regular intervals at specific times.”  


  They probably chose a quiet back alley for a meeting place to avoid suspicion, disguising it as a restaurant that wasn’t doing so well. 


  However, they couldn’t have possibly known…


  Exactly what existence was tracking them.


  A signaller of the Military State; an entity that could oversee the city as if looking down at the palm of her hand by connecting to golems hidden all over the city. It was easier for them to monitor a quiet alley than a bustling main street.


  …Well, they probably didn’t open a restaurant on the main street because they didn’t have enough funds, though.  


  It wasn’t that they were foolish. After all, I didn’t know either.


  How could we have known about the existence of a signaller and that the Military State was this insane?  


  “Captain Bbey is truly amazing. You managed to accurately pinpoint a suspicious location among the many alleys in the State.”    


  I read thoughts. Even the filthy secrets that should be taken to the grave were exposed nakedly in front of me. Even a spy who could withstand all sorts of torture revealed their innermost thoughts just as a result of me brushing past them. As such, no matter how deep and complex humans were, it meant absolutely nothing when facing me.


  However, if humans themselves were shallow, I became rather useless.  


  That’s right. For example…


  It was especially the case in this Military State where people were accustomed to being mere cogs in a machine.  


  “The Shadow of the Military State, being a network of disconnected cells, was challenging for even me to locate. No matter how much I searched, I couldn’t find a single lick of them anywhere, so there was no fun in exposing them. If it wasn’t for Bbey, I wouldn’t have found this place.”


  “Negative. Your flattery is excessive. I merely did what was required of me.”


  “I’m complimenting you because you did what was required well. It’s a significant achievement to have identified a contact point on the first attempt.”


  I’m being serious here. Though you cannot delve as deeply as me to unearth the truth, the broad range of sensory abilities you possess is a power I do not have. To succeed in that was truly impressive of you, Captain.


  At my compliment, the Captain adjusted her straw hat and muttered.  




  「…Your praise is excessive. It’s the first time I’ve received commendation for my work…. After all, I only fulfilled my duty.」   


  Though she did not show it, the Captain was inwardly touched. Elated, she took vigorous strides forward.   


  “Let us head to the next suspect location. Follow me.”   


  However, the next location identified by the Captain turned out to be a renowned restaurant in the back alleys of District 13. The disheartened Captain was comforted by the kind-hearted owner’s special menu. The Captain’s eyes sparkled at the taste of another dish and she finished two plates. 




  The Shadow of the Military State was…less of a point organization and more like an octopus that dangled the tails of lizards as bait.


  When a few members of the ‘Shadow of the Kingdom’ demonstrated their power, street thugs were drawn to them. Then, the Shadows sweet-talked these thugs with tempting words.    


  Let’s join forces.


  Let’s overturn this dreadful country.


  If we control the back alleys, we’ll give you control over this area.    


  The naive thugs believed these words as if they were gospel. Those who didn’t believe and resisted were killed by the ‘Shadow’, leaving them no choice but to have faith.  


  Thugs, ruffians, loafers, and the dregs of society followed the Shadow without knowing who they were or where to meet them.


  All while taking pride in being part of such a dangerous organization.  


  “Tsk. There’s no substantial clue here either. This is a correct rendezvous point, but it seems to be just a location. Nothing more, nothing less.”  


  Despite using Mind Reading at each visible rendezvous point, no useful information was obtained.


  It was because everyone here was just a disposable pawn, bait that could be cut off like a lizard’s tail at any moment.


  The Captain, organizing the information, murmured.  


  “There are more than twenty rendezvous points. The estimated mobilized force is about four hundred people…. Considering the rendezvous points and the main body of the ‘Shadow’ that I haven’t discovered, it is expected to be over a thousand in size.”    


  A disturbance caused by a thousand organized gangsters would be a rebellion, or at least an uprising on a massive scale. I was astounded by the sheer scale of it.   


  “A disturbance caused simultaneously by a thousand people? And if others with grievances join, it would be more than a mere riot, wouldn’t it? Isn’t this a serious problem?”  


  “Negative. It seems unlikely that this situation will escalate significantly.” 


  However, the Captain flatly denied it. Even the fact that a thousand outlaws were causing riots throughout the capital failed to alarm the signaller.


  I asked.  


  “Why? Because the Military Police can easily slaughter a mere thousand of such people?”


  “Your statement is valid, but that is not the reason. As you said, if a thousand people simultaneously caused a disturbance, it would be different…but they lack the capability to do so.”


  “Capability, as in organizational ability?”




  After a moment of contemplation, the Captain organized her thoughts and explained to me.  


  “According to my and your investigation, the group calling themselves Shadow of the Military State was gathered in small numbers in District 10 of Amitengrad. They were too small for our country to detect, but at the same time, it also impedes the subversive known as the Shadow in their capability to issue commands. Their means of communication are severely limited.”


  “I guess that’s true.” 


  If street thugs scattered throughout the city could easily receive commands, why would the Military State invest enormous resources in training signallers and creating magic golems?  


  “Additionally, from my personal observations…most of their rendezvous points were poorly maintained and managed. We cannot expect systematic operational capabilities from untrained people.”


  “True. They did seem like a ragtag bunch.”  


  It was no coincidence that those with similar concerns, such as Market and Family, gathered. An organization needed a pivot to be a central figure and a sense of unity to bind them together.


  But in the gathering of the Shadow of the Military State, in the gathering of the thugs, there was no such thing.    


  I nodded to show my agreement.  


  “It is pretty strange. Such types of uprisings grow as the size of the group increases. In a riot caused by a thousand people, many would eagerly join, driven by their boiling blood. But if it’s divided among ten people, there is a higher chance of hesitation. After all, the larger the group, the lesser the fear.”


  The Shadow of the Military State were just a motley crew of thugs. Even if they were given orders, the likelihood of them following was extremely low. Moreover, if those orders were akin to a suicide mission, it was even more so.  


  “No matter how much they aim to spread chaos, would they really employ such a disorganized group for complex operations? It’s questionable.”    


  Ah, if only a ‘Shadow’ would show up. If I could just read their thoughts, I could find out easily.


  I’m telling you, that’s why Mind Reading isn’t so great. If those Shadows or whatever don’t show up from where they were hiding, I couldn’t read their thoughts. Aghhh, so frustrating.


  If only I could at least read the intentions of others….


  Ah, wait.  


  “Bbey. Do you perhaps know anything about Taboo?”  


  At some point in time, the Captain seemed to have grown accustomed to the nickname Bbey and responded without a hint of awkwardness.


  “Taboo? Your statement lacks sufficient context. Please elaborate.”


  “I kept forgetting about it because the informant wasn’t reliable, but I thought I should ask, just in case.”  


  It was against the ethics of information trading, so I had been hiding this knowledge, but now that it had come to this, I had no other choice.


  Sorry, Nehru. I’m gonna pass on your information to the Captain.  


  “So apparently, Nehru mentioned that the Umbra, Wolfen, knows about the Taboo of the Military State.”


  “…The Taboo of the Military State, you say?” 


  “Yes. It was mentioned offhandedly as if it were significant information, but I didn’t understand what it meant and forgot about it. But it suddenly came to mind, which is why I’m asking you.”  


  I casually mentioned this and sneakily read her thoughts. I wonder, how much did the Military State Signaller know about the Taboo…


  「Difficult to determine. There are far too many questionable elements to pinpoint just one.」  


  I knew it. As expected of this batshit crazy country.


  You guys aren’t qualified to catch me, you hear me? At least when I get arrested, I know exactly what my charges are.


  Instead of pondering over the Taboo, the Captain became cautious of Nehru.  


  “Nehru, as in the cat beastkin running a magazine company, is it…. It seems that there is a need to investigate them.”


  Ahahaha. I knew this would happen. Sorry, Nehru.


  Feeling wronged? But there’s nothing I can do. Spouses share everything, right? They are practically one body. You should have expected it to be shared the moment you told me.    


  At any rate…  


  “Is there really nothing that stands out?”


  “Affirmative. Umbra Wolfen has been imprisoned in Tantalus for 20 years. He was isolated before even my deployment and never left that location until he escaped. It is impossible for him to have had access to high-level intelligence like the Military Nation’s Taboo.”


  Didn’t they say he’s been imprisoned since the early days of the Military State? So, Wolfen, trapped in that Abyss, couldn’t have learned anything significant.


  Wait a minute. There’s a flaw in that reasoning.


  There’s no certainty that it had to be Wolfen himself who knew the Taboo, right?  


  “What if Wolfen heard about the Taboo from someone else who was imprisoned with him in Tantalus? Couldn’t that be possible?  


  “The possibility of information exchange….”  


  Upon hearing my suggestion, the Captain’s expression stiffened.  


  “…Please wait a moment. There are circumstances I have suspicions of.”


  Rustle. A book was opened inside the Captain’s mind. The list of those who had passed through the Abyss fluttered past before disappearing.


  Like that, the Captain, recalling each trainee’s personal information one after another, identified a single individual.  


  「…The jailbreak instigator, former Colonel Lankart. The youngest Commander of the Magic Corps, as well as a traitor who traded with the Federation, selling information regarding the Arcane.」


  The details of a person’s information unfolded. It was hard to recall until mentioned, as it was only known through documents, but once a single thought was realized, related information cascaded.  


  「The Military State’s genius mage, the youngest ever promoted. And a survivor of Hamelin.」  




  As soon as that word was recalled, the Captain’s expression turned unprecedentedly grave.   


  「The information regarding that incident at Hamelin has a Level 5 security clearance, If Lankart, one of the parties involved, revealed the hidden truth of that case…」  


  “…I retract my statement. My thoughts were incorrect.”    


  The Captain spoke, her body shaking with chills.


  “The Shadow of the Military State are not their limbs. They are a deadly poison, designed to make the Military State kill everyone in the back alleys…!”


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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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