Omniscient First-Person’s Viewpoint Chapter 180

Chapter 180 - An Imaginary Expert

༺ An Imaginary Expert ༻



  The nights in the Military State were dark. When the day laborers laid in a deep slumber within their homes, rejuvenating for the forthcoming exertions of tomorrow, the night laborers were hard at work somewhere in the shadows.


  I headed toward the abandoned labor camp in District 13, draped in a jet-black robe. Inside a building that only had its steel frames remaining, spinning wheels that weaved alchemic threads were left broken and forgotten. The moment I took another step into the inner warehouse…


  A sharp hostility was directed at me.


  “Halt. Mole.”  


  A password; a concept that served as the most basic and effective method to distinguish ally from adversary. It was a pattern that had its own degree of nuanced sophistication in both shape and color.


  However, with my Mind Reading, known as the master key, it was no different from earning trust for free. 


  「The password is Mole, the response is Carriage.


  Thanks for letting me know.


  I responded exactly as I read from his thoughts.




  “Alright. What brings you here?”


  “I’m a messenger. I’ve come to pass on the facts you need to know.”


  「Facts we need to know? Could it perhaps be that the preparations to move are all complete for the Shadow?


  How kind of you to explain. Thanks. I nodded as if agreeing with his thoughts.


  “The preparations are complete. The actions we’ve taken in the past few days have all shown their results.”


  “Results? What kind of results are you talking about?”


  「Why are you speaking so vaguely? Your task was to assassinate Market’s Store Manager, Klin! All you need to say is whether you carried out the assassination or if it’s planned for later!


  Why? Because I would be in trouble if I answered with more detail and you get suspicious. You see, it’s much better to navigate the conversation ambiguously, adjusting to thoughts as they arise.


  Just like how I’m doing now.


  Wishing for Klin’s assassination, you say? Understood. I’ll play along with you.


  “A warehouse keeper, Store Manager, and the Representative of Market, as well as a clandestine smuggler. An aficionado of smoking. Preparations to reap Klin’s life are complete. His body shall soon be shrouded in the darkness.”


  “You should have just said that from the very beginning.”


  At any rate, in light of the long-awaited news, the gangsters that had taken over the labor camp rejoiced greatly.


  “Klin, that fatso. He will finally receive the punishment he deserves!”


  These individuals, ardently hoping for Klin’s death were a group of delivery men who had gathered together to establish a Transportation Union.


  Though the warehouse might be just the one, delivery men were numerous. Klin effortlessly grasped the principle of supply and demand without even learning about it, thus driving a hard bargain when it came to the delivery men’s wages. In contrast to Klin, who reveled in wealth and power, the delivery men’s purse strings had always been tightened.


  When a few delivery men, unable to endure such treatment any longer, confronted Klin, they were faced with a severe beating, thus pledging to take revenge.


  「The Shadow is an exceptional assassin. That obese Store Manager Klin is no match for him! Once that bastard, who struts around arrogantly just because he learned a bit of Qi Arts, meets his demise, our Transportation Union will seize the opportunity to infiltrate Market! The majority of items in the warehouse are either stolen or smuggled anyway. If we manage to steal them and make a swift escape, no one can catch us!


  The organization known as the Shadow of the Military State was filled with those similar to this person.


  A group or gathering dissatisfied with the existing structure. Those who break and destroy the established framework in hopes of creating a world favorable to themselves.


  Based on what I had read from the Captain’s thoughts, it became clear that the mastermind behind the scenes named Wolfen planned to collect all this gunpowder and set it off in one fell swoop.


  The intention was to create chaos that would necessitate the intervention of the Military State as firefighters, thus enforcing order and cleanliness.


  That’s right. It was akin to those slash-and-burn farmers who set fire to a forest to clear the land for cultivation.


  These union members, oblivious to the fact that their own situation was no different from that of tinder-dry leaves scattered on the ground of a forest before a slash-and-burn, eagerly approached me with their questions.


  “What’s the signal?”


  “If the warehouse keeper dies, a fire will blaze from the warehouse. Aim for that moment.”


  “You’re saying a fire will occur in the warehouse, right?”


  “That’s right.”


  “Kek, that punk, Klin. I wonder what kind of expression he’ll make when his beloved warehouse catches fire! Ah, right! He won’t be able to make any expression at all because he’d be dead! Too bad. I really wanted to see that ugly fac….”


  It was then that it happened. From beyond District 13, a booming sound erupted, followed by a surge of crimson flames. The scattered gunpowder painted the sky of the Military State red.


  Transportation Union members, hidden here and there, sprang out as if their own clothes were the ones on fire. At first they stared bewilderedly towards the warehouse, before soon erupting into cheers.


  “Those sons of bitches. Serves them right!”


  “Wait. If the warehouse burns down, what about our share?”


  “It’s fine! Market’s warehouse is big. Even if it burns like that, I’m sure half of it will still remain!”


  “Hurry up and get your things!”


  “Damn, what perfect timing!”


  As I gazed at the light spreading red in the distance, I muttered to myself.


  “Ah, what is with that timing?”


  Damn, they were downright terrible. They should have waited until I left… If they do this, it only makes me busier.


  The union president in front of me also moved hastily.


  “I can’t believe they’ve already pulled off the assassination! Everyone, get ready! We’re going to raid Market!”


  As the members of the union hustled about, the union president smiled triumphantly, before clenching his fist tightly.   


  “If you all take control of the back alleys! We shall assist you with all our heart!”


  “…I’ll remember. Now, I need to drop by someplace else, so. Bye.”


  “Just leave it to me!”


  The attention of the Transportation Union President quickly shifted to Market. I moved away from them, my jet-black cloak swishing extensively behind me.


  In reality, those flames were part of a fireworks display planned by Market as a way to dispose of their explosives. The explosives, which Klin had acquired with the intention to use as a weapon if necessary, had been turned into mere fireworks after surrendering to my blackmail.


  There was a certain romance in using alchemy to transform weapons-grade explosives into fireworks. This very romance would echo across the Military State as false signals.


  Then, the moths who didn’t know any better, would think it was time to rise, thus throwing themselves into the flames.


  I did not know when the day of action was, but I was definitely going to burn it all before that day ever came.


  After all, what was already burnt cannot catch fire once again.  


  “Now, then. The place I need to visit next is…“  


  The night was much shorter than I thought. It was clear I would have to be more diligent from now on. I climbed into the high grade automaton carriage I had brought from Sephi’s house and started the engine. Expensive things really did seem better, seeing how the very texture itself felt extraordinary.


  It was right when I was about to set off. Just ahead, someone cloaked in a robe similar to mine dashed towards me in a hurry. 


  A suspicious attire matched with suspicious behavior. Instinctively, I read his mind.


  「Damn it! I have to let them know…! Some crazy bastard is going around impersonating us, the Shadow! I have to make sure that at least the Transportation Union doesn’t act recklessly…!


  He was the real messenger of the Shadow. It seemed that they had sensed something amiss, hence coming out to regulate their members. 


  Regulate… Regulate… Ah, wait. A bad memory is…


  Trauma overwhelmed me, thus causing me to press the accelerator in reflex. The messenger’s figure swiftly drew near.


  This is because of mental and physical frailty, okay?




  The messenger, struck by the suddenly accelerated automaton carriage, tumbled on the ground.


  Right after the collision, I leaped down from the auto-carriage and yelled immediately. 


  “Damn it! Shit! Drive properly!”


  Apparently he was well-trained, since the messenger reflexively performed a falling technique and picked himself up even after being hit by a car..


  A trickle of blood was flowing from the corner of his mouth, but other than a broken rib, he didn’t seem to have any serious injuries.


  Nearly had it. That’s a shame. Should have hit him harder. 


  “Keuk…! You bastard, you were the one driving…!”


  Reeling from the injustice of this unexpected accident, the messenger blurted out a response without pausing to collect his thoughts.


  “Look at this! The car’s front is totally wrecked! What are you going to do?! How are you going to compensate me?!”


  “I said, I was the one struck by the vehicle, damn it…!”


  “I know right? It seems your face took more of a beating than my car did. My apologies. It was not intentional at all.”


  “You lunatic…!” 


  Was it because the provocation had struck true? The messenger reached into his robe and drew out a short sword. Upon glimpsing the pitch-black blade, I cried out in horror.


  “Kyahhhhh! It’s a knife! This person is carrying around a dreadful weapon!”


  “Is a bastard like you in any position to talk after hitting me with a vehicle…?!”  


  「I do not know who you are, but I will kill you…!


  His pain turned into a primal urge to attack. Without another word, the messenger lunged forward with the edge of his blade.


  And I, who was facing him, calmly read his mind while pulling a card out.


  The 4 of Diamonds, a card with four rhombuses arranged in the direction of the cardinal points – North, East, South, West. Using alchemy, I unveiled the hidden appearance of the card; it voraciously sucked in my mana, swelling and enlarging its form.


  After undergoing alchemic conversion, what appeared was a short spear, slightly smaller in length and lighter than its standard counterpart. It was quite straight and ordinary, equipped with a diamond-shaped blade and a long shaft.


  The messenger, who carried a small knife concealed within his clothes, cried out in apparent chagrin upon seeing my short spear.


  “This crazy piece of shit brought out a spear…?!”


  “It’s self-defense since you pulled out a knife first!”


  Both justification and the privilege of the first move were mine. While envisioning the Sunderspear and his disciple, I took on an exaggerated posture.


  The messenger clenched his teeth.


  「His posture is formidable! He must be an expert!


  Nah, it’s a bit different. What I’m doing is merely mimicking the stance.


  Since every person’s character and physique vary, what was optimal for them might not suit me. In other words, my stance was nothing but bluster, a show of bravado.




  「I must dodge with all my might! If I make the slightest slip, I could lose my life in a single strike!


  If my opponent didn’t realize it was all show, then the fake stance would become real.


  After all, if the messenger recoiled at an imaginary spear ripping apart his flesh, I would gain all the more freedom of movement.


  「I just need to approach once! With the Supreme Technique, Shadow Concealment, I can vanish into the ground to evade! It might disrupt my stance, but if I could withstand just that, then…!


  Nice. The plan had been drawn.


  I withdrew all expression from my face. Removing any hint of jest, I momentarily showed a chilling blankness, before beginning to advance with my muscles coiled tightly in my shoulders and legs.


   「…That expression…! He’s a pro! He must have recognized me from the start and hit me with the car on purpose!


  The tip of the spear shook. Seeing this, the messenger, despite being injured, exerted all his strength to unfold his Qi Arts.


  「Supreme Technique, Shadow Concealment!  


  In truth, it was too shabby to call it a Supreme Technique; it was a grappling move that used Earth Qi to pull the ground while circling behind the opponent.


  It is said that after reaching a certain realm, one would look as if they were hiding within the shadows, but this mere messenger, who hadn’t even received the title of ‘Shadow’, was not of that level.


  But still, it was enough to catch his opponents off-guard.  


  「I dodged it…!


  I hadn’t aimed to stab him in the first place. I spun the spear and held it vertically. Then, I slammed it straight down with the blunt end facing down.


  Right towards the messenger’s abdomen, who was now sliding across the earth.


  His eyes widened.


  「Keuk! To think he detected this…!


  I’m sure you’re specialized in striking when your opponents are off-guard… But sorry, I’ve never lost in a battle of wits.


  The messenger’s body folded in half. Having already been halfway between life and death from getting hit by a vehicle earlier, my attack knocked him out completely.


  “Thank you for settling this so amicably.”


  Phew, that was close. It’s not like he was one of the executives called Penumbras. To think that a mere messenger tasked with running errands is so tenacious. Even if an automaton carriage was no match for a real horse, how was he able to stand and fight after being hit by such a massive lump of iron?


  If a mere messenger was this resilient, how strong must the executives like the Penumbras or the boss, Wolfen, be?


  Hooo, and I was trying to keep my hands clean.  


  “I guess it can’t be helped. I’ll have to avoid direct confrontation even more actively.”


  One victory was enough. From now on, I was only going to aim for mental victories.


  Even though what I caught was just a lackey of the Shadow, there were still some gains. I mulled over the memories I extracted from the messenger and after tossing his unconscious body in a dark alley, I walked away.


  It was at that very moment. Something black and shapeless flickered in the darkness. Feeling a chill run down my spine, I turned around to look.


  The alley was full of darkness. Apart from the groans of the unconscious messenger, I couldn’t feel any thoughts in my vicinity.


  I tilted my head.


  “…? That’s weird. Wasn’t there something there?”


  Was it a ghost? Or perhaps a spirit?


  No, it reminded me more of the dirt pawns I saw in the Abyss…


  “I must have been mistaken. Why would that be here?”


  It’s not like there was anything to see in these back alleys, you know?


  Normally, I would investigate, but I was currently in a hurry. I headed for another rendezvous point.


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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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