Chapter 39: Let’s Go! (4)
That night, under the cloak of the dark sky, three figures left the main camp in secret. Eshnunna led the group while lighting up the darkness with her torch. Chi-Woo followed right after her in the middle. And falling to the back was the villager, who kept a watchful eye on their surroundings with a long sword in hand. The three walked without saying anything, but they clearly looked wary of each other. Eshnunna glanced behind her from time to time and wondered ‘What in the world is this person planning to do?’
The middle-aged village man clutched onto his sword tightly, making his suspicion for Chi-Woo clear. ‘There’s no way,’ the man thought. ‘He’s definitely up to something.’ However, Chi-Woo didn’t show any signs that warranted suspicions even after they had traversed quite a long distance, and the man’s suspicion gave way to bewilderment. His grip around the hilt soon loosened, and the man began to wonder, ‘Is this really happening?’ With a baffled expression, he gulped. Eshnunna felt the same way. While unconsciously slowing her steps, she recalled what had just happened before.
* * *
One hour ago.
“Let’s go meet them,” Chi-Woo said so matter-of-factly that Eshnunna stared at him blankly. “Let’s go to them, now.”
“T—to whom?” Eshnunna asked, and the following response shocked her further.
“Who else could it be but those broken beings?” Chi-Woo smiled as Eshnunna gaped in surprise.
“What do you mean? Those beings must know about me already.”
Eshnunna realized then she had revealed how she knew about Chi-Woo defeating two broken beings in a fit of anger.
“Knowing them, I don’t think they will leave me alone anyway.”
Chi-Woo was exactly right. During her last contact with the broken beings, Eshnunna had actually received an order to ‘personally lure and lead the hero who had dealt with two of their companions at Shahnaz camp to them’.
“I want to take care of them, while they also want to get rid of me. So, this is what I will do.” Chi-Woo’s plan was simple; he wanted Eshnunna to take him to the broken beings while pretending to have lured him there, and Chi-Woo would take care of them. Whatever happened, Eshnunna would be simply following the broken beings’ commands, and she would have a way out. Even so…
“How about it?” Chi-Woo got up from his seat, smoothing out his pants and smiling brightly at Eshnunna. “Now, there’s no way for you to lose anything.”
* * *
They stopped walking. After pondering a bit, Eshnunna said, “If you want to turn back, do it now.”
“Sorry?” Chi-Woo blinked as he scanned the surroundings.
Eshnunna stood stiffly without even turning back. “If we take another step forward…those guys will sense our presence. Then we won’t be able to turn around.” In other words, Chi-Woo could still change his mind and return to the camp. Although he understood what she was saying, Chi-Woo tilted his head and asked, “Why the sudden change of mind?”
“It’s not sudden. You don’t seem to have a sense of self-preservation at all,” Eshnunna sighed, “I get that you genuinely want to help us. That’s something I became sure of today. If you are confident that you can make a change as you say, I sincerely believe it would be better to gather helpers and cooperate with them.”
Chi-Woo smiled softly. Although Eshnunna purposefully spoke in a business-like tone, she couldn’t hide the worries and uncertainty in her heart. That allowed Chi-Woo a glimpse into her state of mind and saw that he had managed to turn her around. If she had been unmoved by Chi-Woo’s words, she would have accepted Chi-Woo’s proposal without any complaints. She wouldn’t have cared whether he died or not. Instead, she hesitated to take another step further into danger. She knew it wasn’t right to let someone who had come to help and save them die like this, and she still had a tiny bit of innocent hope for the heroes left in this world.
‘She must have been bewitched,’ Chi-Woo thought, noting the hesitant look on Eshnunna’s face. He didn’t know exactly what had happened, but something had made her lose a part of her mind. Nonetheless, even Eshnunna herself didn’t know she had been bewitched. ‘She was used like a puppet. Thank goodness that her mind wasn’t completely taken over, but…’
His relief was somewhat tarnished by a grim realization. This being had achieved what they wanted through the briefest of contact with Eshnunna; this meant that they were able to perfectly grasp a person’s state of mind, and they knew what b.u.t.ton they should push. In other words, they were far more than beings that wreak havoc solely on instincts.
Finally, Eshnunna spoke. “Let’s return for now. Why don’t we rest today and talk again tomorrow?”
Eshnunna turned around, but Chi-Woo crossed his arms and said, “What if I change my mind and backstab you then?”
Eshnunna stopped walking.
“I could reveal to my companions what I found out today and forcefully use all of you guys as sacrifices. Doesn’t that make you worried?”
Eshnunna glared at Chi-Woo with angry disgust. She bit her lips and said, “That would mean I have made a misjudgment of your character.”
“As a price, you’ll lose everything you’ve been trying to protect.”
Eshnunna sucked in a short breath.
“Are you nervous?”
“I know you can’t trust me completely even now, and you’re hesitating. Of course, I don’t think that’s my fault,” Chi-Woo continued, “That’s why I told you I wasn’t asking you to believe me, but to give me an opportunity to prove myself.”
Chi-Woo fixed his bag’s position on his back and looked over his shoulder at the path they had taken. “We can certainly discuss everything with the others, but…” If that was what he was going to do, he would have told Zelit and Ru Amuh everything beforehand and attacked Eshnunna. What was stopping him was his main goal. At the end of the day, there was no denying that he had to take care of all the broken beings as soon as possible. Chi-Woo was the only one who stood a chance of doing that, not only among the natives but also the recruits. The other heroes could be helpful, but they wouldn’t be as essential as Chi-Woo would be. Thus, if he had to come forward, Chi-Woo wanted to take the lead and reach the conclusion he wanted. He had prepared an insurance just in case, but he didn’t want someone else to intervene and order him around.
“I might not be able to keep my promise to you if we do that.”
“Ms. Eshnunna, you said that you wanted everyone to live, including yourself.”
Eshnunna’s face stiffened.
Chi-Woo wasn’t a hero. As a non-hero like Eshnunna, he could somewhat relate to Eshnunna’s feelings. However, the mindsets of heroes and non-heroes were fundamentally different. Even though not all of them would react the same way, many of the heroes might consider Eshnunna their enemy if they found out the truth—regardless of the context surrounding her deeds, or whether or not she had been bewitched. Even if everything went well, Eshnunna might still be in danger. However, there was a way for her to be safe. Zelit and Ru Amuh were merely suspicious about her for now, and Chi-Woo could say that Eshnunna had no choice but to precariously mediate between those beings and the heroes for their benefit.
“I don’t know about the fifth recruits, but the sixth recruits won’t just stand still and do nothing.”
*** You are reading on https://webnovelonline.com ***
“I’ll tell the seventh recruits my side of the story. The rest we’ll consider later.” Chi-Woo shrugged. “We still don’t know what happened to them, and if they’re alive. If you were the reason they survived, they probably won’t act recklessly.”
“Don’t worry too much.”
“Even though he’s not a hero, the worst-case scenario that you’re imagining won’t happen. Stuff like him getting attacked and killed by a low-level monster upon arrival.”
“Well…He’ll probably survive until he meets his brother, won’t he?” Raphael smiled when she felt the atmosphere around Laguel change. She had hit right on the mark. “You can take my word for it because that was what the prophecy said.”
Raphael was able to get a clear reaction from Laguel this time. Laguel’s eyes fluttered open when Raphael mentioned the prophecy, and she turned around with a look of surprise. “Archangel Raphael, the prophecy…truly said that?”
“Ah. She speaks!”
“Would you be able to tell me what the prophecy said?”
“Are you curious?”
Laguel did not reply. Even though she didn’t even nod, her eyes were intense to the point that they were blazing.
“Fine. There’s no reason for me to not tell you. But there’s a condition.”
“Return to your post. I’ll take care of your lost divinity.”
Laguel couldn’t respond immediately to Raphael’s unexpected proposal. But it didn’t take long for her to say, “Archangel Raphael, I’ll decide after hearing more.”
“Come on, don’t act like that. Wake up, will you? Do you think you’re a newbie hero that’s fun to trick? My answer is no.” Raphael snorted and continued as if she was doing Laguel a favor, “But I’ll give you a hint. Did you not feel something strange about the seventh recruits this time?”
Laguel’s eyes narrowed. Something strange? There were too many strange things about the seventh recruits. The first being Choi Chi-Woo’s partic.i.p.ation. Then there was the fact that the prophecy changed suddenly.
“Not things like that. I’ve given you a clue. I’m talking about the seventh recruits, the seventh recruits.” Raphael made a mysterious smile as she repeated herself twice for emphasis.
Then, Raphael explained.
*** You are reading on https://webnovelonline.com ***