Chapter 47: Consequences of One’s Choices and Actions (3)
“Hey, man!” Someone hurriedly grabbed Chi-Woo from behind. “Calm down. It’s not time for you to come forward yet.” Eval Sevaru leaned in and whispered into Chi-Woo’s ear, “Why are you trying to intervene already? There’s no need.”
‘Where did he pop out from? And why is he talking to me like we’re close?’ Chi-Woo couldn’t help but wonder, but then he remembered Eval had been talking to him casually since their meeting at the tent. While trying to figure out what Eval wanted, Chi-Woo prompted Eval to let go with a glare.
“Think about it, man. Those guys are from the sixth recruitment,” Eval Sevaru said, letting go of Chi-Woo and dusting his clothes. “You had taken a stand against them during the first meeting between the sixth and seventh recruits.”
That was true. Chi-Woo had made the decision to save Salem Eshnunna.
Due to all the successes he had achieved to this point, Chi-Woo had become quite influential among the seventh recruits. In fact, it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that Chi-Woo had become their spokesperson. On matters regarding Eshnunna, the sixth and seventh recruits were at odds.
“This is also a form of battle. You’ll be giving them the satisfaction of winning by stepping in.”
Chi-Woo furrowed his brows. He understood what Eval was saying, but he didn’t think his intervention would mean that much. As he continued to listen to Eval, though, he realized his arguments did hold some water.
“I wasn’t planning to do anything as long as they kept quiet, but those b.a.s.t.a.r.ds made the first move. Why don’t you stay here for now? I’ll have a go. You know what summit meetings are usually like.”
“The top superiors don’t concern themselves with each and every matter. The working team comes to an agreement on 90% of the issues on the agenda, and the superiors gather to discuss what to do with the remaining 10%.” Eval continued after clearing his throat. “Furthermore, that guy is like a beast. A beast won’t be able to understand human language. It will only understand if you talk in its language.”
Similarly, an officer was needed on the ground to lead an army during a battle. Eval Sevaru opened his mouth as wide as possible and moved his jaw sideways. He looked like a boxer warming up right before a match.
“Anyways, just believe in me and wait. You might not know this, but I have become a hero with my mouth alone.”
“But—” Chi-Woo was about to respond when he was interrupted by a man’s mocking remark.
“What? Why aren’t they responding? Seriously! Did I hit right on the mark? What nonsense!”
Eval immediately turned around and sauntered forward, tilting his head sideways with swagger as the man let out a litany of insults.
“s.h.i.+t. I can’t stand to listen to them any longer—”
The man who had been making a mockery of the situation shut his mouth as Eval approached him. He could sense a formidable opponent in Eval from Eval’s stern gaze and boastful att.i.tude.
“Hey, you b.a.s.t.a.r.ds.” Eval’s first words to the man fulfilled all expectations. “What are you blabbering on and on about~?”
“Just eat your food and get treated like a good patient. Quietly. Why are you yapping about everything and stirring up such a fuss?”
“What did you say? Yapping and stirring up a fuss? Watch your mouth!” As a fellow hero, the man flew into a rage for being treated like a dog.
“So what? What are you going to do about it?” Of course, Eval was unconcerned whichever way the man responded. “You’re one to talk. Do you think we are some d.i.c.kheads that will let you keep barking without doing anything? Yap, Yap!”
Eval barked fiercely, and the man backed away. He then continued, “Get it through your head while we are still talking nicely. The sixth recruits had all been destined to die. It’s only thanks to the princess and us that at least some of you managed to survive.”
Truthfully, it had nothing to do with Eshnunna or the seventh recruits; it was all thanks to Chi-Woo. Eval only brought up the others so that the seventh recruits present would feel a sense of belonging, the power of which should not be ignored.
For better or worse, individuals would usually gravitate towards the beliefs and stance of the group they belonged to. Case in point, a couple of seventh recruits nodded in agreement with Eval’s words, which a.s.sured Eval. He knew he had now established a solid foundation to build upon.
“Furthermore, if you think about it, what did this pitiful princess do to warrant the blame?” Eval smirked and shoved his hands into his pockets. “She simply gathered the recruits scattered all over Liber, ensured their safety, fed them, and provided them shelter. Wow, she was basically your mom.”
“She should’ve at least warned us—!”
“Do you think it would have made any difference?” Eval Sevaru purposefully cut the man off. “If she had told you about the situation beforehand, would you have gone to save the fifth recruits while letting the natives live? You guys?”
Eval laughed and continued in a mocking tone, “You can’t blabber whatever you want just because you can. It’s not that she didn’t tell you, but she couldn’t. Not only was she bewitched, she had the foresight to save her people despite the situation they were in.”
Eval shook his head like he pitied the man for having such a dull head that he couldn’t understand this simple fact. Then, he clicked his tongue and said, “I really didn’t want to say this, but I can understand the princess’s point of view. It must be clear to her how little the heroes who have arrived could do. They had been doing nothing but bossing the natives around and killing time.”
The man flinched.
“You were the ones who got ambushed and dragged away without putting up a fight. And now you wouldn’t stop whining. Whine, whine—whine about not being warned beforehand. Whine about anything and everything. Are you a bunch of toddlers or something?” Eval’s words. .h.i.t them right on the mark. “Given the way you guys have been acting, I wouldn’t have told you anything even if I wasn’t bewitched if I were her. Heroes, my a.s.s. I could see how f.u.c.king stupid you guys must have been.”
The man’s face flushed red. The other sixth recruits standing around him scowled harder as well as Eval insulted all of them. However, it was the truth. Even though Eshnunna held strong resentment towards the fifth recruits, she had said that the sixth recruits made them seem like saints.
“Oh? Have I hurt your feelings?” Eval looked around and asked boldly. Then he raised his voice and continued, “What can I say? It’s just the G.o.d darn truth. You guys should’ve been better. Should I tell you something none of you know? Originally, all of us were supposed to be transmitted to the center of this world, but the prophecy orb changed the transmission point at the last moment. Do you know why?”
The sixth recruits murmured in response, while the man reluctantly looked at Eval.
“It’s so that we could do the work in your stead,” Eval Sevaru said teasingly. “If not for you, we would’ve started this mission at a location that was at least habitable for humans.”
“It’s hilarious! You guys were sent to save the fifth recruits, but not only did you fail to do that, but you also became captured and ruined our connections with the natives. That’s f.u.c.king impressive!”
The man pursed his lips. Eval Sevaru went on with his relentless takedown, “And yet you have been barking nonstop about killing our collaborator after we saved you all. How does that make sense? Why the h.e.l.l would you make the decision on your own? d.a.m.n, you really are idiots.”
At the end of the fierce condemnation, the man’s face looked blank. Eval smiled with satisfaction, knowing that he had thoroughly intimidated his opponent.
“…So.” The man finally opened his firmly shut mouth. “Are you telling us to just let go of this matter?” Then he raised his voice and shouted with a slightly hoa.r.s.e voice, “Look at that man!” He pointed in another direction. There was a hero who couldn’t do anything but lie down after losing his arms and legs. “He isn’t the only one! We—!”
‘This b.a.s.t.a.r.d,’ Eval flinched. He didn’t think the man would go down without pulling a hidden card, but he hadn’t expected the man to resort to guilt-tripping.
“No,” someone else spoke up from the opposite direction. The hero had been the leader of the fifth recruits and the one who had pushed Eshnunna to sacrifice herself. “I’m part of the fifth recruits, and I don’t think Princess Salem betrayed us.” The hero continued with his eyes closed, “It simply happened because we couldn’t stop the deserter from the Shahnaz camp. The princess didn’t even have a chance to contact those beings. I swear upon this.”
“Of course, I’m simply talking about what happened to the fifth recruits. I don’t know what happened after that.”
The man looked visibly taken aback. Meanwhile, Eval had put on a faint smile after the initial surprise. Things could have turned in a strange direction, but it seemed the man had dug his own hole.
“Let’s put a stop to this.”
After a short silence, a person emerged from the group, and Eval’s attention snapped to him. Eval had expected a no-good hoodlum burning head to toe with rage, but the man before him caught him completely by surprise. The man stood out from his peers.
He was tall, and his body was well sculpted. His face was slim and covered in wounds. His bleached, gray hair flowed messily down his face, and a s.h.a.ggy beard spread his jaw to the bottom of his ears. There was a n.o.ble air about him with his sorrowful eyes and elegant features, but the way he presented himself bore more resemblance to a mercenary who traveled around rough places.
Eval was silent. It was obvious even at a glance how different the man was from the others. Even though one shouldn’t judge others by appearance, Eval decided to trust his instincts.
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Heroes were not all equal. Ordinary heroes were different from heroes from the twelve families that lit up the Celestial Realm. And even among the twelve families, there was a hierarchy. The same rule was applicable to the heroes here as well. Even though Eval didn’t know who he was, the man was likely to be one of the leaders of the sixth recruits.
Eval Sevaru couldn’t believe his ears, but Chi-Woo got to his real point quickly.
“However, do you really think we should put all the blame on her? This isn’t an issue we should look at with such a narrow mindset.”
Allen Leonard listened with rapt attention.
“What made Ms. Eshnunna act like that in the first place? Wasn’t it the broken ones?”
“With the World as it was and the heroes having lost their powers, it’s understandable that Ms. Eshnunna wouldn’t be able to trust the recruits, isn’t it?”
Allen blinked and tilted his head.
“So I think part of the blame should be placed on the broken ones and Liber’s World.”
“…” Allen Leonard looked like he had been hit in the face. “…There’s nothing for me to say…” Chi-Woo’s logical argument had rendered him speechless. “…I understand.” He smacked his lips a few times. “I wasn’t aware of those circ.u.mstances.” He let out a deep sigh and finally came to a decision. “I promise you that the sixth recruits will not harm or question her in the future.”
In the end, he raised the white flag. “And…I guess we should apologize.” Allen Leonard glanced back. The man who had insulted Eshnunna lowered his head under the silent pressure. His pridefulness was obvious from the way he had been visibly repressing his anger. Anyone could see that he didn’t want to apologize.
“It’s fine,” Eshnunna spoke up for the first time since the start of the conflict. “Don’t apologize.”
“Is that all right?” asked Allen.
“No, it’s not,” Eshnunna coldly replied. She held a personal grudge against the man who had insulted her. Before his capture, the man had requested native women like it was his natural right, and had even outrightly hara.s.sed and pressured her to accept him.
“I don’t want to accept his apology.”
Allen made a bitter smile, and Eshnunna gently pulled Chi-Woo back. “Let’s just go.” She didn’t want to stay here for even a second longer.
Despite what she wanted, Chi-Woo stayed to say a couple more words to the man. “You should be careful when you open your mouth in the future.”
The man furtively looked up.
“Ah, this is not a warning, but advice.” Chi-Woo looked intently at the man. “Because you have the face of someone…” He paused for a bit and said, “whose face will soon be cut off if you say a single word wrong.”
They could hear the sound of the man gulping.
“Why, don’t you agree with me?”
Sweat popped out and streamed down from the man’s temples. He didn’t know why he felt this way, but Chi-Woo’s words sounded like a prophecy. He felt anxious that what Chi-Woo said would one day become reality.
“If that’s what you want, of course, you’re welcome to continue to live like that. Whether you regret it later or not is up to you.”
“…I-I’m s-sor…” An apology began to escape his lips, but Chi-Woo did not stop to listen any further.
“Well, when you finally regret your actions, it’ll already be too late,” Chi-Woo smirked and turned around without hesitation.
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