North x Northwest - Chapter 130
Volume 4 Chapter 130
Translators – Pru and Formidable
Silence fell upon them.
‘The more I dwell on it, the more stifled I feel.’
In the end, however, it was Ed who couldn’t stand the pressure. Lil on the other hand, was very used to this kind of thing.
“So, this is it? To avoid it like this until the end…”
Ed’s words flew away when he covered his face. His hidden expression appeared helpless as he let out an empty laugh. Still rubbing his cheeks, he raised his head and directed his bloodshot eyes toward Lil.
“This may be the last time for the Captain and me.”
Drooping his hands, Ed muttered, looking somewhere on the floor.
“…I just left him be. There was only one person, but I couldn’t kill him or do anything about it. I had to do that to respect your beliefs. I stupidly blew my chance…”*
Lil couldn’t understand a word he said.
‘What is he talking about?’
She tried to grasp his meaning. But in the end, she was unable to comfort the man whose mood sank gloomily in front of her. All Lil was allowed to do was stand in the corner with her tongue hidden.
“I can’t believe that I was so naive. After all, a guy like me should live as he always had… I could have known that if I acted with someone in mind for no reason, I would end up like this. Now everything is ruined like this. What on earth could I’ve been possessed by? Where the hell did I go wrong? For a while… not even for one night… damn it. I’m such an idiot.”
Lil widened her eyes in surprise. A terrifying thought caused her to come to her senses. She was reminded of Mortu, who would be waiting for her somewhere with eyes that pierced right through her forehead. She muttered half-fazed.
“…One night? Are you talking about today?..”
As Ed didn’t look at her, she bewilderedly stared at the lamp near his bed.
‘If the night has passed, it won’t be dark anymore, but the lights are on… In the mornings we can simply open the windows to receive sunlight. So, why are the lights still on?’
“Are you saying that half a day has passed? Right now…”
‘This can’t be. No matter how soundly I slept, it couldn’t have been more than a few hours. Cesar also didn’t look for me… or is it because he couldn’t find me? Because he never expects me to be here? Here, in another man’s bedroom…’
When she perceived Ed as a ‘man’, she became concerned about what Cesar would think of the situation.
In an instant, Lil hurried to the window. The shutters were closed despite the fact that they need to be opened every morning. There were several reasons, but the bottom line was the same. The lower deck receives little sunlight, so it was necessary to use every inch of light they could get.
‘So, if I open the window now, it’ll be night, right? Ed must be wrong…’
Lil reached out and grasped the wooden handle with both hands. Through the window, she could hear the sound of flapping wings approaching quickly.
– Pudduck. Pudduck. –
Since they were anchored near an island, it wasn’t strange at all to have birds around. That was why Lil didn’t even pay attention to it when she opened the shutters wide. Dawn greeted her. Before she could even be surprised about the brightness of the sky, a strange bird rushed at her.
When the bird almost pecked her face with its beak, Lil stuck herself to the wall in order to move out of the way. She clutched her startled heart and stared at the unexpected guest. It was a handsome pigeon. A breed that couldn’t be seen nearby. Realising that fact, she immediately looked at it with different eyes. Lil knew the breed very well, which made her even more surprised to see it out here.
‘Well-maintained feathers attached to its long wings and… a communication scroll hanging from its ankle!..’
A rare breed exclusively used by government officers working under the imperial family. Bred for military purposes, so it was faster and twice as smart as a regular pigeon. The red-winged pigeon clearly recognized Ed’s face and hovered above his head. It wiggled its beak as if asking for his arm and some food. Lil had no eyes for Ed. Her nerves were all focused on the container fastened to its ankle.
‘Small, round, and shiny…’
Lil immediately lowered her gaze. The window was right next to the desk and recalled that her gun belt was laying on it. There was no time to think, so without delay, she reached out and grabbed her gun. The metal clung to her sweat-soaked hand.
‘The bird is only circling Ed, not minding me in the slightest… It’s intelligent enough to recognize people…’
Given the obvious situation, Lil didn’t hesitate and extended her arm as far as she could. When she was about to aim at Ed, she twisted her arm and aimed at the light bulb. She couldn’t bear to aim at him directly.
Her already heavy heart ached more. Her heart has pounded as if she had been running for a long time and now the feeling of being stabbed by a knife was added to it. It was so painful. She needed to stay calm, but she simply couldn’t. Her paling fingers trembled uncontrollably. The handle of the gun slipped due to her sweaty palm, causing the barrel to shake ridiculously. She had to put her other hand underneath it for support.
Her first syllable sounded like a scream.
“You think I don’t know that this is a pigeon used by the Navy?”
Never before was it this hard for Lil to find her words. Her head was tired and about to burn out.
It was a difficult word to grasp. Lil desperately looked at Ed, unsure if he would be able to turn things around.
‘Please… pick up the message. Smile as if nothing was going wrong and try to get out of the situation as you always do!’
But Ed just stared blankly at the bird.
‘If he’s innocent, he would have been taken aback by the sudden appearance of this bird. If not, he should be embarrassed that he has been caught. But how come he’s not surprised nor embarrassed?’
“Come on, explain this! Explain it now!”
“…After everything, it has come to this…”
“His retaliation is pretty quick. But, of course… You’ve been here all night, so there’s no way he’d stay still.”*
Lil’s frustration reached its peak when Ed started to talk about things she didn’t understand again.
“I’ve had enough of your nonsense! Cut the crap and explain this!”
“Explain what? You already drew your gun.”
Her momentum came to a halt. Lil was suddenly torn about whether or not she should put her gun away.
‘The moment I put this away, I am emotionally brainwashed. And I simply can’t afford it. Giving my trust to Ed is separate from doubting suspicious circumstances…’
Lil muttered, unable to do anything.
“What kind of expression is that? Aren’t you doing the right thing? You should follow your instincts, don’t be naive as if you never went to war.”
“Explain yourself, say something!”
“Are words even needed?”
Ed extended his arm toward the pigeon. Slowly, as if to closely observe what was happening, he reached out his forearm toward its red wing while remaining as composed as he had always been.
“I wonder what’s in it.”
Lil’s scream was completely ignored and the pigeon wandering around the bed tried to land on Ed’s arm.
‘Destruction of evidence!’
A clear presumption entered her mind.
‘As soon as the pigeon lands on him, Ed will remove the message. And the message in his hands will disappear in one way or another. He’ll simply and shamelessly destroy it. I’ll then lose the most conclusive evidence right under my watch! No, I can’t let that happen…’
– Bang! –
The sound of gunfire pierced her ears. It wasn’t until the smoke rose from her gun that Lil knew she had pulled the trigger. In the end, she had aimed it somewhere in the air. The startled pigeon flapped around, but Ed had his arm still outstretched toward the bird. Seeing that Ed had no trauma, Lil was relieved and nervous at the same time.
‘Someone must have heard the gunshot. Soon, a crowd will gather in the front of the cabin…’
As such a scene unfolded as if it were drawn in front of her eyes, the door suddenly burst open.
– – – – –
“…I just left him be. There was only one person, but I couldn’t kill him or do anything about it. I had to do that to respect your beliefs. I stupidly blew my chance…” = Ed is talking about Courant, hiding in the chest.
“His retaliation is pretty quick. But, of course… You’ve been here all day, so there’s no way he’d stay still.” = Ed is talking about Cesar.