North x Northwest - Chapter 230
Volume 7 Chapter 230
Translators – Pru and Formidable
Lil grasped the protruding handle next to the keyhole. Her chest tightened from extreme anticipation, so much so that the sound of her heartbeat even seemed to echo throughout the hallway. Lil was about to take out the keychain from her pocket again, but then…
Being able to move the door without unlocking it first, Lil looked down at her hand on the handle without understanding the situation. She then absentmindedly pushed it.
– Screech… –
Just like the last one, this iron door also made an eerie sound as it was pushed aside. Lil couldn’t think of anything else as she looked around the room in a daze. Handcuffs, chains, and iron balls were all illuminated by faint moonlight… The metal fittings that this cell’s prisoners had left were scattered sparsely in the empty space. There was no one there. All she could see were forks bent in different directions and spoons with their heads ripped off.
Lil muttered dejectedly at the unbelievable sight.
“Crazy… these crazy people…”
Lil treaded into the cell as if possessed. Whenever her foot stepped on something, a clanging sound was heard. Cutlery such as knives and forks were kicked every time she walked. Lil was so shocked that she couldn’t even help but snort.
‘What kind of crazy prison gives its prisoners eating utensils? Anyone with enough patience can open a lock with a fork. It’s because you can try it thousands of times and you only need to get it done once for it to be a success…’
In a panic, Lil clutched her head.
‘So what should I do now? Since when has this cell been empty? I didn’t see anyone on the stairs either. So where are they? …No, this can’t be.’
Lil shook her head vigorously and tried to change her distressing thoughts.
‘I’ve seen Alain earlier. Before his wrists were cuffed, it seemed like he was an attendee of the banquet due to Avar’s invitation. Meaning, it’s been less than an hour since these crazies escaped on their own…’
Lil thoughts were abruptly cut short by a cold piece of metal that touched the back of her head…
“…Put your hands up.”
‘It feels like the muzzle of a gun…’
Lil slowly raised her hands.
‘Is it a guard? Was there another guard on patrol besides the one at the entrance?’
During that brief moment, her mind was flooded with arrogance.
‘Even if I can easily subdue the guard here, that doesn’t change the fact that I don’t know where the crew is. And in addition to not being able to successfully rescue my crew, those same sailors are about to turn Gualtiero upside down on their own…’
All kinds of terrible imaginations converged without even a hint of a breakthrough, but Lil managed to calmly console herself. Since she was wearing the guard uniform, she decided to try her hand.
“You might be unaware, but…”
“Courant. Get me those keys.”
As Lil inadvertently asked back, the muzzle of the gun was menacingly pushed to the back of her head.
Meanwhile, Courant’s light-coloured hair popped into Lil’s periphery. Although her vision was dark and the boy looked like a mess, Lil was sure that the hair belonged to Courant. As Courant took her key ring from her pocket, Lil stared at Courant’s head. Nevertheless, Courant just looked up at Lil with eyes full of hostility.
Murmurs erupted from behind her.
“…What should we do now?..”
“…Where are the rest of us trapped?..”
“…Is that a problem now? We don’t even know where we are! Damn it, we’ve been circling here for ages!..”
It didn’t take long for Lil to grasp what was going on and inwardly snorted out her laughter.
‘These crazy guys broke out of their cells in order to run away, so what are they still doing here? They shouldn’t have done this without a plan… unless they decided to die together of course…’
“Uh… Ehem! Everyone be quiet.”
Alain solemnly quieted the crew. With this, it became clear that the crew recognized his role as captain.
“You idiots, are you seriously whining about not being able to find your way out despite a guard standing in front of you? You idiots are like no other in the world, tsk tsk. We should be thinking about how to use this guy.”
Lil, who has suddenly become a guard who must be used, was unable to hide the sound of her wheezing. A sudden relief washed over her, and she burst into laughter.
“What’s wrong with this guy? Is he crazy?”
“He might be up to something, seize him.”
A chain wrapped around Lil’s neck and someone strong lifted her from behind. Lil struggled in the air as her fingers eagerly tried to secure some room to breathe, but it was difficult to squeeze through the already tightened chain.
While twisting her body as much as she could, her hat fell off. Soon after, Alain threateningly strode forward.
“The way out…”
“Where is it?!”
“These… black hair… you… crazy…”
“If you don’t take the lead, we’ll kill you here.”
“Recognize… your captain… look at me…”
“Fine, then die here.”
It became more and more difficult to hold on.
‘I’ll have them take this chain off before I can swear and get angry.’
“Ah… all right…”
– Clang –
The chain disappeared as soon as Lil accepted Alain’s proposal, and she instantly dropped to the floor. Lil gasped a few more times, trying to catch her breath.
‘The man who strangled me from behind must be Marenzio.’
Lil picked herself up and faced Alain. She was tempted to prick his eyes that looked down on her sternly. Initially, she thought to explain things rationally, but her lips twitched on their own.
“Strangle me one more time and see for yourself where you’ll end up.”
“Hah, haven’t you come to your senses yet?”
“Have you gotten senile because of your age, Grandpa? I just saw you spit out your juice earlier.”
Alain, who was about to give orders to Marenzio again, asked back with an extremely confused face.
“Wasn’t it because you recognized me? Or were you thinking about something else?”
“What are you talking about? That was definitely a woman.”
“I guess you crazy bastards didn’t recognize your captain simply because he put on some makeup. You must’ve been locked up for far too long without being able to see the sunlight, so your eyes have rotted away. I’ll have to beat you all up one by one and hang you up to dry.”
The mumblings around quickly subsided. Meanwhile, Lil coughed several more times. Her throat’s condition hadn’t yet completely improved, so her voice still sounded raspy from the strangulation. Of course, she actually considered that beneficial for her case.
Alain closely examined Lil’s face while she was in a kneeling position. Looking at Alain observing her like that with such curiosity, reminded her of the way he tilted his head and looked at her before she took off her veil earlier. It was like she experienced some kind of déjà vu from her memories of when she dressed up as a woman.
“Grandpa, there’s a red wart on your left buttock. With two white hairs stuck in it. Unfortunately for me, reciting it like this brings me right back to the day I had the pleasure to ‘admire’ it.”
‘It’s a good thing there aren’t any torches around here. They won’t be able to grasp my full appearance if they can only rely on moonlight. All that needs to happen is for them to recognize the resemblances between me and their Captain. More than that won’t be possible anyway, seeing how I’m also covered in soot. Also, I wasn’t planning on proving my identity with just appearance alone.’
“Well, the black whale is merciful, so I’ll give you guys another chance.”
Lil now sat back on her butt and admired Alain’s dazed face. Some of the sailors behind her grabbed her hair and looked at it in the faint moonlight.
“…It’s black hair. Very pitch-black hair…”
“…You idiot. Who knows if it would look that way in the dark?..”
“…Isn’t the Black Whale dead?..”
“…Didn’t someone say he saw him die?..”
“…Uhh… then… is this a ghost?..”
Upon asking if she was a ghost, Lil felt some pokes on her shoulder. Noticing how the atmosphere slowly turned in her favour, she flicked away the fingers on her back and thought of dealing the final blow.
“Yes, Captain. No, uhh, no… Yes?”
Hearing that he answered right behind her, she became sure that the guy who had strangled her was indeed Marenzio. Lil spoke, gritting her teeth in disdain.
“Last June, you couldn’t muster the courage to confess to Panichi’s sweet Rosaline, so you just chased her around the whole time. I once saw you hide behind a tree and spy on her in a dirty and disgusting way.”
As if it wasn’t a secret that only she knew, a few people could be heard giggling behind her. Lil stood up from her seat and snatched the keychain from Courant’s hand.
“I’m getting tired. And we don’t have time. Let’s just finish this and go.”
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