North x Northwest - Chapter 231
Volume 7 Chapter 231
Translators – Pru and Formidable
Having said that, Lil began to make her way out of the cell. The sailors, who filled the entrance to the narrow cell and even the hallway beyond, stared at her as though she were their saviour. And even though her vision was not only obscured by the darkness but also her hat, she still felt like she was similarly returning the gaze of every single one of them.
‘The fact that they easily put their faith in a suspicious and uninvited guest dressed as a prison guard, is actually twisting my stomach…’
Lil knew that among the men standing there, there were sailors who sympathised with Julio, but that apparently didn’t seem to matter to her as she still felt a twinge in her heart. Relief permeated her, despite it being too early to completely let her guard down.
Lil moved quickly through the path cleared by her crew to keep herself from getting shaken.
“We’re going to go through an underground passage to reach the backyard. Once we’re out, everyone should get on the wagons waiting for us. For now, line up, hold on to the person in front of you, and follow.”
Scouring through her memories, Lil headed to the next cell.
‘According to the records, this should be where Julio and his gang are imprisoned…’
She reeled and checked behind her every time she turned a corner. Even though she couldn’t see the sailors at all, the action of confirming it put her mind at ease.
Alain, who was the one holding Lil’s shoulder, whispered to her in a shaky voice.
“What did you go through? Your shoulder can’t even fill my hand. Why are you so thin?”
Alain’s remark caught Lil by surprise and she shrank her shoulders.
‘Of course, the Lil Schweiz that Alain knows and the person he’s holding onto now have different physiques.’
Lil responded calmly, albeit wary.
“It was one hell of a struggle.”
“Your voice is also just so… it sounds different… I can practically hear the fact that you lost so much strength… Does it even work properly?”
The old man sniffed audibly. It was an expression one couldn’t see because of the dark, but Lil frowned.
‘Of all the concerns he could have, he worries about my fertility?’
“It’s not a problem. I’d be more worried about your own state, Grandpa.”
Nonetheless, Lil’s heart felt a little lighter knowing that Alain tried. At this point, she didn’t even know who should be worried about whom, thinking they must’ve gone through a lot of hardships themselves, too.
‘Still, it’s concerning that Alain recognized my thin voice…’
Lil asked back, straining her neck a little harder this time.
“Did Julio receive the cutlery too?”
“Well? …I don’t know.”
“…What? So, there’s a chance that the crew over there escaped like you did?”
“I guess so?”
Her head started to pound, but Lil shook it off. There was nothing else she could do here. But for some reason, her steps hesitated for a moment.
“Nothing. It’s fine.”
She turned the last corner and checked the hallway. The hallway was quiet, with only the occasional sound of water dripping. Lil, who had been focusing all her attention on the sound of footsteps to hear if a guard was coming, became convinced that no one was there and immediately opened her mouth.
“You see that door up ahead? Julio should be in that cell.”
“Damn that brat. I wish you could lose some of your determination for him.”
“Remember this, there’s no fighting allowed until you all escape. If you want to fight, do it on the Bell Rock after you’ve boarded.”
A few men moved quickly and stuck to the opposite wall, covering Lil’s blind spot. There was a torch not far away, so she could see the outline of their nodding heads. As Lil went out into the hallway, the sailors tightened their grips on the utensils they were holding, wary of their surroundings. Lil then reached the prison cell with the keychain on her fingertip, aware of the presence of several sailors following behind her. Lil grabbed the lock on the iron door. Unlike before, this room was still locked. And since this cell wasn’t a cell with bars, but a completely sealed room, there was no way for the inmates inside to open the lock that was located on the outside. In that case, even if each person had removed their chains, they wouldn’t have been able to escape.
Lil picked the lock, removed the chains and opened the iron door by sliding it to the side. The room before her was also only illuminated by moonlight coming through a small window. It was quiet without a single sound, and Lil thought that was even weirder given how there must at least be a few dozen people in it. Instead of going in, Lil remained standing outside while looking for any signs of life inside. When she eventually threw the lock she was holding inside, a whisper-like cry came out as soon as the lock fell to the stone floor.
Right in front of her, several people threw their entire body on top of the lock. Dumbfounded, Lil stared at the men who were overlapping themselves and blurted out a question.
“…What the hell are you doing?”
The men piled on top of each other all turned to face her. Lil silently lifted her hand above her shoulder and signalled the crew behind, who went into the cell to help them up and sort out the situation.
‘It seems that all individual iron chains have been dismantled here as well, but they were unable to open the door from within the room and resorted to attacking any unlucky guard.’
Lil moved without delay.
“Don’t leave anyone behind, take care of each other and follow. I’ll explain the rest along the way.”
She didn’t have time to gather them again and explain the plan. Fortunately, the sailors seemed to have understood her words well. Low-pitched whispers steadily followed her while Lil walked into the darkness in front of her. She wishes she could use a torch, but then she wouldn’t be able to hide her crew if they encountered a guard along the way.
Lil crossed the hallway and rounded the corner, praying with every step that her memory was flawless.
An empty plot suddenly appeared and the sound of birds chirping rang out in a space that had widened to the height of the floor. When they heard the birdsong, the sailors, thinking that the ceiling had opened, started to murmur frantically. Meanwhile, Lil was feeling around the wall looking for the door and spoke calmly.
“Keep silent. Those are just bats. We still have a long way to go.”
Scanning the ceiling as well, Marenzio stammered towards her.
“Where… where are we going?”
“I told you. An underground passage. One that’s no longer in use now.”
“Who told you about that?”
“It doesn’t matter. If I came to take you out without even knowing this route, wouldn’t that be even weirder?”
Lil found the door and inserted the key. By turning it, the door was technically unlocked, but since it was a passageway that had been closed for so long, it didn’t open right away. The iron gate was also too heavy for her. So Lil pulled Marenzio, who was by her side, and instructed him to push the door. However, Marenzio alone wasn’t enough, causing a few more people to join in. During the delay, there was a bit of a buzz starting in the rear end of the group.
Courant walked out amid the noise and stood in front of Lil. The latter looked at the boy and instantly sensed an ominous premonition.
“I-I’m not going.”
Lil closed her eyes tightly.
‘Remember, I cannot allow them to split here. I have to take everyone with me.’
“I don’t trust the Captain.”
“You, you sided with that guy! That’s how we ended up here! This happened because the Navy was able to chase us! In the end, it was that guy who betrayed us!”
His young voice echoed through the space. Because of this, it startled the flock of bats on the ceiling and they went on a rampage. The bats came down on their heads and flapped their wings as if to attack. Sharp things, unknown whether it was a beak or a claw, scratched the top of the crew’s heads and snatched their hair. In the darkness, the panicked crew began to disperse.
‘They didn’t immediately start shouting because they still have a bit of reason left, but they’re probably on the verge of losing it…’
Lil quickly pressed Marenzio on the shoulder, urging him to make haste.
“Marenzio! Come on!”
Eventually, three or four more sailors joined forces. Lil occupied herself with trying to calm her crew down, even flailing her arms in order to shoo the bats away. The iron door squeaked and shrieked, and was finally beginning to open. The sailors, who heard this, began to rush towards the door. The pushing force of dozens of hands accelerated the process and as soon as the gap was behind a certain point, the whole door suddenly opened wide.
– Thud! –
A stream of cold air blew towards them. Sensing the strong smell of moss in a space that had been closed for a long time, her crew poured forward on their own even without the need of her giving orders.
Fortunately, the flock of bats didn’t follow them into the unfamiliar environment, and Lil was able to force the unwilling Courant into the passage before closing the iron door…
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