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  • Writer's pictureRina

Chapter 81

Tara makes a horrifying discovery in Scorpion's secret base, while Kyle hones in on the exact same target.


This chapter is dedicated to MarMar! Thank you for your support!


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DO NOT publish our edit anywhere else. Especially on social media. Otherwise we may have to stop doing this. Thank you!


Episode 81. About a Year (8)


Andrei hadn't told me to look for this in the first place.


I wasn't even told what he was looking for. He said it was better I didn't know because it would put me at odds with the Military. So I could plead ignorance about the Black Society's interest in the ledgers.


All they had asked me to do was find people with Scorpion tattoos.


No. Even so, the reason they had me looking for the scorpion tattoos was probably because they wanted the ledger, and since they'll know what happened here, they'll also know there's no way I would be unaware of this ledger. Then… Hmm… Is that the only way?


My mind racing, I began to peruse the ledger.


"This is completely..."


The ledger was very detailed, but there were only initials instead of names, so I couldn't immediately identify anyone.


Another few minutes passed, and still no sign of Bernard.


"What is this ledger for?"


"....."


The Scorpion agent just looked at me with a blank expression and said nothing.


Should I have learned more from Bernard besides self-defense, like how to make this guy talk?


As I pondered this, I frowned as a smell suddenly hit my nose.


I stopped myself from reaching for the key inside the box.


“...Do you smell anything strange?”


"....."


I leaned back and slowly scanned the room for the source of the smell. It was a deeply unpleasant odor, like something was rotting.


"What's with the look in your eyes? Are you crazy?"


The corners of the man's lips turned up.


A strange energy spread through me. Instinctively, I turned in the direction of the smell, then moved toward the wall of drawers.


Without hesitation, I opened the nearest one at hand level.


"Ack!"


I stumbled backwards, my whole body shuddering. I'd never wanted to see this.


“.…What's this? This place....”


In front of me was a bluish corpse, cold and stiff.


My life had been short. Even though I'd been a corpse myself once, this was the first time I'd ever seen one with my own two eyes. And it was in such an unexpected place.


...A criminal organization that uses poison...


It was only after seeing the corpse that the risk of poison really hit home. Before that, I'd thought of poison as the sort of thing you saw in movies and fiction novels, a make-believe substance I'd never have to deal with.


I suddenly realized that I'd stopped breathing. I didn't know how long I'd held it, but as soon as I noticed, I roughly sucked air into my lungs.


"Haaa."


I retreated to the farthest wall and slumped in the corner. My thoughts went blank, and I couldn't think for a moment.


I wanted to run away, but my body felt cold, as if the blood had been drained from my veins, and I had no strength to move.


I felt dizzy and nauseous. After holding onto the wall and gagging a few times, I finally calmed down.


“All those compartments… ?”


My voice trembled slightly.


“....”


The Scorpion operative was studying me wordlessly. His neutral demeanor meant that the chest of drawers was likely used for storing corpses.


Come to think of it, it was roughly the size of a cabinet in a morgue.


There was only one drawer sticking out in an odd way, the one which contained the frigid body of the man.


‘...What? Was that guy?’


I was horrified, but I picked myself up and slowly approached the corpse again. I felt a hint of familiarity.


‘Where have I seen him before... Ah!’


"Oh no."


One of the missing people, the ones who looked like a rat and a bear, this was the rat-like one.


I quickly turned my head and looked at the bound man next to me. His eyes were accusing, and he seemed to enjoy watching me tremble in front of the corpse...


"Are you laughing at me?"


"Kekekekeke. I'm getting scolded for holding in my laughter? You asked why I was alone at the club? Kekekeke. Well that's because anyone who comes here, never walks out alive. We don't need any backup. Do you know why no one gets out of our organization alive?"


"I know."


"Other organizations… Oh? You know?"


"Y-You use poison. Cowards."


The man looked puzzled for a moment, then grinned. He grunted and leaned back straighter against the wall. Probably to get a better look at my expression.


"Then you know you've been exposed to poison?"


"...."


I felt my face go rigid. I was shocked, but didn't let it show.


"Kekekekekekeke... The ledger, the key, the box. Everything in this room is poisoned. And that vent over there." He pointed to a small vent in the ceiling in the right-hand corner. "As soon as the door opens, poison is vented in through the air. Your gloves are useless, you were exposed the moment you set foot in here. Kekekekeke."


"....."


Goosebumps crawled their way up my spine, making it hard to breathe for a moment. I'd already known about the poison.


Still, it never occurred to me that the poison would be dispersed through the air.


If I didn't have the antitoxin, I would have been hyperventilating due to my terror. I would have suffocated, collapsed from cardiac arrest, or simply died from the poison.


I secretly thanked Andrei for preparing the antidote in advance. Despite the fact it was only a broad-spectrum antitoxin.


"Kekekekeke. This is what happens when you try to take our ledgers, woman. My people have been building immunity for years, so we don't need the antidote."


"....There is one."


"What?"


"There is one, an antidote."


I pulled the pouch from my cloak pocket and opened it. There were a few pills inside, and I downed them without hesitation.


I couldn't tell if it was because I was nervous, or because they tasted bitter, but I felt numb. My hands were shaking, but that didn't matter.


And then.


Clang! Clang! Clang! Creak! Clank!


"My Lady!"


The iron door swung open, and Bernard rushed in, a hatchet in one hand and a concerned look on his face.


***


After discovering the black painted door too late, Bernard wandered for several minutes before he found the warehouse.


His heart sank when he saw the luminescent paint smeared on the doorknob and under the iron door of the warehouse.


He had taken an oath to serve his master, and yet he had put her in harm's way during such a simple task.


Bernard cursed himself inwardly for his irresponsible behavior, but he couldn't sit here blaming himself forever.


He slammed the warehouse door as hard as he could with his axe.


CLANG!


He burst into the warehouse looking terrible.


"My Lady?"


“Berna… rd?"


"Are you okay? You need to get out! There are soldiers at the entrance of the club...!"


Tara stopped Bernard with a wave of her hand as he started to move toward the secret chamber.


"Cover your mouth and nose! And don't come this way, Bernard, I'll come to you. You've been exposed to poison."


Bernard felt dazed as if someone had struck him in the head, he couldn't even think straight.


"What?"


"It's okay, I've taken the antitoxin, you should too. There are soldiers here? The Military must've made their move..."


Watching Tara struggle to her feet, Bernard took another step toward her.


"Stay back!"


"I took the antidote...!"


"It's not a proper antidote, it's a broad-spectrum antitoxin. It's not completely effective. You need to be okay so we can clean up this mess. So stay back!"


Tara pulled off her cloak and placed the duplicate ledger on it, wrapped the fabric around it. Then she placed the original ledger and key into the box, restoring them to their original state.


Although she despised it, she went over to where the body lay and shoved it back into the compartment the same way she'd found it.


With that done, she was ready to leave the back room. She approached the bound man against the wall. No doubt he was a member of Scorpion.


"My Lady, come here now!"


"Bernard, wait. It's not worth coming in here if we leave like this. We need to leave a path open."


"A path?"


"Yeah, a path. This situation could be easily misunderstood, and this useless bastard is going to clear the way for us."


"My Lady.... I don't understand... Do it quickly."


The Scorpion member stiffened and glared at Tara as she approached.


"Whoa... You should be grateful that I was the one who discovered you."


"...What bullshit!" 


The man snapped and shouted at the top of his lungs.


"You need to understand the situation you're in. You're about to die, and I'm going to tell you how you can live."


"What crap are you spouting? Are you going to kill me now? When there's all those soldiers outside?"


"Why would I do that? You're going to die anyway."


"What?"


The man didn't hide his shock. Tara moved closer to him, and whispered something to him in a quiet but clear voice.


Naturally, Bernard couldn't hear a word of what was being said.


Although he was curious, Bernard found something to do in these circumstances.


‘The paint.’


Even when he found the paint on the black door inside the club, he remembered to remove it after he left. It would be to his lady's advantage if the paint under the iron door was also wiped away.


Bernard moved quickly while Tara spoke, wiping off the paint from under the iron door.


Before he knew it, Tara had emerged from the chamber and approached him.


Tara followed him out of the warehouse. There were no signs of anything wrong with her, Andrei's antitoxin seemed to be working.


Bernard bit his tight lips and ran faster and more cautiously. His heart was racing and a cold sweat was pouring down his face.


When he thought of his master's terror, and her having to go through everything in that warehouse without him, he felt so worried it was driving him crazy.


They crossed the yard and soon reached the entrance of the club.


At the door, Bernard and Tara were stopped in their tracks by the Second Prince's soldiers.


"My name is Tara Elias, I'm a third secretary of the Military. I was just stopping by this club and stumbled upon a warehouse with a secret room. Come with me."


One of the Phoenix Knights checked Tara's identification badge and examined her for a moment. Afterwards he immediately informed his superior, who was investigating everyone leaving the club.


After receiving the report, the superior officer quickly approached the entrance. It was Walter.


He frowned at the commotion and stopped dead in his tracks.


"The Third Secretary...?"


Walter rubbed his eyes, thinking he'd been mistaken, even as the words left his mouth.


After blinking several times, he realized that the person he'd seen seven months ago was the same person in front of him.


‘She looks so different, I didn't recognize her at first. Anyway, she looks much better... Ah! His Highness always reminds me not to judge people by appearance alone....’


After marveling at how much a person could change in seven months, he suddenly realized.


‘Huh, what is she doing here...?' Walter wondered.


He was surprised for a moment, then he stiffened and asked.


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2 תגובות


ProMama
ProMama
06 ביוני

She’s so good at fast, deliberate decision making where it counts.

לייק

Rina
Rina
29 במאי

When I was editing this, the scene where Tara finds the body really hit me. No matter how strong she is, she's still a normal person who's never seen death before. It feels so much more realistic than her being able to shrug it off.

לייק
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