Chapter 42 - Eyelids (15)

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Tobrune was a city located a day’s walk north of the capital. You could basically consider it right next to the capital.

Built 70 years ago in World 2, in order to stop the undead that were pushing into the capital, this place was more of an outpost.

“Hah, I did hear that World 3 Tobrune was a lot different, but….”

Professor couldn’t stop from gaping at the filthy rich décor displayed in front of him.

Although its walls were shorter than those of other cities, several layers of dangerous-looking magic circles were activated on the wall. That level of detail and the ability to handle that level of magic fuel could only be done by dwarves. And those kinds of magic spells decorated the entire wall. Not to mention the other things, like catapults and spires, that seemed to be crafted by only the best. All of this would have required exponential amounts of money.

‘What the heck happened to Tobrune to go from that big ditch to, well, this?’

He did hear the news in the community. Be careful of the price tags when you go to Tobrune. It’s changed so much after the Tower of Mages came in. New buildings were being built left and right, etc. Even when he saw the cluster of houses on the map, he thought it would be more of a countryside that was growing quickly. When he played on World 2, the place was a shanty town that was trying to become farmland. It was considered a demotion if you were assigned as the lord here.

Hmm, my plans are already messed up. I need to cancel the plan to jump over the walls. I was trying to find another corner to crawl through when I saw a bird get roasted trying to fly over the walls. The soldiers just retrieved it like that was a daily thing. It was more than obvious that whatever got close to those walls would end up in the same state as that roasted bird.

“Which means my only way through is the gates….”

Professor looked at himself.

Noble attire in bloody, tattered rags.

Messy hair and beard.

A threatening figure of over 2 meters.

Deep reddish skin.

Glowing red eyes.


-Jokasss: Any guard that doesn’t arrest that thing on sight needs to get fired.

-takealook: Exactly. That’s not just suspicious. He’s an entirely different race. He looks like at least a troll hybrid. I would have definitely captured him and put him in the torture chamber.


Seeing as there were over ten guards at the gates, the bandit he sent out must have been busy spreading the rumors. With the rumors going around, how could he approach the gates like this?

‘I would have been shot first, then questioned.’

Well, now that I’m in a situation like this, I probably can’t go through the gates.

“It’s not impossible to force my way through, but that means they’ll chase me around the city.”

Then there was no point in my coming here. Vetoed.

This is a little troublesome. The walls are foolproof. I can’t barge through, and I’d be on my way to the torture chamber if I just walked in….

“Wait. Torture chamber?”

Professor looked at his arm, which had started to twitch on its own a little while ago.

‘Maybe that’s not a completely bad idea.’

He hadn’t worked out since last night, and he hadn’t gotten injured for a while. His body was getting a little twitchy, so he was thinking that if he didn’t have time to work out, he should just hurt himself, but……

“I could just go get captured. It’s not like I can’t escape when I want to.”


-Jokasss: Dang……

-Soygaybar: That’s an unexpected solution…..

-Noru_is_druig: But torture is going to be pretty rough. Even if you have a pain tolerance trait, the pain from your bones breaking and skin cutting isn’t just going to go away. Or, Professor, did you finally accept pain as a new pleasure?


“It’s not like that……. It’s more like, I’ve gotten used to pain without fear.”

It still hurts. It hurts like hell, but it’s kind of like that. If you get stabbed in the stomach, you’ll feel pain but also get the feeling that ‘Oh, I’m going to die,’ and the strength in your body gets drained out. There’s a fear of loss associated with deep wounds. This might kill me. How can I live without my finger? Things like that.

But I’ve had so many experiences with having my limbs severed that the fear has disappeared. There is the physical pain of my arm getting cut off, but it goes away after it regenerates. So it’s not something like masochism. Definitely not.

“Anyway, normal torture doesn’t even count as pain, so let’s go.”

After making his decision, Professor boldly walked out of the bushes he was hiding in and marched towards the castle gates.


Thump.

Shk-shk!

Thump.

“Eeeeep!”

The line in front of the gates was longer than usual due to the strict security checks.

“T-That thing! Its eyes are glowing!”

“It’s a monster!”

“It’s a mute!”

Hm, look at these kind people. How’d they know I was in a rush?

Every time Professor took a step forward, the people in front divided in half, like some kind of runway, making the walk to the temporary guard post much shorter.

“Ugh, what is it? Why’s it so loud….?!”

“Hahaha. Sorry about that. I think it’s because of me……”

Professor put on his most intelligent face and most innocent smile as he greeted the guards.

“Nice to meet you. I’m a mercenary that escaped from Turan. May I enter the city?”


Creak.

Bang!

“Get in!”

“Ooof!”

“You monster! Thinking we were fools! To have the nerve to set foot here in Tobrune. Now keep quiet in there until a mage comes!”

Sob! Sir! Jackson still hasn’t woken up!”

“That darn monster must have done something to him. Give me some time! I’ll lift the curse even if it means I need to chop that monster into pieces!”

’….I really just smiled at him….’

I tried to act as humanly as possible, just in case people cared. There were races like dwarves and elves, as well as hybrids like werewolves and cait siths; could there be humans like me?

So I took off my bandana and smiled widely at them, and the guard who was looking at me fainted on the spot. The guard next to him must have felt his life was in danger, as he mustered up the last of his strength to ring the alarm bell. After that, well, the guards that were already on alert rushed out at the sound of the bell, and they beat me to a pulp before tying me up and throwing me in the guard prison.

“Ughhhh, they really went all out on me. 2 minutes until regeneration….”

He really was a monster. The fact that all of the bones in his body were broken meant nothing to him.


-Soygaybar: No matter how hard I think about it, I think you’re enjoying the pain.

-Noru_is_druig: He must have picked up that broken blackjack so he could hit himself with the handle.

-takealook: It’s pretty common for people to go crazy in the Wastelands. Maybe Prof just went crazy in that twisted way.


“Stop it, all of you!”

Clang! Clang! Clang!

“Monster! Shut up and stay quiet! A mage is coming soon!”

“Oi, Gary! Don’t go near that thing! Who knows what other sorcery it’s going to try?”

And with the misunderstandings only increasing, time continued to pass by.


Thunk!

Creeaaak.

Clang! Clang! Clang!

“Hey, monster! Wake up!”

“Huh? [email protected])[email protected]! Oh, um. Right. Is it already time to get up?”

“You’re awfully comfortable in there, sleeping and all. But now your time’s over. Once the mage confirms you’re a monster, hehehe… I’ll make sure to carve out your eyelids so you can’t even blink!”

Professor yawned as he lazily nodded to the soldier’s words.

‘The city must not be in complete chaos. They kept me in here without doing anything just because I wasn’t a confirmed enemy.’

“He’s right over here, sir!”

“Hmm… are you sure he’s a talking mute? Even normal mutes can easily escape these ropes, but he just followed without resisting….”

Seeing the reaction of the soldiers, the person who just came in must be a mage. But his voice seemed familiar somehow.

Soon after, when the mage entered the room, the familiar voice matched a familiar face.

“You’re….”

“Long time, no see. We’ve met a few times in the laboratory.”

The mage had slightly snake-like eyes and wore a blue robe. He was one of the mages in Mandalious’s basement who enthusiastically participated in the experiments.

‘Since he studied mutes before, I was sure he would be interested when he heard there was a talking mute!’

It’s only been two hours, but the Tower of Mages, which was notorious for being slow to act, had already dispatched someone out here.

“Is Isaac faring well? That’s a shame. I thought we were pretty close, seeing that we’ve shared ‘intimate secrets.’”

“….I would advise you to select your words carefully if you want to live.”

“Oh, how scary! Someone might think you actually want to spare me!”

A conversation with invisible knives. Because neither had fond memories of the other, harsh words were exchanged.

“Uh…. Mr. Mage, sir? Do you happen to know this monster?”

“Monster, you say….. I believe there was a misunderstanding. This man isn’t a monster. His exterior… changes slightly as a result of his participation in an experiment. I think it’s safe to loosen the alert on the guards now.”

The guard became flustered when he heard that I wasn’t a monster. That was only natural since they captured and imprisoned me, someone associated with a mage, and called me a monster.

“I-I’ll release you at once!”

“….Wait. No.”

The mage with snake eyes gave me a slight smile.

“This man was forced to work for us after committing a heinous crime against the mages. Keep him tied up like this and send him to the Reedflow’s tower.”

Professor struggled to express that he was furious, and expressed his anger by shouting at the mage.

“You bastards! You made me work like a dog, and you still haven’t gotten enough of me! Damn! If it weren’t for these ropes, I…..!”

“The prisoner has a grudge against mages, so do not listen to his lies. Send him over as soon as possible.”

“Yes, sir!”

After ‘Snake Eyes’ finished giving the guard his order, he crouched down to make eye contact with the still-struggling Professor.

“To think you survived that hell. I must say, you are a tenacious one.”

“Hwack ptooey!”

The mage was sprayed in the face by Professor’s spittle. His face was as cold as ice after wiping away the sticky substance.

“You don’t know your place…. See you at the tower. I’ll dissect you piece by piece and figure out how you managed to get out with that unstable body of yours and how you managed to keep your consciousness.”

“Grrah! Curse you! I’ll curse you all until every single one of you mages dieeee!!!”

The mage turned back from the angry mess and shared a few words with the guard before calmly walking out of the prison.

Looking at Professor, who was still making a fit long after the mage was gone, the soldier that was keeping guard let out a sigh of understanding as he took out a piece of bread from the cupboard. He placed the bread on a plate and approached Professor.

“I see how it is now. You, the mages got to you didn’t they? That horrid face must also be the mages’ doing.”

Clink.

After placing the plate in front of Professor, the guard continued to talk with a bitter expression.

“Tobrune looks like a nice city from the outside, but it’s rotten to the core inside. Everything in this city is under the control of that tower. The Lord is just a figurehead. Tobrune’s defenses completely depend on those magic circles, and the only economic activity in this city is through the river the mages at the tower made. Not even the merchants can go against their word. Since they have this city in their palms, everything normal people like us can do is follow the rules.”

The guard was leaning against the bars, letting out everything he had kept in his mind. The guard, Gary, thought that was his duty. This scary man must have been a normal person at some point.

After becoming a guard, most of the traces of the missing people led to the Tower of Mages. But every time he submitted a report, the only orders he got were to burn the report and ignore the situation. The higher-ups were intentionally covering up the dark parts of the mages.

This city was corrupt. And he was a guard in that corrupt city and also a father of two.

“I’m sorry. I…. have no power….”

Pat pat.

Someone gently patted his back as he teared up, as if to comfort him. Yes. Someone else understood what he was feeling as well.

Sniff! Thank you. I, one day, will expose the corruption of this cit…. Huh?”

Wait. The only people here were himself and the scary man. Then who….?

When the startled guard’s head whipped back, he saw Professor munching on the bread with one hand and the other on his shoulder.

“No need to say thanks. That’s just how everyone lives in this world.”

Bang!

“Aghk!”

“Shhh. Just sleep here for a moment, Mr. kind prison guard.”

After Professor knocked the guard out through the prison bars, he pushed the broken ropes out of the way and proceeded to pull apart the iron bars with his bare hands.

Screech!

Creeeak!

Skree!

“Nice! I’m a free man again!”

Professor shoved the rest of the bread into his mouth and picked up his belongings that were placed in the corner of the prison.

“Now my identity is complete. A ‘criminal that escaped from prison.’ Even a mage from the tower verified that I was a ‘human’ that cooperated with them. I’m a criminal that is definitely not a mute!”

That’s right. This was what I had been aiming for all this time.

‘If they say a talking mute was captured, then a mage, especially one that was studying mutes, would definitely come to see it. And since this Tower of Mages is for the Reedflow scholars, then there were bound to be some people from that noble’s house.’

And now that the verification that ‘this man is not a mute’ came out of his mouth, his identity was confirmed for sure.


-Highwaynachoman: Wow, how did you even think that far?


“Well, when I thought about it, it would have been hard for me to get around normally even if I got into the city somehow. So I thought, ‘Who in this city can confirm my identity?’ and I rolled my gears until I remembered—those mage guys. If I showed myself, they’d gladly drag me away. And since they have no idea I’ve gotten this strong, the worst they could do is imprison me in a bathtub again or something. And if I manage to flee in the middle of it, I’ll gain the stable identity of a ‘fugitive.’

After packing everything, he used the dagger the guard had and carved into the desk:

[I’m going to live my own life now – Professor.]

“My name’s going to go on a wanted poster now. Then people who know me will clear my name. And it’s easier for them to find me.”

As I explained the situation while snickering, the people in the chatroom wowed in disbelief.


-Soygaybar: A round of applause, everyone.

-takealook: I’ll give you credit for this one Prof.

-Jokasss: Me too. He made that much progress just by getting through the gates. That’s true, though. He’d be considered a monster if he just went in looking like that, but if he becomes a wanted criminal, he’ll be able to move in the shadows.


“That’s what I was aiming for. I was planning on moving in the shadows in the first place.”

Creeeak.

“Oh Gary. It’s still your shift, why are yo— mmph!”

“Ah, this isn’t Gary. I’m a fugitive. Fugitive. Remember me as Professor the Fugitive, please.”

After giving the guards he ran into a friendly reminder, Professor quietly slipped out of the prison and into the alleyways as the sun set behind him.

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