Jailbreak (1)

Translator: Alice

Editor: Claire

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Jailbreak (1)

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“Are you good at lying?”

 

“No. Not at all.”

 

“It was written that way in your documents. Good at deception, placation, and persuasion. Is intelligent and has excellent speaking skills. Be careful while interviewing. High possibility of getting caught up or persuaded by conversation.”

 

“I never lied.”

 

The long cry of a steamboat filled the stillness of the cabin.

 

They were on Vehes, traveling to the island of Monte.

 

The man was the officer in charge of transporting prisoners, and she was a prisoner, her hands bound with chains.

 

A rat from the slums of Leoarton scurried across the desk of the handsome man in front of her. 

 

It was funny. 

 

That someone like her, who had nothing, became famous before he did. Him for a good reason, and her for a bad one.

 

If she had to live like a rat until she died, she wanted to be a famous rat. 

 

She didn’t know if it was good, but at least it was fun.

 

“You repeated those words in the courtroom.”

 

“Is there anything written on that piece of paper? Of course, the judge didn’t listen to anything I had to say.”

 

“…Even though you were found guilty?”

 

“I felt wronged.”

 

He wrote something with an expressionless face, as if he knew it all. 

 

‘What is he writing?’

 

‘D*mn.’

 

At times like this, she was sad that she couldn’t read.

 

Even though she knew it was of no use, she met his cold eyes.

 

“Prisoner number?”

 

“24601.”

 

“Name?”

 

“Why are you asking that? Does anyone here not know my name?”

 

It was not arrogance. 

 

Wherever she went, her story was everywhere. Her face appeared in the newspaper daily. 

 

She was as famous as Ian Kerner, who was sitting right in front of her. It was not necessary to defeat enemy squadrons with great ingenuity to become famous.

 

“It is an administrative process. Name.”

 

“…Rosen Walker.”

 

“The document has a different name.”

 

“That name is right.”

 

“I’m not curious about your real name. What I want you to do is to confirm the name on this document by saying it out loud.”

 

“…Rosen Haworth.”

 

High-ranked people were always savvy and never thought outside the box. Whatever that piece of paper said, she was Rosen Walker, not Rosen Haworth. 

 

That fact did not change.

 

She propped her foot up on his desk and scratched it. Her foot, which had been chained for a long time, had formed sores. 

 

Puss from the wound dripped onto the pristine wooden furniture. As a result of scratching, dead skin cells scattered in the air like dust.

 

She felt sorry for the owner of this cabin, but there was nothing she could do. 

 

It had been months since she had been able to stretch out like this. Vehes was originally a military supply ship, but after the war, it was converted into a passenger ship. That was why there were not many cabins, but regardless, the nice rooms were not given to prisoners.

 

She thought he was going to say something, but surprisingly, he didn’t pay much attention to it. She grew excited and scratched harder.

 

What a blessing it was to be able to scratch an itchy spot as much as she wanted. 

 

It really sucked that her hands were tied. The same for her feet.

 

“At the age of 17, you were sentenced to 50 years in prison and sent to Perrine Women’s Prison. Staged a jailbreak one year later. Climbed down a cliff and crossed the Dove Mountains [email protected], spent three months as a fugitive in Saint-Bin-Nses before getting arrested. Sentenced to an additional 25 years in prison and transferred to the high-security Al Capez prison. Five years later, escaped again. This time you escaped the Imperial army’s pursuit for a year… ”

 

As he was reading the documents with an expressionless face, his forehead suddenly wrinkled.

 

“…It is written that, in Al Capez, you escaped by digging a tunnel with a spoon. Is it true?”

 

“Sure. I had to sleep a hundred times with a fat guard who smelled like rotten cheese just to get that spoon. His belly was so big that it suffocated me when he laid on me. It’s a shame. It would have been less disgusting if I didn’t have to look at his face.”

 

“…”

 

“It took five years, but by the time I left, the long spoon had shortened to the size of my nail. It’s sad. If I had stayed a little longer, I was going to beat the a$$ of that guard raw as retribution.”

 

Vulgar words poured out of her mouth. She didn’t know what she sounded like to Ian Kerner. She was confident that she knew men well, and from what she had seen so far, men were brutes. However, she had never dealt with such a rich and handsome young man before.

 

A man who wore a neat uniform, had his hair neatly cut and combed, and always smelled clean from head to toe.

 

“Don’t say unnecessary things, only answer the questions asked.”

 

Ian Kerner raised his head. It was nice to see the shape of his beautiful eyebrows. After escaping from her cramped and unpleasant prison cell and dealing with ugly potato-like guards, she was very happy to see a handsome man. She nodded her head without saying a word.

 

Besides, he was not just handsome. He was a war hero. He was also the face of the Empire. The famous Ian Kerner. 

 

Who didn’t see his face during the war? 

 

Pasted on every surface was a flyer, depicting him riding on an airship.

 

Whenever airships flew, flyers fell like rain. A young, tall pilot in a khaki uniform with a red scarf and goggles. 

 

The moment the broadcast with his voice rang from the sky, everyone looked up, as if possessed.

 

[We will win. Don’t give up. The war is coming to an end. People of the Empire, you don’t have to worry.]

 

Cheap paper and ink made his image somewhat indistinguishable. But even a poor-quality acoustic amplifier could not dampen his sweet voice.

 

‘Cheap government b*stards.’

 

As expected, those who were in power were different. They knew how simple it was to mislead people. What would the enemy do if a broadcast told their people to surrender to the sky, promising paradise, comfort, and glory? He was an inspiration.

 

Submission is comfortable, resistance is painful. The future is also unpredictable. People were swayed by anxiety and despair. So they needed Ian Kerner.

 

The confident smile of the handsome and capable commander was certainly something that calmed their anxious minds. 

 

She was sure that his radiant beauty contributed at least partially to the Empire’s victory. There was even a time when she was possessed by a flyer that had fallen from the sky, and hung it in her kitchen…

 

“What is your crime?”

 

“What did I do wrong”?

 

“The reason you’re being sent to Monte Island, the worst prison on earth.”

 

His voice cut off her flow of consciousness as soon as it hit her ears. She opened her eyes wide and shrugged with an innocent face.

 

“I escaped from prison twice. Because of me, the pride of the Imperial army was crushed…”

 

“Not that. Why did you end up in jail in the first place?”

 

“…I am innocent.”

 

“As I said, this is an administrative verification procedure. I am not interested in your argument.”

 

“I am innocent.”

 

‘Procedure, procedure, procedure.’

 

Now she was getting irritated.

 

She kicked his desk, dissatisfied. What she knew, he knew, and everyone knew. The people of high ranks were anxious to ask one more time. To try and get her to admit her guilt.

 

They were not going to listen to anything she said.

 

“It is rare for a prisoner to honestly admit that they have committed a crime.”

 

“I really didn’t do it.”

 

“Saying you’re innocent doesn’t erase the fact that you were convicted.”

 

“Just because a judge handed down a guilty verdict doesn’t eliminate the fact that I’m innocent. The truth trumps all. God knows.”

 

She took a deep breath and stared straight at him. He accepted her gaze calmly.

 

“Answer me straight.”

 

He spoke in a tone that communicated that he wanted to end this boring interview quickly. She felt sorry for him, as he wanted to put her back in her cell and rest, but she hadn’t given up since her arrest. She responded stubbornly.

 

“I am-“

 

Then the door slammed open.

 

“Commander Kerner! What are you doing?”

 

A man, dressed in a lieutenant’s uniform, stood in the doorway, a shocked expression on his face. He looked about four or five years younger than Ian Kerner, which meant he was her age. Although he looked too young to take on such serious duties, his superior, Ian Kerner, was just over 30.

 

“This prisoner is being interviewed.”

 

“No, why are you doing that? After all, the trial of these people is over, so there is no need to listen to their nonsense.”

 

“It is proper procedure for the commander in charge of transportation to know the identities of their prisoners. This is the prisoner we should pay the most attention to.”

 

“I know you are knowledgeable, Commander-in-chief, but you don’t have to follow rules to the letter. Moreover, those who go to Monte Island are the worst prisoners. It is a great trouble to deal with…”

 

The man’s feet, clad in Imperial-style metal-soled boots, approached. Contrary to the cool, angular look of his boss, his messy and curly hair paired with his drooping eyes gave the impression that he was quite free-spirited. He pulled back her flaxy hair, which had been stuck to her face with sweat and dirt, and opened his mouth.

 

“You’re the witch of Al Capez, aren’t you? Why the hell are you interviewing such a dangerous prisoner?”

 

“Dangerous?”

 

Ian Kerner looked her up and down, startled. She knew what he was thinking. A skinny body due to lack of nutrition, and a pale face deprived of sunlight. He couldn’t be afraid of her. She was chained, so even if she wielded a knife, he could overpower her with just one hand.

 

“She escaped from prison. Didn’t you hear? Even if she looks small and harmless, you must not let your guard down. She alone escaped Al Capez. You saw the report I gave you. When she was seventeen-”

 

“Hindley Haworth. I allegedly murdered my husband.”

 

After cutting off the lieutenant’s words, she spoke through gritted teeth.

 

“He was stabbed thirty-six times. The corpse was unrecognizable, and the coroner confirmed it was a crime of resentment. Even after Hindley died, the killer didn’t stop attacking. They stabbed, stabbed, stabbed until he became mush. I was pointed to as the culprit. Just because we had a quarrel the night before!”

 

Silence fell. She took a deep breath.

 

“…Are you married?”

 

“…”

 

“I didn’t kill him. You would know if I did. How common is a couple’s quarrel? If there is a couple who has never had a fight, ask them to come forward.”

 

Two pairs of eyes were glaring at her. Only the sound of a steam engine chugging and gears grinding against each other filled the room.

 

“I’m not the culprit. I was a good wife who loved her husband. I was set up. I loved Hindley, but honestly, I didn’t expect to spend a hundred years with him. Hindley had a lot of enemies. He said nothing was strange, even when he was hit on the back of the head by a brick. So how can you put me in jail without investigating other suspects and ignoring everything I say?”

 

Those words had been repeated many times, and her tear glands, once again, squeezed out a decent amount of water. Salty droplets ran down her cheeks. She knew she wasn’t a great beauty, but she looked pitiful when she cried. Her skinny body, flaxy hair and watery eyes harmonized with each other and often aroused the sympathy of others.

 

“Do not cry.”

 

But her reward wasn’t even consolation. The meaning of his words seemed close to ‘don’t squeeze out fake tears because it’s disgusting’. The chill in Kerner’s voice was terrifying. Realizing that her operation had failed, she quickly wiped away the tears she shed.

 

‘D*mn, are my tears not working because I look so dirty? Would the outcome have changed if I had a chance to wash up?’

 

Whether it was a smart guy or an ugly guy, men always reacted the same way. This outlier was strange to her.

 

“People lie, but evidence doesn’t. There is no one in the world who can’t do that.”

 

But the moment she lifted her head to glance at the Empire’s proud hero, she knew that such a shallow trick would not work on him. 

 

Ian Kerner’s expression remained unchanged.