Jailbreak (2)

Translator: Alice

Editor: Claire

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Jailbreak (2)

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“It doesn’t matter whether you were a good wife or loved him. As long as the verdict stands, you are guilty. The Imperial judicial system is not incompetent.”

 

“But look at this, look at my arms. I don’t even have muscles. Hindley was over one meter and eighty centimeters* tall. He was big too. Do you think I could’ve killed him?”

[*E/N: about 5 feet 9 inches]

 

She hurriedly lifted up her chained hands. If she hadn’t been shackled, she would’ve rolled up her sleeves.

 

“No one thought you would be able to break out of Perrine and Al Capez.”

 

“…”

 

“But you did.”

 

Gray eyes stared straight at her. They looked cold, with no room for sympathy.

 

“It’s the same. Just because you’re a small, weak woman doesn’t mean you couldn’t have killed Hindley Haworth. There are many ways. If all the evidence points to you, you are the culprit.”

 

“…”

 

“You are lying.”

 

“I’m not lying! Have you ever been to jail? Did you know that jailbreaking can be done easily? I did it because I thought it was unfair, because I felt wronged!”

 

Ian Kerner ignored her. He got up, grabbed the chain hanging between her wrists, and pulled her to her feet. His lieutenant looked proud of his cold-hearted boss. It was almost as if he was saying, ‘Did you see that? He won’t fall for your crocodile tears.’

 

“Follow me.”

 

Ian ordered. She struggled to follow his instructions. It was difficult to balance with cuffs on. As the chair slid back, her ankles hit the legs. The lieutenant caught her before she fell. It was more like an instinct than an action to take care of her.

 

The lieutenant pushed her back again. She stumbled helplessly.

 

“Henry Reville, the prisoner will get hurt. If you’re going to help her, help her properly. Our mission is to escort these prisoners safely to the island of Monte, and except in unavoidable circumstances-”

 

“I know, I know. But get a whiff of this smell! D*mn, rotting corpses on the battlefield smelled better than this. Actually, I was bothered from the moment I entered the room. Commander, are you okay? I was on my way to meet the beautiful ladies having a party on the upper deck, and I was excited.”

 

“On the battlefield, we were no different.”

 

“The war is over. Besides, isn’t this different? We had a hard time fighting, and this woman killed her husband while we were anxious to save even one citizen! She isn’t grateful that we didn’t hang her on the spot, instead, she escaped twice, wasting manpower and taxes…”

 

It was childish to insult her because she stank.

 

If anyone didn’t wash for a long time, they would stink. Whether it was a man or a woman. The beautiful ladies on the deck, Ian Kerner, or that lieutenant, who seemed very angry at her.

 

She had a bad feeling about Henry Reville. She would remember his name. Although her hatred wouldn’t stand in the way of his bright future, who knew when there would be a chance for revenge?

 

She glared at Henry. Ian scolded him.

 

“Be careful, Reville, don’t put emotion into your work.”

 

“…”

 

“It’s just as bad as showing more favor to a prisoner than is necessary, showing more hostility than necessary.”

 

Henry immediately bit his lip. Soon, Ian’s large body obscured her view. She raised her head as he reached out to her. His hand was covered in calluses, but they were more delicate than she expected. She pondered for a moment whether to accept his help or not. Because she was as childish as Henry Reville.

 

“She stinks. I’ll keep her locked up in the stinky prison cell. Who brought her into this clean and noble room?”

 

“I apologize for my subordinate’s rudeness. I can’t say that you don’t stink, but I’m used to it. Both of us are. So don’t worry about it.”

 

“Commander! Sir Kerner! What are you talking about?”

 

“Be quiet, Reville.”

 

For a prisoner, it was almost too polite of an apology. She bit her lip and grabbed his hand. As soon as she was on her feet, he grabbed the chain between her wrists and dragged her out the door.

 

“Keep walking. I have something to show you.”

 

She stared intently at the back of his head. He was just doing his job, and he was doing her a favor. He must be a good and decent person. But that’s not why she should be against him.

 

He was a jailer, and she was a prisoner. They both had knives behind their backs and did fierce calculations in their heads. It was like a fight between a mouse and a cat. If you were careless, you would be caught, and the moment you let go, you would miss an opportunity or attack.

 

Her specialty was to be cunning. No matter how strong a wall was, there was always a mouse hole somewhere. Mice are insignificant beings, but they are overlooked because of it.

 

She made a promise as she stared at Ian Kerner’s muscled back.

 

‘This time, I will win.’

 

Several keys were attached to his belt. Perhaps one of them could set her free, and the other could give her a lifeboat. She just had to wait for a moment when he was distracted. As always.

 

***

 

“Is the party over?”

 

“Of course. The commander is escorting the witch of Al Capez, how could we show that to the ladies?”

 

“They are on this boat to tour Monte Island. The prisoners are all women and are bound by chains. I thought it would be interesting for them.”

 

“Just because they are eccentric doesn’t mean they enjoy facing prisoners. They’re afraid. Not everyone in the world is as brave as you are, Sir Kerrner.”

 

Henry Reville gripped his gun tightly as he pushed her forward. Ian still didn’t understand why Henry was so vigilant around her. Actually, it was kind of funny. A big bear-like man paying keen attention to the movements of a mouse-sized woman.

 

“Commander, don’t let your guard down. This woman might be a witch. Was she really lucky enough to escape prison twice with such poor physical abilities?”

 

Henry whispered into Ian’s ear gravely, as if he was revealing a dark secret. But he was so loud that she could hear everything.

 

‘I’m lucky, so what? After all, many things in the world are determined by luck.’

 

She moved slowly, pushing away the traces of the party scattered at her feet. Confetti, instrument cases and glasses.

 

She looked at the food that was left on the table, but her hands were tied. She couldn’t eat anything unless she put her head down like a dog. There’s no way they would let her fill her stomach.

 

She gave up and kept walking.

 

Looking down from the deck, the sea looked like a black dragon. It was like a gigantic creature that wriggled its spine with each wave. It was more eerie than majestic. She didn’t expect to ever see the sea in her life.

 

The sea breeze was refreshing. Ian Kerner, who was staring at her excited face, pulled her chain. Her breath hitched, and her mood quickly subsided. 

 

‘Look. As expected, guards have to do something to offend prisoners.’

 

He asked, staring at her pale and dry face.

 

“They said you escaped by digging a tunnel in Al Capez.”

 

“I did.”

 

“How did you dispose of the excavated soil?”

 

“I ate it. It was delicious.”

 

Ian frowned. She giggled. It was funny that she had offended such a straight laced man. Ian paused for a moment and asked again.

 

“Did you really go down the cliff [email protected]?”

 

“Then should I have come down with a parachute like you?”

 

“… People said you used magic. Is it true?”

 

At that, Henry opened his eyes wide and looked at her. She snorted.

 

“If I were a witch, would I live like this?  I wish I was one. Then I wouldn’t have gotten caught. My hands wouldn’t have been tied up like this. If I could really use magic, would high-ranking officials allow tourists to board this ship?”

 

The last successful escape from Al Capez was 36 years ago by a witch. So when the jailbreak was first reported to the press, people were convinced Rosen was a witch.

 

Decades had passed since the steam engine was invented. The continent was lined with trains, and with steam power, they could float airships in the sky. An era where magic was persecuted and science was developing. However, traces of the old days still remained. The number of witches decreased and they hid themselves in the dark, but they did not disappear.

 

“Sir, it’s best not to believe her. This woman lies whenever she opens her mouth. They say she’s fluent in lies. It’s also mentioned in her documentation, right? When she was arrested for killing her husband, she shed tears while pretending to be pitiful, and almost deceived the entire nation.”

 

“I can’t lie. Really.”

 

“Don’t talk sh*t, witch.”

 

“Look. If I were a witch, I would have sealed your lips so that you wouldn’t be able to talk. I even passed the magic test. Is Sir Kerner’s lieutenant so stupid that he can’t comprehend objective facts?”

 

She glared at Henry again. Henry was flushed, as if he was ashamed of being rebuked by someone like her. He pulled her chains tight and raised her voice.

 

“Don’t you know manners?”

 

She snorted, sticking out her tongue. It wasn’t funny. Henry was like a child, so she didn’t feel scared when he got angry. He was so hot-tempered. The battlefield was a place where the lives of children who couldn’t control their boiling blood were used as a driving force.

 

“Reville, stop and do what you are ordered. If you can’t control your emotions and run wild, I will report it to upper management.”

 

Henry disappeared with his tail between his legs, like a scolded puppy. Only then did she understand how Henry had survived the war. He listened to the orders of his capable superior.

 

Ian pulled her chain. She was drawn to him. When Ian and Rosen got close, he bowed down to meet her eye level. His gray eyes scanned her from head to toe.

 

“Rosen Haworth, the most famous escapee in the Empire, the witch of Al Capez. Whether you’re a liar, or telling the truth, a witch, or an ordinary person… I don’t care. I just want to tell you a few clear facts. First, you are a convicted criminal. You are sentenced to life in prison on the island of Monte. Second, I have been ordered to take you to the island.”

 

“…”

 

“…Third, there are prisoners who escaped Al Capez, but none have escaped Monte. No one gets out of there. Some can go down a cliff barefoot, but no one can cross the sea without a boat. Even a witch.”

 

That much she knew. She looked down at her hands, shackled by chains. She couldn’t cross the sea unless she was a mermaid. That’s why she decided to escape before reaching the island.

 

“And it’s the same before the island.”

 

The door to the cabin opened abruptly. Henry approached, carrying an iron bowl full of red chunks. There was the heavy smell of blood. She watched them exchange knowing glances.

 

‘The red meat has a lot of fat on it. Pork? Chicken? It’s definitely meat, but what is it?’

 

While trying to figure out the identity of the meat, Ian pulled her chain once more. As she fell forward, she grabbed the railing on the edge of the deck. The sea breeze, which had felt refreshing a moment ago, swept down her back eerily. She screamed that she was about to fall.

 

“What are you doing?!”

 

“Look, witch! What is the sea like?”

 

Henry shouted excitedly, whistling like a zookeeper as he poured the bloody meat into the sea. In an instant, bubbles rose in the black water, and dozens of mast-sized fins circled. The sound of teeth gnashing and flesh tearing could be heard clearly.

 

As the blood spread, the color of the water changed. It was still not clear enough to see under the surface, but she could tell what kind of chaos was unfolding beneath the waves.

 

“Huge sharks, krakens, cannibal whales, and other unknown marine beasts that have not been recorded by academia.”

 

He slowly raised her back up, who had turned blue and collapsed to the deck. Ian gave her detailed information in a friendly tone. How big, ferocious, quick, and fond of human flesh these monsters were.

 

“It’s breeding season, so everyone is starving. If you want to be a snack for monsters, you can go on an adventure in a lifeboat.”

 

“…”

 

“I feel like you want this.”

 

He untied the keys from his belt and waved them before her eyes. She realized that he knew where her eyes were headed from the beginning. Also, he wasn’t very polite.

 

She knew her image of him was an illusion. 

 

Was it because the flyers with his trusty face comforted her during the war?

 

“Rosen Haworth, have you changed your mind?”

 

“…”

 

“I think that would be best.”

 

His face approached hers, slowly. 

 

A straight nose, curved eyebrows, and cool eyes. It was the same as the flyers. However, the smile she saw was far more dazzling than what a piece of paper could capture… 

 

It was creepy.

 

Ian Kerner was not a gentleman. A jailer couldn’t be a gentleman. Throughout her life, she had never been treated as a human by these people, let alone as a lady. 

 

‘I’ve always been a rat.’