PDM Chapter 56
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Translator’s Note: This chapter might be confusing to some. It certainly was to me when I worked on it. 😅 So sorry about that! And Happy Thanksgiving to those celebrating!
Carje’s eyes widened for a moment, his cold, stiff face looking bewildered. Feeling my clear gaze, he immediately erased his expression and trembled.
“There are so many things I want to ask you. What is your relationship with him? You don’t appear to be family or mere close friends.”
Ignoring his intentional remarks to change the subject, I stared at the ceiling covered with maps. “Is he in the male residence?”
“May I know your name? I’ve never heard your name before.”
“Come to think of it, I couldn’t even say hello to my companion. Where is he?”
I blocked his inquisition immediately. After answering each question with another, Carje stepped back with a sigh. For a moment, he looked annoyed, but it was quickly erased with his worldly skills.
“He is, of course, staying in the assigned quarters.”
Carje shook his head wistfully, his expression so deceitfully gloomy that anyone who didn’t know the circumstances would believe it.
“He wants to see you, too, but unfortunately, guests are not allowed to meet with their companions until they’ve adjusted–”
“Another rule?” I cut him off. “I can’t go to the forest, I can’t even meet my companion. Who makes those rules? This inn has a lot of restrictions and controls, but the interior isn’t that great.”
As I went on, Carje’s carefree expression vanished. He was outright frowning.
“Are you doubting the existence of the hourglass? Please do not insult Quetray,” he said, raising his hand in denial.
“No, not doubt, but conviction.”
“What…” Carje trailed off, clearly at a loss for words.
“I’m sure that’s why I’m going to the forest right now. You say it’s impossible, so I’m trying to get out of here and head for the woods.”
“Are you saying you’re going without my help?” Carje raised his voice in disbelief, his brows furrowing furiously.
His eyes wandered before lowering his gaze in thought. It seemed he only realized what my words meant then.
“So, in a nutshell, you want to leave this inn.”
“I’ve already wasted enough time. I can’t afford to procrastinate even more.”
As soon as I said those words, Carje started looking nervous.
The people who came to the inn must have been enchanted by his words and followed him blindly. It wouldn’t be unusual to convince people who were already exhausted and unable to think rationally with a few sweet words. They would have succumbed to the man who said he knew the location of the hourglass from the map on the wall.
So, if he met someone like me who went against them, he’d hesitate. The confidence, necklace, and appearance of looking like a noble would increase his anxiety, and he’d worry that the person he was facing was a high-ranking noble or a famous person.
Above all, it would not be strange to try to get out of the inn if I strongly insisted on going to the forest. If I were in his position, he would suspect that someone who’d leave the inn was a member of the Imperial army or a family member trying to rescue the followers.
If he gave them room, they would respect him like a god, even if it’s not just a material factor, it’s probably enough reason to want to keep them at the inn.* If his anxiety had overwhelmed him, would he have overreacted to those who wanted to leave the inn, and maybe imprisoned or subdued them?
It was proof that he had prepared for the worst-case scenario even if he had to commit a crime. I lifted my chin slightly and wedged it in.
“Are you going to tell me I can’t do even this?”
Carje took a step back. He raised his hand as if to cut the flow of conversation.
“Give me some time to think.”
Then he stroked his chin, deep in thought. A look of nervousness was evident in the eyes that wandered to his feet.
If only I could go with this momentum. I narrowed my eyes and clenched my fists.
It would be best to drive him back like this and get the horse back along with Takan, but I knew it was impossible. However, with the necklace, it was not difficult to leave the village even if Takan wasn’t in perfect condition. It didn’t matter if the money was extorted as long as we could leave the inn.
After a while, Carje took a deep breath, straightened, and whispered more relaxedly, “No, you don’t have to.”
“What do you mean?”
As if he had escaped his anguish and found the answer, Carje seemed more relaxed.
“I will take you to the hourglass.”
“What did you just say?”
When I raised my voice, Carje grinned at me, showing me his teeth. “I told you I was going to take you.”
I almost burst out into laughter but bit my lips to endure it.
Watching him say that with a cunning tongue and hateful look was absurd. He obviously wanted me to leave.*
It was that or throw me to the monsters as prey. I didn’t obey him the way his followers did, so it probably wasn’t a bad idea for him to get rid of me.
If I were found dead in the forest, he’d be able to insist on his innocence by claiming that demonic beasts ate me.
Even if he tried to hide it, it was obvious that he didn’t care who I was. The only thing that mattered to him was that he could deal with me in the forest.
As I watched him closely, he tilted his head and asked, “Why? Isn’t that what you wanted?”
Unpleasant, insidious eyes scrutinized me. No matter how hard I tried to stay calm, that brazen face made my blood boil. I gritted my teeth.
I closed my eyes and took a deep breath, venting out my emotions.
I was never born with a strong will to survive as I did today. I came out of my endless despair to ensure that Carje received the punishment he deserved.
In terms of causality, not everyone in the inn, including Carje, was innocent. They stood by and silenced those who were imprisoned with Rafnel.
Even if the Imperial found finds out, and they went to trial, not everyone here would be safe. I didn’t know if Kyle would come, so if I went to the woods once I got out of the inn, I didn’t know if I would survive.
I swallowed my remorse and widened my eyes.
With a grin, Carje stood leisurely from his seat. Unlike before, he looked relieved and relaxed.
“Then let’s go.”
I remained in my seat. “You haven’t answered my question yet. I will go to the forest with him.”
Emotionless, Carje stared down at me as if to see my intentions, then smiled softly. “I will ask the Manager to call him.”
It was hard to keep a straight face while trying to deceive him. But I knew it would be better than being here with him. My initial plan to get out of the inn went awry, so I had to check Takan’s condition, at least.
I wore my hood again to hide my face.
“Yes, together,” I repeated then stood up.
“Then I will guide you.”
Carje turned around, and the two men behind him promptly moved. With their lanterns in hand, they opened the door, moved to the hallway, and bowed. It seemed like a fairly familiar behavior.
Carje looked at the scene with satisfaction, then exited the door and entered the dark hallway. As soon as he received the lamp from the soldier, he slowly turned to me.
“Are you not coming?”
“Of course I am,” I said with a smile, walking quickly to the door. “Finally, I can go.”
I acted like a person who couldn’t hide my excitement that I was heading to the forest. Carje’s gaze landed on me as I gripped my hands and held them tightly until my fingertips turned red.
“Yeah, you’ll feel better.”
He covered his mouth with his hand to hide his scornful smirk. His voice brought a chill down my spine.
“Leader, we’ll go with you–”
“It’s okay,” He told the two men following us and looked away from me. I didn’t miss the opportunity and stared at the end of the hallway, but there was nothing I could call a prison. It was nothing but the end of the hallway.
If there was a prison, I thought it would be somewhere here. I bit my lip and stared intently at the wall.
“Where are you looking?”
At that moment, Carje’s hot breath grazed my face. Carje moved his face close to me, and my eyes widened at the distance. I backed away and got ahold of myself.
*Not 100% sure about the translation
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