“The 7 Days of Calamity. The races of this world abandoned their identities for survival, but these races instead chose to abandon their future and save this world. Thanks to their sacrifice, the Calamity ended, forever indebting every other race in this world to those endangered races. That is what I’ve been taught.”
Rivelia looked to Kunette as she summed up the explanation. Kunette nodded in agreement.
“That is why I told Isaac not to kill him. No radical nor moderate will forgive this act.”
Isaac ignored Kunette’s begrudging glare and asked.
“And you’re saying I blew off the head of such a mighty man? Let’s say that I’m the one most responsible for it. What about the few radicals who sent the Three-eyed into this dangerous situation? Aren’t they also responsible?”
Everyone but Isaac stopped in their tracks and looked at each other, having reached a sudden epiphany.
“Of course! They too are responsible! And the death of a Three-eyed is significant enough to throw the entire radical faction into question!”
Rizzly shouted energetically, but Kunette shook her head.
“That doesn’t mean Isaac is absolved of all responsibility.”
“It doesn’t matter to me.”
Isaac replied in confusion. Everyone looked at Isaac angrily.
“What do you mean, ‘it doesn’t matter?’ You really might die now! You’re at the complete mercy of the Grand Council’s decision”
Isaac ignored Reisha’s wailing and took a drag on his cigarette as he replied.
“Then what about the Queen who joined hands with the radicals?”
“Huh? You’re right! Even the Queen isn’t innocent in this!”
Everyone’s eyes were open wide at this new revelation; Isaac was the only one frowning.
“I don’t understand this.”
“Huh? Don’t understand what?”
“The Queen sent the Three-eyed to me despite knowing full well what my personality is. Does that make sense to you?”
“Maybe the radicals railroaded it through Seeing how they betrayed the Invaders, I bet not even the Queen was aware that the Three-eyed was coming here.”
“No. That’d mean the Queen didn’t betray the Invaders. That means the radicals betrayed both the Invaders and the Queen, but do you think it’s possible for a mere portion of the radical faction to plot such a scheme without the Queen’s knowledge?”
“Huh? You’re right.”
Everyone frowned at Isaac’s deduction. They were pondering it—when Isaac stopped moving. He saw a group of men lifting the dead bodies onto a wagon.
“… Didn’t that fucking tiger say he killed everyone?”
“… Anyone care to explain this situation?”
Everyone remained silent at this confusing development.
The Three-eyed released the stimulant in tandem with the virus to wipe out the agents of Strategy. As a consequence, the infection spread to the civilians, creating panic within the city.
The stimulant’s potency was beyond that of a simple plague; it was a biological weapon. No ordinary citizens could hope to escape from a weapon the defensive coats were powerless against.
That was what Isaac’s group believed as they headed to the headquarters to at least pick up Mazelan’s body. But they met survivors on their way back, cleaning up the dead bodies.
There were too many of them to just be lucky survivors. They weren’t in a state of panic. Instead, they calmly paid respect to the dead as they collected the bodies, evidence of some sort of order and chain of command.
Isaac’s group travelled to the headquarters, subject to the fearful looks of those around them. Many tents were set up around the headquarters, bustling with healers treating the injured and men transporting supplies.
“Ah! You’re here.”
“You… were Ricksly right?”
It took Isaac a moment to remember this man who greeted him with a smile despite being in a hurry. Ricksly smiled and nodded.
“You were alive.”
“It’s nothing. What about Mazelan sunbae?”
“He’s in the war room.”
“… He’s alive?”
“Ah. I thought it was the end when both patients and healers in the quarantine zones suddenly started dying. People were flocking here in a panic, so I was about to evacuate the vice-commissioner. But then the plague suddenly stopped spreading.”
According to Ricksly, it started with patients in quarantine zones hacking up blood.
In a mass hysteria, the populace ran in every direction. Even the Strategy agents who needed to control the situation fell victim, plunging them into a state of anarchy.
So Ricksly was about to go through with his plan to evacuate Mazelan—when suddenly the plague stopped spreading, and the patients were noticeably better.
Seeing this, Mazelan broadcasted an announcement stating that a vaccine—that didn’t actually exist—was on its way. He even came into physical contact with an infected person despite everyone advising him against it.
“… He made contact with an infected person?”
“Yes. There is no better way to calm those in panic than doing that.”
What Ricksly said was true. It was difficult to make people trust you when you spoke pretty words from a safe location. But if there truly was a vaccine, seeing the highest in command willingly expose themself to infection would build a formidable trust between them.
Isaac was just as surprised that Mazelan had the guts to make such a move when the full details of the situation weren’t even remotely clear yet, believing purely in his instincts telling him that the plague was losing effectiveness.
“… You alright?”
Mazelan replied bluntly when Isaac asked him the question. Many questions ran through Mazelan’s head. Why did only Isaac’s group return? And why were they so unhappy to see him? But Mazelan didn’t have the time to ask such questions, preoccupied with dealing with his own situation.
“Did some stupid tiger come to you pondering on whether to kill you or not?”
“A tigerman? I’ve never seen one.”
Isaac frowned at Mazelan’s reply. Mazelan, who Isaac thought was dead, was alive and well. And Isaac couldn’t even question the liar since his head was blasted to pieces already. Still grasping at the full details, Isaac took out a cigarette as Mazelan grumbled and asked.
“How did your situation go? In fact, is the Three-eyed safe? It’ll be problematic if he ends up dead.”
Everyone looked to Isaac in unison, and Isaac traced back his memories before replying bluntly.
“That fucker with three eyes was the culprit, so I killed him.”
“Fucker with three eyes?”
Mazelan tilted his head, but within moments he’d figured out what happened. His face paled as he shouted.
“You lunatic! Did you kill the Three-eyed!”
Everyone stopped on their tracks. An eerie silence befell the headquarters.
“Ahem. What are you all doing! Keep moving!”
Everyone immediately set off to their tasks when Mazelan scolded them. Meanwhile, Mazelan took Isaac’s group to an abandoned room.
“You lunatic, what have you done?! And why did you kill the Three-eyed! Ah. I hate myself for figuring out why you killed him. That man ignores all humans, and he probably ignored you too. And that probably pissed you off, so you hit him in the back of his head.”
Mazelan groaned as he wrapped his head in his hands. Everyone but Isaac nodded in agreement with him.
Mazelan asked. Rivelia stepped up to explain everything that happened. Mazelan grimaced as Rivelia’s explanation continued.
“I did receive an unconfirmed report that people started hacking up blood and that agents that were tasked with controlling the situation were fighting someone, but I didn’t think it was true. Weren’t they on the same side?”
“I thought so too. But it turns out they all had their own motives.”
The Tigerman claimed he’d killed Mazelan. He also claimed that he’d wipe out the rest of humans in the city. Yet instead of living up to his claims, the plague’s virulence was limited to a section of the quarantine zone, and the plague had now vanished completely.
“Why did they lie to us?”
Rivelia asked, in deep confusion. Something clicked in Isaac’s head. He clicked his tongue with a frown.
“We’ve been had.”
Reisha asked. Isaac looked to Kunette instead, then asked Rizzly.
“Let me ask this. The Director of Surveillance merely watched as the Three-eyed died in front of her. And the culprit is the man who the Director was closely monitoring all this time. What will the Grand Council think of this situation?”
Everyone but Mazelan realised what Isaac was thinking.
“That’s impossible! We were bound by the Three-eyed’s power!”
Reisha argued, to which Isaac asked.
“Can you prove you couldn’t move because of the Three-eyed’s power?”
“Not to mention that although the two of you were paralyzed, Rizzly fought the wolf. I’m sure the airships filmed it all alongside me killing the Three-eyed. What will they think, watching that footage taken from a distance? And Mazelan, the entire reason why I was pissed, is alive and well. And only a fraction of the civilians died. If we speak our truth to the Grand Council knowing all this, will they take it as the truth?”
“Don’t you worry! There are many races on the Grand Council who can determine the truth in one’s words like the elves can too.”
Reisha replied confidently, but Isaac smiled bitterly as he grabbed for another cigarette.
“That may be so if I didn’t kill the Three-eyed. But when we thought Mazelan sunbae was dead, you were prepared to hide me in the Directorate of Surveillance. But Mazelan sunbae is fine. How will the situation unfold?”
“… A trap.”
Kunette mumbled. Isaac nodded in agreement.
“That’s right. It’s a trap. One we have no way of escaping. The reason they pissed me off and had me kill the Three-eyed wasn’t to trap me, but you, Kunette.”
Mazelan, who had remained silent in their conversation, frowned as the conversation kept hinting that Mazelan was better off dead instead. But as the conversation went on, a question came to his mind. Mazelan asked.
“But why are they aiming for Kunette?”
He asked, the full picture still obscured to him. Mazelan continued to look between Kunette and Isaac. Isaac glimpsed at Mazelan then asked Rizzly.
“He doesn’t know either?”
“… No. I mean, this was a top secret only the highest ranking members knew of.”
“Ha. I guess you need to rise higher.”
Isaac clicked his tongue in pity. Agitated, Mazelan shouted back.
“Then tell me what is going on! I can’t follow what you guys are saying!”
“It’s nothing. Turns out Kunette was the Director of Surveillance.”
Mazelan, still in question, asked back. But Isaac seemed dead set on not explaining twice, instead passing the role to Rizzly with a single look. With a sigh, Rizzly took Mazelan to the corner of the room and whispered. Soon enough, Mazelan screamed.
Mazelan quickly glanced at Kunette, who was still in Rivelia’s arms, and then dragged Rizzly over, whispering his awe into Rizzly’s ears. They continued to take glimpses at Kunette and whisper, which annoyed Kunette. She bared her fangs and growled. Isaac was watching this absentmindedly, still preoccupied with his next action.
He decided to make the big decision, only to turn out it was someone else’s scheme. He was baited in before he even started.
“Why is the Queen going after the Director of Surveillance?”