Isaac left the Communicator room and buried his body into his sofa as per usual. He then called out to Rizzly.
“I’ll be heading to the College in a few days.”
Those words seemed to have drained all of Rizzly’s strength from his hands, as the glass he was washing fell onto the floor.
“Wh, why the College?”
Isaac cocked his head, observing Rizzly’s petrified expression.
“… I’ll stay and guard New Port City with all my might until your return, Sir Isaac.”
“No. I need instructors. Pick around ten or so, including yourself.”
“T, then I’ll provide you with the best instructors!”
The desperation in Rizzly was so great that it was akin to a man pleading with loan sharks. Out of curiosity, Isaac asked Rizzly why he was acting in such a way.
“Why are you so dramatic? Is there a reason why you shouldn’t come to College?”
Rizzly hesitated, and it was at this moment Rivelia came up to the rooftop with a thick bundle of documents. While the two pairs of eyes were on her, Rivelia walked up to the table next to Isaac and dropped the documents onto the table with a slam, her foul mood in full blast.
“What is this?”
“These are the resumes of those who’ve applied for the Directorate of Security.”
“Hm. It’s more than I thought?”
Isaac mumbled to himself as he shuffled through the documents. Considering that each resume took up both sides of the paper, there were at least a hundred volunteers.
“There are 120 volunteers, to be precise. 40 of them are active agents while 80 are recruits who will be graduating from the College.”
“How many of them are non-humans?”
“None? Not a single one?”
Rivelia responded to Isaac’s surprise with a hint of bitter smile.
“Only humans would be tempted by the offers of the Directorate of Security.”
“True, fine. You can go.”
Isaac gave a slack nod while keeping his eyes onto the documents. Rivelia’s brows squirmed.
“As a word of advice, I recommend you recruit active agents as a core and fill up the remainder with the recent graduates of College. We can reduce the time required to train them, and advice from the experienced agents will accelerate their transformation into elites.”
Isaac, who was looking through the documents in the midst of Rivelia’s advice, put the documents down with an audible ‘tap!’ and handed them over to Rivelia with an answer.
“They all pass.”
“What bullshit is this?”
Rizzly’s eyes widened at Rivelia, never expecting to hear such language from her. Meanwhile, Isaac faced Rivelia’s cold glare with an entertained look on his face.
“Didn’t you hear me? Tell all the applicants they’ve passed and that they should prepare themselves for training in College.”
“Haven’t you heard the message? Central will only allow up to 50 people.”
Listening to Rivelia, Isaac clicked his tongue with great annoyance and looked at her with even greater disappointment.
“Do you think the training I’ll make them go through will be that easy? You really think there won’t be a single person dropping out?”
“Don’t underestimate the agents of Central. They are the elites of elites who’ve gone through rigorous training. Which is why I’m advising you about the makeup of the Directorate of Security.”
“Shall we make a bet as to how many will drop out?”
The urge to shout out ‘Bring it!’ was barely held back by Rivelia’s instincts, which reminded her of all the suffering she’d gone through.
“What, are you not confident? Worried that those agents you are so proud of will give up? But you said that’s impossible? Or are those words just for show, and deep inside you admit to what I say? Is it?”
This was a trap. Both her gut and her brain were sounding alarm bells. But Isaac’s comment pushed Rivelia over the edge, and she accepted Isaac’s bet.
“Shit! Bring it!”
Isaac snickered at Rivelia’s outcry while Rizzly cupped his ears. He heard nothing.
“It’s been a while.”
Isaac greeted Duke Corduroy in front of him with a cheeky smile.
When Isaac declared that he was going for another round of vacations, Cordnell clung onto Isaac, demanding answers. But when he heard Rivelia was going with him this time, Cordnell muttered to himself that he may as well run the city instead out of despair. Isaac heard Cordnell’s words and happily agreed to transfer all authority to Cordnell. Cordnell stood soullessly, left behind with a document detailing the transfer of authority stamped with both Isaac and Rivelia’s seals. Isaac also dragged Rizzly along for the trip to Campus that he didn’t wish to attend and finally met up with Duke Corduroy.
“As I suspected, you weren’t just a brat.”
“So you knew all along?”
“It isn’t often you see someone with dead eyes.”
Isaac shrugged at Duke Corduroy’s answer. After a momentary glance, Corduroy continued to speak to Isaac.
“The College has always been tasked with training Central’s agents.”
“So you’re saying there will be people who won’t be pleased with my interference.”
“The training ground is shared by everyone. I can provide you with instructors if you wish.”
“… Really? It will be difficult to manage that many people by yourself.”
Isaac pointed at Rivelia in response to Corduroy’s comment.
“This damsel here will be taking care of all that small stuff. Just promise me one thing. That no one will interfere with my training.”
“I’m the type who’ll throw everything away out of spite if someone interferes.”
Corduroy stared deeply at Isaac for a moment and nodded
“Alright. I will give word to my instructors. I have prepared your lodgings. Have some rest.”
Isaac turned away without a single word of farewell, leaving the room in silence. Rivelia, on the other hand, stiffly saluted Corduroy before following Isaac out the room.
Corduroy looked at the door the two left through silently. He leaned back onto his chair and spoke out as if he was sighing.
As Corduroy finished mumbling, the middle-aged Dark Royale agent revealed himself from behind Corduroy’s chair.
“What do you think?”
“I believe you people have woken up the monster, just as the Director of Surveillance said. A monster backed by the Queen.”
“The Director of Surveillance is on the side of the Queen.”
“Founding a new Directorate was a move I would have never anticipated.”
“It’s a scheme to weaken the influence of Dark Royale.”
“I sincerely hope that is all but… do you think the Dark Royale can handle this?”
“The Dark Royale has embedded an agent separate from the Directorate of Strategy, and I’m confident all of the other Directorates have placed their spies too.”
“Don’t forget. We may be cooperating for now due to circumstances, but I am on the side of maintaining the status quo. My belief that this world will turn into a battlefield between humans and other races the moment our common enemy disappears remain the same.”
“… I’ll remember it.”
The middle-aged man disappeared back into the shadow, and Corduroy let out a brief moan. He was curious as to what Isaac would say with his sarcastic personality once he learned of the situation.
“Is it already over? That was quick.”
“W, what is this…”
Rivelia couldn’t fathom at the baffling situation that was in front of her. She assumed they wouldn’t be received well here. She too would have been the same if she was on the other side.
When she saw the lodging provided for them, it confirmed her suspicions.
A small temporary lodging in the middle of the forest, far away from the College. A mobile building that was a storage space, barracks, and a dining area that was used for field training. And topped off with a tiny yard. It was a place to simply rest for a brief moment, without the slightest consideration for quality of life.
Rivelia sighed, remembering the uncomfortable life she’d gone through during her training days, but these buildings had changed completely when they returned from meeting with Duke Corduroy.
The North Bears who had followed Isaac dismantled those temporary buildings and constructed a giant tent instead. Rivelia followed Isaac into the tent, only to be baffled even more. Inside was a sofa, a bed, a kitchen and even a bar. A complete set.
“W, when did you prepare this?”
“I’m well aware that I have a lot of enemies outside who are just dying to one-up me. Even if I didn’t, I still had no thoughts in using College’s facilities. This here is much more comfortable.”
It was true. The tent was installed with all the convenience appliances such as air purification.
“Don’t worry. There’s a tent for the Vice Director too.”
“But how could you remodel a training facility without approval?”
“You can stay in that pathetic ‘lodging’ if you don’t like it.”
Rivelia could only angrily quiver over Isaac’s irresponsible comment, Isaac having already dismantled the buildings. Isaac, on the other hand, remained undisturbed by Rivelia and jumped onto the sofa that was airlifted from New Port City.
“Where is Rizzly, by the way?”
Isaac asked, and all of the North Bears flinched. Isaac was curious as to why they reacted that way, when Rizzly walked into the tent. Rizzly limped over into the tent with a hunched back. Curious, Isaac asked.
“Are you sick?”
“Ahaha. I tripped on the way here.”
There was no way a North Bear, who boasted their sturdy bodies, would struggle like this after a fall. Isaac glossed over the issue and ordered Rizzly.
“Get me a drink. This here will be the training headquarters from now on.”
Just when Rivelia was about to scold Isaac for making Rizzly do errands despite his injury, the cloth hung at the entrance as the tent’s door swung wide open and Reisha entered.
“Yaho! Sunbaenim, I’m here!”
“… Ah. I forgot.”
Isaac greeted Reisha with a look of great annoyance. He completely forgot about her because he hadn’t seen her around for some time. It seemed she was here in College all this time.
“Why are you still here?”
“Wow! Isn’t that a harsh way to treat your cute, pretty, and lovely hubae who came to see you?”
Reisha nagged and clung onto Isaac, seemingly disappointed by Isaac’s lackluster reaction.
“What is going on?”
“Che! You’re not even going to say hi?”
Reisha quickly turned her face away with puffed cheeks and folded her arms to show how mad she was, but Isaac simply sipped at the drink Rizzly gave to him and asked.
“So, why are you here?”
“Yep! I’ve been sent from the Directorate of Surveillance to watch you.”
Everyone dropped their jaws hearing Reisha’s outrageous claim. Although it was an open secret, to think she would say it out in the open to the recipient.
Isaac nodded at Reisha.
“Good. you pass. You will be the Director’s assistant.”
“Wow! Thank you! I’ll work hard!”
“Wait! Are you sure you can make appointments so easily?”
Rivelia commented on Isaac’s decision, but Isaac responded with an odd look on his face.
“What’s the difference between having one and two?”
“But there’s one more other than me?”
Reisha pointed at the tent’s entrance, and there stood a small white furball that was peaking into the tent cautiously.
“What are you doing over there?”
When Isaac’s eyes met with hers, Kunette quickly hid behind the tent wall for a moment, but stepped into the tent reluctantly after hearing Isaac.
Stepping into the tent like a toddler, Kunette approached Isaac with her face hung and her hands behind her back. She hesitated to speak to Isaac, kicking the poor ground instead. It was a sight that’d bring out a warm smile on anyone, but Isaac looked down on Kunette detachedly.
“Did you do something wrong?”
“… Isaac, are you angry?”
“Why would I be?”
“…I couldn’t protect Isaac.”
Kunette answered while playing with her fingers, glimpsing at Isaac occasionally to check his mood. Rivelia quelled her urge to run over at the adorable sight and hug Kunette with all her might by turning her face away instead.
“Did I ever ask to be protected?”
Kunette shook her head at Isaac’s question.
“Then do you want to protect me?”
This time a confident nod.
“Then protect me from now on.”
“Uhuh! I will protect Isaac. I’m on Isaac’s side!”
“Come over here.”
Kunette shouted out with clenched fists as if making an oath, and Isaac called Kunette over as he would a pet by tapping on his knee. Kunette shuffled over toward Isaac, struggling to get on Isaac’s lap.
Witnesses to this sight, the North Bears’ limbs shrank away in embarrassment. But they quickly regained their composure when Kunette sent them a cold glare off to the side. . The North Bears quickly turned their backs with a flinch.
“Hiinh! You’re so mean! You only like Kunette!”
Jealous, Reisha sat next to Isaac and locked their arms together, burying her head into Isaac’s shoulder to compete for his affection.
‘I feel like I’m raising a dog and a cat.’
Isaac thought to himself and looked at Rivelia.
“W, what is it?”
‘I guess Rivelia would be a lioness?’
Thinking something that should never be spoken aloud, Isaac used his one free arm to grab a cigar.