Chapter 37: Above the guy who runs, there is the guy who flies (4)

‘Indeed, the Empire is the Empire, isn’t it?’

The sight before me naturally led to such thoughts.

Lately, feeling underestimated by the Black Fangs had become frequent. Yet, undoubtedly, they were not a group to be dismissed lightly.

The atmosphere at the mana train station was tense.

The reason was incredibly simple.

It was the checkpoint.

‘They really are thorough to a vicious extent.’

A group like the Black Fangs wouldn’t normally use a mana train when visiting the black market.

Because entry records are kept.

A secret organization wouldn’t act so carelessly.

So, naturally, I thought this would be off the suspect list.

But it seemed the Empire didn’t want to overlook even the slightest possibility.

‘This is troublesome…’

That thought was inevitable.

Those paranoid fools were stabbing in the dark, but, coincidentally, they hit the jackpot.

At times like this, I think I shouldn’t take the train.

‘But not taking it would look even more suspicious.’

The boarding records of the mana train.

There, certainly, were records of Miss Rubia and us arriving here.

But not taking the train back?

That’s practically inviting suspicion.

Of course, at first, one might think it was a casualty. Seeing we didn’t take the train back, one might assume we perished at the black market.

But it would be impossible not to attract attention with someone of Miss Rubia’s noble status.

Eventually, the fact that we survived would come to light.

Then Miss Rubia might suddenly be mistaken for a member of the Black Fangs.

So, deciding to take the train was definitely the right choice.

It was just bad luck.


‘Well, I had somewhat anticipated this.’

It was to be expected.

I’m not a fool. I wouldn’t have impersonated the Black Fangs without any plan.

Of course, I had prepared a plan for such a situation.

I quickly surveyed my surroundings and assessed the situation.

“My child has been hurt!”

“You cannot leave until the inspection is complete.”

Just then, the sound of an argument reached my ears. A noble couple with a child injured during a terror incident was clashing with a man who seemed to be in charge of the station.

It appeared urgent that they board the train quickly and head to the temple before the child’s wounds worsened.

A smile naturally formed on my lips.

Was it divine intervention, or just incredibly timely luck that such a situation had arisen?

I quickly stepped between the arguing pair.

“Excuse me… how long will the inspection take?”

I asked as politely and respectfully as possible.

The man responded in his typically blunt manner, giving a typical bureaucratic reply.

A response designed to avoid responsibility.

Something like it’s uncertain when it will end, or that no one can leave for any reason until the procedure is completed.

Statements about adhering to principles.

“I’m really sorry, but… my younger sibling is also very ill.”

I said, pointing to Siel.

There was no need to instruct Siel to act.

After all, she really was ill.

Her stoic nature was a problem at times like these.

She seemed fine, so I thought she was okay, but it turned out she had been overexerting herself.

When she suddenly collapsed while walking, it truly frightened me.

Especially since she had exerted more energy than even during our last time at the mines, making her condition more serious than before.

‘Well, fortunately, I’ve equipped her with three useful stamina-enhancing artifacts. She should be fine as long as she rests.’

To anyone looking, Siel appeared no different from a walking corpse.

“But still, it’s not possible. We have to follow the rules.”

The stubborn response came back.

These people really were tough. At this point, you’d think they might just let it slide.

Don’t they feel any sympathy seeing her like this?

But... it didn’t really matter.

“You’re doing this inspection because you think the Black Fangs might be sneaking in, right?”

I asked again.

A lady nearby, seemingly developing a sense of solidarity, burst out.

“Does that even make sense? As if terrorists would calmly board trains! Are you trying to kill our child because of this?”

While I hadn’t stepped forward like the lady, there were many others in similar positions.

And with all the self-preserving nobles around, the public sentiment quickly turned hostile.

Murmurs grew louder here and there, and the atmosphere became increasingly serious.

It seemed that just a little more provocation might spark a riot.

Instinctively, I knew.

This was the optimal moment to speak up.

“If things continue this way, my sibling might actually die… Could you let us go if I make a mana oath?”

My words made the man who seemed to be in charge slightly panic. It was a natural reaction.

A mana oath isn’t something to be taken lightly.

Every living being has a trace of mana in them, a vital element for life.

To break such an oath would be akin to death.

It was essentially a life-risking pledge.

Having mentioned such a thing, my statement couldn’t help but carry weight.

“I’m not from the Black Fangs. I swear on mana, this is no lie…”

I said this with a choked voice.

Mentioning a mana oath felt a bit daunting, but it probably didn’t matter much.

Because this isn’t a lie.

Me, a member of the Black Fangs?

There’s nothing more absurd in the world.

What connection could someone like me possibly have with such a monstrous group?

“Our group has nothing to do with such an organization. So please… just let us go.”

Anyone could see the desperation on my face, fearing for my sibling’s life. Adding a mana oath to that plea.

I instinctively knew.

I had completely taken control of the situation.

Tears welling in my eyes, I looked at the uniformed officer in charge.

The man finally sighed deeply and ordered that our group be let go.

It was, in a way, expected.

There’s no check more definitive than a mana oath, and if he hadn’t accepted it, public opinion would have turned utterly against him.

Moreover, it wasn’t a bad decision on his part.

It’s reluctant to force a mana oath on someone, but it’s also one of the most concrete methods of verification.

My initiating the suggestion probably paved the way for him to propose mana oaths to others as well.

Sure enough, as soon as our group was cleared, I heard the staff instructing the lined-up people to make their mana oaths in turn.

Perhaps they were inwardly pleased.

In a situation where they could have been vilified by detaining dozens of angry people, I had offered a simple solution.

Many are hesitant about making a mana oath.

But crowd psychology is a powerful thing.

It’s awkward to refuse when everyone else is complying. Not doing so might make one suspiciously seem like a culprit.

I suspect everyone will end up making a mana oath before long.

A happy ending for the passengers, the staff, and me.

A smile naturally formed on my lips.

The plan had worked out perfectly, just as if drawn in a picture.

Has my luck really turned lately?

It seems like everything I do turns out successful.

Picking up dozens of fateful encounters in a casual visit to the black market.

Even acquiring a holy sword.

It felt as though the world was on my side.

‘Maybe I should try a bit more of this and that now that it’s come to this.’

That thought naturally occurred to me.

Especially since this inspection was starting to make the Empire look even more unappealing.

If I hadn’t come up with a plan this time, it really could have caused a major problem.

I’ve been disliking their actions since the previous incidents. This time, they almost directly caused me harm.

Because of their despicable acts, I’m considering strengthening my support for the Black Fangs.

Let’s make our agitation more international.

Not just stopping with this one incident, but using the footage to subtly manipulate public opinion.

‘The real leader of the Black Fangs should probably come and bow down to me at this rate.’

Initially, I was the one impersonating and exploiting them. But now, they at least owe me a thank you.

Where else in the world would you find such generous support?

‘At this point, I’m practically an honorary member of the Black Fangs.’

With such silly thoughts, I walked towards the train. That’s when I noticed Miss Rubia’s bizarre reaction.

“You, you… how… how could you…”

Her speech was stammering, as if something was broken inside her..

Her mouth agape with a look of astonishment.

What an expressive reaction.

It’s as if she’s seeing a foreigner react to spicy chicken stir-fried noodles for the first time.

‘It was just a bit of acting. Is it really something to be amazed about?’

It was a decent attempt at method acting.

But still, that reaction seemed a bit much.

The more I see her, the more I realize she has a quirky nature.

Honestly, Miss Rubia’s thoughts are truly beyond understanding sometimes.

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