Read at Watashi wa Sugoi Desu!
Chapter 8: Status in the Underworld
Danis had returned to his stronghold, a base hidden in the underbelly of society, and had wanted to take a break. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out as he’d wanted.
There was a small group of people gathered in a large room. Each of them had their own areas of responsibility, and many of them were probably questioning the instructions he’d previously given them to prepare to escape at any time. Danis entered the room and sat down on one of the sofas in the back. He took out a cigarette and one of the men, a sunglasses-wearing man named Bourne, lit it.
He took a deep puff once and then blew out smoke, before looking around.
“So, how’s it going?”
The men around him, who were clearly not your typical upright citizens of society, nodded with dubious expressions as they sat and waited.
“As you’d instructed, we’re working to remove any traces leading back to us, but we won’t be satisfied until you explain the reason for this.”
One of the men spoke up, and the rest seemed to agree with his sentiments. They quietly waited for Danis’s reply.
“You know what’s going on out there, don’t you?”
Everyone around him nodded.
Danis continued only after confirming that everyone realized how unusual it was for the soldiers to be moving around that much.
“I had Tim look into it, but it seems that the king fell ill. There’s something fishy going on… “
“Does that mean that someone poisoned the king or tried to assassinate him?”
One of the men threw a look at Danis and the corners of Danis’s mouth lifted slightly, indicating that his guess was likely on the mark.
“That’s not a bad guess. It’s just a theory, but I think assassinated is the correct answer. If the upper echelons of the country’s aristocracy were to catch a trace of us …it would be bad for us. There is also no clear correlation between his illness and the current movements of his soldiers. We’ll confirm it when the corpse of someone they silenced is brought to light in a few days.”
“So, why do you want us to be able to quickly escape at any time?”
The men around Danis all gaped at his hypothesis. If his words were correct, then the king was already dead. But there still seemed to be no clear connection between that fact and the need to prepare to flee.
Danis quietly chuckled.
“It seems that there is someone who wants to run this country as they please, but they’ve forgotten that we exist. If they think it’s so easy to take control, then how about we go break their face?”
Everyone was briefly silenced by Danis’s words. The underworld had its own rules that it followed, and each of the men present there had the pride born from living in it. For the people on this side, being trampled underfoot by someone was the same as being humiliated.
Then immediately, everyone started laughing and slapping each other’s backs, as if to spur each other on.
“I’ve been waiting to hear you say that! Everyone here is your follower because of who you are. I have no complaints! Hey, everyone!?”
It was followed by a deep chorus of approval from the men.
“I’ll be counting on you for the time being. Find out who’s likely to be silenced first. There is a possibility that they’re already dead, but we would still get a better grasp on the possibilities of leaving the city under the current situation.”
“Yes, we’ll send people to the hideouts and the safehouses.”
“The other members should also be cautious. There’s no need to push. Always try to shake them off your trail.”
The men responded, “Yes!” and then left the room individually. When they were all gone, Danis sighed and smoked his cigarette again as he leaned back on the couch.
Bourne, who had been standing beside him during their discussion, had also left to prepare.
“So, what’s the real story? The boy looks like a trump card to me.”
Suddenly, Tim appeared from the shadows, right behind the sofa where Danis was sitting. He looked into Danis’s face.
Danis was startled for a moment and almost dropped the cigarette in his mouth. He deftly caught it with his hand.
“…What the hell is wrong with you? …When did you notice?”
Danis sighed in exasperation when he realized Tim had intentionally startled him. Tim smiled back mockingly, though without any ill intent.
“Well …when you randomly took in such a kid who seemed like they wouldn’t be able to hurt a fly.”
Tim had only recognized Alan after he had left the warehouse, which meant he’d realized from the beginning. Tim was a young man with a talent for blending in and listening; as such, he was responsible for reconnaissance and espionage.
He was also smart enough to scrutinize things from the slightest hints of discomfort in a person. He must have inferred the truth from Danis’s unusual behavior.
“Why don’t you use it?”
“You have to wait until the last minute to play your trump card.”
Tim looked unconvinced as he said, “Oh…” He looked curious, and he seemed to be closely studying Danis’ reactions.
“Then, Danis, this is more unlike you, isn’t it? Usually, you’d make it so that they can’t ever escape or make them forget about even escaping, right?”
“I don’t know if I’d be willing to do that to a kid.”
Danis replied dourly. This seemed to have surprised Tim, who then looked somewhat dismayed.
“Well, then I just did something pitiful… I prepared him for you.”
Tim’s astonishing words caused Danis to retort in a low growl. He turned his gaze to Tim and saw that he was laughing ruefully.
It seemed that this idiot had done something unnecessary.
“Was it unnecessary then…?”
Danis released the safety catch of his gun with an ominous click and raised the muzzle just shy of Tim’s forehead.
“The next time you do something like this, I’m going to blow your head off. Got it?”
Danis had an irate expression as he looked at Tim. His brows were furrowed, his gaze was cold, and he spoke calmly with a low tone.
Tim was rendered speechless at Danis’s reaction; he felt fear build in the pit of his stomach.
“I’m sorry. I won’t do it again.”
“If you understand, then you’d better get back to work.”
Tim ran out of the room as if he was completely terrified. After watching Tim leave in a hurry, Danis sighed heavily and stubbed out his cigarette in an ashtray.