Chapter 10: These Orphans Need a Director
Eventually, Ivan raised his hand first.
This gesture signaled his cautious approach to revealing information. His primary concern was rescuing Priscilla, who was being held hostage. It wasn’t merely about Priscilla’s life; Ivan lacked the confidence to defeat Enrique.
“…I heard you’re nurturing a disciple.”
Enrique smirked deeply and tilted her head.
Ivan briefly tightened his grip on the axe handle, then relaxed.
That expression—when a monster’s in a bad mood.
“And now, you’re planning to enroll her at St. Jan’s Academy.”
“‘Someone’ was worried. If by any chance there’s an injury, it could be a great loss for the nation.”
Ivan implied several things:
– Elizaveta is concerned about your disciple and urged me to protect her.
– That’s what I’ve been doing lately. You know? Elizabeth’s nature.
– But if you don’t get this… Can I think you’re on Aleksandr’s side?
But to Enrique, Ivan’s words might sound like this:
– I’ve already identified your disciple’s identity, location, and personal details.
– I received a handsome sum.
– If there’s an injury… it’ll be regrettable, isn’t it? So please behave well.
Daring to threaten your own master!!
Who gave the orders? Alexander? Is that scoundrel trying to ditch me in the end?
No, this scoundrel as well!!
If I were tasked to kill him, I would have refused or at least given a heads up!
But this scoundrel threatened me using my disciple without any hesitation.
What kind of ungrateful wolf have I raised?
I mean, if the surviving disciples from the last war are only people like him, what on earth…
Enrique nodded, wearing a smiling face.
“Glad to hear that. See? It’s not as big a deal as you think.”
“Hmm… Not a big deal, you say?”
Short answers exchanged in a chilling atmosphere.
Nevertheless, Ivan felt somewhat relieved. Despite Enrique seeming a bit off, she seemed to comprehend the current situation well.
Well, then… it’s resolved now, isn’t it?
Having warned to this extent, even if the ‘tutorial’ proceeds, Enrique’s disciple won’t fall into significant danger. Enrique will protect her.
Priscilla’s kidnapping had been a surprise, but Ivan had gained more than he bargained for.
Now, only three of the ‘protagonists’ remained for the tutorial, and the one with the shortest time left had another two weeks….
“Lucia!! Lucia! Come in!!”
With a bright voice, someone opened and entered the reception room.
She was a late-teen woman with shiny dark brown hair.
Enrique looked at Ivan, as if testing, then smiled.
“Come, greet. He’s your senior brother.”
“I’ve heard a lot about you, Senior Petrovich! Master always said to follow your path.”
No, don’t praise him. This brat’s cheeky.
Enrique grinned forcibly, pressing his lips together.
“Yes? Yes. Of course…?”
“Of course…? Do you know your master’s race?”
“My master is human!”
Lucia spoke confidently, chest puffed out.
“Although Master lives with a slightly unique diet, she cherishes me and protects this country, a true hero! If you ask what race is, I’d say ‘humanity’, Senior Petrovich!”
Ivan was unknowingly impressed.
After the war with demons, the United Kingdom held an extremely hostile stance towards ‘otherkin’ and ‘ainkin’ races.
It’s natural. Most citizens walking the streets here have lost immediate relatives to demons. (Elves are excluded. Despite being part of the United Kingdom, they are shunned due to their detestable nature.)
Amidst this, open-mindedness that doesn’t base ‘species’ on the race itself was a mindset seen on 21st-century Earth, not this damned Otherworld!
(TN: You see, we’re actually the same human species. There’s nothing called ‘race’ in biology. Modern science regards race as a social construct, an identity which is assigned based on rules made by society. [https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Race_(human_categorization)])
Enrique, hearing this fresh response (extremely ‘progressive’ by this world’s standards), had a more relaxed expression.
“Well, see. I’ve taught everything. It might take time to acquire, but the learning part is done. If there’s a hero party in the next era, this girl will be suitable.”
Certainly, that’s how it’ll be. Being able to roam under the sun, she’ll fit better in a hero party.
Moreover, that statement: ‘I’ve taught everything, but acquisition will take time,’ was giving Ivan some assurance.
‘Is she talking about a skill tree?’
In typical games, characters acquire skills automatically along with leveling up.
Quite weird, isn’t it? Suddenly something pops into your head while on an adventure or doing something.
But this game seemed to be like that.
‘Though learned, lacks experience and mastery’ is the right term to describe this girl.
“A proud disciple. Better than me, better than ‘us’. She’s precious to me in my later years, so Ivan… I’ll not let you harm her.”
Ivan trembled and placed his hand on the axe handle again.
Enrique alone is challenging, but in a 2 vs. 1 situation including his disciple, and with a prisoner inside Enrique’s dungeon, how could he be sure of victory?
Ivan cautiously looked at her hand.
“I’ll ask using our memories as collateral. Stay away from this (assassin’s) world. This is my territory.”
Enrique spoke with genuine earnestness.
Running an assassination organization in this city only requires myself. Don’t earn money through dirty means in the city’s alleys. Wasn’t that why you retired?
Alexander is an unbelievable guy. Better align with Elizaveta’s principles if dipping into politics.
Expressing that with great urgency.
“Ah, so it’s come to this.”
Ivan stood up, gripping the axe handle firmly.
Did Enrique, in the end, side with Alexander?
Dealing with members of a hero party was undoubtedly overtime, but it was an unavoidable task.
“What did Alexander offer in return? People? Blood? Land?”
“If you’re still in a pact with the Krasilov royal family, then I’ll also use our memories as collateral. Where do your loyalties lie?”
After staring at Ivan’s eyes for a while, Enrique, sweating coldly, opened his mouth.
“You… you joined hands with Alexander, right?”
“What are you talking about? I’ve never met that guy with a smiling face.”
A brief silence fell.
“So, um… you gathered orphans and taught them assassination techniques?”
“Our orphanage follows a regular educational curriculum.”
“Then what about her, she was trained in the art of ambush!”
“That was the effort of the students. They trained hard in various aspects to find employment after graduation.”
“Wasn’t it you who taught them?”
Silence fell again for a moment.
So, it was just a teen-year-old orphan kid who was walking around?
And we just kidnapped her without reason, made him angry, and as a result, threatened me?
Wait a minute.
“Why do you mention my disciple? Why does her name suddenly come from your mouth?”
“Elizaveta asked me to escort you under cover of darkness because there are a lot of ‘Hero Party’ kids in this year’s freshman class. Did you not hear?”
“No! That brat! Why would she ask you? I’m alive and well! She’s treating me like I’m trash!”
Enrique shouted, and then collapsed onto the couch.
“This is seriously driving me nuts. It’s always like this when I talk to you. Why is fate so fair? It would’ve been nice if you had some tact. That’s the only thing lacking from you.”
“That’s not true!”
Where did the pre-modern ghost come up with this nonsense to someone who graduated from a 21st-century essay education?
As Inner Kim Sunwoo erupted with anger, then was subdued by Ivan, falling silent again.
“Hey, see? This is your senior brother really is. When a person spits out words like scraps, conversation doesn’t align. Truly.”
Lucia, who suddenly overstated and then immediately faded in the reception room’s atmosphere, looked bewildered.
“You two really get along well!”
“What are you saying!”
With a laugh, Lucia cautiously closed the door and hurried out.
After a brief silence, Enrique, holding a cup of tea, spoke.
“Shall I bring another tea?”
It had cooled down, but it still tasted good. Ivan, originally from a country where they drank iced espresso, didn’t mind the temperature of the coffee.
The meeting with a prospective parent of a student at St. Jan’s Academy was a success.
Frighteningly, Priscilla rushed in and hugged tightly.
Ivan cautiously gestured and patted her shoulder before gently pulling away.
“Don’t seek employment in deserted places in the future.”
“Yes, yes! It was really, really scary!!”
“It’s okay now. Don’t worry.”
He took out a handkerchief from his embrace and wiped Priscilla’s cheek before moving on.
From the reception room, past Enrique’s dungeon, through the underground passage, back to the surface.
Exiting the alley and walking straight down the street.
After a long walk without any conversation, the footsteps suddenly stopped.
“Um, just curious, really just curious.”
Under the glimmering lamppost, Priscilla gripped her skirt and spoke.
“Will you… really leave?”
After preparations are made and the new semester at St. Jan’s Academy officially begins, he inevitably had to leave the orphanage.
As a new ‘guardian’ to protect the hero party’s children.
About three years. It wasn’t a long time for him.
But not for the orphans.
For those who had lived their entire lives as war orphans, this newly found sanctuary couldn’t be lost.
It’s a barely created family, a hard-earned sleeping place, and ‘our home’.
The viewpoint of the orphans, who had always been abandoned, was merely two short years, but this orphanage was their last stronghold where they didn’t want to be cast away anymore.
Priscilla, with a voice mixed with tears, stumbled over her words.
“Please don’t go. Sir, *sob*. If you disappear, we’ll be… *sob*…”
Ivan took off his coat and wrapped it around Priscilla’s shoulders.
He fell silent for a moment.
He couldn’t recall comforting a child, not even a young ‘girl’! Even delving into old Kim Sunwoo’s memories was the same. Kim Sunwoo was a monster who spent his days writing 5,700-character hate comments while reading webtoons and web novels.
After that, it goes without saying. Having dedicated over half of his life to military service, Ivan couldn’t easily recall how to speak to someone in a manner other than with an axe or a bullet.
“Don’t worry. I’ll visit often.”
“Where… where are you going?”
This much should be fine to say. She’s almost like my ‘child,’ and it’s not particularly classified information.
Ivan replied, stuttering in Priscilla’s tears.
“Saint Jan’s Academy.”
“You’ll definitely come back, right?”
“Not anything soon, nor leaving for life.”
The efforts and attachment invested in the orphanage. The orphanage was nothing less than a home to him. The director’s office was his only sanctuary in his heart.
He made a firm determination, tapped Priscilla’s shoulder a couple of times, and turned away.
“Saint Jan’s Academy. I’ve heard the entrance exam is difficult… It’s in November next year…”
Currently, every inhabitant is deeply engrossed in preparing for the entrance exams to Saint Jan’s Academy!
(TN: What a bucket mouth)