◈ Episode 176: Zero order (1)
“I think he has changed a little since he left. John Doe.”
A feeling of coolness running down the spine sharpening the lungs.
It was a tension I hadn’t felt in a long time.
I slowly opened my mouth and answered.
“yes. I thought it needed a little change.”
Could it be that he was caught?
If it’s zero, there’s nothing strange about knowing the true face of John Doe.
“Well, that’s not too bad either. Before that, it was so ordinary that it was an impression that would be buried anywhere.”
‘I didn’t get caught.’
It was fortunate for me now that John Doe’s ability was to specialize in disguise.
But maybe this is what I’m trying to do.
‘Let’s stay calm.’
I closed my eyes and accelerated my thinking.
Is the man behind me really zero order?
Probably right. The voice of the man I saw in Esmeralda’s memories is similar.
It’s the same when you look at exactly what you said to me in the same situation now.
The next question that arises is why did the Zero Order come to Seorn?
‘And that without even notifying me, the First Order.’
I had heard that the Zero Order would come sometime, while talking with Esmeralda that day.
But is that now?
‘I could have at least announced that it was coming, but I didn’t.’
There are two possible situations.
One is that Zero Order came to Seorn to personally confirm something without informing other executives.
However, from a position that did not know what the incident was, it was impossible to draw conclusions hastily.
And another one.
‘Either they suspect that I’m fake.’
The situation of being suspicious and the zero order that came directly.
If I’ve been cornered like this, the only way I’ve been given is one last struggle.
‘But things are so bad.’
There is too little information about zero order.
What powers he has, what abilities he uses, and how strong he is.
What are your weaknesses, what kind of powers are you compatible with, and what are your habits when fighting?
There is not a single data.
It may be difficult even in a perfect situation, but what if you are running out of energy like now?
‘If I try to fight now, I might lose.’
The only way is to borrow the power of God.
It’s too risky.
There are too many people nearby. Among them are students.
If you use the power of a god, all the people gathered here will get caught up in it.
‘Then why aren’t you talking?’
But Zero Order didn’t bother me.
In that fleeting reprieve, I pointed out a possible possibility.
Could it be that yet, if Zero Order isn’t completely suspicious of me?
That suspicion became half-certain.
‘Should I turn around and check my face? no. If you suddenly look back, you can’t help but be suspicious.’
You must choose words that do not irritate the other person.
“sorry. Zero Order.”
I naturally opened my mouth while maintaining my straight forward gaze.
“Since the situation is the situation, I couldn’t properly say hello. Please understand.”
“Nothing. I came here on my own without contact, so there is no need to worry too much. John Doe.”
Arrived without any contact.
Does that mean that Zero Order had other business in Seorn?
Enough to keep it a secret from the First Order?
‘no. Nothing has been confirmed yet. I don’t even know if I’m still under suspicion or not.’
The Zero Order confirmed Quasimodo’s disappearance.
Were you watching? All the magic I wrote?
no. If you had been watching it, you wouldn’t have asked me what happened.
Perhaps there is some way to check Quasimodo’s aura, and he confirmed that it had disappeared.
If that’s the case, things fit.
Since you only know the result without knowing the before and after process, you must have tried to ask me who happened to be here.
If so, I run into a new problem here.
‘Should I tell you the truth? Or lies?’
Of course, even if it is true, it is not a 100% pure truth, but a partial truth with lies added.
A pure lie is easy to spot, but a lie mixed with the truth is more plausible than anything else.
I took a deep breath and spoke.
“First Order. Esmeralda, no, Quasimodo is gone.”
“Hoo. Did you know?”
“yes. I didn’t know until now, but I found out a little while ago. I never thought that the fire giant would be the main body. Zero Order… … .”
“okay. i knew Sorry for keeping it a secret from you guys. Because Quasimodo is a bit different from the rest of the First Order. He could not easily reveal his true identity.”
“Rather than that, why did Quasimodo disappear? He wasn’t the kind of guy to be beaten so easily.”
Quasimodo is a cryptid of flame with the power of the highest fire spirit.
A monster that uses human souls as its fuel and even acquires the characteristics of a spirit, so unless its contractor dies at the same time, it does not disappear and continues to resurrect.
Since a guy like that disappeared on the day of Ceorn’s festival, it would be questionable for the Zero Order.
I whipped up an answer on the fly.
“Esmeralda has become friends.”
The Zero Order knows about Quasimodo’s relationship with Esmeralda.
Since this man was the first to notice and recruited into the Black Dawn, there’s no way he wouldn’t know.
“That is strange. Esmeralda was clearly being forcibly manipulated by Quasimodo. With her power, she couldn’t even resist Quasimodo?”
At the same time, the gaze flies stronger and sticks to me.
“Unless someone helps.”
The suspicion of Zero Order towards me deepened.
This is also a situation within the assumption.
I came up with a prepared answer right away.
“Chrollo Febius. That’s what the man did.”
“Chrollo Febius? Is it really?”
Even Zero Order asked me if this was surprising.
I followed the explanation so as not to miss this opportunity.
“A while ago, there was an attack by Quasimodo at a banquet hall to celebrate new teachers.”
“okay. I know that because I heard the report.”
“At the time, Chloe Pevius was present at the banquet hall. And through the identity of Quasimodo, the man realized that there was someone who wanted to kill him.”
“I guess so. There’s no way the man who was the next head of the house didn’t know that the people of the Fabius family had died until now.”
“The problem is that at the banquet hall that day, Quasimodo couldn’t kill Crollo Febius.”
this is all true.
But here I mixed lies.
“Chrollo Febius, who barely survived, was troubled. Thinking that he might die if things go on like this, he made a plan.”
“Like a cornered mouse biting a cat?”
“yes. That’s right. However, Chrollo Febius did not inform Theorn about it. Maybe he thought it was hard to get help right there. He thought there might be a traitor inside.”
In fact, he would have thought similarly.
He must have thought there was an assassin among the teachers who came to kill him, so how could he trust Seorn?
“So he individually turned to outside forces for help. It was a final struggle that no one expected.”
I added a bit of exaggeration to keep Zero Order from losing interest.
Of course, while maintaining a calm tone.
“With a fair amount of external forces, you wouldn’t even be able to compete with Quasimodo, right?”
“Pebius was once the most famous magic family in Durmang Kingdom. The people he called were not ordinary guys, as if he had traded something while exiling to the Exilion Empire.”
“Weren’t they normal guys?”
“It looked like a well-trained elite. But they were also difficult to identify.”
I vaguely solved the information that ‘they were great’.
If I mention an exact organization here, and Zero Order already knows, all my alibi is twisted.
“A well-trained elite who moves in secret. Even more so if it has to do with the Exilion Empire… … Black ops.”
Zero Order came to its conclusions on its own.
To be so sure of the existence of Black Ops, which is difficult to even know unless you are a general.
‘Zero order. Was he reaching out to the military too?’
When you think about it, there is nothing strange about it.
John Doe, before I acquired the name of Ludgar Celish, said he was active in the military under this name.
Since he served as an actual military officer rather than simply a fabricated identity, there is no way the Zero Order would not know about it.
“So Chrollo Febius fought against Quasimodo, and Esmeralda took advantage of the weakening of Quasimodo’s power to free herself from her spell.”
And it is a story that Esmeralda, who got out of that spell, became friends with Quasimodo in order not to be dragged around like before.
“Then what happened to Chrollo Febius?”
“Chrollo Febius died fighting to the end.”
“You fought until the end? It’s surprising that that man had that level of spirit and ability.”
“Because human beings facing death always show unexpected possibilities. I watched the situation and tried to intervene, but it was too late.”
The runaway Quasimodo threw flames in all directions, and I was also caught in it and burned.
Then, there were people around them who had heard the news, so they escaped with only Selina saved.
“This is the whole story. I am here now in the name of saving Selina so as not to arouse any suspicion.”
“Hmm. Selina. Did Quasimodo and Esmeralda really disappear from her?”
“yes. I saw it with my own two eyes.”
Zero Order’s reaction was rather plain.
Was there something I forgot to say?
“What about that teacher named Selina?”
“… … What do you mean?”
“I know that Esmeralda and Selina are separate beings. But isn’t Selina still remembering Esmeralda and Quasimodo?”
In other words, this is what Zero Order means.
I don’t know if there’s something to catch the tail, so I’m going to remove it.
I said hastily.
“Once I checked, she didn’t seem to know why she was in that warehouse.”
“I do not know?”
“yes. I think it’s probably just a dream.”
“John Doe, that alone is not safe. If he had come to his senses in a burning warehouse like that, he would surely feel a sense of incongruity.”
That trivial possibility could have been the evil of the Black Dawn.
Certainly, Zero Order is right.
Because it took too many things to overlook Selina’s existence.
“Then, what will you do?”
I tried to stay calm and asked Zero Order.
It’s not right to leave here right now. First of all, you have to read the other person’s intentions.
No matter how much I thought about it, the only thing that came to my mind was that the Zero Order was telling me to kill Selina.
If the Zero Order asks me to kill Selina, I can’t resist.
To avoid arousing his suspicions, you must kill Miss Selina.
‘If the Zero Order gives the order to kill, then I… … .’
I clenched my fists.
I’d rather have him here… … .
“What happened? Let it be.”
The answer that Zero Order gave me was simple enough to put my worries to shame.
“If you ask me to leave… … .”
“Did you say Selina? she doesn’t need it anymore I’ve used enough of that power anyway, so it’s no longer worth worrying about.”
“Is that so.”
“okay. Did you really want to kill me? John Doe, I know you’re loyal, but sometimes that’s too much. Now is the time to back off.”
I wonder if what I asked to reconfirm was reflected in that way.
And we also confirmed the information that John Doe is deeply loyal and radical.
“… … I have no face.”
“In the current situation, touching Ceorn’s teacher is a matter that entails considerable risk. You are the only one to entrust the job, and then you cannot escape suspicion.”
“I don’t care.”
“There is nothing more stupid than investing time and energy in meaningless things. Even more so if it is pushing a subordinate to the brink.”
Do you have a tendency to care about subordinates unexpectedly?
Besides, speaking like that, it would be safe to say that Miss Selina’s well-being is definitely guaranteed.
‘I wonder if I turned off a fire in an emergency.’
But things aren’t over yet.
I held tight to the spirit of slacking off.
Because Zero Order asked me another question.
“So, are you doing well with what I asked you to do?”
what did you do?
I rolled my head. what did you do
Naturally, the first thing that comes to mind is the command that has been verified by decrypting the ciphertext.
Infiltrate Ceorn and buy their favor.
‘But is that really all?’
In fact, what if Zero Order personally took on other tasks?
Unlike the other First Orders, the First Order named John Doe performed special missions only for the Zero Order.
What if there is another special that I don’t know about?
“We are proceeding step by step.”
I had no choice but to blurt out an answer.
I didn’t quite do it. But I am doing it.
In such an ambiguous sense.
“That’s good. It wouldn’t have been easy to proceed while avoiding Ceorn’s suspicions.”
If you say it that way, does it pass?
“It’s about time. A troublesome person is coming. I don’t want to face you, so I have to go.”
It was rather fortunate for me.
If there were more, there would have been a hole in the top.
“John Doe. An order synod will be held soon. Now that Esmeralda has a vacancy, the other First Orders should know about it.”
If it’s an organization’s executives, do they gather among themselves?
‘I vaguely thought there would be such a thing, but I didn’t expect to hear it myself.’
But on the contrary, it was an opportunity for me.
Able to find out who the other First Orders are.
So, how can I go to that cadre meeting?
Could it be that there’s a meeting, so you’re telling me to come on your own?
‘This is dangerous. I don’t know where the meeting is held.’
Then Zero Order, who was about to leave, spoke.
“Do you have the thing I gave you back then? Because I can’t do it without it.”
He suddenly asked if he had anything.
Given the context and context of the conversation.
This was obviously the key to the cadre meeting.
“Zero Order. First of all, I’m going to say I’m sorry here.”
“As Zero Order knows, on the way to Seorn that day, I was caught in a train terror attack.”
“Train terrorism? ah. You mean that? The Liberation Army did it… … . It was something we didn’t expect.”
“yes. And because of that train terror, part of my luggage was lost. I have no face.”
Zero Order stared at me wordlessly.
The eyes flying into the back of my head sting.
I swallowed quietly.
To be honest, this is a sudden risk taking action.
But it was also an inevitable gamble.
“okay. If so, there is nothing you can do take it.”
After saying that, Zero Order put down a ring next to me.
I only rolled my eyes to check Zero Order’s hand.
I felt it in my voice, but I was sure when I saw my hands.
Unexpectedly, Zero Order is a young man.
However, surprisingly, the hands did not show signs of being trained. So are you a wizard? or something else?
“Then, see you at the meeting.”
Zero Order left those words and disappeared like the wind.
I looked at the ring next to me without saying a word, then took it and put it in my bosom.
The signs of Zero Order have completely gone.
‘I didn’t get caught.’
Only then could I breathe a sigh of relief.
I could never have thought that Zero Order would appear in Ceorn, even at this very moment.
He is a man that is never easy to see.
‘I mean he even noticed Quasimodo’s disappearance.’
I was really nervous that I might get caught.
Without saying a word, I took out a small red jewel from my bosom.
The energy of hot fire was wriggling inside the jewel.
‘I thought I’d get caught because I had this.’
Quasimodo’s fire energy.
It was something I got from that fight.