< White Witch (Part 1) >
As Charl downloaded all the data to be used as evidence, she took deep breaths. Whatever the truth turned out to be, Charl and Zin had to make some decisions. Charl told Zin everything to ask for assistance.
“You’re going to hunt the prototype, right?”
“Even though the devil was artificially created, I probably will.”
Zin and Charl did not talk about Leona anymore.
“Are you confident that you can hunt it?”
Clearly remembering her complete defeat, Charl couldn’t trust that Zin would be able to hunt the devil.
“Well… it’s been a while, so I don’t know. I’ll have to see.”
“I would like to help as well, but I need to return to Moscow. It’s more important for me to report this incident in order to take action against the Central Asia division. The Central Asia division will start moving as soon as they hear that the Busan fortress was breached.”
There was only one devil. Before the Central Asia division finished their battle preparations, the Wargrave headquarters needed to be ready as well. Charl had more important tasks than chasing the runaway prototype.
“Please hunt down the prototype.”
“I have to hunt the devil anyway, but why are you requesting me for it?”
“I need physical evidence. Data is sufficient, but… I would like to take down the witch as soon as possible. I do not want the Wargrave’s wrongdoings to freely wander around the world.”
“And the rewards for this request?”
Charl calmly replied to Zin.
“I’ll give you more than enough chips to build a fortress.”
“I can take that to mean over five hundred grand?”
“Probably more than that.”
“I know you’re among the higher ranks, but I’m not sure if you have that much power to pay up such an amount.”
Charl answered Zin’s question.
“…Charl is an alias I use for undercover missions. My real name is Charlotte De Kaltz. Devil hunter, do you know the meaning of my name?”
“Ah, I do. Of course I do...”
Zin laughed as he replied.
“Are you a descendant of the Kaltz?”
Zin hadn’t said that name in a while, and he felt weird saying it out loud. Charlotte was surprised again, thinking that Zin wouldn’t understand the origin of the name.
“… You surprise me yet again.”
“If the requestor is a candidate for the position of Wargrave commander, there’s no need for assurance.”
She probably took on dangerous undercover missions in order to earn merits. The position of the Wargrave commander was not one that could be earned through lineage.
The mission was set.
Zin was to hunt the prototype, and Charlotte was to head to the Wargrave headquarters in Moscow. Charlotte asked Zin one last thing.
“Are all devil hunters as old as you?”
“I see… is that so.”
“We’ve wasted too much time. I think the forces in the SMCP fortress will start heading south. They’ll probably be after you and the prototype. Shouldn’t you be running for dear life?”
At his words, Charlotte gained her senses. There wasn’t much time to waste talking. BMCP was destroyed, and the fortress of Seoul at North would be dispatching troops as soon as they detected an anomaly. They would be going after the undercover Charl and the prototype.
“Okay, until next time then. I hope to see you at Moscow!”
She was wishing for Zin’s safety as well as hers. Charlotte dashed out of the empty fortress, and Zin prepared to leave as well.
A clear fact hammered through Zin’s thoughts.
A devil has returned.
Zin grew alert, his senses tingling. He felt alive and his heart started throbbing.
“Where was the… power room…”
Zin wandered around the bunkers to collect the blue chips used to run the fortress.
Zin lived as a scavenger as much as he lived as a hunter.
The survivor is the winner.
The fact that I’m alive is more than enough.
I can endure anything as long as I can survive. There are many more horrible and scary things happening in this world. This is nothing.
There is nothing more precious than living.
Even though you can’t expect to live to see the sun and the moon every day, consider yourself lucky.
When asked why she didn’t leave the father even throughout his abuse, the girl’s mom answered: She never fought back against the wrongdoings.
At times, she was suspected of being a witch. She was kicked out of the city after her husband physically abused her. There were many reasons for the abuse—she couldn’t handle a customer because she was sick, she talked back to him, or the husband lost chips gambling.
She wandered through the wilderness of night, and returned late at dawn when the husband was asleep.
As such incidents happened frequently, the people wondered why the monsters in the wilderness didn’t attack the woman, or why she didn’t get hurt while walking around the dangerous ruins of the night.
Nobody knew the reason. There were rumors that she was a witch, even though nobody knew what a witch was. They had no hesitation in referring to someone as a witch. And naturally, Leona was also suspected as a witch. However, it was slightly different for Leona.
Leana was close with all the children in Mok-Gol, but there were some she was particularly close to. One day, they went out to search for treasures. They left to a familiar area of ruins, one they had been to many times.
Then one day.
Five kids left for the ruins, but only Leona returned.
Leona told the adults that the kids fell to their death into a sinkhole, and the adults didn’t bother searching for their dead bodies since such accidents happened frequently.
In fact, Leona was a liar. At the time, the friends didn’t die because of the sinkhole. Leona and her friends had come across monster rats that were wandering around the sewage. The friends were devoured alive by hundreds of rats.
But not a single rat came near Leona. The rats were acting as if they were afraid of Leona and revered her.
The rats didn’t touch Leona at all. She couldn’t figure out how she was different from the friends the rats had devoured without a trace.
But, she knew that she was differently somehow, and so she kept it as a secret. Being different meant exclusion and exclusion meant the road to death.
Therefore Leona lied, and she thought that her mom was no different.
During the incident, Leona lost all her friends, and she was left alone with kids who hated her. The kids spread rumors that Leona was a witch just like her mother. There were rumors that Leona ate the hearts of the kids who went missing, and Leona naturally ended up isolated. During that times, Leona’s mom died. And the next day, Leona killed her father and left Mok-Gol.
I'm a devil hunter.
Leona started running while thinking about Zin’s words.
“Get her. Get that girl!”
People were pursuing Leona from behind.
If she wasn’t human, but something else like a devil, Zin who was a devil hunter would have to kill Leona. Leona couldn’t understand why Zin let her know of that fact.
Zin headed to the BMCP to confirm his thoughts.
In fact, it was more of a warning. He might have warned Leona to run away before he obtained some sort of confirmation. However, Leona couldn’t figure out why a devil hunter would give a devil time to run away.
And Leona did not run away. Although she was fleeing from people, she did not want run away from Zin. There were always people who targeted those who were weak such as little kids. The hunter who seemed like the girl’s guardian had gone away. So, the robbers came to Leona to mug her. And the robbers were also survivors of Mok-Gol. They had no option other than robbing others since they were unable to settle down in a new city.
At first, they were surprised.
They were surprised by the fact that Leona was still alive and well after she killed her father and left Mok-Gol some years ago.
And they remembered the rumor about Leona being a witch. And unfortunately, not long after Leona left Mok-Gol, the village was raided by monsters and destroyed.
The robbers who came to steal from her tried to kill Leona instead. But Leona stabbed one of them and was now on the run.
“Get her! Get her! She’s a witch. She’s Leona of Mok-Gol!”
People who were unaware of the situation avoided the scene, but people who recognized the name Leona started chasing after her as well. Leona didn’t try to explain herself nor deny the rumors. The people were closed-minded, and there was no point trying to explain anything to them.
Crap. I should have stayed outside the city.
A kid couldn’t possibly outrun an adult, and the robbers were closing in on Leona. Not many people in the city were interested in the chase, but more Mok-Gol survivors were joining in the pursuit.
For them, Leona was the person who destroyed their hometown and killed their friends and families. Whether that was true or not, it was more important that they believed in it.
“You’re not going anywhere, witch!”
As soon as Leona reached a narrow passageway, a huge man blocked the passage so that Leona couldn’t pass through.
Leona had to decide.
“Why are you doing this to me? You bastards!”
Leona swiftly pulled out the silver revolver from her pocket. She had never used it before, but she had asked Zin many times how to handle it.
Point it to the enemy and pull the trigger.
Leona ran towards the man and aimed the gun.
Even kids can do it.
As soon as Leona pulled the trigger, the revolver flashed with a burst of sound.
And Leona yelled instead.
“What was that?”
At the sudden bang, everybody was surprised, and Leona felt the pain in her wrist from the discharge. The revolver’s knockback force wasn’t very strong, but Leona was surprised since she hadn’t known about it.
He didn’t tell me about this!
Feeling the pain in her wrist, Leona jumped over the man who was grabbing his abdomen. It was lucky that the gunshot hit the man.
“What! What was that!?”
“The witch is using the devil’s weapon!”
The pursuing people stopped due to fear; they didn’t know what that metallic object could be. They didn’t know about guns.
This also meant that the people didn’t know about the limited amount of ammunition. The people were panicking and couldn’t run after Leona or stay put. Leona slipped away from the square after the people stopped chasing her.
I need to get out.
She thought about leaving the city. She hoped that Zin would find her.
But what would happen when Zin found her?
She didn’t know if he would kill her or not. Leona was confused about whether she was supposed to wait for him.
I don’t know. I gotta run!
Leona ran and ran away from the city as she started to feel nauseated. It was impossible for her to go over the trash wall, and she had to head to the front gate. As she was trying to go past the people and out of Hewl-Jin, someone shouted.
“Stop right there!”
Leona became petrified as someone by the entrance yelled at her.
Five guards armed with bows were aiming at her. The captain looked down at Leona from the top of the trash wall.
“I'm the guard captain of Hewl-Jin, Dolphar.”
Wearing a cap with a visor, he slowly climbed down the trash wall and walked towards Leona.
“I don’t know much about what happened in Mok-Gol, and I have no interest in knowing either. We’re at Hewl-Jin, so I don’t care about what happened at a different city.”
“… Then why are you blocking my way?”
“I see that you have a gun with you, right?”
“What are you going to do?”
“I told you before. I’m the guard captain. I can let kids stirring up a commotion with such a dangerous weapon.”
“Well, I was on my way out of the city. So, get out of my way. I’m not coming back to this place.”
She aimed the revolver at the captain.
“You don’t seem to understand what I’m saying…”
The captain frowned.
“Dangerous weapons are helpful for us to defend the city.”
Leona frowned as well and was annoyed at the captain’s long talk. She didn’t hesitate.
She aimed it accurately this time, but she still wasn’t used to a gun. The bullet hit the captain’s shoulder.
“Damn. If you want to steal it from me, just say so. I'm sick of people talking trash without getting to the point.”
Leona mumbled as she spat.