Chapter 5. Rescue
Ch. 5 Rescue
Luke continued to ponder after Kurotan left the cabin. He could not have imagined in a thousand years that he would receive such an offer from Orcs.
“What should I do?”
Luke pondered until his hair fell out, but an answer did not come so easily.
Should he accept Kurotan’s offer, he could return safely to his House. Marry his fiancée Isabelle, and start a happy family.
Of course, he would have to help the Orcs, in the shape of humans, adjust to the world of humans should he accept.
“I probably won’t be alive to worry about this should I refuse his offer.”
He did not know where to start. Should he attempt to educate the Orcs to fit in when the Orcs had a completely different mentality?
Orcs also had a tradition of eating humans. Should there be food shortages, they would consume the corpses of dead soldiers.
They would also not be knowledgeable about anything that passed as commonsense to humans.
“What should I do?”
Luke seriously pondered for the entire night, however, he did not get the chance to make a final decision.
“What’s that noise?”
Luke frowned at the sound of weapons clashing and screaming. He could also hear the characteristic snuffling screams of Orcs. Luke’s face paled.
“The assault must have been pulled ahead of schedule.”
It must have been his kidnapping that forced the top brass of the army to pull the assault ahead of schedule.
“Now that it’s like this, I won’t have to stress about making a decision.”
Luke took a couple of deep breaths and relaxed. All he had to do now was wait.
If the figures that entered the cabin next were Orcs, his life would end. If the figures were human, he could return to his House alive.
While Luke grimaced and waited, the footsteps gradually approached the cabin. Luke held his breath.
“Search along this area. There might be survivors.”
A voice that was sure to be human rang through the cabin, and Luke held back his tears. The goddess of good fortune had finally grabbed his hand.
A few moments later, three soldiers kicked open the door and entered.
“There’s someone here, sir! It’s not an Orc, but a human.”
“Report your affiliation, soldier!”
“I am Centurion Luke Estaban of Fort Potellan. As for class, I am Third class.”
The leader of the soldiers flinched at Luke’s words, and became more courteous. It seemed as though his rank was lower than Luke’s.
“Ah, sir! The commander that was kidnapped last night. How wonderful that you are safe.”
However, the soldiers’ gazes towards Luke were not entirely friendly. It was due to Luke’s kidnapping that they had been hounded so much by their superiors to lead an assault in the middle of the night.
“I have been lucky enough to avoid torture until now. Of course, I would not have told them the time of the final assault until the end.”
“Of course, sir!”
The commander that had been smiling at Luke motioned to the soldiers.
“Release Centurion Luke!”
Luke staggered up after the ropes binding him were cut. The lack of blood flow to his feet made him unsteady. The commander immediately supported Luke before he fell.
“I will escort you to the headquarters, sir. The General has ordered for you to be escorted there should you be discovered alive.”
Luke nodded, kneading his sore arms and legs.
Luke was escorted to the headquarters, but unlike his expectations, the commander of the extermination army was not Count Pilona, who was affiliated with Fort Potellan.
A young general in his early thirties, dressed in uniform with many medallions, was the one to greet Luke. A general at such a young age was sure to have many connections.
“Welcome, Centurion Luke. I am class three thousand-man commander Viscount Max.”
“Many thanks for the timely rescue, Viscount Max.”
“Going by your state, it seems you have not been tortured yet.”
“It was my good fortune.”
“I have something to ask you first.”
“What would that be, Viscount?”
Max frowned slightly.
“Was there anything extraordinary that you noticed within the Orc hideout? Or anything you may have heard?”
Viscount Max gazed intently at Luke’s face after he asked his question, analyzing his facial expressions.
However, Luke had experienced many things as a member of a Noble House, and his face remained calm and unrevealing.
“What could I have seen? I was merely knocked out and awoke in a cabin. I was tied to a chair and unable to move, and did not see or hear anything.”
“Is that so?”
“It seems that the Orcs tortured the other prisoner first. It was my good fortune but his bad fortune.”
“That is good to hear.”
Luke decided to ask Viscount Max a question.
“Has something happened? The soldiers seem to be on guard as well and in disarray.”
Viscount glanced at Luke, before opening his mouth.
“To tell you the truth, something unusual has happened.”
Luke had an idea, but he feigned innocence and waited for the viscount to finish his explanation.
“Most of the Orcs at the hideout were discovered as corpses.”
Luke feigned a surprised expression at Viscount Max’s words.
“Is that so?”
“Something even more unusual was the fact that the corpses did not have any wounds. And all of their chests were bared.”
Viscount Max’s face contorted in confusion.
To both Orcs and humans, the chest was a critical area to protect. A sturdy chest plate was a necessity for all soldiers. The discovered Orc corpses had all been bare-chested and unarmored.
Orcs usually liked to wear the armor that they pillaged from human soldiers, forcing prisoner blacksmiths to modify them.
“There were only about fifty Orcs alive that resisted. All of them were fully armored. Of course, my subordinates exterminated them.”
Luke frowned slightly.
‘Looks like their souls were taken into the spirit sword. The Orcs were unlucky… They would have had time to put their souls into human bodies had the assault time not been pulled ahead.”
The chances that Kurotan had survived the assault seemed low.
“Were there any survivors amongst the resisting Orcs?”
“You think that’s possible? Orcs are a race that do not surrender under any circumstances.”
“You killed them all then.”
Viscount Max still looked uncomfortable. The plan had succeeded, as they had captured the Orc hideout, but the fact that most of the Orcs were already corpses was sure to bring about problems.
He and his subordinates had only killed a mere fifty Orcs.
“Anyways, thank you for saving me. I would have died in there otherwise.”
“You were lucky. I have heard that you are retiring. Build towards a brighter future, and forget about the tragedy here.”
Exchanging soulless remarks, they were about to leave when a soldier came into the headquarters.
“We think he is too suspicious, sir. I think we may need to put him under torture.”
“Is that so? Bring him here.”
Luke had been about to leave the building when he heard these words and hesitated.
“What is it, commander?”
Viscount answered with a smile.
“We were able to rescue one other prisoner besides you. He was a soldier serving as a draftee, but his behavior was reportedly very suspicious.”
“We put him through some simple questioning, but his story was a bit all over the place. He also seemed to be avoiding my soldiers. He will be here soon, you can see for yourself if you are familiar with him.”
Luke’s face paled.
“No… It can’t possibly be?”
A possibility rose to Luke, but with a bit of effort he ignored it.
A little while later, the prisoner was dragged into the headquarters by soldiers. It was Hal, the cook who had been ambushed along with Luke.
Luke’s mind fell into confusion the second he saw Hal’s eyes.
‘Fuck… it’s just as I worried!”
Hal’s appearance had remained the same as when they were in the carriage. The look in his eyes, however, had definitely changed.
The sly, despicable eyes of Hal that Luke remembered were gone.
The eyes that Luke now saw in Hal, being fierce and wild but also somehow simple, were most definitely the eyes of the Orc Great Warrior, Kurotan.
‘No doubt about it. Kurotan has taken over Hal’s body using the divine artifact.’
Hal seemed to be in a state of full panic. He thrashed around endlessly in an effort to escape, causing the soldiers to sweat profusely in an effort to restrain him.
“Hey bastard! Just come along quietly.”
“Why are you trying to run away?”
Hal’s eyes found Luke’s. Hal immediately became still and relaxed.
Hal gazed into Luke’s eyes, seemingly trying to say with his eager eyes that he was asking for an answer.
‘I’m going to go crazy. Looks like I have to make a decision after all!’
Luke swallowed. He did not know which decision to make.
Viscount Max observed the strange interaction between Luke and Hal and seemed intrigued.
“Do you know him?”
Luke had fallen deep into his thoughts and did not seem to hear him. Viscount Max frowned and approached Hal.
“What is your name?”
Hal could not answer the question. Hal’s squirming movements were identical to that of a criminal, and Viscount Max’s eyes narrowed.
“Looks like we will be needing the torture specialist after all. You will be tortured until you tell us the truth.”