Chapter 6. Rescue (2)
It was right then that Luke made his decision.
“His name is Hal.”
“He was the cook of a squadron, and has never even fought an Orc before.”
Viscount Max seemed to have been taken off guard by the remark.
“He’s a weak hearted man, unlike his rough looks. He is probably just traumatized from the torture he received from the Orcs.”
“Is that so?”
Many feelings flashed through Luke as he walked forward.
‘This is a gamble. Since the Orcs trusted me as a superb commander, I will trust them once as well.’
As he seemed to have realized Luke’s intentions from his gaze, Kurotan settled down immediately.
“From my opinion, sir, I do not think we need to call in a torture specialist.”
“But my soldiers have reported that his actions have been highly suspicious.”
Luke smiled and looked at Viscount Max.
“To tell you the truth, I know Hal’s poor situation better than anyone.”
“What kind of situation does he have?”
“Not long ago, his wife eloped with another man. He came to me in the middle of the night, crying, to lament to me about it.”
It was cliché, but to Viscount Max, a soldier, it worked like a charm. His wife eloping was the biggest worry that a soldier stationed away from his home had.
“I completely understand now.”
Viscount Max silently nodded his head and then turned to look at Luke,
“Do you have any relations with this soldier?”
Luke nodded without hesitation.
“Yes, sir. I was going to take him under my personal command and bring him into my lands.”
Viscount Max looked surprised at Luke’s words.
“What use could you possibly have for him? Do you not know why he is in the army?”
Viscount Max’s question was expected. Hal’s character was questionable on paper, as he was a prisoner, and did not seem have any skills.
Luke smiled and made up another story.
“He may look like a bandit, but his cooking skills are quite decent.”
Viscount Max nodded once again.
“Then I suppose there is no need to torture him. I trust you will take responsibility for him?”
Luke pretended to mull it over for a bit before answering. This was a question that could not be answered immediately without buying some suspicion.
“Yes, I will take responsibility.”
“Good. Release him…”
Viscount Max motioned towards the soldiers.
“This bastard, won’t he thrash around again?”
The soldiers reluctantly released Hal’s bindings. Unlike their expectations, Hal did not begin to get violent. Hal walked quietly to stand next to Luke, who nodded.
“I have already promised you to take you in under both my wing and the Esteban Earldom’s. No need to worry.”
Luke patted Hal on the shoulder as though no answer was needed, and left the headquarters. Hal followed behind with a relieved expression. Like a baby duckling following his mother.
Hal, no, Kurotan expressed his thanks the second they left the headquarters.
“Keung, I thank you for taking me in.”
Luke took a finger and put it to his lips, indicating silence.
“Not another word until we leave the base.”
“No need to even answer, just nod. If you buy yourself suspicion again, I won’t be able to help you.”
Kurotan nodded silently.
“Just to make sure, you are Kurotan right?”
Kurotan once again nodded silently. Luke made a calm face. He had never thought in his life that he would see an Orc wearing the figure of a human.
“Let’s get our luggage and leave this place. The first thing we need to do is get somewhere without people.”
Kurotan whispered silently.
“Keung. They took away the divine sword. We must recover it at all costs.”
“It was probably confiscated because it was a weapon. All right, I will get it back for you.”
Kurotan looked expectantly at Luke with hopeful eyes.
“I will trust you.”
Luke looked for the quarter master when he arrived at the building where captured supplies were kept.
“What is your business here?”
“I am the commander that was captured by the Orcs. I am here to reclaim my belongings that were taken by the Orcs.”
The quartermaster immediately escorted Luke to the pile of supplies once he had confirmed Luke’s status.
Luke reclaimed his bags first, and then carefully asked the quartermaster.
“Have you seen an old sword with a broken blade by chance?”
“A sword with a broken blade?”
Luke pointed to Kurotan, ‘disguised’ as Hal.
“It is his father’s heirloom.”
“I think I may have seen it somewhere.”
The quartermaster did not take long before he found the divine artifact. He did not seem to view it with much importance, as the divine artifact truly looked no different from an old sword.
“Here it is.”
Luke hesitated for a little bit before receiving the divine artifact, which held several hundreds of Orcs’ souls. He wondered briefly if this was still a good idea, but the water had already been spilled.
“Take care that you do not lose it.”
Kurotan’s body shivered in excitement when Luke handed him the sword. Thankfully, he had not forgotten Luke’s advice and remained silent, simply nodding.
“Many thanks, quartermaster. Please let me know when you visit Esteban Earldom.”
“Ah, I am thankful for your words.”
“Good day then…”
Luke left without hesitation, all his baggage in tow. He was stopped several times along the way for examinations, but he was able to smoothly talk over all of them.
Luke heaved a deep sigh when he looked at Kurotan, who had been following along like a duckling without saying a single word.
“Damn, cursed fate. Why do the heavens test me so…?”
It was only when they had embarked on their way and when no other people were in vicinity that Kurotan spoke.
“Keung. I thank you for listening to my request. I will not forget the favor.”
Luke frowned slightly.
“The keung keung noises are really bothersome. Your body has changed, and even your snuffling sound seems to have changed as well?”
“I don’t know. Keung”
Luke looked seriously at Kurotan.
“All right, Kurotan. Just as you have deemed me a good commander, I have decided to give you my trust this once. But remember…”
“You are no longer an Orc, but a human. Your soul may be that of an Orc’s, but from now on you must think and act as a human.”
“I already know. That was the plan.”
“Good. To become human, you must listen to my every command. And we need to fix the way you talk.”
“Keung. The way I talk?”
Luke’s face turned even stricter as he continued to glare at Kurotan.”
“From now on, you are my subordinate and servant.”
“A master-servant relationship makes the most sense when you consider Hal’s status, which belongs to you now, and my status.”
Unexpectedly, Kurotan tried to deny it fiercely.
“I cannot accept it. How can an honorable warrior become a servant?”
“You are no longer the Great Warrior of Orcs, but a retired army cook. You must also get used to your new name.”
“My mother gave me my name. I cannot change it.”
“It is a must for you to adjust to the human world!”
“Still, somethings are just impossible.”
Luke sighed in frustration.
“You’re stubborn as an Ogre.”
Luke did not know where to start with the Orc wearing a human mask.
‘I think I may have bitten a bit more than I can chew.’
Luke regretted having made the decision so spontaneously, but once again the water had already been spilled.
Luke took Kurotan towards the rear of the headquarters. They took a carriage carrying wounded soldiers and reached Lactel City, which also served as a supply base, in three hours.
They were unable to converse at all due to the presence of soldiers that had been wounded in the final assault. Of course, the moaning of the wounded made for a mood that was not meant for conversing.
The military carriage did not need any identification at the city wall. Luke and Kurotan were able to enter the city without problems, and got off the carriage at the central square.
“Thanks for the ride.”
Luke turned around once out the carriage. He looked back at Kurotan, and frowned with curiosity.
“Are you all right?”
Kurotan had completely frozen. He was standing absolutely still and moving only his eyes back and forth.
“Do you feel sick from the carriage ride?”
“What about humans?”
“There are t-too many humans.”
Luke smiled at Kurotan’s words. Lactel City was a decently developed city, and the central square had a lot of human traffic. It was not strange for Kurotan, a former Orc, to feel so out of place and amazed.
‘I suppose Orcs don’t get to see the booming civilian life of humans.’
Luke smirked and pulled on Kurotan’s arm.
“Not one word, Kurotan. Just follow me.”
It was in no way easy to move around with an Orc in the form of a human.
Luke entered a restaurant in order to appease their hunger. Kurotan entered somewhat normally, thanks to Luke’s advice.
However, a problem occurred when their ordered dish arrived.
Kurotan took one look at the bread that Luke had ordered and frowned fiercly.
“Keung. We do not eat these things.”
“Then what do you eat.”
“Meat, intestines, fat! Give me something like that!”
“That was when you were an Orc, and since you’re no longer an Orc…”
“I still refuse to eat weird things like this.”
Kurotan, in a tantrum, threw the bread on the ground, and Luke had no choice but to order a meat stew.
“Here’s your dish.”
When the meat stew arrived, Kurotan’s eyes seemed to shine with light. The next moment, the eyes of the people all came to rest on one spot.
“Oh my goodness, how hungry must he have been….”
“How long has he been starving?”
The pieces of meat in the stew were being grabbed by the grubby hands of Kurotan and being devoured without being chewed more than once or twice.
Kurotan proceeded to slam his face into the dish and began to drink the rest of the soup with his tongue, like a dog. He was doing so without a care in the world, not caring whether or not the people stared.
Luke grabbed the back of his neck in an attempt to fend off the on-coming headache.
“What should I do with you?”
Oblivious to Luke clicking his tongue, Kurotan finished the remaining meat stew in the blink of an eye.
“That wasn’t enough. Kurotan wants to eat more.”
“You bastard, you know how much that was? It’s at least three times more expensive than bread!”
“Kurotan does not know of those things.”
Luke, looking as if he was about to cry, shoved the rest of the bread he’d been eating into his mouth.
“Let’s talk later.”
“But I’m hungry.”
Luke glanced to the side, and Kurotan’s face stiffened when he followed Luke’s gaze. Everyone in the restaurant was staring at him.
“Wh-Why are they looking at me? Do you think they’ve found out about my identity?”
Luke quickly swallowed the last of his bread and stood up.
“Shut your mouth and just follow me outside.”
Luke hurriedly paid for their meal and took Kurotan outside.