Chapter 39 - Honorary Citizen
Under the cover of night, Crockta crossed the wall. Mayor Elsanad’s mansion was quiet. He walked past the garden and up to the front door. He turned the doorknob, opening the door. A deep darkness blanketed the inside.
Crockta stepped forward. His footsteps echoed thanks to the structure of the mansion. His eyes scanned the darkness. The mansion, which was beautiful under the sun, looked creepy in the darkness.
He crossed the corridor while looking in the rooms. None of the doors were locked. He passed by the deserted ones. Then suddenly, Crockta saw a shape looking at him in the darkness.
It was a statue. The faint moonlight shining through the windows gave him a glimpse of the outline. It was a statue of an elf staring into the air.
Crockta reached out to it. The texture of cold plaster could be felt. The physical shape looked real, and it seemed like it would move in the darkness.
Crockta slowly turned his gaze to the side. The elf statue was guarding something. The door was firmly closed. He grabbed the handle, but the door didn’t open. It was the only locked place that he had discovered in Elsanad’s mansion.
Crockta looked around. It was dark but his eyes could see the shape of everything. Nothing moved. There were no indications of any people. It was eerie. Crockta gave strength to his hand. He gripped the doorknob tightly. It gradually creaked until it fell off with a low sound. Pieces of the door fell off.
The door opened. Crockta entered. Then he flinched once again. In the large room, there were several statues similar to the one at the entrance. They looked so alive that he almost swung his greatsword at them.
Crockta explored inside. In addition to the statues, paintings were hung on the walls. The paintings were expensive pieces of artwork signed by the artist. It was a room where Elsanad’s aesthetics could be felt.
Crockta wandered through the room and paused in front of a painting. It was crude compared to the other paintings. However, it was the signed name below that made him stop.
Elwina. Elsanad’s daughter.
It was a crude work with a human and elf standing side by side. Elwina had tried to draw every detail, despite her lack of skills. It was a painting drawn by a person with a high interest in the human body.
Crockta looked at it for a while before lifting the painting from the wall. He found it. There was a recess in the wall where the painting was hanging, with a button inside.
Crockta pressed it. The floor started to tremble slightly. Crockta turned his head towards the sound. The bottom of the floor was slowly opening. Slowly, stairs leading downwards were revealed. They were stairs heading to the basement.
Alsein’s voice telling him to visit Elsanad’s basement popped into Crockta’s head.
It was here. Crockta took one step. It was a small passage for him. One step, two steps, his footsteps echoed as he descended.
He headed downwards for a while before reaching the end of the stairs. There was a door. Something was beyond it. Crockta remembered Alsein’s eyes. His eyes had been shaking. What did he know? What was he troubled over?
Crockta opened the door. Then he took one step.
A chill went down his spine. There were the dark shadows of dozens of people who were looking at Crockta in the darkness.
He lowered the hand that had moved to the handle of his greatsword. His fingers shook. They didn’t move.
Inside the basement there were people staring blankly at the air, not at Crockta. Crockta’s heart sank as he saw their faces.
The face of Elwina, who greeted visitors at the entrance of Arnin, popped into his head. He later found out that she was Elsanad’s daughter. He thought that she was just a spoiled person. But that wasn't it.
In fact, she had a world of her own that she couldn’t communicate with others. It was a world that could never be tolerated.
Crockta reached for a nearby elf. He felt soft skin, but it was cool and didn’t feel alive.
‘Is this why she’s so obsessed with working as a guard?’
Alsein had said this in passing and Crockta now realized what he meant. She chose victims that no one would care about if they died. No one would know where and how they had disappeared. Visitors disappeared in droves after visiting Arnin.
Elwina’s goal was those visitors. Crockta was no exception.
"It is a tragedy."
Crockta muttered. His head dropped as he was surrounded by dozens of stuffed victims.
All of them were beautiful. A face with beautiful proportions. Dark blue eyes. Unusual hair color or pinkish red lips. The slender legs, elegant shoulders, and long, delicate necks made them victims.
Elwina had stuffed them to maintain their beauty and to keep them forever in her collection. It was a horrible tragedy.
Crockta closed his eyes.
Their sins weighed heavily on him. Arnin was a beautiful city, but it was an abode where numerous beasts with human faces were tangled together.
A demon sold his people for wealth and power, deceiving his victims with a smile. The other demon, who stuffed the visitors of the city, strolled among the citizens under the protection of her mother.
All of the citizens believed in and followed them. It was a terrible mess of deception and evil. There was no truth anywhere.
Crockta’s hand clenched into a fist, his body starting to uncontrollably shake. The stuffed truths were staring at Crockta. He raised his eyes. His eyes met those of an elf child. The little elf child was smiling. That smile was stopped forever.
Lenox. His face popped into Crockta’s head.
‘What would you do?
Would you have an answer for this tragedy?’
Lenox looked at him and smiled. He slowly opened his mouth. Lenox’s voice echoed. He only said one word to Crockta, but it was enough.
There was always only one answer.
The sun shone in the sky.
Ilya and Mayor Elsanad met again in the square to debate over the controversial issue and to determine who the next mayor would be. The two mayor candidates. Elsanad and Ilya. Depending on the outcome of this debate, the future of Arnin would be decided.
"Elsanad, changing the topic is meaningless. You are the culprit. There is clear evidence with this book, yet you would deny your sins until the end?”
“I can’t say anything. It is a fake book, anyone could make that. I could also forge a book and claim that you were behind it.”
"Do you admit that you would handle things that way? Did you run the city like this? Through forgery and deceit?”
“You use cowardly means. Don’t change the topic. Right now, what you are doing is deception.”
The conversation was going nowhere. Elsanad countered calmly, but Ilya was excellent at stirring up the citizens. The crowd split in half and cheered for the politician they were supporting. Arnin guards were around the stage in case of an emergency.
Ilya and Elsanad continued the debate on the stage.
Now no one was concerned about the victims. The story of the elves being trafficked had been forgotten, and the voices of the victims vanished without a trace as no one in Arnin cared for such things.
One orc ran across the square.
The man who was bumped into turned his head away as he met the orc’s fierce gaze. The orc had a determined expression on his face. His greatsword was on his shoulder as he walked towards Elsanad and Ilya.
“Entry isn’t permitted.”
The guards around the stage blocked him. The orc didn’t go any further. He stood there and looked at the two politicians. Ilya suddenly noticed his presence and turned his head towards the orc. However, he didn’t care about the orc, and kept criticizing Elsanad. Elsanad’s eyes darkened.
There was no guilt in them. The orc confirmed this fact and turned towards the citizens. He saw the faces of the citizens. Interest, tension excitement etc., all types of emotions were swirling.
However, there wasn’t what he needed most. It was anger. No one was truly angry.
The orc felt anger fill his chest as he shouted.
The orc’s voice rang out in the square.
An intense cry that shook the eardrums of the listeners. The shouting of an orc warrior, which hadn’t been heard for a long time in Arnin, shook Arnin Square.
A sobering voice! The square became quiet in an instant. Everyone looked at the orc who was the epicentre of the sound. The guards didn’t know what to do and just watched him. Ilya and Elsanad, who were making claims on the stage, also quieted down.
All the eyes and ears in the square were focused on the orc. The orc lifted something up. A crystal ball was in his thick hands.
Ilya’s face turned pale.
Crockta declared. Then a human came forward.
It was a human magician, Puri. He had been helped by Crockta on the plains along with Gilliam, so he was now paying back the favor. Puri raised a hand, his magic power wrapping around the crystal ball.
The crystal ball started shining. In the air, a giant video appeared. It was the memory playback magic that could play videos in the crystal ball! It was an expensive item, and the magic required to activate it was difficult. The citizens paid attention to it.
The video that appeared was stabilized. Someone’s face appeared. It was Ilya, his face floating in the air. He moved within the crystal ball and spoke. His remarks were reproduced.
-...Yes, I will tell you everything. I sold the elves together with the people from Thawing Balhae. I had a deal with them.
Ilya jumped up.
-...And I got tired of them. I had drained just enough from them. Those cursed by the stars, did they really think I would deal with them forever? Thank you for your help.
The citizens started murmuring again. The truth that they were arguing over had finally been revealed. Ilya’s ugly remarks followed.
-...Anyway, I will become Arnin’s next mayor. That’s it. You can leave quietly.
The eyes of the citizens turned towards Ilya in unison. His face distorted and Elsanad’s face brightened. She didn’t know who the orc was, but he had given evidence of her innocence. She used this momentum.
A complacent expression appeared on her face.
"Citizens! Have you seen everything? This man tried to discredit me and fool the citizens!” She raised her fist. "As the mayor of Arnin and a citizen, I will make a formal accusation against the coward Ilya!”
Then she shouted to one of the Arnin guards.
"Guard, take him to jail right now!”
The citizens alternated looking between Elsanad, Ilya, and the orc. They were confused due to the sudden situation. However, the citizens soon responded to Elsanad’s words.
"Ilya was the culprit!”
“The mayor is innocent!”
But the video didn’t end there. The screen jumped and this time a white mansion at night appeared.
It was a building that every citizen in Arnin knew. The mansion was one of the most beautiful buildings in Arnin. Elsanad’s home.
The citizens stopped again.
The video moved gradually as it followed the eyes of the filmer.
Over the wall and once inside, the person arrived at a room filled with statues and paintings. Elsanad’s mansion continued to be shown. The citizens looked at the screen with confusion over what they were seeing.
Elsanad’s face stiffened as she saw it.
"Stop that right now!”
She tried to run off the stage. But Ilya grabbed Elsanad’s wrist. He sensed something in her reaction.
On the video, the secret door to the basement opened. The video started going down.
Elsanad shouted, "Guards! Stop that orc! Stop him!”
But the video continued without stopping.
The terrible truth was revealed. The citizens were surprised to see the elves and humans inside the room, and were shocked as they understood what it meant. It was a terrible scene that they had never imagined.
The owner of the video gazed at the stuffed animals for a while. On the screen, the faces of the elves, humans, and a smiling child could be seen. The screen moved along with his eyes. At first glance, there were more than 20 stuffed people. Everyone looked alive and motionless, like they were still breathing.
There were citizens who stumbled at the scene. The truth was harsh. This demon, who was a serial killer, was the leader of the city. The gaze of the person filming moved downwards.
He looked at his feet. The screen displayed the floor. The murmur of the person filming resonated in the ears of the citizens.
-It is a tragedy.
It was a calm voice. Then the screen showing the floor cut off.
The crystal ball finished its role and broke into pieces. The video ended, but nobody moved.
Silence. Everyone in the square had stopped moving. In that stillness, the orc alone moved.
He turned around. He gazed towards Ilya and Elsanard, the two demons, and said.
“Ilya and Elsanad.”
They didn’t move.
"With the evidence I just presented, I accuse you.”
The stunned guards recovered their spirits. They looked at each other and then started walking towards Ilya and Elsanad. Now they were horrible criminals.
Elsanad exclaimed, "Don't make me laugh! This is all fabricated! You might have a pass to enter Arnin, but you aren’t a citizen! Not even a citizen, yet a dirty orc dares accuse me? Impossible!”
It was her last-ditch effort.
"On the subject of the orc! Who the hell are you listening to? Guards, do you believe an orc over your mayor? Someone who isn’t even a citizen?”
It was Elsanad’s futile struggle to delay her downfall. Even Ilya stared at Elsanad with disgust in his eyes. But Elsanad was the mayor. The guards stopped moving the moment they heard her cry. Then they looked at the orc accusing her.
All eyes fell on the orc once again. But he had a cold expression on his face.
The orc opened his mouth, "Listen up, Elsanad.”
The orc spoke in a distinctively thick and low voice. "I am someone who is equal to the citizens of Arnin.”
His voice rang out through the square.
"All rights enjoyed by the citizens of Arnin are equally applied to me. It is a legitimate right granted for the dedication and merits I have contributed to Arnin, one that nobody can withdraw unless I commit an offense that undermines Arnin’s justice.”
He pulled something out. His evidence sparkled under the sun. Everyone’s gaze turned to the proof of identity.
The orc declared, "I am Crockta, the one given an honorary citizenship by Enyanis, the plains administrator.”
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