Ch 51 – Poker Face (2)

The atmosphere outside the interrogation room was quiet.

I surveyed my surroundings.

Apart from a few students engaged in sports like football and baseball, there was no one else in sight.

“Most of them must be in the dormitory or training grounds.”

Though the Hero Department was on a break, the school cafeteria remained open.

Our team decided to have a late lunch at the student cafeteria.

However, there was one crucial point that needed clarification.

“Do not address me as captain.
Please use my name instead.”

I wanted to prevent any unintended slips.

If other students overheard the word 'captain,' they would surely find it odd.

It needed to be announced that the individual responsible for the magic dungeon incident had been apprehended by the first-year investigation team, led by Neike.

As for me, it was a shame to miss an opportunity to gain reputation points.

However, it wasn't as important as my life.
If I became a target of 'Turning White' at this stage, there was a 100% chance I would die.

'Neike has to be my shield.'

But the worst-case scenario would be Neike's investigation team panicking and doing something drastic.

My utmost priority was to graduate from the Hero Department with outstanding grades, not to undermine their efforts.

Regardless, the members of the first-year investigation team were the ones who would confront the upcoming threats to the academy.

I glanced at my teammates.

“I want to apologize once more.
What happened today should not be discussed anywhere.
Conceal it completely.
Naturally, no one will acknowledge our accomplishments either.
I'm sorry that I can't give you anything in return for trusting and following me.
But I promise you this: I will repay this debt someday.”

Even with a parched throat, I delivered my words with composure.

Noctar looked at me thoughtfully.

“However, Theo…”

“I apologize, but I can't disclose the reason—”

“No, rather, are you alright? You appear quite distressed.
Frankly speaking, you must have faced the most difficulties.”

The other orcs nodded in agreement.

···Are they not even going to ask why?

Blind fools.
They should at least be outraged.

“···No, it's nothing.”

After taking a moment to catch my breath, I searched for the right words.

I couldn't tell them that I didn't want to draw attention from 'Turning White'.

“All I can say is that it's a sacrifice for the team.
Thank you, everyone.”

After uttering those words, I turned my gaze and added,

“But I will repay this debt, as long as I draw breath…”

“It was a day that truly fulfilled our warrior spirits, wasn't it, my brothers?”

Noctar, baring his fangs, directed his gaze towards the orcs.

“Indeed, it was a day that set our blood ablaze after a long time.”

“Let us know if you need our help again.
Although our skin and appearance are different, we are comrades now, aren't we?”

They all agreed.


Raei  Translations


I held onto the shoulder of Siena, who was leaning on Amy and letting out intermittent groans.


“Ugh, Heu-euk.”

I attempted to use Magic Nullification once more, but it seemed that the aftereffects lingered.

I owed Siena a great deal.

But there was nothing more I could do here.

“Amy, take her back to the dormitory.”

“Yes, young master.”

Amy bowed her head.

I continued speaking.

“And on your way, stop by the alchemy shop, purchase some fatigue recovery potions, and administer them to her.”

“Leave it to me, young master.
Do you have any other orders?”

“No, none.”

“Then I'll leave immediately.”

Take care, Amy.
See you later.”

Amy swiftly disappeared, carrying Siena with her.


I hope it wasn't anything serious.

Though I felt uneasy, now that the mission was complete, it seemed fitting to have a meal with the orcs.

I made my way to the student cafeteria alongside the orcs.

Meanwhile, what should I do about Neike and the others?

'I won't go to them first.'

Not that I plan to, but if the victim approaches first, the perpetrators might think, 'Oh, this guy has already forgiven me.'

Most people do.

It's not that Neike and his group are malicious.

It's just how most humans think.

So I won't approach them.

Even if I were to receive an apology, it must be genuine.
I don't want a If they apologize, I'll accept a sincere apology that comes from the heart.

But I don't want them to prostrate themselves before me.

We'll be together until we graduate from the academy.

It would be wise to impart some character development while we're at it.

I've thought it over carefully.

They didn't deceive me.
It was merely the ignorant behavior of young sheep with narrow perspectives.

So, if they offer a sincere apology, I'll accept it.

It's not easy for someone to change their opinion once they have voiced it.
It's rare to find someone who acknowledges their own mistakes and regrets them.

In a way, it's a test I'm presenting to them.

Even if I don't get anything from them right away, having the top named characters owe me a debt could be quite useful.

“One orc meal.
Same as my friends.”

Upon arriving at the cafeteria, I ordered the orc meal.

Calling the orcs my friends in front of a staff member seemed to trigger [Twisted Noble's Dignity].

A tingling shock ran through me, but I welcomed it with joy.

The happiness of no longer being alone in this world far outweighed it.

After a satisfying meal, the orcs and I left the student cafeteria.

“I can still feel the heat of battle coursing through my body.”

“You too? Oh, me too.”

“Let's go to the training ground.
I thought of a new technique from the movements of the suspect— oops, I shouldn't say that.
Anyway, I thought of something new.”

We headed to the Hero Department training grounds.


Raei  Translations


After an intense training session, I was about to return to the dormitory.


Three men appeared before me.

Neike, Andrew, and Eshild.

'…How long have they been waiting?'

Their intentions were obvious.

However, I didn't let it show and regarded them with my usual impassive gaze.

“What is it?”

“We have something to discuss.
Can we…

Neike asked tentatively, while Andrew and Eshild kept their eyes lowered, wearing serious expressions.

“…Let's find a more secluded spot.”

There were too many prying eyes around.

If Neike were to make a scene in the middle of the academy, it would draw attention.
It would attract the attention of onlookers, and they might be able to deduce that I was the one who resolved the magic dungeon incident.

That needed to be avoided.

A spark of life returned to the trio's eyes.

Anywhere is fine.
Where shall we go?”

Did they already know I would forgive them?

Their sins were too grave for that.

“The room we visited this morning.
Let's go there.”


Neike, Andrew, and Eshild responded hesitantly.

The exclusive dormitory of the Hero Department.

We arrived at Neike's room.

Immediately, Neike lowered his head deeply.

“As the leader of the investigation team, I failed to exercise caution.
I should have never let it happen…
I apologize on behalf of everyone.”

“I can't even lift my head in shame.
I trained my body to become a hero, but my mind remained as immature as a child.
I'm truly sorry.”

“I apologize and will atone.
I thought you might be capable of it.
Please forgive my disgraceful self.”

Andrew and Eshild also bowed deeply.


It seems sincere.

The students of the Hero Department are known for their pride, and the top students are even more so.

Neike was a bit of a pushover, and Eshild was a simple-minded boy who disliked complicated matters, but…


Was he always this kind of person?

He detested bowing to others, second only to Piel.

Anyway, I couldn't let them off the hook with just an apology.

I need to make it clear.

“Alright, I will accept your apologies.”


The trio's eyes brightened.

“But that doesn't mean I forgive you.
If I hadn't caught the real culprit, what would have happened? I would have undoubtedly suffered.
Think about it from my perspective.”

“…I'm sorry.”

“Even a three-year-old can say sorry.
What's important is action.
Negative feelings can change with consistent effort.”

“…What can we do to put this behind us, Theo?”

Neike was the first to inquire, followed by Andrew and Eshild, who appeared on the verge of tears.

Indeed, I share a certain understanding with Neike.

“You should reflect upon that yourselves.”

Do you think I am foolish enough to divulge my desires upfront?

It's best to receive a proposal from them first.

Think carefully, kids.


Raei  Translations


Aisha returned from the interrogation room and immediately retreated to her own chamber, trembling.

'I never thought Theo would catch the culprit behind the magic dungeon incident…'

What awaits her now?

Her mind swirled with confusion and fear.

'Me, becoming the head of the Waldeurk family? What a joke…'

It was impossible.

Theo must have suspected her intentions from the very beginning—to claim the position of family head.
His swift capture of the culprit serves as proof of his abilities.

Even if she became the head…

The stigma of trying to frame an innocent student would haunt her for life.

Yet, such realistic thoughts dissipated swiftly.

Soon, the emotions she had suppressed in her heart took over.

A multitude of moments spent with Theo in a short span flooded her mind.

Their venture into the eastern forest, where he rescued her just before she collapsed.

The times they attended club gatherings together.

She remembered when he saved her life during the magic dungeon incident.

Once again…
she found herself indebted to him.

Now, those happy memories seemed to vanish like a mirage.

It was all over.

The feelings of insecurity and inferiority toward him, lurking in a corner of her heart, had destroyed everything.

Click, click.

Aisha nibbled at her meticulously manicured nails.

It was a habit she developed in childhood, a manifestation of her anxiety.

“No, I can't…
I can't, I can't, I can't.”

She hadn't succumbed to this habit in over three years, but now, even rationality couldn't quell it.

Just as Aisha had bitten all the nails on one hand.

Knock, knock, knock.

The sound of a knock reverberated.

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