“Hes a very capricious man, I know.
Thats why he needs proof.”
“Hey, youre clearly not aware of how far Sagastars meticulous personality goes.
Besides, Sagastar now thinks Ive been kidnapped by pirates.
And in the midst of that delusion, the code suddenly changed”
“If I were Sagastar, Id assume that even the pigeons oil had been taken away.
He might think Im dead, but Sagastar will never leave his suspicions behind.
Do you think I invented a code that can be easily imitated by impostors The knowledge is available to me and me only.”
“The code itself proves that its me.”
Nevertheless, Cesar shook his head sternly and refused to admit defeat.
Ed knew all too well that he had created a situation where hed look extremely suspicious.
With the interference of Duke Mireille and Ed himself showing interest in Lil, it wasnt unreasonable to think that he would signal his fleet and forcefully take Lil.
However, he didnt want to explain what he thought of Lil.
“Unless you become me, you wont be able to take away those doubts.
What else can you do”
Ed raised his eyebrows once as if he couldnt help it.
Although Cesars expression was grim, he didnt take his eyes off Eds unreadable face.
‘As Edgar mentioned, its indeed possible that hes acting independently from the Duke as Mireille would never have tolerated such a delay.
Ever since Ed got injured on Lils behalf, Cesar has been wondering what Eds true objective on boarding the Bell Rock had been.
‘Its obvious that hes interested in Liloa.
But in what kind of way Is it simple interest Plain curiosity Or… love
When Ed grabbed his stomach, Cesars eyes were automatically drawn to the wound.
“Your threat of harming Liloa is useless now.
And this time, I have the upper hand.
You see, its not just the incense that I took from your luggage.
The fact that those other medicine bottles contain a colourless and odourless liquid means that theyve been processed so precisely for a reason.
As I couldnt tell them apart, I took all of them.”
“Allow me to explain a possible scenario to you, I can set up a bunch of sentries to cut off your contact with the outside world and mix one of those unknown potions into one of your daily meals.
This island is a closed-off place and as an outsider, no one would be willing to help you.”
The code is confidential.
I cant tell you.
Dont you ever want to go back to the capital Just knowing it is enough to accuse you of treason, so I advise you not to dig any deeper.”
Cesar kept silent and ground his teeth.
‘Among the potions I brought in, theres at least one that works as a truth serum.
But what if my random choice turns out to be a deadly poison Even after a week of experimenting on rats, I can only divide them between poisonous and non-poisonous.
Using one of the potions now would be a big gamble for both Ed and Cesar.
“Dont do anything rash.
Some of the drugs you took are really dangerous.
Let me make a suggestion instead, Captain.
Bring me any book you read.
That will do.
Ill write using that title so that you can verify the content.
“Its not the official code, but it cant be helped.
You can try using the official code system, but Sagastar wont believe it.”
“Think about it.
This is the best option for you and me, so just do what I say.
I dont like Sagastar turning over the South either.
When I return to the fleet, that will only lead to an increase of unnecessary work, which then increases the likelihood of me having to stay in this terrible sunlit South.
Besides, I wasnt interested in the southern pirates in the first place.
Im not planning to give myself more work.”
“And to give you a more convincing reason, as you said, I have no intention of killing Liloa.”
“You saw it yourself, so dont ignore the fact I blocked the bullet meant for her.
Isnt that enough proof”
“Or do you think I got shot for my own amusement You can call me eccentric, but Im not that crazy.”
“Gunshot wounds are hard to predict as the path of the bullet can be redirected by the muscles in the body, or it can get lodged in the bone and thereby unable to be taken out.
Of course, one doesnt necessarily die if its not taken out…”
“But anyway, if I had got shot in the wrong way, I might have died on the spot or died of excessive blood loss later even before I was transferred to the Bell Rock.
No matter how rare a genius I may be, Im not the Mother of All Things that controls fate or someone whos arrogant enough thinks he can manipulate it.”
Cesar, clearly displeased with the fact that Ed had risked his life for Lil, took another look at him trying to find a hint of affection in those eyes.
But Ed instinctively hid such signs.
It was the beginning of a silent war where Cesar didnt ask Ed out of pride and Ed didnt elaborate on the reason for his sacrifice.
Ed realised that Cesar was suspicious of his affection.
He could tell because the glances that were shot at him were so intense that it was impossible not to know what they meant.
But it was understandable, it wouldve been stranger if a lover wasnt feeling envious when another person casually talks about the one they love.
However, Ed was sceptical about Cesars ability to fully understand Lil.
‘Is their connection deserving of the monikerlovers Cesar is obviously involved in Liloas disappearance from the Dukes residence.
I can easily guess that Cesar was the one who helped Liloa in gaining her freedom.
Liloa must have really yearned for that freedom.
And I must say, running to the South and becoming a pirate Captain can certainly be calledfreedom.
But Liloas joyful expression earlier almost reminded me of a cute little chick breaking out of its shell.
She looked like a person who was surprised to hear her own voice flowing into the world for the first time.
Instead of it being a mere echo within herself.
She must have been unaware of her voice.
That shouldnt have been the first time if she shared everything with her lover.
But she showed her slightly clumsy attitude in front of me of all people, someone whom shes been wary of since the beginning.
Ed found it disturbing.
So, he didnt avoid Cesars eyes.
‘Does he truly think he knows her What the hell does he think their relationship is based on
“As youre so desperately trying to convince me, Ive nothing more to say about this matter.
It seems that you have only just begun to build a bond with Liloa, so a person who suffered so much because of his curiosity wouldnt want to blow up that opportunity in an instant.”
“You understand me very well.”
“What kind of book do you need”
The book had to be chosen carefully.
Even the same book couldve been edited differently, or it could be a book that wasnt on the bookshelf of the admirals office.
However, the more detailed Ed would explain it, the more likely it was that Cesar would discover the method.
Ed pondered for a moment and continued without having any choice.
“Bring anything except for a textbook, Ill trust your insight.”
The sun went down.
Lil had been sitting there even after Ed left.
‘No, it might be someone else wearing Eds skin.
Was that really him
Lil remembered his face, which was smiling so brightly like he couldnt stop himself, and he gazed upon her as if she were an important and interesting person.
His stare had an entirely different significance for Lil; she felt like she wasnt just a woman with a womb, born to please her husband by bearing children.
‘Does he know what he was talking about‘
As her face had slowly turned red, she didnt dare to ask him, so she had no idea what he was so happy about.
‘Was he glad to meet someone who shares the same thoughts as him I know I was, but for Ed, it may have been different.
Maybe hes someone who finds joy in discovering a priceless treasure… He was really convinced I have something like a seed inside me…
But Lil never thought of herself as such a great person.
Ed had followed her eyes eagerly as if he were looking at someone standing on a high podium.
At first, Lil had looked elsewhere, but eventually, she returned to his green eyes.
His shining eyes were clearer than the sea off the coast of Panichi.
It had puzzled her how they could look so transparent.
‘I always thought they were an insidious shade of green, hiding all kinds of secrets like a supposedly peaceful forest full of unknown creatures.
But if I face him like this, it feels like I cant keep up the boundaries I set.
Lil looked down at the list of crew members in front of her.
Only one applicant was written on the blank paper.
Under that one sentence she began to scribble something.
[ Ed – Limbs intact… great doctor… able to play musical instruments… ]
Lils mind couldnt stop wondering about him.
Hes someone who emerged out of nowhere as a companion on the path where shed been wandering alone for more than 20 years.
She grew tired of walking every day on an endless road with no end in sight, whether it was a month, a year, or 20 years.
Lil had given up on her predictions of what would happen at the end and who would arrive.
So, how couldnt she be intrigued by Eds sudden appearance
Lil always had one returning thought.
‘If one day I meet my companion, the first thing Ill say is that Im pleased to meet him.
Then I will say Ive been alone for too long, and Ill ask, who the hell are you Where did you come from What caused you to walk on this endless road with me Did you spend a long time alone, tooPrevious