TGL Volume 5, Chapter 9 (1)

The plan to escape from prison was perfect, so why did it fail!? I just finished freeing everyone, but before we even took one step out of this place, the supervisor showed up! Judging from everyone’s reactions, no one here can defeat him. Everyone’s scrambling to put their binding ropes back on, and some are even pretending to be asleep! Well, when with squirrels, do as squirrels do! I’ll drape these ropes over myself and pretend I’m still bound. 

“Stop faking.” At some point, the supervisor had entered the prison. “Which guard released you guys? There’s no way any of you escaped on your own.” 

Perfect! He doesn’t suspect me. 

“It wasn’t a guard,” a squirrel said. “The half-human, half-squirrel meat smuggler you brought in slipped out of her restraints and planned a prison break! She lured the guard into her cell and beat him up before taking his keys.” 

…Not perfect. In fact, that’s far from perfect! What do I do? Before I could even ask Sir Pot to think of a plan, the supervisor appeared in front of the cell. The door swung open with a loud bang, and a huge pressure weighed down on me. It was so strong that my tail couldn’t even stiffen! The ropes that I held against my body slipped out of my frozen fingers, falling to the ground. The supervisor furrowed his brow. “You managed to free yourself from these restraints?” Cold laughter rang through the cell. “And those protestors outside insisted you were just a regular dumb squirrel.” 

What protestors, and why are they calling me stupid? I don’t even know them! Mm, that’s not important right now. What’s important is getting out of this situation alive! First things first, deny everything. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.” 

“Yes, of course, you don’t,” the supervisor said and nodded. “You don’t know how many times I’ve heard that excuse before. Every squirrel says it. Next, you’ll shift the blame onto someone else.” He nodded at me. “Go on, blame someone other than yourself.” 

…Is he an advanced mind reader? Ilya could read my mind, but she’s never read my mind and responded to thoughts that I haven’t had yet! How is this supervisor so sure I was going to blame someone else after denying? That might’ve been the plan, but I didn’t even flesh it out yet! Alright, Lucia, think. How can you get out of this situation? I’ve been in worse situations before, haven’t I? Like that time where…. Err…. Hmm. Like that time where I was almost drowned in a barrel! …That’s not helpful for this situation at all. 

“Nothing to say for yourself?” the supervisor asked and raised an eyebrow. “How about this? If you admit you’re a meat smuggler to everyone outside, I’ll lighten your sentence. Instead of being executed, you’ll be branded and exiled from the seven mountain ranges.” 

“I’m not a meat smuggler!” I don’t like being accused for things that I did do, and I like it even less when I’m accused for doing things that I didn’t do! 

“Then prove it,” the supervisor said. “Swear an oath to the heavens that you’ve never sold meat or used meat to bribe anyone in your whole life.” 

…Do bear p****es count as meat? I’m sure they do, right? If that’s the case, I can’t swear that oath! I’ve used bear p****es as currency all the time, not to mention all those other p****es I’ve sold when I first learned the Path of Slaughter. 

“See?” the supervisor asked and snorted. “You can’t swear the oath because you know you’ll suffer from heavenly punishment. That’s all the proof I need to convict you. I’ll give you two choices—one of which is the same as before; you can willingly come with me and admit to your crimes in front of all the protestors. The second choice is to resist and try to escape from me right now.” 

He’s giving me a chance to escape? I don’t believe it! “What happens if I pick the second choice?” 

The supervisor smiled at me. “I’ll capture you again and execute you in front of everyone.” 

“…Is there a third choice?” 

“No,” the supervisor said. “The number of choices you get in life is determined by your strength. You’re not strong enough to create your own options, and you’re certainly not smart enough either.” 

I understand Ilya making jabs at my intelligence because she’s a genius who jabs at everyone’s smartness, but why is this supervisor poking fun of me too? It’s not like he’s smarter than Ilya, and if he wasn’t stronger than me, I wouldn’t have to put up with him! I could smack him across the face and be done with him. Unfortunately, I’m not stronger than him, and he’s probably just as smart as me. How can I weasel my way out of this situation? What am I better at than him? Cooking? No one’s better than me at cooking. 

The supervisor raised an eyebrow at me. “Have you made your choice?” 

I have! “Behold!” In the end, the only thing I can do is poison the supervisor like I poisoned the chief! “What’s in the box!?” 

The supervisor’s nose twitched. “Honey-glazed ham.” 

…Wait, that’s not supposed to happen. How did he identify what was in the box!? “Err, how about this box?” 

“Deep-fried aurochs tongue.” 

This supervisor has a sharper nose than I thought! Actually, what if he can see through objects? Or maybe he can hear what’s in the box…. No, I don’t think the last one is possible. Or is it? Hmm. Ah! Focus. Let’s see. “And this box?” 

“Some sort of poisoned wine,” the supervisor said. “Are you trying to bribe me? Tempt me with food? It won’t work. Only those who don’t understand what’s required to become a transcendent beast would eat meat filled with impurities.” 

Hmm, I don’t know what’s required to become a transcendent beast, and I do eat meat, so what he’s saying sounds about right. But if I can’t even use my cooking to defeat him, then what can I do? Do I really have to admit to something I didn’t do in order to survive? Integrity or survival, I never thought I’d have to make the choice between the two!

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