How to Survive as a Genius Spy in the Game Chapter 5 - I Want to Live (4)
I opened my eyes at the words of the duke. The Chief of Intelligence was an incredibly important figure responsible for the overall strategy of a nation.
On the other hand, there were parts that now made sense.
Starting as an orphan on the market floor had its reasons. It seemed that there was no need to run away anymore.
Being under the duke, my Stratagem experience would increase, even if I didn’t like it.
‘Things seem to be working out better than expected, don’t they?’
If I could persuade the duke later, it would be easier to help or approach the princess.
Haisen was the empress’ country, and the Chief of Intelligence held even greater power.
“How old are you?”
“I’m an orphan so I’m not sure exactly, but I think I’m thirteen.”
“Thirteen, huh? Not bad. You will serve as a spy under me. Will that be alright?”
It was a rather straightforward statement. Was he trying to gauge my reaction, or was it just the duke’s nature?
The duke’s gaze was sharp. Still, he was the Chief of Intelligence of a kingdom, so it was probably the former.
Although he asked if I would be alright, the outcome was already predetermined. He wouldn’t release me, someone with Mystics.
He wouldn’t kill me, but he might brainwash me through torture or something.
I intentionally hesitated for a moment.
If a child’s judgment was too quick, it might seem strange. Then I nodded my head.
“Yes. It’s much better to be under the Duke than to live as an orphan in the market. Thank you.”
As I spoke, I realized it. It was a sincere statement, but it might have sounded a bit obsequious.
However, the duke smiled with a satisfied expression.
“You’re not like a child.”
“Because of my background…”
The Duke let out a hollow laugh.
“I’m not offering it for free. If you work hard, I’ll reward you accordingly. You won’t have to worry about food and shelter right away.”
The Duke nodded and waved his hand.
“That’s enough, rest for today. Follow Lena.”
The Duke called Lena, and after bidding farewell, I left the reception room.
A translucent message appeared in my field of view.
[Obtained a small amount of Stratagem experience points.]
My attention was drawn to the sudden system message. I didn’t expect to gain experience points so soon.
It seemed that joining under the chief of intelligence was considered an act related to the stratagem.
‘Hah, I guess I’ve become a trainee spy.’
I felt a little happy at the unexpected stroke of luck.
Was it because I was under the Chief of Intelligence? It was a moment when the future seemed a little brighter.
By the way, how much was I obtained exactly?
I tried to recall the status window that I had called earlier, but the system message didn’t refresh.
Couldn’t I see it?
Since the status window had become simpler, it seemed that it didn’t display the total amount of experience points either.
“Why are you stopping?”
As I was lost in thought, Lena tilted her head with a slight delay in her steps.
I hurriedly caught up and looked around the nostalgic corridor adorned with murals.
“Oh, no, it’s nothing. It’s just fascinating.”
“…You’ll get used to it soon.”
Lena nodded, but her subtle gaze remained. The direct servant of the Chief of Intelligence. She certainly wouldn’t be an ordinary servant.
I realized that from now on, I had to be a little more careful.
No matter the situation, I shouldn’t let my attention waver if a system message comes up.
If I had been facing her, she would have noticed something strange.
Consciously lowering my head slightly, I watched Lena’s reaction. Her gaze, which had momentarily lingered on my forehead, turned forward again.
I followed behind while being conscious of my breathing.
My head felt a bit complicated.
The outcome itself was fine, but the meeting was too simple and straightforward compared to what I had expected.
When I took in an orphan, choices like “Will you dedicate your life to me?” or “Serve me with loyalty” came to mind.
If it was the duke, the Chief of Intelligence, it would be normal to have something more mentally demanding.
Perhaps it ended so simply and clearly precisely because the duke was the Chief of Intelligence.
Anyway, mere resolutions were meaningless.
The Chief of Intelligence of a country. Perhaps some systematic and progressive ideological education would take place.
To survive here for a long time, I would probably have to pretend to be as indoctrinated as possible by that ideological education.
Lost in thought, I reached the cafeteria. It wasn’t that big. It could accommodate a maximum of about 20 people.
On the prepared dining table, there were several dishes laid out.
Soup, roasted chicken, steak, lasagna… At a glance, there were more than seven main dishes.
It was an amount that would be impossible for one person to eat alone.
“Oh, um, can I…?”
I looked up at Lena, feigning excited anticipation. It wasn’t difficult; I was almost sincere.
Since my Mysophobia had been resolved, the intense hunger was what troubled me.
“You can eat everything as you please.”
I hurriedly sat at the table, and I noticed a faint layer of dust settled on the lasagna. I frowned slightly. I shouldn’t eat that.
Then I immediately picked up the roasted chicken and brought it to my mouth.
Perhaps due to my Mysophobia or a slight aversion to the utensils that had been there from the start, but hunger overcame those feelings.
Lena, who had been standing at a distance, let out a faint sigh with a slightly uncomfortable expression.
“For today… Just eat first. It’s better to do the etiquette training later.”
I nodded hastily, and Lena turned away.
“I’ll be waiting outside. Come out when you’re done eating.”
I watched Lena leave and pondered the situation. Duke’s influence was likely embedded even in this food.
It was probably part of the reward he mentioned earlier.
For an orphan with nothing, this splendid dining table was likely a completely new experience.
Even when playing games, the quality of accommodation and food given to the acquired subordinates determined their loyalty.
Knowing that, I felt a slight sense of appreciation.
In fact, even when I lived on Earth, I didn’t have many opportunities to experience such luxurious dining tables.
I couldn’t help but think how fortunate I was.
Based on my past experiences, dealing with the orphans I acquired in Valhǫll could be categorized into two main approaches.
One was subjugation through fear accompanied by violence and threats, along with control, and the other focused on establishing a psychologically intimate relationship.
As a player, it was customary to act differently depending on the personality of the acquired orphan.
It was meaningless to be kind to those who didn’t appreciate it.
Nevertheless, the latter method was primarily used in most cases.
Subjugation through fear and control involved too many variables to handle, such as the need to be constantly vigilant against potential betrayal.
On the other hand, providing good food, comfortable accommodations, and humane treatment was a more convenient approach.
In my experience, it also carried much less risk.
In fact, there was a time when a character with a magical mark on their heart betrayed me.
‘I still don’t know how it was resolved.’
Nevertheless, from what I could see, Duke’s approach seemed to lean more toward improving personal relationships.
I didn’t know what would happen in the future, but I needed to show gratitude and appreciation for what was given to me.
That way, Duke might be able to tame me without resorting to violence or threats.
When I thought about how much I could withstand in the face of violence as a modern-day person, this seemed like the best approach.
I finished my meal as slowly as possible, organizing my thoughts.
Even so, more than half of the food remained untouched.
The stomach of a thirteen-year-old orphan who had grown up without proper meals wasn’t that big.
Of course, I didn’t touch the lasagna, as it was to be expected.
I wondered if it was just my body, but the food was already crammed into my small stomach and up to my throat.
I was seized by the desire to brush my teeth immediately due to the lingering discomfort caused by mysophobia.
Suppressing the growing unease, I went outside the cafeteria, and Lena smiled at me.
“How was the meal?”
“It was delicious! There were dishes I had never tasted before. It’s a shame that I left so much….”
“Don’t worry, you’ll be able to eat whenever you want from now on.”
I could tell that Lena’s hands and feet trembled a bit as she was forced to play the role of taking care of a child, but she did her best.
Later, Lena guided me to a separate guest room.
The room was also quite neat. There was a bit of dust visible in the corners, probably due to hasty preparations, but…
Compared to just a while ago, running through the back alleys of the market, this was more than acceptable.
I pretended to be amazed as I looked around the room, and Lena added.
“From now on, you’ll stay here. I’ll explain etiquette and other matters separately.”
“For now, rest today. Someone will come to see you soon, whether it’s me or someone else.”
Once I confirmed that Lena had moved away, I hurriedly ran to the bathroom to brush my teeth.
Fortunately, there were basic supplies available.
Afterward, I took the time to clean the room. Compared to when I was on Earth, it was incredibly tidy, but…
From the perspective of a person with mysophobia, there was still a lot lacking.
Finally, I washed off the dirt from cleaning and threw myself onto the bed.
Only then could I relax and immerse myself in my thoughts.
What should I do with this?
The situation in front of me was still as dark as ever. Even if luck was against me, there was a limit to how bad it could be, but Devil’s Blood? That was something else.
It wasn’t something familiar to me either.
In Valhǫll, there were devil worshippers. They were the adversaries of the continent’s authorities, known as witches or heretics, and they were the main antagonists of the story.
And there were those who have inherited the Devil’s Blood, the bloodline of the devil worshipped by those devil worshippers.
They possessed the trait called Devil’s Blood and were targets to be eliminated, just like the devil worshippers.
But relying on the devil worshippers would be insane. They were searching for Devil’s Blood as a sacrifice for summoning devils.
No matter which side I choose, it meant death if I was discovered.
‘I haven’t seen much myself, but…’
Sometimes, there would be an event quest that said “Find a Devil’s Blood.”
Every Devil’s Blood I’d seen had been strong. Perhaps their talent was exceptional because of the devil’s bloodline.
I couldn’t think of this as a good thing. So what if I had great talent? It meant death if I was caught.
Moreover, I didn’t know how to use it or hide it.
I should look up as much as possible about Devil’s Blood. Carefully, so as not to raise suspicion.
It was my immediate top priority for survival.
‘As long as it doesn’t take too long to build up power…’
Of course, not getting caught was the best option, but if you thought about it differently, there was plenty of room for utilization.
If I could overcome the ability penalties from Worst Condition with the talents granted by Devil’s Blood, I’d be able to do more than just average attacks in my everyday life.
And if I build up enough power, I could travel around using the Mystic Winds.
Thinking positively, it wasn’t so bad after all.
Just by joining under Haisen’s Chief of Intelligence, who was somewhat related to the princess, I was already on the right track.
It’s fine. Things are going well.
There were scattered risks, but the more I organized my thoughts, the calmer I felt.
Was it because it was better than being engulfed in ambiguity?
Right. I should start with what I could do immediately.
Worrying wouldn’t change anything. Wasn’t the greatest of human desires the desire for survival?
‘I must survive.’
In the end, what matters was surviving “somehow.”
I didn’t know how the game-turned-reality would unfold, but in order to cope with anything, I had to stay alive.
And in the process of surviving “somehow,” there would be many things that I couldn’t have imagined.
Since I would become a spy, I needed to prepare myself mentally in advance.
With that in mind, I suddenly felt a strange blemish within me.
It was a feeling of slightly dry emotions.
Even in my own thoughts, I was strangely calm. Just looking at what happened today showed that.
I was momentarily taken aback by the sudden events, but I recovered quickly. I dealt with them calmly.
‘Even when I accepted the situation, when I was pickpocketing during the escape, when I met the duke… it was the same.’
That sense of alienation was quite confusing. Even if I came into a different body, my consciousness was entirely my own.
Several conjectures came to mind.
‘Is it because of the transmigration? Or is it because of the trait called Devil’s Blood?’
Either one could be a valid reason. As seen from the Mysophobia trait, if Devil’s Blood flowed through my body…
It wouldn’t be strange for a person to change a little.
The same was true in the former case. Although the memories in this body were not complete, it was just my consciousness that entered someone else’s body.
Some degree of assimilation was necessary.
In fact, the pickpocketing during the escape could be more due to the habits deeply rooted in this body than the Eccentric Actions trait.
Meaningless yet meaningful conjectures once again cluttered my mind.
I let out a deep sigh along with my contemplation. Whatever the case, surviving “somehow” was the priority.
Whether it was the influence of the Devil’s Blood or the influence of the possession didn’t matter. I could utilize them for survival.
I must have been in that state for some time.
Without realizing it, my eyes began to close slowly. It was largely due to the psychological fatigue from the unfamiliar situation.
‘Maybe it’s because I’m an orphan that couldn’t sleep comfortably.’
There was no need to resist sleep. I simply couldn’t fall into a deep slumber.
I periodically woke up, feeling profound exhaustion.
At first, I thought it might be due to psychological anxiety.
But after experiencing it multiple times, it seemed to be more related to the effect of the trait called Worst Condition.
Rather than deteriorating for no reason, it seemed more plausible to create a seemingly valid reason.
‘It’s preventing me from getting a sound sleep.’
Nevertheless, the child’s body desired sleep, and I uncomfortably continued my sleep intermittently.
Between the repetitive moments of drifting in and out of sleep, my consciousness roamed like an opaque mist. At times, I felt like I heard the voices of children.
I knew that the sun had set and the night had arrived, but I couldn’t break free from my slumber.
Perhaps it was due to the accumulated fatigue in the original physical body.
Anyway, no one came to wake me up.
After tossing and turning for about thirty times, I suddenly, instinctively opened my eyes.
It was because a peculiar and chilling sensation seized me, unlike before.
In the dimly lit room, permeated with a faint bluish hue, a stranger was staring down at me. When did they come in?
A shiver ran down my spine. Before I could even startle, the man softly opened his mouth.
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