Home Post 1166-chapter-134


“If the Captain finds out I forgot the compartment number, he’ll surely scold me… He’s quite unforgiving, you see. Could you please check without mentioning that I’m looking for him?”

“Yes, yes. Of course.”

How long had it been since she sat on the makeshift chair next to the restroom, gazing out the window? The conductor returned after checking all the compartments, his face betraying his confusion, which almost made her smile.

“Ah… what should we do? It seems there’s no one by that name.”

He hadn’t boarded the train.

Grace pretended to be troubled, her shoulders drooping in faked distress while she hid her true feelings.

“Ah, oh no… what to do…”

“If you’ve boarded the wrong train by mistake…”

“Ah, no, it’s the right train. It seems the Captain missed it.”

After thanking the conductor, Grace returned to her compartment, pulled up her knees, and pretended to sleep.

It was unlikely that he would just sit quietly at the Western Command…

Maybe he was following by some other means. Perhaps heading to the destination he vaguely learned from ‘Mrs. Baker.’ No. If he knew the exact destination, he wouldn’t bother to follow. It was a place where he didn’t need to be.

Suddenly, she felt he might be waiting somewhere easy to follow her, no matter where she ran.

Was it a plan to let her go and watch from afar?

She was once not allowed to step even a few paces out of the annex garden. The man who refused to let her go seemed to be showing remarkable patience, which made her laugh.

“Is there something amusing?”

Mrs. Baker, who had been reading a magazine across from her, asked. Grace opened her eyes, which she had kept shut, and smiled at the woman.

“Oh, no, just… It’s not a very interesting story for you.”

Polite, but she was internally irked.

Would she keep up the pretense and follow even when changing trains? Might she continue to be a nuisance even upon arrival?

Besides, there might be others following her, monitoring as closely as this woman, ready to eavesdrop on a very private conversation that must remain secret from the enemy, sharpening her alertness.

Considering the next steps in her plan, Grace realized she eventually had to shake off those tailing her. She decided it was time to stop pretending she was unaware of the man’s strategy.

“Mrs. Baker, what time is it now?”

The woman checked her wristwatch before answering.

“It’s 4:28 PM.”

This train was scheduled to arrive at Chesterfield, a central hub where lines from the east, west, north and south intersect at 4:30 PM and depart again at 4:35 PM. So far, there have been no delays.

Realizing she had barely two minutes to execute the plan she had devised since leaving Winsford Central Station, she got up.

“I need to use the restroom again…”

“It’s normal to need frequent breaks when you’re pregnant.”

The woman said kindly. Grace, returning the smile, quickly lost it as soon as she stepped into the corridor.

Heading to the right first, where the restrooms were located, she pretended to wait her turn by sitting on a bench and staring at the door leading outside. Soon, the train slowed down and entered Chesterfield Station.

While initially only watching the platform, Grace inadvertently glanced at the opposite tracks and had a sudden inspiration.

‘This might be a better idea.’

Another train was parked on the adjacent track. It seemed less likely to be noticed on the train compared to the platform, where doors frequently opened, and the comings and goings were too visible.

The other train, appearing to start from Chesterfield, was sparsely empty, with porters wearing flat caps boarding it.

This meant there was still time before it departed.

However, the current train only had a five-minute stop—meaning the operation had to be completed in just five minutes.

As soon as the train stopped, Grace stood up and opened the door. She caught the eye of a porter through the closed door of the adjacent train and gestured for him to open it. Despite looking puzzled, the man promptly did so.

The gap between the trains wasn’t too wide and easily jumpable alone, though there was no need to overdo it. Grace gratefully accepted the porter’s offered hand to help her across to the other train. Once inside the corridor, she handed the porter a bill.

His eyes widened at the amount.

“If people rush out asking where the pregnant woman went, point to…”

She gestured towards a mail train across the platform.

“Say I ran onto that train.”

“Yes, leave it to me.”

The man grinned as he pocketed the money and headed towards the platform, leaving his assigned luggage behind. Grace immediately walked down the corridor to the left.

Past the restroom and three compartments, she would be directly opposite where she had been seated before.


Everything was going according to plan.

Mrs. Baker, who had been monitoring her target’s movement, opened her compartment door just in time for their eyes to meet across two windows. In that moment, Grace feigned shock, clutching her belly and hurriedly moving forward.

Her act of playing dumb seemed to have worked.

Mrs. Baker stepped into the trap without suspicion.

Hidden at the end of the corridor, she peeked out and saw the woman knocking on the door of the next compartment, shouting something. Simultaneously, four young men burst out and ran towards the end of the train.

As expected. He wouldn’t have assigned just one person to her.

Without delay, Grace moved to the adjacent carriage. Halfway down, the door she had passed swung open, and the woman shouted.

“Hey! Stop there!”

That woman didn’t know her name? Usually, pursuers call out the name. Grace didn’t stop and continued to the end of the carriage. No matter how narrow the corridor, they were running while she only walked fast, so they caught up quickly.

Still, they didn’t know it was all part of her plan.

As they reached the middle of the carriage, Grace turned around and raised her hands as if to surrender, though the object in her hand was far from a symbol of surrender. The pursuers hesitated at the sight of the gun in her right hand.

Grace shook the bullets in her other hand as if to show them off.

“It’s not empty anymore.”

Firing a warning shot to the ceiling wasn’t an option, as it meant stopping all train operations.

“Get down, now!”

Whether Winston sent them or not, their weakness was the same. Grace couldn’t be allowed to die.

Just like she had done in the annex, she pointed the gun under her chin and made the pursuers exchange glances before they obediently lay down in the corridor. Still holding the gun to her neck, she opened the side door and stepped out.

A quick glance at the platform clock showed thirty-three minutes past the hour.

Grace pretended to flee towards the platform only to turn around and enter the next carriage’s door. Squatting down and listening, she heard the sounds of footsteps rushing towards the platform.

“Where did she go? Which way?”

Amidst the panicked shouting, someone yelled in a direction away from her, prompting Grace to duck and move towards the opposite door. As the whistle signaling the departure sounded, she returned to the opposite train just like when she had first jumped across.

“Ha… that was close.”

As the train started to move, she didn’t head straight to her compartment but hid in the restroom instead.

“Ah, I’m hungry.”

She pressed her rumbling stomach, listening to the corridor beyond the locked door. The scenery outside the small window shifted from gray to blue, indicating no one was searching for her anymore in the corridor. This meant no pursuers had boarded the train again.

Finally, Grace returned to an empty compartment.

“To be an unwelcome guest on Christmas when the whole family gathers, that’s not right.”

She took a bottle of soda from the bag, opened it, and stretched out on the seat. Enjoying the beautiful view of the Chesterfield River and her newfound freedom, she took a swig of the cool soda and suddenly burst into laughter.

It was a thrilling sensation, like successfully completing a mission after a long time. She thought her body and mind had become dull from being confined without any stimulation.

“Wow, turns out I am still useful.”

However, the refreshing laughter soon faded.

I’m still useful, after all…


* * *


In an office overlooking the Chesterfield central station platform, engulfed in darkness and silence, it was as busy as the train station during daylight. At this place, the makeshift operational headquarters was bustling with about a dozen soldiers who were constantly on their phones, chattering away.

They all repeated the same phrases, like parrots.