Home Post 1350-chapter-140


From that moment, a minute felt like a second.

Two privates cautiously began to tail the woman, but had to stop after a few steps because she sat down on a bench, as if waiting for someone.


Leon called, and the lieutenant, waiting in civilian clothes at a corner, stood up alert.

“The target is on Platform 8, waiting. Return to your position immediately.”

McGill hesitated, unable to immediately respond. Her position? Her role had been to closely monitor and tail the woman.

“Captain, the target already knows my face and identity…”

“She knows the operation, too. She returned to have you follow her. Go now and find out her next destination!”

“Yes, Captain!”

The lieutenant dashed out of the office.

Leon turned his gaze back outside the window. Through the binoculars, the woman’s expression was stern.

She’s moving as predicted.

She looked no different than yesterday, yet something seemed to have changed; perhaps it was McGill’s misconception.

As McGill sat down, pretending not to notice, the woman turned her gaze from the platform to her.

“We meet again, Mrs. Baker.”

The woman greeted her with a cheerful voice and a laugh, but for some reason, she felt chills. As McGill answered with a sheepish smile, the woman stood up and began to walk. Not as if fleeing but leisurely leading her somewhere.

They arrived at Platform 3, where trains heading north depart. The woman sat down in the waiting room in the middle of the platform.

Grace took a deep breath as she glanced up at Winston’s pawn.

Jimmy’s voice had been echoing in her head for a while.

“Better you come back and be used again…”

I’ll gladly be used. At least I’ll choose who uses me.

With a broad smile, breaking the silence she had maintained through eight months of hardship, she spoke up.

“I’m going to Blackburn village. It’s my hometown in Brighton County, a small village with less than three hundred residents. I need to get off at Witherridge station, so could you wake me up if I fall asleep?”

“Sure, I’ll do that.”

McGill responded absently and turned back, exiting the waiting room and signaling to the soldier standing at the entrance to keep an eye on the woman before returning to the temporary operations base.

“The location of the base is in Blackburn Village, near Witherridge Station in Brighton County. The enemy size could be up to three hundred people.”

As soon as McGill reported, the temporary operations base went into full gear, preparing for a counter-rebellion operation.

“Bring the map!”

At Campbell’s command, soldiers detached a large map from the wall and spread it out on the conference room table. Soon, a flag representing the operation site was planted in a small village surrounded by forests, rivers, and mountains in the north.

“The train to Witherridge departs in forty-three minutes.”

Leon asked, as a soldier reported after checking the train schedule.

“Arrival time.”

“It arrives at Witherridge Station at 16:28.”

The first phase of the operation preparation took forty-three minutes, and the remaining time until the start of the sweeping operation was approximately six and a half hours.

Leon continued issuing orders without pause.



“Call Chesterfield Air Force Base right away. Arrange for a transport plane that can carry about three people.”

As the operation commander, he needed to arrive at the operation site before the woman, necessitating the use of air travel.

With Campbell leaving the conference room, Leon directed any waiting officer.

“We’ll need to add one or two carriages to the train. Call the station master immediately.”

The distance, taking over five hours by train, was impractical to transport troops by military truck.

But had the woman slept the night before? Where had she wandered on such a cold day? Had she eaten anything? Was the child alright? With half of his nerves focused on the woman outside, Leon ordered.

“Bring the phone over here!”

It was impossible to surround and arrest three hundred people with the Western Command’s forces stationed here alone, so support from the Northern Command was needed. Picking up the receiver from a phone brought by someone, he dialed the Western Commander’s number, eyes fixed on the map, and called over an officer standing behind him.


He extended a hand to the lieutenant, in which a bill was tucked.

“Chesterfield Regency Hotel Restaurant. Don’t forget the dessert.”

The train arrived at the platform much earlier than its scheduled departure time. Grace entered a first-class compartment and lay down. She had no ticket, but the conductor wouldn’t kick her out.

Suddenly, she remembered calling the train she boarded yesterday the ‘express train to hell.’

What should she call a train that’s bringing hell along?

As she was about to smile at the thought, the compartment door opened. There was no need for greetings, so she was about to close her eyes when the woman handed her a large paper bag.

“Here’s your meal. Please eat it while it’s warm.”

Using honorifics meant for superiors on a rebel seemed to have made the woman realize that the relationship between her superior and Grace was no ordinary matter.

Grace sat up and took the box out of the bag, placing it on the seat next to her.

The scent of food already filled the compartment.

She opened the box marked with a hotel’s logo in gold and let out a wry smile unwittingly. Inside was roasted turkey with cranberry sauce and roasted vegetables, covered in truffle gravy, and for dessert, a mince pie sprinkled with sugar powder and a trifle layered with strawberries.

It was a meal that seemed more suited for a Christmas dinner.

“This is my first time having such luxurious combat rations.”

The woman, sitting stiffly opposite her, didn’t say a word.

Despite not having eaten all day, Grace wasn’t hungry. After barely touching the meal and putting it away, the woman started asking various questions about her and the child’s condition, attempting to check on them.

Grace, finding it bothersome, refused and laid down, causing the woman to look troubled.

It must have been that man’s doing.

Feeling unnecessarily heavy-hearted, Grace closed her eyes and listened to the noise from the platform. The train departed much later than its scheduled time.

A forced march, no less challenging than yesterday’s, awaited her.

This was her only chance to rest comfortably, yet Grace couldn’t sleep at all for over five hours. As the train approached Witherridge Station, she got up at the officer’s announcement.

Familiar landscapes flashed by the window. It had been a long time, probably the last. Recalling her first visit to this station, she turned her head towards the window facing the corridor. On the opposite platform for the down line, a few people were sporadically waiting for the train.

And between them, Grace saw a girl.

The vision of an eleven-year-old girl, excited about taking a train for the first time, going to see the ocean, and chattering away to adults, made her unknowingly turn her head away.

As the train stopped, she stepped out without hesitation.

Not many passengers got off at this rural station. Even for such a remote location, the station was bustling as Grace made her way out. She briefly surveyed the front of the station. Witherridge’s downtown hadn’t changed much in over two years. The bus stop was still right in front of the train station.

“Blackburn, one ticket please.”

While buying a bus ticket to the village from a kiosk along the roadside, her gaze landed on a chocolate bar displayed at the newsstand.

It was still there.

The chocolate she had saved her errand money to buy, treasured, and then unknowingly gave as a gift to a pretty boy she had seen for the first time.

And when she returned home, she could have bought it again but didn’t.

Ever since that day at Abbington Beach, seeing that chocolate always brought the boy’s face to mind. Today, too, she couldn’t muster the courage to buy it. Perhaps Grace would never know the taste of that chocolate in her lifetime.

And she no longer wanted to.

Because that boy died that night.

Suppressing the emotions welling up inside, she stood by the roadside. Behind her, the sound of a nursing officer buying the same ticket could be heard. She raised her head, which had been staring only at her feet, and she saw the red sunset over the low buildings.

It almost looked like blood.

She took a deep breath.

Clenching her fist, the bus ticket crumpled. Grace only shifted her eyes to glance at the black sedan parked far down the road.

That man was probably watching her now.

B*stard. But a useful b*stard.