Home Post 1442-chapter-143

1442-chapter-143

It was a night meant for singing songs to commemorate the last day of the year. However, in the Witheridge Detention Center, chilling screams echoed through the corridors until late at night.

“It’s tedious. I’m bored.”

One of the officers, who had been playing cards at a round table in the first-floor lounge, stood up and turned up the radio volume. The voice of a singer, as if tearing through the throat, finally drowned out the screams, and the expressions of the four officers relaxed a bit.

Due to an emergency declared during the holiday season, the officers, who could not return to their hometowns, were on duty. They were all from the Northern Command. Officers from the Western Command had taken over the lounge in the basement, where the interrogation rooms were located.

There was a subtle tension between the two commands lately, fueling an uneasy atmosphere among the officers. The Northern Command had been criticized for not properly monitoring its jurisdiction, allowing the rebels’ stronghold to remain hidden in the North for decades.

Meanwhile, the Western Command was wary of the North’s active involvement, fearing they might steal the glory.

It was all too familiar a story.

Soon, the radio transitioned from music to a discussion of current affairs.

[ To our listeners and surely to the Rochester royal family, there could be no more thrilling Christmas gift. ]

[ Indeed, it wouldn’t be. ]

Camden’s vampire had become the hero of Christmas. While it was supposed to be a week praising the Savior, it was all praise for Winston.

This was just as boring as the screams.

No one bothered to change the channel as the situation would likely be the same elsewhere, not just on the radio but in newspapers and magazines everywhere, which continued to prominently feature the suppression of the Blanchard rebels for over a week.

Today’s newspaper on the table featured ‘Little Jimmy’ in a prison uniform on the front page, with headlines proclaiming that the face of the devil had finally been revealed. In truth, that was his face right after the arrest, and he looked very different now—a fact unknown to the public.

Looking down at the glossy face of the captain beside it, an officer scoffed.

“Give it a few months, and there will be a movie about it.”

“I can already see the poster. The title will be something like ‘The Miracle of Christmas.'”

As the officers shuffled their cards and exchanged casual chatter, the conversation on the radio continued.

[ You might think the royal family is preparing a gift for Captain Winston, but what do you think, professor, who used to cover the royal family? ]

[ Actually, it’s an old story, but Major Richard Winston, oh, he was posthumously promoted to Lieutenant Colonel, so it should be Lieutenant Colonel. There was public regret that the Lieutenant Colonel wasn’t granted a title when he died in action. ]

[ Everyone is paying close attention to see if the Winston family will finally reclaim a title this time. We’ve been flooded with postcards and calls to the station today. Naturally, everyone is mentioning a promotion or a title. ]

[ We’ve heard through royal sources that it’s pretty much a done deal. I’m thinking of keeping a secret, but I’m revealing this for the first time here today… ]

[ Oh, this is exciting. ]

[ There’s a rumor that the King’s New Year’s speech has been hastily revised to include this issue. Everyone is expecting a surprise announcement of a title award. ]

“Quicker than expected…”

“You can’t ignore public opinion.”

“New Year’s speech… a perfect stage for a grand show.”

Everyone smirked. It was evident that the king was coveting the attention focused on Captain Winston. While this week had been a festival of praise for Winston, the media’s adulation would be split between Winston and the king starting tomorrow.

The granting of a title wasn’t a foregone conclusion until just now, but a promotion had already been accepted as fact within the military.

“He’s too young for a captain, and now he’ll be wearing a Major’s insignia.”

There were still ongoing investigations, yet the Western Command had requested Captain Winston’s promotion, which was approved by Army Headquarters.

His achievements in wiping out the base and capturing its leader were sufficient grounds for promotion. Thus, there would have been no disagreement at headquarters.

“Initiating an operation during Christmas week…”

It was at a time when everyone else was taking leave and heading home. It was an enormous disruption.

“When I first heard, I thought they were out of their minds. To think that the higher-ups approved it, it was unbelievable.”

Yet, it turned out that the operation had been launched during the week when everyone was on holiday leave and going back to their hometowns.

“They knew it was the village. Calculated that the rebels, even those who were away for Christmas, would all return.”

This allowed them to capture all the key rebel figures at once, leaving only the minor players who weren’t directly connected to the base.

“The more I learn about him, the scarier he gets.”

One officer nodded and laid down his cards, and suddenly asked.

“What happened to that double agent anyway?”

He looked around his colleagues, but everyone shrugged as if they didn’t know.

“Given the achievements, maybe they let her off the hook?”

“And how did they persuade her?”

Every time they caught rebels, they attempted to coax them, but most didn’t know the location of the base. Sometimes, when they did catch a big fish, the rebels would either rescue them during transport or the person would die without spilling anything—really tough bastards.

“Who knows? I wanted to ask, but the atmosphere in the Western was too tense to even bring it up.”

“Anyway, with such an open betrayal, that woman will have to live in hiding for the rest of her life?”

“That woman… I don’t know if her husband is a rebel, but I guess they ensured a complete identity wash for her family before putting her in.”

The conversation stopped abruptly as the sound of tires screeching on the pavement came from outside. An officer walked to the window and looked out toward the main entrance.

“He’s here again.”

It was late at night, and Captain Winston had returned to the detention center.

An officer stood up from the card game, clicking his tongue.

“If I was Winston, I’d leave this dreary detention center to my subordinates and spend all day partying. I’d rent out an entire cabaret, pop the most expensive champagne, and be surrounded by beauties.”

Lately, the captain was practically living here, although he was still commuting daily to and from Blackburn village, to see if there was anything left for him to do.

“A workaholic… that’s what makes him scary. Not only is he capable, but he’s also diligent.”

His subordinates must be exhausted. However, that also meant more opportunities for promotion, so subtly, everyone was eager to make an impression on the captain as they hurried out into the corridor.

As the officers lined up in the corridor, the Captain entered through the main gate and turned in their direction.

His gaze was as intense as ever, shadowed by the brim of his deeply pulled cap. While others were immersed in festive spirits, the man who orchestrated the festival looked as if he were attending a funeral.

The first day, someone had congratulated him, only to receive a chilling stare. After that, no one dared to mention congratulations again.

His reaction was incomprehensible.

He had accomplished a significant military success and avenged his father, yet he acted as if he had botched the operation.

Speculation about his mood was rampant.

Some said he realized that even with revenge, his dead father wouldn’t return—a cliché ending straight from a novel. Others believed his melancholy was due to the recent confirmation of the death of Patrick Pullman, who had been newly revealed as an accomplice in his father’s death.

‘Looks like this attempt to impress has also failed.’

The Captain marched forward, paying no attention to the saluting officers, and headed straight for the basement.

Only Lieutenant Campbell, who followed him, kept looking back at the line of officers. Campbell signaled with his eyes, ‘Do not speak to the Captain,’ to the other officers of the Northern Campbell before following Winston down the stairs.

Captain Winston was enduring the best and worst of times. Or perhaps, not the best at all. Despite capturing hundreds of enemies, his focus remained fixed on the one woman whom he had missed.

In effect, this operation was a defeat for the captain.

As Campbell followed him silently around the corner of the basement, he observed the Captain, who appeared strong and solid. Yet, having known him since their academy days, Campbell understood him differently.

As volatile as nitroglycerin that touched feathers.

Serving as the Captain’s aide during this period was more unstable than ever. Therefore, he was even more cautious about his actions and words.

As they approached the high-security area with iron bars, the guards standing in front of it quickly opened the iron-barred gate without being asked. From repeated encounters, they were well acquainted with the captain’s temperament.

Without a pause, the Captain proceeded to the cell where the fallen rebel commander was detained.

 

__