God always betrayed him.
It had been that way all his life.
He had nothing to say if it was for lack of real faith in God, but it was also true that God was overly harsh with him.


Major Eugen, who had been thinking long and hard about something, suddenly spoke up.


“Rather than that, Your Excellency.”


Heiner raised his eyebrows, as if telling him to speak.
Major Eugen hesitated for a moment, then spoke.


“What are you going to do about Miss Rosenberg?”


“What do you mean?”


“To be honest, the first time I learned about the ciphertext, I thought it was a coincidence—.
But from what I saw, it really does do something.
Yes, and if they decode the current one, too, we’ll get some great information.”


What Annette did was not something that could be dismissed as ‘something’.
Major Eugen also knew this.
However he just did not want to admit it.


It was no exaggeration to say that wars were divided into killing wars and code wars.


Thousands of lives lived and died with a single code, and the game of war changed.
And the information that Annette Rosenberg deciphered was not simply a matter of identifying a few clues.


“So I was curious what you were going to do for Miss Rosenberg.”


Major Eugen acknowledged her credit but looked uncomfortable.


The Commander-in-Chief was a man who was certain of awards and punishments.
Major Eugen himself was someone who had come this far and experienced that virtue, so he knew better than anyone else.


But he couldn’t help but feel bad about the fact that the reward was going to Annette Rosenberg.


Of course his words hid his ill feelings toward Annette Rosenberg to the best of his ability.
Not only did he not call her “she,” he even acknowledged her credit.


The choice was not a logical one, but a vague instinct.
After the divorce, the Major was also vaguely aware of the Commander-in-Chief’s changed mood.


If the former commander-in-chief had been a well-trained beast, he was now like a raging creature, chained to a single rope, waiting for an opportunity.


This made Major Eugen involuntarily pay attention to what was being said about Annette Rosenberg.
However, the Commander-in-Chief did not like his efforts.


“…first, the award will have to be decided after seeing how this information will be used, and…”


His voice, which continued without highs or lows, was cold and chilling.


“What Miss Rosenberg is doing is not ‘something’, it’s code breaking.
And even if it wasn’t, she served as a nurse and is dedicated to her country.
Do not underestimate her conduct and loyalty.”


The words made Major Eugen flinch.


There was no mistaking the Commander-in-Chief’s words, except for the fact that his opponent was Annette Rosenberg.


Certainly, his superior was not someone who judged people by their personal supervision.


Major Eugen felt embarrassed and at the same time admired once again the Commander-in-Chief’s refusal to make exceptions, no matter how many Rosenbergs he had to deal with.


With his hands clasped tightly to his thighs, the Major exclaimed in a spirited voice.


“I was thoughtless.
I’m sorry!”




Time passed slowly.


Annette spent most of the day reading ciphertexts.
However, no progress was made after she reported her guesses about the numerical ciphers to the Commander-in-Chief.


Time passed without discovering anything more.
Annette began to think that she had found everything she would find at this point.
Now she had memorized the entire sheet music.


One day, while out walking, she ran into Major Eugen in the camp.
Unlike her expectation of cold sarcasm would fly at her, he only greeted her with his eyes and had no special reaction.


Annette was too startled to face him and froze.
It’s time for me to die, she thought. 


Anxious moments passed slowly.


The Commander-in-Chief told her that she could stop the decoding process.
As for Annette, she did not know if this was a good or bad sign.


Then, two days later, a bomber surfaced in Lancaster, the capital of Padania.


It was at the same time that the Axis High Command, consisting of the coalition of France and Armania, launched land forces on the Padania front.
After all, there was no declaration of war.


Indiscriminate carpet bombing rained down on the capital.
Buildings were destroyed and casualties were high.
The newspapers were full of stories about the bombings.


Annette put down the newspaper she was reading.
Her shaky breath came in shallow puffs.
She hurried to drink her coffee.


The hot liquid burned her tongue.




Annette stuck out her tongue and furrowed her brow.
The tingling sensation brought her to her senses.
She looked at the front page of the newspaper again.


Bombing? In the capital? Why?


The questions slowly surfaced.


The capital was meant to be virtually symbolic.
To make the bombing of the mainland substantially more effective, it was more efficient to bomb military bases and production facilities rather than the capital.


‘The “demoralizing effect…” is the only thing I can be sure of.’


The bombing left all the citizens of Padania in shock and grief.
This had nothing to do with the substantial damage.


It was as if the war, which they had thought would happen only on the front lines, had sericopoied their town overnight.
The psychological terror felt by the citizens was tremendous.


Annette folded the newspaper in half and set it aside.
Her heart thumped uneasily in her chest.
She opened the Bible and read a few lines, but she couldn’t see the print and covered it up.


Then that evening, Annette was given the order to move.


“Tomorrow morning at 6:30, there’s a transport train bound for Huntingham.
It is your final destination, so just get off at the end.”


It was not the Commander-in-Chief who delivered the order, but his aide.
In fact, it was a matter of course.
The Commander-in-Chief was the one who gave the orders, not the one who delivered them.


But until now, Heiner had reported everything directly to her, and had personally received her reports.
Even the smallest detail.


It was the first time he had orders delivered by someone else.
This made Annette realize once again that he was currently very busy.


“…… Huntingham would be……”


“It’s a field hospital a short distance from the central front.
It’s behind the Recruiting Corps and you will be taking care of the wounded and prisoners of war who are being sent back.”


“I see.”


If it was behind the replacement recruits, they were at the end of the line.
She had expected to be moved further back, but it was a strange feeling to actually hear the news.


After the aide left, Annette started packing right after dinner.
The orders had been given in such a hurry that there was not enough time.


Annette put the items she was taking and the items she was throwing away separately into a luggage compartment and a box, respectively.
In the process of cleaning out the drawers, she found the letters that Catherine had sent her.


She was distressed and put them all in the box, except for one letter dated the last day of the month.


‘Cynthia is far from the capital…they will be fine.’


All the news reports about the bombing were focused on the capital, Lancaster.
It was such a blessing that Catherine had moved out of the capital.


It was late at night when she was ready to leave.
Annette left the barracks with the discarded box.


She passed several buildings and headed for the bonfire at the back of the camp.
She could see some soldiers busily moving about, but it was generally quiet inside the commander’s camp.


A fire was faintly flickering from afar.
Vermilion lights rippled like waves on the floor, submerged in darkness.


A few more steps and her feet stopped abruptly.
A man was sitting on a simple chair in front of a blazing bonfire.


His cigar was still wedged  between his index and middle fingers.
He was sitting with his body bent forward.


It was as if he had submerged himself carelessly into the darkness.
His face was expressionless as he stared at the bonfire.
Smoke rose silently from the end of the cigar.


Her eyes shook for a moment as she watched his lone figure.
Annette had always thought of Heiner as firm and hard as steel.


He would never break, she once thought.
But in this moment, he looked infinitely vulnerable and weak, as if he would break without effort.


Annette felt as if she had peeked into a very intimate part of him.
Not the Commander-in-Chief of Padania, just a man.


Annette deliberately made her presence known.


Heiner raised his head.
She approached the bonfire and threw the items in the box into the fire one by one.
Flames flickered and devoured them.


Heiner watched her in silence.
He did not open his mouth even after Annette threw in the last letter.


Annette watched the letter burn to ashes.
Finally, when there was nothing left to burn, she turned around.
Her eyes met his.
Annette smiled faintly and asked.


 “May I sit with you……?”

点击屏幕以使用高级工具 提示:您可以使用左右键盘键在章节之间浏览。

You'll Also Like