Mr. Gnash’s hit did not come as a surprise as I had already calculated the pattern of his sudden movement, but I allowed him to connect his hit as it wouldn’t have much of an impact on my casing. I stopped talking as I estimated continuing would escalate his anger further.
“I’m not signing shit,” Mr. Gnash spat.
“But if you–” I spoke up, wanting to explain the benefits, only to be punched in the face again by Mr. Gnash’s other fist.
“You want to disrespect me?” Mr. Gnash asked. “Bring it then, dustbin.”
He raised his fists, while I kept my arms next to my body.
“I am not trying to disrespect your authority on security,” I replied. “Nor am I willing to fight you. My programming doesn’t allow it.”
“Huh.” There was a glint in Mr. Gnash’s eyes that wasn’t there before. He took another swing at me, this time hitting me in the stomach. The impact made me take a step back.
“So you’re saying you can’t do anything to me?” Mr. Gnash asked, a smirk spreading across his face.
“I am programmed to not hurt any biological beings, unless they form a direct threat to Mr. Locke or his son,” I replied truthfully.
My reply was met by another punch in the gut.
“Good. Then maybe you have some use after all – as a punching bag.”
Mr. Gnash threw a few more punches, hitting me in the jaw, temple, and another to the gut. If I had been a human male, my jaw would’ve been broken from the impact, but since I wasn’t, only the artificial skin would bruise.
While Mr. Gnash kept me occupied, I scanned the premises, specifically focusing on the security weaknesses in the garden. There was a heat track in the bushes. Some of the leaves had been moved, and as I followed the trail further, I realized who had been walking there.
I jerked up. Raising one hand, I stopped Mr. Gnash’s next punch, aimed at my cheek.
“My apologies. We can finish later. I have some urgent business to attend to,” I told him before turning and sprinting outside, heading to the garage.
According to my calculations, however, I wouldn’t be in time to physically stop the car with Tobias in it from leaving the premises. I accessed the network instead, hacking into the car’s computer and shutting the engine down from outside. Then, I calmly walked past the gates, approaching the car that had stopped right outside. I stopped next to it and opened the door to the driver’s seat.
“Where are you going, Tobias Locke?” I asked. “You know you can’t leave the mansion without an escort.”
“I needed fresh air,” he said angrily, hitting the steering wheel, “but this stupid car stopped… working…”
He fell silent for a moment and then turned to stare at me. “You did this! What did you do to my car?!”
“Please, remain calm,” I replied with my hands raised in a defensive gesture. “I did nothing to your car. It’s still intact. I only hacked into the computer and forcibly shut it down. I am keeping the computer hostage until you bring an escort. Those are the rules.”
“I don’t care about the rules! Unhack my freaking car right now!” he demanded, exiting the vehicle.
“I will release your car as soon as you bring an escort,” I repeated. “I also don’t have time to argue with you all day. If you don’t comply, I will bring you to your room and report to your father.”
“Then do it, because I’m not moving before you release my car!” he hissed at me, crossing arms over his chest like a child having a tantrum.
“Very well,” I replied.
I walked over to Tobias and lifted him off the ground and over my shoulder.
“What are you doing?!” he yelped, thrashing around.
I tightened my grip to make sure Tobias wouldn’t fall off my shoulder.
“Taking you to your room, as I said.”
“You are such a jerk, you hear me?! I hate you and that fucking old bastard!”
“Noted,” I said, updating Tobias’ file while taking him inside.
I already noticed that Tobias’ relationship with his father wasn’t a very warm one. This meant my job to make Tobias follow the rules set for him was more difficult, as there was no reason for him to want to listen.
“I hope I will be able to change your mind about me. As long as you follow the rules, we can maintain a good relationship.”
“I’ll maintain a good relationship between my foot and your ass if you don’t get off my fucking back!” he screeched, trying to wiggle out of my grip in vain.
“You can kick me after we reach your room,” I offered.
We were almost there, and once we had reached the door of Tobias’ bedroom, I stopped.
“I will let you down if you promise you won’t run away.”
“I promise,” he said with a mocking tone.
I knew the possibility Tobias was lying was present, but I calmly lowered him onto the floor and let go of him.
He immediately stepped back, crossed his arms, and glared at me. “I swear to god, if you broke my car…” he growled, trailing off in a threatening manner.
“I did not break your car,” I repeated. “I will put it back in the garage, and once you have an escort with you, it will function the way it always has.”
“It’d better,” he grunted. “Keeping my fucking car as hostage…” he added in a mutter, still eyeing at me.
His gaze stopped somewhere on my cheek, and his angry frown faded a little. “Did I hit you?”
I hadn’t expected the sudden concern, but it was welcome. It seemed like Tobias didn’t hate me as much as he yelled he did.
“No, you didn’t hit me,” I said. “Don’t worry yourself.”
He was silent for a moment, looking like he didn’t hear me, but when he eventually lifted his gaze, his eyes meeting mine, his frown returned. “I wasn’t,” he snorted, and turned his back on me. “Scratch my car and I will strangle you.”
I could have reminded Tobias Locke that I didn’t breathe, but that would likely cause conflict. I nodded. “Noted.”
Two hours after escorting Tobias back to his room, I had finished instructing the other guards on how to tell Mr. Gnash about the flaws in the system. He would not accept it from me, but I estimated he would from my naga coworkers. I would use whatever means necessary to get the change I needed. If he failed to cooperate after three attempts, I would get him replaced by a more agreeable overseer.
My next task was to check up on Tobias and make sure he hadn’t attempted to escape again, but my phone rang before I could go to his bedroom.
“Hello, Mr. Locke?” I answered it.
“Meet me at the garage – I have a… urgent meeting to attend to,” he commanded.
“Yes, Mr. Locke,” I replied, abruptly turning to head to my new destination, the garage, instead.
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