Chapter 153 – Waking Up Interrogation
We were curled up in our beds, lukewarm, when a rough knocking sound awakened us.
Myrril was still sleepy, holding up a pillow, but I could see that she was gripping the handgun under it, ready to pull it out at any moment.
There was a clicking sound; you just triggered the firing pin, didn’t you?
Is it my role to bear the brunt of the fire to buy time and give her a chance to shoot, huh? Yes.
The one who stepped into the room was Ivan-san, the captain of the guard, with a bitter look on his face. He was carrying a spear behind his back and was at a loss for a reaction when he saw me, unarmed and wearing only thin sleepwear.
What kind of situation was he expecting?
It would be rude to ask him if something had happened. It did happen, and I am sure he knows it was us who did it.
The fact that the watchers were guards means that it was probably Ivan-san who put them in place. I was careful not to involve the watchers, and I was careful not to cause a ruckus if we were spotted, so I decided to use Remington’s sniper.
Well, they know.
On that assumption, how far to lie low and how to move is a difficult task that weighs the realistic risk and cost against the responsibility of Ivan-san, the captain of the guard.
I have to think about what to do to protect myself, but I want to respond in good faith as much as possible.
“What are you going to do now?”
Like a competent official, he asks me straightforwardly. Considering the responsibility of maintaining public order, it is not about what has been done but about what we will do in the future. Putting aside personal feelings about what is incomprehensible or unfeasible, we proceeded with what we could do now.
It’s like piercing the most suspicious person.
“We will accompany the Battlecry that will take Calmon back to Lafan, his hometown. We will stay there for a few days and then return… Is there any problem?”
“There are many problems, of course. The biggest problem is that Lafan is the capital of a fiefdom.”
The capital of the fiefdom, it’s like the capital of the province. And there is a lord there who governs the territory.
The republic is divided into northern, southern, eastern, western, and central fiefdoms, each of which has its own lord, and in the case of the central fiefdom, its capital is in the center of the republic, and there is a council or something like that that has the authority to make decisions regarding national politics.
The chairman of the council is said to be the representative of the nation, so he is considered to be a substitute for the king.
“So the republic is like that, huh?”
“I don’t know. This is my first time visiting. I never paid much attention to the political system.”
“Ivan-san, I thought that in a republic, the commoners have the right to make decisions, but are there nobles in this country?”
“No. The lords are elected by the commoners. The actual decisions are made by the council.”
This is the first democratic country I have ever seen in this world. Ivan-san’s words suggest that there are a lot of things going on inside the country.
I thought that the administrative district had nobles because the town of Sarz was divided into administrative, commercial, and commoner districts. Could you not call them confusingly?
“I see. So, what are the problems that will arise if we go to the fiefdom?”
“That’s what I want to ask you.”
With a sigh, Ivan-san looked behind him, and after confirming that no one was there, he closed the door.
For a moment, Myrril-san tensed up, but then the captain of the guard placed his hand spears up against the wall and removed his belt sword by the leather belt, releasing it onto the bed. He drops it on my stomach, and Myrril makes a ghastly, disgruntled sound.
“Let me be frank with you. I want to know what you guys want. Depending on the situation, I may have no choice but to stop you by all means necessary.”
“Do you really think you can stop us?”
Myrril, who was still buried under the covers, asked in a quiet voice.
“It’s not a matter of whether I can or cannot. I’m paid to protect the town and the country. If I get hit properly, I’ll die, but that’s it.”
Ivan-san’s eyes stare at us, motionless, and Mir-neesan tilts her head. It is not a question but a certainty.
“…Fumu, have you found out who we are?”
“There was a little informant that I let go before you guys came along, and he finally came back. It was expensive, but it was worth it. No one thought all the rumors were true. Me neither, of course.”
He must have known we were armed with firearms, but he had no intention of backing down, even though he was unarmed. Rather, the spirit of determination to die is even trying to push us.
Ivan-san, with a quiet smile on his face, looked at us and said.
“What is your purpose? For what purpose did you enter the republic? …Answer me, the demon king of Casemaian.”
The captain of the guard sits on the floor and opens his mouth.
The two of us are sitting in front of him, cups of herbal tea lined up. There are chocolate cookies with cream between us on a plate. And a large amount of excess, absurdly sweet American cream cake.
The strange tea party, held in a circle on the floor, was a mess from the very beginning.
“You mean to tell me you’re just here on vacation?”
“I have already told you so. We are spending a quiet winter vacation in privacy. We are very annoyed that everyone keeps interrupting us!”
“No, you are not even in the slightest bit secretive! You were killing people before you even entered the town!”
“We don’t have any obligation to give a helping hand to the bad guys who came to kill us. We clearly know who we can kill and who we can’t!”
He must have been thinking of the people we killed (or judged to have been killed by us). Ivan-san’s gaze turned upward and then back to us with a sigh.
“…Hah. So you’re not going to Lafan to kill the lords or as a stepping stone to invade the republic?”
“I don’t even know who the lords are, and I’m not particularly interested in them. It was not our decision to go to Lafan. That is because it is Calmon’s hometown.”
“We have been invaded before, but we have never done it. It would be of no use to us if we did.”
“That’s not true. If you win, you take money; you take people; you take more territory.”
“Casemaian is a subhuman country. If we take in people who don’t want to be incorporated, it will only cause problems. Even money is useless because our territory has not yet developed a monetary economy, and we don’t trade. The territory is also meaningless, considering the population. We can’t maintain it.”
“In fact, the only time we have invaded other countries was to rescue our own people. Unless there are subhumans trapped and oppressed by the republic, we have no intention of invading.”
Besides that, we only entered the empire to investigate the enemy golem forces that would invade us. That was more of a forced reconnaissance than an invasion.
I’ve come in contact with subhumans in the republic several times, and they are just like humans. Really, for better or worse.
“I am at least aware that we, as an outsider, have gone the extra mile. You don’t mind if we just kill the criminals, do you?”
“I don’t mind killing them. To be honest. But you will remove all the bodies and equipment without leaving any trace. That’s not good.”
“Don’t eh me. I don’t know how you did it, but if they suddenly disappear, they ain’t considered dead. Unless there is a dead body or traces of death, at least in the eyes of the law, the story will proceed on the assumption that the person is still alive. Some idiots will take advantage of that.”
“Well, I can show you the corpses.”
“It’s already too late. The investigation has already been done, and the report has been submitted. The situation will only get worse if the corpse comes out now. To overturn a report that has gone all the way up to the lords requires a good reason and a sacrifice. If it goes badly, it will be decided that you are the masterminds behind the whole thing.”
That’s pretty much it.
Half of it was to protect ourselves, and the other half was to destroy evidence in order to avoid getting in trouble with the authorities, but it seems to have backfired. And it completely backfired.
“Wait, you said “fools to take advantage of it,” but maybe that’s why Calmon can no longer stay in town…”
“Yeah, once Peyblois, the merchants, and the bandits were found dead, it was all over, just as you had planned: the triumphant return of the heroes who had destroyed the evil stronghold. If the hideout is empty, with no hostages and no supplies, there is nothing to deny the ugly rumors that Kiel has been spouting.”
According to the context, Kiel is the red-headed scum who goes around spouting all kinds of lies. Damn it.
By the way, I’m curious about what kind of things he went around blowing about…
Ivan-san looked at us with a reproachful look on his face (not like, but totally reproachful, I guess).
“A dumb informant who helped a criminal and got left behind. Isn’t that what he is?”
I thought I heard a crack. Mir-neesan stared at me with an indignant expression on her face. I know she’s not mad at me, but it’s still powerful enough to make me want to get down on my knees.
“Sorry, Captain of the Guard. That man will disappear from the town in a few days. He will probably join the ‘escaped criminals.’ Don’t worry about it.”
Joining up with the “escaped criminals,” huh, Mir-neesan? It’s a nuance of “in hell,” isn’t it?
Perhaps uninterested or unwilling to get involved, Ivan-san simply sighs in exasperation at Myrril’s comment.
“I assume you’re after the bandit’s guild, right?”
“That’s true. In fact, with all due respect to Calmon, I even think it’s a great opportunity.”
“I don’t really care what happens, and I’m more than willing to support you. We are responsible for the lack of help from the authorities, which has led to the escalation of the situation.”
“We don’t demand that you do anything or not do anything. All you have to do is just keep your eyes on the road to Lafan. Of course, I promise that no harm will come to nnocent people as before.”
Whether he agreed or not, Ivan-san sipped his herbal tea with a pained expression on his face and then devoured his tea cake with a gnawing mouthful.
“A promise from the demon king, huh…?”
“What are you talking about? We, the people of Casemaian, never tell lies. Except for the lies we spread before.”
The reason why his eyes widened a little was not because of what I was saying but because the cookies tasted so good. After that, his hands and eyes swam a little.
“Ivan-san, you have a family, don’t you?”
“W-what about it?”
“Here, take these as a souvenir.”
I put out a box of assorted sweets. The strong captain of the guard was unusually agitated, and his eyes were black and white as if he thought he had been read.
“Yes, it’s a bribe.”
“It’s just a small token of apology.”
“You’re being honest, aren’t you?”
“That is what I’m telling you.”