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The company buildings around the watermill were splendidly burned. Even if the inside of the building and the roof were burned, it probably didn’t burn well because of the wetness. Only the water wheel that was immersed in the river had its original appearance. Other than that, the roof, the doors, and all the wooden parts were burned down.
Of course, even if it was set on fire, there was no reason to the building to burn so much because once it was on fire, people would go to the river to get water to extinguish the fire immediately. But I told them not to extinguish the fire.
We needed an outcome that could be shown to the outside world, the parchment guild and the Lakramanus. Whether it became like this or not, it was no different than gratification.
What were burned were assets that I and Hou and Associates no longer needed.
“Did you catch them?” (Yuri)
When I asked after arriving there, Cuffe answered briefly.
Even though it was already midnight, more than twenty people including Cuffe were on the site of a burnt down company building. Some of them were crying when looking at the buildings that became ashes, probably because they had a deep feeling toward it.
As a result, there was a large bonfire that was burning in the middle of the ruins, and the area was illuminated brightly.
Beside the bonfire, there was only one person who looked strange. He was gagged and tied behind a noose. Then, he was dragged in front of me.
He seemed to be beaten until he was half-dead, and his face was swollen. This was one of the arsonists.
However, it wasn’t only trauma that he looked strange. He was dressed like a ninja with a black costume and black hood. I didn’t understand well because his face was beaten badly, but his age seemed to be of an old man.
“Hmm, you got him huh… Remove the gag.” (Yuri)
“He will harm himself, you know.” (Cuffe)
‘Suicide, is it?’
“I see. Then, I’ll stop.” (Yuri)
‘I wonder if he will bite his tongue off.’
“Did he try to die?” (Yuri)
“He was trying to push a dagger into his belly. So, before that happened, I made him bite the gag of a wooden stick.” (Cuffe)
Cuffe’s voice was full with unconcealed anger. After all, he was thinking about the arson.
“Don’t be too excited.” (Yuri)
Even both enemies and allies…
“He’s not sleeping. So, make him sit down.” (Yuri)
The man was forcibly lifted and sat down by one of the employees. There were no ropes on the feet, so he could sit and walk. However, in this situation, there was no way to escape.
The man obediently crossed his leg and sit.
“Well, let’s start with the interrogation.” (Yuri)
I squatted down in front of the man.
“Are you from the second unit army? Nod or shake your head.” (Yuri)
The man intensely glared at me.
“Then, are you Lakramanus’ private soldier?” (Yuri)
Even if I asked him, he didn’t respond at all.
‘Is it that? Does he exercise the right to remain silent?’
“Well, it’s fine. No, I’m curious which one was caught in this trap.” (Yuri)
‘Speaking of trap, it is a simple trap.’
‘The trap is tied around the thick branch of a tree near the factory and it is kept on the ground with a rope. Then, it was connected to a loop of rope. The loop would be connected to the trigger.’
‘When the trigger is kicked by the thief, the rope that has been made loop at the end, will be raised by the power of the branch which returns to its original position. The foot is tied up in the manner of the hanging, and it’s like fishing a man instead of a fish.’
‘I thought that thieves would come at night, so I made it for fun. Someone got caught. He probably tried to harm himself as he was hanging upside down. He got hit with a long stick. If a knife was used in the counterattack, it’s not strange that someone got injured. So, it’s correct to hit him with a long stick.’
‘What to do? He doesn’t really want to tell anything?’
‘So, kill him? Killing and burying him may confuse the other side.’
‘It is difficult to deal with the unknown whereabouts of a man who is supposed to have been taken as a prisoner of war. The other side doesn’t know whether he betrayed them, was made to confess or got killed, so I’m anxious about what happened.’
‘Or will it be a favor lend to the Witch household? What to do? Hmm.’
“Remove the gag.” (Yuri)
After a moment of hesitation, I said it.
“Is it fine?” (Cuffe)
Cuffe was suspicious. It was probably because he would commit suicide.
“It’s interesting to torture him, but I don’t have anything to ask. It doesn’t matter whether he is a second unit army or a private soldier. That’s because I have identified his employer.” (Yuri)
He seemed convinced.
“Let me tell you before you remove the gag. I’m not going to expose his body. It’s fine if he dies by biting the tongue, but then, strip him naked and bury him in the forest. If we do that, he will be treated as a missing traitor. That’s the best deal for me. So, don’t feel bad.” (Yuri)
‘In other words, he won’t confess anyway, so yeah, he can commit suicide. Even if I don’t bother to give him a hand, he’s going to die from himself, so there will be much less work.’
“Alright. Remove the…” (Yuri)
I was about to say ‘Remove the gag’ but I stopped saying it.
‘Why did he try to kill himself when suspended in the air?’
‘From this man’s point of view, it is clear that it is more convenient to have allies to confirm his death rather than to be killed in the form of a missing person. I don’t know what kind of organization it is, but he was actually lived and ran away, or maybe, betrayed them. But, I don’t have to think about the possibility.’
‘In that case, wouldn’t it be tempting to see his companions to see which one of them has fallen?’
“Wait a sec. As I expected, let’s do it in the burnt watermill.” (Yuri)
“Maybe someone is lurking in the distance and looking at us.” (Yuri)
‘The moonlight is bright tonight, and I can see relatively far away from here. But if the other side is lying on the ground, I can’t see them. The burnt watermill is full of soot and the ceiling has fallen, but there are burnt walls on all sides. So, it can prevent the other side from looking.’
“Carry him.” (Yuri)
The arsonist was dragged by the employees and was brought into the factory. The light that ignited at the tip of the torch that was dip in a heavy oil barrel was carried.
The drawback was that it was quite flashy and black smoke came out…
“Make a fence at the entrance.” (Yuri)
The entrance door was burned down, so if it was opened, his allies could see inside here completely.
“Alright, remove the gag.” (Yuri)
After confirming that a fence had been formed, I made a signal, and the gag was removed.
He stared at me but didn’t bite his tongue.
‘In this matter, it’s necessary to reveal the corpse to the allies. Therefore, it may not be possible to do self-harm in a place where he couldn’t be seen.’
“Hmm, you don’t want to die, huh? I see.” (Yuri)
‘There are two types for suicide. First, if you don’t commit suicide, your life will be worse than committing suicide. To put it simply, it includes the suicidal thoughts about life. For example, people die because they were caught by Kuran. You have to live as a slave for the rest of your life, and as a sex slave in the case of a woman. You will suffer, and commit suicide. Or if you are caught by the side such as the Witch households who tortures people until they don’t look like people at all, you will give up your life since what awaits you is nothing but pain.’
‘Even if this guy is a fool, he probably doesn’t think that we’re that kind of bad people, so that’s not the case.’
‘The other reason is the fear that living will damage important things.’
‘This may be the case if you commit suicide to leave insurance money to a family member. Or perhaps, instead of confessing information, you die in fear of betraying your allies and people you serve. But then, you would have bit your tongue the moment we remove the gag.’
‘That could be another reason.’
‘If betrayal is known to allies, what you want to protect would be destroyed be them. That’s why he hesitated to die and I’m going to make a precautionary line, saying ‘If you die, I’ll make it look like you betray them’.’
“Now, what should we do? If you betrayed, will your mother die, or will she be killed at that age?” (Yuri)
When I said that, he looked a bit surprised. Unexpectedly, he was the type that displays expressions on the face.
“That’s look like it.” (Yuri)
‘Now… what should I do? I can just let him go, but I can’t show it. Cuffe is pretty angry.’
“Alright, I’ll let you go. In exchange, you’ll have to come back with the hostages held by the Witch household.” (Yuri)
The man talked. The voice was difficult to hear, probably because he was beaten and his mouth was swollen, but he did talk.
“It’s hell to live, it’s hell to die. As a traitor, you will be on the run while protecting your family.” (Yuri)
“Oi, Yuri.” (Cuffe)
Cuffe didn’t seem convinced.
“If this guy returns, they’re just going to bury the hatchet. Maybe.” (Cuffe)
“I know. But, if he doesn’t return, rumors will spread. The Hou obtains a traitor. That information has been exposed.” (Yuri)
The arsonist’s complexion was stiff.
“Nothing is lost since this man has been beaten thoroughly. Do you think the other side will believe it? In addition, if the rumors spread, this man is confirmed to be a spy, and the Hou has obtained him. It’s not likely, but he can’t live.” (Yuri)
Having said that, Cuffe had a difficult face.
“But, why does it sound so complicated?” (Cuffe)
“Well, rather than killing this man, they will simply banish him.” (Yuri)
“That’s true, but…” (Cuffe)
“I don’t know how much wrongdoings he has done in the past, but if he does wrongdoings, he will only do it. So, it’s better not to know. That much is about the pursuers. It would have been much easier for him to be killed here and be exposed to trees. At least, he doesn’t have to die as a traitor.” (Yuri)
“…If you say that, I don’t want to say that I don’t like it either.” (Cuffe)
“Oi, you. You can go. Stand up quickly.” (Yuri)
I kicked him and let him stand. Then, he ran away with his body still tied to a rope.
“So, is the basement warehouse safe?” (Yuri)
“Maybe? Haven’t you checked?” (Yuri)
It was a rare oversight for Cuffe.
The basement warehouse contained girders, oil fractionating tools, roughly fractionated barrels of oil, and various other items. The door was fireproof, covered with soil and watered it. The hole was made deep, so even if the ground burned vigorously, it should be safe inside.
As long as the equipment were brought into the basement warehouse, operations can be quickly resumed in another place if it has watermill or hut.
“Since the burnt house is falling, it feels natural. So, when you remove the rubble, it’s obvious that there’s a door.” (Cuffe)
‘Aah, is that so?’
“If possible, I want you to bring all of it to the headquarters by today.” (Yuri)
When I said that, Cuffe tilted his head.
“The basement warehouse will not be found. I think it’s fine to leave it alone.” (Cuffe)
“I’ve provoked them more than necessary. They may retaliate.” (Yuri)
‘It’s possible enough. Even if the basement warehouse isn’t found, it’s not difficult to find the door if you look for it carefully.
‘The fireproof door has a lock, but if you smash it with a hammer, you can break it. I can’t say that they won’t go that far.’
“Aah, did you win?” (Cuffe)
“Yeah, I won. Besides, the other side made a foolish provocation, so I decided to completely crush her.” (Yuri)
‘Seriously, I wonder why that happened. If I lose, the other side will be satisfied, so I thought it would be fine for another two months.’
“I see… In that case, we better be careful.” (Cuffe)
“Yeah. If these equipment are gone, the resume of the operation will be delayed.” (Yuri)
“I’ll go back to the city and get a carriage.” (Cuffe)
‘After all, there is a favor to ask.’
“Let’s go with a two-seaters Galloping Bird. Get behind me.” (Yuri)
‘The night is still long. He should also buy some sake and bring it with him.’
“Before that, I just have to say one thing.” (Cuffe)
“You, aren’t you overdoing this? You should pay attention not to burden the bird.” (Cuffe)
‘That was a severe rebuke. Oh I guess, he wasn’t fooled after all?’
‘He understands me. The correct answer is to kill and bury that arsonist.’
‘Although I said hell to live, hell to die, he has the option of going to the front door of Lakramanus’ mansion and commits suicide. Then, he will be able to prove his innocence.’
‘In that case, the psychological effect of killing and burying the other side can’t be achieved. Even if he successfully brings hostages and went on a wandering journey, there is nothing for me to gain. However, if I kill him, I can surely expect one of the effects that will benefit me.’
‘I thought about the hostages who had been taken by them, and I feel sorry.’
“I know.” (Yuri)
‘Even if I say so, I don’t really feel sorry. Will the time come when I really understand?’
- I draw the picture myself based on a certain reference.
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