TL: One more coming soon.
Chapter 103 – Lure (2)
Aakkin was the commander of a dragoon squadron. His orders were mostly straightforward amongst his usual missions, to either assault or pillage. However, he would sometimes take on the scouting role which was one of his most hated missions. It was too dangerous, especially in the forest where technical expertise was more important than speed and agility. He also disliked the fact that he could not use his best qualities in this role.
He raised his head and took in the golden rays of the rising sun. He trembled as the sun’s warmth drove away the vestiges of the cold night and permeated into his blood. He shook his head in annoyance before sniffing the air, trying to discover any signs of the humans he was tasked to search for.
In his eyes, the silence in this valley was quite odd.
He did not like the eerie peace because it was the calm before the storm, like how a poisonous snake was lurking around the corner that would suddenly appear and bite. The northern Chablis region was like an ocean of trees, and he felt that it was impossible to find the humans in this huge forest.
Still, he cautiously gripped his spear and raised his right hand, pointing all his three fingers into the forest ahead of him. He chattered a series of noises, ordering his men to spread out and search.
He did not realize he made a mistake.
He only reacted when his men suddenly disappeared without a trace; his first thought was to retreat and find an excuse to explain to his commander Hewjil as to why he sent four dragoons to their deaths.
He did not find an easy answer. Even though Hewjil was a irregular amongst the Lizardmen who was churlish, he was considered to be sharp and Aakkin did not think him easy to fool.
But there he soon discovered there was no need to worry over it.
That was because he saw a human and Elf waiting when he turned around. He did not know when they appeared behind him, but he only knew that it was a Silver Elf staring coldly at him. The Lizardmen had recently caused trouble near the temple so Aakkin had an idea of what race he was from.
The Silver Elf had an Element power gathering on his armor.
The only thing that Aakkin could do was to surrender. A small mistake of spreading his men out, allowed each individual to be caught without any commotion, and was enough to seal his fate. What was fortunate the two men who caught him seemed like they did not want his life for the time being.
At the same time, he understood as a scout that his current fate would not last for long. He would be allowed to live for a while before they obtained the information they needed, be treated like a burden and disposed of in the end.
But death was not the most terrifying outcome. If the human and Silver Elf were scouts like himself, then they would know of many ways to make him experience a fate worse than death. Aakkin was a veteran as a scout, and even more experienced as a bandit, so he was certain of what was coming next. He was not afraid, because he intended to spill everything out if they interrogated him.
There was no sense of dignity amongst the Lizardmen, especially so as a bandit.
His limbs were securely tied up with ropes so he studied the surroundings he was brought to. The other four dragoons were lying dead in front of him. He strangely discovered that he was the only one alive and it made him slightly puzzled. Did they think that a single Lizardman was enough to get accurate information?
He suddenly realized that he was in considerable danger.
[Who are these men? What do they want exactly?] Aakkin wondered in his mind, before light was blocked in front of him. He looked up and saw the human and Silver Elf standing in front of him. He gulped immediately and his eyeballs turned to both at them in succession. He was willing to do anything in order to live. But what exactly could he do to keep his life?
Brendel was also staring at him while he considered this difficult question,
[If I think about it, there are differences going from a console controller to a computer’s keyboard and mouse. No matter how close it is in the game to this world, I need to get used to this world’s characteristics and social state.]
Brendel stood in front of the dragoon and carefully studied him before smiling.
He knelt in front of Aakkin, reached out with his hand and patted his rough and narrow face, and spoke with a gentle voice: “I know what you are thinking. You are wondering what kind of questions I would ask, which you would then tell me everything you know about them. After that you would ask me to spare your life, right?”
Aakkin’s mouth opened wide, displaying over a hundred sharp teeth. He had prepared himself to face his enemy’s questions but he did not expect to receive this answer, and it made him feel like he had been punched straight on. He shook his head once as he did not understand how the human knew what he was thinking. Did the human read his mind?
If that was true, did it not mean there was already no reason to keep him alive? Aakkin trembled. He did not hope to live, but he hoped that he would at least be spared from any torture from these terrfiying enemies. He stared cautiously at Brendel with his diamond-shaped pupils.
“Afraid?” Brendel asked again.
When he spoke, soft giggles could be heard from behind his back. He could discern who they were; Romaine, Amandina, the twin Elementalist and many of the Mercenaries of Lopes were amongst the giggles. Brendel fumed for a moment, grumbling in his mind to tell them to give him a little respect. Did they not see he was trying to work seriously here?
But this was something that could not be helped. The truth was that he tried this with every Lizardman before Aakkin. At first the girls and the other mercenaries were really surprised by Brendel’s words, before they discovered that he was just pretending to know what they were thinking.
He attempted several times to adjust each interrogation method he learned in the past, based on his previous experience with the various NPC bandits.
But Aakkin did not have the mood to care what the others were thinking. He was completely afraid of Brendel, and was almost certain that this human was a wizard, one who was frightening enough to be able to see through his mind.
Brendel took out a ruby from his pouch and shook it in front of him: “Try answering my question—”
Aakkin looked at him in confusion and tried to respond, but he realized there was no voice coming out from himself. Even though he was desparately closing and opening his mouth, there was no sound at all.
Aakkin’s body shook in fright. The wizards in this era were not as mysterious as those in the past, but the people in the rural areas still believed that they possessed incredible magic. Aakkin could only look at Brendel in fear, not understanding why he ‘stole’ his voice.
Brendel covered the ruby and took away the Silence spell. He looked at the energy left through the system and saw that it still had six uses left. Then he sternly said to the Lizardman: “Do you understand? I can take away your ability to talk and I can return it to you. The voice is part of the soul, and I am capable of taking away not only your voice, but your soul.”
The youth’s voice turned cold and merciless: “A body can decay but the soul lives on forever. The torture on a body can only last so long but have you seen a soul being burned for all eternity?”
Aakkin’s body shrunk as he shook his head immediately.
Brendel smiled warmly and stroked his forehead: “Then how about helping me out a little?”
The Lizardman nodded furiously.
============ Hewjil POV =============
“You said they are escaping to the southwest?” Hewjil said.
“Yes, chief. My men from the center of the hill saw them escaping through the southwestern valley, but I am not sure if they discovered our presence……” A Lizardman was reporting to Hewjil.
When Aakkin opened the doors to the grand hall that belonged to Hewjil, he saw his comrade reporting something to his chief sitting on the high chair. The atmosphere made him a little tense, but the instinct to live overtook it. He took a deep breath to regain his composure and walked up to his chief.
That Lizardman who reported to Hewjil seemed to finish what he was saying and turned to leave under Hewjil’s indication, passed by Aakkin and left the hall.
The blackmailed Lizardman did not dare to look at him or Hewjil and walked on the red carpet with his head lowered, and allowed him to spot two other pairs of human boots at the edge of the carpet. He had seen them before and knew they had some relationship with his chief, but he had not dared to inquire about them from his chief.
He read out Brendel’s words in his heart, Marsha above, he swore he had never been so serious even when he prayed. The threat from that human wizard was still echoing in his ears……