As for what I had done to the captured bandits, I had them gagged by stuffing cloths into their mouths, preventing them from biting their tongues to commit suicide, stripped naked to ensure that there were no hidden weapons on them, and also had their hands bound behind their backs and then threw them into that dark dungeon below my mansion.
It’s quite damp down there, it’s dark and cold with no sunlight whatsoever, it’s definitely a place that puts great stress on the human spirit.
When Ratoka was younger, he had spent three days down there, and he had emerged from it seeming quite haggard. Although he did recover his energy after just a few days.
……Come to think of it, Ratoka retrieved the whip for me from the dungeon with no problems. Although there are a few lights down there, for him to have slept just like normal in the dungeon, that child might actually be more bold than I thought.
The only thing I gave the bandits was one very large barrel of water, then I left them alone in the dungeon for two days. This way, they have to go to the bathroom right there, they’re starving, and they can’t even drink properly through the cloths in their mouths. It’s a method to increase the speed at which their spirits will break down.
On the morning of the third day, I brought a bandit who seemed like he might be one of their leaders out of the dungeon. The bandit probably wasn’t able to sleep properly, he looked haggard and pale as he stood in the interrogation room of the barracks. Since I haven’t given him anything to eat for two days, he’s probably feeling dizzy and nauseous as well.
“I’ll ask you this first. You have anything you want to say?”
He had been roughly washed by my soldiers, and was allowed to wear his original clothes again that have been inspected already, but his hair and beard were still filthy and unkempt.
“……I have a very good understanding now of how you barbaric and savage Arxian nobles treat their prisoners. It’s been quite a valuable experience.”
He’s got quite the iron will. He’s perceptive as well.
He went to the trouble of talking to me in the Arxian language, he didn’t look down on me for being a child, and he even noted that I was “Arxian nobility” on our first meeting.
“This dungeon was left behind by my late father, known for being the most cruel tyrant in all of Arxia. I couldn’t think of any place more appropriate for the cultured visitors from another country to relax and rest. I’m sure that you’re used to soft beds?”
I smiled at the irony. Although barbaric and savage are meant by him as insults to me, I don’t think of it as such. I don’t think anyone from Kaldia would think that to be much of an insult either.
The soldiers that were guarding the bandit all laughed in unison. Since they’re used to vulgar speech every day, they’re much more skilled at ways to insult people. In order to break the prisoners completely, I had to ban several behaviors, and I thought about stopping them, but it seems I was correct not to. The bandit’s face started turning slightly red at seeing everyone laugh at him.
“Oh? So even you guys have soft beds? Let me guess, the Arxian nobles and the commoners alike, you all sleep on stacks of straw?”
“Oh, so people in Densel must still sleep on stacks of straw. It seems that your culture must still be quite backwards, that must be really inconvenient. It was the right thing to do to have you guys sleep in the dungeon. After all, even the plain beds that commoners sleep in, are too good for you.”
At seeing my snickering, and being lost for words to counter me, the bandit could only curse me out in his native Ringwren language, “damned brat.”
My soldiers weren’t able to contain their laughter. Is it really that funny, I wonder. While I did order them to be “crass and vulgar” towards the prisoners, and they’ve followed my orders obediently…… Although I think they would have done so without orders anyway.
Well then, just with this trading of insults alone, I’ve found out quite a bit about this bandit.
Since I had quite a lot of knowledge about various languages forced into me by Mrs. Marshan, I was able to know that the bandit was cursing me in the Ringwren language. Although he has quite an accent, he’s also able to speak Arxian – this means that he’s had quite the social upbringing. The Ringwren language is what’s spoken in Densel and Planates. Despite the fact that he was cursing me, his pronunciation was very smooth, he’s definitely someone from the upper class of society.
And no matter what, he’s not saying words I’d expect a bandit to say. However, the information I received from Jugfena was that “a bandit group has invaded our country.” On what basis did Jugfena call this group a “bandit group,” I need to confirm it.
Well, I’ll organize the current information I have for now, and it’s about time to start the real interrogation, so I called out to Ratoka who was in the next room. Ratoka is wearing a veil today as well so that the soldiers don’t recognize him, but he probably has quite a distorted facial expression under that veil right now.
“Bring that item I had you prepare for me here.”
Ratoka approached me, and uncoiled the whip in his hand for me. This whip has many chains and knots to it like a flail, and the knots seem specially designed to cause people to bleed more. I remember that my father gave this whip to my former older brother as a gift on his sixth birthday. I suppose that if my father were still alive, he’d be giving me things like these as gifts too.
Meanwhile, the bandit was looking at the whip with wide eyes of surprise. For the first time since entering this room, I saw his face twitch a little.
“I’m going to ask you some more questions now. I don’t mind if you answer them or not, but…… Well, there’s still eleven more people in the dungeon that can take your place. But, I’m not going to go get any of them until I’m finished with your interrogation.”
At hearing so, the bandit’s face started twitching more violently.
“If it gets to the last person, I wonder if he’ll be almost dead of hunger.”
My soldiers kept laughing crassly. I guess it was an effective follow-up blow, the bandit’s face turned completely pale. I see, is there someone he really cares about in there, or someone really important that he can’t allow to die in there, I wonder.
“You…… You wicked heretic!”
He started shouting at me in great anger.
I see, so I’m a heretic. Well then, I absolutely have to hear more about this.
It’s easier than I thought to get information from him, and I began to slightly feel like I may be enjoying this.