Chapter 82 – Interrogation time, part 2
“Alright, the first question may seem silly, but why did you guys come to Arxia?”
The bandit glared at me without saying anything. Well, I’m not going to waste words, I ordered the soldiers to force him to kneel, and began whipping him.
Sounds of pain began echoing throughout the interrogation room. Since his clothes are still on, that should mitigate some of the damage. Taking that into consideration, I whipped him another five times.
He was gritting his teeth to deal with the pain, and wouldn’t even moan. As I expected, he’s not a simple bandit. There’s no way that a normal bandit who only invaded Arxia to pillage and steal should have a strong enough will to withstand torture.
“Let me ask a different question. Where were you headed in Arxia?”
“……I’m not familiar with Arxian geography.”
I suppose he learned that he’ll suffer again if he keeps remaining silent, so he spat that out at me. I’m not impressed by his lie. I whipped him again.
Dark red spots began appearing on his linen shirt. They were shaped like earthworms, marks left by the whip. It seems that his skin is beginning to tear.
They’re able to skillfully make use of our internal borders, and escape from the Jugfena cavalry platoons, what a joke, saying he doesn’t know Arxian geography.
I switched the whip to my left hand, and continued whipping him with all my strength. The whip made a sharp cracking sound in the air with each swing that mingled with the dull thuds of it striking flesh. The metal chains on it kept causing injuries instantly, staining his shirt red wherever it landed.
He finally managed to moan something out. I saw several of my soldiers grimacing.
“Urgh, n, no…… North…… We were going north!”
“Y, yes. Since the southern and eastern domains in Arxia are along the border and on guard against other countries, and have stronger standing armies, we were going north……”
Whatever his reason, it’s true that they were heading north. The Amon Nor mountains run all the way through the northern and eastern parts of Kaldia and Jugfena. Even in summer, it’s very difficult to traverse through that mountain range. As for the bandits’ tracks, ever since the last time they escaped from the Genas domain, they’ve been heading directly north and have been avoiding villages. They crossed into the central portion of Kaldia from Genas, which happens to be close to the Amon Nor mountains. It’s true that they were taking the shortest distance north.
– They sure do have a good understanding of Arxian geography, don’t they.
I begun whipping his legs rather than his back. His back seems quite swollen already. Pain from being whipped is different from other types of pain like being burned, the pain won’t fade easily, it will continue to hurt. People are quite weak to pain.
It must be humiliating for him to be tortured by a child. Every time I swung down the whip against his legs, he groaned.
“Why did you abduct those women?”
“To find…… the exact locations of the villages……”
“If that was all, you guys went quite overboard.”
They definitely didn’t need to do what they did to those women if it was only to find out the locations of the villages.
“……Some of the younger ones, they wanted to use them as sex slaves and have some fun…… Agh-!!!”
My whip just happened to connect against his heel just then. It seems that it managed to tear off some flesh, he raised his voice in agony. Maybe he experienced too much pain all at once, he ended up fainting. Pain aside, this is to be expected. I did have him starved for two days to aid in breaking down his spirit after all.
“Bring me some wine.”
I pointed to a random soldier and had him bring me some of the cheap, low-grade bottles of wine that I had prepared beforehand on a table alongside the wall to this room. There was a strange and heavy atmosphere in the room now after seeing my interrogation. The soldier gingerly handed me a bottle of wine with jerky motions.
I poured the wine onto the bandit’s back. The alcohol began soaking into his blood. The man screamed as he woke up again.
“The interrogation isn’t over yet. Before it ends, you’re not allowed to rest.”
When a person’s mind is in a haze, it makes it difficult to think clearly or come up with lies. Meaning, people under great duress are more likely to tell the truth once they can’t think straight anymore due to the pain.
I swung my whip again, and his screams continued.
It took four days for me to finish interrogating all the bandits. In order for them to not die before giving me all their precious information, I fed them just a little, but of course since I didn’t give them enough, they were tortured all the more by pangs of hunger.
By the time I got through half of them, I was swinging my whip noticeably less times, it seems that I was using some muscles I don’t normally use very much, I definitely felt some dull muscle pain from my arms.
Knowledge gained from my father on torture methods proved quite helpful, and I was able to draw out a lot of information from the bandits. Although I might learn more if I interrogate them more in a second session, for now I’ll just write down what I learned and send a report to Earl Terejia.
– As expected, they weren’t simply a group of bandits. Several of them seem to be highly educated. While Densel is indeed culturally behind Arxia, I can’t imagine that it’s so bad to where their nobles would stoop to being bandits. Meaning, there’s Densel nobility behind these bandits, or maybe something even higher. Taking into consideration that the first bandit I interrogated called me a “heretic,” there might be some sort of religious entity involved as well.
The religion that Densel believes in has a god named Revua at the top, with various lesser gods below Revua. So compared to the Ar Xia church in Arxia, they’re called the Revua church. I concluded that the first bandit may be a believer of the Revua church…… And thinking along those lines, isn’t there also quite a good chance that they may have disguised themselves as bandits and invaded Arxia for some religious purpose?
Also, I confirmed that their goal was to head “north.” I had already sent out warnings several days ago to various northern nobles about possible danger, even to the Nordsturms that I don’t get along with. Even though they’re opposing the decision of the Hall of Lords, and view me as an eyesore to be dealt with – the Nordsturms are an important noble family, that’s an unavoidable fact, and I’m sure even Earl Terejia would agree with me that I should send them a warning.
Well, I’m only extending them that courtesy assuming that they will at least band together internally against external enemies. It’s a different story if the Nordsturms have some sort of dealings with foreign organizations.
I have no evidence. But, I need to be vigilant.
I finished my report, locked the drawer to my desk, and stretched my back. I winced slightly at my own muscle pain.