|Author: Kaburagi Haruka||Original Source: Syosetu||Word Count: 2579 characters|
|Translator: Mui||English Source: Re:Library||Word Count: 1226 words|
As Leon ran towards us, he quickly bound up the fainted men. It was a little comical to see Cloud standing kinda pigeon-toed as he helped Leon.
“Still, to think you’d deal with them alone.”
“This man… What a cruel attack he was dealt… Miss Finia, you turned out to be more merciless than your appearance suggests.”
“It was Lady Nicole who dealt the finishing blow!”
“That’s a lie. That man’s state is Finia’s feat.”
Finia objected with a teary voice, but it was cute so I ignored it. We decided to question the bound men after moving them a bit away.
We did that because there was a chance that the other bandits would come to check in on them if they were late to return.
“Hey, wake up.”
Leon slapped one’s cheeks but there was no reaction.
In the end, with his vital parts crushed like that, he was completely out. With a sigh, Leon now faced the one with a broken arm.
“Hey, wake up!”
He poured the water pouch he carried over the man’s head and forcefully woke him up. The stimulus did make him open his eyes.
Since he was tied up with his broken arm left as is, the man writhed and endured the pain. He had to because he saw Leon holding a b̲a̲s̲t̲a̲r̲d̲ sword in his hand.
“Answer me, you are bandits, right?”
“W-What could you be talking about…”
“Lies. He said ‘boss’ earlier.”
He tried to protest, but Leon drove a strong blow to his shoulder with the side of his sword.
“Answer the question. And don’t lie. We’ll check your answers with that man over there, and if they turn out to be lies, I’ll start by cutting off your arm.”
The other man was knocked out, so they couldn’t even get their stories straight. The fact that broke him was probably the fact that Leon said he would cut his arm rather than kill him.
Bandits who had not undergone training could not bear the pain dealt without killing them. Realizing that he was in a complete checkmate, he gave up and decided to obediently answer the questions.
“How many of you are there? What about your power?”
“N-Nine, including me. The boss was a third-rank Adventurer before.”
“A stray Adventurer, huh? Where’s your hideout?”
“A new chasm was formed in the rocky riverside area ahead, and we made it our home after realizing it was quite vast inside.”
“Huh, I never heard of such a place being there.”
Leon was quite familiar with the terrain as he mainly worked as an escort for merchants heading to Raum. The fact that he didn’t know about it must mean that it was very recently formed.
“Next, what about your crimes? How many people have you attacked so far?”
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I was also curious about this. Adventurers maintained safety around Raum. It was strange that these people got away undetected despite that.
In other words, they made sure to perfectly ‘clean up’ after themselves, so it wouldn’t reach the city.
“Please wait, we—”
“How many did you kill?”
“Khh…Only three groups yet, eleven in total.”
It might have been on the lower side for thieves. Leon might have realized that too and pressed further. But the man also desperately argued his case.
“It’s the truth! We have only just recently settled here. Boss has recently lost the village he was based in due to the recent Goblin attack so—”
Several settlements in the surroundings were gone due to that Goblin attack. This boss of theirs was probably employed by one of those settlements.
Still, it wasn’t forgivable to fall into banditry no matter what.
“And, what did you do to their corpses?”
“We buried them. There are enough places in the forest to hide them. And even if we left them be, animals would get rid of the corpses eventually.”
“I see. So if we leave your corpses alone, they’ll disappear before long, huh?”
“P-Please don’t! I was just doing what my boss told me to!”
“That still doesn’t change the fact that you were looking for ‘prey’. Those eleven people would not have died had you not chosen to do so.”
His face was dyed in despair as he yelled.
His plea was also understandable. Had he not chosen their prey, the one being killed would’ve been him. Having said that, it would still not be enough to excuse his participation in bandit work.
“Oh well. If what you said is the truth, we’ll hand you over to the authorities without killing you.”
He answered with a complex expression. That was expected. Though he was not the principal offender, he was still part of the thieves. If he was taken to trial, he would unmistakably receive a harsh charge.
But since he was not the principal offender, there was a possibility of avoiding the death penalty. His complex expression was probably due to imagining that possibility.
“Okay, let’s quickly go and subjugate them. If they don’t return for long, they might suspect something and change their position.”
“Right. Let’s end it tonight.”
When scouts didn’t return, that also served as information. If these two didn’t return, they would suspect something had happened. Careful bandits could possibly resort to changing their locations with just that much.
Unless we act before they start suspecting anything and root them out, or even let one of them escape, it could lead to more victims.
“So, what do we do with this one?”
Cloud pointed at the bound up prisoner and asked.
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Since there were seven more enemies, it was necessary for all of us to move. That said, we couldn’t exactly go back and hand them over to Heath’s party either. The enemy could escape while we did that.
“…In this situation, letting the perpetrators escape would be the most problematic. Let’s leave them here and recover them once we are done.”
“P-Please wait! If you leave us in a place like this, we’ll just end up as some animal or monster fodder!”
“If that happens, just blame your bad luck.”
“In the first place, it’s not guaranteed that you’ll live even if we hand you over to the authorities. Or… would you rather die now so you don’t cause any more trouble for us?”
Leon glared oppressively at him with his sword at ready.
As the man said, there was indeed a possibility of them getting eaten if we left them be… But they should just give up and accept it as their just deserts.
Besides, the other man was still out. If he used him as a decoy, he had some chance of coming out of it alive.
“To tell you the truth, I wasn’t planning to leave it at just one broken arm, you know?”
I smiled sweetly while looking into his face. That smile probably looked terrific from his perspective.
Having looked down on a child and tried to put his hand on one, only to have it broken, the man could do naught but nod at my words.
“Well then, see you later, if you’re lucky enough. Don’t worry, we’ll be right back.”
“Please, do that…”
The man begged while almost on the verge of tears.
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