Episode 39 Sponsored (2)


One ambitious moonless night.

Vikir visited the dungeons beneath the city hall.

The nearly empty cell was filled with the stench of something decaying.

Prisons are inherently creepy, but it’s even creepier to see them so dark and empty.

The guards had all left work early.
Unusually, all of them without a single call.

The prisoners have all been executed, pardoned, or transferred, and the area is now completely empty.

Vikir made his way to one of the deepest cells.

The darkest and most fetid.

Solitary.

The most secluded of the dungeons, with the only securely locked door.

And in this dungeon was the only prisoner left.

He was a secretary to Baron Gambino, a major player in the underground economy.

A woman with greenish-blond hair cut short, dressed in a prisoner’s uniform and wearing heavy handcuffs, she squatted in the corner of the cell.

Vikir pulled up a chair and sat down in front of the bars.

Druk-.

The sound of the iron chair legs scraping against the stone floor echoed loudly in the empty prison.

“Your name is…… Sen Rose Sindhiwendi.
Is that right?”

Vikir asked, but she didn’t answer.

Instead, she stared down at the floor with vacant eyes.

“Why did you keep me alive?”

Xindiwendi’s question was hollow.

The freak show.
And the Pit Bull Knights.

That night, when everything that moved was dying, Cindy Wendy gritted her teeth and fled.

She could never die like this.

Even if she didn’t die, her wrists and ankles would be cut off.

She had a job to do, and she could never die in a place like this and be a wastrel because of it.

Who among the dying was not, or at least Xindiwendi thought she was, far more desperate and needy than the others.

But the teeth of the fighting dog before her were cold.

One of the Pit Bull Templars stepped in front of her, and it was a death sentence.

She gritted her teeth as the jagged blade sank into her throat.

But.

…Earth!

The sound the knife made as it plunged into his throat was a bit unexpected.

That’s because the Pitbull Templar’s blade didn’t manage to pierce her throat.

Vikir.
The new deputy magistrate.

He holds up a bundle of chains to block the Pit Bull Templar’s blade.

The Pitbull Templar looked very surprised that Vikir had managed to block his blade, but his next words were brief.

“This woman is an exception.
Capture her alive without hurting a single finger.’

This is how Xin Diwendi has been imprisoned in the dungeon ever since.

Vikir stared at her in silence for a while.

Finally, he asked.

“If you answer my questions truthfully, I will release you from here.”

……!

That made Xin Diwendi’s ears perk up.

But soon, Xin Diwendi shook her head and muttered to herself.

“I’ve already lost the will to escape from the time I was imprisoned here, and I have no reason to do so now.”


Like it or not, Vikir’s questions had already begun.

“Are you the reason Baron Gambino, who was nothing more than an insignificant sodomite, has been able to increase his power so dramatically in recent years?”

“…….”

“I’ve researched you, and you have a knack for making money, and if that talent had blossomed in a place other than the underworld, you would have made a fine merchant or financier.”

Xin Diwendi laughed bloodily.

It was a mocking laugh that seemed to say, “What good is all that now?

Vikir looked into her eyes and held them still.

Then he spoke in a pleasant voice.

“I assure you.”

“……?”

“Answer my question and I’ll let you out of here, but-”

Vikir trailed off and tilted his head toward the bars, locking eyes with Xindiwendi.

Searing red light pierced her green retinas.

“If you do not answer, you will regret this day.”

There was a strange, unknown power in the voice that made the listener feel another kind of intimidation besides fear.

Xin Diwendi opened her mouth to speak, not even knowing what she was feeling.

“If it’s something I can answer, I’ll answer it.”

“Good.”

Vikir asked, bluntly.

“How does it look to you?”

“What do you mean?”

“Do you think I’m doing law enforcement wrong?”

Xin Diwendi replied in a nonchalant tone.

“Who cares about the opinion of a lowly criminal bitch like me?”

“I’m asking an insignificant criminal bitch like you.”

“Then I’m going to go out on a limb and say it: I think you’re doing it wrong.”

At that, Vikir nodded.

“Why?”

“Virtue is the key virtue of a ruler in all theories of monarchy.
A strong rule of law may work to some extent in the beginning, but in the long run, well…”

“Virtue, what is it?”

“It’s not getting in a cart when you’re tired, not putting a cover on a cart when you’re hot, and not having armed soldiers in procession.
It is his virtue that when a ruler dies, all the citizens shed tears, even the children refrain from singing, and even the triggers do not hum.”

“Is it a great blemish that I am not virtuous?”

“If it is a great blemish, it is a great blemish, for you will not live long because of it.
You may have established your majesty by beating up on cheap scoundrels with the Thrash Furun Law, but in the long run, you will kill and injure many commoners, which will build up resentment and anger.”

“Do you think I should fear the resentment and anger of the common people?”

“The commoners won’t like it, but neither will the Baskervilles, and although it’s an underdog city, the citizens will be more afraid of you, the deputy, than they are of the Baskervilles.”

“Hmm.
That’s true.”

“The same will be true when your superior arrives, or when your successor does, and the reason you changed the law is to assert your authority and hasten your accomplishments, which will have many native factions gnashing their teeth.
There are plenty of underworlders in other cities, too, and I don’t think you’ll have long to live, considering their sentiments.”

“So what do you think I should do?”

“You are as precarious as dew right now.
If you wish to live to see another day, you must resign as Deputy Magistrate, return all your powers to House Baskerville, return the balls here to the Gazoo and the Imperial House, and go to a place befitting your age, such as Yazi in the Red and Black Mountains, or an academy in the center of the empire, and look forward to the future.”

“And?”

“Keep yourself as unnoticed as possible, conceal your strength and cultivate your learning, and suggest to your superiors that you seek out and promote undiscovered talent, honor the elderly, care for orphans, praise the unmerited, and honor the virtuous.”

“And what will I gain by doing so?”

“Your mind will be at ease, for one thing, and by that time the patriarch of House Baskerville will have taken all the blame you deserve; and even if he takes away your immediate credit, you are only fifteen years old anyway.
Isn’t that old enough to have a reputation that has spread to the ecliptic, even if it’s only a sham?”

At Xin Di Wendi’s long-winded advice, Vikir smiled a rare smile.

Her advice was very much in line with Vikir’s own plans for the future.

“Good.”


Vikir nodded.

At the same time.

…Clang!

The iron gate swung open.

Vikir ripped the padlock off with the force of his grip, then removed all of Xindiwendi’s restraints.

“As promised, you are now free.”

“…….”

Xin Di Wendi raised her head and stared at the iron gate in front of her.

Then she turned to look at Vikir.

“Are you really releasing me?”

“I am.
I keep my word.”

“You’ll regret it, won’t you?”

A hint of life returned to Xin Diwendi’s eyes.

Seeing it, Vikir smiled wryly.

“I hope so.”

“……?”

Sindhiwendi tilted her head.

Finally, Vikir spoke up.

“You said something nice to me, so I’ll say something nice to you.”

Sindhiwendi turns to leave the cell, but stops short.

With her back to him, Vikir spoke.

“There were seven famous native families in Underdog City.
The Montblancs, the Pierres, the Louisvilles, the Channels, the Ferragamos, the Hermèses, and the Pradas.”

“…….”

“But a few years ago, their number was eight, not seven.”

At that, Vikir didn’t miss the slight shiver that ran down Xin Diwendi’s spine.

“Originally, there was an eighth family called the Messinadna family, the wealthiest of the merchant families.”

“…….”

“But they were destroyed overnight, all of their members tragically killed.
Do you know why?”

“…….”

“They had stolen the Baskervilles’ sword book, and their eight-year-old son had one day claimed to have learned to be a good swordsman.”

“…….”

“The patriarch of the Messinadnaro family threw a big party for his son’s birthday and asked him to demonstrate his newfound sword skills.”

“……that.”

Xindiwendi held up a hand to interrupt Vikir.

But Vikir was undaunted, and continued.

“With everyone gathered, my son demonstrated his swordsmanship, but everyone there was in for a big surprise, for what he demonstrated was the Baskerville style of swordsmanship, which is only shared in secret among the Baskervilles.”

“……that, stop.”

“The Baskervilles are terribly protective of their family’s swordsmanship.
Believing that a top-secret military secret had been revealed, the Baskerville patriarch unleashed the hounds, and from that day forward, House Messinadnaro would disappear from the face of the earth.”

“Stop it, you bastard!”

Xindiwendi shouted sharply.

But Vikir didn’t stop.

“But as it turns out, House Messinadnaro was not guilty.
It was the children of the other seven houses who lured their son with the promise of a good sword book, and they lured a young boy from Baskerville to take it from them and teach it to the child of House Messinadnaro, and the child demonstrated it in front of a group of adults to prove that it was good.
It was by design.”

 

“But there was one survivor of the Messinadnaro family, all of whom were said to have been wiped out, a little girl of one year old Turl, and the Seven Wretches managed to sneak her out of that massacre.”

“……Ewww.
Ewww!”

Xin Di Wendi staggered, then leaned back against the wall.

Her eyes were red and bloodshot.


Vikir finished.

“That girl had to be subjected to all sorts of cruel, low, and shameful tortures just because she was bright and fair, and the details of those tortures…… I can’t even begin to tell you.”

“I don’t want to hear any more.
Goodbye.”

A bloody tear trickled from one of Xin Diwendi’s eyes.

She took her back away from the wall and staggered toward the outside.

Then.

“I told you, if you don’t listen, you’ll regret this day for the rest of your life.”

Vikir stood in place, unmoving, and continued.

“There’s a sequel to this story.”

“……?”

Xin Di Wendi stopped in her tracks.

Vikir shrugged once.

“And quite a bit of time has passed, and a new deputy magistrate has come to the city.”

“…….”

“He brought out all the old enemies within the city and punished them.”

“…….”

“And the trigger for the event was the seven rascals who drove House Messinadnaro to ruin.”

Cindywendy turned her head to look at Vikir.

Vikir looked him straight in the eye and spoke.

“The new deputy tortured those seven brats to death.”

“…….”

“It was such horrible torture that a torturer who had been working at the castle for thirty years vomited up what he had just eaten.

“…….”

“And as they lay dying, the seven wretches confessed all the sins they had committed, including those against House Messinadnaro.
They admitted and apologized for all their sins.”

Then Xindiwendi cried out sharply.

“Apologize! How dare they apologize to anyone!”

“To ……the sole survivor of House Messinadnaro.
To that girl.
To the girl who currently goes by the pseudonym ‘Sen Rose Cindywendy’ and whose real name is ‘Messinadnaro Sen Cindywendy’.”

Hearing this, Cindy Wendy staggered back with a dazed look on her face.

“Ew!”

She vomited out the contents of her stomach.

Her vision spun.

The darkness of the dungeon was pitch black.

The rotten stench that had been hovering in the cell from earlier seemed to be getting stronger and stronger.

Xin Diwendi braced herself against the wall with one hand and held her forehead with the other.

She spat on the floor and asked.

“How can I believe your words?”

“…….”

“How am I supposed to believe you when you say you caught them, tortured them, got to the bottom of it, and got an apology!”

Sindhiwendi screamed.

There was no answer from Vikir.

Only.

…snarl!

Vikir drew fire from the rod in his hand and lit a torch.

Suddenly, the dungeon cell was brightly lit.

And then.

“……!”


Xin Diwendi’s eyes widened to tears.

Seven headless corpses were kneeling in the corner of the room.

Their fingers were all worn out, and the blood that flowed from them had stained the floor, walls, and even the ceiling.

The entire room was stained red with blood.

Upon closer inspection, the red color of the floor, ceiling, and walls had been covered over and over again with countless letters.

-Please forgive me for my mistake, I deserve to die, I beg you not to touch me as much as my family……

-Meshinadnaro, we are the ones who destroyed the gate, please forgive us for our sins……

-Sincerely apologize to ThindiwendiWe are the ones who have sinned against leather……

-Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong……

-Save me, save me, save me, save me, save me……

-I don’t want to dieI don’t want to die……

-I’m scaredI’m scaredI’m scared……

Corpses that smell rotten.

And apologies scrawled across the floor, all ten fingers worn down from when they were alive.

The blood that made up the apology stained the entire room red.

“…….”

Xin Diwendi stood in the center of the red room, looking at Vikir with a puzzled expression.

Then Vikir walked in front of her.

“But the vengeance of House Messinadnaro is far from over.”

“…….”

“For there is still one family left.”

Vikir’s meaning was clear.

That meant their greatest enemy, House Baskerville, remained.

Vikir said.

“Blame the Baskervilles.
You deserve it.”

“…….”

“And apart from that, I speak for all Baskervilles.”

Vikir’s back bent slowly in front of Cindywendy.

“I’m sorry.”

And at the same time.

Dip-dip-dip-dip-dip.

Tears began to fall from Xindiwendi’s eyes and land on the stone floor.

“…….”

“…….”

The two stared at each other for a while, unmoving.

Then Cindy Wendy spoke.

“Since you are also a Baskerville,…… why are you helping me?”

Vikir made no reply.

And the sharp-eyed Sindhiwendi understood the meaning of his silence.

The dislike and hatred of Baskerville is within and without, but it is the same.

In that way, Vikir and Cindywendy understood each other well.

And then.

Sindhiwendi walked out of the prison.

She turned to Vikir, who was still inside, and said in a voice that was uncharacteristically calm.

“No matter what you do in life, I’ll make sure you never run out of money.”

Vikir had a new sponsor.

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