14-46. War Kingdom (4) Interrogation
Satous' here. Interrogation changes with time. Interrogation which involved physical pain in the past has seemingly now become something that uses truth serum nowadays. Those are all something I learned from manga and movies though.
"Now then, shall I have you answer my questions?"
After a slightly awkward breakfast, I began the weaselkin's officers interrogation.
The officer looks up at me who's wearing lizardkin suit with scornful eyes.
"Hmph, you think a soldier would easily leak information? This is why dumb lizards annoy me."
"As expected of the empire's soldier, truly excellent. Those magic beasts and tanks are also great."
The harsh words of the weaselkin gets converted in my brain as I talk to him with the [Weasel Language] that I just got.
It's hard to use the language with human's mouth so I use the usual [Ventriloquism] skill to help.
"That's exactly right! Bestowed by His Majesty the emperor, the invincible magic beast army trampled the knights, and the special vehicle corps crushed countless golems! Our Empire is truly unrivaled!"
"The speed of which you invaded Makiwa Kingdom cannot be compared to anything in the past."
"Of course! I cannot stand that bald tactician but that person is the only one that can materialize His Majesty's plan..."
I interrupt the officer, who's blabbering indiscreetly, at the right time to get the information I want.
I didn't use truth serum, it was the support from mind magic's [Honesty], [Speaker], [Foolish Field].
With the synergy of the skill [Interrogation] at max level and these magic, it's easy to make him talk about their secret.
"Hoo, what kind of plan is that? It must certainly be amazing isn't it?"
"Of course! The iron smoke car which connect cities will be used to transport goods and the soldiers to the front lines! With excellent logistics and magic beast corps as the key, and combined with the Magic Eater of the special vehicle unit, even Shiga Kingdom and Saga Empire are nothing to us!"
The special vehicle should be about the tank.
The Magic Eater is probably the magic device which generate magic nullifying field that my companions reported.
We couldn't secure it in one piece, but I can understand its structure to a degree from the wreckage.
I must quickly make something to oppose it.
Still... The smoke car must be a steam locomotive right~.
According to Corpse of the labyrinth lower layer, advancing the civilization means violating the god's taboo, so why is the Weasel Empire fine?
I remember Corpse saying, "Radio tower and railroad network had brought upon the god's wrath."
I should ask his opinion abouot it once I'm done with the interrogation.
"By the way, are you aware of the god's taboo?"
"You really are a lizard. Repeating the same ignorant things as the priests said."
The officer grimaced unpleasantly like he was a child who had got enough of sermon.
"There is no taboo."
To the officer who answered full of confidence, I make a face like I can't believe him to make him talk about the reason.
"It's been 10 years since the science began. God's wrath or whatever never befall us."
--It's already been such a long time?
He's saying that there is no divine punishment since it's not a taboo, however--.
"Did the empire advance science on the premise that the divine punishment wouldn't happen?"
"There is no way the great emperor would endanger his subject right? In order to see if it violated the taboo, we manipulated the rebels to create a puppet state, and then once we confirmed that it didn't violate the taboo, we brought it back to the empire."
I see, so they prepared a test site beforehand.
By the way, about that puppet state--Gufut Commonwealth isn't on the map of Shiga Kingdom's tourism book, not even the country's name remains in the related documents.
According to the officer, that puppet state was disposed of five years ago since it bared its fangs to the empire.
"By the way, why did such a grand empire's army invaded mid countries like Makiwa Kingdom?"
"Hmph, you lizards are clueless."
After having an expression like "You don't even understand that?", the officer lost to the allure of talking and continues to talk.
"Of course it's for the Four Treasured Wands needed for His Majesty's plan and to field test the Magic Eater and the special vehicle."
Fumu, so Makiwa Kingdom's side guessed it right.
It seems three of the treasured wands were taken by the empire, but fortunately, we were able to secure one.
I was going to hand it over to its owner, Miss Shelmina Dasles, later, but it seems it's better for me to keep it.
If I carelessly return it, the empire might re-invade or send some unit to seize it, I don't want to let the sincere girl who doesn't look like she's related to the pyromaniac noble die a meaningless death.
I--Dragon Knight Outis should grandly show off that I have the wand and then I can just return it to Miss Shelmina after some time.
I have to be careful as to not put the brunt of the attack to Silga Kingdom.
Now then, the interrogation went smoothly as such but there were some who were quite stubborn among the officers.
"Empire Army's Western Force, ID number I-0700835, Iscast Tol Usantokujo."
The weaselkin officer stated as if he was a US military captive.
After that he shut his mouth like he has finished his duty.
This officer who was the Wheel Chief of the scientific special vehicle unit isn't talking at all.
Looks like he's the type on which mind magic is hardly effective.
--Can't be helped, I'll use my trump card.
I waved my hand to give the signal, and then the excellent cold-blooded torturers showed up from the door.
They're gripping well-used torture apparatus in their hands.
"Let's start the interrogation."
The smiling torturers started their performance.
"How far can you endure it I wonder~? Nanodesu!"
Tama quickly took off the officer's sturdy boots, and Pochi who was carrying a handmade feather duster began to skilfully tickle him.
We didn't have to wait long before he surrendered while laughing.
We didn't get much new information even with Tama and Pochi's dedication though.
Due to the first officer who chattered a lot, the new information we got from the rest weren't much.
The new information are--
Weasel Empire has closed trading with other foreign countries, they're only doing it with Dejima Island which has a labyrinth.
Science has spread on more than half of the 21 states.
The royal prince is staying in Dejima Island as a foreign diplomat.
The emperor never shows his face among the people, only a part of the senate are acquainted with him.
--Only as such.
Further, I got more information about the tactician from the elite who boarded the biplane.
Half of the army detest the tactician while there's a fixed number who worship the person.
The tactician is wearing hooded robe and a mask, their body line and voice are such that it can't be determined whether they are a woman or a man.
The origin is unknown, it's not clear whether they are a human or a fairykin, according to the rumor the emperor brought them out of nowhere 10 years ago.
It appears the tactician is the emperor's favorite, he called them [Touya] intimately.
....The name sounds like a Japanese.
I can't be sure of it though since the illegitimate child of the previous Shiga King was also named Souya.
Come to think of it, even though I know that their names are of their previous life because the gods name them, why do the reincarnated people are all Japanese?
Oh right, the Heroes were also all Japanese.
Are the gods here partial to Japanese people?
"--I don't know no god's thinking."
At the labyrinth lower layer's palace which I haven't visited for a long time, I consulted about the Weasel Empire to Corpse the King Mummy, and he replied back coldly.
"Oy oy, Corpse. Ya shouldn't be that cold to the boy who relied on the rustle-rustle you y'know?"
"Sorry for being rustle-rustle. Aren't ya clang-clang too though."
Hearing Armor the Iron Stalker's mediation, Corpse glanced at me after joking with him.
"The way gods do things are relatively haphazard. There is no clear standard. It's like 『I don't like it so I hit it』 or something like that."
He makes the god sounds like [a spoiled child who grew up being pampered].
"During the frequent happening of disasters when I made radio towers and railroad, I heard that it was 『God's Divine Punishment』 from the priest, but I never exchanged words with god myself."
"Hyo? Didn't you threaten the god with the nuclear bomb?"
"I negotiated with the 『Oracle Miko』 after doing a little demonstration in a monster's dominion ya see. Gods never once showed themselves despite their big talk, and I only ever fought with the Nopperabou god's apostles so I couldn't have a conversation."
--So apostles are [Faceless (Nopperabou)] huh. <TLN: Nopperabou can mean featureless, but it's also the name of an apparition with no face from Japanese folktales.>
Further, even though the god's apostles weren't that strong, his attacks couldn't work on them so he dealt with them using sealing-type magic tools and magic.
"Hey it's Kuro! You should come and say hello to me too if you visit!"
The one who intruded with noisy voice was a charming beauty with wavy black hair and pale skin.
She's a greater vampire who lives in the labyrinth's lower layer--Vampire Princess Semeri.
"Is Shin doing well?"
"Ou! I'm disciplining him with Armor y'see."
Semeri smiles brightly unlike a vampire would.
Apparently, the former artificial demon lord and a local hero, Shin boy is reforming well.
Semeri shamelessly began to put her hands on the dishes and liquors from many countries that I had bought as souvenirs.
"Oy, Semeri, don't eat them all."
Armor reproved her.
It seems they can take in and enjoy consumables despite being undeads.
Corpse only drinks the liquor, he rarely touches the dishes.
"Kuro, gods are whimsical. I only know this from reading ancient slates and documents, but it seems they've been destroying cities and countries through disasters and divine punishments until around 20.000 years ago."
Yup, I knew.
I heard such story from the matter of the Shadow Castle.
"They've been quiet recently since monsters and demon lords are acting as the disasters, but the gods here are fundamentally different than the 『Kind Gods』 and 『Guardian Gods』 that we Japanese are familiar with. Think of them as relatives of the nasty demon lords."
Corpse muttered in a way only I could heard during the party.
I etch the special advice in my mind.
Further, since Corpse shared about the magic spell and the magic tool he used to seal the apostles to me, I think I can do something about it even if the divine punishment spreads outside the Weasel Empire.
I stopped by the Castle of Perpetual Night in labyrinth's lower layer when I was going back and delivered the 『Lesseu's Blood』 wine to the True Ancestor Ban, he gave me some Blood Spheres as thanks. I was running low on it so I'm really glad.
I also visited Goblin Princess Yuika while I was at it and presented her with various products from my travel, it also served as thanks for putting up the barrier on the solitary island palace.
The Nukazuke I got from Yuika when I was returning was more well-received by the hikikomori demon lord Shizuka than Arisa and Hikaru.
I think having Nukazuke as the tea-cake is quite refined.
"So the Weasel Empire was really aiming for the Four Treasured Wands!"
I disguised myself as Dragon Knight Outis once again and went to Makiwa Kingdom's royal castle to tell the truth.
I've visited the refugee camp and told the situation to Miss Shelmina before I came here, she has agreed to entrust me with the Crimson Wand.
"Fortunately, I have the Crimson Wand with me."
"Oo! Good work defending it to the end! His Excellency Dasles truly has good eyes for people!"
The prime minister who saw Miss Shelmina holding the Crimson Wand stretched out his hand as if he was going to snatch the wand from her.
Miss Shelmina backs away to avoid that hand.
"In order to prevent re-invasion of the empire, I have decided to entrust this Crimson Wand to Outis-sama."
"F-fool! Giving Makiwa Kingdom's most valuable asset to someone of unknown origin--"
Hearing Miss Shelmina's remark, the young king made a verbal slip.
"Crimson Wand is the treasure of Marquis Dasles House. Until Uncle--Marquis Dwot Dasles comes back, I've promised Outis-sama to leave Crimson Wand in his care."
"How are you going to defend the east! If the weasels invade again, isn't Dasles Territory going to be the foremost to bear the attack!"
The young rattled on, but there's no way the person concerned didn't think of it.
"King, there is no need to worry. Outis-dono has offered to lend four guardian golems in the shape of 『Flame Dragon』, 『Blazing Giant』, 『Fire Lizard』, and 『Phoenix』."
Four level 50 class golems should be enough for defense.
I made all of them besides the Blazing Giant using golem creation spell furnished with Magic Cores, I created the Blazing Giant using a complex method I learned in the elf village.
The Blazing Giant is equipped with a structure to cope with the [Magic Eater] inside.
Just in case the golem's AI stopped, I've loaded it with a remote control function using a primitive electronic circuit which I made by analyzing the cell phone I had and Lost Knowledge skill, but it's probably unnecessary.
The supply of magic power from the [Philosopher's Stone] to the golem is stronger than the magic essence (mana) draining force of the weaselkin's [Magic Eater] from the surrounding, so the golem that uses the [Philosopher's Stone] as its core should not stop moving.
"O-Outis-dono, not only in Dasles territory, please put golems in the royal capital too--"
"I don't mind of course."
I've expected this.
"However, I require 100.000 gold coins for each one of them."
The king's smile freezes to hear me.
I don't mind providing the ones that can be made with the spell for free, but they will stop moving if the weasels use the [Magic Eater].
There were some slightly troublesome dialogs after this, but since I was under no obligation to compromise, I had the king and the territory governors to work hard for the country's revival.
Of course they have to fulfill my reward, that is supporting the people who were chased out of their lands.
"Outis-sama, are you leaving already?"
"Yeah, the next battlefield is calling for me."
Miss Shelmina sounds strangely amorous.
Does she likes lizard's face even though she's a human?
"--Yes. I will bring every one who has been saved by Outis-sama back without missing any."
I brushed away my mantle with a thud, rode on the Evil Dragon son's back and flew away.
Once the Evil Dragon son ascended enough to be unseen from the ground, we moved to the labyrinth's lower layer - Evil Dragon area with Unit Arrangement.
For some reason, this area has fallen under my rule.
"You've done good. Here's your reward. Share it with your family."
As thanks for the Evil Dragon parents, I put a truck-sized cut block of the whale meat.
The savory smell of the grilling meat which has been put on the bedrock heated by lava spreads.
Yup, the Evil Dragon parents look happy.
Starting with the Evil Dragon son who couldn't wait anymore and bit the half-roasted whale meat, the other Evil Dragons also scrambled and began to enjoy the whale meat.
After watching them for a little, I transformed into Kuro and went to Echigoya Firm.
It's to arrange the refugee transportation.
Even though Miss Shelmina said it as she did, from the refugee camp to Dasles Territory is dozens of kilometers away, so some of the refugees are probably going to be lost if they keep at it as is.
"Kuro-sama! Two large airships have successfully departed!"
When I came into Echigoya Firm's office room with Unit Arrangement, Manager drew closer on me with eyes that were more dazzling than usual.
Tifaliza's eyes are colder than usual somehow.
"Thank you, Manager."
Manager's tension is dropping fast, perhaps the thanks weren't enough.
As I thought, it should not be just with words, I have to also present her with goods.
I've already given her an amulet, a wand and also a [Magic Bag].
"Manager, do you like sweets?"
"Y-yes. Like everyone else."
Fumu, I'll give her handmade sweets as the token of appreciation.
"I-isn't this the phantom 『Lulu Shortcake』!"
"I baked it myself, do eat it during your break."
Manager is staring at the cake while posing like she's praying to heaven.
Looks like she's gotten back to good mood.
"--Elterina, me too."
"I know. But, keep it a secret from the girls okay? Those girls don't know restraint."
Manager and Tifaliza are exchanging secret talks in whispers.
Glad to see them getting along well.
I wait for the two to finish their talk and make the arrangement for the alibi and the transportation plan.