The Captives

As I was leaving the battlefield at a fast pace despite my victory, I was thinking about the POWs I had somehow captured.

“It’s over… it’s completely over… they’re going to torture me and kill me… it’s the worst… I can’t do it anymore… I hate torture…”

I let out a sigh at the mumbled voice.

“I never thought it would be one of the princes.
This is the second one.
It’s not like I’m collecting princes.”

“Prince collecting…”

“Why are you holding back your laughter?”

I turned around, tilting my head at Till, who for some reason was holding back her laughter.

I look at the young man with bright-green hair, who is half crying as a blade is pressed against his neck.

He looks like a thin, idol-like man, but his complexion is pale, and he is perspiring profusely.
Furthermore, because of his teary eyes, he looks like a bullied junior high school student.

And from the side, the bully is me.

“…Let’s see, Prince Freightliner Jiernetta, I guess I should have said.
For now, I’m not planning to kill or torture you yet, okay?”

“For now? I knew it… when we join the main group, I’m going to hang him right then and there…”

“No, no, no, no…that’s negative.
I’m not even going to join the main group.
I’m on my way back to my territory.”

“In the territory? I will take my time torturing you.”

“No, I’m not!”

I respond to Freightliner, who says this with a shudder, with a half-amused look on his face.
He doesn’t seem to believe me at all.

In fact, I have already asked him what I wanted to ask him, and he has easily answered all of my questions.

It’s complicated, but I’m glad I don’t need a truth serum.

“Frankly, I’ve been given enough information.
I’m willing to let you go as long as you confirm that I’m not lying?”

Freightliner looked up with his mouth in a grimace.

“Oh, really? You don’t want to kill me? You won’t torture me?”

“No, no, no.”

I chuckled as I replied with a light smile.

I guess he is afraid of me, but I wish he would show some dignity of royalty.

Well, if I were in the same position, I might start crying, too.

“Even so, the Kingdom of Jiernetta has also taken the plunge.
Even though they have formed an alliance, they have sent most of their soldiers to us…I think their location is more difficult than ours.”

I muttered to myself somehow.
Then the light goes out of Freightliner’s eyes.

“…I can’t help but think they are out of their minds.
There is no such thing as a perfect alliance.
Everyone is supposed to put the interests of their own country first.
Even the black jade is just an import, even if they have a monopoly on it… if it were me…”

Freightliner, a man who looks bad from afar and from up close, mumbles to himself, but what he utters is not something to be heard.

“Wait a minute, the alliance was with Heshel, which rules the eastern side of the continent, right? It has always been that way, but the black ball is also from the central continent?”

Upon confirming this, Freightliner let out a sigh with a dark expression.

“…The siege weapons, the new magic, and the new style of castle construction are all from the central continent.
It wouldn’t be surprising if the Black Jade came from the Central Continent.
At least neither Heshel nor our Jiernetta has the knowledge or skill to create such a thing.”

Muttering this in desperation, Freightliner looked away.
I twisted my head to look at him.

It is true that new technology and knowledge are often brought from the central continent.
To put it bluntly, the central continent is probably more advanced in terms of the educational environment and everything else.

However, this time is different from the past innovations in new weapons and detailed technology.
The use of gunpowder as a weapon is, to put it bluntly, dangerous.

If it is being used in the practical form of black balls, there may be countries that have put guns and other weapons to practical use.

I was relieved that development was slow because of magic, but it would be a threat if a unit was born with guns that could shoot accurately at medium ranges or longer.

“For now, I would like to ask if you know about black jade, the importer, and the intermediary country or merchant.
I’ve heard about Jiernetta’s invasion procedures, so I’d like to hear more about their respective forces and new weapons.
And there’s more…”

As I folded his fingers and laid out the questions, Freightliner began to shake so much that he rattled.

“B-b-b-but how many of my fingernails are not enough…! Oh, oh, oh, oh! I’m being tortured! I’m going to be killed…?”

I half-look at Freightliner, who is sobbing and screaming.

“…I’m not going to torture you.
But if you yell at me further, I’ll at least smear horseradish in your mouth and nose.
It’s just a cute little prank by a child, that’s all.”

Freightliner, who should have known nothing about wasabi, paled and shut his mouth.

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