Dream Life Vol 3 Chapter 5.3: “Interrogation”

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 I digress. The enemy is studying us to some extent, but they have not obtained accurate information. However, they have not obtained accurate information. In other words, they are not gathering information frequently on the Aurella Road that passes through Doctus.



 In that case, Aurella’s merchants can be eliminated from the candidates for the mastermind this time. If they attacked us to obtain the Distillation Technology, why not use easily available information from Doctus?



 They would have taken the necessary steps to ensure success, not a half-hearted war effort like Maddock and his team.


 Furthermore, we can completely rule out Lux’s fanatics. They don’t understand the importance of information at all.



(In that case, it’s not suspicious that Count Roswell’s relatives are also suspects. It’s geographically close, and it’s not difficult to hire a mercenary who knows the area around here. And if I can sniff if they are close to the Northern Governor who is the ruler of this area, I can understand Maddock’s attitude earlier… well, let’s give it another push…) (Zack)



 I said to Maddock, “Well, I wonder what awaits us in Rawcliffe,” and turned my back to him.


 Maddock’s face was already pale, and he seemed to realize that he was now in a critical situation.


 I whispered to him, “There’s only one way to save your life,” and turned around.


 A confused look of mixed hope and despair comes over Maddock’s face.



“I will say it first, even if you cooperate with us, we can’t free you from your criminal slavery.” (Zack)



 Despair spreads across Maddock’s face.



“But if you cooperate with the Lockhart family, you are an important witness with information about the man who tried to kill us. We’ll have a reason to protect you… The heir of House Lockhart is marrying the daughter of House Roswell. That means the Governor of the North will be protecting you.” (Zack)



“…Will you really protect me? No, can you even do that?” (Maddock)



“I don’t know. At the very least we can put pressure on the officials in Rawcliffe. If they refuse…” (Zack)



 I dare to cut off my words there.


 Maddock is looking forward to what I have to say, but I turn my back to him again and ask, “Who hired you? Are you finally willing to tell me?”



 Even with my back turned to him, I can feel Maddock’s agitation in my hand.


 Then, after about ten seconds of silence, he gives up.



“Harold. The guy who hired us…” (Maddock)



“Harold? Who is he? Tell me about him?” (Zack)



 When I question Maddock, he answers honestly.


 To summarize Maddock’s story, they were former mercenary thugs who earned their living by working as bouncers and sometimes as bandits in the area from the Aurella Road to the northern part of Caelum.



 One day, a dark man of about 40 years old, who called himself Harold, appeared before him. Harold approached Maddock in a small village tavern and told him and his men, about ten of them at the time, that he was in the service of someone of high rank, and that he would give them new orbs and gold, so that they could rob a nobleman’s carriage and kidnap a woman who looked like she was of high rank.



 Some of them refused, saying they did not want to cross a dangerous bridge, but in the end, they took him up on his offer, although they were skeptical and tired of their life on the run. After that, they began to gather together a group of misfits like him one after another, eventually numbering about sixty or seventy.



 Once successfully abducted, they would cross the river using a boat prepared on the banks of the Farthus River, the great river that runs from the Kingdom of Caum to Aurella and go to a place on the Caelum side of the river. There, he was promised to receive a new orb and gold.



 This time, in addition to the Maddocks who had raided the Lockhart house, about the same number of ruffians had attacked the lead wagons. I wondered about the small number of archers, but it seemed that they were concentrating their archers in a separate unit in order to confuse the caravan leaders.



 As for Harold, when I questioned Maddock, I was told that he was a dark-haired man in his forties with cold gray eyes that showed no emotion at all. He seemed to be a very skilled swordsman, according to Maddock’s assessment. He had a gloomy, stifling atmosphere, but he sometimes radiated a deadly energy like a drawn sword from his slender body.



 Just in case, I asked him where he was going after crossing the Farthus River, but he still hadn’t told me.



 When I asked him about his contacts in Rawcliffe, he told me that he had been told that Armand Boyette, Rawcliffe’s deputy, was his collaborator. If the raid failed, they were told to attack again after they left the town of Rawcliffe.


 To be sure, I questioned the other bandits and found no discrepancies with Maddock’s testimony.



(It seems that these guys were going to be completely discarded by this Harold guy. But now, we could use this information to catch Harold. If we can talk Maddock and the others into letting Sharon and the others act as hostages. If we let Maddock do it… No, no. He’s the one who has all this preparation. I’m sure he’s keeping an eye on Maddock and the others. If that’s the case, he must already know that the raid failed…) (Zack)



 In the meantime, I’ll talk to my father about it,



“We have no proof. Besides, it would violate the authority of Rawcliffe’s deputies. Even if he is a suspect, it would be better not to touch him. Besides, if we touch him, we might end up attacked by a snake.” (Matt)



 If my father was right and the Rawcliffe deputy was in league with the man who had attacked us, there was no telling what he might say against us if we made a bad move.



(It’s a hassle, but we’ll just have to deal with the enemy’s moves. It would be easy if they pushed us with force, but it would be troublesome if they tried to lure us in. We need to make allies in the Northern Governor’s Office… Brother. I wonder if he can do something about it…) (Zack)



 I will also discuss the treatment of Maddock.



“As for the treatment of Maddock, since he attacked father, a knight of Caelum, I am sure he will be executed in Rawcliffe. Then we will lose our witness. If we say that we will judge him because he attacked us, the deputies of Rawliffe will not be able to speak strongly against us.” (Zack)



“That would violate the authority of Raccliffe’s deputy, but…” (Matt)



“We will have to be strong. If we protect them, I think we can protect ourselves from the mastermind behind all of this.” (Zack)



 My father, with a reluctant look on his face, agreed.



“It can’t be helped. I don’t like the idea of negotiating with bandits, but I made a promise once in Lockhart’s name. But you’ll have to come up with a reason to convince His Excellency the Governor.” (Matt)



 I gave a small nod and replied, “I have already thought of one.”



 For the explanation of my logic I’m thinking of is that the Lockhart family protects them in order to expose the masterminds who could be harassing the Roswell family.


 In fact, if we take Maddock to Welburn, we can use him as a witness in identifying who Harold is. It would be unnatural to take too many people with us, though it would be disconcerting to do it alone.



 Normally, I would check to see if there was a bounty on them in the city of Rawcliffe, or if they belonged to a mercenary guild or adventurers’ guild, and after establishing a bounty or other reward, they would execute him or reduce him to a criminal slave, but then we would have to pass custody of Maddoc to the garrison in Rawcliffe.



 If the deputies of Rawcliffe are connected to the mastermind, there is a good chance that if they hand over Maddock, he will be dealt with no questions asked. All they have to do is make up a crime and execute him, so it shouldn’t be too much trouble.



(I wonder what kind of person Boyette is, the deputy of Rawcliffe. Worst case scenario, I could negotiate and talk him down. Father won’t like it, but I’ll take him to the garrison filling station for now, and we’ll take it from there….) (Zack)



 After that, in about thirty minutes, the merchant caravan began to move.


 It was about seven kilometers to Rawcliffe, and they would be there in two hours.




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