Happy New Year!
Chapter 47 Part 2: That time when I was stationed to help with the defenses but was actually the one in charge of odd jobs
9 days after we defeated the humans who were attacking the fort.
Cravatte-sama came to the fort to lift up the soldiers' morale.
In order to avoid me telling on the unreasonable demands he pushed on to me, the bald mouse immediately approached him and in order to converse privately with the lord of the castle, the two of them entered a room. After that, he still continued following Cravatte-sama no matter where he goes.
I wonder if anyone will tell him about my situation?
Well, whatever. I'll just go to the top of the tower.
□[ED: Cravatte's PoV]
「Where is Caam-kun right now?」
「 Caam is currently standing watch at the highest point of the fort」
「I see. Let's go there」
「No no, let us have somebody call Caam here…… It would be dangerous for you to go all the way there and your clothes are going to get dirty as well」
「I don't mind. Things would get dirty if you use them after all. It's just a matter of what degree」
After saying that, I asked a soldier nearby to lead me there but he interrupted.
「Let me lead you there then」
I then followed bald mouse-looking fellow until we reached the stairs.
「Yes. However, it would be dangerous so we will just have him come here」
「I don't mind. I want to see the scenery from up there」
It seems like this fellow is up to something……
「Don't make me repeat myself」
After saying that, I started climbing the stairs.
□[ED: and it's back]
Even though my head hurts due to the lack of sleep, I still diligently wrote stuff in my journal while mumbling complaints. As I was absentmindedly looking at the surroundings, I heard someone climbing the stairs. Is that Keith?
「Hey, Caam-kun. What a wonderful view you have here」
I stood up and straightened my posture.
「There's no need for titles. There's nobody else here and they won't hear us down there」
「Ahー, okay. I understand」
He still wants me to be less formal as expected but he didn't have that carefree attitude he had when we first met. Is it because he's currently in the battlefield?
「I overheard your complaints earlier. Is there somebody harassing you?」
「Ahー, you could tell? That high-handed bald mouse-looking guy keeps on making me do unreasonable tasks」
「What do you mean?」
「Ahー, it would bothersome if I explain everything by mouth so I'll just give you this」
I can't really explain stuff properly in my current condition anyway so I just showed him the stuff I've been writing these past few days. As he turned the pages to my journal, his expression kept on getting warped.
「Is all of these true?」
「Yes. There are still some that I left out of there. Do you want to hear it?」
「No, if it's disadvantageous to you then it's fine」
「Okay then. Why did you come all the way here? Are you here to raise the soldiers' morale?」
「Hmー, I haven't heard anything about you in the reports so I just thought it was strange how it's written like you weren't taking an active part in anything. Want to see it?」
After saying that, he took out some fine quality paper.
From what was written there, they made it seem like the forest attack didn't happen and the goods were just safely delivered. The catapult was also defeated just by the combined effort of the soldiers. They even said that it was prisoners that disobeyed orders and pushed too far who eliminated the humans flanking behind. My mood just kept getting worse as I skimmed through the pages.
「Ahー, I also heard about what happened from the rumors being spread by the prostitutes who came back. They said that someone used magic to defeat the catapult even though there were no magicians inside of the fort. They also said that the soldiers split up in order to attack the right and left side but due to that, they were late in assisting the heavily bombarded right side. It seemed like the humans were already annihilated when the prisoner unit finally reached that area though. You also helped in saving the injured soldiers. Those were all of the things I heard from the prostitutes who came back you know?」
Well, you'd get anywhere quicker if you aren't marching together with an army after all.
「I've heard this from five different sources but is what I said accurate?」
「Yes. That's pretty much it」
「I see. I understand. For now, you should come with me. I'll be going down first. Ahー, by the way, I heard that even with all the soldiers in this fort gathered, it would take them 3 days to clear the corpses in the moat. However, it seems like Caam-kun was able to do that while repairing the walls at the same time within just two days」
After saying that, he didn't wait for my reply and just descended the stairs.
「Welcome back. How was the view?」
「Aa, it was the best. You have an extensive view of the surroundings up there and you'd immediately find out whenever an enemy is approaching」
「Caam, you're still on duty. Go back」
Seeing me come down, the bald mouse said that in a different tone than usual. It feels like he's making me out as the bad guy.
「I asked him to come with me. You should come too, Gebiss-kun 」
With that said, we entered a place that looks like a council room. Cravatte-sama sat at the head of the table meanwhile, I and Gebiss sat opposite of each other. After that, he called out to one of the soldiers guarding the door and said.
「Ahー, you over there. Tell Keith-kun and the fox-eared prostitute to come here. Bring with you five soldiers and one combat medic who doesn't seem to busy as well」
After saying that, the soldier immediately left.
Seeing that, the bald mouse started to get a bit anxious. A while later, the five soldiers, a combat medic, the fox-eared woman from that time, and Keith entered the conference room one by one.
「It seems like all members are here. I have something I want to ask all of you. It concerns how Caam-kun over here has been treated recently. It seems to me like he has been experiencing terrible, terrible injustice but what does everyone think about that?
「I agree. They make sure that he's the last one to eat and is purposely given soup that's pretty much just water. There's also the fact that it's already cold when he receives it. There was even one time where he was made to skip his meals. He also had to clean up the moat and repair the walls all by himself」
Keith, thank you. I guess I'll give you a bit of sake tonight.
「Umu. I also want to hear the other soldiers' opinions」
After Cravatte-sama said that, everyone just looked at each other's faced unable to speak.
Then, the soldier who was looking at me with concern during that one mealtime finally said something.
「It wasn't a mistake, even I saw it myself!」
Hearing that, the others around him said that in a low voice. I guess that confirms that they're being forbidden to speak.
「Well then, what about the combat medics? It seems like Caam-kun was able to assist you with various things, however, none of that is written in this report. Based on a rumor from a reliable source, didn't you get your supply of hot water to use in curing the wounds of the injured soldiers from him? It seems like that hot water also benefited the members of the prisoner unit who wanted to wash their bodies」
After saying that, he took out the report and placed it on the table.
「Yes, that is correct. It was I who asked Caam-san to give us some hot water after all. We were given an order to only treat the prisoners last so I saw him cure a prisoner with his own potion. He might have been someone he knew but we didn't think that prisoner would make it.」
Ahー, so he was that guy. I was mad at that time so I didn't really see his face clearly.
After uttering that, he dipped his quill pen in ink then started writing something.
「Well then, how about the fox-eared Ojou-san? According to the rumors, we were only able to prevent the humans' surprise attack due to Caam-kun discovering it. Is it also true that he prevented our troops from being attacked inside the forest because he defeated the humans hiding there?」
「Yes. I saw him entering the forest covered in grass while we were inside our carriage. He came to our tent to buy our services that night so I remember him clearly. I listened to all of his complaints at that time」
「Ah, you don't need to elaborate more than that……」
「No, please continue」
I have been ruthlessly sentenced.
「At first he just told me that he hasn't experienced killing anything aside from monsters and animals but then it started looking like he was experiencing that illness new soldiers get. After that, he started caressing my tail a lot while calling it cleansing his soul」」
Together with that scream, the light in my eyes vanished as I looked up to the ceiling.
I can hear everybody talking about me in a low voice.
「Don't worry about it It's possible for everyone to contract that disease. And besides, this woman works by selling her body nobody can question what you want to do after you've handed the money. If it's to heal your soul then paying money to caress her tail is fine. Now what else…… Ah, that's right. What about the matter with the catapult……」
「Yes. I saw it myself. While we were frantically dealing with the humans climbing the walls, the ground underneath the catapult suddenly caved-in」
「I even heard the other soldiers saying that there are no magicians capable of that inside the fort」
The other soldiers who realized that they can no longer be forced to keep quiet started talking one by one.
「I was right beside Caam at that time so the catapult, it was definitely Caam's magic that destroyed the catapult」
「Really? The report said that it was defeated due to everyone's cooperation though」
Now that the report was mentioned, the bald mouse started looking pale. For some reason, he's starting to look like he's aged all of a sudden.
「This must be a mistake!」
「I can hear you clearly so you don't have to shout. Keith, I'll leave it to you」
「As your punishment, you'll have to stand and wait in front of the door. Understand?」
Hearing Cravatte-sama's words, I looked at the bald mouse but he was hanging his head so I couldn't see the look on his face. I don't know if Keith is up to something but he happily escorted him out the door.
「Now then, the final matter will be about the attack behind the fort. The report says that while an intense melee was happening in front, the flanking humans were dealt with prisoners who disobeyed orders. Is that true?」
「That's inaccurate. We weren't expecting the reinforcements to attack our post so we were surprised. That's when a huge ball of water suddenly appeared in the sky and launched itself towards the humans. Moreover, that water was boiling hot and it traveled towards the enemy at such a great speed that we ourselves were already thinking about jumping into the moat. That huge waterball caused a lot of steam to form so we weren't able to see what happened next but once it cleared, there were no humans left and the prisoner unit arrived. After that, Caam-dono, whose entire body was the same color as the ground, and Keith-dono came out from behind a bush」
Ahー, so this guy was part of the forces defending the back side.
「Caam-kun, frankly speaking, why were you over on that side?」
「We didn't receive a command from the army before the reinforcements began their assault so we just moved as a commando unit. The right path led to a melee in front so we just took the left path. The humans over there were distracted by our cavalry unit so we just used magic and arrows to deal with them」
「Did you not get seen?」
「Like what that soldier said earlier, I was using magic while we were hiding behind a bush. Because of my attacks though, the panicked human soldiers started running our direction but I just left those guys to Keith」
「I have more or less understood the situation. Now, the reason why I came to this fort in such short notice is because of the rumors I heard about Caam-kun and Keith-kun who, even though they were not soldiers, I expressly requested them to come here. Based on the rumors, the two of them played a very active part however, there was no indication of that in the report that I received. Isn't that strange, Gebiss-kun?」123
「No, you see. Ah, this must be someone's plot against me! Someone must have switched the report while it was en route! I definitely wrote the correct details on my report!」
「You say that but when comparing the report you sent this time to the previous ones, the handwriting look completely identical. Even the idiosyncrasies you have when writing are the same like the places where the ink blots or trails off. A subordinate even told me that the paper and ink have the same scent. If I remember correctly, you smoke inside your room right? The smell of tobacco was also left on the paper」
Did he ask that dog-eared maid I wonder? Who needs handwriting analysis when you have her?4
「Do you have any other excuses?」
The bald mouse suddenly screamed and started to rush towards Cravatte-sama so I hurriedly created two 【Obsidian Kunai】 and threw them at his exposed right wrist and left arm to obstruct him.
Did he decide to attack him because he couldn't run away? It's like the phrase: "A cornered rat will bite the cat". Cravatte-sama is a dog though.
He groaned in pain, immediately extracted the kunais, then pressed down on the wound to stop the bleeding.
「Now then Gebiss-kun, we're discussing your punishment but… For Caam-kun's work in cleaning up the moat, he will be given additional remuneration for his troubles. Upon investigation, it seems like it would take the soldiers in this fort three days to complete the clean up so he will receive the equivalent of all salary the soldiers will receive in those three days. Of course, that money will be coming from you, understand? You should have received that much for all the years you have been working till now. Ah, you're also going to be demoted to a regular soldier and once the next batch of supply arrives, you will be immediately sent to the front lines」
The tendon on his right wrist is already severed so I wonder if he'll be alright. Also, Keith looks like he's disappointed that he didn't get to do anything.
「Ahー, Caam-kun, you can do whatever you want with him as long as you don't kill him. Well, I guess it doesn't matter since he will just get thrown in the battlefield after all」
He said that in a surprisingly cold voice. We've just met twice now but I haven't heard that kind of voice from him before.
「Well then, I'll have to go to this fellow's room or else we can't give Caam-kun his pay. You, stop this guy's bleeding and put him in a cell. I'll entrust it to Caam-kun how he is treated afterwards. And you, lead me to that guy's room」
After saying that, we immediately left the conference room.
Oh, crap…… That addictive plant is probably still burning in that room right now……
As Cravatte-sama approached the door, he immediately grimaced from the smell.
「Was that fellow even using contraband goods?」
I guess I should just confess right here.
「Uhmー, Cravatte-sama, could I say something?」
「What is it?」
「Uhm, this is… well, it's my fault」
「In order to vent out my frustration for the harassment I received each day, I got a friend to teach me how to use it and I've been burning those plants in this room for two days now」
「HAーHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! I see, I see! It can't be helped. You were being persecuted after all so you had to do it! You had to do something like this to make up for all the harassment you were experiencing!」
He was laughing while holding his stomach. It seems like he found it really funny……
「Anywayー, where was he keeping his money I wonder~?」
He started rummaging through the desk like a child.
「Ohー, so the report that did not reach me was in such a place!」5
While acting unnaturally surprised, he plied it all on top of the desk. Once he finished examining those papers, he then moved on to searching the chest under the straw bed.
「Found it. It must be here. Muー we don't have the key… Where did he hide it I wonder~?」
After saying that, he took a knife from his waist then stabbed open the pillow to look inside. Since it wasn't there, he moved on to searching on the walls for hidden rooms.
Once he found a section that was out of place, he used his knife to forcefully take down the wall.
He was excited like a child who's hunting for treasure. Is this really how a noble should be? Is he releasing all of his stress since that fox-eared maid with the icy cold stare isn't here? Doesn't he know that the soldiers are watching him?
「He accumulated quite a lot, didn't heー? With him being safely holed up in this fort and hardly visiting any towns, I guess he had no choice but to save up a lot. Right?」
「E-even I am surprised. I use my pay to buy supplies whenever I go back to Tephroite after all」
The soldier he addressed looked troubled while responding.*
「You, it might improper of me to ask but how much pay do you receive?」
「Eh? I receive 7 large copper coins a day」
「It's quite small isn't it? Especially for someone working in such a dangerous location. After this matter has been resolved, I will give the soldiers a small raise. Is 1 silver enough for a new recruit I wonderー?」
That much should be enough since American soldiers who have only been in service for less than two years get around $2,500 per month. If we convert their new salary to Japanese Yen, they receive about 6~7 thousand yen a day.6 Good for you, you also get to receive your hazard pay.
「Hmmー, how many soldiers are permanently stationed in this fort?」
「There are around a hundred soldiers if I remember correctly」
「Please wait for a moment, I will just check the documents」
After saying that, he started skimming through some papers.
「Ahー, here it is. Un, you were right. There are more or less a hundred permanently stationed soldiers here. If we include the officers and all the medical staff then there are around 120 all in all. With the raise they just got, the salary of 100 soldiers for five days* would be equal to 500 silver or 5 gold coins. I will be looking after this money for now so once you leave this fort, you should come to me first, okay? Aside from that, I'll also be giving you your pay for the escort duty and for the rest of your stay in this fort. Ahー, I wonder if a gold coin would be enough for your recompensation?」78
「If you don't manage to come back, I will make sure that that amount will reach your family so you don't have to worry. Keith-kun, make sure that everything I said today will be followed okay?」
「If Caam-kun suffers from an unfortunate incident, I want you to inform his family together with me. Is that okay?」
「Good. After I drink some tea, I will be going back with this money so everyone should go back to their duties」
With that said, everyone started trickling out of the bald mouse's room.
「So, in the end, why did he decide to do that to Caam?」
「It was probably enmity. Aside from the documents, he also wrote a diary and it looks like he was afraid of losing his standing to Caam-kun so he wanted to get him to go home. He thought it would be even better if he gets defeated during an attack due to fatigue. Good grief, didn't he consider that I would go after him if treated someone I went through all the trouble to mobilize like that?」9
Everyone there didn't know what to say since Cravatte-sama replied in my stead so they answered by saying 「Y-yes, probably」
「Caam-kun, how are you doing to deal with that fellow?」
「Ha? Eh? Ahー, I still haven't thought about it」
「There would be no problems no matter what you do as long as you let him live okayー?」
After saying that, he turned a different corner from us.
「He's an elusive character who doesn't show up until there's trouble. But once everything settles down, he starts acting like a child」
Everyone nodded at Keith's words.
Ahー, it seems like from tomorrow onwards, I'll be able to return to my normal life.
◇[ED: Not a PoV change, but this is the "interesting" part (insert evil laugh here)]
Inside the prison.
「Caam, what are you going to do about this guy?」
「We could make him go into the cell where the tied up humans are and let them beat him up but that probably won't do any good」
「Even if we torture him, he still needs to be alive you know?」
「Want to do it anyway?」
「No, I don't have that kind of tastes after all…… For now, let's just make him experience the same things I did」
「You mean manual labor? We can't let him out of here you know?」
「Let's just start with giving him cold soup with his bread and dried meat. We will make him walk around his cell without breaks. We won't let him sleep so he'll have to walk non stop. We will let him sit when eating but we'll monitor him so that he'll finish it as soon as possible okay?」
「If he starts sneaking in breaks, you should keep poking him with that stick until he continues. Just call me once he collapses」
Noon of the next day.
「Caam-san, Gebiss-dono collapsed」
「Hmmー, I'll go there after I eat」
I quickly finished my meal then went to the dungeons.
「Ahー. Once he wakes up, give him water with salt and sugar mixed in it then let him walk again. You need a large cup so give him the one we use to drink beer. Six spoons of sugar and half a spoon of salt for two cups. Just give him another if he faints again. He probably collapsed because his body lost too many fluids」11
「You know those guys who collapse from training in summer? This guy's experiencing the same thing」
「Ahー. That's right, you should also make him skip a meal」
(In a way, I feel like this guy would be better off getting tortured. Is this what they mean when they say that a kind person is scary when angry……?)12
「You may now sleep」
「Is it truly okay?」
「Thank you very much」
He's suddenly turned docile now.
Well then, I guess I should let him eat that thing which won't kill him but make him suffer. I'll go get that thing I prepared just for this day.
~Three days ago in the kitchen~
「Excuse me, could you please give me an egg? Also, please lend me the kitchen」
「I don't mind, but what are you going to do?」
「It's a secret」
Starting off, I cracked the egg in a bowl, whisked it, then added salt and sugar. After that, I placed the mixture in a wooden cup and steamed it until it had a pudding-like consistency.
「You're putting salt in the pudding?」
「It's just something that looks like pudding. Thank you very much for the egg」
I left the kitchen after that. Once the pudding was no longer hot, I covered it with a lid then left it in a sunny place on the tower. At night after the sun had set, I brought it with me under the blanket.13
After doing that, a mold colony appeared.
「The things on the surface are opportunistic organisms so he probably won't die…」
I'll add this in with a slightly cooled down soup. Everything will be complete once it's mixed together well.
「Oーi. Give this to him once he wakes up. You must never eat this and you should also make sure you don't spill the soup. Wash your hands if you spill it and change your clothes as well」
(Just what did Caam-san put in this soup? Poison? Even though he was told not to kill him?)
◇[T[TL: Disclaimer: A disgusting scene is about to happen. Although it's not that graphic, if you're sensitive to those things, turn away now. Just read the last two or three lines.]p>
I've been watching him since yesterday but he's still alive. Was it a slow-acting poison?
「Ahh, my stomach hurtsーーー. Ahhh~~~」
「Don't stop walking!」
「My stomach! It's going to come out!」
(Ugh, how disgusting. How come it's pretty much just water that's coming out. What in the world did Caam-san do?)
After that, he couldn't walk anymore and just held down his stomach while lying down. Even though there was a pot in the corner, he couldn't hold it in and just let it out at his feet.
「G-give me water」
「Aー, ah, got it. Wait for a bit」14
Everyone had the same soup so how come nobody else had a stomach ache? Even the human prisoners are safe. Seriously, what the heck is happening?
When I looked at Gebiss a few days after that, he was already thin an had sunken cheeks. I also started to hear people gossiping things like,『You shouldn't make Caam-san mad』 and 『Even though he's with a prostitute, he's an oddball who will only caress their tails』.
Isn't everyone too loose-lipped?
AN: A salty pudding is an optimal place for a mold colony to grow on. [T[TL: is this true? I can't really be bothered to look it up]r> Please don't try this at home.