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I changed up the layout a bit. What do you guys think about it? Also, I know I said Monday but in my defense, I didn't specify what timezone XP
P.S. Happy Chinese New Year I guess.
Chapter 49: That time when we talked while calling it an interrogation
It's been five days since we were attacked by the humans and I'm currently in front of the dungeon. I am here to meet with the human prisoners. There was someone who was more or less standing guard at the dungeon's entrance. I guess I should probably talk to him so that I can enter.
「Do you need something Caam-san?」
「Hmー? Ah. We're already done repairing the ramparts so I was thinking of helping out with the prisoners to kill time」
「are you going to torture them?」
「No no no no, that's not it okay? I don't have that kind of hobbies after all. I just wanted to pass the time with the prisoners, that's all」
「It's not really a good idea to get into contact with them…」
「Even if I'll only speak with them?」
「Even so, that's still……」
「Please let me check how the prisoners are doing then」
With that, he opened the sturdy door with a key.
「I won't take responsibility for anything that happens okay? I won't be able to help you after all」
「You really take everything lightly don't you…」
After descending the stone staircase, I was approached by another soldier standing guard.
「What's wrong Caam-san?」
「I just wanted to chat with the prisoners for a bit」
「You shouldn't try talking with those guys you know? Or rather, you won't be able to」
「Well, I won't know till I try」
After saying that, the guard led me to a place with a lot of relatively docile prisoners. Unlike the bald mouse's cell that was made of stone with a sturdy door and a single window, the prisoners of war are being held in an iron bar cell. It's like prisons you see in movies.
*clang clang clang* 『Oi ya bastards! Let us outta here!』
*clank clank clank clank* 『Son of a bitch! I'll kill you!』
Not that one.
『ah~ I want to smoke~』
Too apathetic and has no life in his eyes. No.
He's reading a book… Did they not confiscate their things I wonder? I guess this guy will do.
「Excuse me, is there anyone here who can speak the continent's common language?」
「There's none you know?」
He absent-mindedly murmured as he read his book.
「I see, it can't be helped. I guess I'll look somewhere else. By the way, what are you reading?」
「A story about a knight who goes on a journey to save the princess」
「Caam-san, it seems like that one can」
「Hn? Ah, I know. I was just thinking of testing out how long he's going to play dumb……」
That book reading fellow isn't looking at us after all.
This one's tough to crack.1
「How are your meals?」
「Ah, it's absolutely terrible. It's nothing but hard bread, dried meat, and soup. I can't stand it. It's a lot more than the provisions we get before we were caught though」
「What are you on about you bastard! You should be thankful we're even giving you food!」「We're still talking so please just bear with whatever he says for now」
『How unpleasant. This crude fellow is really inconsiderate, isn't he?』
「I don't understand what you just said but I don't think you were talking about me」
『It seems like he really doesn't understand』
「I don't understand what you're saying」
「I said it seems like you really don't understand」
「Thanks for translating」
While we were having that conversation, this guy didn't stop reading his book.
「I'd like to ask you something. Could you teach me the human's language?」
「I don't mind, but what do I get in return?」
Muー, this one is pretty strong-willed…
「I'm not a soldier so you shouldn't expect a reward from me. The best I can do is give you some of my things」
「What do you have?」
「How about human currency and tobacco?」
「How about treats?」
「How about hard cookies I made before I came to this fort?」
「I don't like hard things」
「I only have brown sugar left you know?」
「Then I'd like tea with lots of sugar to drink while I'm reading」
「Sure sure, I'll get it now」
『Oi, what did you talk about?』
『That demonkin wanted to learn human language so I asked for some sweet tea in return』
「How about us?」
『That's my reward for teaching him so I don't think you guys will get any』
I don't understand what they're talking about but since the negotiation has ended, I went out of the dungeons to get the sugar and sweets.
「I'm sorry but please open this human's cell so that I can enter. I want to be taught in peace」
「Isn't it dangerous?」
「I'm still handcuffed though」
「What he said」
「Caam-san, you're way too reckless」
「I don't think this human whose name I don't know is dangerous though」
「Totally not dangerousー」2
「Haa…… They're both the type that's difficult to deal with… Well, as long as Caam-san will be liable……」
「You have my thanks. Want a bribe?」
With that said, the soldier opened the cell, moved the other prisoners, then locked it after I entered.
「Well then, I'll give you the reward first」
After saying that, I filled a cup with 【hot water】 then took out the pouch with tea leaves and brown sugar.
「Let me know if you want some more」
「So you're the magician who produced hot water in the battlefield…」
After saying that, I also prepared my own tea then took out my memo pad.
「I really want to drink properly brewed tea but we don't have the equipment so I'll just have to endure」
「Ah, well, everyone will wish for their cruel end if someone brought the tools to make that in the battlefield」
「I guess that's true……」
After that, we started with our lesson as we sip our tea.
「Well then, why don't we start with self-introductions since it fits with the current mood」
「I'll leave it to you」
『My name is John』3
『Mai nemu ees Caam』4
「That's it. We'll work on the pronunciation later so let's just start with you speaking it okay?」
「Just teach me like how a mother would teach her child how to speak」
「I'm a man and I don't have kids though」
We started with stuff that would come out in daily conversations after that. I kept writing the important words in my memo.
『Can you understand?』
『Then, please give me some candy』
『You mean this?』
That continued even when we were having lunch.
『Bread』『Dried meat』『Soup』, John pointed at our food while naming them one by one. The words I was getting taught was rapidly getting fired out so I was writing them down on my memo while frantically memorizing them.
『Is this a chair?』
『No, that is John』
『I've been teaching you for three days now but what do you think?』
『Normal conversation… fine, I think』
『Hmmー. Caam, you're unexpectedly smart, aren't you?』
I think this is easier than learning German and Russian. That's was just the vocabulary though. I still have to work the pronunciation and learn the characters of the language. Even if I tried learning all of the human letters at this time, the memo pad I brought wouldn't be enough. We can only cover something like a syllable chart at best for now.
『That not true. I am having a hard time here』
「I have no idea what you guys are saying. What are you going to use that knowledge for anyway?」
Keith, who was observing us, started grumbling outside of the cell.
「If I manage to reach conversation level at least, I'll be able to convey to them that I'm not hostile right?」
「Hm, but you don't have to be in such a hurry right?」
「Snow's going to start falling soon so there's no more time」
「Okay, now say that in human language」
『Soon…… snow…… fall…… no time』
『Well, that's good enough for now I guess』
We decided to chat while we were having lunch.
『How will us prisoners of war be treated?』
『Well, I had already given up at the time I was assigned to head to battle. All hope was lost now that we became prisoners of war』
「Uhm, well, my bad……」
「The ones at fault are the church's higher-ups. While saying things like the demonkin are inferior to the humans, they decided to start this war just to expand their territories. These skirmishes have already been going on for several years now. Since there are so few humans who know this continent's language, they lack contact with the demonkin so it's easy for the church's teachings to spread out 」
I wonder if the humans just don't want to learn the common language.
「Well, that's how it is no matter where you go. That's all there is to it. They weren't contented with just using their position to pilfer money, they even desire to expand their territory」
『……that's true. Well, ones who suffer in the end are us commoners』
「There might be some good people within them you know? We have the lord of this fortress for example」
『There's not a lot of those kinds you know? Now then, I've already taught you enough of the human language right? I'm starting to lose interest in the tea and I'm getting tired of teaching. It's cold because it's going to snow soon right? If that's the case then both of our forces would probably call for a cease-fire. I wonder what will happen to us. It would be nice if we get used in a prisoner exchange though』
「I'm sorry. I really can't do anything about that」
『I wasn't expecting anything to begin with. It was already nice that I got to eat something sweet before I die』
After saying that, he stood up, went to the soldier standing guard and said.
「I wish to go back to my previous cell」
I wanted to thank him for everything he taught me but after he returned to the cell, he no longer was responding to me.
Several days later
There were a lot more carriages arriving than usual and everyone in the fort was already starting preparations for when snow starts falling. Keith and I also received an order to return to Tephroite from Cravatte-sama.
「Good thing it wasn't just a letter this time」
「Yeah…… It would probably have said something interesting if it was just a letter though. But still, we're not really with the army so it would have been weird for us to stay here even longer」
We finished up our preparations to leave after that. I didn't have an opportunity to use the oil and cigarettes I brought back in Tephroite so I decided to just leave those on the shelves in the barracks. I also decided to leave the remaining distilled liquor to the soldiers.
We didn't have anything to guard on the way back so our caravan went on a leisurely pace back to Tephroite. It sure is hard camping with these kinds of temperature though.
Once we got there, we immediately went to Cravatte-sama's mansion.
「Hey, it's been a while. I just saw this in the reports but it seems like the humans attacked the fort just as the demon lord's army came. I'm not sure if that was a lucky coincidence or not but good work this past 40 days you two」
「「Thank you very much」」
「I also heard that you used wind magic to defend against the enemy arrows, wiped out half of the enemy's army with a stone wall, and dealt with the siege towers while Keith was giving our troops cover fire with his bow from the top of the tower. Rest assured because all of your achievements were properly included in the report this time」
We were going to continue checking if there were any disparities with the report but the fox-eared maid stopped us by saying,
「Sir, it's about time」
「Ahー, I see. Well then, about your pay. Because of the previous incident, Caam-kun will receive an additional 6 gold coins. The money has already been deposited so just verify it with the guild okay? It would be bad carrying such an amount with you after all」
Then, we were each given something that was wrapped in high-quality paper and sealed with sealing wax as we left the mansion.
「They seem to be having a hard time」
「Yeah, it looks like things are going to get even busier. Caam, what will you be doing after this?」
「After I get back to Aegirine, I'm going to go home to my village for the New Year's Festival」
「I see. As for me, I'll be going to the inn I'm staying at here in Tephroite. Take care in going back」
After that, we went to the guild to confirm our pay then told each other, 「Let's meet again somewhere」, as we parted ways.
I immediately searched for a carriage after that. The one I found was going to leave the next day so I had to stay in an inn but negotiations went smoothly after I offered to be their escort.
It's been a while since I've entered a bath and ate something other than hard baked bread.
I could have just dug a hole and filled it with hot water using magic when I was in front line base but there was never a time I was alone so had to be content with just wiping my body with a cloth. I wanted to enter a bath so much that I was in tears. As a Japanese person, I even took a bath during a hot summer's day in my previous life after all.
Baths are the best! Delicious meals are the best!