40. Chapter 40 – Invitation of the War God
Gerard Berger, Commander of the Ferrius Front of Highserk Army, was welcoming guests who came into a room in the basement of Sarajevo Fortress.
“Well, thank you for coming here.”
The room was dim, and a person facing Gerard emerged from the light source, a magic stone. It was one of the “Three Heroes”, Ayane Sugimoto, a girl who came from a different world, and had a hostile relationship with the Highserk Empire.
The girl had her hands tied behind her back and was staring at Gerard.
Gerard realized that it was just a bluff.
Gerard, who had been involved in the living and dying of people for many years, loved people.
People showed their true faces only in their last moments. At such a moment, when people started to get angry, Gerard loved it very much. That was why Gerard wanted to tease the girl even more, while she tried to restrain her fears in her heart.
Had the girl been just a helpless girl, Gerard would have given her bread and sent her back, but her ability was rare and too dangerous.
“I like humans. And my homeland treats prisoners of war carefully. Unlike the Four-Country Alliance, I’m not going to handle prisoners like garbage. I think the death of a person should have a meaning. But, a prisoner of war who does nothing is just a burden, a hindrance. Don’t you think so?”
The girl didn’t open her mouth in response to Gerard’s question.
“You see, I, am talking to you, Ayane. If you keep silent, it’ll look as if I’m talking to myself. Anyway, Let’s continue.”
Gerard continued speaking without waiting for the girl’s reply. To tell the truth, it didn’t matter if she didn’t want to reply.
“I’m thinking of getting you to treat the injured in our army as labor….. So, can you give me an answer? Of course, even though you’re a prisoner, I’m going to reward the labor you do.”
“I must, refuse.”
Said the girl in a trembling voice. She was optimistic that someone would come to help. She couldn’t imagine what would happen if she refused. However, maybe after being told Gerard about his love for people, she thought that the old man in front of her looked like a gentle old philanthropist, thus she replied.
“What a shame. I just want you to work for people’s lives. This is a problem. There is a limit to how many prisoners we can feed, we have to reduce the number of the burden. Like the Four-Country Alliance.”
Looking away from the girl, Gerard called out from the room.
“Bring him in.”
What was being dragged in was a prisoner of war, a heavily wounded soldier. A great soldier who hadn’t lost his rebellious spirit even after being captured by the enemies. Even Gerard was impressed by his attitude.
“He’s a Craist soldier. I heard he was in the treatment tent, but do you know him?”
The girl was silent, but her face, which had seemed expressionless until just now, was distorted. Still, she remained silent. Again, Gerard didn’t care whether she responded or not.
“As you’ve guessed. He’s a target for the reduction. But first of all, “total disposal” in one go is a waste. I’m thinking of starting from his finger first, what do you think?”
“You’re just a crazy old man on the verge of dying!! Do you think she’ll hesita――”
Momentarily, the Craist soldier screamed. A real brave soldier indeed, he didn’t hesitate to shout like that even in the enemy territory. Gerard couldn’t help but think that he was a good soldier.
“Great. You’re so enthusiastic.”
The longsword at his waist had long lost the opportunity to show its shine on the battlefield, but Gerard could still use it to perfectly slash one of his targets even after a long time.
“a, AAAaaaAAA!!! Bas,tard, you damn Bastard! F*CK!!”
Gerard picked “it” up and gently placed it on the desk.
“One for now. Ah, I can’t have you biting your own tongue. Human resources are limited. It would be a waste.”
Gerard smiled at the girl.
The soldiers standing nearby made the Craist soldier bite down on a gag and fix his hand on the desk.
The man arched his back and let his legs flutter.
“Fuuuugh, UUGH, uuuUUUUUGGHH!”
“Have you ever had all your fingers dropped? Have you had your limbs scraped off? Have you been roasted alive? Have you ever lost your nose? Ears? Teeth? Eyes? Many people misunderstand one thing. Sometimes death can even be salvation. Do you know what that means now?”
It seemed to be a teacher reminding the students. For the first time, the color of fear lit in the eyes of the Craist soldier. On the other hand, Gerard’s intelligent eyes darkened.
“I love my country, the people who live there too. That’s why, I fought day after day for forty years, but the more we won, the more the neighboring countries interrupted us. Like the Four-Country Alliance.”
A dull sound and a muffled voice echoed through the room three times in a row. As the soldier collected the amputated finger of Craist soldier, the blood was stopped from oozing out of the cut.
“15 more. Let’s change the way. Next, I’ll mince the fingers. Together with the bones.”
Picking up the mallet on the shelf, Gerard walked around the room with loud steps, until he stopped near the girl.
“What a problem. So, let me say this. I’ll do whatever it takes. Yes, if I must, I’ll do whatever it takes. Whatever it takes. Fortunately, there are many prisoners.”
Behind him, the fingers of the Craist soldier were fixed to the desk. Gerard watched over the soldiers who writhed, groaned, and began to struggle.
“You seem to like it. Well, the preparation is complete.”
Recalling something, Gerard clapped his hand.
“Oh, right. I have a woman who seems to be close to you alive. I thought she was an assistant, but if she doesn’t want to work, I don’t need her. I must give equal rights to both Men and Women, right? They all have equal rights to live. So, let me ask again. What about your answer?”
The conclusion was made, and the girl, trying hard to suppress her disturbed breathing, forced words to come out of her throat.
“… I will, cooperate.”
“I thought you would say that. I’m glad I haven’t crushed them. Your first job would be to connect the man’s fingers together.”
The girl connected the soldier’s fingers with a speed and skill that exceeded Gerard’s expectations.
The girl, who had finished the treatment, looked up at Gerard with hatred.
“You did the job. I’m a type of person who keeps his promises. I’ll give you a workplace and an assistant. And, yeah, that’s right. You’ll need an escort. I’ll arrange everything.”
“All of this, is everything going according to your plan?”
Gerard smiled at the girl, who said this regretfully.
“I’m not such a person. I’m just a person who simply does what must be done. I can only do that much.”
TN: In this ch, Ayane’s name is written in a way of how the name of the people in this world, that’s why it’s not Sugimoto Ayane, but Ayane Sugimoto. I guess because in a sense this ch is more to Gerard POV and also perhaps that is how her name is being spread in this word.
TN: Join my discord channel if you want.