“A spell that can interfere with the souls of the dead? Ilias, just how much did you corner this guy? My condolences.”
“Do I look like someone who would do that?!” (Ilias)
The one at the center of the bandits…is technically working in the shadows, so let’s call them the Mastermind.
The Mastermind has threatened the bandits in order to stop them from leaking information.
This is still effective despite them being tortured by knights that have the strength to slaughter them.
Maya-san told me the clergy heal the wounds of people and guide the souls.
Then, is there an other side of the spectrum? And so, I have come to the church to ask about whether there is magic that can change the personalities of people and deal a negative influence to their souls.
“The bandits are fearing retribution after they tell us the info. But they don’t fear execution. As such, I hypothesized that there may be some sort of threat that works even after death.”
“Hmm, within the forbidden spells, there are indeed spells that would call for the souls of the dead.” (Maya)
“So there really is that type of magic, huh. Is it the type that revives the dead with dark magic?”
“Resurrection magic is not dark magic, you know? It is forbidden though.” (Maya)
“…Sounds like magic everyone would want.”
“You must not say that elsewhere. Depending on the nation, that statement alone would be enough to land you the death penalty.” (Maya)
Maya-san said this with the first serious gaze I have seen from her.
“Is it really considered that dangerous?”
“Yeah, it created the worst result after all.” (Maya)
“The worst result?”
“There certainly were people who came back to life with resurrection magic in the past, however, they all became Demon Lords that antagonized humans.” (Maya)
I heard that term when talking about the place where the slime reside, but there really are Demon Lords in this world, huh.
“A king is a being that creates a nation and guides the people. But a Demon Lord is a being that destroys nations and brings death to humans.” (Maya)
“I get the vibe of it, but why does reviving the dead end up turning them into Demon Lords in the first place?”
“We don’t know. I have never used it or seen it used after all. But in history, putting your hands on resurrection magic created even more deaths by giving birth to Demon Lords. That’s when they finally learned.” (Maya)
It is not like I don’t understand the danger after hearing Demon Lord.
When speaking of the commonly known Demon Lord, it would be the enemy of humanity. The boss of all evil that creates many deaths and is defeated by the hero.
If each resurrection turns them into a Demon Lord, it is natural to forbid the use of such.
That said, I don’t really see the bandits fearing themselves turning into a Demon Lord.
“The bandits fear resurrection magic…? No, unlikely. Maya-san, is there any other spell that would be more undesirable to use on a personal level?”
“Right… Necromancy, I guess?” (Maya)
She said this with a really uncomfortable face.
“Judging from the name, is it a spell that controls the souls of the dead?”
“It is a spell where the target is resurrected in an incomplete state, dragging the soul of the dead, forcefully and bringing shame to them in the mortal plane.” (Maya)
“That sounds less difficult than resurrection magic.”
“Yeah. Resurrection magic is in a further summit. That’s why spells that interfere with souls, which are a junction leading to the path, are forbidden as well.” (Maya)
Wouldn’t that be enough material to threaten someone?
If it were about being resurrected and becoming a Demon Lord, they would instead be looking forward to climbing back up instead. Most of all, the birth of a Demon Lord wouldn’t be good for the Mastermind who partakes in the bandit trade.
But how about necromancy? The kind where they go ‘if you betray us, we will drag your soul for eternity even if you die’.
The words of that bandit would make sense too.
“How have the souls called by this necromancy been treated in the past?”
“It is something only lowlifes would use after all. Do you think they would treat their souls humanely? They would use them as offerings, would bring them back to rotten bodies and control them like monsters.” (Maya)
“Do you think those souls had any consciousness?”
“…Boy, you ask quite the fearsome thing.” (Maya)
Maya-san’s eyes turn sharp as if she were evaluating me.
In her perspective, I am trying to learn about disdainful magic, so it is not like I don’t understand her being bothered here.
But in order to bring down the bandits, we must not fail in baiting the truth.
“I want to hear about this because I judged this to be necessary information. What I want to know is not how to use necromancy; it is the fearsomeness of it.”
“…In the past…I have gone out to subjugate an evil user of necromancy. That person would steal the souls of the people they killed and fuse them into the body of monsters. We not only had to defeat the magic user, but also the monsters that were created.” (Maya)
“Within the many that screamed in horrifying pain, one of them told me: ‘Thanks’.” (Maya)
“I appreciate your help.”
I am now certain. The chains tying up the bandits is necromancy.
It may not be the exact same, but it must be similar.
If they were shown ‘a bandit that ended up that way’, they would much rather have a quick death.
“Maya-san, the bandits in this nation are mostly ones that flowed in from Gahne, right?”
“So I have heard.” (Maya)
“Is there information about any criminals in Gahne that might be involved with necromancy?”
“You think that guy is involved with the bandits?” (Maya)
“I plan on confirming with the bandits here, but I am close to sure about it.”
“Got it. I will investigate.” (Maya)
“Well then, if you will excuse me.”
I have obtained the ingredients to level the field. Now it is all about whether I can make it into a weapon.
I lowered my head to Maya-san and left the church.
Ilias was listening to the conversation between him and Maya without getting in the way.
He still hasn’t been in this world for long, and yet, he gathered information he thought was necessary and reached to necromancy.
She thought at first he was smart, but that wasn’t the case.
“Ilias, watch over him properly.” (Maya)
“I am thinking the same thing you are thinking.” (Maya)
“That boy is used to evil. He has an understanding of that world.” (Maya)
That’s right. It is not that the young boy was smart that he arrived quickly at the use of necromancy.
It is because he has a close mentality that he naturally reached that conclusion.
Ilias heard that the world he came from didn’t have magic, but she doesn’t know what kind of world it is.
In the first place, she doesn’t know well what kind of person he is.
When he heard about the forbidden resurrection magic, he said ‘anyone would want it’ nonchalantly.
After being told by Maya with a serious face about the destiny of the ones brought back by necromancy, he simply nodded without changing his complexion at all.
“I know. That boy is not a bad boy. That’s certain. But he is a dangerous boy that can easily step into the wrong path.” (Maya)
Ilias nodded and followed after him.
After returning to the barracks, I had them gather all the captured bandits.
“Now then, I shall introduce myself. I am the newly appointed interrogator—”
“Shut up, you bastard! What do you want by gathering us all here?! If you want to kill us, just kill us already!”
They aren’t even letting me introduce myself. So sad.
But I won’t lose.
“‘Kill me, kill me’, do you dislike falling prey to necromancy that much?”
Okay, with this, my belief has changed to certainty.
Everyone made really easy to tell flustered faces.
“Don’t worry. More importantly, let’s continue our talk.”
The eyes of the bandits changed.
From hostility to unease and wariness.
If I were to say I am a badger of the same hole as a bluff, I might be able to threaten them with fear, but since I can’t actually use this necromancy, the effect I would get would be lower than that of the Mastermind.
“Now then, I would like to negotiate with you guys under this new understanding.”
“Negotiation? Like letting us go if we tell you?”
“I can’t do that. Even if I had that authority, I wouldn’t.”
“Then what is it?”
“I can change the ‘execution day’.”
“…What did you just say?”
“If you give us the info, I will promise to execute you guys after we have dealt with the necromancer that you guys fear so much.”
“What’s the point of that?!”
“You can die as humans.”
The complexion of the bandits changed.
Well, now comes the gift time.
“This is a negotiation. Negotiations hold meaning when there’s benefits. In this case, it would be whether you guys can die as humans or not.”
I slowly walk towards the bandits and explain to them thoroughly.
“Now then, I shall explain what will be happening to you guys from here on. First, in the case you provide us the information, you will obviously anger the Mastermind that used necromancy. That’s obvious, right?”
I begin by making them aware of their standing again.
Have them concentrate their attention on the biggest problem.
“However, you guys won’t die yet. You will be chained up at the very depths of the barracks and be provided the bare minimum amount of food to keep you alive.”
And then, I will make them realize that there’s a different conclusion.
“As per the negotiation, you will stay restrained until the Mastermind is caught and dead, but after that, you will be safely executed and finish your life peacefully.”
The bandits looked at each other and I pointed this out gently.
“There will be no pointless torture. You will be able to die while looking back at your life until now.”
“T-There’s no assurance that you can pull that off! We can’t trust the deal either!”
“With the possibility of your guys being resurrected as monsters with necromancy, there’s no merit for us in executing you at once. They would happily delay the day rather than increase the pawns of the other side.”
“Even if so, we can die as it is if we don’t spill out the info! This is not on the level of your pathetic torture! There’s no need to risk it!”
The other bandits were also getting riled up by this denial. That’s a good sign.
These guys sternly chose one path until now and didn’t move from it.
But what of now? They are beginning to compare their own path with the newly presented one.
“Risk it? That’s true, but do you guys seriously think that your current standing isn’t risky in itself?”
“Do you think there’s no other methods, chances, or coincidences we could use aside from us obtaining the information from you guys?”
“Actually, us finding your base was a coincidence this time around. However, what did you guys think was the reason why we found you? ‘Someone messed up’, ‘someone sold us’, did that not cross your mind once?”
“If we were to luckily get information from a different source, what would the Mastermind and his group think? ‘Didn’t someone tell them the info?’, ‘Who was it?’ —True, I wonder who.”
Now that they have begun comparing, the rest is simple.
I can just lower the worth of the path they kept on choosing.
Make them realize that the path they are choosing isn’t as safe as they thought it would be…how it could turn into the worst one with just one slip of fate.
“You either believe in this guy you fear and leave him to his own devices, or get rid of him as soon as possible; that’s the kind of choices you are being given here.”
The bandits were exchanging glances.
They are hesitating.
All that’s left is to finish them up.
“That’s the kind of deal I am proposing here, so I would like any of you to just bring out the courage and tell us -beginning from tomorrow on. I will arrange it so you guys can think about it carefully today. That’s all.”
After that, I had the 7 bandits be moved to different places just as I arranged beforehand with the knights.
I took a deep breath once this was over.
Man, that was tiring~! Doing a presentation while I am continuously glared at ain’t easy~!
When I looked back, Ilias-san and Cara-jiisan were still there, and were making hard to describe faces.
“Haah, so there’s a way to corner people like that, huh. Lad, you could become a crooked merchant in the future.” (Cara)
“I wouldn’t ever want to live a life where I am being hated. I just want to live a safe life.”
“But why did you separate them?” (Ilias)
“So that they can’t make a safety net, I guess? The safest path for them to take in that situation would be to all coordinate a story and lie. If they do that, it wouldn’t be a betrayal, and they can also avoid torture and delay the execution. Even if we saw through their lies, it would take time to make them speak again.”
“I see, but will they spill the information with this?” (Ilias)
“Wa, then…” (Ilias)
“That’s where I have something to ask of you, Cara-jiisan. I am sorry since it will be a bit of a bad thing though…”
“Fumu, tell me.” (Cara)
“Lend me your ear. *Whisper whisper*.”
“O-Oi, let me hear too!” (Ilias)
I whisper the explanation for the last touches to Ilias-san and Cara-jii.
Cara-jii closed his eyes and groaned; Ilias-san was looking over here with a face as if saying ‘what an unbelievable guy’.
“What an unbelievable guy.” (Ilias)
She said it outright.
“You are one refreshing evil dude.” (Cara)
“This is just on the level of an evil child. However, this is a job only Cara-jiisan and the knights can do.”
“Can’t be picky with the methods here. Alright. I shall become an accomplice.” (Cara)
“Hmm, but…if it is for the sake of the people…it can’t be helped.” (Ilias)
There’s a variety of methods to obtain information from the other party with negotiations, but if you are on equal standing, the first thing you need to have them understand is that they will be benefiting from this.
It is because they understand there’s clear merit for them that people will then accept something new.
Next is to properly explain to them the downsides. If you neglect doing that, the other party will begin showing doubts.
You can tell them a downside that anyone would be able to know after a bit of thinking before they actually do, and you would be showing your good will.
And so, the last push. You must not forget that one.