Isaac frowned and commented as the frantically moving heads made aiming a nuisance. The agents quickly stepped on the back of the captives, holding their heads to the ground. The shells erupted in the back of the prisoners’ heads two at a time before reloading, his motions as monotonous as a machine.
“They might have some information for us.”
Rivelia intervened, and Isaac nodded in agreement as he reloaded.
“It’s true that I do have a question. From those Port City bastards to combat knights and even the scum of the alleys—everyone who despises me has gathered. However foolish they might be to be used as tools, shouldn’t they at least have the brain to think about their chances at success? I don’t understand what gave them the courage to go through this. If everything went as planned, they’d only be facing the damsel and I. But still, how would they beat a swordmaster?”
Isaac spoke as he executed two more captives. He then reached for his pocket for more shells but frowned.
“I’ve got only two shots left. The rest… would be somewhere there.”
Isaac glimpsed at the collapsed building and sighed. He ordered the agents behind him.
“It’s a shame, but we don’t have a choice. Wrap it up.”
The agents drew their blades at Isaac’s order. But only one man, whose desperate efforts was the only to bear fruit, managed to just barely undo his gag and shouted.
“I, I know why!”
“Yeah, you can keep it that way.”
Isaac didn’t have a hint of interest, which made the man shout all the more desperately.
“It’s true! I know the reason!”
“Good for you. What are you guys doing! How unruly.”
“Anton! It’s Anton!”
Finally, the man’s cry caught Isaac’s attention. Isaac raised his hand, and the agents stopped in their tracks.
“That’s a familiar name. But why are you speaking a dead man’s name?”
“Will you let me live if I tell?”
“You want to negotiate with me in this situation? Not bad. Alright. I’ll let you live. Not just you, but the rest of you all as well. In the name of College graduate, Lord of New Port City, Baron and Director—ah, you don’t know that, right? Anyway, I’ll let you live.”
Joy emerged in the faces of the captives. The man sighed in relief at Isaac’s promise and quickly began explaining, lest Isaac’s mood change.
“Even I was in doubt when I saw the bandaged man scarred with burns. By chance, I happened to overhear Rodney and Niske say that hiding him had finally paid off.”
“Hm, so those idiots from Port City saved Anton and kept him hidden until now?”
“Alright. Let’s say he’s alive. I believe he would have been an even match against Rizzly back when he was still in one piece, but that damsel over there is a swordmaster. You do know what a swordmaster is right? And you’re telling me they caused all this hinging on some man crying over burn marks?”
“Anton, that man is also a swordmaster!”
“He’s a swordmaster?”
Isaac rubbed his chin in interest, but Rivelia immediately argued back.
“Lies! Your body evolves when you become a swordmaster!”
“I swear it’s true! I’ve seen him demonstrate his skills firsthand! It’s the reason why we thought there was a possibility of success and joined.”
The man clung to Isaac, knowing that it was Rivelia’s words against his.
“I guess it makes sense if he’s a swordmaster.”
Isaac nodded knowingly, and the man’s face brightened, knowing that he was now alive.
“I admit. That’s quite the useful bit of information. Just as promised, I’ll let you live.”
“Thank you! Thank you!”
The man bowed his head up and down, thankful for his life. Meanwhile, both Rivelia and the agents looked at Isaac tensely, knowing that he wasn’t the man to let things end like this.
Isaac stood up and scanned through the captives as he spoke.
“Remove all the gags from their mouths. Anyone else have some useful information?”
Isaac asked as the agents undid the gags on captives, but everyone simply looked at each other. Nobody opened their mouths. Seeing this, Isaac grabbed for his cigarette as he spoke.
“Let’s end this If you don’t. Cut off all their limbs, break their backs, and throw them out somewhere.”
The agents winced, looking away with their eyes closed. Just as expected.
“You said you’ll let us live!”
“Am I killing you? You’ll still be alive.”
Isaac replied completely unperturbed. Another combat knight shouted back out of anger.
“Just kill us instead!”
Isaac nonchalantly pulled the trigger like he was doing a small favour.
His aim was slightly off; another man was blasted with a shower of pellets. He fell back, his bloodied face screaming in pain. Isaac took a puff of his cigarette.
“What are you thinking? Just kill them instead!”
Dumbfounded by Isaac’s preposterous orders, Rivelia argued back, but Isaac simply nodded.
“Right? It’ll be better to kill them instead right? But I did make a promise, so I’ll only kill whoever wants to die. So, anyone?”
“No one, right? See. It’s much better to live than die. What are you all doing? Cut off their limbs.”
Isaac repeated, but the agents looked away with pale faces. They refused to move, only sending Rivelia an occasional glimpse. Isaac sighed and scratched his head.
“Tsk. Well, I can’t really blame you guys for not following orders this time. Just pass them over to Smartass if you can’t do it. I’m sure his boys will be more than willing.”
“No! It can’t be like this!”
“Spare us! You promised!”
“Damn you! I’ll curse you from my grave!”
Relieved that they don’t have to dirty their own hands, the agents dragged the captives away to Soland.
Begging and cursing, their faces were eventually overcome by the fear of what was to come. Rivelia, completely worn out from the sounds of anguish, spoke to Isaac.
“Did you have to order such cruelty?”
“You do know what setting an example is, right?”
“But still, it’s too inhumane.”
“I don’t see a problem. It’s not like I’m doing this for praise.”
As the sun began to set, the street lamps began to dutifully light up their streets. How the dim light was scattered throughout the silent plaza made the mood ever so melancholic.
Isaac deeply inhaled the smoke from his cigarette as he sat atop of the debris of what used to be the City Hall.
Was it safe to say they got him this time?
Whoever it was, they succeeded if their intention was to spoil Isaac’s mood. Because Isaac was currently at the boiling point.
The agents stood in a line in front of Isaac, stiff as a rock, silent and extremely nervous. The administrative body came in a hurry after hearing the urgent news, arriving shocked and at a loss for words. Cordnell himself wailed as he held Kalden’s body.
The administrative body’s first reaction was one of anger and vengeance. But when they heard about how Isaac dealt with the captives, they quietly realised that this wasn’t the place for them and quickly scattered.
They were capable individuals who had graduated Campus. And they most definitely weren’t sleeping under a rock. All of them had figured out Isaac was intimately related to Central. They only acted oblivious because no good would come from being roped into Central’s business.
The administrative body volunteered to disperse the protestors, deal with the fire, and clean up the mess, replacing the agents and ushering them back to Isaac’s side. But when they saw how heavy the atmosphere was, the returning agents quietly snuck back among the other agents.
The syndicate bosses, who were dealing with the chaos in the other districts, also arrived somberly. In contrast, Flander, the captain of the mercenaries, came back with his head high boldly. It was a given, as they have done a great deal.
“… I’ll have a word with you all later. Go take care of your districts and get me a damage report. The mercenaries did well. I’ll make sure you are well compensated. Go and help the syndicate bosses.”
The syndicate bosses, standing nervously under Isaac’s glare, dashed away the moment Isaac issued his orders. Flander, on the other hand, followed behind the syndicate bosses trying to suppress his grin.
“You lost Rodney and Niske?”
“We’ve captured the rest of notable Port City citizens and finished interrogating, but those two seemed to have made their escape on a fast ship even before all this happened. We are currently using an airship to track them down.”
“I guess they could’ve made it if they booked it the moment they saw me and realized their plan was ruined.”
Isaac nodded understandingly, and the agent reporting to him sighed with relief before joining his colleagues.
“What about Lanburton?”
Most of the people who should be here had arrived, yet not one non-human was among them. Rivelia spoke with a troubled expression.
“We sent a messenger, but there was no reply. It seems they are focusing all of their manpower in combing through New Port City.”
“Are they not even asking for reinforcements?”
“No. In fact, they were wary of us. And reports say they clashed with the magical spire district in their search, who was forcibly suppressed.”
“Hm. It ended rather quietly. I thought it would get to a dangerous level.”
The magical spire district was occupied by all the various magical spires, making their denizens an extremely powerful combat force. Not even the fools that attacked the city dared not to touch them, but the non-humans in search of Rizzly didn’t care.
Their ransacking would meet local resistance, but the non-humans would continue forward without mercy. More force would meet more resistance, beginning a downward spiral violence. It would not have been strange for a few deaths to result from it.
Plus, living up to their name, the magical spire district had plenty of offensive and defensive artifacts to use. One pull of a trigger from an impulsive man and it would cause a massive chain reaction.
Isaac was worried at first and tried to put a stop to it, but he no longer cared when he heard that Kalden was shot to death. He didn’t know who did it, but if they wanted chaos, Isaac couldn’t do anything about it.
Isaac was somewhat surprised by how quietly it resolved itself. Rivelia glanced around to see if Cordnell was around before speaking.
“The non-humans shifted their liability for the damages to you.”
Of course they would be quiet.
Isaac smirked and pulled out a cigarette. Cordnell would, of course, throw a tantrum at this lunacy, but this was an excellent chance for the magical spire workshops to exaggerate the damages and make a profit.
“Tell Lanburton to come back here again. We’ll start in the meantime. Any of you who know how all this started, say whatever you know now.”