Release that Witch - Chapter 613: Interrogation
“Correct. You memorize it well. Do what you just said.” As there was no military tribunal at this point, Roland had to try cases of serious misconduct in the army by himself. In this case, Danny’s behavior was apparently not so serious as to put him on a trial. “In view of the upcoming great war, we’ll first detain him for five days and have him serve the rest in City of Neverwinter.”
“Yes, Your Majesty.”
“You don’t need to worry about the reactions among other soldiers. This sets a good example and tells them that everybody will be subject to punishment if he breaks the rules, regardless of how great his contribution to the army is.” Roland paused for a moment and then continued, “Of course, we won’t forget what he’s done for the army either. If somebody ever asks, just tell him that I have my own arrangement.”
In fact, Roland knew that he was also partially responsible for such a wrong conductive behavior. Although he had created a premium shooting unit of 50 people, he did not separate those talented, experienced snipers from the soldiers of the ordinary gun battalion. He simply instructed all of them to serve as flanks and shoot with revolving rifles from a farther distance, for the purpose of stopping enemies who tried to sneakily enter the machine gun bunker from the marginal area.
Danny, however, actually acted more like a professional sniper. He chose his position and fired based on his own judgement to eliminate the enemies who posed the greatest threats. Roland had thought about specifically forming a sniper team, and yet such a team had higher requirements for guns, ammunition and especially its team members. He had to, at the same time, keep an eye on the snipers to make sure that every one of them was proactive and productive.
Perhaps, he would make some improvements in the current premium shooting unit after this war concluded.
“By the way, Your Majesty, the captured church’s commanders have disclosed some… particular information.” Iron Axes was carefully choosing his words. “It’s about the God’s Punishment Army.”
“They said the members of God’s Punishment Army can’t fight on their own. They can only complete the most basic mission after a commander orders them to do so.”
Roland turned around. “Really? Anything else?” Ashes had already told him about it, which was the reason he dared to take his armies to the north and provoke the church. If God’s Punishment Warriors could fight independently, only a very few of them would be enough to cause riots across the kingdom and bring him trouble.
“A commander can be an ordinary person or a pure witch, and can’t be changed once appointed.” Iron Axes recollected. “Any new members of God’s Punishment Army will attend a ceremony to pledge allegiance. One captive admitted that he attended such a ceremony once.”
Roland instructed immediately. “Take me to them. Also, bring Agatha.”
Roland met the four separately-confined captives down in the dungeon.
Deepvalley Town was overall pleasantly cool and refreshing above the ground. Its underground surroundings, however, was freezing and damp. All four was blindfolded, drenched, with their hands tied behind their back. Although no visible wounds could be detected, they were all shivering. Apparently, Iron Axes had applied some unique interrogation techniques, which, as he suggested, few people could endure for one day.
Yet the church’s believers were not ordinary prisoners. Their ardent piety made them extremely strong.
“Only the two on the right are willing to speak up.” The man from the Sand Nation said in a low voice. “One of them is the chief justice of the church, while the other is the priest in Holy City. The other two refuse to tell us anything. Of course, they don’t know their friends have already confessed.”
Not really familiar with the institution and hierarchy of the church, Roland asked directly, “Who attended the ceremony where the God’s Punishment Army pledges allegiance? Take him to the interrogation room.”
The jailor soon dragged the priest to a small chamber next door. Iron Axes poured some cold water on his head to awaken him. “Farat, I. have a few questions to ask you.”
He quivered violently and started to speak feebly, “I’ve told you… everything I know. Please kill me now.” The priest’s voice was weak and faint as if he were in great agony.
“Tell me about the ceremony for the God’s Punishment Army.”
Farat did not respond but simply shook his head.
“Listen. This is the last round of the interrogation.” Iron Axe bent over and whispered in his ear, “I’ll let you go once you’ve answered all the questions.”
It took him quite a while to speak again. “The ceremony… is usually held in the Tower of Babel, which is only accessible to God’s Punishment Warriors, the pope and commanders. Everybody… must be completely silent during the process. Even the slightest sound will ruin the whole ceremony.”
“Why’s that?” Roland questioned.
“Because new warriors recognize their commanders by sounds.”
“The first sound they hear?”
“It can be more than one.” Farat gasped. “The chosen commanders will read hymns together. God’s Punishment Warriors will accept everyone during that time period.”
“What about you? Are you also a commander?”
“I’m responsible… for a group, a group of ten God’s Punishment Warriors.”
“But that ten people also need to follow the orders issued by your superior, correct?”
The priest nodded. “All the God’s Punishment Armies should obey the supreme pontiff’s orders.”
“That’s how it works,” Roland thought. He had thought they commanded this unconscious army telepathically or via brainwaves, but they actually controlled them through sounds. To him, it appeared to be a very unnecessarily complex and less efficient method. Not only did soundwaves easily diminish, but there was a big chance of issuing contradictory orders as well. Either of the problems would cause confusion to the God’s Punishment Army.
“You said once a commander is appointed, he can’t be changed. What if God’s Punishment Warriors lose all their commanders?” Agatha ventured suddenly.
Hearing it was a lady, Farat was stunned.
“Answer!” Iron Axe got some more water.
“I… don’t know.”
“You’re lying.” Roland immediately received Nightingale’s hint. “You’d better not play any tricks on us if you don’t want to stay here for another half a month.”
The priest clenched his teeth and finally said, “They, they’ll go to Barbarian Land themselves. That’s all I know.”
“Barbarian Land?” Agatha echoed in surprise.
“It’s just a hearsay… Usually, when this happens, some other warriors will stop him. But…” He hesitated for a moment. “It’s rumored some God’s Punishment Warriors, who weren’t properly managed, fled to Barbarian Land many years ago, and have stayed there ever since.”
“Do you know how the God’s Punishment Army is converted?”
“Well… Only the supreme pontiff can host the ceremony…”
“When the pope retires, how does he assign his authority to control the God’s Punishment Army?”
“I, I don’t know…” Beads of perspiration started to appear on his forehead.
“Four hundred years ago, how was the church founded?”
“Have you heard of the name ‘Alice’? How about the Union and Taquila?”
The priest was just irresponsive to any questions Agatha put forward afterwards.
“He truly doesn’t know. Let’s go. There’s no need to continue with this interrogation anymore.” After receiving the confirmation from Nightingale, Roland said.
When the three of them was about to leave the dungeon, Iron Axes trotted to them and asked, “Your Majesty, what about these captives from the church…”
“Do what you’ve promised earlier.”