20. — Bad Guys Are Bad Guys (2)
“The more we tried to get out of this terrible hell, the more it would be for Lord Winder, who would fall to hell on our behalf.”
I turned to Cain, perplexed by the man’s remarks. I could see him waiting for the man’s comments with his face that seemed to be indicating something.
“When we tried to report the state of the village to the Emperor and were caught, he made Lord Winder crippled and took his sight away the day we tried to show Lord Winder the true nature of Jo Malone.”
“He thinks his condition is due to old age, though we know…”
“Jo Malone, that damn bastard is holding Lord Winder hostage to intimidate us.”
Uttering so, the man’s eyes were intermingled with anger and disgust.
My eyes widened as I remembered Lord Winder, who was unable to even move and had to live only in bed. Subsequently, a sobbing cry was heard from inside the iron cages where the shapeshifters were trapped.
“At first, we waited… It was because if the Emperor knew about this, he would help us.”
“Still, even after waiting for over half a year, it seemed to make sense… As shapeshifters, we may not be the people of the empire he has to take care of.”
There was bitterness and despair lingered in the man’s voice.
As I glanced back at the man expressing his despair, I unexpectedly remembered Lord Winder’s answer to Cain’s words.
〈 “What do you do when the Baron isn’t here?” 〉
〈 “When the Baron leaves, he leaves a few servants behind to take care of this old man.” 〉
I thought something was strange. After all, the only person in the mansion was Lord Winder. Besides, he was a frail old man who could not even move by himself. There were too many servants to keep an eye on him alone, and even the guards guarding his room…
…It was because all of the servants who said they would help him were to stop the shapeshifters from approaching Lord Winder, and it was Jo Malone’s ploy to prevent the situation from spreading outside.
I shut my eyes tightly at the truth I suddenly realized.
Momentarily, the voice of a man full of anger rang in my ears.
“So, this situation is what we brought on ourselves.”
“Why is that…!”
“It’s not that we didn’t want to get out of this situation!”
“However, the more we struggle, the more Lord Winder will be punished… That’s why we gave up struggling.”
The best way to subdue someone is not to make them unhappy. So, making the person they loved the most unhappy was the way he eventually surrendered. Needless to say, I was furious by Jo Malones behavior, breaking their will by making Lord Winder, the most beloved to the shapeshifters, suffer in their stead.
Nonetheless, I did not want him to be able to do whatever he pleased.
“I see. I know what you guys mean.”
“Then, if you know, get out of here…!”
“Even so, why don’t you try one last time?”
The man’s face was wrinkled by my remarks that cut off his words. At the same time, the other shapeshifters who were locked in a cage and watching our conversation glanced at each other.
I smiled at them and continued talking.
“It was the wrong time to struggle from the beginning.”
“In fact, it’s only possible in novels that a bad guy has a tragic end because it’s a good punishment befitting their deeds.”
“How can ordinary people beat those who are determined to do bad things?”
Obviously, since this world was a fictional world where the evils of strife work, Jo Malone would still have a tragic end after everything is over regardless.
My eyes lit up as I stared at the shapeshifters who lost the will to fight on their own one after another. When I looked at their faces one by one with a confident face, their eyes were filled with embarrassment, and I persisted with my words.
“But, what’s fair about the world is that even in reality, there’s a way to defeat the bad people.”
“…What do you mean?”
I glanced into the eyes of the shapeshifters, full of anticipation, and raised the corners of my lips.
“There’s a saying, ‘bad guys are bad guys,’ right?”
“And, just in time, there’s another bad guy in this town who’s worse than that bad guy.”
“Worse than Jo Malone…”
The faces were as if asking if there could be such a person in the word, though they began to whisper as to whether someone had come to mind at that moment. Then, the gazes of the people who were buzzing amongst themselves turned towards Cain the next moment.
Cain’s face wrinkled as if displeased with those blatant gazes.
“Don’t tell me that the person you’re talking about…?”
Seeing them unable to finish their statements, I answered with a confident face.
“Grand Duke Cain Destro… The Grand Duke of this country who’s standing next to me now.”
“This is ridiculous.”
Turning my head away, I pretended as if I did not hear Cain laughing absurdly.
…I am sorry, Cain.
Nevertheless, notoriety is used for this occasion, right?
I swallowed dry saliva and glanced at the shapeshifters. In the basement filled with despair and abandonment, a strange wind began to blow over at his name. Perhaps… Perhaps, we might be able to drive Jo Malone out of this shapeshifter town…
Noticing the atmosphere that changed in an instant with that one name, I felt like his name was like magic.
The man then asked me in an excited voice.
“…Still, who the hell are you saying that you’re going to help us?”
“I’m just an extra.”
“On the other hand, you’re different. The Emperor did not forsake you, so he sent His Highness the Grand Duke. That’s why this opportunity has arisen.”
“Because everyone in this village of shapeshifters is also a true imperial citizen of Lian, loved by His Majesty the Emperor.”
As I continued to speak, the sound of sobbing leaked out from the iron cage again. When I saw the shapeshifters who were inspired by my words and determined to do it, I felt a strange feeling. I wondered if I had to be a pseudo-religious leader instead of a writer in my previous life…?
After that, I approached Noya, who was smiling at the shapeshifters whose eyes were shining with hope before opening my mouth.
At that, he winced a little.
“Noya, can you help me save the people in your village?”
Even though it did not feel like he trusted me completely, I thought it was fortunate that his eyes, which had been shining fiercely, had softened a little.
Seeing Noya carefully nodding his head, I bit the nape of his neck in an instant.
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