Chapter 31: Clinging to a fake god
Ademi’s father, Guard Captain Moen, started by apologizing to Mido.
“I ordered my subordinates to invite him in for questioning. I did not expect them to bind him with rope. And they did not report that his father requested to see him.”
Mido could not suppress his anger after seeing the abrasions on Tanta’s arms but apart from his look of anger at Moen who had lowered his head, he did not say any words of complaint.
On the other hand, Tanta was in a good mood after receiving a piece of fried bread from Moen as an apology.
“My subordinates suspect that the people in South Marsh killed Ademi.”
“That is reversing the victim and perpetrator.”
“Ademi used to come here until just a while ago. The Guards all cherished him. So for this incident, in the Guards’ minds, the victim and perpetrator are reversed.”
And so they treated Tanta, who was standing beside Al, roughly.
Moen apologized to us once again.
“But Ademi attacked my mother and father.”
Al, who had been keeping quiet all this time, said.
Moen had an unpleasant expression when he heard that.
“That’s right … but, the ones who saw that were only Al-kun and your parents.”
“What do you mean by that.”
“There are those who suspect if the person you saw was the real Ademi.”
I inadvertently raised my voice.
Al’s cheeks were stained red with rage.
“Calm down. I am not asserting that you lied. Merely the fact that such possibility exists. There are just too many unexplainable points in this incident.”
That was certainly true.
First, even though the victims were attacked with an axe, they only suffered wounds from blunt attacks.
Both victims were repeatedly struck by the blunt end of the axe and suffered fractures but did not suffer from any life-threatening wounds. The bleeding was also due to the attacks that were aimed at places such as the forehead and nose which bleed easily.
Furthermore, Ademi fled the scene even though he had the chance to deal the fatal blow to both victims.
Second, why did he attack Al’s home?
Ademi certainly did hate Half-Elves like Tanta and Al.
However, even if that is the case, why would he go all the way from Congress Street to South Marsh located on the outskirts at the South just to assault Al’s parents and then disappear? Moreover on the day of the storm.
In addition, there was also unexplainable points for Ademi’s disappearance.
Even though Ademi came into contact with his Divine Protection at a young age, he was still a 10-and-a-half-year-old child.
Regardless of the lazy nature of the guards, they are not so inept to the extent that they are not capable of capturing a single child.
The other possibility was that Ademi immediately left Zoltan that night but that possibility was denied as the storm struck the next day as well. Unless he had magic or extremely unique skills, it was impossible to camp outside on that day.
Lastly, it was unexplained how Ademi got his hands on an axe and why he used an axe. From Al and the other’s testimony, I gathered that the weapon Ademi used was a typical single-bladed battle axe. It could be used single-handed or double-handed and was a weapon loved by many adventurers but … the guards do not use them and typical households do not keep one at home for self-defense.
The Divine Protection of a Brawler was special, it didn’t mean that they couldn’t use axes but their fighting style revolved more around using the bottles and chairs at the scene and more importantly, Ademi had his own personal short sword and short spear. He had already hunted nearby monsters with them to raise his Divine Protection level.
Why would he not use his own weapon but an axe he obtained from somewhere?
With regard to Ademi’s whereabouts that night, Ademi’s mother testified that she thought he was studying in his room. Naturally, she was not keeping a watch on Ademi so it was possible for him to escape without her noticing.
Following that, other than when Al and the others saw Ademi when he attacked, he disappeared and there had not been any eyewitness reports of him since then.
The simplest solution to those questions would be that ‘Al and his parents lied’.
Ademi snuck out from home due to some other matter and was abducted outside. With Al and his parents testifying with lies that Ademi attacked them with an axe, instead of having gone missing, it would seem that Ademi had fled instead.
It did kind of add up.
Moen pretty much explained what I had thought up in my head.
Naturally, he faced a backlash from Al.
“It is just nothing but assumptions. And that there are Guards who think that way. That is why the Guards treat the victims of this incidents as if they are the perpetrators. These circumstances probably led to the rough handling and rudeness this time around.”
The attitude of the Guards toward the victims of this incident was exceedingly bad.
But, being the cause of most public safety issues, the South Marsh residents who live in the slums would be hated if they said that the Guards were not maintaining public safety in the first place ….
Furthermore, Campbell, Albert’s companion, and his other two members were born in South Marsh and murdered the Guards’ colleague so it further deepened their negative impression of the place.
By taking such attitudes, it generated friction with not only the South Marsh residents but even the Downtown common folks.
“I definitely saw Ademi! Holding an axe, he, my mother and father, again and again! He hit them with the axe countless times! And Ademi has been extremely violent ever since he experienced his Divine Protection! I know very well just how brutal Ademi is!”
Al shouted everything that he had been holding in until now.
Neither Lit nor I could say anything in front of that threatening attitude.
“But, I also can’t believe that Ademi did something like that.”
“Ah, eh, so-sorry! I-I’m not saying that Al lied! … But, it was about a week before Ademi disappeared. Ademi called out to stop me and I thought he was going to beat me up but he actually apologized to me. He apologized for beating me.”
Tanta was panicking because of Al’s pressurizing attitude but he explained himself desperately.
“Ademi was also worried. That he immediately resorted to violence due to the impulse from his Divine Protection. Hasn’t his dream always been to become a Guard? Didn’t he mention before that Guards do not use violence but instead crack down on it?”
“When he apologized, he said that it was all right now, that he would no longer beat me up for no reason. It didn’t look like he was lying and it seemed as though he returned to the old Ademi. That’s why, when I heard he attacked Al’s parents, I-I was shocked …”
Tanta somehow managed to finish explaining and he hid behind me as if to escape from Al’s gaze.
” … ‘It was all right now.’ What do you think he meant?”
“I don’t know.”
Lit and I were caught up on something from Tanta’s explanation.
Did he learn to control the impulses from his Divine Protection?
While the two of us were baffled, Moen interjected.
“In actual fact, I called Tanta-kun over because I wanted to ask him about the details regarding that. It is true that slightly before my son disappeared, he seemed a lot calmer. On top of that, I heard from Downtown adventurers that they saw Ademi and Tanta-kun playing closely so I wanted to directly ask Tanta-kun for the details.”
“That day Ademi was in an extremely good mood and as an apology, he gave me a Wyvern Race game piece that he had an extra of.”
I guess it was the privilege of children to be able to forgive a person immediately after such a serious quarrel.
I could tell from Tanta’s tone that he did not feel any resentment or doubt toward Ademi.
“I see, a Wyvern Race game piece huh, that brings back memories. I also played it often when I was a child.”
Moen’s lips curled slightly.
As expected, Moen believes that his son was innocent.
That was in turn transmitted to the Guards which led to the current situation …
“Moen, what are your thoughts on the matter?”
I looked directed into Moen’s eyes and asked.
Moen initially endured my gaze but he soon shifted his eyes to the side and replied with a tired tone.
“I have tried to not let it show in my attitude but … in this circumstance, my subordinates have probably guessed how I feel inside. That is right, I also hate the inhabitants of South Marsh. They are a gathering of criminals … those are my true thoughts. Regardless of how I paraphrase it, for this incident, I do not believe that Ademi is the criminal and the South Marsh residents have either imprisoned him … or killed him. That is what I believe.”
Moen finished his piece and stood directly in front of Al.
Al, perhaps unconsciously, placed his left hand on the handle of the Shotel hanging on his waist.
Just in case, I changed my posture to ensure I could move whenever necessary.
“I am truly sorry. At this moment, the Zoltan residents are at each other’s throats all because of the weakness of my heart.”
However, Moen bowed his head deeply to Al who was still a child.
” …… ”
Al had a perplexed expression as he wordlessly stared at Moen who had lowered his head.
“Hero Lit. I heard that you have retired from adventuring. I do not know if you took the request purely to help Al-kun this time. However, I wish to tell you the information we have gathered. If you are able to aid us, we will also reward you.”
Lit showed a slightly troubled look when Moen said that to her but she replied with ‘I will at least listen to what you have to say’ and agreed to accept the information.
And so, Lit and I were seated on chairs in Moen’s room.
Al, Tanta and the others had returned home in advance.
I expected Al, being the concerned party, would object to it but perhaps he was still confused by Moen’s apology just now as he obediently agreed and returned to my shop.
“This might be a rude question but I wish to ask something.”
“Red-kun right? What would it be?”
“Has there been any evidence of Ademi using drugs?”
Moen’s complexion changed color.
“In other words, you think I am such trash that will allow my son to touch such things!”
“So you don’t recall any such cases.”
“But you of all people should be aware of it. The similarity of this incident to the one that was previously caused by Albert’s companion, Campbell.”
The weapon used were axes that they were not familiar with. Violence without any reason.
And after that incident ended, all the perpetrators died while in this incident the perpetrator’s whereabouts was unknown.
“But, even if my son was the criminal, my son has not killed anyone!”
“That is true, which is why we can still make it in time. Ademi is most probably the culprit. However, Ademi himself shouldn’t be the cause of that violence.”
” …… ”
“I hope that you will tell me everything you know about that analgesic drug.”
Moen showed a serious look.
He seemed to be contemplating for a while before he eventually opened his mouth.
“We still have not confirmed it. Because there isn’t anybody in Zoltan with the ‘Appraisal’ skill. We are in the midst of requesting for individuals with Divine Protections such as Sages or Saints capable of ‘Appraisal’ from the Capital.”
“Appraisal huh … as expected, it had something to do with Divine Protections.”
“That’s right, that analgesic drug, we call it a Fake God Drug, but it has a chance to augment a person’s Divine Protection.”
I see, I don’t know the details but that would probably alter the impulses from the Divine Protection. That was why Ademi told Tanta that he had been released from the impulses from the Divine Protection of the Brawler.
A reason to still use that Fake God Drug even though it has caused that many victims. That explained the sales pitch of becoming a new you.
In order to be released from the roles chosen for them by the Gods, the people were even resorting to dangerous drugs.