Life as a Prisoner—Kai Lodos
Fort Silke’s meeting room.
“How long will I have to live like this……”
Kai Lodos, a former officer of the Amrzs Kingdom’s northern expeditionary force, sighed for the umpteenth time.
They had recaptured the Radol territory, which was fatigued from the undead attack, and used it as a base to assault the empire. The plan formed by the central government was an overly opportunistic one which had Kai dispatch to the north as part of the northern expeditionary force.
Although they called it recapture, originally this land belonged neither to the kingdom, nor to the empire, it was the Radols’ land. Though, this was based on an unreliable fairytale about the kingdom having once ruled over the land.
And the kingdom using this ridiculous reason to take over the land made Kai fully aware of the ugliness around him.
They took the Radols’ land, food, and even their freedom.
They razed the Radols’ storages, robbed their banks, and even stole what little food that they had left to survive off of, opting to send it back to their kingdom.
There was nothing more annoying than an army that had gone into disorder. That’s why Kai had advised his superior, Wimp, to tighten the law around the people who repeatedly infringed the rules, but Wimp didn’t listen to him.
As a result, nothing happened to the people who killed, robbed, and raped the Radols. They were even permitted to do so, in fact.
The kingdom’s defeat might have even been some kind of divine punishment. As they say, you reap what you sow. By the time Kai heard that Wimp had died in battle, he was so fed up that he didn’t feel a thing.
However, hearing about his comrades and his subordinates was a different story. Truthfully, Kai had more than a few things to say about the Radols.
But he was a soldier. People die in war. Kai was all too familiar with this fact.
He didn’t resent the fact that they had died in battle, or at least he had vowed that he would try not to.
In short, Kai had one duty. If he could bring home even one more soldier who was not related to the injustices, his duty as a commander would be fulfilled.
“It’ll be difficult.”
Kai had no trouble to figure out just how difficult it would be to do that. In fact, just bringing them back safely after everything that’s been done was a pipe dream in and of itself.
And everyone here knew that.
But there was a reason nobody was despairing yet.
Bong! Bong! Bong!……
The clock on the wall suddenly chimed, signaling noon. An apparatus like this that told time had only been installed in the kingdom’s government and high-grade public buildings. There was something wrong with their captors to install it among the prisoners.
The kingdom soldiers, unaccustomed to the clock, paid it no heed at first and merely thought it to be a little odd.
The thing that changed their opinion was the existence that was about to come.
After the clock chimed, everyone nervously stared at the door.
It opened, and dozens of men and women wearing pure white work clothes poured in with baskets, pots, and bowls.
The sounds of rumbling stomachs and gulps could be heard around the room.
Kai was no different., after all he was insanely curious about what would be served today.
“So today’s bread, salad, and soup.”
After lining up by the door and waiting 30 minutes, he grabbed his food and moved over to the tables in the corner.
They were in a two-story building that was so wide it could hold the thousand prisoners and still have space for more.
Although the word hold wasn’t quite right. The building had a cafeteria equipped with numerous tables, an area for them to sleep, and even several bathrooms. The first floor was for men, the second for women.
He could go floor to floor as he pleased; there were no restrictions.
As the building was exceptionally spacious, the area inside should have been cold, but they were able to live comfortably as they were given blankets, clothing, and several heating apparatuses that had been installed around them.
Kai walked over to his assigned table in the corner and waved at his former colleague, a black-haired woman, who promptly gave him a carefree smile.
She was Roze, the only female officer in the expeditionary force’s second army.
Ever since he got acquainted with her in the past when he collaborated with the second army, he frequently went to complain and have drinks with her.
He sat down in front of Roze and hurriedly began to inspect the food for today.
“You’re doing that again……” she said in annoyance, but Kai ignored her and pried open his bread.
“Did they slice the baked bread open and fill it with food?”
He found smoked meat, vegetables, and some mysterious yellow lumps inside.
“What is this?”
He placed the yellow clump in his mouth and chewed.
“!?” An acidic taste melted into his mouth as he tried to suppress his voice from leaking out.
He shakily closed the bread and began stuffing his mouth.
“Deeeeelicious!!!” Kai exclaimed and stood up.
He nervously sat down after receiving several odd gazes from his surroundings, straightened his posture, and resumed eating.
After their bliss had ended, Roze put down her spoon and asked him, “What do you think their aim is?”
“They said it was a temporary measure until they handed us over.”
That’s what a representative from the Radols had so courteously declared.
At first, everyone whispered about what this temporary measure had in store for them, but after being fed three meals a day every day, the topic gradually died down.
“Still, it’s way too luxurious for a temporary measure. Even the food is something that a noble would eat.”
“Have you forgotten my original goal? I’ve been feeling that since day one.”
The food differed each time it was brought out, and each time it was jaw-dropping delicious.
“That’s not all, we have as much water as we need and toilets as well. They’ve even split the men and the women.”
There were only a few buildings equipped with toilets. And however few there were, none would be used to house prisoners. Normally they’d be forced to soil themselves and live in smelly and dirty conditions. So, equipping the prisoners’ housing with several toilets and even separating them by gender was extremely strange. It was no wonder they’d come to suspect something was up.
“I can barely imagine this, but maybe they didn’t have a reason?”
Roze frowned. “What?”
“Think about it. Maybe there’d be one if we were merchants that had been dragged in, but is there really any meaning to treating the enemy foot soldiers this well?”
As long as they weren’t abused, it wouldn’t garner any criticism. It’d be one thing if they were high-ranking officers, but there wasn’t any merit in getting strange looks by treating the foot soldiers well.
Roze crossed her arms. “What do you mean?”
“I mean that this is the norm for the new lord of this land.”
“The new lord……The Wise Mountain King, right?”
“Yeah, that’s what the Radols were calling him.”
Wise Mountain King……The legendary mountain king that led the Radols. Despite being oppressed at Fort Arkroy, all the Radols believed that. The more cornered people are, the more they’ll want to cling to something. It wasn’t that surprising for a captured city, and Kai hadn’t put much thought into it before the expeditionary force had been wiped out.
“A legendary heroic king that would lead the Radols, prophesied about a thousand years ago. How idiotic, do they seriously believe in that?”
“We can’t just brush it off anymore. There’re too many unknowns right now.”
“Like those abnormal Materials……”
Roze had seen one of them in action, upon which she immediately turned deathly pale.
Still, she hadn’t been on the opposite end of one, so she didn’t understand how despairingly terrifying it was.
It vastly outranged bows, and even had enough force to pierce through an iron armor. Anytime it created smoke and that explosive sound, one of his comrades would lose their life. Anyone would lose their will to fight in the face of a weapon like that.
They were most likely excavated from some ruins, so there was no way they actually had enough to equip everyone with them.
All of this pointed to one answer. They had developed it from a Material which was excavated from some ruins and turned it into a weapon.
The Materials excavated from ruins were the legacy of the gods. Nobody from the kingdom would even think to replicate it. After all, it would be impossible.
And there was no way the Radols would have been able to do so either considering the life-or-death situation they were in. Hey, doesn’t that mean there’s a possibility of a third party?
“Besides, we lost. The rest is what it is.”
We couldn’t complain even if we were to be massacred.
“That’s true. Well, let’s rest up, if only for a short while,” said Roze. She smiled and picked up her tray.
“Will do. Regardless, orders will soon come,” said Kai.