Yu Kai’s Demonic Watcher reported that their suspect was on the move, so Cheng Yang left before hearing any after-action analysis.
After everything that had happened, how could Cheng Yang let that bastard escape? Although there was no proof that the person was related, cheng Yang couldn’t believe the Monster Siege was natural.
To make sure he wouldn’t lose the suspect, Cheng Yang carried Yu Kai with him. This way, he could get constant updates from the Demonic Watcher.
A few minutes later, they found their target. It was a man in his thirties sprinting towards Cloud City.
He was moving erratically in an attempt to throw off anyone chasing him. Little did he know, the Demonic Watcher was right behind him the entire time.
“Halt!” Yu Kai shouted once they were close.
The man jumped in fright, then dove into a thicket.
He took two steps and then felt a horrible chill invading his body, stopping him in his tracks. Then, Cheng Yang put Yu Kai down and lifted the man with a single hand. With the other, he grabbed the man’s chin and twisted it violently, dislocated the jaw.
“My Lord, why are you acting so violently?” Yu Kai couldn’t help but ask.
“I needed to make sure he couldn’t bite his tongue.” cheng Yang replied, “Lest he dies before we can interrogate him.”
Although it would be much harder to commit suicide by biting one’s tongue now, it was considered an attack by the gods’ system, so it was possible.
After that, Cheng Yang picked up the suspect and carried him back to Silkworm Mountain.
Back in the village, Liu Chengen had finished compiling the death statistics. When cheng Yang heard the results, he was livid.
Around a third of the soldiers that participated in the battle died. That amounted to over a thousand people. Most of the casualties were in the Silkworm Mountain army rather than the Fox Hunting battalion, but it was a heavy blow nonetheless.
Losing the investment put into the soldiers alone was horrific, but each death pierced Cheng Yang’s soul, signifying a personal failure. It filled him with rage, at the gods, and this damned world. But mostly, he was angry with himself.
“Bury the dead in the Outer Village. They’re heroes and deserve a real cemetery, not a mass grave. Hand out the pension according to the standard. Contact me if you need Experience Fragments to make up the cost.” Cheng Yang said.
Liu Chengen nodded with a heavy heart, then left to complete the tasks.
Cheng Yang turned to Yu Kai.
“I’m going to find an empty Meditation Hall to interrogate him in.” Cheng Yang gestured to the captured suspect. “I need you to find me a Priest to keep him alive and someone with a Profession that gives them the Skinning skill.”
Once he found an appropriate location, Cheng Yang threw the suspect on the ground and bound him with rope after disarming him.
“Your Excellency should prepare to jog his memory.” Cheng Yang mocked the man as he realigned his jaw.
“How dare you attack me?” the suspect shouted in a righteous tone. “This is a restriction of my personal freedom and an illegal act.”
Cheng Yang sighed.
“Don’t you think acting like that at this point is a little silly? Have some self-respect. If you aren’t willing to talk this out between professionals, I can force it out of you with a knife.”
“Do you think I’m stupid, you’re not allowed to do that.” the man said with false bravado. “Although monsters walk the earth, the state is alive and well. If you dare to violate my civil liberties like this, Commander Yuan won’t stand idly by!”
“The commander can’t afford to offend me right now, so there isn’t a person in the world that can stop me from doing whatever I want to you.” Cheng Yang sneered. “If you don’t stop babbling nonsense, I don’t mind using torture to remind you how to speak to your betters.”
The man scoffed when he heard Cheng Yang mention torture. Since he was a Professional, torture was useless. No matter how small, every action would count as an attack, so the pain would last a few minutes at most before he ran out of Health. Even if he was force-fed a potion, they could only torture him for a few minutes at a time.
At this point, Yu Kai returned with a middle-aged Priest.
“I’ve returned, my Lord. Let’s find out if this bastard is responsible for all this death!”
“Just you two? I needed someone with the Skinning skill.”
“You must have forgotten that I have that skill, and I would like to brag and say mine is definitely at a higher level than anyone else.” Tu Kai said. “But why did you need that? I can understand the Priest, but how is the Skinning skill going to help us interrogate him?”
“You should have realized by now that the gods’ rules make torturing someone unfeasible since anything we do to harm someone would be considered an attack. How do you think we can get around that?”
Yu Kai nodded. Attacking someone had mixed results, and sometimes a surefire hit wouldn’t pierce the skin even if it did damage. So, he’d been wondering what Cheng Yang planned to do.
“To get around those rules, we’ll use your Skinning skill.” Cheng Yang continued. “Since its a Profession skill, it doesn’t count as an attack, creating a loophole where it can be used to torture people.”
“Are you asking me to skin him?” Yu Kai shuddered. “Doesn’t the skill only work on dead monsters?”
“Of course not. As long as something has skin, the Skinning skill can peel it off.” Cheng Yang said, “The reason you think it only works on corpses is that a monster won’t sit still long enough to let you skin it if it’s alive.”
Yu Kai understood, but he was shocked. Why would the gods allow that? He’d skinned dozens of monsters, but the thought of skinning a human was disgusting.
Yu Kai wasn’t the only person who felt sick. The Priest also looked pale. Regular torture was one thing, but skinning someone felt inhumane.
Cheng Yang sighed. He knew what they were thinking and was disappointed. Did they not expect to have to hurt other humans under these circumstances? If they weren’t prepared to hurt others, they would only find themselves repeatedly backstabbed.
“Do you think I’m cruel?” Cheng Yang asked while looking down at the suspect with hate-filled eyes.
“I don’t think you’re cruel.” Yu Kai replied with a wry smile, “I just can’t stomach the idea of doing such a thing to another human.”
The Priest stayed silent but was contemplating the question.
“You can’t stomach it even if he’s responsible for this disaster? For the deaths of your subordinates?” Cheng Yang asked. “He refuses even to deny that he’s involved, so how else are we supposed to figure out whos behind the attack? If we let them get away with it this time, Silkworm Mountain might face another crisis.”
“I think we should do it.” The Priest spat with disgust. As a Priest, he witnessed more deaths than any other class today even though he wasn’t on the frontlines.
“Ye Tao, you don’t have to agree. You aren’t going to be the one that has to do it.” Yu Kai said bitterly.
“I’m an Alchemist.” Ye Tao replied. “What do you want me to do? Harvest his nose hairs?”
Yu Kai sighed, then pulled out his skinning knife.
“Don’t think too badly of me.” Yu Kai told the suspect. “If you were willing to talk, I wouldn’t need to do this.”