Second World - Chapter 976
Jack couldn't see the sky from inside his jail cell, but he estimated he had spent a night in there. He thought it must be morning now. He felt fresher after a night of sleep. Contrary to his expectation, he actually slept rather soundly last night.
He wondered if any of his friends had learned about his situation, and what would they do about it. But then again, what could they do? They couldn't be going against the entire kingdom for him, could they? Well, that would be a sight to be seen.
"You don't look like someone who is worried," Peniel remarked after seeing Jack's slightly grinning face.
"I AM worried," Jack uttered. "But you need to let your thoughts amuse you once in a while. Otherwise, it's not healthy to get overstressed."
The sound of a door being opened was heard.
"Does that pig return again?" Peniel asked.
"Maybe he forgot to brag about something last night," Jack joked.
"Who was bragging?" Commander Quintus appeared in front of Jack's cell.
"Commander!" Jack called with a wide smile. "You are a sight for sore eyes. I thought it was Warren who comes again."
"Warren? That toad came here?"
"Yeah. Hey, you haven't gone to the Church of Creation to fix that arm?" Jack asked. Commander Quintus was still missing his left arm.
"I'm on the waiting list. It will probably be a couple more days before it's my turn," Quintus answered.
"I hope your arm can be…"
Quintus lifted his one remaining hand indicating for Jack to stop talking. His face wore a serious expression.
"I need to ask," Quintus said. "Did you kill Prince Alonzo?"
"How can you say that?! The prince is a friend of mine! Someone must have…"
"Just answer my question!!" Quintus bellowed, cutting Jack's words.
Jack returned Quintus' serious expression and said, "No. I didn't kill Prince Alonzo."
Quintus' gaze remained on Jack. The two stared at one another in silence. Finally, Quintus said, "Okay. It's too bad you don't have a witness. From what I hear, almost everyone is agreeing that you are the murderer."
"I am a witness!" Peniel exclaimed.
"You are a familiar that is bound to him. No one is going to believe your statement to be impartial," Quintus responded.
"So? What should I do? Just wait for them to give me their judgment?" Jack asked. "Will I even be given a chance to speak and defend my case?"
"No. Once the court reaches a decision, your punishment will immediately be carried out. You don't have the right to speak."
"What? Such a flawed justice system!" Jack protested.
"It is what it is," Quintus said.
"So what? I just sit here and wait for them to unfairly decide my fate?"
Quintus took a deep breath. "I'm sorry. I just come here to make sure that my opinion of you is not wrong, that you are truly not the prince's assassin. I honestly don't have any idea of how to help you."
"How about you open the door to this cell and help me escape the palace?" Jack asked.
Quintus glared at Jack without saying anything.
"Haha, I am just kidding," Jack laughed, but Peniel knew he was not. "Then, how about helping me find the real culprit?"
"Real culprit? Do you have a clue?"
Jack told the commander about the white dot he saw on his radar. Quintus was at first confused about what Jack said. Jack had to explain about his God-eye monocle and the radar it provided. He told Quintus that his radar informed him of a living person inside the prince's bed-chamber. He thought it was the prince at first. But if the prince had already died for at least an hour, this meant the prince had died before Jack entered the lobby to the prince's chamber.
"Then that white dot is the true murderer," Quintus said.
"It has to be," Jack agreed. "What I'm confused about was why this murderer stayed inside the room with the prince's dead body for so long. I was there for one hour before I saw that murderer teleported to another room."
"This tale of yours is very hard to sell. The walls of this palace…"
"Have rune diagrams that block teleportation. Yes, yes, I found that fact the hard way," Jack said. "Nevertheless, my radar wasn't wrong. The white dot was inside the prince's bed-chamber at one second, then it was in another place the next."
"So… What do you think of it?" Quintus asked.
"… Does King Themos have any other offspring?" Jack asked. "Or does he have brothers or sisters?"
"The rune diagrams in this palace blocked all except for the royal family. Since King Themos ascended the throne. Only he and his direct descendants were considered part of the royal family. So, none of his other relatives are included in the enchantment. His only remaining living offspring is Princess Sindral… Wait, you are not suggesting that the princess is the murderer, are you?"
"She is the sole remaining heir to the throne," Jack said without directly answering Quintus' question.
"It can't be! She is very good to Alonzo! Even though they had different mothers, she has always treated Alonzo the way a kind sister would. I just can't believe she has ill intentions for Alonzo. Furthermore, She also has no ambition for the throne."
"Maybe she simply never shows her ambition."
"I refuse to believe that… Even considering your wild theory, the law of this country required a king to rule the kingdom. A queen will never ascend to the throne."
"Huh? Really? Never realize I'm living in such a sexist kingdom."
"I have no idea what that means. Anyway, she is indeed the sole heir now, but she won't ascend to the throne. Her husband will."
"Does she have a suitor?" Jack asked.
"Not that I'm aware of," Quintus replied. "While waiting for her to marry, she will be just a symbol of royalty. The governing will be handled by the current administration, she won't be a part of it… This is such a mess. The kingdom has gone through a lot lately. The civil war, the invasion, and now this… I'm afraid there will be much unrest among the people. A riot might even happen. I fear this can tear the kingdom apart. And if what you suggest of Princes Sindral is true and is known to the public… Then God saves us all, our kingdom is doomed."
"So, does this mean you will let the possible murderer of Prince Alonzo free to save the kingdom?" Jack asked.
"If she is the true culprit, I will bring her down myself…!" Quintus shouted. "But no. I don't believe she is!"
"Then help me make sure about it," Jack said.
"Make sure? How?"
"The place where I mentioned the white dot has teleported to. It is around fifty meters to the south of the prince's bed-chamber. Go and search that place. Also, find out about the guards' rotation around the area. Question them if they saw anyone going and leaving that area, especially Princess Sindral, or anyone that wore something that covers their faces."
Quintus seemed to be struggling with Jack's request.
"Commander. We owe it to Prince Alonzo to find out his murderer. We have to bring the perpetrator to justice!" Jack uttered.
Commander Quintus took a deep breath. "Fine… I will go look around the place you mentioned."
"On another note, can you also tell my friends about what has happened to me?" Jack said.
"There is no need to tell. The whole country knows it."
"Yeah. You are now the famous prince-slayer. We have no idea how the news was leaked, but everyone in the city finds out about it yesterday. The royal advisor was forced to make a public appearance and addressed the news. This is bad for you as well."
"Bad for me? Why?"
"The people demand answers, but most of all, they demand retribution. They want punishment for the person responsible for their future king's death. They demand you to be hanged and then locked inside a prison for the rest of your life. For that, the court has accelerated the arraignment. The royal advisor promised that they will issue a verdict before noon two days from now. Your sentence will be carried out afterward before evening."
"Issue a verdict and then carry out my sentence. Isn't that basically saying I'm guilty already?"
"With the way things are. I'm afraid that will be the case."
"… Can my friends visit me here?" Jack asked.
"No, outworlders have been banned from entering the palace. As a matter of fact, the whole noble area had been forbidden to outworlders. Even some small limitations had been applied to those around the business district. Only the outworlders in the slum district are still free."
"I see. Warren did tell me this incident does not bode well for outworlders."
"It does not, but the laws about outworlders will be settled after your sentence. You have more things to worry about, like being locked inside a dark cell with a weak level 1 condition."
Jack was silent. Quintus could see the anxiety in Jack's expression. He sighed and said to Jack, "Here."
In Quintus' hand were a pen and several pieces of paper. "If you need to send messages to your friends. Write on this paper, fold it to the size that can be hidden in a fist, and put it under the plate on the meal tray. The servant who brings you your food is my man. He will pass it to another of my man who will give that paper to one of your friends in the city."
"Thank you, commander. You are a good man," Jack said with gratitude.
The commander didn't reply. He gave Jack another look before he turned and left.