“You heard me.
However, this time, as a lot of the Bell Rocks money was used for rewards, the funds were low.
But anyway, thats our mission.”
“Are you doing this out of righteousness”
Lil, who slowly got her spirits up, was once again in a bad mood and stared at Ed.
“Stop saying annoying things.
The wealth of the Garni association is increasing day by day with the enslavement of the natives of the islands it has seized.
So, some of the work of the League includes assisting them in escaping and bringing them to Panichi or other locations to hide.
You just heard about poor Lully, right Things like that happen daily on the islands closer to the Empire.
By setting examples like this several times a day, the fear they experience becomes so intense, that they start to behave like livestock out of themselves.
Is that a legitimate way to make money These arent even imperial lands.
Theyre supposed to be pristine islands free of slavery.
Its simply their place of residence.
Im not sure how anyone could even consider looting without hesitation while wielding superior weapons and displaying unimaginable cruelty.”
“So, is this merely righteousness In the first place, did the League take away anything that rightfully belongs to the Garni ships Where on earth does the logic come from that cargo produced in the South belongs to the association This isnt imperial territory nor under imperial law.
Its unforgivable that theyre exploiting that point.
Under what law can they claim the cargo to be theirs”
Ed shrugged his shoulders, listening silently.
“Is that the official position of the League”
Ed mumbled something and nodded.
Lil looked down sideways and saw Ed with his head down as if he was counting the grains on the floor.
Although Ed didnt respond as usual and sympathised by listening to what she said, her suspicions that he was only pretending to do so nagged at her.
Ed turned his head when he noticed her observing gaze.
He straightened his posture and made eye contact with Lil, whose eyes were on a higher level than his.
“Dont misunderstand, Captain.
I dont think the Leagues position is wrong.”
The squinting innocent eyes didnt seem like an act, so Lil sighed and turned away from him.
“Im glad you agree, but you dont need to feel forced.
Im in no position to sit here and persuade you or anything.”
“Why do you say that”
“Because a war will start soon.”
“Are you talking about the Mondovi fleet”
“Whats the League preparing for”
“Preemptive attacks are excluded, for now we cant do anything other than to wait and see.
You dont need to know the details.”
“Isnt the Captain participating”
“Well, I dont know yet…”
The end of Lils sentence was overshadowed by melancholy.
Ed, who thought Lil was upset about losing her crew, started to wonder when she even became depressed by a mere question.
The loss of her crew didnt appear to be her only source of concern.
Ed tilted his head to look at Lils face, which appeared more tired than when Anunchio was still around.
Lil shook her head in the hope to shake away her worries and restlessly moved her body around in her chair.
Ed, who didnt want to get caught staring, quickly acted like he was trying to get rid of his fatigue by moving his own body.
“Why are you so sure that the Admiral will destroy the South”
“Because hes a maniac with a flashy history, and, obviously, hes coming down with his fleet.”
“Even if the Admiral insisted that he wouldnt advance in the South”
“Well Who knows He may have thought that theres no more fun in the Aengle sea anymore, ah, I dont know! How do I know whats inside the head of a madman”
Unless Lil looked down at his side, she couldnt see his face as she was sitting on a chair and Ed was sitting on the floor.
Which was fortunate for Ed.
It gave him the opportunity to turn his head and thereby cover his contorted face upon hearing his association with amadman.
“That… The one who skinned the pirates heads alive…”
“No, why do you believe such nasty rumours so blatantly”
“Didnt you confirm them”
Ed held back with all his might.
‘It was a joke! However, if it turns out that even that was a lie, the little trust we built so far would crumble down again.
Ed took a deep breath, quenching his urges that boiled like lava.
“The Captain seems to hate cruelty very much.”
“Why do you hate it so much”
“You dont need to know.”
But Ed was intrigued to know why.
While Lil was still focused on stretching and working out her muscles, Ed poured out his words to provoke the stern woman, wanting to know her thoughts.
“Torture is a great way to induce confessions.
It has been done and researched for hundreds of years, and as a result, various torture techniques are currently known and used in the Empire.
There are so many methods that every person has their own preference.
Torture isnt just used to extract confessions.
Its also effective as a means of creating dominance by installing fear, which is mainly happening in the South.
Its the same in battle.
Is there any doubt about it”
“Didnt you just say that you respect the stand of the League”
“Im only speaking rationally.”
Lil, who was eagerly stretching her arm, suddenly dropped her hand.
As if he knew that she wouldnt back down easily, his green eyes asked if he was right about what he said.
Lil opened her mouth, unable to shake the feeling that she would lose if she didnt respond.
“Okay then, let me use torture with a hammer as an example.
Its a method loved by many torturers because it can constantly inflict an appropriate amount of pain without killing the person.
But, do you really think the truth can be found by simply breaking the shoulder blade Is the name of the rebels mastermind hidden in the ribs and the identity of their other comrades stored in the knee Remembering the truth is the job of the mind, so Im not sure what theyre attempting to achieve by torturing the body… Sadistic behaviour is pointless and ineffective.
Similarly, the spirit of resistance to those seeking to break free cannot be engulfed in his nostrils.
Tell me, have you ever seen a slave who doesn´t crave freedom No matter how many chains are hanged on a slave, the slave will never obey completely.
He will consider fleeing whenever he has the chance and does whatever it takes, even if it means sacrificing his own flesh.
Additionally, the fact that the act of torture must be repeated proves that its useless.”
“Nevertheless, the Captains words are unrealistic.”
“I admit that there is a practicalusefulness.
It incites fear.
But what about an innocent man who was robbed of this usefulness How is one supposed to confess to a crime that doesnt exist”
Thats if theyre innocent.
But what if theyre guilty”
“Even if a man turns out to be guilty later, there is no guarantee beforehand that he actually is.
Whether he can endure the torture depends on his mental strength, not on the fact if he did it or not.
If a murderous prisoner can endure torture, does that make him innocent”
“Then what should be the right thing to do”
“Its up to the judges to find out whats really going on in ones mind…”
After finishing that sentence with a heavy heart, Lil turned away from Ed, whos staring became bothersome.
As she didnt have anything in particular to do, she rummaged through the papers on the desk for no reason.
After some time, she picked up the almost empty list of vacancies.
Lil stared blankly at the list, the expression on her face said it was something she had long feared seeing.
Ed spoke in a low voice.
“Is that why the Bell Rock doesnt rule by the whip”
Lil doubted her ears for a moment.
She slowly repeated the sentence, which seemed to have come from another world, in her head.
Once, twice, three times… At this point, she couldnt believe that she had heard it from Ed.
Lil shook her head.
Still, the sight that caught her eyes remained the same.
An unfamiliar man sitting on the ground.
At this moment, Ed felt strangely foreign.
Lil first thought was that that sharp observation couldnt come from the madman she had interacted with so far.
“No physical punishment.
There is no whip, no knife in the back of the hand, no keelhauling, no beating by the crew, nouseful means, right Thats the Bell Rock.”
Still bewitched, Lil answered.
“Thats not surprising then.
It fits with your reasoning.”
“Well, it must be because you deeply care for each and every one of your crew members.”
Lil nodded in suspicion, she couldnt shake the feeling that she was talking to someone else.
“I havent read many books, so Im not good at putting my thoughts into words, but its a given that all people live independently.
Whether its a man or a woman, a noble or a slave, a mainlander or a foreigner.
An individuals body and mind are their own and cannot be controlled by anyone else.
Only the owner has complete control over the body and thoughts.
It certainly is a marvelous and valuable authority.
For every human being.
Regardless of gender, social status or ethnic background, they are all born with this right.
So, its only natural that its important to them and it needs to be respected… I dont do it because I particularly love and cherish my crew.
I just treat them the way they deserve to be treated.”
Because of her clumsy tongue, she awkwardly spoke words that may have come across as inappropriate.
Lil had already thought about this concept hundreds of times, but it felt unusual for her to express them aloud for the first time.
Lil touched her lips as though she were touching someone elses lips.
Her mouth, which felt clear, was soon filled with a cool taste.
As if she had swallowed a mint, a pungent and abundant aroma flowed down her throat to her chest and eventually spread to her stomach.
Suddenly, Ed started to laugh.
“Ha… Haha! Hahaha!”
Lil, who was still intoxicated by some strange sense of satisfaction, turned her head in surprise.
Ed, on the other hand, tilted his head back as far as possible and laughed so loudly that it took his breath away.
He even slapped his thighs in delight.
However, at some point, his laughter faded and was replaced by groans as a result of the discomfort in his gut.