39—Legend of Sun Knight Volume 1
Original novel in Chinese by: 御 我 (Yu Wo)
Chapter 2 My… Part 3: …Companion – translated by lucathia (proofread by Arcedemius, Erro, C/E edited by Doza)
Using all his strength, Elaro rushed into the Judge’s Complex with Ludia in his arms. A bunch of people were crowded inside. They were all members of the Judgment Knight Platoon. They were huddled in a circle, so he could not see what the situation was like in the center.
“Out of the way!”
Only after Elaro’s shout did the holy knights ahead notice his arrival and hasten to open a path for him.
There were already three clerics casting healing spells. Based on everyone’s expressions, the criminal must have still been alive. Elaro relaxed a bit. He took large strides forward and placed Ludia right in the middle of the scene.
Before she had even been set on the ground, Ludia was already chanting an incantation for a healing spell. The Pope had always praised the power behind her healing spells. Even though she needed to use incantations to aid even her Minor Heals, the effect was so much better than what many other clerics could achieve when casting spells of the same level.
The three clerics wholeheartedly welcomed Ludia’s arrival, looking very grateful. However, they continued without a pause, laboriously casting healing spells. In no time at all, the originally dim Judge’s Complex was filled with pale yellow healing light.
As far as healing was concerned, Elaro was unnecessary. So he had the time to examine the situation.
The criminal lay encircled by the crowd. With the entire figure enveloped by the light of the healing spells, Elaro could not determine the condition of the injuries, so he dismissed them for the moment. He raised his head to look around, searching for the person he was more concerned about at the moment.
Hungri was standing to the side with his head lowered, watching the criminal silently.
He seemed to feel Elaro’s attention. When he raised his head, he found Elaro staring straight at him.
Hungri was not too surprised. After all, he knew that a member of the Judgment Knight Platoon had gone off to find Elaro, even though Hungri had reminded him that Elaro would not be much help in saving the criminal. Still, the holy knight had rushed off at the first possible moment to seek Elaro out.
Although Elaro could not offer much assistance, his very presence was enough to calm everyone down greatly. Hungri looked toward Elaro. He had his brows furrowed deeply. His mature face and tall stature made him look a bit older than his actual age, and also made him more imposing. Although his renowned smile was absent, he still made Hungri feel that Elaro was—the Sun Knight.
Elaro made a gesture toward the exit. Hungri nodded without a word. The two of them left the Judge’s Complex in single file. Elaro, in front, quietly sucked in a deep breath before he turned to face Hungri.
“After I left, did you bring the criminal out again to torture a confession out of him?”
However, Elaro was already convinced. When he had left, the criminal’s injuries had not been severe enough to be life-threatening; but he asked anyway, holding on to a shred of hope that there was some kind of misunderstanding.
Hungri nodded wordlessly.
“Why?” Elaro looked at him sadly. He had initially retained some hope. He had hoped that the situation was not what it looked like, and it was merely that the severity of the criminal’s original injuries had caused him to worsen over time.
However, that was really unlikely to have been the case. The Judge’s Complex used very unique interrogation methods, mostly ones that would cause severe pain without leading to fatal injuries. In addition, as far as lessons required of a Judgment Knight were concerned, Hungri had always been a star pupil. Even the strict Judgment Knight had never been very critical, since Hungri had fulfilled expectations immediately.
Therefore, if a criminal were to die from interrogation, the likeliest possibility was that Hungri had done it on purpose. Elaro didn’t want to think that way, but he knew Hungri too well. He knew the answer without even needing to speculate.
When he saw Elaro’s expression, Hungri finally opened his mouth to speak. “He was asking for a beating. That’s it. There’s no other reason!”
“Hungri, you need to stay calm and impartial—“
“I can’t!” Hungri cut Elaro’s words off with a furious shout. “You don’t have to look at those scum day in and day out, seeing their evil deeds, hearing them talk. That’s the only reason you can talk about ‘staying calm and impartial’ so easily!”
Elaro opened his mouth but could not retort. If he had to name one of the duties of the Twelve Holy Knights that he was completely unable to take part in, his only answer could be the interrogations carried out at the Judge’s Complex.
In order to carry out an interrogation, one needed to undergo extremely specialized training. The Judgment Knight did not even let Hungri carry out real interrogations often, so of course Elaro would never be able to interrogate a criminal.
“I hate these criminals—no! I loathe them! I always have to pry out bit by bit the ugly, disgusting, and despicable crimes they’ve committed. Even when there’s conclusive evidence, they’re still full of excuses, and they just love to blame all their wrongdoings on the victims they’ve killed!
“The most ridiculous excuse I’ve heard was from a rapist who blamed a girl whose skirt swayed around, saying that she was purposely seducing him!” Hungri glared at Elaro and asked, emphasizing each word, “Having heard this, do you still think those people have the right to live?”
Elaro’s face fell. His tone was reproachful as he said, “The outcome should be the result of your judgment, not a side effect of your interrogation method! Hungri, if you let your emotions steer your actions and end up losing control, what difference is there between you and raging common folk? If anger alone is enough to decide the punishment, what need is there for the Judge’s Complex?”
By the time Elaro finished, Hungri’s expression had become hesitant. But then he heard Elaro use a worried and helpless tone to say, “If you had truly beaten the criminal to death, the situation might have been unsalvageable…”
Hungri clenched his teeth and said, “So what if he dies? In any case, I’ve already investigated thoroughly. The evidence is conclusive! It’s definitely the death penalty!”
Seeing Hungri stubbornly refusing to acknowledge his mistake, Elaro actually became a bit angry. “Even if it is the death penalty, you shouldn’t be the one beating him to death! His crime needs to be judged first, and then he needs to be publicly sentenced, letting the entire populace see the result of committing a crime!”
Hungri sulked but did not say a word.
It made Elaro feel truly disappointed. He had no more words he could use to persuade him. In the end, the only thing he could do was use the Judgment Knight to repress his student. “Hungri, you respect Knight-Captain Judgment a lot. Have you ever seen him lose control during an interrogation? Although the way he treats criminals is very harsh, it’s all for the sake of getting them to confess, not for punishing them. You should know this even better than I do.”
Hungri stayed silent for a long time until he suddenly said, “I’m still not qualified enough, am I?”
“What?” Elaro stilled.
Hungri lifted his head, the rims of his eyes slightly red. His tone was barely controlled as he said, “I’m not anywhere near qualified enough to be your Judgment Knight yet, am I?”
Looking at Hungri’s expression, Elaro experienced a rare moment of panic. Hungri had been extremely stubborn since they were young. Forget crying; even seeing him show any sign of weakness was a rare occurrence. It was only when he committed extremely grave errors that he ever lowered his head to apologize.
“Hungri, what are you talking about? None of us have become the Twelve Holy Knights yet—“
Hungri cut him off. “If it weren’t because the rest of us are still too young, you would have already become the Sun Knight! It’s only that I’m still not qualified to be the Judgment Knight, so you’re unable to take your rightful place, but I…”
Without finishing his statement, he suddenly stopped speaking. Elaro felt completely helpless and had no idea what to do.
“I—I just can’t be as good as Teacher!”
After shouting, he could not remain where he was any longer. The tears in his eyes were already… He turned his head and ran off.
Hungri! Elaro opened his mouth but couldn’t actually call out to stop him. He wouldn’t have known what to do afterwards.
Seeing Hungri run farther and farther away, Elaro could not keep his mood from dropping.
“I don’t have the qualifications to be the Sun Knight either. I can’t even get along with my Twelve Holy Knight companions whom I will be with for the next twenty years, so how could I be worthy to lead you all…”
Sounds drifted over from afar. Elaro raised his head to look. Dili and Rhonelin seemed to have bumped right into Hungri and were currently staring at him in stupefaction. Even farther away, he could see Shuis and Valica closing in as well.
Hungri seemed to have noticed Shuis and Valica’s arrival too. He pivoted and left in a different direction to avoid running into them.
“Captain, Hungri was cry—“ Dili hurriedly said. Although Rhonelin, who was next to him, did not speak, he also had a surprised look on his face.
Elaro waved his hand, preventing Dili from speaking further. He waited for Shuis and Valica to catch up.
When they stood in front of him together, Elaro suddenly felt that something was off, but he couldn’t figure out what was so strange.
Shuis glanced in the direction Hungri had gone and said discontentedly, “Hungri caused trouble again? Big Bro Elaro, does he need to be brought back and punished?”
“Hungri is always causing trouble for Big Bro Elaro!” Valica continued after Shuis, his tone similarly discontented. “Bring him back and punish him like last time!”
Has the mood between these two gotten… much friendlier? Elaro was a little puzzled. He didn’t understand how these two people who had still been completely at odds so recently could suddenly get along so much better.
“Last time? What exactly happened last time?” Dili was unbearably curious. He resolved that except for mandatory missions, he would never go out again!
Rhonelin opened his mouth, wanting to speak, but hesitated for a moment and looked toward Elaro.
Elaro smiled wryly and said, “He’s already seventeen. How can it be like last time, when I dragged him over and spanked him?”
“…Captain, you dragged Hungri over and spanked him?” Dili stared at his captain in disbelief.
When he recalled what had happened that time, Elaro grew a little embarrassed and hurriedly said, “That happened several years ago. Hungri was only a child then.”
”He was fourteen then. It’s only a three-year difference…”
He didn’t know who had whispered that just then, but Elaro grew even more embarrassed. He was also quite rueful. In the past, when his anger surpassed the limit, he could impulsively grab Hungri and spank his butt, because he looked just like a kid. However, as they grew older and older, Elaro was more and more at a loss on how to associate with this group of “younger brother companions.”
Ludia and a few members of the Judgment Knight Platoon walked out. In the back, two people were carrying a stretcher, while two people in front were responsible for opening a path.
Elaro hurried over in concern. “Has the criminal been saved?” After he asked, he saw how exhausted his sister looked. He added sympathetically, “Saving him must have been difficult?”
Ludia shook her head. “I was just too nervous. The injuries weren’t actually that severe and didn’t need so much healing. I misjudged, so I cast too many healing spells. That’s why it was so exhausting.”
When Elaro heard her words, he thought something wasn’t quite right. Since the Judgment Knight Platoon had been so nervous, the injuries had to have been very severe. They had carried out interrogations for many years and were experts at judging the severity of an injury. Moreover, this even involved an injury that could have been fatal, so it was unlikely that they would misjudge it.
Seeing Ludia’s furtive glances, Elaro understood and smiled faintly, “And you say that I coddle my younger brothers. Don’t you do the same?” If the injury isn’t as severe, then Hungri’s punishment would have to be lighter too, right?
Realizing she had been exposed, Ludia’s face reddened, but she did not deny it.
“Oh my, Shu, Valy, you both came!” Ludia smiled as she said, “And even Linie!”
Shuis and Valica had both been used to Ludia’s nicknames since they were young, and they didn’t think there was anything wrong with them. They even enjoyed being called them very much. If they were in private, they would even reply with “Big Sis Lulu.”
Rhonelin, on the other hand, felt a bit more awkward. After all, his age and Ludia’s were not that far apart, and he wasn’t like the two in front who had known Ludia in childhood. Even though he had been called “Linie” for one or two years already, he was still really, really not used to it!
Dili stifled his laughter and said quietly, “Actually, if we’re going by age, then I’m even more suited to calling you Linie, right?” After he said this, “Linie” immediately rolled his eyes at him.
“Brother Li, what are you laughing about?” Ludia looked at Dili with large, bright eyes, pretending to be puzzled.
When he heard this nickname, Dili could only force a smile. He really didn’t understand why it was “Brother Li” and not “Brother Di.” Brother Li1 made him sound like a warrior bursting with muscles, when in actuality, his fighting strength could not even compare to “Linie’s.”
Elaro watched his sister joke around with his subordinates and saw that Shuis and Valica seemed to have reconciled. Thus, his mood lifted a bit, but he still could not stop thinking about the worsening relationship between Hungri and him…
Two holy knights from the Judgment Knight Platoon jogged up to Elaro but seemed hesitant to speak. Elaro could guess that they had probably come to speak on Hungri’s behalf. Although Knight-Captain Judgment often had headaches over Hungri’s willfulness and rashness, it was precisely because Hungri had this kind of blunt temperament, always flying into a rage over the criminals, that several members of the Judgment Knight Platoon liked him and would particularly dote on him.
Perhaps the Judgment Knight Platoon cannot escape blame for Hungri’s continued inability to confront criminals calmly? Elaro thought helplessly.
“Do you need me for something?” Elaro still decided to listen to what the platoon members had to say.
“Hungri did not drag the criminal out to interrogate him out of selfishness.” The Judgment Knight Platoon member emphasized, “We were all present. We would not have let him do so!”
Elaro was stunned but hurriedly asked, “Really? Then why was he interrogated again?”
“Really!” The Judgment Knight Platoon member nodded and said, “Not long after you left, that criminal started yelling in the jail. He admitted that the other two missing girls had also been killed by him, so Hungri brought him out, wanting to press him further for the location of the corpses. However, he kept refusing to divulge the information, only repeatedly describing how he had killed them. His speech was obscene and truly unbearable…”
After revealing this, a nearly uncontainable fury came over his face. He even needed to stop speaking to take in several deep breaths.
Having heard this reason, Elaro grew even more dejected. Just now, Hungri hadn’t mentioned any reasons at all. Does he feel there is no need to explain to me, or does he feel I would not listen?
“I’ve been at the Judge’s Complex for so long, but even I really wanted to privately do him in… Cough!” The holy knight hurriedly coughed several times. “I mean, even I felt furious, not to mention that Hungri is still a child. It can’t be helped that his temper is a bit heated. However, I’m not saying that he’s in the right, just that he shouldn’t be blamed too much.”
Elaro shook his head and said, “This is such a major event. You will have to report it to Knight-Captain Judgment, right? What do you think Knight-Captain Judgment will do after he hears what happened?”
Hearing “Knight-Captain Judgment,” the holy knight frowned and murmured uneasily, “Last time, he had only beaten the criminal half to death and he got confined for a month. This time, it’s almost to death. I’m afraid…”
Ludia had originally been listening quietly, but when she heard this, she could no longer hold back. She shouted, “Brother! You have to help Hungri!”
Elaro furrowed his brows. Of course he would help Hungri, but if Knight-Captain Judgment truly decided on something, who could possibly stop him… Teacher can!
Elaro thought it funny that he had actually forgotten this. At the same time, he relaxed a bit. Even if Knight-Captain Judgment were truly considering switching out Hungri, Teacher would definitely be able to stop it!
Shuis said angrily, “Don’t help him! Let him get confined. Otherwise, he’s going to bring trouble to Brother Elaro day and night!”
Although Hungri had indeed caused trouble, the Judgment Knight Platoon members were still upset when they heard Shuis’s words. When it came down to it, Hungri was their most precious Judgment Knight-in-training. Saying such things in front of them was a bit rude.
Elaro looked at Shuis seriously and said, “Last time, Knight-Captain Judgment said that if Hungri were to commit the mistake of letting his emotions affect his interrogations again, unable to separate his private feelings from his work, then he would consider replacing him. If this were to be the punishment, would you be able to accept it?”
“Replace him?” Shuis froze. He hadn’t thought the situation was that serious. Even though he wanted Hungri to be punished, he hadn’t thought the punishment would be as grave as getting replaced.
Elaro was familiar with the backup Judgment Knight candidate. He was a pretty good person. Although he was not as skilled as Hungri at interrogations, he had a much calmer personality. Significantly, that candidate was already over twenty years old. Because their ages were closer, he got along pretty well with Elaro.
If they were switched… Elaro shook his head. No! I don’t want them to be switched!
Why don’t I want them to be switched?
A flash of doubt came over him, but Elaro was unable to come up with an answer. Why didn’t he want Hungri to be replaced? Regarding his duties, Hungri couldn’t separate his private feelings from work. Regarding personal matters, he and Hungri had communication problems all year round.
Unable to think of any reasons other than his personal feelings, Elaro grew even more worried. If even he couldn’t find a convincing reason, then could it be that bystanders wouldn’t be able to find one either?
Why had Knight-Captain Judgment chosen such a young child as Hungri that year?
And why do I feel that Hungri should not be replaced?
Elaro looked in the direction Hungri had run. He didn’t understand Knight-Captain Judgment’s thoughts from back then, and he didn’t even know his own thoughts now.
1 “Brother Li”: Li (力) means power.