The Devil's Evolution Catalog Chapter 124: A Broken Alliance
One shall not be judged for the iniquity of another; sounded pretty good, but reality was never that merciful. After all, while movies were just works of fiction, they had to have certain limits as well. The good guys always win and the evildoers always lose.
Another example would be the ghost films in China: if those films actually had ghosts in them, they would’ve never passed the review board, as China is pushing for a more agnostic and scientific view in recent years. The government has basically adopted a “no supernatural” stance regarding this matter.
Thus horror movies in China do not actually possess any “real ghosts” in them. Instead, any supernatural incidents within these films are all man-made constructs. Everything you see must be explainable by science and as a result of actions made by man, even if it meant zombies…
(TL: So why do you even watch those then…aren’t they just mystery movies instead of horror movies then...)
And that’s why people who say that evildoers have a baseline are idiots.
Plus, I would like to add that a pitiful person always had a hateful side.
Did you think that Gill was a pitiful person? His girlfriend was turned into a RBQ (Rifle Brushing Queen) while he himself ended up joining the bandits in order to exact revenge. Yet, this man ended betraying his principles in order to save his pitiful girlfriend, he betrayed the friends he trusted…
Thus, our greatest weakness was laid bare before the bandits, and by the time we knew of this, they were already waiting for us to step into their laid out trap!
Even though he was also a victim here, and I did not deny that he was one, it was precisely this that made him that much more despicable.
So how should we overcome this rotten situation?
Unfortunately, Eddison wasn’t the only one who risked having his will broken, there was also Io. His entire family, his wife, his son and his father-in-law were amongst those who were captured. Previously, he became a drunkard as he couldn’t deal with the guilt of being unable to avenge his father. Because of this, his wife left him with his son in tow for her parent’s home.
Her intention was to provoke some sort of reaction from him while she temporarily stayed over at her parents’ home and awaited his arrival. After a round of persuasion, he finally came to his senses and intended to bring them back after he wiped out the bandits; however, it looked like he would no longer have that chance…
With a wave of his hand, Dohby commanded his minions to fetch Io’s family. “So this is your wife, Io. Isn’t she just a beaut’, such a pity she chose a worthless man like you.”
He forcefully cupped the chin of a thirty-odd years old lady from his horse and stared at her face. Without waiting for Io to respond to that, he released her and turned his attention onto Io’s six year old son. He swiftly grabbed the back of his collar and lifted him up to his eye level. Ignoring the kid’s struggling, he let forth a sinister laugh and said: “And this must be your son, he’s pretty lively isn’t he? How about giving him to me?”
The sudden weightlessness startled the young boy into tears, “Wah wah...I want Daddy...Daddy save me…”
“You aren’t willing? Well that’s alright, once your trash father is dead your mother will belong to me. When that time comes, remember to call me Daddy.” He gave a conceited laugh and tossed the kid back onto the ground. Having been thrown back onto the floor so abruptly, he wasn’t able to react in time and fell on his butt with a loud thud. He paused for a second before wailing in pain.
“Wah wah wah...I want Daddy...you’re not Daddy…”
Io’s wife immediately rushed forth to try and comfort him with a hug, but she was stopped by a nearby minion.
“Bast*rd! Let go of my family!”
“Heh heh heh.” He chuckled arrogantly as he stared at the helpless Eddison and Io; after which he signalled for his minions to bring the hostages away.
Seeing that it was about time, Dawson stepped forth to play the good cop in this farce: “We’re only here to destroy Plateau Village, as long as the hunters from the other three villages do not resist, I guarantee that your family members will be returned to you safe and sound after the battle.”
“...” Everyone, including Moranthal instantly fell silent at that offer. After all, it was one thing to die, but it was an entirely different matter when one’s action would cause the death of one’s family as well.
There were probably those who doubted his words, but with the hostages in his hands right now, what else were they to do? If they resisted, their family would definitely be killed to set an example for the others.
As if he had just been given a lifeline, his guilty feelings immediately got the better of him. “Will you really let them off?” He asked in a pleading tone.
“Yes, as long as you all don’t resist.” He swept his eyes over the agitated Eddison and a mulling Moranthal before smiling for the first time since he showed himself. “Other than those of Plateau Village, the same offer stands for anyone else. I don’t require you to do anything else but stand aside. After this matter is over, I’ll return your family members to you safe and sound. I swear.”
“Shut up!” Dohby tried to say something but was immediately cut off by a sharp rebuke from Dawson. He knew exactly what his second-in-command wanted to say, but he wouldn’t allow him to say it here. He then turned towards the hunters, lifted his head slightly and coldly stared at them. “Fight or not, make your choice.”
Oaths weren’t something you could make lightly in the Western Human Realms as there were actually divinities in this realm. While there was no guarantee that those high and mighty gods would pay attention to such trifling matters, there was also no guarantee that they would not. Could you bet your entire life on this ‘what if’? All it took was one misspoken oath and some god in charge of oaths might just smite you.
Thus, when Dawson threw out that oath, the furious hunters immediately quietened down and began contemplating his offer.
“I’m...I’m truly sorry…” Having made his decision, Io turned towards George and gave the man a solemn bow with his eyes closed, not even daring to look him in the eyes as he did so. “I can’t lose my family again…”
“Hmph, how can you even be sure that he will uphold his end of the bargain after this? He’s a bandit, breaking their word is as natural as breathing for them.” Dioh looked at the man as if he was a traitor and continued in a sarcastic tone. “For all you know, he might just turn on your family members once he’s done with our village.”
“I...I have no other choice...truly...I apologize…” He apologized once more and returned the magical tools we lent out to him, which left himself with only his bow and short blade equipped. Using this gesture as a sign of his determination, he turned to Dawson and sheepishly said: “I choose to back out, can you return my family to me now?”
“No!” Dohby immediately objected to that; he seemed to have set his eyes on the man’s wife and didn’t wish for him to surrender. However, he was immediately silenced by Dawson once more with a glare, and smartly chose to keep his head down.
Having reprimanded his henchman, he promptly reassured Io with his words. “It’s definitely not possible to release them now, I’ll do it after the battle.”
“Don’t worry, once our boss says something he will turn it into reality for sure. Why would he lie to a wuss like you.” Having been scolded twice indirectly because of this hunter, he made sure to sneak in an insult as a way to vent his frustrations. “If you hesitate any longer, I might just decide to have some fun with your wife right here and now.”
“You!” However, that was the extent of his anger as he meekly walked over to the location designated by Dawson.
In order to contain the villagers who surrendered, Dawson specifically designated a zone for them. Right as Io stepped into it, a bunch of minions promptly stepped forth to accost him. He immediately tried to resist them; if they were to bind him now, there would be nothing to stop them from going back on their words later.
“Put down your weapons and I won’t tie you up. Don’t give me that look, I don’t have the time to bother about you once the battle starts. If I don’t confiscate your weapons, how would I know that you won’t cause me trouble later on?” Don’t worry, once I kill off George, I’ll release your family members as promised.”
As he finished saying that, he threw a look at the minions who then disarmed Io but didn’t try to tie him up anymore. With one hunter settled, he turned his gaze back to the others: “Anyone else who is willing to surrender, I guarantee that you’ll be treated well and your family won’t come to any harm. If there is anyone foolish enough to test me, I don’t mind taking you on. I just hope that your female kin aren’t in the hands of my henchmen.”
Seeing the beaten figure of their leader leave, the hunters from Io’s village began surrendering as well, seeing as their family members were in the hands of the bandits also. As long as they resisted, they would die. Eddison was the next three-star to surrender. As he did so, he gave the same apologetic bow to George and returned the equipment we loaned to him before he left with a tired look on his face.
In just a short span of five minutes, the hunters we recruited from the other three villages had all left us...except for...wait, why was Moranthal still here?
Noticing my strange look, he feigned a dashing smile and said: “I have no more family left.”
Previously, there were some members of his village who tried to persuade him to leave, but he rejected them all. He even persuaded the hunters who tried to stay behind out of loyalty to leave. He told them not to implicate their family members in this decision.
I had to say, Moranthal was a good man, it’s just that he was too nice of a person; to the point where everyone just took it for granted. In fact, there were probably those who misunderstood him as just being stupid. How do I know that? Because I was just like him as well in the past...looking at him, I was reminded of my past self as well.
With that, everyone except for Moranthal entered the designated zone. With their weapons gone, there was now no turning back from their decision.
As for our side, there were only 114 people left if you excluded me, George, Moranthal, Dioh, Kevin, Ancarin and Regine. Of those 114, only 12 were two-stars. The only silver lining in this whole mess was that each and every hunter returned the enchanted gear that I loaned to them; which I then divvied out to the other two-stars, temporarily boosting their combat prowess.
“And now all that remains are you guys.” The bandit chief pointed at George from atop his black horse and said: “Honestly, I’m a really merciful person. How about this, other than George and his family members, I’m willing to let you all live as long as you surrender. If you choose to be stubborn, the consequences are yours to bear!”
The moment he said that, the remaining hunters immediately began to waver. Given the choice to live, who would choose to die after all?
Noticing this change, George realized he couldn’t drag this on any further and took the initiative to challenge the bandit chief. “There’s no need for all that trouble, as long as you defeat me, the village will naturally surrender to you! Come on then, let’s finish that battle we started long ago!”
In order to prevent their morale from dropping any further, he had no choice but to do this. Without waiting for Dawson to reply, he nocked his bow and fired an arrow at the man.
With a casual wave of his left him, Dawson deflected the incoming arrow and jumped off his black horse while unstrapping the greatsword on his back. “You actually dare to challenge me, let’s see how much you’ve grown in this period of time since we last fought.”
Special thanks to Steve Granger, Kaung Thant Win Naing, and Antoine Thompson!!