Chapter split into four(4) pages
Botsuraku Yotei Volume 5 Chapter 4
“Rail Rain… What brings someone of your importance all the way here, and carrying a royally certified admission pass too. Is it that matter with the noble?”
I could not help but feel a sense of unease at this guard who oozed a lack of discipline. These are the men who abandoned their job of monitoring the prisoners and fled to the surface. That in itself makes them undeserving of respect…
“You’d do good to stay out it. You don’t want to get burned do you?”
There was also another reason for my bad mood.
Apparently there are people associated with the Dartanel family here in Kudan prison. Among the guards; even prisoners.
But we were fools to be honest. We should have expected this to be the case.
The prince sent me here as soon as this matter was discovered. Prince Rahsa asked with a pained and heavy heart to ensure the safety of young Kururi.
I may be too late. We should have acted sooner. I will accept the punishment. I will submit. But, if there is anything I can do…I would do anything.
Up on the surface the Prince is doing everything in his power to help Kururi.
As for me, I have to do everything I can to protect him down here.
Terrible thoughts ran through my mind as I began the descent on the elevator.
“Leave your sword here…”
The guard must have noticed my expression of rage, because he didn’t bother me after that.
I descended underground. The guard said something about not wanting to be down too long, and returned back upwards as if in a hurry. There was clearly no system of order down here. I felt a further sense of disgust.
Kudan prison was not as arid as I had heard. People said it was a land of dirt and prison, but it felt unexpectedly humid. Had it rained the previous night? I had heard it rained at least once or twice a year…
On top of that, I could hear lively voices coming from somewhere.
And people said it was stamping ground for the rotten… Are they arguing and fighting?
“Oi, are ya new here? Never seen ya before!”
The man shouldered a pickaxe and had the face of someone who probably spent most of his life here. He looked sinister, but there was an odd sense of cleanliness to him. But there was no mistaking that he was a prisoner. A prisoner brandishing a weapon… This place was even less respectable than I could have imagined.
“Tell me, do you know where cell number 136 is?”
“Oh? You’ve got quite the nerve for a newcomer! I think ya better leave while you can.”
“Just answer my question.”
“As ya please then. Just go straight down that path over there and ya will reach it. I ain’t gonna take you myself. Especially not at this hour.”
At this hour?
Something about those words bothered me. What happens at this hour? Dark possibilities ran through my head. I needed to hurry.
I found cell number 100. It should be somewhere around here.
I caught another prisoner to interrogate.
“ Ah? You want to go to cell 136? What for? Only the top people are allowed…”
“Just answer me. My patience is running very low.”
“Eh? Oh…it’s around the corner on the right. Though I don’t think you should… Not at this hour.”
Is this matter with cell 136 well known then?
I had heard that there were at least 300 prisoners, could they all know about this? If so, am I…
I quickened my pace as sweat ran down my face and my heart beat loudly.
I was itching to unsheath my sword. I didn’t care who, I wanted to cut someone down. Will I, upon seeing my worst nightmare become reality, be able to contain my anger?
I finally found the room I had been searching for.
While all of the other cells were walled with iron bars, cell 136 was made of wooden panels. It’s sealed off… He might be confined inside, I hoped that it was only that.
Outside there were five rough-looking men standing guard. It did not look like they would let me in without a fight.
“Oi, who are you!? You can’t come here at this time!”
“Because we’re guarding here, idiot! Now get out of here!”
So they were guards after all.
They all glared back at me with menacing expressions. Was this their idea of a threat?
As if such a foolish bluff could withstand my wrath?”
“Move out of my way. I have business within that room.”
“Ah? I said we are guarding here!”
“Are you assuming these little rules that you’ve made here affect me? If so, I would be glad to cut two or three of you down. Know that I would not be the least bit concerned if your lives were snuffed out.”
My sword was in my hand. There was no reason to hold back now. I’ve reached my destination. The rest will unfold as I wish it to.
“What’s going on? What’s this noise?”
“Sorry, Boss! This bastard over here…”
Boss? There was a voice coming from within the room. From the panic in their voice, I could tell it was their boss in the room. In the same room… So that is what they meant by not coming at this time.
“Boss, huh. Just in time. Reveal yourself, king of this small world.”
The boss opened the doors to reveal himself.
Shocking red hair. Healthy looking skin; different from everyone else. Slender and well-balanced physique. The kind eyes…
Kururi walked out looking hearty as ever…
“Huh? Rail? Is that you!? Why are you here! Did you get arrested for sexual harassment?”
“Uh…huh? Where’s the boss?”
“Ohh, I’m the boss now. I beat the boss, so I’m the new boss.”
“Like a group of monkeys!? Is that what this place is!?”
“Well, that’s not too far from it. Anyway, come inside. You’re usually so lame, but I’m actually happy to see you down here. Now hurry up!”
I was invited into cell 136.
Kururi sat down on a sofa and directed me to do the same.
What!? A sofa!? In prison!?
Looking at my surroundings, I also notice a bed! There is also a shelf filled with books. There is even a window decorated with a single flower. It’s a bright and clean room.
It’s comfy. Strangely, comfy.
“I don’t have anything sweet to eat, but there’s some wine. I have some snacks too.”
“You have wine!? And snacks!?”
“White? Red? Which do you prefer?”
“You have different types!? Where are we!? Where have I come!?”
“Now, now. Calm down. This is Kudan prison. What? Did you come here by accident?”
“Accident? You’re an accident!”
He was looking at me as if embarrassed, but what could I do? I came to pour red liquid with my sword, not in a glass cup!
“Eh!? What!? You were arrested and thrown in prison, but in fact you were living quite well!?”
“I don’t know about that. Some things were really hard. Like getting this sofa.”
“Of course it was! They aren’t exactly common in prisons!”
“Why are you so excited? Calm down, take this drink. Once you’ve calmed yourself you can go relax in the hotspring. And you should stay here tonight as well.”
The wine in my mouth came bursting back out.
“Hot spring!? Stay here!? Am I visiting a friend’s house!? Is that what this is!?”
“You do like to answer your own questions. You sleep on my bed, I’m fine with the sofa.”
“That’s not the problem! What!? What is…really!?”
After much dismay, I was finally persuaded by Kururi to visit the hot springs.
It was still bright at this hour, so it was just the two of us there.
“We are all working here to make this prison a better place, while there is still light. This hot spring was discovered as part of that endeavour. We even have a public cemetery now that some of the elders have passed away. We are also going to expand the area next, I’m thinking that we could plant some crops. Lately I’ve been stuck in my room planning these things. But I do feel guilty as I’m the only one not doing any physical labor.”
“…I’m impressed. You’re the lord of the land.”
“You think so? I just thought I’d do what I can before I leave. I am the boss after all.”
“We all worked pretty hard you know? To prove that you were innocent.”
“Ah, about that. ‘Zeni Geba’ Saishin Ubstol said he would change his testimony. He was apparently able to overcome his shame.”
“You solved the problem yourself!? What about all our efforts!?”
“Well then, I’m ready to fight whenever you are. Just call me when you need me.”
“Ahh… My concerns were for nothing then. Do you know that Prince Rahsa came to me with tearfilled eyes, he begged me to help you…”
“I’m sorry to hear that.”
“What am I supposed to tell him? Really.”
“That I’m doing well?”
“Fine, I’ll do that. By the way, where is the wine from?”
“Oh, there was a guard working for the Dartanel’s, but we bought him, and now he brings us things we want.”
“…How tenacious. But I’ll be taking that guard with me when I leave. He will be useful in going after the Dartanel’s, I hope.”
“But…then our supplies…”
“I’ll do something about it. And you, can’t you leave this place yet?”
“I am starting to grow attached to the guys here. I would also like that they maintain order even after I’m gone. ”
“You want to do what you can while you can. But you should hurry. We need you up there as well.”
“…I know. I won’t be long.”
After soaking in the hot spring, I slept in a soft bed.
On my way out I was handed some food for the road and the bought-off guard, who had been captured the previous night.
For some reason my hair and skin felt great. Perhaps it was due to the hot spring?
…mmm, maybe I will come back here.
Yes, I will definitely return when Kuriri is released. It was a good trip.
“Brother, a messenger bird has come from Rail. Here, there is a letter attached to it.”
“He works fast. Iris, it may be better that you do not see what it says.”
“ Prince Arch. I am prepared for the worst. And if anything, you’ve already promised to show it to me!”
“I did, but… I don’t want to see you sad.”
“I’ve prepared myself. I will see it. I will!”
“Brother, Iris and I are both ready no matter what new comes. If anything happened to him, I don’t know that I will be able to control myself. But, I don’t think that averting your eyes to reality is the right thing to do either. We understand the possibilities. Now let’s see it together.”
“…Fine. I will not say anything more. I will read it to you, listen carefully.”
“Rail Rain report,
Kuriri is fine. His skin seems to be in great condition. He was a good host.”
“Ah, oh…sorry… M? Mmm?”
“Prince Arch, hurry!”
“Umm, Kuriri is fine. His skin seems to be in great condition… He was a good host.”