We quickly threw a heal at Solas, who was still collapsed on the ground and unable to rise to his feet. He lost both an arm and a leg; his injuries were far too serious for a single heal to fix, but we didn’t really care. All we needed was for him to stop bleeding so we could question him.
His expression remained constant throughout the process. That is, he simply continued to glare in Fran’s direction.
「First. Deactivate Appraisal Blocking.」
「Playing dumb. Pointless.」
「…I see. You must have Appraisal then.」
「And what if I say no?」
His expression was filled with a sort of strength, one that left me confused as to whether he was trying to negotiate or just flat out defy us for the sake of it. Either way, we didn’t care. We weren’t planning to really negotiate with him in the first place.
What we needed to do was figure out what the skill he was using on us was.
「Will keep hitting, but won’t kill. Can use healing magic, won’t allow suicide.」
Fran’s lack of an expression was pretty nice to have at times like this. It made her sound completely serious — not that we weren’t actually completely serious anyways.
Solas seemed to have sensed it, as his eyes had immediately began expressing his fear.
「…You’ll at least let me live, right?」
I felt something again the moment he spoke in that probe-like manner. The sensation I felt this time, however, was a bit different than usual. It was much more clear. I could immediately tell that Solas had done something to us.
The sensation was very much akin to having someone stroke my blade, it was one that was simply impossible for me to ignore.
I was pretty sure that Malice Perception, Crisis Detection, Magic Detection, and Presence Detection were all working in conjunction in order to allow me to sense that he’d used a skill on us.
『Fran, did you feel anything just now?』
『What about you, Urushi?』
Neither of the two could sense anything at all. Why was I the only one capable of picking this up? My immediate guess was that it was probably because I had the Sorcery skill, and that it made me better at picking up on magical energy and the flow thereof. If that is indeed the case, then I guess that just means that I’m just better at picking up magic-related stuff, kinda like how Fran’s better at picking up stuff that involves using the five senses.
（Something done to us?）
『I think so.』
Fran nodded and stabbed me straight through Solas’ back.
It was a well aimed thrust; I went right through his lungs. If Solas were an ordinary person, he probably would’ve died just then. Him being an adventurer only prolonged his pain. The fact that he wasn’t weak disallowed him from even fainting. He was forced to endure an exorbitant amount of pain as blood spewed from his lips.
Being healed caused Solas to fall into despair. Only then did he realize just how far she was willing to take this.
「Will not allow any actions until Appraisal Blocking deactivated.」
I couldn’t tell whether it was because he started getting scared, or whether it was just because we’d stabbed him through the lung, but Solas’ breath gotten all ragged. He didn’t bother putting up a front any longer. He hadn’t removed his gaze from Fran, but tears had welled up in his eyes.
「I-I get it, I get it! I’ll deactivate the skill. It’s one of my equips, so you’ll have to let me take it off! Give me just a second!」
He brought his hand out in front of him and bit down on his ring in an attempt to take it off. Apparently that was what was stopping us from appraising him.
Oh right, we chopped off his other arm so he can’t really take it off normally, can he?
That said though, it refused to budge, which kinda did make sense. Rings were like that. They’d get stuck if you gained even the slightest bit of weight.
However, Fran wasn’t what you’d call the patient type. Seeing him fiddle around with it only served to annoy her.
Solas lifted his head with a bit of a stupid look on his face in response to her words, only to immediately lose his finger. Fran finished everything up nice and quick by severing it before he had much of a chance to protest against her actions. The man had naturally let out a scream in pain, but I didn’t really mind it too much. I was more so focused on admiring Fran’s technique. She’d managed to separate him and his finger without causing even the slightest bit of damage elsewhere.
The only comment I had was that it was a shame the ring had been broken — not that it was even the slightest bit Fran’s fault. It seemed like the ring was the disposable type of equip. It was made to break the moment it was removed. That said though, it was still pretty worthwhile an item seeing as how it prevented people from appraising you and all.
Race: Beastman/Red Cat Tribe
Job: Labyrinth Scout
Status Level: 34
Assassination: Lv 3
Acting: Lv 6
Espionage: Lv 6
Deception: Lv 5
Presence Detection: Lv 3
Silenced Actions: Lv 4
Dagger Techniques: Lv 3
Dagger Arts: Lv 6
Throwing: Lv 4
Poison Resistance: Lv 3
Magic Detection: Lv 2
Trap Detection: Lv 6
Trap Disarming: Lv 6
Coerced Camaraderie: Lv 6
Huh, he seemed decently strong, and his skill levels weren’t too bad either. In fact, he looked like he could be a C ranker if he wanted.
『He’s got a unique skill, it looks like. Coerced Camaraderie, apparently.』
「Coerced Camaraderie? Effects?」
「Err… that, right, yeah, that! I’ll answer you, so lower your sword and have your wolf back off a bit already!」
Okay, he seriously needs to just get to the point. We don’t have time to listen to him rabble on and on forever.
「It’s just a boring little skill that’ll make people think of me as a friend or comrade. It lowers the target’s guard and makes them less doubtful of what I do. It’s nothing special. I can’t use it to make people treat me like their best friends or lovers.」
Ah, so that’s it. That’s why we didn’t suspect him, or rather, that’s why we thought we were just imagining the fact that he was acting suspiciously.
「It’s a skill that’ll undo its effects the moment you happen to have any strong doubts.」
「Used skill to infiltrate adventurer parties and attack companions?」
I figured that was the case. My guess was that he’s been popping traps and whatnot on people here for quite some time already.
「Any other companions?」
「None. Just the people you killed.」
『That’s a lie right there.』
「Lies. How many total?」
Fran pointed me right at Solas’ face.
「Do you… happen to have a skill that detects lies too?」
「Man, I was being extra cautious of that too…」
Ah, I see, I see. He had Appraisal Blocking and Coerced Camaraderie. He’d be able to basically come off clean so long as he stayed vigilant of any lie detecting skills.
Now that I think about it, he was always speaking kinda ambiguously. His answers, for the most part, could’ve been taken both ways. They’d technically be right regardless of how we interpreted them. Moreover, Coerced Camaraderie would do to most people what it did to us, and make it so that said ambiguous answers were regarded as ones that affirmed his innocence.
The Principle of Falsehood was honestly a pretty useful skill, but we couldn’t really be relying on it all the time. We needed to be more careful about the manner in which we asked questions, else risk having this, or something like this, happen again. Learning that here and now was honestly one huge gain on our part.
「Two choices. Answer honestly now. Answer honestly after torture.」
「I have four other subordinates!」
I’m glad he was all honest and what not, but… seriously? He was the guy leading all the thieves this whole time?
「…They should be at the guild.」
Solas’ role was to find targets for the rest of his teams. He’d usually go after parties on the rise, people who were earning a fair amount of cash and acting all gung ho about it. Very few would be suspicious of parties like that suddenly going missing seeing as how they usually had the tendency to act rather recklessly.
He’d reach out about once a month, and even then, his lackies wouldn’t actually act every single time. They were cautious and did their best to ensure that there wouldn’t be any rumours about how the parties Solas joined would vanish.
Alright, I guess we’ll have Solas take us to the rest of his companions. Gotta take out the trash and whatnot, you know?
『Hmmm, you see, we’ve got a bit of a problem. He knows a lot about our skills and stuff. I’m not sure letting him go free is that good of an idea. He might go around telling other people about us. What do you think we should do?』
『Hmm… I mean, I guess that works, but….』
We would be able to get a good amount of info out of his lackies, but there’s probably some stuff that only he, as their boss, knows as well. You know, like where he stores his loot and stuff.
『Actually, hold up. Don’t kill him just yet. There’s something I want to try.』
We should be fine so long as we stop him from leaking anything about us.
「Won’t inflict any more pain if taken to their location.」
「Alright, I got it…」
「But only on one condition. Will form contract.」
「Contract? You can use contract magic?」
「Can’t say anything about us. Leaking information means death. Must agree to contract terms.」
「I’ll take it!」
Yeah, I figured he’d say that. He’d die if he didn’t, soooo, yeah.
「Then will create contract.」
On a side note, as I’m sure some of you have noticed, it’s now referring to Solas as a 33 year old as opposed to a young man as it did earlier. I’m assuming he probably just looks young, or the author changed his mind.