145. Concentration Camp
I was given a lax pat down.
The kingdom of Oriana was in a state where war could break as early as tomorrow. They obviously don’t have time to spare for a mob like me.
I had a mana sealing collar put on me and was taken to a large building.
“You’ll be staying in this camp.”
is in the process of purging the Royalists. Prisons are all full.”
“Well, good luck, kid. Whether you can live or die in here all depends on your choices.”
“Huh, what choi—”
The soldier guiding me put on a knowing grin, opened the large iron door and shoved me inside.
The door was shut behind me with a thud as I took in my surroundings.
What I’d been imagining was some dreary, medieval-fantasy dungeon of solid stone, but this was certainly not that.
In very few words, it was a big courtyard surrounded by tall walls.
The floor was paved with stone, and the place was packed with prisoners.
Some of them looked to be sleeping in tattered clothes, some just sat there with dead eyes and looked at me. Still others were standing in groups, discussing something or other. Seems they’ve made factions here.
Our jailors stood atop the tall walls, overseeing everything.
Actually, those walls looked like they had rooms attached to them. The prisoners seemed to be granted free entry into them.
Not as rigid as I’d imagined.
First of all, I needed to secure a place to sleep. I began walking with that purpose in mind.
And, “Ho, newcomer.”
Came a voice from the side.
I turned to see a tall, thuggish man with unkempt hair. My internal Bandit Radar began tingling right away.
I was 100% positive. This guy was a bandit.
“The name’s Zack. Long story short, I’m a nice guy who teaches new blood like you how it works around here.” Said Zack, eyeing me like prey.
“M-my name’s Cid
. Thank you so much, I really don’t know what to do…”
“I feel ya, buddy. Them fuzz catch you and throw you in here and there’s nothin’ you can do about it. I totally get that you’re scared.” Zack said while patting my shoulder.
He then closed in and whispered so only I could hear, “Listen, Cid. Food, bed, fun, none of that’s equal in this here camp. Look over there.”
Zack pointed at a group of people huddled in a corner. All of them looked thin, ragged.
“The people in this camp are largely divvied up into 3 groups. Those ones you see over there are the worst off and also has the most people. They’re what we call the
Useless trash who aren’t worth a damn. They get a few gulps of water and even less food. Just waiting to die. They’re trash who have no power, or smarts, or even info… Now, look over there.”
Next, Zack pointed at a group of people who were standing and talking amongst each other.
“Those are the Royalists. They’re all idiots who went against Lord Doem and are now in here. They get the bare minimum food and bed. They’re also our targets.”
“Yeah, our group. The Doem Camp. We got people who betrayed the Royalists to people like me, actual criminals. Us in the Doem Camp gets good food, comfy bedding, and a few other,
“I’ll give you and example. You see, they don’t give one damn if he beat and kill any of the Trash—
” Zack kicked down a nearby man.
The ragged man cried out and ran away, and the guards on the walls watched the whole thing happen.
They said not a word of warning to Zack.
Making a bemused smile, Zack once again came close and spoke into my ears. “It ain’t like fights and killing each other are allowed in here. But the guys up top will ignore it. Still, doesn’t mean we can go around killing every fucker that gives us the stink eye. Even Trash can be useful once in a while. And needlessly antagonising them isn’t a good idea. You still with me, Cid? It’s curious right? How we can get away with all this.”
“Y-yeah, it is.”
“Here’s how it works… it’s all ‘cause we keep an eye on those Royalists and leak any info we get to the guards. Do that, and we easily get food, bed, and those nice privies. Sweet deal, yeah?”
“By, uh, info…?”
don’t want us to know. Get us some good info, and you’re on the Doem side, pronto. And if the info is
good, useful even, you can some fun too. We even got whores.”
“B-but, how am I supposed to…”
“I get it, really do. How’re you supposed to know anything? Think. Jog that noggin a little. Only Royalist traitors have that kind of inside intel, right? Now, how did someone like me get in?”
“Honestly, there’s a lotta ways to go about it. One, you could try capture one of them and drag him in for some good ol torture. Well, they’re also on guard lately, so that might not be so easy. And the guards can’t ignore it if you go overboard.
“Two, you could try getting in their faction and gleam intel that way. They’re on guard for those too, so something like that can take some real skill.
“Three, eavesdrop. They won’t make it easy, but you can definitely try.
“And four, there’s that fact that they likely have people who’re pretty willing to sell. Really, anyone would get tired of it eventually. They’d want food, booze. They’d want to get their dicks wet. But alas, they’re still Royalists and the guards aren’t exactly inclined to believe anything they’d say. That’s where we come in. We make it so that they can get that food, booze, and whores they’re starving for.”
“I’m sure you do, Cid. You now understand very well that if you do nothing, you’ll be part of the Trash. Useless, worthless trash. The only you can survive in here is either get us some info, or try to get the Royalists’ trust.”
“I’m a nice guy, Cid. So this is all I can do. Tell you what, you get anything good, and you come to me. I know some real nice guys among the guards, so we can definitely work something out.” Zack said, giving me an obviously shady grin.
“Thank you, thank you so much, Zack
“Best of luck, kid.”
“Oh, uh, Zack, please wait!” I called as he was about to walk away.
“I— Actually, I might know something
good.” I said in a whisper.
“… Huh. You know, if that info’s something bogus, those jailors won’t let you off with just a little beating. How about I hear you out, before you go to them.”
“Can we, uh… go something a bit private?”
“Sure thing. Follow me.”
Following after Zack, I went beyond the walls.
Inside were hallways of stone with cells on either side, containing prisoners here and there.
“The only guys who get private quarters are us Doem Camp and a small part of the Royalists. The Trash get to huddle down in the hallways, or just sleep outside. That said, we have our own territory in these halls and outside. You sleep there just cause it’s empty and… you might not wake up. Get it?”
“… Of course.”
“In here.” We walked some ways into the hallway and Zack opened a door.
“This here’s my crib. Not bad eh?” Zack said with grin after closing the door.
It was the size of an average bedroom
. More than enough for one person to live comfortably. There was a clean bed, a few sets of clothes, books, a board game, and even porn mags and a shelf with snacks.
“Well, this isn’t the even close to what the big shots have. Heck, they say our boss held a stripper show at his place.” Zack sad with a dirty grin.
“There we go, complete privacy. Now, let’s hear it.”
“Right, the real good info… yeah, I got nuthin.”
With a single step, I got into arms length of Zack, grabbed his neck and lifted him up. His feet now dangled in the air.
“Fuh, ker, yer, gon, pay, for…” Zack croaked in pain.
“Can’t work the body without food. I mean, I can easily
going on nothing for a month, but I’ll get a little weaker if I do. So I really don’t want to skip meals. I guess I can go out into town and eat. And, sleeping outside isn’t really a problem… Oh but, I don’t want to sleep outside in the rain, I guess.” I spoke while gradually tightening my grip.
, you have two choices. Live, or die. Choose wisely now.”