Translated by Tianic, contributing editor: Tana N
The previous chapters are being edited with Grammarly paid version, current progress: v1c11
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While the logistics regiment were busy making the wood racks, I was teaching Jack necessary knowledge to be a judge. I have spent a couple of hours to engraft him the law concept ranging from the harm of crime to typical crime cases.
“The most important thing is,” I said, “the military law is not negotiable. It’s the rule to restrict soldiers as well as the control to maintain our army’s combat effectiveness. I could say it’s a deterrent weapon.”
“But, boss,” Jack asked, “we don’t have any law articles yet, nor do we have a standard code for reference. So how do we handle these guys today?”
“It’s simple. Classify them into minor cases and felonies.” I said, “What came in today are just small cases, the ones that are rather not so severe after all. As long as these people spread the words when they come home tonight, those who suffered real crimes will be here.”
“So how should I handle these small cases?”
“Two options, A, rod; B, whip.” I pondered, “Let’s settle on the whip.”
“Why whip? Boss, last time they hit you with a rod!”
“Don’t smirk!” I pretended to be angry, “Imagine how a man will end up after being whipped, bloody, right? That’s deterrent!”
“But why do you want so many racks?”
“I told you it’s all about being deterrent!” I hit Jack’s head, “Think about slashing several hundred stripped naked pigs tied on the racks, they will scream, their bodies will twist. How shocking will that be for the soldiers around to watch? From then on, all of them will think about it before doing anything wrong.”
“Understood.” Jack asked again, “Then how to handle the severe cases?”
“That’s even easier. I will teach you some catchphrases in case you need them in any public situation.”
I said in a lowered tone, “As Lord Justice of the Ninth Legion, I, in the name of the Protoss United Force and the Legion, now pronounce the following sentence: due to your crime, I will confiscate your crime tools, deprive you of your every right. Sentence, servitude or death! Understand?”
“One thing.” Jack scratched his head, “How do you define crime tools?”
“For example, if a man steals, and he took his friend’s carriage to get to the crime scene, then that carriage is the crime tool.”
“Then we’ll confiscate the carriage and it’ll be ours?”
“Sure.” I said with a smile, “How smart you are.”
“But there are people without tools!” Jack said, “If a man punches dead another, he has no tool!”
“Well…” I pondered for a good while, “His hand that killed the man is the tool. You can chop it off then behead him!”
“Ok, got it!”
“Listen to me, Jack,” I approached, “Tonight is your one-man show. You must fortify your authority as Lord Justice. I will be watching you, don’t screw it up.”
“Don’t worry, boss! I’m confident!” Jack laughed while his eyes lightened.
After dinner, the logistics supervisor told me the racks were done and placed on the training field.
“Staff chief.” I told Carlos, “Assemble the army. The LAD is having a show!”
The soldiers who have just finished their lunch were led by their commander to stand on the field in their divisions. While the commanders paced between rows correcting the soldiers’ stance, the soldiers gazed amazingly at the wood racks placed on the field, unaware of their usage.
The officers from the LAD were doing the final preparation, like how I have taught them, they were checking the criminals’ identities. The rest of the LADs stood around the field with torches raised in their hands.
It was almost the time as I presented along with my junior and senior officers from my commanding center. We were greeted by the messiest salute in history before settling on the viewing stand.
“Soldiers of the Ninth Legion, my name is COHEN KHEDA! I am your commander.” I thundered while two elf officers who stood aside were maintaining a spell to magnify my voice, “Since yesterday, I have assumed the responsibility to care for your food, sleep, and every other thing! I have become your father to some extent!”
“But this father position is not an easy job! Since today, I’ve received constant complaints. Honestly, it was embarrassing! I’m not pleased because a certain part of you are fucking sabotaging the Legion’s reputation!” I paused and continued, “For these people, I have nothing to say. The consequence of their crime is at Colonel Jack’s discretion!”
After I leave the business to Jack, I sat down on the viewing stand.
“I am Lord Justice. You can call me Colonel Jack. No matter you are a soldier or an officer, as long as you did something stupid, I will find you, and we’ll talk!” Jack assumed the position where I spoke earlier and continued, “As of today, the LAD apprehended individuals. Within those people, there are officers as well as soldiers. They have stolen things or probably owed money. Now, I’m announcing their sentence!”
After the brief opening remarks, Jack fetched a long list and started reading. Whenever he said a name, three LAD soldiers will drag one man from the corner of the field, strip him naked then tie him on the wood rack. Judging from their adept movement, I knew that Jack had already taught them the ‘naked pig’ trick.
It was a total of 120 lucky bastards. Plain soldiers were in the majority. But it did not mean the former officers did less bad, on the contrary, most of the officers were felonies that needed to be sentenced another day.
“That is all!” Jack has finished the list, “The evidence is clear! 50 lashes for all, to be executed immediately!”
More than 100 whips were raised highly then they shook twice in the air, with the ‘hiu-hiu’ sounds, they landed on the criminal’s asses! After the initial lash, their skins immediately broke, screams came at the same time.
“ONE! TWO! THREE…” The LAD soldiers counted.
To be fair, I did not enjoy such a bloody scene, nor did I consider screaming to be ear-pleasing. But I had to do it. I had to show the soldiers my authority. I need them to be on my side.
On the other hand, I did not think the ordinary soldiers will be discontent with my order. The ones being punished were almost all slave soldiers, though they were also the ones who remained a close relationship with the temple-assigned officers. Since they had done badly in town, it was logical to assume they would bully other slave soldiers now and then.
The rest of the soldiers silently watched those officer-favored soldiers being whipped. I knew things were going on in their minds, though they would not reveal them for the time being.
By the ordered numberings, 50 lashes were all but finished soon. The ones whipped were much bruised with blood, some were crying, some were pissing their pants.
“50 lashes, this is just a tiny punishment!” Jack roared, “If there’s a next time, I will have more fun for you to enjoy. Novelty is guaranteed.”
I laughed and walked down the stand while telling Jack, “Don’t untie them for now, let the soldiers see for themselves.”
After all the rest of the soldiers had toured the racks, the regiment commanders brought their troops back to their tents. I knew the officers will take the advantage to ease their men and advertise army laws.
Carrot and stick were both needed to rule an army from the start of time. The carrot will make the soldiers sacrifice their lives to ensure victory. The Stick will ensure the soldiers to fear their commander more than the enemies. But I needed more time to carry out the strategy.
By the morning next day, even more neighborhood residents came to the camp, and their accusations have become more severe. Some residents dragged over a big bunch of witnesses, some came by with the wounded on a stretcher, some even brought portraits of the victims. Everyone in the town was here, which brought the LAD in a general turmoil. I had to transfer people from other departments to help.
The entire morning saw me going over documents in my pavilion. To train Jack, I chose not to support him. Whenever Jack ran into a problem, he will come to see me, and he has come to my pavilion dozens of times。
“Boss!” Jack was here once again, “We have another case involving the temple-assigned officers.”
I didn’t bother to look at him and asked, “How many such cases do you have up until now?”
“Forty-three.” Jack took a large swallow of water and said, “Boss, you said to not kill them within three days, so here I am.”
“I did say that.” I thought and said, “Get those men, question and sentence. Make sure they’re alive before that priest make it back!”
“Got it! I’m on it!” Jack yelled with joy, then instantly asked, “But, boss, those are high crimes.”
“Everyone is equal in a judge’s eyes.” I smiled at him, “Jack, you’re the army judge. That’s why I want you to promise me, do not underestimate a criminal because he’s a slave, nor over-punish one because he’s nobility. Determine your judgment given the case itself.”
“Hey, boss, how did you know that?” Jack blushed, “I did want to do that.”
“Because I’m the boss and you’re not.” I said, “Off to your work! Don’t forget to document their judgment. Keep one copy for the LAD, one for me and one for the PUF headquarter!”
After Jack had left, I was still concerned for him. After all, it was his first time punishing temple side officers in large scale. Thus I dropped the document and headed to the field with a few of my men.
There were many residents on the field who either sat or stood at a corner of the field. They were waiting to be summoned.
I walked directly to Jack and sat behind him watching him work quietly.
“Bring that tailor,” Jack said, “and the criminals.”
I flipped through the case file. It turned out to be a murder which the tailor sued against several officers because they refused to pay and beat the tailor’s son to his death.
Not long after, a middle-aged man with gray hair was brought over. He flinched and bowed, his hat was held in both hands on his chest.
“My Lord,” He said, “I’m the town’s tailor, people call me Old Ohm.”
The residents had no knowledge of the military ranks. Thus they addressed them as ‘Lords’.
“Ohm, I’m aware of your case, and you’ve sufficient evidence.” Jack told the tailor, “Now, you need to identify a few men for us.”
Jack hinted several officers standing aside and said, “Are these men who killed your son?”
“Ye… yes!” The old tailor gripped his hat, “My Lord, it’s them!”
“So, do you have anything to say about the tailor’s accusation?” Jack said to the officers, “Do you confess?”
“Mr. Colonel!” A leading lieutenant said, “We confess, but we don’t admit we’re guilty!”
“Name your reasons.”
“Mr. Colonel, you know. We’re from the Holy Temple.” The lieutenant said, “Serving us is his duty. How could you call it a crime by beating a civilian to die? We’re all nobilities with pardon right!”
“I don’t need you talk so much. All you need to tell me is whether you did it or not.” Jack hit on the table, “As for your guiltiness, I will have my judgment.”
“We did it.”
“Good.” Jack fetched a piece of paper, “Now It’s obvious.”
“I will now judge the case as follow, guilty.” Jack stood up and said, “As Lord Justice, I, in the name of the Protoss United Force and the Legion pronounce the following sentence: all of your personal belongs will be in compensation for tailor Ohm’s lost. Confiscating your crime tools, deprive you of every right. Sentence, death, execution tomorrow!”
“Death…” The three officers were stunned for a good while, “No! Mr. Colonel, you can’t! We’re innocent! We’re INNOCENT!”
Jack threw his hands, “Take them away!”
“Lord Justice,” The wingman who was in charge of sentencing came over and asked, “What’s the crime tool? How should I confiscate them?”
“Stupid!” Jack said, “How do you beat up a guy?”
“Hands and feet.” The wingman officer said, “If those don’t work, my wings will make do.”
“There you go.” Jack said quietly, “Their hands and feet, chop the….”
“Sir, yes, sir!”
The wingman directed a few soldiers to drag the three criminal officers away, then immediately execute the ’confiscating procedure’. After a load of cry, three pairs of bloodstained hands and feet were presented in front of the tailor.
“Ohm, you can go home now.” Jack told the tailor, “The execution is tomorrow, you’re welcome to drop by.”
The tailor was already too scared as his face was pale, “Ah! Yes, yes, My Lord!”
“Next!” Jack yelled.
After I watched Jack’s several following cases, his judgments were very appropriate. No one would notice that he was a law rookie several hours ago.
Seeing him handling the cases all right, I eased myself and returned to my pavilion.
Before my butt reached the chair, I heard a sound of cry that was far beyond any helplessness, misery, and desperation echoing in the camp. And this cry was prolonged with its last sound lasting and high.
There was no doubt that Jack screwed things up! My first reaction brought me back to the field.
Down the viewing stand, a few soldiers were pressing hard on a crying officer. This bloodstained officer struggled so intensely that the soldiers beside were not quite enough to quiet him down.
“Come here.” I said to Jack, “What’s going on?”
“Nothing much!” Jack came over and replied, “I did it as how you’ve taught me. I told them to confiscate this guy’s crime tool, and his execution is tomorrow. He cried a bit louder, that’s all.”
“Is that is?” I suspected, “What’s his crime?”
“Don’t worry, sir, the case is simple.” Jack said, “He admitted that he raped the bakery owner’s daughter…”
“Oh, I see…” Before I could nod, suddenly I caught the point of the problem. I grabbed Jack’s collar, “Jack, don’t tell me… The crime tool you took away from him is… is his… Don’t joke with me!”
“Boss, what’s the problem?” Jack was full of innocent looks, “Could it be he has other crime tools? Don’t worry. I’ll tell them to…”
“There’s no need, Jack, stop. I mean it.” I gazed at the piece of ‘crime tool’ dropped on the earth and said while shaking my head, “Jack, you might wanna give him back the tool. Sigh, forget it, I’ll handle it.”
“You there!” I hinted the wingman officer from earlier, “Come here!”
He trotted over, “Yes, sir!”
I said, “Execute this daughter-raper immediately. To purify his soul, burn him! This is an order!”
“Sir, yes, sir!”
“Jack, if anyone else asks you about this officer’s case,” I turned to Jack, “Tell them I made the judgment for you. And don’t do this to deal with this kind of crime anymore!”
“Yes, boss!” Jack said, “Have I done wrong?”
“Yes, you have.” I told Jack gently, “But don’t you worry. Mistakes are not scary, what’s scary is the unawareness of mending it. Off to work.”
After dealing with Jack’s error, I returned to my pavilion. My time was fixed because I needed to settle everything within three days when no one will come to oppose me.
One meeting after another, I was too busy to eat or sleep. Luckily I brought enough officers, and they knew how to handle ordinary affairs. All worked hard to make sure no trouble to occur within three days. As long as I could win the battle with that temple priest, my status in the Legion will be stabilized.
That white priest who went out to find reinforcement came back within the agreed time. His helpers ranged from generals with sparkling badges to higher priests to the chief executive of the district.
As they came into the camp from the gate, they were welcomed by hundreds of gallows, under which were the officers with missing arms or legs. The neck knots were already on their necks. Further down the gate, they reached my pavilion. There were also dozens of LAD soldiers lashing the convicts while yelling out numbers accompanied by more screams. I wonder they’ve never seen such a scene. It was merely an appetizer I had for them.
As a major commander, I certainly should greet them by my pavilion with a warm smile and kind gesture.
“Mr. Cohen Kheda, I came back on time.” The priest clerk approached first, “I hope you have kept your words.”
“Sure I did, Lord Priest.” I said with a smile, “I didn’t kill anyone unless someone made me lose my sanity.”
“I’m relieved to hear that.” The clerk priest said, “Now allow me to introduce our guests.”
“I’m sorry, the army camp deals with military affairs only.” I put away the smile, “I don’t need guests!”
“Oh, sorry, Mr. Commander, no, I mean Ser Knight of Protoss.” He was surprised at me falling out, “They’re not guests, they’re…”
I remained cold-faced then lifted my hand and gave him a genuine slap.
“REMEMBER!” I gazed at the clerk, “I AM the Ninth Legion’s supreme commander! You’re my subordinate, make your words as brief as possible! I don’t want rubbish here!”
I intended to act as a temperamental man. The slap was not only for the clerk priest, but also for everyone else on the spot to see. I wanted them to also consider their status before they spoke.
Only in this way will I not end up being accused by all of them at the same time. They were in my army camp, after all, they had to consider their own safety.
Decency was forever the first thing to consider for these people. They would never oppose me under the risk of being slapped. Even if they could do something to me afterward, the loss of being slapped or stripped outweighed the gain.
“Your Excellency!” A silver-armored general spoke, “If there are no other problems, we need to talk.”