Episode 356 Crime and Punishment (1)

Vikir’s line from last night was featured on the front page of every newspaper the next day.

[Breaking News] Night Hound Arrested!

[Breaking News] The identity of the Night Hound has been revealed……, and it’s a first-year student at Colosseo Academy!?

[Exclusive] “I am Night Hound.” The identity of Night Hound, the villain who terrorized the Imperial Capital!

[Update] Night Hound is revealed to be the illegitimate son of an iron-blooded swordsman, causing a ripple of shock ……!

Night Hound’s identity is revealed to be Vikir Van Baskerville, the illegitimate son of Ironblood Swordsman Baskerville!

Vikir’s official charges were as follows.

1. Murder and escape from the Baskervilles.

2. Assassination of Cardinal Humbert and Evangelist Guilty of the Quovadis Family.

3. Assassination of Patriarch Bartolomeo of the Bourgeois family.

4. Charged with involvement in the assassination and disappearance of numerous other prominent persons.



These are just a few of the major charges.

Night Hound, a fearsome villain who has shaken the Empire for years.

The Colloseo Academy has been the most affected by the revelation of his true identity.

Whenever students gathered in groups of three or more, they would talk about it.

“Oh my god…… that scary monster was our classmate, I can’t believe it.”

“How did it hide so nonchalantly? That’s really scary.”

“Well, didn’t he help us when we were trapped in the Hell Tree?”

“It must be a coincidence. Or is it the killer’s two faces? You never know.”

“Either way, it’s terrible, really. I understand he was in the newspaper department, so he wrote a column criticizing himself? There is no such thing as deception.”

“Dude, I was in the room next door to him, it was so creepy! I could always hear the sound of a sword being sharpened in the next room…….”

“Me too! I ate with him once in group practice! He was so expressionless, it was kind of creepy.”

“Ugh, I used to run into him at the gym all the time~ I almost got killed too!”

By far, public opinion was negative. Which is to be expected.

The image of Night Hound that had been steadily forming in the newspapers was that of a villainous threat to the tranquility of the Empire.

But there were a few who disagreed with the majority.

Tudor, Sancho, Piggy, Bianca, and others.

“Have you already forgotten what happened in the Hell Tree, all thanks to Vikir…… those ungrateful things.”

Sancho nodded as he listened to Tudor’s mutterings.

Sancho, who is always deep in his heart, did not pay attention to what happened with Vikir yesterday.

“Because Vikir first coldly drew the line, he must have shaken off what little burden he had in his heart. He’s a deep thinker to the end.”

“Exactly. Vikir took measures to prevent sparks from flying to us, so he kept his distance.”

Piggy muttered in a grim voice.

Then Bianca, next to him, snorted.

“Ugh. How can you fool anyone with that kind of behavior? You know, me, Vikir, and Sinclair. It’s really immature of you to hide your true feelings.”

“Are you immature? How could you do that in the midst of the moment, with all those tears and snotty noses calling you a traitor?”

“What! I, when!”

Tudor’s sarcasm sets Bianca off.

But their verbal sparring, which would normally have lasted hours, dies down within seconds.

Neither of them had any energy left to fight.

Even Tudor, usually a cheerful man, sounded as dead as grass.

“What do you think we can do for Vikir?”

” …… But one thing’s for sure, we can’t stay like this.”

“That’s right, we have to do something! It’s a trial! Shall we attend as an audience member and shout slogans?”

“Nah, you’ll just get dragged out of there. We need something a little more real and immediate……”

Tudor, Sancho, Piggy, and Bianca began to cross their arms.

Just then.

“Let us help too.”

A low voice came from behind them.

They turned to see a group of students standing on their toes.

Gordon. Underdog. Grenouille. Highbro, Midbro. Lowbro.

All of them had been involved in some way with Vikir within the Hell Tree.

“I-all of us-are alive because of Vikir, and I owe him a favor.”

“I’m glad I met him, too, so I could atone for my sins. If it weren’t for Vikir, I’d be the demon’s plaything forever.”

“I don’t like Vikir, but…… there’s a girl I care about and she seems to be very worried about him.”

“We protect our lord.”

“We protect.”


Tudor, Sancho, Piggy, and Bianca weren’t the only ones thinking about Vikir.

And from the very back of the group, one person walked out.

Student Council President Dolores.

She was a longtime supporter of Night Hound. Since the days when everyone, even Tudor, Sancho, Piggy, and Bianca, had criticized Night Hounds.

Tudor, Sancho, Piggy, and Bianca’s faces light up when they realize that they’re on the same newspaper staff.

Dolores, meanwhile, spoke in a calm voice.

“This is a very bad situation, guys.”

Her words made everyone tense.

Vikir had severed all ties just before turning himself in, so no one around him was affected.

However, that meant that no one was there to defend or support him, and he had to bear the full weight of his punishment alone.

Dolores continued in a calm voice.

“The Baskervilles claimed that the illegitimate son who murdered the second son and escaped was acting on his own, and that the red horn that summoned the Knights was stolen. The Knights were sent out to retrieve it in the first place.”

Cutting off the tail. The Baskervilles issued an official statement denying any connection to Vikir.

The powers that could have treated Vikir as a nobleman and allowed him to avoid the death penalty have turned their attention.

Dolores bit her lip.

“Vikir-nim will most likely be sentenced to death, so we need to convince the jurors of this trial as far in advance as possible.”

The judge in the trial of Night Hound was the Emperor, or his representative.

The jurors are seven, and each of the Seven Families that support the Empire sends a Patriarch, or Patriarch’s representative, to attend.

Dolores scanned her surroundings.

Fortunately, the social status of the students here is generally high.

Dolores gathered students with the same goals and intentions and divided the work.

“Tudor, I want you to convince the patriarch of the Don Quixote family, and Bianca, I want you to convince the patriarch of the Usher family. Sancho will appeal to the mercenary guilds of the north for the truth, and Piggy will work with me to produce a newspaper. I will, of course, appeal to the Pope of Quocadis Family with the whole truth. Gordon and Underdog, you will persuade the Aristocrats, Barons, Commoners, and Student Council officers, respectively. Highbro, Midbro, and Lowbro, I want you to gather as much information as you can from Baskerville Family, in case there are any possible extenuating circumstances……..”

After speaking, Dolores closed her eyes tightly and bowed her head.

“Please, guys!”

Tudor, Sancho, Piggy, Bianca, and everyone else nodded, their faces determined.

“You don’t have to ask, it’s something we’d love to do, and we’ll do everything we can.”

The students gathered in a circle around Dolores and spoke in unison.

“……Thank you.”

Dolores looked back at everyone with a moist gaze.

Even though there was nothing she could do about it now, she felt as if a hole had been opened in her chest.

It feels like progress, albeit a little.

……just then.

“What the. A real kid idea.”

A sarcastic voice came from behind them.

Where everyone’s eyes turn, they see a female student with red-haired hair burning like a flame, grinning.

“Hi, I’m here because Vikir told me to get acquainted with you guys.”

On her chest patch, a name tag reads ‘Morg Mu Camus’.


Dolores squinted and looked at Camus.

As if demanding an explanation for what she had just said.

As if on cue, Camus jumped right to the point.

“Your intention to convince the jurors to reduce Vikir’s sentence is good, but do you really think Vikir wants that?”

“……What do you mean?”

Dolores spoke up, representing everyone’s questions.

Camus shook her head and tapped her fingers against her head.

“Use your head.”


Everyone’s breath caught in their throats at the sound of Camus’s words. Never in their wildest dreams did they think anyone would say such a thing to Dolores.

But Dolores was unfazed.

“I thought this was the best I could do…… You don’t think so?”

“Of course not. Because what you’re about to do isn’t the best, and it’s not what Vikir would want.”

Dolores’ expression hardened at the continued provocation.

She asks in a hard tone.

“What would Vikir want, and what are your plans?”

Then Camus smiled, darker than before.

“I used to be like you. I didn’t know anything. What Vikir wanted.”


“But now I think I know. What he’s preparing for, what he’s waiting for, what he’s fighting for. All of it.”


For a moment, the smile wiped from Camus’s face.

“Leave Vikir alone. He’s not the kind of man who needs your worries.”

“Yeah, how would you know?”

Tudor asked, and Camus gave him a pathetic look.

“Then don’t you know, he’s got a brain. And that he’s carrying a mission so heavy that normal people don’t even dare to understand it.”


Everyone knows that.

They’ve seen Vikir’s many accomplishments at the Colosseo Academy and in the Hell Tree.

Camus continued.

“Vikir’s every move is probably calculated, perhaps a lifelong plan, and it’s not something we dare to worry about or interfere with.”

“……I admit that, but does that mean there’s nothing we can do?”

At Dolores’ words, Camus shook her head.

“We must do what we can.”

“And what is that?”

“Simple, we do what Vikir has been doing all this time. Stopping it.”

“……Stop? What Vikir has been doing all this time is stopping what?”

Dolores’s question resonates with everyone.

And under their gazes, Camus pulls something out of her bosom and places it on the table.


Everyone’s faces hardened as they saw what was on the table.

It was a bloodstained mask, a picaresque mask symbolizing Night Hound.

As everyone looked up in bewilderment, Camus spoke.

“The gate that is about to open. …… ‘The Gate of Destruction’.”