William realized that putting an unknown device made by people that were admittedly currently his enemies wasn’t an entirely safe proposition. Even with head councilor Norrous swearing William’s safety on his beard, there could have been some technicality in the wording or someone else could do something to cause him harm without Norrous’ consent. He expected other dwarves to comply with such an oath from others, but even with some memories about such oaths, his expectations could be wrong.
William took some time to put on the Truthreader, both to inspect it to make sure he at least thought it only tried to truthread… and because he had to be careful fitting it over his horns. Fortunately, it was a design that had openings in it, or he would have had to sit it further back on his head than would be optimal.
Satisfied it seemed to only be attempting to pick up signals and not do anything to him, William put it on, ready to defend himself and possibly kill everyone in the room if he felt any effects.
The whole room was empty except for the device, William, Head Councilor Norrous, and the dwarf known as Lundroic. William didn’t see any sort of output device, but the machine itself went into the floor and must have been connected to elsewhere.
Head Councilor Norrous looked at the two seated in front of him. “Well then… I will ask some questions, and you are to answer them. The more thoroughly the better.” He turned to Lundroic, “Are you the Demon King?”
Lundroic shook his head, “No, of course not! That’s ridiculous.”
Head Councilor Norrous turned to William, “And you? The same question.”
“Hmm…” William frowned, “Could you rephrase the question?”
“What do you mean?”
“Well, I am the current Eternal King of the gevai. That might lead you to call me the Demon King, but I am not the person who tried to exterminate your people. That should be him.” William gestured his head toward Lundroic.
“How would you know that?” Norrous asked.
“Because I felt his soul when I attempted to destroy it, and I can tell he is a fragment of that Demon King’s soul.” William put as much as he could into his looks toward Lundroic. The dwarf was already sweating and nervous… and that would make it harder for him to think things through… not that the Demon King was much known for that.
“T-that’s ridiculous! He’s making up lies!”
Norrous shrugged. “If the two of you would wait here for a moment. Keep those on and don’t move from your seats.” He knocked on the door, and was replaced by a guard who just stood at the door, watching them.
William looked at Lundroic and grinned, “I bet you didn’t know about this Truthreader, huh? I didn’t expect one to exist either, but it’s quite handy for exposing your plots, isn’t it?”
For his part, Lundroic kept a stern silence.
William shrugged, then proceeded to wait patiently. When the doors were closed the current room blocked ki and all forms of magic, but it had been open when Norrous walked through. At that moment, William had sensed a nearby room where there were machines that were probably the output from this machine. There were also a few dozen dwarven guards about, but that didn’t bother William too much.
A bit more than a minute passed before Norrous returned. “Well then, next question. You’re up first again, councilor Lundroic. Have you kept any information about military actions secret from the council?”
“No.” Unfortunately Lundroic had some time to calm down while Norrous was away. William hadn’t wanted to jeopardize his position by doing much more than a bit of talking to throw him off.
Norrous tapped his foot. “Detailed answers please. Clearly state that you have not kept any military actions secret from the council as a whole.”
“I have not kept any important information from the council,” Lundroic stated calmly.
William frowned. He wasn’t sure how good the Truthreader was. Hopefully it could pick up on lies that contained some truths. William also hoped that it worked at all– because he couldn’t be sure of more than that there was information being gathered and transmitted via mana.
Norrous turned to William, “And you… is what you said about dwarven attacks on your land true? Please be detailed.” William was, including dates of attacks and numbers as close as he remembered. “Wait a few more moments.”
William didn’t think this was the most efficient interrogation method- but if they got real information, then they could afford to be a bit slow.
Their wait was a bit longer than the first time… and instead of Head Councilor Norrous, a dozen armed dwarves came into the room. William sat, ready to defend himself if they approached… including using a layer of ki to separate himself from any effect the device might have.
Fortunately, he didn’t have to do anything as they moved toward Lundroic- though William kept himself ready.
“What are you doing?” Lundroic could barely protest before he was grabbed on each arm by dwarves that seemed wider than they were tall- bulky even for dwarves. Then both his hands and feet were shackled. Though Lundroic himself was rather muscled for an older dwarf, he couldn’t budge an inch- though he struggled with all his might. “I’ve done nothing wrong!” Lundroic shouted, but the guards ignored his pleas. William just barely heard him mutter in gevai, “…said it was impossible to make a Truthreader…”
William shook his head. There were two simples answers to that. Whoever said it was impossible could have honestly believed it, or they could have been lying. It at least explained why he answered the questions so confidently after he’d calmed down from the initial shock.
Head Councilor Norrous waited outside the room, as well as a few others. Lundroic continued to protest, “You can’t do this to me! I’m an honored councilor, a dwarf! Don’t believe this demon.”
“We didn’t.” Councilor Norrous crossed his arms, “We believed good old dwarven engineering. You didn’t speak but half a word of truth that whole time. So, even by your own words… we have no reason to believe you, Demon King.”
William coughed, “I don’t want to interrupt, but this seems like a good opportunity to offer my services. An unfortunate thing about the Demon King is he tends to reincarnate, and you can’t be sure this fragment won’t. However, I can help with that.”