Why else would he have attacked you? To show his supposed clumsiness, answered Bin-lu. I was not a chosen target, but rather a target of convenience. He wishes you to believe that he has been out of practice too long and that the death of Mu-chen was truly an accident. No, argued Bin-lu. That defeats my purpose.
I can take a few beatings to learn the truth about Wei-ra. I need to get close to him. He spoke to me outside the room today, smiled Bin-lu. It was idle talk, yet I felt he was sizing me up for some reason. I need to know more about him so that my answers become pleasing to him. What have you managed to discover? Not an awful lot, admitted Rut-ki. Wei-ra's record is impeccable. I am sure that record was taken into consideration by the investigator, which is why Mu-chen's death was declared an accident.
Before the war Wei-ra was assigned to a group that tracked down rebels in the north. He advanced quickly. He was known to be a ruthless officer, but he always got results. His unit was responsible for wiping out several bands of rebels, and he received a decoration from the emperor for his work.
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He commanded an elite group during the war, frowned Rut-ki. I have not been able to discover much about the group, but it appears that their activities were centered around spying and interrogations. Many of the records are sealed, and I do not have access to them. I will see about getting access, nodded Bin-lu. What about right now? What branch does Wei-ra work for currently? Transport, answered Rut-ki. He is an officer that handles the schedules for commodity transfers.
That makes no sense. A man of such a background should be far too valuable for such a lowly position. Were there any reprimands in his records? None, Rut-ki shook her head. His record is spotless. There is not a single infraction in there. You said that you have the ear of Governor Za-chan, suggested Rut-ki. Why not ask him to open the records for you?
That would not be wise at this time, he said eventually. We are talking about an officer with high credentials.
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If he were a loner, going to Za-chan would be the right thing to do, but if he is involved with others, I would assume that they are also high level officers. We are talking about a simple murder, frowned Rut-ki. Why do you seek a conspiracy? Neither have I, declared Bin-lu. If they did not even know each other, then why the murder? I don't either, stated the Knight of Alcea.
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That is why we must not reveal that we are investigating this. Tell no one of what we are doing until we learn more about what is going on. Bin-lu noted that the instructor was biting her lower lip in a display that was wholly out of character. He sighed with concern. I had to gain access to the records, answered Rut-ki. That involved explaining to a number of people that I was investigating the incident in my training class. That can be explained, posed Bin-lu.
One can expect you to be concerned about the incident. Did you ask the questions before or after the investigator made his determination?
Both, answered Rut-ki. He made his determination last night. I still was going through the process of getting the records this morning. Does that matter? It might, nodded Bin-lu. It depends upon whether or not anyone is concerned about your questions and how closely they look at it.
Perhaps I was wrong to get you involved in all of this. I want to be involved, replied Rut-ki.
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If Mu-chen was murdered in my classroom, I want justice served. And it will be, promised Bin-lu. I can accomplish that on my own. I will not endanger your life. I can take care of myself, retorted Rut-ki. I was not handed this training position because I have friends in high places.
I can defend myself quite well. I understand that, Bin-lu smiled thinly, but you are getting involved in a different world. The types of people that I deal with do not attack you in the classroom. They poison your food and burn down your house.
They sneak into your sleeping room at night and slit your throat while you are sleeping. It is not the type of combat that you can easily fight against. Aren't you blowing this out of proportion? We have no real evidence that a murder has even taken place, and you are acting like there is a rebellion against the king. It is events on the scale of rebellion that I am interested in, confided Bin-lu.
If it is a simple murder, the case will be closed quickly and quietly. I always suspect something more sinister. I thought the Knights of Alcea were involved in protecting King Arik, Rut-ki replied with an expression of confusion. What does that have to do with the Lanoir Province? Why are you even here? The Knights of Alcea are involved in protecting Alcea, corrected Bin-lu. At times that may mean protecting King Arik, but there are always other dangers as well. I want you to halt the investigation. It is too dangerous now.
I will proceed on my own.
You cannot portray a junior officer and gain access to confidential military records at the same time, Rut-ki pointed out.