Chapter 283: Arrangement
It was nearing noon. The sun was shining high in the sky. Linus was gathering the students at the Faculty of Natural History.
"Did you get anything, guys?" Roy leaned against the wall of the building and looked at the nervous student, then he turned his sights to his companions.
Auckes cleaned the cracks between his teeth and sighed. "There are thirty-five students in this faculty, including the masters. We grilled them for answers, but we found nothing."
"They're a bunch of weaklings. Scholars and honest guys." Letho rubbed his head. "All it took were some scare tactics, and they told us everything. Their relationship with Whishaw, the age they stopped wetting their pants, and even who their crush was. We didn't even have to use Axii. Carl probably has better guts than these people." He patted the boy's head.
These intellectuals of the faculty lived in luxury. They had never seen bloodshed before. Of course Carl was braver than they were. The boy saw his family and friends killed before his eyes, and he survived the wilds with the witchers.
"So the other assistant is no longer a suspect then?"
Letho nodded. "Ben's a selfish guy. He did try to sabotage Whishaw from time to time, but he's not the mastermind behind the murder."
"Ah, so that leaves only one avenue." Roy heaved a sigh and smiled at his companions.
"You guys found something, I assume?"
"Yeah. The sellers told us something interesting." They told the witchers what the seller said.
The witchers mused over it. Before they could say anything, Linus suddenly appeared behind them. "A couple of thugs were snooping around for Whishaw's information?" Linus' face tensed up, and confusion welled in his eyes. "Why'd they wanna keep an eye on a poor student?"
Felix took his sunglasses off and looked at the professor. "Isn't it obvious, professor? They weren't interested in a poor student. They were interested in all the purchases Whishaw made. They wanted to get into the business and make a profit out of it."
"I agree," Felix said. He looked at everyone. "I had to stay in touch with the local thugs back in the south for work. They're a bunch of impoverished people, but they're despicable scum who wouldn't work a day in their lives. They'd do anything to rob the merchants of their money. They love crowns, but not the honest work involved to get it. They can do anything for money. Anything. Your student didn't have any bodyguards like those merchants do, nor was he a noble or anything. He was the best target for the thugs. They could easily rob him of his money."
The corner of Felix's lips twitched. His eyes narrowed, and he trembled. The professor roared, "Damn those bastards! They attacked a student of the academy? This is the northern kingdoms' center of academia!"
The locals were respectful of the academy people. They didn't want the academy to punish them if they stepped out of line, and they wouldn't want to get in the bad books of someone who might be wildly successful in life later on. There was barely anyone who would attack the students.
"They couldn't have survived Oxenfurt if they were not smart." Auckes said, "And that's why they didn't attack Whishaw in the town. They waited until he went back home. Remember what we found? Whishaw and his mother were tortured before they died. It's proof that the thugs wanted to make Whishaw tell him more about the 'business.'"
Linus stared down. He looked a little confused. "But I've been a resident for decades. And I've been raising the animals for years. A few of my students, before they graduated from the academy, had been purchasing the animals' food for a while at that point. That was before Whishaw's time. So why did they attack him now?"
"Who knows?" Roy shrugged. "Maybe they just needed more money."
Letho said, "Or maybe there's another reason. The killer might be someone else. We're all just coming up with speculations. We have no proof. But the thugs remain the biggest suspects. Keep an eye on them."
"The seller did say the thugs belonged to some sort of organization." Roy said with uncertainty, "Something called the Redanian Free Company?"
"What is that?" Everyone was confused. "Some sort of local gang? Do you know anything about it, Mr. Pitt?"
"The Redanian Free Company." Linus frowned. There was displeasure and disdain in his eyes. "Every Oxenfurtian knows of it."
"Tell us more."
"It's a fourth-rate organization made by some declining aristocrats living on the outskirts of Oxenfurt and Novigrad. They're involved in petty crimes and racketeering businesses, but only on a small scale. Never thought they'd attack our students."
"Do you know where their base is, Mr. Pitt? Or the address of their important members?" Roy wanted to make the first move. A moment later, he said, "They haven't been threatening the marketplace sellers for days. They've probably gotten all the info they wanted from Whishaw."
Linus massaged his temples. He was a scholar who spent most of his time researching endangered species. He had no time for thugs. "Sorry, but I don't know much about them. All I know is their members are mostly made up of farmers' kids."
The witchers weren't surprised.
"So what next?" Letho looked around.
"I'll deal with it."
"What's the plan, kid?" Everyone gave Roy encouraging looks.
Roy looked at Auckes, Serrit, Felix, Carl, and Kantilla. "Auckes, Serrit, Letho, you guys will be looking for intel in the inns, hostels, and brothels."
"Sure thing." Auckes thumped his chest. "Just wait for the news."
"Try tracking the mastermind down if you run into anyone or anything suspicious." Roy clenched his fists. "Find their base, but don't attack right away." He said solemnly, "We're in Oxenfurt. This is a holy sanctum of knowledge. Do not take any lives that easily." I don't want anyone going around calling me the Butcher of Oxenfurt or anything. At the very least, we'll need to have enough proof before we can kill anyone.
Linus looked at him gratefully. He thought Roy was being considerate.
Roy nodded and turned to the others. "Kantilla, Felix, Carl, you guys stay with the professor and keep him safe."
The three of them agreed readily.
"If they managed to extract any information from Whishaw…" Roy looked at Linus. "You'll not be the only one in danger; your zoo is at risk as well."
Linus had a horrified look on his face. He spent an astronomical amount of money to raise the animals. They were more precious than gold. Is that what those bastards are trying to do?
"You forgot someone, Roy." Auckes wrapped his arm around Roy's neck menacingly.
Roy was starting to get red from suffocation. "I'm a free man. I'll be going to anyone who needs me."
"What?" The vipers glared at the young witcher. "You gave all of us jobs to do while you can slack off? Get real."
"Fine." Roy finally managed to break free of Auckes' grasp. He heaved a sigh. "I'll be staking out right outside the island. Happy?"
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