TGL Volume 5, Chapter 7 (2)

I’ve been falsely accused of doing something I didn’t not do! Not only that, but I’ve been tied up with the same kind of ropes that I use to restrain Durandal! Is this what people call karma? No, it can’t be. Karma is the thing that makes tribulations last longer and hurt harder. Whatever it’s called, it’s not important right now. What’s important is figuring out what I’m going to do! I’m not even sure what’s going to happen to me. The supervisor tied me up and threw me in a cell with a bunch of other squirrels, and they’re tied up too. Maybe one of them has an escape plan. “So, uh, how do we get out?” 

“Get out?” one of the squirrels asked. His fur was dark gray, and he had a white stripe going down his back. There were lots of scars on his face, and there was an especially large one going across both of his eyes. “That depends on the crime you committed.” 

“I didn’t commit any crime!” That’s right. The first rule to committing crimes is to not admit to doing them! …Not that I have a set of rules for committing crimes. A cute, law-behaving squirrelkin girl like me, why would I need a set of rules like that? Exactly, I don’t. “I was minding my own business, and a law enforcer pointed at me, and the supervisor falsely accused me of burning down a school.” 

“You were falsely accused too?” another squirrel asked. She had bright-red fur with green spots dotting her face. “What a coincidence! I was falsely accused too. Can you believe it? Just because my paws and mouth were covered in blood, the stupid raccoons thought I was the one that murdered my husband when, in reality, he fell down the stairs and suffered severe wounds to the neck that looked suspiciously like bite and claw marks!” 

Yeah, I’m going to inch away from her…. 

“Sounds about right,” another squirrel said. This one was blueish-gray with white paws. “I think everyone here was falsely accused. Everyone knows the raccoons are corrupt. They commit most of the crimes, but they blame it on innocent folks like us. I saw a raccoon stealing someone’s interspatial ring, so I helped defend her, but later, they planted the interspatial ring on me and arrested me! They even coerced the woman into testifying against me.” 

“Right? All the raccoons are corrupt,” another squirrel said. The cell wasn’t that large, and it barely fit me and the other squirrels, but there were other cells nearby housing even more squirrels. I couldn’t see the squirrel that spoke. “All I did was steal some meat from an elder’s kid, but I was beaten and arrested and accused of smuggling!” 

Ah, all the squirrels started to talk at once. It’s hard to tell what they’re saying. The gray squirrel with the scar across his eyes looked at me. “So, you were accused of burning down a school?” he asked. “Was there anything else? If it’s arson, you’ll be here for a while. The raccoons don’t deal with us first come first serve; they deal with the most heinous criminals first. If you’re unlucky like me, you can be here for years.” 

“Years!?” This squirrel has been stuck here for that long? Hmm. He still looks pretty plump, so he must be getting fed. “What crime did you commit?” 

“I bred a highly addictive herb with relaxing effects and sold it as tea,” the squirrel said. “It’s not a real crime, but important parents started accusing me of poisoning their children and leading them astray, so the raccoons locked me up. Since it wasn’t that bad of a crime, the raccoons haven’t gotten around to dealing with me yet—not with two or three criminals coming in every day or so.” 

Hmm, if it’s arson, I’m going to be here for a while? I wasn’t just accused of arson though…. “What if, not that I actually did it, but what if I got accused of smuggling meat?” 

All the squirrels stopped chattering at once. The gray squirrel gave me a friendly smile; at least, I think it was a friendly smile, but it was hard to tell because of the scars going across his face. “You’ll be out of here soon, in three days at most,” he said. “Do you have any last words or final requests? When they finally release me, I’ll help you fulfill them.” 

…Is he implying I’m going to die? No, he’s not implying it at all; he’s saying it outright! “How about you help me out now before I die? You’ve been here for years, right? Hasn’t a squirrel ever escaped from here before? If anyone knows the way out, it’s you.” 

The gray squirrel shook his head. “No one has ever escaped before. Do you know why you still have your weapon and interspatial rings? Because it’s impossible to escape from this cell. The ruler was the one that created this prison. She created seven of them, and after she did, no squirrel ever attained freedom once they were detained.” The gray squirrel shrugged. “Besides, even if you manage to get out, the supervisor watches over the prison, and if you could defeat him, you wouldn’t be in here in the first place.” 

So, even if I get Sir Pot and Puppers to untie me, I won’t be able to do anything? That doesn’t mean I’m not going to try! “Sir Pot, Puppers, come out and untie me!” …Guys? “Sir Pot? Puppers?” 

There’s a force holding me back. I can’t manifest myself. 

Ah! That was Sir Pot speaking directly into my head. He can’t come out? I can’t move because these ropes are binding me. Who learned how to tie someone up like this? I can’t even bite my arm or leg off to escape! Teleporting doesn’t work either. What can I do? Bribe the guards? Threaten them? Alright, I’ll go next to the squirrel who definitely didn’t murder her husband. “Can you do me a favor?” 

“Hmm?” The squirrel tilted her head. “I can’t do much, but sure. What do you need?” 

I’m definitely not going to sit back and wait for my execution! “Can you bite my arms off?”

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