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420 pages, Kindle Edition
First published October 1, 2012
The master's first acquaintance with his prisoner had come through the arrest records, and what he read there confirmed his long-held belief that the torturers of the Eternal Dungeon were fools. Their hope in prisoners' rebirth seemed to be based on the belief that prisoners' evil nature was shaped by the people around them: that if the prisoners met the right people, their natures could be shaped back to their original goodness.
The master considered this theory to be muck. In his experience, most people who did evil had been evil from the day they were born. This boy was a clear example. His early childhood had been no harder than that of many other children, and his time in the band had been, by the witness of the children and of those who had seen the boy during those years, a relatively pleasant period. There was no reason the boy should have turned to criminal torture – unless he was a boy born to do evil until someone stopped him by strangling him.....
It seems to me," he said slowly, "that your friends are looking at the matter from the wrong side round. The question isn't whether the evil men of this world should receive punishment. The question is what happens to the hearts of men who decide to inflict such punishment on their own, in time of anger. It's quite possible, you know, to become as evil as the wickedness you're punishing."