Azan wins the war and now Maki has a chance to talk to that slave he liked the look of.
"We can provide for the ones Valan was too late for. The others can join our own army or learn another trade."
"I can't see anything to object to in that. How did he convince you to stop?"
"He asked me why we did it and I realized that it was just left over from older practices."
"...I see. That isn't the sort of thing I meant when I called Sesatis uncompromising."
"What did you mean, then?"
"I hear they burned down the capital rather than let you have it. In Leopard Hill just knowing the king was dead and most of the army lost didn't convince us to open the gates to you. The only reason Valan let you capture him is because he wanted you to win the war."
"I don't think that's a virtue."
"No? What do you prefer?"
"Being open to finding out that I'm wrong."
"...Still a different thing. It's fine to change your mind. It's not fine to surrender just because you're afraid."
"Why is that different?"
"If someone tells you to stop doing something because it's wrong, that's one thing. If someone tells you to stop doing something or they'll kill you, that's a different thing."
"Do you understand what I'm talking about?"
"I'm not sure that I do."
"If you're swayed by arguments, you'll do what's right, even if you started out wrong. If you're swayed by threats, you'll do what the most powerful person around wants you to do, even if you were right to begin with."
"So it's better to stay wrong if you happen to be threatened about it?"
"...No." No wonder he and Valan get along, they're both stupid in ways that look willful if you don't know them. "It's better for whether you're threatened to be irrelevant to what you do."
"Do you feel threatened?"
"I'm not going to hurt you."
"Listen, I don't want to insult you, but it was Valan who thought I should explain things to you and I know he's an idiot, so I'm going to explain things that might be obvious to make sure we're on the same page. Sometimes people say things that aren't true, either because they're trying to trick you or because they're mistaken. For instance, someone might say 'I'm not going to hurt you' and then hurt you."
"I'm certainly not planning to hurt you. You haven't committed any crimes."
"People can even repeat lies twice in a row." She sounds much more sarcastic than Valan would if he were to say the same thing.
"Are you trying to goad me into proving you right?" He sounds amused.