Chapter 74: Hospitality and Sparkling Iron
I didn’t know what the elves called their most important building. But probably, if we translated it into human terms, it would be called the Royal Palace.
The water flowing from the mountains was constantly pouring into the valley. The small river never stopped its momentum. The surroundings were overflowing with the smell of fresh water. A large and magnificent building stood at the center of the hanging gardens of Ghazalia. The scenery was extremely beautiful and breathtaking.
Most probably, their king, the Fin, lived undoubtedly on that grand palace. By the way, the message said that he would welcome us here, correct?
「…Ah, no. I never expected this type of welcome. 」
The words muttered by someone at my side unintentionally disappeared as if they blew by the wind.
Silver sparks were pointed towards Matia and me. Dozens of bows with arrows and spears were facing against us. The glistening of iron seemed strangely bright, probably because the sun in the sky stood at the very top of our heads.
Odd. I wondered how I didn’t notice this before. Why didn’t I perceive that message as a hidden trap? I hardened my cheeks when I realized the large number of elves that surrounded us. I immediately looked at Caria and Filaret. We had to avoid making a slight movement, since the surrounding elves were vigilant of us in a harmful way.
The silvery black eyes were both indicative of negative feelings. They weren’t here to welcome us with a smile. Indeed, how idiotic of me. It wasn’t farfetched to say that I was surrounded by elves as a result of my carelessness. I came to that conclusion quite bitterly.
If they were just mere numbers, then we would have a chance to subjugate them. However, that wasn’t the case. I understood why Matia was put on this tricky situation. But, I was an ordinary man, unlike the talented girls that accompanied me on this quest. Why me as well?
I bit my lips because I felt like blaming myself for something I didn’t notice beforehand. I moved my eyes quickly to every angle, but there was no place where I could escape. If I tried to escape, I would be just like a rat. I would be skewered and die on the spot.
I tried to desperately appease my heart, which was about to burst with anxiety and agitation. Then, I opened my mouth and spoke with a sarcastic tone. At the edge of my eyes, the silver tips of their weapons continued to spark brightly.
「…So, this was the so-called welcome ceremony of the elves. What comes next? I wonder if they used that demon beast that we came across in the middle of the road to lure us in. Perhaps, they will feed us to that thing.」
I tried to show as much margin as possible. While pressing my mouth lightly, I noticed the staring eyes of the elf in front of me. For a moment, I could see that his eyes were shaking. Those eyes were the eyes of someone staring at a foreign object.
Well, this was an advantage. I mean, they were elves, yes. But, they were also living beings. That meant that they certainly had feelings of fear. Great. That proved that they weren’t just monsters.
A voice arrived from the Royal Palace. I loosened my cheeks when I heard those words.
「Please, stop this useless resistance. You won’t be our prisoners for long. A message has reached Gharast, the human kingdom.」
That voice implied that reinforcements were about to arrive at any moment now.
My eyelids swayed involuntarily when I heard the name “Gharast”.
I see. We have chosen the worst option. Nobody thought nor recommended that the Gharast officials could negotiate with the elves. Moreover, they were the ones to take the first step before we had a chance.
It tasted bad. Very unpleasant. As expected, I fell into the wrong side once again. I didn’t even know what kind of predicament would fall upon us. I had no idea about what to do at this precise moment.
The elves raised their voice, and a female elf dressed in a slightly better looking armor emerged from inside the palace.
She was probably the captain. Yes, she was probably the commander of the elves, since everyone surrounded her. She had a confident face. That was the proof of her higher rank. Ah, I truly hated that type of face.
However, despite hating her face, I couldn’t move even one bit. If I took a step forward, they would surely cut my flesh with a glittering silver weapon.
Even if I resisted, I wouldn’t be able to defeat this opponent. At best, I’d make them lose some of their limbs, but in return, they would kill me for sure. That was the obvious outcome if I were to rebel against them now.
Even so, I could hardly contain my bursting emotions. Besides that hateful expression, the elves played a musical instrument for the grand entrance of that female elf. I gritted my back teeth so that my rage would be invisible to them.
「By the way, your Elf King…I heard that Fin Lagias would welcome us here. But, you detained us instead. Is your Elf King a liar?」
I felt a cold sweat running through my spine.
I desperately suppressed my own heart. I almost fainted from the growing tension that was trying to suffocate me.
No way. We mustn’t get caught here. To be honest, there was no promise in their words before. All they wanted was to lure us in. No promises were made. No oath was made. It was highly possible that the elves could’ve heard the great feats of the Gharast Kingdom from the very beginning. If they heard that, then there was a small possibility that they would want to join hands with a powerful nation. A small but plausible possibility.
Thinking deeply about it now. It would be extremely bad for us if they really held hands with the Gharast Kingdom. That would be the worst scenario possible. Being captured here meant the end of everything that I accomplished so far.
If so, then we had to find a way to get out of this perilous situation. I had to find an opportunity to escape. We had to take time away from them, so that I could search for any means. Something, I had to find something. That’s why I spoke those words in order to find more about this situation.
「Be quiet. Our Fin is a great sovereign. He won’t pledge to any of you, worthless humans.」
I saw a greenery sword that reflected the colors of trees. The soldier pulled it out from his waist, when the elf captain spoke as if she sentenced us to death. As the momentum grew, the hostility from the surrounding silver weapons became stronger. I felt that this situation got worse, but somehow, we were still alive.
I released a small breath of relief from my chest.
That’s right. We had to be the ones to start a conversation with them. But, a conversation that could earn us time. I had to think about it. I had to find a solution. C’mon, think. Where could I match their reasoning? All I had to do was drag them into our side. I slowly opened my lips.
「Is that so…I see, then fine. But, please. I’d like to leave a message for the great Fin, so can you hear me?」
I spoke with a somewhat mysterious tone, rather than reciprocating the hateful tone of my hidden emotions.
The elves were beings that took pride very seriously. They felt self-important somewhere deep in their hearts. That’s why they would not simply overhear a proposition if we tried to speak to them with unscrupulous words or by using brute force.
No, actually. I didn’t know other elves except the Elf Princess from my previous journey. In fact, I thought that she was one of a kind. A very big exception. However, I probably had no choice but to rely on her. To rely on my memories of her. Therefore, I made that woman a representative of the elf race. Somehow, a representation on a woman that broke every boundary with fear and conceit.
Summing up, I had to spin my words very carefully. For a second or a few moments, I just had to stretch our time. Ah, please. Let time be in our favor.
The elf captain snorted and said the following words.
「Yeah, no problem. Our Fin is loving and gentle like pouring rain. However…I can’t admire those who try to take advantage of others by hiding their true colors.」
Simultaneously with the captain’s words…I heard two sounds slashing through the wind. Those particular sounds. The first sound was the stretching of bows that gained tension to aim at the enemy. And the second sound was position of arrows ready to fire.
Those weapons were pointed to an obvious orbit. It was predictable. Filaret was enchanting magic behind me. Indeed, this action was the trigger that could kill her immediately. No, of course. I wouldn’t let that happen. But, when did I become so firm of my thoughts that I could confront the enemy without fear?
It was no longer just an act of reflection. At the moment, when the edge of my field of view was covered with the silver weapons, my body and arm pushed forward against them. I didn’t think properly. Maybe I wasn’t in time. I just had to move forward. So, I moved regardless of the consequences that could fall upon me.
The next thing I remembered was the shock of having my left hand thrown into the ground. I thought from the depths of my heart that my arm was torn off.
My right shoulder swallowed the iron weapon without hesitation. My body blew away, while my blood and flesh burst from the impact. I could feel that my eyes quivered violently. My blood spilled in the blue sky and mixed with the deep greenery grass of the forestry ground.
My senses were numb after I received a tremendous attack on my body. When the shaking of my body calmed down, a serious sight returned to my eyes. I realized that I was lying on the ground.
I felt no sensation on my left hand. No, my left hand was barely connected to my arm. Countless of fibers and muscles were ruptured. The paralysis was so severe that I couldn’t even feel a slight emotion of pain.
Therefore, I could only understand what my body could grasp from this situation. The arrow pierced through my left hand, and pierced through my arm as if it were about to eat me alive. My right shoulder also swallowed the iron. I could feel it into my body. The arrowhead hid inside of my flesh.
A horrendous amount of blood spilled on the grass, as if the “chains” of my body that were suppressing the blood, went loose.
I could hear Filaret’s voice. However, the next moment, I noticed that a white haze covered the entire surroundings. No, this was an actual fog.
I thought that the old Filaret was capable of using magic from the natural elements of this world. But, was the current Filaret able to do that? If she did that now, this could be a great way for us to escape from here. Did she use the water that was overflowing around us to create this mist?
If this was the case, then we had to take advantage of it. If we did well, everyone, including Caria and Matia, could escape alive.
…Ah, nonetheless. I didn’t think that I could escape from here with these severe injuries.
I could no longer lift my left arm. It was unlikely that I would move it by dragging it. The sense of balance had not returned yet, and my blood kept flowing from my wounds into the ground.
Why was this happening? I didn’t expect this outcome. Surprisingly, the elf captain was quicker than what I expected. I miscalculated this. But, this consequence was somewhat foreseeable. At least, on me. After all, things never rolled positively or easily for me. It seemed as if everything bad fell on my shoulders.
Die. No. I didn’t want to die now. I didn’t want to perish at the hands of the elves. This wasn’t the end that I envisioned for myself.
…However, that was strange. Yes, my thoughts were strange. I used to think that it was okay for me to die at any moment. Yet, those feelings changed now. Then, while a white fog surrounded my field of vision, something passed at the edge of my eyes.
Take care of your body Lugis, you have only one…
Thank you to the Patrons for the continued support!