The intense black smoke ascended into the air and whirled around in the air like a back dragon circling the skies while howling. The timber buildings were alight. The once thriving small village was now a sea of fire. Shrieks of pain and cries were chased away by gunshots and the sounds of horse hooves. The corpses of the elves were dragged along the ground and thrown into the square at the centre of the village. On the other side, a small mountain of gold consisting of gold blocks and jewellery was piled up. The soldiers didn’t care about the cries of pain and cries for mercy from the female elves, because they were so attracted by the gold. And so they cut off the ears and fingers of the elves without a thought. The male elves who tried to fight back were shot to death. When they were done plundering a house, they burnt it. They then cuffed the residents’ hands and feet up with iron cuffs before picking them up and tossing them into the centre of the village.
The red-uniform army plundered the gold but they didn’t pocket a single piece, instead, they loyally gathered the spoils of war in one place and placed it before the empress. The empress had one leg over the other as she sat in her chair while she watched the small mountain of gold pile up higher and higher. On the other side, the number of captives continued to increase. She drew the sword on Alice’s waist and then gave Castell a particular look. Castell understood what the empress meant. He brought a gold bowl over, walked up to the captives to examine them and finally pulled a young girl over.
The young girl cried out as she put up a resistance with all her might. She endlessly begged for mercy in the elven language, however, Castell paid her no heed. He grabbed the young girl’s blonde hair with a polite smile on his face and then cut her throat open with the dagger in his hand. The female elf’s red blood which carried the warmth of life spurt forth and her eyes rolled back into her head. Her blood which continued to flow out from her wound made gurgling sounds. She was gasping for air but it was futile. All the oxygen she breathed in escaped through her open wound.
Castell tossed the young girl’s corpse aside, and then picked up the gold bowl filled with blood. He then respectfully handed it to the empress, followed by a white silk handkerchief. The empress threw the handkerchief into the blood and then picked it up to use it as a cloth with which she used to slowly wipe her sword. The strong smell of blood didn’t disturb the soldiers behind her, but the empress wore a gleeful look on her face.
The soldiers gathered in the centre. They raised their guns up and aimed them at all the prisoners. One of the elves raised his head to look at the empress. He kept silent for a moment, but then suddenly shouted out in the elven language: “I recognise you! I recognise you! You gave birth to a child here ten years ago! You were with the previous king! I remember you!!”
A troop stabbed him in his lower abdomen and shoved it in until he was on the ground. The empress heard his cry. She then stood up, whipped the drips of blood on her sword away and slowly walked over. She then squatted down and looked at his painful experssion. She then remembered who he was and said: “Ah, I remember now. You’re the village chief of this village. I remember, I remember. I gave birth to my son here ten years ago, and you even looked after my son and I…”
“Then… then… I beg you… I beg you… please spare us… out of consideration for how we helped you……”
The empress stabbed her sword into his mouth which exited through the other side of his head before stopping on the ground, leaving him with just his expression for mercy and despair. The empress then pulled her sword out. She looked at his corpse and coldly said: “My son was born ten years ago, but where is my son now ten years later?”
The empress then walked up to the side of one of the female elves. She was a mother and her child was still crying in her arms. Though she was cuffed, she still did her very best to shield her child from bullets with her body. She was crying. Her voice broke as she tried to comfort her child. But her eyes were filled with despair.
The empress ripped her child out of her arms without a thought. The elf cried as she tried to stand up and leap at the empress. However, in the immediate next moment, her eyes were opened wide. She quivered as she looked down to her lower abdomen. Her organs and blood were coming out of her wound where the blade was. The empress choked the child with one hand and dangled her sword with her other hand. She looked at her coldly: “Do you get it now? Do you now understand how a mother feels when her child is taken away? Can you feel the anger that I feel now? Your queen did the same thing to me. The difference is that I’m stronger than all of you.”
The elf’s head dropped to the ground heavily and the empress sent it flying with a kick. Her corpse that fell to the ground was still spurting blood. Next, the empress turned her head around to look at the infant whose lips were now purple due to her chokehold. She frowned and went silent for a while. She then tossed the infant to Castell, turned around and said: “Uhh… you people can decide how to deal with him.”
Castell clumsily caught the infant. He froze up for a long time before looking at Alice, to which she looked back in a disgruntled way and said: “Don’t look at me. We can’t accept having an elf in the Valkyrie squad!”
Castell nodded and then threw the child onto the ground. He then grabbed a spear from a guard standing behind him.
However, the guard didn’t let go of his spear. Instead, he looked at Castell and in an alarmed tone shouted: “I… I… My wife and I don’t have a child… If… if… if it’s possible…”
“You want an elven child?”
Castell looked at the guard who had his head down and was slightly trembling. He chuckled coldly and then picked the child up and handed it to him. He threw his spear away and caught the child who flew over. He then knelt down on one knee and shouted: “Thank you! Thank you sir!”
Castell then turned his head around, wore on a warm yet fake smile and said: “You won’t get a share when we split up the mountain of spoils here then.”
The empress stabbed her sword through the chest of a young girl and then twisted it around in her body like she was performing surgery on her before pulling her sword out. What came out attached to the tip of the sword was a red heart that was still beating gently. The empress whipped her hand, sending the heart flying and then whipped her sword again, seemingly as if to indicate she was satisfied having met her kill-quota.
The platoon leader who understood the empress’s mood immediately extended his hand out to pass down an order: “Raise your guns!”
The empress tapped the platoon leader on his shoulder then pointed at the elves and said: “Just use your sabres.”
The next sound that came from behind the empress was the sound of sabres being stabbed into bodies, as well as cries before death. The empress walked back to her throne, threw the sword back to Alice, and then Castell brought out water for the empress to wash her blood stained hands clean.
The empress turned her head around to look at the guard carrying his gun in one hand and the infant in the other. She frowned and then asked: “How are you going to fight a war while carrying a child?”
“Your majesty… I… I……”
“What good is a guard who can’t fight to me?”
The empress stood up and grabbed the sword. She walked up to the soldier and the soldier knelt down while still holding the child.
The empress swung the sword. The guard froze up and saw that his hat with four feathers which indicated he was a guard had been cut and was on the ground before him. The empress then sat back in her seat and returned the sword to Alice. With her back facing him, she said: “I shall allow you to return home. Take a horse with you from the army tomorrow, and take one item you want from that pile. A guard who can’t fight should go home. See an official each month for your pension.”
“Th-Thank you, your majesty!!”
The empress stood up and waved her hand. She looked at the army in red present and shouted: “You have all done well. You may divide the pile of gold among yourselves. Take it as a reward from me! Valkyries, we are returning to the camp!”
“Long live your majesty!”
The reason the empress is viewed as a god by her soldiers isn’t entirely attributed to her bravery, but also her generosity. Alice and Castell walked by the empress’s side and to the horse. Castell looked at the empress and said: “Your majesty, is there nothing that you want? I can see that there are some well-crafted items in that pile of gold.”
“I don’t need any of them. I’m satisfied.”
The empress grabbed her horse reins, looked to the north with a sinister smile and exclaimed: “Every step I’m taking right now is bringing me closer to my son, so I don’t need any spoils. I will be able to attain the pinnacle of happiness as long as I keep heading north. Gather the army in a bit! Organise the siege weapons, and complete the preparations to attack the city!!”
“As you command!”