Current time at humanity’s army camp.
“An envoy from the elves? Hasn’t your warrior left already? That Lucia really is a boring elf.”
Queen Sisi lay on her bed and used her left arm to support her head. She looked at the elf envoy before her with a strange smile. She only had a thin bath-towel on her. The elf with a long-white cape looked at the queen before him somewhat awkwardly. Under normal circumstances, it wouldn’t be polite to see a ruler like this. However, in this situation, it would be the queen who’s impolite toward the elf, or would it be impolite for the elf to see the queen like this?
But he was already here so he had to look at the queen like this. He lowered his head and respectfully answered: “This is a letter from us elves. I hope that you can provide me with a response I can report back with once you have read it.”
The elf handed up the letter with two hands. Queen Sisi smiled as she waved her hand. Her servant quickly took the letter and opened it, checked it to ensure there weren’t any issues with it and then handed it to Queen Sisi. Queen Sisi looked at the letter before her and then she looked at the elf in front of her as though she was smiling. She raised the letter in her hand up and asked: “I have a question. Was the one who sent this letter your queen or someone else?”
The elf envoy looked at the queen in front of him and twitched his mouth before replying: “That… naturally was……”
“This isn’t from your queen, is it? This must be from the strange person among you elves, huh? You must share my thoughts there. Though you’re all elves, your position as an elf is particularly important as well, just like your current position isn’t at the elf-queen’s side, am I right?”
“It is complicated since it is our internal affairs. Our internal affairs are very complex and we do not wish for any humans to get involved……”
Before the envoy could finish, Queen Sisi burst out in laughter rudely. She lay back on her bed on her back and held her belly while bursting into laughter. She laughed cheerfully while rolling around. The elf-envoy looked at the queen in front of him awkwardly. Queen Sisi rolled around without any reserve, revealing her alluring thighs over and over. Her thin bath-towel couldn’t cover up her generous bosom and legs.
The elf therefore had no idea where to look. The queen didn’t care either. She laughed until she could barely breathe before resting her head and rolling over to look at the elf before her. She wiped her tears and said with a smile: “What are you saying, elf? Are you telling a joke to make me laugh? That’s the first time I’ve heard something so hilarious. Did you know there’s nothing more entertaining than watching a wounded clown deliberately put on acts? You elves are already in that state and yet you still want to act high and mighty. You clearly need my help yet you say that you don’t want humanity to get involved. Your pitiful pride matches your dreary state. How hilarious. Why can’t you be a little more candid? Elf, when will you be able to drop the high and mighty act, and act humble like someone who needs help?”
The envoy clenched his teeth tightly and lowered his head without replying. Although it was considered an insult toward the elves, the elf was just as Queen Sisi mentioned. Usually the elves wouldn’t let anyone insult them, but they had a request for Queen Sisi right now so they had to put up with it this time.
“All right. Don’t you need my response to report back?”
Queen Sisi sat up from her bed after she smiled. She put one leg over the other more gracefully than any other and then extended her leg out toward the elf. He paused and looked at Queen Sisi confused. She smiled and said: “You don’t get it? Didn’t I tell you that you elves have to drop your pitiful pride and high and mighty act? Since you are the ones begging, you need to have self-awareness. Kneel and lick my foot. Let me show you what courtesy is. Let me feel good and I shall agree to your request.”
The elves’ envoy startled and took a step back. He looked at Queen Sisi and shouted without formalities: “What sort of request is this?!! Your request is far too rude! This is an insult toward me! I refuse!”
Elves are usually graceful and calm, but he forewent grace and composure in that moment. He looked stunned at Queen Sisi’s long-slender legs and her perfect toes as well as her white foot. Her toes were like pearls attracting him. His eyes looked toward the end of her long legs, that dark place that everyone looks too. His face went red causing his refusal to sound stuttered.
“What’s wrong? Don’t want to?”
Queen Sisi giggled softly and then rested her face on her hands before continuing, “Since you’re unwilling to show your sincerity, what makes you think we must help you? You have a request for us humans yet are unwilling to bend over. I don’t know who your leader is but she wasn’t even willing to come and personally see me. Instead, she sent you. You want our support with just one letter? Don’t you think you’re being excessively confident there? Now, let me tell you how to plead someone. Lick my foot. Make me feel good and I shall give you money, weapons and medicine. What do you think?”
“Come on. Isn’t that what you need? I’m talking to you about them right now. Do you consider your pride important or your cause important? Now let’s hear which you consider to be of more importance.”
Queen Sisi watched the elf slowly get down on his knees. The corner of her mouth crept up into a cold smile. The elves have always been the proudest race on this continent. This was the first time an elf knelt down to Queen Sisi. He was even holding her foot in his hand. The elf trembled as he looked at her small and beautiful foot. He held her foot gently with his two hands as if he was holding the most valuable treasure in the world.
The elf looked at the queen with despair, but her expression didn’t change. To the contrary, she looked at him with encouragement and took the initiative to reach her foot to the edge of his mouth. He trembled as he extended his tongue out somewhat looking forward to it and yet reluctance to taste that pearl-like toe……
Queen Sisi looked at the elf before her. Her mouth curled up into a more heartless and cold smile. She suddenly extended her leg to stomp him in his face. She then sneered and said: “Tell me, elf, do you know how many people are willing to lick my foot? Please tell me then, how are you any different to them? If I had to agree to every request when someone licked my foot, wouldn’t that make me frivolous?”
“Rise, elf. Unfortunately, I’m not interested in you so I don’t want to accept your request. As you yourselves say, we humans don’t intend to involve ourselves in your business so I won’t accept your request either. Consider that my response.”
“Wait!! Did you not say that as long as I… as long as I licked your foot then……”
“Yes, but my goal never was for you to lick my foot.”
The queen turned away gently and left just her cold voice behind. She indifferently said: “If I need to have my foot licked, I will never choose an elf. My goal was for you elves to drop your boring dignified and pitiful pride. You can drop it now, right? You were willing to lick my foot even when you’re an elf after all, right? What does it mean for an elf to be robbed of his pride? That was my goal. You should now know how to plead someone, right? Let me also tell you then that you are fated to be refused. Get it now? Now that you get it, you can leave now, right? I need to rest now.”
The elf looked at the queen’s silhouette from the rear and spaced out. The regret and shame in his heart made him want to just smash his head into a tree to die. The most important characteristics for elves, pride and composure were heartlessly toyed with by the queen. Queen Sisi didn’t show him any respect. Instead, she tried everything to shatter everything the elves valued. She shattered it with her small and cute foot. He didn’t know why, why everything he valued was crushed just like that.
The elf-envoy was found dead by hanging next to a tree near the army camp that night.
No one knew why.
In the north……
As soon as I got to the entrance of the town, a tiny body leapt at me and hugged me around my waist tightly. Leah sobbed as she hammer-fisted my chest. She then hugged me tightly and wailed: “Why, why are you always like this, papa? You left Leah behind and went to such a dangerous place. If something happens to you, what is Leah going to do?! Papa, don’t you care about Leah’s feelings?!! I’m so scared. Leah is so scared, dad!! And you left me alone with that woman! That’s unforgivable!!”
“I’m sorry, Leah.”
I smiled as I stroked Leah’s head. I then heard the sound of armour approaching. I looked up to see Veirya walk over. She frowned. It looks like they didn’t get along just now. She looked at me and reprimanded me: “So what did you do? If you didn’t get involved, then this would’ve been resolved already.”
“Frankly, it’s been resolved.”
I turned around and the deserters came out as I expected. They didn’t look like they suffered the pain of defeat or looked panicked and at a lost for what to do. They actually looked relaxed and happy. Veirya looked at them and drew her sword. I immediately extended my hand out and pressed it on her shoulder. I explained: “They came to surrender.”
Veirya didn’t seem to really understand what I meant. She minced on it for a while and looked at the troops in front of her.
They didn’t have any other choice.
I knew that when we reached the end of our negotiation. All of their conditions, or rather, my capital for our negotiation was the citizens in front of me.
But I also told them straight up that Veirya didn’t actually care for these people.
These troops were just deserters. Deserters have neither power nor glory. They just wanted to return home alive. They weren’t particularly willing to kill these innocent folks, so I gave them the simplest way out. Veirya would let them leave, but they wouldn’t gain anything.
Their bottom line was to keep their lives.
I satisfied their bottom line.
So they will do as I say, which is to acknowledge their mistake to Veirya.
I get Veirya. She’s a knight. She won’t kill a prisoner of war. Therefore she could take their heads without any hesitation but not enemies who had surrendered.
And that was the status quo.
“Lord Veirya… please… please spare us…… We just want to return home…… We really want to return home. My wife is waiting at home for me. I have a newborn waiting as well. Please let us return home……”
The troops knelt down and looked at Veirya while crying painfully. There was a troop who cried out to his unfortunate family members. Veirya looked at them blankly and then some audacious townsfolk came over from behind to take a look. She looked at me and then finally raised her long sword up.
“What are you doing?!!!!”
I rushed to reach my hand out and press my hand on her arm. Veirya looked at me indifferently and exclaimed: “Deserters must die!”
“But I made a promise to them! You don’t need to do anything! Just let them leave!! Just let them leave! They didn’t hurt the townsfolk nor do they need to die!!”
Veirya didn’t seem to care about what I said. She aggressively shoved me aside and then rushed at them with her sword raised high. They knelt on the ground and cried as they looked hopelessly at the sword swing down toward them. They had nowhere to run to. If they didn’t come before Veirya, then they might’ve been able to escape. But now that they were all before Veirya, they were going to be massacred by this individual who would rip a butterfly’s wings off.
“No! Don’t!!! We don’t need to give them anything! Just let them live!!!”
I quickly pushed Leah aside and blocked Veirya off. I wasn’t feeling sorry for them. Their lives had nothing to do with me. However, things are different now. I promised them they would live. That was the conclusion we came to through our negotiation so both parties must uphold their promises. Trust is very important. All of the townsfolk were watching. If you kill them as the lord of the town when they’ve surrendered themselves, no political actions to appease the people will work if they’ve acknowledged their crimes. Moreover, her credibility will drop. That is the one thing leaders never want to happen. It doesn’t matter how you choose to settle scores after, but how you settle them now in the moment matters.
Veirya pressed her sword up against my neck again. It was the first time there were emotions in her eyes. It was the first time I saw anger and regret in her blue eyes. I don’t know about her past or what ignited the flame in her eyes right now, but I do know that she won’t hesitate to behead me if I continue to stand here.
She was serious.
I need to convince her to stop.
I need to convince her to stop when I don’t know her past because it was her past that was triggering her.
This situation again? One sentence to determine my life. I genuinely felt that my life or otherwise death depended on one sentence. If I can’t make her hesitate with it, I think I’ll have to die with them. I’ve never seen Veirya angry before. If a calm Veirya could kill people, then needless to say, an angry Veirya will kill for sure.
“Deserters must die!”
“Do you want Leah to witness this again?!!!”
I looked at Veirya who was in front of me and belted, “You killed her parents in front of her. You killed two people in front of a child. Are you still not aware that you made a child watch you make a mess of blood and flesh?! Leah is scared of exactly that! You said you wanted to improve your relationship with Leah, yet you’re doing something that would make her hate you more?! Consider Leah’s feelings!!”
Veirya’s blade stiffened up on my neck. I looked at a startled Veirya in front of me and sighed a breath of relief gently. But I didn’t relax. I kept my eyes on her and persuaded her in a soft voice: “You don’t have to kill. Don’t kill people in front of a child. The war is over. They’re no longer considered deserters. They’re just a group of pitiful people with nowhere to return to. Veirya, the war has ended. It has ended. You’re not a knight or a warrior anymore. You’re this region’s lord now!”
Veirya looked at me silently. Her sword was still up against my neck but the flame of anger and resentment in her eyes slowly dissipated. Leah who was standing to the side gripped her chest tightly while her tears coursed down her face on their own. She was so frightened she was lost for words. I looked at Veirya and didn’t budge.
Veirya’s blade slid down my neck after a moment. I felt her cold blade open a small cut on my neck, but she had put her sword back.
It was the first time she wore such a powerless expression. She reached her hand up to grab my shoulder gently. The troops behind me were so terrified they couldn’t make a sound. I turned my head around to look at them and waved my hand. They shuffled their hands and feet and quickly crawled away.
I looked at Veirya who was virtually leaning her entire body on me and softly apologised: “Sorry……”
I don’t know why I’m apologising either……
But I felt that I was partly responsible for Veirya’s current weak state……