The anthropoids weren’t in the elven lands. Perhaps they never intended to attack the elves here. Or maybe they felt it was unwise to attack the elves right now. Whatever the case may be, the anthropoids only stopped there for a short while.
I underestimated the anthropoids’ ability to think. Ling Yue said that the anthropoids are virtually brainless, only killing and destroying. Therefore, I didn’t consider the purpose behind each step they took. I was under the impression that the things they did served no purpose. I never expected the anthropoids to act with a plan in mind.
They weren’t after the elven lands here; at least, not now. My guess is that was because they knew that it’d be impossible for the lead team to conquer the elven lands. If the anthropoids over on their side are afraid of the Galadriels, they will be very cautious against the elves.
What the anthropoids want right now is Troy City.
They only wanted the resources from here, the elven lands.
They failed in their attack on Socina City, because they didn’t have appropriate weapons for capturing a city. This time, however, they chopped down a large number of trees in the Eastern forest. They’d have spare wood after building siege towers, let alone ladders. If I made it back one day earlier or Mom headed out one day earlier, maybe we could’ve stopped them returning South to attack us with a large force. Alas, it’s too late now.
The anthropoids should be rushing toward Troy City now. Troy City is the city that sits on the border of the elven and human border. If they manage to conquer it, they’ll be able to threaten both elves and humans. The anthropoids from Socina will be able to gather at Troy City and even turn it into a weapon and tool factory on the frontlines. The anthropoids on the frontlines charging at us may be brainless, but their commander in the rear is a highly-advanced anthropoid as Ling Yue is.
I underestimated them.
I can still make it in time. However, I need to find an old friend, or maybe an ill fate. I‘m referring to the White Deer King.
The White Deer King ran off last time, refusing to become my steed. I really wanted to make it my steed this time, though. The White Deer King is extremely fast, while I happen to want to return to Troy City immediately. Moreover, the White Deer King might be able to rescue me from danger with its speed in the future. As a plus, it can neutralise all sorts of venoms. The White Deer King is an invaluable treasure to me.
‘It ran away last time. I wonder if it’ll accept me this time.’
I looked at the White Deer King. It was the same as before. It looked at me arrogantly and majestically the same way as it did back then. Next to it was a group of white deer, which I presumed to be its tribesmen. I looked at them. They scanned me with curiosity. I never saw so many white deer during the Deer Hunting Festival.
I did nearly get beaten to death by a rabbit, nevertheless.
“Mm… I don’t know if you can understand me…”
I looked at the White Deer King and started awkwardly. Speaking to a deer looks stupid no matter how you look at it. In saying that, I trust that it can understand me. The White Deer King looked at me and blew a gust of hot air out from its nose. Maybe that was its response to me. I swallowed my saliva. I looked at it and continued, “White Deer King, it’s been a long time. This time, I came for our common enemy. That’s right. I’m talking about that horde of anthropoids. They invaded our territory and even destroyed this holy forest. You and your tribesmen must’ve gone through a crisis.”
The White Deer King didn’t make a very arrogant gesture this time. It was the first time that it took me serious as it looked at me. It stamped its hooves, leaving deeply-etched prints in the grass.
‘It must be furious, as well.’
It watched its home get destroyed and its tribesmen get killed. However, it was powerless despite being their King. It could only run away with its tribesmen. Its tribesmen may consider it good fortune to have escaped with their lives, but as a King and lord of a territory, it was suffering due to its weakness and powerlessness.
We both felt the same way in that regard.
‘I can’t flee. I must protect my people and my territory. As a King, I carry more responsibilities than the average person. If I can’t fulfil my duties, I’ll feel guilty and humiliated, which feels worse than death. Death isn’t that scary. What’s truly scary is living in anguish.’
A moment of carelessness won’t bring a lifetime of happiness. Life itself is a consumable. A life that’s consumed for a goal is a life that was meaningful. Misusing life is a waste of life. A glorious life isn’t measured by how long it is, but whether that moment of explosion can take the people’s breath away just as fireworks.
‘Since when did I start considering myself a King?’
I looked at it and sincerely explained, “So, I came this time to come to an agreement with you. I’m the next Elven King. I’m leading the war against the anthropoids this time. They are our common enemy. I think that you want to join the war against the anthropoids, too. I’ll provide you with the right to join this war, but you’ll need to provide me with your value as a White Deer King. In other words, I’ll protect your tribesmen, help you get back at them, and take back your territory. You need to be my steed.
I had a chance to make you my steed last time. But nonetheless, I know that you, too, are a King. I can’t make such a suggestion to a King, but things are different this time. We are coming to an agreement. If you think it’s feasible, lower your head. I promise that I will drive the horde of anthropoids back to the North and return peace to this forest. No elf will disturb your life thereafter, as well. What do you think?”
It looked at me and stamped its foot on the ground. Perhaps it could understand what I meant, but I had no idea what it was expressing. All I could do was meet its gaze.
I wasn’t lying. I don’t want to resort to underhanded schemes to turn it into my steed. If that’s what I wanted to do, I could’ve done it months ago. The White Deer King is also a King; I can’t order a King. We’re on equal footing, so if I can ride it, then it’s an agreement we came to.
It seemed to be a bit hesitant. It looked back at its tribesmen. I don’t know what they said or what their gazes meant, but I didn’t interrupt them.
A moment after, it turned back around and walked up to me. It looked up and met my eyes in a serious manner as though it wanted to confirm once again.
“I promise. I swear on the Galadriel name of the imperial family that I will not violate our agreement or betray you. I’ll let you witness the anthropoids fleeing. I’ll let you go to the North as a victor, and I will guarantee the safety of your tribesmen in the future.
I looked at it. I didn’t know if I should’ve reached my hand out or not. I asked, “So, what do you think?”
It walked a circle around me, and then made a sound akin to a deer’s laugh. It then walked up to me from the front, looked at me and lowered its head, placing its horn before my chest.
“So… you agree…?”
I looked at its horn, feeling somewhat scared. Seriously, the horn could kill somebody. It stabbed me last time, but it was for the sake of saving me…
It called out then raised its head. It turned back to face its tribesman and bleated. Its tribesman responded with their own bleats. The entire forest was filled with the bleats of deer. They then lied down on the ground and looked at us with extremely envious gazes.
“Let’s… Let’s go, then… I hope my horse saddle fits you… Also… also, should I give you a name? What shall I call you? Xiao Bai?!! Don’t! Don’t! Don’t! Don’t bite me! Don’t bite me! I won’t name you, okay?! Don’t bite me!!”
*Xiao Bai = Small/young/little white. When using “Xiao” as part of a name, it’s either to make it cute or for children – except for the rare exceptions. Here, the “Xiao” is not translated, as it’s used as a name, not as a reference to being small/young. Some people feel offended when you attach it to their name, so there’s how you can try to insult someone in Chinese.