“So, may I have your response now?”
I looked at Leah, who was in front of me, and nodded, “I’m very satisfied with your request. I shall help you exterminate those four tribes; however, you must abdicate your throne thereafter. You were exiled to the North, and Queen Vyvyan has indicated that she can accept you. Hence, this land should be returned now.”
Leah sighed a breath of relief then revealed a reassured smile, “I am reassured, then. We can say that we have come to agree with reasonable result. If you need any further help, just let me know. My Queen and I will do our best to help, as long as it is within our capabilities.”
I didn’t tell Leah about the Galadriel Tribe not being able to accept her Queen, because she wouldn’t be able to accept it, while I definitely need the two of them when I reach the North. I decided to use the two of them. As for whether they survive or not in the end… who cares? It didn’t affect me in any capacity.
I looked at her and said, “There’s something you can do for me right now. I need a detailed map of the North. The map Ling Yue provided me with wasn’t detailed; I need a more detailed map. It would be best if I could have the location of the anthropoids’ military camp. You wouldn’t come here empty handed now, would you? If that’s the case, I’d strongly suspect if you’re sincere about this or not. I’d even suspect that you’re a spy.”
She laughed, and then took out a sheet of paper from her shirt. I’d heard of the saying, “when the map is unrolled, the dagger is revealed,” meaning that one discovers another’s hidden intent. Therefore, I stepped back a few steps and prepared my gun; I didn’t need my sword.
She slowly spread the map out in front of me. What she took out wasn’t a dagger, but a very accurate map. However, I couldn’t understand the text on the map. I, therefore, needed Ling Yue to translate for me. Leah stood in front of me and pointed at a few points. She explained, “The anthropoids’ military has long been outside of my Queen’s control. It is basically the four tribes’ private military. The anthropoids’ elite unit gathers at their tribes’ places. However, that presents a benefit for you, and that benefit are the places where the army is stationed with insufficient oil and water are particularly thin. Some places do not even have an army stationed there.”
‘Isn’t this a little similar to the period of fighting from the late Qing Dynasty’s rule to the early Republic of China? Actually, it’s more similar to the late years of the Eastern Han Dynasty, where Cao Cao made use of Yuan Shao’s false decision, and went to greet Emperor Xian in Xuchang, knowing that the others would, thus gaining a political advantage by controlling the Emperor and commanding the nobles.’
I examined the map.
Generally speaking, it was similar to the one Ling Yue drew me, but the details were there, and most importantly, all of the paths that could lead to here were drawn in detail. That included all of the small paths between the snowy mountains from Socina.
‘This way, I’ll be able to seal all of the paths the anthropoids use to come to this side. We could even get to the North using said paths – although they aren’t suited for a large army to advance through.’
I nodded then passed it to Philes, who was by the side, “Very good. This is very good. Go make a few copies, and then distribute it to all of our teams. While you’re at it, call for the strategists so that we can discuss where we will establish a path to enter the North. Our scouts can come back, as we now have a sufficiently detailed map.”
“We have proven our sincerity. My Queen has told you the locations of all of the armies, which has proven that we genuinely want to assist you. So, should you not set out earlier to defend the North? Since I fled out here, my Queen is bound to be suffering torment right now. I…”
“I’m not doing it just for you two. I can’t risk my soldiers’ lives thoughtlessly just because you provided me with this.” I cut off her somewhat urgent speech then looked at her and continued, “I can’t be careless when mobilising such a large army. We can’t head out until our preparations are complete. Also, if we do set out before our preparations are complete, my army may underperform. That would mean we fail to complete your request.”
“Wait. Trust me. I’m in more of a rush than you are. I want to get to the North more than you, because not only have I agreed to your request, but I’ve also made a promise to Ling Yue, as well. I need to do it for Ling Yue, as well as your Queen.”
I looked at her; she lingered. She had to acknowledge that I was right. She, too, knew that she was a little too anxious. However, she quickly looked back up at me and replied, “I am very curious about something. Since you have obtained my Queen’s support, why do you still need to uphold your promise to Ling Yue? The Moon Fox Tribe has already been exterminated. They have lost their influence; you will not get anything out of helping her.”
“Am I someone who only acts for profit to you?” I stood up and laughed. I went on, “I‘m not helping others because they can offer me something. I’m helping you, as we share the same interest, but I’m helping Ling Yue, because we’re friends. That’s all.”
“I see…” Leah nodded. She then continued, “I need to return to the North now, then. I am very grateful that you agreed to our request. I hope that we will be able to meet again in the South.”
“Uhm. But can you still return to the North?”
She stood up and looked to the North. She clenched her teeth and said, “Needless to say, I am not returning to the palace. I can only return to places in the North where the four tribes’ powers are absent, and use my Queen’s name to help clear your path. I promised my Queen that I would definitely save her, so I have no right to go back to see her before you arrive at the palace!”
I noticed her determination on her face, as well as the tinge of sadness. I walked up behind her. With a smile, I said, “To be honest, I wanted to ask you something yesterday. Didn’t you say that your Queen no longer held power? That means that she has no wealth, then. Why, then, do you trust her so much and serve her? What is it that you want to obtain?”
She turned around to look at me. She replied with earnest, “I do not want to obtain anything. I simply obtained dignity and life from her. She may not wield any power, but she did save me. She brought me to her side when I was just a slave. She gave me dignity and a respectful life. My Queen is not great or powerful; therefore, I must stay at her side to protect her forever.”
I nodded. My heart ached a little, as well. The pain I felt was the pain of my heart being cleaved at.
I had a young girl, too. I saved her, but I couldn’t protect her to the end.
“I understand that feeling; I do…” I looked at her and went on, “I know the feeling of wanting to protect someone so badly that you would sacrifice your life for them, but you must live on, as well. Otherwise, your Queen would suffer, too.”
“Yes. It will be very painful for her. That feeling of having your heart ripped apart bit by bit hurts lots and lots…”