This group of anthropoids was the exact same as humans, except that they resembled beasts more with their furry bodies.
The children hid behind their mothers. Their mothers quietly tried to calm their children down, covering their mouths so that they wouldn’t cry, acting as though I would eat the child who cried the loudest.
I looked at them. They were a group of innocent citizens. They didn’t participate in the war or the previous attack. Perhaps that was Leah’s accomplishment. She told them not to participate in this war. Morally speaking, I shouldn’t harm them.
I could still remember how my people met their end. I could still remember that stench of blood that clogged the air and those eyes filled with despair focused on me. I could still remember the way they looked at me. I still often saw the scene of them dead in my dreams. It was as though I could see all of their face as I stood in that darkness every night underneath the swaying candle. I could see their faces clearly.
I took in a deep breath. I couldn’t harm the people in front of me at this point in time. If I killed them, the remaining anthropoids wouldn’t surrender to me. I couldn’t let that happen. We were currently the victor, but if I showed no mercy, they’d fight me to the death. That would just be wasting my soldiers’ lives and Leah’s efforts. I couldn’t put the horse before the cart.
I looked at Ling Yue and said, “Ladies and gentlemen.”
Not all anthropoids know the elven language. Only the high anthropoids know it, since they interacted with the Queen. The lower anthropoids didn’t get the opportunity to interact with her, so I needed Ling Yue to translate for me.
Ling Yue looked at me and translated for the people.
“I didn’t come to kill you or punish you. I know that this war has very little to do with you. You’re not the people who killed our humans. It’s just that we belong to different camps. The ones who destroyed our relationship are the higher tribes, so I won’t be rude to you.”
Ling Yue translated what I said. They seemed to relax a little, but they continued to watch me vigilantly, nonetheless. That was normal, though, since there was a group of people with blades behind them. That holds true when you don’t trust the peace and friendship they speak of.
I continued, “Of course, that doesn’t mean that I won’t do anything to you. I am the victor of this war, which means that I have the authority to rule over you. You are now my spoil of war. You will be ruled, so you must obey my commands. I now stipulate that everyone is to give me gold in order to be free citizens. Otherwise, I will sell you off as slaves.”
“Everybody is required to pay a hundred gold coins each or something of equal value. Now then, start. Those who can’t give me either of them will become slaves, and I will determine what happens to slaves. Quartermaster, begin counting.”
I sat down to the side and looked at their exclamations of despair.
Normally, an ordinary citizen couldn’t possibly pay a hundred gold coins even if they didn’t drink and eat, and just worked in the fields for fifty years. Ling Yue was the one who told me the number. She said that only officials and successful merchants would have that amount. Consequently, the group was bound to become my slaves.
Only a few went home. The others sat on the ground in despair as they looked at me, hugging their wife and child. They didn’t take out any money, as it was impossible.
After some time, a few bags were placed in front of me. It seemed those few individuals were wealthy merchants or local officials. It appeared the officials were all corrupt. I didn’t know where they got the bag of equal in value gold from, but I was quite satisfied.
“I guess that means nobody else can satisfy my demand, then.”
I stood up and threw the bags into the quartermaster’s box. I went on, “So, as we initially said, you’re now my slaves, which means I can do with you as I please. You won’t have any complaints, because I gave you a chance, but you didn’t pay enough for your freedom. I could reduce the demand, but is your freedom worth that little?”
I couldn’t help but laugh in my mind, as I thought that their despair was because they considered their freedom to be cheap.
I cleared my throat, and then said, “Now then, here are my arrangements. Your land, homes and all of your assets belong to me, for you are slaves, and thus, don’t need those things.”
I looked at their faces of despair. I felt an ecstatic feeling of conquest, but I didn’t smile or laugh.
“However, I don’t need your land and homes. I can’t bring these things with me to war, so you can continue to live in your homes and continue farming. But, the climate in the North will soon change. When it changes, you must plant whatever crops I provide you with. You must punctually pay the taxes I assign, as well. I will not allow you to be behind in payments. Remember, you’re now my slaves. I gave you your homes out of benevolence, and the fields you are farming on are fields I bestowed you with. If you have any corrupt thoughts or complaints, I can kill you whenever I want, take your wife and kids, and take back your home and land, as they are mine to begin with.”
That was my variation of Freya’s original method that she employed at Troy City. I thought it’d work very well with the group. I’d throw them into despair first, taking everything from them, making them think that they’d lost everything. Then I’d return their stuff to them as though I was bestowing them with a gift, and have them respectfully and reverently accept said gifts.
‘I feel as though I’m starting to crave this feeling a little.’
They looked as though they were on the brink of crying. They all looked at me as if they saw God. I snatched their property, but then I returned it all to them.
If I wanted to rule the North, I had to deal with the people. I couldn’t kill them. I could kill the low anthropoids and the people from the four tribes, but I couldn’t kill the people who would serve me.
At least… not now.