Prisoners of War
An elven tradition dictated that a daughter would take a portion of the family assets upon getting married. The elves weren’t prejudice against girls and favoured boys. In fact, their gender differences were barely noticeable. The elven population was too small, after all. Men and women had to fight and work together, so there was very minimal difference between them.
Lucia’s family consisted of just her and her brother, but they possessed a fair amount of assets. The huge stone structure was their residence. While elves didn’t have high aesthetic standards, the ancient vibe that it had was visible. Inside the wooden fence at the entrance was a flower garden. I finally saw how the rainbow flower looked once it bloomed. Each petal was a different colour. The radiant rainbow flowers added an enthralling touch to the garden. The scent in the air calmed my nerves. In the future, we would be able to see the rainbow flowers next to our fountain in the town.
There were eight pillars in the main hall of the stone property. Apparently, the carvings on the pillars were depictions of elven legends. The property comprised of two floors. The staircase connecting the two flowers sat on the two sides of the pillars.
“This is our house.” Lucia proudly folded her arms as she scanned the house. She leaned on me and chortled: “We’ll come back to visit in the future; however, our home isn’t here. We need to build our own home away from here. I really like your home. How about we give our home the same design? There should be those who know how to build a house among the human prisoners of war, right?”
“Actually, I think they’re all professional soldiers. I don’t think the soldiers are randomly selected anymore…”
“There are still a number of engineers among them, though. The machines they built have earned my admiration. I think they can build a house. If they can’t, I’ll force them to learn to. Else, we’ll just execute them all. Oh, right, right, there are also these, these ones.”
Lucia pulled me over. We didn’t head straight upstairs. Instead, we ran down to a dungeon via a small but long and secretive flight of stairs. The candles on either side provided modest lighting. The chilly air intensified the further down we went. I could feel the dampness and cold down below. The two of us walked for a long time before finally seeing a bright flame. There was a startling sight to behold.
Countless thin girls looked up at us. They were similar to the elves in appearance, but they were thinner thin elves. The girls were frightened when they saw Lucia. They all stood up and bowed. I spotted two vertical scars on their backs.
“They’re banshees. They’re elves’ slaves, which make them our assets, as well. My family has more than seventy banshees. We can ask for half of them and these ones.”
Lucia led me through the banshees. I surveyed at the banshees as we passed by. They only had simple and thin white clothing to wear. I could literally see their lower body. They were all girls. Not one of them dared to look me in the eyes.
The banshees lost the war against the elves. As a result, they were made the latter’s slaves. Lucia continued leading me ahead. Deeper in the dungeon were iron cages. I quickly discerned we were at a prison. I went inside. Lucia grabbed a torch from the side then knocked on one of the cages with a fork that she picked up. There were twenty-plus people squeezed inside despite the cage not being large, consequently making lying down impossible.
The people in the cage were the human prisoners of war. They were stripped naked and were relegated to barely getting by inside the cold iron cage. I didn’t find Queen Sisi among them
Well, I guess it was only logical for Queen Sisi to not be locked together with the group. If not even Lucia had the right to lock Queen Sisi in her room, though, where would Queen Sisi be? It was horrible enough to be locked in there. I hated to imagine where Queen Sisi was held captive.
“These are the prisoners we caught last time. There are more prisoners further in. I think we’ll be able to ask for more than four hundred of them.” Lucia folded her arms. Distressed, she added, “It’s always nice to have more hands, but too many is counterproductive. We also have to budget money to feed them. If they die underground, they’ll affect the banshees. In saying that, we need some new slaves for our new home, right? What should we have these humans do?”
“Have them plant the flavouring crops, I suppose. That way, we’ll have income. They’re just wasting money here anyway.”
Lucia frowned: “Humans wouldn’t buy our flavouring anymore, would they? We can only do business with dwarves now, right?”
“Dwarves are by no means a good business partners. They don’t have good business practices. Humanity can’t be without flavouring. Even though the war continues, we can still sell the flavouring from the North.”
“Mm… that makes sense. I don’t understand all that anyhow. I’ll just leave it all to you. Won’t it be awkward to see Vierya again? After all, in the past, you two –“
Lucia looked back at the humans and continued, “I think I can find something to do. Come exercise with me tomorrow. Let us elves show you our archery.”
“I got a taste of your archery a while ago.”
“But you haven’t seen me shoot before!!” Lucia pouted: “You’ve never seen my archery skills. You only know of them. Archery is one of the things that I’m especially confident with. I must show you my skills.”
“All right, show me, then.”
Current time at the elven main hall.
An elf asked the miserable elven leader, “You do not seem to be so well. We won the war, and humanity has not taken any further military actions. Also, your sister appears to have found herself a good man. Is there anything left for you to worry about?”
“The last point that you mentioned is exactly what I’m not happy about. He’s a human; how am I supposed to trust a human?!! I’m absolutely certain he’s scheming something. Of course I’m angry when my adorable sister has been fooled!!” Lucia’s brother furiously slammed the table. He clinched his head as if he was trying to contain an explosion: “Ah, forget it. Let’s put my family issues aside for the meantime. Business is most important. What is humanity’s response?’
“They refused to pay the ransom.”
“In other words, we can kill Sisi n-?”
“No,” Lucia’s brother suddenly interrupted. “I have a good idea. We’ll use Sisi to kill the human. Leave it to me. Hand me Sisi!”
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