“Did anything else happen at home recently besides Leah’s condition?”
I dried my hair and sat in a familiar spot. I asked Ross for a cup of hot tea as I conversed with Angelina.
“The workers on the mountain came for you, but you weren’t home. The situation is urgent. We were considering if we needed to report to Her Majesty,” shared Angelina.
Going as far as wanting to report to Queen Sisi was an indication that the circumstances were dire. I wanted to know what it was before deciding if I should let Sisi know or not.
“The elves kidnapped a worker and demanded that you take the ransom to them, or they would kill the hostage,” replied Angelina. “I think it was Lucilia’s idea. If what happened between you two never happened, I think it would be fine to deliver the money. In this case, however, I’m afraid they’ll take both the money and deliverer. Furthermore, Veirya certainly won’t let you go. As such, we plan to have Her Majesty ask for the hostage back. The situation with the elves is a sensitive one, after all.”
“I think it’ll still be awkward even if Sisi went. They took her prisoner, after all.”
Although the elves didn’t brag about it, it didn’t mean that Sisi was indifferent to it. I’d bet it was a big blow and humiliation that she couldn’t erase. I wouldn’t want to recall wetting myself in front of an audience of elves to myself or anyone else, for that matter.. If I were to venture a guess, she had to attribute her ability to eke out her indignant existence during her time held captive to her rough childhood. I predict she’d even forbid us from mentioning elves soon enough. Given those points, there’s no way she’d be able to resolve the elves’ kidnapping incident.
Whether it was paying the ransom or having Veirya and Angelina launching a night raid to rescue the hostage, it was all on us to carry out. That wouldn’t do, though… Chances were the elves kidnapped the worker. As for what the elves were after, beats me. What I did know was that they weren’t after the ransom. Elves were still a race that was self-sustained. They had no need for a lot of wealth, because even if they did have all the money in the world, they wouldn’t be able to use it.
“What are the elves kidnapping a human and asking for a ransom for? Are they trying to see me? That’s meaningless. The last envoy took my cloak back, so there’s no need to kidnap someone to force me to go. I think they might have gained the confidence to try and lure me over to kidnap me after I went along with their demands last time. They might even take my eyes or force me to have a child with Lucilia…
“This isn’t going to work. I can’t go. The elves won’t attack our town, since kidnapping is one thing, but attacking our town is declaring war on Angelina and Veirya. The two of them would crush your elves on plains or in a city,” I analysed.
I was a hundred percent safe here. If I offered myself up to the elves, I’d never be able to come back.
“We’re turning a blind eye. This has nothing to do with us,” I explained, “The elves are definitely not after money but me. I might never be able to return once I go, so I certainly won’t go. Who knows what they’ll do in the forest… Nope, this has nothing to do with us, and don’t tell Sisi. Dump the problem in Edward’s lap. It’s his mine and his worker anyway…”
That last line sounded awkward after I expressed it for I was the major shareholder. While the mine was still under Edward’s name, in reality, I was the administrator of the mine. It should’ve been mine at this point. If Edward didn’t want to bother with the hostage, he couldn’t be blamed. I was the one who should’ve been concerned about the coal mine, after all.
“If neither of us is going to budge, then let’s wait for the elves to kill the hostage. So many people die daily in this world. One more or one less doesn’t matter,” I decided.
I stood up and notifed, “I’m heading upstairs to change.”
“All right.” Anna went to answer the door.
When I got upstairs to change, Veirya placed the new cape she bought me to the side. It still had the scent of new fabric on it. I didn’t know if it was to compete with the sky blue cape I had or what, but she chose a light-red cape… I had no clue which tree my sky blue cape hung from at the moment… I wore on the dry and comfortable clothing. I tied my new cape in place and then left the room.
It was awkward running into Veirya at the door on my way out. She, in contrast, didn’t show any signs of awkwardness. She placed her hands on my shoulder and spun me around. She ran her hands along my back and nodded: “This cape. Looks good. I think. It’s very becoming of you.”
Veirya removed the string tying my cape together and then personally did it up for me as I gingerly caressed her hair.
“Don’t do that. Next time. When it’s time. To come home. You have to come home.”
“Uhm, I won’t do that again. I said that, as I felt somewhat dizzy. I won’t do it again. Don’t worry.”
“Uhm.” Veirya patted my chest: “There’s someone. Waiting for you. Downstairs. It’s a worker. I think. He’s asking you. To go see Lucia. I reckon. You shouldn’t go. I will help you. Rescue the hostage. By force. But. Don’t go.”
It must’ve been hard on Veirya to say so much at once as I’d never anxiety on her face. We still felt averse about meeting with elves after what happened last time. I didn’t plan to interact with the elves any more than necessary. Clearly, Lucilia was trying to make me go over with the kidnapping stunt. You could even argue that she came to snatch me over. Plus, she adopted a child and randomly made me a father. Consequently, Veirya was even more nervous.
“I know. I won’t go. You don’t need to go, either, Veirya. This has nothing to do with us. We shouldn’t get involved. If this was just about humans and elves, then it wouldn’t be too hard to resolve. The issue is that it’s difficult if we’re involved. We’ll leave it to someone who has no connection to the elves, instead.”
Veirya was hesitant to speak. I knew that she felt puzzled. The elves kidnapped our people. As a former soldier and warrior, she couldn’t accept sitting and watching. But she was willing to believe me when I told her that we were to no do anything or even bother, nevertheless.
I thought I’d see a person or two downstairs, only to be surprised by the presence of a big group of people. It was clear as day that they were miners from the coal mine because they were as dark as coal. They bowed shouted out disorderly, “My Lord, please go and have a word with the elves! We are working in terror. They will come and kidnap us! We are genuinely scared!”
I extended a hand to hush them: “Ahem, calm down first. I know that it’s worrying you a lot. I understand. I do. Anyone who saw what the elves did would be. In saying that, you have to understand that Queen Sisi personally appointed Lor Veirya as the administrator of this region. Veirya, therefore, represents Queen Sisi’s dignity and status. If we bow our heads to the elves and negotiate with them while avoiding her, then Queen Sisi will find fault with us. That is not to say that we will let your men be captured and killed. We will write a letter to Queen Sisi to request her opinion. You just need to wait.”
Needless to say, said letter never existed, doesn’t exist and wouldn’t exist. I only mentioned it to placate them, and have them wait. If they came again, I’d just tell them that the response would be coming soon. Then, I’d wait until things were set in the imperial city so that I could leave the North and reside in the imperial capital permanently. The miners could do whatever they wanted in the North. That was none of my business.
“That will not work, though, My Lord. The elves… they asked that we pay the ransom in three days! They also asked that you personally took it to them! It already has been two days. If you do not deliver the money tomorrow, he will die for sure, so please… Please… Please save him first…”
“Calm down. If the elves want money, why would they kill their hostage? How would they get money if their hostage is dead? It’s just their ploy. Stay calm. There seriously is no need to be worried. I’ll deal with it. Don’t worry.”
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