Elves and Humans
“The elves want the prototype steam engine machine?” queried Queen Sisi, pitch higher than usual. “Did they ask for anything else? Resources? Slaves? Money? Did they ask for anything else?”
“They accepted the money, but nothing else. However, they insisted on getting the prototype steam engine; otherwise, they refused to release the captives. This is what they told me to bring you…”
The envoy, who just returned to humanity’s lands from the elven lands, gingerly handed over a small container. The small wooden container didn’t stand out; however, Sisi was vigilant as she knew the elves’ brutal nature. The ladies-in-waiting undoubtedly were also afraid. Alas, since their Queen stayed silent, they had to take it on her behalf.
A putrid stench escaped the container, and flies burst out, frightening the trained lady-in-waiting. Several human ears landed on the floor of the Queen’s conference hall when the container slipped out of the lady-in-waiting’s shaky hands. Queen Sisi, irate, waved her hand. In a shaky voice, the lady-in-waiting called for a guard to take away the repulsive things and clean up the floor.
If the elves were a peace-loving race, they wouldn’t have survived in the harsh forest for centuries. They had defeated anthropoids, fiends and demons. Even the demons, who drove humanity to the south, couldn’t do a thing to the forest the elves guarded. Don’t provoke an elf if you don’t want to have swords lodged in you and your limbs dislodged.
That was elves’ way of telling Sisi that they were not to be trifled with. Sisi knew that she was out of chips to bargain with. The elves weren’t interested in negotiations. They were after a trade, and they were calling the shots. The only way they’d spare the humans was if she gave them the steam engine prototype. Sisi didn’t know if the merchants divulged the steam engine prototype information to the elves in their pleas for mercy or if Dongqing shared the information with the elves as vengeance against her. Either way, the answer couldn’t change the tides.
“The elves number so few. They have one meagre forest. Why can I just not conquer them when I’ve mowed down everyone else? I can’t allow the elves to kill those merchants yet because all of the businessmen in the south are watching,” silently analysed Sisi. “Send one of the prepared prototypes to the elves, and bring back that group of trash for me!”
Originally, the south was another human principality and not the current inhabitants. The only reason they united with the rest of humanity was due to the resistance against the demons necessitating it, as well as Sisi’s schemes, of course. If she gave up on the captured businessmen, she would inevitably lose the support of the businessmen in the south. As a consequence, it would be hard for her to make money off them. Money was almighty in this world. Humanity had to submit to the elves again.
“Veirya, I would really like for you to rest and relax here. Unfortunately, I can’t convince all of the elves to acknowledge you, especially in light of the current circumstance… In saying that, Travor has repaid your loan, so hurry along,” conveyed Lucilia.
Veirya bobbed her head.
Angelina gave Lucilia a small bow: “Thank you for taking care of Veirya during this time, Lucia. Had it not been for you, Veirya wouldn’t be alive.”
“It’s fine. I said it before: Veirya and I are good friends. We once fought side by side, sharing our lives with each other. Therefore, we should help each other out. While I still don’t think positively of humans, I can distinguish between friend and foe.”
Lucilia moved aside for Veirya and Angelina get into the carriage.
Lucilia patted Ascillia’s trembling shoulder with a smile, “Go on, Ascillia. You are always welcome here.”
“Thank you for taking care of me!” stated Ascillia, before losing control of her tears.
Ascillia gave Lucia a big hug despite the latter being the Elven Queen. Lucia wasn’t as tall as Ascillia. Still, Lucia resembled an elder sister hugging her younger sister who was about to leave on a long journey.
Spotting Veirya hop off the carriage, Lucia froze. She released Ascillia and fearfully contemplated, “Did she find out about our tryst…? She didn’t mention it then, so she wouldn’t it now, would she…? What do I do if she mentions it? Refute it to the death? What’s done is done. It’s digested in me already. Veirya has no proof!”
Before Lucia could say anything, Veirya pulled petite Lucia into her embrace. Lucia’s dumbfounded head collided with Veirya’s warm and soft chest with perfect precision. For the first time ever, Lucia realised that having a fatty chest wasn’t useless.
“Is it because I can’t give Travor this feeling when I hug him due to my small size that he doesn’t like me?” wondered Lucia to herself.
“Lucia. Is very cute. As I thought,” stated Veirya, rubbing Lucia’s head on her chest a few times.
“Hey! What’s that supposed to mean?! You treating me as a kid?!”
“No. It’s just. Lucia. You’re really cute. I really like you.”
Veirya firmly rubbed Lucia’s back. Angelina pulled her daughter back and, accompanying a dry chuckle, she conveyed, “Sorry, Lucia. We’ve caused you trouble.”
“No… mm… It’s fine.”
Lucia was going to flip out; however, on second thought, she decided to just forget it. It wasn’t an insult, after all. To add, she liked Veirya’s husband, so… forget it.
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