Tl Note: Please check the note at the end in the last chapter. There are no sprites anymore. The four sprites are all elves. There's a more in-depth explanation at the end of the previous chapter. Also the character underneath the koro toku? was changed to small cave dweller.
VOLUME 2: CHAPTER 100 - A CERTAIN PARTING
Class King; Ruler
Possessed Skills Ruler of the Demon Children of Chaos; Defiant Soul; World Devouring Howl; Sword Mastery A-; Dominator; King's Soul; Ruler's Wisdom III; Household of the Gods; One-Eyed Snake's Evil Eye; The King's Dance at the Edge of Death; Magic Manipulation; Soul of the Berserk King; Third Impact (The Third Chant); Instinct; Blessing of the Underworld Goddess
Divine Protection Goddess of the Underworld (Altesia)
Attributes Darkness; Death
Subordinate Beasts High Kobold Hasu (Lv77); Gastra (Lv20); Cynthia (Lv20); Orc King (Bui) (Lv82)
Abnormal Status Blessing of the One-Eyed Snake; Protection of the Twin-Headed Snake
"Do you want to go home?" I asked.
Shumea and Gi Za turned to me with reproach in their eyes. In Gi Za's case, it was probably because he would be troubled by the elf's absence, while in Shumea's, it was most likely because she thought I was only teasing her.
"Will you let me go home?" Selena asked with fear.
I nodded. "When the time comes. I need a contact to reach out to the elves after all."
That wasn't a lie. The goblins weren't enough to take over the world. It's not enough even with Bui's orcs and Hasu's kobolds.
To win against the humans, I need to gather the power of many races. The sylph with their masterful archery is one such race. I need them, but there's no need to antagonize them.
Should they get in my way, however, I won't mind forcefully annexing them into my kingdom. Everything will depend on how the sylphs react.
"Goblin boss, you sure are big-hearted," Shumea said.
"Are you sure you haven't simply forgotten your place?" I said back.
Shumea wryly smiled and scratched her head. "Well, if you put it that way..."
"Umm... T-Thank you," Selene sheepishly said.
"It's nothing to be grateful about."
Everything depends on how the sylphs respond. There's no reason to thank me.
After that Selena talked about the particularities of the sylph's lifestyle.
She talked about playing with the small peoplekoro, about eating the edible plants near her village, and about the other elves her age.
The thing that caught my attention the most were the small metal workerskoro dwarves. They dug out holes to live in and were skilled in smithing and other industrial arts. The elves often traded elven liquor in exchange for their arrows and knives.
"How many of those koro dwarves are there?"
"Oh, they're everywhere," Selena said with a rare smile.
I inadvertently raised my brows at that. Her smile was beautiful, like the blooming of a flower, but I can't believe she's still answering so vaguely. It's not actually that much of an issue, but it really slows down the conversation. Not to mention, I can't follow up on this right now. If the other sylphs found out that I'm interested, they might use it to their advantage.
I asked a different question.
Apparently, the sylphs prefer to isolate themselves in various forests and build villages for themselves. They rarely interfered in matters of the world outside. They truly believed that there was no greater happiness than being in the forest.
But there were exceptions, and some of them would choose to live alongside the humans as adventurers.
When the discussion reached this point, Shumea spoke. "I've heard of some of those. There's the King of Bows, Feeney, from the Blood Oath of the Moon FlowerFairy Clan, Five-Bow Shuen from the Holy Shushunu Kingdom to the east, and although not an archer, there's also the salamander, Barui."
Sylph happily added. "Feeney and Mr. Shuen are both sylphs. Mr. Barui is probably a salamander. But regardless, they all went out into the world over 30 years ago. They're amazing people!"
The Five-Bow apparently refers to the top five bow users in the Holy Shushunu Kingdom.
"So, why did you end up a slave then? Weren't the sylphs supposed to be happy living in the forest?" I asked.
Apparently, it wasn't a pleasant topic for the sylph, as Selena's shoulders immediately dropped. Shumea's glare was pretty painful, but I ignored it and implored Selena to speak.
"...I've always looked up to the world outside. In the forest there's no need to worry about food and other basic needs, but..."
When Selena went silent, Shumea consoled her with a hug.
"...A long time ago, someone told me this, 'This place has everything... Everything except freedom'. That person left the village, and I never got to meet her again, but it was meeting her that made me want to see the world outside. I couldn't understand what this 'freedom' she kept talking about was, but she dreamed of it. I wanted to understand what that 'freedom' she yearned for was, so I left the village." Shumea said with tears in her eyes.
"And then you got caught by an evil slave trader?" Gi Za said, at which Selena tearfully nodded.
"Freedom, huh. Well... It's good to be able to do as you please." The former slave, Shumea, wryly smiled as she rubbed the back of her neck where her collar used to be. All her life she's been thrown around by others. Who knows how mentally painful it is to realize not even your own life belongs to you.
My Defiant Soul ached within me. How many have been tortured with that pain? It doesn't matter whether it's the gods or the powerful humans. Such an act is unforgivable.
"I see... So that's how you ended up a slave."
"Cheer up, alright? If I ever meet that person, I'll tell her you're doing well. So, what's her name?"
"Thank you... That person's name is... Pale. Pale Tranquil ForestSymphoria."
The main street, where the mainstream stores were lined up, was hustling and bustling as always. In the alley, a short walk away from the main street, was the corner taken up by the slave traders.
Today, one of the imperial guards, Yuza, was out on a patrol with the lowborn soldiers.
Lately, his temper had been getting worse to the point that it seemed to be boiling over almost everyday. The increase in adventurers had led to an increase in disputes and fighting, but his superior, the commander of the imperial guards, was an unreliable sham who couldn't do anything past flatter the government officials.
The increase in adventurers wasn't all a bad thing, however, as their expansion would mean less monsters in the forest.
-There are too many muscle-brained thugs! What a waste! If you have the strength to make trouble, use it in the forest!
Yuza spat curses in his mind as he quickened his pace. He ran past the main street into the alley.
"Why are adventurers such a pain!? And why do they always cause trouble along my route!?""
The moment Yuza entered the alley, where barely anyone could hear him, he opened the lid on his seething rage, and started cursing out loud. His subordinates seemed used to his antics already, as they only looked at each other and wryly smiled.
"Because of you I had to give up my day off! Because of you my beloved Shifa was saddened! She even started to grumble saying, 'Work Again?' All because of you!"
Yuza's serious vice-captain did not bother interacting with him as he went on his rampage.
Speaking of which, Shifa was referring to Yuza's only four-year-old daughter. Yuza's vice-captain had already grown calluses on his ear listening to Yuza's complaints whenever they went out to drink. When he thought of Yuza's daughter, he thought of how adorable the little girl was.
"We should quickly wrap this up then. Your adorable Shifa is waiting for you after all," Yuza's vice-captain said.
"Bastard, are you aiming for my daughter! I'm not giving her to you! I absolutely won't! ...Damn it, I can't believe the other guards actually think the adventurers are too hard to handle!"
Naturally, Yuza's vice-captain couldn't actually hate or like a four-year-old kid.
Except for Yuza's complaints and needless affection over his daughter, he was actually a pretty good boss.
He had a strong sense of righteousness, he didn't accept bribes, and he always stood in front of the lowborn soldiers when entering a scene.
All humans had faults. Yuza's vice-captain wryly smiled as he thought that, then he turned his focus back to his boss.
"The disturbance is up ahead," Yuza's vice-captain said.
"Good! Let's get this over with quickly. You have permission to use your sword depending on the situation, so go ahead and unfasten those clasps now."
The soldiers looked at each other. The use of swords was strictly regulated. Misuse would be met with a heavy punishment.
The fact that they were given permission to use their swords meant that the situation was that dangerous. Still... it was best to be cautious.
"Is that alright?"
"Think ahead. Even the onlookers are probably equipped! But, listen! Although I told you to ready yourselves, you are absolutely not to unsheathe your weapons until I give the signal to!"
Although the man grumbled a lot, there was no doubting his skill. Inadvertently, Yuza's vice-captain gripped his club tight.
"Ha! All men, ready your weapons!"
At the vice-captain's command, all the guards unfastened the clasp on their weapons.
"Imperial Guards! Clear the area!" Yuza said.
The onlookers all winced when he said that.
The alley was a place that attracted the sort of people who would handle slaves. The people whose legs were wounded here was not limited to just one or two.
Yuza and his men passed through the alley and entered a certain slave shop.
Some time earlier inside the same slave shop.
The slave trader had a complacent smile plastered on his face as he eyed the customer. His long years as a slave trader had given him a kind of skill that allowed him to see the value of his customers. The customer today was a big one.
From what he's gathered, the people before him were members of a famous clan.
"Dear customers from Soar to FreedomElks, is there anything that's caught your fancy?"
The slave trader couldn't be happier. Rich customers have been visiting him one after another. Just a few days ago, that holy knight, Gene, paid big bucks for three slaves. And today, he was going to strike it rich again. He was the luckiest man in the world, he thought. The joy filling him made him unable to contain his laughter.
"Are your human slaves all like these?"
As the customers were a clan from the distant east, there was no way they would know of the market price. It shouldn't matter even if he overcharged them a bit, the slave trader thought as he flicked his abacus.
-Do they prefer demihumans?
The slave trader nodded. "The castle has been pressuring us a lot lately."
Slaves usually came either as a result of battle or as a means to pay one's debt. The better the quality, the more expensive the slaves were. Of course, there were also slaves who became slaves as punishment for their crimes.
The slave trader's tongue fluently moved as he negotiated.
"...I'm looking for an elven girl. Her name is Selena," said a beautiful elf who stepped out from the crowd of adventurers.
Her bountiful golden hair gathered into a single stream behind her, and on her back could be seen a bow that had been clearly used for a long time. Her pair of emerald eyes were filled with much sorrow even as she spoke. This elf was indeed none other than Pale Symphoria.
Although the slave trader had handled many elves before, the elf before him was so beautiful he actually gasped.
"Oi, you gonna talk or what? The princess is asking," a scoundrel-looking man said from the side.
The slave trader was so enchanted that it wasn't until the scoundrel-looking man had taken him by the collar that he finally awoke.
"T... There's no elf here by that name."
The moment the slave trader said that, the scoundrel-looking man hit him.
"Ryutanu, there's no need to be so rough," Pale said.
"Don't worry. I know what I'm doing," Ryutanu gently laughed, then he turned his gaze to the slave trader.
His sharp gaze weighed heavily on the poor slave trader.
"Leader, I'm gonna have a man-to-man talk with this guy, so... Can you give us some space?"
The young man Ryutanu referred to as 'leader' heaved a sigh, and then he left through the back with Pale.
"Leader, Mr. Ryutanu..."
"Think about how he feels too... Besides, weren't you intending to leave the clan?"
Pale tried to argue, but the man called leader shut her down.
"That guy feels indebted to you, so..."
It was almost time for the seasons to change in the capital. The rainy clouds that appeared to block the sun were proof of that.
"But..." Pale tried to argue when Ryutanu came out.
"Leader," he said, stopping Pale from saying anything further, "it seems she was sold to the holy knight called Gene."
When the young man called 'leader' heard that, he frowned.
"Gene... That's the guy who died in the forest, right?"
"...So she's missing," Pale muttered. Gradually, panic began to appear on her face.
The leader and Ryutanu looked at each other.
"I... I think I'll go back to the forest... to my hometown," Pale said.
"...That would be best," the leader said, at which Ryutanu nodded.
They could come with her too if they so wished, but doing so would mean abandoning everything they've built up in the east. They would have to start again here in the west. They understood this, but after having been together for so long, watching the elf leave made the clan feel so much smaller.
"Princess, thank you for everything."
Ryutanu bowed to the elf, and then quickly ran back to the store.
"A farewell gift," Pale said.
The bag she handed over was clearly full of gold coins.
"I don't need this," the leader said, "it was thanks to you that our clan grew from that tiny group to become something everyone in the east knew. We were just a group of thugs, but just as the name of our clan says, we were able to free ourselves to reach a land unknown, becoming pioneers. We couldn't be here today if it weren't for you."
Ah, so these are parting words, Pale thought as she looked down.
"The truth is we should be the ones helping you. We should be coming here with you to help reclaim the forest, but..."
"The issue with the red king can't be avoided... I know."
A battle between clans to be first. Pale's absence would greatly hurt their clan, but they still sent her off without any malice. For that she was grateful.
"You have money now, so at least you won't end up like you did before," the leader said.
The man chuckled at that, and she too laughed. When she first left the forest, she got lost in the crowd of humans, and she ended up in the alley with a group of scoundrels. The ones who saved her then were the members of Elks.
From then on they gradually gathered members to turn that small clan into the clan it was today. Memories flashed before them as they said their farewells. There were times when it was painful, and times when it was sad, but in the end, it was a happy memory.
"Goodbye, Pale Symphoria of the Quiet Moon."
"Farewell, "First Wing", Touri Nokia."
The two bumped their fists and then parted.
The leader, Touri, expelled all thoughts of the girl disappearing into the crowd of people, then he went back to the store. Ryutanu was currently being questioned by the imperial guards.
"Damn it... I guess we'll be eating behind bars for a while."
But if it meant ridding himself of the sorrow lurking in his heart, he might as well go wild.
Tl Note: Why nokia? Of all names, seriously...
That one down there isn't really a spoiler, but I thought I might as well hide it... It's just about my favorite character making an appearance.