VOLUME 2: CHAPTER 103 - DEMIHUMAN VILLAGE
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
"I've brought news, Your Majesty."
To strengthen the horde I had the rare goblins hunt the surrounding area, while I had the noble goblins go to the west to look for a path.
Gi Ji Arsil came to report their findings.
"We found a demihuman village. It's about a four-day's distance to the west and another day's distance to the south. I was warned not to get any closer when I approached, so I took the others and went back."
-Demihumans. After hearing about them from Shumea, I did expect there would be some villages to the west, but I didn't think we'd actually stumble onto one. How fortunate.
"They warned you, did they? That's not bad at all."
Since they didn't attack immediately, they must be intelligible. It's good to avoid needless fights. I hope they're willing to hear us goblins out, but if not, I'll just have to take the human, Shumea, or the elf, Selena, along.
"So, describe to me these demihumans. How did they look?"
"They had legs like a spider's, but their upper body was like a human's. There might be other types in the other villages."
Creatures not humans, but look like them. According to Shumea, some of these demihumans are friendly with humans, but there's an even greater number of them living in the border afraid.
They were created by the god of wind and the god of earth, right?
I hear they used to live in the plains, but...
"Gi Ji, is that village situated in the plains?"
"No, it's inside a forest. They built a nest of some sort. At first, I even thought it was a nest of annie spiders or giant spiders, but someone called out to us when we tried approaching."
Well, it's not like everything you hear is true.
I don't know whether that's always been their home, or they were driven away and forced to live there, but it is a fact that they are living in a forest now.
"Alright, good job. I'll be paying that village a visit tomorrow. I'll be relying on you to lead the way."
"As you command."
The next day, I took Gi Ji, Shumea, Selena, the shaman, Gi Za Zakuend, the wind mage, Gi Do, and the ferocious Gi Ba with his three-man cell group to the demihuman village.
I took only a few people with me to avoid alerting them. To ensure we had enough firepower, I made sure to bring the druid-class goblins.
According to Selena, the demihumans prefer to fight upfront rather than rely on magic. I've been talking with her to gather information ever since I got that report about the demihumans' sighting.
It seems there is an old oath between the elves and the demihumans.
They would protect each other's territories as long as they did not encroach on each other's domains. The elves excelled in magic, while the demihumans used their strong bodies to hunt. I learned all sorts of things from Selena, from the way they marked their territories to the way they greeted each other.
Among the things I've learned was the favorite things of the demihumans. When I asked Selena about the spider-legged people, it turns out they were actually known as the Araneae. One of the araneaen tribes apparently liked fishes.
We were going to negotiate with them anyway, so I figured I might as well bring some gifts.
I checked with Kuzan whether it was possible to fish from the river flowing in the basement of the abyss, and apparently, it was indeed possible. It was just that the goblins preferred to eat meat, so no one ever really bothered.
When I got the fishes, I had to look for a way to carry them, as the distance to the village was quite far. They would spoil before we even got close. I figured I'd put them in some sort of container like a jar with water inside, but it turns out there's actually no such container in the goblin villages.
With the container plan out, I thought I'd smoke them instead. But when I tried doing it myself, I failed.
"Now what?" I said to no one in particular when I noted Shumea passing from the corner of my eyes.
Wait, there is someone who can help!
"Shumea, can you spare a moment?"
"What is it, Boss?"
After explaining my situation, she agreed to help me smoke the fishes. It's really inconvenient being a goblin. When the fishes were done, I placed them inside a box made out of bark.
They were poorly made, but it was better than nothing.
Along the way I conversed with Selena on matters regarding the demihumans. We moved a four-day's distance west, and then another day's distance south.
I had a normal goblin carry the box as we made way to the village.
"We're near." Selena's halved elven ears twitched.
"You can tell?" Shumea asked.
Sharpening my ears, I looked around us.
Hopefully everything goes smoothly.
"There are a lot of masses with seemingly eight-legs moving near us. The village should be no more than an hour away."
Selena held her handmade bow. She looked so happy it seemed like she wanted to jump out in joy. She's been showing a lot more emotions lately compared to when she first came to the fortress. I guess she's finally gotten used to us.
A giant spider appeared along the way, but the goblins quickly took care of it.
"Ho..." Gi Za muttered before letting out a breath in admiration.
The scene before us was just that amazing. Densely packed trees were woven together with spider threads, creating a perfectly closed wall with no openings.
Without thinking it through, I tried touching the thread.
It was flexible, a little sticky, and thick enough that I couldn't easily push through it with my finger. Judging from how much of it was used, it should be safe to assume that the demihumans are able to produce it.
The branches up above rustled, and I looked up. Up the defensive wall was a demihuman standing.
The lower part of his body was a spider's, but the upper part was a human's. Muscles covered his whole body, and a spear was on his left hand. He looked at us menacingly.
"Goblins, what business do you have here?" The man's voice seemed muffled. Was that because of fear? Or was it because of anger?
"It's the man from before," Gi Ji said, "our king wishes to speak with you!"
I stepped forward.
"We are the denizens of the east. We came here to negotiate with you, the Araneae of the Household of Crystals. We brought some gift too. I'd like for you to receive it."
I took the box from the normal goblin and threw it up the wall of threads.
The box landed right by the demihuman's feet. He looked at it, then he checked the contents.
"The reason you goblins know our favorite food is because of that elf?" The demihuman looked at Selena with a sharp gaze, but there was no intent to kill.
But that pressure was enough to make Selena hide behind Shumea.
Shumea wryly smiled. "It's true Selena is the one who told them about the fish, but the one who thought of preparing it in the first place is that boss over there."
"Don't open your mouth lightly, filthy human!!" the demihuman was filled with wrath when he spoke to Shumea.
"Gee, sorry..." Shumea shrugged her shoulders as she lightly scratched her head.
"What is your response?" I asked the demihuman.
My raised voice seemed to have somewhat pressured the demihuman, as he quivered a bit. "Wait for a while!" He said as he took the box and left.
"What do you think?" I asked Selena, but she didn't have a clear answer to give.
After waiting for a while, three demihumans appeared above the white wall. They walked vertically down the wall to us.
"In honor of the old oath, greetings, elf." A woman stepped out from the three araneae demihumans. She glanced at me for a moment, before turning to Selena.
I'm sure she means no ill will. The old oath was just so important that as demihumans they had to greet the elf first despite knowing I was the one with the most authority in our group.
I wonder just how much hold that oath has on them.
"A pleasure to make your acquaintance. I am a daughter of the sylph, a descendant of the forests and the winds."
"The pleasure is mine. I am a daughter of the araneae, a descendant of the crystal."
After she finished exchanging greetings with selena, she turned to me and bowed her head.
"I am the Black Darkness of the Demonic Children," I introduced myself.
"It is an honor to meet you. I am a daughter of the araneae."
It appears it is customary for the demihumans to first see who it is they are dealing with. There was some shred of intimacy in the way she spoke to Selena just now, but when she spoke to me, her manner of speaking was quite stiff. Nerves? Or is there something more to it?
"I am here as a representative of my village, my name is Nikea."
"I am the king of the demonic children of chaosgoblins who live in the east."
The two male araneae behind her must've been her guards. Their whole body was covered in muscles. The sharp gaze they looked at me with spoke of their ferocity.
"To what does our Fizona owe the honor of this visit?"
"I wish to trade."
The demihumans are just as I expected them to be with strong and sturdy bodies. I would really like to add them to my army, but it seems the demihumans and the elves are a proud bunch.
Their kind are ill-suited for subservience. It's because of that that they couldn't create a vast country and instead ended up in this tiny village. I doubt they would so easily prostrate themselves before me.
So first I'll have to find out their situation. Neither Shumea nor Selena was privy to their true state of affairs, so I'll have to go about this the long way.
"A trade? If so then we will only trade goods for goods."
I feel like her eyes sparkled just now.
That probably means she thinks we can give her what she wants.
"We wish to trade our fish for your threads."
We don't have any currency right now, so the word 'trade' is probably beyond the goblins' comprehension. To the goblins, it is enough to simply take from others what you lack. But a policy like that can't last forever.
If you attack someone and steal what is theirs to fill what you are lacking. When the time comes that you need more of it, from where will you take it? The people you stole from before have long died. The dead cannot produce anything. To be honest, even I'm not confident that the goblins would indeed be capable of producing something themselves.
The goblins are skilled hunters. They can even use traps now. In fact, the higher goblins have even started to use traps other than the pitfall I taught them. But the issue on food isn't something that can be solved forever with just hunting. Right now it's still manageable, but with the goblin's explosive reproduction rate, the forest will eventually be hunted bare.
That's why I don't want to take advantage of the goblin's love for meat. As much as possible their hunts should be kept to a minimum, taking only what is needed. That's why I don't want to trade anything else from our hunts beyond the meat. Other things like the skin of the beasts shouldn't be traded. Doing so would only make things worse. But at the same time, choosing not to trade such things limits my options.
Should I trade our services? That's not a bad idea, but the demihuman's strength is still currently a mystery. I could just fight them anyway or I could sell the service of our military... But a decision now is too hasty. I need more information.
In the worst case, I'll just have to trade those fishes.
"...We are currently not lacking in fish," Nikea said.
Is she bluffing or telling the truth? To be honest I'm not used to negotiating, so I can't tell.
"Then what is it that you're interested in? We are trading because we wish to form a good relationship with the araneae," I bluntly said that it was not wealth that we were after. I said it with a little bit of pressure though. They shouldn't forget that the goblins could become trouble for them in the near future.
I'm sure she got the message.
If this negotiation fails, then so be it. We'll just have to get their cooperation by force.
We both have something on the line in this trade. On my end, I have the goblin's power and their future, on her end, she has her village.
It would be problematic if they forgot which side was stronger.
Our negations continued for some time even as I started to grow impatient.
"There's a favor I would like to ask. Would you hear me out?" She said.
"It's a request, so naturally I would have to hear you out first," I said rudely as if to remind her of the difference in strength between our races. Nikea frowned for a moment before speaking her request.
She was poker-faced again as she spoke, but when I heard her reuqest, I was shocked.