“Just what happened?” Kanna asked in the human language. She tapped a cloth on Amelia’s forehead—who was asleep on Kanna’s thighs.
Garfin heaved a sigh. [I’m not sure either.] He leaned on a tree and crossed his arms. [But there’s one thing I’m sure of. Amelia was hiding something.]
Garfin recalled the events happened in the lair. Back then, he heard a shout just before the boulders smashed the ground.
“Take the deepest breath you can!” It was an unexpected response. For one, most, if not all, were frozen in shock. They never expected that they would die alongside their allies and foes.
However, this voice of Amelia chipped the dwarfs’ attention away from Greith. And since they no longer have anything to lose, they followed Amelia’s order.
On the other hand, the goblins were torn whether to follow or not, but the Goblin Commander did as Amelia shouted. He roared his order to the goblins. Unfortunately, he was a tad late. Not all goblins were able to follow his order.
[It was like a miniature sun,] Garfin muttered. [It was the largest Sun’s Seer I have ever seen.]
A whitish ball of flame rose towards the crevice. At the same time Greith blew his breath, the ball expanded and burned like a sun.
The Seer and Greith’s breath lit the whole cavern. The two met and created a swirling ball of flame, dyeing the nearby rocks to a char.
The atmosphere in the cavern, closed in all sides, immediately changed. The temperature rose. Oxygen was depleted. Sweat trickled and evaporated. Bodies fell, clawed the ground, and begged for air. And soon, the rocks burned red and started to melt. One could describe it as an inferno.
[It was when drops of molten lava trickled to the ground when I unconsciously looked at Amelia.]
There Garfin saw an unusual sight.
[She was clutching her rapier. At that point, I confirmed that the Seer came from Amelia—despite not hearing any chant.] Garfin exhaled. [But I knew. The mana stored in the rapier is not enough to manifest a Seer for that long of a period. More than that… she wore that fabric. A fabric known to dwarfs in legends.]
Amelia did it to protect herself from her own armor. She used the fabric from her necklace to protect herself from direct contact with the armor. Since, as the temperature rose, so did the armor she wore. It was a burden.
Amelia could have hidden it with an illusion. But Amelia was new to chant-less magic. She had difficulty maintaining two taxing magic circles at the same time. More so that illusion magic required a great deal of concentration for it to not waver.
She could have muttered the chant instead, but muttering or speaking was the same as depleting one’s breath. In her situation, she needed that air to maintain her own life.
In addition, she did not know how much power she needed to negate Greith’s breath. Which was why, as much as possible, she was preserving her mana.
[Afterward, the crevice closed. That dragon probably thought we were dead. But I guess we’re lucky he did not confirm whether we were alive or not.]
The crevice was only large enough for a third of Greith’s jaw to enter. So Greith saw nothing. The Fairy too did not care. She thought everyone inside would perish with no questions asked.
[It did not stop there.] Garfin wiped his forehead with his palm. [The exit, which was blocked by earthen spikes, began to open up. Though it was a simple Earth Mold, it was enough to bore through the blockade. And again, the doubt falls on Amelia. But that was when she fell unconscious for the first time. Then afterward, I ordered the dwarfs to escape while goblins were weakened.]
The goblins were not good with extreme heat unlike the dwarfs, which left them crawling towards the exit.
[Every dwarf ran towards the exit Amelia paved. Of course, we dragged the injured and the dead along. I too ran after carrying Amelia. It was rush for air that I thought I’d never experience once again.]
A short moment after the dwarfs ran and recovered some strength, they searched the lair and found the Goblin Queen.
[That goblin smiled when we came. She even welcomed us, which was weird. More than that, she volunteered herself as a hostage.] Garfin expressed a dry laugh. [Since everyone was exhausted and dehydrated, we agreed to take her and secured ourselves from the goblins that lived. After that, we waited until Kan arrived.]
“Then Lia heard the situation and forced herself into riding with Kan?”
[You guessed right.]
Kanna knitted her brows in dissatisfaction. “Lia...”
Kanna lifted Amelia and administered some water from a nearby wooden bowl. “But can’t we return to the Tribe instead of treating Lia here?” Kanna grimaced at the sight of Amelia drowned in sweat. “This place isn’t appropriate for recovery.”
Garfin grumbled. [I have the same thoughts, but we promised Ark and her servants that we’ll protect her. Things might go south if someone from them knew what happened to Amelia and passed it over to Laurel. And knowing Amelia—]
“She won’t let that happen and stay here instead.” Kanna heaved a sigh. “Really, Lia, how do you cope up with the limited actions you can take?”
At times, Amelia would flinch in pain. Her skin, flushed in red, was covered by the fabric that manifested from her necklace since Kanna did not know how to remove it. However, her armor was removed and was left in the lair.
“Sure, there’s no external injury, but dehydration and mana exhaustion… can’t you take a better care of yourself, Lia?” Kanna laid Amelia back to her thighs. “And Garfin, what would the Tribe do about it?”
[That in itself is under review.]
Kanna frowned. “Really, just because Lia was hiding something from everyone doesn’t mean she needs to be investigated or interrogated. And besides, she did it for the good of everyone. Can’t we just not pry into it?”
[I myself want to hide the fact, but undoubtedly, a few dwarfs saw her as well. So, for now, we have to isolate those who knew from those who doesn’t and ask them not to speak of it.] Garfin then gritted his teeth. [But dwarfs, as you know it, can’t stop speaking when booze comes onto the table.]
Kanna bit her lips. “Garfin, please, don’t take the only place Lia can rest a peace away from her. Don’t add up to her burden and worries. And the fabric, it’s something she received from Divine Beast that often appears during the proving.”
Kanna made up a lie. Although it was not entirely wrong, she wanted to patch things up before Amelia recovered.
[I could tell them that, but what about the Seer? The extent of mana she had shown?] Garfin scratched his head. [We need to make up a believable scenario to avoid this, Kanna, so come think of a plausible situation with me before the Elves return.]
“… How about Dresbon and Arkand?”
[I’m representing them, so you don’t have to worry. I’ll convince the dwarfs too after the Elf chiefs accepted our findings.]
Kanna glanced towards Garfin with a tear in her eye. “Thank you, Garfin.”
[I don’t want to see my Granddaughter frowning, so don’t mention it.] Garfin roamed his eyes around in an attempt to avoid eye contact.
“Really.” Kanna smiled. “I’m glad Lia has someone like you.”
Nearby Greith’s corpse, where the wyvern from the Tribe was feasting, was the fairy bounded by shackles of ice.
[Curse… you… spirit...!] She was forced to watch the wyverns feast on Greith. At the same time, Sylveus, Sylvar’s contracted spirit, was keeping the fairy from using any magic.
[You sure made a mess around the forest,] Ran muttered, sitting on a branch where the fairy was bounded. [You guys did the same thing within Alabaster too.]
[What did you… say…?] the fairy wrung her voice.
[Your comrades, they messed up Alabaster’s ecosystem. But oh well, they’re gone anyway. We just need to keep things up to restore it back to how it used to.]
[I was not there, but I heard they were dead. And from what I’ve heard, you were waiting for them, right? Then I guess you waited for nothing.]
[There’s… no way…!] The fairy struggled. However, in response to her struggle, the shackles bounding her bit her skin.
[You shouldn’t try to escape. I can hit you even from afar. And I don’t think I’ll even need a special technique to do it.] Ran smiled. [Just a simple and quick shot.]
Ran sighed. [Your race never learns, do they? Sylveus, it’s fine. Let her speak.]
[Hhaaah… Hhaah… You. Beings like you are the ones who never learn.]
[I wonder.] Ran kicked her legs.
[You hate war, but you are cowards. You ran away and hid from it instead of making an end for it.]
[True. We did run away to avoid war, but what’s wrong with that?] Ran glanced towards the fairy.
[That’s selfishness.] The fairy snickered.
[Hmm… you could say that? But I guess that’s fine for us. I mean, if being selfish would preserve our future, why not? After all, we don’t claim ourselves as saviors or warriors of justice. We just wanted a simple life away from the feud between the races. And really, it’s quite taxing to think about it.]
[Why not wish that kind of life for everyone?] The fairy grinned. [Are you that weak?]
[There’s no point in thinking about everyone’s life. We don’t have time for that. We can’t even rule a large group with one head so why bother?]
[Exactly. Which why, to stop the war, and to preserve everyone’s life, we need to cut down the races to the bare minimum.]
[Is that what Titania drilled into you? But I guess I should apologize. I won’t buy your reason no matter what you say. At this point, your just a prisoner. But besides that, I think you fairies had yet heard of Ragnell the Dwarf.]
[Queen Titania’s teachings are reasonable. They bring a solution to a problem while presenting joy and excitement to us fairies. But Ragnell? A dwarf? We fairies have nothing to do with unreasonable dwarfs.]
[I think you should have taken him into account based on your objective, but well, even us Elves did not know of his existence. Not after the dwarfs told us though. But his story sure is surprising. To bring different races together and make a shelter for them. It’s a dreamlike ideal that actually worked.]
[Heh. A dwarf brought the races together? That’s a farce.]
[There’s an evidence and we’re already confirming it. It won’t be that long before it happens. But that’s it. That’s all I can tell you about Ragnell.] Ran giggled.
[It doesn’t really matter to me.] The Goblin Queen, Oisa, shook Sylvar’s hand. [It’s a far better condition than the fairy’s.]
[That’s good to hear.] Sylvar smiled. [Please inform my spirit, Sylveus, once you goblins have settled on a place to stay on.]
[Are you sure you don’t want us goblins inside your Tribe?] Oisa smiled.
[No, not at this moment. However, I’ll be keeping tabs on your actions. If ever we confirm that you and your goblins are safe to bring into the Tribe, then we’ll consider. But for now, let’s keep our distance while maintaining communication.]
Oisa placed a hand over her chest clothed with a rag. [Unfortunate.]
[But I have to admit, you seem capable.]
[My?] Oisa brought her fingers to her lips.
[Please, let’s excuse the exaggerations. Only Kan would gladly ride on such.]
[I can hear you!] Kan shouted while tending on the injured dwarfs.
[Do you not want to make a lasting impression?] Oisa swept her black hair towards her back.
Sylvar laughed. [I prefer lasting impressions based on actions, not dialogue or appearance. But are you sure you don’t need us to tend on the goblins who were barely alive?]
[There’s nary a need.] Oisa took a serious tone as she shook her head. [As long as I live, and a few males and servants of mine, we can recuperate. Besides, I needed to get rid of Goblin Princes or Princesses candidates within my rule. This would help me solve my problem of my goblins aiming for my throne.]
[That solid determination of yours is something that I’m fond of.]
[Right?] Oisa giggled. [Anyway, I have to greet the goblins I have met. I must inform them of our agreement.]
[I would do the same.]
Sylvar and Oisa agreed to have an agreement. The agreement, in exchange for Oisa’s life and a few goblins, covered a few details. First was that the goblins would provide a part of its resources to the Tribe. This is in exchange for eliminating some goblins within Oisa’s horde.
Although it sounded contradictory and out of sense, Oisa had a reason. For one, goblins could only have one ruler. It’s either a Queen or a King. Candidates were designated as Prince or Princess.
Once a candidate appears, the goblins would become torn. And since there’s only one possible ruler for the goblins, there are two possible outcomes. The first is to oust and kill the current ruler. The second was to leave the horde and become rogues.
Rogues, on their own, could start a new horde. How a new horde starts depends on what type of ruler it has.
Queens could breed goblins. In that situation, the goblins would be defensive and sustain themselves through a simple life.
Kings, on the other hand, are different. They are offensive and greedy. Goblins under the rule of King tend to strike races compatible with them and breed through their women.
In either case, Oisa did not want any contestants. In addition, killing candidates upfront would not serve the goblins as a good example of a ruler, which is why she employed the Tribe’s help to simulate a situation where the goblin candidates met an unfortunate accident.
Quite a fortunate situation, Sylvar thought. But still, it felt like she was prepared for this.
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