Chapter 25 – Elf Merchant
Mamnak then explained the situation, while Ralph helped to fill in the gaps in Menew’s knowledge.
“While slavery is forbidden in this country, it is different elsewhere. And so sometimes, people are taken from this country and shipped out… I was captured by a merchant who deals with elves. Elves are rare and live long lives. And rarely have children.”
“Elves tend to be fair and strong with magic. But on the other hand, they are incredibly weak to physical attacks.”
And so they can be taken down as long as they don’t sense your presence. Maknam gritted her teeth as Ralph explained it.
In other words, they were weaker than humans when it came to attack and defense ability. So it was no wonder that she might have misunderstood when Menew caught her.
While that made sense, he was still not sure why he had to be attacked like that.
“If you only knew how many bitter memories I have since I was born, thanks to humans… Still, I unleashed my most powerful magic at you. Why are you still alive…”
Maknam looked at Menew tiredly. Ralph let out a resigned sigh.
So, he had meant to blow Menew’s head off…
“Apparently, I’m quite durable. So, are you going to apologize?”
“I am sorry! I am! …So, please make that divine beast stop. I think it wants to eat me.”
Maknam bowed her head desperately.
If the previous attack was her most powerful, then Menew had nothing to fear. And Ralph could defend himself as well… So it should be fine. And so he made Stan shrink again and perch on his shoulder.
“Yes. While I was fine, I hope you won’t do that again. By the way, what do you mean…since you were born?”
“Hmm… When capturing elves, several barrier masters work together to block all magic in the village. And then they gather everyone together and put them in a cage with a small barrier. Otherise, the elves will counter with magic, and it will all be over. So they are kept inside that barrier until they are needed. And while some elements spill inside…the element that gives up life dries up in the weak, and they die.”
So perhaps they were like something between humans and monsters. No, between humans and spirits.
“By eating, we absorb the elements and live longer. And fifteen years ago, my mother and her villager were caught. And it was in that state that I was born. I absorbed the elements from the elves that died, and so have more mana than most. Though, my mother died there… But humans are so dull, that they never noticed my power. I was a hope for the other elves, I had power to break the barrier… I was on my way to get help, when you crashed into me.”
“I see… Would they have helped in the town?”
I asked Ralph.
“Aye, the Knights Guild would. After all, it is strictly forbidden by the law. However, Mamnak. Could you have not used your magic to annihilate them?”
Indeed. With such powerful magic, it should have been easy enough.
“No. There are over fifty of them. And most of the elves were sent out already, so there were only ten of us. We would have been caught by the others eventually.”
Perhaps they should escort Mamnak back to the town?
However, the situation had changed rapidly.
Stan and Ralph realized it at the same time.
Menew raised his face in surprise, and saw that men were moving towards them from every direction.
(…Damn it. What should I do…)
He could make Stan attack them. But then he realized something. He didn’t have much mana left. If they were attacked from long distance, he would not be able to fight back with magic. That would be lethal in the darkness.
The bonfire was fading. Because the energy needed for it to burn had disappeared rapidly.
The men must have a barrier master with them.
Mamnak looked anxious, while Ralph looked angry.
Menew scratched his head as if not knowing what to do.
Then one of the men stepped forward and crushed the remains of the firewood under his boot.
He carried a thick, single-edged sword in his hand, and he was very tall.
“I’m Garland, the Vice Leader of the Wind Demise Gang. The prey over there belongs to us. We’ll be taking her, and you as well.”
He said with an ominous laugh, and then looked at Menew.
There was power in numbers… Menew thought as he looked over to Ralph.
There might be others. It would be best to allow themselves to be caught for now. They decided.
And so Stan gently descended from Menew’s shoulder, flew under the legs of the men, and went outside of the barrier.