Gas often collected underground, and people used them for lamps instead of having the gas removed. Humans would draw pipes leading up to the surface even, but that was obviously not necessary for the dwarves.
“The gas rises up endlessly, but it has been stopped for now. We don’t know when Eligos’s army will discover it.”
“There is no need to worry now, old man. I and the Demon Lord are here.”
Jeanne said with a confident smile.
It was comforting in a way, but we would not be winning if we fought conventionally. And so I offered to explain my ideas to the chief.
“Chief. Allow me to tell you about my plan. It is not the most conventional way, and I am afraid that a single mistake could have grave consequences. Do you understand?”
“We will die of hunger if we do nothing. I would prefer to die trying to get out.”
Other dwarves had gathered around the lights now, and they were visibly weakened.
Their stout frames seemed to be concave and their muscles diminished.
But more than anything, there was also new life that had been born recently. These dwarven babes were suffering.
As the mothers were malnourished, they could not even feed their children.
“If this continues, it won’t be long until we are all dead.”
Gottlieb’s voice expressed great pain.
Saint Jeanne must have felt pity for them. She began to share the dried meat that we had.
Even Eve had a heart, in spite of being a demon.
She gave away some cookies that she had brought for us to eat.
When she returned,
“Forgive me. I have given away food that was yours.”
“No, I would hardly want to eat anything here. We are not starving, and who of us hates to see the smiles of children?”
The dwarven children had thin beards, but still looked quite charming when eating the cookies that they had received.
There was something precious about children, regardless of what race they were from.
Furthermore, in spite of being starved for food, the children shared the cookies in equal portions amongst themselves without fighting.
There was even a brother who gave his younger sister his entire portion.
It was hard to remain idle after seeing such a sight and it made me restless to get out of this present situation.
And so I had Gottlieb and the other young dwarven men gather around.
We needed to talk strategy.
Whenever young dwarves gather together, it can be expected that drink will soon be poured.
For the dwarves enjoyed their drink, regardless of their situation.
Even if they were to die tomorrow… No, perhaps it was because they would die tomorrow.
That was their style.
It was not my style or something I could imitate, but I could meet them halfway.
And so I asked my maid, who was now pouring Jeanne some tea, as she could not drink alcohol.
“Add some liquor into my tea instead of sugar.”
Eve was always prepared for such sudden orders.
The dwarves shared some of their rum with me, and it was poured into my cup.
The smell of the black tea and rum combined to create a fragrance that was hard to describe.
But what I will say, is that it was the most rewarding thing to drink after a horrible battle and journey through a winding, dark labyrinth.
My only wish was that I would be able to taste such a delicious drink again, once we had driven away Eligos’s army.