I hate this village.
Those thoughts floated through my head as I relaxed in the shade.
「You shouldn’t laze about like this Cyril.」
A single girl put her hands on her hips as she admonished me.
She was around 150 cm tall with long straight golden hair that shimmered down her back like a waterfall, her beauty was further augmented by her pure blue eyes that glittered in the light. Her breasts were small enough to fit in the palm of your hands, but even if they weren’t there her style would be beautiful.
She was only 14 years of age so she definitely still had room to grow.
Her name was Lucy. She was the daughter of the house I was freeloading in. She was only born three months before me, yet she still exercises her authority as my Onee-san (Older Sister).
「Whatever….even if I do my best they’ll take it all away sooner or later.」
I muttered while rubbing my long ears which characterized me as an Elf.
This was an Elf village under the control of humans with a population of around 200 Elves.
In the past we had freely hunted and enjoyed the blessings of the forest, but thanks to the military might of the humans we were forced to obey them and pay heavy taxes on the crops we cultivated.
Then around harvest time most of our crops……and more importantly our precious friends and family….are taken from us.
If you escape from the village you’re killed. It was already nigh impossible to return to the life we’d once lived.
「That’s why we have to work hard right? Since the amount they take won’t decrease we have to make plenty so we don’t starve and die.」
「That might even be preferable! If it’s that kind of death then….」
「I’ll get angry Cyril!」
「Isn’t that the case? We live while our hearts die. You saw what happened last week! They purposefully did it right in front of us!」
What the humans stole from us wasn’t simply our crops.
Even our lives were stolen.
If an Elf’s heart was taken from their body while they were alive then it would turn into a powerful magic crystal.
The humans desired that, so they didn’t massacre us. Instead they robbed us of our crops while at the same time abducting 10 of us at a time. They then ripped their hearts from their chests.
It wasn’t a matter of pity for us. They only took ten because that was a number that would cause our population to neither increase or decrease.
Every time elderly elves and those who couldn’t work would become targets.
We were treated like livestock.
「Cyril…I told you I’d get angry.」
With those words she slapped me. Maybe she was holding back, but the pain was less than the sound would make it seem.
「Rikka and Granny Lugana….they all wanted to live longer! But even so they didn’t complain as they gave up their lives! Because if they ran someone else would need to take their place. Despite all this…if us survivors say that we’d be better off dead then wouldn’t their sacrifice have been for nothing!? If you’re going to say that then why didn’t you announce yourself as a candidate!? Then the people who wanted to live could still be here!」
Those words stabbed deep into my heart. I had truly made a mistake. The victims this last time had been Lucy’s Grandmother and little sister with a weak body.
Those who wanted to live could still be here huh…….
「I suppose you’re right. Maybe I should volunteer myself next time.」
I’d already had it. The uncertain fear that I might be chosen next time and the pain of listening to the sobs of despair from the villagers.
「I’m sorry, I said too much. It’s not like I wanted to say such things. I just wanted you to try harder. I want your eyes to shine like they used to. I want you to say that you’ll support this village one day like before.」
Lucy said sorrowfully as she looked at my slovenly appearance. The past me huh…..
「That’s impossible. I’ve…already given up.」
I had once been enthusiastic about following in my father’s footsteps. He had once been a Great Village Head and I wanted to succeed him and make the village great.
I put all my effort into it.
However, five years ago my father resisted the humans’ invasion to the last, and died…….along with him, most of the villagers who followed him got caught up in it.
Amongst them my mother and Lucy’s parents were all involved.
Seeing that I began to believe that if we acted obediently the deaths would decrease. There are things in this world that we can’t do anything about. Letting things run their course was the best course of action.
With that thought process Lucy’s Grandma who cared for me in place of my parents and Lucy’s little sister Rikka who’d often hugged me had been killed.
I was sad, frustrated, and thought I’d go made from the rage. But one thing kept me from taking action…..the thought of losing Lucy.
「I believe in Cyril. Cyril is number one with the bow, magic, and studies. Cyril is the number one in kindness as well. I look up to you and your sincere effort.」
「Believe in what?」
「I believe that someday you’ll save this village Cyril.」
I smiled bitterly.
There’s no way I could do that.
Certainly I was more skilled than most people. However, if I was to truly fight back I’d be able to kill four or five soldiers before ten times that number would arrive to kill me. That’s the only result I could see.
No, even that much might be difficult.
I stroked the silver collar around my neck. It was a disgusting magic tool that would interrupt any magic being cast by the wearer. It was something all the villagers were forced to wear.
If you used tools you could take it off, but since you couldn’t reattach it you would be killed after being discovered.
I was completely helpless.
『Is that really the case? Am I really at such a low level of existence?』
Within my mind a voice similar to my own echoed out.
「Cyril are you okay?」
Lucy supported me as I went through a bout of dizzyness.
Once again it was that voice.
As I grew older I began to hear a voice speaking in my mind.
For some reason as that voice became louder I was able to use my body better and increase the power of my magic.