「Should I bring you the certificate?」
「Oh? Do you intend on handing me a forged certificate? If you do that then I will cut your head from your body here and now. You seem to have a poor understanding of the situation so maybe I should just kill you now and get myself a new Village Chief to deal with!」
The man hasn’t realized. The atmosphere of the elves surrounding the soldiers was becoming more and more dangerous with every word he spoke. Their hands were slowly reaching for the crossbows concealed behind their backs……
「I see, so that is the attitude that the Empire treats us with. Fine. We will give up on the wheat we have loaned out. However, I cannot give out any more of our wheat or our people. It’s impossible to force us to give the food we need to survive or hand over any more of our precious family.」
「What!? You little bastard! Aren’t you misunderstanding something!? We aren’t asking! We’re ordering you! You’ll starve to death? Then why don’t I lower food needs by killing you one by one and making you into magic stones!? It’ll decrease the mouths to feed and get us a lot of profit! Everyone wins see? Your village isn’t completely destroyed and we get our needs. Everyone happy.」
Joseph drew his sword and placed it against my neck with a venomous glare.
If it had been me in the past I would have shook with fear. However, today I feel no fear at all. This small time hoodlum couldn’t compare to the fear of the battles I had recalled.
「What an amusing suggestion. However I have an even better one. I kill each and every one of you and pretend the additional tax never existed.」
「Haha you really know how to talk. You became full of yourself just because you got a little bit of power? What can a weak elf like you do?」
「What can we do? It’d be easier to show you than tell you. Let’s get on with the show. Fire!!」
Along with my cry the elves positioned 20 meters away all drew their crossbows and fired.
The bowstrings had already been drawn and locked so numerous arrows flew through the air.
The arrows easily pierced through the soldiers’ armor and into their flesh.
「Wh-why did our invincible armor get…!?」
The soldiers’ faces were no longer smirking happily.
Five of the soldiers were killed instantly and four of them fell to the ground and squirmed in pain.
I had coated the arrows in wolfsbane I found in the mountains and mixed it with different wild plants and some feces to create poison. It causes acute pain to spread through the body as the neurotoxin spreads. It makes it nearly impossible to stand for around half a day.
Crossbows had good penetrative power but lacked stopping power. I had to compensate for that.
Now that we had this we could cause them to lose combat ability after getting hit.
I looked around and noticed that two people committed suicide due to the pain. I might have overdone it a bit. I had to adjust the poison a bit more.
「Well then, now you can see that even weak elves can do this much.」
Joseph collapsed onto his rear and scooted back quickly.
We had committed a one-sided slaughter. There was no way he had worked up the resolution to kill yet.
The fear in his mind doubled thanks to the screams and groans of pain from the dead and dying.
「Now here is the question. Why…did we keep you alive?」
Joseph didn’t answer.
He was frozen in fear.
「Time’s up. Firstly we want information, so I needed someone to torture for it. We could have shot you in non vital areas, but you might not have been able to handle the poison and you’d break. So instead I’ve prepared something ‘special’ for you.」
I finished speaking and an arrow immediately flies out and pierces Joseph’s thigh.
It was an arrow that Lucy has fired from 100 meters away. She has good aim. She can fire from a distance of 100 meters with barely any error.
「Hiiiiii, m-my leg, a-an arrow, arrow in my….take! Take it out!」
He shamefully screams. But not much blood comes out. The poison used was a simple muscle relaxant as well. In fact the shock should have made it harder to feel such pain in the first place.
「So I won’t be killing you….but you’ll wish you could shut your eyes and embrace death.」
「Stop! Do you think you can get away with such a thing!?」
「Of course not. That’s why I want to hear plenty of things from you. You’ll talk if you don’t want to end up like that.」
I said and pointed at the corpses surrounding us. Joseph’s face stiffens. Even those soldiers who survived were being finished off by the elves.
It wasn’t pretty either. They were shot full of arrows. If they were simply trying to kill them the bodies wouldn’t turn out like that. They had cruelly carried out their vengeance and vented their hatred.
Throughout the years was the problem of soldiers being unable to kill each other. According to statistics 70% of new soldiers cannot pull the trigger. This happens with guns and apparently it is even worse with swords and spears because you can clearly feel it.
In a certain sense one of my greatest worries was…could the rookie elves really kill people?
However, it seemed I didn’t have to worry about this. Th pain and anger from systematic oppression, and the grief of having friends and family murdered made it so the only motivation they needed was the protection of their comrades.
「We will no longer run away. We won’t let our precious things be stolen. We have the resolution and courage to stand against you. We have the weapons to triumph.」
I ceased speaking politely. My act was at its end.
The surrounding elves nodded. The time to hang our heads and cry impotent tears was long gone.
Even if we were to be hurt, we would face our problems and struggle. We all shared this feeling.
「L-let’s calm down a moment…that’s right! This village was suspected of rebellion since those guys didn’t return last time. If we don’t return, this suspicion will turn to certainty and 500 fully armed soldiers will march on this village!」
「And? We’ve already killed everyone except you. We’ll deal with the battle when it comes.」
「If you let me go then I’ll ask them not to attack you….wait! If you properly give me the wheat and three elves you owe then I’ll just say my underlings were killed by bandits! So please don’t kill me! Even you know this right? If it comes to it 500 soldiers will absolutely crush this village! So please!」
「It’s only 500 people. We can deal with that many.」
I analyzed the information that had just been spilled. My conclusion is that we were strong enough to win.
We’d be able to deal with those 500 soldiers one way or another.
It was no wonder. The village was far from the Empire and the roads were rugged. It’s more than 200km away and halfway up a mountain even if the road was paved. An orderly march would border on impossible and the journey would cost huge amounts of money.
If they sent any more soldiers than that, they would be unable to recoup their losses even after taking all of our magic stones. Furthermore they believed that was all they needed to take care of us elves.
「Well then, let’s have a heart to heart talk just the two of us. Don’t worry I won’t kill you. I have plenty I want to ask. Plus there’s one more reason I won’t kill you. You see this wonderful crest on your armor? It’s well made. This is a proof of nobility correct? Nobles are quite the moneymaking venture…」
The Lion shaped crest was carved in the middle of his armor.
In the Empire this kind of decoration was the privilege of the nobles. It wasn’t allowed for commoners.
「After the battle with those 500 soldiers I’ll properly ask for a nice ransom so don’t worry.」
Ransoming prisoners of war was very common in this era.
Of course if I tried it with a normal soldier I would be ignored and have to end up selling him as a slave. However, nobles were profitable. Their relatives had money and were concerned about their honor. If bad rumors were to circulate about how they abandoned their family or were too stingy it wouldn’t be good for them.
Honestly I wanted more money even if it was only by a bit. There was a limit to our village’s self-sufficiency. No matter how much money we had it wouldn’t be enough if we wanted to properly trade and replenish our stocks from surrounding villages and towns.
「I don’t wanna I don’t wanna, this has got to be some kind of dream.」
I dragged Joseph along as he threw a temper tantrum and entered the warehouse next to the Chief’s house.
I took off his armor and prepared to torture him. He had leaked some information before, but I had to properly verify it and obtain more if I wanted to be sure.
Joseph tried to flop his way to an escape but the poison wouldn’t allow his body to move properly.
「I think I’ll use this first.」
I held up an iron pipe red hot from the fire and ran over to Joseph.
First I needed to confirm whether his story about the 500 soldiers was real. Plus as a noble he should have plenty more interesting stories for me to hear.