「Understood. Then I entreat you to allow us 53 Fire Foxes to shelter ourselves in this country. All we ask is for the minimum of food and shelter. We have brought compensation.」
「Compensation? Before we talk about that, I need to confirm what standpoint you are talking to me with Kuu. As the representative of my country I need to understand this before our discussions begin.
「Cyril-kun…..no…Cyril-sama. I am…Kuu is the Fire Fox head. Please take my words as that of the Fire Fox Chief.」
She spoke with resolve and strong will.
「I see. I understand. I will treat you as Chief and not as a representative. This means that the Chief die…..the Fire Fox Chief lost correct?」
At my words the Fire Foxes’ faces all warped with sorrow.
「That is correct. The men who could fight resisted to the very end to buy us time…and those who could not fight or make the journey with us were sent to their eternal rest by our very hands so the Empire could not rob them of their magic stones. Those stones bearing their souls were brought away by us. This is one portion of the compensation we brought here to Erucy.」
Kuu managed to force those words out.
It must have been a bitter choice for the Fire Foxes to make.
Firstly they let the women who could bear children escape and had the men fight. That much was fine. However, there were still the very young children and elderly.
There were 80km between our village and the Fire Foxes. The journey would take them through tall mountains and deep forests. They wouldn’t have much food and barely any luggage so they could escape.
In that case there was a chose between having their hearts torn out by the Empire and used against their people or choosing to die. There must have been those who wanted to do what they could for their friends and family before they died and chose such an option.
「I see…I’m sorry.」
「Why are you apologizing Cyril-sama?」
「If the Empire was able to one-sidedly crush your village I can think of only two reasons…either they had overwhelming numerical superiority or they utilized strategies centered around the usage of wind magic stones. Only a few days ago our village was attacked by a force of 500 soldiers. Thinking about the number of soldiers that could stay at the supply base I doubt they had enough time to make up for the 500 soldiers they lost in this attack. In that case it had to be the latter. This makes it partially the responsibility of the Elves who allowed their magic stones to be stolen.」
「Cyril-sama could you explain your words in more detail?」
Kuu suddenly spoke out.
「If I were the commander of the Empire’s forces I would make sure that we attacked beyond the range of the Fire Foxes. I would use the mages and archers that couldn’t be used in the attack on Erucy.
The Imperial Archers use longbows with a range of 100 meters. The accurate range is only around 50 meters but this is enough against Fire Foxes. Flames are wild and unpredictable so even with an incredible affinity for them the attacking range is 30-40 meters at maximum. This allows them to attack one-sidedly. Furthermore the Fire Foxes do not want to burn down the forest surrounding them so this would make any battlefield chosen suitable for the usage of bows.」
Kuu clenched her fists tightly.
「Even so the Fire Foxes could cause massive casualties as long as they entered range. If they were prepared for casualties the Fire Foxes could do this. In order to prevent this the Archers only need to have some mages next to them. Using wind magic stones they would be able to control strong winds. Certainly the power that flames wield is amazing, but it has no mass. It would be easily blown away by the wind. Once the Fire Foxes were rendered defenseless without their flames all the archers need do is aim carefully and that would be the end.」
Wind and fire in this case had terrible compatibility.
Even so with complex spells you could explosively raise the temperatures of the flames into something resembling plasma. Once this occurs you could pretty much ignore the wind…but expecting this from the Fire Foxes was unreasonable.
「Cyril-sama you are completely correct. But why would you say such things at this point? Pointing out the fault of the elves in this matter would only lower your negotiating standpoint…surely you know this?」
「That is true…but you stopped that girl from saying so before…I decided I would try being fair in this.」
That was my surface reason.
In truth I wanted to draw these Fire Foxes into our village by hook or crook.
For that purpose I needed to cause the elves of our village to feel guilt.
「Let’s leave those matters as they are and begin the discussion. I’ve heard your requests. What are you offering in exchange?」
「Firstly are the fire magic stones of our fallen. Unlike humans we cannot use magic not of our affinity, but I believe they will be useful at some point. I offer these. If they can be used to deal the Empire a blow then I believe they would not think their deaths in vain.」
Magic stones had various uses.
An example was their usage as a catalyst for low affinity humans to use elemental magics.
If these magic stones filled with magic power were used as a one time consumable they could produce incredible and powerful magic spells as well.
If they had been used as such by the Fire Foxes this time then there was a possibility they could have defeated the Empire this time.
「The second is mining rights to our salt mines. You can take as much as you can carry. It won’t be the small amount we sell normally either. We will teach you the location of the salt that we have protected for generations and allow you to mine it as you please.」
For us this was an extremely attractive proposal.
Salt was a particularly precious commodity in the village and we could barely get any. If we could get a free and stable supply of it that would be incredible.
「Lastly we offer our lives. We will work for this country and fight for it. The only condition is we be treated humanely.」
Fire Foxes had incredible fighting strength and for the specialty product I was thinking of for the village someone proficient in flame magic was extremely important. Also I needed more people for different projects so this was in fact a godsend.
「Fine. With these conditions I can agree to this.」
「Wait Chief Cyril!」
Roleau cried out.