The last thing to do was to collect the ashes and allow let them be washed away down the river.
But after that the Fire Foxes began to get worked up.
「Will we…will we be killed too?」
「They were supposed to be somewhere much safer than we are.」
The ones who had died were accompanied by guards, had money, and food. They had gone to the safest place they could. Of course now that they had arrived at a place where no such guarantee of safety existed their fears would explode.
「I’ll never forgive them.」
「It’s fine if I die…as long as I can take one of them with me.」
「I want to avenge Onee-chan.」
There were also those whose anger burned bright.
Their home had been burnt, their families killed, and their tails cut off. They had trampled the dignity of their entire race. Of course hatred would erupt.
「I’m…sick of all this. That’s enough.」
「Right? Whatever happens, happens.」
The final group had given up. They couldn’t handle any more sadness and anger. They wallowed in despair.
They were all overcome with these three emotions.
Kuu was desperately trying to change the mood, but it was nearly impossible. No matter how she tried to fix things, Kuu was also feeling the same emotions deep within her.
That’s why this was where I needed to step out.
As Erucy’s leader, Kuu’s lover, and to maintain my good image in Lucy’s eyes I needed to act.
「Everyone, please listen to me.」
I raised my voice.
I had spoken like this more than once before and I was getting used to it.
「You are all citizens of Erucy. Both I, and everyone in Erucy will protect you. You need not fear the Empire. We will not lose.」
The Fire Foxes gazed at me doubtfully. Well, it couldn’t be helped. The Empire was that huge and they had all directly seen the horrors of what they could accomplish. They hadn’t even seen our fighting ability either. They didn’t have an accurate idea of how strong we actually were.
「Erucy will continue to defeat the Empire. Even with Elves alone we won. I will borrow your strengths in the future as well. With that there is no way we can lose.」
I repeated forcefully. I spoke with absolute confidence not betraying a single hint of unease.
Then, a single Fire Fox spoke up. The young girl Kemin who called Kuu Ane-sama.
「I won’t force you. But, if you have the will to do so I want you to fight along with us. Erucy is not a country of Elves alone. You are part of us as well.」
「Then…I want to fight. I want to take revenge. I don’t want anything to be taken from me anymore. I’ll do anything…I’ll die for it. So…please.」
Her motive was pure hatred, but at least it gave her a motive to live.
「Thank you. But, don’t say you’ll die. As long as I lead Erucy I will not let you die. You will live and accomplish your revenge. We have done so and will continue to do so.」
It was an incredibly idealistic view. The next war we would go through would make the previous one look like child’s play. After all we would be attacked by over 3,000 Imperial soldiers. Our fighting force was a hundred and a few dozen. A difference of 30 times the fighting force. In that situation I promised a victory with 0 casualties.
Anyone who heard that would call it a pipe dream. But even so I had the confidence to accomplish it when I spoke.
「I can’t believe it.」
「You can’t believe me? Then just think back to everything I have already done. Have I ever told a single lie to you all?」
My words brought a small light of trust into their eyes.
I just needed a bigger push.
「Furthermore I am not just saying this as the leader of Erucy.」
I said and moved closer to Kuu before hugging her.
Kuu trembled as she spoke out with a bewildered voice.
「I will also marry Kuu one day. In short I will also be the Chief of the Fire Foxes as well! I would like you to believe in me, who will be your Chief, and Kuu who chose me.」
Besides marrying Lucy I fully intended to marry Kuu.
If they could not believe the words of us individually, then putting it all on the line would make it much more believable.
「I’ll say it once more. I will protect you. I will bring you victory and let you take vengeance. So please lend me your strength. It’s fine to be sad, but look forward and live. That is my one request…..no, it is my first order as the leader of Erucy and the new Fire Fox Chief.」
A shock ran through the crowd.
It must have been a bolt from the blue for these girls.
Even so it wasn’t something they couldn’t accept. Even though our time together was short I had earned trust.
The Fire Foxes smiled a bit awkwardly as they looked at each other before…