「A hostage huh….Raffa if that was the situation then why didn’t you say anything?」
「If I did would you have helped!?」
「Of course. Remember we had some Nobles held hostage. If I had known then I could have exchanged hostages with them in the negotiation. Those were Noble lives. If things went well we could have exchanged them for at least one or two elves.」
That is of course, predicated on the fact that they were still alive.
「N-no…b-but you said…w-we needed money. You wanted to exchange hostages to get money right?」
「Honestly, if it’s money then I have plenty of ways to obtain it. I would absolutely prioritize our family and friends. Raffa…why couldn’t you believe in me? If you’d just told me then…I could have helped….but now we don’t have any cards to negotiate with the Empire…」
「That’s why we should just offer up the Fire Foxes!! That’s right! It’s not too late. As the Chief you can officially trade the Fire Foxes for the Elves and…」
「Raffa. As the Chief of Erucy…it is my duty to treat both Elves and Fire Foxes equally. I will not offer lives in exchange for lives. You have made a horrible mistake. It would have been far better if you had simply talked to us before you attempted betrayal. Of course, if the captured Elves are truly still alive and in captivity I will try to save them. If we obtain some prisoners of war I will attempt an exchange.」
Upon hearing my words Raffa’s eyes opened wide as he cried out.
「Why…why is it like this!? Why…are the people who should be in our village not here!? Why are the Fire Foxes who shouldn’t be in our village living here!? Isn’t it weird!? Traitor! If you’re an elf than you should prioritize elves!!!」
He stared at Kuu as he repeatedly mutter “why” seemingly broken.
「What’s more Cyril! You asked 『Why didn’t you tell me sooner?』 right? Then let me ask YOU! Why didn’t you rise up sooner!?? You’re strong! You can do anything! Then…why…why didn’t you stand up two years…no even one year ago!? If you had I wouldn’t have lost my wife. Why? Why didn’t you do it if you could!? Is it that if Lucy isn’t in danger you couldn’t care less what happens to they others!?! What do you say Cyril?」
He screamed with a ghastly expression. Certainly, there were elves who thought similarly.
Why hadn’t I done something sooner? Those words burned in their chests.
「Because at that time I had neither courage nor power.」
As I said that Raffa suddenly shook off the people holding him down and swung at me. Roleau caught his fist and captured him once more before speaking.
「Resenting the Chief is barking up the wrong tree Raffa. Why didn’t you fight at that moment? Why didn’t you act instead of leaving it to others?」
「I’m not a superman like Cyril! I’m a normal Elf!」
「Just by saying that so easily…you have no right to throw blame on the Chief.」
Roleau stated simply as Raffa seemed to collapse.
「Raffa I have only one job for you.」
In this situation there was only one good option.
Raffa of course didn’t respond.
「Double Agent. When the Empire comes to contact you, you will leak the information I give you. Your recompense will be that I will prioritize retrieving your wife first during hostage exchanges.」
At those words Raffa raised his face.
「In the first place why do you believe that your wife is still alive after being taken by the Empire?」
「She’s alive….they said she was.」
「So in short…they could be deceiving you.」
At my words Raffa’s opened mouth froze making him look like a simpleton. By all rights the first thing he should have done was suspect their words…..Elves naturally had a more trusting nature that did not wish to suspect others. However, they must have taken advantage of Raffa’s weak heart and deceived him.
「I will add one more thing. I will confirm whether or not your wife is indeed alive. If you’re so desperate for the Empire’s answer you may use this.」
I took out a single Fire Magic Stone and placed it in Raffa’s hand.
「When you leak the information to them give them this magic stone and say you stole it from Erucy’s storehouse. Bring up the idea of trading for a chance to see your wife. If they immediately refuse, insist until you can ask them while staring straight into their eyes. If when you look at them they hesitate before answering…she’s probably dead. If they agree to it then at the meeting I will sweep in and immediately recover her.」
I had obtained Kuu’s permission for this beforehand. This was one of their mementos. Kuu had said we could use it to save some of our Elven comrades.
Raffa struggled for a while before…
「I’ll…be your double agent.」
This was the only path to saving his wife now. There was no way he could refuse.
「I see. Then the next time you meet with the Empire you will tell them this…Erucy offered their iron-working technology and their crossbow blueprints to the Choline Kingdom and received food, money, and the support of their armed forces.」
「Oi Chief if we do that then…」
Roleau cried out in a panic.
「They’ll desperately come to attack us. To the extent that they’ll push themselves too hard to increase their forces and arrive here as soon as possible.」
After all, the Empire had an advantage in trade and military might because they were the only ones with an advanced iron-working technique. They would be unable to bear the losses that would come from a large country like the Choline Kingdom having even more advanced techniques than they did.
Furthermore, just this kind of compensation would be enough for the Choline Kingdom to send soldiers without hesitation. There would be a few thousand at least.
In truth this had been one of my previous plans. This method would guarantee our victory. However, it would be at the expense of creating a new and even more powerful enemy at our backs. It was a dangerous proposition.
If I was one of the leaders in charge of the Choline Kingdom I would definitely want to erase the source of the information to prevent any leaks after the fact.
「Chief…if you say this knowing that…you must be stirring something up.」
「It’d be best if they’re hobbled as much as possible right? The plan this time is……」
Then and there I began outlining our plan for this coming battle.