Chapter 17 – Elves that are gone and renown (1/3)
“So, how are the Blessings? Are there any good prospects?” Ellie asked me.
We were on the second floor of the cooled warehouse I built next to the Chief’s shack. Since there was no place where we could have a meeting, I built another floor by just extending its walls upward. The warehouse had a pretty large floor space, so we might as well use this as a living space going forward. Though I will need to make a roof for that first.
Will and Fran stayed at the Guild apparently, namely at the training field. So Will has training today too. How sad for him.
The party was still going strong on the ground level. Aside from the kids, most of the others were women, so I guess it was nice to be pampered by all those cat-eared ladies, but since everyone was a stranger in the end it was quite tiring as well. For that reason I quickly grabbed onto the opportunity to excuse myself when the others arrived.
“We just gave them some food. Obviously that won’t be enough.”
Unless they feel that they would risk their lives for me, the Blessing won’t stick. Will didn’t even get one until recently, even though I saved his life, gave him food, money, and a place to live.
“If you think there is a chance for someone, then don’t hold back. Try to pull them in as much as you can. You finally showed some initiative, Masaru, we will support you as much as we can.”
Initiative, huh. I guess I shouldn’t say that I already find it bothersome. I think I’ve built up some resistance thanks to my recent experiences, but my weakness of dealing with a large number of people doesn’t go away just like that. That’s still very exhausting to me, but being with everyone like this allows me to relax.
“What’s with the sudden proactiveness?”
They gave the okay until now, but they never told me to go for it as much as I can. Just what happened to change that?
“We had a discussion that we may have underestimated the situation,” Ann spoke up.
According to Ann, this place is only one of the places where the refugees from Hiragis settled, and one of the worst off.
The people here are those that were attacked by monsters right at the outset and could only run with nothing more than the clothes on their back and those that didn’t have much in the first place. People like that were concentrated in this place.
That means that those that had time to bring their assets with them or those that have job skills that are in demand are taken care of by the Lords elsewhere and living a better life than those here.
The people who could be soldiers were already all taken away, so anyone who remained after are the ones that have no backing, no use, and are easily replaceable in their eyes. They might just cut them loose in a worst case scenario.
Of course it’s not like the higher ups want to abandon this many people, but like it was explained earlier, the food transport was delayed and their plan to acquire more resources from the Hiragis territory failed, so they have no means to prevent the situation from deteriorating here. There are other refugee camps as well, so they can’t go out of their way to prioritize the protection of this one either.
“Tilika has some news about the Hiragis situation as well.”
“This is top secret information from a Truth Officer. Keep it between us.”
So Tilika began to talk.
Half the scouts are missing. The dispatched army was devastated by monsters and had to retreat. Getting back Hiragis might be too difficult at this rate, so the higher ups of the Empire are considering abandoning it.
“To take back Hiragis, the Empire is gathering an army much larger than was originally planned. That’s partly the reason for the food shortage. However, if the outlook is too bleak to get Hiragis back even after sending in that army, then the border will be closed down and Hiragis will be cut off without mercy.”
It’s of course important for the Empire to get Hiragis back as well, so they will do their best to succeed. However, they won’t use their full might to do so. It’s too risky to send their entire army to save another country and can’t take the chance that it will be annihilated.
If they simply lock down the Hiragis border, they will be able to ensure the security of the Empire. It would save them a lot of trouble.
“Hmm. Well, all we can do is do our best then.”
The Quest we received in writing only said that we need to participate in the operation, its success was not a requirement.
No matter how much we do our best, we can’t influence the decision about whether they pull back the army and stop the operation or not.
“They will have the elves’ total cooperation. We will get Hiragis back at any cost.”
Lilia, who was silent until now, declared quietly. She had a severe expression on her face and looked like tears were gathering in her eyes. What happened?
“An adventurer that escaped from Hiragis talked to Lilia,” Ann explained.
“No elf managed to reach here from Hiragis. They were wiped out to the last.”
Apparently, the adventurer called out to her because he thought that she was an elf that survived, or that she knew the ones that possibly survived.
“They said that they barricaded themselves in a fortress in a mountain pass and bought the time necessary for the Hiragis refugees to escape.”
All the information we got was that there were a group of thirty three elves there. The adventurer only heard of it second hand from a soldier while fleeing Hiragis, but then the soldier was killed by monsters.
“There could be other survivors somewhere else, but….”
There are other refugee camps on the other side of Hiragis, but judging from the probable escape routes, there is a low chance that any of them could be there. A group of elves would stand out no matter what, so if there was one, someone would know about it.
But, wiped out to the last, huh. Even if all elves are mages and have more mana on average than humans, the mana capacity of ordinary mages are quite limited. Those elves were just normal elves that happened to live in Hiragis.
Once they run out of mana, elves are quite fragile. Also, if there are any flying monsters present, it would be too difficult to escape through the air.
Were they not able to get away? Or, thinking back on the battle of the elf village, maybe they chose to fight until the end.
“Should we go around and look for them?”
I don’t know where the other refugee camps are, but with our speed, we should be able to get there fast.
“That would take too long and I planned on asking people from the Elf Kingdom to check on them anyway. We have something else that we need to do.”
The Elf Kingdom might know something already, so there might not be a need to investigate in the end either. Also, the Elf King is not the ruler of all elves; anyone living outside their country is not actually under their jurisdiction.
They of course share a certain kinship and are related by blood, so they would help each other when needed, but they don’t generally keep in constant contact with each other. It’s likely that they don’t know anything about what happened.
For the time being, I decided to take Lilia to the Elf Village. I could’ve left it to Ellie, but I needed to get Will’s new equipment anyway, so I elected to go myself. It was a long time since I visited anyway.
“It should take about an hour I think. Everyone just take it easy in the meantime.”