I added the necessary information on the stone-made map of the Fortress of the Abyss. That was a map that put together using Shure’s map and the information from the goblin scouts.
“To the south are killer ants and scarabs.”
According to Gi Gu Verbena of the wolf pack, the big players in the south are the orcs, the killer ants, and the scarabs.
Perhaps I could make use of them in the coming war.
The numerous killer ants with a force comparable to that of the southern goblins. The powerful scarabs who can’t fight for a long time.
Neither of them can easily be used. I suppose you could say they’re defective to some extent. I’d like to investigate more if possible, but it seems the coming war is going to be a lot bigger than expected.
I looked at the walls drawn on the map.
According to the ancient beast tamer, Gi Gi, who came from the north, there weren’t any particularly strong forces there.
The north was apparently mostly a marsh rich with various beasts and vegetation.
To the west are the demihumans and the elves. We are currently allied and our relationship is going smoothly.
As for the humans to the east, they haven’t made made any move so far. The orc king, Bui, and his men are keeping an eye on the humans as well as acting as a breakwater in case they decide to attack. The kobolds led by Hasu are also situated to the east. They make their living by leeching off the orcs.
On top of that, we also have another base in Gi Go’s old village, where I had a beacon built. It is being taken care of by the Ganra tribe and the water mage, Gi Bi, and the beast tamer, Gi Bu.
There had been no news of the south since dispatching the mad lion, Gi Zu Ruo, but that changed after Gi Gu Verbena returned.
Presently, it could be said that the south has calmed down.
Of course, that’s a result brought about by Gi Gu’s attempt to connect the scattered villages. The way he went about things allows one to quickly expand territory.
We have no rule in lands without goblins.
There are no goblins in the area near the southern desert. It is inhabited solely by the killer ants and the scarabs. There are no known predators in the area either.
I don’t know how long this false peace with the humans will last, but I should consider sending a force to the south.
If we can reason with them, we’ll talk, but if not, we’ll break their legs and make them kneel. Either way they will serve my purpose.
It would be problematic, however, if the killer ants and scarabs end up becoming much bigger than expected. Ta
king on two such races at the same time is quite risky. We should investigate first, but there’s not much time until the war.
As I thought that, I wondered to myself who I should send.
Gi Gu is the ruler of the south. It’s his land too, so I would be spitting on his face if I were to send another goblin to investigate.
Gi Gu Verbena would have to be the main goblin in charge, but he can’t be alone, as he’ll probably end up fighting the killer ants. I don’t want to incur anymore losses if possible.
I’ll have to send someone equal Gi Gu’s standing, someone he can share his opinions with.
“Should I call Gi Do Buruga?”
The two shamans studying at the elven region were Gi Za Zakuend and Gi Do Buruga.
I could call those two and have them negotiate with the killer ants, but… they also had their own duties.
“Hmm… This one’s a little worrying, but…”
I decided to send a different person. The killer ants did live in the desert, so…
As I made up my mind, I called over Fanfan and sent her along with Gi Gu to the south.
Outside the Forest of Darkness, past its western exit, was Shumea and her group in the capital of the Germion Kingdom. Currently, they were gathering information as adventurers.
Felbi knew little of the human world and Selena resented it, so the blind Pale had to teach them how to act.
They wore long robes that hid their elven features as they entered a bar.
“Hmm~ If it isn’t the mellow fragrant of liquor…” Shumea said.
“It’s just cheap liquor…” Pale pointed out.
“I drink when I’m happy, so it doesn’t matter as long as I can get drunk. Besides, if it’s cheap, then I won’t have to worry about the expenses,” she replied, puffing out her abundant chest as she did.
Everyone else except for Shumea was clad in robes, so it wasn’t possible to see their faces, but regardless, the way they walked spoke volumes of their strength. Because of that the experienced among the adventurers didn’t bother them.
Of course, since Shumea was the only one without a robe, she was the one to order.
As various dishes and beer were served, Shumea and the elves ate as they eavesdropped on the conversations occurring in the other tables.
The sylphs have always had good hearing, so they were able to easily pick out what was being talked about.
When they had gathered enough information, they finally started to focus on the food before them.
“The humans sure know how to cook… You really can’t look down on them,” Felbi said as he struck his fork into the fried chicken.
“Felbi, in the human world, it’s rude to talk with your mouth full,” Pale flatly said, causing Selena to laugh.
“Ahh, alright, I’ll be careful. I think there are a lot of ways to eat good food, though,” Felbi said as he filled his mouth with hot food and then washed it off with a mug of beer before finally exhaling a large ‘puha’.
“It’s vulgar,” Pale said.
“But this way is delicious. Come on, Selena, you try it,” Felbi said.
As if he wasn’t satisfied with ignoring teacher Pale, he even had to influence Selena.
Pale glared at Felbi as Selena happily imitated him.
“…Good grief,” Pale sighed before taking a bite of her food.
She cut a small portion of her food and then gently placed it in her mouth. The way she ate was just like that of a young princess.
“What are you looking at? If you don’t eat, we’ll never finish all these,” Pale said when she noticed Shumea grinning at them.
When Shumea realized she’d stopped eating after being taken by the elves’ amusing interaction, she quickly cut a huge slice of bread, soaked it in soup, and ate it.
“Sure is great being free,” Shumea said.
“What do you mean?” Pale asked, not quite understanding what Shumea meant.
Shumea laughed cheerfully after eating her bread and drinking her soup. “Laughing, eating, talking… You know, normal stuff. Slaves are basically belongings, so they can’t do those things.”
As someone who has never been a slave, Pale couldn’t understand the value of Shumea’s ‘freedom’.
Shumea’s words gradually changed her perspective.
At the very least, there were no slaves under the Goblin King.
That was an irrefutable truth.
But wasn’t it simply because of the difference in the size of territory? The humans have been expanding and progressing in the past 400 years. As a result, a great disparity of wealth has been created between the rich and the poor.
If the Goblin King were to rule such a similarly large territory, wouldn’t the same problem befall him?
Perhaps the only reason the Goblin King did not have any slaves was because the territory he ruled was small. Moreover, he only ruled over goblins…
Was the human world you saw really that beautiful? Starvation, poverty, discrimination, innocents being blamed for crimes they did not commit, a stark difference between those with power and those without… Wasn’t that world also ruled by the same law of the jungle that haunts the savage forests?
The words of the king echoed within her mind.
Pale shook her head. He was wrong. Even if she wasn’t particularly troubled in her upbringing, she wasn’t blessed either. At the very least, she believed that.
After all, didn’t she help Elks become a huge clan even while lacking money and people?
If you get your friends to help you, surely it would be possible to make life better. The human world has always worked like that.
The time she spent with them wouldn’t possibly lose out to the Goblin King’s rule.
“Pale?” Selena asked with concern when she noticed her go silent.
“Huh? Oh, it’s nothing. I was just thinking,” Pale said.
Seeing Pale eat again, Selena didn’t ask anymore and continued eating herself.