Chapter 199 - Like a Slave, Like a King (3)
The spires of Orcrox appeared in the distance.
The unidentified elf spoke, “Crockta.”
It was rare for him to speak first. Crockta stared at him.
“I have one question.”
The elf stopped. Crockta’s party stopped walking. At that moment, the party felt that this elf would leave soon. It was an unknown feeling. This would probably be the elf’s final question.
"What does this look like?”
The elf raised his hand and a strange thing happened. The dense tree above them started to bow down. The branches of the trees slowly lowered towards them in a courteous gesture, like the trees were living creatures. The mouths of Crockta’s group dropped open.
"Crockta. What do you think of this?”
A sparrow on the branch moved onto the elf’s finger. The trees and sparrow both moved for him.
“That...” Crockta looked at it. It was just a plain sparrow. “A sparrow.”
“That’s right. A sparrow.” The elf raised his hand. The sparrow flew off. However, it didn’t fly away and landed on the elf’s shoulders. “It looks and sounds like a sparrow. Maybe it has a yellow beak. The important thing is that at least it isn’t a crow.”
"That's right. It certainly isn’t a crow.”
“Then..." The elf stared straight at Crockta. "If everyone calls this bird a crow, what will you do?”
Crockta looked confused because he didn’t understand the question, “What does that mean...?”
"This bird is clearly not a crow. It doesn’t look like one. But everyone calls this bird a crow. Everyone in the world is saying so except for you.”
The sparrow once again landed on the elf’s finger. The sparrow turned his head and gazed at Crockta. This elf didn’t have a malicious mentality. Crockta could feel it. Otherwise, this little bird wouldn’t be able to be in the elf’s hands with a calm face.
The elf continued speaking, "The whole world except for you is calling it a crow. If you say this is a sparrow instead of a crow, everyone will turn away from you. Maybe they will tease you for being blind, or call you a liar. No matter how you shout, no one will listen. You will be labeled a maniac.”
"Crockta. Will you still call this bird a sparrow? Or will you turn away and say it is a crow?”
Crockta smiled. It was an easy question.
"Well, if everyone is calling a sparrow a crow... It is a big deal.”
“But that is it.” Crockta touched the handle of his greatsword. "Unless a sparrow tells me that it is a crow, I will call a sparrow a sparrow.”
"If people were to paint the feathers black and call a sparrow a crow, I will do my utmost to stop them and say that it is a sparrow.”
Crockta looked at Tiyo, Anor and Zankus. They shrugged. Crockta smiled at the elf.
"A sparrow is a sparrow.”
The elf shook his head, "Then you will be alone. Nobody will want to be with you. Rather, you will become a strange being.”
It was a soft voice. Crockta burst out laughing. His laugh rang through the silent forest.
"You are a slave dressed like a king.”
The elf’s eyes widened. No one had ever called him a slave. It was the opposite. He had a power that no one could understand, dressed in gorgeous clothing and was elegant. Now this orc had called him a slave.
"You put on very nice clothes. But rather than your own beliefs, you think about the surroundings and other people. It is the mindset of a slave. If it is so scary, you can call the sparrow a crow-like everybody else. If they say something green is red, they are red. The night will become the day and the earth will be called the sea. If you give yourself up, everything will flow smoothly.”
"However, if you want to be the master of your own mind, pay attention to this.”
Crockta reached out his hand. The sparrow stared at Crockta and jumped towards his fingers. Crockta gently cradled the sparrow.
"Even if the world is pointing at me in ridicule, I will say that this bird is just a sparrow.”
The elf looked at Crockta, whose eyes were filled with conviction and an unshakable integrity.
“I see.” The lines on the elf’s face disappeared as his distressed face gradually softened. He flashed a faint, yet beautiful smile. He declared, "I dressed like a king but thought like a slave.”
"Now that I know, I should dress like a king and act like a king.”
“Thank you for letting me know.”
The elf stared at Crockta. Then he looked at Zankus, Tiyo, and Anor. He spread open his arms. Then the forest changed.
A straight path to Orcrox opened up. The trees shook their bodies and twisted their roots, giving way to Crockta. It was an incredible sight.
“You...” Anor suddenly spoke. There was a look of realization on his face. The elf reached for Anor. Then a branch came down over their heads. As the elf moved his hand, the branch touched Anor’s cheek, as if it was an extension of the elf’s hand.
“You’ve had a hard time coming here. Child.” The elf looked at each party member one by one. "I saw you and tried to get an answer. An answer that I couldn’t find. However, it wasn’t that I didn’t know the answer. In fact, I was ignoring the answer all along.”
He looked at Crockta. "Like a slave.”
Crockta grinned. “Now you seem like a king.”
"Thank you." The elf stepped back. It was time to leave. "I came here as a slave dressed like a king, and will be leaving a king.”
His body blurred. The vegetation of the forest leaned towards him. The wind bowed to him. The trees leaned down and worshipped him.
"I hope to see you again. The boy in the north wanted to say thank you. Crockta.”
Then the elf whispered. There was no sound. His whisper wasn’t towards them. Anor’s eyes widened. Crockta, Zankus, and Tiyo didn’t hear it. All elves in the world heard the whisper.
"The elves’ world tree has withdrawn from the war.”
“I don’t know why. The elves have started to leave.”
“What is going on?”
"Those who came of their own will are still left, but the elves who came because of the divine message are returning home. More than half the elves are gone.”
Adandator frowned before starting to laugh. “How interesting.”
Aklan sighed. The elves heard the whisper of the world tree.
‘The orcs aren’t colluding with the grey god, and they aren’t evil. Crockta is a hero.’
However, the other gods were different. Another divine message came down, encouraging the followers to believe them. They even blamed the world tree for poor judgment. This wasn’t the behaviour of the gods he knew. It was remarkably like a human’s behaviour.
"Arnin won't turn out well.”
"I guess so.”
They reached the city of elves, Arnin. After receiving this news, Arnin was unlikely to give support.
"Try it once.”
But the result was as they expected. No, it was worse than that.
Aklan sat in Mayor Ennis’ office and felt a strange mood again.
“Do you see this vest?”
"An orc used to wear it, also known as the first captain of the Plains Rescue Team, which is a landmark and the pride of Arnin. He created the rescue team.”
There was no need to ask who he was.
"That's right. He because an honorary citizen of Arnin and revealed the killers and mayor who used a false mask to mock the citizens.”
Crockta’s story was told in the textbooks at Arnin’s schools. He was an honorary citizen who represents Arnin.
“Above all, the world tree is stopping the elves from participating.”
"It will be useless to propose the agenda to Congress.”
“I understand. Thank you.”
Eggs might be thrown at them, like Chesswood.
"I don’t know how the situation with the gods turned out like this, but I will tell you as a person who met Crockta, not the mayor. Crockta isn’t such an orc.”
"I didn't even know who he was then. He was just a plains officer. However, he helped the humans and elves with the triters on the plains. Despite being an orc, he is a light in the darkness.”
"He illuminates the surroundings. I wouldn’t be the mayor if it wasn’t for him. The travelers would still be losing their lives. They would die from the triters and that wicked girl.”
Aklan nodded. “I understand.”
"You can stay for a day to recruit volunteers. But please think about what I said.”
He left without any results. Arnin was a beautiful city. Aklan was heading to the expedition’s camp when he suddenly stopped at Arnin’s square. A monument stood there. It was a monument to honor the day when Elsanad, Elwina and Ilya, the demons of Arnin, were expelled. It wrote about the honorary citizen Crockta, who came as a traveler but left as Arnin’s hero.
"I am an honorary citizen!"
"I am the best citizen!"
"You just threw trash on the floor! I will accuse you!”
Children played around, pretending to be honorary citizens. Aklan stared up at the sky and muttered, “I don't know.”
He shook his head and returned to the expedition’s camp. The expedition was camping outside Arnin.
“There was no result. I’m sorry.”
“It was expected.”
"Thanks for the hard work."
He came back with nothing, but Adandator and the expedition leaders nodded because it was already expected. Now they didn’t have any great expectations towards the elves. Some elves volunteered but there weren’t many due to the world tree.
"How about stopping by Quantes?”
“Gnomes don’t believe in the gods...”
"Let's just give it a try. Anyway, the elves are gone so we need to fill up the numbers. Quantes is on the way to Orcrox.”
Aklan was silent during the meeting of leaders.
The next day, they headed towards Quantes. Shortly before leaving Arnin, they could see the famous Arnin Plains Rescue Team and the triters.
In the midst of it was a rock.
Aklan stopped. Letters were carved onto the rock.
[A warrior doesn’t attack unarmed people.]
It was a rock written by Crockta. Aklan never met him before, but he couldn’t help feeling familiar with Crockta. He knew that Crockta was a great warrior.
“What are you doing? Let’s go quickly.”
People shouted from behind Aklan.
“Ah, I’m sorry.”
Aklan held the reins. The march continued. Aklan turned and squinted at the rock, but he could no longer see it due to the army. Aklan looked at Adandator beside him. He saw the leaders, nobles and numerous expedition forces. Their faces was stiff. It might be because Orcrox was getting closer.
Aklan closed his eyes. He couldn’t stop here. They had already come so far. It didn’t matter what type of person Crockta was anymore. All the gods called him a villain. It was enough. The people had gathered here for the extermination of Crockta and the orcs. They were overflowing with willpower.
The decision wasn’t made by him, but the enormous crowd. He erased Maillard, Chesswood and Arnin from his head. The vacancy was filled with the divine message, expedition army and the hatred of the random crowd.
Aklan opened his eyes. It was a short moment of worry. He returned to being Aklan, a pious warrior of the war god.
‘War God... Please bless our way.’
The horses, who started running the race, couldn’t stop.
Praise the Orc: Glossary Link.
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