The chair hit the floor. Leona’s face became pale like a corpse.
Lyla held Leona’s hand to calm her down. The atmosphere of the room cooled rapidly. Hans and Snoc, who were unaware of the tense atmosphere in the village, frantically moved their eyes around. Even though they basically got the gist that Leona’s family was being held captive, unfamiliar words interfered with their comprehension.
“I said that elf kingdoms were different from human kingdoms, right?”
Zich began explaining the situation to them, “The elves that reside in Adrowon are divided into several tribes. The Iron Tribe is probably one of the tribes—just consider each of these tribes as a human kingdom. And these tribal kingdoms are under a coalition. Of course, this coalition is different from the coalition between human kingdoms; it’s a lot more flexible and relaxed.”
Hans and Snoc intently focused on Zich’s words. With an extremely surprised expression, D’niel stared at Zich.
“However, since they are in a coalition, they try to interact with each other somewhat—and one such way to do this is by requesting a council or a ‘Puola’. Any tribal king can declare a ‘Puola’, and when this happens, all the royal families have to gather in a neutral zone called ‘Mentis’ for a meeting.”
“You are very knowledgeable. I didn’t know there was a human who was so knowledgeable about the elf society in Adrowon.” D’niel was impressed, but he wasn’t just impressed. He became even warier of Zich. If someone wanted to rate the relationship between humans and elves as good or bad, it would slightly be on the more negative side. Thus, D’niel naturally developed higher caution as the person in front of him was unusually knowledgeable and perceptive about their circumstances.
“I had an opportunity to learn more about elves.” Zich smiled. However, it was not a matter he should be smiling about. ‘I got into a fight with you guys one time.’
Before his regression, Zich and his subordinates fought against basically everyone—and of course, elves were part of the group they fought against. During this time, Zich had learned about the basic social structure of elves. To be more precise, one of his subordinates told him about it.
‘Now that I’m thinking about it, it feels like I heard the Iron Tribe somewhere.’ Zich tried to search through his memories, but he could not remember it. ‘I should think about this matter later since I’m explaining things right now.’
Zich finished telling the rest of his explanation to Zich and Hans. “So based on what he said, the Iron Tribe declared a Puola, so Leona’s family and the shaman went to Mentis. And now they are being locked up there.”
After finishing his explanation, Zich stared at D’niel.
“Did this basically sum up the situation?”
“That’s right. I wouldn’t be able to explain it any better.”
“If the Iron Tribe was the one who declared a Puola, there’s a high possibility that they are the ones who are holding them prisoners.”
“Yes, you are right. Mentis is now being occupied by the Iron Tribe’s army.”
While leaning on Lyla, Leona hit the table while getting up. The utensils and plates on top of the table shook.
“What’s their purpose?”
“They are ordering us to obey them.”
“What the hell are they saying! It’s the rule of the coalition to recognize each tribe as an equal!” Leona’s face became completely red.
Zich asked, “Do they have a justification? Or some kind of reason why they are ordering the tribes to obey them? Or are they really causing this event for no reason?”
“…They do have a justification for their actions, but it’s nonsense. No matter how I think about it, they’re just trying to find any reason to start a conflict.”
‘He avoided the topic.’
Even though the justification really seemed like an excuse to start a conflict, It didn’t seem like D’niel wanted to say what the justification was. Zich didn’t miss that D’niel’s eyes strayed to Leona for a moment.
“Is it because of the Lake’s Tear?”
Leona quickly turned her head around, and D’niel’s expression became complicated. He sent Zich a look of rebuke to stop him from continuing his words, but Zich just ignored D’niel’s look of rebuke; instead, Zich kept staring at him to quickly answer Leona’s question.
“Is that really true? Did this really happen because of the Lake’s Tear?”
Leona couldn’t believe that her parents were being held as captives and a war was about to break out because of the treasure she stole as a prank. Her voice trembled. D’niel glared at Zich and quickly consoled Leona, “As I have said before, it’s a nonsensical excuse. The Lake’s Tear was our tribe’s treasure from the first place, so there’s no reason or right for them to pay any attention to it. Even if we want to destroy it or let it get stolen, they have no business or right to interfere with our decisions.”
However, D’niel’s words were unable to help Leona recover her energy. Her hands trembled like crazy. D’niel tried to comfort her again, but before he could—
“Hwoop!” Leona suddenly took a deep breath.
“Hwooooo!” Then she let it out. She repeated this a few times.
“…So what is the current situation like?” Her voice was still trembling, and it was the same for her hands. But D’niel saw that Leona was trying to move forward despite the shock and horror of her situation.
“This is for you to keep in mind, but...” Zich said and continued, “Leona is not the same as she was before. She experienced all sorts of things while she was out in the human world.”
“…Yes, it seems so.”
Even so, it didn’t mean that Leona suddenly became a charismatic leader or a powerful master. Her trembling body indicated otherwise. However, D’niel was very pleased that Leona was trying her best to move forward despite feeling that this situation happened because of her. It really seemed as if this journey was a positive factor for her growth. D’niel reassessed his judgment on that thief who stole the Lake’s Tear again, but it was meaningless as the thief was already dead.
“It doesn’t seem like anything will happen as of right now. Even though there’s a lot of antagonistic tension in the air, none of their military forces have taken action so far. But we don’t know for sure if an incident will happen anytime.” D’niel’s tone became a lot more relaxed as he saw that Leona was fine.
“Who’s leading the tribe right now?”
“It’s Prince Dronian.”
“Brother is?” Leona was surprised and then accepted the explanation. If the King, Queen, and the shaman were all captured, the next in line was her older brother.
“Thankfully, Prince Dronian is capable and competent, but the situation is complicated. So he’s a bit restricted in what he can do.”
In a larger picture, the country’s king and queen were being held as hostages, and in a smaller picture, the prince’s parents’ lives were at stake.
“Since I was able to find the Lake’s Tear, wouldn’t the situation be at least partially resolved?”
“That won’t work.”
D’niel said this, and Zich agreed.
Zich agreed with D’niel’s words and said, “If they are really trying to find an excuse to start a conflict, they’re just going to make another excuse. From what I can think of right now, they can make excuses like, ‘We are unable to entrust the Lake’s Tear to you anymore so give it to us,’ or ‘We lost our trust in you since a human stole the Lake’s Tear from you, so obey us’.”
“Yes, you’re completely right about that.”
“…What kind of excuses are those?” Leona was filled with anger as she murmured these words, but there was nothing she could do—that was how excuses were like.
Zich said to D’niel, “So that’s why the residents here are anxious. They don’t know when a war is going to break out.”
“Yes. Moreover, this place is the closest to humans, so they are worried that while military forces are stationed at a different place, humans might come and attack them.”
D’niel stared at Leona.
“But it’s fortunate that the Princess has returned with the ‘Lake’s Tear’. It’s one less worry in my mind.”
“I’m sorry D’niel.”
“Princess, it’s alright. Honestly, seeing how you are like right now, I’m personally very pleased by the result. You’ve grown up so much more in the past few months.”
D’niel smiled at her.
“You should rest for today and go up to the capital tomorrow. It would also be great if the Princess’ companions can also go up to the capital with her. Even if the situation is not great right now, since all of you protected the Princess and helped her get the Lake’s Tear back, you all will be treated well.”
“Are you going to keep staying here, D’niel?”
“No, Princess. I also received another mission that if the Princess returns, I should escort you to the capital. I can escort you at least to the capital.”
Leona nodded her head as if she was delighted. D’niel, who finished everything he wanted to say to them, said his farewells and left the house. Leona let out a giant sigh. Lyla, who kept supporting Leona, asked her, “Are you alright?”
“Yeah, I’m alright. Thanks for comforting me, Lyla.”
Leona’s expression definitely seemed more comfortable than before. It seemed as if Leona was able to still her heart and mind to a certain extent.
Zich asked, “How many tribes are there in total?”
Lyla glared at him; her eyes seemed to rebuke Zich for asking such a question at this point in time. However, Leona easily replied to Zich’s question.
“There’s a total of five. Including the Iron Tribe we mentioned before, there’s the Lake Tribe, Mountain Tribe, Ocean Tribe, and Plain Tribe. We are the Lake Tribe.”
‘Is that why your tribe has the Lake’s Tear?’ Zich made a useless thought and rubbed his chin. ‘Well, what do we do now?’
Zich’s plan to escort Leona back to elf country while asking her grandma about a ‘tree rooted upside down’ and go sightseeing was completely shattered. Zich now had to decide what he and his companions were going to do. He could just escort Leona to the capital and go on their way…
‘Or participate in the war that’s going to break out soon.’
Zich thought of wars he had participated in before his regression.
‘It was pretty good.’
It was a site of power, determination, and passion; and it was also a site where screams, grief, and death existed together. After he regressed, he went through various battles but nothing like a war yet. So far, the destruction of the entire Northern Branch of Bellid was the closest thing to a war, but during that time, Zich was causing chaos inside the temple rather than being on the frontlines. Maybe, it was because Zich realized that Glen Zenard was not the hero that Zich thought he was. But without even realizing it himself, Zich was more focused on doing ‘wars’ rather than doing ‘kind acts.’
As if he was a Demon Lord.
‘Now that I think about it, I think I heard somewhere that Zenard participated in an elf war or something.’
Zich had heard somewhere that Glen helped the elves in Adrowon against some kind of force that was antagonizing them.
‘Yeah, those guys were definitely called…’
A thought that Zich had pushed back into his mind came back up again. ‘The Iron Tribe. Yeah, they were definitely called the Iron Tribe.’
Zich tapped his fingers on the table a few times. Then he suddenly asked Leona, “Hey, Leona, is your grandma alright?”
“No, the shaman who was captured with my mom and dad is my grandma,” Leona said with sadness in her eyes, but Zich’s eyes sparkled in contrast.
‘Oh my, I guess it can’t be helped. We have to participate in a war.’
Still comforting Leona, Lyla looked at Zich with concern on her face.Previous Chapter Next Chapter