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Chapter 8 – My Master Is Carnivorous
After finishing the iron refining process with the small furnace, I am once again in Sylphy’s home. Judging from the slope of the sun, it must be evening soon. The light’s color has not yet turned red, but the sunlight seems to be getting weaker somehow.
The interior of the room, which doesn’t have so many windows, is somewhat dim, but I don’t feel a sense of desolation or creepiness. But the air is somehow languid; perhaps it is because I’m tired.
“By the way, where should I sleep? Can I put a hammock in a suitable spot in this living room?”
I asked as we walked back into the house from the garden. Sylphy quickly sat down on the wicker couch and stretched out on it, showing off her toned limbs. Yeah, truly. This woman has a really good body.
“I don’t mind, but… you can sleep with me in my bed, you know?”
“Seriously? That kind of bothers me.”
Sylphy smiles charmingly and sends me a flirtatious glance. I’m too scared to accept it on par. This person is likely able to twist off my neck even with her bare hands.
“I’m scared, so I’ll refrain from doing so. When we understand each other a little better, I’ll appreciate that sort of thing.”
“What do you mean by scared?”
Sylphy’s lips quirked up in frustration. You have a look like that, huh? It’s much cuter than that smirk on your face.
“I still don’t understand you very well. At first, I thought what a violent woman you are, but when I talked to you, I found you to be a very perceptive person, and for whatever reason, you helped me out. I don’t know why, but you seem to be a person of considerable standing in this village, and as far as I can see from the disturbing spoils of war in the storage room, you’re someone who doesn’t hesitate to use violence. And yet, there are times when you also appear to be somewhat innocent. I don’t understand it, and I can’t figure it out. I mean, I’m afraid to lay my hands on someone like that suddenly.”
I decided to speak my mind in good earnest, not hiding any of my feelings. It may have been a little teasing for her, but for me, it’s a choice that affects my life. Sylphy is a knowledgeable person―or rather, an elf? Or a dark elf? I’m not that good to express my feelings without words or gestures, so it would be useless for me to try to deceive people by hiding my innermost thoughts. I’ve decided that it’s more effective to reveal my feelings without hiding them openly.
“Well, I don’t know what it is, and I’d like to know better. I’m sure some things will come to light when we get under each other’s skin, but I think it’s better to talk about things first, don’t you think? As for me, yeah, I don’t have a single complaint about being that way with Sylphy; I’m more of a happy or patient person.”
“For all your long-winded mouthing off about how scared you are, you’re finally lusting after me, aren’t you?”
“They say it’s a man’s shame not to eat a meal prepared on the table, so maybe a little.”
“Prepared meal on the table? What does that mean?”
Sylphy tilted her head in puzzlement. Yes, you should show gestures and expressions like that. If I look closely at her, she has a cute face rather than a beautiful one.
“It’s an old saying in my country that says it’s a shame for a man not to accept a woman’s call.”
“Oh, you mean, when the furnace is ready, it’s time to put the dough in the furnace?”
“I guess there are similar sayings and idioms in every country and every world.”
It’s so funny that I can’t help but laugh. After all, even if we live in different places and even if we live in different worlds, what we do and what we say is the same.
“Hmm, then, let’s discuss this carefully. Fortunately, I just need to eat dinner and go to bed now.”
“Okay. Well, let’s talk about my world’s view of chastity and love first. That is the topic now.”
Sylphy grinned as if she was looking forward to hearing about the other world, no matter what it is. I don’t see any feelings of embarrassment or anything at all from her, even though it’s a relatively sensitive topic!
“Not so bad. But, you see, what’s that love thingy? I know what chastity is, though.”
“Eh? It’s love, you know? Love. Don’t elves have a love story or stuff like that?”
Sylphy only made a dubious expression at my question. Eh, seriously? Doesn’t the concept of love exist in this world? Are you kidding me?
“Love, I know what you mean by that, well, I understand it as a concept. I’ve never been in love with anyone. So I don’t really understand what love actually means. What on earth is that?”
“Eeh… it’s hard to tell what it is again. It’s the stage before reaching love, or something like that? The opposite sex―maybe not necessarily the opposite sex in some cases, but a state of mind where all you can think about is the other person, and you can’t get anything out of them anyway?”
“…Isn’t that simply lusting after that person?”
“That’s actually a bull’s eye! That sounds like something a platonic, romantic supremacist would attack you with a weapon! Well, okay, it’s a pain in the ass to explain any more, so tell me about chastity and love in this world. I might be able to explain a lot more after I hear you talk about it.”
“Well, that’s okay.”
With that, Sylphy began to talk about the relationship between men and women in this world.
To summarize, polygamy is the basic principle. The death rate is high because men often work in dangerous jobs, and women are less likely to do so. This means that many women are widowed, and those women are often welcomed as second and third wives. Furthermore, people in this world are basically childless because of the lack of entertainment available about that kind of stuff.
Daughters of first marriages are generally stable, but widows who have lost their husbands are not so firm. Not many women able to have sexual intercourse because of the husband’s death, and they usually marry a new man. Apparently, men who provide for many such widows tend to be respected in the world.
“Hmm, that’s quite… no, that’s considerably far off from my common sense.”
“In your world, you said it’s a virtue to be with just one person. Even royalty and aristocrats don’t live like that today, huh?”
As for me, I can’t help but groan. It is said that you should follow the land rules, but it is still hard to violate the common sense that I have developed so far.
“For the time being, I’m going to ask you based on that common sense… You’re a virgin, aren’t you? Isn’t it hard for you to carry yourself?”
I don’t know if “Virgin” in this case simply means first marriage or if it means that Sylphy is a virgin, but I wonder if it’s a good idea to casually permitting one’s body to call oneself a maiden.
“Does it take logic for a man to want a woman and a woman to want a man?”
“What kind of animal is that?”
“There’s not much difference between humans and animals anyway.”
“You’re so philosophical! Okay, okay, I’m done talking about this! Let’s talk about something else!”
Sylphy smirked at me. I feel like I’m slowly being cornered. It’s dangerous; I have to get away! But there’s nowhere to run, even if I wanted to! Is it a dead end? Yeah, let’s talk about it as much as we can in a moderate direction. It’s the least I can do.
“It can’t be helped, can it? Well, how about some foreign countries? The situation in neighboring countries is a topic that directly affects you as well, right?”
“Yes, that’s right. I’ve heard it lightly, but I’d like to hear more about it.”
“Yes… I mentioned that the Holy Kingdom and the Empire are fighting each other, didn’t I?”
“Yeah, I heard that. I heard that the Holy Kingdom is a human supremacy country, and the empire is a multi-ethnic country. And they’re fighting over the fertile land on their borders, and they have a quagmire with internal worries of rebellion and stuff; I think it was something like that.”
“Umu, there’s no mistake in that perception. Let’s start with the Holy Kingdom――.”
Sylphy gave me a brief overview of the Holy Kingdom. To summarize, the Holy Kingdom is a barbaric religious country. It is headed by the Holy King who believes in Adol, the absolute only God, and who was given the kingship by Adol.
Adol creates Sub-humans as servants of humans, so it is only natural for them to obey humans as slaves. Long live human supremacy! And so on.
“According to them, beings like us, who are not purely human, are the servants that God created to serve humans.”
“That’s pretty spectacular, isn’t it? What do they base that on, anyway?”
“Humans can have children with any sub-human. Sub-humans can only have children with other sub-humans of the same species. In other words, humans are the ancestors of all sub-humans. Conversely, the gods created sub-humans after they created humans, which is why they made sub-humans to serve humans or something like that.”
“Hmm? It doesn’t seem to make sense…”
I think the position could be reversed, depending on how one interprets it. It could be said that the sub-humans are the evolutionary lineage of humans.
This human/subhuman origin story has a kind of science fiction feel to it. It sounds like sub-humans are genetically modified based on humans, or something like that. If their claims are valid, then it sounds like a being like Adol has advanced genetic improvement technology.
“What’s the Empire like?”
“There’s not much I can tell you about the Empire; it is too far from here, after all. It’s going to take three months on foot to get from the Black Forest to the border area between the Holy Kingdom and the Empire―the very place that is now a battlefield.”
“That’s quite a distance.”
I’ve heard that the distance a person can walk in a day without difficulty is about 30km. If you walk for three months without resting, it will be 900km in one month and 2700km in three months… It doesn’t ring a bell, but it’s a considerable distance.
“I’ve only heard of it through the grapevine, but I’ve heard that the Empire is governed by an emperor who has many states under his control, and the slave trade is thriving. I’ve heard that the slave trade is rampant and that people from the north and east of the continent of Pence are actively traded. Humans and subhumans alike.”
“It doesn’t feel like human supremacy, does it?”
“Umu, from what I’ve heard, there isn’t much discrimination based on being human or subhuman. However, I heard that money and status are very important in everything you do. However, it seems that the treatment of the slave is not so good. I’ve heard that there are many slave rebellions.”
“I wish you wouldn’t mistreat me to cause me to revolt. I mean, it’s more economical to treat people a certain way.”
“Fumu, that’s a statement worth considering.”
“It would be nice if you did.”
I think a win-win relationship is the best way to go, yes.
“I think we’re getting thirsty talking like this.”
With those words, Sylphy pulled out two ceramic bottles from the cupboard near the window and handed me one. When she dropped it down, I could tell that it was filled with a liquid that splashed around inside.
“Honey booze, well, drink it.”
“Booze, huh? I’m not very strong on booze, you know?”
I take the cork-like cap, following Sylphy’s example, who drinks it straightly from the bottle, while I take a glass to drink the honey wine. It’s sweet! I was expecting honey, but it’s a completely different kind of sweetness from the sticky, creamy honey. It’s different from honey. It smells very light and refreshing. It has a refreshing sweetness like the flower’s nectar. I think the alcohol is quite strong as it goes down the throat. It does not seem to be lower than beer.
“It’s pretty strong. I think I’m going to drunk if I drink a bottle of this.”
“What a weak guy. This is no better than water.”
“So, you’re a heavy drinker, huh?”
Let me explain! A heavy drinker is a creature with a strong liver and no trouble at all with alcohol consumption! Also known as someone who can drink like a fish. Some of them will push alcoholic drinks on you with their own scale of “I’m okay, so you’ll be okay too,” so be careful if you meet them!
“It’s sweet and strong for me, anyway. Let me put some water on it.”
“You want to add more water?”
That being said, it’s hard to drink as it is. I poured the liquor into the wooden tumbler I had crafted beforehand and used a plastic bottle of water to dilute it. It’s just right, about twice as much.
“Is that a water bottle?”
“Yeah, it’s a common material in my world. Not very tough, but pretty good at taking impacts.”
If you damage it with a blade, it will be torn easily, but it won’t be damaged if you drop it. In this way, the plastic bottle is very useful material.
“Hmm, it’s an interesting material. It’s soft yet strong and transparent. What on earth is it made of?”
“The material for plastic bottles, huh? …I don’t know much about it either, but I think the original material was oil. Oil which comes out of the ground.”
“How could oil become a container like this? I’m not sure I understand how it works.”
Sylphy smiles as she fiddles with the plastic bottle. Somehow, she seems to be more curious than most people.
“There’s a lot of them. You can keep some of them or store them in a place where they won’t be exposed to direct sunlight for a long time.”
“Really? Water in a water jug can go bad in three days at the most.”
“That thing is well sterilized and sealed, so you should be able to store it for six months or a year without any problems. Not once it’s opened, though.”
“You can store it for that long, huh…? That’s fantastic technology.”
Somehow, she has been strangely impressed. But come to think of it, she said it would take ten days to traverse the wilderness on foot. If there are almost no water supply points, is the water that can be preserved quite valuable?
“Uhm, where was our conversation earlier? It’s about the empire, right? Are the Holy Kingdom and the Empire the only countries on this continent?”
“No, that’s not true. The Holy Kingdom and the Empire are the two most powerful on this continent. Still, there are countless other small countries that are also crowded out. Some of them are so powerful and medium-sized that those two countries have to be concerned about them. In the first place, the other side of the wilderness isn’t exactly the territory of the Holy Kingdom, but the territory of its vassal state, the Kingdom of Merinard.”
“Kingdom of Merinard. What’s it like?”
“Originally, it was founded by a tribe of elves who left the Black Forest. A tribe that did not appreciate the mere enjoyment of life in the forest left the forest, crossed the wilderness, and beyond that took root and mingled with humans and beastmen to form a nation.”
“So, it was originally an elven country?”
“Originally, yeah. Before it was conquered by the powerful Holy Kingdom and made into a vassal state, it was a country inhabited by a wide variety of races, like an empire. The Merinard Kingdom was small, but it had fertile plains and mines that produced good quality rock salt and iron, and it prospered from trade. They had friendly relations with the Black Forest elves, so their trading was very prosperous.”
Sylphy speaks with a lonely light in her eyes. Perhaps Sylphy was one of the elven clans that lived in the Merinard Kingdom.
“It must have been about twenty years since it was considered a vassal state of the Holy Kingdom. It seems that there was a rebellion about three years ago, but it was put down by an army sent from the mainland. All of the residents in this village, except for the elves, are refugees from the Merinard Kingdom who fled at that time.”
“Really? That’s probably why the hostility towards humans is so… amazing.”
“That’s right. But that doesn’t mean there wasn’t a single human in the Merinard Kingdom, to begin with, either. And I heard there were many human warriors among the rebel army.”
“Really? But there are no other humans in this village but me, right?”
“Yes, but when they were defeated, the humans and sub-humans decided to split up and run away. It was decided that the sub-humans would flee the country, and the humans would either hide out inside the country or disappear under the influence of the Holy Kingdom. It’s not difficult for humans to sneak into areas under the control of the Holy Kingdom.”
Is that really true? Is it possible that no one has ever set foot in these forests after leaving the people they fought with for that reason alone?
“Your question is valid, but it’s true. To be burned out of the place you lived, or to cross the Great Wilderness of Omit unprepared in defeat, is an act of suicide. In fact, many of those men scattered their lives in the wilderness by the time they reached the Black Forest. They were attacked by Gizma day and night with little food and water.”
That being said, I think the refugees were mostly women and children. I see.
“So, Gizma is the name of the monster lurking in the wilderness?”
“Yes. They lurk in packs on the ground and pounce on any prey that passes by. At night, they crawl out from under the ground and prowl, searching for their prey. They are fast, hard, and powerful. They are dangerous monsters. The Holy Kingdom will not show any mercy to sub-humans who plan to rebel. So the sub-humans had no choice but to flee to the Great Wilderness of Omit.”
I see, so the grueling journey was a major factor in the separation of the two sides. I don’t want to run away to a place that risky for a human either anyway.
“Yeah, that makes sense.”
“That’s good to hear. Well, I think it’s time for you to start preparing our dinner.”
“What? Am I going to make it?”
“Are you going to let your master cook you a meal? Hmm?”
“Damn it… I don’t know what to make anyways…”
We had a soup made of salted Lizarf meat and vegetables, a steak of salted and spiced Lizarf meat, and a salad with a mysterious grain flour bread baked like naan for dinner.
“It’s just normal. Aren’t you a little lacking?”
“I ain’t no chef! It’s not that I didn’t cook for myself, but don’t expect me to cook something complicated. It’s impossible to cook a decent meal with ingredients you don’t even know existed.”
I stare at Sylphy while eating a salad made up of vegetables and fruits that are edible. Yeah, this green, unripe tomato-like fruit tastes and textures like a normal, ripe tomato even though it’s green. Maybe I can make a tomato sauce with this one.
“Well, it’s a matter of course. You’ll get used to it a little at a time.”
“You’re gonna make me cook food no matter what?”
“You’re the slave, and I’m the master, so why shouldn’t I be? You were forced to create such a position, so be patient. If you want to change your position, you should work that way, right?”
Sylphy chuckles as she stabs a green tomato in her two-way fork.
Come to think of it; I haven’t been able to ask why Sylphy is trying to get into that kind of relationship with me after all. Damn, I should have questioned her properly at the right time before! No, there’s always a chance to ask her. If only I had the guts to ask her, I could ask her right now.
All right… I’m going to get my ass kicked then.
“Hey, why are you trying to get into this… relationship with me?”
“Now, why is that? Why don’t you figure it out for yourself?”
I’m annoyed with Sylphy, who returns a smirk to the serious question. This is an important issue, you know. According to the way of this world, it should be a big problem for Sylphy. So why is this woman grinning like that?
“I’m asking because I don’t understand.”
“You think you can just ask, and you’ll get everything you need, but you’re wrong.”
“How could I know what’s on your mind except for yourself? I’m serious about this.”
I can’t help but wrinkle my brow. But Sylphy doesn’t show any signs of intimidation at the sight of me but only licks the honey wine with a grin and a smile. It seems that she has no intention of exposing her heart to me.
“It’s just a little bit of calculation and curiosity; the rest is just like instinct. I’m not thinking about it all that much, either.”
“When you see a woman of your taste, don’t you lust after her? It’s the same thing. It’s not a theory, though.”
It doesn’t make any sense. It’s not that I’m good-looking. That’s not so much that I think I’m ugly. It’s just that I think I look like anyone anywhere. I’m not fat, but I’m not muscular either. I think I’m probably a little taller than average, and I shouldn’t have any outwardly noticeable features either.
“I don’t know. Am I your kind of man’s favorite appearance?”
“Appearance isn’t the only thing that matters.”
“I don’t know anymore.”
What’s the relationship between Sylphy and me, after being attacked in bed and beaten to a pulp, and after a half-hearted discussion, protection… protection? Let’s just call it protection for now, though she did put a collar on me.
I was protected; I was dragged around the village. I even cooked a meal and showed her how to process the iron. It’s really, really hard to know if she’s serious or if she’s teasing me since we arrived home and it was just the two of us.
Is it okay? Can I go? But it’s Sylphy. A master who could kill me with the tip of her finger if she wanted to? Is it okay to rush on her? Will I get punished?
It bothers me; it bothers me a lot. The fact that Sylphy is my type bothers me even more. She’s a beautiful brown-skinned elf with big boobs, you know? That’s just too much patience.
I can’t get an answer, no matter how much I worry about it. If I can’t find an answer, I should stop thinking. It’s a waste of time and mental resources to keep worrying about it. Even if I get punished, it’s all I can hope for. Take a swing at her. Was I disregarding the thought? Very well!
“I don’t know, but it’s going to cripple a man if he backs down to that point.”
What, it’s not even worth bothering with in simple terms. A very beautiful woman of my type is asking me out. She has the power of life and death over me, both physically and in terms of position. So let’s just have maximum fun and try to make her like me.
“Right. I was just starting to wonder if you’re just a limp-dick man by now.”
“I don’t think it’s nice for a girl to say a limp dick or something like that.”
I gulped the raw, uncracked honey wine directly from the ceramic bottle and wiped my mouth. A strong spirit and cool aroma pierced my nostrils. It’s sweet.
“What manners are prevalent in the elves at times like this?”
“I don’t know. I’m a virgin. I wasn’t even close enough to have those kinds of conversations with girls in my position.”
“All right, we’ll do it my way.”
I put my arms behind Sylphy’s back and knees, who was sitting on a wicker couch and held her to the side. This is what is called a princess carry.
“Fufu, what are you going to do now?”
“Of course, I’ll take you to bed just like this. I’ll let the experienced man lead you.”
“That’s going to be fun. I’m used to the pain, but be gentle with me, okay? I am a virgin, after all.”
I don’t have a lot of experience, either. Let’s use all the experience and knowledge I have and do my best.