Chapter 9: This really is not my harem
Wu Qingsong tried every possible method to pull off the curtain that was used to cover the cage inside and made it into a relatively soft cushion to give it to her. It could also be used as a curtain to block each other when they wanted to relieve themselves.
Of course, the awkwardness could not be avoided. It was the same for either of them. But precisely because of this, Wu Qingsong’s attentiveness, patience, and conduct these few days had allowed the beastwoman to completely put down her guard.
“When he comes in later, use this curtain to cover yourself,” Wu Qingsong told her.
Though she did not understand the reason, the beastwoman did as she was told.
Hence, when Klein was sending food, he only saw a shivering head draped with a curtain and Wu Qingsong who was standing beside her.
He smirked in the shadow and proceeded to send in the plate of food and the water container into the cage like usual.
“When would I be able to get out?” Wu Qingsong asked at this moment.
Klein was slightly annoyed. It was just recently that you were given something to relieve your boredom. Yet, you were demanding for more?
“Soon,” he answered. “Just be patient for a bit longer.”
In a sense, he did not lie. Although it was much later than expected, Wals who was the battalion leader, suddenly made a decision this morning to lead his own subordinates and four other squads to capture the “Moon Lady” while Klein who had just reformed his squads and two other incomplete squads were left as garrison troops.
Klein could now be sure that the odds of success of this operation was zero. If the wolf girl Nina Lamus, who once fought against him, still stayed in that place after so many days and got captured by these guys who dawdled around while stirring so much commotion, then she would not be worthy of such a high bounty. But Wals and other squad leaders’ opinions were unanimous. Several slave traders in Leimu Town were also very active, which made Klein realize immediately that their real purpose was to use this chance as an excuse to go to that area to conduct legal robbery and massacres.
Such things were not uncommon due to the constraints of technology, transportation, and communication, which also meant that the empire could not achieve strict control over every little piece of land. It could only achieve management in towns, fortresses, ports, and checkpoints on major roads.
Generally speaking, villages that were close to towns and fortresses which strictly fulfilled their tax and labor obligations were considered to be loyal subjects of the empire and protected to a certain extent, while those scattered in forests, mountains and wilderness often required the dispatch of troops to allow them to fulfill their obligations. These villages were often sympathizers and potential allies of the rebels. For the elves and half-elves, killing some of them regularly was not only a way of making money but also a means of combating rebel forces and maintaining their rule.
Regarding the beastmen’s high fertility and growth rate, killing them off had always been the most reliable policy.
Perhaps they were stalling time deliberately in order to let the Moon Lady obtain enough time to evacuate. It was in case they accidentally bit on hard bones during the robbery. After all, losing a squad caused the entire battalion to have less than a thousand people now. According to Klein’s report, he was ambushed by nearly one thousand and five hundred rebels, which left him no choice but to abandon his subordinates.
At the time when Klein lied to lessen his own fault, he had never imagined Wals’ guts would be so small. He was now increasingly unable to stomach the fact that he had become the subordinate of such a half-elf.
What a disgrace!
Klein was entrusting even more hope on Wu Qingsong now. This fact even allowed him to smile when he was facing Wu Qingsong.
An unfamiliar half-elf would certainly draw attention in places like Leimu Town, but if Wals and the others led the battalion to leave Leimu Town, the people who had the capability to influence Klein’s plan were practically no more. There was nothing to worry about the remaining civilian staff.
It took at least a month to sweep and rob those villages. When they came back, the news that he had been waiting for should have arrived, and at that time, there was no need for him to continue staying in this sh*thole.
“Just be a bit more patient, perhaps after two to three more days, you’ll be able to get out,” he said to Wu Qingsong.
Yet, this attitude made Wu Qingsong jumped in fright.
No one was clearer than him what the so-called Karazan was all about. He also knew what Klein wanted from him. Under such circumstances, he would absolutely not give him back his freedom.
Was the person that he had sent out to investigate coming back…
This possibility made Wu Qingsong somewhat panicked.
He could fully anticipate that when his lie was exposed, the furious Klein would do something crazy. Previously when he was able to gain the upper hand in psychological warfare, it was entirely due to Klein’s greed. Once he found out that he was just bluffing, there was no need to imagine the consequences.
Would he really be forced to stay under the ground for a few hundred years, and wait until the rope that bound him and the box that trapped him decayed before he could slowly crawl out to the surface of the ground. He could not get injured but what about aging?
This kind of death was really not to his taste…
What to do now?
How to escape from here?
The whole night, Wu Qingsong was contemplating this matter. So much so that he even dreamed about the scene in his sleep.
“See you in a thousand years,” he dreamed of Klein saying this ruthlessly. Then he was tied up and stuffed inside a small box, thrown into a deep pit, and then a lot of cement was poured down.
“Ah~~~~!” he screamed and sat up. Then, he finally noticed that he was leaning against the beastwoman’s bosom.
“I’m sorry,” he quickly said.
The beastwoman shook her head in the dark and used a soft and beautiful voice to say, “You kept on screaming. I tried to let you be a bit more comfortable.”
So, it was not him who made his way into her bosom in his sleep?
Wu Qingsong was slightly relieved by this fact and said, “Thank you!”
The beastwoman shook her head.
Wu Qingsong thought that she would become taciturn like before but after a short period of time, she spoke in a low voice, “I’m Ling, previously…I’m really sorry.”
In truth, the second day she was locked up in here, after listening to Wu Qingsong’s singing, she had slowly calmed down.
She was not an unreasonable person. Just that, after all the things she had gone through adding the things that Klein had said, she could not bring herself to trust Wu Qingsong in the beginning, much less calming down.
Particularly when Wu Qingsong was clearly a half-elf.
For the races that depended on the elves and half-elves to survive, their existence means hope for survival, but in many cases it also meant disaster and death, meaning that everything they owned was deprived of and fell into slavery.
“Ling?” Wu Qingsong gently repeated her name and asked, “How did you get caught here?”
The beastwoman shook her head silently. Even in the dark, Wu Qingsong was able to detect that she was crying, so after a little hesitation, he lent his shoulder to her.
Her body went rigid for a moment but soon after, tears began to saturate Wu Qingsong’s clothes.
“I’m sorry…” she softly said.
“It’s alright, it’s really alright,” Wu Qingsong said.
She was a mixed-race. Of course, Wu Qingsong did not understand what a mixed-blood meant for the beastmen, but he could feel something from Ling’s words.
Her father used to be a soldier in Leimu Town, and her mother was his spoils of war, a wolf girl who was captured. Such a combination was a common sight among the low-class mastiffmen warriors. Due to the poverty caused by squandering, drinking and gambling, together with other bad habits, they were often unable to marry the women of their own race, and could only solve their own desires in this way.
As for the children that were born in such a relationship, their fate was often very miserable.
Mixed-race children usually meant deformities, and most of them would be abandoned or killed directly after birth. Even if the mixed-race was lucky enough that their body had no obvious disabilities, most of them did not have the ability to breed offspring. This caused others to think that they were unclean objects that had been cursed due to their tainted blood since ancient times, and they were regarded as below the commoners the moment they were born. Their ending was often to become slaves, men would become mine slaves or serfs, and women were likely to become prostitutes or the lowest servant.
Under the conditions of lacking food and clothing while doing the most laborious, most dangerous and the most filthy work, most of the mixed-bloods could not live past their thirty.
In fact, a long time ago, the fate of the half-elves was the same, perhaps even more tragic.
In most cases, the birth of half-elves was often followed by scandals or quirks. Most of them were the products of certain elves after getting drunk or after a moment of promiscuity. Most of the elves that valued traditions would even kill off all the children who, in their view, polluted their sacred blood, and the method they used was usually to throw the pregnant beastwoman directly into the fire to burn them as a way to purify their bloodline.
In those days, the beastwomen who were raped and impregnated by the elves were forced to try and conceal the fact that they were pregnant and took various measures to abort the fetus, many of which would die as a result. Of course, there were also some pregnant beastwomen who tried to escape by all means, and then quietly gave birth to the child.
Most half-elves had serious flaws at birth, but some of them would look like a real elf, while others even had a strong talent that was inherited from their father.
As the old-fashioned and traditional elves gradually disappeared, and as more and more half-elves sneakily survived and showed good capabilities, the practice of burning the pregnant beastwomen finally stopped.
On the other hand, as they were infertile, had no inheritance rights, but had a natural connection with the elves, and had a good talent, this made the half-elves quickly become reliable supplements to the empire’s grassroots administrative and military systems.
As more and more elves got tired of being in charge of identical long-term assignments and no longer fulfilled their obligations of the nobility, which allowed the half-elves to replace them in dealing with the burdensome government affairs, and engaging in the security and suppression of the territory, it gradually became a kind of practice that were acceptable and effective unknowingly.
Considering that most elves loathed getting in contact with the male beastmen who looked ugly and dirty in their view, allowing the half-elves to serve as the grassroots bureaucrats and the officers directly in contact with the beastmen vassals quickly became a national policy that had never gone through formal approval for the empire. With this context, the half-elves that were once cursed and slaughtered finally gained the permission to walk under the sun. They even gradually became an important link between the ruling elves and the ruled beastmen. Not only that, they were treated as replenishments for the elves that had low fertility rate. Their birth was planned, realized and created with a purpose in mind.
Their existences were now second only to the elves in the strict imperial hierarchy of the empire, and with a leap, they became their persecutors. As for the mixed-race beastmen who were essentially not much different from the half-elves, they still had to continue to face their own fleeting, dark and sinister fate.
Ling’s mother died in an epidemic six years ago, and her father died shortly after a not-so-intense public order disturbance. After that, she was adopted by her uncle, who was also a warrior at the lowest rung of Leimu city.
But rather than adoption, it was more fitting to describe it as becoming his maid and slave. The only good thing that came out from it was that she would not be captured as an ownerless slave and she also had a shelter to shield her from the wind and rain. In fact, her uncle was a crude and indecent mastiffman. If it was not for the fact that he thought that a virgin could be sold for a better price, she might have already been assaulted.
But even such asylum was finally lost not long ago. As a subordinate of Klein, he and the others had died in the mountain village. Ling had been hiding in the house for many days, but after all the food was eaten, she had no other choice other than plucking up her courage to go out. Soon, with her obvious characteristics of a mixed-blood, and without an owner nearby, she got targeted by a slave trader and was ready to be sold as an ownerless slave. While she was struggling, her uncle’s creditors suddenly appeared and joined the fight over her.
Both sides claimed that they had ownership over the orphan girl in accordance with the law. At this time, Klein, who had lost all his subordinates and had to re-recruit his subordinates, passed by. After hearing about the incident, he quickly realized that this was a legacy of his previous subordinates, but this did not make him feel uneasy at all. Because he felt that the fact that he had not taken out his anger on them due to that shameful defeat was already magnanimous enough.
He was prepared to stay away from the farce, but after accidentally seeing Ling’s appearance, he changed his mind and used a whip to drive off both sides of people in this fight over her. Then he captured Ling and took her to this place to serve as a tool for placating Wu Qingsong and was thrown into the cage.
“This beast!” Wu Qingsong could not help but cursed out. Ling could not understand the meaning of this sentence, so he could only shake his head.
“I will find a way to protect you,” he said to Ling. Although he could not even guarantee his own safety, he was unable to tolerate such things happening around him, much less acting indifferent. “You can rest assured that I will get you out of here! We’ll go to a place where there is no such thing happening!”
In the dark, he could not see the expression on the face of the mixed-race beastwoman. But he could feel that when he uttered these words, she suddenly grasped his clothes tightly with her paws, and then released it in a panic before leaving his side and went back to the corner as before.