Chapter 38: The Elves and the City of Platinum
Underground City Velkastance, in the words of the Gnomes, it means ‘City of Platinum’. It has a very unique geographical location, being in the middle of quite a few active volcanoes. It is a city among volcanoes and the river of lava that flows tirelessly cuts the city off from the surrounding land.
To enter the pavilion in the sky, one must go through the spiral staircase at the city below and the moment they meet invaders, they only have to block this spiral stairs or simply drown it with water or poisonous gas then basically, they would be cut off the rest of the world.
At the back of this city, between the wall of rocks, there is actually an opening that leads to the surface, allowing it to dominate the business between the surface and the underground world and even more so, giving it an escape route in times of danger.
In the underground world, safety is a something viewed more important than any other incentives. Very quickly, after it drew in numerous merchants to permanently reside in the city, it became a city with business from near and far. Other than the Gnomes who insists on using its original name, other races normally name it as Vance.
Vance City’s outstanding geographical location makes it an ideal fortress, turning it into a true golden city of the underground world, earning the Gnomes who found and built it a great deal… Of course, in the underground city, not possessing power to protect your treasures and fortune is also an original sin.
But, the wall behind its back cannot protect it from daggers coming from the back and the breath of flying dragons. After a series of scheming and calculations, the pioneer batch of Gnomes who created this city has already disappeared and now, this place is without a City Lord, making it neutral city without a lord.
The reason? As the factions within the city is too complicated, there are influences from every underground lord within the city so whoever who becomes the city lord could very possibly be assassinated the next day, Thus, this formed the eerie situation of not having any lords.
“Leave this as a public passage to the surface and a location to trade with other cities, a neutral zone for diplomacy’, the Underground Lords and Underground Autarchs who have tasted the sweetness formed a consensus on this issue.
This is also the main reason why Vance city is used for negotiating the Underground Alliance. After all, if you negotiate on the grounds of the Dark Elves, the Gray Dwarves and Beastmen would be displeased, if you negotiate on the Beastmen territory, the Elves, Dwarves and Humans wouldn’t be able to accept it, if you try to strike the deal in the Dragon City, everyone would have to grow a pair of wings first and if you do it the Gnome territory which is highly business-focused, due to the expensive fee in entering the city and for lodgings, everyone won’t be pleased.
The lord-less Vance naturally became only choice.
One week ago, there was an astonishing entrance to the city. The news of 17 gigantic metal Titans and the Yongye Scepter that it was protecting has already spread across the entire underground city and Liu Huang Mountain City’s young City Lord Annie has started to gain some fame.
Right now, cloaked in my long robe and a mantle, I started wandering around this city which was quite similar to Liu Huang Mountain City.
When I say that Vance City is similar to Liu Huang Mountain City, I meant that it is a city with diverse races, without nobility, a well-known prosperous trading city but in my eyes, it is the exact same points on where they differ.
Other than the Undeads, who very few people can accept having them as neighbors, most of the Liu Huang Mountain City’s different races live together. A small shop, a patrolling team, a barber, it is possible that their members are of different races and also, the mindset of that all races are equal has already been ingrained in Liu Huang Mountain City so slavery and such isn’t an acceptable act.
But in this city, the slavery trade is quite lucrative and in fact, there are even markets and coliseums specially for slaves. There might be many different races living here, but the districts they live in are demarcated very clearly. The boundaries of each race is clear and their fighting has never stopped in the shadows. For example, the 2 Wolf Rider humans who just got dragged Beastmen District would probably be never coming out.”
“… This should be the Elf District and only they would be so free.”
The Elves are publicly known to be the number 1 race in their aesthetics sense. Their pursuit for beauty and art is boundless. The exiled Dark Elves are no different and if you think this only applies to infrastructures, sculptures and paintings, you are underestimating them.
In front of me at the top of the rock cliff, a gigantic stone has been carved into a vivid image of an elegant lady. That seeming to reject yet welcoming expression, the lips that were slightly curved up and the sexy figure which her 2 hands were unable to cover tend to make one think about some unspeakable things.
“Uncle Bones, look at this sword. It is so pretty!!”
Since it is a private visit, then naturally, I wouldn’t bring too much people along. Behind me, also wearing a mantle, is the envoy team’s leader in name Annie and my external conscience Elisa.
In this instant, Annie was waving a thin mithril sword. The sword’s body is long and slim like a needle. On it, there is golden-color rose carved on it and on the handle, 2 Fallen Angels beside each other was sculpted on it. Their wings were spread apart, as though roaring towards the heavens.
Yet, the glowing green blade indicates that it isn’t just a piece of decoration but a lethal weapon that has been enchanted with poison. At least, the dark-skinned Dark Elf merchant is currently trying to convince the young city lord on this point.
?Art Piece: The Sword of Fallen Angels?
?Attack Power: 0-5 (+1 Poison Damage) Tier: Superior ?
?Special Ability: None. Oh, no, she still has a special ability. At least, it can show that you are rich and silly enough to buy this luxurious but unpractical toy. Perhaps, if you dance with it in the dance, you might still be able to blind your enemy’s eyes with her.?
?Weakness: Fragile. When clashing arms with Superior-tier weapons, there is a 70% chance it will instantly break. Eich above! This dumbass Elf, for the sake of beauty, actually carved the sword empty!?
?This is a classic Elf artwork, elegant design, exquisite carving, expensive material, perfect workmanship and then, useless! Battle? Do you really intend to bring an art piece to the battlefield? Or do you want your grave to be carved to indicate that you are an artist? Better go and choose from the bulky Dwarves.?
In this instant, facing the Annie who was using her strength to wave the sword, on the verge of buying it, I am a bit speechless. What does it take to get the system to acknowledge that you are a Art Piece, what does it take to get the system to acknowledge that you are a piece of trash, the goods of the Elves are as good at making people speechless as always.
The pursuit of art and beauty is perfectly normal, but to do it to such an extent, using the precious enchanted metal mithril to make the body of the sword, but yet overdoing the carvings, resulting in the blade being weaker than normal weapons, isn’t this forgetting the initial goal of weapons?
Using the same materials to make weapon, Elf blacksmiths are always able to make it look so elegant and beautiful but by overdoing the adornments, they sacrifice the practicality of the weapon for beauty, resulting in them always making some stuff that would leave people speechless. For example, the Elf Thin Sword here and the more famous Elf Chainmail.
That toy is famous for its compatibility with Mages. Normally, metals would have a huge effect of spell-casting. Even War Mages who often go on the front line would tend to wear a Mage Robe rather than a Metal Chainmail which has a more outstanding defensive ability. But, the Elf Mages invented a new Elf Chainmail known as the ‘Song of Harmony’, known to be as comfortable for a Mage wearing a normal robe and wouldn’t affect spell-casting.
In reality, they managed to do it. They overjoyed Elf Kingdom spent huge amount to make this series of Chainmail commonplace but then, they found a small problem with it… This Chainmail’s defensive ability is inferior to robes!
Chainmails are normally made by solid metal bent together to provide reliable defensive ability. But, the ‘Song of Harmony’ hollow metal pins break the instant it touches something, giving it totally no defense against metal weapons whatsoever.
Sometime, rolling around to avoid arrows would result in the chainmail scattering all around the ground. Afterwards, they still have to spend several hours to put it back together and wear it thick-skinned, pretending as though everything is still okay. After all, the poor soldiers cannot afford to compensate that chainmail which has four 0s on its price tag.
Then, when the court did an investigation on the design and attempted to improve it, they realised that it was precisely because it was hollow enough, that’s why magic power is able to flow through the spellcaster but for it to be hollow to such an extent, there is no need to think about increasing its defensive power. If it is thick enough, it will become like other metal defensive gears so this line of thought is contradictory, thus it is unable to be improved.
That Kingdom’s treasury was totally spent on purchasing the expensive metal and the country was destroyed not longer after in an Undead Calamity. The ‘Song of Harmony’ then became a symbol of the Elf equipment’s luxurious and unpractical design…
To tell truth, I don’t really know to deal with those precious metal left in my storeroom, over-working on it and the enchantment already made it impossible to work on them any further. In the end, I threw it to those Elf blacksmiths for them to struggle over the creation of an art piece.
This is why Elves’ creations are unwelcome in the underground city but very popular among the nobles of human kingdoms. The best-selling weapons of underground cities are forever the Gray Dwarves’.
Of course, the Elves wouldn’t admit it. They would think that it is the slander of those with short life span. “We have sufficient time to master it to perfection. You are just jealous of our artistic cells. You dumb and short-sighted objects, you all are more suited to use the Dwarves’ ugly burnt metal sticks.”
The gigantic female Elf sculpture was also like this. Someone seems to think that it is a sculpture of Goddess Lorci or some material required for a magic ritual, but even if the system doesn’t tell me directly that it is ?Statue of a Sculptor’s Dream Stripper?, I could roughly guess that it is the result of the Elf’s artistic talent acting up.
Hanging on the wall of the cliff, a sculpture 100-meter tall that requires a Floating Spell to reach, incredibly beautiful, attracting countless gazes but in the end, it is just a sculpture.
If it is done by a human craftsman, it would probably require at least a 400-man army to work together for 5 to 6 years. But if it is an Elf, it could very well be some great artist’s sudden inspiration causing him to spend a few hundred years here to do something meaningless.
For an Elf whose lifespan is, on average, a thousand, they would have the time to waste but humans don’t have such leisure…
The conclusion of the competition of patience with Lorci’s Archbishop and Goddaughter Kajah has been revealed. After I consecutively caused the third Matriach’s Envoy to take their leave, she also decisively left me a letter, inviting me to Vance’s Elf District for negotiations.
At this moment, Elisa behind me, by using the reason that we are about to conduct secret negotiations so it is inappropriate for us to interact too much with local business, managed to convince Annie to give up that sword… Un, art piece.
“Lord Annie, please prioritise official matters. For simple tasks like purchasing or so, you can leave it to servants like us.” Her tone, as usual, was filled with venom but ever since Annie realised that she was unable to beat her in an argument, un, of course part of the reason is that she is unable to defeat this big sister, she also began to learn to ignore the malice in the other party’s words.
But looking at this situation, I started to frown. Annie is our appointed City Lord and Elisa might very well be our future Head of Internal Affairs Bureau or the Head of the Supreme Court of some kind of other high official. If they are unable to get along, or even become enemies, it might cause big trouble in Liu Huang Mountain City in the future.
“Even though Elisa can maintain basic respect towards everyone, how come she has such great resentment towards Annie… Looks like I must look for an opportunity to talk to her about this.”
Suddenly, the Elf Guards in front of us split into 2 by the sides and following that, a tall Dark Elf Priestess walks out from the shadow. Behind her, there are many proud female Dark Elves dressed extravagantly…
“There are a total of 72 Dark Elf cities in the underground world, but it looks like more than 20 Matriachs of the First Family came here. If we were to ignore those who were unable to make it due to being too far, there is at least half of the Spider Queen Lorci and her Priestesses here. Are they trying to showcase their might now?”
Of course they are showcasing their might. The Matriachs here, in their own underground cities, their authority and might wouldn’t be inferior to Liu Huang Mountain City’s City Lord. Now that they are standing quietly in a line by the side like a subordinate, it makes Kajah’s authority seem more apparent and indubitably, it is a silent way of pressuring us.
“Mortal, you must learn to be humble. You can sit together with my subordinates.”
But I smiled.
The Emperor would never compare his authority with his farmers. A true authoritative winner don’t need too much adornment. To stage such a show, it can only show that she is unconfident. She is worried about Liu Huang Mountain City’s strength and even fear it, so she wants to find something to suppress this new rising power.
“Hehe, looks like the show I staged for the entry of this city is quite effective.”
That day, when we entered the city, 17 of the Roland series giant robot walked in arrogantly into the city.
After being stopped, we sent one of the robots and bashed the 2 Black Dragons that were guarding the gate into pulp. In the chaotic battle, we even ‘accidentally’ destroy the city’s metal alloy gates, showcasing the powerful strength and the sturdy material of the gigantic robot.
After the incident, I made Annie announce that these are machinery that Liu Huang Mountain City is going to auction off, causing an even bigger ripple.
This is much useful than advertisement and bragging. Everyone would start thinking ‘They are even willing to split with this kind of war machine that could defeat a dragon independently. Does this mean that Liu Huang Mountain City still have some kind of ace up their sleeves…”
Of course, this is just me making a fake impression. At this moment, I can’t help but remember the report of Roren awhile ago.
“Lord, the preparations for Roland No.3 to No.18 is finished. If the one controlling it is a Gold-rank Warrior, it should be able to display a battle strength of half a Legend.”
At that moment, I was quite surprised. After all, the image of Roland No.2’s powerful charges were still in my mind, that kind of powerful battle strength can easily suppress Legend-ranks. Even though it might not reach the stage of a World Saint, but it shouldn’t be too far off. Now that these robots are only half a Legend, it feels like the result is a little unsatisfactory.
But very quickly, I understood what was going on from the explanations.
“Roland No.2 is a prototype! A prototype, no matter what price we pay, how many expensive and precious metal we use, we must prove that our design concept is correct. Back then, over hundred of engineers brought their private stash, a master even infused the Titan’s Heart that was passed down from his ancestors, thus allowing Roland No.2 to have such might. If we wish for other Rolands to have such battle power, I’m afraid that even if our engineers are able to do it, you are unable to pay the bills.”
Very quickly, I got proof that no matter it is what type of engineer-made robot it is, it is all made of an energy source, an exoskeleton armor, an engine and transmission device. The Titan’s Heart is a heart-shaped jewel that is formed after a Titan’s death. It contains the highest quality power of electricity and is also the highest quality energy source.
After all, this world is fair. A Legend-rank and above battle power cannot be replicated easily. Even if I were to make an extremely strong exoskeleton, without a top-notch energy source, it is impossible to create an even more powerful battle tool.
In reality, in this bizarre world where fossil fuels just came into play but rockets are still flying around, a superior energy source can only be obtained normally by hunting powerful magic beasts and luck still plays an important part. A powerful energy source that can provide sufficient kinetic energy is the core for engineering to show its true potential.
Talking about this, I can’t help but remember a similar experience that I went through.
Before, didn’t I use the system’s Gachapon? That time, I managed to obtain an equipment that surpasses God Equipment — A mystical gadget called Small Light that came from the pouch of a blue cat in a certain world!
At that moment, I was overjoyed. I thought that the Gachapon was finally operating properly for once, giving me a top-class equipment that I can truly use. But afterwards, I realised that I was tricked again, that I was happy too early, that I underestimated the bottom limit of the system’s shamelessness…
The Small Light is real, but… There isn’t battery inside!!
Looking in the manual of the Small Light that I was unable to use, I begged the system to trade me a battery… However, that bastard system didn’t intend to let me grasp hold of the God Equipment that can overturn cause and effect, so how is it possible for it to allow me to trade.
After drawing the Gachapon with the battery as my goal, I only managed to obtain the Take-copter flying machine which also lack batteries, a toy pistol of a certain eye cowboy and also a random bathtub that fills itself with hot water. I finally understood the system’s persistence in playing pranks, then I decided to rely myself.
Afterwards, after confirming that in engineering, there is no such thing as a small-scale energy source (battery), I squeezed out my brain juice and collected countless chemistry books. Only then did I realise that going by Eich continent’s technology level, to make something like battery, the first thing that has to be solved is the liquid required for electrolysis, conductors for electricity and a few bottlenecks. Also, after solving these problems, we still have to tackle the problem of creating a whole string of technical problems. By the time we managed to get everything required on the tree of technology, a conservative estimate would be around 200 to 300 years later, and this is assuming that it would be a smooth journey full of miracles. I had no choice but to give up on the idea of causing an industrial revolution in the EIch continents.
Cough, looks like I went too far. Back to the topic.
Even though Roland.2 will be very powerful, assuming it hasn’t blown up yet, but No.3 and machines after that can only reach the power of half a Legend. Thus, I immediately changed my plan.
All of the Roland system will use No.2 at its blueprint, not a single difference is allowed. Even the number written behind the Rolands were wiped clean, so that other people can’t tell the difference between them.
The things that came after that is easy. After staging a show of Roland No.2 ‘heroically fighting the evil dragons’, the Rolands behind became the most effective threat… To tell truth, I feel very awkward every time this name is called but I was unable to get a consensus on changing the name.
In the eyes of those who are aware, it is an existence of a robot that crushes Legend-rank and 16 half Legends. It may be scary to normal city lords, after all normal underground city lords are only a Legend-rank, but to the Underground Autarchs who have 3 figure number of underground cities under their control, what can it count as. But now, after staging that show, in the eyes of those who are unaware, that is 13 Saint-rank war machines. Even Underground Autarchs have to be careful of it.
TL: Not sure if it is a typo but it does say 13 twice so I’ll stick with it.
After declaring that there will be an auction, the whole is shock by Liu Huang Mountain City’s backing, to be able to casually sell 13 Saint-ranks. At the same time, I am able to earn quite a bit. At least, I will be able to get back my material fee and manpower cost.
“If both parties aren’t on the same starting line, then what is the point of negotiating an alliance. No matter how we negotiate, it ends up with the weaker one getting eaten up and merged in.”
The effect that I spent all my effort planning for has finally been achieved. The daughter of the true God Lorci, the High Leader of all of the Dark Elves in name, Kajah, making her force known is sufficient to prove everything.
“You must be Wumianzhe. May the Spider Queen’s footsteps resound in your ears. Perhaps, we can talk. You and me, privately, secretly.”
Kajah’s voice has some kind of special magic to them, as though a lover that is whispering sweet nothings, as though a sacred Priestess that is preaching. Somehow, it makes one unconsciously wants to continue listening on.
However, after listening to her words and warmth welcome, all of the Matriachs behind her bursts into laughter.
In the Dark Elf’s bizarre and straightforward views on love, this seemingly warmth welcome is actually equal to ‘hey, let’s go get a room’, that kind of rude and crude message.
“May the Spider Queen’s footsteps resound in your ears’ is also naturally, not any good words. It may seem like she is asking for the Goddess she serve to bless you, but in reality, it is a vicious curse. Lorci is the Goddess of Spider and spiders do not have footsteps. When she is intentionally stomping her foot for you to hear, it is only to warn you of her arrival, or maybe, it means that she is going to get rid of you, or that she wants to see your ugly state while struggling for life.
“How many years has it been, Elves still like to play this game of adding in sarcasm and curses into their greetings. If you are unable to detect it, they would mock your lack in knowledge, the short lifespan of your race and your lack of experience.”
However, this trick is useless on me. In the long life that I had went through, I have seen a couple of Elf Kingdoms which have an history of over 10000 years destroyed and their countless precious manuals became my private collection. What does this kind of sarcastic joke count as.
“Respected Madam Kajah, I thank you for your greetings. May the Spider Queen’s eight eyes be always on you, I pray that the envoy of the candlelight descend beside you.”
This is also not pleasant words. The Spider Queen Lorci is vicious, cunning, skeptical, fickle-minded, jealous (actually, as her reputation is really bad, you can almost add in any negative adjectives behind here) and it is well-known throughout the world, so how can her gaze being on you be anything good. Envoy of the candlelight? It just means Yochlol, those evil creatures are Lorci’s envoys. After they descend, it is definitely a whole string of scheming and trouble, and you might not even be rewarded for finishing it. If you don’t do it satisfactorily, you can go and meet Lorci immediately. Un, go with your soul, leaving your physical body behind… For the Matriachs, these kind of superior is better off not meeting.
TL: Okay, I just realised that the Spider Queen’s name should be Lolth from D&D but… A little lazy to change so I will stick with Lorci for now. Anyway, Yochlol
My blessings could be considered a disaster to the person, but to a Priestess of Lorci, being highly regarded by her superior is a good thing… So, Kajah isn’t able to retort.
But the Kajah who has just lost the verbal battle simply smiles lightly.
“As expected of the great saint who single-handedly created the Power of Law. Your knowledge and wisdom is worth our respect. Let us just abandon the minutiae and talk about the topics that we are focused on.”
Saying that, she stretches out her hand, allowing me to kiss it.
But afterwards, Kajah’s outstretched hand was left hanging in midair. That is because I solemnly took a step back, allowing Annie behind me to come forward.
“Nice to meet you. I am Annie, Annie.Layde. Liu Huang Mountain City’s next City Lord. Uncle Wumianzhe says that I should be the one taking to you.”
With a pleasant smile, Annie greets Kajah and grabs the other party’s hand, shaking it with force.
In this instant, Kajah whose body is shaking non-stop from the handshake stares at me unexpectedly. To the Dark Elves who view usurping of power and position as a natural instinct, she has neglected this ‘puppet little city lord’ form the very start. She is unable to understand why, despite having advantages in all aspects, did I allow Annie to come forward to represent Liu Huang Mountain City.
I, who was at the back, solemnly watched everything in front of me. Saying something that no one would believe, I don’t have much confidence in Annie being able to negotiate anything decent. After all, I only told her to go ahead and negotiate, but I didn’t reveal anything to her.
“I can’t accompany you for your whole life. This is training and a test… Good luck, Little Annie.”
“Hmph! Lord, you sure have thought everything out lovingly. As expected of a fiance, your attitude totally different. But, little Annie doesn’t seem to be a necrophile. Do you need me to prepare for you your 999th heartbroken consolation party?”
“Stop spreading rumors! Someone will believe it! Also, it isn’t the 999th time, it is only the 46th! It hasn’t even reach 3 figures…”
“Master, I find it appropriate to remind you that the hearing of those long-eared Elves are excellent. Proclaiming your lovelorn records so loudly, all of the Matriachs here can hear it. It seems that some of them are even staring at your lower body. From their looks, it seems that they intend to try a new flavor, the thousand year virgin chicken. Maybe, after the incident, I can prepare a red packet for you to congratulation you. But…”
TL: Virgin chicken -> A pun, could be read as Spring Chicken but separately, is read as Virgin Chicken
Saying this, she propped up her glasses as the edges of her mouth curls up, revealing a seemingly sympathetic yet mocking gaze…
The meaning of her words were clear. “You fellow with only bones, you still want to get a woman?”
“I… I don’t want red packets!! I want to revive” After saying these words, someone ran away crying.
“Then, if you have a physical body, you are willing to be eaten by these old women who are old enough to be your great great grandmother? How filthy.” A certain maid takes the opportunity to push in a final blow…
The chapters seem to be getting longer :X It used to be just 3000 words but now it is taking up to near 5000.
Anyway if you still don’t know who is the blue cat with a pouch, it is Doraemon and Small Light is the flashlight which he uses to shrink people (took the name from the wiki)
Right now the story is progressing a bit slowly but it is slowly building up, gonna become more interesting in the next few chapters.