I came running as soon as I was called, and sure enough, they were there – twenty unseen faces sitting upright next to each other.
They were all women and had an exotic air that differentiates them from the demon and human races.
“…Are they elves?” I ask my surroundings.
“Yes. Historically, they are a subspecies that branched off of demons, or so it goes by definition,” explains Belena, who also came running here with me.
As expected of the vast knowledge an aide to a Heavenly One has.
“Elves are one of the many subspecies that branched off of the demons. They choose to live deep within the forests, mingling with neither race.”
“But why are they here?”
This place is pretty separated from the rest of the world, you’d have to cross mountains and valleys to get here.
All the unexpected guests we’ve had so far come from the sea route. What were they thinking, putting themselves through such hardship just to get here?
“I already have written evidence regarding that,” says Platy.
As expected of my wife, she’s always so prepared.
Many other farm residents have started gathering to see who are our unexpected guests this time, but I’ll omit those details for now.
“They said they’re a group of elven bandits.”
“They have broken into houses left and right that they’re wanted by both races, so they could no longer inhabit towns or villages where there are people. Thus, they continued to venture deep into uncharted regions where no one would come.”
So, that’s how they wound up here, huh?
It’s all a mere coincidence, then.
“I’m sure they didn’t expect to find a farm in this secluded land. They got too high on their horses and resumed their lawless acts, thinking no one lives here!”
“Thus, we restrained them. They have already snatched some of our tomatoes, hence I seek my Lord’s approval to grant us the right to bring down judgment and kill them,” says Orkubo.
“No, no, no!”
No bringing down judgment, and no killing.
Sure, getting our vegetables snatched, especially after working so hard to grow them, also annoys me, but not to the point that I would ask for the perpetrators’ lives as compensation for it.
That being said, I’ll be sure to reward Orkubo and the others for defending the fields.
I guess I’ll do the same for Pochi, the name I gave one of the hyelycaons. He’s looking at me with hopeful eyes.
“It was Pochi who found these bandits first. He informed us of our intruders with his rhythmic howling.”
Oh, I see.
I need to give him lots of petting later.
Is that what he’s been eagerly waiting for this whole time? He keeps wagging his tail like crazy.
…Wait, maybe it’s better if I give him a treat?
“As for these elves’ punishment…”
Woah there, okay.
Orkubo’s words brought me back to reality.
Hmm, let’s see…
We can’t just release these vegetable thieves for free.
They even introduced themselves as bandits, so I’m sure they carry other offenses…
And while I was thinking long and hard about my decision…
“Let’s take a vote,” says Veil, who’s been in the background as a spectator of this whole event. “Those who think these elves should be slaughtered for their crime and have their bodies displayed outdoors to serve as a warning to others, raise your hand.”
Like there’d be anyone other than you who would agree to that brutal plan!!!
A lot of people actually raised their hands?!
“Dear, this is an important matter. The crops we grow in these fields are our lifeline. Our yield is what determines our fate.”
“If we let these thieves go unpunished, there is no guarantee that we can protect our precious fields if the same thing happens in the future. I think we should stand our ground and warn others about what would happen to them if they invaded our fields.”
True, even I would like to show thieves who nonchalantly steal from us how much effort we put into growing our crops.
I asked the two demons who both happened to be here.
“What would happen if we handed them over to the demons?”
“It all depends on the results of their trial. But it’s highly plausible that they would receive capital punishment.”
“I believe this group of elven bandits, named Thunderstorm Stonecutters, also stole from leading demon nobles. They’ve made such a name for themselves that they’re bound to receive a far graver sentence.”
“However, the Demon King of this generation, Lord Zedan, is a man who dislikes casualties and rarely approves of executions. On top of that, I think the forces that have a grudge against the elves have considerably diminished after the recent reform.”
What do you mean?
“I’ve read in the archives that these elves never stole from the poor, and only targeted wealthy merchants or nobles.”
“Chivalrous thieves, huh?”
“Moreover, their victims were usually nobles who would abuse their power to fill their own pockets through heavy taxation and bribery. However, most of them have been dismissed by the great reformation carried out by Lord Zedan after marrying Miss Astres.”
“You’re making them sound more and more like chivalrous thieves.”
As the owner of this farm, I must take a stand against these vegetable thieves with resolution. But that doesn’t mean we should shed blood.
Let’s do this.
“We will punish these elves severely for stealing our vegetables. And that punishment is…!”