At all stages of civilization, food remained the foundation of society.
Modern society, with its technological advantages and sophisticated economic systems, had all but eliminated starvation and nakedness. And only a few areas in the world still suffered from these challenges.
Nevertheless, San Soliel, with its medieval economy, had not yet attained food security. Farming and herding, the two primary sources of sustenance, were non-mechanized and far less productive than they were on Earth.
Life in this world was brutish, nasty, and short. The flames of war burned perpetually throughout the lands as race massacred race and famines and droughts claimed their victims. Massive wars between powers would erupt every so often, reaping thousands of lives each time. For the inhabitants of this turbulent world, the best most could hope for was tattered clothing and bitter black bread.
Hearing Sisna’s response, Louie surmised that the elves likely faced similar food problems. Whereas the humans could rely on agriculture, and the beastmen could rely on both agriculture and hunting, elves were at a disadvantage. With their innate love for nature, they could not bear to clear the woodlands and cultivate crops on a large scale.
While their bodies allowed them to subsist on fruits alone, they would still need generous quantities of meat and coarse grains on occasion. And so they traded for these with the humans and beastmen.
San Soliel’s winter was a great leveler for all of its inhabitants. For the dregs of society everywhere, the poor and disenfranchised, starvation and cold were the only guarantees. And their numbers would dwindle each day.
Louie felt that the elves’ lifestyle was the primary reason for their difficulties, however. Without farming how could they expect to compete with humans?
It was a stupid handicap in his perspective.
While magic was a very useful tool, it was not omnipotent, and magicians were small in number. As with any group of self-interested individuals, their magic powers and research were rarely used for the benefit of the lower classes while they themselves enjoyed luxuries.
While magic could indeed mimic the ergonomics of modern technology, only mages and wealthy nobles could afford to employ it that way. One needed to invest an immense amount of resources for this convenience.
It seemed that technological civilizations and magical civilizations branched off at a point. The former guaranteed the evolution of the society whereas the latter only allowed the well-established and powerful upper classes to thrive. For an ordinary human, a technological civilization was definitely the best option. But for the few with natural talent, magical civilizations allowed for near unmitigated freedom, power, and even prospects of eternal life.
Louie spent half a day in thought before speaking again to the envoy.
“Please go ahead, Lord Caracolon.”
Sisna remained humble and spoke softly in a way that tickled Louie’s heart.
“Get some soldiers from your forces to maintain law and order. If there are any troublemakers, kill them. As for food……Well, I’ll do something about it.”
Louie closed his eyes.
Sisna’s heart jumped a beat and slightly hesitated, “......this…… I need to discuss this with the queen first. I cannot make such a decision on my own, Lord Caracolon”.
Fearful that she might have offended Louie, she stood tense.
But Louie’s answer stunned Sisna. Against all her expectations, this dragon was actually...quite reasonable. Thinking deeper about it, she decided it might not be so strange after all. It was clearly an ancient member of its race, and the older dragons were generally less volatile than the youth. They would spend most of their time sleeping and hardly any of it looking for trouble.
“Then I shall return first. Lord…… I will go back to the Silver Moon Kingdom and discuss with Her Majesty.”
As Sisna finished, she slowly retreated. As for taking care of the food problem… well, Sisna half-expected the dragon to solve that by reducing the number of mouths to feed.
Although elves could not bear seeing captives being killed, as a ranger, Sisna was not excessively charitable. If the mighty dragon truly issued this order, she would not contest it.
At this time, Louie was thinking about returning to Earth to think of a plan. Although a city of 200,000 people was a large city and was hard to provide for, it wasn’t that much by modern standards.
Moreover, that was likely an optimistic estimate. Louie’s magic had probably killed a good number of them. While the remainder probably hated him down to the bone, he didn’t care much. They were his captives anyways, and if they caused any trouble he’d simply have them killed.
Perhaps this was a dragon’s natural perspective, but life seemed a lot less valuable to Louie now.
After Sisna left, Marches turned to the sleeping dragon. He gazed deeply at it, seemingly desiring to speak but lacking the necessary courage to begin.
“Anything you want to say, Marches?”
The dragon suddenly spoke, startling Marches. He did not dare conceal anything, “...... Great master, the elves were probably planning to occupy the city effortlessly from the beginning."
“Are you saying that the elves want to use me?”
“Nonono, great master, you are incredibly wise and farsighted. How could those stupid elves dare use you?!”
Marches flattered and fawned.
“Hmph. If I was that queen, I would also do the same thing. Being able to occupy a city without wasting lives or resources is a huge bargain…… but it’s different now. This is now my Dragon City. The elves will not dare offend me, and neither will the other forces. If that queen has any brains between her ears, she’ll only provide even more assistance than I demanded.”
Louie suddenly opened his eyes to look at Marches. The cold vertical pupils sent shivers down his spine.
Marches deeply bowed to express his humility, but inwardly he was terrified.
‘Lord God of Magic, this dragon is actually a deep schemer. How could the elves be using him? He’s clearly using them instead.’
Moreover, the elves could not refuse. After all, what would they do if it allied itself with the humans and beastmen to massacre the elves? If the queen wasn’t stupid, she’d throw all her support behind him.