Female Warrior Prologue Volume 1: Light and Shadow
Original novel in Chinese by: 御 我 (Yu Wo)
Chapter 3: Light and Shadow Part 3 – translated by Azakura
Red Cloak stared blankly. The Ballad of the Warrior Queen that he had just heard was not the same as the one he had heard before. The bard’s attitude was also very strange. Although he had kept his head bowed the whole time and hadn’t looked at Red Cloak at all, the constant questions raised by the song seemed almost as if they were being asked of him.
Red Cloak darted a glance at the bard and passed judgment. “This song sounds awful. If you choose to sing this piece today, don’t blame me when you get hit by someone.”
“Is that so?” The bard rubbed his nose and spoke rather innocently, “But LL told me that I have to ask such questions every time I arrive somewhere new! If the Warrior Queen happens to hear me by some stroke of luck and is willing to give me an answer, LL said that he would exchange the harp that he always carries with him for that answer and also relieve me of his decree that I must always sing the Ballad of the Warrior Queen for at least three days every time I arrive at a new location.”
When he finished speaking, the bard looked towards Red Cloak and asked, “What do you think? Why did the Warrior Queen want to leave? Is it because the Holy King did not love her, so staying with a lover that did not even love her was far too painful to bear? Or did the Holy King force her to leave? Or maybe it’s because the Holy Queen deliberately made things difficult…”
Red Cloak interrupted the bard’s endless delusions and said in a displeased manner, “Traveling bards! You people are simply over-thinking the matter. For all you might know, the Warrior Queen could have just felt that the days passing by were too boring and left of her own accord.”
He hadn’t expected that Red Cloak would actually answer his questions. The bard mustered his courage and pressed further. “If the reason why she left was really as you said, that it was because her life was too boring, then what exactly was she looking at then?”
Red Cloak coldly replied, “How should I know?”
The bard gave an “oh” and felt quite disappointed, but he dared not ask Red Cloak another question.
The two travelers walked in silence for a while. Suddenly, Red Cloak began to speak. “It may be possible that she was looking at the warrior and cleric, her former companions, but her mind was recalling the memories of the pain and suffering from the war. And then she realized that the happy ending she had envisioned actually turned out to be quite boring.”
As the bard listened to Red Cloak’s opinion, he was initially surprised, but as he carefully thought over what Red Cloak had said, he could not help but proclaim:
“Some people are born suited for never-ending fights! The happiness of which you speak is not obtained at the end of the war, but from the process of every single battle fought.”
Upon hearing this, Red Cloak looked the bard in the eye and remained silent.
The bard stopped in his tracks and began to chuckle. Red Cloak also stopped and questioned him coldly, “What are you laughing at?”
The bard let out a huge smile and said, “I guess I don’t need to sing the Ballad of the Warrior Queen anymore. Are you willing to go with me to see him?”
The bard said in a matter-of-fact tone, “Of course, that would be Lorenzo Louis. He’s my teacher and also the person that you nicknamed ‘LL’…”
“It’s you again! To think you would dare remain in this town. Hadn’t I told you to get lost yesterday?!”
The bard was stunned. He turned around to see the same patrol team from the day before. The captain of the patrol, who was more than a head taller than the average person, was staring fiercely at the bard. He had also brought along five of his team members, and they were walking straight towards the bard.
As they came closer, the patrol captain got a much clearer picture of the bard’s face. He abruptly realized that the injury on the bard’s face was already close to being completely healed.
Were we not ruthless enough yesterday? He felt a bit doubtful.
Just my luck… I can’t believe we bumped into the patrol before we even reached a tavern. The bard came to a better understanding of just how terrible his luck could be.
Now, however, is not the same as last time! Red Cloak is with me. Nobody would dare lay a single hand on me! Yeah… If I look at it this way, I guess my luck isn’t that terrible after all! Following that thought, the bard once again faced his life with brimming optimism.
“Tch.” The patrol captain paused for a moment and then turned to shout at his team. “Seize this delusional bastard and bring him in. We’re on our way back to report our mission anyway.”
After receiving the order, two members from the team immediately surged forward and effortlessly grabbed a hold of the bard.
In reality, the bard, who did not even have the strength to truss up a raw chicken,1 did not resist at all. He looked at Red Cloak with wide eyes, eagerly anticipating what kind of attack the latter would use first. A fist to send two people flying simultaneously? Or will it be cooler to give them a kick?
As it was too difficult to overlook the fervent gaze of the bard, the patrol captain finally took notice of Red Cloak’s presence. He coldly asked, “Are you his companion?”
“Nope, I don’t know him,” Red Cloak replied indifferently.
Or maybe it’ll be a direct strike with her blade to hack them in two! LL said before that her temper has always been rather short… Hold on! What did Red Cloak just say?! The look the bard had on his face changed instantly.
“A sensible guy, aren’t you! Take this man away.” The patrol captain laid out his orders, and the two patrol members immediately dragged the bard away.
While being dragged away, the bard frantically turned back to shout, “Hold on a second! Red Cloak! Why aren’t you rescuing me?”
But he only managed to catch a short glimpse of a red-colored cloak as his head was forcefully wrenched back in place by the two who were restraining his movements. That almost sprained his neck and hurt so badly that every part of his face scrunched up in agony.
At this point, the patrol captain was filled with suspicion. He looked up and down at Red Cloak and bluntly commanded, “Remove your hood at once!”
Upon hearing this, a spark of hope was reignited in the bard. If it really is her, she definitely wouldn’t simply abide by what others tell her to do… However, in the next second, the patrol captain mockingly spat, “Hmph! So you really are a guy. To think I thought you were female, with your tiny figure and red-colored cloak… How boring. Let’s go!”
A man? The bard froze. How’s that possible? Red Cloak isn’t her? Red Cloak isn’t…
The Warrior Queen?
He desperately tried to turn around for a look as if his life depended on it, but the two patrol members vehemently kept his head stuck in place, preventing him from looking around by his own will.
Just one look would be enough. Just let me have one look… Red Cloak! Are you the Warrior Queen or not?
Wields a blade, fond of wearing the unbridled color red, small in size, has a voice so low that it resembles that of a man, fiery black pupils… Every single detail fits exactly with the traits stated by Teacher Louis. Red Cloak is also clearly interested in both the Ballad of the Warrior Queen and the nickname LL. And to top it off, what Red Cloak just said earlier…
It should be fair to conclude that Red Cloak is indeed the Warrior Queen!
No matter how the bard thought about it, Red Cloak simply had to be the Warrior Queen. But why on earth did the patrol captain say that she is a man?
“Pardon me but I have a question!” The bard turned to ask the two patrol members who were holding him down. Considering the awkward position he was in, with his feet lifted off the ground, his posture and manner of speech were incredibly polite. He asked, “The Warrior Queen is female, right?”
The two patrol members were stunned. They sounded extremely confused when they replied, “What the heck are you talking about?”
The bard hurriedly said, “That is, the Warrior Queen who is the second wife of the Holy King and commander of the army! She should indeed be female, right? Or would there be some chance that she is male instead?”
The two were so stunned their complexions changed. They snarled, “Y-you dare slander the Holy King?!”
“I haven’t slandered him!” The bard was greatly alarmed. He quickly added, “I was only inquiring about the Warrior Queen. I did not speak any ill of the Holy King!”
“You…” One of the patrol members was so shocked that he could not even speak.
The other patrol member responded differently. He directly yelled, “Nonsense! Of course the Warrior Queen is female! Do you honestly think the Holy King would take a man for his wife? What blasphemy!”
Oh! That makes sense as well. The bard nodded in realization. “I understand now. Thank you for your explanation. Come to think of it, if the Warrior Queen was male, Teacher would definitely have clarified that with me.”
Upon hearing this, one of the patrol members raised his fist. He slugged the bard as he continued scolding, “You still dare to speak! You’re just asking for a damned beating! You dare to say that the Holy King’s wife is a man!”
The other patrol member rushed to stop his partner’s actions. He painstakingly urged, “Take it easy! This guy most probably has a few loose screws in his head. What’s more, bearing in mind what’s in store for him later, there’s no need to go over the top, right?”
Sure enough, the other lowered his fist in response to his partner’s words. “Heh heh, I suppose you’re right. Can’t damage this face after all. A damaged face is no good to sell on the market.”
No good to sell? The bard was lost in thought. So my face is actually something worth selling? If I’d known that earlier, I would have sold it off whenever my stomach was empty and I had no money. I wonder how much it’d be worth…
While he was still lost in thought, the two patrol members suddenly threw him forward with a hard push. Fortunately, the bard had gotten used to being thrown around by others long ago. Without further ado, he reflexively spun into the posture that was least likely to receive injuries. After groaning for a while, he promptly got up off the floor, looked around, and was shocked to realize that this place was a jail cell.
The cell contained quite a few people already. These people all had ghastly complexions and held their heads low. Despite the commotion when he was thrown in the cell, none of them had reacted.
The bard found this incredibly strange. He examined the people around him. To his surprise, every single one of them had a brand on their right arm. That-that’s the… brand of a slave!
At this moment, the two patrol members shut the door to the jail cell and then locked it tightly.
The bard hurriedly rushed over to the iron bars and shouted. “Wait up! Why did you guys bring me here? I didn’t choose to sell my body! I’m not a slave!”
“You’ll be one from now on!” The patrol guard took joy in the bard’s misfortune while speaking, “Relax! With a face like yours, you’ll definitely catch the attention of many rich housewives. After that, who knows, maybe your face will become even prettier than it is now!”
“Congratulations! Ha ha ha!” The two of them simply ignored the protests of the bard and left the jail while roaring with laughter.
“How could it turn out like this?”
The bard was left in a daze. Although he was indeed bullied a lot during his journey, no one had ever gone as far as kidnapping him to sell him off. Long since the establishment of the country, the Holy King had set strict regulations. Slavery was only allowed if that was the will of the person being sold off. Even parents did not have the right to sell their children. Also, regardless of the price the slave was sold at, all contracts would expire in twenty years. After twenty years, the slave could request that he be set free, unless he was willing to sell himself off once again.
“Let me out! I’m not willing to sell my body!” The bard frantically yelled, “You’ve got it all wrong! I don’t want to sell my body!”
1 “did not even have the strength to truss up a raw chicken”: Trussing a raw chicken means to tie up its legs and wings, typically to leave it to roast in an oven. It is a very easy thing to do, which goes to show how unbelievably weak the bard is.