There is no spoon.
"Alright, everybody. The food is ready. Quickly eat your fill and continue working afterwards! We don't have much time!"
Letting 3 of them escape was definitely a mistake. Now they know that their attack has failed. I was hoping to launch a surprise counter attack posing as their troops so that I can take their cave for the copper vein. This was no longer an option. Best case scenario: they are scared of the fact that I killed their whole attack force without losing a single soldier. Their overpopulation problem is also solved since 65 of them died. They stop their attacks. Worst case scenario: they want revenge and they bring all 120 goblins to attack us. They out number us by almost 4 to 1. Worst of all, they are would know about our fire tactics from the survivors. We cannot use the same trick again.
"Queenie! You are back! How's the hunt?"
I walked down from the mouth of the cave to greet Queenie and her hunting party. I sent them out to acquire food yesterday for everyone. We could not store more than one day worth of food since we had to conceal ourselves. We were dangerously low on food supply.
"It was bountiful considering we only went out for 1 day, my lord. We managed to kill a full grown doe and a few rabbits." Queenie answered me with a quick bow and a flick of her purple hair.
I motioned the other female goblins in the hunting party to put the food into the cold storage. Normally, she would have went out with an all male hunting party while leaving stronger females to defend the cave, much like lions' hunting strategy. This time, however, I told her to form an all female hunting party instead. We needed to obtain food quickly even though it was a bit risky. Looks like my gamble paid off.
"How long do you think will the food last at this point?"
"Even though there are less mouths to feed at the moment, it will last only 3 days at most."
I frowned at the news. The majority of our food supply is stored in the northern cave with all the others noncombatant. We can't retrieve them along with our food supply when there is a possibility of another attack. On top of that, I can't let Queenie go on far on a hunt. If they launch an attack on us while Queenie went hunting with her squad, we would lose major fighting force. Our enemy is 6 days walking distant away from us. Assuming the worst case scenario, the escapees ran all the way back with minimal rest, it will take two and a half days for them to reach their home. It would take the same amount of time for the return trip to attack us. That means we have a minimum 4 days left to prepare our defenses. In truth, I would be happy if they do attack us 4 days later. At least I wouldn't have to worry about our food supply situation. I need to either gather large amounts of food that will last more than 10 days, or find a way to gather food without sending anyone out.
"What's are some available food sources around here?"
"It is only mostly nuts and berries. Most of our prey avoid our territory. Thank the goblin god that we found a doe within half a day distance. If we want something more, I will have to go at least 1 days away.
She needs to rest, spend 1 day traveling and hunting, another day to get back, then another day of rest to be in top shape for the fight. Worst of all, I am not guaranteed to get something. If I send her out to hunt again, it will be a little bit too close for comfort. Talk about being stuck in between a rock and a hard place.
"You have done well. Go and eat first, then take a rest. Make sure you wake up before dinner. I should be able to think of something to deal with the situation by then."
"Thank you my lord."
I walked side by side with Queenie to the goblin that was in charge in charge of cooking for everyone. There was a line of goblins, waiting for him to dispense the food. We skipped the line and went straight to him. Naturally, no one said anything about us cutting in front. Long live the abuse of power. The cook handed me a small stone bowl. It was a simple chicken stew for lunch. I can tell that I got extra portion of meat as well. I sat down on the ground and took a quick sip of the stew. I lost my appetite even before I got to eat a piece of the meat.. My stomach is starting to hurts from the stress.
"Can goblins get ulcers? I'm probably the youngest thing to get ulcers if I did."
"What's an ulcer?" Queenie asked with a tilted head.
"Nevermind. Pretend that I didn't ask"
Looking at the bowl of stew, I didn't really want to waste the food. I considered giving the food to Queenie. Before I said anything towards Queenie, I suddenly got an idea. There was a goblin that needs this food more than Queenie and I had a chance to gain something out of it. I got up and walked with my bowl in hand into the deeps of the cave. When I got to entrance of our food storage. There were two guards and a bound up prisoner, shivering with hatred. Actually, I think she is shivering from the cold. With a gag in her mouth, all she could do was curse at me with a muffled whimper.
"You two haven't eaten yet right? I'll guard her for now. Go get your food."
The two gave a thankful bow and ran outside to get their food, leaving me and the blond prisoner alone. I dipped my finger into the bowl and took out a piece of meat and dangled it in front of her.
"You haven't eaten anything for a whole day. Do you want some?"
She hesitated a bit before reluctantly nodded her head. Her gaze of hatred softened as well.
"Before I feed you, you must agree to this. I will undo your gag and feed you. You will answer any of my questions to best of your knowledge. If the goblin god tells me that you are lying, I will hit you until you throw the food up back out. If you Make any movements that displeases me. I will do the same. Do you understand?"
She nods her head slowly. Looks like the cold and hunger and finally wore down her rebellious spirit. I put the stone bowl down and pulled down her gag. She immediately went for the meat in my other hand. She put the meat in her mouth, along with my finger. Then proceeded to sucked on my finger to make sure she got to taste all the soup. I shook my head a bit to clear my thoughts of anything sexual. I still have a job to do.
"Do you have a name?"
She swallowed the food quickly and answered.
"Slyva is it? How important are you in the tribe? From the sound of your attitude from yesterday, you should be one of the stronger ones in your tribe correct?"
I dangled another piece of meat in front of her, just out of reach. She tried to extended her neck to take a bite, but I pulled back. I need her to understand that she wouldn't get food unless she answers my questions and do what I tell her to. She gave me a defiant stare before answering me.
"The matriarch is my mother. Of course I am strong!"
OOOO! That means she is a real ojou-sama! This makes her the tsundere princess. Thank you goblin god for giving me some normal flags for once! Even though I still probably won't do anything because of the pseudo-penis thing. Unless I can get over this mental hurdle, I will probably die as the goblin king without a single heir. I rewarded Sylva with my meat for answering the question.
"If your mother knew that the attack failed, what would she do?"
"With her personality, she would definitely retaliate with full force. We are over 100 goblin strong. Your clan should run while you still can."
I gave a swift kick to her sides. She yelped with pain. As much as it pains me to hurt a princess, she needs to know her place as a prisoner and I need to be the one in control. I will continue to be the villain for now.
"That is none of your concern. I will welcome your tribe's attack with open arms."
Even though I said that, I started to worry a bit. Now we can't hope and pray that they won't attack. We need to finish the fortification of our caves. I ordered my goblins to build a waist high fence at the bottom of the ramp to impede the enemy. On top of that, I told them to gather a bunch of rocks and stones near the entrance of the cave. That way, we can take advantage of the elevation and throw rocks at the attackers.
I took the last piece of meat from the stone bowl.
"How much would your mother value your life. I am confident that I can fend of the attack. However, I would like to avoid unnecessary deaths in my tribe. In other words, would your mother make a deal with me with your life on the line?"
Hearing that her life is on the line, she gave a conflicted look. She stayed silent and contemplated for a while before finally answered.
"I don't know. On one hand, she will definitely try to save my life with everything that she got. On the other, she has the responsibility of being a matriarch, which means that she will have to abandon me in order to eliminate of any threats to our tribe. Your tribe is too much of a threat."
I didn't immediately feed her. I stared at her to see if she will change her answer. Her face shows resolve and does't seem to be lying. I took a deep breath and finally decide to feed her. When it got close to her mouth, the meat slipped out of my hand and fell in between her legs.
"Oops, sorry, let me get that for you."
I reached in between her thighs without thinking to pick back up the meat. I noticed something that would change the history of all goblins.
She doesn't have "Meat"!