Damn, my head is hammering.
I look around and find that I'm in some expensive-looking room.
Okay, I'd never have thought that I would freak out because I'm not waking up in an insect's wall-coated burrow.
Where the heck am I?!
<Screoh!/My princess, are you alright?!> (K)
Oh right, there she is.
Didn't notice her since I was slightly distracted by the fact that I got fucking abducted!
"Kyska, what happened?" (E)
<My princess, I am troubled to tell you, but you were captured.> (K)
Now I'm confused and have many questions.
For what reason?
I played this possibility through in my mind, especially after I heard about what happened to Honiu, and came to the conclusion that this risk shouldn't apply while being among humans.
Any involved party should be aware that there's no way they could ever reap any benefits before a very forceful retaliation of the swarm.
My brood needs, no matter the drone, a minimum of a month to be combat-ready, so there's no time to gain control of a sufficient number of my drones and put them to use.
Furthermore, humans have no idea of how to raise them.
Is this maybe the reason why Kyska is here?
"Kyska, I'm glad that you're fine, but how come you're here?" (E)
<The humans didn't disclose much to me. Only that I might either accompany you to assure your well-being or be killed on the spot. It wasn't much of a choice. Sadly, the same poison that affected you also took my consciousness once I was shackled, even though I tried to avoid breathing it in.> (K)
Kyska's pheromones feel like severe emotional turmoil.
While she thinks she did right, she's conflicted about everything.
This is one of the reasons for her to speak in Formicea because she simply can't compose herself enough to voice the words right.
"I wish I wouldn't have been affected. I was so close to ripping his throat out when I just couldn't move anymore." (E)
<Then I should be glad you were poisoned. Under the given circumstances, you would've risked your life without having realistic chances.> (K)
"What are you saying? That it's good I didn't retaliate? That it's good I couldn't take revenge for this murder?! They killed them! They killed my brood!" (E)
<They were your guard, my princess. None of them would've thought that risking your life would pose an appliable course of action. You are still the future of our kind. So being captured is preferable to you losing your life.> (K)
"Why am I even alive? If they wanted to harm the swarm they should've killed me. Why capture me?" (E)
It's truly weird.
As I said, capturing me doesn't make any sense.
Why would they take such a risk for something they can't use?
"Maybe I'll be able to explain this." (Gioras Zion)
The door just opened and entering is the one person responsible for my current situation.
Kyska is taking the words from me.
I'd just love to use my weapons on him, but the fact that there are several armed men behind him, some equipped with crossbows, tells me that my chances aren't too great.
Especially, since even if I somehow could overwhelm them, I wouldn't know how to get out of here in the first place.
“Let me go now, and maybe I can prevent the Formicea from killing everyone. They’ll surely be here any moment.” (E)
"You don't need to worry about this. Before I put my plan into action, I doused every single street around the capital with the oil you should be familiar with now. Also, the secret passage we used leads quite a distance out of the capital, while several decoy wagons were deployed. I don't expect most of them to make it, but they should at least serve to get them off our tracks until their fury has time to cool down.” (G)
It could be, that his methods have slowed them down, as I truly don’t sense any other Formicea nearby.
So I'll swallow my anger and let him speak, since this way I might at least gain a tiny bit of understanding about this totally derailed situation.
"What is the meaning of this? Why was I abducted?!" (E)
"I am very sorry for this rude treatment, however, I didn't have much of a choice." (G)
"Not much of a choice!?! You sabotaged this whole peace treaty! Do you have any idea what this might cause?" (E)
"If it soothes you, my agents informed me that the capital as of now still stands. Yet apparently it's currently occupied. This co-princess you came with seized complete control. Very impressive, I need to say, yet not too unexpected, considering the main forces are out at the border. The capital garrison never had much of a chance. Nonetheless, credit where credit is due. She managed to perform this overtake with minimal losses. At the moment, insects search every single building, every nook and cranny for you. Everyone who opposes them dies, yet not many are that stupid. Too bad for them that you're no longer there." (G)
This means that people still died there.
But I simply don't understand this.
The capital is under foreign control, still threatened at the borders by Koreso, and without any benefits at hand that would make up for such all-too-predictable downsides.
"Just for what reason? I simply can't understand why you'd do something like this. Tell me!" (E)
Certainly not just to prevent the peace.
I judge him to be too practical to stoop down to stupid racism without benefits and if it was about a blow to weaken the swarm then they could have simply killed me.
As distressing as this thought is, given the current situation I'm apparently not meant to die anytime soon.
"The same reason that drives all politics ever conducted. Power! I plan to take control over your brood and make good use of it." (G)
Controlling my brood?
Is he crazy?
"You... How do you even think you're going to raise the brood? Your plan can never succeed!" (E)
"I'm sorry if I phrased this poorly. I didn't mean that I planned to use the ones you're about to 'produce'. Instead, I meant the already existing ones." (G)
"The existing ones? (E)
He thinks he can use them as a battle-ready army!
That's sheer madness!
"Lady Lorata's report was more than useful. She didn't fail to relay even a single piece of crucial information about your kind. And one thing, in particular, was noteworthy. The role of a princess. More precisely, that their brood is only loyal to the respective entity they originate from. So we'll let those fight for us who are ready to do so." (G)
Okay, after Honiu was abducted it worked to keep her hostage and basically blackmail her brood into submission.
However, they even abandoned this approach and in the end, killed everyone and concentrated on raising the next generation.
And this certainly won't work here.
Already for Honiu, it required an extreme effort of security measures within the hive.
I can't see how they're going to make that work.
"Use my drones to fight the swarm?! You won't get through with this! Even if you use me as a hostage to control my brood, you're stupidly outnumbered! My brood will simply get culled before you'll even have the chance to get your hands on a single one of them!!" (E)
I'm getting emotional.
Thinking about having caused the death of my brood only because I was so incredibly stupid as to get caught makes me upset.
"Oh, it seems you've misunderstood. I don't intend to fight your swarm. No, I only have one enemy which I plan to defeat. If this is over I will return you safe and sound. After Koreso's army is annihilated, their cities raised and their land burnt! When country, people, and their very will to ever rise up again is no more, then you will be free." (G)
"You can't seriously believe this will work!" (E)
"It might be a gamble, but I am quite sure I can predict how your kind will react. I'll deliver them a message to demand that they use your abundance of soldiers to squash our enemies while offering to send them all the eggs you produce. It seems far more likely that they’d rather deploy the troops we need to win this war for our cause and then get you back, instead of wastefully losing you and your eggs. I don't have any illusions about our situation. They'll eventually find this place. Especially, if I send them the eggs or other proof that you're still alive. And who knows what other means your swarm has to search for you? Yet this fortress won't give in so easily and the threat that you'll be killed if any soldier approaches the premises will keep them at bay. Meanwhile, we have provisions to hold out here for several months. I doubt it will take them longer than this to take care of our friendly neighbors to the east." (G)
The way he's saying this it unfortunately doesn't sound too farfetched.
I can see that throwing a limited number of drones at a problem to reacquire a princess is just the way things are handled in the swarm.
Especially, if the alternative is killing those you can use.
"Do you really think the swarm is just going to go back home once you return me? My brood will never forget what happened here!" (E)
He can't truly believe that he can return me once he has got what he wanted and everything will be forgiven.
As if the queen will ever be fine with the fact that someone extorted her.
"Why not? After this, will you tell them to kill this land's people as well? I don't think so." (G)
"You won't get away with this! The queen isn't so forgiving as to let this slide. She'll demand your head!" (E)
"How many lives do you think mine is worth? I'll admit that my lead is important, so maybe a hundred? Thousands? Ten-thousand? With this, millions will be saved. If your kind demands my head after this I will gladly chop it off myself. But before this happens I need to win a war. For this, I am willing to take any means possible." (G)
"Any means?! What is with the people whose lives you're risking? The swarm could've erased the capital from the map in the frenzy you caused! It was by mere chance that Honiu didn't do so and it is still a possibility once the queen hears about this! You should just stop this madness and release me! I might still be able to de-escalate things!" (E)
Honiu even had the task to slaughter everyone in such a situation.
It's a wonder she didn't do so.
Yet I doubt mentioning this is going to help.
Sir Zion stares silently at me for a moment.
Then he smiles in a way that almost looks sad.
"You see, the war isn't going too great. Sure, we could keep them at bay, for now, but they took several border towns. In the long run, Koreso's superior supply of natural resources and number of soldiers due to the greater population in their country will secure their victory. So let me say this straight, if the capital is the price this country has to pay for victory, then so be it. A quick death through your creatures is better than what awaits them as slaves in Koreso. If they have calmed down enough afterward to listen then this is acceptable." (G)
I would call him crazy, but this isn't it.
No, this man simply stands with all he is behind his decision.
As bad as this is for me.
"So what now? You're going to lock me in till Koreso is defeated?" (E)
"Naturally, you will be provided for here. This very room was designed to accommodate you as comfortably as possible. But there are other features to it. First, it's in the center of the whole complex. Neither too close to the ground where it might just be too easy for your kind to dig you out, nor too far up where you simply had to jump out into the open. It should be clear that there are measures in place against any attempt to flee. You need to believe me that I truly plan to return you once this is all over. Yet if you decide to attempt to escape and subsequently come to harm due to the consequences of your actions, then not only will my plan be for naught, but the wrath of your kind be incurred to slaughter every single inhabitant of this country. As I judge your character to be I doubt you'd want to risk that. So I'd advise you to stay put." (G)
With this, he turns around and leaves the room.
A moment later, the heavy wooden door leading in here gets closed.
Now Kyska and I are completely trapped in here, save for the one guard outside which I can perceive somehow.
What a shitty situation.