Volume 2: Chapter 140 – Banquet II
|Possessed Skills||Ruler of the Demon Children of Chaos; Defiant Soul; World Devouring Howl; Sword Mastery A-; Dominator; King’s Soul; Ruler’s Wisdom III; Household of the Gods; One-Eyed Snake’s Evil Eye; The King's Dance at the Edge of Death; Magic Manipulation; Soul of the Berserk King; Third Impact (The Third Chant); Warrior's Instinct; Blessing of the Underworld Goddess; Guided One|
|Divine Protection||Goddess of the Underworld (Altesia)|
|Subordinate Beasts||High Kobold Hasu (Lv77); Gastra (Lv20); Cynthia (Lv1); Orc King (Bui) (Lv82)|
|Abnormal Status||Blessing of the One-Eyed Snake; Protection of the Twin-Headed Snake|
I turned my back on the banquet and followed after Pale.
The trees grew denser along the way, gradually obscuring the light of the festivities. On the other end of the branches were the twin red moons shining brightly up in the night sky.
“…Can’t hold your liquor?” I asked.
Pale waited for me in an open space within the dense trees, basking in the light of the twin red moons.
“It would be improper to say something I don’t believe to be true,” she said.
The light of the moons reflected off the naked sword in her hands, and then the night winds blew a breeze, lifting the veil that was her golden hair from her face.
Her eyes were shut tight, but true to her fame as a valiant warrior, she could tell where I was.
“Still want to defeat me and restore the elves?” I asked.
“Not at all… It’s just that my knees are too stiff to bend to a monster,” she said slowly and harshly.
But I could feel the strength behind her words as she raised up her sword.
“Consider this the second round. Let’s fight, Goblin King!” She declared, then her figure vanished.
Relying on my senses, I swung my great sword and sparks flashed above me.
There was about a 10m distance between me and her original position, yet she managed to close that in an instant.
“!?” It seems she didn’t expect me to block that attack, as she ended up revealing her position and taking my attack, though it was reflexive on my part.
Pale stifled her shrieks as her posture broke, but I wasn’t about to watch her recover. I swung my great sword with enough strength to split even blue-silver steel in two.
But Pale desperately tried to fend off that attack, causing her sword to bounce up her head, leaving herself wide open. I took advantage of that and swung my great sword at her weapon, effectively disarming her.
Though her eyes remained shut, she looked at me with indignation as I pointed my sword at her neck.
“…Why, won’t, you, kill, me?” Pale asked in ragged breaths.
Sheathing my sword, I answered. “There was no killing intent in your sword. If you want to kill me, you should come at me more seriously.”
As Pale bit her lips, I continued. “Why do you want to die? I’m sure you understand that your death can’t break this alliance. This alliance was set in stone the moment we won the war.”
I was certain she already understood that; if not, then it must be because she doesn’t want to think about it.
“So you’ve already seen through everything…” Pale said with self-derision as she fell to the ground. Her body trembled as she looked up at me.
“I… hate you. Why is someone like you with the goblins? You are strong… So strong that it’s terrifying,” Pale said bitterly.
As she spoke, I noticed that the shaman, Gi Za Zakuend, was hiding above me.
I wryly smiled. Truly a worrywart.
“One day, if you keep going like this… you will surely hurt my friends. You are a destroyer of peace,” Pale said.
“Peace? Don’t make me laugh, Pale Symphoria,” I said.
If she thinks there is peace now, then she is horribly mistaken.
“The humans gloat their supremacy and drive the other races to the borders. Yet now they seek to take even those very borders they drove them to. Such a world created by violence is not what you call peace, Pale Symphoria.”
There is no peace. Shure’s map proved that.
Demihumans, monsters, beasts, and barbarians alike are driven to the distant borders, away from the mainland. This world is inhabited by many nations and races, each possessing a different will than the other, each fighting for domination.
In such a world were different races war with each other, could the humans’ path to supremacy possibly remain unobstructed?
Everyone is putting their lives on the line to expand their domain, waiting patiently for the right moment to jump at each other. Everyone is fighting! That’s why I was so excited when I saw that map!
“Don’t make fun of me. Are you saying… that you’re going to destroy this world?” Pale asked.
“Remember, Pale. Was the human world you saw truly beautiful? Starvation, poverty, discrimination… People accused unjustly of crimes they did not commit; the marked difference between those with power and those without; a world where the law of the jungle reigned supreme. Is that not the true face of the human world?” I asked.
How could I share these feelings with this elven warrior?
“Stagnation is not peace. But if there is such a thing as peace, then… Come with me, Pale. With you and me together, we can create a peaceful world.”
“That is nothing more than your hubris talking! Do you really think such a thing is possible?”
“If there is someone more fitting than I, then I will one day fall before his sword. At that time, you should kneel to that person. But until then, fight for me, Pale Symphoria!”
“Kneeling to a goblin is…”
At this time, I noticed voices approaching us. We did not have much time left so I said, “If you come with me, at the very least, I will be able to protect a single girl. Don’t forget, Pale. That girl was cruelly enslaved by the humans.”
Pale was about to argue when Selena ran to her and embraced her.
As she embraced the kneeling Pale, she turned to me with tears in her eyes. “If Pale did something wrong, I’ll apologize. So please! Please forgive her!”
“Don’t worry, she just tripped. The alcohol must’ve gotten to her,” I told Selena, then I turned to Pale. “Pale, consider it. Consider it well.”
In the end, the one to make this decision was none other than she herself.
When I came back to the banquet, Shure looked sharply at me, but I ignored him and ate some meat. After a while, Pale came back with Selena.
Shure calmed down when he saw her safe.
It wouldn’t hurt to be a bit more trusting. I wryly smiled.
When I had emptied my blue-silver steel cup of liquor, Gi Za came along with some meat and asked in hushed voice, “Why do you favor her so, Your Majesty?”
I’m sure he didn’t want others to hear his question, but his sharp gaze was irritating.
“…Who is our enemy?” I asked.
“The humans,” he replied.
“Exactly. Now, what do we need to defeat them? I have been pondering the answer to this question since the ceasefire,” I said.
“Soldiers,” Gi Za replied. “If we just had enough soldiers, we would surely be able to overcome them.”
“Indeed, if this were the same enemy as last time, that would be the case. But as it turns out, the humans are a much bigger prey than previously thought. The country we’re facing is known as Germion. They outnumber us one-hundred men to one, at least. I can’t even imagine how many humans that is.”
I wasn’t exaggerating; their numbers were indeed unimaginable.
“…Is that why you favor the elves?”
“Yes, I want them for their management skills.”
The entire human race might be our enemy, but it would still be better to lessen the actual soldiers that we fight. But the problem doesn’t end with the war. After we defeat the soldiers, we need to think of a way on how to manage the remaining multitude whose number will surely be greater than ours.
One of the answers I came up with was to create an organization made up of my retainers.
By using the few to rule the majority, we will be able to rule over the humans. But we will need to rule over them efficiently; hence, it would be difficult to rule with only the goblins. That’s where the other races come in: the elves and the demihumans.
I will rule at the top, while the goblins handle the military and the elves handle the civil offices. The demihumans will work as a bridge between us.
The goblins and the elves alone will surely end up in conflict due to our differences, so the demihumans are necessary to smoothen things.
“In other words, they are here to do things we cannot?” Gi Za said.
“The goblins will one day be able to accomplish these things as well, but that will take time,” I said.
It’s an issue to tackle if the goblins manage to prosper alongside the other races. I’m not that interested personally, but someone like Gi Za might be interested.
“If you’ve considered it that much, I won’t say anymore,” Gi Za said with a slight pout.
It seems I’ve managed to persuade him.
“Am I that unreliable?” I asked.
“Well you do make questionable decisions from time to time,” he said.
Harsh. I wryly smiled.
“Anyway, from here on, we’ll be able to focus our efforts in expanding our forces,” I said.
Shure has promised me the elves’ support after the war with the humans, so all that’s left now is to increase our numbers, strengthen our ranks, and formulate a plan to defeat the humans.
If I could get Pale, I won’t have so much trouble, but I doubt things would go so smoothly this time. She seems to believe in the humans a lot more than expected. It’ll probably take some time for her to turn to my side.
“I’ve made a lot of debts with the humans. The coming war will surely be a joyful one.”
It wouldn’t be any fun otherwise.
They got one over us last time, so this time, we’ll show them.
“What about you? Do you resent the humans?” I asked.
“It was indeed painful to lose the water mage, Gi Zo, but I’ve been raising some more juniors after him, so… No, I don’t think I resent them.”
He’s not lying. It seems he’s more reasonable than he is emotional.
Well, this is good. It wouldn’t do to have him lead a horde if he hates the humans too much, so this is good news.
“Feeling better?” Felbi asked Pale after she came back.
Felbi loved to drink, so much so that he even drank boldly in battle. The cup he used to drink elven liquor might have been small, but he still emptied cup after cup, leaving Pale astounded.
“I see you’re immune to alcohol as always,” Pale said.
“That’s Selena isn’t it?” Felbi asked.
Selena’s half-cut ears twitched when Felbi called out to her, and she stepped out from Pale’s shadow to show her face. She looked just like a puppy, causing Felbi to guffaw.
“I’m not going to eat you. You’re a respectable elf, after all.”
Seeing Felbi suddenly change the topic made Pale start to think that he was actually drunk for once.
She took a seat with Selena and reassured her. “Don’t worry, you can trust him.”
Selena nodded to Pale and greeted Felbi. “My name is Selena. It’s a pleasure to meet you.”
“Name’s Felbi. I’m currently working with the Goblin King,” Felbi said, then he lined up his cups and started pouring wine again, only to frown upon realizing that his bottle was empty.
Fortunately, Selena had a bottle with her, which she offered to the man. “Please.”
“Thank you,” Felbi said. “It’s only courteous to accept wine when given. Especially, when such a beauty is pouring it. It makes the taste that much better, right, Pale?”
“Selena is still a child,” Pale reprimanded with a stiff and threatening voice, making Felbi laugh again.
It was then that a goblin approached Pale.
“Mr. Gi Jii,” Selena said, causing Felbi to scratch his head.
Felbi was still incapable of telling the goblins apart, so seeing Selena easily do so showed just how much time she’d spent with them.
“Lord Pale Symphoria, yes?” Gi Jii asked with a stiff voice as if they were meeting on the battlefield, causing Selena to wince.
Pale patted her on the back to reassure her as she nodded to Gi Jii.
“Yes, that is correct,” Pale said.
“I see,” Gi Jii said as he took a seat across Pale and poured her a cup.
“My name is Gi Jii Yubu. I have suffered many defeats under your hand in the last war,” he said.
A sweet taste filled Pale’s mouth as she took a sip from the cup.
“I hear your eyes can’t open anymore,” Gi Jii bluntly asked despite it being a sensitive subject.
Pale wryly smiled. “It’s probably hopeless. My eyes have been treated with Symphoria’s secret medicine, so…”
“I see…” Gi Jii said, his voice growing fainter.
Pale couldn’t help but wonder why Gi Jii seemed affected by her disability.
“…Will you be leading again?” Gi Jii asked.
“That’s…” Pale wasn’t sure.
Gi Jii sighed. “Sorry, that was insensitive of me. Of course, you can’t lead. You can’t see, after all… You were strong and beautiful. I was elated to hear we might fight together, but it seems that’s impossible now.”
Gi Jii lifted his head and implored Pale to drink her half-empty cup.
“Forgive me. I didn’t come here to grumble. You fought brilliantly, that’s all I wanted to say. If an opportunity comes, I hope we can have a good talk.”
Though blinded, Pale could tell through her exceptional hearing that Gi Jii was indeed a goblin. Yet this goblin was actually talking politely to her. What kind of goblin was this?
“Why me? You have your king, don’t you?” Pale asked.
“My lord would indeed answer my questions if I asked, but his highness’ time is precious, I would not wish to delay him. Besides, his fighting style is different from mine.”
Glancing at the Goblin King, who was currently talking to Gi Za Zakuend, the shaman whose cheeks were currently stuffed full of meat, Pale implored Gi Jii to continue.
“When I saw you lead the elves, I was astounded. You ordered your soldiers so masterfully it almost seemed like they were puppets on strings. Even now, the ideal commander I see in my head is that same commander I lost to countless times.”
“You praise me too much… I am only self-learned.”
“As I thought, you’re something else.”
As Pale and Gi Jii conversed over liquor, Felbi was sitting quietly in his seat, stupefied. Damn! The goblin is actually courting her!
“I knew it. Alcohol is magic,” Felbi said to himself as he somewhat cursed his own constitution.
When he noticed Selena watching anxiously as Pale and the goblin drank together, he patted her on the head. “Don’t worry. No matter how cold the winter, spring will come. But snow won’t thaw suddenly. When it happens, it will happen gradually.”
—231 days until the war with the humans.
|Possessed Skills||Heaven-Sent Child of the Wind; Sword Mastery B+; Bow Mastery C+; Inspire; Magic Manipulation; Guidance of the Goddess of Knowledge; Forest Dweller|
|Divine Protection||Wind God|
|Abnormal Status||Seven Duels Seven Losses|
|Status||Blessing of the Forest God|
Heaven-Sent Child of the Wind
Can borrow the wind’s power to increase movement speed.
Seven Defeats Seven Losses
Bound to obey after losing seven times.
Blessing of the Forest God
Can take advantage of the trees better than others when fighting inside a dense forest, increasing sword mastery and bow mastery rank.
It’s spring～♪ When I close my eyes～♪ The distant spring is there～♪
I hate karaoke.
The elf arc finally comes to an end.