Volume 2: Chapter 144 – Time to Return.
|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 (The goddess)|
|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|
A white robed man gave King Ashtal a letter, and he glanced it, then nodded and handed it over to his prime minister.
“So this is the formula for potion,” the old prime minister said with great interest.
The messenger nodded. He was a young man with a tall and lean figure, but though he wore a slovenly smile on his face, his eyes were not smiling. “Please consider this as one of the wisdoms of our ivory tower. With this formula you will be able to create as many of these potions as you like.”
The prime minister turned to the messenger. “This can instantly heal wounds?”
The messenger met his gaze. “That would be praising it too much. This potion can only increase the regenerative abilities of people. It is not magic. If you need instant healing, a magician would be preferable. In fact, lately, I’ve heard that there are skilled healers here in the country that could be hired for a large sum.”
The messenger’s sharp gaze turned to King Ashtal as well, but being king, it could not affect him.
King Ashtal smiled and chuckled. “Interesting, our country would be very interested to adopt it. Right, prime minister?”
“…Of course, Your Highness,” the prime minister agreed.
Bloody tanuki, the messenger cursed in his mind, but his smile remained unwavering.
“Now, about Lady Reshia’s return. Will one month be acceptable?” The messenger asked.
“Yes, that’ll be fine. Thanks to her holiness, the city has gotten much livelier. I am cannot overstate my gratitude to the Ivory Tower.”
“No, no, surely, this must also be a gift from the heaven’s because of his highness’ great virtue,” the messenger said as he excused himself.
“Hmph, shrewd mutt. I suppose this means they’ve seen through our intentions?” King Ashtal spat.
“We really can’t look down on them. They don’t just have influence among the bureaucrats, their intel is also superb. Your Majesty, are you truly going to hand over the saint?” The prime minister asked.
Ashtal reluctantly nodded as he leaned onto his armrest. “It can’t be helped. There’s no point in having a trump card if you never use it. It’s good timing, though. Gulland should be coming back for his regular report soon. We can have one last feast then.”
The prime minister courteously nodded and faintly smiled. “I shall send a letter to the merchants and nobles then. The saint needs to dance one last time for us, after all.”
“I’ll leave it to you then,” King Ashtal said.
At that, the prime minister withdrew, leaving King Ashtal by himself.
Reshia’s return to the Ivory Tower. They have been discussing through the Ivory Tower’s messengers for some time now, and finally, the day has come where they would have to hand her over. As far as King Ashtal was concerned, that so-called saint was only a girl. Exactly what was her worth?
King Ashtal did not know, but one thing was certain: the Ivory Tower wanted her safe.
“Well, whatever,” he muttered.
So long as he could get what he wants.
The formula for potion. With that in their possession, King Ashtal could strengthen his army even further. With the potions and the healers together, King Ashtal’s personal army would truly become a force to be reckoned with.
“I need to whittle down the nobles’ influence and strengthen my own… My royal family must become stronger.”
Suddenly, knocking could be heard from the other side of his office’s door.
“Your Majesty, it is Ishtel. May I request an audience?”
“I don’t mind. Enter.”
The person that entered was a young man with a great figure. If Ashtal were younger and better trained he would look just like him.
No sooner than the imperial guards closed the door, Ishtel ran up to Ashtal.
“Are you truly going to send Lady Reshia away?” He asked.
Ashtal wryly smiled when he saw his grandson so excited. This boy was still wet in the ears, but he was King Ashtal’s sole heir.
As King Ashtal felt the warm of his would be successor, he made a stern face. “That was the plan from the start. She could only stay here temporarily. We can’t refuse the Ivory Tower’s messenger if he asks us to send her back.”
“That’s… That’s true, but…”
“Ishtel, I understand you are fond of the saint, but…”
“E-Excuse me!? I… I couldn’t possibly…”
Not even Ashtal could keep up appearances when he saw his grandson react like that.
“Ah, Ishtel, you are kind, so kind… But that kindness is something you must share equally among our people, to do otherwise is to betray our duty as kings.”
One may love, but never indulge. One may hate, but never diverge. Those are the teachings of the Germion Family that have been passed down since long ago.
“20 days later, a feast to send her off will be held. You must bid her farewell then.”
The young prince came with great vigor, but when he left, he left with none.
“All sources of trouble shall be cut, be they from within or from outside,” King Ashtal said.
He would see to it than when he passes on his royalty to his grandchildren, it would be a peaceful one. To that end, he would have to quickly dispose of the goblins festering in the west.
“The lizardmen are on a rampage?” I asked.
The assassin, Gi Ji Arsil, had personally trained an intelligence division. One of those goblins reported before me with tottering words. Apparently, the lizardmen from around the river to the north were on a rampage and have even caused casualties among the goblins.
“Your Majesty, please give us the command to subjugate them.” The knight class, Gi Ga Rax, enthusiastically said, but I remained quiet.
I wonder if there’s a way to add these lizard men to my horde? They are beasts that live by the riverside, but they’re not incapable of reason. If I could add them to my horde, that would add another point to my favor in the coming war with the humans.
“Before killing, we should try talking. Summon Tanita of the long-tailed tribe,” I said.
At that, a messenger was sent to the distant demihuman village. Until then, the area where the lizardmen were rampaging was to be off-limits.
If talking doesn’t work, then we’ll kill them.
Next was a report from Kuzan.
It was about her investigation’s progress.
In the end, it seems they couldn’t figure out how far the path underground extended. I listened to Kuzan’s report with a frown.
I don’t think there are any dangerous beasts down there, but… An endless path, huh? A large path that stretches horizontally and vertically. It seems I’ll have to send more people if we are to search both ways.
The small Kuzan looked pitiful as she sighed.
According to Kuzan, the legend passed down among the goblins says that this place is the entrance to the underworld that the underworld goddess herself had sealed. But that’s all we know.
I ordered Kuzan, who was feeling down, to prioritize the search in the first level.
“As you will, Your Majesty!”
This search’s purpose is mainly to find out whether there are other entrances to the basement or not. There could be a path leading to the human world, after all. While it’s true that we could simply leave the forest the normal way, having just one path out would limit our options. Besides, why go the normal way and do as the humans expect?
That aside, I can’t settle down for some reason.
The days have been passing with me receiving reports and sanctioning new orders. It seems I’ve built up stress because of that. It seems a goblin’s body really does need to move from time to time.
Because of that I decided to take a peek at Gi Ga and Gi Jii’s training.
Taking my great sword with me, I got off my throne and headed to the plaza, where the normal goblins trained.
“My lord,” Gi Jii said.
“Your Majesty,” Gi Ga said.
Gi Ga trained the young goblins to become warriors, while Gi Jii trained the warriors to become soldiers.
Gi Jii’s training would start with three-man cells, then Gi Jii would put several three-man cells to form one unit, a kentor. After that, he would put several kentors together to form one unit, a regiol.
The rare-class goblins were the ones who usually led the kentors, while the noble goblins led the regiols.
Apparently, this was something Gi Jii figured out after consulting with Pale, a method to make the army operate faster.
“If that’s how you’re going to do it, then you might as well name them all,” I said.
“Name them?” Gi Ga asked with wide eyes.
“For example, the Yubu Regiol,” I said.
“I see… Then, by all means, my lord. Please pick out some names,” Gi Jii said.
Gi Jii looked at me with curious eyes. I know I was the one who suggested it, but…
“Hmm, let’s pick out names when everyone has returned,” I said.
“…Very well, my lord. Let’s do that then,” Gi Jii said, somewhat dejectedly.
What was he expecting?
Like this, the days passed with happiness and satisfaction. The fact that we were steadily progressing toward our goal filled me with satisfaction, and I was able to get a good night’s rest.
Voices of jubilation that I should have forgotten long ago resounded within my ears, though to me, they were really nothing more than something to hate.
The distant memories of my humanity that I’ve already forgotten surfaced a little and then vanished again.
Was I really once human?
Maybe I was always a goblin, and these memories are nothing more than a clutch I used to explain these incomprehensible and vague knowledge I was born with?
In truth, I—
—In the darkness, I opened my eyes.
In front of me was the ceiling of the Fortress of the Abyss that I should have long gotten used to.
Wiping my sweat with my damp hands, I shook my head.
“I am the king. I am he who shall become the king of monsters…”
Nothing more, nothing less…
At least, that’s how it should be.
“It’s been a while, Lady Reshia.”
When Reshia heard that familiar voice, she turned around with Gastra in her arms.
“Lord Rolika? What are you doing here?”
What would an acquaintance from the Ivory Tower be doing here? Reshia wondered, though her emotionless expression never broke.
The tall and lean figure that was Lord Rolika courteously bowed. “At the whims of the white elders, I have been tasked with escorting you back.”
“…Isn’t that saying too much?” Reshia frowned in a way that made it hard to understand her expression.
In response, Rolika continued to smile that slovenly smile of his, while his eyes never did. “Oh? And here I thought it was a splendid answer. As usual, it is difficult to understand you.”
Rolika looked at her in a way that was akin to someone observing a test subject, a cold, emotionless gaze, though his smile never left his lips. It was unnerving to say the least.
“The ‘whim’ part was a joke, but I really was tasked to escort you back. Lady Reshia, please return to the Ivory Tower. Everyone is worried about you.”
“…Worried about my seal?”
“Oh? Oho oho? You’ve become a lot easier to understand than before. Such a childish response is disappointing to hear. That simply won’t do, lady Reshia. You must be more complicated…”
As Rolika mumbled, he suddenly appeared before Reshia without a sound and grabbed Reshia by the arm.
Sensing Reshia’s apprehension, Gastra began growling, but Rolika looked into Reshia’s eyes all the same as if nothing was amiss.
“Was it the great hero, Gulland, who changed you? Or was there someone in this kingdom that managed to move your heart?”
The tall Rolika looked at her from above, his slit for eyes opening, revealing an ecstatic expression. It was a crazed expression no one would expect from the usually composed Rolika.
Marked desire twisted Rolika’s face.
“Aren’t you simply misunderstanding?” Reshia asked.
Rolika looked at her eyes for a moment, and after ascertaining that her eyes were unwavering, he shook his head and his expression went back to normal.
“Hmm, that’s odd… Maybe it’s because you were always locked in here with no one to talk to, so you’ve become worse at talking.”
Rolika Ralmera, the clairvoyant, a researcher student at the Ivory Tower.
“…And? When will I be departing?” Reshia asked.
“One month later. You’ll have to endure then. Do take care not to lose heart.”
“I understand,” Reshia said in a dismissive way.
Rolika complacently smiled back and withdrew, and Reshia held Gastra tightly.
Gastra meekly cried out of worry for his master.
“If that is true, then…”
It could only mean that she has seen he who will fight fate. His body was that of a monster’s, but his will was greater than any other’s; a will so great it would not tremble even before the gods themselves.
To the followers of fate, there was nothing more fearful than his existence.
Through the will of the gods, the paths have been laid out. From the moment of birth, to the moment of death, everything was decided long ago. That is the correct order of the world.
But the king did not fail to reach her in time because of fate. That result was not due to fate but her own cowardice.
Something like that isn’t fate!
If the gods have chosen a path, then it is only human to go against it.
She has always been pondering to herself, but now that Rolika has appeared, she knew what she had to do.
“Let’s go back… to the Ivory Tower.”
—192 days until the war with the humans.