Volume 2: Chapter 151 – Rite of Passage (1/2)
|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|
We left the Gaidga village and saw the cardinal Nemush until the border of the Forest of Darkness.
I left the monsters we encountered along the way to Gi Gu Verbena and his southern goblins, while Fei and I were completely focused on gathering as much information as we could.
Cardinal Nemush was headed to a city state of the northern part of the free cities known as Banen Kingdom. Apparently, they pick their king by election.
Being also the headquarters of the Kushain faith, it seemed to be a country deeply devoted to religion.
Apparently, the influence of the church there was so great that Nemush went as far as to say that without the adherents there would be no people.
“Don’t you have a king?” I asked.
Nemush laughed with a sneer as he said the king wasn’t a problem.
“The king himself is a follower of the Kushain faith. Moreover, not even the king himself can meet the patriarch just because he wishes to!” Nemush said.
I don’t know if he’s being talkative because he looks down on me for being a monster or simply because that’s how he is. Of course, there’s still a possibility that he’s lying, but I don’t think anyone is capable of coming up with such a complicated lie.
It’s a pity the evil eye of the one-eyed snake can’t discern truth from lie.
Because of that I have no choice but to rely on my own skills. It’s inconvenient, but when I think about how relying on a skill won’t get me that far anyway, I feel better.
I still haven’t found a path to victory. For now, there’s no choice but to fumble my way through.
We spent about 10 days all-in-all gathering information from Nemush, and then we finally arrived at the southern end of the forest.
There, a rocky desert of a wasteland where the air shimmered in heat and the hot sand scorched greeted us.
It was faint, but I could see the city-state from the distance.
“This is as far as we go,” I said.
We haven’t even fully understood the forest yet. Going out into the desert now was far too early. First, we must strengthen our stronghold.
“Before you go, take these with you. It’s a farewell gift. Let it pay your travel expenses and serve as a tribute to that god you speak of.”
I spoke as haughtily as I could to further cement my image as a foolish monster king to Nemush.
“So the teachings of Kushain can reach even monsters… Are you writing this down?” Nemush said to the other believers with him.
They must have been recording something, as the believers quickly wrote down something with a feather pen.
“I will gift you another treasure when you come to the forest again. I wish to pay respects to that god of yours,” I said insincerely. I could barely keep myself from grinning.
If this man could gain power and wreak havoc in the south, the power of the humans will dwindle.
“I don’t think a monster could ever understand the teachings of Kushain, but at the very least, I’ll pray for you to have a peaceful death,” Nemush said.
“Farewell,” I said.
A peaceful death, huh. I couldn’t help but sneer at the thought as I turned heel.
Who wants a peaceful death?
What I want is to suffer and suffer more, a thorny road covered in blood.
I chose to walk such a path. Damn a peaceful death.
On the other side of all the pain and suffering, beyond the endless wars… What awaits me is probably…
We took the same amount of time to return to the Fortress of the Abyss. When we got back, Kuzan’s representative, Yellow, was waiting for us. I’d sent Kuzan to the elven school, so Yellow had to take over the search of the Fortress of the Abyss.
The old goblin and Yellow seemed to be working together, as they welcomed us together upon our return.
“My king, word has come from the elf, Lord Felbi,” the old goblin said.
The old goblin was in charge of the young and female goblins, and was unusually wise for a goblin.
It seems Felbi, Pale, Selena, and Shumea have all successfully infiltrated the western region. They’ve become adventurers to earn a living and are currently on their way to visit various places.
The west was under the rule of the soldier, Gowen Ranid. That should be the same man who swore a treaty with me.
It’s doubtful that he’s willing to keep that treaty, however, as he has been gathering and training a significant number of soldiers. In fact, he’s apparently even willing to name an unknown adventurer an officer depending on his abilities. He’s really thought things through.
It seems I’m not the only one who’s been strengthening his forces and looking to expand territory.
“Forget the treaty. Is he planning on attacking?” I asked.
“So a war can’t be avoided after all,” Fei said.
“This land is too small for two rulers,” I said.
Those who seek power will naturally collide with others with similar intentions. Besides, even if I did cut my ambitions short by only protecting this forest, one day, the humans will surely attack us anyway to feed themselves.
Hence, there can only be one path for me to take.
Capture the human kingdom, wage war against the world, and carve my existence into history.
“There’s more,” the old goblin said.
The next part of the message was closer to hearsay than something concrete. Word has it that the new leader of the Eastern Holy Shushunu Kingdom’s sorcerer cavalry has been decided. There has also been news of a contagious disease spreading in the northern mountains of the snow god and Germion Kingdom paying large sums to any who can use healing magic. Finally, the conclave of the Kushain faith has apparently been opened.
It seems Nemush wasn’t lying after all. It’s curious what effects he’ll have, but there’s no telling until after I see it for myself.
“The enemy having a lot of healers is a problem,” I said.
Ever since Reshia was kidnapped, we’ve had no choice but to recover our injuries through natural methods. Goblins reproduce faster and heal faster than humans, but compared to the powers of healing magic, those are nothing.
I don’t know what the average effect of healing is, but if there are a lot of Reshias on the enemy’s side, the battle will prove to be difficult.
“On the other hand, no one would expect the goblins to have any healers,” Fei pointed out.
I asked if the elves had any healers, and apparently, they had ways to speed up the recovery process but none to instantly recover from one’s injuries.
“The undine might have some, however,” Fei said.
Unfortunately, relations between the sylphs and the undine have been cut off due to the expansion of humanity. Getting their support before the next battle is unlikely.
I don’t know if it’s because the humans are inherently weak that they have developed more advanced healing magic, but regardless, that’s one big point in their favor.
From the map, the undine should be situated east of the Holy Shushunu Kingdom. With that distance and the current speed of communications, it won’t be easy to reach out to them.
I don’t think reaching out to them will change much, but it’s still better than not doing anything.
“Tell Felbi to continue communications,” I said.
“As you will,” the old goblin replied. “Speaking of which, Your Majesty, the paddock seem to have been completed.”
I’d asked the ancient beast tamer, Gi Gi Orudo, and the papirsag who are used to raising animals to build a paddock similar to the orcs.
I asked them to fill it with relatively tame animals, and as it turns out, they chose the triple boar.
“Isn’t that a monster?” I asked, causing Gi Gi to meekly nod while Luther of the papirsag nodded with satisfaction.
According to Luther, the triple boars were relatively tame despite being a monster. And as long as they were given enough land and their young weren’t touched, they could be raised easily.
Come to think of it, even beginner beast tamers are able to control them, so they should indeed be tame.
Sensing my anxiety, Gi Gi spoke. “Your Majesty, it is precisely because we beast tamers come into contact with monsters that we are able to train ourselves. We put our lives by doing so, but without it, we cannot grow.”
I glanced at Gi Gi, who was bowing deeply.
Somehow, I feel like I learned something new today.
Indeed, I might have been acting too cautious. The goblins need to learn to fend for themselves. I can’t baby them forever. And for beast tamers, handling beasts – or rather, monsters – is how they grow.
Even if they fail, they’ll be able to come up with new techniques as they fumble their way through.
“Very well then. Gi Gi, Luther, I grant you permission to do as you please,” I said.
After dismissing them, I listened to the rest of the reports.
The report from Gi Ji Arsil’s scouts; the report from the knight goblin, Gi Ga Rax, on the progress of the young goblins’ training; the report of the harpy, Yushika, on the progress of the inns and the roads. It wasn’t possible to manage everything, so I was only taking the reports of those close to me, but there was still a lot of work to be done.
I need to hurry up and establish my retainers’ organization.
I glanced at Fei, and he tilted his head in confusion.
“Is there something?” Fei asked.
“I feel like I finally understand Shure,” I said.
“You asked for this, though,” Fei said.
“I know,” I said.
Wryly smiling, I asked the next reports to be brought in.
If I have the time to complain, I might as well do my job.