Volume 2: Chapter 153 – Killer Ant (2/2)
|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|
Gi Gu Verbena is fighting a hard battle!
When I got that report, I couldn’t help but doubt my ears for a moment. The chief of the tarpidae, Fanfan, accompanied Gi Gu to visit the killer ants in an attempt to pull them in as allies, but instead of gifts, what visited us next was a report of a difficult war.
Did something unexpected happen? Perhaps there were more of them than expected?
Unfortunately, as much as I wanted more information, the killer ants were too far from the fortress.
…In any case, this is a good opportunity.
As I thought that, I had the Paradua messenger give my orders.
“A war has begun in the south! Have Gi Gi Orudo gather his beasts! Then tell Gi Jii Yubu that the time to use his soldiers has come!”
But that wasn’t all…
“Gi Ji Arsil shall lead the goblins under his banner to make way for the main force! And Gi Ga Rax! Have him gather his forces as well!”
It is best to have a rehearsal before the real thing, after all. What better opportunity is there to test our mettle in than in live combat? Moreover, the goblins gathered under me are too different and have never had the chance of working together.
Since the killer ants are numerous, I will have them help us in this combat exercise.
I gathered the four nobles and a knight goblin before me.
“Gi Ba, Gi Ii, Gi Uu, you will be following Gi Jii Yubu!”
The fierce arm, Gi Ba, the explorer, Gi Ii, the water mage, Gi Uu. They were all of the rare class but they were all different from each other.
These are the goblins Gi Jii trained. I’m looking forward to seeing how they’ve grown.
The goblins under him trained with three-man cells, then they moved on to kentors, and then regiols.
Rares usually led the kentors, while the nobles led the regiols. The goblins have been training under such a system for a while now, but we’ve never had the opportunity to test it. At long last, that opportunity has come.
I had Gi Ji Arsil lead his intelligence division to work as a scout and make a path for the main force. The main force should travel a path as safe as possible.
“Shall we call the Gaidga and the Paradua as well?” Gi Ji Asked.
“Tell them to send what they can in the next two days!” I said.
“As you command!” Gi Ji replied.
After sending Gi Ji on his way, I called to those left behind.
“Fei, can I leave the fortress to you?” I asked.
“For some reason, it feels like I’ve always been gettting the short end of the stick since leaving Forni,” Fei complained.
“Don’t grumble.” I wryly smiled and lightly hit him on the shoulders.
“Yes, yes, I understand. Go! Leave me be! Go have your fun,” Fei said.
I turned to Yellow. “As for the rest, Yellow, you handle it along with the old goblin.”
“As you will, Your Majesty,” he said.
We can make our move now precisely because the east, west, and north haven’t made their move.
Once the war with the humans begins, we will have to put all of our efforts there.
But in order to have that war, first, we must secure our territory and its surrounding territories.
I need to think about the demihumans too, but for now, I’ll have to prioritize the goblins.
It’s too difficult to tackle two issues at the same time, especially when you’re fighting a battle you can’t lose. It’s a pity I’m not that talented at war.
Even if I can lead my subordinates, being at the front makes it difficult to actually order them.
I’ll just have to train them well.
We spent a day preparing at the Fortress of the Abyss, then we made our way south.
The goblin horde numbered 400 goblins strong.
Thanks to Gi Ji Arsil and his goblins leading the way, we arrived at the Gaidga village to the south after a day. We took in the Paradua and Gaidga forces, and then headed further down south.
When we arrived at the southern region, Gi Ji came back after scouting to inform us that Gi Gu was fighting even further south. It seems he was fighting at the very borders of the forest and the desert, where the anthill of the killer ants were.
I thought they were being pushed back in the battle, but it seems, that wasn’t the case.
“They’re in their territory?” I asked.
“I know it’s hard to understand, but…”
Gi Ji’s report was a bit vague, but if the killer ants really had a way to fight enemies while dragging them into their own turf, I will really have to find a way to negotiate with them. That’s exactly why I sent Gi Gu and Fanfan though.
Clearly, talks have failed.
It would be best to keep this war short. We’ll ensure there’s enough food first, then we’ll quickly decide to battle. If the war goes for too long, it might negatively influence our coming war with the humans.
After ordering my subordinates to gather food and for Gi Gi to position his beasts at the furthest area of our formation, I went to rest.
The reason I had the beasts placed furthest away from us was to ensure that we wouldn’t be attacked while we were asleep. They had noses superior even to ours, so they would surely be able to tell when an enemy is coming.
As the goblins gathered food and Gi Ji Arsil gathered intelligence, I gradually understood the current state of the war.
There was indeed an anthill at the borders of the forest and the desert, but it was at least a day’s distance into the desert. Honestly, it’s a bit hard to say that’s still close to the forest when by that time you can’t see anything but sand.
Gi Gu’s southern goblins specialized in forest warfare. They managed to defeat the killer ants before because they fought in the forest, but when they tried to destroy the anthill this time around, they had to walk under the sweltering heat of the desert sun, only to be met by a surprise attack from the killer ants. It seems that was the reason behind their difficulties.
I made full use of Gi Ji’s gathered intel to pinpoint the enemy’s location and ascertain our distance.
“Gi Jii Yubu shall lead the vanguard,” I said.
“As my lord commands,” Gi Jii Yubu said, kneeling.
The reason I had him lead the vanguard was because this battle was essentially to help Gi Gu. Gi Gi and his horde of beasts or Gaidga and their overly ferocious goblins would surely have a hard time cooperating with Gi Gu and his southern goblins.
As for Gi Ga Rax and his horde of ‘injured goblins’ and Paradua with their beast riders, their power probably wouldn’t be able to match the killer ants’ brute strength of sheer numbers.
Of course, the ‘injured goblins’ and the Paradua have their own specialties such as tenacity and flexibility, but either way, I’m not comfortable having them take the main stage this time.
Because of that I decided to put Gi Jii’s new soldiers to use.
“Riders of Paradua, you shall ride along Gi Jii’s flanks,” I said.
“We raise our spears for the king!” The young chieftain, Hal, said as he raised his spear toward the heavens.
“Gi Gi, Rashka, and Gi Ga, you are to be on standby. Wait for my orders,” I said.
Rashka wasn’t all that happy with waiting, but he complied nevertheless.
“Don’t make that face,” I said to Rashka. “Your role is an important one. It’s essentially, the cleanup crew. You can expect much.”
“If you say so,” Rashka said, nodding with his arms folded.
Now then, I think it’s about time we drew the curtains.
Gi Gu clicked his tongue and rolled his eyes as he watched colonies of killer ants come out from everywhere in the desert.
“Lord Fanfan, are you not done yet!?” Gi Gu demanded.
“Lord Gi Gu, don’t you know one shouldn’t hurry a lady? Fanfan is already rushing as she is,” Fanfan said.
They’ve been on the receiving end of one surprise attack after another, and apparently, the reason for that was the underground tunnels of the killer ants.
From a glance, the place looked no different from any other place aside from the crag-like opening, but killer ants suddenly came crawling out of the sand.
With a battlefield like that, it was only natural that Gi Gu would have a hard time.
Presently, Fanfan was looking for when the ants would come out of these hidden tunnels.
Gi Gu wanted to avoid dealing with the endless swarms of killer ants unprepared, so he had to rely on Fanfan to figure when and where they would be coming from.
Being able to figure out the movements in the earth was one the greatest skill of the tarpidae, which was known as the ‘hardest claw’.
“They’re coming. Five ants from the right and back. They’re 20 steps away to the right and 10 steps away from the back.”
10 seconds later, just as she predicted, killer ants came out of the ground, but unfortunately for them, axes and spears were waiting to greet them.
Unfortunately, Fanfan was only one person. Because of that Gi Gu and his goblins have been progressing very slowly.
It was still much better than fighting blind though.
“This is bad, a huge swarm is approaching,” Fanfan said.
As soon as Gi Gu heard that, he clicked his tongue and called out to his men.
“Brace yourselves! They’re going to come from all directions!” Gi Gu said.
The three sibling goblins Gi Gu trained raised their voices hastily.
“Brace yourselves! Brace yourselves!” Gu Long said.
“They’re coming from below! From below!” Gu Big said.
“Draw your weapons!” Gu Tough said.
“50 killer ants from the back and the left,” Fanfan said.
Gi Gu clicked his tongue. “Have we been lured!?”
The duke class, Gi Gu Verbena, calculated in his mind.
At this rate, the warriors the king had given him will all be crushed.
The fatigue they’ve been incurring since leaving the forest was by no means small.
With nothing to block the sunlight, the day itself sapped them of their strength and the scorching heat of the sand made it feel like they were walking on hot coals. Even finding something to drink wasn’t easy around these parts.
At this rate, they would surely be annihilated.
The southern desert was rich, but they didn’t have an endless supply of warriors. It took time to train a warrior.
But the king gave him a command. The ants were to either obey or be wiped out.
He wasn’t sure how he would report to the king that he wasn’t able to accomplish either, but with no other choice left, he resolved himself and drew his long sword.
“Since they’ve gone through all the effort of going out, we’ll send their heads as a present to his highness!” Gi Gu stomped on the ground and encouraged his subordinates.
“Oh, there’s another 400 coming from behind,” Fanfan suddenly added.
“What!?” Gi Gu spat. “400… Burn it all!”
If it was impossible to win, he would have no choice but to retreat.
Unfortunately, 400 ants were blocking his path of retreat.
“Go! We’ll break through the back!” Gi Gu commanded.
At the very least, he would lead his horde and cut open a path of retreat.
“Ah, but…” Fanfan feigned trying to argue.
She didn’t lie. After all, there were indeed 400.
As the clouds of sand cleared up, a great horde suddenly came to view, but there was something off. For one, killer ants didn’t need to clear the clouds of sand.
The goblins squinted their eyes in an attempt to see despite the blinding light of the sun. Gradually, the figures of that great horde came to view.
“That’s!” Gi Gu exclaimed.
“Reinforcements,” Fanfan coolly said as if she’d known all along.
Gi Gu turned to Fanfan with reproachful eyes.
“You should’ve said so from the start!” He rebuked.
“Hey, all I said was the number. Never said they were enemies. Besides, Fanfan isn’t very good at things walking on the ground,” she said.
“Arghhh!” Gi Gu clicked his tongue for the umpteenth time, then he turned to the one leading their reinforcements.
It was a goblin donned in an armor and wielded a spear. It was most likely Gi Jii.
“Gi Jii Yubu and his soldiers have come! Stand and fight goblins! We can’t lose face here!” Gi Gu said with a howl as he led the southern goblins to fight the swarm of killer ants.
Having been caught in the middle of a pincer attack, the killer ants from behind were extinguished in the blink of an eye.
Gi Jii and Gi Gu were glad to see each other safe.
“Your safety above all else, Lord Gi Gu,” Gi Jii said.
“Sorry, and thank you. Still… you sure took your sweet time coming,” Gi Gu said.
It wasn’t only Gi Jii’s army that came, the Paradua had also come. They stood out from the goblins because of their rider beasts, so any goblin could instantly tell whether one was from Paradua or not.
“His liege has commanded that we extinguish the killer ants of the south,” Gi Jii said.
“What!?” Gi Gu exclaimed.
“Lord Gi Ji Arsil reported of the difficulties of your battle, and so in his highness’ fear of losing one of his most valued men, he gave that command,” Gi Jii explained.
“How shameful… I must thank the king. Can you lead me to him,” Gi Gu asked.
Gi Jii nodded. “The king has willed that you retreat for the time being. Will that be acceptable?”
“With the way things are, it can’t be helped,” Gi GU said.
Though the goblins trampled over their enemies, the desert still took a lot out of them. It was best to let the southern goblins rest first, then join the fray when they were back to health. Hence, Gi Gu voiced no complaints to the king’s will.
“Fanfan will go too,” Fanfan said.
“It’s my fault, it’s fine if I go alone,” Gi Gu said to Fanfan, who had apparently gotten behind him without noticing.
“I’m sick of the heat,” Fanfan complained. “I want to rest in the cool forest.”
“…Do what you want,” Gi Gu said, not bothering to stop Fanfan, who neither bothered to hide her true intentions.
After that the goblins called the tarpidae for reinforcements and the battle greatly swung to their favor.
The goblin king used ‘baits’ to lure out the enemy and quickly crushed them with the goblins’ overwhelming number.
Thanks to Fanfan’s people we were able to make our way to the killer ants’ anthill. From a distance, it looked no more than any other rock, but it was actually a giant hole. It was what you would call a dungeon.
The passage was narrow, so it would not be possible to sent a large army through. Because of that we decided to send only the strong.
Rashka, of course had to go, being the most eager of the goblins. Gi Gu Verbena would also be going, as he wanted to clear his name of his recently incurred shame. Gi Ji Arsil would be going to serve as scout. Gi Ga Rax, as well, as he insisted that he had to be the one to guard me. And lastly, Fanfan and me, the former which I forcefully dragged. Altogether, there were about 50 of us who entered the anthill.
I left Gi Jii Yubu and Hal to stand watch outside. With the tarpidae working alongside them, they could continuously bait the enemy and scatter their forces.
The interiors of the anthill was a lot bigger than expected. It was also plenty bright.
The passage was made big probably to make it easy to transport their captured prey. Light would also shoot inside from above, keeping the place well lit.
Killer ants naturally attacked us along the way, but Rashka made short work of them.
I hope he doesn’t become too eager and end up destroying the anthill, though…
As we descended down the anthill, their numbers grew, some of which were warriors of their own kind. Army ants, which possessed powerful shells and jaws. Still, they were mercilessly beaten by Rashka.
Gi Gu Verbena and the elite of his southern goblins formed three-man cells as they fought alongside Rashka.
After descending 10 levels, we finally succeeded in capturing the ant queen.
Rashka was about to crush her, but Fanfan stopped him.
The queen’s guards were killed and she herself was being pinned down, but Fanfan talked to her.
As far as I was concerned, her groans were nothing more than ‘groans’ indeed, but apparently, Fanfan could understand those groans.
Fanfan started making strange cries to converse with the queen. After a while, she called me over.
“Your Majesty, the ants are willing to obey as long you give them food. Also, they will obey even more if you treat Fanfan better,” Fanfan said.
That last part was obviously a lie, but she deserved to be rewarded, so I let it pass. Especially, since I didn’t really want to destroy them but have their cooperation instead.
“I see… So, Fanfan, who wants to be treated better, what is that you want?” I asked.
“Eh, seriously? Wow, Your Majesty, you’re so kind! Then please get Yushika’s bag—” she said.
“Rejected,” I curtly said.
“Not fair! Didn’t you say you’d treat me better? Fanfan thinks it’s no good to lie,” Fanfan said.
But that doesn’t have anything to do with bettering your treatment, that’s just poking fun at people.
“Well, fine. If that’s no good, then Fanfan would like for the elves to prioritize sending paper to her,” Fanfan said.
“Oh? That’s fine with me, but what are you using them for?” I asked.
“I’ve been writing a book lately. Fanfan is good at both literature and drawing,” she said.
“Very well then. I shall talk to Fei about it,” I said.
“Yay! Thank you, Your Majesty!” She said.
After that Fanfan talked with the queen for a long time. I left the queen to her, and went back up to prepare.
The leadership of the noble classes and above is still lacking.
The enemy this time was weak, so were able to deal with them without issue, but this won’t do… I’ll have to talk to Gi Jii and the others about this.
—57 days until the war with the humans.
Rashka’s level has risen.
76 => 81
Gi Gu Verbena’s level has risen.
1 => 20
Tl Note: Last chapter for the week.