Tl Note: Gi Ji Arsil is different from Gi Jii. Also, Decapitation Knight to Ripper Knight
Volume 2: Intermission – Positioning
|Possessed Skills||Overpowering Howl; Sword Mastery C-; Wide-Open Eyes; Omnivorous; Appeal|
The assassin, Gi Ji Arsil, left the demihuman village as the king’s messenger. As this was the second time he left for the Fortress of the Abyss, it took him only three days to reach it. He had already gotten used to the route. Moreover, there were trails left behind, which he could follow.
Gi Ji Arsil arrived at the fortress safely and asked for an audience with the knight class, Gi Ga Rax, who was responsible for the fortress in the king’s absence.
“The king wants more soldiers to be sent to the demihuman village,” Gi Ji Arsil said.
Gi Ga was as focused on training the goblins as ever. From time to time, he would glance sharply at the goblins swinging their spears.
“How many does the king need?” Gi Ga Rax asked.
“The king didn’t say, though I suppose as much goblins as it would take to secure a foothold,” Gi Ji Arsil replied.
“In that case, the king will probably need enough goblins to work his way from the village into the west. There should still be some time until the battle with the humans, but…”
Gi Ga worried that the king might have forgotten about the threat to the east. The words of the humans – not to mention, the words of the enemy – could not be trusted. The king must surely have his considerations, however.
If only they disciplined the kobolds better, they could put them to better use, but unfortunately, the king did not wish to. To go against the king’s word was to err as his retainer, therefore, Gi Ga could only count the soldiers he would need to send.
“80 goblins,” Gi Ga Rax said. “To respond to the king’s command with our utmost effort is our duty.”
“That many?” Gi Ji Arsil was shocked.
“Lord Rashka of the Gaidga should be able to send another 40. Lord Aluhaliha of Paradua and Princess Narsa of the Ganra should both be able to send another 10 each. We’ll need a day’s time to prepare everyone,” Gi Ga Rax added.
“The king will be glad,” Gi Ji Arsil said.
“Gi Ji Arsil, there is something I wish to ask of you,” Gi Ga Rax said.
“What is it?”
“Would you scout the east?”
“The east… You mean the orcs?”
“There are orcs too, yes, but I’m more interested in the humans. I find it hard to believe that they would be willing to withdraw just like that. The king seems to trust the humans’ words, but…”
“Are you sure you’re not just thinking too much?”
Ga Rax shook his head. “I don’t mean to doubt the words of the king, but… our enemy is human. Against them, there is no such thing as too much preparation. A defeat like before won’t be forgiven again. This is our home. If we lose it, we will have no home left to return to.”
Gi Jii Arsil nodded. “I understand. Fortunately, the king has asked me to stay here for a while.”
“Thank you. I’ll leave it in your hands.”
After asking Gi Ji Arsil to scout, Gi Ga Rax left to pick out the goblins. 140 goblins all-in-all would be sent. Such a large horde would require a proportionate amount of food to sustain it. Gi Ga Rax asked the Gordob goblin in charge of the food to calculate how much would be needed, while he sent the Paradua messengers to send word to the tribes.
Like this Gi Ga Rax quickly gathered the goblins. All that was left was to appoint a leader over the horde.
“Did the king mention who would be leading?” Gi Ga Rax asked.
“No, he didn’t mention anyone in particular,” Gi Ji Arsil said.
Gi Ga groaned as he became thoughtful. The fact that the king didn’t name anyone was proof that he trusted him. He had to answer to that trust.
The noble classes Gi Gu Verbena, Gi Go Amatsuki (Sword God), Gi Gi Orudo (Ancient Beast Tamer), Gi Zu Ruo (Shishi) have all been sent out to expand the horde, and Gi Ga Rax himself was responsible for the fortress. If a leader over this horde were to be appointed, it would have to be a rare class.
—When you think about class, Lord Rashka of the Gaidga seems most appropriate, but with such a large horde, perhaps the First Archer of the Gadieta, Lord Gilmi Fishiga, would be a better pick. Lord Aluhaliha of the Paradua wouldn’t be bad either.
But every one of them is a chieftain of their tribe.
—Would it really be alright to send them?
Gi Ga could not come to a conclusion. He wished Gi Zo was around. That goblin was particularly knowledgeable in all fields even among the druids.
Gi Da wouldn’t be bad either. He was plenty strong and was even skilled at the spear. It was truly regrettable that they passed so young.
“What am I doing?” Gi Ga grimaced.
Wait, wasn’t there someone? Someone particularly skilled at leading?
“Is Gi Jii around?” Gi Ga muttered.
It was convenient having Gi Jii around, who was trained by Gi Gu himself, but if Gi Ga was to send someone to safely lead a horde of over a hundred goblins, there was no goblin more fit for the job.
“You needed something?” Gi Jii asked after being called.
The way the goblin stood as he wore his sword by his waist and his armor over his body spoke of his experience as a warrior. Gi Ga felt at ease as soon as he saw him.
“If you have an order for me, I will fulfill it,” GI Jii said.
After appointing Gi Jii as the leader of the horde, Gi Ga decided to run him through a quick training course.
To cover Gi Jii’s weaknesses, he asked the newly evolved rare goblins Gi Bi (Water Mage), Gi Bu (Beast Tamer), and the one-armed Gi Be to go with him.
He called all of them out and ran them through a quick course.
While the goblin king went out to meet with the chief of the werewolves, the chief of the centaurs, Daizos, went back to his tribe.
Daizos felt guilty using Mido to delay the goblin king, but he needed to inform the people staying in his village of the threat looming over his tribe.
“Is Lord Cecil and Lord Shunan in?” Daizos asked.
The centaur did not even have the time to clean himself before urgently requesting an audience with the people staying in the centaur village.
The centaurs were prominent even among the demihumans. One reason behind that was because of their race’s natural gift in fighting. Their male and their females could all fight in battle without discrimination. Moreover, much of their knowledge had been successfully passed down throughout the generations. They also lived the closest to the elves. That in and of itself was proof of their strength.
With such a proud history behind their race, Daizos would naturally not be the kind of man who would easily bow his head to someone.
“Let him in,” a voice said from inside the biggest building in the village.
It was usually meant for the chief to live in, but right now, it was being used as a guest house.
As Daizos timidly entered, two people came to view.
Either one of them was beautiful. One was in the prime of his life, while the other was relatively young. These were people sent by the elves.
The older of the two elves frowned when he saw Daizos’ unkempt appearance. Sensing his displeasure, the younger one spoke before he could.
“What’s the matter? Why are you in such a hurry?” The younger one asked.
“Lord Shunan, actually…” Daizos, on his knees, began to say, but the older of the two elves interjected.
“What’s the matter, Daizos? Is that how you choose to present yourself before the proud elves?” The older elf said as he glared at the younger elf, Shunan, reminding him which of them had the right to speak.
“Please excuse me for my unsightly appearance, Lord Cecil, but the situation requires that I inform you posthaste.”
Hmph, Cecil sneered as he looked condescendingly at the kneeling Daizos.
“What is the matter?” Cecil asked.
“Please escape the village as soon as you can,” Daizos said.
“What? What’s going on?” Cecil’s beautiful brows rose.
“All the other tribes except for the centaurs and the fangs have been tricked by the goblins. They will be attacking soon.”
Silence filled the room. The elves could not comprehend.
“…Goblins?” Cecil asked.
“Yes, the goblin king from the east—” Daizos tried to explain, but…
“Fool! Are you thinking straight!?” Cecil exploded.
Unfortunately, Daizos well-intentioned advice was met with disdain.
“But,” the younger of the two, Shunan, tried to reason, but unfortunately, Cecil would have none of it. In fact, he even turned his anger to the younger elf.
“Lord Shunan, surely you couldn’t possibly be saying that you believe this nonsense?” Cecil said as he glared hatefully and refused to listen to anyone. “A goblin, Lord Shunan? A goblin. What are goblins? They are vulgar, coarse, and dirty! Do you honestly believe such—things could actually trick the demihumans and stage an attack on us?”
Unable to release his anger with his words alone, Cecil stood up from his chair and walked over to the kneeling Daizos.
“Do you take me for a fool? Hmm?” Cecil spat. “If you intended to weasel your way out of paying your due taxes, it would have been better if you said the humans attacked instead!”
“I have no such—” Daizos tried to reason.
“I will hear no excuses!” Cecil spat before taking his seat again. “Because I will not be leaving until you pay your dues.”
Shunan frowned at Cecil’s outburst.
“…I understand. Please excuse me,” Daizos said.
Cecil sneered as he watched Daizos left depressed.
“Wasn’t that too much? Even they are struggling. Moreover, it isn’t as if the taxes they pay are compulsory. They only pay out of gratitude,” Shunan said.
Cecil sneered. “If I may remind you, Lord Shunan, I, Lord Cecil, am chief envoy, whereas you are merely vice-envoy.”
“I am aware, however—”
“If you know, then please keep your opinions to yourself. Just because your older brother is now a member of the council doesn’t mean you have the right to interfere in my duties.”
“My apologies. I did not intend to poke my nose where it does not belong, but at this rate—”
“The demihumans are no more than tenants. It is only right that they pay their rent.”
“Lord Cecil, that is going too far.”
Hmph, Cecil sneered.
Sighing quietly to himself, Shunan stood up and left the house.
“Where are you going, Lord Shunan?” Cecil asked.
“I’m going to take a walk outside,” Shunan replied.
“Hmph, nothing will change even if you flatter those demihumans.”
Shunan pretended he didn’t hear Cecil’s last comment as he went out to follow Daizos.
“Lord Daizos,” Shunan called out.
Daizos was hurriedly ordering his men when Shunan called out.
“Lord Shunan,” Daizos said as he quickly knelt. Please excuse my earlier behavior.”
“Please don’t apologize, Lord Daizos,” Shunan said. “If anything, it should be me apologizing. I hope you can forgive Lord Cecil’s outburst.”
“It’s alright, Lord Shunan. I understand full well how ridiculous my story was. It’s just that…”
“It’s true, isn’t it?”
“Yes. That goblin was cunning. He used the threat of the humans to rouse our sense of crisis, and then he tricked us with his words and his strength.”
“You mentioned he came from the east… Weren’t the orcs living in the east?”
Daizos was in awe of the young man’s knowledge. Truly, the elves were worthy of their respect. They were not aware only of matters concerning them, but even of matters far away. Moreover, the fact that the elves knew meant that they cared. To Daizos nothing could be more reassuring.
“They did live in the east, but… Lately, the orcs haven’t been appearing. It’s possible the goblins might have annihilated them,” Daizos said.
“They’re that formidable?” Shunan said in surprise. Though calm, there was a hint of fear mixed in his words.
“Please rest assured, we will surely protect you and Lord Cecil.”
“Don’t push yourselves too much though. After all, you could always hand us over to the other descendants of the crystals.”
“Absolutely not, Lord Shunan. How could we possibly let the goblins have you? If such a thing were to happen, we would no longer be able to face our ancestors.”
“Anyway, I’m sorry for bothering you while you’re busy. If there’s anything I can do to help, please just say it.”
“It’s alright. Please rest well.”
At Daizos’ urging, Shunan went back to his lodging.
“If worse comes to worse, I shall use my life to protect you,” Daizos muttered to himself.
Like this the centaurs readied themselves for battle.
King Ashtal sat in his office, where all the unnecessary things often used for formalities’ sake have been cleared out.
He spoke alone with another man.
“The scarlet maiden… She’s gotten quite popular, hasn’t she?”
Ashtal Do Germion, the man who stood at the apex of Kingdom Germion’s army. He happily nodded as he read the reports.
“Yes, the adventurers did a good job spreading her name,” the iron-armed knight, Gowen Ranid, said.
Ever since the defeat in the forest, these two men have been getting closer. They both knew the gravity of that defeat. Hence, they also understood that they needed to work together if they were to overcome this new threat.
Gowen rarely went to the capital in the past, but ever since his defeat in the forest, he has been proactively approaching the king. The situation at hand had forced him to.
Once a war with the monsters broke out, he would immediately have to borrow soldiers from the capital. He could fight solely with the soldiers he has at hand, but such a stand would surely not last.
The goblins are infamous for their high birth rate. They are known to kidnap the females of other races, impregnating them to increase their numbers. Because of that Gowen had sent out a proclamation restricting women from frolicking outside. Patrols were also increased. It took a lot of effort just to spot the beasts that would come out the forest from time to time.
“When will she be ready?” The king asked.
He was referring to the scarlet maiden.
“She has earned much fame in the north already, so the next would either be the west or the south,” Gowen said.
Ashtal played with the feather pen on his hands as he became thoughtful.
“Have her go the south then. Send her to the Ripper Knight. Put a leash on her while you’re at it, a sweet-tasting leash.
It was necessary to have a failsafe on the knights of the country.
“We can start with her family. Start gathering info on them,” Ashtal said.
“Alright,” Gowen said.
Ashtal’s gaze grew sharper as he tried to measure Gowen’s depths.
“Just that won’t be enough, however.”
“Yes, it would be a great help if you would allow the construction of a colonial city.”
The colonial cities are focal points of conquest. In times of war, they could be used as fortresses. In times of peace, they could be used for political maneuvering. They are essentially tools of conquest, but the cost behind them was proportional to their power.
It was those colonial cities that Gowen had requested of the king. King Ashtal closed his eyes once again. The threat from the west, Gowen’s strength and his loyalty… There were many things that needed to be weighed.
The existence of a wise monster as well. If Gowen’s words were to be believed, this was past the point of a mere subjugation request.
A war between man and monster.
“…Very well. Fortunately, the Storm Knight, Gulland, has returned, so we have the advantage. For a brief time, we can restrain our offensive maneuverings. The Ripper Knight has done a good job filling in for Gene’s absence in the south too.”
Everything was under the assumption that the Holy Shushunu Kingdom to the east remained friendly.
Time was needed before they would be able to suppress the bandits to the north. The hole left by the death of the Lightning-Fast Knight was somehow filled in by the Ripper Knight’s fervorous activities. If there was ever a time to take a breather, it was now.
“Start preparing for a war to the west. We’ll take down those monsters,” King Ashtal said.
When workers are needed, the economy will kick in. As a result, people will gather and taxes will rise. If you use war as a pretense, even soldiers can be used.
Ashtal decided to accept Gowen’s multifaceted plan. The soldiers would have no rest in the coming construction, but that was fine. There was little point in repeating the same training over and over anyway.
Once more, the humans stretched out their hands in pursuit of the forests’ wealth.