Volume 3: Chapter 173 – Broken Wings (1/2)
To the east of the Eastern Holy Shushunu Kingdom were the small nations, the small nation of Fenis who took care of the elves, the farming country of Guralio, and the Iron Kingdom of Elfara. It was in the eastern part of their territory that the headquarters of Elks Clan was located.
Pale and her two fellow adventurers entered into one of the countless small countries, stopping at a corner somewhere away from the main road.
Pale’s legs seemed to tremble as a repulsive odor wafted to her nose.
“Umm, Ms. Pale…”
In the end, the boy and girl she saved at the Holy Shushunu Kingdom ended up coming with her all the way here.
“…Rue, sorry, but can you tell me what you see?” That cold voice of hers was due to her unwillingness to accept the reality that was before her.
The young girl tried to say something, but the tragedy before her kept those words from leaving her throat.
“Umm, but…. Shurei.”
She seemed about to cry as she turned her pleading eyes to the boy next to her.
In the end, it was the young boy who spoke of the tragic sight before them.
“It’s been burned down. It’s horrible.”
That was all he could say. The young boy neither knew enough words to describe the scene before him accurately nor did he wish to.
He had not been raised naively enough to believe that the world was a kind place. He knew full well that the world was a cruel place that could take even the small happiness he had if it so wished.
That being said, he was still not sure whether it would be a good idea to tell Pale what was in front of them.
This used to be a lively bar where people made merry and drank themselves drunk, but now, there was nothing left but the remnants of a once great fire.
That nostalgic place Pale and her comrades frequented was now gone.
They probably haven’t started rebuilding it yet. After all, the smell of burned structures and humans lingered yet in the air.
But even more appalling than that was the sight of a spear sticking out from the abandoned corpses.
The freshly severed head that were put on display were not just one or two either.
The boy said that the place had been burned down, but that was not an accurate description of the scene, for what had occurred here was surely a massacre.
The boy thanked god that she could not see. He thought it was her good fortune that she could not see something so terrible.
“Why did something like this…”
Could something like this really be allowed in the middle of the city? The boy wondered as he looked at the people nearby.
He noted that they were frightened.
If something so outrageous could be done so openly, then that could mean only one thing: the people who had done this were strong.
Pale felt like being depressed, but she forced herself to calm down. She had to think and keep walking even if it was hard.
She did not expect for their base to be burned to the ground even if they had lost to the Red King.
It was true that a battle among clans was done for the sake of having the initiative to take a dungeon, but there was no reason to exterminate each other so thoroughly. After all, something like that would no longer fall under the scope of a mere clan war but a true war.
The Elks Clan was supposedly a small to medium sized clan, but it was still fairly big.
It was hard to believe that that entire clan was actually done in. There had to be some survivors. At least, Pale forced herself to believe that.
The Red King clan had yet to calm down and it was hard to imagine that the Elks clan would lose so one-sidedly; if so, then perhaps they were taken by surprise and were forced to run away.
In any case, she would have to first find the survivors, and then…
“…Shurei, Rue, thank you for accompanying me until now,” Pale said.
“But, Ms. Pale.”
The boy and the girl were kind people, and they did not believe it would be good to leave Pale alone, but her firm words left them unable to decide whether it would really be a good idea to tell her that.
As they were wondering what to do, Pale turned her back on them and walked away. They had been traveling until now, but unfortunately, they were caught up in something bad.
“From here on out, I will be fighting for the sake of my comrades. This has nothing to do with you.”
That voice that used to be so kind was now as cold as ice as Pale bid them farewell.
While unsure whether to chase after her or not, Pale vanished into the crowd of people walking along the road.
The high-standing officials that was normally present with the king was nowhere to be seen.
In the throne were only two people: King Ashtal and a kneeling holy knight.
“…I hear you lost.”
“Punish me if you must, but please spare my subordinates.”
Gulland bowed his head with much frustration as he clenched his fists down onto the carpet.
“The threat to the west has yet to be expelled. Someone must deal with it.”
The holy knight, Gowen Ranid, who used to be responsible for the west had already passed. Gene Marlon was actually next in line, but he too has already passed, and even before Gowen, way back in the Forest of Darkness.
Of the holy knights that left to rescue the saint, only Gulland was still alive.
King Ashtal looked at Gulland with sunken eyes.
Gulland had no way to refuse him. This recent defeat was bound to shake whatever achievements he has built until now. After all, there was nothing unusual about a losing general being punished.
“I will definitely expel the western threat.”
“I will be expecting then.”
After being dismissed from the king’s presence, Gulland returned to his room. As soon as he did, he slammed his fist onto the wall.
He had been moved from the north to the west. That was the same as giving all the efforts he put into stabilizing the north to Lili.
The Holy Knights of Germion Kingdom were tasked with the duty of leading the army and fortifying one of the cardinal directions. It was a position that was both at the peak of the army and the ruler of a big territory.
They had to gain the territories they were given with the soldiers they had. Because of that they had to pay careful attention over the management of the territory and the soldiers under them. How to acquire soldiers was left to the holy knights’ discretion. Of course, they could borrow from the king, but for the most part, they had to recruit their own.
In Gowen’s case, he turned the young boys from his region into soldiers, while Gulland used his influence as a former adventurer to recruit the skilled adventurers from the guild, and Sivara brought the soldiers from his region with him.
There were various ways to procure the necessary soldiers, but regardless, they all fought to expand the territory they were given.
That was the military system of Germion Kingdom.
Currently, many among the big aristocrats of the kingdom have come from the holy knights of the last generation.
But there was a catch. If the king found one incompetent or one blundered horribly, the territory he has been given could be changed, causing him to lose everything he has worked for.
Germion Kingdom was the great western kingdom of the continent.
The scope of territories it ruled would not lose out to the Holy Shushunu Kingdom at the center. But the more territories one covered, the bigger the differences would be from region to region.
There was a big difference between the borders and the large cities, for example.
The western region that was troubled with monsters and the northern region that was troubled with barbarians were borders and had less business, while the east that was flourishing with trade with the Holy Shushunu Kingdom and the south that traded with the free cities naturally had more business.
Gulland wouldn’t be so vexed if he could get one of the more affluent regions, as that would mean that he would get more taxes and human resource that could be used to develop business and increase income.
But if he were to get another undeveloped territory that would be throwing away all his efforts onto his successor. Especially, now that he has been ordered to move from the north to the west.
The land Gowen had developed was now a den of monsters. Because of that getting the west was the same thing as having to start from zero. Gulland would have to recruit soldiers anew and reclaim the west.
Fortunately, there were elites who fought under Gowen mixed in along with the refuges coming from the west.
He would have to make a new western army using them.
“I won’t lose to something like this, goblins Just you watch, I’ll kill every single one of you.”
Gulland’s hate for the goblins burned ever fiercer.