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Volume 3: Chapter 219 – The Attack of Zeilduk (2/3)
The forces of the Red King were now led by Saldin, the man who defeated Gi Ba. He took the survivors of the Red King and retreated from Melgion. But despite retreating from Elrain Kingdom as well, he insisted in going back to Fatina.
“How many soldiers do we have left?”
On the throne Brandika once sat upon now sat Saldin. He was not in a happy mood as he spoke with his aide.
“3,000 at most.”
Hmph. Saldin snorted and folded his arms. The forces of the Red King may have fled to Fatina for the time being, but as the situation grew worse by the day, more and more deserters appeared. Saldin didn’t try to stop them either, so while at some point the numbered 5,000, they now only numbered 3,000.
“Now I can see just how great the clan leader was.”
“Well, I mean…”
Seeing his aide twist his lips into a wry smile, Saldin renewed his expression. Currently, although their numbers have been greatly reduced, the clan leaders that have been with the Red King for a long time now and the commanders of the armies were gathered at the throne room.
“So it seems the time to pay our dues has come, but unfortunately, I’m a poor loser.”
As Saldin stood up, he rested his hand on the pommel of his long sword.
“I’m not about to die at a place like this. What say you?”
Although every one of them wore a fearless expression on their faces, they showed no signs of having given up on living.
“It won’t be easy to turn the tides of war now that it’s come to this point. That’s why… We have to lose once. Lose and pull the wool over their eyes.”
Youths who saw a dream in Brandika. Youths who were taken by Carlion’s ideals. Youths who were charmed by Shunrai’s strength. Those kind of youths have long fled, and all that was left of the Red King now were those that decided to live with Saldin.
Saldin was shocked when Brandika died, but because of his natural stubbornness, he was able to pick himself back up. Now that there was no one left above him, he had to lead the clan by himself.
“So we’re fleeing from Fatina?”
“Exactly. We’ll flee to the east. That’s where we’ll rebuild the Red King.”
If it was at the minor countries, then perhaps the Red King might be able to survive just yet. Thinking that, Saldin decided to abandon the south. Unfortunately, doing so would mean the end of Carlion and Brandika’s dream. Even if they succeeded in rebuilding the Red King, their forces would be focused on the east.
Still, just giving Fatina away to the goblins like this would leave a sour taste in Saldin’s mouth.
“We’ll lead them inside and hit them once, and then we’ll retreat.”
Saldin knew all too well how strong the goblins were in the open battlefield. As such, he decided to drag them inside the city, where the space was much narrower. With the space much limited, he would be able to inflict more damage on them depending on their tactics.
“Is there any need to go out of our way to put ourselves in danger?”
“Hmph. What? You want us to run with our tail between our legs just like that!? That would make me feel terrible! At the very least, we need to give those gobs a taste of a civilized man’s war!”
Although Saldin was just running his mouth off as a lowborn man that once lived as a bandit, the people gathered at the throne room laughed.
“When we flee, our destination will be the Iron Country of Elfa. Understand, ye bastards!?”
After the meeting ended, they packed their bags and prepared for war.
Saldin went back to his room and spoke to the person who was waiting for him there.
“You were listening, right? I’m running. What about you?”
“Hmph. I don’t have a reason to fight anymore.”
The person waiting for him was none other than Cell the Sword Dancer. After bringing Carlion’s remains back to his home, she caught word that Saldin had returned to Fatina, so she visited him.
“Well, do what you want. When you think about it, the Red King was only really the Red King because the clan leader and Carlion were there. Filling the hole they left behind is too great a burden for me. I’m sure that’s true for the others too.”
“…Yeah. That’s why… There’s no need for someone who’s about to be a mother to go to war.”
“…? You knew?”
“It’s not like I was born from a tree, you know?”
Silence filled the room. Saldin didn’t ask who the father was, and neither did Cell try to say it.
“I need to be going soon.”
The one who broke the silence was Cell.
“Oh, right. You remember the treasurer, right? I’ll leave him a word, so take some money with you. Consider it a farewell gift.”
After Cell left and Saldin watched her leave, he couldn’t help but mock himself.
“Tch. why are men always so spineless at times like this?”
After Cell left, Saldin prepared to go to war.
The walls of Fatina were tall and thick. Carlion loathed siege battles in the past, so the walls of Fatina were built in a way that they would not be broken by ordinary things. Moreover, although the population of the city has decreased from its heydays, it still held a population of over 30,000. Those thick and tall walls were actually long enough to cover all of that and surround a small mountain.
And yet despite that, there was a flaw in the defense of the city.
There were too few people to defend it. In order to defend Fatina, the least number needed was at least 10,000 soldiers. It was a city that was built with that sort of power in mind.
In other words, at this rate, they’ll barely be able to use the defenses of the city. Someone suggested to enlist the people, but Saldin rejected the idea.
“They’ll just get in the way. How are we supposed to run if we tie up our legs and arms too?”
Site Update: The title of the series under the title of the chapter now leads to the TOC. Also, I dropped Disqus and went back to the old comment system since I got some better ways to deal with the spam now.