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Volume 3: Chapter 223 – The Hero of Pena II (2/4)
At first, it looked like the elf was just itching for a fight, but a closer look showed that the elf simply had a lot of pent up frustrations.
“Worry not. We need to send reinforcements to Pena soon, so just wait a little longer until we have the army in order.”
“How long!? Tomorrow!? The day after!?”
“We can’t leave immediately even if I call Gi Ga and Gi Jii back. We’ll need about 20 days.”
Felbi looked just like a criminal whose execution date had been announced when the king said that, but the Goblin King merely nodded expressionlessly like a judge.
“Since Gi Gu is having such a hard time, it can be reasoned that the enemy has some level of skill. If we dispatch our soldiers without due preparation, we are likely to lose.”
“…Ku. I understand.”
Felbi looked very childish as he left the room disheartened. That amused the Goblin King, but it was only for a moment before he went back to his work.
In order to make a decision, he needed to gather the necessary information. The Goblin King once again looked through the mountain of documents on his desk.
The problem the Goblin King was concerned about right now was the issue of food. Until now they’ve been feeding themselves off of the monster beasts in the area whenever they attacked. Of course, they also brought portable food with them like dried meat, but they couldn’t sustain themselves with just that.
There weren’t many monster beasts in the area around Pena, and there were even less large-type monster beasts. As such, they would have to bring a lot of portable food with them.
Until now the goblins have never had difficulties with supplies.
But the further they head east, the smaller the monster beasts will become. In that case, they will no longer be able to procure their food from the local monster beast supply. Unless they are able to ensure a supply route that could preserve the deepening front lines, they will not be able to fight at their best condition.
Elbert and the rest of the bureaucrats of Elrain Kingdom have been showing off their skills recently. The Goblin King had to use them well if he was to meet the logistical requirements of the army.
Within the throne room where hundreds of officials, military and civil alike, would be lined up, was Gulland kneeling on the red carpet. There was no one here other than him and King Ashtal. A deafening silence filled the room.
After a short moment of silence, the old king sighed. It was a heavy sigh filled with exhaustion.
“My kingdom’s proud holy knight, the storm knight, the brave and gallant knight, Gulland.”
“After the western region, you once again suffered defeat in the south. The voices of the nobles can no longer be quelled.”
“I am incompetent.”
“…I have already lost Gene and Gowen. Don’t make me lose another shield to defend this country.”
“…As you will.”
“Holy Knight, Gulland, I leave the holy knight, Sivara, to you.”
Gulland’s tightly held fist shook a little. That did not escape King Ashtal’s eyes as he closed his eyes and spoke.
“Gain merit and wipe away the shame from your name.”
“…It shall be done, even at the cost of my life!”
Gulland’s fame of being a hero comes from his great achievement of saving a saint. It was not something that the nobles could remove. But while they couldn’t take away his status of being a holy knight, they could question his management of his territory and his strategic decisions.
Sivara, who has been entrusted with the defense of the south, defended the south with the holy knight, Jize. Although he retreated during the siege against the Cultidians without causing much damage to the enemy, because he was connected to a branch of the nobles, he did not incur as much problems from the nobles.
Instead, the nobles turned their attention to Gulland, who was a commoner.
Fortunately, a commander with a noble background also lost in the previous battle at the western region against the goblins, so the nobles couldn’t find as much fault with Gulland, but King Ashtal couldn’t possibly be happy from losing.
As Gulland left and passed by the youth that entered, King Ashtal raised up his heavy eyelids.
“It is a great honor to be in the presence of the king.”
“What great honor? I still have to act like a king even in front of my grandchild. In any case, it is good to see you well, Ishtel.”
“Yes, grandfather. Valdor says I’ve gotten better.”
The old king shifted his eyes away from the his grandchild to the knight beside him. The middle-aged man bowed his head deeply.
“I can find no fault in Ishtel-dono’s skill as far as knights go.”
“I know full well that someone as honest as you wouldn’t lie, but don’t praise him so much, he’ll get carried away.”
“Please don’t worry. The sword of the king is only for defending. Attacking is our duty.”
From his sunken eyes, King Ashtal could understand the words of Valdor the Twin Swords Knight.
“Is that why you came together?”
“Yes. In the name of the prince, please give the imperial decree.”
Trust in the holy knight system was wavering. All the soldiers in Germion Kingdom could feel the crisis.
Everyone acknowledged Gulland’s strength despite his personality, but he lost. Gene died quietly in the shadows because of Gulland’s success. And then, there was Gowen, who himself was not just an old warrior, but also an excellent feudal lord. Despite that even he lost.
At this critical moment, the nobles have started raising up a fuss and have started to push to redistribute the authority that has been left to the king. In order to suppress them, the only thing the king could do is to move the army and forcefully silence them. In such a case, a member of the royal family would have to take command of the army.
“It’s still too early.”
“The old woman of the east will die soon. When she dies, we will have to gather our strength at the east.”
Valdor opened his eyes wide and bowed his head.
“As you will.”
“The east… Shushunu’s Lady Claudia.”
Ishtel mouthed that as if to confirm it.
She was the symbol of Holy Shushunu Kingdom’s might. ‘Lady Impaler’ ‘War Princess’ Claudia. So long as she was around, the Holy Shushunu Kingdom could stop the minor countries to the east, and others had no choice but to acknowledge the supremacy of the Holy Shushunu Kingdom. Even Germion Kingdom had to respect them.
But that war princess will soon die.
Although there were no words of her going senile or going ill, everyone knew that she would soon die and a fierce battle for her successor would occur at the Holy Shushunu Kingdom. Right now, Germion Kingdom is being threatened by the goblins to the south and to the west. Germion Kingdom was in a position to suppress most of the northern barbarians and develop it, so they had to avoid creating an unfriendly relationship with the country to the east.
They could still barely hold on if it’s just the south and the west.
But if even the eastern Holy Shushunu Kingdom were to become an enemy, Germion Kingdom will quickly find itself in danger.
At the very least, they had to maintain their current relationship. Should the minor countries make their move, Germion Kingdom would be willing even to work with the successors of the war princess and dispatch soldiers. But to that end, they would have to ensure that they have some soldiers to spare.
As such, they can’t make a move right now.
No one knows when Claudia is going to die, so King Ashtal can’t send Valdor to the west.
10 days after King Ashtal had that conversation with them, the brave woman, Claudia the War Princess, who supported the Holy Shushunu Kingdom for roughly 50 years, passed.
As that shocking news spread to all four directions, the expectations of each country became entangled.