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Volume 3: Chapter 242 – The Dark Hand Released (4/4)
Those under the Goblin King wouldn’t think about it so seriously. To the goblin warriors, it was enough to obey the king. They didn’t care about strategies or objectives. So long as the king wished for it, the goblins will would put down their lives and fight. That was their strength, but at the same time, it was also their weakness.
The only ones actually thinking were Pale and some of the elves.
Even Gi Za Zakuend and the others were liable to think of nothing but how to defeat the king’s enemies. It was true that if they kept defeating their enemies, they would eventually run out of enemies in the great continent, but new enemies were sure to sprung up immediately.
Conquer, govern, rule.
The only ones who thought about such things were the king and his aides.
But that very king has been wavering recently.
Pale always served beside him, so she could tell that the reason for the war has changed. Until now, the objective of the king’s war was to secure land for the demihumans and the goblins. But now they have conquered the south and vanquished Germion Kingdom, which is the greatest enemy of the demihumans and the goblins.
If one were to put it in a rather extreme sense, they have already acquired a territory that could equal the humans.
And if they included even the Forest of Darkness, then the territory they covered already amounted to one-fifth of the world. There was no human country that owned this much land. And neither was there a country that had an army bigger than theirs. As such, they already had more than enough land if the objective was merely to live on.
Pale believed they were at a crossroad.
“Your Majesty, are you truly planning on conquering the continent?”
The battle will likely be long and painful. Moreover, it will not be a battle to contend someone, but a battle to scatter the enemies and acquire territories out of greed. Yes, a battle of conquest done out of greed just like a human’s.
“But of course. It is inevitable.”
The king turned to Pale and looked at her with his blood-red eyes.
“I have to stand at the frontlines to lead the many races to war.”
The goblins were still fine. So long as they knew that the king wished for it, they would – without hesitation – take the initiative to throw themselves into the fray. But the humans, the demihumans, and the elves were different. For instead of tales of war and doom and gloom, would they not yearn more for a peaceful life?
Because of that the goblins will have to take the lead in battle more and more from here on out. It was also curious if the king could give a reason that could convince the demihumans and the humans to keep on fighting.
“The humans number many. That is true even for those under our rule. A trend that is sure to become more prominent from now on. Do you have a reason that could make them obey, understand, and throw themselves into the flames of war?”
“A reason? …To take back what was taken from me. Is that not enough?”
Pale remained expressionless as she bowed and replied.
“No. That is indeed enough, Your Majesty. It is a relief to hear your reply.”
“But still,” Pale said without breaking her cold mask. “It really makes one curious just what kind of person could charm Your Majesty so.”
As the king silently turned away from her gaze, Pale smiled a bittersweet smile in her mind, while keeping her face as cold as ever.
“I shall send a proclamation to the army. They are to march east to rescue the king’s beloved.”
“…Are you making fun of me?”
“No. I’m dead serious.”
For a moment, a monster and a person stared at each other. The one to break the staring contest was none other than the king.
“What do you want?”
“Time. Only a little. I know Your Majesty wishes to attack the east, but we are not ready. Gi Gi-dono being able to buy time was within our expectations, but Gi Ga-dono’s loss was not.”
Seeing Pale bow her head so solemnly, the king had no choice but to sigh and give permission.
When one speaks of a ‘hand of darkness’, the general understanding is that one is pertaining to a killer or an assassin. Of the clans, the ones who engaged in such jobs include the Shadow of the New Moon and the Dagger of Webrus. The number of assassins these clans have could be 50 or 100, but the exact number is unknown.
Trying to find out the exact figure is of course the same thing as asking to be killed.
The Valkyria Clan used their connections to gather these assassins and gradually slip them through the Kushain Believers as merchants. Mixed in with those were those who had received the original mission of causing a disturbance.
Finding the whereabouts of these people after slipping them in was no easy task. Since these people didn’t know who was out to get them, they will never look or expect reinforcements.
But despite that they will be sure to get the job done. As for why, that’s because of their personal circumstances.
Vengeance for a close friend. Salvation for a beloved’s debt. Pursuit of honor. There were many reasons. Whatever the reasons may be, Far was there to watch them as they left.
These were people that she would likely not meet again.
She did not have any obligations to watch them leave, but her conscience would not let her off.
It wasn’t as if the goblins wouldn’t attack them just because these people did not cause a disturbance, but try as they might to prevent a leak, nothing was certain in this world.
As the end of the month of Sheep approached, and the season when the tips of the branches grew was about to leave, a wind blew. It carried with it yet some heat, but already there was a sign in it of the winter to come.
Approximately one month later, at the end of the month of Moruki, word of the goblins moving came. Soon after Far gave the orders for her Valkyria to mobilize.