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Volume 4: Chapter 271 – Shadow of the Hero (3/3)
When the goblins saw the enemy retreating in every direction, they thought for sure that they’d won. Aldur’s retreat was just that convincing, and besides, about half of the soldiers were indeed running for their lives.
Aldur had also taken that into consideration as he repeatedly retreated to lead the goblins to the traps they’ve set. This was not something that could’ve been done normally, but Aldur had the guts to make it happen.
It was precisely because of this courage of his that his allies have come to call him ‘Undying’. As he took on the role of the rearguard, he repeatedly drew the enemies and subjugated them with the traps. To the humans, seeing the goblins be defeated one-sidedly was like seeing the star of hope shine upon them.
Most of the minor nation, Fenis’, territory was a forest. Protecting the elves used to be their biggest source of income, but ever since the elves turned to Alrodena, they’ve had to rely on the wealth of the forest and the trade with the neighboring nations.
Autumn was at hand, so the trees have dried and fallen leaves have pilled up on the ground. The humans took advantage of that to prepare all manners of traps for beasts, from pitfalls to tripwires, and lured the goblins there.
To tip the scales even further toward the human side, even the winds helped Aldur, and by the time Gi Jii and Vilan noticed the smell of oil, it was already too late. A great sea of fire expanded, transforming into a crimson flame that enveloped the whole area. To the goblins’ dismay, this part of the world was littered with fuel for flame, and the blooming crimson could only prove more fatal.
“Retreat! You’ll burn to death!”
The Akazone of the tactician, Vilan Do Zul, turned around, while Gi Jii was cut off by the flames, and Gi Zu just managed to catch up.
“Damn it! We almost had them!”
Gi Zu stomped his feet in frustration, while Gi Jii ordered for their immediate retreat.
“Gi Zu-dono, this isn’t the time to be complaining!”
“I know! Normally, we’d push through, but this many traps is just— Che!”
Had it been just a few walls of flame, Gi Zu wouldn’t have hesitated to call the charge and jump straight in, but with all the traps littered around them, the odds of dying in the fire were simply too high.
The threat of the fire lay not only in the heat but also the approaching black smoke.
The goblins fled from the black smoke, but the soldiers of the three-country alliance shot them from afar, while countless ambushes greeted them along their route.
In the end, the mixed army suffered heavy casualties, and they would need much time before they would be able to mobilize again.
The defeat of the mixed army reached Gi Gu Verbena – who was still advancing steadily – before Revea Su. The fervorous attacks of Alrodena that has started since the winter of the third year of the king’s calendar was actually rather vague.
Gi Ga Rax took the north, Gi Gu Verbena took the center, Gi Gi Orudo took the south, and the mixed army took the southernmost areas. Only a general direction had been set, and which countries to conquer was left to the discretion of the generals.
When Gi Gu Verbena received word that Gi Ga Rax had recovered their own unique pace, a fearless smile appeared on him.
“Of course, he’s the not the sort of man to stumble in a place like that.”
Gi Gu praised his peers that were fighting hard in the distant northern lands, then he turned his attention to the humans that were putting on a cowardly display in the south.
“A little motivation seems in order.”
In the late summer of the fourth year of the king’s calendar, Felduk, under the lead of Gi Gu Verbena, conquered three nations, becoming more powerful each time, until finally becoming the strongest army among the goblin armies.
Gi Gu was also aware that he was the leading general among the four generals, and not willing to allow his goblin peers to fall behind their human counterparts, he ordered the army working on the eastern expedition to attack the three-country alliance.
The heroic figure of the three-country alliance, Aldur, had to abandon his victory party to run back to the frontlines. After the battle at the south of Fenis was another battle at the north of the alliance, and yet despite all the battles without rest, his mind did not break.
But though his mind may not have broken, he could not help but draw cold sweat when Felduk’s battle formation was revealed.
The goblin soldiers alone numbered 8,000, but on top of that, they had human battle slaves as well that numbered more than 3,000, and then they even had relatively docile monster beasts pulling siege weaponry accompanied by goblins dressed in gorgeous military uniform.
With the appearance of evidently high-ranking goblins, Aldur could not be faulted for thinking that the main force of the goblins had arrived.
A large army of more than 10,000 troops and the capacity to deploy troops to maintain the supply lines that kept it fed.
Compared to their hastily raised armies, the goblin army had five times their numbers; hence, Aldur once again chose to avoid a direct confrontation, opting instead to send out a messenger that promised surrender, and even gave the goblins one of their cities. By this point, volunteer soldiers from outside of the public and private sector of the three-country alliance were starting to gather at Aldur’s side.
With the former holy knight, Gulland, and Saldin of the Red King clan among those, Aldur handed a city to Felduk.
But just as they entered, Aldur suddenly attacked.
Felduk was taken by surprise, but they were a veteran at urban warfare thanks to the battles at Germion Kingdom, only their experience wouldn’t serve them well here, for the enemy actually dared to reduce the city itself into ashes.
Although the residents have been evacuated in advance, Gi Gu was still taken aback by the unrestrained attacks of these cornered humans. The battle slaves he’d brought with him were also of little use in urban warfare. The goblins could keep an eye on them when they fought in the open plains, but in the urban area, where there were plenty of places to run, it wasn’t possible to monitor them all, and battle slaves deserted one after another.
And yet as unhappy as Gi Gu might’ve been because of that, he had no choice but to reorganize the war. As Felduk retreated from the billowing flames, the three-country alliance gave chase. They paid a huge price in order to pursue Felduk, but the end result was stepping on the tail of the tiger.
After Felduk fixed their formation, they wiped out all the soldiers that gave chase. Moreover, their fake surrender angered Gi Gu to the point that he gave a black-hearted order.
“Turn everything into ashes. The people, the town, everything you pass! Destroy them all and make them tremble before our axe of fear!”
Gi Gu’s anger became the wrath of Felduk, and everything they passed was scorched, not even the grass was spared.
It was then that Shumea arrived with the battle flag from the Goblin King.