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Volume 4: Chapter 293 – Rashka of Gaidka (4/4)
“My deepest apologies, but you saved me.”
Gi Ga Rax sent Aransain to the main force, while he himself rode through the holy knights to ride with Rashka.
“You should leave too. This is our battlefield. An old enemy of ours is here too.”
The one-eyed demon laughed ferociously as he beheld the Iron Bull Knights that swore vengeance.
“But! At this rate…”
“Hey, kid! Who do you think you’re talking to!?”
Rashka was a courageous warrior that knew no fear no matter the foe. That great spirit of his left Gi Ga in awe, and for a moment, he blanked out, during which Rashka’s hand moved.
With a slap to the arse, Gi Ga’s steed cried out and left against Gi Ga’s will. Gi Ga watched as the Gaidga Tribe grazed the front of the Iron Bull Knights before taking a direction that was the exact opposite of the main force, to make their way for a small hill and Helms Canyon.
Rashka went to the top of a small hill from where he could see the place where the Gaidga ancestor Kuzan told him of met his end.
Gi Ga wanted to chase after Rashka, but Eleanor’s holy knights were fast approaching. Realizing just how powerless he was, Gi Ga had no choice bu to turn around.
“Rashka-dono, just wait, I will definitely return with reinforcements!”
As he rode back to the main force, he prayed that Rashka wouldn’t do anything foolish.
The Iron Bull Knights and the Holy Knights worked together to attack the Gaidga Tribe that had taken position atop the small hill, yet they still managed to endure for an entire day. Their combat ability was indeed nothing short of amazing, but the number of soldiers attacking only increased. With every army that arrived, so did the encirclement surrounding Rashka’s hill grow thicker. Before long, the encirclement grew so thick that there was literally no room to weave through.
It had never occurred to Rashka, but when the hero arrived, the people of Berkel were turned into volunteer soldiers. The elderly, the children, the women, and the men… Every one of them took a weapon from the inexhaustible supply of the hero and joined the fray.
When the sister moons of red shone in the sky, Rashka, whose whole body was covered in the dark-red blood of his foes, sat on a nearby rock. Down below could be seen the enemy army illuminated by their bonfires. There was about 30,000 of them all in all.
If the humans had to muster such a large force just to take down their remaining 300, then they really must be in a league of their own.
Rashka glanced behind him. Not a single soldier was unwounded. Yet despite that they continued to follow Rashka without question.
He glanced down at his creaking body and could see the wound on his side from this afternoon still bleeding. The blood of his foes that dyed him made him stand out, but it was doubtful he would be able to survive this ordeal unless the saint healed him.
When he realized that, his lips curved into a smile.
‘So this is as far as I go,’ he thought. It wouldn’t do for him to be so faint-hearted, yet no matter how much he tried to encourage himself, the strength just wouldn’t come.
It was as though the will to fight itself was bleeding out along with his blood. The thought of that made it too tiresome to even keep his face from twisting from the pain.
The humans were indeed strong.
They had beat them so much, yet they continued to resist with these many soldiers. They’ve been fighting endlessly since entering this nation called Altigand, yet the humans kept fighting back as though there was no end to them.
The thought of this endless war cast a shadow on the exhausted Rashka’s heart.
──So we really can’t win after all.
Resignation crept into Rashka’s heart and a groan escaped from his mouth.
The recent fighting has been so intense that even Rashka couldn’t help but close his eyes and doze off. Pain and fatigue fought, yet it was the latter that claimed victory; a small salvation.
──Well done, fighting this far.
Rashka felt like he heard a voice.
A voice majestic and great that he shouldn’t be able to hear. It was a nostalgic voice that reminded him of an old dream. Before he knew it, he’d opened his eyes and turned to the canyon behind.
There, could be seen the valiant figure of the Gaidga ancestor spoken of in legends, raising his club with a multitude of goblins below him. The sight of his bellows reflected clearly on Rashka’s eyes.
—I am the strongest of the goblins, Gaidga, and you are the warriors fighting with me! Let the will of the dying resound throughout heaven and earth! One day, our descendants will surely return to this land! One day, with our Goddess of the Underworld, they will return with our names!
Rashka awoke from his daze and turned to the canyon behind, where only the wings of the goddess of darkness could be seen unfolded.
“…A dream, huh.”
When Rashka tried saying that word out, the desire to fight began to well up from within him.
“No… That’s impossible.”
A ferocious smile filled with the desire to fight appeared on Rashka’s lips.
His ancestor had to encourage him since he was being so disappointing.
“Yes, it couldn’t possibly be a dream!!”
As Rashka stood up, more energy than ever filled his body. He thrust his blue-silver steel club into the rock he was sitting on, then turned to his brethren.
“My brethren, my comrades-in-arms. Behold, this is the land where our ancestor rests!”
Rashka said as he pointed toward that land from which the name of his ancestor came, the deep darkness of Helms Canyon, where his ancestor rested.
“Our ancestor, Gaidga, once said. We will return to this place one day! With our Goddess of the Underworld! On this day, those words have been proven true!”
The Gaidga Tribe listened to Rashka with rapt attention. Rashka rarely gave speeches. Until now he had merely stood at the head of their tribe as their chief, and they simply followed him.
“Will we put on a pitiful display in the face of the ancestor that held off waves of waves of humans to lead our people to the Fortress of the Abyss? No! In this body of mine resides the blessing of the Goddess of the Underworld! Even in death, the gates of the underworld will welcome us as proud warriors! Therefore──”
Rashka could see a cloud of dust stirring up from the corner of his eyes. It was Gi Ga, who had just managed to put together some few hundred horsemen. The sight of the few soldiers that came to save them despite the threat of death made his cheeks slacken for a moment. Down below could be seen a flag with four shields over iron. That was none other than the heavy infantry of Elfa.
Rashka pointed his club at the Iron Bull Knights ready for them.
“──Those confident in themselves shall follow me! The Goddess of the Underworld is with us!!!”
As the fearless warriors of the Gaidga Tribe howled, they ran down the hill as one. Even the wounded among them yelled like mad as they chased after Rashka.
Then Rashka unleashed a black light that crushed the earth and thrust into the head of the Iron Bull Knights.
“They’re coming! Intercept them!!”
Rasdir, who had been swallowed by the will of the hero yet continued to use his authority, immediately responded. The Iron Bull Knights gradually retreated as the Gaidga Tribe approached, while the volunteer soldiers advanced from the flanks to flank them. As they deployed their forces to surround the Gaidga, the third company of the holy knights launched their spells to block the Gaidga.
Yet the Gaidga Tribe didn’t even hesitate to run straight through that rain of magic. Though their numbers dwindled, their ferocious charge did not abate.
At Rasdir’s behest, the volunteer soldiers moved and bit at the Gaidga Tribe from the flanks.
“Grind them down!”
At Yuan’s behest, more magic bullets and spears rained down on the Gaidga Tribe.
“Rashka-dono! Are we too late…!?”
The barrage of magic and spear caused Gi Ga to lose sight of the Gaidga. But in the next moment, a fully armored human was suddenly sent flying in the sky.
With Rashka at the head, the Gaidga Tribe charged with such intensity as to part the sea of iron before them. Rashka would swing his blue-silver steel club with one hand, while his other hand would crush the enemy with their helm. He pointed toward the general of the enemy army at the back, Rasdir, and commanded the Gaidga to charge.
Each advance was accompanied by the death of a Gaidga.
When they passed through the rain of magic, they had 200 left. When they passed through the pincer attack of the volunteer soldiers, they had 100 left. By the time they’d charged into the sea of iron that was the Iron Bull Knights, already, they numbered no more than 50.
Rashka too had suffered many dangerous wounds. The head of a spear could be seen buried into his thigh, and a long sword was lodged into his side. Blood continued to flow out of his wounds, and even his left arm was already dead because of the cut on his left shoulder. Yet despite all that, the one-eyed demon did not stop.
When they were half-way through the Iron Bull Knights, the 50 Gaidga were further reduced to 20.
The spears thrust and the swords slashed were whittling away at the Gaidga Tribe. With the pain from breathing and the pain from their wounds, the only thing waiting for them at the stop of their march was death, yet even their advance only brought them more wounds.
Despite that they brushed aside the line of spears and crushed the shields in their way.
There was no stopping the flow of blood. That was true even for the giant and empowered Rashka. Already, the ground they stepped upon had turned slippery from blood, and as his posture broke, spears thrust into his great figure.
The rest of the tribe covered for Rashka, and their numbers grew even smaller.
His whole body was covered in the blood of his foes and his own, yet Rashka continued onward. Nay, in fact, he started moving even faster. Already, the Gaidga under him numbered no more than 5.
With every howl, blood would spurt out of their wounds.
Yet they couldn’t help but yell. With the oath of their proud ancestor on their chest, these goblins, that have inherited the name of Gaidga, transformed into demons of the battlefield and advanced. When Rasdir could finally be seen, magic rained upon them from their flanks.
Rashka used his arm that could no longer grip as a shield and advanced.
His arm was blown away and torn into shreds, yet he didn’t even give it a glance as he raised up his club.
Rasdir said cheerfully as something hit Rashka from behind. Rashka looked down with his only eye to see a flying spear penetrate his sturdy body. As Rashka stepped right in the middle of the cross fire, spears and magic fell on him. It was right in the middle of a carefully devised fatal range that Rashka had charged into.
When he glanced a little behind him, not a single one of his tribe protecting his back was left.
At this point, Rashka finally ran out of strength and fell to his knees.
“It’s a method a monster couldn’t possibly think of.”
Rasdir laughed loudly and used his spear to stab Rashka in the heart.
“With this, it’s over! Know the regret of my people, monster!”
As the spear struck Rashka’s heart and penetrated all the way through his back, Rasdir smiled, but immediately after, that smile turned into shock.
As a voice that seemed to resound from the very depths of the underworld echoed, Rashka’s remaining arm rose with his club.
“Impossible… Are you immortal!?”
“I am Rashka! Child of Mishka, successor of the strongest, Gaidga!”
Immediately, the club came smashing down, and Rasdir, who could only look up in shock, was crushed.
With his club as a cane, Rashka stood up, and on the silent battlefield, raised his club.
“This is… Our… Victory!”
On Rashka’s eyes were reflected his dead subordinates bellowing out in response, and his ears, without a doubt, picked up on their jubilant cries.
On the fifth year of the king’s calendar, during early summer, Rashka of Gaidga, chief of the Gaidga Tribe, died in battle with his tribe.