VOLUME 3: CHAPTER 169 – WAR AT THE WESTERN CAPITAL III (1/2)
With the mad lion, Gi Zu Ruo, participating in the battle outside of the western capital, the goblins were finally able to secure victory .
The goblins tried to pursue the fleeing Storm Knight, Gulland, and Ripper Knight, Sivara, but they were able to fend off the goblins and successfully retreat to the southern region .
The whole battle took about half a day, and it ended in the humans’ defeat .
After all, while Sivara and Gulland were still alive, they still failed to achieve the objectives they had laid out . They could not evacuate Gowen, they could not kill the Goblin King despite breaking through his length and width formation, and most of the southern army was lost in the battle .
It was still fine up till the point where Sivara and Gulland worked together, but the last night attack was painful . Not only did they fail to reach the king, but Gulland’s army of 100 soldiers have been cut in half . In the end, they had no choice but to flee the western capital, furious .
On the goblins’ side, they suffered much losses due to their formation being broken through . There were many casualties among Gi Jii Yubu and Rashka’s men . Continuing the war any further would be difficult .
But the ones who suffered the most among the goblins were the wounded ones led by Gi Ga Rax . They lost half of their numbers when they met Sivara’s assault team head on, and the survivors were wounded so heavily that it was harder to find a place without wound than with .
Relatively better off were Gi Za Zakuend’s druids, the demihumans, the Paradua, who were tasked by the king to pursue the fleeing humans, Gi Zu Ruo, and Gi Go Amatsuki . The last two of which were ordered by the king to secure the western capital .
The crux of Sivara’s plan was to evacuate Gowen, but when the person himself gained consciousness, which was while Sivara was fighting the goblins, he ordered his subordinates to prioritize the evacuation of the citizens instead .
“…What’s the point of saving these old bones of mine!? Are we not the shield of the people? If so, it is the people who should be saved!” Gowen ordered his subordinates with enough anger to shake as he watched the people’s plight from atop the spire .
Thanks to the efforts of the soldiers and the cavalry, half of the western capital’s city was able to escape .
If Gowen had joined the battle at this time, perhaps victory might have swung toward their side instead, but unfortunately, Gowen prioritize his duty as a feudal lord over his duty as a knight .
It was a decision Gowen consciously made after seeing the losing battle . It was because he knew full well how tragic villages ruled by monsters were .
“Lord Gowen, the people seek an audience . ”
“Tell them to wait at the square . ”
Gowen nodded to the platoon commander, and after donning his armor to hide his wounds, descended down the stairs .
Pain jolted through him every step he took, causing his face to twist a grim expression .
Before long, Gowen arrived at the square, where the restless people waited him .
“Lord Gowen! He’s safe!”
Gowen raised his hand to still the clamoring people, then as he ignored the pain of his wounds, he spoke .
“Citizens of the western capital, the city is lost, you must flee to the main capital!”
Voices that sounded like screams resounded at Gowen’s proclamation, but Gowen stilled the people again as he patiently continued .
“The responsibility of this loss falls entirely on my shoulders . The soldiers have served well! My army shall see to it that you make it safely to the main capital!”
When the platoon commanders listening heard that, they were shocked .
“We don’t have time! But we absolutely will not give you up to the goblins! You must divide yourselves into groups and begin preparations! Do not worry how you will be living in the capital, I, Gowen Ranid, swear in my name that you will be taken care of!”
The people glanced at each other as Gowen pressed on .
“Now, go! This is the command of your feudal lord!”
Gowen drew his long sword cheated by his waist and struck it into the ground .
Gowen’s imposing figure as he stood with his two hands resting on the buried sword was brimming with majesty .
“Hurry, the feudal lord has spoken! Move!”
At Gowen’s behest, the platoon commanders under his leadership all guided the citizens through the western gate .
The defender of the capital city, Yuan, hurried to Gowen’s side .
“Hurry, Yuan . The city will fall soon, you must see to it that the people escape!”
The gaze Gowen looked the people with was gentle .
“But Lord Gowen, if you don’t hurry yourself…”
“I will escape with the last citizens . ”
“You can’t! If you do that, you won’t make it in time!”
“Yuan! Fulfill your duty . I will write a letter to the king, you will take it to him and ensure the safety of the people . ”
Yuan could faintly guess that Gowen intended to die here in the capital, but he didn’t want to accept it .
His talent was something that Gowen discovered and polished, allowing him to take the rank of knight despite his background . As far as Yuan was concerned, Gowen was his benefactor . Back at the Forest of Darkness, and now even the colonial city that fell under his command, not once has Yuan managed to pay Gowen back for the kindness he has shown him .
“…The enemy will probably enter through the western gate . I will buy the people some time to escape . ”
Gowen tried to chase after Yuan, who immediately turned heel after saying his piece, but his legs wouldn’t move .
“Age… A frustrating thing indeed . ”
Having bled so much, Gowen has already lost half of his strength .
But the responsibility of a feudal lord that he carried on his shoulders spurned him on .
Scraping together the fighting spirit within, he glared toward the west from which the enemy approached .
Gi Zu Ruo led his men and literally crushed the archers of the southern army that stood in their way .
When Gi Zu saw the stone paved road, the stone-built houses, and the stalls lined up along the street, he couldn’t help but falter a little .
“Humans could make things like these?”
He looked wide-eyed at his surroundings . He wasn’t sure if the people had locked themselves in their houses or not, but either way, there was no one on the street .
This was Gi Zu’s first time seeing a human capital . It couldn’t be helped if he felt a little intimidated upon seeing one .
“Pops, what we gonna do!?” Zu Vet asked, waking him up from his daze .
Gi Zu fixed his grip on his spear and commanded . “We’ll march together! And kill any opposition met! Move!”
From the goblins’ perspective, the arrangement of the houses was like a maze .
When it came to settlements, Gi Zu only really knew of the goblin villages, and the biggest he knew of was the Fortress of the Abyss .
But the Fortress of the Abyss was big underground, it was not so breathtaking when looked at on ground level . All Gi Zu knew was that it was a nice place to live at .
Right now, however, the king was asking him to occupy this giant city . Gi Zu was at a loss how he should carry out this great task, so much so that he felt like his brain was being squashed .
“Don’t kill the first enemy we come across! We need to know where the boss of this village is first!”
“As expected of pops! So smart! Oi, did ya whoresons catch that!?”
For the mean time, Gi Zu decided to first search the vast roads .
“They’re here, draw your bows!” Yuan had created a barricade in the middle of the road, behind which he stood with his men .
“I found ’em!” Ved said, causing the goblins to all look toward the humans blocking the path .
“Archers!? Unfortunately for you, something like that can’t stop me! Onwards!!”
Gi Zu raised his spear and ran toward the humans . He bellowed out a terrifying howl as he did .
Arrows flew toward Gi Zu .
But he did not slow down in the slightest, instead he chanted a spell and shot forth as a black light .
“Ohh, having a party!? Count me in!”
A one-eyed fiend laughed as he walked through the road . It was none other than Rashka of Gaidga .
“It’s Lord Rashka of the Gaidga . ”
Gi Zu inhaled after breaking half of the barricade .
“Come on, you whoresons! Get through that blockade!”
Ved said, causing the goblins to jump over the broken barricade and battle the humans behind .
“My subordinates lost in the last battle, but I’m still not satisfied . ”
Rashka looked down at Gi Zu, while the latter looked back up at him . The two of them wordlessly glared at each other .
“We have been ordered by the king to take over this village . ”
“…Ho, then I guess I’ll have to stand back, won’t I?”
Rashka left the lead to Gi Zu, then he fought with the other goblins .
Yuan gathered his troops to try and stop the goblins, but unfortunately, he failed . Luring the goblins into a narrow path and attacking them there was the most he was able to achieve . He could not stop the goblins in their tracks .
Gradually, the soldiers were driven into a corner even within the very walls of the western capital city itself .
Without enough soldiers to contest the goblins’ overwhelming charge, it was only a matter of time before Yuan and his men would be completely surrounded .
Following the direction a subordinate was pointing at, Yuan saw one of the platoon commanders tasked with evacuating the people .
He came to help break Yuan’s platoon from the goblin encirclement .
“Commander Yuan, we have finished evacuating the people . We will be retreating as well . These are Lord Gowen’s orders!”
At long last, a ray of hope had appeared within the desperate war .
“What of Lord Gowen!?”
“He will be retreating after us! If you care about his excellency’s wellbeing, hurry!”
“Tch… Signal the retreat! We’ll go through the eastern gate and escort the people!”
As yuan gave the order, he approached the platoon commander .
“Where is Lord Gowen!?”
“…In the eastern spire . ”
“I will go there . There are soldiers under Lord Gowen, right?”
“Supposedly… Wait, what are you planning to do with your men!?”
“I will leave them to you!”
After leaving his subordinates to the platoon commander, Yuan ran to where Gowen was .
The goblins were already starting to climb the eastern spire .
Yuan grit his teeth, drew his sword, and used a path the goblins did not know of to climb to the highest floor, then he slammed the door open .
Seeing Gowen looking across the western capital, Yuan heaved a sigh of relief . But where were the soldiers that were supposed to be defending Gowen?
“Yuan? It’s good that you’re safe . ”
“…The city has fallen because of my incompetence . The people have been evacuated already, please leave with us, my lord!” Yuan said the piece he’d thought ahead of time as he ran to Gowen and knelt .
“I can see the whole western capital from here . Look, this is the city I built . ”
Gowen narrowed his eyes as his lips twisted .
“…Lord Gowen, please!”
The footsteps of the goblins were almost upon them . There’s no more time, Yuan told Gowen, causing him to finally turn .
“Yuan, I order you as the lord of the western capital, lead the people to safety . See to it no matter what . ”
“…I can’t watch this city fall, Yuan . The pride I’ve fostered up till now won’t allow it . ”
A strong will to fight rose up from within Gowen as he smiled fiercely .
“Then please allow me to accompany you!”
“No . I order you again, Yuan . Go to the main capital!”
As the door was kicked open, a goblin entered .
A faint wrinkle appeared on Gowen’s forehead as he drew his long sword and painted the ground with goblin blood .
“…There’s no time . Hurry, Yuan,” Gowen said .
“But, my lord!” Yuan said .
“How dare you hurt my subordinates!” Gi Zu said as he appeared on the scene fuming with rage .
The new goblin that appeared before them was clearly not that of the normal class, it was a noble .
Seeing that, Yuan shook in fear .
Gi Zu wielded his spear and leaped toward Gowen .
Gi Zu had lowered his body to try and pierce through Gowen from below, but right when he was only a step away from Gowen, he suddenly felt a chill crawl up his back, causing him to reflexively throw his spear and force himself to jump away .
Two strokes .
Gowen’s sword was so fast that all Gi Zu could do was read its trajectory .
The sword that had come swinging from the left deflected Gi Zu’s spear, then it drew a perfect trajectory for where Gu Zu’s neck would’ve been had he not jumped back .
If it weren’t for that split-second decision of Gi Zu’s, he would already be dead .
At that, Gi Zu understood that this enemy was stronger than any he’d fought before .
“Hmph . ”
“Hey, hey! If you’re having a hard time, then switch with me . ”
The giant goblin that appeared behind Gi Zu was none other than Rashka .
Seeing two goblins come into sight, Yuan drew his sword .
“Tch… Lord Gowen!”
Gowen frowned faintly as he felt the pain coming from underneath his armor .
He was in pain, but he could still take 10 more goblins on if it’s something on this level . It was fortunate that the peak of the spire was too small, so Gowen did not have to fear being surrounded .
As long as it was one on one, Gowen was confident he could dye the ground in goblin blood .
Gowen smiled fiercely as he considered fighting to his last atop a mountain of goblin corpses .
“Goblins, I am the western feudal lord of this western region, Gowen Ranid!”
When the words ‘western feudal lord’ were spoken, Rashka’s smile as he quietly watched Gi Zu’s battle suddenly changed .
That smile of his was no longer that of someone amused, but the smile of a predator eyeing its prey .
At this moment, Rashka had truly turned into a one-eyed fiend .
“Come to think of it… That time… You…” Rashka caressed his chin as he reminisced, then he lightly hit his club on his shoulder .
“I remember! You’re that bastard who stole our territory and took away the king’s treasure!”
Gi Zu released his spear and bellowed out a howl so full of rage that it caused one’s hair to stand on end .
“If you want this head of mine, then put your life on the line and see if you can take it!”
Gowen wielded his long sword in a lowered stance, emanating a pressure like that of a king .
“You don’t need to tell me!”
The Mad Lion skill raised Gi Zu’s physical abilities and suppressed his fear with rage, allowing him to step out .
Gi Zu slammed a fist onto the ground, giving rise to broken fragments into the air, then he swung his fist a second time, and sent the broken fragments Gowen’s way .
“Tch . ”
Gowen clicked his tongue as he deflected the fragments .
The moment Gowen raised his sword, Gi Zu bolted off like thunder .
That was the fastest step Gi Zu could make .
Gi Zu’s strength under the influence of Mad Lion was not something he could compare to when wielding his spear . Right now, a single fist from Gi Zu was enough to crush any normal soldier .
But of course, Gowen was able to see through Gi Zu’s fist, and he swung his sword in response .
Gowen’s sword passed by Gi Zu’s fist, grazing him by the sides as Gowen dodged his attack .
Shallow as the wound might have been, with Gowen attacking at the same moment Gi Zu swung his fist, blood still spurted out .
Gi Zu and Gowen continued to exchange blows, but each and every time, Gowen would aim for Gi Zu’s opening just like he did the first time .
Eventually, Gi Zu finally reached the end of his patience and he took a wide step .
The moment he did, Gowen stepped in .
Gi Zu did not expect Gowen to step in, causing him to delay in his response .
At that, Gowen was able to send a powerful attack toward Gi Zu’s legs, allowing him to break the goblin’s posture .
As Gi Zu fell, Gowen released a powerful kick to the goblin’s chest, sending him flying into a wall .
Gi Zu, who was now coughing violently, was wide open, but Gowen did not pursue him .
“Since you’re the lord of these lands, your head should be the greatest trophy in this war . ”
Rashka wielded his club over his shoulders as he quietly walked, then he stood before Gowen .
As Gowen quietly took stance, Rashka smiled fiercely and clad his club in black light .
“Enchant . ”
Their clash lasted only for a moment .
They approached each other and released an attack that brimmed with their body’s whole strength .
Rashka slammed his club from above, while Gowen released his blade from below .
But Gowen’s intention was to parry Rashka’s attack, so he allowed his sword to meet Rashka’s club .
“Don’t look down on me, human!”
That club clad in black light suddenly became stronger, but Gowen was still able to meet it head on .
Rashka was shocked .
The moment his club touched Gowen’s long sword, his black light was erased, and his club became a normal club .
With the trajectory of Rashka’s club diverted, it slammed into the ground and crushed it .
In order to dodge Gowen’s obvious next move, Rashka abandoned his weapon and jumped back .
But Gowen wasn’t about to just watch him go .
As Rashka jumped back, Gowen changed the trajectory of his sword .
The descending sword suddenly shifted back into a lowered position and thrust out toward Rashka .
In his panic, Rashka reflexively moved his hand to protect his face, causing the sword to bury deep into his palm, but the sword did not slow down in the slightest as it sought to go all the way until he was dead .
Rashka was a man of valor even among the goblins . He ignored the pain of having his hand penetrated as he sought to take Gowen’ sword away .
Sensing what he was about to do, Gowen quickly stopped his attack and pulled his sword out .
“Ku . ”
It was curious which of the two let out that last voice of anguish .
Gowen wanted to finish Rashka off, but unfortunately, the latter wasn’t someone who could be dealt with by normal means .
“As expected, the human who built this city has a good head indeed . ”
Rashka lightly brushed off his hand that just had a hole drilled into it as he laughed ferociously .
“Don’t just take my battle as you please!”
Gi Zu, who had been sent flying into a wall, stood up and shook his head .
“I could wait until you’ve been defeated, but then it won’t be fun anymore . ”
Gowen watched as the two goblins refused to give in to each other . He would come lunging in the moment they showed an opening .
But as he quietly caught his breath, another goblin appeared .
“…Sorry, but this one’s mine . ”
Another goblin had appeared from behind the two goblins who wanted Gowen’s head .
On his face was the scar Gowen had once left behind .
The pressure emanating from Gi Go was so great that Gi Zu unconsciously took a step back, and his words were clad with an aura so sharp it seemed it could cut .
The power Gi Go had gained after a long period of wandering could clearly be felt as he took a firm step upon the ground .
On his hand was the curved sword he received from the yugushiva tribe .
On his eyes was reflected Gowen . Rashka and Gi Zu were no longer in his sights .
Gi Go walked through in between the two goblins facing each other, and he stood before Gowen .
“Lord of the Western Region, Lord Gowen Ranid! I, Gi Go Amatsuki, challenge you to a duel . Now, come!!”
Gowen found himself inclined to respond as he felt the spirit of a swordsman emanate from Gi Go .
Gowen remembered .
Within that regretful memory of his retreat from the Forest of Darkness was a strange goblin who named himself .
As he recalled that one memory, a change appeared on Gowen’s expression .
“Iron-Armed Knight, Gowen Ranid—”
Swinging his sword to brush away Rashka’s blood, Gowen assumed the lowered stance he specialized in .
This was a kind of respect he had never before given to a monster .
“—Accepts your challenge!”
As the swords of a monster and a human clashed, the curtains upon the last battle in the western capital were finally drawn .
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