VOLUME 3: CHAPTER 171 – THE PROCLAMATION OF A NEW COUNTRY
Gowen fell as he received Gi Go’s attack, then immediately after, Gi Go took his head .
Gi Za Zakuend’s wind greeted Yuan when he approached Gowen’s corpse . The wind of a shaman wasn’t something Yuan could contest, and he found himself blown into a wall .
Yuan crashed straight into the wall without being able to mitigate the impact even a little . As he tried to stand up with much difficulty, a cold voice spoke to him .
“Stop it . ”
Gi Za’s wind blew once more .
With Yuan being as emotional as he was now, he was powerless before Gi Za’s wind . Fortunately, Gi Go was there to stop the wind with his curved sword .
“…What are you doing?” Gi Za asked with a deep voice . He didn’t hide his displeasure even a little .
Gi Go looked Gi Za in the eye as he swung his blade to rid it of Gowen’s blood .
“I want to talk to this man . ”
Gi Za’s cold eyes clashed with Gi Go’s burning eyes that just came from a duel with one of the holy knights . A heavy atmosphere filled the room, and Gi Zu and Rashka glanced at each other .
“Those two don’t get along?” Rashka asked .
“Don’t ask me . They’re both of a higher class than me . They wouldn’t even spare me the time unless necessary . ”
Gi Zu folded his hands as he watched the two goblins argue, while Rashka sighed and turned heel .
“Ridiculous! I’m leaving! There might still be a head worth plucking out there!”
Seeing Rashka leave, Gi Za decided to walk away as well .
“Do as you please, but this man’s head must be hanged,” Gi Za said .
At the end of his staff could be seen Gowen’s head with a regretful look on its face .
“! W-Wait!” Yuan shouted .
He chased after Gi Za, but Gi Go blocked his way .
“You’ll only be throwing your life away if you chase him,” Gi Go said .
Yuan pointed his sword at Gi Go, but that only led to him being sent flying into a wall again .
“You killed him!” Yuan said .
“That’s right . I was stronger,” Gi Za replied without a hint of guilt .
“What are you to that man? Did you forget what he told you before he died?” Gi Go asked .
Yuan’s face was covered in tears as it twisted in anger .
When he heard Gi Go’s words, he yelled at him .
“What are you talking about!? What do you want from me!?”
“He might have been my enemy, but I acknowledge him . It would leave a bad aftertaste to simply let the person he entrusted the future to die needlessly . ”
Though filled with fury, Gi Go’s words reached Yuan .
“…Damn it! Damn it all!”
Yuan slammed against the wall, frustrated from his lack of strength . The fact that he was being comforted by a goblin made that feeling even worse .
“…I am going to kill you! Mark my words, goblin! I will avenge Lord Gowen with these two hands of mine!”
Yuan glared at Gi Go with eyes full of hate as he swore vengeance, then he approached the escape route he prepared for Gowen .
“Come anytime . I am Gi Go Amatsuki . I will neither run nor hide . ”
Yuan glared at Gi Go until the very end when he finally turned heel and ran down the stairs .
“Is that alright? Letting the enemy escape…” Gi Zu timidly asked .
Gi Go shook his head . “He’s only an enemy for now . Besides…”
Gi Go turned to Gowen’s headless corpse and sheathed his curved sword as he knelt .
“An enemy like this deserves respect… Honoring his last wish is the least I could do . ”
Gi Zu was worried whether Gi Za and Gi Go might end up arguing again because of this, but Gi Go ignored him and quietly stayed beside Gowen’s corpse .
Before the western capital fell, Yuan led the last humans that resisted to escape .
The goblins Gi Zu had stationed in the area was hot on their tails, but Yuan managed to run away .
Yuan’s bloodcurdling appearance earned him the respect of Gi Zu’s subordinates, who themselves loved to fight .
The western capital has fallen! The western feudal lord has died in battle!
That report reached King Ashtal before the day ended .
“…Gowen died? Impossible…”
At first, King Ashtal did not believe the report, but when it turned out to be true, he was speechless .
Gowen was not only the main pillar of the western region, but also one of the strongest warriors of the Germion Kingdom . The death of a holy knight, who has been acting as his right hand, was a sad and regretful thing to the king . But more than that was the grave consequences that came with his death .
His neighbors will surely catch wind of the Iron-Arm Knight’s death, and they will surely believe that Germion Kingdom’s army has weakened . That would make their influence as a power much weaker, making it necessary to watch their borders .
They may have managed to repel the attack of the southern free cities or the Kushain believers, but there was still a possibility of a second attack .
The barbarians to the north will probably become active again too . After all, Gulland reported a defeat when he came to aid Gowen . The forces defending the north would be weaker now .
They had an alliance with the Holy Shushunu Kingdom to the east, but that was only because of Germion Kingdom’s power . With their weaker influence, they would have to station more troops to watch their movements .
And then, there’s the western region .
The goblins of the Forest of Darkness had successfully conquered the western capital . There was no telling when they would make their move to the main capital of the kingdom .
With their influence weakened, Germion Kingdom was in no position to attack preemptively . Such a move would be foolish on their part, and should they lose a second time, they will never again be able to pick themselves back up .
“Wretched… goblins . ”
King Ashtal grit his teeth as he cursed the goblin threat .
He now had no choice but to hasten the fortification of the fortress along the path to the western capital .
The western region had been stable for the past 10 years, so the fortress had been left to rot and was now starting to crumble .
They would need to fix it posthaste, but that would take a big workforce to accomplish .
Still, it was better than letting the enemy in without any protection, so King Ashtal decided to prioritize it anyway .
King Ashtal sent an envoy to the Holy Shushunu Kingdom to seek accommodation for the refugees from the western capital . He also sent envoys to the northern and southern frontlines . King Ashtal needed money to fund all of those, but where would he get it from?
King Ashtal found himself buried in work after the western capital and its feudal lord fell in battle .
News of the western capital and its western feudal lord’s fall did not fail to reach even the Kushain believers of the southern free cities even as they sought to conquer the whole region .
But when their upper brass heard that it was goblins who took over the west, they did not feel the same fear that Germion Kingdom felt .
“What Iron-Arm Knight? In the end, he’s just an old man way past his prime! The fact that he lost to the likes of goblins proves it!”
“Exactly! And a country that would proclaim such a man a holy knight is beneath us!”
Their opinions were perfectly normal under common sense . After all, goblins were the weakest monsters that lived in the plains and in the forests .
To suggest such monsters would gather under a king, form an army, collude with the demihumans and elves, and invade human territory was just ridiculous .
As a result, the upper brass of the Kushain believers started to lean toward attacking Germion Kingdom a second time .
“We mustn’t look down on them . The glory of god is humility, diligence, and sincerity! Right now, we should hide ourselves and increase our strength!”
It was the patriarch, Benem Nemush, who tried to persuade the upper brass of the Kushain believers, who were sometimes logical and sometimes crazy .
Currently, Nemush was thinking of that giant goblin he met in the forest . Until then he had considered monsters as nothing more than filthy things that needed to be exterminated, but that meeting changed his views . It made him realize that not all monsters should be hated .
All the more when Nemush knew just how difficult it is to take a region from Germion Kingdom after clashing with the two holy knights, Jize and Sivara, in the south .
Last time, an overzealous bishop led an army to try and take the southern region, but that failed horribly .
After catching the news regarding the goblins, Nemush started to hope that he might be able to lead the goblins into the south and have them fight their war for them .
“The divine protection of god is with us! He will surely give us the fertile lands of Germion Kingdom!”
Adding that last sentence after his attempt at persuasion finally brought the overzealous believers out of their fervor, while implying something to the logical believers .
As long as he claims their war to be a holy war, those goblins just might help them take Germion Kingdom’s territory . Or perhaps, they might support them with the precious metal of the elves instead .
Nemush’s heart leaped at the possibilities, and he worked even harder .
Nemush’s words may not have resulted in any actual movement from the army, but word of the upper brass’ intentions still reached Germion Kingdom, causing the tense atmosphere in the south to continue .
Until Sivara returns, the only one protecting the southern frontline would be the Sharp-Eyed Knight, Jize, a traveling warrior from the east whom King Ashtal convinced to work for him with a handsome paycheck .
Jize’s fighting style was both resolute and bold, and as a warrior stronger individually than he was as a commander, he was not one to push himself recklessly and try to fight outside the textbook .
Because of that his response to the unrest in the south was also according to procedure . He requested for more reinforcements .
Strangely enough, the southern frontline turned for the worse just as King Ashtal predicted .
The report of the western capital’s fall and its feudal lord’s death also reached the southern side of the free cities before the day ended . . Unlike the Kushain believers of the northern side, the southern side worshiped the god of the desert, Ashunasan .
Germion Kingdom has been fighting with the southern free cities over its border for a long time now, and there were many from the latter who has seen the Iron-Arm Knight . Compared to the Kushain believers, the upper brass of the southern side took news of Gowen’s death much more seriously .
After all, the southern side was situated in the desert and made its living off of trading . The threat of the goblins leaving the Forest of Darkness to attack them was not something they could ignore .
One of the city-states of the southern side, Windsdam’s, bar was filled with conversations regarding that very topic .
All sorts of people frequented Windsdam to make ends meet .
And now, muscular adventurers, beautiful brown-skinned elven women (Gnomes), black-haired soldiers from the east, and all sort of adventurers could be seen chatting over liquor .
“The Iron-Arm Knight actually died… Looks like the times are about to change . ”
“You sound like an old man . ”
A tall man with bountiful red hair knotted in the back sat on a table as he drank with a young man .
“I’m no longer that brat you saw before, after all . I’m a full-fledged commander now . Seeing someone lead an army as if it were his own arms is no longer enough to shock me . ”
The aura emanating from him as he emptied that strong liquor without a fragment of timidity suggested he was not at all intoxicated .
He wore clean clothes, but they were not at all expensive . If anything, his well-worn breastplate and boots suggested he was an experienced adventurer .
“People are bound to die anyway,” the young man said . “For all we know he could’ve been taken by surprise . Speaking of which, you should take care too . ”
In contrast to the red-haired man, the young man he was speaking to wore a white gown meant to protect him from the scorching rays of the desert sun . He looked like a resident of the desert from the onset, but his white skin argued otherwise . Perhaps, he was a scholar instead .
“GAHAHAHA, I give . Who would’a thought you’d be giving me an earful . But still…”
His muscles seemed to emphasize themselves as he emptied his mug in one breath .
“They got one over me, alright . Not only did they beat me to the chase, they even have elves AND demihumans on top of goblins!”
Seeing the tall-statured man laugh his heart out, the scholarly young man sighed .
Word of the monster army having elves and demihumans other than goblins was yet to reach even the Kushain believers, yet this man was saying such things in a loud voice .
But that was also one of this man’s good points, so the young man let it slide as he thought of the future .
“For the meantime, it doesn’t seem like they’re about to go here anytime soon . And depending on how things go, this might even benefit us . ”
“Oh? So you do get it . That’s right, those howls ain’t some sorry proclamation about some rebellion or revolution against the humans, no . ”
As the tall-statured man exhaled a breath that stank of liquor, his lips suddenly twisted, and he smiled fiercely like a hungry lion .
“Those’re the howls of the curtain drawing, the signs of turbulent times!”
The man laughed happily, while the young man looked troubled as he pondered .
Monsters ran rampant to the west, while the northern side was a military state, and the free cities, who have been resisting all this time, has suddenly been divided because of a holy war .
The wounded military state will surely try to prove its strength despite its declining power . They will probably use the holy war as a pretense to pick on the wounded, just like a fisherman trying to fish dead fish .
“Drink up, man . Come on . ”
The tall-statured man poured him a mug, but the young man remained deep in thought .
There were enemies everywhere .
But that was also why this was an opportunity .
“—This is the perfect stage for our dream . ”
The doors to the bar opened, and mercenaries came pouring in .
“Boss! The princess sent a request asking us to move out!”
“Hmph… I guess it’s time we departed then . ”
The giant of a man stood up and wielded his axe, then as if everyone else was waiting on a cue, the people, who had been making merry in the inn, all stood up and took their weapons, then they all followed after the red-haired man .
“Let’s go, ya bastards! It’s time for the Red King to steal a country!”
That day, a civil war broke out in Windsdam, and the Kushain faction was kicked out .
Word of the Clan Union of the Red King’s strength resounded throughout the lands, and the neighboring countries heard it loud and clear .
The Goblin King needed another day to fully conquer the western capital after Gowen Ranid died .
As he waited for the detached force’s arrival, the Goblin King gathered the key players in the war and the people who were left behind .
After Gowen Ranid’s head was hung on the city gates, the people who ran too late had no choice but to stay .
The Goblin King looked down at the crowd of people gathered at the square .
Some screamed upon seeing the Goblin King’s great stature, while others glared at him hatefully .
The goblin army surrounded the humans .
“Brethren! Members of the alliance! Our enemy, the feudal lord of this land, has died, and we have survived!”
The pressure and volume behind that voice was so great that some of the humans, who were hearing his voice for the first time, actually fell to the ground .
Contrast to them, the goblins clanged their weapon and cheered, praising the king .
“Let us spare a moment of silence for those who have died!”
The goblins who have been making merry suddenly went quiet and bowed their heads . They waited for the king’s next words .
“To the valiant heroes who perished!”
To the valiant heroes who perished!!
The goblins, the demihumans, and the elves all spoke after the king . Each of them thought of their own kin, as they waited for the king’s next words .
“Lift your heads, my brethren! The sorrow has passed . Now, we shall cry for glory! For we have triumphed! This glory is the first of many to come! So cry, my brethren! Cry out in the name of victory!”
To our victory!
The commander goblins raised up their weapons, while the other goblins cried out .
They raised their weapons up high as if they sought to pierce the heavens, and the rays of the sun reflected upon them .
“Humans,” the Goblin King spoke to the humans . “We have invaded you, and now, we stand before you as your rulers . You have lost, and we have won . But hear my words, sons of man, for I promise you peace . So long as you do not rebel against us, we will not kill you . ”
The goblins and the demihumans glanced at each other when they heard the king’s proclamation . They thought the king had gathered the humans to sacrifice them in the name of vengeance, yet all of the sudden, he was saying he would spare them .
Even the humans were shocked . Never did they think that a goblin would utter such words . They looked on at the black goblin with a mix of confusion and fear .
The Goblin King puffed out his chest . “In the name of the king, I hereby proclaim the birth of a new country!”
In the midst of the deafening silence, the Goblin King suddenly proclaimed the founding of a new country .
A country ruled by non-humans was bound to be full of troubles . It didn’t matter how small the territory was . To the humans, such an act was equal to challenging their right, and to challenge them was no different from a declaration of war .
The one who broke the silence was Gi Za Zakuend .
“O king! Our great king! The king who shall guide us!”
Like a dam cut open, the moment Gi Za spoke, the rest of the goblins cried out .
O king! Our great king! The king who shall guide us!
The Goblin King felt the one-eyed snake throb on his right hand . It was as if it was laughing as it throbbed then returned to silence . The warmth the Goblin King felt from his right hand was like that of the spring sun’s rays .
There were some who agreed with the king and some who did not, but regardless, the goblins all cried out feverously as they praised the king . They cried out so desperately that it seemed as if their throats were parched .
The king’s proclamation was a challenge to the humans, but that was exactly what they wanted .
For where the king points is where they shall go, for to them – who had no gods – the king himself was god .
Gi Za Zakuend was the first to cry out, but now, he was as quiet as a mute as he looked around him with a cold gaze .
There were even some among the humans who could be seen kneeling .
The adherents of the king, the people who hesitated, the humans, the demihumans, the elves… Gi Za looked over them all with a cold gaze .
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