VOLUME 3: CHAPTER 179 – EXPECTATIONS (1/3)
“Should’ve said you had money in the first place,” Vine heartily laughed as she led Pale and the others to the deserted village south of Fenis .
The money Pale had given Vine was enough to build a house .
When Vine saw how much Pale was paying her, that devilish smile on her face was quickly replaced with a naughty cat’s charming smile .
The change came so quick that the gnome warrior, Berk Alsen, couldn’t help but sigh .
It has already been 7 days since Pale and her group was able to secure the help of the Red Moon Clan . In that time they managed to find out the whereabouts of the survivors of the Elks Clan .
As soon as they caught wind of that information, Pale immediately asked that they find them . In response, Vine smiled wickedly and nodded .
“You realize they could already be dead, right?”
The information they received was already over 10 days old . It wouldn’t be strange if the Dagger of Webrus had already gotten to them .
“Perhaps, but I still have to go . ”
With Pale’s mind set, Vine could only agree .
The deserted village they were headed to would take 5 days on carriage . With nothing else to do, Shure and Rue asked Pale about herself .
Touri Nokia was the man she admired and Ryutanu was her first kouhai .
Their time together wasn’t without hardship, but it was certainly fun .
While Pale and the two talked about such things, Vine focused solely on her liquor, while Berk drove the carriage .
“By the way, you guys are unaffiliated, right? How about joining our cla— Why are you hiding behind the elf?”
Berk suggested to let Vine drink to keep her mood up . As a result, she’s been drinking nonstop since this morning . It was a mystery if what she said just now was a joke, but because of that, Shurei and Rue were huddled together as they trembled in fear .
“You can choose to remain unaffiliated if you want, but you’ll have a hard time . Right, Berk?” Vine said as she tasted her liquor .
“The trustworthiness of a guild is different from that of lone wolves, so the remuneration received is usually a league lower,” Berk seriously said as he drove the carriage . He seemed used to handling the drunk Vine .
Seeing Berk seriously reply, Vine snorted .
“Mr . Berk, why did you become a member of the Red Moon Clan?” Shurei asked .
Berk’s face dimmed a little, but neither Shurei nor Rue could see his expression from behind .
“My village is located in the south . We used to be from the north actually, but we moved some generations ago . We make our living by hunting the sand whales in the sand sea . ”
“Your story is too long!”
Jeered at by Vine, Berk cut to the main point . “It was then that I met the clan leader . At the time, there was trouble within the village, and I ended up becoming a Royon and entered the Blood Moon Clan . I came to the north in search of information when you two caught me . ”
“So you haven’t been a member for long?”
“That’s right . He literally became a member just a month ago . ”
While Shurei and Rue were understanding the situation, the drunk woman suddenly interrupted their conversation .
“What? Feel like joining now, Rue-chan?”
Before anyone knew it, Vine was behind Rue and was hugging her . Her hands moved freely over Rue’s robes as she fondled her body, causing Rue to scream .
“Ha, P-Please stop!”
“Mn~, you need to grow a bit more… At this rate, you won’t be able to get the man you like . I’ll play the nice big sister and help you…”
Rue tried to break free, but her attempts were meaningless before a warrior as accomplished as Vine .
“Won’t you enter our clan? If you enter our clan, Shurei won’t have a choice but to enter as well . ”
“Huh? You won’t join? Then I guess that means Little Rue is mine…”
As Rue’s cheeks were dyed red, Vine smiled wickedly toward Shurei .
“…Clan leader, you’re taking it a bit too far . ” Berk said calmly .
“I think so too . ” Pale agreed .
Having been reprimanded by both Pale and Berk, Vine let Rue go and went back to drinking .
“Complaining about the way I invite others… What has the world come to? Sigh… could have killed two birds with one stone too . ”
Like this their group traveled to the deserted village in the south .
In the north-western part of the free cities, where the border regions were and were Gi Gi and the Leon Heart clan were carrying out the Goblin King’s schemes, was an opportunity ripe for the taking .
The small feudal lords had convened a meeting to come up with a plan against the endless wave of monster beasts .
Mediating them were the adventurers sent by the Leon Heart Clan . The feudal lords already trusted them when it came to matters surrounding the beasts .
Approximately two months have passed since the Leon Heart Clan started their operation, and Garwin and Fase were staying at the mansion of the feudal lord of Shirak .
The mansion of the Shirak Territory that ruled three villages and a town was the closest to the goblins and also suffered the most under the endless wave of monster beasts . After repeatedly suffering under the oppression of the monster beasts, the feudal lord of Shirak finally decided to propose a plan and seek help from the other small feudal lords .
Of course, Garwin and Fase had also advised him . Presently, the feudal lord trusted them enough to consult them on matters regarding the defense of his territory . Even the people trusted them .
Small feudal lords consider each other as powerful rivals, but at the same time, they also consider each other as comrades when calamity strikes .
“…I thank god that we are able to gather here today at Sanktfall . ”
After the feudal lord of Shirak opened the meeting, the gathered feudal lords immediately started discussing the topic at hand .
“As you may all know, this meeting’s purpose is to tackle the issue of the monster beasts . ”
The feudal lords from the pioneering generations did not experience the same difficulties as Shirak Territory, but they still discussed the topic seriously . They had no choice, for they knew they would be next if one of them were to fall . The feudal lord of Guena, who was hiding under the shadow of Shirak, understood this well .
But in the end, they could not arrive to a conclusion . After all, if they could find a solution in the first place, they would not have waited this long before addressing the issue .
“Can’t we figure out why the monsters are rampaging?” Asked one feudal lord .
“We could gather our knights under one group,” suggested one feudal lord .
“We need to create an impenetrable wall against the monsters!” Suggested another .
“In the end, the issue is money,” the feudal lord of Shirak sighed .
Normally, these feudal lords should’ve been making a killing considering the previous western feudal lord, Gowen Ranid, hadn’t waged war against them . Unfortunately, because of the alms they had to give to the Kushain faith, they were currently so poor that they found it difficult to hire even two skilled adventurers .
None of the small feudal lords had the guts to go against the great wave that was the Kushain faith, so the creed of the Kushain faith quickly spread from the large cities until it reached the very borders of the northern free cities .
When the meeting was starting to go nowhere, the feudal lord of Shirak adjourned the meeting .
They had began the meeting in the evening, but it was now morning . At this rate, the participating leaders won’t last . Besides, it was doubtful that any of these leaders would propose a good idea with the way things were going .
Like that the exhausted feudal lords retreated to their rooms .
“How was it?” Fase, who was currently working as the feudal lord of Shirak’s bodyguard, asked .
The feudal lord only weakly laughed in response .
“…I see . As expected, these feudal lords are also starving for money . ”
“It’s a pity, but if they had money, then they wouldn’t have moved to the borders in the first place . ”
Fase folded his arms and closed his eyes . After thinking for a moment, he spoke . “…We have some new information . ”
“What is it? If it can break us out of this deadlock, by all means, please . ”
“Actually, our vice clan leader, Zaurosh the Lord Commander, is coming . ”
Excited at the prospect of possibly breaking out of their current predicament, the feudal lord eagerly lent an ear to Fase .
“If it’s him, he might have an idea . ”
“Is he good?”
“The clan leader himself is young, but it’s because of him that our clan is able to operate . The Lord Commander is a man the clan leader trusts dearly . He’s a good man, in my opinion . ”
Fase was a skilled adventurer who was always composed . The feudal lord of Shirak greatly valued his abilities .
“How is he compared to you?”
“I’m afraid I’m not even worthy to be in the same sentence . Perhaps I might be able to eek out a win with my bow, but he is a skilled swordsman with both prudence and the connections . He is beyond me . ”
Fase wryly smiled and shook his head, but his words greatly roused the feudal lord’s excitement .
“And that Lord Zaurosh is coming for what purpose exactly?”
“That, I’m not so sure . All that was mentioned in the letter was that he was coming to see the situation . ”
The feudal lord sat back up straight and folded his arms .
It is said that a drowning man would cling to something even if that something is nothing but a straw . The feudal lord racked his brain as he sought to see through the purpose of a great clan’s vice clan leader’s visit, but the information he had was insufficient . All he knew was that he trusted Fase .
But he couldn’t be blamed for that, after all, it’s no easy feat to hate someone who risks his life for you with barely any remuneration . All the more so, when that someone is able to get results and protect the people .
If he thinks their vice clan leader is a good man, then at the very least, he wasn’t a villain .
“If it’s no trouble, I would love to meet him . If possible, while the feudal lord conference (Sanktfall) is still open . ”
“…I’ll send him a letter by bird then . I can’t guarantee anything, but this is the method we use when contacting each other for urgent matters . ”
“Thank you . ”
Three days later, Zaurosh arrived .
Gi Gu Verbena was wounded in the western region war and could not fight alongside the other goblins in the quest to conquer the western capital . Though his wounds have long healed, the regret he felt that day burns within him yet .
“I lost to the humans . That in and of itself is unforgivable, but even worse, I lost personally . ”
Gi Gu Verbena was the leader of the southern goblins and had the greatest army among the goblins with the exception of the king . Not even the fierce Gaidga Tribe nor Gi Gi’s army could match the scale and power of his army . Gi Gu Verbena was given the honor to lead the advance guard in the previous battle, but in the end, he lost in the hands of the human, Gowen Ranid, the feudal lord of the western region .
To make things worse, not only had Gi Gu betrayed the king’s trust, he even lost to a human . There was no greater humiliation .
“But the humans were really strong, Great Brother!”
“They were really strong . ”
The three sibling goblins Gu Long, Gu Big, and Gu Tough tried to console Gi Gu, but their attempts only fell on deaf ears, as Gi Gu himself had already arrived at a conclusion on why he lost .
The power of numbers . It was with the same strategy that he once conquered the south . In fact, Gi Gu himself had not fought many battles where he had less numbers than his opponent .
“We shall expand our territory . ”
Which is why when Gi Gu suddenly said that, the three sibling goblins were shocked .
“But the south is all sand…”
“Sand is hot…”
“Won’t the king get mad?”
The three goblin siblings each voiced out their concern .
In response, Gi Gu nodded and said it was alright . “The forest will always be our home . Besides, we’re not expanding toward the south but to the west . We… will have to send a messenger to the king . ”
Ever since the Goblin King occupied the western region, he has been busying himself with government affairs in the western capital . Unfortunately, he still couldn’t read the writings of this world . He has put much effort in studying it, but he still couldn’t read anything harder than reports .
Beside the king was the elf from Forni, Fei, and the goblin druid who studied for a short time at the elven school, Gi Za Zakuend .
All sorts of information were being brought to the king . Gi Gu Verbena’s request to expand his territory, the Leon Heart Clan’s report on the affairs of the south, reports by the elves on the state of the villages, reports by Shumea and Yoshu on the dissatisfaction of the humans… all sorts .
One reason they could gather information so easily despite using the western capital as their headquarters was because they were close to the frontlines .
The Goblin King also had no choice but to work near the frontlines due to him being acknowledged by the goblins as their strongest . It simply wouldn’t do if the strongest goblin warrior weren’t present in the frontlines .
To protect the town areas, the Goblin King asked the chief of the araneae, Nikea, to take charge of security . As a result, they have created a complex encampment by weaving together their threads .
The defense of the eastern part of the western capital was left to the “Man-Eating Snake” Gi Ba Hagar . The humans had eight small fortress on their side of the border, so all trade was currently halted . Monsters also frequently fled to the eastern region due to Gi Gi’s monster army .
The monster beasts would sometimes also go toward them . After all, they were monsters . They attacked everyone without discrimination, so Gi Ba had set some patrols to protect the humans on their side, but so far, there have been no problems .
In the south, Gi Gi Orudo, Gi Ji Arsil, and Gi Zu Ruo have currently stopped their respective army’s advance and were observing the situation . Depending on the Leon Heart Clan’s progress, they might have to move further down south soon . Their three armies were more than enough for an advance force .
As for the main force that would naturally include the Goblin King himself, Gi Gi Rax and his imperial guards, Gi Do Buruga’s druid platoon, and perhaps some of the human platoons .
The western part of the western region was given to the yugushiva and the demihumans . The Goblin King only demarcated its borders before leaving it to them to manage . He also hasn’t imposed anything on the demihumans other than the construction of the facilities along the roads connecting the Forest of Darkness and the western capital . The demihumans were few in number and weren’t suited to fighting in the frontlines, so the king didn’t bother to ask too much from them .
That being said, what they lacked in number, they made up for in quality . There was no doubting that they were powerful warriors indeed . Which is why the king decided to use them sparingly . The Goblin King greatly valued their abilities, and this was while they were only starting to learn how to fight a war .
As for the northern part of the western region, it was a wooded region and was being used to house the defeated humans . Shumea and Yoshu have been put in charge to ensure that they are able to live alongside with the goblins . Thanks to the help of the elves, the northern part is currently being used as the center of agriculture .
The humans farmed mostly grains, which were strong against the cold, and the goblins were also tasked to learn from them . Harvest was still some time away, but it could be expected half a year later .
Information on the affairs beyond the borders were also regularly being passed by the Leon Heart Clan, but they had their limits too . One of the information they shared was the fact that the holy knight, Gulland Rifenin, has been made in charge of the western region, which was currently under goblin rule .
Gulland Rifenin was a man who could fight evenly with the king . Alone, the Goblin King could take care of him, but things might go differently if he had someone with him .
The clan known as the Red King was also gaining momentum in the southern desert region of the Free Cities . They were hostile to the Kushain Believers, so the Goblin King believed that he might be able to pit them against each other if he used his cards right .
Several cities leaning toward the Kushain Faith has already capitulated and returned to the south due to the Red King Clan’s activities .
If their momentum were to grow too big, they could have a negative impact on the king’s plans to bring the small feudal lords to his side .
The Goblin King’s scheme relied on the fact that they had no one else to rely on but them, after all .
As the Goblin King managed the affairs of territories from every direction, the next report that came in made him raise his brows .
The Saint, Lady Reshia Fel Zeal, had helped the wounded demihumans of the small country of Orphen to the north and were keeping them close .
Word of the Saint left the king speechless for a moment as he felt both impatience and relief stir within .
It is known that military officials often butt heads with civil officials . That is true even for Germion Kingdom or the Holy Shushunu Kingdom .
Military officials criticize civil officials as heartless people who freely play with people’s lives through their papers, while the latter would criticize military officials as delusional fools who believe money grow on trees .
Issues between the two branches can sometimes threaten the very existence of the country, so it is up to the king to ensure that the two remain suppressed .
In one sense, it could be said that the military and the civil bodies are the wheels of the chariot, and it is up to the king to ensure that they remain on track .
A country that fails to do so would naturally fall off course .
In which case, the people will fall into into misery, the country will be taken advantage of by other countries, and…
“Lord Kanash, your fame might be known throughout the world, but we cannot accept this! Our country cannot endure any more wars!”
The meeting was being held at the pillar of Elrain Kingdom, within a room in the royal palace .
It was a slim civil official who said that previous line in a loud angry voice .
“Even if the treasury can’t take it, the enemy is already on its way! Are you telling me to order my subordinates to die meaninglessly!?” General Kanash yelled back as he stood up from his seat .
“But we don’t have what we don’t have!”
“Well, do something! Isn’t that your job!?”
“In the first place, if you hadn’t lost in the last battle, we wouldn’t be in this situation!”
“You bastard! Is that the way you treat the people who risked their lives to protect the country!?”
One provoked, and the other bit . They were supposed to be in a meeting, but they were only arguing with all of their arguments running parallel each other’s .
Within that heavy atmosphere that was tensed to the limits, the clan leader of the Red King, Brandika, yawned . Carlion, who was behind him, chuckled when he saw how bored he was, but he still made sure to prod him with his elbows and remind him to act appropriately .
“This is a waste of time . Can’t we go home?” Brandika said .
“That won’t do . At the very least, we need to stay until the end,” Carlion replied .
When the civil official saw Brandika looking so bored and Carlion acting like he was watching a funny play, his eyes opened wide . From his perspective, it seemed like they were making fun of him, so he turned his verbal assaults from General Kanash to Brandika .
“In the first place, it’s because you had to hire mercs for such a stupid price that the military went over budget! Isn’t the fact that you had to resort to hiring mercs the same thing as admitting your incompetence!? Why do you we even have an army!? Just who do you think allows you to hire these money-grubbing pests!?—”
As the civil official was ranting angrily, Brandika suddenly slammed against the desk, causing cracks to appear over its marble surface .
“…If you don’t want us, we can leave anytime,” Brandika said . “Just pay us for the time we’ve worked . ”
The aura emanating from Brandika was just like that of a beast’s as he glared sharply at the civil official . He was an accomplished warrior who has gone through many battlefields and was the clan leader the Red King Clan . The intimidation from such a man was indeed not something a civil official could handle, as the civil official very quickly went quiet and paled .
“Hey, Carlion . Our contract was sealed with the kingdom’s symbol, right?”
“Yes, I’m sure of it . I have it with me, so I can bring it out for confirmation if needed . ”
All the civil officials participating in the meeting were all looking down and speechless . At the end of the day, the army was indeed incapable of bringing as much results as the Red King, and the civil officials themselves couldn’t fork out the money to pay them .
“…That won’t be necessary . ”
It was General Kanash who said that in place of the civil officials .
“It is embarrassing for someone in my position, but we need your help, Clan Leander Brandika of the Red King Clan . Please lend us your strength . If you leave now, we won’t be able to hold the line against the Kushain believers . ”
The Ashunasan Alliance has indeed been established, but without a proper mediator, their forces were currently being dispatched according to each country’s discretion .
“General Kanash, I personally see you as a friend, but I am also a clan leader, a person responsible for the lives of others . Borrowing your words, I don’t want to order my men to die meaninglessly . ”
They couldn’t fight without money .
General Kanash turned to the civil officials, but everyone was looking down .
Kanash endured the urge to click his tongue as he proposed an idea . “Very well . In that case, I will use my properties to…”
“Clan Leader, that is too intangible,” Carlion interjected .
“Yes, they’re essentially telling us to put it on their tab . Moreover, if we take a look at the army’s current situation…”
Elrain Kingdom was already at the point were they were unable to pay their soldiers’ wages on time . It was indeed true that the national treasury was at its limits .
“Which is why, I have a different proposition,” Carlion winked at Brandika, then he stood up and said that to the various officials .
Unlike Brandika, Carlion was far more delicate and had no intimidating aura about him . He was just like the civil officials, so they were quick to lend an ear .
“In exchange for our services, we ask that our clan leader, Brandika, be given court rank and be made ruler of the city of Sapnir . ”
The civil officials were speechless, while Brandika only frowned as he folded his arms and sat on his seat .
Carlion smiled as he continued his proposition .
At the top of Elrain Kingdom was the king, followed by the few royal court nobles, and then the civil officials and the nobles with territories .
The nobles with territories would receive a court rank from the king according to the size of their territory . Their territory itself is the source of their power . Of course, the royal family also has its own territories . Which is why, the royal family is really nothing more than the noble with the most territories .
Carlion’s request implied two things to the civil officials .
One was that they had no intentions of standing in opposition to the royal family of Elrain Kingdom . The other was that they will exert their utmost in this war .
Managing a city required certain qualifications . In this country, that qualification was a court rank, but to receive a court rank is to acknowledge the royal family and come under it .
Sapnir was a medium-sized city . If Sapnir were to be given to them, they would need a fairly high court rank .
The civil officials were happy to acquiesce Carlion’s request . After all, court ranks did not need money and it was better to sell off a city than to pay up now . Looking at it long term, they were giving away a city that could produce a great amount of wealth, but looking at it short term, they were simply covering the costs of hiring a massive merc organization .
But of course, the most important reason of all is that Elrain Kingdom could no longer do without the Red King Clan .
“We will consider it,” a civil official said .
At that, Carlion bowed and returned to his seat . No one noticed the smile he exchanged with Brandika as soon as he sat .
The next day, word of Brandika receiving the title of count and the territory of Sapnir got out .
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