VOLUME 3: CHAPTER 181 – DEPARTURE (1/3)
After passing through the dark forest, Belthazar the Almighty and the assassins he led were finally able to take a breather . They were moving along the remaining human villages .
There were more beasts now in the plains near the fortress and there were even some new kinds living in the forest .
Them being able to go through that was due to Belthazar’s precise orders and their skill .
“It’s still some ways before we can reach the closest village . ” Belthazar said as he looked at the map, at which the nearly 10 adventurers nodded .
Belthazar was a careful man . He did not immediately make his move after seeing the village and instead patiently observed the situation .
Unfortunately, there were those who criticized his conduct for cowardice . The young adventurers in particular were exhausted from walking without rest through the forest and wanted to rest at the village as soon as possible .
They were in hostile lands, so naturally, they couldn’t light a fire . They needed to conserve their supplies, so they also couldn’t eat or drink as much as they wished . On top of that, there were monsters crawling everywhere .
Given such conditions, it would be stranger if their mental health did not deteriorate .
Although they have been moving while resting alternatingly, the dissatisfaction of the young adventurers went to their leader, Belthazar . But they were aware of Belthazar’s strength – after all, they had all seen how that cheeky adventurer was done in before departing – so no one dared to say anything .
Be that as it may, those that were dissatisfied were dissatisfied and there was no changing that .
They have already entered goblin territory . But while the goblins may have conquered the villages, they were – in the end – only goblins . No matter how many of them there were, it didn’t really matter .
The goblins they could imagine were at most normals or rares without any leadership or any equipment . An existence even less than that of bandits .
Because of that they could not fathom why Belthazar would need to act so carefully . They were only fighting goblins, why go through so much trouble?
As for Gowen’s defeat? That was obviously only because of his incompetence . At the very least, they believed that .
None of the adventurers had the guts to say their dissatisfaction out loud, but Belthazar still felt it, so he proposed this to them .
“Why don’t we go our separate ways from here?”
It may have seemed like a proposition, but it was really an order .
“Those who are unsatisfied with the way I do things, those who want to go on their own to keep their achievements to themselves, and those who want to go with a different group, please feel free to go . I’d also like to keep my achievements to myself, after all . ”
After that Belthazar took his spear and his luggage with him and left the adventurers .
“If you run to the fortress, someone will probably help you . It’s only a few days’ distance if you run, so if you’re luck is good, you’ll probably make it . ”
Within the villages of the western region were a pair of siblings that had finally found the time to talk to each other .
“I don’t think I can go on anymore…” Yoshu said with glazed eyes .
“Why so pessimistic?” Shumea asked with a laugh as she hit him at the back .
After Yoshu finished identifying what the slaves were good for and distributing them throughout the land, he now had to figure out their pay and holidays .
The slaves here all belonged to the Goblin King . Regardless what human laws might say, as far as the western region was concerned, all humans belonged to the King and were being kept at a distance .
As a former slave and one who has received the Goblin King’s trust, Yoshu was tasked by the king to make use of the slaves . But making use of about 400 human slaves was a vastly different ordeal from raising beasts .
Where will their food come from? When is their off day? Do they have issues with other humans? There were countless problems that had to be dealt with, and Yoshu had to deal with them all .
The easiest to deal with were the gladiator slaves . Shumea and Yoshu themselves were of the same sort . These slaves had to fight everyday to fill their bellies .
They could understand the goblins to some extent, so after training with the goblins for some time, they were able to learn how to communicate with them .
The goblins grouped themselves into those that could get along with humans and those that couldn’t . The most favorable of the humans were Gi Za Zakuend’s druids . Druids had a thirst for knowledge and possessed a spirit of inquiry . Normal and rare goblins couldn’t talk well, so only the likes of elves could hold a decent conversation with them .
The druids lived in their own particular world of magic; hence, they treated humans and goblins the same .
The next most favorable were Gi Zu Ruo and his thug-like goblins . They were never directly invaded by the humans, so they never really felt any hate for them .
The goblins under the king’s direct control were also not that hateful of humans . Gi Go Amatsuki the Sword King and Gi Ga Rax the Knight Class were quite favorable of them even . Apparently, they were the sort to find it hard to hate humans .
On the other hand, the ones who hated the humans the most were Gi Ba Hagar and his goblins, who were the most proactive in pursuing after the humans in the previous chain of wars .
They openly hated even Shumea and Yoshu, who were treated as the king’s guests . Because of that the slaves and the villagers greatly feared them . The children too . While there were those among them who would hug Gi Go, they would only look at Gi Ba from a distance, and some of them would even flee .
“Why don’t you cry to the king and ask for help? If you keep that up, your body won’t hold, you know . ”
“You mean the king who tasked me with the job?”
The one who said slaves needed holidays was none other than the Goblin King himself . At first, Yoshu thought it was a joke, but he was actually serious . Who would’ve thought that the Goblin King would be more humane in some parts than some of the rotten nobles?
Unfortunately, the Goblin King hadn’t taken into consideration how much trouble that would cause Yoshu .
While Yoshu and Shumea were talking, a little girl briskly walked in small steps toward them . Shumea turned to her with a smile, while Yoshu turned to her in an exaggerated manner after hearing the word ‘mama’ .
“I picked out some flowers for you!”
In the hands of the roughly 5 year-old’s could be seen a wreath of flowers .
“Thank you! Maridya!”
Shumea smiled as she watched the little girl run back to the other orphans .
“She called me mama . ”
“Mama, huh . ”
Shumea couldn’t be any happier, while Yoshu felt a mix of complex emotions welling up from within .
Just when Yoshu and Shumea were about to go back to work, someone suddenly screamed . The two of them immediately glanced at each other before switching into warrior mode and running toward the direction of that scream .
“What are you doing!?”
When Yoshu and Shumea reached the source of the scream, a group of goblins could be seen surrounding Maridya . The leader of those goblins was none other than Gi Ba Hagar .
Shumea glared at Gi Ba as she approached him . The villagers only watched from afar, but Shumea brazenly nagged at Gi Ba .
She took the crying Maridya into her arms and looked around at the surrounding goblins . In response, the surrounding goblins made a face that looked like a troublesome person had come and turned to Gi Ba .
“Are you in charge of those children?” Gi Ba spat .
Shumea’s gaze grew sharper . “That’s right . Mind explaining why a bunch of adults are surrounding a group of children?”
“If they’re so weak so as to cry after hitting someone, then you should teach them not to run… So annoying!”
From the looks of things, it seems Maridya bumped into them while they were doing their rounds, and she ended up crying .
“Maridya, are you hurt?”
Maridya shook her head while crying, and Shumea glared at Gi Ba . Of the humans living in goblin territory, only Shumea was brave enough to butt heads with Gi Ba’s group .
Shumea handed the little girl to Yoshu, placed her hands on her hips, and gave Gi Ba a piece of her mind .
“That was a little girl, you know! Can’t you show even a little concern?”
“It’s too weak!”
Gi Ba rejected Shumea’s complaints and went back to his patrols . Shumea heaved a sigh as she watched the goblins leave .
The rulers of the western territory were the goblins and the ones being ruled were the humans . Although they weren’t directly hurting humans, that much pressure was bound to make people fear them .
Gi Ji Yubu and the others could keep their soldiers in line, so why was it that Gi Ba was so hard headed? Shumea couldn’t understand it .
“Well, I’m sure time will eventually solve it . ”
Yoshu took the little girl by the hand and walked toward Shumea . He resolved himself to write a letter to the king later .
The Goblin King had received information from the Leon Heart Clan . He has become able read articles these past few days . But this time, he passed the letter to Fei and had him read it . He did so because it was written that the letter was about the success of his scheme .
“…This is . ”
“Read it . ”
Gulping, Fei read the contents .
“The plan has succeeded; hence, we hereby request that the king dispatch the troops . ”
The date on the letter was just recently . It was also written that the small feudal lords were willing to meet with the king with a declaration of war against the Kushain believers . The small feudal lords will also show no resistance when they pass through their lands .
The Goblin King grasped his hands tightly and announced .
“Send the soldiers to the south! Have the following added to the vanguard: Gi Ji Yubu’s legion, Felbi’s elves, Gi Za Zakuend’s druids, Ganra, Paradua, Gaidga, and the Gordob!”
“I shall inform them posthaste . ”
As Fei withdrew, Gi Za Zakuend frowned .
“Can you trust just one letter? Those are a human’s words . ”
“I decided to trust them . To overturn that now is to deny the me from the past . ”
“I won’t say anymore then . ”
“If they get in our way, then at that time, we’ll simply crush them . We have more soldiers now than when we took the western capital and the coordination between our various platoons have gotten much better . ”
When the king has said that much, even Gi Za won’t have any choice but to back off .
“But I think we should still prepare to withdraw in case something unexpected happens . ”
“That’s oddly timid of you . ”
“I just can’t come to like humans . I don’t like elves either, but I can’t trust humans as much as them . ”
“Hmm… I’ll keep that in mind . But in order to rule over vast lands of human territory, we might have too change ourselves once more . ”
The Goblin King decided to leave the defense of the east to his most trusted retainer, Gi Ga Rax, who will be accompanied by Gi Ba Hagar and the rare class goblins, as well as Nikea the araneae and the demihumans . As for the rear guard of the defending forces, Gi Gu Verbena and Yustia’s yugushivas will be taking charge .
The Goblin King himself will be leading the soldiers directly to the south . Because of that the pressure coming from the east will surely become greater, so Gi Ga Rax’s presence and the rest of the warriors will be needed to defend .
“We will depart in 20 days . ”
“Your Majesty, if we have that much time, why don’t we make the enemy put down their guard . ”
The Goblin King folded his arms with interest at Gi Za Zakuend’s proposal .
“What do you have in mind?”
“Wasn’t there a Kushain believer you once supported?”
The patriarch, Benem Nemush, who came to power after experiencing the miracle of walking through the Forest of Darkness and even receiving treasure from monsters .
In truth, he was captured by Gi Gu Verbena, brought to the king, and was then released . But of course, neither side thought it necessary to make the records that specific .
“We do have an acquaintance . ”
“How about promising to support him again?”
“…I see . Fortunately, we have time . ”
Since they would be needing time to muster their forces, they might as well make use of it .
“I’ll take care of it . I can ask Yoshu about human matters . ”
Gi Za nodded and withdrew himself to pass on the king’s words to those who will be defending the east .
The battle in the south needed to be concluded as soon as possible . Or else the eastern Germion Kingdom just might bare their sharpened fangs toward the goblins once more .
The king felt the one-eyed snake coiled around his right arm squirm .
The headquarters of the Kushain believers, Cultidian . It was the hometown of the patriarch, Benem Nemush, as well as the beginning of the Kushain believers’ holy war . It was currently being regarded as a holy land, and after being enriched by the wealth and human resources coming from the region they ruled, it has already become the leading city among the northern Kushain believers .
It was to such a place that a slave was currently headed . This slave was tasked by Yoshu to bring a letter to the patriarch himself . He was currently being escorted by the Leon Heart Clan through the surrounding territories, and they were already on their 10th day of travel .
“Umm… Master Zaurosh . ”
The young slave was someone Yoshu held in regard .
“Hmm? What’s up?”
The adventurers escorting him weren’t just some small fries, but the best the clan had to offer .
“Master Zaurosh, you’re powerful, right?”
“Well, yeah, somewhat . ”
“…Is it really ok for you to be escorting me?”
Usually, beginner adventurers were the ones to take on messenger escort jobs such as this . Save for extremely perilous territories or unexplored lands, this wasn’t really the sort of job an expert adventurer would waste his time on .
“That’s just how important this job is . ”
“I see . Excuse me . ”
It was rare for a boy to be this frank to an adult adventurer, especially one who was a slave .
“Let’s finish this quickly . ” Zaurosh said .
The slave boy nodded .
They needed to deliver a letter to Benem Nemush . Normally, that would be an onerous undertaking . After all, the person they were dealing with was a man who stood at the peak of a giant organization . Just how long would it take to pass a letter to a man like that? Zaurosh himself knew it would take a long time, as he was a person in a similar position .
But no matter what there was always a back door .
That day Benem Nemush had his morning walk – a daily routine of his- in the garden of their religious organization . It was a garden indeed, but it was surrounded by giant residences the likes of which only the royalty and the titled nobility could possess, and greens of all sorts grew abound on the garden despite being in the middle of a desert . There was even a water fountain . The garden was so vast that it would take some time were one to try and go around it once .
“Patriarch . ”
After finishing his exercise, the patriarch emptied a glass of water and walked back toward his church when someone called out to him .
“A letter from our master . ”
The man who called out to him and handed that letter was a hooded man whose face could not be seen . From the sound of his voice, it would probably be more apt to refer to him as a boy .
“Hmm . ”
Benem Nemush was a religious fanatic . He didn’t believe that there was even the slightest chance that he could be hurt . He truly believed from the bottom of his heart that he was protected by god .
That attitude of his left him defenseless, but it was also because of that that he was able to convince the people to believe in the teachings of his faith .
Which is why Benem Nemush generously took the letter and unhesitatingly opened it .
“…Ho . ”
When he read the contents, a complacent smile appeared on his face .
5 days later, under the behest of the patriarch, the Kushain believer army left Cultidian and headed west .
The goblin army gathered in the western city and prepared for their descent to the south under the command of the Goblin King .
“Gi Ga, I have no one else to leave my back but to you . I’m counting on you . ”
“As the king commands, so do I obey . ”
Gi Ga Rax knelt on his prosthetic leg and bowed to the king . He was a knight class goblin and his most trusted retainer . Behind him was the noble class goblin, Gi Ba Hagar, a powerful goblin who possessed the Man-Eating Snake skill . He will surely be a key player in defending the east .
“Gi Ba, I leave the public peace of the eastern kingdom on your shoulders . Work with Gi Ga in my absence . ”
“Yes, my lord!”
“Gi Be, Gi Ah, Gi Ii, make sure to help Gi Ga and Ga Ba . ”
“As you command,” the one-armed Gi Be said in place of the goblin rares . Gi Bu the beast tamer, Gi Ah the divine invader, Gi Ii the explorer, every one of these goblins would help Gi Ga in the king’s absence .
Gi Bu had returned from his expedition and would be staying in the western region to keep its monsters in check, while Gi Ah and Gi Ii would maintain the peace in the area between the western region and the Fortress of the Abyss . They will also ensure that the reserve soldiers are always present .
“Nikea . These are the plains you’ve yearned for so long . Work with Gi Ga and protect it . ”
“Naturally . For the sake of those who have died, we will win,” the ever serious araneae chief said .
The Goblin King smiled . “Don’t do anything reckless, though . I know it sounds contradictory, but we can take back territories anytime . Remember, you can only be my strength while you are alive . ”
“Those words make me happy . I will do my best . ”
“Yustia . The village isn’t done yet, but I thank you for your cooperation . ”
“Repaying, benefactor, only natural . ”
The young woman chieftain of the savage tribe of the sword wore a demon mask on her face . Her curved sword, which was as big as she was tall, was pierced onto the ground .
After the Goblin King left a word for everyone, he turned, satisfied, to the people who would be accompanying him in his quest .
They waited their with abated breath, their hearts filled with expectation . Already three noble goblins had been dispatched ahead of them .
“Gi Jii Yubu!”
“Yes, my lord!”
“Gi Za Zakuend!”
“With you . ”
The First Archer of Ganra, the Gadieta, Gilmi Fishiga quietly bowed his head; the chief of Paradua raised his spear and knelt; the chief of the fierce Gaidga, Rashka, crossed his arms and smiled ferociously; the leader of the Gordob’s medical platoon, Kuzan, stretched her small body as tall as she could and looked up at the Goblin King .
With every word spoken, the gathered goblins stirred .
The king’s gaze rolled over the normals and the tribal goblins behind, and even those with no names raised up their weapons and shouted praise to the king .
“King! King! Our great king!” the goblins cried .
And the Goblin King answered back .
“The time for war has come! Let smite the hammer upon the proud and haughty humans!”
The Goblin King raised his fist up high .
“The enemy is in the south! Draw thus the blade that shall claim their lives!”
“Draw the blade! Draw the blade!” the goblins cried .
“Let us become a shield that shall protect our friends!”
“A shield! A shield! A shield!”
“All armies at my behest!”
“King! Our great king! Our king!”
When the goblins’ zeal reached its peak, the army moved out . Like that 2,000 fanatic goblins followed after the king as he led them down to the south .
At the head of the army stood the Goblin King whose chest always faced the enemy and whose back always faced his allies .
It has been 5 months since the war of the western region, and now, the curtains on another great war has been drawn, a war that would later be known as the Southern Sovereign War .
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