VOLUME 3: CHAPTER 184 – WILL YOU OBEY OR WILL YOU DIE?
After winning the Battle of Kruzel, the Goblin King ordered Gi Ji Arsil to take his assassins and scout the surrounding area, while he led the main army to return to the west . Although they barely had any casualties during the battle, the Goblin King had to acknowledge that he couldn’t rule over the Kushain Territories with just 2,000 goblins .
If he were to progress any further in his plans, he would first have to gain a firm foothold in these lands .
It was because of that prudent thinking of his that he desired a meeting with the small feudal lords . Fortunately, they were able to successfully kill Benem Nemush in the Battle of Kruzel . Thanks to Benem Nemush’s foolishness, the Goblin King was able to gain the renown of crushing an army that was 10,000 soldiers strong .
That being said, the Goblin King had actually misread the Kushain believers’ ability to mobilize their troops .
For the goblins, 5 days might be enough to prepare for war, but to the humans, turning their people into soldiers would take much longer .
Besides, only the holy knight, Gowen Ranid, was actually skilled enough to manage a fief with 10,000 people . Unfortunately, the last battle the Goblin King fought just had to be with him .
Because of all that, the Goblin King ended up overestimating the enemies’ capabilities, causing him to back off . Had he the ability to see the future, he would’ve surely wiped out all of the Kushain believers right there and then, but alas, in the end, although the Kushain believers lost, the Goblin King still ended up retreating .
The Goblin King led the main force of his army back to the small feudal lords, while distributing his goblin subordinates to the small villages .
The goblin army fed on preserved food and their hunts as they made their way back . It wasn’t until 4 days after the fight that they finally arrived at Shirak Territory .
Felbi sent a message with his bow again, indicating when the meeting would be taking place . It wasn’t very friendly though, for he made sure to include a threat . If you can’t make it for any reason, we can’t guarantee the safety of Shirak .
When the arrow was shot back, a message saying that the feudal lords would meet them was attached .
“Everything’s gone well so far . ”
The continuing of his schemes, the weaving of more schemes for later… The Goblin King had much left to do . They may have defeated an army of 10,000 soldiers, but they had by no means annihilated them .
The number of soldiers they’d killed probably numbered less than a thousand . As for the rest, they were either attacked by monster beasts or had run off to somewhere .
After coming out of the Battle of Kruzel mostly unharmed, the Goblin King now had three paths he could walk .
One path was to go back to the western region and take on Germion Kingdom .
The second path was to keep going like this and annex the territory of the Kushain believers .
The third path was to go further down south and attempt to encroach upon the Ashunasan Alliance .
The Goblin King thought long and hard about the path the goblins should take . He needed to come up with an answer before he met with the small feudal lords .
The first path was a solid one, but it was risky if Germion Kingdom ever decided to go for an attack . There was a group of small fortresses between their borders and Germion Kingdom’s, preventing anyone from crossing over . So long as those fortresses existed, there was a chance that they might get stabbed from behind . Unless those fortresses were taken care of first, he couldn’t safely attack Germion Kingdom .
He couldn’t repeat the mistake he did when trying to occupy the west, which resulted in them needing to do twice as much work as expected . That being the case, he should first secure the south, then create a path to safely attack Germion Kingdom .
The second path wasn’t that easy either .
The territories of the Kushain believers were vast . It wouldn’t be easy managing all that with the goblins alone . If the humans don’t cooperate with them, they would be forced to use the whip . And while they’re busy with them, Germion Kingdom might just attack .
Alternatively, he could try to work with the elves like he did for the western territory, but unfortunately, that was only possible because it was near their headquarters . The short distance made it possible to rule over the humans with a small force due to the ease of sending reinforcements .
The Kushain Territories were not only big, they were also a long way from the Forest of Darkness, the elves and the goblins would find themselves hard-pressed to try and reinforce their forces given that distance .
They couldn’t look down on the two giant city-states that the Kushain believers possessed . Neither of those have fallen in the past years even after being sieged .
Moreover, while they were able to achieve their goal of deciding the battle quickly, they had to keep up the pace . The western region couldn’t be left for long, so the Kushain Territories needed to be dealt with quickly .
What about the border regions that the feudal ruled then? They were some distance away from the big cities, making it harder to manage and leaving them in need of a guardian . But at the same time, they wanted to protect their people, so in a sense, it could be said that they were gearing up for independence .
The third path was to keep going by defeating the weak cities .
Doing that, however, was the same as making an enemy out of the two sides that were currently caught up in a civil war . Humans already had a poor impression of the goblins . What was the point in painting a target on themselves? Doing that might just make the situation worse, should the two sides decide to form an alliance in order to repel a common threat .
The Goblin King couldn’t make a mistake, but at the same time, he couldn’t take his time either; therefore, he decided on the second path . Unfortunately, he would need a long time to accomplish it .
He would have to slowly take over the territories of the Kushain believers while expanding his own forces . So long as he steadily progressed and kept an eye out for the western region, he would eventually become a great force ten years later .
But that was too slow . Right now, the humans had their guard down and thought of them as nothing more than beasts that didn’t even know the word ‘strategy’ . But 10 years later, the humans might finally realize that they’re not just beasts . If all he wanted was to create a country, that wouldn’t be an issue, but his goal was world domination .
Because of that the Goblin King naturally arrived at an answer on how to deal with the small feudal lords .
He would have to make their roles clear and how he would make use of them .
“King of Goblins, the humans have come for an audience,” Felbi said, rousing the Goblin King from his thoughts .
“Ahh, I see,” the Goblin King said as he cracked his neck and stood up .
The Goblin King received the small feudal lords, behind which was Zakusen of the Leon Heart Clan .
“Now then, gentlemen . The trend of war has been decided . We goblins dislike skirting around the issue, so I’ll get straight to the point . I want you to accept our rule and come under us . ”
When the small feudal lords heard the Goblin King speak for the first time, fear and surprise filled them as they glanced at each other .
The Goblin King spoke fluently and laid bare his intentions without any hesitation . He was completely unlike the goblins they knew, leaving them muddled and unsure of what to do .
“What exactly do you mean by your rule?” The feudal lord of Shirak asked after mustering the courage to .
“What I seek is the world itself . So long as you come under my rule, I will promise you peace,” the Goblin King said .
“In other words, you won’t hurt us?” The feudal lord of Guena asked .
The Goblin King nodded . “I am not aware how humans do things, but we do not enjoy oppressing the weak . Those who come under my rule, be they elves, demihumans, or even humans… I shall treat them all equally with no discrimination . ”
The small feudal lords glanced at each other . At the very least, it didn’t seem like they were in any danger . Only, was this monster actually telling the truth?
“You look like you do not know whether to trust me or not . ” The Goblin King said .
“W-We wouldn’t dare…” The feudal lord of Shirak said in a panic as he quickly shook his head .
“King of Goblins, if I may, I believe they are merely anxious,” the vice clan leader of the Leon Heart Clan, Zaurosh, said .
The Goblin King placed his chin on his fist . “Ho . ”
“Please excuse my belated introduction, I am Zaurosh, the vice clan leader of the Leon Heart Clan . These people are my current employers . ”
“Zaurosh, huh . ”
The Goblin King sent a meaningful glance at Zaurosh, but the latter acted like he didn’t know anything .
“If your highness would allow us to stay with them until they are no longer anxious, our clan could help foster trust between you and they . ” Zaurosh suggested politely .
“In other words, time is needed before reconciliation, huh… Very well, but only half a year . I won’t allow any longer . ”
“…I thank you for your generosity . ”
Like that the audience of the small feudal lords with the Goblin King concluded, and the border regions accepted the hegemony of the Goblin King, placing monsters, elves, demihumans, and humans under his authority .
Much of the goblin forces stayed behind in order to slowly chip away at the Kushain Territories . They stayed behind alongside the Leon Heart Clan as protectors of the border regions .
The small feudal lords announced the changes to the people while promising them their safety . They could do that because of the deep bond they had with the people . Had it been the big feudal lords, the people would have never accepted the rule of the goblins, and the people might have even revolted .
The people trusted the small feudal lords that much more compared to their bigger counterparts .
When the Goblin King heard that from Zaurosh, he decided to do the same thing for the borders of the western region . He could adjust the taxes when soldiers are tributed, but for the feudal lords themselves, he would have to guarantee them a rank . In any case, he would need to offer something that would entice them .
If there’s a carrot, there also needs to be a stick .
Deserters wouldn’t be forgiven and logging from the woodlands would be banned . The Goblin King decided to implement the latter rule in order to prevent his subjects from trying to reclaim more land and shaving away at the Forest of Darkness due to the lesser taxes .
Because the Goblin King banned touching the woodlands but allowed the flatlands, the border feudal lords expanded southwest along the river .
After acquiring the border lands, the Goblin King asked that an accurate report of the current population as well as a map of the territories be produced . Both were necessary for the coming wars . The map he had received from old Falun was too rough to be used as reference, so he would need a new one, and info on the population was necessary to decide on the right amount of tax that wouldn’t cause the people to flee .
Both problems were issues any statesman would be able to handle, but the Goblin King was yet to raise such individuals under him . There were probably such people from the small feudal lords, but they were newcomers, and to give them that much authority in such a short time would likely cause frictions with the goblins and the elves .
“What a pain…”
“A pain indeed, goblin . A pain indeed . ”
Beside the king was the goblin, Gi Za Zakuend, and the elf commander, Felbi, groaning aloud as they worked on some documents . A part of the forest had to be cut for the Goblin King to fulfill his kingly duties, for he did not station his troops within the border towns . Instead, they were currently encamped within the forest .
The difficult wording of the first reports submitted by the feudal lords greatly troubled Gi Za, but when Felbi saw from the corner of his eyes the words ‘financial situation’ he immediately pulled it out of Gi Za’s hands .
“More work less talk,” the Goblin King pointed out .
Reluctantly, the both of them complied . If the king himself, who was supposed to be the object of respect and affection, was working diligently, who were they to lax?
“Ugh… Great nobles of Cultidian… under the protection of god… the old blood of Jikmua… with the protection of the cotinued lineage of Jikmua… the rights to the land… Arrgh! Can’t you just say that you were given rights by someone with authority!?” Gi Za bellowed out after finally reaching the end of his wits .
Meanwhile, Felbi was correcting the numbers on the census .
128, 3 from 35… 2 from 48, 27 have passed… Umm… Where was I? Hey!”
As he too reached the end of his wits, he jeered at the stack of documents, looking like he could pull his sword and cut them anytime now .
While the two of them were making a ruckus, the Goblin King was quietly doing his work . One of the documents caught his eyes .
“Hmm . ”
It was rare for the Goblin King to stop working, so Gi Za and Felbi immediately turned to him .
“Is something the matter, Your Highness?” Gi Za asked .
Felbi didn’t say anything, but his eyes seemed to be asking the same thing .
“A report from feudal lord, Razuel . It says the second city-state of the Kushain believers, Fatina, has fallen,” the Goblin King said .
“…The Southern Ashunasan Alliance must have made their move,” Felbi conjectured .
The Goblin King nodded . “The details are unknown, but it says here that a group of people calling themselves the Red King are responsible . ”
“I’ve heard of them before, Your Highness . It would probably be best to consult with the human, Zaurosh,” Gi Za said .
The Goblin King nodded again .
Matters regarding clans would naturally be best asked from another clan member . Unfortunately, while information from the Leon Heart Clan was often comprehensive, it took a long time for it to reach them . That was mostly due to the fact that most of their forces were still in the east .
Only about 200 combatants were currently present in the border lands . The rest of the combatants and non-combatant members, who took care of organizational tasks, were still carrying on in the east . Zaurosh said they intended to move once they’ve set their foundations in the border lands, but it would still take some time .
“This time it’s a petition, a petition to be stationed in town . ”
The Goblin King became thoughtful .
“That’s obviously no good . We have to remain impartial,” Gi Za remarked .
“But goblins do need to be stationed in town if we’re to gather any information concerning the south . ”
Stationing goblins in the towns of the western region was a given since they needed to be there to keep up the public order and prevent people from running away . The Goblin King, however, decided to refrain from doing that with the border lands .
Information was passed from person to person . The harpies could scout from the skies, but they had many enemies . They were a race that couldn’t live too far from the forest .
“Consulting Zaurosh might be wise,” the Goblin King said .
“A human?” Gi Za said with open disapproval .
The Goblin King wryly smiled . “Zaurosh is already an ally . He can no longer return to the humans . ”
“Wouldn’t it be wise to consider him one only once he’s joined us in battle?” Gi Za asked .
The Goblin King’s wry smile grew deeper . “That would make it hard for us to gather information . You understand, right?”
Even Gi Za couldn’t deny that the reason they were able to subdue the small feudal lords was because of Zaurosh . But for Gi Za, who was distrustful of humans, he did not find it even slightly interesting to be too reliant on them .
“Let’s take a break,” the Goblin King cracked his neck and exhaled .
“Agreed, Your Highness,” Felbi said as he rotated his shoulders .
“That’s good and all, but… what is that?”
At Gi Za’s words, all eyes turned to a Paradua Goblin riding toward them .
“Ah, a messenger . ”
As the rider rode at full speed, the Goblin King felt an ill premonition .
1 . North-Western Side of the Free Cities
2 . Goblin and Monster Expansion Route
3 . Shirak Territory
4 . Guena Territory
5 . Sandolia Territory
6 . Razuel Territory
7 . Noran River
8 . Hot Sands of the Great Desert .
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