VOLUME 3: CHAPTER 189 – ENCIRCLEMENT (1/2)
Within the home of the late patriarch within the headquarters of the Kushain believers was Saint Mira acting unlike her saintly self as she spoke to her aide, Vilan Do Zul .
“Ahh! I’m beat!”
The way she shook her head with her hair unkempt could be seen as charming in its own way if she were a normal girl, but as a princess and a saint no less, it was truly improper .
“P-Princess… That behavior isn’t proper for someone of your position…”
The princess threw her pillow at Vilan and hit him right on the head .
“At least let me vent my frustrations! Sheesh, I wanted to get the small feudal lords back, but now look what!”
When Mira saw Vilan unable to understand, she grit her teeth .
“I don’t know why, but somehow someway, the message I sent to the small feudal lords was tampered with! Someone must’ve done this… Hmm?”
Mira puffed her cheeks in displeasure as she went on a rant, but then she suddenly stopped and became thoughtful as if she’d realized something .
“Is something the matter?” Vilan asked .
“Hey, Vil . The monsters are oppressing the small feudal lords, right?” Mira asked .
“Yes . Those who participated in the Battle of Kruzel confirmed it, a giant goblin no one has seen before . ”
“Wasn’t there a clan residing with the small feudal lords?”
“Erm… Yes, if I recall correctly, it should be the Leon Heart Clan . They’re a giant merc clan on par with the Valkyuria . Their main headquarters is situated in the east, however . Supposedly, they’re only with the feudal lords because they were hired . ”
Mira, who had stopped listening to Vilan midway, had her hand by her mouth as she muttered to herself .
“Could it be? Could it really be?
As she made up her mind, she turned to Vilan .
“Investigate the financial state of the Leon Heart Clan! You can at least get that much info, right?”
“Yes . It shouldn’t take long . ”
Vilan, who was chased out by Mira, came back after some time with the documents pertaining to the Leon Heart Clan’s financial situation on hand .
When Mira saw the documents, she nodded her head and said ‘I knew it’ to herself before falling back into silence .
“Is something the matter with the Leon Heart Clan?”
Mira smiled complacently at the poor Vilan who still couldn’t follow .
“The chaos in the south is because of the Leon Heart Clan . They colluded with the goblins and tricked the small feudal lords . ”
“…You’re kidding, right? Their main headquarters is in the east . ”
“It’s just a conjecture, but the odds are high . Don’t you see anything after seeing these documents?”
“Not particularly? I mean it looks fine to me . ”
“Exactly! It looks too good! The Red King Clan and the Elks Clan are battling for influence in the east right now . So just how in the world are they able to remain unaffected despite that?”
“But, no… Could it be? Are they looking to move?”
“Looks like your head is finally working . That’s right . They’re looking for a new base, and it’s because of that that they met the goblins . ”
“But those are monsters . ”
“And yet they are fearfully organized . ”
As the two gazed into each other’s eyes up close, they came to a realization . This enemy is dangerous .
“But we can’t touch them for now . Germion Kingdom is acting suspiciously . ”
“Are you talking about the holy knights, Sivara and Jize? They’re probably just there to keep things in check . ”
“And by keep in check, that’s the refugees, of course . But do you really they can suppress them? When I can send out 20,000 soldiers?”
“That many would take us 10 days, though . ”
The Kushain Believers have many enemies . They were enemies with the Ashunasan Alliance because of Benem’s holy war . They were also enemies with Germion Kingdom, and have been for a long time now . They were also enemies with the goblins because they killed their patriarch .
What they currently needed was time, as well as a partner who would be willing to work with them .
“We’ll scheme against the Leon Heart Clan . But I’m also interested in the goblins, so make sure to gather intel on them too . ”
“As you command . ”
Just when Vilan was about to leave, word came that a messenger had come .
“Who is it?” Mira asked .
“A messenger from Elrain Kingdom,” reported by the guard .
Mira and Vilan looked at each other .
“Good heavens! Why did a person like that have to come now!?”
Mira’s poor behavior continued a little longer . When she finally calmed down, she received the messenger . At that time, she was already wearing her saintly mask .
“King Yuguno of Elrain Kingdom is worried about the current situation,” the messenger said .
Mira listened to the messenger with a smile as he spoke for a long time .
The messenger had come with a demand to surrender .
Mira tried to probe the messenger how much they knew, but of course, she still refused to surrender at the end of the audience . What was most noteworthy for her was Elrain Kingdom mentioning the movements of Germion Kingdom .
“Just how far are they scheming, I wonder . ”
The goal of the Kushain Believers was to suppress their surrounding enemies and unify the south .
There was a slight chance of success were she to repeat what the late patriarch, Benem Nemush, did, and mobilized countless soldiers under the excuse of a holy war, but with 4 major powers in play, the odds of getting hit from behind was almost guaranteed .
Vilan could hold one line, but Mira could not think of anyone else she could rely on were she to try and hold two lines at the same time .
That being said, the same should also apply to the other forces . They may be able to hold one war, but a second war at the same time should be impossible .
“It’s unfortunate, but it seems we’ll have to quietly watch for now . ”
As Mira muttered that to herself, spiritless, she sent Vilan to the northern side to deal with Germion Kingdom . As for the goblins to the west and Elrain Kingdom to the south, she decided to just watch for now .
She snorted in displeasure as she fiddled with her dazzling golden hair .
Since Elrain Kingdom asked her to surrender, they should be up to something . Perhaps they intend to attack Cultidian, or perhaps it’s Pena, or even the goblins .
She had plans in place in case of an attack . And in the case another force interfered, she could hit them from the back . She had plenty of spies in Fatina, so she was able to tell Elrain Kingdom’s movements .
“Hmph . Just watch,” Mira muttered out of spite to no one in particular as she emptied her cup of black tea .
She decided in her heart to strike Elrain Kingdom – which was now controlled by the Red King – from the back if they moved .
The black tea was faintly sweet .
The merchant country of Pena proactively spread its influence to the north .
When the Goblin King found out, he called back the forces he’d sent to the Kushain Believers .
Gi Za Zakuend also came back with 400 new goblin soldiers after the trouble in the western region was concluded, bringing with him word that Gi Gu Verbena, who had gone to the unexplored territories, was on his way back with new forces .
About 2,500 soldiers currently gathered under the Goblin King’s banner .
Given time that number would only grow bigger as the Goblin King rendezvoused with Gi Gu’s forces .
The Goblin King immediately called for a war council with the goblins, the elves, and Zaurosh .
“The reason behind Pena’s expansion are those sand horses of theirs that can move freely through the desert . They’ve already expanded beyond the city states of the late Protea Faction and are continuing to expand north,” Zaurosh said .
The Goblin King quietly listened to the intel of the Leon Heart Clan .
“Leading them are the leader of the Blue Knights, Aizas, and his second-in-command, Allen . It’s the perfect lineup,” Zaurosh continued .
“I don’t suppose he’d do something dumb and try to split his forces,” the Goblin King said .
Zaurosh nodded . “Though young he’s already grasped the art of war . There are roughly 3,000 elites within the Blue Knights that he leads . At this rate, it’s only a matter of days before they attack Razuel . ”
“We can’t leave the small feudal lords to fend for themselves . We must meet their forces!”
The Goblin King wanted to rendezvous with Gi Gu first, but unfortunately, the small feudal lords swore fealty to him precisely because they expect him to protect their lands . He had to meet their forces .
“Inform Gi Gu . ”
The Goblin King sent out a messenger to inform Gi Gu of their meeting point .
“We need to cripple their mobility,” Gi Za advised .
The Goblin King nodded . “The battlefield is a flatland . The perfect place for soldiers with high mobility to exhibit their strength . In that case, we’ll use the dark of the night, then without giving them any room to breathe, crush them until they’re wiped out! Gi Jii Arsil!”
“Yes, Your Majesty!” Gi Jii answered the king’s call .
“Move out ahead of our forces and find the enemy . Keep contact with them to a minimum . Once you’ve confirmed their position, contact us, but do not touch the enemy . ” The Goblin King said .
“As you will,” Gi Jii replied .
The Goblin King turned his eyes away from the running Gi Jii and gave out his next orders .
“Keep your respective platoons apart and prepare for the enemy’s attack . If Gi Jii fails to find the enemy in time, we’ll be the ones on the receiving end of a surprise attack . Stay vigilant and focus on cooperating with each other!” The Goblin King said .
Th commander goblins nodded to the king’s words and bowed .
“Now, go! Trample upon the invaders and bring peace upon these lands!”
“Fatina’s forces have reached the outskirts of Cultidian!” A soldier reported .
The saint, Mira, raised the corner of her eyes .
The influential people of Cultidian were gathered around her .
“…Their numbers? Do they have siege weapons?” Mira calmly asked as she kept her emotions from leaking .
“Approximately 10,000… We can see the banner of Brandika’s Red King, but we can’t see any siege weapons!” The soldier answered .
“…They got us,” Mira said as she clicked her tongue, but no one heard her . That was what she truly felt, but that quiet annoyance of hers vanished in the midst of all the commotion .
It’s been 3 days since she sent out her greatest trump card, Vilan Do Zul, in response to Germion Kingdom’s suspicious movements . She was able to send out 20,000 soldiers without any fears because her spies at Fatina said nothing was amiss .
Fatina and Cultidian were both giant cities with a population of over 300,000 and focused on agriculture . They could conscript their farmers whenever to make their armies, but that required time .
Because of that she believed that as long as her spies could inform her beforehand, she would be able to respond to any threat from Fatina, so she was more concerned about the goblins to the west and Elrain Kingdom to the south .
Unfortunately, her excellent mind allowed her to fall right into the enemy’s trap .
All of this was according to the schemes thought up by the Red King . That included figuring out Elrain Kingdom’s movements, dealing with them, and allowing Mira’s spies to roam freely .
“Played like a fiddle…”
Saint Mira curled her hands into a fist away from eyes .
The army from Fatina probably intended to restrict the Kushain Believer’s movements .
The fact they didn’t bring siege weapons with them was proof of that .
It was as if the enemy knew that she’d intended to strike from behind that they brazenly showed off the might of their forces . Seeing that, Saint Mira deeply regretted .
Sending her forces out thinking she was safe only to have the enemy’s army by her footsteps all of the sudden was the very definition of taking someone by surprise .
This was a huge blunder .
“Let the people of Cultidian know that the soldiers of Elrain Kingdom have not come to invade our lands but to help subjugate the monsters,” Mira said .
A cardinal bowed his head and left .
“An unprecedented response, but with this, the people should calm down . ”
The influential people looked at her gently, but Mira was spitting internally at them .
This was a message to the spies of the Leon Heart Clan within Cultidian .
Chances were that even if they sent messengers to the border lands, they still wouldn’t be able to overtake the march of the Red King .
It was also necessary to reorganize the spies at Fatina .
Mira would never forgive the fact that her spies had just been put to waste . This was her spitting back at the Red King .
“But, of course… The Kushain Faith exists for the peace of the people . ”
Saint Mira smiled sweetly like an angel .
Not one person among the influential people knew of the poison brewing behind that innocent smile .
After essentially securing Elrain Kingdom, the Red King set their sights on the merchant country of Pena next . The Kushain Believers to the north may have indeed stopped the upper brass of the old Elrain Kingdom, but they were able to stop them by using Germion Kingdom as a wedge .
The relationship between the Free Cities and Germion Kingdom that have been fighting for so long was not something that could so easily be fixed .
“Germion Kingdom is indifferent to the Kushain Believers, but if we make use of the refugees, we should be able to seal the north’s movements,” Carlion explained .
The upper brass of the Red King Clan, which now held a country, all nodded .
“Next, we should aim for the wealth of the merchant country, Pena . The day we take Pena is the day we take the south… Well, more or less . ”
Elrain Kingdom’s crops and Pena’s taxes . If they could have both, they would be able to exert their dominance over the south .
“But didn’t you just form an alliance with Pena?” Saldin asked .
Carlion nodded . “Yes, to deal with the monsters and the Kushain Believers . ”
“Wouldn’t it be bad if we attacked them despite being allies? We’ll be known as traitors,” the old enchanter, Grave, added .
Carlion nodded . “Which is why we’ll also be sending our forces to the goblins lording over the borderlands . ”
“So we’ll be fighting them with Pena?”
“Yes, on the surface . ”
“What do you mean?”
“We’ll be leaking intel to the goblins about Pena’s movements . ”
When Carlion said that, everyone in the room glanced at each other .
“According to our spies, they have elves too other than goblins,” Carlion said .
“But, that’s…” Saldin spoke .
But Carlion ignored him and continued . “According to our spies in Germion Kingdom, the monsters excel in surprise attacks . But of course, that’s to be expected . After all, they are denizens of the night and boast of physical faculties beyond that of us humans . ”
“If the elves are with them, then they won’t fight to the bitter end . That betters their odds a little . We should expect a surprise attack from them, but… how big is their cavalry? Do they even have one?”
“We don’t know . Even if they have one, it shouldn’t be anything considerable . It’s doubtful they’d be able to stand toe-to-toe with the Blue Knights,” Carlion said .
“So you want to instigate the goblins to attack Pena, and while they’re being attacked, you want us to attack?” Brandika asked, causing everyone in the room to finally understand Carlion’s intentions .
“Yes . We’re putting out bait for the wolves to fight over so we can claim the prize without effort . ” Carlion confirmed .
“That would require they be kept in the dark of our movements, however,” Grave said .
Carlion replied . “Ah, you needn’t worry about that . I”ve already asked Cell . Our intelligence is far better than theirs . ”
“Good, then . Everyone understands the plan?” Brandika asked .
The people replied with a ferocious yes .
“Let’s go, genius adviser . If we lose, we’ll have a good laugh!”
Spirits high, Brandika departed with the Red King Clan .
Because of Carlion’s schemes, the Red King Clan was able to move a step ahead than any other power .
“Ahh, by the way, Carlion . ”
“About Germion Kingdom… Since you’re going to anyway, you might as well make a big fuzz about the alliance . ”
“…Ah, you want to use Fatina as bait?”
Carlion placed his hand by his mouth .
Brandika smiled fiercely . “Nah, I mean Cultidian . ”
When Carlion stared blankly for a moment, Brandika laughed wholeheartedly, then he left Carlion, riding out into the north with his cavalry .
“As you will . ”
Carlion deeply bowed his head .
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