VOLUME 3: CHAPTER 192 – SWAYING SCALES (1/2)
The territory of Shirak that had assumed formation was strangely quiet .
The Kushain Believers had also assumed formation, but neither them nor the goblins attacked . Both forces just kept formation and quietly watched each other .
In the goblin’s side, it was a relatively simple situation . They couldn’t attack because they didn’t have enough soldiers . After all, not even the Goblin King expected that the enemy would bring over 30,000 soldiers .
When the goblin king found out from the Leon Heart Clan how big the enemy’s army was, even he ended up with a cramping face as he quietly glared toward the east . His expression only grew worse as they started this staring match with the enemy .
Moreover, with order being maintained despite the size of the enemy’s forces, there had to be a skilled general on their side, so without any openings, the goblin king could only fortify his defenses .
The goblin king also expanded the scope of his intel . He did this partly because he was curious about Elrain Kingdom’s movements, or more specifically, he was curious about what the Red King was doing . Recently, the Red King has expanded rapidly and was currently watching their face off against the Kushain Believers from the side, but it was doubtful that the Red King would remain a mere spectator .
So while his forces and the Kushain Believers’ were glaring at each other, he had sent people to monitor the movements of the south of the border region . At the same time, he also had to make sure that they had a path of retreat .
Of course, it was important to believe that they could win, and perhaps, if he were just a general, he could have afforded to think just that, but as a king to many races, he had to consider the worst case scenario . The Goblin King has never overestimated his own abilities . Winning and losing was normal to soldiers, after all . He knew full well that there was no such thing as an invincible army .
Just look at the holy knights of Germion Kingdom or the knight commander of the Blue Knights that they fought just recently . There were also those adventurers who were so strong that their strength was said to be legendary . But no matter how strong one is individually, the moment one leads an army, victory and defeat becomes uncertain .
Even kings, nobles, and tacticians that have received training would consider their path of retreat . What more someone like him who was not particularly blessed in the art of war? He had no choice but to proceed with as much caution as possible . King must always ensure that they had a path of retreat open .
Of course, he didn’t want to lose . No one wanted that .
The Goblin King himself was also a ferocious warrior who has stood in front of his brethren and lived through countless battles . He naturally possessed the pride from living through those wars . And the number of times his life has been put in danger was more than the number of fingers he had . But even then he still had to secure a path of retreat .
The Goblin King stifled his desire to win as he ordered Gi Za Zakuend to secure a path of retreat .
“Understood,” Gi Za Zakuend replied . As the king’s trusted retainer, he could see full well just how much the king was struggling, so he didn’t say any more and just carried out his order .
The questions were how far the enemy would be willing to chase after them and how much their allies should prepare to be able to escape .
The Goblin King also didn’t want to leave his soldiers idle while they were stuck at a staring match like this, so he ordered the army to assume formation right in front of the military camp that only had fences, while the soldiers behind them steadily expanded the military camp . It was reckless to build right in front of the enemy, but the Goblin King intentionally gave that order .
One reason was because if they didn’t do anything they were bound to lose .
The other reason was because the enemy hasn’t attacked despite facing off against them for so long .
The Goblin King had asked Zaurosh to figure out what was going on within the ranks of the Kushain Believers, but unfortunately, they still remained in the dark on why they refused to attack . At the very least, they could infer that the Kushain Believers were moving according to the wishes of the new patriarch . As for how they arrived to that conclusion, that was because there was no hesitation in the Kushain Believers .
But regardless whether they were scared of incurring losses or were scheming something, the Goblin King could see that they intended to keep this situation for a long time .
“My lord, we have completed the northern moat . With this we have almost completely surrounded the military camp . ”
“Good, build a second layer of fences next . Make it so that they can’t pass through them even if they were to attack . ”
“As you will . ”
The Goblin King was still a beginner when it came to defensive battles, so he tried to pull every trick he could, including the pitfalls he used against the orcs . He also had fences, abatises, deep moats, and sharp traps affixed to trees built . All sorts of stuff .
The goblins and the Kushain Believers continued to glare at each other for 10 days when word from Zaurosh came .
Elrain Kingdom has made their move!
The Goblin King wanted to click his tongue, but he kept those feelings at bay as he resolved himself to withdraw his army .
“Should we send a messenger?”
But the problem was the Kushain Believers . Did they pull strings to get the southern Elrain Kingdom to move, or were they working together? Or perhaps it was the opposite . It was also possible that this was merely a coincidence, but regardless, the Goblin King was at a loss .
If they were all humans, then the enemy would surely send a messenger at this point in time, but unfortunately, they were goblins . Although they had elves in their ranks, they were basically a horde of monsters .
It was curious if the humans would even bother negotiating with them .
Although the Goblin King could no longer feel that mad zeal from the Kushain Believers, he was still guilty of cutting down their late patriarch without a word .
It was probable that if he sent a messenger, the messenger would return with only his head . The Goblin King was at his wit’s end .
“In that case, shall I go?” Zaurosh, who he had gone to for consultation, said .
The Goblin King was shocked .
“This may be an army of goblins, but I am currently employed by the feudal lords of Shirak . In one sense, we are merely being occupied, so I don’t believe they would react so negatively . ”
“But it would be a different story if they’ve already figured out the situation . ”
Whether Zaurosh thought it was a good thing for the Goblin King not to tell him to recklessly go or not, he spoke again after thinking a little .
“Although it’s embarrassing for me to admit it, the Kushain Believers and the Red King both possess a greater ability to gather intel than us . They probably already know our situation . ”
“I see,” the Goblin King replied as he became thoughtful .
Zaurosh continued .
“If I may be so bold, King of Goblins, please do not fear losing your men . There are times when a king must order his men to go despite the risk . It is precisely in such times that your retainers will be able to prove their worth . ”
The Goblin King quietly thought for a moment .
From time to time, the Goblin King had a gentleness to him that would dull his resolve to become king . The fact that Zaurosh was able to see through that was a testament to his foresight, but at the same time, the advice he gave was also given as someone who was leading a clan of humans and demihumans himself . Right now, the Goblin King’s actions would only confuse his retainers and make him look weak .
“…I see . That was good advice,” the Goblin King muttered to himself as if in self-derision, then he looked Zaurosh straight in the eye .
“Zaurosh,” the Goblin King said .
“Yes, Your Majesty?” Zaurosh replied .
“I want you to stake your life for the sake of the army . ”
Zaurosh bowed in response to the Goblin King’s blunt order .
Vilan Do Zul, who managed the Kushain Believers all by himself, was able to sense Elrain Kingdom’s movements earlier than the goblins . Not long after that, he got word from a messenger that some people from the goblins’ side had come out waving a white flag and surrendered .
He was an understanding boss, so without hesitation, he immediately ordered the commanding officers of the entire army to head south .
“We’ve already pushed them so far, though . Don’t you think it’s a waste?” Some of the commanding officers said .
But they too knew that Vilan’s orders, which were from Saint Mira herself, were a priority, so they didn’t openly refuse the order . But more than Saint Mira’s name was Vilan’s achievement of defeating Elrain Kingdom in the last battle . Despite so many of the bigwigs of the Kushain Believers struggling in the last battle, this youth before them had risen to fame . Currently, the influence this youth possessed was too great to ignore .
But be that as it may, there were still those who opposed the idea .
Perhaps, the commanding officers who were directly under Vilan wouldn’t dare, but what of the staff officers with the same rank as Vilan who would end up with no opportunity for achievements were they to follow Vilan and the matriarch, Mira?
“While it’s true that we might win if we push the goblins further, but the goal of our expedition is first and foremost to secure the border cities, and the second goal is to suppress the expanding Elrain Kingdom,” Vilan said, pausing for one moment to take a breather before continuing . “The goblins will also most likely head south after finishing up the battle here . All we need to do is to watch from the sidelines as the goblins and the Elrain Kingdom kill each other . ”
“I see . So, in other words, we can join the battle depending on the situation . ”
The staff officers nodded unanimously, but Vilan’s attention was elsewhere .
Where would the battle take play? How long before it starts? How fast could they carry their cargo? How many soldiers will they need? Which weapons? How much food…
Vilan Do Zul was a calm and collected young man known for his persistence . As proof of his skills, he would send just enough of his people at the right place and only when needed .
The Kushain Believers had more soldiers than the goblins and the Red King; hence, there was no need to pull any tricks . He would defeat them with the raw might of numbers .
Without the knowing of the goblins nor the people of Germion Kingdom, a successor to the old dream of Gowen Ranid – to become a peerless tactician – had appeared .
In the end, both sides’ expectation happened . The goblins and the Kushain Believers agreed not to attack each other, and then the goblins took their army and headed south .
From the perspective of the humans, the goblins were attacking fiercely, but from the goblins’ perspective, they were retreating and were wary of being attacked from behind .
Everything happened just as the Kushain Believers wanted it to go . And although they had agreed to a ceasefire with the goblins, they had no intention of keeping it to the very end . For one, the world was currently in chaos . But other than that, the goblins weren’t even humans . What betrayal? What breach of contract? No one would accuse them of such . If the goblins can’t make them keep the ceasefire, then that only means they weren’t strong enough .
The Kushain Believers gently chased after the goblins as they too moved south .
When the Goblin King confirmed that they weren’t being pursued, he told Felbi to catch up later since they wouldn’t be able to keep up with them, then he moved at full speed with his goblins .
A distance that would have taken the humans 5 days took the goblins only 2 days . As soon as they reached Razuel, they started building a military camp again .
The Goblin King decided he would stop Elrain Kingdom here . Unless they fight at least once, the maneuvering of the various powers will never stop . After all, they themselves probably couldn’t attack even if they wanted to when things were peaceful .
As the battlefield developed according to the predictions of the Goblin King, he sent out Gi Ji Arsil and his group of assassins .
As for the Goblin King, he stayed behind to watch over the construction of the military camp .
“The humans will probably come in droves once they attack . We’ll have the monster beasts go underground and take them by the legs . ”
After receiving the king’s instructions, Gi Ji Arsil gave orders to his own men . And when they had formed three man cells, they each went their own way, keeping their eyes peeled for any monsters that may be lurking in the grass-covered plains .
“Dig those moats deeper! Erect those fences! Don’t let the bastards near our home!”
The Goblin King sent one order after another to his subordinates .
The goblins cut the trees from the nearby forest and used them to erect fences . They used their sharp nails and strong muscles to lift up rocks from the ground and dig holes .
The goblins did not have tools, so they had no choice but to use whatever they could . They would use their iron helmets to scoop the earth . They would take off their armor, combine it with some wooden rods, and use them in place of straw baskets . And while the goblins were hard at work, the Goblin King desperately pestered them to work even faster .
And perhaps his unceasing pestering was of good, after all, for when Gi Ji Arsil came back after catching a whiff of the enemy’s trail, the military camp was already ready . Of course, it was crudely built .
“Good . Is Hal here!?” The Goblin King called for the Paradua’s chief, Hal, and personally gave him his orders .
“Attack the enemy cavalry and lure them here!”
“As you command . ”
Hal was elated to receive a mission directly from the king . He rode upon his black tiger in high spirits and led his tribe through the grass-covered plains .
After he left, the Goblin King ordered the goblins to fortify the camp, then he looked at his surroundings . He had to prepare ways for when the enemy attacks them . Unfortunately, time was running out .
“King of Goblins,” Zaurosh called out to the king, who was currently examining the surroundings . “Lord Felbi and his elves have arrived . ”
“I see,” the Goblin King replied .
In the next moment, Zaurosh knelt before the Goblin King, causing the latter to raise his brows .
“What are you doing?” The Goblin King asked .
“If you can, please send me to battle,” Zaurosh said .
This was all too favorable for the Goblin King, but why? Why would the Leon Heart Clan wish to put themselves in harm’s way? The Goblin King also had far less soldiers compared to the other powers .
“Your Majesty is right to be confused, but at this rate, the Red King will conquer the south, and when that happens, I and my brethren will have nowhere to go . ”
I see, the Goblin King thought, but he still wasn’t convinced . If Zaurosh were to make a stand with them here, it will become harder to gather intelligence on the human armies later . And as for them, they will never be able to go back to the human world .
“…You ask this of me knowing full well the consequences?”
“Yes . ”
“Then I won’t say any more . I welcome you as a friend . Let’s fight a good war . ”
“We will fight with all of our strength and meet Your Majesty’s expectations . ”
Zaurosh bowed deeply to the Goblin King and left, then he sent a message to the guards accompanying the feudal lords . The contents of that message were as follows: The Kushain Believers have seen through our collusion with the goblins . They want to hire us in exchange for their silence .
2 days later . Zaurosh stood before a Leon Heart Clan that was ready for war .
“I’m sorry, but this it . The scheming, the lying, the hiding! All of it is over! All we have left is this battle! Our survival and the survival of our comrades to the east now rest upon your shoulders!”
Before the Leon Heart Clan had gathered here, Zaurosh negotiated with the Goblin King regarding their renumeration . As a result, whether today ends in victory or defeat, they will stand with the goblins as equals .
“For our loyalty!”
As Zaurosh brandished his sword, the Leon Heart Clan howled as one .
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