VOLUME 3: CHAPTER 198 – A BLOW TO TURN THE TIDES (1/3)
The Goblin King’s decision to rush into the north in one fell swoop was not made out of recklessness or ignorance . It was a decision made after gathering as much information he could and comparing his army’s strength with the enemy’s, where he then realized that the only path to victory was a powerful attack .
The army of 15,000 from Fatina has surrounded the Kushain believers and has kept the situation in a half deadlock state . The army from Fatina then built up walls toward both the Kushain believers and the goblins . They seemed to be wary of the goblins attack . But what really forced the king to make a decision was when he received a report that the army from Elrain Kingdom was approaching from behind .
They too numbered 15,000 .
They were led by the archduke, Brandika; the last authority of the kingdom, Kanash; the guest general from the Flying Swallow clan, Wyatt; and Saldin, who had been freed from his house arrest and was now in search of vengeance for his previous defeat . It was a force consisting of the Red King clan’s full strength . On top of that, they showed no signs of trying to hide their presence . It was almost as if they wanted everyone to know that they were chasing after the goblins .
When the goblin king received that information, he immediately felt that the odds of winning were low . The enemy altogether was a colossal army of 30,000 men . Right now, the Goblin King had barely more than 4,000 soldiers . On top of that the enemy was the Red King, who could be considered exceptional among the humans . His ability to lead his people should be as terrifying as the rumors .
If they were to clash against that head on, they would surely be wiped out .
Should he retreat?
If he did that, then the Kushain Believers were sure to fall, and the Red King would soon extend its hands for the border lands . Alternatively, if those 15,000 soldiers were to go for the border lands right now, then the odds of winning would become even lower .
They had no choice but to fight .
The Goblin King believed that the Red King was after Cultidian . At the same time, he also understood that this war was essentially a battle to allow the Kushain Believers to survive .
Hence, there was no reason to clash with the Red King directly .
If he could just attack the forces from Fatina, and drive them far enough so that they can’t keep up their encirclement, then he should be able to leave without any future problems .
The Goblin King has been preparing with that plan in mind . Although the forces from Fatina have managed to secure a powerful defensive position, it had one weakness: the Kushain Believers and the goblins could attack it from both sides .
Try as they might to fortify their defenses, after trying to cover the holy city of Cultidian, which once was home to over 300,000 people, they would undoubtedly have a place of weakness .
And just as the Goblin King thought, the encirclement toward the north was weak . Of course, it was only weak relative to the other sides of the encirclement . It’s probably because they’re too anxious over the goblins that the defense in the north became weaker, the Goblin King believed .
On top of that, the Goblin King also had no choice but to believe that Saint Mira understood that .
It was simply not possible for the Goblin King to gather all information, so he had no choice but to gamble on the calibre of the new Kushain matriarch who decided to ally with them .
“Hide beneath the shadowed veil of the night and break free the northern encirclement!” The Goblin King commanded .
The goblins nodded in response as they drew their weapons and ran .
Fortune seemed to favor the goblins, for the twin moons of Navi and Ervi that ever dazzled in the sacred night, were hidden behind heavy clouds .
“The night is our hour . Gi Ji, Gi Gu, make the most of it!” The Goblin King said .
“HA!” Gi Ji replied .
“As you command!” Gi Gu replied .
As the goblin king gave his orders, they passed by the enemy’s trap . The way they dodged the trap laid by the enemy was truly nothing short of marvellous, and it was all thanks to these two goblins, who excelled in scouting and trap-making .
To the goblins who could see in the night, traps like pitfalls were meaningless . Gi Ji and Gi Gu led their respective hordes as the goblins approached the enemy .
Under the cover of the night, the attack of the goblins went unnoticed until they touched the fences and Gi Ji had lopped off the head of a patrolling soldier .
That soldier cried out to alert his allies with the last of his strength, revealing the intrusion of the goblins, but it was already too late, for the goblins had already broken through .
“Kill all who resist!” Gi Gu Verbena commanded .
His subordinates took his words to heart as they attacked the human forces .
Within the wings of the night goddess, Verdna, who was under the rule of the night god, Ya Jansu, the curtains over a struggle of life and death were drawn .
Carlion woke up in the dead of the night after hearing something .
He felt chills coming down his spine and the weight of the air seemed to stick to his skin . He strained his eyes toward the unexpected darkness .
“This feeling… It’s war . ” [Carlion]
According to Carlion’s predictions, the goblins won’t be coming for another 2 days . They shouldn’t be here just yet . They may have formed an alliance, but the goblins should still be fighting in the south . And while they might appear to be clever for goblins, someone smart was probably leading them .
Carlion got off his bed and was shocked to find how cold the floor was .
“Carlion!” A voice called out .
Just as Carlion had finished dressing himself, Cell came barging in .
“Are we under attack?” Carlion asked .
“It’s the goblins . They came a lot faster than expected,” Cell said .
Cell seemed to calm down as they talked, for by the time she said that last sentence, she was no longer so hurried .
Carlion nodded and asked her to escort him .
“It seems the goblins are pretty good . No, it would be problematic if I were to think of them as the same as your usual goblins . ”
Carlion walked as he received the various reports coming from every direction . At the same time, he also gave orders .
“You can abandon up to the 3rd section to the north . We’ll defend the 4th section, so buy some time . Lord Glenn shall take command . ”
Three sections to the north have already fallen to the goblins .
Carlion had divided this excessively long formation into 24 sections, starting at 1 from the north all the way back to the north at 24 . The fact that the goblins were easily able to take out three sections meant that their threat level needed to be increased by one .
“You can fight back as soon as you see them . We have the advantage in numbers, so please use that to form a defensive wall . Cell can defend the main formation with just her platoon . Lord Cassadora please bring your platoon to defend the fourth district too . ”
Carlion climbed a tall watchtower and surveyed section 4 as the watch fires illuminated it .
“Are you planning to break the common sense of human warfare, goblins? But regardless, I’m not about to lose here .
Send a messenger to every direction… Let them know that in 2 days, this battle shall end . ”
Cell nodded and asked .
“Should the soldiers fight to the last?”
“No . Tell them to come back alive . ”
As Cell’s presence vanished in the darkness, Carlion coughed and wryly smiled .
“Did she notice?”
As Carlion’s cough became more intense, he covered his mouth with his hand .
When he looked at his shaking hand, blood could be seen on it .
“…But we’re at the critical point right now, so please… For the sake of the king’s dominion, for the sake of my dream, please… Just wait a little bit more . ”
As he felt his own death looming, the tactician fearlessly smiled .
In response to the surprise attack in the dead of the night, Carlion immediately led his soldiers to fortify their defenses . The quickness of their response was just as one would expect from the self-selected platoon of the genius tactician . Despite that, however, the momentum of the goblins was terrifying .
The Goblin King, Rashka the very embodiment of violence, and Gi Zu Ruo the mad dragon . The ability of these goblins to break through was nothing short of terrifying as wrecked everything in their path .
The goblins continued their surprise attack from evening until morning, and by the end, of the 15,000 soldiers, 1,000 have already been sent to the underworld, and that number continued to increase .
Compared to them, the losses on the goblins’ side could be counted with one’s hands .
Hence, there was no doubting that the victor of the night attack was the goblins .
Half a day passed since the goblins initiated their surprise attack .
Around the time when the sun was climbing up the sky, dull clouds covered the azure sky, and it seemed as if the heavens could cry at any time . It was at such a time that the Kushain believers could finally see the fierce battle unfolding .
It was here that the Saint Mira gave a command .
“Coordinate with the goblins and break through the enemies . ”
At her behest, almost all of the soldiers of the Kushain believers left to attack, leaving behind only 3,000 soldiers to defend . It was a strategy one wouldn’t expect from someone who has been hiding behind her walls all this time . Her resolve could clearly be felt from this attack .
“We must break the enemy formation before the Red King arrives with reinforcements from Elrain Kingdom . If they get here with this formation in tact, we will lose!”
According to a captured soldier she interrogated, the reinforcements would be arriving in 2 days . They had to break the formation by then or the battle would quickly turn for the worse . That was true for the Kushain believers too .
Because of Saint Mira’s resolve, the Kushain believers fought fiercely, and the battlefield was enlivened once more .
The Kushain believers moved in concert with the goblins, who encroached into the enemy camp, and attacked as well .
Atop the defensive towers of Cultidian were onagers and ballistae . Stones shot from the onagers in the defensive towers of Cultidian, laying waste to the many traps and fences of the enemy camp, then the many Cultidian Believers, who outnumbered the enemy, cried out their battle cry and attacked directly .
After being encouraged by Saint Mira, their resolve was higher than ever . The Kushain believers charged into the fray without regard for the descending arrows or the traps left behind .
When the enemy saw the Kushain believers’ great momentum, their faces paled, and they immediately thought that they would surely lose, but it was then that the genius tactician showed his strategy’s godlike brilliance .
“Oil and fire to the Kushain believers . As for the goblins, keep them away with an endless barrage of arrows!”
The forces of the Red King poured a flood of oil toward the Kushain believers .
With the floor slippery, the Kushain believers lost their footing, and were promptly set aflame as a fire arrow lit the oil flood .
The Kushain believers screamed in agony as their bodies were burnt to a crisp .
“Lord Glenn has perished! The goblins aren’t stopping!”
When the messenger reported that to Carlion, he gave another order .
“Move the soldiers positioned in the south to the north . And send out the cavalries to take the goblins from behind! The commander shall be Lord Kionel!”
Although the situation continued to escalate, Carlion only smiled as he analyzed the situation .
The reason the goblins couldn’t be stopped was because they had been fighting within the narrow spaces of Carlion’s military camp . As such, there were less avenues to attack, allowing the goblins to both recover and attack effectively .
They would bring a fresh batch of soldiers to the front, then bring their tired ones to the back . With that giant goblin at the center and the goblins around him maintaining their momentum, they are able to both attack and recover at the same time .
In that case, all they need to do is to attack the resting goblins .
“The difference in numbers isn’t so easily overcome, goblins . Especially, when the one you’re fighting is none other than the genius tactician of the Red King himself,” Carlion muttered as he watched the Goblin King swing his great sword .
“Archers, high-angle fire . Your target: the goblins at the back of their formation . Mages, concentrate your attack at the enemy’s left flank . Time your attacks with the cavalry’s charge and cover those goblins in spells and arrows without missing a single beat!”
As the spearmen desperately tried to defend against the goblins, the archers behind drew their bows and shot toward the cloudy sky . The volley of arrows shot high up, then as they fell back down, they landed right at the back of the goblins’ charge .
For a moment, the Goblin turned to glance back at the goblins behind .
As the goblins’ charge slowed down, the mages casted their spells .
Within the confined space of the defensive camp, wild bullets of flames shot forth toward the left flank of the goblins .
The goblins screamed and writhed as they burned . It was only for a short while, but with that the mages were also able to delay the goblins a little .
The commander at the scene quickly responded to the resulting imbalance caused by the two recent attacks, and he immediately attacked the right flank of the goblins from the side . Then after killing a bunch of goblins, immediately went back into the hedgehog defensive formation .
After repeating that pattern twice, Carlion was able to set a rhythm .
Whenever the goblins think they’re about to get hit, they will reflexively slow down due to anticipation .
In this way, they will be able to avoid the onslaught of the goblins’ charge, while causing much disturbance to their weakened soldiers . To make things worse, the cavalry will even start preying upon their weakened soldiers at the back .
The Goblin King clicked his tongue as he allocated some soldiers to deal with the cavalry from behind . He ordered Ra Gilmi Fishing and his platoon to move from the right flank to the back .
But that was exactly what Carlion was waiting for .
As the goblins’ front-line weakened, e ordered his casters and archers to concentrate fire .
The force behind that unrelenting volley was one that would make even the Goblin King himself think twice .
As the goblins’ charge slowed down, Carlion suddenly retreated from the frontlines and abandoned the fourth section .
“You’re abandoning it?” Cell asked .
“Yes . The Kushain believers will be recovering soon, so…” Carlion wryly smiled and nodded .
As soon as Carlion said that, the Kushain believers’ ballista shot at the fourth section, putting a stop to the battle between the goblins, who were seemingly being pushed back, and the Red King’s forces momentarily .
The goblins have been fighting since the dead of the night, so the Goblin King ordered the really tired goblins to rest for the time being .
Although the goblins hadn’t suffered much casualties, having to run around and attack for so long still exhausted them greatly . The Goblin King originally hoped to solve their stamina problem by allowing the goblins to take turn resting, but the cavalry attacking them from behind wouldn’t let them .
Carlion took advantage of their numerical superiority and ordered his soldiers to attack relentlessly to keep the goblins from resting . The cavalry who carried out his orders and fought bravely were a sight to behold .
Thanks to them the goblins couldn’t rest properly and were forced to respond accordingly .
But that only lasted until the hour of the Night God (Ya Jansu) .
In response to the cavalry that have continually been attacking them, Ra Gilmi Fishiga led his archers to shower them with arrows .
Arrows fell like rainfall, and with no room to dodge, the cavalry had no choice but to flee far away .
Although the goblins still hadn’t rested as much as they would have liked, the Goblin King ordered them to press on as they started taking turns resting again . The wings of the Goddess of Darkness, Verdna, was a friend to the goblins .
The goblins would pop out wherever there was darkness, such as in the shadows cast by torchlights, leaving the humans greatly bewildered on how to deal with them .
As a result, the humans started responding slower and slower .
But that was exactly what the Goblin King was aiming for .
The Red King that was supposedly coming from behind had a 3 days’ distance between them and this army .
That was according to the most recent information the Goblin King got from Zaurosh, so the delay in communication also had to be taken into consideration .
The Goblin King didn’t know just how far they could push the enemy, so they had to make the most out of every second they had .
“Gi Go Amatsuki, Gi Gu Verbena! We’re charging into the enemy camp!”
The Goblin King forced himself to calm down and started attacking again .
Illuminated by the torches, the Goblin King’s visage reflected on Carlion’s eyes .
“…I suppose this much is about what you would expect from monsters . ”
As soon as he received the report, the goblins’ attack resumed once more .
From the other side of the darkness appeared a goblin swordsman who lopped off the head of a soldier, a goblin who wielded an axe and worked with other goblins to kill his enemies, and a jet-black goblin who swung his great sword around, sending soldiers flying like dry leaves despite the armor they wore .
The black of the night amplified the fear of humans .
The goblins knew that full well, which is why they took full advantage of it by appearing and retreating skillfully .
They would snuff out the torchlights, then shrouded in the veil of the dark, they would suddenly attack fiercely .
“Please prepare the crossbows . And please tell Lord Migal to come here . ”
Cell was surprised to hear Carlion say that to the messenger .
“You’re using that?” She asked .
That was a newly invented device in the form of a bow from the Holy Shushunu Kingdom .
It was new technology, so Carlion had to spend a fortune to purchase it .
“Weapons are meant to be used, right?” Carlion said .
“And what are you going to do about the loading time?”
The downside to crossbows is that they’re extremely heavy compared to bows, they take longer to reload, and their range is also shorter .
“Hundred-Man General, Migal, has arrived!”
Though it was already nighttime, the voice of the small platoon commander as he said that was as lively as ever .
Carlion taught him the three-stage attack and sent him to the frontlines .
“Like that it should certainly be possible to keep hitting them with arrows . ”
“The black of the night amplifies fear . In order to win against that, we mustn’t allow them to approach us, we must keep on attacking, and the soldiers must never be given time to think needless things . ”
Carlion had originally prepared this as a trump card against the Kushain believers, but he now had to use it here . Still, he had no regrets .
Even if Carlion’s strategies were said to be godlike, it was still really difficult to endure the attacks of the Goblin King’s monsters .
Since this was the first time he would be using the crossbow platoon, they were sure to show great results .
Even the Goblin King shouldn’t be able to easily deal with a weapon he is seeing for the first time . As such, he should have no choice but to withdraw temporarily .
But the Goblin King would betray his expectations, for he quickly found a way to deal with the crossbow platoon .
He simply picked up the human corpses that littered about on the ground and used them as meat shields as they charged onward .
Even if the crossbow platoon attacked three times . With armored corpses for meat shields, the arrows simply couldn’t break through .
When the Goblin King was near enough, he threw away the corpse and started slaughtering the crossbowmen .
The moment the barrage of crossbows weakened, Gi Go Amatsuki and the others followed the Goblin King .
Because they were able to completely avoid the weakened barrage of crossbows, the soldiers grew even more fearful .
When Carlion saw that, he was shocked .
The Goblin King had dealt with the situation too quickly .
It was almost as if he had already known about crossbows .
But surely that was impossible .
“…Goblins sure are amazing,” Carlion said .
“What are you praising your enemy for?” Cell asked .
“If possible, I’d like them to fight as a monster army under the king,” Carlion said .
“Monsters and humans can’t get along . That’s why they’re called monsters,” Cell replied .
“But they are working alongside other humans . Perhaps, not being able to coexist with them was something we merely decided on our own,” Carlion argued .
Cell fell silent, but Carlion smiled and apologized .
“Sorry, I was getting ahead of myself . That was a mean question . ”
In the dead of the night, the goblins attacked fiercely and were able to conquer all the way up to the ninth section .
The goblins have also incurred a bit more losses, but the losses on the Red King’s side have already gone past 3,000 .
This was exactly the sort of situation the Kushain believers had intended after working alongside the goblins .
No matter how amazing Carlion’s tactics were, it wasn’t possible to fight a war without losses .
The soldiers under him would also gradually grow tired .
Although they were gradually being pushed back, the forces of the Red King did not retreat too far and only moved southward within the encampment .
They had already lost nearly 4,000 soldiers, but the fact that they had yet to give the Kushain believers and the goblins a chance to wipe them out was a testament to the genius of Carlion’s tactics .
At sunrise, the attacks of the Kushain believers grew even fiercer .
Saint Mira took on a very dangerous gamble and decided to appear in the frontlines herself .
The influential among the Kushain believers tried to stop her, but her resolve was firm, and on the sunrise of the second day since the start of the battle, Mira set out .
Crowned with the title of saint, her appearance raised the morale of the Kushain believers higher than ever .
“Her holiness is watching! Don’t put on a sorry show now!”
As encouragements came from the commanders one after another, the fierce attacks of the Kushain believers began .
The goblins were attacking the south from the east, while the Kushain believers were advancing directly south from Cultidian .
Although their teamwork was only an impromptu, their attack was still fierce .
Both Mira and the Goblin King had decided that they would have no tomorrow if they couldn’t end this battle here, so they both attacked as fierce as they could, whittling down the Red King’s military camp bit by bit .
With Mira as the top brass, Vilan was free to command the army however he wished . As the forces of the Red King started to show signs of weariness, he shot an arrow toward them .
In the battlefield where arrows rained constantly, Vilan ordered his spear platoons to advance, starting a fierce battle between his spearmen and the Red King’s spearmen .
“Cavalry! The enemy is coming! Intercept them!”
After all the battles until now, Carlion predicted that the enemy’s next move would be to send the cavalries . And the enemy did just that . So, Carlion sent a force twice the enemy’s numbers .
If he could just seal their mobility, he could gain the advantage in this war .
Carlion ordered his men to forget the back and focus solely on what’s in front .
“I have received your orders!” The commander replied in an almost screaming manner .
Carlion then sent the cavalry to the southwestern encampment .
“There aren’t many soldiers there either!” His messenger argued .
“It’s fine . Trust me,” Carlion said as he forced himself to smile despite his exhaustion from all the fighting .
“The commander of the Kushain believers was Vilan Do Zul, right? That boy’s not half bad,” Carlion thought highly of the enemy commander for his precise tactics and persistence .
“But his endgame is still lacking . ”
Just as Carlion said, the cavalry of the Kushain believers that chased after the Red King’s cavalry suddenly collapsed .
“If you get heated up and forget to watch your surroundings, then you’re just second rate . ”
Those words were meant for the commander that led that cavalry, but that commander was already a corpse .
As more and more traps were set in the southeastern part of the camp, the land gradually grew more and more constrained . Around that time, the soldiers within the encampment shot their bows .
With no room left to run and arrows shooting at them, the cavalry had no choice but to suffer casualties and be forced to flee .
“They’ve passed the 10th section!”
When Carlion heard that screaming report, he turned from the cavalry and glanced at the goblins .
“They really are strong,” Carlion said .
“What now? It’s starting to look bad,” Cell said .
“We’ll move back to the 12th section . Prepare a defensive wall at the 11th section,” Carlion replied .
If they broke through this too, then half of the encirclement would have already been broken . This was how far the Red King had been driven .
Mira and Vilan weren’t about to let this opportunity to go . The matriarch that thirsted for victory and the youth whose wisdom was mustered and grew rapidly under her .
“We’ll decide it here . Everyone attack!”
At Mira’s behest, the Kushain believers desperately attacked the Red King’s encampment .
They raised up their shields to cover themselves from the rain of arrows as they jumped over the countless pitfalls and cleared away the spears that would extend out of the fences . The Kushain believers bellowed powerfully as they fought .
The battle was drawing to an end .
The forces of the Red King that have shut themselves within their encampment were being attacked from outside and inside . The long and narrow encampment of the Red King was being driven from one corner to another .
Their casualties and already gone past 5,000, and the remaining soldiers were dead tried .
“We can win,” Mira quietly muttered .
She too was getting fired up .
She had managed to outread her enemy . She had managed to outwit her foes . She had successfully ascertained when to decide the battle and saw through her enemy’s plans .
As she thought of all sorts of ways to praise herself, Mira almost found it unbearable to keep her face from turning loose .
“The reinforcements won’t arrive for another day . With the goblins’ and our momentum, we can win!”
Mira took a firm step forward .
—Unfortunately, this still isn’t enough to surpass me .
Even though it should’ve been impossible, for some reason, Mira felt like she’d heard the voice of the enemy commander .
Just as Mira was about to order all of her forces to advance, a cloud of dust could be seen gathering densely at the north . A group of cavalry was riding toward them .
“Impossible…” Mira muttered in a daze .
A spear and a shield for a flag, alongside which was another equally first rate flag of a sword designed after the wind .
“The Ripper Knight and the Storm Knight!?” Mira said with hate that couldn’t be expressed in words .
Vilan turned around when he heard Mira say that .
“Your holiness, please prepare yourself to escape! Your holiness!”
Mira couldn’t even hear Vilan’s voice as a feeling of defeat filled her .
In an instant, Carlion’s plans appeared within her mind .
The Red King had allied with Germion Kingdom and brought the people that were driven from their lands because of the holy war as reinforcements .
Using the holy wars as a pretense to wage war has finally caught up with Mira . How unfortunate that it had to occur at this critical moment .
It’s over, she thought, as defeat greeted her .
But while she was unable to respond, Vilan forcefully brought her up and entrusted her to the imperial guards .
“Retreat! I will stop them here!”
As the imperial guards entered Cultidian, the two armies clashed .
Because of Germion Kingdom’s participation, the battle at Cultidian ended .
The forces led by Gulland the Storm Knight and Sivara the Ripper Knight were mostly made up of the refuges driven from their lands because of the holy war .
Although they were only equipped with spears, with such great numbers, the difference between their strength and the goblin-Kushain forces was lethal .
Moreover, with two holy knights out of the seven joining the fray, King Ashtal had also joined the southern wars .
Behind the scenes, the Red King had promised King Ashtal Cultidian when it falls .
With this terrible turn of events, the Kushain believers and the goblins immediately decided to retreat .
The Kushain believers retreated while defending against Germion Kingdom within their walls . It seemed they would be holding up in their castle for some time to come .
As for the goblins, they had to flee while defending their pursuers from the Red King .
The goblins headed for the borderlands .
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