The snow would melt and the water would flow down the surface of the mountain . Before long, the land would drink the water and the water would flow into the river, spreading out into the lower reaches, becoming a vast source of water that would nourish the crops of Germion Kingdom and the southern countries .
In the year 232 of the history of Germion Kingdom, in the year 3 of the history of the goblins, on the month of Rabid, a season where the snow melted late visited the north .
Word of such a season was brought to Lili, the fedual lord of the north, but with it also came word of the barbarians’ attack .
“Snow Demons (Yugushiva)! They’re back!”
As Lili calmed down the screaming soldier, she took her Sky Splitter (Vashinant) and went to the Great Mountains of the Snow God (Yugrasil) .
“Have the guards help the people evacuate . The mountain patrols are to go with me to look for the enemy!”
She had already predicted that the Yugushiva might one day return, so she didn’t lose her calm and was able to give out one order after another . As she received follow-up reports from her men, she headed for the mountains of Yugrasil .
“Milord, we have spotted goblins among the enemy forces!”
*BA BUMP . The moment she heard those words, her lips that have been giving orders without pause suddenly stopped .
“What kind of goblin?”
“There is one that’s nearly 2 meters tall . He has a slender build . But what’s most important is that the goblin is fighting at the front with his curved sword alongside the snow demons (yugushiva) . ”
“Not a great sword or a spear, huh . ”
“No, it’s nothing . Let’s hurry!”
As she got up her horse, she spurred her horse on and rode a straight line . With the image of that which should be protected within her heart, the holy knight stood before the invasion of the goblins .
At the same time, the axe and sword army (Felduk) along with Gi Jii’s regiol had gathered by the eight fortresses in between the Western Region and Germion Kingdom . A part of the Bow and Arrow Army (Fanzel) also came with them, bringing their total numbers to 6,000 . The one leading that army was Gi Gu Verbena, one of the four generals .
“A magnificent view . ”
Every soldier wore an armor produced from the Forest of Darkness and the demihumans and the goblins wielded weapons made by the small people (koro toku) .
Donned in the armor bestowed unto him by the king, Gi Gu folded his arms and on his eyes were reflected the siege weapons they acquired from their alliance with the humans . The ones handling these siege weapons were Gi Jii’s regiol and the humans of the border defense unit .
“General Gilmi is ready!”
He nodded to Gu Naga’s (Long) report .
“The human, Shumea, and general Gi Jii are ready!”
He nodded to Gu Big’s report .
“Felduk is ready!”
Gi Gu Verbena nodded to Gu Tough’s report and drew his sword from his waist .
“I’m not fond of being led by the nose by that elven girl, but the story changes if it’s leading the advance army of the king . All forces, march!”
As the goblin forces began their march, the earth shook . The blood-stained Felduk, who came to be synonymous with the word ‘fear’ in the southern lands, began moving toward the sturdiest fortresses of Germion Kingdom .
“Our axe of fear shall carve itself into their minds!”
Felduk throbbed with Gi Gu’s words .
Even the forces of the Goblin King’s army at the south sped up .
It was as if several snakes were gathering together to become one giant snake as the clouds of dust kicked up by the cavalry gathered into one . At the head of that cavalry was a goblin . He did not even turn around as he swung his spear with one arm and changed the formation of the cavalry according to his will .
As they assumed the Wedge Formation and rode upon the land, the only thing reflected on their eyes was the territory they were about to trample underfoot .
“Gi Ga Rax-dono!”
A goblin rode parallel to the one-armed goblin leading the cavalry and greeted him .
“Please give Paradua the honor of leading the vanguard!”
“Swing your spearheads as you please, Hal-dono . ”
When Gi Ga nodded, Hal trembled in excitement for a moment, and then he rode ahead of Gi Ga .
“The honor of the vanguard lies with Paradua! The very existence of our spearheads is to hunt for glory . Do not let it go dull! Bring victory to the king!”
Hal raised his spearhead, and the soldiers under him cried out with spirits high .
“Bring victory to the king!”
The fastest of the goblin forces, the Tiger and Spear Army (Aransain), attacked from the south .
As the goblin forces moved out in the north, the west, and the south, the long arm of Pale the Tactician stretched out to surround Germion Kingdom .
“Listen up you bastards! You can name your price for this job, so put your backs into it!”
The clan (Red Moon Clan) led by Vine the Mad Blade spread its feared name far and wide . Just a few years ago, it was but a small and weak clan, but now, its momentum was so great that it seemed it could make even the birds flying in the sky fall .
Supported by funds from who knows where, they gathered the clans and staged a revolt in the eastern region of Germion Kingdom . After attacking the government office, they took over the city .
Germion Kingdom was now surrounded by enemies in all four directions .
One could only imagine how confused Germion Kingdom was after being surrounded by enemies from every direction . The Kingdom of Holy Knights, whose power once resounded throughout the world, now didn’t even have an inkling of its former majesty . The people fled and the nobles left the imperial capital to go to their respective territories .
The lines of people fleeing the country created a long line at the gates of Germion Kingdom .
And the king who should have been managing all of these had lost all interest in government affairs . He did not do anything and merely sat there upon his throne . Ever since the day he lost his grandson, Ishtar, he had become nothing more than a husk .
Not a trace of his majesty as the Majestic King was left .
Although the old king showed himself again after grieving the death of his grandson, Ishtar, the old but brilliant king never again came back . Only an old main waiting for death . And with that emerged the long seething conflict between the nobles and military officials .
The power struggles delayed the rebuilding of the country, and in the end, even Lord Bedoru reached his limits . The power struggles also changed the standing of the holy knights .
The holy knight, Sivara, was relocated to the east to accomodate Valdor’s territory, while Gulland was continuously sent to the Holy Shushunu Kingdom as reinforcement . Jize remained in prison, and Lili the Scarlet Maiden was wary of the north .
In the battle of the imperial court, Gulland was essentially forgotten and Jize was left alone to prevent political enemies from using him as an opening . No one wanted to pick chestnuts from the fire .
As for Lili, her territory was originally poor and she was of little threat as far political enemies went, so she was detained in the north .
Sivara was the only one who successfully increased his territory by spurring on his friends from every direction, but the power he could display was by no means equal to the territory he owned .
The elites of the eastern division had gone with Valdor and were wiped out .
Rebuilding the weakened soldiers now would be difficult even if the late Gowen were with him . Moreover, he also had to expend effort for the management of his now bigger territory . If anything, rebuilding his army had been slowed down .
The people themselves may not have realized it, but this result was actually brought about by the schemes of Gi Za Zakuend the Shaman Class . He pulled the strings from behind the scenes to prevent the holy knights from being able to show their power .
Although it was only possible through the intelligence network built by the Soar to Freedom (Elks Clan), Gi Za’s display of power that was akin to that of pouring oil into the flames of the conflicts of the imperial court was still nothing short of brilliant .
Entangled within the great web of schemes woven by the goblins these past 8 months was none other than Germion Kingdom .
The ruler of the plains, the Holy Shushunu Kingdom . Its war princess, Blanche Ririnoie, led her sorcerer cavalry (mana guard) and headed for the neighboring minor nations .
Her objective was to reestablish an alliance with them and the Holy Shushunu Kingdom .
She brought a diplomat with her, but it was clear as day that she was planning for an armed diplomacy . It is said that the minor nations once teamed up with the people who once competed for the peak of the military with her .
Her bringing only a small number of her troops with her to a place such as that showed just how courageous she was .
“I want to go back to Shushunu quickly,” the feeble man for an aide said .
“…You still miss your hometown even though you’re with this princess?” The girl laughed scornfully .
The ways of the nobles have been taught to her from birth, their pride and their elegance deeply rooted within her . She is a pure noble groomed from birth to stand above others .
“A crafty courtier only good for flattery . A foolish lord . A persecuted populace . As curious as these things may be at first, showing such things repeatedly to His Majesty the King or to I is simply too cruel . This sort of life is too far from elegance,” Blanche said .
“…If I may speak frankly,” the aide said .
“You may,” she immediately replied .
“Is it not because His Majesty the King hates you, princess?”
“You think so too? What a sad thing . Even though I adore His Majesty so . ”
“…And who wouldn’t be scared of a woman that comes in laughing while carrying the four fresh heads of those that opposed her?” Gulland interjected .
“Hmm . That’s a fresh opinion . So what do you think I should do in that situation then, Gulland?” Blanche asked .
“…Like I’d know . In the first place, I don’t even understand what’s so good about that incompetent king . ”
Blanche smiled like a cat teasing a mouse .
“That’s precisely why . A fool who does not understand the extent of his authority and does not even know how to use it . A dunce who does not realize his subjects’ ambitions . There are plenty of reasons to adore him . ”
“There is one thing I do understand . You are one hell of an eccentric . ”
“Fu fu fu . Thank you for the compliments . The more brilliant a person is, the further from normalcy he will stray . To wish to abide in the same place as others is no different from stagnation . Such a thing is no different from betrayal, no? It is not beautiful . ”
Gulland came here as reinforcement from Germion Kingdom, but for some reason, this eccentric girl has taken a liking to him ever since their first meeting .
When the sound of a horse galloping resounded from behind, their conversation immediately halted, and a messenger appeared before her .
“An army of roughly 2000 from the Kingdom of Shirad is approaching from behind . They are equipped with heavy armor . It is likely that they are pursuing us . ”
“2,000, huh? That’s a lot . ” Gulland muttered .
The feeble aide nodded . “Princess, I believe the best course of action here is to assume formation and meet the enemy . ”
“And our losses should we attack them from in front?” Blanche asked .
“It should not even reach 100 . ”
“If my beloved mana guard were to be wasted here, it would be a humiliation to grandmother . There would be no elegance to it . Let us bring the army to the woodlands 2 kirol (kilometer) from here and have them lie in wait at both sides . ”
Blanche commanded without changing her expression even a little .
“But that would expose you to danger, princess . ”
“Gulland is here . ”
“What are you counting on me for? You have your mana guard . ”
“Because you’re cute and pitiable, of course . ”
Gulland glared at her seriously, but Blanche did not flinch and merely sent her aide out .
“You people are insane . ”
Gulland unhappily told the aide, but he did not appear to care and merely shrugged his shoulders .
“Come, let us think of some elegant words with which to demand their surrender . This is a pleasant and exciting hour . ”
The army of Shirad Kingdom were currently chasing after the mana guards to take them by surprise, so when they suddenly saw two people riding horses and found out that one of them was none other than Blanche the War Princess herself, whom they were after, they could not help but halt and doubt their eyes .
“This is impossible . What is she doing here?”
But try as the general might to ask that question, there was no one among his men who could answer it . In the end, the one to break the silence was none other than Blanche herself .
“Foolish, ugly, mud pigs . Why do you dare stand before me? Have you lost your minds after realizing that I am the head of the noble House of Ririnoie!?”
In the face of that storm of abusive words, the followers of the general could only watch on with amazement .
“If you keep your dirty faces looking down and leave right now, I shall make an exception and forgive you for your rudeness . If you feel even the slightest shame for having such ugly pig-like nature, then return from whence you came and let those that instigated you know that there is only one life and it deserves to be treasured!”
Blanche happily said . She was in such a good mood that it seemed she could not only hum but even sing as she opened her mouth .
“Now, pigs! Reveal your cowardly selves and return to your country!”
After unleashing that abuse on the soldiers of Shirad, Blanche bid them farewell with a matter-of-factly ‘well then’, and then urged her steed to gallop away .
“You’re not going to wait for their response?” Gulland asked .
“Such ball-less people who dare not pursue after being told that much have no charm . There’s no need for me to accompany them . But if they did chase after me, they would do so desperately while trying to grasp my noble retreating appearance,” Blanche replied .
She smiled complacently and rode off with her back turned to her enemy .
Gulland sighed and chased after her, but the enemies were all jeering and chasing after them from behind . From time to time, Gulland would deflect the incoming arrows as he protected her back . But Blanche only looked straight and did not bother turning around one bit .
“Hey . They’re going to catch up soon . ”
“…Ah yes . In that case, I suppose we might as well just stopped here now . ”
After riding for 2 kirol (kilometer), she stopped midway through the path in the woodlands .
“She stopped! Kill her!”
One could just imagine how devilish the face the general was currently making to cry that out so loudly and with such fury .
“Hey . ”
Gulland called out to her, but she raised her right hand to silence him .
“Was calling them mud pigs so effective?”
The girl complacently smiled as she brought down her right hand .
“But alas, their foolishness must be paid for with death . ”
Magic bullets simultaneously fired from both sides of the forest, stopping the approaching army . The army of 2,000 became restless at the sudden enemy attack . The fire bullets blocked their vision, while the water bullets dented their iron armor and sent them flying .
Before anyone knew it, mana guards equipped in heavy armor had surrounded Blanche .
“Princess, the assault unit is ready . We can attack the center of the enemy formation anytime now . ” The feeble aide gently bowed .
Blanche thought about it for a while, but in the end, she shook her head . “Your words aren’t elegant . ”
“Hah . ” Gulland looked suspiciously at Blanche .
Blanche smiled an elegant smile and drew her sword . “At times like these, we have to do it like this lest we forget to keep our grace . ”
Blanche took a mouthful of breath, then after glancing teasingly at Gulland, turned to the enemy .
“We ride for the enemy’s center! To me!”
Although their enemies numbered 2,000, the 300 mana guards around Blanche easily tore through their forces . Magic rained down from both sides while the mana guard broke through with overwhelming penetrative prowess . In the blink of an eye, the enemy forces collapsed, and the mana guards were pursuing after them .
“Don’t run! Damn it!”
But the battle had already been decided .
The enemy general tried to encourage his soldiers, but try as he might, with their formation broken and with the soldiers meant to defend him having all ran away, even he was left with no choice but to run away himself .
“Damn it! I’ll remember this!” The general cried out .
“You should be saying that after you’ve fled!” Gulland replied .
Gulland swung his great sword from atop his steed, crushing down onto the helmet of the general . Normally, he would have killed the enemy general here, but a captured traitor was worth more alive than dead, so he purposely held back .
He was with Blanche, who held a politically strong position, so it was only natural that his fighting style would lean toward politics .
Blanche and her mana guard were able to capture the general along with several other prisoners of war without losing even a single soldier . Of course, there were some that were wounded, but no one died .
They brought out the prisoners to be interrogated before Blanche .
“S-Save me! I’ll do anything!” The general said .
As soon as the general was brought before her, Gulland’s expression twisted .
“Hmm… You want to be saved? You’ll do anything?” Blanche asked .
“Yes, of course! I mean, of course, ma’am . ” The general replied .
“Then go and act like the mud pig you are . ”
“What!? I-I mean yes! Right away!”
When the general started crawling on the mud like a pig, Blanche laughed loudly .
“Fu fu fu! Fu ha ha ha! That’s hilarious . Since you’re so funny, you can keep doing that while you listen . ”
She sat on the chair specially prepared for her, switched the position of her long legs, and smiled as she said those cold words .
“Thanks to you, Shirad Kingdom will now be forced to make a decision . That is to either surrender or fight with my country . But Shirad Kingdom has lost most of its soldiers in this war . And even if Shirad is able to avoid a war, Shushunu will not interfere when the other countries start poking their noses in . Your country will become the center of conflict . ”
The more she spoke, the more the general desperately tried to play the mud pig . After all, he could tell that her voice was getting colder and colder .
“From here on Shirad Kingdom will wander along the brink of destruction . And it will all be your fault . Even if you surrender to us, my country will not renew the alliance . After we receive what we are owed, our countries will no longer have any relationship with each other . At the very least, that’s what I intend to do . Can you understand it? The misery that the people of your country will experience from here on?”
The smile on her face was now but a mere shape plastered upon that beautiful canvas . Her eyes were as cold as the depths of the icy oceans .
“Behead this pig . ”
Without even waiting for the general to finish what he was about to say, the aide lopped off his head .
She said as she slapped her aide .
“My apologies . ”
“There is no need to talk to a pig . Pigs are only useful for offerings . ”
The War Princess looked back to the dull open eyes of the dead general and laughed .
The Goblin King still was yet to make an appearance in the battle between the goblins and Germion Kingdom, but the front lines were already being one-sidedly pushed by the goblins .
Gi Go Amatsuki, who attacked from the north, confronted the holy knight, Lili, and without retreating a step, nailed her army down in the north . Gi Gu Verbena and Ra Gilmi Fishiga, who were attacking from the west, were taking over the fortresses with the help of the siege weapons .
Gi Ga Rax, who was attacking from the south, made use of their speed to quickly go up north from the southern region . Without Sivara the Ripper Knight and Jize the One-Eyed Knight at the south, there was nothing to stop the divine speed of Aransain, and they were able to break through the border easily .
Meanwhile, Sivara had his hands tied with the insurrection caused by the Burning Bright Moons .
The adventurers confined themselves inside the metropolitan area . Sivara was unable to bring them into the kind of battle he excelled at, so he was forced to fight by their rules . Unfortunately, these adventurers were very patient .
The southern front lines were fragile and were easily broken through by Gi Ga .
This was a result brought about due to the lack of person who could bring the forces of the south together . Without a holy knight or someone with skills on the level of the minister of the military, it was impossible to bring together the strength of the southern side of Germion Kingdom . As a result, the nobles were broken through one after another by Gi Ga .
To the nobles of the south who were used to the speed of humans, the speed of goblins that handled monster beasts was simply too abnormal . That was all the more truer for Gi Ga’s army that prioritized speed . Gi Ga’s army would trample over their forces before they could even prepare their defenses .
As Pale the Tactician listened to the reports pouring into her tent one after another, a smile appeared on her face and she looked down on the map .
On her eyes were reflected the meadows in the distant snowy mountains .
“The prey is wounded . Already, it has no place left to run nor does it have any strength to… Fu fu . ”
The victory of the goblins was within grasp .
“Only the finishing blow is left now . ”
On the eyes of the tactician were clearly reflected the picture of victory .
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