“Hmm… I guess it really was too much to expect things to go well the first time,” I said with folded arms at the scenery before me.
We cultivated the land around the Fortress of the Abyss and tried planting some Praya (red fruit seed), but the end result was that all the crops died.
Just three days after we planted the seed, the seeds already started to bud, so I was pretty hopeful, but then five days later, everything died.
“Do you know the cause?” I asked the fearful demihuman inspector, at which he answered timidly that he did not know.
“I see,” I said.
I don’t know anything about farming in this world, so I can’t give any advice, but at the very least, we should try figure out what factors caused this failure.
“In any case, let’s go one step at a time and try to figure out what factor caused this time’s failure,” I said.
“Factor?” The demihuman asked.
“Yes. Perhaps it was the soil that caused the seeds to die, perhaps it was the lack of nutrients, perhaps it was water, or perhaps it was the climate. What matters most now is that we find which one or which ones are responsible for this failure.”
“I’ll leave the rest to you.”
At that, I left the demihuman and received the report of the goblins I’d sent out to scout the lizardmen. As it turns out, the lizardmen have gotten even rowdier.
It seems it was worth summoning Tanita, after all.
“Gi Ga Rax! Gather the young goblins and lead them!” I ordered.
“As you command!”
The moment Tanita arrived, I had the young goblins come with us as we accompanied the rizalat to the rampaging lizardmen. Of course, the reason the young goblins were with us was to give them experience.
When I was a young goblin, I had to search for my own food. They should be able to handle this much. Also, to be safe, I had the ‘injured’ goblins accompany the loyal Gi Ga.
We weren’t in any rush, so along the way, we took the opportunity to teach the young goblins how to hunt.
“I can smell the scent of our brethren. This…” Tanita said before becoming speechless.
“The lake seems to have changed,” I said.
“Hmm… I do recall it being a bit bigger than this,” Gi Ga Rax agreed.
The water pouring from upstream must have lessened. If not, well, something must have caused the water of the lake to lessen.
Suddenly, a piercing shriek erupted and several liz
ardman jumped out of the mud and crawled toward us.
I took the young goblins and hid them behind me, while Gi Ga Rax and the injured goblins stepped out.
“Ruu—, uRURUuu—, Ru, Ru—!”
But then Tanita suddenly made some strange noises, and then his two heads glanced alternatively between us and the lizardmen, keeping us from fighting.
“Your Majesty…” Gi Ga called out.
I told him to stand alert.
Tanita seemed to be in the middle of persuading them. In that case, as the ones who invited him, we have the duty to see this through the end.
“At least, so long as the young ones aren’t hurt,” I told Gi Ga before turning my eyes back to Tanita.
Should negotiations fail, we have more than enough to wipe them out.
The twin-headed double-tailed chief of the long tailed tribe looked straight at the mud-smeared lizardmen.
“I hail from the west, I am the chief of the household of mud and rain. Bring out your chief,” Tanita said quietly but authoritatively.
The lizardmen could only look at each other in response, however. After a while, Tanita’s right head finally lost its patience and yelled. “Short tailed ones, I am telling you that we cannot talk unless your chief comes!”
In his anger, Tanita’s two tails slammed on the ground, frightening the lizardmen back into the lake. Tanita’s glare never left them as they swam away.
After a while, a conspicuously bigger lizard man crawled out of the lake. When he saw Tanita, he fell on his knees and bowed his head.
“…Warrior of hardened skin, brave warrior of two tails, it is my honor to meet you. I am Biddo, child of the large tail, Deddo.”
The lizardman, who proclaimed himself as Biddo, placed his curved sword and shield on the ground as he bowed to Tanita. The other lizardmen followed suit and knelt.
I breathed a sigh of relief upon seeing that they could be reasoned with.
“Child of the large tail, Deddo, Biddo, it is a pleasure to meet you. Do you know why I’ve come?” Tanita asked.
“I am uncertain,” Biddo said, glancing at us then bowing again. “I find it doubtful that the great warrior, Lord Tanita, could have come because of the goblins.”
Doubtful, huh. I wryly smiled.
“…Child of the large tail, Deddo, Biddo… Presently, the goblins are like the body of the god of fire that chases after the night god.”
“Surely, you jest. They are goblins. Nothing more, nothing less.”
The lizardman looked toward us again.
“I swear on my two tails, I speak the truth,” Tanita said.
Immediately, a look of shock was painted on Biddo’s face, and the lizardmen behind him looked at each other.
“I have come here today at their request to mediate between you and them,” Tanita said.
Biddo was frozen still, but Tanita continued.
“Will you accept the decision we have made?” Tanita asked.
“I… will accept the decision of the famed twin-head double-tailed Lord Tanita, but… I must first see for myself, with my own eyes, the truth! I would like to challenge the goblins to a duel!”
Tanita breathed out in resignation and looked toward me.
Normally, this would be the queue for me to enter, but the young goblins were here, so I figured it would be a good opportunity to have Gi Ga show off.
“Gi Ga Rax!” I called out.
“Yes, Your Majesty!” He said.
“My faithful knight, first spearman of the goblins! Can you win against that warrior?” I asked.
“If it is his highness’ command, then by all means!”
“I have received his majesty’s command.”
And so, Gi Ga Rax rode with dignity on blacktigerback to face the lizardman chief.
With a great voice, he bellowed out. “I am Gi Ga Rax! First of the king’s subordinates, first among the goblins in the art of the spear. Your courage to see our strength is admirable! Come as you please!”
In response the lizardman stepped forward and bellowed back. “You can talk, goblin! My name is Biddo! Child of the large tail, Deddo, Biddo!”
Wielding a large curved sword and a round shield, Biddo swung his blade overhead and pointed at Gi Ga.
“The gods oversee all duels, let there be no ill will no matter the result. I, the twin-headed double-tailed Tanita, shall be your referee,” Tanita said.
“Just as I wished!” Biddo said.
“Of course!” Gi Ga said.
The moment the word ‘Start’ resounded, Gi Ga and Biddo’s fight began.
Sparks erupted as Gi Ga’s spear met Biddo’s curved sword. The reach advantage belonged to Gi Ga’s iron spear, but the lizardman was so skilled he could bridge that gap with ease. A powerful foe.
After clashing weapons 8 times, Gi Ga took some distance. He has gotten much better at handling his steed. I might be biased, but I feel his riding is good enough to stand with the best of Paradua.
Gi Ga’s masterful riding coupled with his exceptional spear techniques left Biddo with no opportunity to strike back. Gradually, Biddo’s breath grew ragged, but Gi Ga was as calm as ever as he waited for an opening.
The difference in strength was steadily becoming apparent.
Gi Ga swung his spear with his long arm, then bolting off with his steed, he rushed toward the lizardman. Everything happened so quickly that Biddo couldn’t respond in time, the most he could do was to bring back his sword in hopes of defending, but unfortunately for him, Gi Ga’s spear landed so heavily on his sword that he was forced to retreat. Gi Ga would not let him, however.
Without even stopping to breathe, Gi Ga let loose three thrusts toward the lizardman. The lizardman somehow managed to block them, but his form was clearly about to break.
Gi Ga let loose one last attack.
The tip of his spear cut Biddo’s legs, causing him to lose his momentum, and in the next moment, Gi Ga sent Biddo’s curved sword flying.
“Gu, Nu…” Biddo groaned as Gi Ga pointed his spear at him.
The lizardmen stood frozen still as they watched their chief lose.
“The duel is decided!” Tanita declared as he waved his hands.
After that, the lizardmen agreed not to attack the goblins any more and I invited Biddo to visit the Fortress of the Abyss, so we can deepen our relations. Like this we managed to stabilize the area near the fortress.
I asked Biddo why the water level of the lake had suddenly plummeted, and apparently, this happens once a year, after which, a fierce winter would follow. When I heard that, I learned for the first time that this world has seasons.
Gradually, the seasons changed, and the god of time’s changing countenance charmed me.
Beyond this winter, what awaits us is the war with the humans.
I must gather enough strength by then.