Protagonist (King Class)
A human from another world who reincarnated into this world as a goblin. He once lost his mind due to starvation and hunted a monster to satiate it. He is currently revered by the goblins, and has promised to create a kingdom for them as their king. He is under the protection of the Goddess of the Underworld, and after uniting the various races of the forest has invaded the land of the humans, taking the first step in his path to world domination.
Gi Ga Rax (Knight Class)
A spear-wielding goblin who is the first goblin from Gi Village to evolve into a rare class. He is a firm believer of the king and he has sworn fealty to him. He lost his right arm and left leg, but he managed to pick himself back thanks to his indomitable will. He is currently leading other wounded goblins like him to fight for the king. He calls his platoon the imperial guards.’
Gi Gu Verbena (Duke Class)
Former leader of the village that has now become the parent organization of the protagonist’s horde. He was a rare class at the time, but he was still subdued by the protagonist’s powerful howl, and became his subordinate. He specializes in the long sword, but he can use any close combat weapon. His real specialty lies in fighting with others. He conquered the goblins from the southern region and is now leading a force second only to the king’s horde.
Gi Go Amatsuki (Baron Class)
In the face of being killed by the gray wolves or swearing fealty to the protagonist, he chose to swear. His preferred weapon is a curved sword, as it can cut his prey easily. He has received the divine protection of the Sword God, and once ended up pointing his sword to the king due to his influence. Ashamed of his weakness, he left the village. After a long time of wandering, he returned a new man and killed the Holy Knight, Gowen, who he once lost to.
Gi Za Zakuend (Shaman Class)
A mage goblin who lived in a village situated by the roots of a great tree. He became the protagonist’s subordinate after losing to him in a duel. He is a firm believer of the king and has sworn fealty to him. His appearance resembles that of humans. He has received the divine protection of the wind god.
Gi Gi Orudo (Noble Class)
A beast tamer, a goblin who can talk to animals. He came from the same village as Gi Gu, and currently has a triple head as his main beast. His preferred weapon is an axe. He is currently fighting as a part of the detached force responsible for conquering the colonial city.
Gi Ji Arsil (Noble Class)
A goblin who can use the Meld skill, and thus, specializes in reconnaissance. He gets along well with Gi Gi and has fought as a pair with him plenty of times. He used to prefer a long sword, but after specializing in reconnaissance, he has since switched to a dagger. He has learned the Assassinate skill, and is merciless to all who oppose the king.
Gi Zu Ruo (Noble Class)
When he was young, he lost his mind when Gi Ga was deeply wounded during the battle of the orcs. Using the Mad Dog skill, he was able to take down three orcs by himself. He is a powerful goblin, who has received the divine protection of the mad god. At the king’s behest, he went to the northwestern part of the Forest of Darkness to increase their forces. After arriving late to the western capital war, he has since been desperate to achieve something.
Gi Zo (Druid Class)
A water mage from Gi Za’s village. He was tasked to protect the village by the protagonist. He has received the divine protection of the water god. He is no longer among the living due to Gulland.
Gi Da (Rare Class)
A spearman from Gi Ga’s faction. His debut as a warrior was in the battle against the orcs. He possesses the Unreasonably Stubborn skill. He is no longer among the living due to Gulland.
Gi Jii Yubu (Noble Class)
The most brilliant student created by the goblin training, who now leads a regiol. As a commander, he has skills that could be matched with humans, but it seems he’s not ready just yet to take a holy knight on.
Gi De (Rare Class)
A subordinate of Gi Gi. He is also a beast tamer. He evolved into a rare class when he was caught up in the battle the orcs. As an obedient subordinate of Gi Gi, the king expects much from him. (He is currently using a triple boar and a wild dog.) He died to the Wand of Destruction, Bellan.
Gi Do Buruga (Shaman Class)
A wind mage. Also from Gi Za’s village. He has never stood out because of Gi Za, but he has gradually distinguished himself among the goblins. He has the divine protection of the wind god. He leads the druids alongside Gi Za.
Gi Ba (Noble Class)
A skillful goblin who can use the Fierce Arm skill. He has received Verid’s divine protection, and as such, deeply loathes humans. Most of his efforts have been centered against the humans, making him a valuable asset in supporting the frontlines.
Gi Bi (Rare Class)
A water mage. He is expected to be Gi Zo’s successor, but he is still a long way away from that goal. He is a part of Gi Za’s druid platoon.
Gi Bu (Rare Class)
A beast tamer. Gi Ga works him hard everyday. He is now affiliated with Gi Gi’s beast tamer army and is looking after beasts he isn’t familiar with.
Gi Be (Rare Class)
A one-armed goblin. He has received Verid’s divine protection and deeply loathes humans. He is affiliated with Gi Ga’s imperial guards.
Gi Ah (Rare Class)
A goblin who evolved into a rare class during the war with the elves. He possesses the invasion-class skill, One who Encroaches into the Divine Region.
Gi Ii (Rare Class)
A goblin who evolved during the war with the elves. He is an explorer and specializes in moving.
Gi Uu (Druid Class)
A goblin who evolved during the war with the elves. He is a water mage.
Old Goblin (Normal)
An old goblin. He isn’t very useful in combat. Because he was once enslaved by humans through magic, he is good at talking. He is the parent who riced Gi Za.
Ra Gilmi Fishiga (Noble Class)
One of the four tribes of the west. He is an archer of the Ganra tribe.
He went to the Gi Village as a messenger after receiving permission from the tribe. He invited the protagonist to the four tribes. He has been title the First Archer or Gadieta. He is constantly worried over the relationship between the tribe and the king. He is currently fighting as part of the detached force responsible for the colonial city.
Ra Narsa (Rare Class)
One of the four tribes of the west. He is an archer of the Ganra tribe.
She had been chased from her village by the Gaidga goblins when she met the protagonist. She is the current chief of the tribe and has recently started to distinguish herself. She has remained in the tribe’s village, supporting the goblins from the back.
Ru Rou (rare Class)
A young goblin of the Ganra tribe. In the Ganra tribe, the names Ra, Ru, and Re are three most influential. The rest of the goblins have no family name, and are thus, normal goblins. He is currently fighting with Gilmi.
Aluhaliha (Noble Class)
One of the four tribes. He is the chief of the Paradua tribe.
He threw away his pride and worked with the Gaidga to save his people from starvation, but after losing to the protagonist, he and his tribe have since joined him in his quest for world domination. He is the oldest among all the goblins. His black tiger steed is named Jirouou. He is currently retired, but he frequently patrols the area around the Fortress of the Abyss.
Hal (Noble Class)
Chief of the Paradua tribe.
He used to be a young warrior who worked as Aluhaliha’s aide. After inheriting Aluhaliha’s position, he has since proven himself a worthy chief capable of standing equal to the human cavalry. He has sworn fealty to the king.
Alashd (Rare Class)
A middle-aged goblin from Paradua.
He works as Aluhaliha’s aide and is currently a member of the elders. He is staying at the Paradua village.
Rashka (Lord Class)
The biggest chief among the four tribes.
He is the strongest goblin among the four tribes, but his subordinates haven’t been as blessed. He was Narsa’s fiancé.
He evolved during the goblin’s first invasion.
Dashka (Rare Class)
A young goblin from the Gaidga tribe.
Kuzan (Rare Class)
Chief of the Gordob tribe.
She is a goblin blessed with the divine protection of the goddess of the underworld. She has a skill that allows her to resurrect the dead. She is currently responsible for managing the Fortress of the Abyss. Gi Ga respects her. She studied medicine during her stay in the elven village and has since been working with the other Gordob members to support the goblins from the back as medical practitioners.
Reshia Fel Zeal (18 years-old)
The priestess known as the saint. As the Healing Goddess' follower, she lives to spread the word and teach righteousness. She has the divine protection of the goddess, and can heal others. She has been brought back to the ivory tower.
Lili (22 years-old)
She studied the famous sword style, Zweil Style, in the capital. She has sworn fealty to Reshia. And while she may have lost to the protagonist in one hit, she has proven herself strong enough to easily defeat three normal goblins. She has become much stronger after acquiring the evil sword, Vashinant. She stopped the yugushiva attacks after Gulland entrusted the northern army to her.
Mattis (27 years-old)
The second son of a farmer. He's largely responsible for drying the meat to preserve them. He was sent somewhere in the kingdom.
Chinos (25 years-old)
The third son of a farmer. He plows the fields and is close to Mattis. He was sent somewhere in the kingdom.
Keifel (28 years-old)
An adventurer who took on a request to escort Reshia through the Forest of Darkness. He's strong enough that he could easily wield a steel great sword, but the protagonist still managed to kill him.
Zeon (32 years-old)
A follower of Ativ. He specializes in fire magic. In his battle against the protagonist, he used his fire magic, but still lost. In the end, he tried to blow himself up along with the protagonist, but the protagonist's words agitated him, causing him to lose the opportunity.
Tinra (23 years-old)
A villager. She is one of the women used by the goblins as a breeding machine that the protagonist killed.
Ashtal Do Germion (60 years-old)
The king that rules the western region of the continent in which the Forest of Darkness and the connecting borders are included. He is a powerful ruler with seven holy knights under him. He has recently ordered three of those holy knights to search for the saint. He has laid out new plans after feeling the threat from the Goblin King. He’s currently trying to gather mages to strengthen his army.
Gowen Ranid (46 years-old)
The feudal lord that rules over the region next to the Forest of Darkness. As one of the country's strongest powers, he is renowned as the Iron-Armed Knight. He is currently leading his soldiers in a quest to find the saint. He fought hard against the goblin invasion, but was eventually killed by Gi Go Amatsuki.
Gulland Rifenin (32 years-old)
A former adventurer. As one of the country's strongest powers, he is renowned as the Storm Knight. He'd been stationed in the northern mountains, but the king called him back to send him off in a quest for the saint. He became a hero after rescuing the saint. He tried to help Gowen fight the goblin invasion, but he lost. He is currently retreating to the south.
Gene Marlon (24 years-old)
As one of the country's strongest powers, he is renowned as Lightning-Fast Knight. He was previously stationed at the south, but the king called him back to send him on a quest to search for the saint. Killing is his favorite past-time. Whether it's a man, a demihuman or a monster, they're all just pieces of meat to be cut down before him. He was killed by his own slave.
Sivara Bandier (29)
One of the country’s most powerful warriors, a holy knight known as the Ripper Knight. He is a martial artist and comes from a noble family. He is popular among young soldiers, and is considered the enemy of all fathers and boyfriends. He is also known as the Marriage Destroyer. His skill at leading the cavalry is one of the best in the country.
Jize Yuuenti (40)
One of the country’s most powerful warriors, a holy knight known as the Sharp-Eyed Knight. He is currently dealing with the Kushain believers coming from the south. He was originally a traveler from the east that was coaxed by Ashtal with a huge paycheck.
A young commander under Gowen. He seems to be under the protection of some god, but…
A veteran martial artist who acts as Gowen’s aide. He used to lead the cavalry, but then the Goblin King turned him into a corpse.
Herculean Wyatt (41 years-old)
A member of the Blood Oath of the Flying Swallow. He specializes in handling great shields. He has a gentle personality, but beware for his anger isn't one to be taken lightly. After returning from the forest, he has since been working in the Holy Shushunu Kingdom as the leader of the blood oath of the flying swallows.
Mage Killer Mill (20 years-old)
A member of the Blood Oath of the Flying Swallow. She is an assassin that favors the use of talons. Renowned as the mage killer, she is a mage's worst nightmare. After returning from the forest, she has since been helping out in the slums and watching over orphans. She met Reshia and successfully managed to give her the orphans’ present.
Wand of Destruction Bellan (37 years-old)
A member of the Blood Oath of the Flying Swallow. He wields a fire staff. As a former knight, he cares a great deal about honor. He died while protecting his allies.
Hawk-Eyed Fick (32 years-old)
An adventurer with two names. He has exceptional perception and skill. He is currently searching through the Forest of Darkness under Gulland's lead. After returning from the forest, he has since gone to the southern free cities on a solo adventure.
The White Hand of Life (Age Unknown)
A priest robed in white. She specializes in healing and support. Her age, name, and origin are all unknown. After converting Vitz and Yugil, she has started traveling the world to find more adherents.
Vitz (28 years-old)
A talkative sword-wielding adventurer. He's actual strength isn't bad, but he's still far from being deserving of a second name. He was caught by the White Hand of Life and is currently traveling the world with her.
Yugil (26 years-old)
An adventurer and an unwilling shield bearer. He might appear old, but he is actually still young. He was caught by the White Hand of Life and is currently traveling the world with her.
Yoshu (27 years-old)
The younger brother of the slaves Gene purchased. The collar of obedience around his neck keeps him from going against Gene's orders. Healers are rare, so he's been made into a shield bearer. He ended up on the goblin side because of his older sister’s whims. He is currently traveling with Gi Go.
Shumea (29 years-old)
The older sister of the slaves Gene purchased. The collar of obedience around her neck keeps her from going against Gene's orders. Contrast to her brother who bears a shield, she uses a spear. She is a gutsy woman who believes being with the Goblin King is better than living within human society. She is currently negotiating with humans.
Altesia. The underworld goddess.
The Goddess of the Underworld and the Goddess of Valor. As the goddess the snakes serve, she has given her blessing to the protagonist. She is a dangerous woman with her deep jealousy and fierce temperament.
The Goddess of Healing. She has given her blessing to Reshia. She has also warned the protagonist to protect her. The underworld goddess might hate her, but she doesn't feel the same way toward The underworld goddess.
Pitch Black (Verid)
A one-eyed red-eyed snake that belongs to the Goddess of the Underworld.
Known to the goblins as the Lord of Decay. He is one of the snakes that fought the world with the Goddess of the Underworld.
The elven woman Gene purchased. She became a slave after running away from her tribe. She was freed after she killed Gene. Since then hse has been under the care of the Goblin King with Shumea.
A high kobold. She is one of the protagonist's pets.
The protagonist managed to tame her by giving her orc corps and other meat as bait.
She is a fortuitous kobold who somehow managed to become the leader of her pack. She is currently leeching off the orcs. She wants to eat the orc children, but unfortunately, she just can’t find an opening. She attacked the colonial city with the orcs, but the humans weren’t very tasty.
As the pup of the gray wolves, she has been given the elven name that means lady of the lake. Reshia, Lili, and other children and women are quite taken by her lovely fur. She has grown up enough to lead her household. She has grown up to become a spectacular gray wolf even better than her own parents.
As the pup of the gray wolves, he has been given the name of a wise human monarch that means sovereign of the wind's howls. His uninhibited personality leads him to battle Hasu for ranks on a daily basis. He is became the leader of many beasts in the capital, then in the ivory tower. His subordinates are mostly females.
A timid orc. Gol Gol had taken a liking for him despite his small body. After Gol Gol died, he led the orcs to the west, but the protagonist managed to capture them. He attacked the colonial city with Gilmi. Recently, his greatest worry is that he’ll suddenly find himself fighting at the frontlines with the humans.
The orc king that attacked the village. He is a berserker who can use skills. He was defeated by the protagonist.
Chief of the araneae, a female chief. She speaks firmly and possesses a proud mindset. The lower half of her body is a spider, but the uper half is that of a lovely maiden. She covers her upper body with clothes made from araneae thread. Poison drips from her talons, and she can use them alongside her threads. That fighting style has earned her the name Poison Feather. She is a descendant of the red crystal.
An influential person of the araneae. He opposed Nikea’s plans to accept the goblin and ended up dead for it. He is a descendant of the blue crystal.
The female chief of the mud-scaled tribe. She is slow in a good way. As a member of a tribe known for moving underground, she works as a merchant just like Yushika. She knowns more than the harpies and is also a better messenger. She looks like a mole on the outside, but her vision is perfectly fine. Her pair of round eyes is her unique feature. She is known as the hardest claw. Shi is a descendant of the dark crystal.
Female chief of the harpies. She has a huge bag hanging from her neck that she carries with her arms. She uses it to store her cargo. She is a merchant. She is also a mischievous woman who doesn’t cower even before the king. She has white wings sprouting from her back and bird feet. She is known as the first wing. She is a descendant of the white crystal.
The old chief of the papirsag/shell tribe. He is of short stature and he carries a moss-covered shell on his back. He is a careful man, whose eyes always seem sleepy. Despite that his gaze is extremely sharp. His tribe specializes in processing trees and taming monsters. He is a descendant of the hard crystal.
Chief of the long-tailed, a subspecies of the lizardman with two heads and two tails. Half of his body is covered with a shell, but the other half has his skin exposed just like an amphibian. He is a descendant of the soft crystal.
Chief of the minotaurs. He talks slowly. He tried to crush the goblins as soon as he saw one. There is almost nothing good about him when it comes to talking. His gaze is sharp and while he might talk foolishly, he is by no means incompetent. He is a descendant of the heavy crystal.
Chief of the werewolves. He is a friend of the gray wolves and he lives in the fields. He is known as the tyrant because he likes to tear his enemy apart with brute force. He is a firm believer of power and originally disliked the goblins. He is extremely friendly toward the gray wolves. He tends to be impulsive, but he’s definitely not one to be underestimated. He is a descendant of the fierce crystal.
Chief of the centaurs. He found himself in a bad position ever since Gurfia became a ghost. He tried to kill Gurfia with the elite of his tribe but failed. He hates the goblins. He is a descendant of the proud crystal.
The guide Nikea introduced.
The slave werewolf from the Jirad Forest.
Chief of the Sylph’s Forni village. He wishes to reform the elves. He studied under Falun and is Shunaria’s father. He is renowned as the Wise Shure. He formed an alliance with the Goblin King and promised him full support in the war with the humans.
Chief of the western Gastia Forest. Shure’s friend and master. He is considered a scheming strategist even by his own disciple, Shure. He brought back the elven school system and is currently using his village to spread knowledge.
Shure’s daughter. She is smart and frequently does pointless things. She delivered the Goblin King’s new weapon to him. She is currently working as a civil official in a human village.
A young sylph warrior who gathered experience in the human world. She is a versatile warrior who can lead army and fight her own battles. She managed to make the bigger goblin army retreat many times. She left the Goblin King to help her clan, Elks.
One of Symphoria’s commanders. He fought alongside Pale against the goblins, but he mostly left the leadership of the platoon to her. He has been grudgingly leading the platoon since Pale left. He dreams of becoming a first-rate warrior.
Symphoria’s chief. He is Pale’s cousin. He is self-righteous and proud. He was the only one given a death penalty after the war.
Sinfall’s chief. She is a woman but her face is cold. She never managed to take back Sinfall after it was taken from her during the Sylph Unification War. She was exiled after the war.
Jirad’s chief. He foresaw the human threat lie Shure and the Goblin King, but was rebuked because of his decision to enslave the demihumans. He was stripped of his last name and made a commoner after the war.
Sheng’s chief. He was sympathetic to Pale from beginning to end, but was coerced by Fenit to hand her over to the goblins. He was stripped of his last name and made to work at the Jirad’s hidden farm after the war.
Volume 3: Chapter 202 – Gi Ba Hagar (3/4)
A battle of retreat while carrying the wounded soldiers was bound to be difficult.
The horses of the enemy cavalry were fast, and while the goblins possessed exceptional stamina, they were still on foot.
Perhaps if they were fighting in the forest, it wouldn’t be such a big deal, but the thing was that they were currently fighting on the plains.
The handicap of being on foot versus having a mount was simply overwhelming.
The mana guards that seemed to act as scouts would light up the night sky with their flame bullets whenever they spotted the goblins.
Even the Goblin King couldn’t avoid suffering losses at the succeeding flood of horsemen whenever they were spotted.
The goblins had to fight while retreating, then when they had opened up some distance, they would reorganize their platoons, then they would retreat again.
Fortunately, it was currently night time. So, the goblins only needed a little distance for the humans to lose sight of them.
Despite that their plans to go north using the shortest route was thoroughly ruined by Allen’s command over the Blue Knights, who kept cutting their route.
Knight-Commander Allen already knew that the goblins wanted to use the shortest route to get to the western region.
And with the Blue Knights of Pena and the horsemen of the Red King attacking the goblins simultaneously, the main force that should be protected instead ended up luring the enemy to it.
Although the Order of the Blue Knights was half-destroyed in the last battle, they were still widely known to be the best of the best.
A knight order such as that that carried the dignity of its country upon its shoulder couldn’t possibly have a cowardly soldier among its ranks. Hence, they fearlessly sought out the goblins and attacked them.
Leading the Blue Knights was none other than Allen, who’d sworn take vengeance for the death of the late Knight-Commander, Aizas. It was a taboo for the commanding officer of the entire army to lead a charge himself, but Allen purposely broke that taboo to raise the morale of his soldiers.
However, Allen wasn’t actually naive enough to think just that would be enough to defeat the goblins. After all, he still had the mixed army led by adventurers with him. As such, he prioritized finding the goblins and avoiding a direct confrontation to slowly whittle down on their numbers.
Allen skillfully took advantage of the mobility of their sand horses to execute a hit-and-run strategy repeatedly. Moreover, because he had to lead the missed army platoons as well, Allen’s abilities as a leader steadily improved.
The Blue Knights followed the goblins around like a shadow and kept forcing them to change their retreat path, but the forces of the Red King did not know about that, and they continued to head north.
Because of that, when the main force of the goblins made camp in the night, thinking to themselves that the humans must’ve exhausted themselves, they ended up clashing with the Red King’s forces.
Gi Za Zakuend, the wizard class goblin, was the one in command, for the mounted goblins of Paradua and the stealthy goblins of Gi Ji Arsil were in charge of watching the surrounding area.
When Gi Za Zakuend found out that the humans were approaching them, he immediately ordered for the army to advance north.
“Send a messenger to the king! Lord Hal, I’ll leave it to you!” Gi Za said.
Gi Za asked Hal to deliver the message for he was of the Paradua tribe. And the Paradua tribe were the most mobile of the goblins. At the same time, Gi Za asked Gi Gi to send his monsters out toward the back.
“Buy us some time! We need to endure until the king comes!”
At the same time, Gi Jii asked the assassin platoon to lead the way, while he asked Gi Ba Hagar and Zaurosh to protect the humans and run ahead to the north.
“We will keep the enemy here!” Gi Za said.
Felbi didn’t even have the leisure to ask Gi Za for his orders when his platoon drew their bows and shot at the enemy cavalry seeking to break past Gi Gi Orudo’s monster army.
Gi Za clicked his tongue as he left command of his druids to Gi Do Buruga, while he himself joined the fray. Gi Za knew this would be a hard battle.
Meanwhile, after seeing the monster army appear, Saldin’s head suddenly cooled.
“Why did they split their army into two?” Saldin wondered.
He was certain the monster army wasn’t present previously. It was common sense that having all of one’s forces in one place was the best way to use them.
Saldin knew that despite never having once studied formally. He knew it from experience. And it was also because of that experience that Saldin thoughot of the possibility of reinforcements.
“So, these guys are reinforcements?”
Although Saldin had fought the goblins, he did not actually fully comprehend them.
When he ordered for flame bullets to be casted and illuminate the surroundings, he also noticed that the elves were presnet.
“No. Could it be they’re trying to run using different paths?”
Normally, Saldin would just attack first and think later, so when the surrounding adventures and soldiers saw him actually use his head, they couldn’t help but be puzzled.
It didn’t take long before Saldin became frustrated, however.
“Damn it! If it were Carlion, he would’ve already come up with an answer!”
He had boldly declared he would save Carlion, but Carlion was so far away that he couldn’t even see his back.
Saldin glared hatefully at the enemy camp.
“General, what do we do?” A soldier asked.
But Saldin ignored him as he looked at the battlefield illuminated by the flame bullets.
“…They don’t seem to have much momentum…” Saldin muttered to himself.
As he did, it finally occurred to him.
—These guys are running!
A flash of insight from the Goddess of Wisdom.
Saldin smiled a cruel smile just like that of a bandit’s as his eyed the scene before him.
“Split the army in two!”
After receiving reinforcements, his army now numbered 4,000.
Saldin took one half of that to fight the army that was here now, while he took the other half to pursue the rest of the army that was fleeing.
Adventurers knew that goblins were sly. They would always prioritize the survival of their leader. Using their subordinates as shields was but common sense to them.
That’s why Saldin believed that the giant goblin he fought before was surely with the fleeing half. The monster army in front of him was nothing more than a way to buy time.
Saldin also divided the mana guard between his two armies before taking 2,000 horsemen with him to go around and pursue the fleeing half of the goblin army.
Saldin relied on his animal-like instincts to grasp the position of the enemy’s platoon in the north as he ordered his men to charge into Goddess of Darkness’ wings.
Although it was currently the darkest period of the day, Saldin rode without slowing down even a bit.
Saldin struck his spear and swung his sword against the shadows that moved.
It didn’t matter whether he was cutting down monster or monster beasts.
He would kill the enemy. That was all. And anyone who allied with the enemy was also nothing more than enemy.
“Kill everyone! Cut off those goblin heads!”
The spirited attack of the Red King had just begun.