Dragons had always been a reclusive race, sequestering themselves in terra incognita regions of the world such as the Nidh mountain range, and only showing themselves in rare occasions. But now, they’d broken their seclusion in order to begin their campaign of assault upon the capital cities of human countries all over the world.
There had been dragon attacks in the past. To the human race, the proud, regal, and powerful dragons who only ever attacked alone had been a symbol of awe and fear. Regardless, the humans had continued to perfect their magical artillery, and soon they had gained the capability to repel dragons.
But on that day, for the first time, the dragons revealed their true power to the human race.
The dragons that had attacked human cities in the past had been around ten meters in length, capable of breathing fire, approximately ten thousand in combat power, and colored in green and dirt-brown.
But the dragons joining the campaign this time were covered in beautiful scales, as if they were clad in coats of shifting metals and gems: bronze and brass, silver and platinum, rubies and jades. They were much larger, some ranging from fifteen to twenty meters in length, and some were even releasing scorching lasers and bolts of lightning from their jaws as they streaked through the sky with tremendous speed.
Some among them even possessed twenty, nearly thirty thousand total combat power, equivalent to that of a Dark General. The humans trembled with fear as they realized that the dragons they’d fought until now had only been immature ones.
The large country Torbasept and the nearby two small countries on the northeastern small continent had fallen by the dragons. Two small countries on the Southern Continent, Rassept Kingdom and Sarkann, were also attacked by dragons, and while the two large countries deployed their armies, the demihuman resistance took the opportunity to attack and conquer the small country of Rutohl.
But the dragons hadn’t been the only monsters to have taken action.
The Dark General of the Northwestern Continent, the Orc King, and all thirty thousand of his subordinate orcs began to march, putting an end to their inactivity.
The Orc King had only stayed quiet until now due to the three nearby large countries that were keeping them in check: the Empire of Lansis, Tolldorre, and Luselle Kingdom. And if the orc army still decided to march regardless, the Sage at the City of Magic Quarancinq would arrive to deal with them immediately.
At the same time, it was noteworthy that the Orc King still survived despite being surrounded by such firepower. It wasn’t because the orcs were powerful, but rather, because of their prodigious number. It was nigh-impossible to wipe them out completely.
And there was another secret reason: Marlene the Sage wanted the glory to be hers alone. In every joint operations with other large countries, she had always been holding back her power to keep the orcs alive.
Trees cracked and crashed, giving way to waves and waves of orcs. The enormous forest trembled under their footsteps.
Orcs were humanoid monsters that resembled boars on two legs. A single, normal orc wasn’t much of a threat, with their combat power ranging from 300 to 700. Their evolution, the High Orcs, were only about 1500, while the leaders of orcish forces called Orc Generals were only around 3000 in combat power.
In a comparison of pure combat power with the other Dark General armies — a normal troll had about 500, while an ogre had 1000 — orcs were notably weak. Their strength instead lay in their reproductive ability and their incredibly robust digestion: they could turn almost everything other than minerals and metals into nutrition.
When an army marched, it would need vast amounts of food. With humans, the larger the army, the bigger their supply network would need to be to transport the necessary food, medicine, and other consumables, and the slower their marching speed would become.
The orcs, however, were even eating the trees they had felled, and any wild forest animals they caught would be consumed alive, bones and all. There was no drop in the army’s speed.
The enormous Orc King raised his battleaxe and roared a furious battlecry.
He, too, had realized the appearance of the Evil God on Yggdrasia. He had also felt the Will of the World Tree, telling him to liberate the Saplings, but he didn’t care as much about this world as his grudge against the human race.
Orcs were more than the people’s common perception of them. They weren’t just crude, savage monsters.
They were fertile because they were weak. They knew they were big eaters, and so they had learned to farm, to cultivate fields, even to raise large herbivorous animals as food.
But ever since the human race monopolized the World Saplings — monopolizing the boons that should have been equally bestowed upon all living beings of the world — the orcs’ lifestyle could no longer continue.
Humans stole mana from the Saplings, turning it into military power in order to drive all other races away from the Saplings. That alone hadn’t been enough to satisfy them; they had even begun to take anyone not of their race as their slaves, their livestock.
As the humans took mana from the Saplings, the life-force that nurtured the surrounding forests began to drain away. There had been many, many deaths among the population of the exiled races.
But things got even worse. In just a few decades, the humans had proven themselves even more fertile than the orcs, and they began to invade the orcs’ forests to massacre their inhabitants.
“The orcs threaten our new villages and towns.“
“We can use their skins as material and feed their meat to our cattles.”
“If we kill them, we would gain fame as adventurers.”
These were the reasons the humans used to continued their killing of orcs all over the world. In the end, the only large-scale orc settlement left was on this continent.
The Orc King would never, ever forget this grudge.
He had taken the appearance of the Evil God and the subsequent worldwide chaos to be an opportunity.
Just as he expected, his scouts had reported that the humans’ flying ships, the terrible machines that had stymied his many attempts to advance his armies, had left for somewhere far away. The Orc King immediately raised his army.
Luckily, there was none of the usual interference from the Heroine. The orcs hated her too, of course, but they detested the whole human race far more.
“The damn orcs are attacking?!”
Lansis’s emperor, an elderly man, was in the middle of a meeting to discuss the dark pixies. The shocking news jolted him out of his seat.
“Yes, sir! The western army had already moved out, but as we have confirmed the existence of the supposed Orc King, it is likely only a matter of time before they reach this capital…”
“What the fuck were the lookouts doing?! Damn it, call the battleships back! And where the hell is the Sage?”
Faced with the emperor’s terrifying visage, the reporting prime minister paled.
“We still can’t contact the fleet, likely due to the distance. Lady Marlene’s whereabouts is still unknown ever since the incident…”
“So that foxy bitch really did summon the Unseelie Lord then! Request aid from Tolldorre and Luselle Kingdom, now!”
Out of the ninety-nine countries of Yggdrasia, only two countries bore the title of ‘empire’: this Lansis Empire, and the Touze Empire of the Central Continent.
They both had an old history, being no more than a hundred years apart in age, yet Lansis Empire had always been seen as inferior to the Central Continent’s Touze Empire.
The twisted inferiority complex of Lansis’s emperor had been the reason why the country had proposed the plan to subjugate the Unseelie Lord to Tolldorre and Luselle Kingdom. They wanted to steal a march on everyone else.
And so, the flying battleship fleet that should have been used to deal with the Orc King was now deployed, together with the commander-in-chief of the military, to subjugate the Unseelie Lord. Only their knights and soldiers were left. Lansis’s military strength had practically been cut in half.
Lansis’s emperor gave the order to ‘request’ military aid from the other two large countries. Went unsaid was the understanding and the threat that if Lansis Empire fell, they would be the next.
As the two countries had also sent away their own battleships, they requisitioned civilian airships and the magitech train to deploy several tens of thousands of ‘reinforcement’ soldiers to Lansis Empire.
Despite the fact that both Tolldorre and Luselle had to deal with their own dark pixie incursions and consequently did not exactly have much leeway to help, they understood far too well the inevitability of their own ruin if Lansis Empire fell here. Thus, they were forced to send away most of their reserve force.
The orc army of thirty thousand faced the human alliance army of fifty-eight thousand.
At first glance, the humans were superior in number, if one ignored the fact that they needed three of their soldiers to only barely be able to deal with one single orc.
But the humans were still yet to lose hope. They weren’t defending a village or a small town with only a barrier; they still had the enormous walls of the capital to slow down the orcs’ march, and they had access to magic artillery and the unlimited mana of the Sapling to arm the weapons.
The advancing orc army was being bombarded. Dozens of orcs were blown to pieces with every single cannon shot.
The orcs’ strategy was a simple one: do everything they could to allow the King to tear open the barrier, so that they could rush inside. Luselle Kingdom’s army had arrived upon the beginning of the battle, as well as Tolldorre’s on the following day. It seemed victory was assured for the human side.
But the humans had not truly comprehended the fury of the orcs, the fury of those who’d had the Saplings’ blessings stolen from them.
The orcs still moved forward, consuming enemies to heal themselves and ignoring any remaining wounds. They marched fearlessly, recklessly. None stopped as long as they still drew breath.
The avalanche of orcs, and the enormous herbivorous beasts that they used as their steeds, stared death in the face as they slammed into the barrier.
Upon the overwhelming impact, several magitools sustaining the barrier shattered. The Orc King, himself bloodied by dozens of magical cannon shots, dealt the final blow to the barrier with his two-handed battle-axe Combat Art.
Roaring orcs flooded into the city. Most of the townspeople still hadn’t evacuated, and they were cut down mercilessly. Meanwhile, the Orc King led several of his Generals toward the palace.
The bombardment intensified. Generals after Generals fell. The near-death Orc King howled in mourning, and with the last of his strength, he reached the Sapling and smashed it apart.
The barrier vanished. A fire of unknown origin slowly began to spread through the palace. The Orc King collapsed to his knees, and he let loose a voiceless laugh.
Lansis Empire, the head of the Northwestern Continent alliance, fell, as well as a majority of the alliance’s military force together with it.
With the King gone, the sole surviving Orc General took up his mantle, inheriting the will of the old King to lead the orc army toward the weakened Luselle Kingdom.