Chapter 168 - Chapter 32: Giants #5
Next to the main office of the 12th base, there was a space provided for meetings.
Anastasia, who had settled in the meeting room earlier than anyone else, looked between In-gong and Felicia with a slight frown.
"What did you do that you didn’t sleep all night? I heard that a number of people came and went from Shutra’s room.”
During the night, there had been many visitors to In-gong’s room. In-gong shrugged and replied,
“Just... well, this and that.”
Anastasia’s eyes narrowed. Felicia noticed and quickly intervened,
"Now, didn’t you say there were many things to discuss today? Let’s start quickly. Yes?”
Anastasia couldn’t help smiling at the cute sight. It was because she hadn’t seen Felicia’s charm for a while. However, that didn’t last long. Anastasia restored her refined expression and glanced at In-gong and Felicia.
"It’s about the disposal of those who surrendered.”
Currently, there were more prisoners than troops being held at the 12th base. If they didn’t move quickly, it was clear a disturbance would occur. Those who surrendered or were captured could be mostly divided into four types:
The Hwarin and Paran giant clans; The orcs who were originally soldiers of the Demon King’s Palace; And the barbarians who came from beyond the limit line.
"The barbarians aren’t a big problem. We can handle them as usual.”
The future of caught barbarians was always one of two options: execution; or slavery. In-gong had already experienced this after fighting the eastern barbarians, so he didn’t pay much attention to it. For the Demon King’s Palace, the barbarians were enemies. So, mercy couldn’t be given to them.
Felicia frowned and said,
"Are the original army members the problem?”
"That's right, especially the Hwarin and Paran clan.”
Anastasia took a sip of tea instead of sighing. In contrast to Felicia and Caitlin, every move of Anastasia’s was as elegant as a true princess. However, she seemed a bit more relaxed this time. Her voice and eyes were filled with fatigue.
"In other words, we have to punish the orcs properly. The commanders should be executed, but we don’t need to take the lives of the ordinary soldiers. Just think of it as they were following orders.”
Anastasia wasn’t particularly generous as it was a practical concern. Many rebels still remained in Curtis. Now that Berkintox, the leader of the rebellion, was dead, they would be watching.
They needed to decide whether to surrender or continue to fight. Tough punishment would just increase the rebels’ will to fight. Now was the time to release the stranglehold on their necks. It was clear that the soldiers would surrender if they could live.
‘The real punishment will be after Curtis has calmed down.’
Anastasia swallowed those words and continued explaining.
"But the Hwarin and Paran clans are different. The Hwarin has directly damaged the demon king’s army. They destroyed the transportation formations, and the soldiers guarding them. The Paran clan members who surrendered were Berkintox’s bodyguards.”
They couldn’t be handled in the same manner as regular soldiers, particularly the Hwarin clan. Due to succumbing to In-gong’s influence, the Paran clan had killed less than the Hwarin, who had killed hundreds of soldiers.
"But Unni, executing all the giants is unreasonable.”
"I thought so as well. The loss of manpower will be too big. Moreover, it may increase the survivors’ will to fight unnecessarily.”
The worst thing about a civil war was that no matter which side won, the overall power would be weakened. In particular, thousands of soldiers would be required to replace the Paran clan giants who had excellent combat power. It wouldn’t be easy to create a great number of new troops.
There was more. The number of Paran clan members reached up to 1,000. It was a number which included the young and the old, but there were still hundreds of Paran clan members left. There needed to be some way for them to live. Otherwise, there would be a desperate battle for survival.
Anastasia opened her mouth after a short silence.
"However, this time, we have no choice but to kill many of the captured Hwarin. Among the 100 Paran members, the ones close to Berkintox should be executed. The rest of the giants, like the orcs, will be given appropriate punishment.”
It might be cold or calculative, but the Hwarin were wanderers and didn’t really help in the defense of Curtis. They were troops which didn’t need to be replaced, and the aftermath of their deaths would be small.
There was no mercy for those who had destroyed the transportation formations and killed hundreds of soldiers. In that sense, the 100 members of the Paran clan were lucky. If they had actively engaged in battle with soldiers of the demon king, they wouldn’t have received such a light punishment.
In-gong nodded with a heavy expression as they discussed things like implementing heavy taxes over the next few years.
“It isn’t bad. Moreover, Anastasia noona is in charge of Curtis. So, I will respect Noona’s will.”
“I will follow Unni’s will.”
The atmosphere sank after discussing executions. Then after hearing In-gong and Felicia’s answer, Anastasia sighed and opened her mouth to speak again.
“Okay, the matter of punishment has been settled. The following issue is regarding the rest of the rebels.”
Anastasia pointed to the map of Curtis spread out on the table in the meeting room. Colourful sculptures represented the position and number of the current forces on the map.
"It is clear that the east will collapse when touched. The problem is the north and the west, but I don’t think it will be that difficult.”
From the beginning, the east had simply been watching the situation. They weren’t stupid enough to rebel after Berkintox died.
On the other hand, the problematic north and west had no focal point. Berkintox had used his best cards in order to finish the battle at the 12th base quickly. As a result, it had brought catastrophic losses to the rebels.
Berkintox had lost his life, the second leader, Artman, had been killed, and the 100 giants had been absorbed into the demon king’s army. The rebels still had Actius, but he was a barbarian and couldn’t be the center of the rebels. There was also a very high probability that Actius would run away instead of fight. So, Actius and the barbarians would probably rush back over the limit line.
"Excuse me, Shutra. There is something I want to ask you.”
Anastasia turned to In-gong. She paused for a moment before saying with a slight smile,
"Can you leave recapturing the north and west to me and Victor orabeoni?”
Anastasia was beautiful, overly beautiful. Her thin neckline revealed a smooth collarbone and white skin, enough to drive a man mad. Her small shoulders, busty chest and narrow waist covered by thick clothing stimulated one’s foolish imagination. Additionally, she had a nice scent. Her beauty was enough to make someone lose their soul just by looking at her.
She smiled at In-gong, but there was no smile back.
“As expected, it didn’t work.”
Anastasia frowned while sweating. Although she had the strange eyes of a succubus, she was staring at In-gong in her usual elegant manner.
Felicia guessed the situation and shot up from her seat.
"Felicia, did you give the Tears of a Dark Elf to Shutra? You're really too much. Did you really have to give that away? You didn’t even ask me.”
Anastasia looked sad, and even Felicia’s heart seemed shaken. However, Felicia also had the Tears of a Dark Elf which made them virtually immune to mental attacks.
"Unni, do you really have to use your beauty against your younger siblings?”
Anastasia responded to the grouchy words with an elegant smile,
“I knew it wouldn’t work.”
She still seemed elegant despite the rude words. Indeed, it was a truly graceful appearance. Felicia’s mouth opened and closed like she had no words, while Anastasia turned her gaze back to In-gong. She stared at In-gong without using any enchantments and said,
"Shutra, what do you think of my request?”
It was a political demand.
In-gong had already gained large merits during Berkintox’s rebellion. He had rescued Anastasia, who was in charge of Curtis, and in the process, he had defeated the barbarian king, Actius. He had personally killed Berkintox, the rebellion leader, and Artman, who had turned his back on the Demon King’s Palace despite being a senior general.
It wasn’t an exaggeration to say he had virtually shut down the rebellion alone. If In-gong recovered the north and west as well, then Anastasia and Victor would be truly ridiculed.
Anastasia had some small merits. She had played a role in defeating Actius, escaping the central and commanding the whole army at the 12th base.
However, Victor really had no merits. Moreover, he had abandoned his sister callously. It was obvious that he would be scorned when compared to In-gong who had broken through an army of 30,000 enemies alone. The only merit possible for him was recapturing the north and west. That way, he could maintain his pride at the Demon King’s Palace.
However, for that to happen, In-gong would need to yield that merit.
Anastasia felt nervous under her mask of calmness while In-gong stared at her. Instead of annoying Anastasia by dragging out the time, he answered immediately,
"There is one condition."
In-gong glanced at Felicia. Last night, Felicia had foreseen that Anastasia would do exactly this. So, he had decided on a condition with Felicia.
"Later in the future, you will help me once, regardless of your own interests—using all the power that Noona has.”
Recapturing the north and west was post-war work. There was no need to go crazy because he had already gained huge merits. So, he would prefer for Anastasia to owe him a debt. Anastasia frowned at In-gong’s demand and replied,
"Shutra, I am a princess of the Demon King’s Palace. I won’t cooperate with anything that goes against the Demon King’s Palace.”
"Then let’s put it as a ‘favour’ as long as it ‘isn’t against the Demon King’s Palace’. I am also a prince of the Demon King’s Palace. I have no intention of doing anything to go against that.”
That was actually the case. Stopping Zephyr’s ambitions and killing the War Knight and Death Knight were good things for the Demon King’s Palace. Anastasia lowered her eyes like it couldn’t be helped and nodded.
"Okay, let's do that. I also owe you my life. I will do well if you ever have a request.”
Anastasia told him before turning back to Felicia. She then laughed and continued,
"So, don't worry about it. I won’t forget about this. I will repay everything in full. Are you sure Shutra isn’t asking for too much?”
Felicia smiled and shrugged at the words.
“I am on Shutra’s side.”
"You should be on Unni’s side.”
Anastasia whined, but that just widened the smile on Felicia’s face. Anastasia laughed as well. From the beginning, her whining has been a joke.
‘It is better than I thought.’
In Knight Saga, Felicia and Anastasia had always been on the same side. Their conversation at the tea party had been fairly tense, but that seemed to be due to a misunderstanding.
"In that case, Anastasia noona, I’ll head to the southwest with Felicia.”
Anastasia tilted her head at In-gong’s words.
"To the residence of the lizardmen?”
"Yes, I would like to look at the ruins and surrounding areas. Felicia noona would also like that.”
Felicia was someone who loved visiting ruins. However, that wasn't the only reason. He wanted to dig deeper into the secret of the Giant King's Sword and the giants.
Galang had said the lizardmen were also told the story of Drakon Kechatulla. It was an ancient mystery, so they might know more about the Giant King's Sword and dragon warrior.
"Yes, go if you want.”
Anastasia had no apparent reason to refuse.
In-gong left the 12th base the next day. Anastasia stood on the wall and watched In-gong’s group head west, and she sighed without realising it.
It had only been a few days. She still remembered the central fortress when she closed her eyes. Victor wouldn’t come. He had abandoned Anastasia. His behaviour was understandable. There had only been a low chance of victory. It had been a situation where it would have been easy for them to die together.
That’s why she didn’t feel resentment. Neither could she reproach him for it.
Instead, she had a different idea. What would Anastasia have done? If Victor was trapped in the central fortress, would she had gone to save him? Would she really have given up on Victor?
Anastasia laughed bitterly. Then she remembered another family member. She had escaped the crisis because of Shutra.
"I'm still soft.”
Anastasia muttered. Her mother, Titania, was always worried about her being too soft. Maybe this softness was something she had inherited from her father, the demon king?
However, she didn’t hate it. She remembered the words Baikal used to say when she was a child.
‘Anastasia, we aren’t enemies. We are competitors running towards the same goal, and we can lead each other to a higher place.’
He was truly soft. When she thought about it, he truly was a fool of a brother.
‘I don’t dislike it.’
She didn’t dislike Baikal’s words. In fact, she was able to confirm it this time. Shutra’s face popped up. She couldn’t forget about the time when he came to rescue her.
'Everyone is soft.’
Anastasia shrugged and smiled brightly.
'Master, why are you laughing like this? You look stupid. I also like that about Master.’
“It’s just... I feel good.”
In-gong looked at the wall of the 12th base with aura-enhanced eyes before turning back to the front again. It was truly comfortable being on Maybach’s back after a long time away. There were 100 soldiers behind In-gong, and all of them were horsemen with their own mounts.
“There is a long way to go, and isn’t the party small? We’ll be ‘faster than the wind’.”
The new soldiers smiled without thinking, but the others were different. Their bodies flinched reflexively. Maybach was the same as he recalled what had happened in Evian. In particular, Felicia showed a dramatic reaction.
"Shutra, did Noona do something wrong to you?”
Her face was really cute. In-gong suppressed the urge to pinch her cheek and laughed cheerfully.
"I’ll be in the lead. And Prince, you shouldn’t bully Princess. It doesn’t matter how fun it is.”
Carack admonished him while Green Wind appeared beside In-gong in a semi-solid state. It was for the sake of Protection of the Wind.
In-gong looked at the west again. He could smell a large forest from the wind.
In-gong pulled out the flag of light, and Green Wind used Protection of the Wind on everyone.
They moved toward the west.
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