Book 2, Chapter 26

Rallying The Troops

The broodmother’s huge abdomen began to squirm the moment it finished speaking. It quickly laid three eggs in succession, each more than a metre tall. The shells were a pale green, and started vibrating the moment they fell to the ground. The powerful beasts within burst out in the blink of an eye, quick and violent as they devoured their shells whole before standing next to the broodmother.

Richard felt a cool wind in his mind, coming from three more points that had been added to his perception. These were the minds of the three raptors— they were connected to him from the moment they were born.

‘Come,’ Richard tried to command them, and the three raptors immediately ran to his side. They stared at Richard, watching him attentively with their small amber eyes. Dense, noxious air spewed out of their nostrils.

These enhanced raptors were a lot bigger and stronger than normal beasts. They were almost as tall as Richard standing upright, leaving even the biggest and thickest of blades useless against them. Even a metre-long sword would cause about as much damage to them as an axe swung by an elite.

‘Turn… Stop… Accelerate… Strike!’ Richard continued commanding them from his mind, and the three beasts followed his instructions without mistake. They seemed rather easy to control.

Of course, this was also because there were only a few of them now. Once there were more than a hundred, no matter what Richard wouldn’t be able to exert as fine a control over them as he could now. He could already feel that there would be thousands of them in the near future.

One thing Richard was a little lost about was how he was to handle the broodmother. It could move five kilometres in an hour at best, making it quite difficult for it to take part in their attack. However, the broodmother possessed the strongest offence against anything within its range. Even if Menta were to come back to life, he would die to just one of its acid attacks.

“I can stay here, Master. Take the drones along, they will be the most loyal of warriors,” the broodmother spoke up.

“But what about your safety?” Richard was still rather worried about the broodmother. These beasts gave him a profound, direct understanding of its importance. He couldn’t afford to lose it or put it in danger.

“There is no need to worry about me. There are no enemies nearby, only food, and I have nine workers to escort me now. Besides, I will have new beasts to guard me tomorrow. It is more important for you to destroy our enemies— as far as my knowledge of war goes, we’ll be safe once all the enemies are gone.”

Richard nodded, gently patting the broodmother. Without delay, he brought the three beasts along and left in a hurry.

He gathered his troops together at dawn the next day, looking around at everyone before speaking up, “We have come to this foreign plane, and everyone dispatched before has gone missing. We’ve endured two bloody battles in succession ourselves, and lost three of our brothers. Nearly every one of us has been injured! Now? It’s time to teach those sons of bitches a lesson!”

Richard’s voice was so clear and powerful that there could be no doubt about his determination and strength. Perhaps it was his elven blood, but he looked so handsome that the only thing missing from him now was an imposing and murderous aura.

“That was much better than the first time,” Flowsand commented expressionlessly, “As far as rallying speeches go, it was acceptable.”

Gangdor, on the other hand, was very much impressed. He stroked his short, grizzly beard, “That was good swearing, boss!”

Richard didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. All of the hard work he’d put into that war cry was wrecked in an instant by the brute’s comment.

With how important this counterattack would be, Richard had prepared their battle plans with great detail. Almost every famous general in history rallied their troops before war, increasing their soldiers’ morale and thus growing the army’s power. Although there were only a dozen soldiers, three beasts, and a broodmother under Richard’s command, that was nearly a small army unto itself. The rallying speech was essential.

Richard was well aware that he had to learn to lead troops in battle if he wanted to return to Norland alive. He’d spent the little free time he’d had in the past few days trying to recall famous historic battles and the biographies of revered generals, all in an attempt to learn what he could. 99% of the books he’d read in life were about magic, with so few on war and history that it was almost pitiful. And he’d only read those books in a hurry once he’d reached Faust, so he didn’t have many resources either. To nobody’s surprise, his first attempt at rallying his troops had failed.

At that time, Richard involuntarily thought of Gaton. That unbridled, boorish man always seemed to have a sort of charm to him, but he never seemed to be fake. No matter what someone was following him into, they always ended up feeling more confident. Just like on the night of the sacrifice— whenever he’d seen the view of his father’s back, Richard had immediately felt more at ease.

Seeing Richard’s embarrassed look, Gangdor laughed heartily, “Boss, you actually don’t need to say so much to us, everyone already knows this. Something like you want to us to follow you to do something, right…”

He suddenly clenched his fists, punching the thick wooden table in front of him. With an ominous glint in his eyes, he roared, “Kill those fuckers!”

Richard was caught between laughter and tears, “How?”

“Kill them and fuck them, however you want to!” Gangdor answered, as if for granted.

Richard spoke in all seriousness, “But we should be sure of the terrain, enemy numbers, and settle battle plans before waging war, no?”

“Haven’t you already thought of all that, boss?”

“Yes, but…”

Richard was about to add something when Gangdor interrupted, “Then we do that!”

Rendered helpless, Richard took a deep breath and tried to calm himself down, “But my decisions might not always be right.”

In a loud and casual tone, Gangdor exclaimed, “No boss, your decision will always be most correct! You don’t have to be humble, no one here would know the situation of the battlefield better than you. Your commands at the battle a few days ago were absolutely brilliant! Every time I felt like giving up, you appeared like a miracle, lending me a hand or having Miss Flowsand heal my wounds! You should have seen the look on that Menta fellow’s face, it was priceless! I’m definitely not alone in feeling this boss. Trust that you were born to be a general, and let your talents shine now!"

Richard’s face turned red once again— he had indeed turned the situation around time and time again in their last battle, but that wasn’t because of his proficiency in the art of war. Precision allowed him to determine from even the smallest signs who was about to collapse, so he could run up and support them. He could also detected the positions of the people contracted to him, so in that small battlefield it was like everything was transparent to him. The combination of these two aspects, along with a little luck and the massive support from Flowsand’s endless spells created that miraculous result. This left him unable to tell whether Gangdor was speaking the truth, or singing formal praises for his leader.

Gangdor was not done, however, “Especially that call for us to gang up on them in the end. That was practically the bearing of a famous general!”

Those who ganged up and beat others extended beyond generals and mages. In fact, the gangsters on the streets were more familiar with such things. Richard was left in an awkward position, only bailed out by Gangdor following up with another question, “Boss. If you want to rally your troops before war, don’t you have to tell us why we’re fighting and what we’ll get when we win?”

The answer was not difficult. Richard immediately replied, “Of course, it’s to return to Norland!”

To his surprise, Gangdor merely shrugged. “Going back might not be better than staying here. Besides, to be honest that goal is too far away. You need to give us something immediate, something tangible. It doesn’t need to be a lot, or even grand. For example, I defeated a man at the death camp to steal his meal. I won a fight with a woman, and got her for the night. If you’re the first to submit your plaques in a month, you get two extra doses of medicine. It’s all that simple, but it’s definitely effective.”

Gangdor’s words left Richard in deep thought. Just as he was thinking, Gangdor suddenly yelled strangely. He abruptly jumped across the table, bolting to the other side of the hall. The brute may have been big and sturdy, but his speed and agility did not lose out to that of a rogue.

Everyone turned to look at Gangdor at once, but that fellow just shocked everyone with the cheek to stand there like nothing had happened at all. His expression remained neutral, betraying no hints of the scene that had just played out. It gave one the illusion that he hadn’t moved an inch, and had been at the same spot all this while.

But he had lost his composure, so of course something had happened. Even as he was speaking, something had poked into his lower back and continued moving down. His instincts had fired up in the face of true danger, and as familiar as he was with this killing intent he didn’t spare the time for a second thought before following those instincts to flee to safety.

Hugging the Shepherd of Eternal Rest, Waterflower’s head was hung low and her eyes were half-closed as if nothing had happened. She’d learnt the art of disguise within a few days of leaving the Archeron death camps.

This little episode livened up the atmosphere, just in time to melt Richard’s awkwardness away. *BANG!* He struck the table hard, mimicking Gangdor. This punch seemed somewhat legitimate, even though it was still too intricate and lacked power. However, it was probably too much for a mage who based his life around precision to follow in the rough and unconstrained ways of a warrior.

Smashing the table, he declared articulately, “This attack is for money and women!”

“Not bad!” Gangdor cheered, and Olar’s eye lit up as well, “We’re snatching women? I like this!”

Flowsand smiled faintly, “I like this too.”

The elven bard paused for a moment, glancing at Flowsand. It was difficult to continue with this topic, since what Flowsand had said sounded extremely ridiculous, but of course there were all sorts of eccentrics in the nobility. Olar also couldn’t make out whether she was serious or sarcastic, so he shut his mouth. There were only tough battles ahead; smart people would know to stay out of trouble and avoid offending the priestess.

The ogres clearly didn’t think as deeply as the elf. Medium Rare immediately followed up with a shout, “Let’s get ogre women too!”

“Of course! If we meet any, we’ll take as many as we can!” Richard replied with a smile.

And thus, a chaotic rally to arms came to an end.

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OMA's Thoughts

Theo: One more in under 12 hours, will leave us caught up with a missed chapter last week. Also, thoughts on how war-like the story is getting?

Translated By: SY

Edited By: Theo

TLC'ed By: OMA