“W-who are you? Where are you from? Huh?”
A soldier growled at the applauding stranger.
“What? Get lost? You bastard...”
Bam! The soldier was sent flying like a bloody rag doll before he could complete his sentence.
“How dare a small fry like you address me directly?”
Kang Chul-In snickered and entered the Lord’s hall.
“I’m leagues above you bastards.”
He was right. There was a huge difference in ranks. How could an enemy soldier casually talk to Kang Chul-In, the king of Valhalla?
Lily Sephardi recognized Kang Chul-In and exclaimed.
“Y-you came… you really… came… sob!”
Lily couldn’t control her burst of tears. She definitely longed for her oppa! In fact, Lily could only endure until now thanks to her hope that Kang Chul-In would arrive to help her. Without that, Zolushka would have fallen long ago.
Why the hell am I her oppa?
For a moment, Kang Chul-In didn’t like how Lily was addressing him, but he let it slide in the end.
Heh. Well, she is a kid after all… kinda commendable.
This girl. She had risen up to a high rank despite her young age, which was already praiseworthy. Moreover, it was a miracle that she managed to hold her grounds this long against the Shatyameba army. And to think she displayed an unbreakable fighting spirit even on the brink of death? She was truly a talent to behold in the future.
“Well done, kid.”
Kang Chul-In smiled at Lily.
“I came here as fast as I could, but it seems like the fortress fell much earlier than I expected.”
“Well that… that is… sob...”
Kang Chul-In patted Lily’s head gently.
“Now that I’m here, that’s nothing to worry about.”
“Sob… sob sob...”
Lily couldn’t speak a word. Only tears continued to roll down her cheeks.
“Oi, you there.”
Kang Chul-In pointed at Rooibos.
“Yes, Supreme King of the West.”
“Protect your Lord with your life.”
“Certainly. However, your Majesty… we’ve already lost...”
“First time I’m hearing that.”
“…I beg your pardon?”
“We haven’t lost yet.”
Rooibos was about to say something totally logical and objective about the current war situation. They had already lost. The inner castle had been infiltrated, and even the Lord’s hall was about to be conquered. Kang Chul-In’s claims seemed too idealistic.
“Didn’t I tell you?”
Kang Chul-In said coldly.
“We haven’t lost.”
“Who gave you the permission to decide whether the battle has been lost or not?”
“Don’t decide that on your own.”
“Before I acknowledge our loss, this war is still anyone’s game.”
Rooibos could feel his heart sink.
His body trembled as well.
What confidence! As to be expected from the strongest man in Pangaea!
Kang Chul-In was the Supreme King of the West, indeed.
Only he, who was literally a one-man army, could say such things.
“What, did he just say the Supreme King of the West?”
“That guy is Kang Chul-In? That Kang Chul-In?”
“The king of Valhalla?”
“That war-maniac? And he’s here alone?”
The Shatyameba soldiers, who were listening to the conversation all this while, stood there puzzled. They couldn’t believe it. It hadn’t been too long since the war between Valhalla and the Gullveig Alliance had ended. Why would the busy Supreme King of the West be here in person?
“No way… why would Kang Chul-In, that god damned fucker, be here?”
A soldier spurted out the above without thinking.
Crack! A vein popped up on Kang Chul-In’s forehead.
It was hardly surprising that an enemy soldier would mock him. The only problem was that the ‘god damned fucker’ was right in front of that soldier, alive and well.
“D-Don’t tell me!?”
At that moment, Ahinandi, the Shatyameban general, finally recognized Kang Chul-In...
“S-Supreme King of the West? A-are you really that Kang Chul-In…?”
“Why wouldn’t I be?”
Kang Chul-In replied with a smirk.
Ahinandi was flabbergasted. He was horrified to the core. He couldn’t logically comprehend why Kang Chul-In would be here!
“Huu, I heard that.”
Kang Chul-In walked towards the soldier who called Kang Chul-In a ‘god damned fucker’.
“Say that again.”
“Err… actually… what I-I meant was… Kuhuk!”
Thump, roll. His head fell onto the floor of the Lord’s hall and tossed around.
Psssst! Fresh blood spurted out of the soldier’s neck like a fountain.
Kang Chul-In declared.
“Will ever step into this Lord’s hall.”
Bam! That was the Absolute’s declaration.
“Hmm, actually, you all are a pain in the ass. Just die.”
In fact, it was a death sentence.
The death reaper was here.
The hall was engulfed in chaos.
Kang Chul-In was in another league from the other opponents that the Shatyameba soldiers had defeated on the way.
“A… a demon! That man is a demonnnn!”
The vanguards began to run for their lives. It was shameful, but what else could they do? Running was the only way for the soldiers to live.
Of course, it was still impossible for them to escape from Kang Chul-In’s grasp.
Swish! Kang Chul-In drove Kaiforce into Ahinandi’s chest.
Ahinandi vomited blood.
“You… you… monster…”
Thump! That was the end. Just five minutes.
That was all it took for the three hundred Shatyameba soldiers to get annihilated.
“To think that the inner castle was penetrated by these weaklings...”
Kang Chul-In muttered in disbelief. No matter how many times he pondered, it didn’t make sense to him. The Shatyameba soldiers were weak and poorly trained. Their only saving grace was their superiority in numbers. Kang Chul-In was astonished by Atal Ramanujan’s decision to instigate a war with this mob.
But for the inner castle to fall into their hands? It indicated that Zolushka’s national defense power was weak beyond imagination.
Kang Chul-In asked Lily.
“Where did you spend all that money?”
“The only explanation I can think of is that you squandered it on the wrong things.”
It was a reprimand. Kang Chul-In was asking her how the inner castle could be infiltrated by these weaklings in merely three days.
“A-Actually… for my territory… ever since we won the battle in which Sumire died...”
Lily tried her best to explain, but she had already lost her mind due to witnessing the prior massacre. It was difficult to tell what she was mumbling.
“I will speak on her behalf.”
In essence, his explanation was as follows:
Not long after the Great Summoning, Zolushka was a war-torn territory due to the constant ongoing battles with neighboring territories. However, it was able to subjugate the other territories and regain peace thanks to the work of Sumire, Lily’s trusted secretary.
“Her Majesty wished to soothe the pain of the people who had been devastated by the war.”
The story that followed was a typical case of the tail wagging the dog. It also had the cliché story plot of how she did her people a favor and it became her job. Lily established too generous of a welfare system. She gave greater rewards and pensions to her people, lowered their taxes and distributed more supplies. The problem was that the territory didn’t earn enough money to sustain this act.
That wasn’t all. Lily decreased the size of her army to 40% after the war had ended.
“You’ve got some guts.”
Kang Chul-In, who was listening quietly, even mentioned the word ‘guts’.
“Why did you downsize the army?”
“As for that… after the end of the battle in which Sumire died...”
“There weren’t any noticeable danger factors around, looking at the neighboring territories and geography?”
Kang Chul-In intruded.
“Ah, yes… that’s why...”
“You trusted Itaracia and downsized your army?”
Kang Chul-In was dumbstruck.
“Now I know why you failed.”
This was why he wasn’t aware of Lily Sephardi’s existence in the past. In the past, Atal Ramanujan formed the Baldur Alliance together with Alex Rothschild, and was responsible for the large number of soldiers. In other words, he could cross the Chamonix mountains with Rothschild’s help, conquer Itaracia and then participate in the Ragnarök.
Lily’s territory was probably trampled down in the process.
“Kid… you are the definition of a pacifist.”
Kang Chul-In stood aghast.
“To think you chose to be a eunuch...”
It was a crude, but not totally wrong expression. An army constituted the foundation of national defense. It did exacerbate war sometimes, but at the same time, it was a source of deterrence.
There was a saying that without an army, there wouldn’t be war.
Kang Chul-In begged to differ.
That’s total bullshit coming from an ignorant shit.
Bullshit, indeed. No army, no war? Even if the nation without an army could be a peace-lover, would the neighboring countries share the same consensus?
Not in a million years! In fact, they would immediately gather an army to swallow the defenseless nation up whole. In this world where fraud and murder were frequent even between family members, who in the right mind would trust another nation?
Kang Chul-In pointed at the Lord’s hall, which was now in a mess. Corpses, corpses and more corpses. Crimson-red blood pooled on the floor of the Lord’s hall. Fresh corpses were scattered everywhere, some with their eyes still wide open.
“This is the consequence of you downsizing your army.”
“The people that you loved so much? Where are they? Both your soldiers and people are cowards who ran for their lives, instead of fighting back.”
Lily couldn’t rebut Kang Chul-In.
“So what if you treat them well? Did the people repay your benevolence in any way? Managing a territory is no child’s play. There needs to be a give and take. You have to receive something from your people if you treat them well. War is not just limited to fighting an external enemy. In fact, domestic administration is a constant battle with your own people.”
This was Kang Chul-In’s philosophy in managing a territory. He treated even politics as war.
“I… I… was wrong...”
Lily’s head drooped.
“Because of my poor judgment… sob… the territory has fallen… people died… sob sob...”
Kang Chul-In shook his head.
“People did die, but your territory can still be salvaged.”
“There’s still some hope. Considering that talisman’s value… it’s worth rescuing an almost-devastated territory.”
“However… don’t you ever downsize your army again. You hear me?”
Lily gave him a bright smile.
“I trust you… oppa!”
He didn’t have to ask for anything to gain her trust. That was Kang Chul-In, the trustworthy man!Previous Chapter Next Chapter