Chapter 195 - The Road to Orcrox (1)
Abaddon didn’t come back after a long time.
It was then that Crockta realized that the grey god didn’t want him to know too much information. Abaddon wouldn’t return while they were still here.
“The grey god won’t send him back.”
Zankus, Tiyo, and Anor looked at Crockta.
Zankus spoke, "Those cursed by the stars, fighting something unknown.”
The group of four were rushing to Orcrox in order to defend the orcs from the divine message when they encountered the bizarre being called a demon and heard about the grey god. As if this wasn’t enough, they also learned that the night sky was fake, an illusion.
Zankus glanced at Crockta, as if asking him for an explanation. Crockta didn’t say anything. He didn’t exactly know about the curse of the stars and the grey god had an unknown plan. The other gods probably spread such a strange divine message because of her.
Crockta didn’t know the proper context, so it felt like the story was heading deeper into a labyrinth. Abaddon, who seemed able to explain it, had disappeared.
"It is similar to when Crockta sometimes returns to the abyss of the stars dot. Is he like you?”
“My case is different. Maybe the god called him directly.”
“Ummm...” Tiyo’s mind was busy, his face scrunched up in concentration as he calculated different paths and outcomes. “There is no need to worry dot!”
He got up after a few seconds.
"First of all, let’s stop the gods’ plan for Orcrox dot. Then the answers will gradually emerge.”
The rest of the group nodded at Tiyo’s words. His loud voice loosened the tense atmosphere. It was better for them to move than to sit still and worry. Everyone got up. Crockta’s group hoped that Abaddon would return safely to study a higher level of cuisine. They left a note for Abaddon.
[We will come back someday, and we will be expecting spicier dishes.]
As soon as he was about to leave the large space, Crockta found something. There were faded letters on the wall. Crockta focused on it. The words were written long ago. The ink had melted but the contents could roughly be understood.
The contents were praising the star god. Crockta looked at the light illuminating this space. It was a comfortable light that the eyes could easily look at. Yes, like the stars. Crockta realized that this pyramid was a building for the star god. When he died, the temples serving him would’ve disappeared. This pyramid might be one of the few remaining traces.
Abaddon, he remained here in remembrance of the star god. The dead god.
‘The stars have cooled down a long time ago.’ Crockta stopped. ‘I always see death. Life is a process of convergence towards death. So I want to save everyone.’
The voice of the grey god flashed through his head again. The memory of that day was revived. It was the vision that she showed him before he confronted the imperial army alone. A desperate power that saw the last of all living things.
The sky of dying stars that she planted in her white world. Maybe that was the real sky of this world.
"You know the answer."
Crockta touched the Demon’s Mouth that was exposed to Abaddon. The guy in it didn’t speak again. Crockta remembered the first time he met him. The demon, desperate from all the deaths and emptiness, had emitted his fears towards the outside world through the belt. Quantes almost became a land of death.
The grey god and the demons. If he kept fighting, someday he would get the answer.
“Crockta, what are you doing dot?”
Tiyo called out to him. Crockta stroked the blurred letters with his fingertips and looked at the luminous light again. It was a moment of silence for the star god.
The rest were eagerly waiting for Crockta.
“Crockta! We can’t open the door dot!”
"It is like when the pyramid recognized Crockta.”
"We need Crockta this time as well.”
They were pushing the door this time. Crockta silently pulled the door. Listening to their praises, Crockta imagined that he might be very clever. Anor’s bone sparrow was waiting for them at the pyramid entrance. Anor stroked its head and returned it to death. The snakes were no longer hostile to Crockta. Under their uncomfortable gazes, Crockta’s party headed north again.
Orcrox was getting closer. Many things had happened since he left. The previously immature orc was now a warrior shaking the continent. Somehow, it felt like the orc guards he saw at Orcrox would still be there.
Aklan looked at the army following him and smiled.
They might’ve been turned away at Maillard, but the size of the expedition was gradually increasing. Every town and city they passed, ambitious youths volunteered while religious nobles led their soldiers. By the time they arrived in Orcrox, it would be a huge force to be reckoned with.
Humans, elves, dark elves, dwarves, and gnomes. While the members were mostly humans and elves, there were quite a few varied members from the other species. The orcs would be destroyed by the followers of the gods.
"The gods are watching us.”
“I don’t believe in the gods too much.” Adandator said. He wasn’t delighted by the scale of the expedition. “I just want to see a crazy guy who might kill a god.”
Adandator remembered the crazy orc warrior fighting the imperial army alone. People participated in the expedition to kill him, but it wouldn’t be so easy.
“Huhu, we will soon arrive in Chesswood. There will be many more joining. Adandator should have faith.”
Since the expedition’s departure, everything had been smooth going except for Maillard. Aklan was confident. He would attract more people at Chesswood.
"But what about the support of the business companies for the expedition?”
They needed supplies to sustain such a large number of people. Funds were sufficient due to donations not just from the empire, but from volunteers as well. They asked the business companies for a smooth supply of goods.
The first one they contacted was ‘Blacksmith’, the largest business company on the continent. The Blacksmith Company decided policies through a meeting of its senior executives. The decision would take some time due to this meeting, but Aklan wasn’t worried. Why would they refuse?
“They will make a decision soon. Once we receive the materials from the Blacksmith Company, the expedition will become smoother.”
Aklan replied as passing volunteers bowed to him. The gods they believed in were different, but they all became one due to faith. It wasn’t a mere conquest, but a struggle that would unify the continent.
“Once this fight is finished, the continent will become more peaceful.”
“Faith will bind people together.”
Adandator shrugged. He thought that if the expedition won, there would be a bigger fight over the distribution of profits. However, Aklan’s mind was more of a flower garden than he thought. Aklan was a pure man, despite being a paladin of the war god.
“Look over there.”
Chesswood could be seen. It was named this because the villages scattered all the place looked like a chessboard. It wasn’t a single city but many villages joined together, so the population exceeded a few big cities.
“Raise the flags higher.”
They raised flags in the name of the gods to recruit volunteers. It meant there was a flag for each god. There was also the patterns for the nobles. Colourful flags showed as they headed towards Chesswood.
They reached Chesswood. It was the first village. The sign said ‘Dandelion Village.’
“It is a nice name for a village.
A man dragging three cows found them. The three cows were identical.
"Huhu, they are my pride. Triplets.”
“Can you call the head of the village here? You might already know, but we are the expedition trying to destroy Crockta and the orcs...”
But before Aklan could finish what he was saying, something came flying.
It was an egg. An egg had been thrown at him.
“Oh my, what is this?” The farmer pulling the three cows looked around with surprise. A village resident was holding a basket of eggs.
“Bad people. There is no one left to kill, so you want to kill Crockta?”
“Have patience, patience.”
"Mister, why should I be patient? Didn’t you hear him?”
"No matter how angry you are, it is dangerous to do that to someone holding a blade...”
"Let him stab me! I would already be a dead body if it wasn’t for Crockta.”
Aklan wiped the egg flowing down his head. The volunteers tried to pull out their weapons, but he restrained them.
"Haha, just listen to our story. We aren’t going against the orcs for no reason.”
Aklan’s mind became complicated. It was the same atmosphere as Maillard. It was understandable that the Free Cities Alliance in the south refused to join them. They had waged war with the empire and Crockta helped them.
But in Maillard, he came to know one side of Crockta that he had no idea about. In that city, Crockta was a great orc. Now his name had appeared again in Chesswood.
The man with the triplet cows walked over to Aklan.
“No.” Aklan said while wiping off the eggs. "As you can see, there are a lot of people. I would like to meet the village leaders of Chesswood.”
"Well...you won’t hear anything good but...” The man nodded. “Please wait a while. I will report this to Ingram, who represents Chesswood, and he will come soon.”
The man left and Aklan waited with his troops at the entrance of the village. Then he suddenly heard a song from the village. At first glance, Chesswood was a land of musicians who produced a lot of minstrels, and they seemed to like songs. Once the expedition ended, minstrels would turn their story into an epic.
At that moment. While waiting for the leader, a bunch of children ran up to the expedition members.
Aklan smiled. “Hello. Little friends.”
However, their expressions weren’t bright. The children glared at the expedition before one child stepped forward.
"Are you really going to kill Crockta and the orcs?”
"That's right. We are...”
Aklan made an absurd expression.
The child shouted, "You aren’t worthy of our support! Concern for you? Get out of here right now! Stranger to language and rhyme! Change your metal head!”
It was a type of rhyming song that recently became popular on the continent. A fresh form of music that criticized others. As expected from Chesswood, the children were booing them beautifully through song.
"Misters should be careful! I will say it with my stormy rhyme! Listen carefully, Crockta is our hero! You don’t know anything, just staring straight ahead with blind eyes!”
The other children cheered at the little boy’s impromptu lyrics.
"Truly our village’s rhyme king!”
The child didn’t stop.
"A crisis in Chesswood, the raid of evil people! We didn’t have strength, like hitting rocks with eggs! Then he came, our friend Crockta! There was a fountain of blood every time he moved his greatsword! He is our savior! He always pursues justice! Don’t bother Crockta, you bastards!”
The song was over and the child turned around. Then he bumped shoulders with his friends and celebrated the impromptu lyrics. The children cheered.
"Yes! Historic lyrics!"
"The best improvised song!”
"Those uncles are going crazy right now!”
Aklan was speechless. After listening to the lyrics, he learned there was a crisis in the village and Crockta had rescued them.
“Misters, Crockta is our hero. Remember that.”
The child who made the impromptu lyrics looked at them. Then a man appeared and tapped the child’s head.
“This brat, what are you doing here?”
"You can’t do this."
"If you just heard my lyrics...”
It was the head of Dandelion Village. He looked at Aklan and the expedition troops.
But his eyes weren’t good. Aklan felt that things in Chesswood wouldn’t turn out how he wanted.
Praise the Orc: Glossary Link.
Current schedule: There will now be 14 chapters a week, meaning two chapters every day.
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