It was true that Snoc controlled a considerable number of armored soldiers, but he didn’t do it alone (his ability wasn’t at that level yet). The only ones he controlled were those who fought directly on the frontlines of battle, while the rest were Lyla’s golems.
Even if they were golems, they were in a different league from the mithril golems that the party fought before in the ancient ruin. Lyla’s golems simply rushed around in groups following command, and none of them could engage in a proper battle. Of course, it wasn’t that Lyla’s skills were lacking. Well, even considering that they used up a whole bunch of gems and mithril, the fact that she was able to make a massive amount of golems that could mimic human movements in such a short amount of time clearly displayed her incredible talent.
Yet, Lyla herself didn’t seem to be satisfied with her creation. “No matter how rushed I was, I can’t believe I made such useless, trashy golems….”
However, Zich and his companions didn’t need golems any stronger than the ones they currently had. They didn’t need much power either. The elves just needed to think that there was a great number of humans. Moreover, they lacked the time required for Lyla to create golems to her satisfaction—by a lot.
‘She will probably destroy even high-quality golems saying that she doesn’t like them,’ Zich thought. Lyla was like a master creator.
They also didn’t intend to carry out their plan sloppily. Inside each armor, they placed a small pouch full of animal blood to make a great display of blood flowing out. All that was left for them to do was place armored soldiers and golems inside the magic box and take them out after trespassing.
It was the same when retreating. In the midst of the chaos, Zich continued stuffing the armored soldiers into the magic box. After he hid behind a building and completely escaped his enemies’ eyes, Zich stored all of them back inside. Lastly, he just had to bring his physical self to safety, and that was an easy task to do.
“You should go to sleep. You will have to keep doing things like this,” Zich said to Snoc.
“Yes, sir.” Snoc was a little tired, and he carefully hugged Nowem, who was dozing off on his shoulder and headed towards his room.
Zich also sent Hans to his room. While wearing armor, Hans had been helping Zich all along too. Even if Snoc controlled the armored soldiers and Lyla handled the rest with her golems, the plan was able to run more smoothly with a skilled figure who could move on their own judgments. Besides, Hans also kept making conversation with Zich and played the role of someone who lightened (?) up the atmosphere.
After Hans and Snoc disappeared, Zich asked Lyla, “Did you find it?”
“Here, I marked the locations.” Lyla handed him a scroll. Zich took it and spread it out. It was the map that Dornian had given them. Apart from the previous marks, which showed the most likely places for the captives to exist, there were new marks that Lyla had drawn.
While Zich was running around Mentis, Lyla quietly searched around the city from the sky. Then, she assessed the troops’ movements in detail and recorded them on the map. The purpose of this was to pinpoint where the captives were.
“For now, this place and this place don’t seem likely. There were too few troops coming out of them.” With her fingers, Lyla pointed at each of the marks with her hands. There were already X marks on them.
“This place and this one are the same. There are too many troops coming out of them like they are the soldiers’ main residence.”
“Where are the suspicious places?”
“Here,” Lyla pointed at one place. “No troops left this area.”
“It isn’t empty, right?”
“There were some lights inside. I saw some soldiers leave the building to assess the situation, but no one participated in the battle. Instead, they went around the building and strengthened their defenses. The reason behind their actions seems obvious.”
“It means they are protecting something important inside that building,” Zich smirked. “It wouldn’t be their command center or anything like that, right?”
“It’s a small building with two floors—not the type of place that ‘elite people’ would prefer. Judging by the troops’ movements, I think the head of the Iron Tribe is in the castle we saw earlier.”
“Normally, they would stay in places like that.”
“So, what are you going to do now?” There was a bit of nervousness mixed in Lyla’s voice. Like she was searching for Zich’s reaction, her eyes kept glancing at him from time to time.
“We have to search that place for now since we simply found a place with a high possibility. We aren’t actually sure if the captives are there or not.”
Lyla felt a bit more relieved after hearing Zich’s response. She thought, ‘Thankfully, it doesn’t seem like he plans to extend this war for long.’
Demon Lord Zich Moore would’ve tried to lengthen the amount of time he could wreak havoc as much as possible; currently, Zich didn’t seem to show that aspect of the Demon Lord yet.
‘I hope he can continue to be like this….’ Lyla thought.
Whether or not Zich was aware of Lyla’s worries, Zich pointed at a part of the map. “We should attack from here next time.”
“You are not going to where the captives are right away?”
“We might be found out as collaborators of the Lake Tribe then. We still have to be guys who came to steal the elves’ treasure.”
“Then should we start getting ready to sleep to prepare for tomorrow?” Zich stared at the ceiling. “Even though this isn’t as comfortable as staying in a house, it’s a pretty comfortable basement.”
Surprisingly, the place they were currently in was a large underground basement, deep below Mentis. Snoc infiltrated Mentis last night and worked hard in digging the basement without the Iron Tribe finding out. The floor, ceiling, and walls were all made out of dirt, but the basement was very sturdy since it was made with great care. The basement probably wouldn’t crumble from usual earthquakes. It was also very deep underground, so there was a meager chance that the elves would be able to find their location.
‘The air is stuffy, but we just have to live with it.’
Even though they drilled vents on top of the ceiling, they were deep underground, so the air circulation was bound to be insufficient. However, Zich’s companions were used to sleeping in all sorts of places thanks to Zich’s traveling style. Soon enough, everyone fell asleep one by one.
* * *
The Iron Tribe was bewildered by the troop of human soldiers that suddenly appeared and suddenly disappeared. They naturally strengthened their defenses and boundaries. They brightened up their fires and increased the number of soldiers patrolling. Moreover, Kandis, who was usually asleep during this time, was patrolling around the whole island. Thus, the soldiers had no choice but to be on full alert.
‘Those fucking bastards!’
Whenever Kandis thought about yesterday’s events, he was filled with fury. As the general of the Iron Tribe’s army, he felt proud to take on such an essential role in a plan to flourish the prosperity of his tribe; his confidence and pride were reaching toward the heavens. If this plan turned out successful, the Iron Tribe would become the owners of the entire Adrowon forest region and perhaps even extend its powers to the human realm. Then, as one of the top leaders of the plan, Kandis would be able to gain a tremendous amount of wealth and honor and become a highly regarded general. For that reason, he wanted to carry out this plan without the slightest hitch. Before yesterday, everything seemed to have been going perfectly.
The other tribes couldn’t easily approach them because of the hostages, and they were able to successfully capture and kill the occasional scouts who infiltrated inside. Everything was going so smoothly that they were even losing a bit of steam.
However, in just one night, their complete triumph was shattered. A troop that seemed to be made up of humans infiltrated the island. They suddenly appeared at Mentis and caused chaos throughout the whole island, and at the same time, many of their tribe members died. Since they had to conserve as much power as possible, it was a significant loss for them. Moreover, their enemies were able to escape Mentis without even leaving a corpse behind. Kandis gritted his teeth. He had no idea how they were able to escape.
“Damn it!” Kandis unintentionally swore out loud. His soldiers scooted away from him as they saw that he was in a bad mood. If they happened to cross him, they would get into a lot of needless trouble. Kandis was not a kind boss.
‘How the heck were they able to escape!’
Without caring at all about what his soldiers thought, Kandis continued to contemplate how his enemies escaped. Because of this matter, he received all kinds of insults and humiliation from his King without being able to retort a single word. For that reason, he wished with all his might that those humans would appear again.
‘This time, I’m going to perfectly capture all of them!’
He was not going to let a single one escape and chew them up extremely thoroughly. It was at that moment that he heard a loud shout. “Enemies! It’s the same enemies from yesterday! They have infiltrated the place again!”
Kandis’ bloodshot eyes glistened.
* * *
“Don’t let them escape!”
The elves shouted out loud and headed towards the same destination. The sight of them running around with torches and weapons was intense and fearsome. However, since they were focused so much on one area, they paid little attention to a different site. While a frightening number of torch lights gathered and converged in one place, the opposite side solidified and expanded its darkness. In the dark, someone was quietly moving.
Zich slipped inside one of the buildings that had its lights turned off. He pushed down his robe further and quietly sensed his surroundings.
‘There are hardly any elves around here.’
Zich climbed to the rooftop of the building, and he saw bright lights gathered in one area. It was the area where the elves and armored soldiers were fighting fiercely against each other. Today, Zich planned to infiltrate the building that Lyla suggested and look for hostages. The person that was leading the armored soldiers today was Hans. Zich looked in the direction of the battle once and quickly turned his head back.
‘He’ll probably do well.’
Surprisingly, Zich deeply trusted Hans’ ability and skills.
‘Since I taught him, he should be able to at least perform this much.’
Of course, Zich’s trust in Hans stemmed from himself. This infiltration mission was much more tricky than usual infiltration missions because they wouldn’t be able to kill any elves. If the elves near the hostages were killed, the Iron Tribe might become suspicious that the human troops were related to the other elf tribes.
‘I wish I could capture one as hostage and torture information out of them.’
However, torture didn’t work on trained elves. Zich experienced this several times before his regression.
‘My words didn’t get through them at all.’
Zich avoided the few elves that were left behind and continued to move. Soon after, he was able to reach his destination. It was a tall, two-story building made out of stone. It was pretty big, but it didn’t look special at all. Zich scanned the building and began his mission.Previous Chapter Next Chapter