“Young master Cale.”
Cale smiled toward Rosalyn who was calling for him with a calm voice.
The Flame Dwarf tribe and the Bear tribe.
They now had a way to choke them out.
Cale made eye contact with Rosalyn while thinking that she would have the same type of excited reaction. That was why he was waiting for her to continue speaking.
“Looks like you were the one to strike people in the back.”
“You hit us hard on our backs.”
Rosalyn’s calm but chilly gaze made Cale flinch as he reached his hand out to rub the top of his back. However, he could not reach his back because Raon was currently hanging on him.
The invisible Raon’s voice echoed in the area.
“You’re right little Rosalyn! The weak human smashed us in the back!”
“Right, Raon-nim? I’m very happy to see you healthy and grown, Raon-nim.”
“I’m happy to see all of you as well!”
Rosalyn’s expression that had turned into a gentle smile at Raon’s voice turned cold again as she looked back toward Cale. Cale slowly tried to avoid her gaze.
However, doing that made him see Choi Han, who was standing there with his mouth shut, as well as the tall but feeble Wolf boy Lock who was fidgeting with a tearful expression.
Cale realized that Lock saw him in pain through the video communication device.
‘He saw something a child shouldn’t see.’
He looked back toward Rosalyn and casually started to speak.
“I am okay now.”
Rosalyn felt those words wanting to come out of her mouth, but chose to remain silent.
It was what they had chosen after chatting with Ron. It was because they knew Cale and knew about the approaching future that they decided to respond with their actions rather than their words.
Cale saw that they were quiet, so he quickly changed topics. Their looking like they were worried about him was embarrassing as he didn’t like how they had to worry about a full-grown adult like himself.
“But how were you able to take care of things so quickly?”
Cale waved the documents Choi Han handed him as he asked.
Rosalyn answered that question as if it wasn’t much.
“It was easy. We went to Norland and said that we should end it here if they don’t want to see the Paerun Kingdom and Roan Kingdom invade them together.”
“Is that so?”
“Yes. We even threw them a carrot as we discussed. We offered to use the sea route in order to conduct some food trade. Their expressions changed once I said that.”
Cale nodded his head.
They had not gone to just destroy palaces.
You always have to give the carrot with the stick.
The biggest reason that the northern kingdoms wanted to conquer unfrozen lands was because of food. However, it was difficult to conduct trades because of the Forest of Darkness and the Gorge of Death.
that was why the Roan Kingdom offered to trade them food via the sea route. Of course, it would not be between private merchant guilds, but on the national level.
Norland had already realized that it was impossible to aim for the Roan Kingdom, and they were slowly reaching the point where they would need to worry about their food supply. That was why this offer would have been enticing for them.
Rosalyn continued to speak.
“Once the deal with Norland was made, it was only natural that Askosan would soon follow. We threatened them by asking if they felt as if they could handle the Bear tribe, the Flame Dwarf Tribe, and Arm on their own when both of the other two kingdoms had already stepped out of the Indomitable Alliance.”
“You did a wonderful job.”
“It was nothing.”
Cale thought that he was right to leave it to Rosalyn as he did a quick scan through the documents. Just skimming through it was enough to tell him that they were well-made.
Cale looked at the group with a satisfied expression and the others smiled back as well.
Everybody except one person that is.
The Killer Whale Archie looked at the three people smiling at Cale with a gaze that seemed to be saying that he was tired of them.
Rosalyn, Choi Han, and Lock.
The Killer Whale Archie who had seen what the three of them did with his own eyes was sure about one thing.
‘They are even worse than me.’
Furthermore, Choi Han and Lock were worse than how he was during his recklessly violent days.
Archie watched as Lock entered his berserk state and followed behind him in order to destroy the palace roofs with his bare hands, thinking that Lock was reaching those same recklessly violent days as well.
‘Forget the carrot and the stick. Bullshit, she didn’t give them a carrot at all!’
The original plan was to destroy one palace, however, they had destroyed two palaces and a couple of gardens as well.
So how could Norland and Askosan not be afraid?
Archie started to shiver while thinking about how Rosalyn had gently smiled in front of the Askosan king.
‘Your majesty, do you think that Askosan will be safe if the Breck Kingdom and the Roan Kingdom allied together in order to cross the border? Please think hard about it.’
Her smile had been gentle but cold.
‘Make the wrong move and the enemy will have their blades at your neck like right now, your majesty.’
But it was already that exact situation.
It was amazing to see her threaten the king little by little. Archie had subconsciously asked after seeing her method.
‘Miss Rosalyn, is it really okay to threaten them like this?’
‘Mr. Archie, we came to cut off the enemy’s oxygen and to make them surrender. We need to push them into a corner.’
‘Don’t they say that a cornered rat will even bite a cat?’
Rosalyn and Choi Han had looked at Lock before asking Archie a question back.
‘Mr. Archie, do we seem like mere cats? I’d say we are tigers at the least.’
Archie was at a loss for words after hearing that response.
It was because what she said was true.
Archie touched the back of his neck that suddenly became chilly and tried to remove that conversation from his mind. However, he happened to see Choi Han at that moment.
Choi Han had been quiet ever since their conversation with Ron. He didn’t seem to be angry, nor did he show extreme amounts of concern as Lock had done. He did not move around with a sense of urgency like Rosalyn either.
Archie had asked Choi Han about it as it seemed to be odd.
‘Why are you so calm?’
However, Archie could not help but gulp after seeing Choi Han’s true emotions through the eyes that originally looked calm.
‘I’m glad if it looks that way.’
He was not calm at all.
Archie turned away from the trio that were even more reckless than him and started to walk. He walked over and stood behind Witira. That helped him calm down a bit.
Unfortunately, he flinched as soon as he heard Witira’s voice. Witira had asked with a confused expression.
“Young master Cale, were you sick?”
‘Ah, she didn’t know.’
Witira had not heard about Cale’s condition. Archie slowly started to frown. It was not because of Witira.
There was a robed man sitting on a wheelchair and another person in a black robe quickly approaching them.
He was sure they were Clopeh and Mary.
‘Those two are no joke either!’
There was Clopeh who was known to be the craziest of the group, Mary who was so innocent that it left people speechless, and behind them was the talkative social butterfly, Vice Captain Hilsman.
Archie’s frown became worse as they approached them and Archie wondered why Cale had to answer Witira’s question right now.
“Well, you can say that I almost died but came back to life.”
Archie started to get angry.
‘Don’t say something like that so casually!’
However, he chose to remain silent after seeing everyone grow quiet. It was better to not think about it at all.
Cale did not care that it became quiet as he pointed toward the tent with his chin.
“Let’s go report to his highness first.”
Cale was waving the treaties around as he headed for the ally formation.
* * *
The Indomitable Alliance’s formation at the Gorge of Death.
It was only February, but the soldiers could see that morning was starting to come faster and that winter was ending.
A helmeted soldier was rolling a small stone in his hand.
The stone that had been warmed in the fire was now cold. That meant that dusk was here and that it was time to change shifts.
The soldier who was hitting two stones against each other out of habit peeked behind him.
The area he was responsible for was full of many brightly-lit tents.
“…So annoying. Never a chance for the lights to go out.”
“Quiet. Let’s just focus on our work.”
The soldier shut up at his friend’s scolding. However, his gaze was still focused on the brightly lit tents.
This area was where the leadership of the Bear tribe, the Flame Dwarf tribe, and the two remaining northern kingdoms were gathered.
The combined strategy tent was at the center while the respective kingdoms and tribes had their own sections around it.
The light in the central tent was constantly on.
The Bear inside that tent started to speak.
“How is the food procurement going?”
The Bear who was the representative of the Bear tribe asked the Askosan representative who started to frown.
The biggest issue for the Indomitable Alliance members stationed at the Gorge of Death was having enough food to feed the soldiers.
“It is not easy.”
“About how long do you think we can last?”
“If we gather as much as possible, we may be able to last until early March, however, we cannot let this carry on that long. The Breck Kingdom is one of the most agriculturally developed kingdoms on the continent.”
The Askosan representative had a terrible expression on his face, however, the Bear started to smile.
They still had plenty of time to resist.
Of course, he did not plan on prolonging this war either.
‘March will be the limit for Askosan.’
The Bear who seemed to be planning to aim for the Askosan Kingdom if the Breck Kingdom was too difficult looked at the table with a satisfied expression before continuing to speak.
“How are the preparations going on your end for the Flame Dwarf tribe?”
“…It is going well.”
The Bear’s expression did not seem good after hearing the Flame Dwarf’s response.
It was because the Flame Dwarves seemed to have lost energy. The ones who had been the most motivated had lost all motivation after one defeat.
‘This is why Dwarves are useless.’
They were useless other than their talents for building stuff.
However, it was not that the Flame Dwarves were not low on motivation.
‘The Dragon half-blood fell to the ground.’
That image had been on his mind for the last few days.
He could not help but think of the humans who brought down that fearful Dragon half-blood. According to the laws of nature, humans were ranked lower than Dragons. However, they had seen those humans break those laws of nature and defeat the Dragon half-blood.
‘…I have a bad feeling about this.’
The chief of the Flame Dwarf tribe could see the Bear’s gaze, however, he was ignoring it as he was still trying to figure out why he had such an ominous feeling.
The Bear administrator did not know about this and just thought that the Flame Dwarf tribe chief who was avoiding his gaze was useless and shook his head.
‘I’m just glad that the Lion tribe isn’t here.’
The Lion tribe did not take part in this final battle.
The Bear found this to be helpful as it was easier for them to take control of the others.
“…Paerun Kingdom, you goddamn bastards.”
The Bear mumbled and cursed the Paerun Kingdom as he turned toward the Norland representative. The Norland representative could not hide his anger and headache from the Paerun Kingdom’s betrayal.
The Bear gently started to speak to him.
“As I mentioned earlier, those Paerun bastards are terrible, but this is for the better.”
It really was better.
“I do not know why the Paerun Kingdom chose to betray us, but the Paerun Kingdom is isolated as long as the Indomitable Alliance remains together. We can take the Paerun Kingdom’s land after we take down the Breck Kingdom.”
“You are right. I agree with you, but I can’t help but be angry with them.”
“I understand, I completely understand.”
The Bear smiled as if he was trying to console the Norland representative.
However, his inner thoughts were different.
‘It is better this way, much better.’
The original central figure of the Indomitable Alliance was the Paerun Kingdom and specifically, the Guardian Knight Clopeh Sekka.
Arm and the Bears were slowly moving the balance of power in their favor, however, the image of that original central figure had strongly remained in the hearts of the soldiers.
That was why the Bears had cheered when the Guardian Knight had disappeared.
It made the scales tip completely toward Arm and the Bears.
Furthermore, now the entire Paerun Kingdom had betrayed them.
It was a satisfying situation.
‘We can eat up Askosan and Norland later while they are fighting against the Paerun Kingdom.’
It was beneficial for the Bears to have the three northern kingdoms weaken each other.
They just had to boss these unmotivated Flame Dwarves around while taking over the pretty useful lands that belonged to the Askosan Kingdom and the Norland Kingdom.
‘…I just need to confirm whether the Dragon half-blood is truly dead.’
The command they had received from Arm had the Dragon half-blood’s situation as the top priority.
That was the reason for it.
“We need to accurately verify the enemy’s formation.”
The Bear continued to speak to the Askosan and Norland representatives who were looking at him.
“In order to not extend this war, we need to pay close attention and aim for an opening.”
“I agree with you, however, the enemy has so many strong individuals.”
The Norland representative commented with a frown on his face.
“Will it be possible to infiltrate their ranks?”
The Bear put on a reliable smile.
“Commander-nim, there is something you need to know about wars. The phrase, ‘is it possible?’ is not needed.”
“Then what is needed?”
The Bear tapped on the table and gathered everyone’s gazes on him. He then answered in a quiet voice.
“Do it no matter what.”
Whether it was possible or not was something not needed in war.
If they made up the mind to infiltrate the enemy formation…
“We must make it happen regardless of how we get it done. That is what determines victory or defeat in war.”
The Breck Kingdom and the Roan Kingdom’s side did not care about their means and methods during the last battle. Their preparations had been more thorough by drawing the Paerun Kingdom to their side.
However, the Bear believed that it was now the Indomitable Alliance’s turn to not care about the means and methods.
He believed this was especially the case for Norland and Askosan.
They had nowhere to turn back to.
They weren’t in a situation to ask about means and methods.
The Bear looked toward the Askosan and Norland representatives as he continued to speak.
“It is about who cares less about the means and methods.”
It was at that moment.
Something was happening in the distance.
They could hear an odd noise.
It was the sound of drums.
At that moment, the Bear could see the grim expression on the face of the Norland representative.
“You are right. The victor will be determined by who cares less about the means and methods of accomplishing things.”
The sound of the drum started to get louder.
However, the Norland representative was not finished speaking. He stood up from his seat and calmly continued to speak.
“However, there is something that I fear more than anything else.”
The Bear stood up as well and waited for him to finish speaking.
“A victor who has nothing to show for it. I’m afraid of becoming someone like that.”
The Bear chuckled. He shook his head.
“There is no chance of that happening.”
The Bear representative was certain.
Regardless of what happened, the Bears would gain some territory.
There was no chance of the Bears achieving an empty victory.
He didn’t care about what happened to the other two kingdoms.
It was at that moment.
The tent entrance flap was opened.
The noise outside could be heard even more as the flap was lifted up.
The sky was still dark.
He could hear the noise coming from across the sky that was becoming brighter as the night was coming to an end and morning was arriving.
“The enemy soldiers are starting to get into formation!”
The Bear warrior who entered the tent accompanied by a Norland knight and an Askosan knight continued to speak.
“We can see the Paerun Kingdom’s flag, so it looks like the Paerun Kingdom is taking the vanguard. We believe that the Mage Brigade is behind them.”
The Bear representative started to walk out of the tent.
A signal was sent throughout the Indomitable Alliance’s base.
The soldiers and knights who were inside their tents were coming out and getting in formation.
The Bear representative saw the Norland and Askosan representatives standing side by side behind him and started to smile. He could feel that he had become the central figure in the alliance. He then started to speak loudly.
“All units prepare to move!”
Trumpet sounds were used in order to share the Bear representative’s order with the soldiers.
The soldiers that numbered in the tens of thousands quickly started to move.
‘We need to go in a direction where we can kill a lot of the Askosan and Norland soldiers in case we are pushed back by the Breck Kingdom.’
They needed to do that for Arm and the Bears to at least have the North.
That thought made the Bear not fear the upcoming battle.
‘We can fight using the soldiers as shields. We can block against magic by sacrificing the soldiers.’
The Bear representative was thinking about how to sacrifice the Askosan and Norland soldiers while minimizing the damage of the Bear tribe and Arm members.
That was why he didn’t question how quickly the soldiers were moving even at the unexpected order.
“…Is it okay to suddenly go into battle like this?”
The Bear representative started to raise his voice after hearing the Norland representative’s weak voice.
“It will be fine.”
The sound from the enemy drums became even louder.
‘Just how many drums are they using?’
He wondered how many soldiers were drumming right now.
The Bear helped back his sneer at how the Breck Kingdom was trying to scare them and shouted to those who were looking at him.
“We are strong! We also have the numerical advantage! This is a fight for the foot soldiers now!”
Now that there was a bridge to cross through the Gorge of Death, it would now mainly be a land battle.
He emphasized that as he hoped to sacrifice as many of the Askosan and Norland soldiers as possible.
‘A win-win situation for us whether the Indomitable Alliance wins or loses.’
The Bear imagined this wonderful future as he transformed into his berserk state.
His enlarged foot stomped on the ground. He then started to shout.
“We will win against the enemy and get our revenge against those traitors!”
The drums continued to beat.
It was even louder than before.
But for some reason, the noise was coming from above their heads.
The Bear stopped shouting and raised his head.
He could see a mass of black in the air.
He could hear the crows start to caw.
“…H, how is that bastard!”
The Bear’s eyes opened wide.
A Tiger wearing white was beating the drums while standing on top of the crows.
The wind was making the shaman’s drumming sound even louder.
It was all coming from a single drum.
However, none of them could focus on the noise anymore.
An existence that was even whiter than the White Tiger was standing on the black ground made by the crows while holding onto a staff.
The Bear could not hide his shock.
“H, how is that bastard! He was alive?!”
The person standing with the staff.
His white hair was fluttering in the air as he stood there while looking down with an arrogant demeanor.
The original central figure of the Indomitable Alliance.
The person who had started this war.
The person who had once been called the North’s brightest star.
Guardian Knight Clopeh Sekka.
He was looking down at the Indomitable Alliance while standing on top of the crows with a staff in his hand.
Next to him was the Roan Kingdom’s northeast region’s commander, Cale Henituse.