I looked at the big boiling pot of soup in front of me and expressed my apologies for the Earth Dragon who diligently pulled the horse carriage the entire journey. I sincerely didn’t want to kill it， but for a better future and to realise our future, its sacrifice was necessary. Its sacrifice brought us a greater victory.
The troops who fought all night were full of praise for the stew. Earth Dragon meat does indeed taste really good, after all. Plus, humans have never had Earth Dragon meat before. They were starving, so they greatly enjoyed the stew and meat. Even those who were wounded had a fair bit of the broth.
We used up most of our water here. If we can rescue the people inside, I believe they have sufficient water we can use to replenish our’s. Once we defeat the enemy, we can plunder the enemy’s supplies. This was a gamble itself. If we don’t make it, we’re doomed, no questions asked. Since we’re going to die, I’d rather enjoy a final moment of bliss before death. By that I mean being able to enjoy mouthfuls of Earth Dragon stew.
If we succeed, I’ll achieve fame right away. If we fail, on the other hand, we’ll all be doomed. This is a gamble with my fate.
‘What’s it like there? What can be found there? Are the people there still alive……? There are too many unknown variables that make the future a big question mark.’
Our fate is no longer in our hands, at least not right now. Having chosen to advance forward, we’re going to need to rely on our ability to adapt to the circumstances and my men’s drive. That’s all we can do and all we’ve got.
I stood up and looked at my soldiers that just had a full meal. Their faces were no longer so pale after their full meal. They came over to sit on the ground and looked at me. What I was about to say next could change their fate, so their faces were full of eagerness.
I didn’t know what they were looking forward to. Maybe they were hoping I’d give the order to leave. Maybe they were hoping I’d give the order to continue forward. I couldn’t tell from their expressions, and I didn’t call them here to ask for their opinion. I called them here just to announce my plan. I called them here to carry out my goal.
I am the King, so I need to lead them to make my dream a reality. My dream provides them with direction. My dream could grant them the fame as a warrior and the power of money. That was our goal. If we backed down now, we’d have come here for nothing.
“Gentlemen, I have nothing to hide from you. We are only a few hundred metres away from our destination. I have found half of the map to the mine we’re searching for from the kid we protected. We’ll get the other half if we can rescue the kid’s tribesmen. I know that you’re all exhausted and that you’ve gone through your food, but despite that, I hope that you can light up your courage and confidence again, pick your swords up again, and bring your battle steeds out again. We’re standing on the edge of hope, right now. Are we going to give up now? Think about all the things we went through on the way here. Would it sit right with you to turn around now?”
I was actually really worried that they were fed up. I was very worried that they thought this was enough. If they do say that then I’m at a loss, too. I can’t force a group of people to go into danger. If that’s how they feel then I’ll be forced to leave.
The soldiers exchanged looks with each other and then stood up. They had made up their minds before I finished. They looked at me and though tired, replied resolutely, “Your Majesty, we shall follow your command!”
“Even if I ask you to continue forward?”
“We had always done our best for your dream anyway.”
The soldiers, my somewhat cute soldiers looked at me with determination and I looked back at them. I only ever did them one favour. I saved their friend, and without even knowing it for the record, yet they followed me to Troy City and accepted all sorts of training without any complaints or regrets. They’ve chosen to advance for me without hesitation now when I need them most, and we’re also faced with our greatest threat yet.
Despite seeing former comrades lose their lives in front of them, and despite seeing a sea of flames and blood flying through the air, they didn’t complain at all. They held their heads up in front of me, in spite of their fatigue. They were willing to follow me to the end for my dream and for the favour I did.
I felt as if my words were stuck in my throat. I looked at my determined soldiers. My words got stuck at my throat after I went to speak. I really didn’t know what to say.
‘How should I express my gratitude to them? What should I say? What should I do? What was the point of my words of encouragement?’
After a moment, I only had one thing left to say. I faced them and gave them a deep bow, “Thank you, guys.”
A troop looked at me and responded loudly, “Your Majesty! If we were afraid, we would have turned you down when you came to us. When we promised to serve you, we were already ready to give up everything. You personally invited us. You saved our friend. You provided us with the best treatment. It is time for us to repay you, Your Majesty! It is an honour to be able to die for one we loyally serve! If we back down now, what would the point of our efforts last night be? Therefore, Your Majesty, you just need to tell us what to do. We are your guards! We will serve you at your side! We will never back down a single step!”
“All right! I shall give my command then!”
I opened my arms as though I was going to hug every single one of my guards. I once envied the Valkyries’ loyalty. Though it was slightly crooked, being able to die without any hesitation for one’s master is admirable. However, I now see loyalty which belongs to me.
‘Isn’t my soldiers’ generosity in this dangerous situation loyalty which belongs to me?’
Their loyalty is not inferior to that of the Valkyries.
I can’t let their loyalty go to waste. I need to quickly organise them. I’ll leave a group to stay behind and guard the wounded. The remaining members will split into two teams. One team will sneak in from the rear, while the team I personally lead will create a diversion from the front. We will break down their defence line and lure them over.
However, once our small Earth Dragon team gets surrounded, we will be trapped for good. These Earth Dragons aren’t combat types. They’re just good for pulling carriages. In a surrounded situation, they might not be able to break through a second defence line.
But as I said, I won’t back down.
Since everyone wants for me to go forward and supports my decision, I’ll forge forward without hesitation.