“What are they doing?”
“Digging a hole to bury our fallen soldiers, it seems.”
Marvel narrowed his eyes. The panther, who had no trouble in snow, watched the three vague silhouettes on the other side. In a bewildered tone, he said, “I don’t understand what humanity wants. They’re burying our men? I thought I would see our fallen soldiers on their wooden fortress. We don’t value burials, but it is humanity’s respect for us. Soldiers, we must show the human soldiers respect, as well, if we clear the battlefield in the future.”
“Do we still have a chance to?”
Marvel didn’t answer the question, because he didn’t know the answer; or rather, he knew the answer to the question, but didn’t want to acknowledge it. Yesterday’s attack was a success. They didn’t suffer too many casualties and managed to shock the enemy, but he could only succeed that once. Further, the success was pointless.
The difference in numbers was too big. Despite coming here with the determination to face an inevitable death, he still left a team at his territory. He had a pregnant wife, so he had to protect his family. He could die for this continent, but he didn’t wish for his family to die as a consequence of his decisions.
“There’s still a chance. Our victory this time will definitely be able to move everyone. Their confusion at present is surely because they don’t know if we can defeat humanity, but I’ve proved it. Humanity isn’t invincible. We can defeat them so long as we unite.”
Despite not being convinced of his own words, Marvel still needed to say that to his men. He spoke with his usual determined and optimistic tone, combined with his gaze, which gave his soldier confidence and courage. His soldiers didn’t completely believe him, but they had no right to be worried when they saw their commander so confident. After all, their commander was with them in success and defeat.
Marvel looked at his soldier. He knew that this land no longer had any opportunity and humanity was unlikely to give them another chance to launch an attack on them. Clashing with humanity’s army head on with his own army was a death wish. Thus, his only option was to walk the last path, which was also his last hope. And that was to defend the valley with his life.
There was a defence structure in front of the area in between the valley. A city wall was built there with a small stronghold behind it. Humanity has cannons, but they could defend at the stronghold for a while. He knew that he, alone, couldn’t defeat humanity’s army. If the other tribes didn’t send reinforcements, his only option would be to negotiate with humanity.
If they lost the valley, it would be hard to defend the area to the rear. If it came to that, humanity would be a horse on a flat stretch of land, and capturing the entire North would just be a matter of time. If he surrendered, then it would mean joining the strongest faction the same way he joined the alliance of the four tribes back then.
There was no right or wrong. If the three tribes in the North still refuse to come after this, then the North will be doomed sooner or later under their rule. Marvel loved this land and his family here. However, he didn’t love those three tribes. It was better to pass the leadership to someone smarter than protecting the three tribes.
Furthermore, he had lost his love because of the three tribes.
If it wasn’t for them, his wife wouldn’t be his current elven wife. He loved his current wife, but Marvel yearned for the fiery red girl most.
“I was once engaged…”
I sat down to the side and panted. Ling Yue, who sat next to me, suddenly spoke. I wiped my sweat off my forehead and looked at her with puzzlement.
“I said that I was once engaged… to the eldest son of the panther tribe, which should be the tribe leader and commander of the panthers ahead of us… I really liked him. We never met until after I came of age. I was worried that we wouldn’t love each other, but I was wrong. Marvel was different to the normal nobles. He was gentle, erudite, polite, and had a wide variety of hobbies. Not only was he good at martial arts, but also very good at poetry and music, as well. Moreover, he loved me, too. We soon fell in love. I was very happy at the time. I considered being able to marry the man I loved a gift from the heavens.”
Ling Yue looked at the hole we just filled in front of her. She wrapped her arms around her knees as an infant does, “However, I didn’t manage to see that day come. My tribe got exterminated. I escaped. I risked my life to go and see Marvel after I escaped, only to discover that he had gotten married, and his wife was pregnant. I found out that things had been discussed and determined a few months before the extermination of my tribe, and he didn’t inform me, or protect my family. He even married somebody else without asking me… If you ask me what the worst wound I received was, it would be when I looked at his hopeless eyes…”
I didn’t cut her off. I patiently listened until she finished, not because I was interested in her personal life, but mainly because I was lazy to move. In addition, Ling Yue’s gaze and posture looked pitiful.
She sniffled, and then went on again, “I wanted to bury these people, because they granted me a period of time that was as beautiful as a dream. I wanted to forget that romance, but when I saw them, I couldn’t help but recall my blissful and happy life with him. I couldn’t steel my heart when I recalled it. I lied to you; I actually wanted to bury them for my selfish reasons…”
I looked at her with a smile, “Ah, it’s fine, I’ve buried them already. You expect me to dig them back out? That said, don’t let others know about this. I can understand, but others might not. Also, I’m only helping you this once. There won’t be a next time.”
“Uhm… I know. Thank you…”
Ling Yue nodded nicely for the first time. She then looked at me, “But… Mm… Although I got engaged… he never touched my tail before…”
“Didn’t we agree to not bring up the past again?” I stood up and looked to the Noth, “I’m very interested in this Marvel you speak of after what you told me. I really want to see him, specifically, after I capture him as a prisoner. I really want to capture him with my own hands. I want to see how this liar and philanderer looks, and then I’ll let you give him a few slaps the same way you slap me. If you can’t find it in you to do it, I’ll do it.”
Ling Yue giggled. She then lightly stood up, “You’re one to talk about others being philanderers. You’re the biggest philanderer I’ve ever met.”