*Huff… Huff… Huff…*
Marvel pulled his sword out from the chest of the human cavalry and panted. He looked around at the bloody stronghold and wiped the blood at the corner of his forehead.
He ended up being late, but fortunately, it was just a small cavalry unit. He managed to break through their weak defences with his heavy assault. He had captured the stronghold that was intended for their protection in the first place.
On both sides of the stronghold were steep snowy mountains that were impossible to climb. The path between the valleys was extremely narrow. The elves constructed a city door in the middle of the valley using blue stones, with a very thick layer of ice outside covering it. After days and months of arduous work, they also covered it with dead green vines. The wall was firmer, since the vines were mixed in with the solidified mud.
The stronghold was the last hope for the all of the North.
Marvel was out of time now. He saw the human army resting last night. They should soon arrive at the stronghold. The area they had to defend wasn’t large, but his army had many difficulties to cope with. As such, he had already sent out a messenger to request the aid of nearby residents and another back to the palace.
Life and death were now going to be decided. If they lost the stronghold, the North would have no chance of defeating humanity’s army. They had no tenable defence position on the flat plains. The North stood no chance against humanity’s numbers advantage. Their only chance at victory was to gain strongholds. This place was situated between valleys, so humanity couldn’t unleash their entire army at them.
They would have to pay a big price to capture the stronghold. He just needed to prove that the North could defeat the humans and force them to retreat. If he could do that, the people would support him, and that’s when he would have what it took to launch a counterattack. He had to force the humans back. He had to kill enough humans.
“Soldiers, prepare your weapons and muster up your determination. This place is our grave. We will fight a life and death battle with the enemy here. As long as we’re alive, no human will pass through here. This place is the main gate to the North. Behind this place is your family. For our descendants and for our honour, we must give up our lives here. Brothers, we will drink merrily in hell after this battle!!”
He raised his blade soaked in blood high. The sunshine from the mountains was particularly intense. The roars of the panthers could be heard throughout the entire valley. The valley quaked slightly as if it was petrified of the bloody battle to come.
That’s right. Even god would retreat at the sight of the courage of the two sides about to wage battle.
I threw away a few remaining light cavalry uniforms brought back, and then tugged on my horse reins. I looked at the deep valley and softly sighed, “Aaahh, we’re late as I thought we’d be.”
‘I was prepared to fight a bloody battle here, but I still thought it a pity. It looks as though I’m late and just barely.’
“Your Majesty, what shall we do next?’
I cleared my throat. I looked at Philes, who was next to me, “First, set up a defence structure here. Turn this place into a fortress. I don’t want our reinforcements to be felled like a mountain avalanche when they counterattack, which means that we’d be sent straight back to the cliff.
Since the panthers are here, it’s pointless to attack them directly. They’re definitely ready to fight to the death. We can’t underestimate the enemy and recklessly charge in. We need to set up a camp to take care of our wounded, and prepare our equipment and supplies.”
I drew a rough area with my hand. Within that area was where we would establish our newest camp.
The structure in the middle of the valley wasn’t easy to attack. If we couldn’t capture it swiftly and lacked a steady supply base from the rear, then we may very well be driven out of the valley. Humanity’s weapons may be more advanced, but that meant that we relied more on ammunition, which needed to be replenished, as well.
Since we were faced with a path that couldn’t be passed through, the best method we had right now was to set up a temporary fortress and use it as a camp. The North had no means of dragging it out with us. If the three tribes didn’t go to the aid of the panthers, I could bury them with just my cannons alone.
“Your Majesty, have you thought about what to do if we cannot capture the stronghold?”
I glared at Philes, “Who said I can’t capture it?”
Philes lingered for a moment before he replied, “I meant hypothetically, Your Majesty. Are we just going to wait here forever if we cannot defeat the enemy? Your Majesty, do you not have a backup plan?”
“What I have is a plan, but not a backup plan.”
I turned around and Tanya turned around along with me. We didn’t intend to look at the gorge any longer. Philes froze in place for a few seconds before quickly catching up.
Without looking back at Philes, who was behind me, I explained, “Philes, I probably haven’t shown you my skills before, huh? But let me tell you this, I can capture this place. I don’t want to resort to my last idea at the moment, though, because it’ll be a bit of a waste if I use it too early. Nevertheless, I’ll annihilate all of them regardless of how many there are if I use it.”
Philes dawdled again before catching up a second time. He responded, “That is great, then. It is rare for you to be so confident, Your Majesty…”
Current time at the palace of the North.
“So are we going to send Marvel reinforcements or not? He defeated the humans once in the south already. The news has been spread everywhere by the panthers, causing it to appear as though we refused to act and he fought all alone with his life. The panthers’ standing in the hearts of the people has skyrocketed. He’s basically a hero!”
The elder closed his eyes as though he didn’t care for what the Werewolf Tribe said.
“I’m talking to you, Birdman! It’s all because of you! You’ve been vague on your stance and refused to send your army out!”
“But, I never stopped you from sending your army out.”
The elder looked at the Werewolf in front of him with a cold look. He knocked on his walking stick in front of him heavily and sighed, “I feel ashamed. I looked down on the panthers. They’re all opportunists who only know how to side with whoever wields power, yet they were the first to step up this time. I’m both touched and guilty, while we’re still clinging to selfish thoughts here. That makes me feel very guilty. We’re the noble races of the North. It’s time that we step up for the North!”
The elder smashed the spot on the ground in front of him and sternly declared, “The winged race hereby promises to send out our best elites to join this battle. They will head out to reinforce the panther in the south immediately. We will not act out of any selfishness this time!”
The remaining two swiftly stood up, bowed deeply and responded loudly.
“We’ll join, as well, then!”
“That’s right! We’ll join, too!”
“Yes. Gentlemen, the future of the North is in our hands. We must deploy our best warriors to assist our panther. None of us will retreat this time. Ah, if I was still young, I would definitely take to the frontlines with you!”
The elder looked at the people in front of him with a smile. He reached his hand out. The deep etches in his hands resembled dry thorns. It appeared as though shaking his hands would cause one’s hand to bleed.
“That’s right! For the North! For our Queen! For our homeland!!”
“For the North! For the ice land! For our tribe! Drive those filthy humans out!!!”
A spooky smile discreetly crept up on the elder’s face…