Violet Snow threw me a look that screamed “useless wuss”. However, I simply couldn’t bring myself to do it with a giant lizard so I distanced myself even more in spite of her scorn.
Oblivious to my look of utmost disgust, Weslin continued voicing out her true thoughts, head hung low as before. “Frankly, I didn’t wish for it to be so…but I don’t like you, I can’t like you either…frankly I…frankly the person I like is Mistress Habona! So…will you please let me go…”
(TL: From now on, Mo Ke’s thoughts will be enclosed in ‘ ’ .)
‘Let you go? Aren’t you making a mistake here? I should be the one begging you to let me go…also, it’s fantastic that you like Habona instead, thank the heavens and the stars.’
Noticing that I had the look of someone who had just survived a calamity, Violet Snow nearly choked herself to death with her laughter. However, the little puppy promptly put on an obedient facade after a furious glare from me.
“Err, it’s fine, there’s nothing wrong with liking Habona. Even though I won’t support you, that dare-to-love and dare-to-hate attitude of yours is worthy of respect. In that case…”
Initially, I had planned to continue talking in order to divert her attention but I was abruptly cut short when I discovered that she was looking at me with a shocked look on her face. Within her eyes, I could see a glimmer of expectation, gratitude along with a bunch of other hope-related emotions. Even her voice began to tremble a little as she said: “Ah, you…you aren’t going to force me to marry you?”
‘Force you to marry me? Please, there’s no chance the two of us will ever get together, you’re thinking too much here.’
‘I dare you to chortle one second longer, Violet Snow. Do you believe that this brother will shave that fluffy white fur of yours in a second!’
Even though I really wanted to punish this little puppy, now wasn’t the time for that. The most important task at hand was settling Weslin. Thus, I hurriedly put on the most casual look I could muster.
“Ah, ah,ah, not at all, not at all. There’s really no need for that, I won’t lift a finger to touch you…errr, I mean the fact that you like Habona seems extremely normal to me. Please don’t worry too much about it. If you truly like someone, you should give it a shot. For all you know, Habona might swing that way as well.”
‘I’m really sorry, my dashing and valiant wolf-sister Habona, but in this crucial moment…all I can do is sell you, my teammate, off.’
‘As the saying goes, I’m not going to hell, how about you go instead. Am I right? Even Bodhisattva Dizang agreed with me when he said [I’m not going to hell anymore]. So regarding Weslin, how about you be my fall guy, I mean fall wolf. I prefer girls who are more innocent and natural. As for the more eclectic girls, they really don’t fall within my strike zone.’
“*sob sob sob*…that’s simply wonderful, you are the first devil to approve of my decision to court Mistress Habona…you’re really a nice guy…”
‘Hey hey hey, don’t just turn on the waterworks like that. What if someone hears you and mistakenly think that we did it? Also, I don’t want to be issued the nice guy card…’
Eyes gleaming with mischief, Violet Snow swept her gaze over the two of us and, with lips curled up at a corner, she quipped: “Don’t you know that Mo Ke’s a devil? Is it really alright for you to call him a nice guy?”
Perhaps she finally noticed the dissatisfaction on my face but after wiping off her tears, she gazed weakly at me before saying: “About that, I’m really sorry, Master Mo Ke. To think I actually called you a nice guy, I truly deserve to die. I bet a devil like you, definitely don’t want to labelled a nice guy. I apologize, from now on, I’ll remember that you are a bad guy, the most baddest guy in the world…”
‘Why does that make me want to cry instead? I feel you should give me that nice guy card instead, it’s not that inappropriate now that I think about it.’
No matter how much I fumed, it didn’t stop her from continuing to laugh at my expense. However, it wasn’t that bad having her laugh like that either. Normally, she had an icy look on her face as if I owed her millions of dollars.
Truly, ever since we met, she seemed to have gotten a lot more cheerful. It probably had to do with her successfully avenging the death of her mother and finally letting go of that burden.
‘Well, that’s good to hear, she’s a girl after all, being a little lively isn’t a bad thing.’
‘However, since the reinforcements are here, it’s about time for us to get down to business.’
‘Speaking of which, aren’t the medusas and lizardmen in an adversarial relationship?’
If it wasn’t for the medusas’ ability to petrify, the lizardmen would probably come out ahead in terms of combat strength. After all, the medusas didn’t have a set of scales that could protect their vital points from all sorts of damage.
Both races had toxins within them but the medusas were able to fire theirs from a distance while the lizardmen had their toxins concentrated within their oral cavities. In order to activate this toxin, they first had to bite down on their victims. However, the lizardmen had an advantage over the medusas in that their mouth toxins contained viruses as well. Thus, they were able to poison opponents who had a resistance to toxins.
Both of these races had their own strengths but when you factored in the ability to petrify, it went without saying that the Medusas had a clear edge over these lizards. However, if one were to evaluate them based on defenses alone, the medusas couldn’t even come close to the lizardmen who were born with a scale mail built into them.
Thus, my plan was to have these lizardmen equip a bunch of shields and form the vanguard of my army while the medusas and the guardsmen trailed behind.
Armed with my shields, they could basically ignore the bone spears of those rodents so all that remained was for them to cleave open a path for us. Naturally, I wouldn’t mind if they were able to finish off all those who resisted us in one go.
While the combat strength of two thousand lizardmen was already scary enough, I wouldn’t mind if they grew even stronger. With that in mind, I had a two-star guardsman square off against a two-star lizardman.
The scales of the lizardman were just able to deflect the slashes of my bone broadswords. As for that guardsman, should he ever get bitten, the outcome was obvious even without guessing…
Thus, the first thing that lizardman did after exchanging a couple of blows with the guardsman was to nimbly circle around him and latch onto his shoulders. Jaws wide open and teeth bared for all to see, he attempted to bite the devil…
Thankfully, this was merely a duel and not a fight to the death. Weslin stepped in before that happened and ended the match, narrowly avoiding a potential bloodletting.
The lizardman won and that was even under unarmed conditions…‘if I were to equip them with proper weapons and protective gear, their combat strength would definitely go through the roof.’
Other than the four-star Weslin, the lizardmen who came to aid us, included 200 three-stars with the rest of the 1800 consisting entirely of two-stars.
‘These had to be the elites of their elites. I have to say, Westley really went all out to curry my favor.’
‘But the problem is that I still don’t have that many equipment to hand out to them!”
Even though I kept myself busy crafting a bunch of equipment in the interim where we waited for more reinforcements, those were mostly experimental prototypes. They were still usable in a pinch but even then there still wasn’t enough to go around. Tallying up the numbers, I was barely able to gear up 500 lizardman.
As I was mulling over the choice of whether or not to take the risk by attacking now or play it safe by crafting more equipment, Violet Snow chimed in with a plausible suggestion as to how we could send out a preliminary assault.
“I feel that we should gear up these 500 lizardmen first and send them on a reconnaissance mission. If we find that their resistance is lacking, we can dispatch a larger force then.”
‘So we should test the waters first then? That’s a pretty flexible strategy that works well with others. Given that these lizards have an impressive level of defence, they can just run away if things start to look bad.’
Truth be told, I had considered a diversionary tactic, in other words, faking an all out assault on one entrance while we focused the majority of our forces on another. However, the outcome of doing so was that we confirmed this piece of intelligence: no matter which entrance you attacked, the rodents had a roughly similar defence force stationed there.
Thus it was clear to us that what we truly needed was a concerted push through one of these entrance and not a three way assault.
“That’s not a bad idea, we’ve dragged out this battle with the rodents for too long already so let’s just start this quick.” I had Weslin hand out my assorted mix of 500 or so bone shields, swords, spears, hammers and whatever nonsense I concocted in my spare time. Having done that, these lizards even began to look the part of a lizard hero, what with all the weapons and armor I gave them.
“Leave the main assault to us.” She confidently declared as she thumped her chest. “They’re just a bunch of rats. Don’t worry, we’ll perfectly show off the most valiant side of the draconic race!”
“Mhm, go then. As long as you’re able to wipe out these stubborn rats, I guarantee I won’t interfere in your affairs.”
“Understood!” With so many witnesses nearby, I chose not to reveal too much details. Weslin was no fool however and immediately understood what I was trying to say. Having gained my official assurance, her excitement skyrocketed.
As if she had taken a shot of pure adrenaline, she rushed into battle, shield raised and spear waving. “Follow me. Today will be the last we see of these stubborn rats!”
“Kill!” The lizardmen roared and charged in after their leader with spirits high.
Having seen the effectiveness of my shields against their spears, Weslin wasted no time in having the three-star lizardmen form a mobile shield wall in front of the army. Behind them, the rest of the lizardmen formed up ranks after which they rapidly advanced through the nest.
Not long they took their first few steps, a hail of bone spears descended upon them. While a portion of these spears ended up making it through the shield wall, their scales surprised me once more with their sturdiness when they harmlessly deflected the vicious spears of the ratmen.
However, it wasn’t actually that surprising once I gave it some more thought. Given that the spears were crafted from shoddy materials and that they didn’t possess a height advantage like my harpies, it wasn’t that surprising that their attacks failed especially since their opponents were three-star lizardmen. The higher one’s star level was, the more sturdy their scales became.
“From the sounds of battle, it seems like the plan is underway already.”As Violet Snow and I stood at the entrance, there was only so much we could see from the outside especially since the already narrow width of the cave was filled up by the sheer size of these lizard big brothers. For the most part, we had to rely on our hearing to determine what was happening inside.
(TL: I think he meant oni-chan instead of big brother but then, I’m not too sure about it either.)
Truth be told, the sounds of combat were actually rather easy to make out. The screams of pain all came from the Abaddon Rodents while the lizardmen hadn’t even suffered a single casualty up to this point.
Two minutes later, a lizardman ran out of the cave and under my anxious gaze, reported the news that I had been waiting for: “Your Excellency, the fighting inside the cave was intense but the enemies weren’t a match for our clan. Mistress Weslin has determined that it’s alright to mount a full-scale assault…”
As expected, fighting a war was all about finding the right counter to everything. While the medusas’ offensive abilities were impressive, their defensive abilities were lacklustre in comparison. Against the aggression of the rodents, they would’ve suffered heavy casualties even if I sent them in with shields. However, who would have known that such a difficult problem was nothing more than child’s play for the lizardmen.