Violet Snow rolled her emotionless eyes at my inquiring gaze as if to say: nothing’s absolute in this world!
Having chased away Vick, the silver werewolf gave me a cold stare, ignoring the barrier formed by One-eye and the others, her face deadpan as if she was looking at a dead prey.
Don’t…don’t turn around…go on, just leave. Don’t keep looking at me…it’s not like I was the one who told him to bother you, I’m innocent…
Perhaps the heavens finally heard my prayer but right after that, she merely left after throwing me a bored look.
She’s finally gone…those terrifying pupils of hers…scared me half to death.
As her furry back finally left my sight, the pounding in my heart finally calmed down
Just as I started celebrating, an earth shaking cry rang out from a distance across the battlefield , giving my poor little heart another scare. “Maaaassteeerr, are you alright? Are you hurt anywhere, do you need No.5 to give you a check up…”
Often in the heat of battle, this potato would mysteriously disappear only to show up after the battle ends. This time was no exception either, his ingratiating voice appeared as if right on cue, ready to take advantage of the situation.
Regarding his skiving, I had already given up all hope on it, with a resigned wave of my hand, I signalled for No.3 to give him a quick kick while getting him to take count of our losses.
“Call the half-orcs over.”
Upon receiving the command, One-eye left to summon the surviving half-orcs. After the battle, their numbers had dropped from 49 to 44, with basically all of them covered in injuries. Over half of them were still wielding the bone weaponry they scavenged in the middle of the battle.
Regarding this matter, One-eye was still utterly opposed to it. He immediately yelled at them: “Who allowed you to remain armed in front of the Master? Put down your weapons immediately, don’t forget your place!”
The half-orcs stared at the yelling imp quizzically. They weren’t able to understand the language of devils but judging from his angry posture, they were roughly able to infer his intentions. A number of them fumed at the indignation and nearly threatened to attack him; the fierce battle must’ve just forged an indomitable spirit in them. Thankfully, the more aggressive ones were immediately restrained by the their brethren.
I had to admit, their bravery and contributions this fight were the crucial factor leading to our success this battle. However, I still didn’t know why they were maintained such a ferocious warlike behavior, even to the point of risking their lives for me, their captor.
Even so, this didn’t mean that I was going to turn a blind eye to their prowess, in fact, I was planning to rely more on them from now on.
“That’s enough, One-eye.” I rebuked him neither too lightly nor too heavily before turning towards Violet Snow: “ Help me pass on this message, I’ll allow them to keep the weapons and from now on, they will form their own team. They will also be given priority for any newly crafted weapons.”
“All I need from them is this, be obedient. On my side, I won’t send them to their deaths unnecessarily. Fierce warriors like them are exactly what we need right now.”
However, before she could begin translating, a member of the half-orcs stood out and knelt before me, putting down his sword and shield as he did so. He was a burly fellow but this wasn’t an unusual sight among the half-orcs. “Master, thank you for your trust. This one is unworthy of such honor.”
“Devil’s tongue…you actually know the language of devils?!”
Truth be told, before this half-orc spoke up, I had always felt that these demonic half-orcs were slightly lacking in the mental department.
Hold on…that silver furred werewolf spoke in the language of the devils as well…so they aren’t just a race of muscle heads…
“Yes Master, this one has studied the language of the devils in Abaddon.”
Even as he said this, he made sure to lower his head, his eyes never meeting mine in a show of reverence.
“This…this lordship…such a nostalgic way to refer to yourself…even though, it’s only been a while since his lordship left us…thinking back on it, it almost feels like a lot has changed since then…”
His use of “this one” stirred up my memories of Big 1, the imp who loved to use “this lordship”, the very same imp who in order to save me from Chipped Horn, ended up sacrificing his life.
In return for his loyalty, I abandoned him…even though it was him who told me to escape, that desolation wracking my heart couldn’t be erased so easily…
Naturally, this half-orc wasn’t aware of the reason for my sighing. “Master, this one doesn’t understand…”
“Oh right, do you have a name?”
“This one’s name is Baccarel, Master.”
“Baccarel huh…” I sighed once more. “You’ve performed well in the previous battle. Who was the one leading the half-orcs?”
“This one was the commander, Master.”
“It’s you huh…” My lips cracked into a slight smile as I praised him: “From now on, I’ll allow you to refer to yourself as “this lordship”.”
“This, this lordship?”
“That’s right, that’s the honor that only you will be bestowed with.”
“This…this lordship is unworthy…” He trembled from excitement as he received his new title. It was the same excitement a person felt having accomplished a momentous feat after years of being in the background.
The so called “honor” was just a random excuse I came up with but who knew that he would actually bite.
“Since that’s the case, you will be in charge of the half-orcs from now on.”
“But Master, according to the rules of our clan, the position of leadership shouldn’t be passed onto me. Plus, I’m not the strongest amongst my brethren, I’m afraid…they won’t comply.”
“You don’t have to concern yourself with that, I’ll handle the matter of your combat strength for you. All you have to do is make sure that you can manage your brethren well, as long as they serve me well, you’ve done your job.”
“Leadership is what I’m expecting of you. Naturally, you guys don’t have to worry about me abusing your trust, you are all brave warriors and I’ll be sure to treat you guys well.”
“Yes Master. This lordship will follow your orders to the letter. I’ll be your sharpest sword, your sturdiest shield, your will is this lordship’s command.”
“Very good, you may rise.”
“Master, letting them form an army of their own…isn’t that a bad idea?” One-eye finally voiced the concern that he kept to himself all this while. He was afraid of interrupting us and so he waited till now to speak up: “They just surrendered recently after all. Not long ago, they were our prisoners, if we give them weapons now…”
At the side, Baccarel merely stood there silently, without any anxiety or guilt, staring right in the eyes of One-eye, not intending to give up even an inch.
“I believe that Baccarel is loyal. As the previous battle has shown, the demonic half-orcs take in pride in their battles and are in every way, valorous warriors. You should learn to view them in a different light, you’ll find that they don’t have such a dirty side to them.” I said with a stern glare.
Under the anxious gaze of One-eye, I continued: “Don’t worry, I don’t plan on changing my priorities. It’s just that I’ve seen the shortcomings of the imps and so wish to make up for them by using the half-orcs.”
In the end, One-eye relented under my withering gaze. “Perhaps you’re right, Master.”
“Mhm, you may leave for now. Go check if the battle report is ready. If it isn’t, get No.5 to hurry up.”
“Yes, Master. I’ll take my leave now.” He said, slightly disheartened. I could roughly guess why he was downcast. In that previous battle, the imps had clearly underperformed compared to the half-orcs. Unnecessary mistakes were made because of the chaos but instead of correcting them, they were magnified instead.
In the past, there was no base of comparison but now, there were the half-orcs, next to them, the side that was lacking was clear from a glance.
Whether it was in terms of coordination or talent with weapons, the imps clearly came out short compared to the half-orcs. While this might disappoint him, the contribution of the half-orcs were just that significant, not rewarding them simply wasn’t an option.
“Baccarel, go organize your kinsman, if anyone opposes your appointment, get Big 4 to handle them.”
“But Master…this clan’s traditions…” Baccarel hesitated once more.
I immediately interrupted him: “ Then tell them that I’m still their Master, you’re just leading them on my behalf.”
“Alright, this lordship will pass on this message right away.”
“Hold on, I have a question that’s been bothering me for a while.” Before he even had the chance to reply, I continued voicing my confusion: “You were, until recently, my prisoners, why did you all risk your lives for me in battle?”
Instead of a straight answer, he simply asked, without much thought given. “In your opinion, we should’ve chosen to escape in the middle of that battle?”
He continued, ignoring my silence, “The customs of the demonic half-orcs dictate that we must follow the strongest. Since we’ve chosen to submit, we shouldn’t hold back because of that.”
“…You can leave for now, get Big 4 to help you secure your position.” Baccarel’s answer had stunned me, I simply couldn’t understand this seemingly childish behavior.
What about the grudges of your fallen kinsman? How could you all submit so easily to the strong…the thinking of these half-orcs was simply something that I couldn’t understand…
With that settled, I turned back to Violet Snow, hoping to have a few words with her. However, I discovered that she had left during my conversation with Baccarel and was currently indisposed.
It was that time again.
After every battle, the hellhounds’ would suffer some deaths and she would spend this time to mourn for them, though it wasn’t too long.
“Master, the battle report.” The ever fawning No. 5 ran in once again announced by his toadying voice as he looked up at me.
“Master, our losses are pretty heavy this time…the hellhounds lost six hounds, bringing their total to 39. We lost 50 large imps, bringing the total to 187. However, there’s a bit of good news. Two of the large imps have evolved into head imps.”
…that little huh…the less there are, the more dangerous it is for me…I guess that’s not true either…no amount of subordinates would’ve saved me from that silver furred werewolf. In the face of a monster like her, I probably can’t even run away.
Damn it, exactly how high is her level? Three-stars can’t be that strong…don’t tell me she’s a four-star…but if so, why is she still staying in this god forsaken place?
Didn’t Violet Snow mention that four-stars are able to leave this place unhindered? Assuming they find an exit point of course.
Also, who is this Mo En she mentioned? Feels like I was just saved by this name…