Chapter 31 – Goblins (1)
Translated by : betterdays
Proofread by : ch17175
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The first thing Asher saw after waking up, was Lord Halvark and Venicia looking down at him. The three looked at each other with their gazes not budging an inch.
Asher slowly lifted himself up from his bed covers.
“Here you are.”
Asher knew they would come to him, but he didn’t expect them to actually wake him up. Asher removed the blanket and checked his condition. He still felt some muscle pains, but it was tolerable.
“…are you all right?”
Inside the eyes of Venicia, there was a mixture of anxiety and worry unlike usual. Asher could guess why.
“That’s all right. I’m a little tired, so please don’t worry about me too much…mother.”
When he put the awkward words in his mouth, fumbling with the word ‘mother’, Venicia’s face became a little brighter. Asher smiled bitterly at how easy she was to read.
The emotions in Lord Halvark’s eyes were distinctly different from those in Venicia’s. Lord Halvark’s eyes contained a blazing and raging fury.
“Don’t blame me. Reika only followed me because she wanted to.”
Asher could guess why Lord Halvark was mad. He and his precious daughter had snuck out and came back with wounds and dirt covered on each other’s bodies.
However, Lord Halvark was in no place to pressure or rant at Asher. It was as Asher had said; Reika had come with him out of her own volition and Asher had tried to stop her.
“I’m a commoner, so I’ll be afraid if you look at me like that.”
At Asher’s relaxed and silly words, Lord Halvark bit his lip. Ever since Asher ‘lost his memories’, he had a relaxed and secluded atmosphere about him. Lord Halvark turned his eyes away.
“…you would never be executed by a noble. You’re a disciple of the Swordmaster, High Count Van Ester anyway.”
Although it was only in name, Van Ester declared Asher the title of his disciple and it had helped him greatly.
Being a disciple of a Swordmaster had such merit and authority, even if it was unspoken.
Since there was no actual title, Asher could not use it as an excuse to hurt or harm a noble, but it was also very difficult for a noble to harm him because of it. It was a rather peculiar situation, but it worked out just fine for Asher’s purposes anyways.
“Is that so?”
Asher looked up at the sun through the windowsill as he noticed it was currently daytime.
“How many days has it been since we returned to the estate?”
“It’s only been one day.”
“It’s not as long as I thought.”
“…and Reika still hasn’t woken up.”
“You don’t have to worry about her too much. It’s because her body was at its limit and it’s currently forcing her to rest properly. She’ll wake up in another day or so.”
It was overall a good experience for Reika despite the unexpected difficulty. She broke through her limits and then also realized another wall. Not only that but, she got to realize just how wide the world was by facing off against a stronger enemy than her current level.
She was growing up still, and she had a lot of room to grow, but if she kept up at the pace she was going, she would grow to be amazing.
“Then, it seems you have something to say to me.”
At Asher’s words, Lord Halvark faltered for a moment and soon had his expression turn cold. He wasn’t too mad at Asher, but he was about to speak to Asher, not as the father of Reika, but as the Lord of the territory.
“There’s no need to thank me.”
“If it weren’t for you, the estate would still be in chaos. But the atmosphere had been stabilized to some extent thanks to you hunting them down and bringing a corpse they could see, back.”
The biggest reason why villagers were afraid of fighting and had such a gloomy atmosphere, was because they didn’t know exactly what the opponent they were facing was, nor what it looked like. All they knew was that the enemies had green skin and long ears. They didn’t know what they ate, whether they ate humans, or what kinds of weapons they used or how big they were. Those were all unknown to the villagers until Asher had brought a corpse back for them to look at.
There was nothing more frightening than the fear of the unknown. Just because there were records left behind in literature, it did not mean it was accurate unless they had a first-hand account.
Thanks to Asher, they had been able to identify and analyze the opponent to some extent. If anything, they relaxed a bit since they saw how small the goblin was and how ugly it was.
“I’ve never experienced a battle myself as a Lord, so I can’t help but fear the unknown… But at least the atmosphere is clear that we will not have to run away in fear. It’s all thanks to you bringing back that body.”
“That’s a relief.”
It seemed his actions weren’t in vain, Asher murmured inwardly as he felt relieved.
Carrying both Reika and the Goblin’s corpse was quite the heavy toll to carry, even for him.
The good news was that not everyone knew of Asher and Reika’s competence. All they saw in their minds, was that a child had gone out and was capable of killing these monsters. Then as adults, what would they feel? Or course, that was the intended effect from the start.
Asher had hoped that those kinds of thoughts would be planted in the minds of the villagers and guards.
It wasn’t such a bad plan, he thought.
Asher looked at him with a serious expression. Lord Halvark flinched reflexively. There was a definite and uncomfortable tension lingering in the air.
“Do you have any food? I haven’t eaten a whole day, so I’m feeling quite hungry.”
“…I’ll get it right now.”
(T/N : Lmao maid Halvark waifu?)
When Asher recuperated a little bit and had his food, he left his quarters with Lord Halvark. Outside, the guards and warriors of the estate were diligently practicing with their spears. However, there was a complete difference in attitude towards their training as there was a fierce and fiery passion that blazed in their eyes.
“Are you able to move already?”
Lord Halvark asked as he stared at Asher.
“Recovering a bit of fatigue is never that difficult. How is Reika’s condition?”
“She’s still sleeping in her bedroom. She’s being tended to by the maids regularly on her condition.”
Lord Halvark spoke passive aggressively to try and reprimand Asher, but his voice was filled with anxiety.
She was his one and only, precious daughter. He couldn’t break her stubborn nature and naggin to learn swordsmanship, so he had eventually caved in and let her, but he couldn’t help but feel his heart break just a little whenever he saw her hurt. No matter how talented she was, he wanted her to grow up comfortably and loved.
“It’s because she doesn’t like to be tied up to one place, my Lord. She has a free spirit.”
“Yes, it would just feel better for me as her parent if she didn’t insist on taking such a dangerous path.”
“You can’t blame her or yourself for the path she’s chosen to take.”
Asher could understand Reika’s decision, and that was because he was the same. He simply loved the sword despite having one of the steepest learning curves possible. Because of that love for the sword, he never gave up on his ambitions despite being shunned by others or facing the walls of talent he couldn’t overcome.
He could understand to some extent, but that didn’t mean he knew exactly why Reika picked up the sword. Reika was her own individual and everyone who walked the path of a swordsman, picked up the sword for different reasons.
Asher looked around at the guards and warriors who were training.
There was still some fear present in their eyes, but most of it had been replaced with hostility towards the goblins that had harmed their Lord’s daughter. The atmosphere had changed for the better it seemed.
What was truly interesting, was at the front of the gate to the training area, the head of the goblin that Asher brought, was skewered to a pike. It was to help boost morale and get the troops to feel a sense of anger rather than fear.
“It’s better working much better than I thought. I think this has given us a good chance at defending ourselves.”
“…Well I think it’s more of the fact they finally know what they’re up against.”
Lor Halvark looked at Asher with a new set of refreshed eyes. He truly was looking at Asher in a new light due to his actions.
He went to catch an unidentified monster for the territory all on his own, which even the grown-ups of the territory were afraid to do, and dragged the body all the way back. Asher was only eighteen. He could barely be called a grown man, yet he had done this all for the territory to survive. This was something even Lord Halvark couldn’t ignore as just a ploy of sorts. Asher was genuinely concerned for the territory. Maybe not the people, but it was something one wouldn’t do if they didn’t feel some sort of sentiment towards the land.
‘Is it time for me to change my perception of him?’
Despite everything up till now, Lord Halvark was still uncomfortable with Asher. Due to his memory loss, he had changed and become an entirely new person. Something so drastically different it was suspicious. But, his actions this time went beyond words and suspicions.
‘It’s like something a hero would do.’
Of course it wasn’t really like that since there were rather unique circumstances that Lord Halvark did not know of.
Asher had acted so bravely and boldly because he already knew enough about goblins to scout them out safely and even chip away at their numbers.
“By the way.”
When Asher suddenly spoke, Lord Halvark was shocked out of his thoughts and raised an eyebrow nodding to Asher to continue.
‘He’s not a noble. Why am I acting like such an idiot towards a child.’
Lord Halvarlk groaned inwardly and set aside his thoughts.
“Why are the people taking off their clothes?”
The guards and warriors of the territory had taken off their heavy armors and had replaced them with light leather type armor and light pauldrons.
“It’s how we decided to change with our armor and to increase mobility in response to the incoming goblins. I wasn’t able to brief you on it since you were still sleeping.”
Goblins were not human. Therefore, it was only natural there would be some effective changes in how they approached the defense and their measures they would take against them.
“It says in the records we have, that their species is rather small and agile. Because of that I made the decision to change our armor to match their mobility in terms of speed while also keeping the necessary amount of defense. What do you think? Is it an effective change?”
Asher stroked his chin. He had the experience first-hand both back then, and now. So he knew what would suit them best in terms of defenses and how the territory’s warriors should respond.
“It’s actually wrong.”
“Yes, Goblins’ weapons are not very sharp. At best, they would be equipped with a stone axe or a shank tied to a wooden pole. It’s important to at least have a certain degree of strong-plated armor. It should have even stated that in the records, shouldn’t it?”
“…Well it’s still better than nothing, plus we only have cheap armor here, I’m not sure what we could possibly use as a better alternative ..”
“I think you’re misunderstanding something. Human armor was made for combat against other humans. We are not facing other humans, my Lord.”
A goblin’s attack was mostly consisting of blunt weapons. Despite them being small, it did not mean you could undermine their physical capabilities.
“Goblins know they are weaker, but that doesn’t mean they’re completely stupid. They also use their own secretions to coat their daggers as it works as a poison. Even the smallest hit could be deadly. Also, there’s one more thing…”
“Huh, what else?”
Lord Halvark asked with a worried look. His heart pounded with insecurity, since the order to switch the armors was his. Plus anything Asher would say would be invaluable. He couldn’t afford to save face and lives at the same time. Asher pointed at the spears that were being wielded by the warriors in the training area.
“Goblins are also, as you said, small. They can even crawl on all fours when attacking. Therefore if you want to attack them successfully, you need to prepare and lower the point of attack. “
“They did say that in the records…”
Lord Halvark had read it in the literature, but he didn’t realize just how important of a detail it was. As Asher had pointed out, he was putting the soldiers in training as if they were against human opponents.
Lord Halvark nodded with a firm face.
“Thank you. They could have done a lot more damage if you didn’t point these flaws out.”
“You can say thanks after the battle.”
‘I didn’t expect this.’
Asher was surprised as well. He knew he had forgotten the characteristics of monsters, but even after fighting against the goblins he hadn’t been able to realize just how much he had forgotten in terms of preparation against raids until Lord Halvark asked him for suggestions.
‘If this continues, the rest of the world will fall.’
This raid was likely not the only one in the Empire. It was highly likely there were several other raids happening on other human territories at this very moment. However, not everyone would be able to prepare properly like the Halvark territory was doing. The damage to all of humanity was likely to be large.
“…but it’s rather fascinating. How do you know all of this? I know you’ve fought against the firsthand now, but even so, it’s almost too much.”
Asher’s fell silent as he couldn’t come up with anything to refute Lord Halvark’s murmur. What should he say? Asher thought about it for a while and decided to speak.
“Van Ester told me ahead of time.”
“Oh, the Swordmaster? Him?”
“Yes, he seemed to know that things were getting weird. Because of that he told me multiple ways of response to monsters of the past in case I ever encountered them.”
“As expected, he did know something was coming… Ugh, he could have at least told me as well before he left.”
Once again, Asher had used Van Ester as his excuse. He was unsure what all this would amount to in the end, if Van Ester found out.
‘It doesn’t matter.’
Well, he didn’t have to worry about it for now since there was no immediate threat to his cover yet.
The prestige of a Swordmaster was not to be taken lightly. Across all regions of the Empire, the response would be the same. Especially when it came to combat, they were unquestionable in terms of knowledge.
Since it was already like this, Asher decided to speak up about one last thing.
“I have a favor to ask of you.”
“What is it?”
When Asher voiced his request, Lord Halvark frowned lightly.
“…it’s rather difficult.”
“But it is necessary.”
“That’s true. We need to be able to be prepared for when we step out onto the battlefield.”
Lord Halvark nodded decidedly.
“All right, I’ll let you do as you wish. If it’s with your skill, there shouldn’t be any problem….”
“Don’t worry, I know my limits.”
Lord Halvark fell silent as he gazed at Asher with suspicious eyes.
Chapter 31 – Fin