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“Your Majesty, a report from Elbert-dono came.”
It was regarding the results of the investigation of the excess production resulting from the unification of the south.
“So, if this excess in production is corrected and rea.s.signed for military use, we will be able to support 20,000 soldiers.”
Pale nodded at the Goblin King's heavy voice.
They also had the support of the Kushain Believers that suppressed Fatina, so unless there was a famine, they should be able to support that many soldiers. This was a trial calculation provided by most of the civil officials of Elrain Kingdom, so it was reliable information.
“Hmm… Now, how do I make use of this? Pale, what do you think?”
“One way would be to simply use the excess production to strengthen our goblin forces. Another would be to hire foreign adventurers. Lastly, we could also use the excess production to secure funds to promote commerce and industry.”
This was akin to a slice of pie falling from the heavens.
The goblin army was unlike human armies in that they did not really need money. So long as they had food, supporting the army was a trivial thing. But of course, even then, having to equip 20,000 goblin soldiers still required a decent number of coin.
They could also use their newfound wealth to hire adventurers and send them on the frontlines.
Skilled adventurers will ask for a higher price, but relying on them will still allow the goblins to conserve their forces. But of course, they would have to take care on how to use their hired adventurers.
The Goblin King had also considered the first two ways suggested by Pale, but the last one he did not expect.
“Promote commerce and industry?”
“As Your Majesty is aware, there are no large businesses within our kingdom. This is likely because the major companies do not like war and have moved to the Holy Shushunu Kingdom.”
Although there are only a handful of major companies that operate in many countries, they do exist. And while there are many factors that contribute toward the foundation of such an economy, there is no doubt that the southern lands have achieved one of the foundations of an economy. Presently, the Goblin King is being supported by the Kushain Believers and the grain that should be sold to the Holy Shushunu Kingdom is being purchased by him instead. Unfortunately, that is no different from him merely stealing the trade route.
It's hard to believe that those merchants would just quietly accept having their precious trade route taken just like that. If one had to cla.s.sify them as either foe or ally, then they would most certainly fall into the 'foe' category. Although they have yet to openly move against the Goblin King, Pale considered them as a potential enemy. As such, she wanted to strike preemptively.
But they were not a country and it was hard to find them. The goblins did not just have to deal with powerful foes, they also had to deal with the difficulty of distinguis.h.i.+ng friend from foe.
Pale came up with the plan to focus their efforts in promoting the growth of domestic commerce and industry. Of course, another reason why she suggested this was because there was a level of convenience that came with bigger businesses.
“The foundation is ready. Perhaps it is time that we set an objective.”
It was not just the army that the Goblin King had to concern himself with, he also had to think about the future. Until now, the Goblin King has only been trying to avoid making a mistake he couldn't fix in the future.
“Very well. In that case, let us put that excess production to bolster our forces and promote commerce and industry. We'll stop the strengthening of the goblin forces to 10,000. The rest will be a.s.signed toward encouraging commerce and industry.”
“As you will.”
Now that the king had decided, Pale had to choose people fit for the job. The current production of the goblins is still fine. So long as they sent a messenger to the Forest of Darkness and upped the pace of switching armies, there shouldn't be any big problems. Even Pale couldn't help but be amazed at how amazing goblin reproduction was.
As such, the problem was the businesses.
Unfortunately, there was no one under the Goblin King who held the disposition to become a merchant. At the very least, Pale did not know of any such individual. Perhaps, someone like Yus.h.i.+ka from the winged ones (harpyurea) could fit the bill, but equal business between humans and demihumans were unlikely.
It was better to look for a human merchant, but having to look for one with no leads was too hard.
“Someone skilled would be great if possible, but…”
“Hmm. It would be difficult to rely on the descendants of the crystals (demihumans) or the elves.”
What Pale wanted was someone who would never betray them even if said person might not have sworn fealty to the king. But even then, such a person would need to have some degree of skill as a merchant, or else, no matter how much they supported him, it would only be a waste. They needed someone who would become a great merchant with just a little help.
“Come to think of it, there's that human governor-general.”
When Pale thought of the human governor-general of the western capital, her thoughts became sidetracked.
“If you're talking about Yoshu, we can't afford to remove him from his position as Governor-General. A talent like him isn't easy to get by.”
“Why not have him do both?”
“As expected, that's a bit…”
“…Is that so?”
Pale seemed very disappointed as she cast down her eyes and gathered her thoughts.
“If I recall correctly, that man created a guild.”
“Yes. He says he copied it from the real thing.”
“Why not hire someone through the guild then? We might be able to gather some skilled people we don't know of.”
The Goblin King inclined his thick neck and became thoughtful. It's simply too convenient to be able to find someone skilled like Pale is looking for just by hiring them. But then again, if they announce that they are looking for such a person, then perhaps some confident people might show themselves.
And even if they fail to gather the people they need immediately, they might be able to find some with the talent. Openly announcing that they're looking for such people will also provide a stage for the person they're looking for to eventually show himself.
The Western Capital and the colonial city are also not in as much danger from foreign enemies. Moreover, the peddlers have also increased and the commercial district is growing. It's likely that there are a lot of ambitious people just waiting for an opportunity.
After thinking up to this point, the Goblin King nodded to Pale.
“Very well. We'll inform Yoshu what we discussed here and have him start the recruitment. Of course, we won't be tight-fisted with the reward.”
“As you will.”
Pale was still thinking of what to do after the businesses grew.
It might be possible to leave it to Gi Za too depending on how the intelligence network at Germion Kingdom goes. Alone, Pale was splitting her time too much between politics and war. There were some among the subjects of the Golbin King with the potential to eventually take over the intelligence department, but none were at the level that she could entrust it to them now.
In order to make the king popular, it was imperative that his subjects did the dirty work for him. Pale knew this well.
“If the King of Monsters is to twist the truth of the world and become the light, then… We will have to submerge ourselves into the darkness.”
After excusing herself from the presence of the king, Pale wryly smiled at this ironic fate.
Tl Note: The last release wasn't long enough, but this release is a little longer, so the two together are still long enough to count as two releases against the queue.
An extra 10,000 goblins. Goblins did not just pop out of nowhere. A male goblin and a female goblin had to copulate to give birth to a child, and then this child would have to be raised before he could become a warrior. The Fortress of the Abyss within the Forest of Darkness was managed by Gi Bii the druid cla.s.s goblin, Yellow the elder of the Gordob Tribe, and the old goblin.
“Still, 10,000 goblins. What do we do?”
“If that is the king's orders, then we must carry it out.”
“But the females could only give birth to so many.”
Although the three of them avoided saying things that would put them at odds with each other or be mere complaints, they ended up having basically the same opinion anyway. That was that it would take time to produce 10,000 goblins. At the beginning, the number of females had been reduced to just 20 goblins, but when the bountiful supply of food was brought to the Fortress of the Abyss, they were able to increase the birth rate, and now, the females numbered 900.
Because these female goblins did not have to hunt, none of them died from hunting, and they could apply themselves to giving birth. Goblins are blessed when it comes to reproducing. Although they can only give birth one at a time, the period from conception to childbirth is not something that orcs and humans could compare to.
Despite that producing 10,000 soldiers would still take considerable time.
“His Majesty must understand that.”
The young Gi Bii and the old Yellow nodded to the words of the old goblin.
“But if the soldiers that come back could make as many children as they could, I'm sure they will be happy.”
“There's no fear of starving for the time being.”
Yellow smiled and Gi Bii nodded.
With the exception of the high-cla.s.s goblins, the goblins of the goblin army are now permitted to return from the front lines to the Forest of Darkness after a certain period. Although the wounded soldiers are prioritized, after the unification of the south, the Goblin King gave permission for other goblins to return as well.
Gi Gi Orudo's monster army is permitted to be accompanied by female goblins, but that is a special exception. To the beast tamers who have to build supply bases in various areas, there is a strong recognition among them that the land they are in itself is their home. Moreover, because the beast tamers are always interacting with monsters, the female goblins tend to keep them at an arm's length.
Originally, they just dealt with it themselves, but Gi Gi Orudo talked to the king about it, and the king gave permission for them to raise female goblins at their own village. The female goblins that grew up surrounded by monsters did not dislike the beast tamers, and they were able to steadily increase their numbers.
Gi Gi was elated to be given an exception. He himself currently owns three females and have been able to father many children. Although the children born were not particularly high ranked, they all inherited Gi Gi's makings and were all raised as beast tamers.
The Goblin King was trying to employ a system known as Returned Soldier System, but how many goblins would be allowed to return was actually left to the four generals. The reason behind this is because the number of soldiers varied from army to army and as such it is believed that the number permitted to return should be changed according to the situation.
This Returned Soldier System has further increased obedience to the strong. Wanting to leave behind children is the wish of every living creature. The fact that the high-ranked goblin directly in charge of the goblins under them now held the power to grant them that opportunity was a big deal to the goblins.
Until now, the goblin army was just an army that swore fealty to the Goblin King, but after this change of policy, there were now goblins who truly saw the generals as second to the king and saw them as an object of allegiance. Having a clear object of allegiance is a great boon to the chain of command.
This is especially true to the goblins that do not give out monetary rewards. The only reason these goblins are in battle is because of the king. At the behest of the strongest that is their king, they risk their lives and fight. But the introduction of the Returned Soldier System has brought about a subtle transformation in their psyche.
Only those who have survived in battle and gained honors will have the right to have children.
To the goblins who still could not grasp the concept of a monetary economy, this sort of thinking was much easier to grasp, and it didn't take long at all before they had fully adopted it.
A reward would be given to those with honor worthy of it.
While the king was being quiet, that sort of thinking permeated the goblins, and just a little, the goblins evolved from being mere beasts.
Hostilities were opened immediately after the harvest. 4,500 soldiers were dispatched from the 8 fortresses that separated the imperial capital from the Western Region. There was already a n.o.ble's army of 800 fighting against the goblins on their soil, so when these 4,500 came, they joined them to create an army of 5,300. It was this great army that poured into the Western Region.
Ra Gilmi Fis.h.i.+ga, who was entrusted with the defense of the Western Region, led his Fanzel alongside Shumea's border defense unit. They decided to face the army at their camp at the border. They knew the enemy was coming, so they had already equipped themselves, dug deep moats, positioned abatises, dug pitfalls, and surrounded the camp with fences.
Although they couldn't prepare as much as they wanted, they did everything they could with the time they had.
“Although our information on the enemy's approach was correct, there's more than expected.”
Ra Gilmi Fis.h.i.+ga groaned when he saw the enemy camp from the other side of their multi-layered fence.
“It's within the margin of error, though. It would feel kind of gross if everything went as planned, wouldn't it?”
Shumea, who had been a.s.signed as the commanding officer of both Fanzel and the border guards, shrugged her shoulders without any worries.
“But it is a little worrying indeed. Although the Goblin King is at the Western Capital, we definitely can't lead this guys to the south.”
Bui, who had gone back from the forest, raised his brows, worried.
“We'll just have to do our best. We're counting on you guys too, descendants of the crystals,” Gilmi said.
“Naturally. These people came here to destroy our plains once again. They must die.”
The chief of the Fang Tribe (Werewolf), Mido, bared his fangs in anger.
“Exactly. You can expect good results from us.”
The chief of the centaurs, Tianos, fiercely laughed.
After seeing that the chiefs of Fanzel were all ready, Ra Gilmi Fis.h.i.+ga resolved himself to fight.
On Germion Kingdom's side, Crown Prince Ishtar was at the head of their army and five organizations were under his banner. The holy knight, Valdor's, infantry numbered 1,300. The holy knight, Jize's, numbered 800. The Kingdom Magic Corps numbered 700. The imperial guards numbered 1,200. And that would have been it at first, but thanks to the support of the Minister of the Military, Lord Bedoru, the n.o.ble children brought with them the n.o.bles' army, which numbered 1,300.
Other than the n.o.bles' army, the rest of the forces were infantry. This stark contrast between the n.o.bles' forces and the other forces was actually due to Lord Bedoru's consideration. The n.o.bles were pus.h.i.+ng him to allow them to join, so Bedoru – in a sleight of genius – decided that only those who could ride would be allowed to join.
When Valdor heard at the party of the imperial capital that Bedoru wanted to allow the army of the n.o.ble children to join the fray, at first, he was worried, but after Bedoru's unexpected gift, that worry turned out to be needless.
Even the n.o.bles' army joining them midway was also Bedoru's request. In the case of defeat, if it were known that they had lost to the likes of goblins, the partic.i.p.ants would have no face left to return. As such, to provide a way out for the n.o.bles who would find it hard to return after a losing battle against the goblins, they decided to make it so that these n.o.ble children would not be fighting against the goblins but be joining a battle known as the Invasion of the Western Region instead.
The Minister of the Military, Lord Bedoru, had done all this to gain favor from the n.o.bles, as well as to not lag behind in giving his support for the army meant to retake the Western Region. It was the sort of political maneuvering one could only expect from a great n.o.ble like Lord Bedoru to whom was entrusted the position of the Minister of the Military.
Also, since they had rendezvoused with the n.o.bles who were fighting against the goblins before them, it was only a given that they would talk to them about the tactics that the goblins had employed. This way they might be able to take some measures against the goblins themselves.
“They blend in the night and attack by surprise.”
“They attack during nighttime and even use bows while riding.”
Valdor the Twin Swords and Jize the One-Eyed held the meeting regarding the goblins' tactics in front of Ishtar. From their meeting, it appears that the biggest hurdle would be how to deal with the goblins in the night. During nighttime they wouldn't be able to see well, but the goblins could. As such, they would end up being shot at one-sidedly. These two holy knights, who had fought many battles, knew just how painful this was mentally. They knew it so well they did not even need to say it.
“There's no other way around it. We will have to strengthen our defenses.”
“I suppose there is no other way. I agree.”
In response to Valdor's opinion that left even he himself frowning, Jize nodded.
“If that's what our two veterans say, then we shall go with that. But we can't win just by defending. We do have a chance at winning this, right?”
As Crown Prince Ishtar complied with their opinion, he also asked them about their prospects at victory. Jize, who hadn't interacted with the crown prince much, was surprised when he heard the prince say that.
In his mind, he raised up his value of the prince. This should be the crown prince's first battle. People who are confident in their abilities usually have a tendency to be caught up with youthful indiscretion, let their blood get to their head, and force their own opinion through.
But this crown prince showed no signs of such behavior. He naturally listened to the opinions of his subordinates and indirectly suggested which direction he wishes to take. Just how excellent of a teacher was Valdor? Jize wondered as he looked at him.
Valdor, whom the crown prince was talking to, glanced momentarily at Jize.
“If I may speak,” Jize interjected. “If the goblins dwell in the night, then we should simply move in the day.”
“In the night, we should make camp where the arrows won't reach us, and in the day, fight the enemy. Is this what you're saying?” Crown Prince Ishtar asked.
“Yes. If they move in the night, then they will surely tire in the day,” jize replied.
“So, a battle of endurance. We have the advantage in numbers. I expect much from the both of you in battle.”
“As you will.”
“Crown Prince Ishtar-dono, I believe we should set three days as the limit for enduring. Any longer than that and our men might slacken.”
Ishtar nodded to Valdor's opinion.
“Getting accustomed to something is forbidden, I see. Let's send the imperial guards to stand guard in the night then. As for your soldiers, get them to properly rest and prepare for the battle. The same for the n.o.bles' army.”
At Ishtar's words, all the people present at the place bowed.
“With that this council is adjourned. Rest well.”
Valdor and Jize left Ishtar's camp and went back to theirs, talking along the way. The holy knights protecting the country actually have barely any chance to meet each other because of the distance of their territories. Because of that when they do have the chance to meet, they like to talk and learn the thoughts of their equals.
They will be fighting side-by-side, so it was good to know how each other thought. In these two holy knights' case, they shared a common trait in that they both would spare no effort to survive.
“Crown Prince Ishtar sure gave me a surprise. I'd heard the rumors, but it seems they weren't just rumors,” Jize said.
“He has the potential to become king. I was tasked to teach him, but honestly, he wasn't really a difficult student,” Valdor replied.
“Giving the merit to one's subordinates is not something that young people can usually do. Did you instruct him to do that?”
Having the imperial guards keep watch during the night was the same thing as giving the merits to the n.o.bles and the knights since the exhausted imperial guards would not be of much use during the battles in the morning. It was also the same thing as giving the powerful holy knights and the n.o.bles desperately hungry for merits the opportunity to gain the merits they so desire.
The crown prince's decision was so precise politically speaking that Jize couldn't help but be shocked. With this move, not only would he gain the support of the kingdom's army, he would also gain the support of the n.o.bles.
“The king has found a good successor,” Valdor said.
“Truer words have never been spoken. When I was at the crown prince's age, all I knew was how to swing about my sword,” Jize said.
In preparation for the battle three days later, morale of the holy knights and the n.o.ble was high.