114. Winners and Losers (1)
The army of the Kingdom of Lome arrived in a large meadow. Snowflakes fluttered through the air as metal boots trampled the tall grass, while simultaneously trudging through the ever-rising snow. The grass was high enough that it came up to the soldiers’ waists, and the undisturbed snow around them reflected the sunlight, emphasizing the natural colors of the surrounding scenery.
In a different situation, these soldiers might have been mesmerized by the beautiful sight of the surrounding meadow, but, right now, it was the last thing on their minds.
All of their gaze werve focused straight ahead.
Across the meadow was an outpost, with its back to the rising sun. Awl-shaped barricades—that looked like they were made by taking out a whole tree and trimming it—were planted in a row, behind which were hundreds of tents. What grabbed their attention the most, however, were the monsters manning the outpost.
Creatures in red armor.
They had once been called the descendants of devils, and had been treated as prey by the humans, who hunted them for both money and sport. Now, they were proud soldiers of the first true Demon Kingdom—warriors through and through. With an overwhelming presence, the Demon Lord’s army was the embodiment of a grudge against their former oppressors that had festered for thousands of years.
“Are you bastards ready?” Karakul glared at Lome Kingdom’s army while feeling the edge of the battleaxe in his hand.
Their silver armor glittered and shined under the sunlight, and their well-organized formation indicated a stronger spirit than the armies Karakul had faced so far.
“Bastards,” Allin said as he came to stand beside Karakul, “those guys don’t even budge a little, huh?”
Hekaron also butted in while crossing his arms.
“I’m sure they’re scared after witnessing our hatred, as well as our newfound dignity.”
Karakul glanced at the two and frowned.
“Dignity? Is idly standing here what we call dignity? They haven’t even had a taste of it yet, not like this!” Karakul muttered while gritting his teeth. “Let’s give them a proper show!”
Karakul then turned around and shouted at the top of his lungs.
At Karakul’s order, the Goblins began to strike the huge drum with all their might. As the rhythmic sound reverberated throughout the outpost, the demons’ eyes glinted dangerously. It was like their hearts were beating in sync with the drum, and as it sped up and rose in volume, their emotions followed suit.
“Strike fear into the enemy-!”
At his command, the demons struck their respective weapons onto the ground over and over. They glared across the meadow at the human soldiers who had dared to invade their land, their eyes gleaming with murderous intent.
Their breathing became rougher the more enraged they became, and they now saw the knights as little more than prey. Even after all the changes the demons had gone through, their brutal instincts and innate bloodlust still remained.
“Shout! Roar! Let them hear the grudge that our ancestors bore for thousands of years!”
The wind carried the demons’ battle cry across the meadow and, coupled with the earth’s faint shaking and the rhythmic beat of the drum, the soldiers and knights of Lome were left with an ominous feeling.
Those standing at the front of the formation gulped, and some even took an unconscious step back. The men weren’t the only ones affected by this, as the horses of the cavalry unit shuffled uncertainty and let out fearful snorts. Human and animal eyes alike shook in fear. The brave knights of Lome, who had proudly marched tall all the way here, were now shivering like frightened children.
There was a general sense of unease now hanging over their heads, and many glanced at each other and conversed in hushed voices.
“O-oi. When the demons were shouting a moment ago…did you feel the ground shake?”
“S, stop joking around. It’s just the wind!”
Having been frightened out of silence, the first inklings of dread had taken hold of their hearts.
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