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The Outbreak of War
That day, the orcs army filled the marshes with thousands of troops.
If you looked from above, you’d see the swarming the tunnels as if an incessant maelstrom.
However, those present were only a small part of their army. The orcs decided to invade by circling around the lake.
With little resistance they had occupied the marshes, and proceeded into the caverns.
However, a commotion rippled through the swarm.
For suddenly someone had ordered the lizardmen to attack.
And that was the cause for the outbreak of war between the orcs and the lizardmen.
The rulers of the marshes–the Lizardmen.
Possessing high battle abilities they can maneuver smoothly through mud or swamp.
Hiding among the grass, they approached the orc army, and attacked undetected.
Everything went according to plan.
He had locked up the previous head in an underground chamber, reorganized the army, and had them relocate above ground.
And, quickly assuming battle formations, he began an attack on the orcs.
Gabil was not completely incompetent. He did lack the ability to see the bigger picture, but he certainly could lead a squad in battle.
That ability he had inherited from his father, the former chief.
The Lizardmen respected strength.
Thus, they wouldn’t follow someone who only boasted of his strength.
Gabil idolized an individual. For his sake, he had to display his competence.
He left a thousand warriors to guard the main chamber.
It was occupied only by women and other civilians. If they have to, the women can also fight, but they lack the necessary strength.
For that reason, he had been sending 500 extra troops at a time to the main chamber.
That is, Gabil decided to gradually reinforce that defense line with troops fighting in the tunnels.
Having cleared thus relocated the troops, Gabil obtained control over the entire army.
Their numbers: 7,000 goblins and 8,000 lizardmen.
That was his fighting strength.
Without depending on the labyrinth, he proceeded to meet his foe above ground.
And leaving the bare minimum for defense, he deployed everyone to battle.
The first attack was as described.
They successfully divided the enemy and landed a devastating attack on their flanks.
The orcs that the lizardmen scattered were hunted down by the goblins.
Following Gabil’s orders to the letter, the troops performed exceedingly well.
The goblins, too, fought earnestly. Thus, they were able to advance with the rest of the troops.
The success of the attack could thus be attributed to the ideal cooperation of individual units.
Gabil thought. There is no need to fear the orcs!
Father has gone senile. Thus he worried needlessly.
I will calm his fears.
After seeing my heroic feats, he will surely recognize me as the next head. For that end, we must clean up the orcs at once.
Or maybe this whole scenario was planned out to pass the leadership onto me! So he thought.
A cry for joy filled the field.
Look at them! The lowly orcs are no match for the great Lizardmen!
Proud of his work, Gabil observed the battlefield.
Things have gone well… until now.
Having lost many soldiers, the orcs must have been walloping in despair.
But Gabil did not know, the terror of the Orc Lord.
That the Head had known, the terror of the Orc Lord.
That difference now bared its fangs.
The orcs were walking on the dead.
On all fours, crawling over them. No, wait!
They were not walking on them, they were eating them. A gruesome sight.
The brave lizardmen warriors, hardened in many battles, this was an unusual sight.
A sinister aura wrapped around the orcs.
One warrior who was frightened by this sight, tried to retreat a step and fell backwards.
Without missing this chance, the orcs swarmed the warrior.
He was dragged into the mud and ripped limb from limb.
Since the war had begun, he was the first casualty.
And that began it all.
The orcs that were devouring stranded soldiers gradually obtained their abilities.
That ability was not like [Predator], and could not perfectly replicate the skills.
Nonetheless, they absorbed the lizardmen’s power to some degree, and shared it among those in their domain.
That was one of the effects of the unique skill [Starving Ones].
They were as much one swarm as they were an individual. Again, quiet similar to the shared evolution of the fang wolf species.
That is why the previous head was so afraid of letting any lizardmen die.
For the sake of not allowing the orcs to develop any further.
Although they could not obtain all the abilities of those that ate, they could still acquire some of their special features.
For example, the ability of the lizardmen to move freely through mud and swamp.
For example, growing scales around their vital areas to defend.
This kind of trivial changes they could do.
However, that is how they can quickly change the tide of battle.
「Fear not! Show them the power of the high and proud Lizardmen!!!」
The lizardmen regained their morale from Gabil’s cry.
They were rulers of the marshes fighting on their own land; they attacked again.
Their were still faster than the orcs, that much they were sure of.
Even if they are overwhelmed by numbers, should they retreat to their defense lines they could surely crush the enemy again.
When they tried to outflank the orcs again, they were met with a ready formation.
The orcs movements have gotten faster.
Strange. Thought Gabil, but far too late.
Without the advantage in speed, they were now surrounded by many orcs.
Five thousands troops have already cut off Gabil’s escape.
And they pressed their attack.
Having too much faith in their speed, they blindly pursued the orcs in their retreat, and were thus surrounded.
Perhaps if the orcs were not under the influence of their lord, Gabil’s group could have endured this predicament.
One could continue discussing such suppositions without an end. The truth of the matter is: they were completely surrounded.
As ants block of their prey’s escape, so the orcs swarm them.
Even if they fought with all their might, they will surely succumb soon.
How could that be? Gabil could not understand.
He desperately tried to rally his forces, screaming words of encouragement.
However, the Goblins have lost formation out of panic, and the Lizardmen trembled in worry.
This is bad. Thinking thus, he wanted to issue an order to retreat… but even he understood that they had no place to run to.
To gather them all under his banner, he had forced the warriors to vacate the caverns.
Even if had ordered a desperate retreat into the tunnels, the entrance was far too narrow.
The goblins who would be running in first would obstruct their escape.
And, without a way in, they would be slaughtered by the orcs.
If they instead ran into the forest… they would be pursued and slaughtered.
They could not retreat.
Gabil understood that well.
Why had his father fought in such a cowardly way? He had finally understood.
Just how much of an idiot was I? Thought Gabil. But there was no time for regret now.
Right now, Gabil had only one thing he could do. Increase the morale and lessen the worries of his comrades.
「Guwahahaha! What a worried face you all make! I am here! There is no way I can lose to some orcs!」
Yes, to encourage his allies by saying something he himself did not believe.
Their fate had been decided…
The Lizardmen’s Head sighed.
He was full of regrets.
That, for one, he had mentioned the terror that Orc Lord was only in fairy tales.
No, he had mentioned it at other occasions. However, the fact that he failed to convey his terror now caused the Head endless regret.
Had he explained it properly, maybe Gabil would have been more vigilant.
But now it’s too late. With a sigh, he cast such thoughts away.
They still had things they needed to do.
His kind, gathered in the main chamber, looked anxious.
Four paths lead to the chamber, one could be used to escape.
The orcs could not come from the escape route… probably. It was a direct route into the forest. This was the only route that you couldn’t get lost in; one that they had dug themselves.
Therefore, they needed to observe the other four.
The units fighting in the tunnels slowly withdrew and reassembled in the main chamber.
The chamber’s defense line currently consisted of 1,500 soldiers. There were also probably some who have yet to withdraw.
On the other hand, the orcs are numerous.
They will probably soon discover this place.
Hopefully, the remaining soldiers will return before they do…
The head briefly glances down the escape route.
With all their brethren gathering, the large chamber now feels very tight.
If they had to escape at a moment’s notice, it’s hard to imagine them all being able to withdraw safely.
Perhaps they need to begin evacuating small groups at a time.
Whichever he chooses, the situation is bound to become chaotic. However, he must decrease the chance of extinction no matter what it takes.
However, even if they escape into the forest, the orcs will discover them sooner or later.
And even if they are successful with their escape, surviving may prove impossible.
Because of that, the Head could not order the evacuation.
The only thing he can do is buy time.
Whether they come or not, he doesn’t know; but, he still bet all on the reinforcements.
The Head’s suffering seemed as if it would continue on forever.
Lizardmen’s Guard Captain escaped into the forest.
Feeling an aura of strength, he headed in its direction.
Though the lizardmen boasted of high mobility in the marshes, the same could not be said about the forest.
His breath ragged, his pulse unstable, the Captain fatigued quickly.
However, he had to keep running.
His sprint could decide the future of his race.
And like that he continued for three hours.
As if ignoring his bodily limits, he earnestly pressed on. Pressing on by will alone, he could collapse at any moment.
He was well aware of the fact.
Moreover, he did not know if the demon named Souei was in fact up ahead.
Whether he would agree to help, he also did not know.
Should he even bother running?
That thought crept from the dark corners of his mind. However, he refused to entertain the thought.
He failed to stop Gabil’s foolishness. So he believed.
He had known that Gabil desired to be recognized by the Head.
However, he had not mentioned it to the Head. The Lizardmen’s hero, Gabil.
He was also one of those who respected Gabil.
To take responsibility for his mistake, the Captain could not abandon his mission.
If he stopped, he would not be able to run again.
Thus, he pressed on.
There was someone who saw this desperate sprint.
Though the Captain himself had not noticed that being.
That being pursued the Captain soundlessly from branch to branch.
Was he conversing with someone? Without a partner in sight and without a voice, he appeared to be in the middle of a conversation.
After it had ended, he nodded once.
「Your will be done. I will act as you have commanded.」
Muttering thus, he swooped down in front of the Captain!