Chapter 2. Kidnapped (1)
Editors : Obelisk
Luke woke up with a soft groan.
Luke tried to cradle his head in response to the pulsing headache, but his body refused to even budge. After waking himself up further, Luke began to scan his surroundings.
“What’s going on? I don’t remember anything after being hit in the back of the head while fighting the Orcs…”
Luke tried to remember what had happened before he got knocked out.
Twenty to thirty Orcs had ambushed the carriage, and Luke had joined the guards in trying to fight them off.
The Orcs had them outnumbered. The guards fell one by one against the Orcs’ formation, and Luke was eventually left alone.
Luke clenched his teeth when he suddenly remembered something.
“Hal, the goddamn bastard…”
Right at the start of the fight, Hal had started shivering uncontrollably and crawled under the carriage to hide.
“I-I am just a cook! I’ve never fought an Orc.”
Luke didn’t even have the chance to shout at Hal. An Orc warrior, extremely skilled with his battle axe, clashed weapons with Luke and oppressed him with an overwhelming pressure.
Even Luke, who had been trained in the sword since childhood, had a hard time dealing with the Orc warrior.
“I was only able to barely wound his arm after being pressured for a while.”
That was about the extent of Luke’s resistance. Soon after he wounded the Orc’s arm, he had received a hit to the back of the head by gods knows what, and passed out.
“I wonder why they kept me alive…”
Luke squirmed and examined his body. He was securely tied down to a shoddy wooden chair, made with simple techniques of braiding branches.
“This seems to be a log cabin… The Orc’s hideout?”
Luke’s face paled. He remembered that the troops had been gathering for the final assault just the day after to exterminate the last of the Orcs.
“Fuck… The Orcs must have moved in order to secure information.”
Luke sighed in a resigned manner when he realized the reason behind the Orcs’ ambush. He was sure to be crudely tortured by the primitive methods of the Orcs.
Luke shook his head, sure that he would draw his last breath as a mangled corpse.
“Who knew I’d end my life like this…”
An abrupt end to his dream of starting a family with Isabelle…
Luke’s eyes sparked with pride as he bit his lips.
“Let them try to make me talk. I will defend my honor as a Centurion of the Hansel Kingdom until my last breath!”
Luke tried to steel himself, but he couldn’t stop the pangs of pain in his heart when he pictured Isabelle. He wished to see her more than life, to whom he had sent monthly letters to for the past five years.
“I won’t be able to close my eyes even in death if I leave her behind…”
It was then that a low voice vibrated from outside the door of the cabin.
“Kuueeekk. Why can’t you close your eyes, human?”
The door opened with a creak, and a sturdily built Orc walked in.
A head shorter than most humans, but its muscled shoulders put most humans to shame. A deformed race. Luke felt repulsed by the wide open nostril nose and yellow eyes, characteristics unique to the Orc race.
‘Orcs truly have fearsome hearing. I must be careful.’
The Orc scowled as Luke closed his eyes firmly as though there were no further conversation to be had.
“I have something to ask you. Open your eyes, human.”
The Orc’s Common Tongue was surprisingly fluent.
With his eyes closed, it was almost impossible to differentiate his voice from a human’s. The situation, however, was not relaxed enough for him to pay attention to the fluency of the Orc.
“I will not answer no matter what you ask me. Don’t waste your time and just kill me.”
The Orc silently stared at Luke, and then nodded his head.
“I will not ask you anything. Open your eyes. Kueeekk.”
Luke opened his eyes carefully at the unexpected words.
The Orc seemed to have spoken the truth, as his hands did not carry any weapons or instruments of torture. Luke couldn’t help but be puzzled.
“Why did you capture me if you were not going to torture me?”
“I will explain. Kueeekkk.”
Luke scowled. The characteristic snuffling of the Orcs was very unpleasant to the ears.
‘Sounds like a pig squealing when it’s being slaughtered.’
Luke held his tongue; a prisoner was not in a position to show discontent.
“Kueeek. I am Kurotan, Great Warrior of the honorable Latilla Tribe.”
Although this was his first exchange of greetings with an Orc ever since he had grown hair, Luke remained calm.
“I am Luke, a soldier of Fort Potellan. Before I was captured by you I-“
Luke was wearing casual clothing that hid his status as an officer. Kurotan was not fooled.
“As I’ve been told, humans lie too well. I know exactly who you are. Kueeek.”
“What are you saying? Why would I lie?”
Luke was about to continue his retort when he stopped cold at Kurotan’s next words.
“Centurion Luke Estaban, from the Estaban Earldom of the central Kingdom. You are retiring after serving five years at Fort Potellan. Kueeek. Did I miss anything?”
Luke’s face contorted with ferocity.
“Damn… It looks like Hal couldn’t keep a quiet mouth.”
“Kueeek, correct. He was cooperative when we dragged him out from under the carriage. We didn’t even have to hit him once.”
“Stupid fool, did he think that Orcs would keep him alive if he cooperated?”
Luke stared coldly at Kurotan.
“He is probably a cold corpse by now. Orcs don’t keep useless prisoners.”
Orcs were not even entertained by the concept of prisoners. The most being a blacksmith to maintain their rusty weapons, but they killed almost everybody else. Kurotan scowled and answered.
“The human remains alive.”
“It can’t possibly be because you value him as a cook?”
“I will tell you of his uses later. Kueeek. But first, I will tell you something.”
Luke calmed his rapidly beating heart.
What Kurotan said next, however, Luke could not have guessed at all.
“The Latilla Tribe faces extermination.”
Luke had not even known that the Orcs hiding out in the Eastern mountain ranges were called the Latilla Tribe. Why would an Orc reveal the perils of his Tribe to a human centurion? Luke couldn’t hide his surprise when he asked,
“Wh-Why are you telling me that?”
“Kueeek. Be quiet and listen. The reason my tribe faces extermination is because we worship Maal, the god of war and battle.
Maal was the god of war and battle. Although not common, there were some worshipers even amongst the humans. However, Luke was puzzled due to this information being different from common knowledge.
“It is common knowledge that Orcs worship Katia, the goddess of revenge.”
“Most Orcs worship Katia. Only our Latilla amongst the Orcs know of the greatness of Maal. We are chosen amongst Orcs…”
Luke cut Kurotan off with a snort.
“I don’t care what kind of god you worship. Be it Katia or Maal, it makes no difference to me.”
He couldn’t completely smother his curiosity though, and asked.
“Why do you say that your tribe is in danger of extermination?”
Kurotan’s explanation was simple.
When the Latilla Tribe had been forcibly pushed back to the Eastern mountain ranges by the forces of the Hansell Kingdom, the tribe had evacuated their females and young.
“Orcs are smarter than I thought. Evacuation of the females and young, huh?”
Luke said, smirking. Kurotan’s eyes lit up violently.
“Kueeek, Human, I warn you not to push me. I am using an enormous amount of patience to converse with you.”
Luke quieted down, aware that Kurotan’s behavior had been unbelievably civil for an Orc.
“Our tribe sent our females and young to the territories of the Pushan Tribe, along with a large amount of supplies that they had demanded.”
Afterwards, only the elite warriors of the Latilla Tribe escaped to the Eastern mountain ranges.
“I see. That was why you Orcs have been so persistent and dangerous.”
“The reason we have been pillaging your Earldoms was to secure enough supplies to send to the Pushan Tribe.”
Luke remained still at the truth, which, most likely, not even the King of Hansel Kingdom knew. Orcs did not reveal anything when tortured.
‘Orcs don’t respond to torture. Even the most brutal of tortures don’t illicit a twitch of an eyebrow from their entire race.’
The only way to open an Orc’s mouth was through the utilization of the magic of a High Circle. It was easier said than done.
A mage was expensive to hire as it is, but even more difficult to capture a high ranking Orc that could speak the tongue of Humans.
‘Orcs even have high immunity to poisons. They have always been hard to capture alive.’
Luke stared at Kurotan. It was hard to guess what Kurotan’s intentions were by kidnapping Luke and revealing tribal secrets.
“Why is your tribe in danger of extermination if you had evacuated the females and young?”
Kurotan’s eyes lit aflame with rage.
“The despicable Pushan Tribe betrayed us.”
Betrayal is your specialty! Luke barely held back from shouting out loud.
“All right. Kurotan, how did the Pushan Tribe betray you?”
“They raised an army of warriors to ambush the Orcs we evacuated. They massacred the future of our tribe, our females and young.”
Luke tilted his head in puzzlement.
From the perspective of Hansel Kingdom, Orcs battling Orcs was a welcome prospect. He just didn’t understand why the Pushan Tribe did so.
“It’s my understanding that even amongst tribal warfare, the females and young are left alone.”
“It has been that way, yes. That is why the Pushan Tribe’s betrayal is so despicable.”
Perhaps it was because they worshiped Maal, the god of battle, that the warriors of the Latilla Tribe were especially valiant, even amongst the warrior like race of Orcs.
The Orc warriors of Latilla had been able to pillage enormous amounts of crops and foods from Hansel Kingdom territories to send to their females and young.
This was viewed with hatred by the Pushan Tribe, who had always suffered from a lack of food supplies due to their extremely high birth rates.
The food supplies that the Latilla Tribe had supplied the Pushan Tribe with had not been enough to satiate their hunger.
Luke clicked his tongue in disbelief.
“Jealousy is not unique to humans.”
“Kueeek, honorable warriors do not break their promises. It was wrong of us in the first place to place our trust in the Pushan who worship an evil god like Katia.”
Regardless if it was Latilla or Pushan, Luke did not see any difference but he held his tongue.
‘It’s a critical chance to find out about the secrets of the Orcs. Perhaps I could escape with their secrets, so I should listen while he is telling me willingly.’