Episode 28/Chapter 1: Great Attack (1)
Odin, the King of Gods, was sitting with his knees bent before him.
He sat there even though he knew it wasn’t the time to be roaming Midgard as an old man.
Odin was always exhausted, and there were many burdens which weighed heavily upon his shoulders. As the King of Gods and leader of their hierarchy, he couldn’t pass his troubles unto anyone else.
It was only before Mimir’s Lake that he could unwind somewhat.
Odin didn’t hide his grief here, but it wasn’t only because he’d forbidden almost everyone else access to Mimir’s Lake.
He had once hung himself to obtain wisdom in this place. As he had already revealed to the lake the miserable sight of his corpse being executed for nine days, he now simply had nothing else to hide.
Mimir’s head gazed at the King of Gods.
Odin also faced Mimir’s eyes while slowly moving his fingers. It was to grasp the threads of fate the three sisters had made.
A hundred years wasn’t a short time, even for the Gods of Asgard. Even though their lifespans extended for millenia, a hundred year period wasn’t easily ignored. Although such a period was a mere blink in the life of a God, their attitudes were founded upon their dealings with mortals.
A hundred years wasn’t short at all.
That’s why the hearts of these Gods had grown so profoundly.
A hundred years since the Great War.
A hundred years had already passed. It was long enough for the ones that had been absent from the front lines to have completely forgotten.
But it was different for Odin. Even on the day when Thor’s memory fades, the King of Gods must continue to reminisce.
A massive battle would soon erupt in Midgard.
When compared to the Great War, it was quite a small engagement; however, this was quite an ignorant perspective. If one changed their point of view, their opinion would also undergo a transformation.
There hadn’t been any large battles since the Great Barrier’s establishment in Midgard, and this upcoming battle would likely become the biggest in Midgard’s recent history.
“For Asgard and the Nine Realms.”
Odin mumbled in a low voice and set his eyes upon a distant place. He looked down over Midgard through the crows Hugin and Munin, the ones who had replaced his only eye.
A crow flew.
Through the black of night, it wasn’t easy to differentiate the crow from the sky.
Tae Ho’s group hid in a small forest that had grown near Kalliv Ahim. It was almost time for them to regroup with Rasgrid and Kaldea.
Valkyrie Kaldea was traveling alone. The warriors of her party were busy fighting monsters who had appeared in another forest, one quite far away from Kalliv Ahim.
Although it wasn’t related to Garmr’s soul fragment, their actions were still useful. The fomoires observing the warriors hadn’t yet realized their substitution for Kaldea.
The situation was similar with Rasgrid. The three veteran warriors of Odin’s legion had charged her team in a different direction.
The only Valkyrie to accompany them was Ingrid, who had brought along a certain bait that was their flying ship.
“The fomoires will realize our deception in a day or perhaps tomorrow’s afternoon at best.”
It was the same for Kaldea’s and Rasgrid’s sides. If they felt capable of fooling the fomoires for an extended period, they would have created substitutes and accompanied Tae Ho’s group instead.
This was why they’d initially divided into three teams; the fomoires were unaware that their base had been made a target.
The meeting spot of the Valkyries and warriors was within a small hut. The space each hulking warrior and Valkyrie took up made the hut seem ready to explode, but it was unavoidable.
“As we’ve now gathered, it’s time everyone knows that the fomoires are indeed based within Kalliv Ahim- more specifically, they’ve fortified the keep of Kalliv Castle.”
The spot below a lamp was always the darkest.
After the Great War, before the Great Barrier was created, the fomoires who’d traveled to hide in Midgard followed the rule of disguising their presences within the forests.
Kalliv Ahim was unquestionably a human country. Most of the citizens were humans, but the fomoires had disguised themselves well.
“The majority of the fomoires are gathered in Kalliv Castle, most notably, their king and his circle of nobles. The ones that take human form are either hidden underground or in the remote places of Kalliv Ahim.”
Kalliv Ahim was a country that consisted of a single, large city, seven towns, and several villages. Knowing this, they’d decided to infiltrate the castle. It could be said to be the core of Kalliv Ahim.
“You saw on the way in, right? Only a small number can travel through the Bifrost. That’s why I came here in person after tricking them.”
The Great Barrier was a shield which protected Midgard, but as it was made too hurriedly, there were many flaws, some of which were fatal. Such flaws were unavoidable, as it had been right after the Great War and Midgard was in dire straits.
“Rasgrid, Ingrid, and myself will make a ceremony. There’s nothing grandiose about it. You can just think of us as being targets easily spotted from Asgard.”
They would inform them of their coordinates, and Heimdal and Odin would promptly send reinforcements to their location.
Actually, the role of the three Valkyries didn’t end there. Accessing the core of the great magic which connected Asgard and Midgard was but one of their tasks, but further explanation was pointless.
“The ceremony won’t take long, but you’ll need a directive in the meantime, right? Your first task is to protect the three of us.”
Kaldea looked over the warriors as she spoke, and Rasgrid explained further.
“Fighting alongside the reinforcements is your second task. This order will take priority.”
In the first place, the reason they’d left behind so many warriors was to allow the others the opportunity for different orders while the ceremony took place.
Just like Kaldea had said, it was a simple task.
“The overview of tomorrow’s battle is up to here. Are there any questions?”
Siri raised her hand as Ingrid asked.
“Are the fomoires the only ones in the castle?”
It was the base of the fomoires, but Kalliv Ahim was still populated by humans. In addition, the influence the fomoires held was great from being treated as royalty and nobles.
Ingrid put on a pained expression as if a wound had been poked. Rasgrid answered in Ingrid’s stead.
“I will speak honestly. There may be innocent humans mixed among them, but there’s no way to differentiate them. It is cruel and merciless, but…..you must remember that we are warriors of Valhalla. The operation may be compromised if we try to pick out the fomoires from the humans. We would lose too many warriors, so Valhalla has judged their sacrifices as necessary.”
Siri’s face contorted, but she couldn’t refute Rasgrid’s words. One might know about two or three, but it was impossible to both tell each one of them apart and fight unimpededly at the same time.
The fomoires had lived among humans for a hundred years. There were certainly some which could mimic humans in their entirety. She couldn’t help but picture a warrior of Valhalla dying at the hands of a fomoire disguised as a human.
“Our actions are in order to protect Midgard and countless lives. We must be capable of making sacrifices.”
Rasgrid spoke with a cold face as if to mask a bitter taste. She was playing the role of an anti-hero to lessen the burdens on the warriors of Valhalla, but she couldn’t help feeling pained by this strategy.
Bracky nodded with a heavy expression. Harabal frowned, but as he couldn’t do anything about it, he soon agreed as well. It seemed everyone had accepted the grim reality.
But it was then-
“So all we have to do is tell them apart from the humans, right?”
Ingrid asked with round eyes and called out his name in surprise. As the eyes of everyone gathered on him, Tae Ho smiled bitterly and continued.
“I have an idea, although I’ll need a bit of help.”
Tae Ho finished speaking and then turned to look at Siri. Naturally, everyone else also turned to her.
“Uh…you are speaking about me?”
Tae Ho nodded at Siri’s awkward question. He took in a deep breath and said.
“There’s a possibility it will be quite difficult….and really painful. Are you okay with that?”
Given the context, if she refused, she wasn’t worthy of being a warrior of Valhalla. Siri gulped dryly and then pounded her chest twice.
“If it’s within my abilities, I’ll help to my limit.”
Tae Ho nodded at the expected answer. He then turned to Bracky whose eyes demanded an explanation, and Tae Ho began speaking.
The day was bright.
The sun was almost at its peak, the city was bustling with energy.
Tae Ho took in a deep breath from high in the sky. Rolo was grimacing in pain from maintaining a higher altitude that what he was accustomed to.
Of course, that wasn’t his only problem. Rolo, who usually only had to carry Tae Ho, had a total of three people on his back.
“Endure it a bit more. Adenmaha told me that she would prepare a feast.”
Despite Tae Ho’s attempt to sooth him, Rolo snorted as if he were joking. Still, he couldn’t help but look forward to such an offer and poured more strength into his wings.
Siri was seated in front of Tae Ho with a nervous face. Behind him, Merlin stood precariously as he looked through the sky once and then down below him. Like a beacon, Kalliv Castle was visible even from their extreme altitude.
“It seems like they’ve noticed.”
Tae Ho nodded and threw a question while grabbing Siri’s waist tightly.
“Are you ready?”
Siri gave a short response. Tae Ho nodded once again and gave a signal to Merlin.
Merlin smiled and swung his staff while reciting some magic. Blinding light spewed from his staff and a big, flashy firework detonated above the skies of Kalliv.
The sudden display grabbed the attention of everyone below in an instant.
The people in the city surrounding the castle sharply angled their heads upwards to look, and the ones within Kalliv Castle emerged outside to do the same.
There could have been fomoires mixed in with them.
Even though she’d lost two guards of the ceremony, the reason Rasgrid had allowed this strategy wasn’t only from the possibility of reducing unnecessary sacrifices. It was because Tae Ho would also be able to attract the attention of the fomoires while the ceremony was proceeding.
Merlin counted the numbers.
The ceremony was proceeding smoothly on the ground, and Tae Ho applied strength in his arms grasping Siri tightly and activated his saga.
[Saga: The Eyes of the Dragon Sees Through all Things]
In his eyes, the ground was suddenly covered with words.
Thousands, or perhaps tens of thousands.
He just focused on Kalliv Castle. Compared to the city, which had overwhelmingly more white letters, many words over the castle were red.
His eyes hurt, but Tae Ho concentrated even more. The magic Merlin had used allowed Tae Ho and Siri to share senses, and Siri looked down at the castle through Tae Ho’s eyes. Siri then activated her own sagas.
[Saga: The Eyes of the Witch Chases after Several Targets at Once]
[Saga: The Arrow of the Witch Never Misses its Target]
Siri’s right arm was primed like Nuada’s silver arm. As she fingered the release of the giant bolt, five bolts of light were loaded at once.
The auras of the fomoires in the castle started to expand. Merlin’s chanting became more feverish and Tae Ho’s eyes quickly became bloodshot. Siri finally pulled the trigger, but she didn’t stop with a single volley. She began firing continuously.
A rain of golden bolts pierced through the sky.
The bolts that poured down split and divided again and again. By the time they’d reached the ground, they had separated into many small pieces.
It was more than enough.
A red blot that seemed to have been applied with paint appeared on the foreheads of every person in Kalliv Castle.
Fortunately, Tae Ho was able to differentiate the humans from the fomoires with his saga.
He fired a dividing arrow of light with the silver arm of Nuada and a bow of the Tuatha De Danann.
Merlin then changed the property of the arrow with his magic.
Siri hit the hundreds of targets below with deadly precision.
After exhausting her crossbow’s supply, Siri was almost completely drained of energy. Tae Ho held her tightly and kept glaring at the ground. The fomoires that had by now realized the situation were quickest to move. They couldn’t understand the hundreds of bolts of light that had poured from the sky, but they clearly felt the deadly threat they posed.
The fomoires capable of flying flew up, and the strong fomoires released their strength. Fomoires also started to pour out from beneath the ground.
The real humans started to scream at the insane scene before them. Rolo looked at the hundreds of fomoires surging up towards them with an uneasy face, and Tae Ho held his breath once again.
The reason Merlin had counted their numbers wasn’t for that.
It was to find the perfect opportunity.
Siri opened her eyes with difficulty and looked at the ground. Her eyes peered at a location other than the charging fomoires and the chaotic scene of Kalliv Castle beneath them.
It was the small forest. It was quite far away, but she could make it out due to having shared her senses with Tae Ho.
The clear green words above the forest spoke to her.
‘Look up to the sky.
‘The time has come.’
A torrent of light then surged up from the forest towards the heavens. The poor fomoires were perplexed once more by the huge pillar of light that had surged up without warning. The ones speeding towards Tae Ho and Siri were also confused, and they also turned to look towards the forest.
Siri leaned back on Tae Ho’s chest to gaze at the spectacle. A bright smile was revealed on her face.
Shapes began pouring down the light.
The several green words filled the region.
Despite her exhaustion, Siri raised her hand to welcome them.
And Tae Ho unconsciously opened his mouth to utter.
“For Asgard and the Nine Realms.”
It was the true reason why the warriors of Valhalla fought.
As if answering his words, bellows and shouts echoed across the sky.
The war cries of numerous warriors were heard.
“My lower body feels weirrrrrd!”
“It’s the same whenever I ride it!”
“Uhahaha! Valhalla! I am coming!”
It was like a rain of glittering steel.
The dozens of steel structures began their charge toward Kalliv Castle.
Their great attack had begun.
< Episode 28 – Great Attack (1) > End
TL note: Thanks for reading~