Episode 5/Chapter 1: Night Banquet (1)
The battle had ended.
However, the warriors of Valhalla were clearing up the battlefield instead of celebrating their victory and resting comfortably. They searched the fortress in case there were any enemies left, gathered the corpses and treated the wounded.
The battle itself had ended late in the afternoon, but when they were finally finished with everything, it was already dusk.
The Valkyries and Rasgrid gathered the warriors that had finished cleaning up in front of the fortress. There were quite a few altars made of piled lumber behind the Valkyries and the corpses of the warriors that had fallen today were on top of it.
Rasgrid faced the warriors but instead of stepping forward, she went to the side. It was because there was someone more suitable to be at that position.
The one that stepped up was the golden-haired Reginleif.
She stepped onto the platform and after facing the warriors, she raised her sword and yelled, “Exalted warriors! We attained victory once again because of your courage and efforts! You have contributed to defending Asgard and the nine planets!”
The warriors cheered. Besides Odin and Thor, the names of other Gods were also called but it was impossible to beat the yells towards the two Gods that had the most members from their legions.
Reginleif waited until they stopped cheering and said, “The losses we suffered today weren’t low either. But warriors, do not fear or worry. The souls of the warriors will remain by our sides!”
The flag men that were in front of the warriors hit the ground with the flags that had the symbols of a God engraved on them. The loud noise made everyone stiffen.
“Warriors, we will remember your stories. We will remember your names.”
The Valkyries blew the horn trumpets. Those sounds reached high to the sky.
Reginleif smiled. She slowly raised her head and looked at the sky.
“The exalted Odin will lead the souls of the warriors and they will be reborn anew as steel warriors. They will stand up shoulder to shoulder on a new battlefield!”
The warriors yelled together.
The king of the exalted Gods.
The one that resisted the fate of mortality!
“Light them on fire! Let Freya, who rides the night sky on her cat chariot see the bright path!”
The Valkyries lit the altar on fire. The big flames shone in several colors.
“Warriors! Let’s toast for them! Let’s toast for ourselves!”
“For Asgard and the nine planets!”
The warriors raised their pints of beer that were made of horns high. And in that moment, within the fire of the altar that had turned the corpses to ash in an instant, light surged up.
They were the souls of the warriors. They were heading to Valhalla.
“Warriors! Enjoy this night! The ones who achieved victory have that right!”
The ritual ended. The warriors started to grill their meat and take out the alcohol. Perhaps the Valkyries had spread magic in the altar, so that a nice scent spread and made the warriors have fun.
“What a sight.”
Tae Ho, who was seated in a corner, said, while looking at the lights that were surging to the sky. And Rolph, who was right next to him grilling pork meat, smiled.
“Is your body fine?”
“I feel like I will die.”
He really felt that way. He looked completely fine aside from his head, but that was just the external appearance.. He was just sitting still, but all of his bones and muscles seemed to be screaming.
“Huhu, I’m glad you survived anyways. I really panicked when you were thrown into the wall.”
If he was an ordinary warrior, his body would have exploded and died.
‘Thank you, Idun.’ Tae Ho prayed to Idun and then relaxed his body a bit. It was also like this yesterday, and today too was a chaos.
‘The start was the Rain of Steel’
He was in doubt of what they meant with Rain of Steel, but for that to be what he had in mind.
Tae Ho told himself that it would all become a memory and thought of when he rode on the Rain of Steel.
‘It seems like it’s still too early for that.’
Tae Ho gave up completely and then tried to drink some alcohol. But it was then that he was interrupted.
“Ah, I’m telling it’s the truth!”
“It’s this friend here!”
Two warriors from Ullr’s legion whom he knew the faces of had brought two more warriors.
The warriors that saw Tae Ho for the first time opened their eyes widely.
“Ohh, so this is the friend that had a Valkyrie visit him!”
It was only that he didn’t know their faces, but it seemed like they belonged to Siri’s troop. As Tae Ho didn’t even have the strength to answer back, the two warriors that brought the other two started to speak, even spitting.
“That’s right! You know, this friend here entered Red Eye’s reach! And then – !”
“Stabbed his dagger in its groin!”
“So he did that, and then…”
His hands trembled as if any more than that was hard to describe. At his manner,, the other warriors started to eye Tae Ho in a different light.
“You were a really brutal guy, my friend.”
“He’s not even human. It’s the first time I’ve seen someone as brutal as him.”
“Did the Valkyrie fall for him at his heartlessness?”
“If that’s the case, the Valkyrie are also something else.”
“Idun’s legion…I didn’t know that place was like that. Isn’t Idun the Goddess of Youth?”
As their conversation started to make a weird turn, Rolph stepped in.
“What are you saying in front of him?!”
“What do you mean? We don’t do something as cowardly as speaking behind his back! Right?”
“Whatever! Just go away!”
The warriors looked at each other and laughed.
‘Just do it at my back, please.’ Tae Ho laughed inwardly and then relaxed his body a bit more. And then a glad voice was heard behind him.
“Understand them. They are like that because they are jealous of you.”
He smiled at Tae Ho’s call and then made a place for him from between the warriors.
As soon as he sat, he toasted with Tae Ho and after drinking beer he said, “Young man, it seems like you performed excellently this time too. They say that a Valkyrie came to meet you.”
“Um, you were talking about that?”
Just how far had the rumors spread? Bjorn was from a completely different legion.
He didn’t particularly ask, but Bjorn answered him.
“You are the hottest topic of conversation. All the warriors in this fortress should know about it.”
Heda had come yesterday, and only Siri’s troop knew of it. The battle had started today, so when did the rumors spread?
“It’s not me.”
“I don’t know what he’s talking about.”
The warriors of Ullr’s legion played dumb. Seeing that they were evading Tae Ho’s eyes, it was kind of obvious who it was.
“They seem to be dying of jealousy, so think of it as something cute. Even if they look like that, they all respect you. That’s because you performed greatly today and yesterday. Don’t forget that we also love and respect exalted warriors, just like Valhalla.”
Tae Ho nodded as Bjorn said it as if consoling him. It was certainly something to be jealous about. Just like Bjorn had said, their actions really were cute, because this was much better than staring murderously from behind.
“You really are someone amazing.”
“You are all generous.”
“It’s not that we said empty words.”
The warriors laughed and offered to toast with Tae Ho. He wanted to hit them once because they were too sly, but it also meant that they were that friendly.
It was just when he was about to cheer.
“Captain Siri,”Rolph stood up and said.
Siri, who had come while holding a big bottle of alcohol, approached the group and then put on a bright smile that wouldn’t be seen on the battlefield.
“You have done well. The merits your stealth troop achieved are big.”
Actually, the warriors that were in this place were the ones that had entered the control room. The warriors put on awkward and shy smiles and then Siri raised the bottle.
“I don’t have anything in particular to give you, so will you receive some alcohol from me?”
“That would be an honor.”
“I have always wanted to.”
The warriors spoke quickly after emptying their cups and then they extended their cups towards Siri. She smiled and after filling up all of the cups, she raised hers.
“For you and Valhalla.”
“For Captain Siri!”
Siri drank the cup and then went somewhere else while holding the bottle. It seemed like she was going to offer alcohol to all the troop.
As Tae Ho was looking at Siri’s back, Bjorn smiled and said, “What’s wrong?”
“She’s too different from when she’s on the battlefield.”
Siri in the battlefield was like a sharp knife. But now, she was showing a more friendly side.
“That’s obvious. There’s no need to put on a heavy air here.”
Because yesterday, they were about to go to a big battlefield, and right now they had already won the battle. In addition, they had contributed towards defending Asgard and the nine planets, just like the Valkyrie Reginleif had said.
The words he had shared with Rolph were also similar. Tae Ho nodded and asked Bjorn another thing..
“Now that I see, Bjorn, are female warriors rare in Valhalla? There’s only Captain Siri here.”
“Um, actually they are. But this is an extreme case. When looking at all of Valhalla, the ratio of the female warriors is 1 to 30.”
“There are that many?”
It was good to say that the majority of them were men, but right now Siri was the only female warrior. 1 in 2000 and 1 in 30 had a huge difference.
Bjorn laughed. “That’s right. When you are a lowest ranked warrior, men stay with men and women stay with women. But starting from the inferior rank, they all stand in the same place.”
It made sense then. The majority of the persons in this place were the lowest ranked warriors. It was obvious that there were only men.
“But Siri, that friend looks like a hunter.”
“That’s right. Captain Siri isn’t a Shield Maiden,” Rolph said.
Tae Ho tilted his head and asked Bjorn. “Shieldmaiden?”
“Saying it simply, that means warrior. They go to the battlefield while holding big shields like the men. How should I put it? That shield means that you are able to put up a shield wall. It means that she’s a reliable warrior that can stand shoulder to shoulder with you.”
“Ah, so that’s why everyone had shields.”
There was also a shield in the weaponry Heda gave him.
Tae Ho nodded and then thought of the battlefield he had faced recently. It was because thinking about it, Siri’s troop really had few people holding shields.
“Ullr’s legion has many hunters in it. That’s why they use other supportive weapons rather than shields.”
Rolph touched his crossbow even now. Now that he saw, there was almost no one with crossbows in Ragnal’s troop. It seemed like the weapons everyone received was set in a special manner.
“Anyways, we have taken back the fortress. Are we returning?”
As Tae Ho asked, Bjorn shook his head. “It will take a few more days. It doesn’t end just because we recaptured it. There are also some places nearby that we need to check.”
“Places we need to check?”
“Mm, the reasons that there’s a big fortress like this in the middle of desolate plains are two. The first, it serves as a base that’s located on the frontlines, and the second is to protect the mines of the dwarves that are nearby.”
“When you say dwarf, is it that dwarf?”
Bjorn smirked at Tae Ho’s question.
“I don’t know what that dwarf is, but there are really small guys with excellent handicraft skills. The armors and weapons they make are all excellent. There are also many things the Gods use that were made by them.”
Tae Ho admired unconsciously. For there to be real dwarves! He wanted to meet them.
“Before that, why do you want to return that badly? Do you want to see that Valkyrie that much?”
As Bjorn started to say something logical, the warriors that had been silent butted in.
“He’s right. So there was a reason like that for why a valiant warrior like you wanted to return that badly!”
“How good for you, how good.”
“You are saying that meeting you wasn’t enough!”
It seemed like they were also people that liked to drive others to a corner. Tae Ho knew that it was pointless to refute at this point, so he just smiled bitterly and drank beer.
But just when he drank two sips, he gates that were closed opened up. They were talking and enjoying themselves, but as the big gates opened up, they could only focus immediately.
The one that had appeared from the gates was a Valkyrie. She faced the warriors looking at her and after rolling her eyes for a bit, she placed her eyes on one area.
“Warrior Lee Tae Ho!”
“Yes!” Tae Ho answered reflexively and then flinched. It was because the Valkyrie that was standing in front of the gates was certainly the one he had seen yesterday in the camps.
The warriors that were near Tae Ho began to be perplexed.
“Wait! Wait wait!”
“Don’t tell me!”
The warriors looked at the Valkyrie, and the Valkyrie cleared her throat as if she was also perplexed and said,“Someone came to meet you.”
While the warriors were crying, a red-haired Valkyrie extended her head just like she did yesterday.
Her voice was lower than yesterday, perhaps because she felt burdened at the two thousand pairs of eyes.
< Episode 5 – Night Banquet (1) > End
TL note: Thanks for reading~