“Galfredik. You stay here with the beowulfs,” Eugene ordered.
“Got it,” Galfredik immediately agreed.
However, the beowulfs appeared surprised by Eugene’s decision, “Dark Lord, why is that so? I thought you were done with your work here.”
“You want us to stay with these piglets? I can’t possibly do that.”
The beowulfs weren’t quite angry, but they were clearly offended.
Eugene shrugged in response, “If you were to stay here, you would be able to fight it out against the orcs as much as you want. In addition, orcs mainly consume meat, so you could have meat for three meals a day. Well, if you don’t like it…”
“What? Really?” The beowulfs showed an instant change in attitude.
Eugene nodded with satisfaction. “Of course. You heard earlier, right? There are still six tribes remaining. Most of the strong warriors would have already departed on ships, but I’m certain there are still soldiers guarding the tribes, just like here.”
Although the beowulfs suppressed their temper and acted rather timid in front of Eugene, they were initially a race as belligerent as the orcs. Moreover, there had never been many opportunities for them to fight against the orcs in the North. In the first place, the beowulf warriors followed Eugene because he had tempted them with a chance to fight as much as they wanted, and they were more tempted with the former than his promise to reconcile them with the Crawlmarine family.
“Stay here with Galfredik and help that orc out as well. If it seems like he is up to something else, feel free to blow his head away,” Eugene declared.
“T-that won’t ever happen,” Maxenne hurriedly shook his hands and head while looking at Eugene with anxious eyes. The half-orc had been secretly hoping that a portion of Eugene’s group would remain behind, even if it couldn’t be Eugene himself. Although he had temporarily become the tribal chief, he was still a half-orc without any foundation. He was naturally anxious and worried.
“I will feed you meat every day. If all of you wouldn’t mind, I would like to have you as my escorts…” Maxenne started.
“What? Is that true? You will give us meat every day?”
“You’re lying. You don’t even have any money.”
The beowulf warriors reacted to the promise of meat.
Maxenne continued, “It’s true. We may not have any money, but that does not mean we have no meat. It’s been quite some time since we concluded our nomadic way of life.”
“Aha. Well…” the beowulfs grinned in response. They seemed convinced by Maxenne’s words. Although it was difficult to win over the beowulfs’ hearts, it was easy to move them to one’s desire once a relationship was established.
“A couple of months will do. I just need to clean up and head over. Right, Master?” Galfredik asked.
“The sooner the better, but don’t overdo it. If you find that there aren’t any more orcs that can stand up to the half-orc, you can cross over,” Eugene responded.
“Ehehehehe. Making a tribe chief out of a half-orc with nothing? That sounds fun in its own right. It’s going to be a big achievement,” Galfredik stated.
“Kiek! What if they build a statue of Gal instead? I’m against it. We need to make a statue of Sir Eugene first. I would be right there, sitting on his shoulder! Anyone who sees the statue should bow in and throw a gold coin, and if they’re so petty as to throw in smaller coins, they won’t get their wish granted. Kihehehehehehe!” Mirian exclaimed before exploding into a boisterous laugh.
“You’re not dead yet, so why are you already thinking about things that will come after your death? And what’s the point of gold after death? You won’t even be able to use it,” Galfredik responded.
“Kikeke~ Gal, you really don’t know anything, do you? You don’t collect gold, silver, and other treasures to use. It’s exhilarating to just look at it. Why do you think dragons collect gold, silver, and treasures even though they can’t use them? Kehehehehehe!” the spirit exclaimed once more.
Everyone simply turned their attention away from the crazed spirit, who was now even comparing herself to a dragon.
“Work hard,” Eugene said.
“Hehe. All right,” Galfredik responded.
Eugene started to walk away, and Romari started hopping behind him.
He turned his head. “What is it?”
“What?” Romari blankly responded.
“You stay here as well,” Eugene stated.
“What? Me? Why?” Romari asked.
“The other tribes might have sorcerers, right? You have to help,” Eugene answered. This was the very reason why he even brought her here.
“Ah…” Romari’s face turned ashen.
Galfredik spoke with a wide grin, “Let’s work hard, Miss Romari. Remember the smoldering, hot times we spent together?”
“Stop saying such misleading things…” Romari glared at him.
“What do you mean? I’m just talking about comradeship. Comradeship,” Galfredik answered.
“Ha… I should have never spoken,” Romari muttered with a long sigh. Her shoulders drooped and her face filled with despair.
“I will give you a long vacation after this. Whether it’s Mungard or Brighton, I will provide you with proper accommodation and as much as ingredients as you want. Feel free to focus on whatever you want by then, whether it’s research or creating a chimera,” Eugene said.
“What? Really?” Romari asked.
Eugene answered, “Of course. My aide will become the king of Brantia once the work here is done, after all.”
“Ah!” Romari’s expression suddenly brightened up. It was true that no other forces could threaten Eugene once the Bayman Orcs of the North had been taken care of. Moreover, Luke, the future king of Brantia, had always been respectful toward Romari.
“I will do my best. No matter what, I will make that half-orc into the leader of the Bayman Orcs,” Romari said with determination.
“Yes. I trust you,” Eugene responded with a satisfied smile.
Then, he turned to Maxenne with a change in expression. “You heard them, right? My knight and wizard will help you. If you still manage to fail, I will be very disappointed.”
Maxenne responded, “I will succeed no matter what. Please leave it to me.”
A flame ignited in the half-orc’s heart as he bowed.
Early morning the next day, Eugene quietly left the village of the Tolo family with only the hunter and headed down the road to Balmund. He once again arrived on the White Fang Mountain. The site felt calm and sacred as if the recent massacre had never even happened.
However, the cold wind of the mountain, which dried one’s breath, contained hints of malice belonging to various monsters. Eugene successfully traced the hints of the monsters’ energy with his Fear and discovered their route of escape.
“They seem to have diverged into many directions right here,” Eugene said while looking around after arriving at a wide basin formed along a steep cliff. He sensed that the smaller monsters had fled down the valleys and the cliffs and that the larger ones had fled to the various peaks, which were likely their original residences.
The hunter was amazed. It felt as if Eugene knew more about monsters than he did. He groveled while answering, “That’s right. Usually, monsters like goblins and kobolds like dark places without sunlight. Larger monsters mainly live in higher places where they have a wide range of view to spot any potential prey.”
“And what about the snow ogre?” Eugene asked.
The hunter’s expression stiffened at the mention of the yeti. “That monster has no such characteristics. It thinks that the whole mountain belongs to it. That’s probably why it attacked the warriors of the Tolo family in the first place.”
“By that, are you referring to the entire mountain range?” Eugene asked.
“No, that’s not true. Three to four mountains are the limit, no matter how big and strong they are. Any more than that, and it becomes hard for them to travel back and forth within a day. That’s why they acknowledge each other’s territories and avoid conflict,” the hunter explained.
Eugene asked, “Does that mean there are other monsters like the snow ogre?”
“I can’t say for sure since I have never been to the other mountains, but they should exist,” the hunter responded.
“I see. So why did you stay here? Wouldn’t it have been better for you to settle somewhere else since a dangerous monster like the yeti is roaming around this place?” Eugene asked.
“It’s safer for there to be a king. It prevents other threatening monsters from barging in. It’s fine as long as you know how to avoid the native monsters here and their territories,” the hunter answered.
He could understand it. Indeed, a monarch in a country or a territory would stabilize the land and reduce the number of dangers and risks in the area. In other words, the hunted had lived in relative safety thanks to the region’s monster king, the yeti.
“Um, are you trying to catch the yeti?” the hunter asked cautiously.
“Hmm...” Eugene remained silent with his gaze fixated on the direction where he believed the yeti to have fled. The white mountain that lay at the end of his sight was magnificent. Its peak climbed toward the sky as if it were a spear challenging the heavens. Its magnificence was reminiscent of a giant’s palm restricting human access.
However, even the seemingly impenetrable barrier had a gap, and the group had been able to enter the North through that gap. And in the midst of the gap, there lived the snow ogre, or the yeti, which was a powerful, unrivaled monster among the roamers.
‘Is it a coincidence?’
Eugene started to have doubts.
“You said you lived here for about ten years, right?” Eugene asked.
“Yes, Your Excellency,” the hunter answered.
“Have you ever heard of an evil land located on the snowy mountain?” Eugene asked.
The hunter responded with surprised eyes,” How did you know about that, sir?”
It was as expected.
Eugene nodded, prompting the hunter to continue.
“It’s something I heard from my dead father, but it’s said that there is a dungeon located in the White Fang Mountain. The problem is that no one knows where it is.”
Eugene responded, “That’s only obvious. If the orcs warriors knew of its location, there wouldn’t be so many monsters on this mountain since they would have subjugated the evil land sooner or later.”
“Ah! That makes sense! You’re amazing, Your Excellency!” The hunter expressed his awe.
Eugene turned his head and looked over the magnificent, mysterious mountain.
“It should be around here. That dungeon,” Eugene stated.
“The snow ogre settled in the vicinity, and that’s good enough evidence. Since it came from the dungeon, it must know a lot about the dungeon’s state. The monsters must have been expelled from the dungeon due to competition, so the yeti stayed there and hunted them quite comfortably,” Eugene explained.
“And there’s a possibility that it might have been subjugated in the distant past,” Eugene added.
“H-How do you know that?” the hunter asked.
“This mountain range that you call the White Fang Mountain. It’s very vast, right? However, among the enormous mountains, there is only one known route that can be used to travel back and forth, right? But it happens to be located here of all places. Now, all of that can’t be a simple coincidence now, don’t you think?” Eugene responded.
The hunter’s eyes became filled with shock. Eugene’s reasoning was not only plausible, but it was almost certain.
The chaos in Brantia had been persisting for more than a decade now. During that time, it would have been strange for anyone to show any interest in a desolate, remote area between the lands of the humans and the orcs. Eventually, the evil land of the snowy mountain would have been forgotten, and the yeti could have started its reign as the king after exiting from the evil land.
“Sir, sir. Does that mean you’re going to subjugate the evil land here?” Mirian whispered.
“Hmm.” Eugene stared at the snowy mountain with his arms folded. He had rediscovered an old, forgotten road. One day, the orcs would certainly discover the passageway and descend south of the snowy mountain. At the very least, they would come to hunt the yeti, which would naturally reveal the only passageway through the mountain.
‘Maybe it would be better for me to leave the evil land alone.’
Eugene came to a conclusion before turning to the hunter. “We will have to catch the yeti.”
“Hiek! W-With just the two of us? I-I-I…” The hunter wanted to refuse, even if he were offered a bag of gold coins. However, he was frightened by the strange light contained in Eugene’s crimson eyes, and he could not continue to voice out his thoughts.
“No. I will do it alone,” Eugene answered.
“Ah! D-does that mean I can head back to my cabin now?” the hunter asked.
“No, you will follow me,” Eugene said.
“Y-yes...” There was no other choice but to obey the words of the one who carried both the sword and the gold.
‘But at least, tell me why?!’
Unfortunately, the hunter could never voice such thoughts, and he trudged after Eugene with drooping shoulders.
All of a sudden, he heard Eugene’s quiet voice penetrating into his ears, “From now on, you will become the snow ogre’s keeper.”
“…!!!” The hunter froze like an old snowman. He was wrong to assume that nothing could surprise him anymore.