Side Story 13
7. A day in Fangs’ life
….Was what I’d like to say, but there was no distinction between day and night in the world of shadows. So, I simply stretched my limbs without saying anything after waking up from my nap.
The sleep one could get inside this place, the ‘territory of eternal rest’, was absolutely the best, no two ways about it. Honestly speaking, the majority of the Shadow Army’s soldiers would spend most of their downtime sleeping until our liege summons us.
I should be seen on the side of those who enjoyed napping, but today was a very important day and I just had to rouse myself up. Soldiers stretching their muscles to get ready for the day discovered me and began bowing their heads to greet me.
“Oh, hello, Fangs-nim.”
“Good day to you, Commander Fangs.”
I didn’t want to show it, but heck, I couldn’t help but feel good when this happened.
I came under my liege’s wings relatively early compared to some other soldiers and after my various accomplishments were recognised, I now found myself in the position to command all the magic-wielding soldiers in the army.
The hierarchy within the Shadow Army was determined by how trusted one was by our liege, and that was why Ancient-grade Dragons were paying their respects to a mere High Orc Shaman like myself!
My Sovereign-nim, hooray!!
My exalted and great Shadow Sovereign-nim, hooray!!
I ended up shouting out three cheers towards my liege again today due to the overwhelming gratitude I felt. While feeling happy and content, I headed towards the portion of the army comprising of ant soldiers.
Quite unlike other Shadow Soldiers, these ants didn’t seem to enjoy napping and were always doing something or rather to keep themselves busy. After finding me visiting their territory, they began bowing their heads in greetings.
I half-heartedly accepted their greetings and quickened my walking pace. If I were to be honest, I felt a wee bit scared by these ant soldiers, even though we were on the same side.
Because, well, not only were they the most vicious and cruel of all the Shadow Soldiers, but they were also scarily diligent with their given tasks, too.
Whenever these ants screeched out those sounds containing meanings that were lost on me, I couldn’t help but flinch my shoulders just a little.
‘If it isn’t Beru Marshal-nim, just who would be capable of commanding this lot….?’
Thankfully, Beru Marshal-nim in question must’ve read my mind, because I didn’t have to walk far to meet him, who had graciously come out to greet me as well.
When our gazes met, though, his shoulders began quivering ominously.
We stood face to face while laughing to our hearts’ content.
Judging from the expression on Beru-nim’s face, a very satisfactory item must’ve been created. So, it was only obvious that a big smile would form on my own face too, as it was me who entrusted the creation of that item to him in the first place.
Beru-nim quickly approached me and then, showed me the ‘item’ hidden behind his back.
“So, what do you think?”
I was so moved by my emotions that I ended up exclaiming out loudly.
The item that I requested Beru-nim who possessed excellent crafting skills, with its creation even at the risk of inconveniencing him! A robe with a hood attached that resembled what our liege wore not too long ago had been completed and was waiting for me.
I threw off the robe on my body right away and put on the brand new one Beru-nim handed over.
Was there a need for any other description than these two words?
I couldn’t control my overflowing, heightened emotions and addressed Beru-nim with an abashed voice.
“I can’t even imagine how should I go about repaying you for this, Marshal-nim…”
“Keh-hehehet. How can I turn a blind eye to your wish to become more like our liege? As long as you’re happy, it’s all good.”
“Yes, I am truly happy. So much so that I’m almost tempted to make it a duty of every Magic Soldier to wear this robe, Marshal-nim.”
Beru-nim couldn’t control his laughter for a long time, but then, he fixed his gaze on me as if he had discovered something else.
“That thing…. Wouldn’t it be better to turn that item into a staff rather than walking around with it in your hand?”
What Beru-nim was pointing at was the ‘Bead of Avarice’ I carried in my right hand most of the time.
“Heuh…. Does that mean I can entrust you for this one as well….?”
I was sheepish, but still, I presented the Bead, but Beru-nim raised his hand to stop me.
“I can’t help you with magical artefacts. Unless you bring me a living kin of the bearded Dwarves, then the story might change.”
“Ah…. I see.”
“Since we’re talking about it, how about entrusting the job with the bearded Dwarves? They might be pretty terrible at warfare, but they are still talented artisans, aren’t they?”
I rubbed my chin and pondered this dilemma, and eventually, nodded my head.
“That is a good idea, Marshal-nim.”
I bowed my waist 90 degrees to express my gratitude towards Beru-nim and his excellent work, before quickly making my way out of the ant’s area. This time, my steps took me to the area populated by my friends, the Dragons.
We grew quite close after comparing our firepower, you see. I explained to them my circumstances, and they willingly stepped forward to lend me aid. I chose the smallest of my friends and climbed up on his back.
There was only one reason why I chose this guy. Well, I was cursed with short legs so if I mounted a friend with a bigger body, I might have to suffer through the terrible pain of my groin being torn in half, that’s why.
Soon, my Dragon friend flapped its wings and flew up in the air. I pointed in the direction where the bearded Dwarves were residing.
We were currently inside the world of eternal rest. It was wide enough to be called infinite, and on top of that, there were ten million soldiers residing here, so some places could only be accessed after borrowing the abilities of my friends like this.
As the Dragon friend flew rapidly to our destination, I sneaked a glance below us and oh boy, there sure were lots of soldiers below us.
‘There is… Grand-Marshal-nim.’
“Stand up straight, Titans!!”
Currently, Bellion Grand-Marshal-nim was using his long sword that could be manipulated by one’s mind like a whip to properly re-educate the newest additions to the army.
The newbies must’ve been fairly renowned back in their own world and that resulted in them still being influenced by their old habits, which meant that Grand-Marshal-nim would have to strictly discipline them for a little while longer.
Bellion-nim discovered me and my Dragon friend in the air and waved his hand at us, necessitating me to hurriedly bow my head to him as well.
After we flew past the location of the newbie training area, I spotted Igrit-nim. He was so immersed in studying that he failed to notice a Dragon flying above his head. We couldn’t disturb Igrit Marshal-nim when he was being like this, so we did our best to get out of there as quietly as possible.
Once we put the areas with Marshal-nims behind us, my Dragon friend unfurled its wings even wider and increased his speed.
A truly wonderful scenery greeted us!
Countless Shadow Soldiers, now no bigger than ants in our eyes, went past in a blur below us.
Soldiers that were asleep; soldiers that were in the middle of training; soldiers noisily chatting away; soldiers playing cards to while away time; and even those soldiers busy grabbing at each other’s collars, their voices getting louder still….
What a colourful bunch they were.
Indeed, soldiers of all varieties could be seen below my feet. It wasn’t originally like this, however.
We were psychically connected to our liege’s mind, and as his powers grew stronger and stronger, we began to grow closer in personality to him, as well. Meaning, we who only knew and desired wanton destruction were gradually learning more about our liege’s human side.
The process of many new and different emotions of a human filling up our once-empty chests was quite a refreshing experience, that’s for sure.
When our liege’s heart begins to pound, even our hearts would go on a riot alongside it.
I liked my liege very much.
I could only express my gratitude to my liege who had shown me a new world that I never ever imagined experiencing before.
My exalted and great Shadow Sovereign-nim….
While I was unconsciously exalting my liege after being moved by my emotions once more, we had already arrived at the area populated by the kins of the bearded Dwarves.
Perhaps fitting for our comrades that enjoyed crafting things, they had managed to construct a proper village, what with houses and smithies, as well as other buildings dotting the landscape.
After my Dragon friend landed on the ground, I cautiously stepped down, my toes wiggling and searching for solid footing.
The bearded Dwarves discovered my sudden, unannounced visit and quickly gathered around before politely bowing their heads. I was pretty sure that they were flustered by my presence, since it would be very rare for a Commander to come visit this far-flung ‘frontier’ area.
I politely explained what my situation was to these very courteous folks. When I was finished, their Elder replied with a bright expression.
“Ah, I see…. Please, leave it to us. As a matter of fact, we were troubled by the fact that we couldn’t find a good place to use the divine timber our liege had bestowed upon us.”
It seemed that the right material had been prepared already.
While I was being treated to a cup of warm tea at the residence of the Elder, other artisans gathered together to craft my new weapon.
“What do you think, Commander-nim?”
The Elder confidently presented a cool-looking staff and I cried out as another bout of emotions overwhelmed me.
I had no choice but to carry around the Bead of Avarice in my hand, but that beautiful thing glowing in bright crimson hue was now decorating the end of this great staff.
“Very good! It’s wonderful!”
My mood lifted up so much that I almost flew away from there. And as I took hold of the staff and assumed several different poses, the corners of the Elder’s lips curled up.
“The word wonderful would better suit the robe you’re wearing right now instead of the staff, Commander-nim!”
“Uwehehehehehet! I see that you too have a great sense of fashion!”
I was able to leave the residential area of the kins of bearded Dwarves in utter satisfaction. I watched them wave their hands to bade me goodbye and raised my thumb up real high as my reply.
If, in the distant future, my liege asked me about the coolness of this staff, then I swore in my heart to mention their hard work in crafting this item.
I went back the way I came and returned to the area of the Magic Soldiers. The first thing I did was to summon all the Magic Soldiers under my command and showed off my new robe and weapon combo.
“It’s really cool, Fangs-nim!”
“It’s the best!”
“I can’t stop my tears from gushing out, Fangs Commander-nim!”
Rather obviously, praises kept pouring in from everywhere. It was the romance of all Magic Soldiers to wear cool-looking robes and hold cool-looking staffs, after all!
I magnanimously shared my joy with the rest of the Magic Soldiers, and then, gifted the highest-quality robe I used to wear until recently to this one particular soldier busy clapping his hands who said a moment or two ago that he couldn’t stop crying.
“Thank you, thank you, Commander-nim!!”
He was expressing his joy with his entire body and I lightly patted his shoulders. But it was at this point that my eyes caught the sight of a few big guys that I hadn’t seen before.
“And who you guys might be?”
The giants made out of rocks scratched the backs of their heads, and one of them spoke to me in an awkward voice.
“Bellion-nim ordered us to come to this place.”
‘Ah, ah. I see.’
It seemed that there were a few Magic Soldiers among the ranks of the new additions to the army. But then again, wouldn’t such a big guy shooting magic spells around be a waste of his hulking…. No, hang on a minute, that wasn’t something I could say with a straight face, now was it?
In any case.
There was this one process that all newbie Magic Soldiers had to go through if they were to be put under my command.
“There, there. Other Magic Soldiers, you’re dismissed for the time being. The newbies, settle down there for a second.”
The rocky giants were so well disciplined that they politely knelt down on the spot and quietly waited for me.
“From now on, I shall describe in detail what I’ve accomplished during the first battle our liege fought against the horrifying enemy called the Dragon Emperor, and then, every achievement I earned during the ensuing battle within the gap between dimensions. Listen well, and then…..”
After I finished telling them the lengthy tale of my unforgettable history, I had the newbies still stewing in admiration towards me return to their respective posts. It was then that I realised my day had come to an end.
I sensed the encroaching embrace of Lady Sleep, so I unfurled the bedding, lied down on it, and let out an almighty yawn.
I liked wonderful clothes, cool weapons, or telling stirring heroic tales, but what I liked the most at the end of the day was to fall asleep. Especially for sleep that closed out a day like today, which was hectic, to say the least.
I pulled the duvet right up until my neck and slowly drifted into my slumber while being embraced in this wonderful warmth. But then, just as the sleepiness sneaked its way closer and carried me off to the land of dreams, someone suddenly began shaking my shoulders!
How dare he?!
How dare anyone try to disrupt the sweet slumber of Commander Fangs?! My eyes shot wide open as I got ready to rip the idiot apart.
Igrit Marshal-nim was quietly looking at me from near my head.
“I love you, Marshal-nim.”
“….I am also grateful for your sincere loyalty.”
“By the way…. What brings you here, Marshal-nim?”
I pushed my upper torso up and Igrit Marshal-nim pointed to the distant sky above.
“It’s about to begin. Didn’t we, the Commander-grade soldiers that serve our liege from close by, agree to cheer him on when the time came?”
I kicked the duvet off and hurriedly jumped up before raising my head towards the sky. Like a gigantic movie theatre, the sky morphed into a screen to share what our liege was viewing to the rest of us.
“Finally, is our liege about to meet Lady Hae-In?”
So moved by the fact that I was allowed to share this historical moment together with my liege, I ended up crying out loudly. The rest of the Shadow Soldiers cheering on our liege then also raised their arms high up and roared out as well.
When our liege’s heart pounded away, ours would pound away as well. I too raised my arms up high and joined in the chorus of soldiers’ roars.
My heart was beating really loud now.
< Chapter 256 > Fin.