(From the point of view of Vonerich Lardizabal)
"HAAAAAAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!" I laughed as hard as I could after hearing what my father had just said. However, none of the other people around me laughed along with me. They all looked at me with either gaze of contempt or disgust. "... ahahaha... aha... haa... okay, tell us the real reason why we're here now." I said with a wide grin on my face while looking at the old people around me.
Nonetheless, they still looked at me with either a sigh or a scoff. The armored soldiers whispered among each other with stern expressions on their faces while the robed magicians all looked at each other with raised eyebrows.
"... I am quite serious, son." My father, the king, said with a sigh while massaging his forehead. He then fixed his red silk robe that had violet and golden engravings on it, which may or may not contain some sort of magical enhancement to make the king invulnerable to any kind of magical strikes. That's what they all claim, but I never actually saw it in practice before. "Gigantic men that are said to be twice the size of a normal human being had invaded the northern empires. It has been more than a day when the war had erupted when we heard the news." My father then combed his gray hair back with his fingers as his scowl deepened on his already wrinkled face. "A group of Crespas appeared on our courts earlier and have reported that... the walls of Izrecael have crumbled, and their citizens have been in a constant battle against the giants and their never-ending summoned monsters."
"A... are you serious, father?" I said, stuttering while looking at the map before us. On the paper map laid before us, there appeared to be a red circle around the area where Izrecael should be, which indicated that, indeed, the conversation is about Izrecael. Perhaps the council is talking about how they could help Izrecael against these... giants?
"Yes. It appeared like the empire was struck during their time of mourning for the late Queen Elara, so Izrecael wasn't ready when the enemy attacked." My father said as he leaned on the table before him while the rest of the old people around him murmured among each other with pale faces.
"Wait, wait, wait, father, are you telling me that Izrecael did not see an attack of that scale coming? And what of these giants? This is the first time I've heard that giants, like... you know, exist! Giants are not real, what sort of fairy tale are you telling me, father?" I said in rapid succession, not wanting to believe that Izrecael fell that easily. "What do you mean Izrecael was unprepared? They were fighting giants for fuck's sake; couldn't they have seen them coming from miles away with their already summoned beasts outside of Izrecael's huge black walls?"
I feel like these people don't seem to understand how dumbfounded I am because of such information. Giants? It would make sense for Izrecael not to know that there are about a few thousand humans hiding beneath the jungle around their empire, but even they are much, much better than that! It is true that an empire, which will remain unnamed but just know that they LOVE their God a whole lot, have once tried to scout their empire using a few hundred people, and the guards of Izrecael manage to detect them within a day!
Meanwhile, the enemies they're facing are a whole ass battalion of GIANTS! How could giants possibly strike Izrecael's walls without them knowing? Okay, it is a fact that Izrecael is surrounded with many perilous challenges for their empire when it comes to an attack. The jungle in their front door is both a blessing and a curse, for the wet soils and the gigantic trees can stop their enemies and hide them from the keen eyes of the soldiers on their walls as well. On their right side, there's the Mist Valley that not only houses countless enigmatic secrets, it's also literally a dead valley with a blanket of thick fog that will definitely pose a significant threat to Izrecael. On their north also lies the Far North Sea, which is now called Izrecael Sea, that can also be a threat to Izrecael, but like... how could anyone be surprised by thousand ships that contain literal giants? The only safe spot for Izrecael is their left side, which is where their allied and neighboring country, Valencia, lies.
Still, with all those considerations, it is absolutely impractical for one to say that they were surprised to see creatures that are double their sizes appear in their gates. How could I possibly describe that other than Izrecael being sloppy, or... well, no one would possibly betray Izrecael, so I'm sure that it's already out of the question. Then... how?
"I understand your concerns, my son, really I do, and just like you, we are unsure as to what these 'giants' are. When we first heard it, we thought that it was some kind of mistake as well."
"Wait, wait, wait, please, allow me to process this information first, father. I..." I then shook my head with my mouth agape as I tried to find a way to believe that there are actually these races of giants whom we haven't known of for the longest time, even if they are literally twice our size. "I can't believe it..."
"Like I said, son, we share the same sentiments as you. We have been talking about this since it first arrives in our court; all reports suggest that Izrecael fell in less than an hour. For now, Izrecael has been steadily fending off these gigantic conquerors with the help of Valencia and Duibhne. From what I had gathered, the Izrecael has steadily gained momentum and is now on the winning side of the war, but the giants are still pressing onward. Our messengers who flew from Izrecael told us that the giants seem to be fighting as if they're not afraid to die." The king then sighed as hard as he can as he looked at me straight in my eyes. "Son, Izrecael and Varba are allies; I am personally a close friend of their king and their late queen. They have also been our greatest trade partner, along with Duibhne. Without Izrecael, our economy will be drastically affected, and my brother had already told me that we might be forced to trade with Caelum and Defuntalac if we don't do anything." I then remembered the envoys from Caelum, who's standing near the gate of the Imperial Palace. "I'm sure you already know that the empire does not AT ALL wish to associate themselves with these empires for various obvious reasons." My father, the king, then tapped his brother's shoulder lightly twice. "So, I intend to help Izrecael..."
"And what does everyone think about this?" I uttered as I looked at the people around me with a troubled expression. "Are we supposed to attack, or are we just 'helping' by giving them supply aids?"
"I believe it would be wiser to aid Izrecael in defending the empire, Your Highness Vonerich." Madame Miriam Song whispered slowly as she bowed at me with her eyes closed.
"I agree with Madame Song." Uncle Carnegie said as he tapped his finger on the map before him. His sharp eyes then pierced through me as I looked at him with a raised eyebrow. "We have little to no supplies to give since most of our food and resources came from either Izrecael or Duibhne. Our treasury will be absolutely emptied if we send supplies. We have to send men."
"But..." My father, the king, said as he sighed with his arms on his nape. "That means people. People mean good leadership. Good leadership means we intend to lose as little men as possible."
"So..." I said, not knowing where this conversation is heading.
"My advisors said that we could give 10,000 people, and that's it," My father then tapped his feet twice with a nod as he gazed at the two people beside him. "but they are the best of the best in our empire. They will all expected to help Izrecael significantly in weakening their enemy."
"Anything more than that, and... Well, we also have to give out troops their needed supplies, armors, potions, weapons, haa..." Uncle Carnegie said as he opened a booklet on his hands with furrowed eyebrows. "I'm not even sure if the economy can keep up with giving 10,000, but with our current state right now and the fact that Izrecael is an important ally to the empire... I think the long-term benefit of having Izrecael's favor would far outweigh the cons of this decision is." He said with his usual sharp and calculated tone but with a sense of a nonchalant attitude, which indicated that he doesn't seem to mind the repercussions this decision would give to the empire.
"I have already volunteered to be the commander of these men, and we are expected to leave Varba tonight." Madame Song said as graciously as ever with her quiet but deep voice that could send tremors to all the bigger and younger people around her.
"That's great then! I am sure Madame Song alone would be enough to send those giants to the God of Death in less than a day!" I exclaimed with a huge grin on my face
"I appreciate your enthusiasm for my work, Your Highness Vonerich, but I'm afraid it is much more complicated than that." Madame Song bowed down once more after hearing what I have just said with a sweet smile on her face. She then slowly raised her head and pointed at an area on the map before us. Using her fingers, she drew a large oval shape around Halavesta Jungle. "The plan we all came up with is that I will lead 8,000 men to corner the enemies up towards the upper edge of Izrecael until they could only survive if they jumped towards the Izrecael Sea in the north. We will all travel there from Duibhne and head straight north until we reach the Halavesta Jungle, then we will strike at first light."
"At the moment, I still cannot find anything wrong about this plan," I said with a nod as I crossed my arms on my chest. "But I still don't understand why I am called here."
Madame Song was about to open her lips to answer my question when my father suddenly placed his hands on her shoulder, making the gracious Madame Song bow and remain silent. Then, my father spoke with a weak voice and said, "Our generals theorized that the enemies can still escape by heading towards Valencia. We plan to aid Valencia by destroying the giants who would escape towards that direction. If we intercept all of their escape routes other than the ones leading to the northern sea, we would be forcing them to drown themselves to death unless they can swim for months until they reach the first island they could find in the far north. If we attack them from Halavesta Jungle and Valencia at the same time, they would be forced to escape to Caelum, and... that means running towards the Mist Valley. When they did that, well, we would just simply have to watch as the Old God ripped their bodies to pieces and have comfortable front row seats for the massacre that will happen there." My father, the king, then moved towards me and placed both of his hands on my shoulders before he said, "My son, I want you to lead the remaining 2,000 men that will head towards Valencia."
"I... are you for real?" I said with a trembling body as I felt creeping shivers running through my spine. "But, father, I have never led an army before; I'm not sure if I'm qualified for this job."
"That is not at all true, Your Highness Vonerich. I have seen your intellect at work since you were a child, and I am confident that you can pull this battle off easily with no sweat. Besides, your role really is just to wait until fleeing enemies appear in your direction." Madame Song said in such a sweet voice that it almost made me feel like her words were melting in my head. "I believe that in the battle of patience, you are the most qualified commander we could ever pick. After all, we are all haughty old men who are willing to charge as fast as possible! You, on the other hand, are used to doing trials and errors repeatedly and still end up not being insane after doing it for months to years."
"But commanding 2,000 soldiers for my first time, I... Madame Song, father, even you two can see that that might be too much for a novice like me to handle."
I then heard Uncle Carnegie scoff lightly, which I decided to ignore, but I will not at all forget what he had said next. "He's just pretending to be humble to brag more."
"Well, no better day than now to start learning, son!" My father said with a thunderous roar as he tapped my arm lightly with a proud grin. "Come on! Your job is just to wait a few meters away from the Citadel of Valencia! What could possibly go wrong?"
"Well... I guess you're right, father." I said with a reluctant tone before smiling at him again with a pair of determined eyes. "If you believe in me, then I will prove to you that I'm not just a man who can only handle desk work and taxes!" I said, slightly eyeing the people around my uncle for a few seconds and was pleasantly delighted to see them scowling with harsh gazes pointed right at me before nodding slowly.
I'm not a big fan of Izrecael, and frankly, I do not at all care if they stop existing now, but... Their food is indeed heavenly! And the men and women of Izrecael are also CRAZY in the bed! I think that would be a great enough reason to save their asses. It will also be a way to make these hounds sniffing my behind to stop thinking that I can only make shit and farts.
Damn if I let them belittle me in the presence of my father!