Vol. 4: Chapter 1: Prelude

Like Don't move Unlike
 
13
Previous Chapter
Next Chapter

Prelude

Translated by Tianic

Edited by Jiem


Characters in this chapter:

  • Cohen Kheda: The main character.
  • Marsh: Cohen’s powerful and kind friend in the universe.
  • Marfa, Jack, Wilder, Moya: Cohen’s friends and firm supporters.
  • Fischer: Cohen’s friend. Prince of the Swabia Empire.
  • Flynn, Carey Rhona & Winslet(elf): Cohen’s wives.
  • Webster, Tennessee: Cohen’s youth trainers in magic and martial arts.
  • Visual Kheda: Cohen’s father.
  • Tacrio: Vampire, a bounty hunter.
  • Kennen: Windsor’s brother, Dark City project administrator.
  • Martin Luther: Cohen’s grandpa-in-law.

Marsh sent me back. After a moment of chaos and disorder, my consciousness returned to my physical body.

Then, I felt pain all over the body, followed by ripples of scorching suffering. The exhaustion had made me unable to think straight.

I tried with great effort to feel the surroundings with my senses and noticed someone was shaking my body for no reason.

Time went by and the sounds around me gradually became clearer. I heard a few men talking.

“Boss… wake up! They are giving you clothes! If you don’t, you’ll be buried!” This… was this Marfa?

“Marfa, sober up!” It was Wilder this time, “It’s been an entire month. I’m afraid boss is…”

“NO! One more day! One more day, Wilder! I’m begging you, please…” Needless to say, that whimpering voice belonged to Jack.

“Little brother, we have waited for days…”

“One more day…”

“How about this!” Wilder said, “I’ll ask Fischer to check for one last time, and if boss is still… you can’t insist any longer.”

“En…”

“Moya, get Fischer here.”

A while later, a voice came from outside the door and was coming closer, “Don’t drag me… I told you he was better this morning… he’s likely to wake up… Stop dragging me! Once a day is enough…”

Wilder shouted, “You say that every day! Uncle Visual has asked us to stop acting nonsensical today!”

Fischer’s helpless voice then sounded beside me, “Looks like he can’t… you’ve dressed him already.”

“Ya think I want that!” The raging Moya must have grasped his collar and yelled, “He’s my boss! He took care of us all this time!”

“What about Flynn and the gals?” Fischer asked, “Does Flynn agree with this?”

“Uncle Visual had summoned her away.”

“Sigh, might as well.” Fischer calmed his voice, “You guys go out first. I wanna have a word with Cohen.”

My brothers’ footsteps went far away. Fischer walked closer and I felt my bed sunk in from his weight. He sat beside me. Fischer combed my hair. However, I was in a state of anxiety as my heartbeat and breath had not yet recovered. If they buried me alive, I would one who died a death most unjust.

“My buddy, it is time to say goodbye…” Fischer said. His hand was cold as it brushed against my skin, “I’ve been unwilling to handle the truth, and that was why I lingered. But, I can’t wait any longer.”

During our days together, I had this dream, a dream to accomplish together… with you. Now that you’ve left, I’m alone, once again.” He continued slowly, “I took this dream of ours seriously, funny, right? I have never mentioned this to you… maybe it’s just my imagination. And you have been such a great guy… but, but I really wanna do things, a lot of things with you. You have taught me so much. You bestowed upon me millions of wishes of exquisite beauty and glorious hope. Now, you are leaving me.”

“Get up! You rascal!” By a snap sound, I was slapped and Fischer was roaring, “You jerk! Get up!”

“NO! FISCHER…” Someone rushed in from the outside and stopped him, “Don’t beat up my boss!”

“Leave me alone, leave me… I’m not done talking!”

“Leave him!” Wilder said, “Moya, leave him.”

Fischer put a hand on my left chest and said, “No matter what, even if I am alone, I will… ah!”

Then I heard the sound of things falling and crashed as people fell over followed by Fischer’s quivering voice, “Heartbeat! Him! He… Cohen! Heartbeat!”

After a moment of chaos, my breath was restored. Then immediately I was injected by many who arrived with unknown liquids of sweet, bitter or bitter and sour… Lastly, I was stripped and immersed into a fluid made out of god-knows-what.

I stayed in the little pond for the time being. There were people who fed me strange stuff. Winslet and the Rohna sisters stayed by my side the whole time.

“Has Cohen awakened yet?” Fischer came. That guy brought stuff three times a day.

“Not yet!” Winslet answered, “But his breath is getting smoother.”

“Is that so? Then today, try this on him!” Fischer said, “I tried a bit of it when I was outside just now, and puked out the contents of yesterday’s lunch from the taste. He’ll sure to wake up after drinking this.”

“Gosh, smelly!” Carey said, “Are you sure this is meds?”

“Of course, Mrs! Do you have any problems with my professional opinions?” Fischer was sure proud of himself, “Please trust my specialty.”

“Well, just leave it there, we’ll feed him.”

“Em… by the way!” Fischer said, “If he still doesn’t wake up, then it must be that my stuff is not incentive enough to… you are his wives, you should know what I’m talking about! Hahaha….ah!”

Fischer fled while my wives remained silent.

“I… I think we should give him the meds!” Winslet said, in her low voice.

“I think that perhaps Cohen wouldn’t like it…” Flynn said.

“But why is he not waking up?” Carey said, “His heart has been beating for days!”

“Auntie Bellerina and Uncle Webster said that Cohen’s body is slowly recovering. He will wake up when it’s about time.” Winslet said.

“Then why are you feeding him that smelly thing?”

“I know he’ll be fine, however, I still hope that he will wake up earlier…” Winslet let go of the medicine and wept while embracing my body, “I want him to wake up sooner… I… I don’t care!”

“He will!” Flynn comforted, “By that time he will still be able to sneak a kiss from our pretty Winslet.”

“Didn’t he kiss you?” Winslet loosened her grip and let go of me as she wiped away her tears, “I don’t understand, why aren’t you letting him into our room?”

“Auntie Nashor told us.” Flynn said, “She said Cohen and us are not mature enough that we will be indulged in sex.”

“Is that so?” I, who had been recuperating and recovering my energy for the past few days, slowly opened my eyes and found my self-soaking in a milky white liquid.

“Sure, why would I lie.” Flynn glanced at me then noticed me smiling at her, “YOU! You… you.”

I grinned and said, “What? You don’t welcome me  to join your conversation?”

“Cohen!” Carey cheered and threw herself at me.

I got hugged by both Carey and Winslet and had nearly suffocated.

“Who are you! No heads up before waking up?”

“I can assure you, I will not sneak any kiss on you!” I watch my three worn out wives sitting in front of me, “My girls are so lovely and noble. I swear, one day, I will walk into your room with gifts suitable of my dignity. By that time, you won’t refuse me with any reasons.”

“What is this?” I asked. It was the third day after I woke up. My body had recovered and adapted.

A pair of black war hammers was presented on the desk in front of me and glimmering faintly.

Uncle Webster replied, “It’s an artifact that had once belonged to the gods. Legends said that it was an item that had once been possessed by the god of thunder to create lightning. As for its power, I believe you’ve already tasted it for yourself.

Webster and Bellerina came over once they heard that I might die, accompanied by Tennessee. They would stay here for the time being.

“It’s our fault!” Wilder and the guys dared not speak any louder in front of the two uncles, “Or he wouldn’t have gotten hurt.”

“Not entirely. Even if you had thrown yourselves all in, it wouldn’t have made the situation any better!” Uncle Tennessee said, “There would have been even more casualties.”

“Why is that?” Wilder asked.

“This warlock Tacrio.” Webster said, “He was a tough guy who did a few things that stirred many great empires. Anyone who came to his aid must have paid big time. Our Minister is indeed a generous man.”

“Then why… why am I not dead?”

“Take a look at your chest.”

I pushed aside my attire to find a radiative shaped scar on my chest. It was a startling sight.

“What do you think? A unique style, right?” Webster said to the scar, “Your eudemon egg saved your life. Tacrio’s last strike hit on the egg. The egg broke at the moment of explosion to be precise. You were hit by the recoil of the egg and unbounded lightning spell.

I touched the huge scar and found it too large as if it was an extra part attached to my skin.

“No need to try. That scar consists of whatever was inside the egg. We’ve tried a lot of methods. Well, we failed. Looked like you and the scar have become one.”

“Sigh, it’s gone…” I felt pitiful, “I’d really wanna see how my eudemon looks like.”

“There was also a raving elf.” Marfa waved his white war bow, “He had a bow!”

“Such race is one that I’ve never heard of.” Webster said, “Dark manikin is also rare. Generally speaking, they will not travel across the border to our Protoss side.”

I turned to my father who was reading a document, “Right, dad, what about the race split they brought up during the war?”

“They are like us humans.” My father put down his paper, “Some take the Protoss’ side, some the Asmodian’s.”

“I see.” I never thought it could have been so quickly and easily explained, so I had to resort to other measures and asked Marfa, “What about your frost bolts on that day?”

“I… hey, hey… I didn’t tell anyone I learned it.” Marfa grasped and held onto the bow, “Boss, this weapon…”

“You like it?” I said, “It’s all yours! But you’d better paint it. I hate the color.”

“I will! I will!”

“Boss, your troops are executing their daily exercise.” Moya walked in and said, “Wanna check them out?”

“Sure, why not!” I stood up.

A month has passed. The process of the project had not slowed down just because I was wounded. The outer city walls were towering high and  enclosed the city while the inner walls which were even higher were still under construction.

The buildings within the city were just starting to be constructed. Sewage systems were laid out and the roads were almost finished. At the central area, a rising City Hall was gradually forming into shape.

No one would not be surprised the first time he walked into the widely built out wall.

It was twenty meters in height; bottom width twenty meters; top width fifteen. The whole wall was made out of strong and giant stones uniform in their shapes and sizes and crossed over each other. An archer mount was set at each step on the top. Every fifty meters had a five meters high arrow towers placed above it. At every three hundred meters, there was a child thrusting wall at fifteen meters in height and twenty meters in width. For a city with a wall like this, as long as there were enough troops and supplies, defending the city was a measly task.

“Your Excellency!” Kennen introduced himself, “The city is being built; all according to your blueprints.”

“You’ve all done a great job! However!” I touched my head, “What’s more important is to comprehend my ideas and designs. This way, you will be able to work around it as you encounter obstacles.

“Ah?”

“Well, have a look.” I walked by the wall, “It already came to me.”

“When we have an incoming attack, the ones to siege the city will definitely be infantries. Thus, they’ll take advantage of the escalades. That is to say, setting up a ladder will be their first step in infiltrating our city.”

“Sure, that’s the usual stuff.” Uncle Maiza said.

“Then, we must give a tiny gift to our ladder friends.” I said with a hint of a smile, “Kennen, I wanna see a stone fence built beside the wall. It’s supposed to be the same height as the wall. No need to be as wide as long as it can’t be jumped over. Besides, make it unable to withstand a person.”

“That shouldn’t be a problem.” Kennen said, “Would it work?”

“Doesn’t matter how we theorize the matter, what’s more, important is the facts.” I said, “Let’s test it out. Kennen, I need you to build a prototype. This time tomorrow, I’ll come by with troops. We’ll rehearse.”

“Roger.”

I laid my eyes on the soldiers who were doing regular training outside the wall.

Looking at the riders sprint to infantries engaged hand-to-hand combat, it occurred to me that though my men were exerting themselves to their utmost, there was something inexcusable missing from all of them.

“What’s wrong, Cohen?” As the deputy commander of Dark Army and an experienced general who had been leading for all his life, Martin Luther surely saw the strange glint in my eyes.

“Battle ambiance! Yes, they need to feel the war!” I struck my fist resolutely on the wall and finally got the answer I was looking for.

“Grandpa, I think it’s time for us to expand the army.” I said, “We need to act quickly to have our soldiers number to about ten thousand in total. After that, divide them into four sections. A selective group of a thousand men will be my knights. Three thousand men will be on each team that’s left. Three teams will take turns on daily garrison duty. I’ll assign the six thousand left to combat against each other. My goal is to make my army the most fearsome one on this continent!”

“You mean actual combat training?” Not only was Martin Luther thrilled, all the others were equally as enthralled, too, “What do you mean by that?”

“Actual combat!” I exclaimed, “Arrows flying; thrusts under the earth. The knights attack and infantries defend; all the while using authentic swords and lances.”

“Real swords!” Wilder was terrified, “People will die!”

“If not, they’ll die on the battlefield, anyways! Now think, the last time when we were at war, how many were killed by our own people!” I said without turning a single hair, “I’ve made my mind. Do it.”

“But boss…” I glared at Wilder to stop his intention on talking back.

“Let’s return, I need to check on how much money we have left to spend.” I walked down the stairs by the wall.

At the temporary pavilion for the City Hall’s affairs, I sat down and listened to Flynn lecture me about the financial situation while sketching out the army’s training program on a sheet of paper.

“The city’s progress is only at a third!” She repined while holding a large ledger, “But the five hundred thousand fund has already been spent by over a half!”

“How long can we hold until the rest of the money is used up?” I nodded at Fischer who walked into the room.

“Three months at most.”

“Hey!” Fischer sat beside me, “Is it really necessary to extend the army size to ten thousand?”

Before I said another word, Flynn shouted and wrangled, “Holy Protoss, ten thousand! Gosh, then it’ll last for less than three months.”

“The situation isn’t that bad!” I nodded, “Get me five thousand golds. I’m gonna need it.”

“Cohen, you know our situation and what’s more important…” Flynn said awkwardly, “You know, even a penny is valuable at this time…”

“Dear, only if you give me five thousand, first!” I said, “Then I can bring back more.”

Fischer’s eyes glowed when he heard me talking, as he grabbed my hands and asked, “You are going out?”

I nodded.

“Take me with you!”

I blinked and said no words.

“Fine!” Fischer sighed, “I’ll listen to you…”

“Atta boy! You need to talk to the Grandmaster!” I stroked his shoulder, “We’ll dress as two mage apprentices and we need him to get a few things ready for us.”

“No problem!” Fischer left happily.

I wrote and sketched out my training plan, and after it was finished, I had Marfa deliver the paper to Martin Luther.

“Training starts today.” I said.

“Roger!”

“Wait! Tell Grandpa Martin, let him pick a hundred of the best soldiers in today’s battle. I need their names.”

“Roger!”

All things were finished, and Fischer came back smiling like a cat which had caught a mouse. He opened his mouth before even sitting down, “When are we leaving?”

“No hurry!” I replied, “We’ve got to leave some homework for our men.”

Previous Chapter
Next Chapter

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *