Chapter 17: The Things That Needs To Be Done
"Are you sure about this decision, General Klauna?" Blackmask asked.
"We have no use for it. If we can thin off the enemy numbers with this, then we should go for it," Klauna explained calmly despite her not used to being called a general.
"Noted," Blackmask left the area. In his hands was a bottle of liquor that he took from Klauna before engaging with her.
Ever since that day, the Seventh Army had started to call Klauna by the term 'General'. It seemed that Cera had enforced the rule. Officially or not and with or without consent, she was the General of the Seventh Army now. Nothing she could do about it.
Cera's sudden intimate relationship with Medica and Harbin also seemed to spark a movement within the army. The whole army was now actively taking away bottles of liquor and disposing of them. Any chance that Klauna had to consume it was met with the troops of the Seventh Army confiscating it from her hands.
Despite everyone calling her a 'General', it felt like Klauna had no control over the army. Klauna tried to fight back obviously. Being a general is a major pain and she didn't care for the added authority. She was planning to retire when she gets back to demon territory anyways, being a general will only get in the way of that. She tried to push the responsibility to Kazakiel who she felt more fitting to be the general. Her suggestions were met with a veto by nearly all the officers including Kazakiel himself who refused the position.
She could understand her own subordinates. An Analyst made into a general was something to be proud of. But the others? She could not understand the reason for them to so readily accept her as General. Cera mentioned respect, but all she did was pick up a bloody spear.
"Lord Klauna!" Harbin arrived and called out to Klauna as she was mulling over things.
"..." Klauna gave Harbin a weird stare.
"...What's wrong, Lord Klauna?" Harbin asked.
"Nothing… it just feels weird being called a Lord from you."
"Ahh. It's because it feels weird to call you general now," Harbin let out a sheepish laugh and scratched her cheeks. "It's quite a mouthful too, Lord Klauna just sounds better and rolls of the tongue."
"Is that so…"
"Yeap. I think it fits you, Lord Klauna. It has that mysterious and cool ring to it."
It was also how Harbin refers to Klauna in her mind. But she didn't tell her that.
"I see… So? What is it that you were looking for me for?" Klauna asked.
"Ah! It's about the slu— Captain Lina! She is refusing to come out of her room. She says that she doesn't want to see anyone and will kill herself if anybody comes in the room. Medica and Senior Yuupiecca are trying to calm her down."
Klauna gave her an annoyed stare. Being the general meant that this is her duty now. She then let out a sigh. "Lead the way."
"Roger!" Harbin saluted before briskly walking towards the infirmary.
Klauna followed from behind. The spear Indominatus and the banner of the Seventh Army waved in the air.
* * * * *
"Enough of this, Lord Lina! Your wings won't come back!" Medica yelled across the barricaded door.
The others in the area just watched with concern. Surprisingly, there were a number of Succours in the area, all having a worried look on their faces. These were battle Succours, not medical ones, it seemed that despite Lina's attitude she had quite the number of loyal followers.
"Go away..." Lina's muffled sound came from behind the door.
"Don't be unreasonable, Lord Lina!" Medica yelled.
"Yeah what she says! You'll die if you stay here you know!" Yuupiecca shouted, his intentions may be good but he was clearly not helping the situation at all.
A tight slap came from Medica onto Yuppiecca's face, followed by the angry glare of the Succours onto him. The members of the other crests just watched with a face that says he deserved it.
"Shhh! If you aren't going to help then keep quiet!" Medica whispered loudly to Yuupiecca who was clutching his face in pain.
It was a strong slap to the face after all. One that he felt numerous times after disobeying her orders to stay in bed.
"Please, Lord Lina. I understand you hate me. You can punish me all you want, but don't do this," Medica said loudly.
"..." Lina didn't give back any response.
"I'm opening the door okay. I'm coming in…" Medica stepped closer to the door.
It was only met with a loud bang on the door followed by a loud yell from Lina. "Don't you dare come in!" It seemed that she had thrown something to the door.
Unable to move any further, Medica could only look to the floor with a sorrowful look.
It was at this moment that Klauna walked into the area. She took a moment to look around to analyse the situation. "How's the situation now?"
"General Klauna… It is as you can see," Medica stared at the door.
"I can see that. How did it get to this in the first place?" Klauna asked.
"It all started a few days ago. I tried doing as you say, to barge into her room and force her to eat her meals. But doing so only forced her to barricade herself further. She doesn't want anybody to see her and only wished to be alone so I left her. But… "
She could no longer afford to leave her alone. They were going to leave the fort with or without her.
"Why doesn't she want anybody to see her?"
"I… I don't know…" Medica replied.
"Why hasn’t anyone here forced her out of the room yet?" Klauna asked another question.
"She says she'll kill herself if anybody dares open the door," Yuupiecca said.
Klauna let out a "hmmph" before moving closer to the door. "I'm giving you ten seconds to open this door and come out Scuttelinaria," Klauna gave out a threat before starting to count down from ten.
"Eh? Lord Klauna!" Harbin yelped in surprise.
Once the timer reached five, Klauna yelled once again. "Don't let me come in there you slut!"
"Go away, you drunkard! I'll kill myself if you come in!" Lina's voice could be heard from behind the door.
"Three, two, one," Klauna counted down to one. Letting out a sigh, her hand went over to the knob and twisted it before opening the door.
The door opened slightly before it was slammed shut from the other side. A big thud could be heard. "Don't you dare open this door, Klauna! Else—"
"Else what? You'll kill yourself? Go ahead then. You'll save me the trouble of killing you myself," Klauna said as she pushed harder.
"You won't understand. Just go away!" Lina yelled again, pushing back against the door harder, her voice breaking in desperation.
'She's hiding something.' Klauna thought to herself. Something that Lina doesn't want others to see.
Having enough of her bullshit, Klauna pumped mana into her hands before pulling the door as hard as she could. The door tore away from the walls before being flung away. A number of demons could be seen backing away to avoid the door piece. A pungent smell then escaped the room.
The smell of rotting flesh.
In front of Klauna, was Lina on the floor on her butt. She was half-naked with barely anything covering her body. Scars could be seen on her once beautiful skin. Her body was thin, clearly malnourished having not eaten for so long. Her hair was in a complete mess. One could see the bundles of hair all over the room. Tears dropped off from her face, her eyes puffy and sore, possibly from crying nonstop.
One the floor behind her was a pair of wings, damaged beyond repair. There was an attempt to preserve said wings, but it only served to delay the inevitable. It was rotting and maggots could be seen eating through the flesh of the wings. Lina quickly backed away and hid the wings with her body.
“Stop! ...Don’t look at me!” She yelled, her voice strained.
Klauna had a pensive expression on her, her breathing and movement got slower and she tried to find something to say to her, only to just keep quiet at the end. The thoughts of the Lina that Klauna knew flashed through her mind. The willfully prideful and beautiful woman. The one who sees everyone as beneath her.
That woman wasn’t there. It was replaced with this sad shell of a woman. This ugly woman.
“Are you happy now?! Just leave me alone!” Lina yelled.
Klauna didn’t respond and moved forward.
“Don’t come nearer!” Lina yelled.
When she saw that Klauna wasn’t stopping she pulled out a knife and held it near her neck. “I’ll do it! Go away!”
Klauna just kept walking towards her. The tension in the room grew with every step she took. Klauna knew full well that the person in front of her was a coward. She will never dare to do it. If she could, she wouldn’t have gotten herself into this mess in the first place.
It was proven right when Klauna walked and stopped basically right in front of her. Lina only kept the knife at her neck. Her hands shaking as she stared right into Klauna’s eyes. Klauna could see the teary Lina, her anger, her anguish, her despair, her shame and her fear all summed up into one painful ugly expression.
In a way, Klauna felt sympathetic towards her. She had lost something that meant a lot to her. The thing that made her special. The one thing that she valued since birth.
It’s not like she was the only one who lost something dear to them. It wasn’t enough to prevent Klauna from doing what she needed to do.
She slapped the knife away from her hands before grabbing her hand and dragging her away.
“Let go of me!” She struggled against Klauna, but Klauna’s grip remained strong.
Once she realised that she could not break free, she tried to turn around and grab her wings. She flung her body and legs like a ragdoll in order to reach the symbol of her beauty. By then, she was already too late. Klauna had dragged her so far away from the rotting wings. When they finally passed the door, Lina was laid bare for everyone to see. Lina used her other free hand to cover her face as she wailed and cried.
It was over when Klauna tossed her in front of Medica. Lina immediately curled up into a small ball muttering that the others don’t look at her.
“Get her clothes and tie her up. We leave within the hour,” Klauna gave out her orders. Her tone was cold.
Klauna then walked away with the demons making an opening for her to leave the place.
Everyone looked at the event with a pained gaze. Medica could only console the wingless Succour. She hugged and buried her face deep within her chest as Lina endless tears came out.
It was the least Medica could do.
* * * * *
The Seventh Army left the fort one day before the humans arrived at the fort. At first, they felt relieved to know that there were no signs of demons anywhere. That feeling didn’t last long as they soon noticed that there weren’t any humans either. Only crows and wild beasts.
A large scale search was done as they went to occupy the fort. It wasn’t long before they found some human survivors in the dungeon. Only anger and sadness could be seen by humans when they figured out that the demons had left the area. That the human general who was leading them had been slain by a long-haired demon general wielding a mighty banner.
“You’re lying… father…” A certain human, wearing a very light yet very practical armour spoke. His eyes were wide. He couldn’t believe the gaudy general, his father, lost to the demons. He slumped to the floor lifelessly.
“Prince…” Beside him was his faithful lover and aide, a woman with long blonde hair, wearing a priestess outfit, greeting the news with a look of sadness.
It was at this moment that the ground shook and countless screams could be heard. The Prince and his lover immediately went outside only to see large pillars of fire consuming the fort, burning his men alive.
It is a parting gift from the demons before they left.
Klauna had ordered that the Saboteurs set timed magical bombs within and outside the fort and set them up to blow within a day or two. The Cunnings led by Kazakiel were ordered to hide them well and in high-density locations. The gates, the watchtowers, the grounds beneath the fort entrance and many others.
It wasn’t just the fort either. She had ordered them to set up these kinds of traps within the trenches as well— the same trenches that the demons fought earlier that month. This time she told the men to set them to blow up if it detects anything that comes within a radius. Klauna knows fully that the enemy will be taking the trenches and reinforcing them in due time.
She then ordered more and more bombs to be planted in strategic locations as the Seventh Army made their way back to the territories of the Northern Demon Kingdom. Kazakiel did ask if it was necessary, that the humans would learn of it sooner or later and would expect such a thing.
Klauna only replied that it didn’t matter. Her plan was to delay the enemy as much as possible. Any humans’ killed were just a bonus to her.
And indeed she did get her bonus.
The Prince and his three armies lost hundreds of good men due to this underhanded tactic from Klauna. They were also delayed in reaching the frontlines by almost a month, giving ample time for the Seventh Army to escape the human territories.