Chapter 21: The Gathering of Generals
Two weeks have passed since the Seventh Army arrived in Prashyufa. Integration of the new army members went along smoothly without much problems and they were soon put to work. Having been in the reserves and newly recruited, it seemed that most of them were rather inexperienced. They weren't half bad all things considered, but when compared to the veterans of the Seventh Army they leave a lot to be desired. There was the matter of teamwork and army culture to consider as well.
Although generally accepted into the army, there were some who felt dissatisfied that most of the new recruits were Analysts. The captains have shared the troops' concern that they feel like the position of the other crests were in danger. Klauna could see why. The Analysts make up the majority of the army now, just a slightly higher amount than the Warriors. There were also concerns that the recruits might end up being assigned to the other battalions which were often split up by an Ak'him's crest.
However, there wasn't much that Klauna could do about it. It was up to Cera and the other officers to sort out their followers.
"Do you really think the humans will attack Prashyufa? They never did it before…" Cera asked Klauna. The two were currently walking in a secluded hallway within the great castle of Prashyufa.
"I find it hard to believe as well, but I cannot deny the possibility," Klauna replied.
"I see…" Cera responded. She felt a little bit worried for a while before pushing the feeling to the back of her mind.
There was also another thing that happened in the past few weeks, the number of demons that were forced to retreat back to Prashyufa— military and civilians. Almost every single army that the kingdom had was within the walls at this moment, setting up encampments and fortifying the walls. The humans have pushed them back. Hard.
The humans were setting up a forward operating base right now at this very moment, setting up within the fields and forest nearby. Humans from various different countries; Elves and Dwarfs could also be seen among them. Balestra himself had confirmed it.
The two Ak'hims continued walking in silence till they reached a certain door near the end of the secluded hallway. Cera then took a deep breath before opening the door. She entered into the room to confirm that this was the intended place before holding the door for Klauna to go in.
Klauna gave her thanks to Cera and took a step into the room. As soon as she stepped foot into the room, she was immediately blasted by the glares of the people within said room. Cera who was usually stern and collected could be seen rather nervous and a little bit stiff under the intense glares. However, Klauna being Klauna, didn't give a damn and continued walking.
The room that Klauna and Cera walked into was a meeting room, full of generals and their vices. The spear and banner Indominatus waving as Klauna walked through— as if taunting the other Ak'hims.
Why were the two there?
Sylendria, the Sixth Demon Lord was angered at the current situation and called for a meeting. Seeing that her plans for conquest had fallen apart and that her armies were gathering like cowards within the citadel, Sylendri expected her generals to explain themselves. To explain what was going on and to formulate a new plan. Said Demon Lord was nowhere to be found in the room. For someone to arrive later than Klauna didn't bode well for someone's credibility.
Klauna walked to the middle of the room, towards a large round table with twenty-four seats around it. Each spot in front of the seat was marked by a number. Klauna assumed that the number referred to the army number and made her way to the seventh seat.
The other generals who were already seated brought more of their attention to Klauna. Various thoughts appeared in their heads as Klauna sat comfortably on the seventh seat; Cera standing behind her at ease.
Some of them had a look of curiosity, about why there was an Analyst in the room and sitting in the seventh seat.
Some, a confused look, about why there was an Analyst in the same room as them and sitting at the seventh seat.
Some an angry look, about why there was an Analyst in the same room as them and sitting with them as equals.
One of them had all three, the first general who was angered to see some random stranger sitting at Lionel’s seat. Yet, she was confused, why would an Analyst be here instead of Lionel and why was Cera following her. Then she was curious. To see Klauna wield the Warrior Spear Indominatus
In summary, an Analyst sitting down in the general's meeting is rare. It's not impossible by any means; for an Analyst to be a general, but there hasn't been one for quite a while now.
It was the same look that Klauna received when she first became a captain of the Seventh Army. Klauna was used to it by now and merely ignored them as she waited for the Demon Lord to arrive.
She couldn't care less about what they thought of her. She was only there for formalities after all. That and she wanted to see what the current Demon Lord is like first hand. Not from stories but through her very eyes.
She wanted to see the bastard who ordered her friend to die.
A cork was ejected from a bottle that Klauna carried with her into the room. She then took a gulp right in front of everyone. A shocked look could be seen from Cera who wondered where Klauna got the bottle from. Cera wanted to grab the bottle away from Klauna but refrained because she didn’t want to make a scene. They were already in bad enough scrutiny.
Letting out a silent sigh, Cera took a look around the room to see the various people and sizes filling up the seats within the room. Including Klauna, a total of seventeen seats were taken, the seats from the first army to the seventeenth. The most notable person in the room was the one sitting in the first seat.
The First General Leidalaledaliliel and her vice Samiyadare.
Leida was one of Lionel’s oldest friend and rival. A rather enigmatic and strong Ak’him that Cera had known ever since she was a child. Just like Cera, she had scales on her skin and small twin horns protruding out of her head. Although, that’s where the similarities end. Leida also had large reptilian wings, reptilian eyes and a large draconic tail.
Yes, she was an Ak’him but not one of the five main crests. Rather she was a sub-crest that mixed a Warrior’s, a Succour’s and an unknown dragon’s crest. A tribe of people that was created by hideous alchemy experiments before the ascend of the First Demon Lord. They were a tribe of people that have the ability to transform themselves into dragons. The sub-crest Dragonicia.
Cera admired and respected the Dragonicias for their overwhelming power. When it comes to sheer brute strength, nothing beats a living dragon after all. On a side note, it was Leida who taught Cera how to use a sword. She had gotten to know the dragon during the times where Lionel would visit the tribe’s village. It wouldn’t be wrong to say that Leida was like a godmother to Cera.
A strange feeling was felt in her stomach as she pondered about how she was going to inform her of Lionel’s death. The mock battles between the two had always been a sight to behold. Cera felt sorrow that she would no longer be able to witness such a thing anymore.
Cera turned her eyes away and took a look at the other generals. The Second General, Aberanispolaris Cunning and the Third General, Parashiya Saboteur— the elites of the army. Cera’s eyes continued along with the numbers, the fourth, the fifth, the sixth, the drunkard, the eighth, so on and so forth. Various generals of the crest could be seen. And then, there was the fifteenth to the seventeenth seat. The generals and the vices sitting there were no Ak’hims but Generals of other races.
The first of them was the queen of the merpeople, Saladis and her vices, a race of half-fish half-humanoid. Saladis herself was sitting on top of a wet seat, her face and eyes closed. Elegance and grace filled her completely still body. She had beautiful fish scales on her tail and had a tiara on her head. She was only wearing the upper half of the Officer's uniform.
The Sixteenth seat was taken by Shieska, the representative of the Lamias, a race of half-snake half-human. Her reptilian eyes and long forked tongue moved around. She licked her lips as she stared at Klauna. As if she found prey.
The last seat was taken by a large minotaur, Vargus, a bull with the body of a man. He was so large that he couldn’t fit on the seat. Instead, he stood up with his arms crossed over each other. He glared at everyone else as he waited for the Demon Lord to arrive.
The whole room was in a weird atmosphere as they waited for the demon lord. No one talked to each other, just glaring and staring at each other, studying the other generals. The wait would soon end when the Sixth Demon Lord, Sylendri burst forth from one of the doors. She had a rather petite figure and was wearing skimpy yet beautifully crafted clothing that emphasised her body parts. Her long hair red hair tied with beautiful and extravagant ornaments.
Without any warning, she flapped her wings and flew up before landing in an uncontrollable rage onto the table. Breaking it into pieces, the shockwave caused Cera’s hair to flutter about. Sylendri then let out a rageful scream and grabbed a large piece of the broken table and flung it towards the empty seats, shattering the seats and the table.
A look of shock and fear could be seen on many generals and their vices; very few remained undisturbed by the Demon Lord’s action. The First General, Leida and her vice and the Mermaid Queen, Saladis, did not take a liking to her terrible performance. Klauna simply ignored the thing happening in front of her and continued drinking from her bottle. Cera was initially pressured, but seeing her general acting as usual gave her the little bit of confidence to stay calm.
Sylendri faced the generals before giving out a commanding yell. “Why are you cowards here and not out there fighting?!”
Her angry face completely at odds with her beauty.
One of the generals fearfully responded. “The enemies are gaining allies from the other nations. We can’t hold off that many armies at once with these—”
“So? Just gather them all up and kill them all at once. They are only humans. They are gathering at the Plains of Fate are they not? Gather all your men and move out. We meet them there.
“To meet them out there? We should... let them come here instead…” Another general said out to the demon lord.
Sylendri cuts him off. “I don’t care! I want that country to be burned to the ground now. I order you all to move out!”
The whole room only kept quiet at her words.
“...Understood, we will make the necessary preparations.”
The room was then filled with incompetence as the generals make their plans to attack the superiorly numbered opponent on an open plain rather than to use the big fortified gigantic citadel at their disposal.
Klauna just kept quiet as she listened to the plan, drinking away in peace. The first to third army generals and the Mermaid Queen Saladis could also be seen not taking part in the discussions at all. A permanent frown was on Leida.