Chapter 31 – The Dark Joker (2)

 

I managed to stay hidden inside the boat until it reached its destination. By spreading 『Shadow Skin』on the rest of my body, I could hide in the darkness of a corner of the boat.

 

Rochenoire was the name of the town I was in. It didn’t look like much of a lively town but for the first time in my life, I was witnessing a different civilisation from the human one.

 

The architecture was unique, with rock buildings of a relatively small height composing the residential district. But the thing that was really impressive was what I could see behind it : giant flats covered the horizon. Some were made out of glass, other out of metal. The way they were built was varied and innovative and made it look like I had just discovered a new world.

 

I was in awe in front of such magnificence but my body soon reminded me of the reason I was there. An intense pain flew through my entire left arm, descending to my stomach to finish by biting my left leg. It was so intense that it made me fall on the ground, gathering a few stares from the passing dwarves.

 

“Aaaarg… I need to find these Sages… quickly… ha… ha… .haarg…”

“Are you alright sir ?”

 

I looked up. A young dwarf was looking at me with a worried face. Why was he talking to a stranger like me ? Are the dwarves not worried about outsiders like the Elves ?

 

“Do… you need something from me, kid ?”

“Not really, I was just wondering whether you were fine since you look like you’re agonising on the ground.”

“Ha, ha, ha… I’m fine.”

“Could it be that you too were wounded by the Orcs ?”

“The Orcs ?”

“Yes sir ! Have you not heard ? You must live under a rock if you don’t know about the Orcs invading us.”

“… Could you tell me more about that ?”

“So you really haven’t heard !? Wow. Well I’ll tell you anyway. A few weeks ago, the Orcs, who were up until now in a peaceful relationship with us, started a war for no reason and began invading our towns one by one. Half of the Dwarf territory has already fallen and there is nothing we can do : the Orcs are way more powerful than we are. The Elders have decided that we’d surrender when the Orcs take the capital.”

“So you’re still fighting them right now, huh ? That sounds interesting… yes interesting indeed, ha, ha, ha. Thanks for the information, kid.”

 

I left the youngling and started skating through the Klug continent as fast as I could.

 

My next destination : Crevasse, the dwarf capital.

 

***

 

By skating I could travel faster than by horse and it wasn’t too exhausting although I had to take regular breaks to replenish my endurance. I had too much Mana to run out of it just by skating for hours though.

 

Even then, the Klug continent was the largest one in the world and the distance between Crevasse and Rochenoire was huge.

 

Going through cities one by one, I reached the capital 2 months later. It looked like the Orcs had made some progress as well in the meantime though because the place where I arrived looked more like a battlefield than anything else.

 

From afar, I could witness just how huge the Orc army was. From the looks of it, there were approximatively 50,000 Orcs surrounding the capital.

 

I headed towards the back entrance of the town and used Magic to fly above the Orcs and enter the city. I made sure no one saw me do that, asked for directions and headed where I wanted.

 

***

 

“With all due respect, Grop, we have to surrender ! Let’s stop this farce and spare the life of the innocents !”

“Stop with this nonsense ! We cannot afford to let ourselves get captured by these primitive warriors ! They will just take away our freedom and treat us like slaves !”

“What do you suggest then ? We have no chance of winning against them.”

“If we are to be annihilated anyway, we should at least die with honour, rather than as slaves !”

“Can’t we try to organise an escape ? That may work…”

“Dirk, my old friend, you know that won’t work. The city is surrounded. We’re doomed.”

 

Inside the council house of the capital, the Dwarf Elders were arguing with each other about how to deal with the invasion. However, it didn’t look like they were anywhere near reaching a satisfying solution. That meant it was my time to shine.

 

I was lurking in the shadows, hiding my presence from the old men. Since most of the security was focused on the entrances of the capital, it was relatively easy to sneak in here.

 

I left my hiding spot and walked up slowly to the four Elders who were sitting at a round conference table.

 

“Ha, ha, ha. It looks like you are indeed in a lot of trouble, gentlemen.”

“Wh-Who are you !? How did you manage to enter this place ?”

“That is not what is important right now. You are in a pinch because of the Orcs, aren’t you ? Then how about I offer you my services ?”

 

The Dwarves all looked at each other. They were suspicious of me but one of them looked interested by my proposition. It was the one called Grop.

 

“How is a single man going to make any difference ?”

“Well, actions are more meaningful than words. All you have to do is to agree to my terms.”

“Your terms ?”

“It’s not much really. I will tell you what I want but rest assured : you won’t have to agree if I fail anyway and if I do manage to get rid of the Orcs, you will know that the best course of action would be not to go against me.”

 

The Dwarves consulted each other for a few seconds after I told them what I wanted and Dirk announced their answer with a forced smile.

 

“Well it will all depend on your result right ? Although some of us are reluctant… we have no alternative.  It has been decided that the fate of the entire Dwarf race is in your hands. By the way, you haven’t told us your name.”

“Me ? I am known as… Joker.”

“What the… well, no matter. Good luck, Joker.”

 

They didn’t look too surprised by the fact that I didn’t reveal my real name to them. Considering my face was hidden though, my identity being a secret was already a given.

 

“Now that everything is set, it’s time for me to finally get serious.”


Let’s show these Orcs the power of the Dark Joker.

Advertisements