Monarch of Evernight - Volume 10 - The Flag of Evernight (1183-) Chapter 1221: For Whom to Exist
The newcomers included four chiefs and three shamans, all of them count-ranked experts. Three of them were from the Jade Sea, but the rest were from the great corridor. The former were all virtuous counts, one rank higher than the forces of the great corridor. The tall werewolf with a bright plume was the strongest among them. His origin power aura was even stronger than Eiseka’s, showing signs of a breakthrough to the marquis rank.
The werewolf experts introduced by Eiseka stepped forward and went down on one knee, touching their foreheads. This was the highest form of salutation toward a king.
Judging from this, it would seem the werewolves’ attitude toward Qianye was far more respectful and loyal than toward the other generals. Even that rather proud-looking turkey general was sincere in his salutation and only recovered his demeanor when he was back at his seat. Some mercenary generals felt somewhat restless upon noticing this.
After introducing the newcomers, Eiseka said, “Your Majesty…”
Qianye raised a hand. “Don’t use this address in the future.”
Eiseka found it rather difficult. “But we in the tribes have gotten used to it. After such a great victory, we can no longer stop them, either. Besides, isn’t it only a matter of time before you become a great dark monarch?”
Qianye frowned. “Whatever the future holds, I am not worthy of this address just yet, so don’t use it.”
“Yes, Sire…” Eiseka changed the terminology with great difficulty. “These comrades of mine are devotees who wish to follow you whole-heartedly. Your position has been added to their tribes’ ancestral altar.”
Qianye’s expression turned odd because, in the Empire, only the dead would be worshipped on the altar.
Seemingly realizing his thoughts, Caroline approached Qianye and said, “The werewolves of the ancestral school do have a tradition of worshipping their king on the ancestral altar. This is much better than any oath, provided that you don’t fall off your throne.”
Qianye forced a nod despite still feeling a bit awkward, but he understood that this formality would ensure that the entire tribe was loyal and minimize any chances of betrayal. This would last until Qianye was killed by a new king, who would then replace him on the altar.
These three tribes were the first among the Jade Sea forces to announce their loyalty. It would seem their life under the Whitebone Duke wasn’t very good.
With this batch of werewolves, Qianye’s strength on the Fort Continent grew exponentially. The only problem was that he would have to be careful about how they were utilized. At the same time, he had no choice but to dispel his original intention of forbidding the great corridor werewolves from placing him on the altar.
Piety was a higher realm compared to loyalty. The best way to bring these people under his fold and prevent them from causing trouble was to maintain their piety. It was much more reliable than a contract written on goat hide. In order to ensure stability, Qianye had no choice but to sacrifice his feelings.
Next, Qianye asked about the casualty report and reparations.
Since building a mixed army of humans and werewolves, the battle of Jade Sea was the biggest and most bitter fight. The great corridor had lost over a hundred and fifty thousand soldiers, along with over twenty thousand of Xu Jingxuan’s newly trained soldiers—the number was almost half of the new army.
Comparatively, the Jade Sea werewolves had suffered over three hundred thousand deaths. As their medical capabilities were rather low and the great corridor was powerless to assist, tens of thousands of heavily injured men passed away in the days that followed.
Following the death of the Whitebone Duke, most of his frontline and reserve armies had surrendered. Some tens of thousands of them escaped, leaving over three hundred thousand captives in Qianye’s hands.
According to the captives’ confession, there should have been several werewolf armies marching for the field, totaling over a hundred thousand men. They were probably running back to their tribal villages now after receiving news of the frontline’s defeat.
The best strategy was to dispatch an army to intercept these retreating forces and annihilate them in the wilderness. That would reduce their pressure when cleaning up the entire Jade Sea.
However, Qianye glanced at everyone in the room and saw that both the werewolves and humans were covered in injuries. He finally dropped the idea since he couldn’t find anyone to lead the operation. And there were over a hundred thousand prisoners outside that he had to deal with as soon as possible. Otherwise, they might erupt into chaos at any moment.
Rounding up the werewolves of the Jade Sea was a complicated and delicate process, but it went relatively smooth.
With the Whitebone Duke heading out to war, all the major tribes at the center mobilized in full force, only to end up being captured in one go. The ones that had escaped were from the scattered tribes in the periphery. Tens of thousands sounded like a big number, but they were now dispersed in their villages. Not to mention the massive force right now, Qianye could sweep through them with just the great corridor werewolves, or even with Xu Jingxuan’s army.
There were also some remote tribes who had received the duke’s summons but never made it due to the distance and lack of supplies. Time and patience were the only things needed to recruit these people.
In the days that followed, Qianye was at the center of various meetings, big and small. Each meeting would take a good part of the day, depriving him of the time to consolidate his divine champion realm. The placement, food, and safety of hundreds of thousands of werewolves were no small matter, and they couldn’t make a single mistake. Only after experiencing things himself did Qianye realize that supply and logistics weren’t so easy after all.
After the meeting one day, Song Hui followed Qianye back to his private quarters. Qianye knew what she was going to say, so he closed the door and waited for her.
“Are you really going to take in those werewolves?”
“What else?” Qianye felt that this question was a bit strange. The population of the Jade Sea and the great corridor added together was over twelve million according to initial statistics. Having such a number under his wing was naturally the best outcome. Otherwise, if they were to turn into enemies, just simply slaughtering them would be an exhausting chore.
Song Hui sighed deeply. “This is twelve million werewolves we’re talking about. These people have been attacking the Zheng fortress simply because the land couldn’t accommodate all of them.”
Qianye nodded. “I know. This land wasn’t able to provide for everyone in werewolf hands, but things will be different in ours.”
Be it the Jade Sea or the great corridor, the land’s yield wasn’t enough to provide for so many werewolves. That was why they had to expand and plunder, exhausting their population in the process. And of course, Zheng was the easiest to bully among their neighbors and was thus the prime target. Qianye felt that something impossible for the Whitebone Duke might be achievable for him.
The werewolves here were still at a very primitive level and survived by hunting or herding creatures. Their farming technology was so primitive that it was an entire age behind Zheng, let alone the Empire. It wouldn’t be a problem to keep all these werewolves fed if they could import suitable technology and plant types, increasing the yield and area of farmland.
Who said werewolves couldn’t eat plants? Those in the great corridor had proven that between eating grass and dying of hunger, the werewolves would choose grass. And cultivating farmland would produce fodder and pastures in addition to grains. This would serve to increase the output of animal husbandry exponentially. All soldiers would be ensured meat rations, at the very least.
All they needed was two years, and this land would be able to support several times the current number of werewolves. If they were to invest more and breed a high-yield crop suitable for the environment, the sustainable population would only continue to rise.
The only problem they needed to solve during the interim was that of food supplies. However, the great war had reduced the number of elite warriors by the hundreds of thousands; these soldiers required far more food than ordinary werewolves. Hence, they would still be able to get through this year even if nothing was done. Qianye could also choose to buy food from the Empire to tide through this difficult period.
Song Hui didn’t think the same, though. Seeing that Qianye didn’t understand what she was getting at, she simply said, “Have you ever thought about how many humans this land could accommodate if there were no werewolves?”
Qianye was stunned. Admittedly, he had not thought about this. His plans for the next couple of years were based on the current situation, so he hadn’t really considered any extreme measures.
Since Song Hui had asked, he went through the numbers very quickly in his mind. High-ranking experts and soldiers weren’t suitable samples. If they were to consider ordinary civilians, a human adult required much less food compared to a werewolf. They were also disproportionately smaller. An adult werewolf was twice the size of a human and required four times as much food.
If Qianye was confident about feeding over ten million werewolves, this vast land stretching hundreds of kilometers could probably sustain forty to fifty million humans, maybe even more. It was just that the environment here was similarly disadvantageous to humans; ordinary people would live shorter lives compared to other places. If he were to bring people from the neutral lands, however, the difference wouldn’t be that big.
Song Hui’s words seemed to contain a deeper meaning. Qianye said with a frown, “Do you mean I should kill off all the werewolves, then use humans to fill up the space?”
“You don’t need to kill them. Just drive them away.”
Qianye frowned deeply. Even for werewolves, a large-scale migration would bring about countless deaths along the way. Considering how primitive these tribes were, it wouldn’t be a surprise if half of them died during the exodus. That was no different from a massacre.
Qianye sighed. “How is that different from killing them? Song Hui, this is twelve million lives we’re talking about. Do you really want to kill them all?”
“Those of a different race will always have different intentions! Besides, there’s only so much land to go around. I would rather accommodate humans than raise so many werewolves. From our race’s standpoint, we must exterminate these werewolves. How did you think the Great Qin pioneered new land? The continents we occupied weren’t uninhabited places before we came.”
The middle continents were, of course, not barren. Especially the territories controlled by the Empire and the major clans, many of them could be considered extremely fertile locations. The foundations of daybreak were forcibly torn out from the dark races’ hands.
Qianye knew that she spoke the truth. The rise of the human race was filled with sacrifices, and those remains didn’t just belong to the human race. There were countless dark races among them as well.
He said after a moment of silence, “I remember a certain theory saying that since the energy of this world is divided into Daybreak and Evernight, every race has the right to survive on the continents. Either daybreak or darkness, the destruction of one race will bring about the birth of another one, so blind killing has no meaning. This is the Fort Continent, neither the Empire nor the Evernight Council. Perhaps things can work differently here? Besides, these werewolves are sincere about their submission, they have also proven their loyalty.
Qianye paused for a moment and said honestly, “Under these circumstances, I don’t have the heart to do it.”
Song Hui didn’t let go. “How did they prove their loyalty?”
“With two hundred thousand lives.”
Song Hui had no choice but to nod. “Fine, even if that’s the case, what will you do if they revolt later on?”
Qianye said calmly, “I will give them whatever they were promised. If someone wants to betray me, then do you think I will let them off? No small number of dark races have fallen to my blade.”
“Very well then.” Song Hui heaved a sigh. “What are your plans for this nation, though? Will it stand on the Daybreak side or the Evernight side?”
This was a problem every kingdom would have to face. For whom did this nation exist, for whom would this nation fight? The most basic of questions, however, had Qianye stumped.
There was no lack of powers claiming to be neutral, but everyone knew that this was an overstatement. Those who could truly be neutral were either sufficiently weak or sufficiently strong. It could also be that this neutral state brought about sufficient benefits.