Barbarian Quest-Chapter 175

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Chapter 175

Six-Fingered was practically the priest of the alliance. Since Samikan was the Great Chief of the alliance, it was only natural for Six-Fingered to become the leader of the shamans.

'But just like everyone else, my life hangs on Samikan's whim.'

Traditionally, priests were not people who could be trifled with, even by chiefs. However, Samikan did not tolerate any power of the priests over him. He stripped everyone other than himself of their power.

'Was even Urich not enough to rival Samikan?’

Six-Fingered pondered with his eyes closed. Samikan did not allow any power to escape from his grasp.


Six-Fingered sliced open a goat's belly and reached inside. He rifled through the goat's entrails to cast the will of the heavens.


Six-Fingered trembled as he extracted the goat's innards. The exaggerated act caught the attention of the observing warriors.


The words to come out of Six-Fingered’s mouth were predictable: ‘The great Samikan will lead the alliance to victory,’ ‘Follow Samikan to bask in the eternal glory under the heavens!’ and such. Giving a dire prophecy against Samikan would cost him his life.

Six-Fingered proclaimed the message of the divination with a booming voice. Waving his six fingers mystically, he promised victory to the warriors.

" victory!"

The warriors cheered. Over ten thousand warriors shouted until the ground seemed to shake. Many had come, even from far beyond the wastelands.


"The one chosen by the heavens!"

"Samikan will lead us to glory!"

Even the ropers joined in on the loud acclaims. The warriors chanted Samikan's name in a heartbeat, convinced of their victory. The morale soared and became hot enough to heat the air with its fervor.

'I deceive the heavens and live as Samikan's slave.'

Six-Fingered mocked himself.

‘I’ve had the fate of a shaman on my back ever since I was born, yet I am forever trapped in the shackles named Samikan...'

Six-Fingered had never known freedom.

"Well done, Six-Fingered."

Samikan approached the podium, patting Six-Fingered's shoulder lightly. Samikan then stood before over ten thousand warriors and laid out his grand speech. With the immortal glory within reach, Samikan's voice burned with passion.

"We are one! We were grown from the same land and we raced under the same sky..."

A united tribe. Samikan emphasized unity. His voice reached the hearts of all warriors. Even those who spoke different languages understood the gist of his speech. Samikan raised his fingers high and clapped, clearly communicating his message through actions as well.

Urich turned away from Samikan's speech.

"Belrua, you need something from me?"

Urich looked up at Belrua.

Belrua leaned against a wooden pillar with her arms crossed. Her hands and arms were scarred from burns.

"You don’t have anything to say to me? Calling me a traitor, a bitch, or something along that line."

Belrua tilted her head slightly, laughing softly. Her laughter sounded grim.

"Things were probably bad enough for you to join hands with Samikan. I have no intention to blame you."

"Hah, now you’re pretending like you’re the bigger person?"

Urich's attitude made Belrua sneer.

"No, it's not like that. Belrua, you turned your back on me and betrayed our faith. Regardless of the situation, that was the decision you made. If you and the Red Sand Tribe ever find yourselves in trouble, don't expect any help from me. That's all."

Urich's eyes were as cold as frozen gold as he pointed his finger at Belrua.

Step, step.

Urich brushed past Belrua's shoulder as he walked by.

Belrua watched Urich walking away and then ran her fingers through her hair.


The curse came out naturally. Belrua didn't want her friendly relationship with Urich to crumble.

'But I had no choice.'

Unexpected and inevitable things like this always happen. As the chief of the Red Sand Tribe, Belrua was in a predicament, and the only way out was to marry Samikan. It was a political marriage, but its effect was profound.

As two great tribes became bound by a powerful tie through marriage, it instantly elevated the status of the Red Sand Tribe. The child that would come from Belrua could even potentially become the successor to the alliance.

Belrua stared at Samikan making his speech and then looked up at the sky.

"Looks like it’s going to rain."

The sky was clear, but Belrua didn’t miss the distant smell of rain in the wind.

Rain was indeed coming.

* * *

Samikan reorganized the alliance's military. Before fighting the imperial army, it was necessary to form units and assign roles to the warriors. Fighting haphazardly as they had been so far was certainly not going to yield victory. Their opponent, the imperial army, was a formidable group optimized with a variety of troop types and formations.

Samikan sought Noah for his advice on the reorganization plan.

"I’m going to mix warriors from various tribes into units of ten and a hundred, and the thousand-man units will be led by chiefs of the larger tribes."

Samikan explained his plan. The ten-, hundred-, and thousand-man units were universally effective and efficient organizational structures.

"Is there a reason to mix warriors from different tribes? The chiefs might not welcome this. They prefer to command their own warriors."

Noah questioned as he used chess pieces to represent the hundred- and thousand-man units. With the number of warriors in the alliance, it was possible to form ten thousand-man units.

"As time goes on, the distinction between tribes will only become more meaningless. If we keep sticking to our own, we’ll only have more conflicts between tribes and the existing tensions will escalate. Mixing them up like this will be much better for maintaining discipline. Moreover, if chiefs do not command their own warriors, their influence will diminish."

"Yes, you're right. This way the military will become more stable in the long run."

Noah was internally in awe. Samikan not only borrowed the organizational structure of the imperial military but also adapted it to suit the tribes.

'This arrangement emphasizes the cohesion of the alliance as a whole over the cohesion within individual tribes. With Samikan's power at its peak, other chiefs won't be able to openly oppose him even if they have complaints.'

Mixing warriors from different tribes diluted tribal selfishness. Even though they may be from different tribes, warriors came to regard each other as brothers when they fought side by side. If the war continues in the long term, tribalism is going to gradually fade.

‘During the expedition, the Stone Axe and Blue Mist came to regard each other as brothers despite having been sworn enemies before. You must have learned from that experience, Samikan.'

Samikan appointed the chiefs who were loyal to him as his unit commanders. With his power consolidated, he could efficiently reorganize the military into the most effective form. If Samikan didn’t have the dictatorship, it was a reformation that would have surely faced much opposition.

'Ten thousand-man units. That’s roughly ten thousand. What an enormous number.'

The alliance had grown much greater than Noah had expected.

If a tribe had a population of ten thousand, it meant a thousand warriors were conscripted. Such a conscription rate was unthinkable in civilized societies.

‘And on top of that, in the western tribal societies, all men are considered warriors whether they are a boy or an older man, and they’re a force skilled in combat, not some low-quality conscripts. That conscription rate touches ten percent.'

In civilized societies, the standing army ratio hardly exceeded one percent. At best, one in a hundred people was a skilled warrior. To exceed a one percent ratio, a land had to be extremely affluent. Even when mobilizing for war, civilized societies could not muster forces more than five percent of the population without paralyzing the society's foundations.

The low number of forces available for mobilization relative to population was a structural weakness of agrarian feudal societies. However, the explosive population growth afforded by agriculture eventually increased the absolute number of troops.

'The fearsomeness of the northerners was also due to their unique custom and social structure, where nearly twenty percent of the population could turn into warriors when needed. In the north, even sickly elders took up arms and charged at the imperial soldiers.'

While the westerners did not send elders to battle as the northerners did, they still maintained at least a ten percent warrior ratio of their population.

An army of ten thousand from the alliance wasn’t even the final number. Noah estimated that including tribes that voluntarily joined after the expedition, nearly twenty thousand warriors could be under Samikan's command. An army of such barbarian warriors would be enough to easily swallow one or two kingdoms of the civilized world.

'According to the records, Mijorn of the north led ten thousand northerners southward, aiming for the heart of the empire. The empire hastily assembled two legions, issuing a mobilization order to amass a force of forty thousand to retaliate against Mijorn’s advance.'

To Noah, the westerners had just as much potential as the northerners, if not more. Like the northerners, they had a strong warrior culture and possessed warriors skilled in combat who made up ten percent of their entire population due to prolonged internal conflicts.

"Thanks to Urich appearing at just the right time, we learned of the imperial invasion's timing and united the west with ease."

Noah mentioned Urich's name. Samikan slowly nodded.

"Yes, everything is going well. As planned, Urich will cut off the imperial army's supply lines."

“What if Urich fails? The alliance's forces still lack experience against the imperial army. Most importantly, they're poorly armed. No matter how skilled the warriors are, they’re bound to struggle against unfamiliar enemies. On the other hand, the imperial army is accustomed to fighting 'barbarians.'”

“Urich will succeed, Noah. This morning, I asked for a divination from the female shaman who was in my bed last night. I asked her to cast a real divination, not a fake one,” Samikan laughed, revealing his teeth.


“My brother Urich is indeed the Son of the Earth, blessed by the heavens. The female shaman said the protection of spirits and ancestors clings to Urich's limbs. There's no way he fails.”

Samikan's absolute trust in Urich was evident in his tone.

Hearing this, Noah laughed. It was funny to him that Samikan, who always used divination as a political tool, would say such things.

“Haha, you always create your own divinations to fit your needs but take others' seriously, Great Chief Samikan.”

“I don’t divine my own fate in advance. Where’s the fun in that?”

“Just because you choose not to see it doesn’t mean you can avoid a predetermined fate. Sometimes, it’s necessary to know your fate in advance and accept it calmly. That’s what I did.”

Noah muttered, playing with his sun pendant. Samikan remained silent without replying.

* * *

Urich had been leading a thousand Blue Mist warriors away from the main camp of the alliance for several days now. Their mission was to move as a separate unit to avoid the empire's scouts. The further away from the main force, the less conspicuous they were.

'Urich the Chief of the Stone Axe Tribe and commander of a thousand warriors...'

Urich had laughed heartily when he saw the reorganization of the alliance forces. It was evident that some chiefs were opposed, but none dared to openly defy Samikan's will. Only a few among over a hundred chiefs passively showed their discontent.

Urich's unit was operating independently as a special force. Unlike other units, it comprised a thousand warriors solely from the Blue Mist Tribe.

Urich looked back at the warriors following him, who were well-prepared against the cold.

‘Their eyes are sharp. Samikan gave me his best warriors for this job.’

This time, even Samikan did not wish for Urich's failure.

"It's an honor to share this grave task with you, Son of the Earth Urich."

A Blue Mist warrior said to Urich as he walked behind him. Urich nodded lightly in acknowledgment.

Urich and the warriors moved toward the foothill of mountains that were a three-day distance from their main camp. They intentionally took the detour to a longer route to avoid any potential empire scouts.

"I’m saying this as a heads-up, but don't ditch your fur coats just because you’re feeling a little warm. You'll freeze to death later on."

Urich cautioned the warriors before beginning the climb. The warriors chuckled and nodded in agreement.

'We'll follow the low ridgeline and climb diagonally to reach the path I was on when I was taken by Fordgal Arten. Following Fordgal's route up and then descending all the way to the gorge should work.'

Urich calmly planned their route as he stared into the mountains. Following the path established by Fordgal Arten would result in fewer casualties than pioneering a new one.

"Speak up if you're tired. Pushing through exhaustion until you're spent will only get you killed. We'll take breaks along the way."

Urich set the expectations early.

The westerners had great patience. They were a people who patiently endured the harsh dry seasons waiting for the rainy seasons. Familiar with the sweet rewards that come after perseverance, they even found joy in enduring the arid hardships. With no other means of transportation to rely on, their legs, which were hardened by a lifetime of walking and running, were more robust than those of any other people. That had also enabled them to undertake the earlier expedition during the dry season on foot alone.

Urich knew all this very well. Despite his warning, the sharp-eyed warriors would silently bear any burden to the very end. They, like wolves, did not show weakness within their pack. They would keep enduring and enduring until...

'...they die without a word.'

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