Episode 28/Chapter 6: Great Attack (6)
How else would he react to such a bizarre situation?
As a pro gamer, Tae Ho’s brain churned to analyze his sense of impending danger, but he couldn’t think of anything.
He’d been isolated. It was no different to having been surrounded by an enemy.
At a complete loss, Tae Ho cocked his head as Idun suddenly began to laugh.
“I’m joking! It’s a joke so don’t give me that look.”
Idun spoke brightly and shrugged her shoulders.
“But of course, it’s true that I feel sad and disappointed to hear you only call Heda’s name in decisive moments…. At least she’s a Valkyrie of our legion. It would have been really twisted if you’d called for another legion’s Valkyrie…so it’s fine if it’s Heda. Yeah, it’s fine.”
Was it really fine?
Tae Ho had felt her tone grow formidably cold as she said ‘if you’d called for another legion’s Valkyrie’.
Tae Ho glanced at Idun and she giggled once more.
“It’s the truth. It seems like I took my joke too far. Forgive me. My joke ended up going too far because my warrior is just too lovely.”
Idun gathered her shoulders and smirked. It was a slight movement, but he felt her charm in that motion.
“N-no, it’s fine.”
To be fair, her words about him calling Heda weren’t wrong.
Tae Ho and Idun let out synchronous sighs of relief and smiled.
“It doesn’t feel right to keep you standing so. Please, take a seat. As always, I have news to share.”
Idun pointed at the wide boulder. As Tae Ho sat down first, she appeared beside him and took a deep breath before continuing.
“Firstly, I would like to praise you. Your merits are worth many great accomplishments. As you know, Bress the Tyrant was an enemy of our Asgard for many years. I want to express my gratitude as one of the Gods of Asgard.”
“I couldn’t have done it alone.”
Tae Ho thought of the moment of victory he’d shared with his team. He had said similar words each time, but it always felt slightly embarrassing.
Still, he hadn’t made it up. It was the truth.
The reason he’d been able to defeat Bress the Tyrant was really because of everyone else.
The Valkyries had sacrificed their safety in order to weaken Bress, and Bracky and the intermediate-ranked warriors had bought invaluable time. The rainbow barrier had held strong because the inferior-ranked warriors had fought tooth and nail against the fomoires.
If even one of these groups hadn’t given their all, his results surely would’ve left much to be desired.
Idun soundlessly gave a soft smile at Tae Ho’s sincere words. She deeply admired this aspect of him.
“But Idun-nim, can I ask you what happened?”
Although the battle had ended in their favor, if something had gone wrong, then there would be much more damages than right now. One of the decisive keys in their strategy was missing.
The light covering Idun’s face darkened. She answered with a lower tone.
“The traitorous God, Loki, interfered. He blocked Thor’s power from being transmitted to the Valkyries.”
The traitor of Asgard, Loki.
Tae Ho frowned at her response, and he checked Idun’s face and inquired.
“Uh….are the Magician King, Utgard Loki, and Loki different people?”
He was surprised, but Idun still nodded at his question. Thinking about it, it was obvious for Tae Ho, who’d come from another world, to not know about the Gods of Asgard.
In addition, everyone went out of their way not to mention Loki the betrayer.
He may have heard the name Utgard Loki several times while fighting his underlings, but he had never heard the name Loki by itself.
As they shared the same name, Tae Ho’s confusion was only natural.
Because of that, Idun explained calmly.
“Loki isn’t a true God but actually of the giant race. Odin once disregarded this fact and took him in as a God of Asgard.”
Actually, Loki had acted as Odin’s cheek pocket. In other words, one could say that he’d been Odin’s aide.
“Thor and Loki shared many adventures together and formed a strong friendship. Thor treated Loki as his real brother and he even became his eventual step brother.”
It was a tragic tale, for they now stood as both brothers and enemies. Thor had treated Loki as his kin, and the Gods of Asgard had treated Loki like one of their own as opposed to a giant.
“But no one could do anything about his real personality…. You see, Loki took the side of the giants during the Great War. He joined ranks with the camp of Utgard Loki and became our enemy.”
The Magician King, ‘Utgard Loki’ and the traitor of Asgard, ‘Loki’.
The two had similar names.
“Tae Ho, you must have already realized this, but Utgard Loki is one of our greatest enemies. Unfortunately enough, Loki’s position isn’t much different.”
Tae Ho nodded. Although their names were similar, just as Idun had said, they were two very different individuals.
He then also understood why the Valkyries often referred to him as the ‘Magician King’ rather than Utgard Loki.
“The traitor Loki is an almost unparalleled magician to the level where his skills are even comparable to the Goddess of Magic, Freya’s. During your battle, he appeared at the decisive moment and prevented Thor from sending his power.”
Loki couldn’t defeat Thor; however, he could certainly tie down the greatest God of Battle in Asgard for a mere moment. Additionally, the relationship between the two Gods was far from simple.
“He may appear before you someday. Be careful. His skill in trickery is absolute as the God of Lies.”
Tae Ho nodded slowly at Idun’s warning.
“Loki’s appearance was certainly unexpected, but it still happened regardless. It was a lesson of carelessness to those of Asgard. Odin weeps for the lives that were lost because of this err.”
The losses were far from inconsequential. Although Tae Ho hadn’t lost anyone close, Bracky had lost Erendia, the Valkyrie of his legion who he’d been good friends with.
It only lasted for a moment, but a heavy silence followed Idun’s somber words.
Idun smiled brightly, trying to change the atmosphere, and then continued speaking.
“I’ve also heard good things. It’s been decided that you shall be promoted to the superior rank.”
Strictly speaking, Tae Ho still hadn’t reached the level of a superior-ranked warrior.
However, Tae Ho’s battle prowess when using ‘Idun’s Warrior’ and ‘King of Camelot’ far surpassed the level of an intermediate-ranked warrior too. His strength had certainly reached the boundary of the superior rank.
Because of that, Valhalla had chosen to uniquely promote Tae Ho to the superior rank.
“It will take some time for it to become official, but you will have more capabilities with such a rank. Do you know what they are?”
Idun asked without hiding her anticipation. Tae Ho drew a good mood while looking at her and answered that he indeed wasn’t yet aware.
Idun giggled and then placed her hand over Tae Ho’s and said.
“Tae Ho, you are now able to become the commander of our legion. The commanders of each legion must be superior-ranked at a minimum, but you will soon become one, right?”
The commander of Idun’s legion.
The warrior who stood closest to Idun.
There were many differences between a normal warrior and a commander, and Idun started to name each one of them excitedly.
But more of that, an inquiry formed in Tae Ho’s head.
The seniors of Idun’s legion whom he couldn’t meet yet.
He was expecting it to an extent, but he became certain as he listened to Idun speak.
Tae Ho asked carefully, and Idun nodded with a dark expression.
“That’s right. My warrior, Tae Ho…you are the only warrior alive in Idun’s legion.”
As it turned out, he didn’t have any seniors at all.
Although the legion’s size hadn’t been large during the Great War, the news still came at a shock.
Tae Ho didn’t push for details. It was because Idun had grown pained after Tae Ho questioned her about his seniors.
“But Tae Ho, it’s not that I’m promoting you to commander because you are the only warrior available. Tae Ho, you are really my beloved warrior. Even if there were others, the result would have remained the same.”
Idun clenched her fists and said vigorously before continuing to speak like a bird as if trying to change the atmosphere once more.
“Thanks to you, Tae Ho, the number of warriors that serve me in Midgard have increased. We will need some time but….new warriors will be entering our legion quite soon.”
It wasn’t an external position in the end. At the present moment, Idun’s legion needed a commander.
“Originally, we will have to do the nomination in Asgard but….Tae Ho, just as you know, it’s not easy for a warrior that possesses the strength of a superior rank to pass freely in Midgard. As your strength has reached the point of a superior-ranked warrior after defeating Bress, we aren’t able to summon you so simply anymore.”
It wasn’t as if all the tasks in Midgard were solved.
Just like it was hard for a new, superior-ranked warrior to be deployed to Midgard, Tae Ho’s existence was all the more important as he was already there.
“The Valkyries will perform the nomination in Midgard. This is something personal now but….how about summoning Heda then?”
After all, it was weird for an administrator of Idun’s legion not to be present during the nomination of the commander of Idun’s legion.
There was a vague, expectant feeling in Idun’s voice. Tae Ho nodded.
“I will do so.”
Of course, Tae Ho also wanted to meet her.
The reason he hadn’t call out Heda in the battle of Kalliv Castle was because the situation was just that urgent.
In addition, there was no way Heda would be in danger during a nomination, so there wasn’t any reason not to call her.
“I will be watching over you from far away.”
Idun spoke softly and then stood up to place her lips on Tae Ho’s forehead. She didn’t withhold any blessings from her warrior like always.
“May my blessing accompany you.”
Tae Ho closed his eyes.
After Tae Ho woke up, he participated earnestly in the reorganization of the battlefield.
The first issue that arose was the dividing of the spoils, but Tae Ho wasn’t greedy.
‘You thought well. This battle wasn’t won by you alone. Ignoring the deaths of your comrades and trying to monopolize it all would only produce strife.’
Tae Ho had already claimed both the spear of the God of Light, Lugh, and Bress’ magic pocket. He had already taken the most outstanding treasures among the ones Bress had possessed, so if he grew even greedier than this, then only trouble would descend like Cuchulainn said.
There were many treasures of Erin the fomoires had gathered beneath the earth of Kalliv Castle. The Valkyries amassed the spoils and divided it to the warriors fairly according to the merits they have achieved.
Rasgrid didn’t talk for long about the Dragon Wing Coat she had lost.
“The Dragon Wing Coat was certainly a precious treasure, but it’s more important to me that you are safe.”
She spoke as stiff as ever and didn’t blame Tae Ho and Bracky. She rather blessed the two people.
“I heard from Ingrid. You are receiving blessings from her every day, right? I will also bless you while we’re together.”
The frequent blessings were a means to strengthen Tae Ho’s saga, ‘The Warrior that had a Valkyrie Meet Him’.
“I’m jealous. I also want a saga like that.”
While Bracky and Harabal grew envious again, Siri shook her head and Rasgrid laughed a sound that was uncharacteristic of her.
The Valkyries had calmed the city of Kalliv Ahim that had lost its ruler so unexpectedly and prepared to return the warriors to Valhalla.
Even though they’d rushed it, it took five days to prepare the huge-scaled ceremony of calling the Bifrost to send back the great army.
After one more day passed and it became the sixth morning-
Reginleif lined up the warriors of Valhalla in front of Kalliv Castle.
The warriors of Valhalla that had died in this battle numbered almost a thousand.
Before making the ceremony to return to Valhalla, Tae Ho’s nomination to the superior rank and promotion to the commander of Idun’s legion took place.
As the Valkyries and the warriors knew better than anyone else about Tae Ho’s performance in this battle, there was no one that opposed to it.
It was obvious for the great warriors to be loved and respected in Valhalla.
As the time to step onto the platform arrived, Tae Ho summoned Heda. Heda appeared in front of him and blinked once, just like when he called out Adenmaha.
“Hello, once again?”
Heda said awkwardly and Tae Ho laughed unconsciously. He felt sorry remembering, but the origin of his strength was always incredible.
“I firstly want to apologize.”
Heda apologized about lying to him about his seniors in the legion when they’d first met.
The reason why she lied was simple.
Tae Ho, who had already been uneasy, would have been even more wracked upon being told that he would be entering a legion with no other warriors besides himself.
Tae Ho accepted her apology as there was no reason to not understand her reasoning. What more, it had all been for his sake in the end. In the first place, Tae Ho wasn’t even thinking of mentioning to her before she’d brought it up.
“It’s good to see that you are all well and nice, but the ceremony will start soon.”
Compared to Heda, Adenmaha, who’d been summoned earlier, grumbled from nearby.
Heda giggled and then grabbed on Tae Ho’s hand and pulled him to the platform.
Reginleif was acting on Odin’s behalf, and she declared the promotion of Tae Ho to the superior rank. The warriors cheered whole-heartedly and Reginleif laughed and blessed Tae Ho on his forehead.
After that came his promotion to the commander of Idun’s legion.
Heda made public that Tae Ho had become a commander of Idun’s legion just like Reginleif had done so in front of the warriors.
The warriors cheered once again, but the end was a bit different.
Tae Ho knelt down on one knee like when facing a God and Heda looked at her surroundings with an excited expression and inhaled sharply. She approached Tae Ho with red cheeks and ears and motioned for him to stand.
Reginleif and Rasgrid tilted their heads in perplexity, and Siri and Adenmaha muttered, ‘She isn’t planning to-‘.
“May Idun’s blessing accompany you.”
She rose on her toes and, without warning, placed her lips on Tae Ho’s. The kiss wasn’t light but was rather quite an ardent one.
Everyone held their breaths, and then the warriors of Valhalla subsequently exploded.
“The warrior that was kissed by a Valkyrie!”
This is too much!”
The atmosphere became heated in an instant. Reginleif laughed magnanimously and Gandur giggled.
Heda finished and then regained her breath before whispering to Tae Ho with a flushed face.
“May Heda’s blessing accompany you.”
Tae Ho laughed with joy and proceeded to kiss Heda once more.
< Episode 28 – Great Attack (6) > End