Orc City Ogrimma
Ogrimma's layout was completely different from the three human's imagination. Leguna and Annelotte were especially shocked; after seeing quite a few orc settlements, they had labeled the race a rather backward tribe. Now, Ogrimma had subverted that impression entirely.
The shock seeing Ogrimma brought to Leguna was no weaker than the one he got from seeing Starfall for the first time. From a distance, he could only see the city's huge wall. The group only felt the city's true majesty and prestige when they had come up to the wall itself.
Unlike Starfall's beautifully decorated streets, Ogrimma still contained the savage quality characteristic of the orcs. But ìt wasn't to say they were rural like Leguna had imagined. The city may not be as beautiful as Starfall but it was filled to the brim with vigor. One look at the city itself raised one's mood. The two cities were very different in style but the sight of both shook a person to the core.
"How's it? You're surprised, aren'tcha," asked Kreighdon, a hint of joy hidden in his voice.
"Yes. It's very... amazing! It doesn't feel any worse than Starfall," admitted Leguna.
"Ogrimma's the crystal of our race's blood, sweat, and droplets. Lil' Olly had it built after he brought all tribes together. It took five years. The city is still little, only two years old, but it's our proud and joy!" Kreighdon rambled with his shoddy mastery of the common tongue, "Ogrimma means city of heroes in our language. We hope it will be the sleeping place of all heroes and give us new great highs."
"City of heroes, huh? Pretty good name." Leguna bowed slightly to the city gates with a solemn expression to show his respect.
Satisfied with the kid's behavior, Kreighdon led them through the gates. Leguna did not expect they would not be stopped at the gates. He had thought three humans entering a city of orcs would stick out like a sore thumb. Instead, all the guards just stood to attention as they passed with the Blood-colored Wargod. None approached to ask about the humans.
Even after the three entered the city, not a single orc made any threats. They only gave them curious looks before going back to what they were doing.
"I didn't think Mister Kreighdon would have this much of a reputation, so much so that you weren't even stopped when you brought humans into the city," commented Leguna.
He believed it was all because of Kreighdon.
A little dumbstruck, Kreighdon shook his head and laughed when he understood Leguna's meaning. "No, kid. While the guards know me, the citizens don't."
"Oh? Then why didn't they come up to us and ask what we were up to?"
"It's lil' Olly's orders. After he built Ogrimma, lil' Olly said and promised that only orcs and friends of orcs would ever come into the city. Since you are inside, you must be friends, of course they would not make you trouble."
"That simple?" Leguna exclaimed, shocked, "So we can go anywhere we please on our own without trouble?"
"You could say that, but you don't know the area. The chance is good that you'll get lost," nodded Kreighdon.
Leguna had to hide his shock at how Oljharok's single order could allow a member of a different race to go anywhere freely and unobstructed in the city. In what kind of position did the orcs hold Oljharok for this to be possible? Other things aside, he was certain there was no way something similar could be done in Starfall.
"Alright, let's not overthink this. Follow me," urged Kreighdon.
With Kreighdon in the lead, the three had to ask five different orcs for the way. After making seven wrong turns, they finally arrived at the chief's palace. Kreighdon said something to the guards in orcish before they led the group into the palace. After taking a few wrong turns in a few different corridors, they came to a large hall, presumably built to receive guests.
"Oh! I know what you're plotting! Mister Kreighdon, you must be pretending to make wrong turns to wear me out, right?" conjectured Leguna as he huffed like a dog, tongue out, after he lightly placed Annelotte on a chair.
The girl's feet had mostly recovered over the last couple of days. But for some reason, she continued to lie on Leguna's back. Every time Kreighdon resumed their journey, she would sit and look at him until he started his daily dose of physical labor.
At first, he couldn't be happier. As he had said once to Innilis, 'Some things aren't a burden to carry. They energize you the more you carry them instead'. But as the days passed, he discovered that, no matter what it was, carrying things on his back for too long only made him tired. The dozen or more days of labor wore him out a lot. The last couple of days especially, saw him lying flat on a rock, his eyes rolled, from the fatigue.
"Alright, wait here. I'll go look for lil' Olly."
The three waited as they were told. The orc guard nearby stood ramrod straight and stared into the distance. Having nothing better to do, Leguna inspected his surroundings and tried to find an opportunity to escape. But upon thinking back at Kreighdon's might and the disciplined guards all over the place, he shook his head and gave up on the thought.
Innilis was as carefree as ever even though they'd arrived. The orcish architecture and decorations were foreign wonders to her. She skipped and jumped about energetically as she inspected everything.
"Innie, don't run all over," beckoned Leguna.
He saw the girl make faces at other orcs, as if she was trying to mimic their lips, split by their tusks. Who knew how much it annoyed them. If the little girl were really to be cooked and eaten, her meat might not be enough to even fill the gaps between their teeth.
"I'm bored," said Innilis as she made her way back unwillingly.
"We're not on a field trip, you know," Leguna lectured, "Don't think it's safe. We might be in trouble at any moment."
"It'll be fine. Big Bro Leguna will protect us," said Innilis without a care in the world.
Leguna shook his head helplessly.
"I really don't know where that confidence comes from. I'm not even sure I can protect myself."
"So you were lying?" Annelotte spoke out of the blue, "You said you would protect Innie, and... Kurdak and the rest."
Though Annelotte had wanted to say 'and me', it ended up being 'Kurdak and the rest' when she spoke. Over the last two days, she had been carried on the boy's back, she spoke far less than usual for some reason. Not only did it make Leguna wonder what was going on, it also made him feel rather down.
"I wasn't kidding. Even if I find it hard to protect myself, as long as I'm alive, I'll make sure nothing happens to Innie."
After a short pause, he continued with a snicker, "Of course, I'll make sure you're safe as well."
"I don't need your protection!" snapped the girl as she turned her head away abruptly.
"Sheesh, this really is disheartening. Even though I worked so hard to carry you on my back for over ten days, now you tell me you don't me anymore! How cold!" Leguna tried to sound as pained as he could.
"You're the one who wanted to carry me. I didn't ask you to," countered Annelotte softly. A hint of regret immediately appeared on her face.
Leguna noticed immediately.
"Yes, I did, so you don't have to feel bad about it. I did it all willingly. You don't owe me anything."
Annelotte felt her face heat up. Just as she was about to say something, another voice rang out.
"I've heard that for one human to do something for another and not expect anything in return their relationship has to be either that of a parent and their child, sworn brothers, or heaven-binding love. It seems the last is yours. You've fallen in love, right kiddo?" said a rather slender orc as he approached.
His mastery of the common tongue was flawless. Leguna would believe he was a real human if he hadn't seen him. He certainly wasn't human, however; his tusks and the color of his hair alone were already enough to dispel any such misconceptions. The orc wore thick linen robes and a large beaded necklace of unknown make. His thick black hair was braided into a ponytail and hung from the back of his head. He didn't look as fair as Leguna. However, he appeared incredibly benevolent and approachable. While he had no beard, the wisdom radiating from his eyes and his dignified, baritone voice was not something a young person could possess. Leguna judged the orc in his middle age, around 30 of 40 years.
"You are Great Chief Oljharok?" asked Leguna as he bowed slightly as one would to human nobility.
Though he wore an expression of immeasurable calm, he knew how fast his heart was beating. In front of him was Oljharok the great chief of the orcs. Though he wasn't completely sure, he had a feeling that if he used Host of Darkness to 50 or 60 percent of its full power, he had a good chance of instantly killing the orc. Killing the orcs' great chief would be an achievement that would make him a hero of all humanity!
Oljharok looked at the boy and smiled faintly. "If my guess is right, you should be deliberating whether you should assassinate me now or not."
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