Therefore, she shook her head. “My gut feeling tells me this human and that Tai Ya share an unusual relationship. He would work as our hostage! You say you don’t know her but have you forgotten the person who pierced her weapon through your ear? If she hadn’t shown mercy, would you be standing here today?”
“What?! That was a teenage girl?” gasped Thomas. He could not believe that this person would have shared a friendship with a human kid.
“Yep!” Athena nodded. “The Tiger Goddess of War that people talk about is named Tai Ya. It’s alright if you haven’t heard of her, she has only appeared to fight in battle once! Now, do you understand why this is important?”
“Damn…” They didn’t know how young the tiger girl was because they’d never seen her face. She had always worn a peculiar mask and no one could identify her.
Athena seemed to think this news wasn’t shocking enough for she tossed another bomb. “You might not know that this tiger girl was trained by her human master. Her fighting style is completely different from traditional tiger tribe martial arts.”
“You’re telling me that tiger girl’s martial arts skills were from that human kid?! How is that possible? Did you see him? He didn’t look like a person who could fight at all, even the wind could knock him over…”
Everyone present doubted her statements. Based on their first impression of Ye Lang, how could this boy train a ruthless fighter?
“We cannot judge someone by their looks! Also, he doesn’t have to be able to fight to teach her,” said Athena.
“I understand now but don’t you think it’s lowly for us to do commit such a sin?” Thomas nodded but had a question.
“No, this is war. It is understandable to pull tricks like that. The humans have committed worse crimes, they do this too! At most, we’ll apologize to them when the war has ended,” explained Athena casually.
Wouldn’t it be too late for an apology by then?
“Alright, then it is settled. Tell Taeya to be careful, don’t let him find out… But really, what’s wrong with the kid? How did he recognise the wrong person?” Thomas was still confused.
“I noticed this problem too. It might be because he hadn’t met the tiger girl in eight years and Taeya, being also of the tiger tribe, looked similar. I think the kid is also a very clueless person…” Athena was a keen observer, how could she have not noticed?
“I think so too, he looks a little dumb,” another girl chimed in.
“Although he looks dumb, he’s not simple-minded at all! Look at what just happened, he could predict the outcome of the battle just by glancing at our plans. No regular person would be able to give useful pointers as he did.” Athena shook her head solemnly.
“Do you think he’s pretending to be stupid? That he’s spying on us for the tiger girl?” Someone raised his suspicions, which was something many suspected too.
Athena nodded. “That’s possible too…” However, she did not continue the next part of her sentence- she wanted to say she felt like Ye Lang wasn’t lying, he was just a clueless kid.
“Then we should strengthen our defences! Guards, watch that human night and day, do not under any circumstance let him escape!” ordered Thomas.
Athena did not make any objections. She thought this was necessary too since she could not confirm if her gut feeling was right.
At this moment, Ye Lang still had no clue he was now the centre of attention, silently watched by all parties from afar. He was talking to Taeya, touring the area.
Although he was talking, he didn’t talk about himself or Tigress, merely about random topics.
Perhaps it was because Athena said she’d lost her memory and he was giving her time to recuperate; perhaps he had a feeling there was something off with Taeya hence he did not reveal too much about himself, only unimportant matters.
Instead, Ye Lang asked many questions about the local situation, about the lives of the tribes folk, the beastmen, the war…
As a person qualified enough to participate in a military meeting, Taeya was no fool either. Naturally, she did not tell him any of her secrets but instead only talked about random, everyday topics.
However, this was enough to Ye Lang. He was just here to chat!
And this was how Ye Lang started to live at the tribes lands. Taeya accompanied him every day- or you could say watched him- but he never noticed.
On the other side, a battle between the red and blue armies ensued just fifty kilometres away.
The battle unfolded just as Ye Lang had predicted. Red was now baiting blue into their trap and igniting chaos, while blue, who already knew of their plans, made changes to their strategy.
The three battalions who were supposed to rescue another group of soldiers never showed up. Instead, blue even retreated their armies from various places and attacked red at their weakest spot with the force of three battalions. Red, whose soldiers were scattered in preparation to ambush blue at another spot, could not defend themselves in time and this was how the entire army collapsed in one battle.
However, the reds were quick to respond. In a short period of time, they re-organised their forces so the blue army did not gain much of an upper hand from the previous battle either.
At this point, within the red army’s camp was a little tiger girl. Once she received news, she gasped, “What?! They knew? Looks like they have hidden talent amongst them too, they are not to be underestimated!”
“They have Athena. She’s the smartest among her generation of foxes,” replied the other individuals around her.
“Even the older generation might not be able to see through the trap. This is one of Master’s military tactics… This Athena would become the most powerful strategist among the foxes…” The little tiger girl gained a new sense of respect towards Athena. She’d met Athena previously but didn’t find her to be anything special. In fact, after a few times, she even thought the fox girl was too green to be a strategist.
“Master…” The people around the tiger girl all wanted to meet this ‘Master’ she talked about. This wasn’t the first time she mentioned him, and every time she did, her entire mood would change.