TL: 31 July 2017 edited.
Chapter 13 – Brendel’s starting point.
[Should I consider skipping the Green village? No, That isn’t possible.]
Brendel knew something inside there that had a great impact on his future plans. Regardless of stockpiling for food or proving he was fit to go, he had to go into the village that might be overrun with Madara’s troops.
So he first tried to parley with words: “If I don’t go, how would you know where to start? Sneaking in and searching are not things that you could do on the first try, and you need a detailed plan and investigation before entering.”
The abilities ‘Sneak’ and ‘Search’ are the special skills of people who had put in a lot of training in the shadows, for example like the professions ‘Nightingale’ and ‘Hunter’. As a warrior, Brendel did not understand their capabilities too well, but he had partied with these players before and finished missions together. His experience alone would have triumphed over the entire militia’s experience here.
Freya still disagreed. She understood his words, but Brendel’s injuries were too grave in her eyes.
“Tell us what we should do and please leave it to us.”
Brendel was not surprised at Freya’s refusal. He broke into a wide grin with his canines showing when he knew he had to rely on his usual method of persuasion. Something that could only belong to a warrior’s wisdom.
“Lend me your sword.” He held his palm open.
“Here, Brendel.” Romaine took her sword with both hands and passed it confidently to him.
Brendel took the sword and breathed in deeply to adjust his mindset to his peak condition.
He had a feeble status because his HP was below 40%, and the poison in his body took away another 20% of his strength. He could only use 0.6 OZ worth of strength now.
The rough equivalent of a fourteen-year-old youth.
“There isn’t much time left, so to prove that I have the ability to take part in this expedition, let us use an ancient method to decide matters.” He pulled the sword from its sheath. “A conversation between fighters.”
He surveyed his surroundings. Everyone seemed to take on an expression that they had somehow misheard Brendel. Mother Marsha, Freya was the undisputed number one swords-fighter in this squadron, even Irene was defeated by her.
‘This bro over here, do you really know how badly injured you are right now?’ This question sprung up from their minds at the same time.
“Brendel, stop fooling around.” Freya was starting to get angry. She had quite the confidence in her skill in using the sword, did Brendel really think himself akin to a veteran who had survived the November war, to able to defeat her under his current condition?
Brendel did not say anything else, but took on a posture that said ‘En garde!’.
The ponytail girl nearly blew her fuse. She had thought that he should have known his limits by now, but things were not going the way how she expected them to. She clenched her fists and decided to teach Brendel a lesson.
Freya lifted her sword upwards and swung a vertical cut towards Brendel. Her basic foundations were formidable, her sword arm steady, and there was a singing sound from her blade as it slashed through the air.
Brendel reversed his blade and parried it in response. The immense feedback from his sword nearly dislocated his hand, but he immediately laid his blade vertically and slashed above Freya’s sword. The youth’s strength was certainly low, but it startled Freya as his sword had already reached for her armguard when she had not even entered regain her stance to attack again.
She could only pull back even though she was unwilling to retreat.
It was a given that she suffered a disadvantage. Brendel’s technique was very famous in the warrior’s profession, and it came from Kirrlutz’s swordplay. In the game, it was called [Kador’s counter]. It was a high skill technique, and even though Brendel could only display part of its prowess, it was more than enough to stop Freya who was currently nothing more than a fledgling in his eyes.
The price was to learn this technique was two barrels of Madara’s black wine. He had learned it from a mercenary, and it looked like the wine was worth it.
Freya backpedaled quickly in order to handle Brendel’s swift counter attacks that followed up. She tried to force him into engaging their swords together by striking horizontally at him. Her reaction was very quick, but her execution was full of openings. Brendel had already predicted her move and taken one step back to avoid it. When she saw how he evaded her attack, the long sword had already pointed towards her chest and was rapidly closing in.
Freya gritted her teeth in frustration and swung her sword with her body weight in order to defend herself in time. But to Brendel, her attack had already become something of a joke, and only swung her sword because she did not want to admit defeat. He lightly pranced backward in return, and she fell to the ground as she lost her balance from her hasty defense.
Dust flew everywhere.
“It seems that I have already convinced you.” Brendel sheathed the sword and said simply.
Freya raised her head in disbelief.
It was not only her, the entire batch of militia except Romaine, had their eyes widened in incredulity. Was that a swords style of a militia? Perhaps he would even lost against the veterans in the guards.
“There’s nothing strange about it. I’m the best swordsman in the entire 33rd batch of the Bruglas’s militia.” Brendel randomly answered: “Your turn, little Fenix. Let’s ‘talk’ about your problems.”
Little Fenix’s face turned to an ashen grey and quickly shook his head: “I-I don’t think I should go. The rest of you can go ahead.”
Brendel shook his head.
After instructing the squadron the time and place on the agreed location to meet up, Brendel, Irene, and Freya quickly moved off. Time was short, and they had to fight for every second.
The Green village was to the east of the Crystal Lake, and the distance was not very far away. When they approached further into the direction, they could see the darkening sky due to the spiraling smoke through the gaps of the thick leaves. It looked like it was a bad omen.
According to Brendel’s input, they were at the northern side of the village where Madara had recently occupied it. The state of how the village appeared to them proved that he was right. Madara’s troops had indeed swept past here, leaving charred remains everywhere.
When Freya looked at the billowing smoke from the burning remains, her final hope was dashed. Madara’s troops had advanced before them, and it seemed like it was a distant dream to even reach Fortress Riedon. She stole a glance at Brendel and wondered what this youth was currently thinking.
Brendel hid in a tree and observed the skeleton soldiers. Then he started counting the trees that were shorter than the average ones. When he counted to the twelve tree, he took a mental note of how it looked like.
In this Green village, there was a key buried under the twelfth tree in a specific location. It was a solo mission within the game which would allow him to enter a tomb.
He started to remember about some details on who dug the tomb; it seemed to be someone who was a priest? But this memory did not matter too much. What was important was this tomb belonged to a knight from the Holy Cathedral, and if reality coincided with the fantasy game, there would be great loot within it.
However, what he was really after was the sword ‘Thorn of Light’ within the tomb.
It was a rare artifact that had been infused with the ‘Holy’ attribute.
[If I get the sword, I’ll be an unstoppable undead slayer!] Although, that was only how he imagine it would be in his mind.
After confirming the location, Brendel turned back and pointed to the area outside the forest: “See that?”
“”What?”” Both of them looked puzzledly at him.
“The number of skeletons in each patrolling unit. They passed two times, and four times there. It seems that there are two squadrons from Madara in the village.” Brendel said with the insight from his abundant experience: “Twenty-two to twenty-four skeletons, two necromancers.”
“That many!” Irene was alarmed.
“That’s still not the worst outcome. The problem is how they are controlling the graveyard and the plaza. The necromancers will use a summoning spell and gain an endless supply of soldiers. This is where we need to be careful.” Brendel continued.
“They are desecrating the dead!” Freya clenched her fists in a fury.
“Indeed, but they have the power to do something like this.” He sighed, and pointed to another section of the forest: “Over there, do you see that farm? You can sneak in by using the fences and the trees’ shade. There should be a cellar in the farmhouse that probably has not been burned yet. It should not be too difficult to find, and you can hide there. When the sky turns a little darker, we can move.”
She subconsciously nodded before realizing something was wrong: “How do you know all this?”
“I stayed here for a while,” Brendel answered naturally. He did not lie. Except it was just in another world that he stayed in.
“Then what are we supposed to do after waiting?” Irene ask.
“Just wait for me there, and I’ll come find you a bit later. These monsters are concentrating their efforts to summon new skeletons, and they should not be actively seeking to find survivors. If the undead is indeed looking for survivors, you need to watch your heartbeats and breathing because they can see your life force.” Brendel instructed them in detail.
“Hold on, are you not coming with us?” Freya was keen enough not to let this fine point slip.
“I have something that I need to do on my own.”
“You-” She wanted to argue, but saw how the young man was patting his sword. It meant, ‘Do not forget you have been convinced by me.’
‘But how could that fight count for this?’ Freya wanted to argue back, but Irene pulled her arm to warn her about the incoming skeleton patrol.
“Do you trust me?” Brendel asked in a whisper.
Freya shook her head, then hesitated, and then nodded.
“Then the matter is closed. Quickly set off. Don’t worry. I’ll come back safe and sound.” He said earnestly.
Freya looked at him with her words stuck on the tip of her tongue. But she was finally led away by Irene in reluctance. Brendel watched them hide under the thick foliage and hide under the long grass, moving slowly to their destination. When they finally sneaked into the farm, he exhaled with relief.
Brendel turned back and continued to watch the patch of short trees. Tension enveloped him. This was the first time he’s taking a risk by himself in this world. It might appear to be no different back in his previous world, but there was only death waiting for him if he failed here.
He was more willing to move with Freya, but how was he going to explain he knew about the key? He could not tell them he buried it there, this terrible lie probably could not even deceive Irene, not to mention Freya who was as sharp as a needle.
After weighing all options, he decided to move alone.
“There’s nothing to this, Brendel. Just think of it as opening a new account to level up.” He rubbed his temple and cheered himself onwards.