TL: Edited 31 July 2017
Chapter 17 – The Goddess of War
The flames continued to rage around them, the golden-red light illuminating every one of their faces till their edges of their faces were contrasted darkly.
Brendel raised his head and carefully regarded the young vice-captain riding on the horse. Brendel saw that he was equally serious: He pursed his lips and glared silently at him as if to make him submit.
But regardless of who had control of this body, Brendel or Sophie, they would not be affected by him.
“I’m a militia from Anchorite, may I ask Ser vice-captain from Bucce this: when did the guards from Bucce able to command the allied troops from another region? May I ask Ser vice-captain where your appointment order is?”
The riders behind Bannett immediately stopped whispering when they heard Brendel speak. Brendel fought for Aouine in the game for years. His grasp of the kingdom’s laws was beyond any of the young guards here.
The young vice captain thought for a long time and stubbornly replied: “Special times calls for special needs.”
Brendel knew Bannett would not put down his pride and back off. Still, he did not want to waste any more time on this, and would not have bothered to trouble himself from the childish fights unless Bannett sought to seek it first.
“I’m looking for Freya and Irene. Did any of you see them?” He asked.
This was Brendel’s most concerned question. The flames seemed to have been lit by the young guards, but he considered the possibility where the future Goddess of War was also burned to death. That would have been a grave sin on Bannett’s part.
[Just a mere thought, cough.]
But Brendel’s carefree attitude looked like arrogance in Bannett’s eyes. He truly did not know why Brendel was so proud of himself when he did not amount to anything at this moment. He resisted the loathing in his heart and asked: “Freya? From the third militia? What is she doing with you?”
Brendel could see that the vice captain was fond of Freya, but his hostile attitude annoyed him. He had tried to provoke him many times.
“Vice-captain Bannett, it’s my freedom to be with whom. As for the reason why I’m here, I’m afraid it is the same as yours. Please don’t think I don’t know what kind of plight you are in right now.” He replied sarcastically.
“You bastard, you dare to show your insolence in front of us!” One of the youths behind Bannett angrily rebuked him: “You’re only a mere militia and in front of you is the vice captain of the guards, correct your attitude now!”
Brendel paused a moment and started to study him carefully.
And as if they wanted to show off to him, they neatly formed into their formation as if to intimidate him. He looked at the fifteen young men who stood tall; there appeared sharp with their uniforms, drawn weapons, and shining armors. They certainly looked impressive.
Brendel knew their pride came from being the best in their cities or the Grinoires’s region, and had undergone strict selection and rigorous training. They were close enough to be considered as ‘Tier 1 Power’.
The Holy Cathedral of Fire had decreed a rule that the average Overall Power Rating of a person between 3 OZ to 20 OZ be ranked as a Tier 1 Power. This included the entire White-ranked swordsman, wizard apprentices and low ranking Elementalists, and other various professions.
The Holy Cathedral of Fire used Amber Stones to test for each person’s purity in their stats. Brendel had seen this item in the game before, but they were mainly used for NPCs. The players were able to see their own data in the character window, and thus they did not need to be tested.
He once read an information book about the game, and knew that sixty percent of the entire Vaunte continent was of the ‘Grade 1 rank’. This was because the humans’ average lifespan was over one hundred and sixty years and they had the time to grow stronger, but once the range was limited to the age of seventeen to nineteen, the ratio would be lower than twenty percent.
In Aouine, other than the wizard academy, the church and the reserve knights, the majority of the youths in this twenty percent were in the guards. (TL: Level 1-20 = White rank. Some other ranked codes from the later chapters.)
It was true that these young men were able to hold their heads high up amongst the militia rabble, but Brendel was a person from another world with freedom, and never had the thought of lowering his head.
A modern person’s perspective who recognized himself as the biggest authority after the divine.
Therefore he glared coldly at the rider who castigated him and quietly evaluated his strength. Even though the opponents were strong, he did not think that his stats were any less than them after having the Thorn of Light and the Ring of the Wind Empress.
With his experience as a level 130 warrior, anyone who challenged him would definitely be laid to waste. At best they could rush up and overwhelm him, but he guessed that Bannett would not want to do something as shameless as that.
What surprised him was the vice captain stopping his own men by raising his arm, and he asked gravely: “How did you know what we came here to do? What else do you know? Who told you this?”
Brendel obviously knew because of his knowledge in the game. He might not know every detail, but once he thought about how history was going to progress, he could guess the events that happened. He knew that they were here not because they wanted to launch a counter attack but for a different reason.
Once he rearranged the thoughts in his mind, and thought of how the Bucce guards were going to break the siege to reach Fortress Riedon, everything could be explained.
The events were similar; what happened now seemed to mirror the history in the game. The Madara undead was supposed to lock down the Beldor’s forest successfully today, and in the morning or afternoon, the fleeing refugees and the Bucce guards were attacked by the Madara’s army. They were incredibly close to Fortress Riedon, and they almost succeeded in reaching there, but Kebias’s skeleton army made their efforts futile and they were stuck here.
Even now, Fortress Riedon had not noticed the east was being invaded by Madara.
This was not a coincidence, nor was it because luck did not stand on Bucce’s side. It was because they faced the left wing of Incirsta’s army who was terrifying and effective for the very first time. It was simply impossible for the Bucce guards to match the infamous undead general when they brought along the weak and old.
Furthermore, they had encountered Rothko’s necromancer army earlier who slowed them down. These two points had caused them to fail and turned today into a tragedy.
When Brendel realized this, he took a longer look at the young riders and found their uniform was not as clean as it looked. A few had their armor scratched and dents. Their eyes appeared listless under their angry expressions. He guessed that this was the day when Marden experienced defeat. What they required now was food and medicine from this village, to assure the survivors’ hearts and prepare for the next attempt to escape the siege.
But Brendel was certain that Marden was not going to expect failure a second and third time shortly after today. He had only a day and a half before the ‘One-eyed’ Tarkus’s main force arrived, and today’s tragedy would repeat again.
In the end, Marden was fortunate to escape at the very end with his life, but he lost all glory that belonged to him as a soldier.
Brendel shook his head when he thought of this and did not have any mood left to argue. Still, he was not one to answer kindly to an aggressor, and replied in an ill-disposed manner: “Is there really any need to ask? Isn’t everything is written on your face when you dramatically marched into this village?”
“You bastard-” The young man behind Bannett angrily replied. His veins jutted out from his temples, and if it was not for Bannett stopping him, he would have pulled out his sword and fight Brendel.
“You’re completely right. But since you are unwilling to take up the responsibilities of a militia, then stand aside.” The young vice-captain said: “Please don’t block our way.”
“Wait,” Brendel’s temper flared a little. The idiot tried to incite him to a fight? He stood in the middle of their path and asked solemnly: “Are the villagers with you right now?”
“It’s none of your concern.”
“How many are injured?”
Bannett’s face turned darker: “It’s none of your concern.”
“It has every bit of my concern. These are my friends and families. Freya, Little Fenris, Irene, and Mackie. Their family members are also amongst the villagers. Everyone in the militia is fighting to protect Bucce, and what are you guards fighting for?” Brendel replied. “Listen well, I am not picking a fight with you, but I want to have an answer.”
His steady voice made everyone in the squadron silent. Their angry mutterings also ceased.
“Move aside, Brendel,” Bannett said with an ugly face.
Brendel’s heart sank. He had a bad feeling.
He shook his head: “Bring me to captain Marden. I can bring you out of this dire situation, but before all that you must tell me, did something happen to the family members of the third militia squadron?”
Bannett’s face completely fell.
“You? Lead us out?” The young vice-captain seemed to have squeezed the words out from his teeth. When he finished, he turned his head around and gestured at his own members, indicating them to move out from the other side.
He did not even want to waste his breath on Brendel anymore. He even regretted that he spoke to him earlier. He thought about the battle in the afternoon and felt that it was the biggest nightmare in his entire life. He even suspected that it would continue to haunt him his whole life.
Brendel stood at one side as he watched them leave silently. His mind considered at the various possibilities, but there was only one possibility that made sense. He could not help but call after him: “Bannett.”
The captain immediately stopped.
“Was it Freya’s family?”
Bannett’s body went rigid. He hesitated for a while and nodded.
“What happened exactly?”
“When you find Freya, help me tell her this.”
Bannett sighed: “If you find her, tell her that I’m sorry. During this afternoon’s battle, Uncle Cecil and her aunt were, unfortunately…”
Before he finished speaking, he heard a clanking noise behind him.
Everyone was startled and they looked back, only to find Freya with a pale face full of disbelief and her sword had dropped from her hand.
The youth Irene who followed after the future Goddess of war looked helpless.
“Freya!” Brendel was shocked at her appearance. He already knew what Bannett was going to say.
“How’s that possible, my aunt wouldn’t……..”
Freya’s voice suddenly broke into sobbing, and tears started pouring from her eyes.
There was a weak spot in everyone’s heart.
Brendel looked at Freya who had always been acting strong, kneel onto the ground. She cried in sorrow, and she appeared so weak that she looked like a small injured animal. This familiar scene had happened many times before in his memories and his throat felt parched. He wanted to say something comforting, but there were no words that came from his lips.
He could only watch over her quietly. He suddenly realized something.
[Did this cruel war baptize this simple, innocent and kind-hearted girl into a future Goddess of War?]
History was repeating itself.