TL: Edited Oct 29/2017.
Chapter 19 – The one who opposes
Brendel and the militia followed alongside with Bannett and his riders. They transported the food and medicine to the Guards’ camp located in the Beldor’s forest region, traveled across the mountainous forest, and finally stopped at a camp in the valley. There was an uproar in the camp when they discovered the youths of the third militia squadron approaching towards them.
They thought the entire third militia squadron had perished in the battle of that fateful night and were prepared to accept that reality, only to find that they had returned alive.
The refugees were overjoyed. Even though they were not entirely comprised of Bucce’s natives, and some of them came from either Verbin or the Green village, the heartwarming scene affected everyone. It was the first piece of good news they have for the past two days.
A good sign like this signified that the future might be favorable. Along with the food and medicine they brought back, the people who were plagued by the cold and hunger were able to eat something warm, and the injured was treated. Everyone thought that hope was not far away, and even forgot a little of the tragic battle they encountered in the afternoon.
Marden gave a command to light the campfires. The veteran soldier that survived the November War was brave and resilient, and would never submit to the Madara undead. He was not afraid of the undead forces discovering them and even said they were free to bring the battle to them as there were no cowards in Aouine.
There was simply no way to hide so many people who had no militia training. Thus he decided to make them comfortable.
Freya who had lost her relatives found herself treated like a hero. At first, Brendel was worried that she might be depressed instead, but found that it was an unnecessary worry.
“Freya, it’s all thanks to you and your militia!”
“Freya, don’t be sad. You still have us, don’t you? Everyone in the village supports you. You’re a strong girl, and everyone knows that!”
“Freya, are you alright? Come over here and let Aunt Aakash take a look at you. You need to be more careful!” A plump middle-aged woman parted the sea of people around her. She might have the quality of a having a loud voice and rough handling like a countryside villager, but her concern was genuine.
She parted Freya’s fringe and wiped her face and took a long hard look at the girl.
“Aunt Aakash, I’m fine.”
“Are you sure? Don’t hide everything in your heart, understand?”
“Really, I’m fine. Thanks, everyone.” Freya looked at everyone gathering around her. Her eyes were getting misty and interfered with her vision. They had a terrible time for the past two days. Their eyes were bloodshot and jumped at shadows, but she saw that they had genuine concern for her.
Brendel stood far away and watched this scene. A warmth spread in his heart.
The warm campfire and heartwarming affection permeated the air with the aroma from the food, seemed to have dispersed the gloomy darkness in their hearts. Even if it was just for a single moment, he could not help but feel touched by it.
It was a beautiful moment.
[The relationship between people should be what I’m looking at right now.]
Eventually, he walked up to a craggy white boulde, leaned against it and stared at the stars in the sky. They shimmered from time to time and looked like diamonds strewn across a dark purple curtain.
“Why aren’t you going over?” He suddenly spotted Romaine sitting at a higher place and asked.
She was hugging a bag that was placed on top on her legs. Her feet dangled back and forth in the air.
“They don’t like me.” She said.
“In their eyes, my aunt and I are weird people. Besides, which girl in a normal family would want to be a merchant? It’s normal that I don’t get treated well.”
Brendel retorted inside his mind.
[Woah, you actually know what’s wrong with yourself?]
He then realized that he did not have much of an impression of her aunt. She always traveled and was hardly home, and only came back once in a while to bring some strange items that Romaine might like.
Romaine might have adopted her unique personality because she was always by herself.
“Tell me about your parents. I don’t think we ever talked about them before right?” He asked.
“I have never seen them before. My aunt was already with me by the time I started to remember things. She even told me, ‘Little Romaine, remember to repay my kindness!'”
The young merchant girl giggled and gazed at the moon with bright lights.
Brendel looked vacantly at her.
“… So that’s why you want to become a merchant?”
“That’s a strange way of thinking.”
“It’s fine if you think.”
They chatted for a while before Brendel saw Freya escaping from the crowd. She had appeared to be an affable, naive and simple girl, but once she turned back into the captain of the third militia squadron, she seemed to show off a little of the future Goddess of War’s vibe.
She promised Brendel to let him see Captain Marden earlier. Although she did not know what the young man wanted, like Irene, she had started to have a blind trust in him that he was able to bring them out of this predicament.
Freya was not trying to be reliant on him, but she was curious.
On the other hand, Brendel’s plan was this:
He had brought the militia and the Bucce’s guards together by coincidence, and he knew what sort of setback Marden would have next. Now that they are at this juncture in history, he needed to create a fork on it where they successfully escaped from the Madara undead.
In Brendel’s heart, his very first thought was to keep himself safe. But he quickly shrugged that thought off. If he did that, how was he able to face Freya, Romaine, little Fenix and everyone else in the militia?
His heart was in turmoil when he saw the future Goddess of War weep in the Green village. He had experienced enough failures back in the game in the past world, and wanted to live without any more regrets.
Brendel pondered on it and decided to continue walking down a new path yet unseen in history.
Romaine naturally did not want to leave his side, and so the three of them traveled across the valley and several campfires. They finally found the old man at the end of the valley. As expected, Bannett was also there, but Brendel ignored him and looked straight at the veteran soldier.
Brendel counted the years in his mind where he had not seen Marden.
[The game’s time is 8 times faster in the VRMMORPG… It means I have not seen him for at least thirty years in the game.] (TL: 30/8 = 3.75 years in real time.)
In the game, Marden was deeply unhappy in his late life but ultimately passed away in peace. His only one consolation was not seeing Aouine’s final moment where it fell into complete ruins.
Many players had a strong relationship with him. If the players had an exceedingly high reputation, he would teach many hidden skills that included scouting, swordsmanship and moving in the shadows. Most importantly, he taught the Warrior profession’s first advanced skill: ‘The Roar of Bravery’.
The old man did not appear too differently in his memory of the game. He seemed to be slightly younger, and the resolution in his face was stronger than it was in the future.
Brendel had spent time with him and knew his character well. He was calm and fearless, but he had a fiery temper and hated people who beat around the bush. It was better for him to express himself openly to gain a better impression.
But he still had a little reservation in his heart when he spoke to Marden. What was going to happen if this person’s personality in this world was different from the game? Even though he thought Marden should have the same character in this world, he found that the things that happened to him were too surreal to be certain about anything.
Upon hearing his thoughts, Marden’s eyebrows moved, and his forehead wrinkled up. Just as Brendel had predicted, the first to object was the young vice-captain of the guards, Bannett.
“What are your reasons for saying that we will lose in the upcoming battles?”
Brendel looked quietly at Marden, and the old man spoke: “Young man, I’m grateful for your loyalty to the kingdom. But I would also like to hear your reasons as to why we would lose.”
Brendel inwardly sighed with relief. He was most worried about the temper of the old man. Once he was able to speak freely to him, he had the confidence to convince him: “I have one question, do you know the size of the Madara undead in front of us?”
The young men present in the area were silent.
Marden did not speak as well, but he signaled to Bannett, who replied: “From the looks of the afternoon battle, the ones who continued to pursue us should be the same army which engaged us. There was an additional force that joined them as I noticed a difference in their flags. They are most likely commanded separately. Unfortunately, we don’t know the exact details about the Madara forces.”
Brendel looked at him in astonishment as he did not expect him to actually possess some measure of ability. It was impressive that he was able to make this conclusion from observing the chaotic battlefield.
“It’s not strange to not know the exact details about them since you don’t understand the kingdom of Madara.” Brendel said: “This kingdom has never been unified as one in reality. It was before the Era of Runes and Swords, when a group of exiled shadow shamans became the earliest dark lords of the Madara region, which then became a paradise for pirates and undead creatures…”
“What are you talking about?”
“Listen to him, Bannett. Be patient.”
Brendel smiled, as he knew he had gotten Marden’s attention. He’s a true veteran, and regardless of his temper, he had already gotten useful information from him.
“At the same time, this kingdom had a powerful nature to conquer other lands. The dark lords warred against each other repeatedly and attacked the surrounding lands without warning. Kirrlutz, Aouine and Osor and even the Baamrin region had suffered from them.
The dark lords possessed many divisions of elite soldiers because of their frequent wars. Even though their formations are a mess, their fighting strength cannot be ignored. The two forces that you saw today are most likely very different in their formations.
I would like to hear details as to what happened in your battles, and from there, I might be able to provide information that might be of use.”
“Brendel!” Bannett stood up in anger. “You liar, how would you know about the Madara’s force, I know that you well enough, you’re—-”
He wanted to continue speaking, but Brendel’s icy glare halted him. Bretton’s words died in him, and almost could not believe how he was silenced from Brendel’s expression.
The Brendel he knew of was not so domineering and was just someone who had just a little talent to him.
“Listen closely, Bannett. I am not here to argue with you.” Brendel emphasized every word. “I don’t expect you know to know how critical it is right now, but I’ll have you take responsibility for your actions for any time lost!”
Bretton was momentarily stunned before he bristled in a fury and was ready to fight.
“Tell him what we encountered, Bannett.” Marden interrupted them. His forehead was deeply wrinkled.
PS: If anyone spots any mistake, please inform me in the comments so I can correct things.