TL: Edited 07/05/2017. This chapter has been gone through the first round of checks for errors.
Romaine poked his arm at his side while Sophie was apparently engrossed in checking out his stats.
[Only 1.0 OZ in strength? Even a skeleton has 1.5 OZ worth of strength!]
He could not resist cursing this NPC’s uselessness.
All the representation units for the stats were in OZ, the simplification for the ancient word Oauth, also known as Energy Level. 1 OZ in strength would allow one to raise about 50 KG worth of weight and the punching strength will not surpass 150 KG. This was roughly the equivalent of an adult’s strength.
Even the players’ basic stats in the game were 2 OZ in Strength, Agility and Physique, while Intelligence, Will and Perception were 1.5 OZ. They were about two times the stats of a normal person, and the Overall Power Rating was 5 which meant that they would have no problems facing off against 5 normal people. (TL: Science weeps over your logic there…)
Brendel was part of Aouine’s militia force who trained for several months. Even if the players had the ‘Hero’ stats it would not be at the point where the stats are this so far apart right?
Sophie had mocked the players’ titles as ‘Heroes’ for only having the combat strength of two skeletons. But when he switched to Brendel’s point of view, he realized that the players were really the main characters molded in the hero form. It was quite ridiculous.
He fell into a state of sadness when he thought about how he was not able to even beat a skeleton.
Brendel stroked his arm but the faint green numbers still remained in his retinas. He discovered there was still a difference from this world and the world that he knew. In the game a bandage would restore 1 HP per minute, and the civilian’s 6 HP would only require six minutes to be replenished like before but it needed a few days here.
This was a bad sign.
Fortunately the method to use the skill sets were one and the same. If he thought about the ‘Basic Knowledge’ skill, it would bring up the common things regarding this world. If he thought about the ‘Military Organization’ he was able to gather information about Aouine’s army structure.
Even though there was also some slight differences, the information seemed to directly exist inside his real memories and not from a system. For example, his skills in the sword. He could clearly feel that his existing techniques were accumulated from several months of training. The form on where to strike, the position to place his body weight in, where his eyes should look at, and how to perform feints and strikes based on the enemies’ own form.
The game would display the approximate paths as to where the sword should be swung at, and automatically aided and corrected the angle. But in this world, it was sufficient if he possessed the skill sets as he was automatically able to utilize them subconsciously.
Even though the veteran gamers have their own insight to attacking, they still needed the system, so you would not be able to find these gamers to suddenly become a swordsman or martial artist. The reverse was mostly true, however. Real life fighters truly had a much easier time in the game with very few exceptions.
There were some things that had no shortcuts.
Sophie felt the sensations in his hands. The feeling that he possessed the skill sets were much more fascinating compared to the rigid feelings within the game. Everything in Brendel’s memories felt like a natural part of himself and were not just mere ‘skills’, and combined with what Sophie had learned in the past world.
Of course while he was thinking all of the above, he still reacted quickly and was alert when Romaine poked his arm. His ears shook slightly as he heard some faint noises coming outside the house.
“Brendel, you heard that?” She went behind his back and whispered.
He nodded. There were footsteps making clacking noises and there were quite a number of the noises. His heart made a loud thump as he immediately figured out that the vanguard of Madara’s huge army had arrived. He made a noiseless gesture and pulled her to escape from the back without delay.
The vanguard came earlier than expected. Right at this moment the rural areas of Grinoires were still in sleeping deeply in their sweet dreams, and no one expected the disaster which was going to rain down.
Except for these two.
The urgency from the impending countdown made him frown deeply. He brought her to the southern guest room of the corridor and shut it lightly. They made muffled coughs as the dust was everywhere. The room had not been used for a very long time but he knew the window led to the outside, and allowed him to oversee everything outside of the manor.
This manor belonged to Brendel’s grandfather, and it sat on a hilltop not far away from Bucce and was able to oversee the entire village from below. It was like a mini town with originally six families and all of them moved away, with the exception of only Romaine and her aunt who remained behind.
He walked over to the window, lightly wiped away the dust and raised the curtains.
“You actually know where these things come from right?” She withdrew her hand from his pull without trouble and asked in curiosity.
“…… This is Madara’s undead army. A war is coming.” He answered as he carefully inspected the area outside the house, taking care to hide behind the curtains.
It was indeed Madara’s vanguard. He drew a light breath as he counted three squadrons of skeleton troops in the center of the manor’s estate, a total of forty-five skeletons. A bunch of red light was dancing in the darkness. On the side were three necromancers controlling the low level undead. They were of a classic design; skeletons wearing long robes, their hands holding on to bone staffs, with green fiery eyes darting about as they inspected the low level skeleton soldiers.
The young girl gasped quietly in the dark when she saw the number of skeletons.
“Where’s aunt Jennie?” He said.
“She went to a nearby town, and will only be back a week later.” She replied.
Sophie turned his head to glance at her. He only saw a pair of gleaming eyes filled with a strange excitement.
“Are you not scared?” He blurted out.
“I don’t know,” She replied in a whisper, and raised her head: “But my heart is pounding, like it’s really excited.”
Sophie went speechless. Looks like there was quite a difference between this girl and a normal person.
[Some people are made out to be adventurers from their births, perhaps this girl is someone like that—]
He pretended that he did not hear any of it and gazed outside the window again. The necromancer had not paid attention to their building yet, and Sophie was able to continue observing them without any worries.
[There are more shadows flickering across the forest. It seems like there are even more enemies out there.]
He roughly estimated the initial force was slightly over a hundred. This was not a small number, and with such a force there must be an undead Acolyte Wizard commanding in the shadows. It was the worst news possible to him.
In the game, an undead acolyte wizard was roughly equivalent to a level 10 player. Even if it fought alone against seven or eight well trained male adults, be it militia or the army, they would not the match for it. Romaine and himself were only two and their foe even had a large army behind him.
Sophie tapped his finger on the window impatiently.
The guards from Bucce would need at least 5 minutes to reach this place. If they encountered the enemies they would have to hold on for at least this duration, with the assumption that these guards even discovered the attack in the first place.
[How can we alert them to this invasion? The best way is to set a fire. If the flames were bright enough, the smoke and light in the darkness would warn the guards. But it’s also a problem if we are going to set a fire.]
He felt a little vexed.
“Brendel? Are we going to die?” She suddenly asked.
“Uncertain.” Came his reply.
The dark room fell into a deep silence.
In this deep darkness, a ray of moonlight streamed inside from the corner of the window and created a small silver colored path.
After pondering for a few moments and just before he was about to set down the curtains down to calm down and think of a way to escape, he heard a conversation from the outside.
“Where is that body of that pitiful worm, bring him out and let me take a look. Didn’t the report stated there were only two women residing here?”
This first voice sounded like it came from a young man; his tone was cold and sharp.
The second voice sounded raspy and old as though dried firewood was cracking.
“He was merely an unfortunate fool, my master.”
Apprehension struck at Sophie’s heart and he peered outside again, quickly discovering the voices to come from under a nearby tree’s shadow. Over there, a figure wearing a broad black robe was talking to his Necromancer subordinates.
Sophie’s eyes quickly cast his eyes on his sleeves, and faintly saw a greyish-white bone insignia. This proved that he was an undead Acolyte Wizard.
His guess was not wrong.
“…… Know this, I don’t need your opinions. All you need to do is to obey my orders.” The robed wizard suddenly stopped and raised his head to the Sophie’s direction.
Sophie’s heart pulsed with dread and immediately let go of the curtains.
He still thought he was a veteran warrior with 130 levels and had completely forgot that the enemy’s Perception was many times higher than his stealth skills.
Even though he was not immediately discovered he must have raised the enemy’s suspicions.
Just as he had expected that figure outside said: “That’s enough talking. Quickly carry out my orders. I feel that there is someone alive in this house. All of you had better search this place carefully, I have a suspicion that our plans have been discovered by the people here.”
This was the end of things. If they discovered Brendel’s ‘corpse’ had disappeared they would immediately act upon it. Sophie’s mind spun quickly. His immediate thought was the kitchen’s back door, but the Grinoires’s region was mostly a farmland and there was no place to hide in the open.
There was a small forest at the bottom of the hill but there were at least a hundred meters of uncovered ground.
[What should I do?!]
“Brendel?” The girl queried him with her eyes.
“Come with me.” Sophie gritted his teeth. (TL: If you want to live! Lulz.)
[One step at a time there’s no choice to it.]
He ran and opened the door, immediately discovering a necromancer and two skeletons entering the house from the entrance. The necromancer that wore a long robe swiftly raised the bone wand when it saw Romaine and him.
But Sophie’s reaction was faster and he had no hesitation in raising in his right hand. He pointed his forefinger and aimed at the undead monster.
He prayed for the ring to work and it answered his prayers with a slight warmth; the air in front of him expanded violently with a loud bang!
It was as a hurricane had swept across the house, and caused the necromancer with the two skeletons with it and the entire front building to explode in a fury. Countless splinters and pebbles along with bone debris were hurled outside, and rained down onto the ground like countless butterflies dancing in the air.
The instant the explosion happened, five golden colored orbs flew respectively from the necromancer and skeletons’ bodies and dissolved in Sophie’s chest. Everything happened in the blink of an eye and the youth did not even realize that fact himself.
Even after the explosive wind ended, the ground was left with the evidence of a colossal aftereffect of something firing from within.
After everything fell to a silent still, Sophie showed an expression of utter shock. In the game it was 30 Wind Damage, and certainly more than enough to kill a lower rank necromancer and the skeletons, but was the effect this exaggerated?
Although there was a gaping hole in this building left behind by his grandfather, he did not think twice about it and immediately promptly turned around and ran.
“Brendel, you’re a wizard!” Romaine exclaimed behind his back.
“No, I’ll explain to you later.” He took a deep breath, pulled her and rushed down the stairs to head towards the kitchen. He needed to reach there before the enemies reacted.
“Wait, Brendel, I can’t catch up with you…..”
“Careful, we’re moving down the stairs—”
The sudden explosion had caused the skeletons to turn their heads, but they lacked the intelligence to comprehend things and only reacted to the noise. Thus they still waited at the same spot and waited for the necromancers to give the orders.
The necromancers’ green flaming pupils flared up, and they raised their bone wands with embers forming at the tips.
“Don’t use fire, you bloody fools!” The black robed wizard pushed their bone wands down and rebuked them loudly. The explosion had most likely incurred the attention of Bucce’s citizens. If there was a fire it would send a clear warning to them.
He immediately turned back and pointed at the house: “Soldiers, catch those two bastards!”
The sounds of swords flourishing echoed out as the soldiers drew out their swords together as they rushed inside.
Sophie had already dashed down to the bottom of the steps but he saw waves of skeletons rushing towards him when he raised his head. Uncountable red lights flickered in the darkness and he felt goosebumps crawling all over his skins. He was not a veteran soldier with hundred of levels any longer, and the ring on his finger was still in the recharging mode. He could only braced himself as to what would come next.
Once the skeletons caught up with him, he would most likely become minced meat from being hacked by their swords…….
[Fuck! They’re fast!] Sophie felt helpless upon seeing this situation.
His injury in his chest hurt terribly, but he still managed to reach the cellar in the basement before the skeleton soldiers caught up and closed the door behind him. Before he could even relax, multiple swords immediately stabbed into the door.
Fortunately he withdrew his hand quickly, otherwise he would have been pinned through the door.
“This is too close for comfort!” Sophie’s heart raced quickly. Although at the other end of the cellar was the exit he was looking for, he knew he needed to find a way to warn Bucce. This was the only way to save their lives, or at least the only solution he could think of.
[Fire can also be used to repel the low level undead.]
“Brendel?” The merchant girl panted heavily with her waist bent. She could not help but raise her head to look at him with different eyes. He had greatly surprised her with his decisive bravery.
“Miss Romaine, please guard the door!” Sophie quickly said. He needed to spend every second to act on his plan.
The soldiers started to break the kitchen wooden door. It was never meant to be used as a defense and very soon there were several holes in it.
“Me?”. She blinked.
“Yes, give me a little bit of time.”
“What are you going to do?” The merchant girl asked curiously.
“I’m thinking of a way to warn the people in the village. Madara is going to attack us with a full-scale army, we need to warn them.” Sophie tried hard to calm down and replied while he searched for flints.
[What was in Brendel’s memory again…..?] He clenched his fist and tried hard to recall the missing information.
“Okay, sure, I’ll do that.” Romaine immediately went over to the door to defend Sophie.
“Will you be fine?”
“Of course.” The young girl shook the masonry hammer in her hands and replied confidently: “I’ll do my best since I’ll become a great merchant in the future!”
Sophie stopped his hands and looked at her, nodding.
“You will definitely become one, Miss Romaine.”