TL: Edited 2 Jan 2018. If there are any further mistakes you spotted, please leave a comment.
Chapter 33 – Before the assault
Brendel looked at the steep slope which was shaped like a knife. He then turned to Romaine and got her to wear the Ring of Spiderweb. He realized that her perception was surprisingly high, and letting her wear it would increase her ability.
Romaine had spied on the beautiful ring with black and white patterns for a long time and was naturally happy to receive it. But she still asked curiously: “Is this a magic ring too, Brendel?”
“Yes. It allows you to hear better. So pay attention and if there are any commotions, inform Freya. I’ll be back very soon.”
In this valley, there was another monster besides the Golden Demonic Tree that was of considerable danger, a Rock Wurm. It was a rare elite that appeared because of the side effects of the Mana imbalance. During the first time it appeared in the game, Brendel nearly ended up being defeated by it.
“There are other enemies?” Both girls spoke at the same time.
“There might be; doesn’t it pay to be careful?” He did not want to act like a clairvoyant as it was not going to be easy to explain things in the future if he chose that path, so he chose to reply in a vague manner.
But Freya nodded understandingly and tightened her grip on the longsword to guard Romaine.
“I’ll protect her in the meantime, but come back quickly.”
“Erm?” He looked at her in surprise.
[When did this silly girl become so cooperative?]
He was a little flustered, but it did not look like a conspiracy, so he put down his backpack hesitatingly and took out a rope and hook from it. He looked at the girls again before he carefully climbed.
“Freya, is Brendel going to be alright alone?” Romaine whispered and asked.
“He has his own plans and we can’t help him with it. It will be enough if we don’t let him worry over here.”
Freya she shook her head and her ponytail swayed. Her bright eyes showed a serious expression. She was not admitting defeat to him but felt that her current strength could only do so much. She had reflected on herself earnestly, and she had to have high expectations of herself as a leader of a squadron.
She exhaled slowly and brought her sword close to her chest, becoming determined.
On the other side, Brendel advanced on the steep slope by using the rope and hook. He was still tens of meters away from a certain gap in the wall. He breathed in deeply and glanced behind his back. It was fortunate the Golden Demonic Tree and its guards relied on sound and mana to find their targets. He was completely open from his position.
He grabbed onto a protruding rock, and sand trickled from the surface. The tiny sound did not count for much, but he was worried that it might escalate into something bigger, and tried to limit his actions as quietly as possible.
[30 meters more. it will soon be over.]
There was no soul gem that dropped along the way, but Brendel knew he still had one more chance. There was a treasure in the gap— no, claiming it as a treasure was sort of wrong. Players would call all resources and rewards from hidden places as treasure, but the treasure was a memento.
In the plot within the game, there was a young noble who loved to adventure called Bergens. He came to this valley with his allies but was unfortunately separated from them. Although he managed to escape to a gap within the walls, he died there due to his injuries.
There were some possessions along with a keepsake on him. Brendel could bring the keepsake to Bruglas to complete the mission and though the reward was not promising, it was better than nothing.
But the possessions that the noble had were more interesting. Since the game gave out random treasures, there was the possibility where anything could be given out as long as the person’s luck was good.
The greatest treasure that Brendel got was an Amber Gemstone, but he knew that he was not a lucky person and it was unlikely to get it here.
[A Soul Gem would be good enough since the drop percentage is high….. Seriously, what am I thinking about, this is not the game.]
He quickly climbed into the gap and immediately saw the unfortunate noble’s skeleton which was collapsed to one side. For one moment, he thought he had gone back into the game, because every detail appeared to be the same.
He quickly composed himself and carefully went over to the skeleton, and his eyes fell onto a small bag. He was stunned for a moment as he noticed a piece of dry and dusty lambskin paper inside it.
[There was nothing like this in the game!]
He picked up the paper lightly and discovered that it was a will. There were only a few lines on it:
“Mother Marsha above, I might not be in this world for much longer. If I am to meet an unfortunate end and the one who chanced upon my will, I hereby legally transfer all my possessions on my body to you. Furthermore, I have a secret wealth passed down from my ancestors and would award a third to you. Please pass a third to my wife, Sadie, and a third to my daughter…… (unintelligible).
If you are interested in this wealth, please pass my will and my keepsake to my wife, and tell her ‘The date on the Barde ball’ and she will understand what I wish to convey.
Finally, I am sorry, Sadie. May Mother Marsha punish me.”
Brendel read everything and looked blankly at the paper. He had never seen this piece of paper. The only mission to this was taking the seal ring off his fingers and pass it to Bruglas’s citizen registry and he would receive a certain amount of money. The mission would end there and there was no further continuation.
[What does this mean? Is it because this world is different from the game?]
Brendel shook his head. He instinctively refused to believe that judgment. Everything had matched to his memories to every last detail, and there was no reason why there was an exception here. He pondered on it for a while.
[What could be the reason? Wait— Of course! It might be possible that the first person who discovered this will receive a unique mission. There are many ‘first’ missions and ‘only’ missions. But has such a thing ever happen in repeatable dungeons? Nobody had mentioned this before, although…..]
He continued to hesitate for a long time, finally taking the will and seal ring carefully away, tying them to his belt He somehow felt that this mission sounded familiar.
Someone completed a mission with a similar ring to it and posted it to the forums, but the daughter’s name and the address of the family were completely blurred out in his mind. It was probably this event. This mission would be much simpler if he was able to recall the details.
Brendel did not really mind this point. The harder it was, the better the rewards were. At the very worst he would start from Bruglas’s citizen registry, since he had the clue of the noble’s name as well as his wife. But that was going to be a future thing, as he had to face his own problems now.
He inspected his victory loot next.
[A pretty good windfall. Two red gems, around 30 silver coins, a smoking pipe, a glass bead and a grey stone fragment.]
Brendel poured everything out and carefully inspected them once again, and he was disappointed that he did not discover any Soul Gems. He sighed.
It was a decent reward if it was in the game, but he did not need money or materials. Items with an immediate impact were things that were most important as he needed to increase his strength. But even though it was disappointing, he still swept everything into his bag. He did not check what was of use as they were just trinkets.
After cleaning out the loot from the gap, he took a final look at the skeleton before returning where he came from. Everything turned out smoothly, and the girls were relieved when they saw him returning to the wall’s opening.
“Brendel, you’re finally back. When you were not around, Freya and I were so tense. There was no sound at all in the surroundings.” Romaine patted her chest and exhaled with relief.
“Don’t pull me into this-” Freya’s face turned crimson. “I simply went out there to check the surroundings. There’s a patrolling team out there and we should quickly kill them.”
“Do we need to go out?” Romaine asked
“Well, there’s the option where we can also wait here. When it is a little later, we can leave from the other end of the exit. Although we can avoid a fight, the remaining time will be tight.” Brendel said.
“How long should we wait if that’s the case?” Freya asked.
“We will set out two hours later.”
The girl paused for a while. “How far is Fortress Riedon from here?”
The furthest she had left from home was Verbin. Even though she had heard of Fortress Riedon from the adults’ lips, it was nothing more than an impression.
“Let me put it this way, if we are going to delay for two hours, we will be racing against the undead army.” He looked at Romaine: “We might be able to reach the fortress a little earlier, but there would be little time left to warn them.”
“We will save time if we destroy that Demonic Tree?”
“There’s a hidden passageway behind that monster, and it’s used by merchants in the past to avoid the checkpoints. I have seen it in the Bruglas’s city documents when I was still a militia.” He lied without skipping a heartbeat.
Though there was no falsehood about the passageway since it was knowledge from the game.
“Is the tree dangerous?” He pointed towards it.
“Incredibly dangerous. It’s 50/50.” Brendel answered gravely. Even though he wanted to gamble and finish off the Golden Demonic Tree, he had to tell the girls the truth about the risk they are taking.
In a party, everyone had to make a choice about their lives, no one could force another. The basic rules in The Amber Sword.
Freya went silent.
“Romaine, are you fine with it?”
Romaine shook her head: “I liked adventuring. My life was meant to do meaningful things.”
Freya took back her gaze on her and nodded: “I understand. Brendel, please bring us to defeat it. Even if we are to fail, I will not regret it.”
He did not expect Freya’s reaction to be so strong.
He grinned and said: “There’s no need to be so polite. I’ll tell you how to defeat it. But we need to settle the patrol team first. Six Demonic Trees, I believe you’re already familiar with them, but we need to end it in an instant this time.”
He brought them to the wall opening’s edge. They could see the monsters clearly. He circled an area: “We will sneak over there and launch an attack on my count. We need to be slow when we sneak up on them, and it’s absolutely important that we don’t let them discover us.”
He paused for a moment to calculate the remaining time and continued:
“We still have at least half an hour for a comfortable gain, so we don’t need to hurry. Romaine and I will attack from the right, while you are to hide below that boulder on that left side. When we launch an attack, you will attack the two that are at the very back. Do you remember their weaknesses?”
Brendel wanted Romaine on his side to protect her, as well as easing Freya’s pressure. That merchant girl did not have any true combat strength.
The Demonic Trees’ weaknesses were at their four limbs because their sensory organs were on them. If they lost their limbs they were not a threat.
But she was a little tense.
The way how they handled these trees from before were schemes based on surprise attacks, like falling boulders or waiting till they could jump on them, but it was a frontal assault now.
She was not worried about Brendel’s capabilities, but was she able to do so?
Freya was uncertain of herself.
He glanced at her and knew what she was thinking. Every newbie had the same problem, and even though Freya should be considered an ‘NPC’, but she was probably no different. He thought for a while, and spoke encouragingly: “You don’t need to worry too much, your armor limits their attacks a lot and you should attack them aggressively.”