Ch 40 – The war in summer
After the dust settled, Brendel immediately saw the palm-sized card on the ground. He picked it up; there was a tree painted on the face of the card. It was depicted as a majestic tree where a mysterious sheen extending from the body of the tree towards the crown. On the upper left of the card there was a VII written on it, but there was no crystal representing any of the elements.
Brendel looked puzzledly at it, but he immediately called up the character window and scanned it.
The depiction on the cards changed an overlay:
The secret grounds of the Holy Tree
(The Forbidden Sanctuary of the Elves VII)
Adds 1 Water EP every week into the Elemental Pool.
Tapping: Creates the landscape of a forest.
‘My soul returnth upon to my homeland’
“This card is called ‘The Forbidden Sanctuary of the Elves’?” Brendel looked pensively at the card. There was no description to activate the card.
[Does it mean that keeping this card in the deck will automatically generate 1 point of water EP? But what if I don’t have an Elemental Pool? Even ‘tapping the card to create a forest’ needs some analyzing. But now is not the time to try experiments here. Although the servants of the Golden Demonic Tree are going to scatter and wither, the Rock Wurm will absorb the remnants of the Earth Element and mana. After which, it might pick a fight with us.]
He kept the card away and thought about the Mana Resonation earlier.
[There should be another card from the Knight Deck nearby. Unfortunately that resonation is caused naturally and cannot be repeated manually, otherwise I might be able to search the area using this method.]
He called out to Freya and Romaine to gather some of the tree’s acorns. Mature acorns could be used to make high grade Mana potions which were highly prized in the game. Unfortunately there were only a few of them there were mature, and there was no chance of getting an endless supply of the mana potions.
He walked over to another location and pulled apart the leaves, discovering a pair of defensive gauntlets. They added 2 bonus defense points but there was a requirement of 2.5 OZ strength. They felt weighty in his hands, and he let Freya test it out as he hoped that she would be able to withstand more attacks. However, once she received the gloves, both her arms were pulled down by the weight. She returned the gauntlets with regret.
“That’s a shame,” Brendel shook his head: “If you’re able to wear this along with the Half Plate of the Wind Empress, any swordsman below the Iron Grade will not be able to harm you.”
“What’s there to be sorry about, even the majority of the people in the guards are not capable of wearing them.” Brendel said as he wore them himself. Freya noted the details in his words, and was slightly taken aback. Did it not mean that he was amongst the top fighters in the guards?
In truth, Brendel completely surpassed Bretton or any of his subordinates.
The three of them continued to search the tree’s crown. Romaine found a short sword that added 0.1 OZ to agility, Freya found an expensive 22 OZ magic ring that required 1 MP to cast a layer of flames on an equipped sword.
The rest of the items were mostly junk that lost its mana long ago. Brendel cut away the bark to find the Heart of the Golden Tree. He was disappointed to find that it was still in a crystal form, compared to what he had received in the game as there was a difference of three years. He became alert when he discovered this factor and he could not use the knowledge from the future to look at the things that were in the present.
[This world is the real deal. History is going to progress slowly here.]
When he took out the ‘Heart of the Golden Tree’, he felt a slight breeze coming from the Golden Demonic Tree. He raised his head and saw eight golden colored lights flying from the tree to his chest.
Brendel was momentarily stunned. Even though the XP gain was not a lot, he still felt a grave impact every time he received the experience points. There was a system that existed in this world which made him grow stronger every single time, and he clearly felt the difference when he leveled up.
He was still reveling in his monologues when he saw Romaine running over, carefully holding something in both her hands like she was going to present a gift. All the equipment they found were identified by Brendel, who quickly discerned the history and identity of the item with just a single glance. It was also why Brendel became a walking encyclopedia in Romaine’s heart.
“Brendel, you’re looking for this right?” She held up the card with both her hands and asked carefully.
He looked at the card in her hand. The patterns on the card were gray in color, and the painting on it depicted a tall knight with a squire by his side wearing a long robe. The color of the card was the same as his ‘Holy Sword’ card. He immediately recognized it as the card that resonated, and when he received it —
Water EP 1
[Human/Scholar, Grade 8 Living creature]
When Highland Squire comes into play, add 1 point of prestige every week.
Maintenance: When this card comes into play, pay 1 Water EP/day.
‘The bravery of the Highlands’
[This is a summoning card. This Highland squire is a scholar, and the description probably means that it was an apprentice squire from the Karsuk’s Highlands. The alliance between the Karsuk’s wizards and knights had existed for more than two centuries. Grade 8 scholar… It’s not amazing, but using it at the right timing would be a great help.]
He looked at Romaine who was looking at him with great expectations, and smiled: “Thank you, this is really useful to me.”
“No problem.” She said happily.
At this time Freya came running from the north and worriedly said: “Brendel, Romaine, I think the Rock Wurm is coming from the north, should we avoid it?”
“The Rock Wurm?” Brendel considered for a moment. He had originally planned for them to take a rest for a while, but he did not expect it to move so quickly. Even though it might not attack them, it was better to choose a safe approach.
He nodded: “The two of you should leave first. I’ll arrange something to prevent that thing from chasing us.”
The Rock Wurm relied on its ability to smell mana and vibration to determine the location of its pray, therefore scattering mana objects would be able to draw its attention away. Brendel waited for the girls to leave before taking out a Holy Potion and piercing a small through it with his sword. He placed the potion at one of the crevice in a boulder, then checked his surroundings. He confirmed that he did not miss anything and retreated alone to the west.
He considered the possibility of Madara sending a small squadron to investigate the Mana Resonance. By that point of time, the Rock Wurm which would stay here will teach a lesson to these skeletons and avenge Bretton and the other guards.
The sixth month of the Year of bustling summer leaves and flowers. Events progressed without diverting from its course as according to Brendel’s knowledge.
The secret emissary reached the Winter Claw Fortress. The Sixth King of Aouine accepted Marquis Kluge’s suggestion not to receive the emissary, and thus the War of the Black Rose quickly went into its second phase.
On the battlefield, the Karsuk province formally faced Madara’s twin armies, ‘Winter Solstice’, ‘Black Crow’. They gravely threatened the province, and Duke Orkin and the messenger who sent out his letter, wept and stated the morale of the soldiers were going to collapse if they don’t receive any aid soon.
At the same time, at Karlman’s mountain regions further to the north which was close to the sea channels, a group of undead army advanced secretly in light armor.
And the province in southern Grinoires, Fortress Vermiere was facing repeated attacks from Incirsta’s grand army. The region in Bucce was in a bizarre silence. A commanding officer, Earl Pola, once sent a letter of inquiry to the 104th swordsman platoon in Fortress Riedon, but the final reply was:
“Everything is fine.”
It was the first day of the sixth month. Brendel and the girls proceeded through the secret passageway in the Forbidden Garden. They rushed towards Fortress Riedon, racing against time. They already discovered signs of undead activity, but the scale was small, and it appeared that undead scouts were nearby Fortress Riedon.
This made the small party tense. They were ahead of Madara’s forces by a step, but they did not know how far ahead they were.
And on the midnight of this day, Brendel led them out of the final section of Mountain Zevail’s pathway. They found themselves out of the forest, southern of Fortress Riedon in a place called Vendeck. It was a small mountain that oversaw the Pine River and Webster River. The lights from Fortress Riedon made it appear like it was a dazzling jewel, quietly lying on several miles of the mountain valleys, illuminating the stretch of rivers.
The girls lost their breaths when they saw this scenery. They had constantly imagined how Fortress Riedon looked like, but they did not expect the place to look like the night sky in the darkness.
But Romaine suddenly poked Brendel’s back and whispered:
“Brendel, there’s an army behind us.”
“Yes, look to the north. We just passed the valley this afternoon, can you see it?”
“That’s ten kilometers away, and it’s so dark, how can you see that place clearly? My noble lady, please don’t joke at this time!” He sighed in a exaggerated manner.
“But I can see it.”
“Brendel, Romaine might be telling the truth.” Freya interjected.
[…… Of course I know she’s probably right, I already seen her perception first-hand. I’m just joking to ease the tension. You’re going to become old quickly if you’re always so serious, Miss Future Goddess of War…..]