Edit: 12/05/2017. This chapter has not been updated for 1.5 years. ETA for editing: 18/05/2017. Please note that from this chapter forth, the quality will be worse than the previous chapters.
Ch 7 – The plan
“Well then, where exactly are we?”
Sophie started to inquire for the news that he wished to know after he flawlessly got hold of the conversation’s direction.
The experiences he had in the game was enough to treat the youths in front of him like children. He was exuding an air of confidence which affected all the people in front of him, regardless of Freya in front of him or the ones behind her. The center of the topic had shifted to Sophie without them realizing it.
Even the ones far away raised their head and turned to him.
“This place is the Forest of Red Pines. Don’t move.” The girl with the ponytail took a deep breath and trying hard to calm down and reply.
[She controlled her temper pretty quick. As expected of the Goddess of War, although she’s still naive— ]
Sophie suddenly gaped at the future Goddess of War in surprise.
“Wait, the Red Pine Forest,” Sophie repeated her words in shock. “Why are you gathered here?”
He remembered the place was called the ‘Dwarven valley’ in the game where level 14 Brown Bears nested. But it was Bucce’s southern region and the militia had no reasons to appear here.
“We came to look for you.”
“Actually we came to find Miss Romaine, she’s a friend of Captain Freya.”
“She’s also a member of the third militia squadron.”
The people behind Freya started talking at the same time.
“Have you defeated the Madara’s vanguard?” Sophie asked the most important question in his heart.
“How’s that possible!” Freya looked puzzledly at him, her expression was almost asking him why he asked such a silly question: “The town’s guards led the villagers and retreated to the north. We got separated from the rest. The monsters in the main road are getting more and more numerous, and we could only proceed to the south. Besides, I was also worried about Romaine…….”
“Therefore, everyone in your squadron came here?” Sophie’s felt his heart sank.
The girl nodded as if it was the most natural thing, her long ponytail bobbing up and down.
Then Freya suddenly felt a little strange.
[Wait, he’s not Captain Marden, why do I feel like I’m talking to someone with a higher rank!]
Sophie tapped his forehead pensively. He did not know whether to describe their actions as naive or foolish. They already had trouble surviving on their own and they still wanted to save others.
[No, maybe perhaps they could be described as being kind. But the battlefield does not need unnecessary kindness; they are only harming themselves.]
Sophie became silent, but his heart was languishing into a spiral of lamentation. He had set Brendel’s grandfather’s house on fire to warn the village, but history still repeated itself and continued to travel to its original pathways.
[There are even people here who are hopelessly foolish.]
Sophie’s original expectations were completely dashed and it left him with an empty feeling. It was a heavy blow that left him dispirited. He sighed in his mind. The things that he could change were too little. The wheels of history could not be stopped by a meager force. It was absolutely necessary that he got stronger, but before that, he had to survive.
[Captain Marden, it appears that even I am unable to save you. Why would Brumand’s black rose, the Madara, invade the borders before the fifth moon’s celebration of eternal death? Bucce would be on their highest guard after all. No, perhaps they are right to attack since they succeeded after all.]
But he only possessed the strength of an average man; he had done his best.
As he silently grumbled inwards to himself, an elated voice rang out beside him. Sophie turned his head back, and saw the merchant girl with a face full of disbelief and surprised joy appearing at the other side of the forest. There was another girl at Romaine’s side, wearing a suit of greyish white leather armor. She was the probably the person who went to notify Romaine.
Romaine dashed over like the wind to Sophie’s side and studied him carefully as if she was afraid of him suddenly disappearing.
“I knew it Brendel! I knew you would be okay!” She said before she explained urgently, as if she was afraid of him getting angry: “Oh— I’m sorry. Freya refused to let me go back to Bucce, I…..”
“It’s fine now. I’m alright.” He replied gently.
“Really.” He nodded.
“Romaine, please don’t move him. His wounds are grave.” Freya brows knitted together like they were going to touch one another. Did these two people know how grave these injuries were? He was just one step from meeting Mother Marsha!
“It’s fine.” Even though Romaine said that she stuck her tongue out and stood up.
Sophie smiled. The personality of the merchant girl was simply that way. He looked at both of the pretty girls and could not help but admired the scene.
If he did not teleport to this world, perhaps the merchant girl would have met the same fate as Brendel did. The Madara invaders were merciless.
He peered at the others.
Amongst all of them, who would survive at the very end of this battle? He clearly remembered the survivors from the militia and the guards were less than one out of ten. But he was here now and perhaps there could be a deviation in history. There were many things he did not know, but at least the people around him should be saved. These youths were the future seeds of this kingdom.
“Alright, let’s get back to the important issues. Do you know how serious the situation is right now?” The young man exhaled, trying hard not to show off painful he felt. He knew that he needed to rest desperately, but the current circumstances prevented him from doing so.
His gaze landed on everyone, and Freya and the young militia looked startled. Romaine blinked her eyes playfully.
“Huh?” Freya said.
Sophie coughed weakly. He said: “What are you going to do next? If I am not wrong, the Madara undead has taken control of the main road?”
Silence fell upon them.
“H, how did you know?” Freya looked at him in surprise.
[Of course I know, I even lived through it.]
Sophie’s mind replied. But the surprised looks made him a little pleased.
Knowing the future had advantages.
But that feeling could not cover the anxiety in his heart. Madara’s attacks in the the fourth month was swift and decisive. He needed to create a comprehensive plan to protect himself and the youths in front of him.
The enemies that Bucce faced were undead from the left wing of Madara’s army. Leading them was Incirsta, known as the infamous ‘Black Lord’ in the future. Even though he was merely a twenty-something novice now, this rising star had begun to show off his prowess at the start of this battle.
[And what do I have right now? The body of a nameless person in history, and he even died at the beginning of the war.]
The only advantage Sophie had was the knowledge of the future. He would be able to handle the series of events but he needed to make good use of the opportunities available.
He had only two choices and his mind quickly worked out the scenarios.
[The first option would be the safer route by picking the ‘Valley of Jagged Rocks’. It took the One-eyed Tarkus, Incirsta’s right hand, seventeen days to control this region.
But the distance is far away. I’m worried that we will not reach there in time to break through before the enemy surrounds the place. Unless there are horses of course, but where would I find them for these ten odd people here?
The other option left is to break through the ‘River of Daggers’ before the battle between the ‘Undead Ghosts’ led by Vesa and the ‘White Knights’ by Ivanton takes place.
Currently, there is only one necromancer leading a small skeleton army patrolling there.]
He rubbed the cold ring on his finger. With the Ring of the Wind Empress, was it not a simple task to break through the defense line comprised of eleven skeleton soldiers and one necromancer?
Still, he needed to make everyone in this militia team to obey his orders. It was also why he presented himself so forcefully from the beginning.
He took a look at everyone again.
“Anyone who had a little knowledge in military studies would be able to make a natural conclusion like that. They sealed off the main road to break communications and to pave the way for their army. The next step is to clear this region’s remaining Aouine’s forces while using Bucce as the center.”
He stressed his words heavily, paused and continued gravely: “Us.”
A heavy silenced loomed, then the light gasps of the militia army sounded out.
“And I ask you now, what are your plans?” Sophie asked wearily.
They turned and looked at each other.
There were ten skeleton soldiers defending Bucce’s main road, and they could not force their way out. Even though there was the reckless confidence from them and the enemies did not count for much, they had their reservations shown when it came to life and death battles.
Freya’s face was full of worry. She had not considered far ahead at all when she made her decisions earlier. Even though they were deemed as militia they were merely a bunch of inexperienced youths.
Although she did not say anything her helplessness was already written on her face.
Everyone’s gazes had fallen onto Sophie since a while ago. He seemed to show a demeanor exuding experience and calmness. This impression had a subtle influence on them, making them felt he was reliable during times of danger.
“Brendel?” Romaine asked worriedly.
Sophie looked back at her and gave a small smile to put her at ease.
“We need to plan for the worst outcome.” He snapped his head back at them. He planned to break their naive attitude.
This was not something he did for the first time. The newbies in his guild always held some optimistic behaviors when they went to the battlefields for the first time. But once they received a blow from a shock, they would go into disarray and quickly get annihilated by veteran teams.
There was actually not that much of a gap between players and the people before him.
The key factor was their mentality, and veteran players like him were in charge of giving inoculation shots to the newbies.
“Plan for the worst outcome?”
Just as Sophie was about to answer, there was a series of rustling from the forest. Everyone looked over there at the same time, except Freya who faced over to a set of shrubbery and said: “Jonathon?”
“It’s me, Captain Freya.”
Everyone sighed with relief, but Sophie quietly gestured at Freya with his hand, warning her to raise her alertness. Freya was a little surprised at his gesture, but immediately realized the militia training did not allow them to leave their posts without reason.
Sophie had absolute faith in Aouine’s militia training. These youths might be naive, but that not mean they would forget about the basic training rules they had done every day.
There must not be any negligence in a battlefield.
“Did something happen, Jonathon?” She asked as she placed her hand on her sword’s hilt.
“I, I’m sorry, Captain Freya, I, I got caught……”
The shrubbery was parted into two with a rustle, and there were two people who walked out. A crying young man with a pale face with his arms raised, and the necromancer that followed behind with its finger pointing towards the young man. The green flames that were dancing in its eye sockets peered at everyone.
“Hehe, I caught a bunch of rats.”
Their breaths were taken away.
“How could you…”
And the gasps of disbelief followed.