Chapter 2 – Mercenary
(TL: We are still at the princess timeline.)
Oberbeck took out an ordinary polished brass necklace with a crystal in the center. There was a word engraved on the crystal, ‘Freya’. He presented the necklace to the princess and spoke: “She wore this with her. Her name supposedly came from this, but the truth is, this was her mother’s necklace, my lady.”
“Her mother?” The princess examined the necklace without changing her expression.
“Indeed, she was the same Lord Everton’s wife, who died in that chaos seventeen years ago.”
“Then you mean to say that girl is the last of the Evertons?”
“Since Lord Oberbeck is already here, that would mean that girl had successfully escaped from danger?”
“You can indeed put it that way, but the entire process was a little bizarre.” The middle-aged man nodded at first, then suddenly raised his brow as though he had thought of something interesting.
“Actually, the main cause was still that young man.”
“He is the cause of everything again?”
“No, it’s just that young man kept doing some strangely amazing actions in the entire journey. While I put it lightly, the entire journey was filled with unpredictable danger, to the point that I cannot change the outcome. There were many people who were prepared for the very worst, but he managed to turn the dire event entirely—”
Oberbeck could not resist a cold laugh: “If I am to be direct, then compared to the worthless trash inside that fortress, this young man was the only person who made Madara suffer losses repeatedly.”
“Hmm?” The princess’s silver eyes brightened a little.
“He even got something wonderful out of this journey,” The middle-aged man frowned, in order to recall the prior events: “But let this minister temporarily hold on to this mystery a little longer as to what it is.”
“I am even more interested in listening now. This young man actually made Lord Oberbeck praise him to the skies. Time grows short for me, so please start telling me the story and who he is, Lord Oberbeck.”
He nodded and began to narrate the events that happened.
……………………………………………………………………. (TL: Time goes back to Freya.)
Freya heard Sue whistle with clarity to alert her. She had ran towards the street, and discovered there were five strangers that started to surround her. She knew that her consecutive actions were taken too far and finally forced her enemies to act.
She did not even take the time to think and dashed back to the house, pushing away Hood in the process. The people behind her immediately sped up to catch her, but Freya had already fallen back to a room and locked it and blocked it with a cupboard.
There were loud bangs that happened next against the door, and Freya thought her heart was going to jump out of her. She looked at the wooden window and gritted her teeth, covered her head with both of her hands and hurled herself against it.
Even though she had the armor plate to protect her, she broke it with enough impact to numb her arms and forehead. She rolled against the ground a few times and then crawled up. She found herself in the other side of the alley, and saw Sue coming from another path who ran towards her.
But her face was void of color, as if she saw something frightening.
“S–” Freya wanted to beckon to her but she froze.
She spotted blue lights flying across the air, moving towards the central area. It was as if the sky was filled with stars, and she was momentarily confused, but realized that they were arrows.
“Be careful!” Freya shouted as she recalled that night in Bucce, dashing towards Sue and knocked her onto the ground. She covered Sue’s body.
The torrent of arrows soon fell onto the vicinity. Countless arrows rained against the thin roof tiles, and Madara’s heavy cone-shaped arrows penetrated the buildings, and shrieks could be heard from the house.
Multiple arrows struck against Freya’s armor but they were deflected away. She thought she was going to die the next moment, and she closed her eyes in fear but she did not move at all to protect Sue.
The assault lasted approximately a minute Two volleys were unleashed before it finally ended. Freya got up and pulled Sue’s trembling arm. They looked at each other, noting each other lingering fear.
“S-S-Skeletons, outside” Sue’s breath was uneven, and she felt like her heart was going to stop any moment.
Freya’s heart grew cold. She knew that Madara’s army were already in the fortress when the arrows were fired. She never suspected that Brendel would lie to her, but she did not think it would be this fast. She realized why he wanted to choose such a specific timing now.
She dragged Sue’s arm again: “Sue, let’s go now!”
“Where?” Sue asked in confusion.
“We need to escape from here! We have to leave this area now!” Freya’s mind was swirling in anxiety. She finally understood what sort of pressure Brendel was facing at this moment. She thought about for a little and decided to take one step at a time until she met up with Brendel.
“I have to go back to the bar, my father’s still there.”
“Then I’ll go with you.”
The Ponoa’s market was in the west of Fortress Riedon and close to the Pine River, while the bar was situated in between the Ponoa’s market and the Traveler’s bridge that was situated in the north. The distance was not very far, but when Freya and Sue reached there, there was a huge burning fire in the west. The streets and the bar’s exterior were filled with people.
First it was the huge fire in the noble’s parliament, then it was the guards’ active movements. The night was filled with great unrest and everyone huddled together and whispered, asking what happened exactly.
Opinions were divided, some thought Madara’s army was already at the city gates, some thought it was caused by nobles, but no one knew Madara had already entered the city. Freya and Sue parted the crowd and discovered that the bar’s owner and the other patrons were already outside on the street. They were pointing at the raging fire in the west.
Sue immediately dashed into her father’s arms. He was slightly confused but patted her back to calm her down. The latter whispered something to him and his expression darkened. He looked at Freya and nodded to express his thanks, then faced the bunch of mercenaries behind him.
He clapped loudly to gather their attention, and someone even quipped: “What’s wrong, Leto, are you going to treat us to some beer because of this huge fireworks?”
Everyone cheered loudly in agreement.
But Leto answered gravely: “Treating you to alcohol is certainly possible, but today is not the day. Listen up gentlemen, Madara is already in the city.”
Some people did not understand what he meant and took a few seconds before the meaning sank in. Leto repeated again, and the thirty odd people was silenced
‘Are you serious?’ This question was written on everyone’s face.
“Sue told me that. She wouldn’t lie to me.” Leto said earnestly.
Freya’s brows furrowed slightly. Normally people would not discuss this in the open, because even she knew that it might cause a panic to break out. But either Leto did not consider this or he had his own plans.
[It’s more likely to be the latter…]
The crowd took some time to take in the information, and finally someone asked with some difficulty.
“What should we do?”
Everyone was thinking of the same thing. They did not flee immediately or yelled out in panic. Freya carefully observed their reactions, and understood that these regular guests had a particular relationship with the bar’s owner.
“We should take the fight to them and escape.”
“Everyone, let’s do that.”
“But how are we going to do that?”
If Madara attacked from the west, a normal person would think that the east would be the safest. But these mercenaries had fought in the battlefield and knew something about basic strategy. There was the option of doing a sudden raid on a single Aouine’s gate, or surrounding Aouine’s gates.
Especially when it came to the motive of Madara’s strategy. Were the undead here to merely kill people, to take this city, or to advance even further than this city?
This was a problem for the kingdoms in this continent. They did not understand what the undead wanted to do and what strategy they had in mind.
Everyone put in their input for a while, but no one could find a way to convince everyone. Freya waited anxiously, raising her sword up and down, then finally threw in a sentence carelessly into the fray: “I-I know of someone, who could bring everyone out—”
Her words silenced the entire crowd. They cast their gaze on her, and one of them who recognized her, whistled and said: “Isn’t this the lass from just now?”
Freya’s face blushed a little from their stares.
[Ahhh, what did I just do? … Will Brendel blame me for this?]
She suddenly realized she was afraid of that, but she calmed down and thought of Brendel’s point of view.
[He’s always trying to find additional help. If these people are gathered, then it is going to be a source of power that he can use. But how am I supposed to convince them? I can’t command these veteran mercenaries as a mere militia captain. These people put their lives on the line in the battlefield everyday… No, it’s worth a try no matter what.]
Freya recomposed herself. She grabbed her sword and put it horizontally across her chest. Her appearance looked like like she was a reserved person, and everyone looked at Leto.
“This lass saved my girl a while ago.”
“Well then, my lady, why should we trust you?” Someone from the back asked.
Freya took a deep breath.
“You can definitely trust me. Do you know why the guards wanted to catch me and my companions?”
“Because we’re Bucce’s militia and we were attacked by Madara’s undead. We escaped from Madara’s army just to inform Fortress Riedon, but the nobles’ reactions disappointed us—”
She paused for a while. “I think all of you here don’t expect these selfish nobles to save you, right?”
“Of course, they are a bunch of maggots.”
“Maggots. That is a great description, Cheers to that.”
“Cheers.” Everyone echoed that.
“Then you mean to say you have a way to avoid Madara’s detection?” Leto looked at her and asked.