TL: The best mercenary group name ever yet. Probably.
Chapter 28 – The end of the tale
—————– Princess POV —————
The princess with silver hair did not speak for a long time after the story ended. She supported her chin with her fingers and looked at the sunset outside the giant arched window. It was nearly night time.
“So what is the ending of this tale, Lord Oberbeck?” She asked.
“Isn’t the ending apparent enough, my lady? It ends with me finishing narrating the tale to the princess here.”
“You could put it that way, Lord Oberbeck, but you have not told me the most interesting thing.” The princess asked with interest.
“You said ‘he got something good out of it over the journey”, but I have not heard anything of that description from the beginning of the tale, Lord Oberbeck.”
“Is that right, my lady, but this old minister here recalled clearly that he had described it perfectly.” Lord Oberbeck laughed heartily as he faked surprise.
“You mean the emblem that Ebdon gave him? It’s nothing more than a magic emblem only right? I think with Lord Oberbeck’s experience in magical artifacts, you wouldn’t be interested in that.” (TL: Given that Brendel can actually decide his entire profession on this trinklet… Or how Ebdon was Madara’s top ranking vanguard, heh.)
“No, no, of course not. My lady, why not think about it a little more?”
She tapped on her chin and considered for a while.
“Then it has to be something from the Valley of the Saint. I believe there’s a portion where you gave little description as to what happened.”
“You are certainly wise, my lady.” Oberbeck praised her from the bottom of his heart. “But I did not intentionally left out anything. At that moment, I felt two powerful presence hiding nearby and I did not dare to approach any closer. I wanted to warn them of the danger, but I discovered them too late.”
“Oh? Even though Lord Oberbeck is not known for your skill in the sword, but I recall that you’re at least a Gold-ranked fighter. There was actually someone who was actually strong enough to stop you from approaching them?”
“Unfortunately so. However, it looked like they did not want anyone to discover them, and merely gave a warning to stop the two from advancing any further.” Oberbeck replied with some fear in his heart.
“Then that youth must have gotten something from there. Ah, Lord Oberbeck, you did not tell me what he saw when he opened his bag.”
Lord Oberbeck checked his surroundings and mouthed the words out. The princess’s expressions changed a little. “That thing really exists?”
Oberbeck nodded: “I have heard of this item in legends, and I was just as surprise as my lady. It is unfortunate because once the item has gone through a mortal’s hand, it would not beloing to another.”
“I see. It is a little regrettable, as it might change my brother’s personality. For a kingdom like Aouine, he is a little too soft.” She looked at him: “Otherwise Lord Oberbeck would have made an attempt to steal it, right?”
Oberbeck did not deny it. “That wouldn’t change even if he is a friend of Lord Everton’s daughter.”
“I’m afraid that their relationship might not be as simple as friends only.” The princess chuckled.
Lord Oberbeck knew that she was reminding him not to use her.
[It is true that I considered using the king’s only daughter to get to this Highland Knight. But it seems like she’s resistant to that idea. Still, she’s a daughter of the crown and has to get married someday. That youth could actually be considered as a good candidate, and he is definitely much better than the majority of the noble youths that I have seen.]
He bowed: “My lady, since the story has ended and the the day grows shorter, please allow this old minister to leave.”
“Feel free to do so, Lord Oberbeck. I would still like to sit here in peace for a while.”
He tried to stifle the smile that was forming as he looked at her. He knew that she was trying to avoid her history teacher, and he might even be complaining to the king right now.
“Avoiding the issue is not a good plan, my lady.” He tried to remind her in a small voice.
The princess smiled with a sly look in her eyes. “But it is still a plan.”
Lord Oberbeck took his leave and closed the door after saying his goodbyes—
The princess stood up and went to the window to look at the scenery outside.
[What happened after that?]
———————- Brendel’s POV —————-
There was a wind that started in the forest.
The trees swayed against the constant bursts of winds like a watter current. The seemingly unending fog started to move. The layers of fog stacked together, and it contrasted greatly with the clusters of fiery red berries.
The hooves clad in metal broke the twigs and berries on the ground as they trampled across the river which had sharp rocks jutting out from the beach. Thirty four horses galloped across the shallow water and made it splash like fireworks.
The skeletons near the area clearly felt the disturbance and they sought out for the source. When they finally discovered the disturbance, they found that there were war horses appearing right in front of them.
The Arreck war horses charged straight into the fragile bones and smashed into them, either shattering their bones immediately or knocking them back into the jagged rocks and destroying them. The cavalry created an empty path, before it slowed down: The young leader gestured to the riders and they stopped moving.
Shouts pierced through the morning’s air.
“Long live Aouine!”
“Long live Brendel!”
The mercenaries cheered loudly with their arms raised. Their collective cheers echoed throughout the valley as they combined into one.
Brendel took down his leather helmet and threw it away as he splattered water onto his forehead to wash away the perspiration. A gust of wind blew and he felt refreshed from it. He then mounted his horse and looked at the surrounding environment.
[Over. It’s finally over!]
He clenched his fist. It was a nightmarish battle when they fought against Ebdon’s army. Everyone had used up all their strength when they finally reached the Valley of the Saint.
Two thousand mere refugees managed to cut through a bloody path after being surrounded by ten of thousands of undead. It sounded like it was a daydream, but the reality was they made it happen. It was true that some of them did not make it and they wept in sadness over their cold bodies, but they managed to survive. (TL: When you think about it, it was almost always Brendel’s army > enemy size, and mostly the reason why a smaller army would win a bigger army. If you split up the undead into 50 groups, and have Brendel’s army of 500 militia/mercenaries vs 200 undead all the time…)
Almost all the mercenaries had injuries on them, but they looked at him with convinced eyes as they know who had brought them to safety.
It was almost like a miracle.
The youth had fulfilled his promise as he said that he would point a path leading to a miracle
Freya brought the militia along with her at this stage.
Her sentences were,
“Did we really win, Brendel?”
He nodded at the girl. He did not speak, but the militia behind her were silent when they saw him nod. Some of the people there dropped their weapons onto the ground as they saw their leader’s action. They almost could not believe their eyes when they realized they had escaped to safety after just one full day.
They had repeatedly broke through the enemy lines, even when the White-Mane army was unable to defeat the undead at all.
Someone from the militia yelled out loudly as if it in denial: “Lord knight, did we really win?”
Brendel nodded again.
Everyone started jumping and yelling in delight. Some of them started weeping while a few others ran backwards to inform the refugees. The cavalry tried to keep a straight face, but after a few moments they were grinning from ear to ear.
Brendel noticed Freya looking at him in a slight stare, and he asked: “What’s wrong?”
“It’s nothing. Thanks, Brendel.” Came the reply.
Brendel laughed in response. He started to look at the green forest far away from him.
[The Forest of Grand deer. That’s a nostalgic place. It’s a place that I used to pass when I traveled from Bruglas to Fortress Riedon, with quite a lot of wolverines in them. There’s a particular point of interest, an ancient castle, that I need to go at some point in the future.]
Brendel started evaluating his options.
[I have nearly gotten 5000 XP from the past battles. The Cards of Fate are something of great value as a magical item and a trump card that I can use, so I have to spend 2000 XP to attain an EP pool. Next is the Scholar and Knight professions. The sub-profession as a scholar allows for additional development on the main profession class, as well as providing higher TP.]
(TL: EP elemental points, TP – Tactical points – Required for raising skills.)
[Technique skills in this world are a rare thing, because the majority of the people here are NPCs, while a player could easily get their own innate techniques because of what their profession class brings along. In this case, I also know missions that provide techniques as well, so I should put them in my schedule so that I have an advantage over the people here. Considering the path ahead of me if I want to become a paladin, I need to establish a good relationship with the Holy Cathedral of Fire.]
Brendel then thought about the overall journey.
[I merely completed a quest to ‘rescue the refugees’. The Tarkus in history had combined multiple undead units and conquered many Aouine cities before they pulled out which led to the prologue of Aouine’s demise. I used to laugh at Aouine’s weak leadership, but until I led this group of NPCs, I finally realized that war isn’t so simple.]
He shook his head.
[A gamer looking at Aouine’s history with a pair of gamer’s eyes. That’s wrong. When you throw this situation to the royal king or the Regent Princess later on, they will most likely be helpless in this situation. I can’t imagine how it feels like to watch their kingdom crumble bit by bit over the decades… In any case, we have already reached the north side of the River of Sharp Rocks.]
Once they defeated the squadron here, they had swept Medes’s last line of troops that surrounded the region.
Suddenly he felt someone patting his back. When he turned around, he saw Leto and the other mercenaries, along with the remnants of the White-Mane army gathered together.
“My lord, what are your plans.” The first to speak was Batum who appeared like a coarse city dweller in Brendel’s eyes. His orange-red beard was especially striking.
“We have discussed amongst ourselves, we would follow you if you wish to keep us by your side.” Mano answered in a straightforward manner.
The mercenaries found out that they were more keen to work for the youth after experiencing the past few days compared to working for others.
Brendel was confused for a moment before realizing they were asking to be his retainers, but he was not a real noble and his identity was merely upheld by Ciel. He thought for a while before replying.
“It’s not suitable for you to follow me at the moment.”
Everyone was taken aback, but Leto understood there was something else in his words. “Then what are your plans, my lord.”
But Brendel returned the question to him. “What exactly do you plan to do if I can’t accept you?”
They looked at each other, but it was Gaspard from the Fortress Riedon’s public policing forces that answered. “We intend to form a mercenary group, if my lord has other thoughts. We fought together so we can trust each other.”
“Aren’t you interested in continuing your post as a captain?”
Gaspard laughed. “No, I already gave my thoughts about this, and my men are also willing to walk this road.”
“What about you and your men?” Brendel turned to Taron and the rest of the White-Mane army.
“Besides us, there are also a few men from the refugees who are interested in joining us. However, a few of the mercenaries and the White-Mane soldiers have their own plans. The rest amongst the refugees are farmers and city dwellers.” Batum was the one who replied.
Brendel took another glance at him. Batum did not appear to be a simple mercenary to be able to analyze the refugees’ composition.
“Taron?” Brendel was interested in the White-Mane’s sub-officer as he was one of the kingdom’s veterans. Taron closed his eyes and thought for a while before answering in a solemn voice.
“I wish to follow you, lord knight. If you disagree, I can only return to the White-Mane Army.”
“You’re disappointed?” Brendel was surprised after listening to the tone in his voice.
“Alright, let’s establish a mercenary group first and… the group’s name shall be ‘The Amber Sword’.”
Leto asked gingerly. “What does my lord mean?”
“Ahh, also, try and get some of the artisans from the refugees to go with you. Of course, you can’t force them if they don’t want to. On the other hand, I need Batum to come along with me for the next task that I’m about to do.”
He turned back to Taron. “If you really wish to stay behind, then go along with Mister Leto. I’m not sure what I can do for your men, but I will let you know very soon.”
Taron slowly nodded.
“Where are you going next, my lord?” Gaspard asked.
“I’m heading to Ankries. Someone’s waiting for me there, then I’m going off to Bruglas. If everything goes well, I believe I can inherit a land very soon. At that point we can discuss again.” Brendel replied confidently.
Everyone looked at each other again. There were many noble youths, but knights who inherited lands were very few. It appeared like he was a Highland Knight from the legends, and they thought they had chosen the right decision to follow him.
Brendel looked beyond at the horizon as he started to form his plans clearly in his mind.