TL: There are a number of reasons why I haven’t been updating my series as much. TAS is actually getting harder to write because it’s more descriptive and more confusing recently, that’s one. I’m now spending five hours and upwards for one chapter just for the first draft (which you’re getting right now).
Another reason is because of that undisclosed thing I mentioned earlier, and it kind of affects my IRL plans for the future. It’s serious enough for me to actually disclose Brendel’s name in advance, and I’ll say that 2017 might be a really strange year and I hope it won’t affect TAS.
The third reason is because I have been playing games, duh. School’s over, I received my cert, it’s like how long should I play my backlog of video games before I seek a job (lol). Here’s the review of Tale Of Wuxia, or if you don’t want to read it, you can go ahead and read TAS instead.
Chapter 69 – Mountain winds
“I did not expect my lord to have such impressive skills.”
Amandina praised as she walked across the hall. The only time she had the chance to see Brendel in action was during the time in the auction site in Bruglas. However, she was busy pulling Romaine to safety and did not witness Brendel’s skill in action.
Three different sets of footsteps resounded throughout the stony walls of the inn’s corridor, echoing towards the dim exit. The owner had carved out windows from the wall’s section, allowing the ambient lighting to cast a soft glow on the dark floors.
“Yes, but Brendel has always been impressive.” Romaine added with flushed pride. Her beaming smile allowed her eyes to narrow in a bewitching manner, and she turned back to look at Brendel. He flinched as he became wary of her brewing strange thoughts in her head again.
This worry was not misplaced. Romaine first impersonated a regional noble to investigate the market, then enlisted a pair of thieving brothers to scribe a map to enter Chablis. It was a dangerous move because scribing a map without permission was a risk to be sent to the gallows.
Her actions were initially kept from Brendel but her words gave her away, otherwise he would still be kept in the dark.
[Not only that, she faked identification papers… I thought I looked down on Aouine’s laws, but here is someone who seems to flout the rules at every turn… Wait, does she even know what laws there are?] Brendel rubbed his forehead.
Romaine was remarkably cautious in her actions, and was quite alike to a cunning politician who did not reveal their misdeeds in any way. Brendel accidentally found her counting her coins in the carriage, before he realized that she had earned a considerable amount of pocket money illegally.
In the end he severely lectured her for hours, with her nodding and agreeing in assent with sincerity, but only Mother Marsha would know how much she actually heeded his words.
“What are you thinking about now?” Brendel blurted out.
“Nothing.” Romaine shook her head rapidly and hurriedly.
“… Then why are you so tense when I asked you?” Brendel sighed in exasperation, his doubts doubling.
“Did I look so tense?” Romaine rubbed her cheeks with her hands, and asked curiously with wide eyes.
“Oh little Romaine, your innocent acts aren’t fooling me any longer.”
“D-don’t call me that n…..” The merchant girl’s eyebrows raised upwards, but she immediately blinked and asked: “Can I go out alone for a stroll?”
“No.” Brendel said curtly.
He refused not because he was afraid of her driving the scenic town into a frenzy of chaos, but of another consideration.
The battle earlier had impressed everyone in the hall, and even Makarov admitted that he was competent enough. Once Brendel’s fiery warrior’s blood waned, he felt his mind regain its clarity.
It was a common thing for a group of adventurers to join up with mercenaries in the game. It was easy for them to get into trouble during their travels, and it was more than necessary to rely on others for help.
While it was rare for the Mercenaries’ Oath to come into formal actuality, it was not uncommon for them to be invoked. Most of the time, the different mercenary groups are quite wary of each other and only aided each other when it was necessary to do so.
[The test that was done today was really nothing more than empty words to try and hinder me from invoking the Oath. That Makarov and Buga’s actions are too strange, and they definitely have a hidden agenda.]
Brendel reflected on Buga’s facial expressions.
[He looked like he was suspicious of me. Is that really necessary to be so suspicious of a stranger?]
He was quite puzzled. He thought back on the situation that happened in the afternoon. The mercenaries tried to surround Eke and bring him back to their commander, but it looked overly complicated.
[A different goal? Or have they encountered some form of trouble? The worst outcome is if they are after the same thing that I’m going for…]
Brendel rubbed his furrowed brows.
“What’s wrong?” Romaine asked. “Are you angry at me?”
“No.” Brendel glared at her in annoyance. He knew that she was not afraid of his anger, but because she was hoping to get a response out of him. “Amandina, what did the mercenaries said they called themselves again?”
His thoughts shifted as recalled of another issue which might turned out to be a new problem for him.
“The Grey Wolves.”
“The Grey Wolves?”
“Nothing—” Brendel replied in a casual manner, before mumbling to himself: “… The Grey Wolves… Isn’t it supposed to be the Greenwoods Mountain Mercenaries? Makarov looks exactly like how he’s described, but why is the name different?”
[Did history change? While it’s a possibility that they changed their names, but registering a change in the kingdom’s records would have been a huge task, it would usually be rejected unless there’s a huge incident—]
Brendel suddenly looked up to the stony window to look at the faint skylight.
======================== Makarov’s POV =================
“What do you think of him?”
The middle-aged man with red hair felt the scar on his face as he turned back to ask Buga.
The cool breeze that stroked his face made him feel heavy-eyed. He narrowed his eyes to look at the town below the hill’s inn. Man-made steps were carved in winding paths to lead up to the inn.
The ‘Maned Wolf’ Makarov was renowned in the mercenaries’ circle for nearly seven years. He was famed for his bravery and unforgiving duels he had, almost as if he had no regard for his own life like a starving wolf. The wolves in the southern Aouine’s mountainous regions are also called the silver maned wolves, which was also the reason why he was named so.
“Hah.” Buga smacked his head with his hand and gave a gruff laugh: “That young man’s ability in the sword is nearly faultless. He almost has the standards of a grandmaster, and amongst the military—”
He suddenly coughed: “You know what I mean. I cannot compare to his talent when it comes to the sword. That young man, Brendel, is someone who’s born to carry a sword. I can hardly believe someone of his age can reach to such skill. Do you know that I couldn’t even fight back—”
He continued laughing: “Before young master Eke, I truly did not think there’s talent in this world. To reach the name of ‘talented’, would require determination and hard work. Young master Eke proved me wrong. Today, I was proven wrong again. I feel like I have been wrong all my life.”
He grinned when he was finished, revealing his white teeth.
“You’re comparing him with young master?” Makarov’s eyes went wide, forcing the scar to become even more prominent. It was left from a Night’s Son, and the people who knew him well know that the scar was already there even before he became a mercenary. “I did not see such skill in him.”
“This is why you’re the commander and I’m the fighter.”
“Your opinion of him seems very high, it seems.”
“Yes. But that young man reminds me of someone.”
“Hah, a really stubborn bastard. But putting that aside, I don’t think he’s a spy for ‘Paper Cards’. If they had someone as talented as him, they would have been signs.”
Makarov shook his head to disagree: “This is hard to determine. The timing of this is too sensitive to be certain of anything. I do not think that ‘Paper Cards’ would fight for just a simple mission. Chablis is a small town with no prominent resources, so why would it attract them?”
“You mention before that they had other motives?”
“But for what exactly? The lizardmen bandits have some other goals, or for another reason entirely?”
“I do not know. Eke has been very strange lately,” Makarov closed his eyes and sighed. “This makes me a little worried. I do not wish for a group of unknown men to follow us with ill intentions. The last mission was meddled with by ‘Paper Cards’, this time I want no incidents.”
Buga eyed him for a fleeting moment.
“Has the maester agreed to this as well?”
Makarov nodded, then shook his head. “He did not say anything.”
“Then why not wait?”
“We can’t put if off any longer. Do you not feel the signs that the Tree Shepherds are catching up to us?” Makarov said with a chilly breath: “Three days. That’s the limit. We’re moving out.”
“And the young man?”
“Let him come with us.”