TL: Thanks to Seren who donated a whopping 150 dollars to TAS!
Chapter 97 – Fallen (2)
=========== Conrad’s POV =============
They did not say anything after Redi finished speaking.
The slightly cool wind swept across the entire battlefield under the night sky, and the scent of blood permeated the air. The monster-like commander of the ‘Paper Cards’ and the dark bishop stood there quietly, as though they were digesting the information that Redit told them.
Conrad smiled as he looked at Redi as if he praising the latter’s cooperation. The truth he would find it praiseworthy, regardless of the latter’s brave resistance in order to die or his obedience towards him in order to live.
“Twelve guards with the Silver-ranked strength.” He repeated the white-haired youth’s words: “What do you think?”
“Twelve?” The dark bishop looked at Conrad: “I feel that group is a decoy, but it’s also the truth that Eke was not in Makarov’s forces.”
“No, you should stop doubting the information in front of you. If you keep hesitating it will only ruin things.” Conrad waved him off and looked at the kneeling youth on the ground: “Are you a noble from the Kingdom of Unchanging Skies?”
Redi nodded quickly after a lull.
“Good, it seems like you have more value compared to these miserable fools.” Conrad’s smile was like a devil: “We don’t need people who have no value so they got disposed of. But you are different; you have a strong will and clearly know what you want. The Grey Wolves Mercenaries are done for, and those who are smart know when to go over to the other side. Do you want to join us?”
Redi looked at him in with a dumbfounded expression. He did not understand what Conrad meant. The latter had guessed of his identity, and he was afraid that his noble status would actually harm him when he heard Conrad speak of it for the first time.
However, it was clear if he refused to join them, his ending would be the same as the useless cowards before him.
Redi was once again hesitant. He had betrayed his conscience once, and right now he was like a merchant who kept losing money. He poured in more investments in order to gain back capital, but it did not seem to be working at all no matter how much he wished for it. Conrad had given him a final rescue buoy. His hesitation only lasted for a few moments before he gritted his teeth and grabbed it.
Even if he was to die, that would come later on.
Conrad laughed: “Very good. I’ll lend you a few men, no, a whole squadron. I want you to lead them and chase that group of fifteen people. You don’t need to kill them all, but if you managed to do so, I’ll give you the leadership of the Paper Cards.”
He slapped Redi’s face lightly: “Don’t worry, I am not lying to you. I have somewhere else I need to be after this mission.”
Redi did not pay much attention to the leadership because he was more interested in killing Brendel. He was secretly relieved as he thought he was going to be killed on the spot. Now that he was offered a chance to live along with an enticing position, he started to feel glad that he had made the right choice.
Even though the Paper Cards were not as famous as the Grey Wolves Mercenaries, they were one of the biggest mercenary groups in the southern region. When he thought of the leadership position offered to him, he felt slightly inclined to become a leader.
When he finished reveling in that future, he suddenly caught a glimpse of a familiar figure shrouded in darkness. The dark bishop had stepped away to reveal a figure behind him, and Redi recognized her from the weapon.
“Oh, is her name Scarlett?” The dark bishop’s sinister laugh echoed in the forest: “Then I shall call her Scarlett since I have no talent in giving names. If you complete this mission, I’ll give her to you—”
Redi’s throat gurgled once, and his hands balled into fists. Everyone in the Grey Wolves Mercenaries knew that he was fond of her, but Scarlett only had eyes for Eke and treated the rest of the mercenaries like siblings. He understood that fact clearly, but he still yearned for the day when Eke and Yula got married, which he would hope for a chance after that to gain her affection no matter how small the chance might be.
Even though she looked a little different from her usual self, he was excited over the prospect of having her. With so many temptations before him, the greed that was hidden deep in his heart started to grow.
Conrad observed Redi’s expression and gave a subtle grin. He tossed the dagger back to the dark bishop. That ominous blade was used for rituals and not for killing, and as a member of the Tree Shepherds, he understood that such rituals were sacred as they were part of the plan to revive the Dragon of Darkness.
He started to walk away after giving instructions to his men and Redi. The dark bishop glanced at Scarlett before catching up with Conrad. He nodded his head respectfully and praised him: “You truly are a master at manipulating minds.”
He knew that Conrad had no real interest in asking the other Grey Wolves Mercenaries for information. Everything was done in order to show a performance for Redi simply because Conrad was certain about his weakness.
“Human nature is weak. We are keen on gaining profits and possess an instinct to avoid danger. But I don’t toy with people’s hearts — The only thing I offer to them is more choices.” He replied: “Sadly, compared to the people who speak of honor and justice, I have a flaw; I cannot lie like them.”
The dark bishop crackled: “But we humans are cunning, he didn’t show his weakness, did he.”
“That is why interrogation is an art.” Conrad smiled: “To be honest, I was after his noble status. Having a pawn in the Kingdom of Unchanging Skies might prove to be useful. But why did you agree to lend your new pet to him?”
“That little girl is still holding on to her will. I’ll let her witness how bad her former comrade is. Only when she recognized the darkness of a human would she synchronize faster with the Blood of Gods.”
“A wonderful plan.”
“What are your current plans now?”
“We should prepare and rush to meet Hewjil. They actually headed for the east despite knowing it’s the Lizardmen territory. Their actions go against common sense. If I didn’t have the ability to control hearts, that cunning fox Makarov would have deceived me.”
“I must say that I destest working with that barbaric Lizardman.” The dark bishop shook his head.
“I don’t like it either.” Conrad took off his bloodied gloves as he replied.
============ Brendel’s POV ============
The starry night yesterday was proof of the crystal clear weather that followed, but no one knew about the cruel battle in the forest other than those who participated in it, and the only evidence left behind was the smouldering ground.
The scorching sun was up and lit the entire forest despite the trees’ dense leaves. The vivid-green foliage was surprising to their eyes, and the mercenaries started to wonder if the battles that happened allowed the trees to absorb nutrients from the bloodshed.
They whispered amongst themselves, but it did not escape the youth’s exceptional perception.
“Creating a myth like this is really scary.” Brendel muttered. He kept flipping the black card in his hand. Even though it was a legendary artifact, the baleful black color from the card’s back was perplexing. Medissa’s smile was warm and pleasant so the contrast was striking. This was the only Black Elemental Card he had, and he had no other cards that provided Dark EP.
If he was able to summon the little girl, then he would be able to move freely without any worries. It seemed like it was still impossible to do so.
He suddenly stopped his fidgeting. He was feeling the same sensations again from yesterday’s night. The Card Resonance was happening again in his heart.
[According to the rules of the Planeswalker, a Card Resonance means that there’s another card with the same series. I searched through all my cards but the Eversong card is the one causing a resonance. I didn’t think a card that I created myself would have something related to it. Does this mean that new Laws were written in relation to the card? Or that it’s because of the Darkness Element that is causing the Card Resonance? Or both?]
“Nightsong Tiger, is it possible for a Land Card to resonate with the Eversong Card?”
“It’s quite unlikely, my lord. It is very rare for a Land Card to resonate with any cards. The cards that resonate with Eversong could be equipment, creatures or barriers, or specific creatures that can be sealed into the same series.” (TL: Medissa, Unicorn Night is Eversong I. If there are similar creature cards in the Eversong series, it will probably be Eversong II.)
“The Card Resonance had happened six times since last night, and it gets closer each single time. The last time it happened was an hour ago, and I feel like it’s near to our left.” Brendel was puzzled. Was it a creature, or someone who was holding on to that card and moving about?
He raised his head to peek at the location of the sun. They had been moving since last night without rest, and it was nearly noon. Most Iron-ranked or people with 3 Physique and higher, had no problems for not sleeping a night or two, but Romaine and Amandina were having a tough time. Brendel glanced at them to check their conditions. The Elementalist sisters took care of them which helped them to barely manage to keep up with the group.
[There isn’t much time left. Because of the delay in the Altar, we can’t afford to waste even a second.]
TL: About Redi and Brendel. I think that’s where the anger comes from. He sees Brendel as a merchant who offended the status quo in this world, i.e, merchant vs noble. When it came to Conrad, he’s a Tree Shepherd who doesn’t give a flying **** about social classes, so Redi is being a hypocritical noble here, as he probably perceives them as outliers who wield considerable power and can be worked with.
Remember that it was hinted that some of the nobles allowed the Madara undead to invade the southern region in order to wrestle power from the royal family, so that ‘noble’ inside Redi probably accepted Conrad’s proposal more easily than he would think. I read criticism about Redi being that stereotypical Chinese trope of setting up as a villain against the protagonist, but I actually think he’s quite subtle as a character since he probably reflects the typical Aouine noble heading to the fallen path (at least that’s what I think the title of the chapter means). I think with a little bit more editing and handling on his character, he could be quite interesting.