TL: Suggested music to be played from Chapter 98 – 100. Donated chapter.
Chapter 98 – Fallen (3)
The Disciples of the Black Flames were actively searching in the forest for their enemies, which meant that Brendel’s group could encounter them any time.
[There’s no need to be too worried about encountering any boss fights. The disciples are probably searching for Makarov and Buga, while the only trouble we should encounter are the Lizardmen. This battle can’t be avoided, otherwise there would be trouble later on if I don’t clear them as soon as possible.]
The entire quest was a trap. A few of the government officials were bribed by the Tree Shepherds and the Tree Shepherds simply waited for Makarov to fall into their trap, which he did. However, Makarov deserved his fame and managed to send Eke out safely just with his instincts.
Brendel did not care about what was going to happen to them. The problem he faced was the situation evolving past what the strategy guide in the forums had written. In the game, the group of gamers were completely wiped out when Conrad appeared to battle Makarov, which then led to Makarov and Buga’s escape by sacrificing both the Grey Wolves Mercenaries and the gamers.
If the situation continued to the point where the gamers did not die, Brendel speculated that the Tree Shepherd’s next move was to give orders to the Lizardmen Bandits and search for his group. Once Makarov and Buga were out of the forest, then the Tree Shepherd’s attention would turn back to his group.
Brendel needed to vanquish the Lizardmen before he was surrounded by the enemies. Once the Lizardmen had the Tree Shepherd leading them, he was not sure whether he would be able to handle his enemies.
At this point of time, the Lizardmen were nothing more than a mob of monsters. With the group of Elves who wore full silver armor and helmets to only show a pair of irises, he felt fully confident that he would easily defeat them. They were after all the royal guards during the alliance of the Holy Saints who went undefeated during their time.
The Elves had explained to Brendel that they would quickly lose their strength once they were outside the Altar, but the latter was not worried as took less than two days to reach the Lizardmen. Even if they were weakened to half strength, they were at least level thirty Elites which was more than enough to sweep the Lizardmen away—
He definitely wanted to leave their corpses behind to get back at the Tree Shepherds.
[I won’t let any treasure and XP slip past me……] Brendel was still trying to figure out a way to kill the level 50 BOSS, the dark bishop of the Tree Shepherds. Conrad was another great appetizer, if he could get to him. It was one of the game’s highlights to make use of high level NPCs to kill bosses. In this case, the Silver Elves were supposedly a good choice if he managed to encounter them right away, but it was far more likely they would encounter the enemies at a much later time.
At the same time, Brendel felt troubled by the Silver Elves. They were mostly proud and had reticent personalities, and chose to follow Brendel’s group from a far distance. They were confident that no enemies would be able to bypass them. Even though the humans held alliances with the Silver Elves, the prideful lot was not keen on working with the human mercenaries. It was common sense for them to act in that manner, but the Mercenaries of Lopes were angered by them because they had never been slighted before.
The Nightsong Tiger frowned at them as he cast glances at the Silver Elves. He knew how terrifying they were so he did not wish to talk about them.
“My lord, I’m sure that it’s another card within the Eversong series—” He spoke patiently in his mind.
“Yes, yes, yes,” Brendel interrupted him inside his mind: “You already told me that six times already. The Eversong card is a legendary card, so the resonating card is most likely a legendary card as well right? I even memorized every word you told me. I know that very well, but that card keeps getting closer and closer to us and it’s just too strange. Rather than actively seek for the card, I think we should just wait and see what happens.”
The Nightsong Tiger smiled while shaking his head. He knew that point very well, but his lord looked as if he did not care about these important things. The more powerful the Planeswalker was, the stronger the summons would be, but Brendel did not want to listen about it. Even though he kept hinting to Brendel that he should focus to train as a Planeswalker and gather Cards, the latter simply continued doing what he wanted to do without changing his plans at all.
The Nightsong Tiger had seen many things in his days but he was unable to guess what Brendel’s plans were.
[Does he want to become a lord of a region? But this is quite meaningless for a Planeswalker, especially when they experienced the Planeswalker’s world for the first time. A mortal might be interested in gaining authority, but the ultimate goals for a Planeswalker are to discover the truth of this world and seek a higher path of power. Is there anything in the mortal world that is more attractive than that?] The Nightsong Tiger scratched his beard.
Certainly, the thing that he did not understand about Brendel was his greed for items. The latter was practically drooling for items that might not even exist. As a hardcore gamer, there would be no way for him to escape from the idea of killing and looting a BOSS.
When the youth nearly fell into a state of delirious giggling, someone patted his back.
The shock was extraordinary. He jumped up a little and whipped his head to the back to a shining golden helmet and a pair of silver-grey eyes.
[The Elven commander. Gosh, fucking hell bro, do you even make any noises when you move?]
Brendel recognized him in an instant, before cursing at him in his mind. He patted his chest and asked: “What’s wrong?”
The Silver Elves were formidable because of their abilities and equipment, and not known for their subterfuge. Brendel was frightened because he did not pay attention to his surroundings in the slightest.
The Elven commander did not feel guilty for scaring him, and did not show any expressions at all. He merely pointed to a direction and said quietly: “A group of people is escaping and moving to our location.”
“Escaping?” Brendel paused for a moment as he noticed the word the Elven Commander used.
[Who’s escaping in this direction? Buga’s men should be in the south. Was there anything in the guide that said otherwise or did the gamers miss out something relevant?]
The Elven commander’s gaze went back to Brendel, as though there was a slight dissatisfaction to Brendel’s questioning tone, but the latter nodded.
Brendel knew that this blockhead-like fellow would not be joking with him. He even wondered if the Elven commander had the word ‘joke’ in his dictionary. In any case, he quickly raised his hand to signal for his group to stop.
The sleepy Amandina and Romaine were jolted when the mercenaries immediately stopped upon Brendel’s signal, and the merchant girl asked in curiosity: “What’s wrong Brendel?”
Brendel put his finger to his lips, and very quickly, he could also hear footsteps rushing through the shrubs. Their chaotic footsteps seemed like they were in great disarray, and he could understand why the Elven commander said they were running away.
[Amazing. As expected of someone who’s a high level NPC, this level of alertness isn’t something a normal person would have.]
He had seen many gamers playing like they were tourists in another country, hardly fitting for the brewing wars in Aouine. However, their given abilities were strong enough to fend off ambushes, so that was perhaps why they did acted like tourists.
He listened carefully once more, and detected another source of troops who had mounts pursuing them. His expression became solemn. Two forces possessed mounts in this region. The first was the Lizardmen with their traditional Riding Lizard mounts, the other was the Disciples of the Black Flames and their demons.
Warhorses did not fare well in the forest, especially in this mountainous region, but he still thought it as a third distant possibility. He then signaled for everyone to fall into formation and prepare for battle.
Very soon, the panicking people who were trying to escape entered his eyes. There were six of them, males and females split equally into half, and their clothes were tattered and torn like refugees. They had numerous wounds but they did not throw away their weapons, indicating that they still had the willpower to fight. Under the circumstances, Brendel thought they were excellent mercenaries.
[Judging from their attire, they are the Grey Wolves Mercenaries. Wait— They are heavy infantry made up of Juddelan’s citizens. I think I have seen them before. Does this mean the disciples are nearby fighting the Grey Wolves Mercenaries?]
Brendel narrowed his eyes, but he believed that it was far more likely that they were stragglers who did not managed to group up with Buga. The injured mercenaries seemed to be stunned when they saw a group of men ready for battle and their expressions were full of despair. But someone amongst them recognized Brendel. It was the very same youth next to Redi when they came in the morning to tell him that the Grey Wolves Mercenaries were ready to set off.
[I recognize that kid…… What’s his name again? Oh, right! Sanford!] Brendel had a better impression of him compared to Sanford.
“Ser Brendel, please help us!” Once Sanford saw Brendel, his whole body seemed like he was stripped of energy and he fell to the ground. He yelled out like to him like he saw someone who came to rescue them.
Brendel disliked meddling with things that did not concern him, but he was not one to disregard those in need. Furthermore, he was aided by the Elven guards, and it was the best moment for him to act grander than he really was. Makarov threw the Grey Wolves Mercenaries behind and treated them like cannon fodder, but it had also given Brendel an opportunity to recruit them, especially when most of them were experienced fighters.
[The Juddelan mercenaries are one of the finest around—] Brendel nodded quickly as he thought about it, ordering his men to protect them.
“Why are you here?” He asked the crucial question.
“We……” But before Sanford had the chance to answer, the troops chasing them literally answered his questions.
The rusting of leaves could be heard somewhere nearby, and soon after several disciples were riding on large ‘boars’ who charged out.
Brendel recognized them as Demonic Boars, with green and orange spots covering their entire body, with four pairs of tusks and eyes. They were low level demons, but formed the majority of lower ranked cavalry and certainly fitting for the disciples. However, when Brendel saw the attire of the disciples, he took in a cold breath.
“Ser Brendel, be careful…… T-they are somewhat strange!” Sanford yelled towards him.
[Of course they are fucking strange!] Brendel cursed. The odd ten plus Disciples of the Black Flames were all high ranking members, was it not strange for their elite to chase these six forlorn mercenaries who looked like beggars?
[No, wait—] Brendel pulled out his longsword to prepare for battle. [If they really wanted to chase them, there’s no way for Sanford and the rest of them to reach here at all. This meant they specifically drove them to this area. What is the reason for doing that, to intimidate me?]
He did not know if he was targeted, especially when these detestable disciples seemed to have no reason as to why they would track him in the first place.
“There’s still someone else in the forest over there.” The Elven commander suddenly spoke as he pointed to some tall bushes.
Brendel immediately turned to the indicated location, but he could only see layers of dense leaves made up of different colors blocking his view. But a moment later, he suddenly felt a sensation in his heart. The Unicorn Knight Card seemed to beat once like it was alive.
[Again, it’s a Card Resonance! So that is what— No, ‘who’ it is, these disciples and that person are here for trouble!]