TL: I have 2 more TAS chapters already done, but I’m sitting on them till I translate a few more chapters to see if things need editing. I’ll also have a detailed breakdown on the action scenes vs original raws in chapter 125 (yes, 25 chapters later, major fight there) so that I can partially cater to the voters’ wishes.
Chapter 100 – The guest from the Red Bronze Dragon Mercenaries (1)
Many things were going through Gaspard’s head when he saw Brendel again.
He had once hesitated in Bruglas over the decision to join the Amber Sword Mercenaries, but he chose not to go back to become a city guard. Still, even after his decision, he wavered as he traveled along with Leto and the others. They escorted various groups of refugees on their way to Trentheim, fought against bandits, and had a lifestyle that was much harder than when he lived in Fortress Riedon.
He did not know why he persisted.
But he did understand that the refugees who traveled with the mercenaries, who even hated him in the past, now greeted him with respect.
Their greetings did not change; it was Captain Gaspard.
There was something different now.
He realized that he could no longer throw away his current life or go back to what he used to be. Somehow along the way without him knowing, there was a word called ‘responsibility’ that was growing in his heart.
It was the reason why he supported Brendel regardless of his thoughts, along with Taron and Batum.
[I’m not supporting this youth governing this city, but the youth who changed me. If someone like him possesses this much charisma to change someone like me, then he definitely has the ability to lead the people under him to a better place.]
Truthfully, even though he supported the youth, he was actually internally conflicted about the orders from him. As someone who had served the nobles for some time, he understood the rules of their games. The order that Brendel gave was going against the entire kingdom.
“My lord….. You said that you would be inheriting a land, but you didn’t tell us that you would be inheriting it in this manner.” He said.
“Hmm. Well.” Brendel stood up and came closer to Gaspard while stroking his chin. He understood what the latter was insinuating, but he did not expect him to think that deeply.
Surely he could not tell him that it was just something that he came up as a whim?
The youth secretly exhaled with relief. If Amandina was there, she would have glared at him without leaving a place for him to hide as this was a sore point.
“There’s a place that I’m going to inherit, and this incident was a little accident. Graudin crossed the line by interfering with me, and I had to deal with him. However, I’ll get that place.” Brendel nodded with an embarrassed smile while he started to change the topic.
Gaspard eyed the youth.
“But what about Count Randner? I don’t think that he would let this affront slide,” he said.
“It’s the reason why I wanted to see you. Was it the elderly Leto who had you come over?”
“Yes, my lord.”
Brendel’s respectful tone when he mentioned Leto made Gaspard relieved. The youth had not sent any further instructions or even anyone to Fortress Minst and simply left Leto on his own.
This gesture confused some of the mercenaries, including Gaspard, but he now knew that it was Brendel’s trust in Leto’s foresight. The people who did not understand Brendel’s intentions were worried about Count Randner’s retaliation and started making plans to flee and hide within the forests before moving elsewhere. They were mercenaries after all, and they treated death lightly.
Except that his initial guess was right. Brendel truly did not remember that he still had the Amber Sword Mercenaries because he was completely buried in work in Schafflund. Occupying the Macsen region was a preparation for the battle against Count Randner, and he could care less about attacking other regions within Trentheim since these aristocrats were poor.
Brendel tapped the table behind him with his fingers, and he started to frown.
“My lord?” Gaspard said puzzledly.
“The war is coming a little faster than I thought—” Brendel said.
“The report you delivered. Lord Palas in the history books is supposed to be someone who’s steady and experienced. He already has the knowledge of Lord Macsen’s defeat, so he should slow down and become more careful…..”
“Lord Palas in history books,” Ciel repeated somewhere close to him in a serious manner. He was already used to the strange word choices from his lord.
Brendel shot an irritated glare at Ciel, and the latter quickly shrank back.
“Instead, the number of his knights have increased. This means that he has already received the instructions of Count Randner. It’s a sign of the next battle that is to come.”
“What?” Gaspard raised his voice in alarm. He knew that Count Randner would seek revenge, but he did not expect it to come so quickly. He had not even made mental preparations.
“My lord?” Medissa raised her voice.
Brendel shook his head to indicate that there was no need to worry yet.
“What should we do?” But Gaspard became worried.
The advisors that he saw in Fortress Riedon were mostly comprised of the lower-ranking aristocrats. As for people who were even more capable and higher in rank, he had only seen them from afar. Count Randner’s military might was not any weaker than the other dukes.
It would not be wrong to say that Brendel and his men would be crushed like bugs, so why did the youth speak like it had nothing to do with him? In fact, his attitude was like he was facing some country bumpkin and not a Count with powerful military might.
“Are you afraid?” Brendel suddenly asked.
“Not really,” Gaspard hurriedly shook his head. Of course, it was a lie. How could he not be scared?
“Indeed, there’s no need to be scared. If we can win against Lord Macsen, then we can win against Count Randner. Enemies are supposed to be treated with importance and not to be feared.
“Are we going to war? How much time do we have?” Felaern asked while she readied her book.
Brendel chewed his lips before answering: “His full army will come in a month, at the very latest, two months. But Lord Palas won’t leave us alone during this period. It’s important that we are prepared for skirmishes.”
Everyone was momentarily silent.
Medissa and Ciel knew that the upcoming battle would be the biggest trial for them and this land.
Once Brendel became victorious, he would get the recognition of the Royal Faction, and once he did so, the loyalty of the citizens in Firburh would become stable.
In this era, the entire continent perceived reputation and legitimacy as extremely important things. No matter how much he tried to gain the loyalty of the citizens, it would never work if he did not have these two points. The citizens might praise the person privately, but they would not stand together with him.
Brendel knew this point clearly.
[Again, it’s this question. In the best outcome, I might be able to gather one or two thousand soldiers, including the mercenaries I have now. Tagiv’s forces might reach over three thousand, but it will never put the fate of their entire tribe of my hands. Lending half of the Subterrane Dwellers to my aid is a great sign of respect for me.]
Brendel thought for a while on how to deploy these men now that the lines of defense had changed. Although Count Randner’s army might go up to twenty thousand men, it did not mean that the initial skirmish would have that number.
Trentheim’s rebellion probably had little effect on Count Randner’s overall situation, but this was a moment where Duke Arreck, as well as the Royal Faction, were pressuring the cunning old man. It was enough for him to get tired from dealing with them, not to mention that the rebellion was like a fire was burning in his backyard; his hands were full.
Lord Macsen’s utter defeat had sent off a warning signal.
His reputation must have gotten a beating for this rebellion to happen now.
[But a loss in reputation hardly means anything. Count Randner won’t ask for the other nobles for help because of the two factions watching him. His pride won’t allow it. Since Graudin worked with Madara, I won’t be surprised if Count Randner tries to borrow their strength again. Even before I came to Firburh, Madara was already interested in Sifrid. Considering Incirsta’s personality, he won’t give up easily. If Count Randner had an agreement with them, Madara will send out their army.]
“Any news of Madara’s movements?” Brendel turned to Ciel and asked.
“They are quite meek recently and seemed to have retreated out of Trentheim,” Ciel replied.
“Make sure you keep an eye on those damned bones. I suspect they were colluding with Count Randner even before the initial war started.” Brendel sighed.
[Incirsta should actually thank me. If I didn’t eliminate Kabias, he would actually get fewer resources.]
Brendel remembered Madara’s history quite well. Incirsta’s greatest trouble was from the Shadow Lords’ interference who did not trust him because of his inexperience. If Tarkus did not support him, then Incirsta would have trouble standing out in the War of the Black Rose.
[I’m getting sidetracked. I’m naturally willing to bolster my defenses and wait for the opportunity to fight back, but my opponent won’t give me this chance.]
(TL: 先为不可胜，待敌之可胜. The raws used these two sentences. It’s chopped up from Sun Tze’s 昔之善战者，先为不可胜，以待敌之可胜: “The people who are good at war would create conditions so that the enemies could not gain victory over them, and then they would wait till they find an opportunity to defeat the enemies.”)
“The scouts that were sent to Aouine’s southern armies at the borders. Did they managed to find them?” Brendel asked.
“Unfortunately, there is no news from the majority of them. The ones that sent back a reply gave useless information.”
“I see. Although, by the words ‘no news’, you mean they ran away and fled elsewhere.” Brendel laughed.
[There goes the plan on getting the support of the southern armies to curb Madara’s forces. It seems like I have to rely on my other plans…..]