TL: Maybe the next chapter in 12 hours.
Chapter 114 (3) – At the edge of the Dark Forest (3)
Brendel understood Tamar’s thoughts.
The Dark Forest was part of the Wilderness that had never been claimed. People hardly entered the place, and the Laws within this area were affected by Chaos and would be reset at a fixed interval. Mysterious things of shapes and sizes could be found in the forest, and the treasure beneath the earth’s surface was unimaginable.
However, due to the increasing Mana within the forest, various creatures mutated and increased their activities, and even the vegetation spouted with full of life. There were pockets of Mana that gathered in great intensity; crystal quarries could be found near small streams of water, fountains that spouted small flecks of gold ore.
Even though bards sang about such stories all the time, the Dark Forest made it likely for them to become true. Brendel nodded and said:
“I see. It’s true that the Dark Forest is a place where civilization bans people from going there, but it’s also a treasure vault in their eyes. After the second Holy War, many Houses had their powers greatly reduced and they were no longer capable of funding the pioneering knights who entered the forest in great numbers.
But the legends depicted in history is ultimately left behind. There are tales about how the river water which had been basked in the moonlight was able to bring the dead back to life, or that the crimson soil contains the blood of a Sage and made it possible for steel to become gold. There are rumors of a gigantic dragon graveyard where the bones of the dragons could be found which are more precious than diamonds. There are even hallucinogens of burning rare leaves that could bring about illusions of a paradise.
Indeed, it’s definitely the biggest kind of treasure for an Alchemist. If they get any one of these materials, they could make a legendary artifact— though most of these daring Alchemists who ventured into this forest usually ended up as meals for the beasts around here.
This is another truth; the Dark Forest is also a place where monsters dwell in the highest concentrations.”
Brendel explained to Amandina in detail, then rubbed his chin thoughtfully: “Grandmaster Tamar can actually request me to get the materials directly instead of going through Dia. Though it’s also my mistake for forgetting that the Dark Forest is a great treasure vault for any Alchemist.”
Amandina suddenly chuckled: “I suddenly understand why Grandmaster Tamar has his own thoughts about this matter.”
“What does that mean?”
“Perhaps you should ask Dia.”
Felaern turned her head expressionlessly and called out to her sister: “Dia—”
“Yes?” The younger sister trotted over, but she kept her distance cautiously and meekly when she saw Felaern’s disapproving eyes: “Is there something that needs to be done?”
“Our lord has questions for you.”
“My lord?” Dia looked at Brendel with puppy eyes. Compared to Felaern, she was much more willing to approach him because he frequently told her interesting stories.
From this viewpoint, Felaern was quite a failure as an older sister.
“Dia, why did Grandmaster Tamar tell you to come along?” Brendel asked.
“To collect materials, my lord!”
[Isn’t this normal?]
Brendel glanced at Amandina, but the latter pointed her chin back at Dia as if to tell him to ask for the details.
“What kind of materials?”
“Grandmaster Tamar said—” Dia tried to mimic Tamar’s personality, but after Felaern sent a murderous glare at her, her behavior instantly turned respectful, though she spoke through pouted lips: “There are Mana Crystals in the Dark Forest that are just below high-grade, so if it’s possible I should gather more of it.
This includes Moon Crystals and Gold crystals…… Mana plants like Blood-spotted roses, Whipvine-tail flowers……
As for metal mines, it would be best if there are Adamantine mines, though Mithril would be just as good, still, the best metal would be Orichalcum. Of course, It would be fine if it’s a lesser metal like Cold Iron…..
Legends state there’s a fountain of youth, Wings of an Archangel, the Poem of Dragons, the Heart of Gold……”
“S-stop, stop, time out!” Brendel hastily stopped her when he found that she had no intention of stopping.
At first, the list sounded like it was reasonable, but the list was becoming more and more absurd. The Fountain of youth was already a Legendary item. The last three items that Dia said even reached God-tier rarity.
[This Tamar is really treating the Dark Forest like a Dwarven Treasure Vault. Do you really think you can get these treasures once you enter the place? If it’s so easy, everyone would have rushed in here. Also, do you really think these items won’t be protected by some crazy high-level mythical monsters? I can kind of understand his thoughts, but even protecting ourselves in this place is kind of a luxury for us already, let alone bringing out these items.]
Most areas of the Dark Forest were less dangerous and not as mysterious as the legends described, and it was rare to find precious metals or unique plants. Tamar’s list was more of a dream.
Even if a powerful lord sent in their Gold-ranked fighters to the Dark Forest, they might not necessarily return and instead get turned into a monster’s meal.
Brendel dared to venture into the Dark Forest only because he knew the place well. After all, he had an endless supply of lives in his past world as a gamer to explore the place, and even had the compilation of information gotten from other gamers.
Since he had Tamar’s requested list, he rearranged his thoughts.
[I was wondering how I should train this bunch of newbies, but Tamar’s list has given me a clear direction. We will spend a greater half of the day to move towards the druids, then explore the vicinity with the remaining time. Then we can split up into three groups, myself, Kodan, and Scarlett. Each group will be rewarded based on their performance and the things they find. That way we would have competition and allow them to bond with each other. A good plan, if I say so myself.]
Brendel made a rough plan and inspected the rowdy group of youths. A few moments later he heard someone shouting in the group:
Brendel recognized Carglise’s voice, and he spotted the young man dragging Mordenkainen across the ground with incredible speed.
“Carglise? W-why are you here?” Merial appeared a little confused and blinked several times blankly to look at Carglise.
Merial had a rarely seen golden hair, long enough to go past his shoulders. His eyes were as blue as the ocean and appeared to be someone from the north, but his attire was similar to Brendel— A suit of male Kirrlutz traveling clothes. His body was lithe and his face soft, appearing to be an androgynous person.
His actions and response were so elegant that Brendel thought he was actually a noble’s daughter at the first glance.
“I think I understand. You were defeated along with your father.” Merial took a moment to gather his thoughts before he parted his lips slightly and spoke.
“Haha.” Carglise merely laughed as he looked at his old friend.
“I thought you didn’t come, but to think that Lord Macsen was defeated even with you around,” Merial’s eyes were fretful and his brows were slightly pinched: “did you join them?”
“Yes,” Carglise nodded as though he did not care that he joined the rebels, “but what are you doing here?”
He was surprised to find his friend in this place.
“My squire and I were passing through the lands when we saw the four carriages, and the mercenaries captured us because of that. We had to lie.” Merial’s face turned slightly red.
“More like you ran out secretly?” Carglise saw through his friend’s lie immediately.
“Fine, fine, I know your secret so you can stop pretending. Don’t worry, I will protect you. But I must say you’re in considerable danger,” Carglise pulled in close to him and whispered so that no one else could hear him, “my lady, you’re entering the Dark Forest, are you prepared?”
Carglise’s expression was one of mischief.
“Don’t call me that!” Merial immediately glared back at him, before her eyes widened: “I’m entering the Dark Forest?”
“Why else would do you think you would be here?” Carglise raised his head up to look at the forest before looking back at her: “It seems like you don’t know this, and I also forgot to tell you, this is the edge of the Dark Forest—”
Merial paled and her body shook but Carglise supported her by grabbing her up: “What are you doing? Isn’t it just a forest? Besides, I’m also here to protect you!”
He warned her and cast his eyes towards the mercenaries around them. Her actions might cause them to realize that she was masquerading as a man.
“H-how can I enter the Dark Forest. You must help me, Carglise!” Merial was a little delirious.
“Well, I actually think that this is a chance.” Carglise disagreed.
“What do you mean by that?”
“Didn’t you say that you always wanted to escape from that damned father of yours? This is a chance! Based on my judgment, my new lord isn’t likely to care what your father says—” Carglise’s evil laughter came out as he felt his idea was pretty good.
“But what I can do in this place? The monsters within the Dark Forest are terrifying enough that even the lords avoid it! We will perish if we enter!”
Carglise held his forehead and continued to speak in a low voice: “My lady, you’re the next stand-in bishop, how can you be so timid—”
He suddenly looked around vigilantly and whispered next to Merial’s ear. At first, she appeared puzzled, but her eyes quickly lit up and she nodded.
Brendel saw that Carglise and the boy next to him pull away from the crowd, and their voices became smaller and smaller. He did not try to listen to their conversation as a courteous gesture. Even if the two were to scheme something they would not be able to cause any huge trouble when they were in the Dark Forest. Furthermore, he had the time to observe that person’s details all he wanted later.
[Given how familiar Carglise is with that boy, he must also be from a noble family. I am a little curious as to how the mercenaries managed to recruit the gentry’s offspring though.]
Brendel was not arrogant enough to think that families of higher social status in Firburh would support him, unless they were not interested in keeping their heads. Count Randner’s revenge would be more than enough to keep them in check.
“Are they……” He turned around and cast a questioning look at Amandina.
“The scions from the noble families. I heard that their families live in the upper-class districts within Firburh.”
“You mean there are more than a few who joined us?” Brendel felt that the situation was becoming bizarre.
He did not want to have any people joining his group of knights with an unclear background. These youths had a clean background, and perhaps the higher ranking people in Firburh would support him eventually, but it was still something odd.
“How did they come to join us?” He asked.
“The mercenaries said they secretly came to join us because of your fame.”
“That’s interesting,” Brendel rubbed his cheeks and was unashamed of his brazen acts, “have I become so famous?”
Amandina merely looked back with considerable disapproval.