TL: A little bit later than a day. The next chapter should come in a day or so.
Chapter 131 – Golden Lionmane from Toquinin
The ambassadors were frozen in place by Brendel’s words. Count Dolant’s plump hand trembled once or twice, but he did not swing it down.
Brendel could see the disbelief in all the nobles’ eyes, no, they were looking at him as though he was a madman. He sighed as his anger leaked out from him:
“Well then, what is going to happen now?”
The nobles’ lips quivered.
=============== Faena’s POV =================
“What the hell is happening? Why are they not moving? Urgh, this bunch of useless fools.” Faena was hiding behind a boulder, staring at the clearing where Brendel was facing off against Aouine’s Ambassadors: “We can’t achieve our goals if this stalemate continues.”
She could not help but turn back to viscount Elman with a hint of complaint.
The young viscount was not annoyed and merely smiled back with confidence: “Don’t worry, the best part is yet to come.”
As if to prove Elman’s words, Brendel suddenly turned his head towards the forest and bellowed:
=============== Brendel’s POV ================
Halran Gaia slashed through the air in a black blur, knocking away a metallic bolt that shot out from the forest with a clink. The first target was the female noble. If Brendel did not act to save her, she would have been killed. But he was able to protect only one person.
Count Dolant was struck by another arrow. The plump noble was trained in swordsmanship, and even though he had neglected it long ago, he was still able to move at the last moment, allowing the arrow to pierce his shoulder instead of his vitals. However, he was a privileged noble who had never been in real battles and immediately let out a wail like a pig being slaughtered.
“Who dares!” Count Austin’s reaction was only slower by a beat. Ambushing while the threat of the monstrous wolves was near them made him angry and shocked, and he immediately pulled out his sword and headed for the direction where the arrows were shot from.
Brendel did not immediately move and instead studied the arrow that he cut down.
[It’s not just a heavy crossbow bolt. The force comes from an equipment reinforced by alchemical means. The soldiers from Aouine don’t carry Magic Crossbows. Furthermore, the attacks seem like they are meant for the ambassadors.]
Shadows quickly appeared in the forest and moved rapidly across it. When the figures finally appeared, they were already starting to surround Brendel and the others. There was no less than a hundred from Brendel’s initial estimation, but it was the identity of the invaders who stunned him.
The bodies of the figures were humanoid and almost herculean, but every single head on them belonged to a lion. The dull golden fur seemed like they were long mangy beards hanging across their brigandines. Their hands were almost paw-like, but they were longer and more elegant than their animal counterparts. Their boots were also bigger than a normal human, and each of them carried different sets of weapons.
“Toquinin’s Golden Lionmane Beastmen!” Count Austin yelled out their identities.
The hundred-odd Golden Lionmane Beastmen stopped moving in an orderly fashion, and two of them walked out from the group; they were nearly a head taller than the other Beastmen.
The Beastman who was in front had a long scar that ran across his face, as if to divide his eyes into two different territories. The other Beastman behind him seemed to be his adjutant and stopped a step behind him.
“Greetings, everyone, my name is Rovak, I have to interrupt your discussion for a little while,” the leader of the Beastmen smiled, causing his scar that appeared like a raw wound to twist horribly.
“The Lion Beastmen from Toquinin, what are you trying to do? Are you trying to start a war?” Count Austin said with a dark expression.
But Rovak’s pretense of a gentleman quickly disappeared. He ignored the general and raised his sword, pointing it at Brendel: “Little boy, hand over your sword.”
This act instantly made the nobles’ faces suffuse with rage. Even though this demand was made to Brendel, Rovak was definitely looking down on them by not even explaining his actions.
The ambassadors from Aouine could make demands from Brendel because they were nobles tasked by the royal crown. They tolerated the ambassadors from Kirrlutz because the Eagle Empire was powerful.
But what about these barbaric creatures in front of them?
These Golden Lionmane Beastmen were from a small tribe located in the kingdom’s northern borders. They fought against Aouine many times but suffered many losses, and were ultimately driven up to the mountains. Although the kingdom’s power was weakening for the last century, none of the nobles expected the Lionmane Beastmen to be so brazen.
Surrounding and attacking Aouine’s ambassadors without any fear of repercussions.
Austin wondered if these creatures that had not evolved fully found allies, but he was only able to think of Kirrlutz. Yet it was highly unlikely. In Kirrlutz’z eyes, these barbarians were more like beasts and they would never support them in a war against Aouine. Ultimately, the kingdom was still supported by the Holy Cathedral of Fire, and it would go against their teachings if the Kirrlutz Empire did so.
[I truly have no idea why they are so bold, but a hundred-odd men against Brendel’s motley crew and our guards we brought along. We are at a disadvantage.]
He exchanged secret glances with Dolant. Even though both of them felt that the beasts needed to be taught a lesson, it was not a good time to deal with them. They had to find a way back to their camps and discuss their options.
“Rovak, are you not worried about the consequences? Do you truly believe the number of men brought by us only amount to this much?” He asked gravely with an icy expression.
Rovak narrowed his eyes and finally looked at Austin. He licked his claws as he regarded him with his unique almond-shaped eyes that only a cat would have.
It was true that he did not have the audacity to do so.
However, the people from Kirrlutz leaked news about Aouine’s current political status. Their king seemed to have passed away and the people were divided into two camps. A civil war was going to happen soon. There was no way that the kingdom could fund a war against Toquinin right now.
Rovak found it funny that these ambassadors were still pretending like their country was still fine. Toquinin had been eyeing Aouine’s rich lands for some time, and it was a great opportunity if the civil war started.
And since a war between them was going to happen anyway, it would not make a difference if it was today or tomorrow.
What was more important was how Halran Gaia ended up in the hands of one of the nobles from Aouine. It was a divine weapon discovered in the Wilderness, and legends stated that whoever possessed the sword would be able to unite nature’s citizens. The Golden Lionmane Beastmen believed that it was lost within the deep mountains, and they had repeatedly fought the dwarves for more than a century to contest the territory.
Rovak initially came for the Lionheart but there was no additional news about it. When the news of Halran Gaia surfaced, he was naturally more interested in it.
“…… Consequences?” He finally spoke to the ambassadors for the first time: “Perhaps a decade ago your words might work on me, but do you really not know the state of your kingdom is right now?”
Austin froze for a moment but his recovery was swift:
“What do you mean?”
“I must say it’s quite impressive for your kingdom to withhold information for as long as it is, but the nobles and lords in your kingdom’s northern regions are on the brink of a civil war, and you ambassadors have the time to go on an adventure to search for treasure?”
The nobles paled immediately. They obviously knew the situation was worsening within the kingdom. However, the Lionheart was important enough for the Royal Faction to go after it as the sword was tied deeply to the kingdom’s fate. It seemed like it was going to be impossible; the civil war would happen before they could find the sword.
Perhaps it was Mother Marsha’s will.
But Brendel interrupted the conversation with a refreshing laugh, his voice cheerful: “I’m sorry, I didn’t catch what you said to me earlier, can you repeat yourself again?”
His hand pushed down on his sword a little.
The flames within the youth’s heart were so high that he felt they could burn down the entire forest. He had realized Aouine’s ambassadors were used by the Kirrlutz Empire and was greatly displeased. They should be taught a lesson on behalf of the Regent Princess; the fools who could not understand the situation. This thought was initially stuck in his mind.
But he did not expect this situation.
A big furry Beastman pointing his sword at him, using a tone of arrogance to demand him to hand over Halran Gaia. Rovak even had the audacity to mock Aouine’s situation after attacking them.
[Holy fucking shit. Your ability to taunt must be at a Grandmaster rank! Congratulations, it worked and you have my full attention now.]
Brendel held his smile as he took a deep breath.
“I told you, little boy.” Rovak did not realize death was lurking in the corner.
How strong could this youth be when he looked like he was not even twenty?
The Beastman became a Gold-ranker decades ago and was one of Toquinin’s veteran warriors, or he would not have been tasked to search for the Lionheart. Brendel’s threat was answered with the same sarcastic smile he displayed.
“Hand over your sword t—”
Brendel pulled out his sword and swung it.
There was no semblance of Aouine’s swordsmanship, or even any swordsmanship. But it contained all of Brendel’s experience and knowledge to unleash all his strength.
A meteor exploded.