TL: Next chapter in a few hours.
Chapter 14 – The battle for the sawmills (1)
The man before Brendel had ragged clothes that were repeatedly repaired with different scraps of cloth. He was found amongst the shacks at the southern Firburh and had previously worked in the sawmills.
The battles within the city had frightened many citizens, and he was uneasy about working for the unfamiliar lord. But the lure of money and his woman’s persuasion finally made him agree to join as a guide.
The young lord had promised to give him an entire gold coin. Even if he worked hard for a year, he might not even be able to earn this much money. With this reward, he would be able to send his child to the inner city and allow him to study as an apprentice in one of the workshops, and might even change his family’s fate for the better.
“The woods in the south of Firburh is called the Direbear Forest,” He said carefully, as Brendel’s eyes twitched a little when he thought of the level 65 monsters in the game. “and the name comes about because there are a lot of wild bears in the forest. The four sawmills sit within the forest; three are in the deeper parts and are currently occupied by the creatures, while the fourth was destroyed and abandoned by the workers. Lord Graudin had sent his private armies to try and gain them back, but after two humiliating defeats, the baron never mentioned this matter again.”
Brendel nodded. Things were just as he expected.
They had left Firburh for about an hour.
The wilderness gradually showed more trees the further they walked into the south. The expansive forest seemed to veer off to the east like a giant shadow. The guide was at the forefront riding with another mercenary on horseback, continuing to fill Brendel with the history of Graudin’s past. Very soon, they entered the forest filled with black and red pine trees, disappearing into the shadows of the forest.
“Hey,” a girl’s voice suddenly interrupted the guide’s explanation: “are the creatures that strong?”
Brendel’s eyebrows raised upwards uncontrollably, while the corners of his lips twitched once. He did not know when Romaine appeared. After they had set off for the city for some time, she was suddenly frolicking about in front of his eyes.
[This girl is supposed to be checking the previous accounting books from the past lords and counting the resources. Who’s the idiot who told her that I’m fighting against the Subterrane Dwellers?]
“Of course, my lady,” the guide quickly answered in a loud voice: “I heard the city guards speaking about them. They described them as incredibly ugly and monstrous. Though they don’t have eyes, they can smell and sense sounds to differentiate their direction. They are swift and powerful, and average humans have no chance against them. Even the former baron’s soldiers have to form groups of three to fight a single creature.”
Romaine prodded her chin with a white finger, imagining the image of the creature with her mind, before mumbling to herself: “Doesn’t that mean, they have a great advantage during the night?”
“Indeed, I believe they do.” Amandina looked at Romaine with troubled eyes.
She had trouble telling Brendel she was the one who actually leaked out the information. The sharp merchant girl had innocently asked a few questions before she spotted clues from her mistake and knew about their movements. Even now she did not know whether this [Lord’s fiancee] did it on purpose or it was a coincidence. Either answer was a little unacceptable to her.
“Not only do they have the advantage in the night, in this dense forest where visibility is low, their advantages are also much better than us. Unless we send out Iron-ranked scouts, it’s unlikely we’re going to be able to discover them early,” Cornelius said, before turning to Brendel, “my lord, since we have entered the forest, should we send the scouts out?”
Brendel shook his head.
[A normal Subterrane Dweller has 15 OZ of strength, and 10 OZ agility. That’s pretty close to a veteran Iron-ranked fighter; any typical mercenary isn’t their match.]
“I only brought approximately three hundred mercenaries and left the remainder behind to defend the city. I don’t want to split my forces anymore. Also, just think about it, who is more familiar with the forest, the mercenaries or the Subterrane Dwellers?” He stared into the forest.
Amandina asked in surprise: “Of course it’s the Subterrane Dwellers, but my lord…… You mean you are not going to send off scouts……” She had never seen any tactics without scouting in the books, but there was a glint in her eyes as she asked: “Magic?”
“A close enough answer.” Brendel glanced at the ground as he summoned the card in his mind. The Wind Spirit Spiders were climbing out one by one in a line from the ground ahead of them. The mercenaries who saw them jumped up in fright, but a few of them had seen or heard of these things in action during the battle with Madara. Since the mercenaries eventually knew the spiders was controlled by Brendel, they quickly calmed down, but they looked at him with fear and respect.
They were quickly reminded of the Gold-ranked wizard under him. In this era, any nobles who employed these wizards are proof of high nobility. Even Duke Arreck or Duke Karsuk, or dukes with similar clout only had two or three Gold-ranked wizards as their advisors.
But Brendel was a mere scion, and he had not only a Gold-ranked wizard but two additional Gold-ranked fighters, Medissa and Scarlett. Even the lord himself was a Gold-ranked swordsman. The veteran mercenaries who saw Medissa even guessed that she was a Silver Elf, and they had not appeared in this land for centuries. The impact they had when they explained to their younger comrades was huge, especially when there were rumors that he had a strong relationship with the Silver Elves.
The three mercenaries’ commanders felt they were increasingly unable to see where the mysteries around him ended. But it was also the reason why they had the determination to stand together against Count Randner who quite possibly would only the same number of high ranking fighters as Brendel.
Otherwise, they would rather escape into the Dark Forest because that option would have a better chance of survival.
Brendel had heard the rumors as well, but he was certain that it was Amandina and Romaine who spread them. The combination of a careful planner and peculiar thinker made interesting ideas. They even worked well together during the Madara’s siege, and so he allowed them to continue without checking them.
He quietly brought out the Holy Sword card. The next moment, Magic Circles appeared all over the area and attached themselves to the spiders. The three commanders who saw Brendel’s actions immediately paled. The mana released into the area around them was impossible to gauge, and it seemed like it could even defeat a Gold-ranked existence if used appropriately.
They were certain he was a Gold-ranked swordsman, yet it seemed like he was also a Gold-ranked wizard. It was unthinkable.
Brendel waved his hand and set the commands to kill all non-human bipeds, with were several restrictions in play. The Subterrane Dwellers had their outposts nearby, and he needed to remove them. Although it was unnecessary to ensure they were undiscovered all the way, he needed more time to set things up.
The Wind Spirit Spiders began to fly across the area as streaks of light.
The Nightsong Tiger rode closer and asked: “My lord, what exactly is your plan for fighting this battle? If the information is right, there are thousands of these creatures. They outnumber us many times, and every individual has a fighting strength that surpasses our own army’s, and to tell the truth, I’m unable to think of a way to fight them.”
“Please don’t get the jitters before we fight,” Scarlett said from behind them, “Captain Nightsong.”
“Captain?” The large man suddenly laughed as he turned his head at the girl and Brendel: “It seems like miss Scarlett has thought about it and is ready to join us?”
The young girl nodded without any care and glanced at Brendel as well: “I thought about it and since I have no place to return to—”
“I apologize.” The Nightsong Tiger suddenly frowned when he heard her words.
“It’s fine. Let us hear our lord’s ideas. I’m also curious as to how we should fight this battle. When my former commander led the Grey Wolves Mercenaries, the highest number of enemies we fought against was twice our size, but it was a group of untrained bandits. It differs greatly from our situation now.”
“Yup,” Romaine was moving animatedly on her horse, making people wonder if she were going to fall off, “Brendel, a night battle would be to our disadvantage since the creatures have good hearing and smell. I think we should finish the fight against them as soon as possible.”
The three mercenaries’ commanders drew a little closer and raised their attention when they heard the discussion. Brendel smiled when he saw their reactions. He did not choose to reassign their men because they were still unfamiliar and wary with him. If he tried to force or hastily bring up the topic, he might cause misunderstandings, and they would resist his orders. He ultimately chose to let them become impatient and come to him instead.
Cornelius was the first commander to react and shake his head, while he observed Brendel’s reaction: “Even though we have not fought against these creatures, but they are definitely not rabble judging how they disgraced Graudin’s armies twice. My men might be slightly stronger than Graudin’s men by a little, but I’m not ashamed to admit that we’re severely outmatched.”
“Then what should be done?” Romaine blinked her big round eyes and asked curiously.
“I believe my lord wants to remove their outposts,” Amandina watched the final spider disappear before returning her gaze to Brendel, thinking for a while, “to gain enough time for us before they react? My lord, are you thinking of assaulting one of the sawmills with as fast as possible, then lure the remaining creatures to attack us?”
Brendel’s eyes had a hint of praise. It was indeed his idea to change from offense to defense.
“It’s a good plan,” Raban also praised Amandina’s answer, “but is it going to work?”
“The Subterrane Dwellers know where their advantages lie. If they lose in the daytime, then they will attempt to gain it back in the night.” Brendel replied, “They might have the night advantage, but we can make it up with a defense from the sawmill. We are equal in this area. The rest would be on our commanders’ capabilities, morale, and fighting strength.”
He appeared confident, but he thought he was not exactly a genius in his mind. He had a number of strategies that were derived from the efforts of countless gamers, and this plan he was using was when Kirrlutz fought against the Jurgen Underworld.
“But what if they don’t attack us?” Scarlett asked.
“Isn’t that fine?” The Nightsong Tiger laughed: “We will just attack in the day. But our numbers and fighting capabilities are still a problem, my lord.”
Brendel nodded and ordered their guide to skip the abandoned sawmill and instead march directly to the nearest occupied by the Subterrane Dwellers. He looked up at the sun which was slowly setting to the west: “That is a problem, but I do have a solution if they stay behind their defenses.”