TL: I apologize for the late post on TAS. The next chapter will be on August 25 in the form of a batch release. That’s all I have to say. Donations and patreons will be greatly appreciated, but it will still come on this date.
Chapter 144 – The Warg’s heart
The mist filled the mountains.
The forest was in a bizarre state of stillness after the battle. A hundred-odd centaurs were shuffling about as they took a short respite from the earlier battle. The youths that Brendel brought were not far away and nearly everyone was injured. Even the Tree Elves who rode on the Centaurs were wounded.
They felt a fatigue that reached their bones after carving a bloody path through the tens of thousands of wolves. Their exhaustion felt like a claw grabbing at their nerves, dragging them into the abyss of deep sleep. But no one dared to stop moving, even if they had to close their eyes to fight.
Brendel was sitting on an ancient fallen tree. Its age was a mystery and impossible to tell what generation it belonged to. The trunks and branches were hollow, covered in thick green moss with a layer of mushrooms.
He was currently pressing his hand on his injured face, gritting his teeth in pain as he allowed Merial to treat him with a healing spell. It was fortunate that the magic spell was as effective as the game. His wound tickled slightly, but it quickly healed and did not hurt any longer. Still, the blood loss caused a lingering fatigue. The spell accelerated the healing speed, but it could not create energy from nothing.
“My lord, you were lucky that you defended yourself in time. The Warg’s fangs nearly reached your left eye, but it was hindered by your gauntlet and cheekbones.” Merial said.
Brendel could hear Amandina’s grumbles nearby, which eventually stopped because she knew he had to solve this problem personally.
Merial finished casting her final spell and passed a small portion of dried food to Brendel from her bag: “Please eat a little, and you will feel better.”
Her voice was a little soft but it was definitely nice to listen to.
“Have you been to a battlefield before?” He asked as he received the food.
“Yes, I was attached to a group of knights as a cleric.”
“To vanquish bandits?”
“Have you seen dead bodies before?”
Brendel secretly nodded inwardly; it was very rare in the game to have a cleric with experience to not have an official rank with the Holy Cathedral of Fire.
[Hmm. I feel like she has seen quite a few things for her to react so calmly. Did she experience it first hand or did it come from books? But it seems like she’s not interested in my group. It would be tough to bluff my way through to get her to stay. It looks like I need to work on getting Carglise to stay here instead, then she would be inclined to stay as well.]
Brendel looked at her with slightly strange eyes before he spoke again, his head slightly turning towards to the back:
“Do you like that fellow?”
Brendel showed an impish grin and it caused to Amandina to smile as well. She found it funny that he asked her so directly. It was easy to guess what he was thinking about.
[My lord, you’re handling things so awkwardly. You should have let me do it instead—]
He could hear a series of coughs behind his back. There was no need to see who it was, but Merial blushed furiously and lowered her head without answering. She was definitely a girl.
Carglise sensed the strange atmosphere and Merial’s blushing face made him feel unnatural. He quickly interrupted with a cough and spoke loudly: “My lord, when are we going to move out?”
“Move out?” Brendel answered with a question as he chortled. He moved his hand away from his face, revealing a faint discolored scar that stuck out from his original skin color: “Why the rush?”
“…… Ahem,” Carglise cleared his throat as he dealt with Brendel’s antics, “of course we need to rush, did you not tell us that we only have a few hours, my lord?”
A mere month’s worth of traveling together allowed Carglise to roughly know what Brendel’s personality was like. If it was not for the latter’s horrible taste on pranking people, Carglise actually thought him as someone excellent to follow. It was especially so when Brendel punished Aouine’s bad nobles.
“Well, that is certainly true, but there is a need to take a short rest to recover our strength. You’re not rushing because you’re feeling guilty, right?” Brendel said as he glanced at him from the corner of his eyes.
Carglise stopped replying and looked away.
Brendel laughed again and took out a black tapered stone from his bag. He lost four youths from the battle with the wolves, and it was the first casualty ever since they entered the Dark Forest. There were others who were heavily injured as well, and it was under the ardent protection that the Centaurs and Tree Elves gave.
But he was satisfied to see that the youths were not filled with despair to the point where they could not act, though their morale was affected. It at least proved they were qualified warriors. They would achieve renown in this era with additional training and trials, taught by a gamer who used gamers’ methods.
In the Waves of Calamity, only talented people blessed with luck would be able to survive the onslaught and gain experience. But now these youths were the first batch of beneficiaries who walked down the path of glory.
Brendel glanced at the centaurs. They lost a great number of men in the battle. Wydall stated that only two-thirds of his men would be available for the next battle.
Most of them were torn to pieces by the wolves.
[There are four hundred Silver-ranked centaurs. The Tree Elves archers did not lose as many as them, and they indicated there are more than two hundred men ready to fight. It’s a waste to use them in a battle of attrition. Most of them would just die here in the Dark Forest. If I could somehow get them to fight in Trentheim’s battlefield instead…… The remaining men I have are the youths, my summons, and the ten-odd knights who came along with the Aouine ambassadors. Unfortunately, Austin is unlikely to hand over the control of his knights to me.]
He glanced at the Aouine’s ambassadors. Dolant and Austin were fine, but he could not find the female scholar anywhere.
The youth sighed. He saved her earlier from the Toquinin Beastmen because his side profession was a scholar as well, but he could not save her a second time.
But contrary to his thoughts, the overall mood was one of disbelief and astonishment in their camp. The result of the battle was overwhelmingly positive. Killing a Warg was supposedly an impossible task for any of them. It was a creature that was supposedly more powerful than any Gold-ranked warrior or mage.
But everyone saw Brendel took control of the Warg’s magic and redirected to the creature itself. The only conclusion was that he was a Runic Swordsman of the highest caliber. He single-handedly killed three Lord-class Black Wolves that were the size of a small hill, and slew hundreds if not thousands of wolves with a single action. Twice, even.
[Come to think of it, I haven’t checked how much XP I gain…… Wow, 35000 XP for killing the warg, 23250 for killing the other black wolves. Then the ‘Team XP’, or should I say, ‘Army XP’, that’s another 12000 XP. That’s close to ten thousand wolves killed. Unfortunately, there are still so many wolves left that I can’t pick the loot from the Dire Wolves. Still…..]
The youth played with the rock which was cool to the touch. This item alone was outvalued all other loot that he could have gotten. Scarlett was watching from the sides without saying anything, but Brendel was smiling so broadly when he fiddled with it that she got curious. Since she did not have Amandina’s restraint, she finally opened her lips, revealed her canines and asked:
“What is that?”
“Hmm, you mean this? Haha, this is something really good.” Brendel raised his head up and said mysteriously.
“My lord, stop teasing us,” Carglise could not help but roll his eyes, “come on, tell us what it is. You’re smiling so much that it must be valuable.”
Brendel turned to him and blinked multiple times.
[Boy, you don’t know that even pay-to-win players can’t buy this cheat item. Countless guilds are green with envy with this, and it isn’t just money that can get it alone.]
“The Misthowler’s heart.”
“The Warg’s heart?”
Amandina also chimed in: “The leader of the wolves?”
“If you were expecting a bloody heart, this isn’t it. But this particular artifact can be seen as housing the ‘soul’ of a Warg, as it holds in the rampaging Mana and the Laws of Chaos.”
“The Laws of Chaos and rampaging Mana…..?” Carglise did not understand.
Brendel nodded. The person who was lucky enough to possess this would become an Alpha Wolf!
“So what does it do?” Carglise asked again.
“You will get to see it immediately.”
The Misthowler’s heart was classified as a Rune, but its use was a little different from normal Runes.
As for the usage of the rock……
Brendel brought the rock and placed it flatly against his forehead. Everyone watched the rock vibrate suddenly and started glowing with red light. It softened and started melting as though it was liquid, assimilating into his skin. It was as though someone was painting an intricate pattern on his face, extending all the way to his neck and chest.
The process took a few minutes before it ended, and the pattern of light started to fade a little. But the curving patterns made one trace Brendel’s features and the faint glowing red light accentuated it, making one unable to take their eyes off him. The only thing that lightened this devilish charm, was the white diagonal scar that went across his cheek and forehead.
– System linked, creating ‘Nest Overlay’ over your nerves
– Checking requirements, Will check: Passed.
– Conditions met.
– System updated.
– Title gained: Leader of Wolves
“There, it’s over,” Brendel said as he felt sensations in his mind around the forest that felt familiar to him. He could even feel them miles away.
“Yes?” Someone said.
Everyone woke up from their stupor. Amandina was still at a loss for words when she saw Brendel’s strange appearance.
With a mental command, he reached out to a nearby sensation. In an instant, that sensation got up and tilted its head, before it started galloping towards him.
[Oh, that’s really fast, maybe even reaching 100 OZ worth of agility. A peak Silver-ranked Direwolf. It’s quite a mature one too.]
“My lord?” Carglise called out to Brendel when he just sat there without saying anything.
Wydall, who was resting not far away, suddenly stood up in alert and peered at the Dark Forest. He raised his hand and the centaurs immediately got up as well.
“Alert! Get ready for an assault!” He shouted in order to inform the other men. The expressions of the Tree Elves and Brendel’s men changed. The youth said the wolves would not be attacking them, not at least for a while.
“No, it’s okay! Let this one pass.” Brendel responded.
The bushes rustled and an immense thud could be heard as a burly Dire Wolf jumped out. The trees trembled in response, and the men were tense. But the creature did not attack and regarded Brendel with puzzled eyes.
Scarlett raised her lance and stood in front of Brendel, while Quinn readied his arrow on his longbow, targeting the Dire Wolf, but the youth waved them down and looked at the wolf. It hesitated for a while before it finally approached him. There were no signs of aggression, and it stood a small distance away from him.
The wolf brought its large head over to Brendel and sniffed him…… and rubbed against him intimately.
Almost everyone dropped their jaws.
“T-that’s the use of the rock?” Carglise was the first to understand. But he could hardly believe his eyes.
Brendel rubbed the Direwolf’s furry snout enthusiastically. He turned back and said smugly: “Why, is there a problem?”
“No…… Of course not……” Carglise’s eyes suddenly brightened: “My lord, how many can you control?”
Brendel read the green words in his eyes: “According to the system, I’m now a minor Wolf Leader. Controlling two Direwolves and two hundred normal Black Wolves will be my limit. But this thing can level up, which is why it’s considered to be a cheat item.”
“System?” Carglise was confused.
“Hmm? Oh, it’s just an explanation.” Brendel was so delighted that he forgot to maintain his facade. This item was the equivalent of possessing a full army, and it was incredibly unlikely for a solo gamer to get it. Only major guilds would possess this item most of the time. There was also the fact that such artifacts drop upon the character’s death.
Plus the placement of the Rune was on the forehead. Everyone could see it.
[Hmm. Hmmmm. Wait, a Misthowler dropping a Warg’s Heart…… Perhaps it’s a 100% chance of dropping it and not a rare lucky drop?]
Brendel scratched his head. He thought he might have rubbed off some luck from Dia, but it seemed like his bad luck was still going to continue when it came to getting rare loot drops.
[Back then in the game, there are other good drops from the Wargs…… But it’s impossible to get them. Just this one Misthowler alone would have killed me if it was not for the Unyielding Talent. It’s not good to get greedy here. Besides, the Warg’s heart is the best drop compared to the others. No gamer would come after me in this world for possessing this item, and I doubt the ‘NPCs’ here know anything about this item. Such profit!]