Chapter 149 – Mysterious corpses
Wydall informed that they had discovered adventurers, but what Brendel really found were dead people. More than thirty corpses were strewn all over the Dark Forest. They had light grey surcoats worn over silver armor.
Brendel turned over one of them and investigated his coat of arms.
[Just like I thought when I first saw them. These people are the guards of the Holy Cathedral of Fire. The clearest indication is the fiery red emblem on their armor.]
The longswords on the ground were mostly forged in the Kirrlutz’s style, but the thing that truly stuck out was how every single weapon on them was a longsword. Any military army would have other common weapons like axes or spears.
“These men are the Grey-robed Priest Soldiers in the Holy Cathedral of Fire,” he stood up and spoke to Quinn and Wydall, “I’m not sure if there are any Flame Sentinels accompanying them unless I check every single body.”
“They probably did not encounter wolves here, or they would have bite marks. The bodies here are placed strangely and it feels really odd,” the Centaur Elder said.
They looked at the men once more. The majority were lying on the ground like they were sleeping, while a few leaned against the trees; some even looked almost natural and alive with their poses. Strangely enough, their eyes were all closed, and their weapons were not far away from them.
But their dull skin proved they were dead.
“Indeed. Furthermore, it is strange for the Holy Cathedral of Fire to leave their comrades behind in the wild to the wolves. Covering their bodies with stones and branches isn’t something hard to do.” Quinn said.
“Another Priest Soldier.” Brendel walked over to another body and lifted the surcoat.
“In addition, there are no signs of a battle,” Quinn’s ears shook a little when a nightingale’s warbles came from time to time, “it appears like they died in their sleep. Our early inspections revealed that they did not have any apparent injuries.”
“Every single one?”
The situation was indeed very odd. Quinn and Wydall remained quiet when they saw Brendel deep in thought. They believed that no one really understood the Dark Forest, and with each step taken deeper into it, was akin to getting closer to a Dream Demon which would silently reap their lives away in their sleep.
[Are there any Wargs that have the ability to attack them in an instant? Hold on, I forgot to check one more thing……]
Brendel suddenly walked up to a few bodies and inspected them. He stopped and looked at a Priest Soldier’s fist that was formed tightly into a ball.
After prying it open with some difficulty, he discovered that the dead man was holding onto a golden amulet. Brendel poked at the fingers, determining that was slightly stiff and cold.
[The body generally becomes stiff after three hours or so. How surprising. The Holy Cathedral of Fire actually got here ahead of us by this much? Hmmm…… I wonder. For some reason, I feel like they made use of the Druids as a distraction and avoided the wolves. As expected from them, these damn bastards have really good scouts.]
Brendel deduced that the powerful factions were making use of the Druids’ defense of the Green Tower to further their agenda. It was probably easy to predict where the Druids’ frontline was.
He inspected the amulet. There was a purple diamond-shaped crystal in the center, but much of it was cracked as the Mana was depleted from it.
[A purple crystal usually means it’s used to ward off evil. This Priest Soldier understood the danger he was in when he held this artifact in his hand. He didn’t die immediately.]
The youth nodded. He had gathered a number of hints. His hand holding the amulet began to move towards his pouch out of habit, but he suddenly stopped. Quinn and Wydall’s eyes were on him. The artifact could still be used if he repaired it, and the artifacts used by the Holy Cathedral of Fire would at least be of some quality.
But this was not a game. He could not smash the vases in people’s homes to get money or something. Taking the items from a dead person…… He was not sure if Quinn and Wydall would smack him for doing that.
The Centaurs and Tree Elves were deeply respectful of the dead.
In the end, he returned the amulet back to the dead priest’s hand.
“These Priest Soldiers were left behind to block the enemy’s pursuit.”
“Pursuit?” Wydall was surprised.
He had been observing the youth’s actions and was slightly amused by them. Even though there was information to be gleaned from the bodies, only veteran soldiers, professional hunters, and a few select professions would be able to read them.
As a warrior who had seen different kinds of injuries created from weapons, bites, and even magic, he should have been able to find something. But there were no injuries at all, and that stumped him.
[This young man walked around the bodies twice and determined they were left behind to block the enemies? Is he making a wild guess?]
He could not help but crease his brows. It was irresponsible for a commander to make a conclusion based on a wild guess. He glanced at Quinn to see what his opinion was, but the latter shook his head and indicated for him to wait for a little, which only made the Centaur Elder irritated from the lack of decisive action.
Brendel pondered for a few more seconds before he pointed in a certain direction: “The men from the Holy Cathedral of Fire came from this direction. It’s pretty close to where we came from.”
Quinn and Wydall were surprised. Their men had searched the surroundings carefully and determined where the humans entered and left based on the disturbed foliage. But how did Brendel know?
“What? You don’t believe me?” Brendel frowned as he looked at their stunned expressions and pointed to another direction: “I’m sure you will discover they left from this direction if you search for their presence.
“No, I think we just want to know how you determined that.”
[To think that the Holy Cathedral of Fire is already using the Cross Formation this early. Gamers copied the five-men groups that protected the center formation. After improving on it further, it became one of the most popular formations. It was easy to adapt to situations.]
As one of the group leaders in the game, he was more than familiar with it.
“The Holy Cathedral of Fire moves in a specific formation. This group of men is most likely one of the flanks. This group’s scout first discovered the enemies and warned the main formation of the enemy or enemies’ positions. ”
The youth raised his head and looked around. He pointed at the top of a tree to indicate there was a dead body perched there. He then moved to the outermost area of the discovered bodies, which was near where he pointed earlier.
“These are the first few men that died. They were closest to the scout, but they were unable to react because of the incredible speed of the enemies. Since the Grey Knights are usually used as scouts in this formation—”
He opened one of the men’s surcoat to reveal the heraldry of the Grey Knight.
“Scarlett!” He shouted: “Move over to that position!”
The girl was quietly observing the surroundings for any danger at Amandina’s side, and she was momentarily surprised by the sudden order. Even though she did not understand, she moved to where he ordered her to be.
Brendel drew a circle on the ground where the Grey Knights were before he looked back at Quinn and Wydall.
“The Grey Knights attempted to surround the enemy or enemies in a crescent formation. They are quite far apart from each other, so their goal was to delay for time. These men can be considered to be the elite forces of the Holy Cathedral of Fire, but—”
Brendel pointed at where Scarlett was: “There wasn’t even a battle. Six Grey Knights simply fell over to the ground.”
He studied the area and saw there was a disturbed patch of grass where Scarlett was. He followed the trail and eventually found another body.
“This is probably the last Grey Knight. He was frightened out of his poor wits and started running away. But he was caught without any form of resistance and died just like that.”
He then informed Scarlett to continue walking deeper into the Dark Forest and report any signs of activity.
“The enemy or enemies are very powerful. I believe the commander in the center formation somehow got to know what happened to their flank, and he immediately repositioned themselves to run away while leaving some men behind to cover his rear.”
Scarlett eventually reported back with the conclusion that Brendel made. Quinn and Wydall widened their eyes when they realized Brendel was once again right.
A sudden flurry of footsteps caused the group to look at the source of the noise. It was Austin. Since Brendel had investigated for quite some time without advancing, he got impatient and went up to find out the reason why they were delayed.
He was shocked to discover corpses everywhere.