Chapter 164 – Amman
The mist had become so dense that one could not see the sky at all. The figure of the Lernaia Hydra was completely lost in the fog, and no one knew if it was still in the valley. But Brendel was certain that part of the fake Hydra had been converted into a fog, or the forest would not be covered in it.
The humanoid figures in the fog quickly approached them, but the youth was slightly surprised to find they were real humans and not monsters. They were squires wearing golden-red cloaks, with ornaments emblazoned with Fire Raven Sigils hanging around their chest. The bishop amongst them wore a golden-red silk ferraiolo and a biretta with three peaks on it. The sash that hung over his shoulders was embroidered with the Kirrlutz word ‘flame’. With such lavish dressing, he could only be a regional archbishop from the Holy Cathedral of Fire.
Brendel studied the old shriveled face which was dry as a cooked eggplant that was sliced and baked.
[The high ranking bishop from the Einkel region, Amman. This bastard isn’t simple. He acts incredibly humble on the surface, but that’s a lie.]
He frowned inwardly.
[You damned shill. Why did the Holy Cathedral of Fire send out such an infamous bastard out here? Are they not afraid of offending the Druids?]
Amman looked at the youth that suddenly appeared out of nowhere, secretly pleased, as the latter had manners that were a hundred times better than the mercenaries he encountered a while ago.
[A noble is a noble, after all. At least he knows how to be civil. But it seems like he’s someone from Aouine?]
He observed Brendel and noted his style of greeting belonged to the Aouine kingdom.
Scarlett looked at her lord strangely. He was acting quite differently from his normal self.
Brendel’s reaction was almost instinctive. That was how the gamers handled the high-level NPCs in the game.
Amman and his men had surrounded them in order to ensure that they were not the monsters they came upon earlier. In truth, there were only squires accompanying him, which made him cautious. The Gold-ranked knights were killed when the Lernaia Hydra discovered them. Every one of them were on edge; the Holy Cathedral of Fire did not have a high-ranking knight returning to the ‘Holy Flames’ ever since the November War.
The loss was a nightmare.
Amman subconsciously felt the precious item that was placed next to his chest. The knights’ sacrifices were at least not without meaning, and he sighed quietly. He displayed a kind demeanor and spoke with a pleasant tone:
“Young man, you are well-mannered. Which noble family do you belong to? You must have entered this area through an exit where there are two cliffs on both sides? Do you know how to get there from our position?”
Amman asked three questions in one go. Even though he was trying hard not to show it, Brendel was able to discern that the archbishop was tense.
[He must be referring to the Blockade of Wolves. But why is he anxious? Because of that fog monster? The people from the Holy Cathedral of Fire are fanatics. A hundred-odd men wouldn’t make them afraid. While you’re one of the greediest bastards around, that’s merely a character flaw. To become an Archbishop means you’re someone with a strong will.]
He lowered his head and hid his expressions to avoid incurring suspicion:
“Your humble servant is the Lord Baron of Firburh. Your Eminence might not have heard of the Trentheim region. It is a poor countryside and it is a place not worth of mentioning. Your Eminence, I am afraid I am just as lost, but the place you are seeking is not far from here.”
Brendel spoke as politely as much as he could to dismiss the old man in front of him faster. He was afraid that Veronica would catch up with him, and these men would not stand on his side. Yet Brendel did not dare to show impatience. It was still a small matter if he got suspected, but having the crime of being disrespectful to the men from the Holy Cathedral would be disastrous. Most of these people looked kind on the outside, but he knew they were deeply flawed on the inside.
Amman nodded, the news of the Blockade of Wolves being nearby boosted his spirits greatly, and the exhaustion on his wrinkled face was diminished by quite a bit. However, he did feel that it would be quite inhumane to leave the youth and his companion if he just simply left. Even though the duties of the Holy Cathedral of Fire took precedence, it was not a good thing to show such an unseemly image so wantonly.
Amman took a few steps forward and asked: “Lord Baron, we seek to leave this area urgently, do you wish to join us?”
Brendel scoffed coldly in his mind. Perhaps if it were someone else, these words could be trusted, but Amman’s invitation was written with subtle rejection on his face. But the youth did not mind it and shook his head instead:
“Your Eminence, you might have guessed my goal, but I am here for the Lionheart like many others are. I’m afraid that I unable to take up your offer. In order not to have any regrets, I must advance.”
Amman nodded. His thoughts were mostly occupied by the artifact, and he nearly reached out for it with his bony fingers to confirm that it was still there. He wished nothing more for Brendel to reject his offer. Still, the archbishop gave a curious look at Brendel when he mentioned the Lionheart.
“If that is so, then we will not hinder your quest. Your Lordship has good graces, and this humble servant of the Flame will write a letter of appreciation to your king for this pleasant encounter.”
Amman promised with a warm face, and the dark mood he had seemed to have changed in an instant. Brendel showed a small smile, without acknowledging or refusing, sufficiently displaying the elegance of a noble.
[Oh for crying out loud, would you just put a sock in it already? Get the fuck away from me, please! Aren’t you that greedy scumbag Amman who doesn’t give a flying crap about anyone? Stop acting out of character. My time is precious, old man!]
The youth was spewing out curses in his mind throughout the conversation. Amman and his men finally started walking away, but fate did not favor Brendel, and someone parted the vegetation with an urgent rustle.
It was Veronica.
The Goddess of Combat did not even bother to use words and simply attacked him. The sword glowed with a thin light and Brendel hurriedly rolled to the side. The Sword Energy cleaved a black pine tree into equal and neat parts, and the branches on it cracked loudly as they could not support their weight when it fell over.
This attack caused Amman and his knights to be stunned. The Archbishop’s eyebrows were raised up and he was prepared to rage over the stranger’s action, but he shuddered when he realized who she was. Even though he was just as famous as the four commanders of the Kirrlutz Empire, it was clear that military clout was the true wielder of authority.
Furthermore, leaving aside the fact that Veronica was a Sword Saint, she belonged to one of the twelve families with the longest history in Kirrlutz. Just from this alone, Amman would not dare to offend her. Perhaps the Archbishops who handled the wealthiest regions would be able to exert pressure on her, but he was definitely not one of them.
Since he understood that this woman could not be offended, he turned straight around and looked at Brendel with his clouded brown eyes, his expression resembling a dead fish. It was clear that he was demanding an answer from the youth.
[This damned codger really changes his expressions faster than one can flip a book.]
The youth caught his gaze, but his attention was soon directed to Veronica. She shrunk the distance between them instantly and attempted to grab his shoulder, but the youth’s body shifted slightly and moved away like a slippery eel. He stood in front of Scarlett, afraid that Veronica would use her as a hostage again.
However, Veronica was clearly aiming for him. The first grab was a failure, so she attempted a second time. Brendel did not think he was able to run away and could only bring his sword up to guard his body while conjuring up an Earth Spike to block her vision. However, Veronica smashed a large hole through the rock and went straight to grab his shoulder.
Amman’s eyes widened a little when he saw the Earth Spike come out from the ground, but he immediately attributed it to Brendel’s sword.
Brendel did not think that he was able to cut off Veronica’s hand off when he recalled her barrier, so he pushed Scarlett aside while flinging himself to the sides as hard as he could. This caused him to roll around in pain, but he tolerated it and yelled out immediately.
The red-haired girl understood and she escaped in the other direction. Brendel threw out a card onto the ground, but no one else saw his actions. A fiery red Magic Formation suddenly appeared across the ground and a Fire Dijinn sprang out from it and charged straight at Veronica.
The sudden attack surprised her and she retreated subconsciously. However, a quick assessment of its speed and strength lead her to believe that Brendel was delaying for time. She only hesitated for a short moment before she charged at the fiery creature in a straight line. The Azure Sword in her hand twirled once, and she intended to end its life with one critical strike.
Brendel ran as he roared in his mind. It was just as he had planned.
A ray of golden light spilled forth as a crack formed from the Fire Dijinn’s body. The boundless energy from within caused Veronica’s expression to warp. The Fire Dijinn was releasing all its mana and Fire Element within its body and combining it together, and this attack was the equivalent of unleashing an Element Power.
A loud bang occurred. The light was so strong that it washed out all colors, and everyone had to look away and close their eyes. Brendel was retreating towards the thickest foliage he had seen a while ago, but Amman’s familiar voice wormed into his ears:
“Holy Word, Wall!”
Brendel immediately felt a strange energy cutting off his retreat. The translucent walls of light around him belonged to one of the few spells a Priest class would have. The constructed walls of light were over a hundred meters long, but they were less than ten meters tall. Brendel raised his sword into the air and an Earth spike was formed near the wall’s edge, but a projectile made up of Sword Energy whistled through the air, and it slashed across the spike at incredible speed. There was a cracking sound as the Earth Spike was lopped off in the middle.
Brendel’s plan was crushed and he could not help but glance back. He discovered that Veronica had already recovered from the earlier explosion.