TL: I’ll see if I can get another chapter out in 1 hour, otherwise I’m going to take a nap and get ready to consume alcohol. Honestly, I can’t really get drunk because my stomach will just go on strike if there’s too much alcohol in it lol (I really like wines though). If I can’t get the chapter out, expect it to come in the next 24 hours.
Chapter 185 – The final moment (1)
Brendel contemplated the canyon’s shape one more time.
The places that one could hide near Hati’s pit mostly consisted of small boulders and gaps, and given how good at Andesha was tracking people, she would have encountered the person William was describing very quickly. If she did not murder the person immediately, then it was unlikely for them to be anyone good.
[Just who exactly could it be? Another member of the Tree Shepherds? Even if that person is not, he would probably be one of the bad guys. Bad news, in any case.]
“How much time do I have, Grandmaster William?” He asked.
The old wizard’s intelligent eyes studied the pit, while his hand opened a dimensional portal and took out a silver staff:
“Andesha seems to be stunned from discovering Hati. But she’s the Mistress of Withering Decay, and I believe she will recover from it very soon. You have a few minutes before she arrives.”
Brendel nodded; the Archmage was hinting to him to open the gate now. This place was not a good one to do battle with Andesha, and the youth was not sure how much William was going to help him.
He studied the rock gate closely. It was made with the hands of the Ancestral Citizens. The Great Craftsman, Delluha constructed it approximately thirteen thousand years ago, transcending many Laws and generations, standing quietly in this place with the mist giving it a mysterious air.
This bit of lore was written in the ancient chronicles.
The gate was carved with poems praising the light and fire in many different languages, and Brendel eventually discovered them on the dark obsidian walls. The letters were written majestically and gazing upon them made the youth feel breathless.
He touched the icy gate, and a blast of energy struck him, as though it was a message that came from thirteen thousand years ago.
The sounds of spears and swords filled the entire area. Murderous roars filled his ears, and a vivid picture of the ground stained with fresh blood assaulted his eyes. A bell high above the clouds rang out loudly, as though it was signaling the outcome of this unknown battle.
A pillar of green light pierced through the heavens, striking through the colossal dragon which had unfurled its wings and blotted out the sun’s rays.
Brendel gasped and shook his head, waking up from the illusion. A fragment of history that left him out of breath. Perspiration filled his forehead, and he glanced around to make sure he was not stuck in that timeline.
William smiled when he met Brendel’s gaze:
“Not many people know about that era. The Sky Knights sundered the empyrean to bring us to a new world, felled the Twilight Dragon and ended the generation of suffering. But at the same time, the races gradually forgot the meaning of glory.”
Brendel’s eyes squinted as he considered a speech.
[But the suffering hasn’t ended yet! The people in this era have never lost the meaning of glory. This world is always oppressing someone; heroes do not just exist in one’s memories, they are created whenever the era needs one—]
He would have declared so in the game.
A perfectly standard answer to call forth a new quest.
But the youth was afraid of something crazy happening. There was no need to repeat the situation where the Lionheart reacted to his nonsense again. This particular place was probably even more mystical than the sword, and there was no telling what would happen if he tried to make a grand speech.
Furthermore, he was way past the age of a hot-blooded teenager.
His eyes stayed on William for another second before he turned to Sifrid. Time was running out, and Andesha was probably moving past Hati by now.
“Sifrid, do you sense anything?”
“I hear a voice calling out to me, brother Brendel,” Sifrid said a little nervously.
She also went up to the gate, closed her eyes, and placed a white hand onto the ink-like rock. Her body shook.
“Is it saying anything?”
“The key within the gate, the radiance of starlight, heroic spirits of the past, the Lord who will guard Order.”
“These lines come from the Druids’ Poem of Brambles. This is probably a code of some sort. Did the Druids teach you about what the lines mean?”
“…… No, I only learned ‘The Way of Nature’, brother Brendel.”
“They only taught you that?”
“No, it’s not your fault, these stubborn fools are really fond of wasting time. They didn’t even teach you about ‘The Great Split,” Brendel resisted the urge to call them names, “perhaps they have been spending too much of their time with the Elves and have picked up on their bad habits.”
“How much do you know about the Druids and the Elves?” William did not appear bothered by Andesha’s threat and asked curiously.
The youth kept on surprising him.
Brendel did not respond. His mind was quickly shuffling through the walkthrough and the lore about Valhalla from the forum posts. Despite his powerful memory, the urgent situation was interfering with his ability to recall them.
“No. Not this. Perhaps….. The key within the gate? Sifrid, repeat after me and tell the gate these few lines. I am the Daughter of the Forest, blessed by the Goddess and chosen by the Heroic Spirits, the wielder of the Forest and Mountains’ authority.”
Sifrid’s eyes popped out when she heard Brendel’s words. William was stroking his beard with narrowed eyes.
“Ah, I forgot, add in ‘Oh, Mighty Spirit of the Gates’ before you repeat my words.”
“Oh, Mighty Spirit of the Gates,” Sifrid slowly recited Brendel’s words as he repeated himself one more time, “I am the Daughter of the Forest, blessed by the Goddess and chosen by the Heroic Spirits, the wielder of the Forest and Mountains’ authority.”
A mysterious energy poured out from the little girl’s voice. A long moment passed, and Brendel was about to think of another way to interpret the words, but a sudden rumble shook the valley.
A thunderous voice reached into everyone’s hearts. Sifrid’s eyes gleamed brightly and she looked at Brendel with disbelief.
Faena who was looking at the situation with great cynicism, stuttered: “Brendel, i-i-it’s talking……”
William’s eyes were so narrowed that they were forming a line.
“What do I do?” Sifrid asked in confusion.
“Erm…… Please open the gates—” Brendel said with uncertainty.
“Please open the gates!” She shouted.
“Did it work?” Faena asked.
“Are the conditions wrong?” Brendel frowned as he muttered to himself.
He kept looking at the lore stated in the forums in his mind, but the more pressure he put on himself, the more unfocused the words became. No matter how good his memory was, there was a limit to it.
William’s eyes suddenly glanced at the valley’s entrance. This subtle action did not escape Faena’s observation, and she started to become restless:
“Shut up!” Brendel exclaimed.
“You—” Faena was like an angry cat, hissing loudly, but she knew who was in charge and could only sulk in silence.
“Brother Brendel, there’s another voice, and she’s asking me something.” Sifrid suddenly spoke.
“What?” Brendel was jolted out from his memories and he replied in a daze: “What is she saying?”
“She’s asking me, where is the Lord King who will guard Order?”
[…… The Lord King?]
The memory from the gate flashed through his mind again.
[Ahh— I see. The Lord King is Valhalla’s lord, the king of the Forest and Mountains.]
Sifrid was the wielder and keeper of the Forest and Mountain’s authority. But the day would come where the authority was handed to its true owner. The Lord King shall lead the Heroic Spirits of Valhalla and guard its vicinity, just like how the chronicles described it.
Brendel placed his hand onto the wall, speaking within his mind:
“Oh past Lord Kings and Heroic Spirits, I am willing to receive your blade and guard this land against the Chaos. I will never let it cover this land, and allow Order to break the fog of Chaos for all eternity. If this is your responsibility, then allow me to take over; if this is the crown of glory, please coronate me. The Light shall sunder the Wall of Clouds and allow the sun to illuminate the earth once more. The miracle that the Ancestral Citizens witness shall be repeated.”
Brendel could feel each word carve into his heart:
“Many more than a thousand years have passed, but the Sacred Oath still remains—”
Time seemed to stop for a moment. And a venerable voice spoke:
“May it be, Successor.”
Brendel and Sifrid felt an invisible energy pushing them away from the door, and they took a step back. There was a slight movement of the gates, with a faint rumble coming from above the Wall of Clouds. At first, they could not sense anything, but the earth started to tremble and shake, and the rumbling turning into resounding roars that came like an endless wave.
The pebbles around the gate started dancing like a king’s jester, creating tiny clacking noises.
Faena was so terrified that she backed away from the gate and crashed into a boulder without even feeling anything. William was so astonished that his eyes opened wide to witness this spectacular scene.
The gate was slowly opening revealing a small dark gap between the doors, but a gust of strong wind blew out of it, causing everyone’s hair to flutter freely. The wind was not musty and instead had a scent of nature.
It was quiet after the doors were opened fully.
Brendel took a deep breath. Peering into the dark cave within the gate made him feel like there was a fearsome beast lurking somewhere within it.
“S-s-surely we’re not going in there……” Faena stuttered when she saw the cave’s ominous darkness.
There was a sudden long cry that came from the cave, sounding a little like a bird, and it immediately crushed her mental strength and turned her face pallid.
“Sure, it’s not really necessary for you to go in. After all, there might be monsters that are more terrifying than Andesha.” Brendel took out a strip of cloth from the bag on his waist and tied up Veronica’s sword to his belt. He then pulled out Halran Gaia out from its sheath on his back.
“Y-y-you think you’re scaring me, I-I-I’m not frightened…..” Tears were swimming in the girl’s eyes and threatening to spill out.
Brendel cast a final glance at her, patted Sifrid’s shoulder, and led her into the darkness.
“Archmage William……” Faena turned to the old wizard when she saw that Brendel went in without hesitation.
“Little girl, your Lord is right. There is no telling what dangers lurk in the ancient ruins, but there might be a possibility where it’s significantly less dangerous than what you encountered earlier.”
“He’s not my Lord!”
“I see, well then, at the very least, you wouldn’t need to worry about his safety.” The Archmage replied with a smile, lifting up his staff and prepared to enter into the darkness as well.
Faena’s face turned red in shame, then turned white in fear, but she gritted her teeth and eventually followed them. She did not know whether Brendel was scaring her on purpose, but a possible danger could not compare with a danger that was all too real.
“That old man is right. That man rescued me from Andesha even though I did him wrong. I-I-I can’t leave him when he might face a great danger. T-that’s right!” She muttered to herself and persuaded herself in a twisted manner.