Chapter 188 – The final moment (4)
Brendel placed a finger on his lips and quickly showed this action to Faena and Sifrid. Andesha’s voice had shocked Faena to the point where she nearly shrieked, but the youth’s calm attitude was enough to stop her from making any mistakes.
The only sounds in their surroundings were the monotonous dronings of the insects, with a few small rodent-like creatures darting through the vegetation at high speed that created rustling noises.
Faena could hear her own heartbeat pounding in her ears. She was so tense that she felt her blood turn cold, and her fingers were white and clammy.
“What do we do?” She mouthed these words.
Her haughty conduct earlier was nowhere to be found; she was now a normal girl who looked at the youth with a pair of frightened eyes, realizing that he was the only person she could rely on right now.
Brendel glanced at Faena. The girl’s face was as dirty as a spotted cat, her pretty golden ponytails were covered with dirt, but he thought she was cuter and better to get along with than before.
“Worry not.” He mouthed back.
Sadly, he did not think that this change would be permanent. She was still a duke’s daughter from Kirrlutz, and her proud character was carved into her bones. Perhaps it was even safe to say that she took advantage of the fact that he was reluctant to harm her, and she chose to quarrel with him throughout the journey.
Soft footsteps could be heard from the cavern’s exit. Brendel listened to them carefully with a composed mind. It seemed like Andesha had no intention of hiding her presence, and it was unnecessary to do so at her level against him anyway.
[Damn it…… It’s been a while since I have to work so hard to hide myself.]
Brendel wished that he was the level 130 Warrior in the game. He at least had the sub-class techniques of a thief even if he needed to hide. It was all fun and excitement in the game, but it was full of stress and tension in reality. Andesha felt like an unbearable threat with every step she took.
Still, the youth was able to make a rational judgment because of his experience.
He simply did not move.
Then he heard another set of footsteps coming from another direction, and he frowned.
[Another nearby exit from the caverns? It’s fortunate that this person hasn’t detected us.]
“It’s possible that boy has already left long ago. I didn’t expect that there would be someone else from the Silver Alliance protecting him, other than the Druids. That earlier magic spell had a familiar Mana signature to it; I wonder if it’s someone I know.” The Mistress of Withering Decay said.
Brendel held his breath.
A familiar male voice answered Andesha instantly:
“Ironic. I did not think a monster like you would regret making too many enemies.”
“Making too many enemies? What an absurd notion,” Andesha’s voice was a little high-pitch, and one could hear the sarcasm in her voice, “listening to you has allowed me to understand why your faction acts so cowardly. If you fear your enemies so much, why don’t you depart back to your dirty little nest this very instant?”
“Fine, fine. I’m not here to pick a fight with you, Andesha. I’m more interested in learning about this area here instead. I suspect that we’re the first group of visitors in a few thousand years.” The man said.
“The second batch, you mean. Don’t forget, the little boy…… and his other companions probably entered before us.”
[Interesting. That woman doesn’t know how many of us are in here. As long as she is suspicious of our numbers, she will be more cautious.]
“You’re right. It seemed like that boy knows what was in the canyon. That mysterious stone gate was definitely locked earlier, and yet it was opened when we reached it. I took a while to study the gate, and it appears to be a Legacy left for the foolish humans, but I refuse to believe he was able to open it without any preparations. Even you have to admit that these creations from the Golden Lineage are splendid.”
[This man was in the valley before us?]
“What are you trying to say, Hamir, no, your current name is……” Andesha interrupted him with a condescending tone, but the man continued speaking.
“Are you not worried that the Druids are preparing something? They have hidden what they learned in the Dark Forest for centuries. A Sealed Fragment of Divinity was hidden in this area, while the damned long-living hypocrites from the Silver Alliance appeared at this strange timing. Who knows what other shocking things could be found in this place?”
“More shocking things? This World Tree isn’t enough? No, perhaps the most valuable thing is this Sealed Fragment.”
“The World Tree dates back to the ancient era when the Twilight Dragon still existed. You know this point better than me. The things that are contained within……”
“…… Very well, I’ll admit it. I too am curious what is within it, now cut your nonsense and follow me—”
“Your personality hasn’t changed at all.” The man remarked.
Brendel was almost certain that Andesha’s perception was higher than him. Fortunately, it appeared that Andesha was so interested in investigating the World Tree that she did not bother to track them. In addition, Faena was surprisingly decent in masking her presence, probably a feat that was gained from the excellent trainers from the Kirrlutz Empire. Sifrid was quite adept in hiding too, and the youth recalled the time when she tried to sneak out of her village to surrender to Graudin in the past.
The trio waited in silence. Andesha and the mysterious man’s footsteps shuffled quickly and they left for the World Tree. The last words that he heard from her were:
“They might have gotten close to the World Tree.”
Brendel waited for another ten minutes before he sighed.
Faena saw his action and collapsed to the ground while patting her chest in relief. She looked like she had been taken out of a pool of water. Her forehead and back were drenched with perspiration.
“That’s good, right? They are far away from us now. Let’s return when we have the chance.” The noble from the Kirrlutz Empire said.
Brendel pondered for a moment: “Return?”
“That woman believes we are near the World Tree, so before she realizes that we’re not there, we should go back and meet up with Lady Veronica. We should leave this place now, right?” Faena’s eyes opened up and stared at Brendel as if it was the most logical thing.
“No, no, you’re mistaken on one thing. There is no ‘we’ here, but ‘you’, you should return alone. It’s actually a good chance for you. There’s no need to worry about Hati, it’s not going to wake up, and the fake Hydra has been defeated by Andesha. I didn’t sense any monsters along the way as well, so it should be fine. You do remember how to go back, right?” Brendel said.
“I—” Faena looked at Brendel in confusion, her eyebrows moving upwards while being pushed together into a frown: “Y-y-you intend for me to leave alone?”
“Huh? What else do you want?”
“W-w-without you?” She stuttered in disbelief.
Brendel’s mouth opened a little and he looked a little blankly at the girl. Just how spoiled was this girl for her to think he would escort her back like a bodyguard? Did he present himself in a way that he was protecting her selflessly?
“Why should I escort you?” He naturally rejected her suggestion.
“I…… You……” Her facial expressions changed a few times, looking like she was about to throw a tantrum but always stopping at the point where she got angry: “Then…… Then why are you staying here?”
“Hmmm. Like Andesha, I’m curious about that hugeeee tree, my lady.” Brendel did not want to reveal the truth about his plans for taking over the entire Valhalla, and he instead chose to joke about it.
Of course, anyone with a working mind would be able to see past his joking words.
“Hey, surely having a life is more important than being curious…..”
“Uhh?” Brendel first rolled his eyes at the dumb girl, then suddenly asked in a strange tone: “Are you worried about me, or worried about no one escorting you?”
Faena’s face flushed and she roared furiously with flared nostrils: “No way, you fool! It was merely a spontaneous question, and I don’t care about your life! I’m going…… If you die, d-d-don’t blame me……”
She took a deep breath and walked off. The youth flipped over his palms and shook them a few times along with a shrug, while looking at her back with an incredulous expression. The girl was a giant ball of contradiction.
[Now then, Andesha moving off to Valhalla is definitely going out of my plans.]
There was no choice but to fight over the Legacy. He started to walk to the World Tree as well, bringing Sifrid along.
It might sound like an impossible task, but Andesha had no idea what was lying within the ruins, while he had a pretty good idea on where his destination was. This would allow him to gain the advantage. In addition, the Heroic Spirits and Ancestral Kings had most likely acknowledged him as the new king of Valhalla.
Once he accessed the Legacy of this mysterious land, he could borrow its power and defeat her.
[As long as I’m the Chosen One in my Divine Kingdom! My Heroic Sentinels would easily take Andesha out!]
Brendel started to exaggerate a preposterous scenario in his mind. Though if he really managed to gain the advantage of pulling things off under Andesha’s eyes, it would really be possible to chase her out.
Since it was a risky gamble, he had no intention of taking on something that would drag down his legs. As long as there was an opportunity to send Faena away, he would definitely raise both his hands and agree to it.
In fact, he wanted to send Sifrid to a safe place if he could. Faena at least had Veronica to guide her out of the Dark Forest.
It was far easier for him to move by himself and not take unnecessary risks.
But it did not take long for Brendel to turn around as he heard running footsteps coming from the cavern.
“Hey—” Faena said, her face pale and hands shivering: “R-right, I suddenly remembered something, the people from Kirrlutz, t-t-they don’t have the habit of abandoning companions. Even though we’re enemies, y-y-you still saved my life…… You might be inconsiderate, but I mustn’t act like you and be magnanimous…..”
[Fuck me. Why didn’t I escape at the very first second she went into the cavern!?]
Brendel immediately scolded himself.