Chapter 190 – The final moment (6)
Brendel took a few tiny steps before he suddenly felt a jerk to his sleeves and turned around to find Faena’s hand. She mouthed her question and pointed at the streets covered with overgrown vegetation with a finger:
“You want to go through there?”
“Are you crazy?” Faena looked at him in disbelief before she thought of something that could explain his actions: “…… Have you figured how to activate the cloak’s invisibility?”
[If I can I would have used it immediately. That old fool didn’t even give me a clue to activate it. How should I know what to do with it?]
The youth rolled his eyes, gestured at Faena and Sifrid to stay behind, then went out to his destination without responding. Faena could only look on with fright in her wide open eyes. Her fingers were digging in so deeply into her skin that it left marks on it, but she did not make a sound despite her slacked jaw.
[Honestly, with Andesha’s Perception stats, I’m pretty sure that even with a ranger with level 10 Stealth would have trouble hiding from her. I wouldn’t stand a chance.]
Brendel always had a clear mind. After hesitating a few times, he chose to risk it as he did not have the habit to waste time. His current goal was to get a closer observation of the land before him. It was difficult to conclude things when he was looking through from the dense vegetation.
He inched closer by using the cover of the shrubs and stared at the flowering heaths. His mind worked quickly in the midst of the dead silence.
[No, I can’t think of anything. Andesha isn’t a fool and I’m one hundred percent certain that she will be able to spot me. If this is a game…… Surely there will be a way to complete this mission?]
He searched through his memories, trying to find an inspiration from the battles he fought in the past before he stopped at a certain flashback.
The game had just entered beta testing.
During that period, the gamers were making a ruckus over the game design.
The typical game designers would create difficult trials for the gamers, but no matter how hard they were, there was always at least one path that the gamers were able to use and complete them.
In a simple game, it was regarded as the easy way out. In a difficult game, it was a thorny path, but it was still a path of completion.
But the Amber Sword had a distinct game design, and one of the developers stated a somewhat famous line that stuck with the gamers:
“In real life, there isn’t a road in a forest until it’s built. Use your courage and intelligence to make one.”
At that time, the data-miners amongst the gamers put up the information of an unknown world boss called the Emerald Dragon, which had the Element Power, Eternity. It even had the nickname, Immortal Boss. The gamers thought it was a joke made by the developers when they gave it a loot table, but they eventually accepted it as a challenge to break the rules.
[…… What’s the use of recalling this memory? Try doing this shitty quest in real life to get past Andesha, and watch the gamers immediately give up and throw the game away. It’s the game element they are after, not flexibility.]
Still, the youth regained his spirits about facing impossible odds. If there was no strategy or path that he could borrow from, he could create his own.
[There’s no point to brute force our way through. Retreating and choosing the sidelines is a choice I can take.]
He moved back slowly and crawled out of the bushes, only to find Faena’s pale face staring at him as though he had committed atrocious crimes with.
“My lifespan has been cut by ten years just standing next to you!” She glared at him and mouthed the words.
“If scouting the area is ten years, then the actions I’m going to do next might just cause you to drop dead immediately.”
“W-what do you mean?”
“That section of the ruins over there, we will try to slip through there using it as cover. I inspected the area quite carefully and that’s the best path for us. The others are basically dead ends.”
Brendel slowly explained with gestures to present his judgment clearly, but Faena only took a glance to refute him:
“It does look like a good spot since her line of sight can’t reach it, but the final stretch doesn’t have any cover at all. No matter what we do, we will definitely be discovered right?” Her eyebrows were pointing upwards. “That woman is one of the twelve leaders of the Tree Shepherds, would you stop treating her like a fool? If she stays up there, it means that she’s definitely confident of catching us!”
“Yes, I know, I can see that. I’m certain that Andesha realizes this point as well, and it’s foolish to cross over so blatantly.” Brendel shook his head, disagreeing with Faena’s assessment: “However, I don’t believe that she considers us to be fools, not when we escaped from her repeatedly. That is precisely the reason why she would not pay attention to that area.”
“I think I understand your logic, but we’re traveling across a courtyard without cover. If she happens to cast a glance over there, she will discover us even if she’s not paying attention.”
Brendel did not answer. He obviously knew that there was no perfect solution, but he had to try and get there at least halfway. The rest of the solution would be luck and hard work. At this point in time, it was impossible not to take a little risk. There was no time to waste, as it was not certain how long the Druids were able to last, even with William’s help.
Thus he shook his head.
“Hey!” Faena was so desperate she nearly cried out. She grabbed Sifrid next to her and mouthed: “Sifrid, quickly persuade your big brother, this fool is trying to kill himself and I don’t want to accompany him!
Sifrid looked at both of them before she shook her head at Faena. She did not intend to object. In fact, Brendel’s decision was her decision.
Faena was at a complete loss.
“Stay behind,” Brendel mouthed.
There was no reason to bring her along. It was indeed true that it could be a trip to hell. But the girl was a little flustered and hesitant over his words. She stared at the both of them before throwing up a tantrum.
“No, you must bring me along!” She shook her fists up and down.
Brendel could not understand what she was thinking and mouthed back in frustration: “Don’t you ever feel like you’re baggage?”
“You’re the one who kidnapped me to this place. Country bumpkin, you need to take responsibility for that. Are you still a noble if you leave me behind?”
[I’m not a fucking noble! Screw this shit. Don’t blame me for getting yourself killed if you want to follow me.]
Brendel roared in his mind, but it looked like Faena was serious. Even if he refused, she would probably follow him. It was quite the headache, but he gave up in the end. He had to bring along Sifrid, and there was no difference to add one more person.
He sighed but he agreed to Faena’s words.
The girl seemed to be pleased and relieved that she won a verbal battle against Brendel.
“Are we moving off right now?” She asked.
[What do you mean ‘we’? It’s me who’s going to do all the work……]
But the youth nodded. It was easy for him to make his way across the ruins alone, but bringing Faena and Sifrid made things complicated. He did not dare to allow them to follow him on foot, and he explained that he was going to carry them over one at a time. It was actually better that way since he was at least experienced in the Stealth skill.
His first attempt to bring over Sifrid was successful. He carefully went to the side where there was abundant cover, then dove into the ruins. This area was facing Andesha’s back, and just like he predicted, she did not pay much attention there. She would have discovered Brendel if she happened to turn her head for a split second.
After putting Sifrid into one of the half-broken rock houses, he turned around to get Faena. His actions were incredibly swift, passing through the grass with hardly any noise, and he was so skillful that Faena’s eyes nearly popped out.
As one of the top-ranking nobles in the Kirrlutz Empire, she was well learned and knew that only the most capable scouts within the army were capable of doing a feat like him. The typical nobles were not required to learn it, unless they were working for the throne as ambassadors with the skillset of a spy.
She learned a few things from her father’s spies in the past, but they now appeared like frauds when she compared their abilities to Brendel’s.
But Brendel thought otherwise and was greatly concerned about his actions. His ability was not corrected by the system, and there was no competing against the professions in the game. As long as the Stealth level was above level ten, the stealthy professions like a ranger or Night Oracle could hide right in front of Faena and not be noticed. At level fifteen, they could even disappear right in front of her eyes, nearly reaching the capabilities of a magical artifact, though it was not easy even for the main professions with these skillsets to learn it. Invisibility magic could be dispelled but stealth could not.
When Brendel carried the stunned Faena, she was so startled she squeaked out a sound, but the youth was alert enough to cover her lips in time and glared at her to warn her to be careful.
The girl suddenly remembered the thrilling moments where he carried her.
Like jumping off a cliff and scaring her till she cried. Or throwing her into the air and past the Lernaia Hydra’s mouth as it snapped at her.
When she realized that Brendel was carrying her in his arms, she suddenly felt her face burn up and wished that she was still gawking over his skill. It was only after that she was placed next to Sifrid that she recovered from her panic.
Brendel brought both of them closer to his desired destination by repeating the same steps. When they reached the final house in the ruins, he patted Faena and mouthed:
“Are you really going to follow me? It’s possible that we will get killed.” Brendel tried to frighten the girl one more time, but she still refused to let him go alone.
[What pills did this woman take? She just keeps staring at me and nodding.]
If there was one thing that the people from Kirrlutz and Aouine had in common, they were both unwilling to abandon their comrades. Brendel felt highly uncomfortable at that thought.
“Fine. I tried my best,” he sighed.
He then peeked out at the clearing to investigate it again, but his expression contorted immediately. Faena did the same thing, and she pushed her hands up to her lips with lightning speed to prevent herself from making any noises from surprise.
There was a figure covered in red robes standing at the other end of the clearing.
[Bloody hell, this was a trap.]
Brendel cursed in his mind. He thought that Andesha had a small oversight, though it was still highly unreasonable to think that it would work if he tried to cross over the clearing. What he did not expect was Andesha to have a watertight surveillance. The youth backed away and gritted his teeth. He did not have a backup plan.
Faena prodded him: “We’re actually close enough. Perhaps we can try using the cloak? Its magic should be able to last for a while.”
[Cloak? The one that William gave us?]
“What are you talking about? Have you forgotten that the old wizard didn’t give us the keyword to activate its magic?”
He patted Faena’s hand away. Was the girl too terrified to think properly? Perhaps the old wizard’s forgetful nature had spread to her head.
“Do you really think the cloak cannot be used just because that old man didn’t tell you the keywords to activate it? Have you forgotten what my profession is?”
“Huh? What your profession is? Daughter of a high-ranking duke?”
“You oaf! I’m a Magic Swordsman, deciphering runes is part of my skillset!”
“Hah? Just how capable do you think you are? This cloak is a legendary item that’s only heard in mythological tales. The Magic Formations on it are very much different from the ones we’re using in this era. If I’m not wrong, my lady, you’re not even formally recognized as a Magic Swordsman. An apprentice instead, yes?”
“It’s precisely because I’m a noble that I’m not recognized as a Magic Swordsman! There are many pairs of eyes on me as a duke’s daughter and I can’t go out to get recognized as one! But the skills I’m taught as an aristocrat are even more detailed than your average Magic Swordsman!”
Brendel tilted his head and looked at her with discerning eyes. She did have a good memory and even won an award of sorts. His tone was a little earnest for the first time:
“Can you really do it?”
“Let me try, but I can’t guarentee it.”
Faena did not dare to brag about it, but she had a solemn expression and did not put on an air of superiority like before. Brendel nodded and passed the cloak over to her. She extended the cloak up in the air as much as she could with shaking arms. It was actually quite heavy and tough physically on her, proving that it was indeed a cloak for a giant.
After several minutes of inspection, she suddenly uttered a delighted gasp, startling Brendel, and he hurriedly checked if the robed figure hiding in the clearing noticed them, before he cast a glance at Andesha. Fortunately, both of them did not react.
He turned back to glare at Faena. It was impossible for her to be a spy working for the enemies, but she was definitely acting like one right now. She also recognized her mistake and stuck out her tongue with an embarrassed look, but she quickly mouthed out in delight:
“I studied this particular school of Magic before!”
“You did!?” Brendel was shocked, but he also became delighted. It was quite the fortunate turn of events. If she learned it before, then it should not be difficult to discover the keyword to activate it.
It seemed like luck was still on his side.