Recap: Kodan is interested in calling a truce because he’s injured, but Brendel feels that it’s difficult to trust him.
Chapter 59 – King of the underground (10)
Brendel made a curt laugh: “You might not flee now, but that doesn’t mean that you won’t do so in the future. You, Ser Kodan, haven’t lost your skill at all; my normal mercenaries or guards can’t stop you once you recover—”
He could not possibly leave behind two Gold-ranked fighters just to watch one person in the silver mines. His new territory was about to meet its hardest moments, and his forces were weakened because Scarlett had lost her strength. While his knowledge of the world could possibly get him all the talent he wanted in the future, he had to be prudent right now.
Kodan’s hand held onto his sword before he released it again. He felt that the youth was interested in the truce, otherwise the latter would not spend so much time talking.
“Then what do you intend to do?” He asked with a stoic expression.
“Hmm…… What’s the administrative officer’s name?”
Kodan looked blankly at Brendel, unable to catch up with the youth’s train of thoughts. He did not know why the topic went to that noble, but he still answered: “Perkins.”
“Perkins from the House of Kewell?”
“You know him?” Kodan’s eyes narrowed. His instinct told him that the youth was likely to be a noble as well, or he would not be able to guess Perkin’s identity so easily. Even a veteran military officer like himself did not necessarily recognize nobles from the other regions.
Truthfully, Brendel knew more about the younger generation of nobles than the older generation. In the game, the older nobles gradually handed their powers to the younger generation or even passed away, and players had to work with the young nobles.
[Perkins is supposed to be the lord of the Silman’s territory. I didn’t expect him to be the administrative officer here. This must be the start of his career where he gains Randner’s trust. I even got missions from him too. Sorry, but it seems like I’m going to ruin your bright future because of my actions.]
“I heard that he sticks to the rules,” Brendel said carefully.
“This evaluation is indeed pleasing to the nobles’ ears,” Kodan’s eyebrows raised up, “but he really is a coward with middling capabilities.”
The old man was still seething over the loss of his men because of Perkin’s foolish actions, and he mocked the latter without reservation.
“You nobles really love your pretty conversations.” He gave a seemingly taunting look at Brendel.
But the youth did not care about the old man’s probing question. He continued to ponder in his mind.
[Kodan’s evaluation of Perkins matches what I know of him. The noble will surely suppress the commotion in the mines for the sake of his future, and would never notify Lord Palas about the supposed monsters too. Since that’s the case…… we have ample time to search the mines instead, if the old swordmaster doesn’t cause a problem.]
He glanced at Kodan and suddenly thought of a new idea. He was reluctant to let a Gold-ranked swordsman go back to Randner’s hands, but it was somewhat of a problem to recruit him just like that. Judging from Kodan’s words and actions, he did not seem like he was completely loyal to Randner, or he would not be setting up a deal for a truce.
[This old man looks like he retains some form of knightly behavior. Persuading him to surrender would be difficult, especially when I have no clout…… But.]
“Ser Kodan, why don’t you come back with us to Firburh? A duration of one to six months, and I’ll let you go back.” He said.
Leaving two Gold-ranked fighters at the silver mines was impossible, but having them watch him at Firburh was naturally fine.
“Six months?” Kodan’s eyes narrowed: “If I’m not at the mines for an extended period of time, it will be suspicious. Are you not afraid that your actions will divulge the fact that you’re stealing Count Randner’s silver?”
[This wily old bastard.]
“That’s not a problem at all. Didn’t you get injured in the earthquake? I think Perkins will understand that you need some time to recuperate.” Brendel’s response was almost immediate as he had already thought ahead, even emphasizing on certain words.
Kodan tutted with a disdainful expression. He was certain that Perkins would ‘understand’, and even if he did not, the youth in front of him would make him do so. He could imagine Brendel physically threatening Perkins, and that the noble would agree to his demands in tears.
“It seems you have already made up your mind, but how would I know that you will fulfill your promise to let me leave?” He asked.
“Why do I need to promise anything?”
Kodan’s mouth opened, but words failed him. He glared at Brendel.
“I wouldn’t do anything to you or put you in a difficult spot as long as you accept my invitation. There’s no meaning to pointless sacrifices, right? You’re a veteran who survived the November War, and you know how precious life is. The winners in war are the ones who survived.”
The old man scoffed: “You seemed to know the war well. Did your elders participated in that war too?”
Brendel did not answer and merely looked back. Kodan’s eyes glanced at the rings on Brendel’s hands, suddenly turning quiet, before he spoke again:
“It seems like you intend to stay here in Trentheim for a long time, but I have to warn you, Count Randner will never allow his territory to slip out of his grasp, even if it’s this impoverished land. Are you prepared to receive a ruler’s wrath?”
With the exception of the Corvado Royal Family’s territories, Aouine was controlled by thirteen ‘rulers’. They were comprised of six Dukes, two Marquises, and five special Counts. Their power was comparable to the royal family’s, and the citizens called them the ‘rulers below the throne’.
The three strongest ‘rulers’ were Duke Arreck, Duke Viero, and Duke Seifer, while most of the other ‘rulers’ were somewhat close in strength. Count Randner was not amongst the top power, but he was not the weakest either.
Kodan felt that Brendel and his men were like ants challenging a giant, and they would be crushed any given time against Count Randner’s might.
Brendel laughed and shook his head when he heard Kodan’s reply.
“There are two things where you got it wrong. Number one, I know what Count Randner’s going to do. Number two, Trentheim is not as poor as you think.”
“Having confidence is a good thing, but arrogance is a different matter, young man.” Kodan’s eyes thoroughly searched Brendel’s demeanor.
“I agree with your words completely.”
“Very well. Regardless of what you think, I still want your assurance that I can leave after six months.”
“Can you promise that you won’t return to Count Randner’s side?”
“I’m sorry, but that isn’t something I can promise.” Kodan’s tone was adamant.
Brendel looked at him with considerable admiration, but he did not refuse this time. “I’ll give you that promise. I’m quite sure that things between Count Randner and me will be settled in three months anyway.”
The old man looked at him with some surprise and shock, but Brendel merely smiled and did not give an explanation.
Medissa had rested enough when the deal was made. Her Soul Fire once again burned with brilliance, and the group continued on their path.
Brendel glanced at the worker behind them. When the latter realized that Brendel and Medissa were not miners or guards, but in fact rebels who wanted to go against Count Randner, he nearly ran away in fright. However, he quickly calmed down and considered the immediate future. If he ran away, the monsters in the mine would kill him instantly, so he decided to follow them in the end.
A quick glance at Scarlett immediately made her understand; she pretended to be aggressive and threatened the worker, and ultimately the latter could only agree to tearfully bring his family to Firburh.
Brendel soon got to know that the worker had learned how to make silver trinkets and offered him the chance to learn from a blacksmith. It was much safer than working in a mine and the benefits were much better. While the worker was still a little uneasy, he was a little expectant of the future.
Suddenly, Brendel’s footsteps slowed down. It was not monsters or another human being that stopped him, but there was a black door that appeared not too far in the distance.
And it sealed off the entire pathway.
Medissa and Scarlett looked at Kodan at the same time. He had said the path led to a lift. However, the old man’s expression showed that he was filled with disbelief.
“This is?” He muttered.
“Aren’t we supposed to ask you this question?” Her weak voice was filled with suspicion.
“No, no, it doesn’t make any sense.” Kodan’s eyebrows were knitted together. He turned to Medissa and asked: “Young lady, can you help me over to take a closer look?”
Medissa turned to Brendel with questioning eyes, and the latter nodded. He had been through here as well and knew that Kodan was not lying. There was no door when he passed by earlier. He had an idea as to what it was, but he needed to be certain.
Medissa lent her arm to Kodan, and both of them made their way to the cold, gigantic door, and the latter touched it cautiously.
“How can this be…… How is it possible?” Kodan said.