TL: Sorry for the late chapter. Had to go out to do some Lunar New Year stuff.
What is the aspect that you want to see most from my editing?
PS: I forgot to chop the previous chapter into 2 chapters. I was kind of wondering why it had 3.2k words. Urgh.
Chapter 99 – The guest from the Red Bronze Dragon Mercenaries (1)
A few hours later, Ciel entered Brendel’s study room and called out to him. The latter was buried in documents when he glanced up at Ciel before going back to reading.
“Speak, ” he said.
“There’s a new report. There’s movement in the Palas region.”
“From Amandina’s scouts?”
“No, it’s from the Red Bronze…… Ahh, no, the Amber Sword Mercenaries.”
“Did they sent their report from Lord Macsen’s territory?”
“Oh?” Brendel was surprised.
This was the first time they had sent information on their own initiative. Even though he had gotten them to attack Fortress Minst, he was not exactly certain how loyal they would be.
It was possible that some of them might have different ideas since they were former guards in Fortress Riedon. Leto and his men were unlikely to betray him, but it was hard to tell with the others.
“Let me see the report,” he said.
Lord Macsen left his oldest son in charge of defending the fortress. In order to prevent his son from abusing his power and perhaps harming his other brothers, he took the mercenaries and most of the soldiers away with him, leaving behind a few soldiers who were neutral.
Unfortunately, this created a great chance for Leto and the others. The Amber Sword Mercenaries successfully infiltrated the fortress and attacked in the middle of the night, causing the guards to be captured as prisoners.
After Fortress Minst was controlled, Leto forced Lord Macsen’s oldest son to send letters out to the various retainers in the region, including priests and the lower ranking aristocrats, invited them to a ‘banquet’ and captured them successfully.
After this was done, Leto sent out his men to attack the nearby areas with lightning speed. Even though the process was not a smooth one, the experienced commanders such as Mano, Batum, Gaspard, and Taron, effectively led the mercenaries against the remaining soldiers of Lord Macsen’s subordinates to victory.
[How surprising. Taron and Gaspard. The former is a commander within the White Mane Army, while the latter is a guard commander in Fortress Riedon. It’s interesting that they still choose to stand on my side instead of going back to the nobles. I can understand why Leto, Mano, and Batum chose to follow me, but these two…..]
Brendel pondered for a moment. Would it better if he called the first two back to him so he could keep a closer eye on them? How risky would it be for him if they chose to betray him in the upcoming battles?
In the end, he decided to leave it aside and focus on other things as he could not find an answer.
“Leto and his men did well!” Brendel praised them lavishly.
His only expectation was for the Amber Sword Mercenaries to capture Fortress Minst, but they surpassed his expectations by capturing more than half of the Macsen region. While it was true that Lord Macsen and his men did not govern his land well, it was also true that these mercenaries were great in commanding.
[With this, we can redraw the defensive lines. The Macsen region controls important stretches of forests and mountains where the Palas region can attack from. Controlling these areas means we can dictate where the future battles can be.]
“The person who delivered the report is still here?” Brendel asked.
“Who is it?”
Ciel suddenly revealed a slightly flippant smirk: “My lord, why not take a guess?”
Brendel shot a glance at him from the corners of his eyes. Ciel who was standing close to the table could see that the youth’s hand was reaching for Halran Gaia’s sword hilt, and he gave a yell that resembled like a strangled chicken:
“Nonono, I mean, there’s no need to guess. He’s waiting outside. I’ll have him sent in right away. Should I get Felaern and Medissa in too?”
Brendel nodded. Felaern would take notes while Medissa was there as his bodyguard.
He was slightly taken aback when he saw Gaspard entering the room. He had thought it would be Batum, as the latter expressed much interest in following him.
Gaspard appeared shocked when he saw Brendel too. When he entered the room along with Ciel, Felaern, and Medissa, but his attention was immediately drawn to Brendel instead of looking at the girls.
The youth’s appearance had become more mature compared to six months ago, and his seemingly youthful and shy innocence seemed to have receded greatly. His cheekbones had become more prominent, as if to show off his sharpened aura that seemed to penetrate Gaspard’s soul. The faded black attire that he wore did not diminish the air of nobility around him.
The only thing that did not change, was his relentless gaze of steely confidence that he displayed during Fortress Riedon siege.
The youth was playing with his sword by passing it to his left and right hands as he observed Gaspard with a carefree smile. However, the mercenary felt goosebumps all over his skin. Luc Beson had a similar feel to him.
Cold and decisive. These traits that could only come from the battlefield.
“My…… lord?” Gaspard spoke in hesitation.
But the longer he looked at Brendel, the more he felt that there was hardly a comparison with the commander of Fortress Riedon. For a moment, his instinct was screaming at him to run away when their eyes met. It was like there was a sharpened blade filled with bloodlust on his neck, yet when he blinked in fright that feeling was gone.
[…… A Gold-ranked grandmaster swordsman?]
He gulped. It was just a fleeting moment, but the fact that he felt slight perspiration on his forehead meant that his instinct was not wrong, and he was able to make this conclusion because he knew Luc Beson as a top Silver-ranked swordsman.
The pressure that was given out by Brendel far surpassed the commander of the White Mane army in Fortress Riedon.
After Brendel led the fight against the undead, Gaspard felt like he had benefitted greatly and improved his skill quickly in the past few months. He was very close to reaching the standards of a Silver-ranked fighter, and it would not be wrong to say that his improvement was the fastest amongst the mercenaries, and arguably only Taron did better. He was originally not Leto’s match, but now he was able to fight the latter to a draw.
[This truly means that it was not a fluke when he fought against that undead general. But it only had been six months…… No, at most he’s a Silver-ranked swordsman?]
Brendel nodded in response to Gaspard’s greeting.
“I didn’t think that it would be you,” the youth said honestly, “it must have been tough to fight against the nobles.”
It was only then that the former guard remembered that Brendel led the charge against the undead.
“My lord,” Gaspard bowed his head sincerely.
The Red Bronze Dragon Mercenaries acknowledged Brendel when the youth led the charge against the undead, but as time went by, some of them had forgotten the emotions they felt at that time. When Brendel asked them to take over Lord Macsen’s territory, there were many who were against it and an internal conflict happened.
It was sheer insanity to attack the nobles.
But Gaspard, Taron, and Batum stood firmly on Brendel’s side. While Gaspard did not know what the rest of them were thinking exactly, he had his own thoughts.
He was once Fortress Riedon’s guard commander in charge of security, and because of the nobles behind him, he was allowed to act lawlessly. Every commoner had to address him respectfully. He was not a fool; he knew that their deference to him was to mask the fear and hatred within them. At that time, he did not care much about it, because in his eyes the only thing that mattered most in this world was power and authority.
These were the attributes that were needed in order to rule the masses.
It was only until the moment where Brendel led the refugees and defeated Madara’s undead which was far stronger than the nobles, that he realized there was something else that could move others and give everything that they had.
The youth called it ‘ideals’.