TL: Edited 29 oct 2017.
Chapter 26 – Elite Rotten Beast
“You’re going to scold me right, Brendel?”
“No, just quickly come over. Be careful.”
Brendel felt frustrated and amused over Romaine’s careful steps. But he stiffened when he looked up; three young Rotten Beasts were occupying the boulder he and Romaine were at earlier.
He then surveyed his surroundings and found they had become the shrubbery monsters’ targets after the undead squadron was annihilated. It was especially true when the merchant girl still held the shimmering Thorn of Light, as it was like a candle’s flame in the darkness, attracting the servants of the Golden Tree.
Brendel could almost hear the Golden Demon Tree roaring for its thirst of mana in his mind. They had to leave this place before as they even might even encounter Demonic Creatures, the personal guards of the Golden Demon Tree. He turned back to Freya.
“How about it, can you still go on?”
“Then we will be going up from the other side, take your sword and be careful.” He said as he passed the girl’s sword back over to her. Even though the Rotten Beasts occupied the high grounds where they originally were, there were none of these shrubbery monsters in the opposite direction.
These plant creatures’ speed was not very fast, and they moved across the intersecting boulders only as fast as normal humans. Their main advantages were their numbers, familiarity with the land, high physique and resilience. But he had to find a way to escape them.
Freya brought her bloody hands onto the steep slope, and the pain made her flinch, but she gritted her teeth and tore her sleeves to get makeshift bandages and wrapped them around her hands. She then continued to climb up the sharp rocks.
Brendel felt sorry and admiration when he saw this scene. However, there was not much time left, so he quickly took back the Thorn of Light back from Romaine and let her climb up first. When he looked again, two Rotten Beasts below them were already on the move.
“Brendel, hurry up!” Romaine said.
Freya’s face was pale from the anxiety and stretched her hand towards him. But he did not have the time to reply to them. The two Rotten Beasts had half stood up and hissed threateningly at the youth.
From a certain viewpoint, these Rotten Beasts did not count as intelligent life and were purely the puppets of the Golden Demon Tree.
Brendel swung his sword horizontally, and the flash of light cutting through the darkness made them retreat slightly. He wanted to grab Freya’s hand with this slight opening, but they immediately charged forward with a low roar.
[You really are seeking death!]
Brendel became furious and used his high agility to jump up, flew across in mid-air and used the Rotten Beasts’ heads as a foothold and swiveled, his upper body already in the best position for an attack.
A horizontal slash in a smooth arc.
Freya uttered in surprise, finally knowing how far apart she was from Brendel in swordsmanship. She did not think herself as talented, but her greatest pride was believing that she had worked harder and was more focused than most people to do something; Her swordsmanship which was the best in the militia did not mean she was talented, and very few people noticed how much effort she put into training.
This was the reason Marden admired her and made her the leader of the militia squadron.
But her swordsmanship’s foundation could only be considered as solid, while Brendel’s swordsmanship was truly extraordinary and if there were a word to describe it, it would be ‘flawless’.
With a single slash, a head was lopped off, without any mistakes at all.
A ring of silver fire burst out from the headless Rotten Beast’s wound and quickly consumed the creature. The other Rotten Beast shrieked sharply at him, its claws suddenly extending and they swung at him. As Rotten Beasts rarely did this, many people were deceived by the range of their attacks, but Brendel was unfazed.
[Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me!]
He had already experienced it before in the game, why would he step into the same trap again?
He was already prepared for this attack and raised his sword to block it. The Rotten Beast’s claws struck against the Thorn of Light and caused a shower of silvery sparks to fly everywhere. It retreated in agony, but Brendel did not let the chance slip and launched a counter-attack.
He took a big step forward and thrust the Elven sword straight at it.
This was his common technique in the game, but his basic stats and current swordsmanship level made him feel exceedingly clumsy when he executed the attack, with his timing also lagging behind. He took note of his delay and estimated that an Iron-Ranked swordsman would easily be able to avoid his sword, but right now the Rotten Beast had no chance of dodging it.
The sword pierced through its throat.
Fiery silver flames burst out from the entry and exit wounds, turning the Rotten Beast into a pile of ashes in the blink of an eye. 6 golden lights flew in the sky and into Brendel’s chest.
The strength of the ‘Purification’ greatly surprised Brendel. He had never seen anything like it in the game.
“Brendel, you’re actually so skilled!” Romaine was momentarily stunned.
Freya was at a loss for words. She assumed that Brendel belonged to Bruglas’s militia, but now that she thought about it, he was most likely lying to her. She was not a fool; how could a militia be so skilled unless he was bluffing?
In truth, the two of them were not skilled enough to judge Brendel’s current level. He severely lacked in speed and strength, and the techniques that he barely managed to use were due to his experience.
He also made use of the large difference in the agility between him and the Rotten Beast, and thus was able to execute his mid-air spin, but if he faced another enemy, he would definitely not attempt this method. Without the proper stats and skill level, many of the techniques he knew were mostly useless.
[What a joke, I’m actually painting a target on my back if I do this stunt without unsealing my ‘Element’ status.]
Brendel did not spend any time enjoying the girls’ reactions as he noticed that more Rotten Beasts were climbing up. He quickly signaled for the two of them to continue climbing, and subconsciously looked at the pile of ashes. It was a gaming instinct of his, and funnily enough, he wanted to see if any loot dropped from them.
[Of course not. Well, it’s certainly different from the game, didn’t they at least drop 1 or 2 copper coins?]
He shook his head and continued climbing up the slope.
A mature Rotten Beast had superior strength and physique compared to a young Mature Beast, but its agility was only two-thirds of their 1.2 Agility. Romaine and Freya had standard militia training, so their speed did not lose out to a young Rotten Beast, not to mention Brendel.
The three of them kept climbing higher and higher, gradually pulling away from the shrubbery monsters. However, the latter had the seemingly endless stamina and kept pursuing them, and this cat and mouse game continued for several minutes.
The differences in physique were starting to show.
Even though Brendel was not affected much, Freya had started to pant a little, and Romaine’s face was as pale as a sheet. Brendel offered to carry her on his back, but she refused to let him do so.
He looked back at them, and they were behind them approximately tens of meters away. It was fortunate they had not surrounded them from the front due to their lack of intelligence, or else it would have been over. But it was a matter of time before they caught up to them, as a young Rotten Beast had 3.0 Physique which was even higher than his own.
He looked up and checked the distance to reach the peak of the mountain. It was not too far away.
Romaine suddenly shouted breathlessly: “Brendel, look over at the other side on top of the mountain!”
He followed Romaine’s instruction. His pupils contracted slightly as he saw a gigantic Rotten Beast that was over three meters tall, which had suddenly come out from a fissure. It moved quickly towards them.
[Holy shit! An Elite version, this is the leader of the Rotten Beasts!]
He loved to see this creature in the game, but now he was hurling every known expletive in his heart at it. This particular thing was an evolved version of the Rotten Beast as it had directly received the Golden Tree’s blood. Not only did it had an increase in both strength and physique, but most importantly, it had 1.7 agility which would definitely match his party.
“Freya, Romaine, both of you need to quickly go to the edge of the slope over there, and climb upwards to that vertical cliff. There are a grappling hook and rope in my bag, and once we climb up these monsters would not be able to catch up with us for a while!”
He decisively threw his bag to Romaine. He was the only man here, and he had to take up the responsibility.
Even though there was gender equality back in his world, it was an etiquette for the guys to be in charge of defending the rear in the game, and he made this decision immediately without thinking.
“I’m staying behind,” Freya said.
He looked and saw her determined face. He knew that he was unable to persuade her, so he nodded. But this was also because he needed another assistant and at least Freya was a suitable candidate. Romaine who lazed around in militia training and aspired to be a merchant instead was surely not.
“Romaine, hurry, we’re depending on you.”
“Okay, Brendel!” She nodded as hard as she could and moved to the designated area as fast as she could.
The Elite Rotten Beast quickly leaped towards them. The throng of Rotten Beast was approximately forty meters away. Brendel and Freya looked at each other and estimated they had approximately thirty seconds to finish this battle.
“The range of its claws are three meters long, so be careful of its attacks. We should stand apart from each other. It is also able to shoot the thorns from its body, and they are poisoned. Be sure to dodge this attack from the front.”
She clenched her sword nervously and took a deep breath. Even though she did not know why Brendel knew all these, she was certain that he would not lie to her. She tried to calm herself and nodded quietly.
Brendel grasped his own hands. They felt a little stiff. The paralyzing poison from before had started to show an effect. He opened his character window to check his stats and discovered that his agility had dropped 0.1 OZ.
He then eyed the Elite Rotten Beast with a lament.
[Elite Rotten Beasts only drop money in the game, it’s over ten silver coins! Surely there would be some loot here right?]
But judging from the previous example… He grumbled inwardly.