TL: Edited 2 Jan 2018. If there are any further mistakes you spotted, please leave a comment.
Chapter 34 – Golden Demonic Tree
The three people made their way down to the valley silently and waited in ambush.
Brendel made his movements seem like time was frozen. His movements were so delicate and subtle that one would find it impossible to discover anything out of the ordinary, even if they were to survey the surroundings.
He had walked on this path more than a hundred times.
He had failed before in his attempts in the game and was constantly discovered when he was still unfamiliar with the strategy, but he was not the past rookie and he would not fail here now.
Even though the Demonic Trees had exceptional strength, these naturally blind creatures were not effective in investigating their surroundings.
The tense Brendel heard the faint rustling of pebbles rubbing against leather boots. He turned back and saw Freya looking anxiously at him. The youth furrowed his brows.
[You’re still too tense, Freya.]
He stopped to allow Romaine to pass by him. The merchant girl was doing very well by lowering her body and breathing evenly. Her strides were not overly large and she did not move slowly either. Certainly, she was as elegant as a cat.
Her current mentality was filled with dexterous cautiousness from the excitement, and her heart that was as taut as a string strangely pushed out her potential. She was a natural adventurer.
“Romaine, you’re doing really well, keep on doing this.” Brendel encouraged her by mouthing the words out.
She quickly nodded in response, her actions were really small, but she could not suppress the pride in her heart.
As Romaine passed by Brendel, he looked back at Freya. She seemed to know her own problems and lowered her head involuntarily. He sighed in silence when he saw this scene.
If any person looked at her, it was clear that she did not possess outstanding wisdom, judgment, mentality, or even physique, and one would think she was nothing more than an ordinary person.
But Brendel knew there had to be something about her that allowed her to hold the legendary name of ‘The Goddess of War’.
He narrowed his eyes into a line and looked thoughtfully at her. Her light orange colored hair was on full display when she lowered her head, reasonably dense and soft looking. It looked like she had taken much care with it. She did not comb it skilfully, but it was meticulously done.
At this moment she was crouching her body and progressing past him. The girl did not utter any sound, and only her long ponytail followed her bobbing action, almost as if it to display her desire in her heart.
Brendel knew that it was her unbending will, His heart skipped a beat.
She paused for a moment.
“You’re too tense, relax a little.”
“It’s fine. Do you see the boulder in front of us? We will split up here from now onwards. Hide behind there until the patrol team passes by. You must attract the attention of the last two Demonic Trees the first moment when we launch an attack.”
“Go ahead, I’ll wait here to watch over you.” He turned his body and laid beside a field of broken rocks and gestured to her. “Freya, I’m sure you can do it well.”
She showed a shocked expression as it was different from the initial plan. But she was not stupid to not know that he stayed behind to boost her confidence. She felt slightly moved, but could only press her lips firmly together and nodded gravely.
He felt relieved when he noticed that her actions a little steadier than before as she progressed forward.
This was a normal reaction to tense situations. On the other hand, someone like Romaine, who was calm and bold, was rare.
But when he turned his head the other way, he noticed that Romaine had stopped moving and was looking curiously at him. He gave an exasperated sigh and gestured at her to keep on moving forward.
It was unfortunate that her mind was steady but her thoughts were beyond common sense. It was Freya who was more reliable, and he looked forward to seeing her grow into the Goddess of War in the future.
Freya soon reached her destination. The patrol team had just crossed half of the mountain valley, and it was impossible for them to try anything at that moment.
Brendel had a little trouble to get into his own position as encouraging Freya took some precious time. The monsters were already in their ambush range.
At this distance, he might be discovered if he made a wrong move.
But he was still that veteran warrior in the game, forcefully willing himself to gauge the best timing and the enemies’ pathing to the best moment without any errors. When he finally was beside Romaine, he had to wipe the cold perspiration on his forehead. It was too close for comfort, but his actions were flawless and he did not let his tense emotions affect his abilities.
Romaine noticed his perspiration and quickly handed over a checkered handkerchief. He glanced at the handkerchief and faintly remembered that it was a handicraft from the northern region Vieiro. It was difficult to find something like this in Bucce and was one of the merchant girl’s favorite items.
“Thanks.” He mouthed the word.
“I should be the one thanking you, Brendel.” She hugged her bag and answered earnestly: “It’s probably going to be very dangerous soon, and there might not be such a chance later right? So I want to tell you that I am thankful, Brendel.”
Brendel was taken aback slightly and he gave a faint smile in response.
In a few heartbeats, the six Demonic Trees were already near them, and the three of them who hid behind the sharp boulders could hear the shuffling sounds of their footsteps approaching nearer and nearer to them.
The Demonic Trees used a low rumbling note to pass information to each other and were able to feedback to their parent by telepathy.
Brendel saw Freya pulling her sword out, who went as far as to wrap her blade with her clothes to prevent the reflection of the light from the blade from appearing, and he nodded at her thoughtfulness even though it was unnecessary here. She was improving every day and moving away from that idealistic village girl.
He gestured immediately.
‘I will go first, then it will be your turn.’
Freya’s brows creased together. He was always trying to take on the dangerous portion of the job to himself, and it made her feel uneasy and displeased at the same time. But even so, she knew that this was the best plan and could only nod reluctantly.
The Demonic Tree moved across the ground and continued downwards to an array of rocks. They suddenly stopped and extended their search everywhere, and communicated differently with a series of notes that had different tones.
Brendel pulled out the ‘Thorn of Light’, with one arm protecting romaine, and gave an attack signal to Freya—
[Right now, they should be behind us and far apart from each other. Now is the best time!]
Brendel charged out in an arch and his first target was a mature Demonic Tree. Freya decisively pulled out his sword and rushed towards to the back lines of the group, and her targets were the two closest Demonic Trees.
The Demonic Trees in charge of the rear were typically alert, and thus their reactions were the quickest. They discovered Freya when their heads turned backward and bellowed loudly. Their vines pierced through the air like a javelin, whistling sharply like inhuman shrieks.
Freya swung her hands outwards and blocked the four chain-like whips away as the ‘Feathers of Wind’ shone individually to protect her. She jumped high up and knocked onto a Demonic Tree. The dimming ‘Feathers of Wind’ lit themselves once again, and the giant creature was knocked flying away by the sudden assault.
She remembered Brendel’s words earlier that her armor was highly effective against them and she should just attack with her limbs.
She gritted her teeth as she headed towards to the Demonic Tree lying on the ground without any real plan. The whips came at her with the force of a tidal wave. she knew she had limited strength and might be knocked away, so she raised her sword up high and cleaved downwards at the Demonic Tree’s right arm.
There was a light crunching sound, and its right arm containing the vines flew straight up, but Freya was also knocked away onto the ground from the enemy’s attack in return. When she started to get up, another Demonic Tree whipped at her and she rolled onto the ground several times from the impact. Even though the Half Plate of the Wind Empress protected her, the attack from the monster ruptured her inner organs and she coughed out blood.
The enemy on the ground did not recover quickly, so she only had one enemy to face. However, while she wiped the blood away from her mouth, she was unable to find any chance to attack because of the monster’s flailing vines that were swinging wildly.
She lightly drew in a breath of air.
At the other end, Brendel had already finished off his enemy from his ambush.
The ‘Thorn of Light’ in his hands was like a line of silvery flash: His first attack was a stab that entered the Demonic Tree’s right flank, which then moved across in an arc to sever the right arm and several vines, turning it into flying ashes.
The second attack was a slash that lopped off its two legs, and the instant the creature lost its balance and crashed to the ground, the icy blade had gone across its neck.
Under the web of swirling lights made by Brendel, the mature Demonic Tree quickly turned to ashes.
This was the advantage of his guerrilla tactic when he had the first strike, but the rest of them required some improvisation.
He had a few ideas and decided to retreat after his successful ambush. The remaining three Demonic Trees obviously did not want to let him get away and chased him with a roar.
Brendel lured them to a narrow pathway where they formed a line subconsciously to keep pursuing him, but what awaited them was a gleaming silver ring on his finger.
Freya heard a frightening blast coming from the left side and knew it came from Brendel. She was momentarily distracted. When she regained her senses, she realized that the enemy in front of her was actually stunned by the sound from the explosion.
As an ignorant youth from Bucce, she did not understand that the sound explosion had a great effect on the Demonic Tree that was sensitive to sound. It nearly caused a complete loss to its judgment of the world around it, and the world around him was endless waves of bright light where nothing existed.
The only thing of importance to her that it was a chance, and it was more than enough. She raised the sword that was almost corroded to the breaking point and she mercilessly chopped the Demonic Tree’s legs.
The short battle seemed to draw at an end by her sword’s arc.
With a crisp cracking sound, the Demonic Tree and her sword were snapped in half. She almost could not believe she had succeeded and her mouth was agape with surprise. Then she finally noticed Romaine opposite of her, panting tiredly with a Madara’s black steel sword in her hands.
“Freya, s-sorry, Brendel told me to help you………”
She smiled: “It’s no problem at all, thanks.”
Brendel saw this scene unfold when he came out from the narrow pathway of rocks and was momentarily dazed. He thought that she was going to become angry but her reaction was quite contrary to his prediction.
He did not entirely plan this for the sake of reducing Freya’s burden, but also partly on the tactical consideration. The crux of this plan was actually on her side. The strength of the enemy team relied heavily on the mature Demonic Tree as the leader, and the two Demonic Trees that were vigilant.
As long as these two Demonic Trees were bogged down, he would be able to kill the mature Demonic Tree easily and execute the plan to lure the remaining Demonic Trees. If the enemies were able to do a counter attack in this open terrain, he might not be able to protect Freya and Romaine’s safety even if he was five levels higher.
He was agonizing over the explanation but she seemed to have understood this point already.
“Why is the Golden Demonic Tree quiet?” She asked Bre when she saw him coming over: “It can’t move?”
Brendel woke up from his stupor. He shook his head. The Golden Demonic Tree was not going to stay quiet, and in fact, it was the exact opposite. The moment they attacked, the Golden Demonic Tree had noticed them already and already launched its counter attack.
It merely did it silently.
“We only have a minute, and I’ll explain to you how to handle the Golden Demonic Tree. Both of you must listen carefully unless you want your souls to be trapped forever within the Golden Demonic Tree.” He replied.