Edit: Stuff has been cleared up to have a cleaner page.
Chapter 140 – Warm words of hope
When Brendel walked out of Graudin’s manor, he clenched his sword’s hilt till his fingers were white. The men who waited in the courtyard were confused as to why their lord looked so angry as the people who were in the mansion did not explain what happened in there.
[In the end, I chose to compromise……]
Brendel wanted to swing his sword and destroy the landscape.
It was not because he was afraid of Madara and Graudin’s combined forces, but because Scarlett’s pleading eyes had moved him. Just like how he could never become someone like Makarov, he would never allow his anger to affect his men who were still waiting in the courtyard.
The Grey Wolves Mercenaries were her last kin, and she had the right to stop him from killing Graudin to make sure no retribution was going to happen to them.
He had tried to resist Aouine’s decadent politics ever since he came to this world but he soon realized he did not have the power to go against the nobles. His heart was especially heavy because Amandina had subtly objected to his actions, and was disappointed that she tried to make him play the game that all nobles did. Even though she did not state it directly to him, she did not hide her intentions either.
[Yes, this might be a better choice for me but is this worth it? This is the first time I abandoned on my decision that I made. I didn’t even think there would be a day like this. No, there’s no way I can let this fucking go. Even if the entire kingdom is backing Graudin I’ll definitely cut him down. Just give me some time……]
Brendel’s thoughts were interrupted when he detected a piercing rust-like stench in the air. The slight wind picked up and made it stronger, while a sudden scream from Amandina occurred behind him. He wanted to turn behind and asked her what was wrong, but he caught a glimpse of an oddity on the path back to the city.
That familiar path had rows of human-sized crosses on each side, leading back to the city’s streets below. There was no one walking in the streets—
Because they were cruified to the crosses.
From their appearances, it seemed that they were adventurers, hired mercenaries and the citizens in the city. Men and women were not spared; everyone had their throats slit, leaving behind lifeless corpses.
This was an old practice in the continent. Lords would crucify the bandits onto to a cross as a warning to those who would turn to robbing.
Who was Baron Graudin warning with this display?
No, it was not just him. He was warning all the angry adventurers and foreign mercenaries in the city, that he was the lord of this territory.
A bloody warning indeed.
“Well done—” Brendel said through clenched teeth. His legs nearly turned around but he resisted doing so.
Scarlett and Amandina glanced at him when they saw the display in the streets, but Brendel’s footsteps started once again without saying anything else. The rest of them followed his back in silence. When they were near their inn, he suddenly saw a human figure hesitating in a corner before he slipped away into an alley.
He immediately chased after that figure and followed him into the alley.
“My lord?” A few of his men called after him in surprise.
When he entered the alley, he immediately saw a young man with a monocle on his right eye. The latter stopped walking when he heard Brendel’s footsteps, and slowly turned around.
“Lord….. Brendel, is it?” The youth said with a dour expression.
It was the same young man whom Brendel recognized as an apprentice wizard, and also a party member of the swordsman’s group this morning.
Brendel nodded but the young wizard did not continue speaking, and both of them fell into an uneasy silence. He saw that the latter’s eyes were bloodshot with rage even though he did not show it in his face.
“…… My lord, my name is Alistair. I remember you asked me this morning if I wanted revenge? If I told you I want to—” The wizard gritted his teeth as he took a pause: “My lord, can you show me the way to do so?”
Brendel did not answer.
“The mercenaries and adventurers in the city have the same thought. The blood feud between Graudin and us has been set in stone.” Alistair stared at him: “If my lord agrees to help us, we will work for you—”
But Brendel shook his head, and Alistair’s face fell.
“Are you absolutely certain that you want revenge?” Brendel said after a long pause, rubbing his forehead.
Life went back into Alistair’s eyes, but he took time to think about Brendel’s words before he nodded resolutely.
“Then make sure you stay low and don’t get into any further trouble with Graudin.” Brendel’s fist went to his heart: “I promise I will help you take revenge but now is not the time. I will send word to you when I’m ready.”
“Wait, my lord!” Alistair called out after Brendel as the latter turned around and left the alley.
Brendel’s men were waiting at the entrance of the alley. They had guessed a little as to what had happened when they saw the crucified bodies and Alistair.
“Brendel.” Romaine called out to him. She went in front of him and stared at his eyes. “Are you sad?”
The youth finally stopped and looked at her in surprise. When he heard her words he felt that he realized that his fury was overwhelming the pain in his heart. He almost teared up as he lightly patted her head.
“Thanks.” He said in a wistful voice.
“Eh,” Romaine frowned as she moved away his hand and asked curiously: “But I haven’t even done anything yet—”
“…… Did Amandina ask you to come over to talk to me?”
“How did you know?”
Brendel sighed and shook his head. When he turned around, he saw Amandina rushing over with her fingers raising her dress.
“Are you angry with me, my lord?” Amandina stopped in front of him and asked.
“You did nothing wrong.” Brendel rubbed his forehead as he spoke.
“But you’re still angry with me?”
“Why is that?”
“Miss Amandina, as you very well know, this world isn’t black or white nor is it simple. I know you meant to tell me that Count Randner is the highest authority in the southern borders of Aouine. His forces are no smaller than that of any dukes, and his private army is powerful enough to make anyone who dares to resist him shiver in fright. Even dukes will only act against him in the shadows.”
He took a deep breath and brushed his hair back: “Not to mention our small group who is nothing more like ants to him. You might even say that a single order from him is enough to kill us all.”
“But?” Amandina asked solemnly.
“This is not a reason for me to back down. If you ask me to choose between duplicity or violence, I will choose the later. I will not accept Graudin’s ‘Gift’ with a hypocritical smile; I will choose a path of steel and blood.” Brendel unsheathed his sword and pointed it to Graudin’s manor: “You asked me the reason why. The reason is simple, miss Amandina. It’s simply because I am Brendel.”
He looked back at Romaine: “Brendel, who came from Bucce.”
Romaine immediately winked at him mischievously and gave a curtsy.
Amandina was slightly awed by his words but she quickly regained her sense: “But there’s possibly a better choice. I understand your thoughts, my lord, but the dead has no power to speak amongst the nobles! We are not just facing Baron Graudin and his family, there’s also Madara to worry about—”
There was a fire that was stoked within her heart from Brendel’s words but her eyes were also full of worry.
“That would be my problem, miss Amandina. Regardless of Graudin, count Randner, or even the entire Madara army.” He looked back at Graudin’s large manor. “Since we’re going to face each other sooner or later, I’ll be ready for them.”
He said, and continued to walk back to the inn.
Scarlett tightened her grip on her long spear when she heard Brendel’s speech as she followed him.
Amandina’s eyes followed his back with worry but there was a newfound respect for him in her heart. At the same time, she began to think about the number of enemies they were going to face. No matter how she looked at it, there was no way for a small group of men to go against the hundreds and even thousands of soldiers Graudin had at his disposal.
=============== Graudin’s POV ============
There was a loud smash and crazed yelling. Pieces of white porcelain were shattered across the ground.
Graudin was throwing his belongings in his study in absolute fury regardless of how valuable it was after Brendel and his men left.
Rothko and Kabias had already left the manor. At this point of time, even if count Randner was found to have an alliance with Madara, there would not be any repercussions to him because of the chaos in the capital. However, his reputation would fall beyond unsavory if people found out he worked with the undead.
The people left beside him were his two male lovers. This was the reason why he could openly vent all his anger.
“Viscount Gaston, Viscount Gaston, god fucking Viscount Gaston, damned these fucking Northern bastards!” He yelled at the top of his lungs.
If Brendel’s forces did not appear to be as strong as he was, he would have ordered all his men to attack him and cut off his head. He did not care even if he had to go to war with another family.
One of the male lovers saw an opportunity to come up to him when Graudin was taking a respite to gain his breath: “My lord, since they already left the manor, do you want to gather your soldiers and kill him—”
TL edit: Bit of trivia on medieval research, R18 warning, make sure to click only if you are certain of it—