TL: So there’s a WIP of that armor I was talking about back then when you click the read more button.
That being said, I won’t stop you from using my TLed stuff to another language, just that I feel that you should take the raws rather than use my version to respect the author as much as possible.
The gazes from the soldiers made Brendel to be on his guard a little, but he believed that the superiors in the White-Mane army were not incompetent and were unable to look at the big picture.
His plan had not changed.
He was not interested to enter Aouine’s decaying internal government, but the events of the refugee’s rescue would not be to be kept under covers. Since that was the case, he planned ahead to allow the experienced mercenaries who sought after freedom, glory and wealth to stand out.
It was far more easier to make people believe that a group of well trained mercenaries led the refugees out successfully than a single person doing so.
The loss of Fortress Riedon was like a bomb that could explode anytime. No matter how much the White-Mane cavalry army stood out in the battles against Madara, they were unlikely to escape the blame of losing the fortress. If he was to stand out alone in this particular aftermath, he would most certainly satisfy his pride, but the nobles would be even more pleased to use him as a political example.
Therefore his plan was to make sure there were as many people in this ‘legendary tale’ as possible, so that he could ensure that he was buried under everyone else who stood out.
He was certain that the nobles would act upon his plan, and whatever came next would be their own doing; To find scapegoats to cast all the blame of losing Fortress Riedon to them, and to make sure that they exaggerate the series of events in order to regain their dignity.
He wanted to have nothing to do with them and whatever tale they wanted to weave, but at this moment he was still unable to escape right now.
The only advantage he got out of this was the fame of his mercenary’s group ‘The Amber Sword’ becoming bigger.
The crowd had their interest sated after a while, and the citizens outside the Silver Winged Cavalry headquarters quickly dispersed, while Little Fenix and the other boys stayed behind.
Brendel was able to meet old Marden very quickly after that. The aged captain of the guards looked like there were more wrinkles on his face since their previous meeting. He was moving about constantly with a worried look while looking at some documents. Brendel was certain that Marden was worried because of the situation amongst the nobles.
Within Bruglas, Earl Nakkin’s fight against the military nobles had most likely reached its peak, and only someone carefree like Little Fenix would have the mood to pursue stories in the city.
Brendel walked over to Marden and greeted him.
Marden raised his eyebrows when he saw him, recalling memories of the fearless young man who volunteered to warn Fortress Riedon. Even though he heard the news that Freya and Brendel were fine, he was relieved to see them fine in person, and secretly thanked Mother Marsha for her protection.
Then his gaze moved to Freya, and she immediately placed her hand over her chest and bowed. “Captain Marden, I’m back.”
Marden nodded and showed a relieved smile. “Good. It’s good to have you back.”
But after he finished his sentence, his mind immediately went back to the situation about the nobles. The citizens of Bucce were still homeless while the nobles fought for power. Even though he was not from Bucce, he was upset over the situation.
Freya’s eyes turned red when she saw Captain Marden looking like he had aged ten years, and she thought about her family dying in Madara’s hands.
Little Romaine kept winking at Brendel and he sighed.
[Why is this damned lass so sharp during such moments….and yet when I start to pay attention to her, she’s completely clueless and doing some weird stuff?]
He patted Freya’s back to comfort her and said.
“Captain Marden. It might be rude to say this, but there’s really no need for any of you to think too much about the affairs amongst the nobbles. We only need to sit quietly and wait for their final decisions since we will not be able to influence any of their decisions in the slightest.”
Marden was taken aback as he did not expect Brendel to see through his worries immediately.
He had managed to survive through the November War, but he was completely unsuited to take part in the war taking place in the shadows. He was already exhausted from the reports these past few days, and sometimes he was even envious of that brat Fenix who did not even bother to put anything in his brain.
Brendel had been through this ‘history’ and he understood that someone of Marden’s position would not be able to affect the outcome, so there was really nothing to do other than to await for the nobles’ final decisions.
[Even though this sounds terribly bleak, it’s the truth after all.]
He merely wanted to tell Marden what he thought, but Marden looked suspiciously at him and asked: “Young man, who exactly are you? You sound like you have a clear picture of what the nobles are thinking of, but even if I’m not one who’s good at reading all these political affairs, it’s strange that you are able to know more than me.”
Freya secretly confirmed her thoughts with from Marden’s words.
[Since Brendel is able to know more than Captain Marden in this aspect, his identity is basically confirmed…]
She told Marden that Brendel was a Highland Knight, and Marden looked like he finally understood something.
“So you’re a noble, and a Highland Knight at that.” Marden stared at Brendel in surprise. “I had the chance to fight along side with a Highland Knight. Even though people said they are uncontrollable, but they certainly can be considered as heroes with unquestionable character. It looks like their descendants are just as amazing. At least you are proof of that, Brendel.”
“…………….. You give me too much praise Captain Marden.”
“Not at all. When you said you wanted to go through the Zevail mountain path to deliver the warning, I merely thought that you were a reckless boy who was not afraid of death. I did not support your decision at that time, and I thought it was a mistake to send Freya to go along with you and Romaine. But you proved me wrong. Young man, true bravery is not the same as foolhardy actions, and your performance is the very definition of true bravery. Certainly, your actions can even be described as heroic.”
He patted both Brendel and Freya’s shoulders: “Both of you are excellent and great examples of what Aouine youths should be like.”
Freya was silent and merely looked at Brendel.
[There would be hardly anyone left if Brendel was not there to lead everyone. All the credit should go to him, but no one knows about it at all….]
Brendel merely kept to himself.
The two of them then finally reunited with Bucce’s militia. Erik, Iris and Mackey congratulated both of them in the same order. Mackey even managed to bring a small barrel of wine to celebrate everyone’s survival after the terrible ordeal. The other members patted their backs without saying anything else, but their feelings were definitely shown through their actions.
What surprised Brendel was the encounter with Bretton who appeared together with his father. His expression was solemn and dark, but he gave a slight nod to Brendel as they walked past each other.
[That’s interesting… he didn’t try to pick a fight with me.]
Some time after that, Mackey informed him that Bretton was severely depressed over the guilt of losing his companions and blamed himself for the past month, and only became a little better until recently. Brendel again fell into silence for a moment upon listening, secretly impressed with Bretton’s character.
When their reunion party was approaching its end, a group of young Silver Winged cavalry soldiers even came in to their room to join the party. Brendel exchanged glances with Batum when they saw them.
[It seems that my plan to distribute the glory amongst the mercenaries also helped out by winning some people over. If all the glory went to me alone, something like this wouldn’t happen at all as I would appear to be someone out of reach.]
Once the celebration was over, Marden came to him in private to inquire on the matters about the nobles. Brendel made Freya stay behind and said:
“Captain Marden, the truth is the situation has already been decided. The representatives of the White-Mane Army will make contact with us very soon and tell us of their decisions. But there’s no need to worry about this. Whatever decisions they made has nothing to do with us, and the only thing we need to do is to simply accept whatever rewards they want to give.”
“Can you explain?” Marden asked.
“The situation is basically like this. They need people to be heroes, someone like you or Freya who performed admirably. They want people from the guards or the militia so that the citizens are able to link them to the regional forces. Since you led the Bucce’s villagers to safety successfully, and you represent the formal army of Aouine, your glory can be considered to be part of the nobles as well.”
Brendel rubbed his forehead.
“But a group of mercenaries leading two thousand refugees out from Madara’s army that is comprised of tens of thousands of undead? That’s a problem for the White-Mane army. If they handle this situation badly, they would become a laughing stock. Since the rumors have already spread throughout the southern region of Grinoires, they have no choice but to admit this event took place. Their main concern is how to handle this delicate situation.”
“I see, we’re actually a guise for the real people who are going to receive the rewards?” Batum suddenly said.
Brendel nodded: “The nobles have their eyes on Freya because she was part of the army that led Fortress Riedon’s refugees out.”
“Me?” Freya was engrossed in the discussion, but she suddenly woke up once she heard her name: “Brendel, I —”
“Freya, listen to what I have to say first.” Brendel interrupted her. She paused for a moment before nodding.
Marden was quiet after listening to Brendel’s analysis. He found it difficult to accept that the nobles looked at this war like the only thing that mattered was their appearance in the public, instead of finding a solution to the undead blight.
[What exactly are we fighting for…?]
Brendel continued: “The Silver Winged cavalry have their own principals. They dislike to work with the mercenaries because they think that they are full of greed, and to fight in a war just for money was not something they can accept.”
Batum scoffed and his face was full of displeasure.
Brendel looked at him and smiled: “However, when times demand for it, they would still send someone privately to contact them—”
“Hypocrites.” Batum’s beard seemed to bristle.
“You can describe them that way, or you can say that their vanity is the reason for their attitude.”
“But are these nobles not short-sighted to think this way?” Marden still found it hard to believe that the high nobles would be so shallow.
“Short-sighted?” Brendel shook his head.
[The nobles are no fools and certainly not short-sighted. If anything they understand the soldiers in the army better than they understood themselves. No, these nobles are brilliant, but the greed and vanity that they have are the reasons why they chose to do things in this manner.
If they have power and the army behind them, these nobles would be able to become independent and disregard the royal crown. Even if Madara invaded their territory, they would be fine with it because Madara will retreat at some point. And in the case where something was to go horribly wrong, their collected wealth would allow them to settle in another country in the continent without any problems at all.
The only people who are going to suffer is the lowest denominator. If that’s the case, why would the nobles care other than vying for more power?]
Brendel continued: “No, they don’t care because they know that Madara is going to retreat soon. What is important is how they appear in the public. And when Madara’s undead retreat, they would want to choose someone from the militia to be decorated as a hero. When the citizens look at that hero, they would immediately think of Aouine’s formal army instead of the mercenaries.”
“But, isn’t Gaspard a better choice? He’s the captain in charge of Fortress Riedon’s public security, isn’t he a better choice?” Freya restrained herself from talking about Taron. (TL: Taron is from the Fortress Riedon’s white mane army.)
Brendel shook his head. “No, that’s the worst choice for the superiors of the White-Mane Army. The cavalry in Fortress Riedon belongs to the nobles, a private army created to curb the power of the White-Mane Army’s infantry. Do you really think that the military nobles of the White Mane Army is going to allow this to happen?”
Everyone realized that Freya seemed like the best choice after Brendel explained to them, and even Freya found herself unable to argue with Brendel.