Chapter 8 – Cavalry, charge forward!
Leto and Mano chose to believe in Brendel’s words. There was conviction in his voice, and even if he was lying to them, he at least had the confidence and ability to lead. In addition, he had a great reason for them to follow him.
This word was closely tied to mercenaries, and it was a bridge that made the unreasonable things into reasonable logic.
There was no need to gather ten odd veteran mercenaries. They communicated by hand gestures, and they gathered quickly from the crowd in mere moments.
[These men are not common soldiers, not bad at all.] Brendel thought to himself.
He also made the riders from Fortress Riedon’s Public Order Cavalry gather up as well. He needed the men at hand to be split up into two groups. Even though this was a shabby lot, but they could be used if they were trained.
He urged his horse round this group once, then stopped at one side. He checked the pocket watch again and estimated.
A number of the long snaking crowd of refugees who progressed slowly looked at the gathered riders. They wondered what this group of twenty odd riders was going to do. The majority of them who joined in later did not know who Brendel was, but had a deep impression of the female rider who maintained order.
They kept asking each other who the girl was, and for some reason Freya’s status kept rising. From the captain of a militia to the captain of the Public Order Cavalry, a member of the White-Mane swordsman army and even the captain of the Aouine Kingdom’s guards. In any case, they recognized her as the leader and they simply needed to follow her and they would be led to safety.
The needle moved to the final second that Brendel planned, and he started to move.
He raised the Elven sword and pointed forward. The riders immediately followed him, and under his instruction, they dashed towards a road leading to the higher ground.
“What the hell is he doing?”
“Won’t we look like fools if we just rush up like this if the group of skeleton riders appear in the other direction?” Mano blurted out.
“Fuck! If these monsters appear on the other side and charged into the refugees, they would be disorganized even if we run back in time. This bloody brat doesn’t know how to fight at all, I can’t believe you fell for his damned lies!” Another man fumed.
“Didn’t you believe in him just now?”
“…. I’m just out for the money.” That man paused slightly before refuting.
Brendel ordered them to move even faster. The riders charged forth, creating a thunderous sound.
[Two seconds. Almost… There!]
The group of riders took to the high ground first, but they were immediately surprised by the scene before them. (TL: High ground offers a wider FOV, and troops tend to tire less when fighting uphill and move faster. For more info, go wikipedia it.)
Forty odd skeleton riders were retreating backwards. This proved that Brendel chose the right location, stole the higher ground and surprised the enemy, and everyone glanced at the youth for a moment, wondering how he managed to know the enemy’s location.
Brendel waved his sword twice after determining the undead’s formation, and charged forth towards the skeleton riders, ordering the mercenaries to charge along with him.
[What?! Now is not the time to charge at them, you’re too impatient! What if these undead move into a direction? Furthermore we don’t know how fast they can retreat, we might lose our advantage if we just rush blindly!] Mano thought to himself.
The other mercenaries were also of the same opinion. They should wait a little longer, since they held the high ground and will always have the advantage. Even the riders from Fortress Riedon who had a little more faith from him after he stole the high ground, hesitated and did not want to let go of this advantage.
But Brendel did not seemed to notice and merely pointed at the direction, which merely meant that everyone was to charge forth!
After a second, when he realized they did not not follow him, he turned his head and roared.
“Are you all chickenshit cowards! Charge! Even if we don’t have the advantage of the high ground, they will not be able to occupy the high ground if we attack them!”
Brendel seemed to inject a form of energy into the men after they heard the roar. The fact that he was to charge in the fray instilled a sense of confidence in them. In Aouine’s strongest era, the cavalry and nobles who fought with them, became the emblem of unstoppable bravery that was recognized throughout the continent, and now in this place, they were about to become the same emblem of—
No one had seen this happen in this kingdom for many decades. It was as if it had become a glorious memory of the past, and these memories were slowly fading into darkness and disappear.
But right now, there was a figure in this high ground outside Fortress Riedon, that was a lightning streaking across the dark chasm, as if to cut through a hidden curtain to signify the start of a new era.
Ciel watched the back of his lord with gleaming eyes, his heart overwhelmed with emotions. He urged his horse forward, and whistled with his fingers.
The mercenaries unsheathed their weapons and roared, rushing forward like a broken dam. Even the most timid soldier in the riders felt his blood was boiling too every part in his body, feeling as if he unstoppable and unbreakable.
A mercenary watched Brendel ride on the horse with precise control as if he was one with the horse.
“Mano, did you say he didn’t know how to ride at all?”
“He didn’t know how to do it in the beginning.”
“You must be fooled by him, haha.”
“Oh fuck off!” He blustered angrily.
Everyone believed that they would be victorious.
————————- Princess POV ——————————
The princess froze with a teacup in her hand. The tea was already cold, but she was so engrossed in the story that she did not realized that. When Oberbeck started describing the cavalry’s charge, her silver eyes shone brightly.
After a long moment, she asked in a daze: “He led the charge?”
Then she started to murmur as she rearranged her thoughts. “That’s incredible. It feels like we have gone back to our brightest era. Aouine’s knights who held war horns and fluttering capes with the squires holding on to the flags. When the war horns are blown, the riders would charge forth and create a sea of our cities’ emblems, Corvado, Grinoires, Ankries that represented our kingdom. They were unstoppable…”
Oberbeck coughed once. He knew that the princess had great ambition for the royal family, but he sighed as she was not a boy. Compared to the Oberg the seventh’s son who had a weak personality, the princess was a better leader..
[This is fate laughing at us.]
The girl finally realized her blunder, but she naturally diverted the topic. “And then, did they win?”
—————————- Brendel POV ———————
Their charge was faster than the skeletons’ retreat. In the mercenaries eyes, a miracle seemed to happen. No matter how the skeleton riders twisted and turn, their path was always predicted by Brendel. Each time Brendel’s sword point out into a direction, the mercenaries would move in that direction and become closer to the skeletons.
Finally, the riders collided into the weak formation of the skeleton riders like a giant hammer. Brendel swung his sword with a roar, and the sword arte smashed into four riders, bending and shattering the bones into the air and raining onto the ground. The mercenaries struck and charged ahead onto the flanks, creating a giant hole in their defense.
Brendel continued forward, pulling his sword back to prepare for a strike, then smashed the skeleton rider that was in front of him with the ability ‘Power Break’. The rider was immediately hurled backwards onto another skeleton. Two veteran mercenaries coordinated perfectly and destroyed the skeletons easily.
Brendel then urged his horse forward towards the commanding necromancer. Before it managed to recite the second spellword, Brendel thrust the Thorn of Light into its skull, immediately hoisting it up into the air before he threw it to the ground. White flames burned from the pierced area and it turned into ashes.
Each time Brendel charged in and out, countless golden lights would fly up into the sky and then flew into his chest. The mercenaries would work together with him and shatter another skeleton quickly.
However, once the skeleton riders lost their commanding leader, they started to gather together and prepare for their own charge due to their instinct to destroy living creatures. However, Brendel commanded the mercenaries to get to the higher ground and prepare for another charge.
After a moment, they clashed into each other again, but the skeleton riders were completely defeated.
Brendel had aimed for this outcome. If the necromancer was not defeated, they would gradually be able to pull away from them as their horses had unlimited stamina. He then ordered the mercenaries to stop and rest on the spot, while ordering Ciel to come along with him so he could gather the loot.
Everyone could not believe it. They actually won, and only two of their men were injured.
But they did not know that Brendel was incredibly familiar with the skeleton riders’ strategy, even more so than the commanding necromancer that led them. His lips curled for a while. Madara was a like a cursed rival. He had never defeated them during this era in the game, but it was different now.
After looking through the loot, he asked Gaspard to gather up all the swords as there was nothing particular valuable on them. Madara’s obsidian swords were better than what the mercenaries had, as they used Soul Fire to forge the steel.
Brendel went up to Leto and Mano, and pointed to a place far away. “Do you hear that?”
Leto and Mano looked differently at Brendel. He not only proved his commanding abilities in the battle, his terrifying sword skills and prowess deeply shocked everyone present.
The skeletons that crossed swords with him either had their shoulders or whole body twisted off, and their swords even bend or broke from the Elven Sword’s strike.
The greatest impression on him, however, was the unbelievable confidence they had when they charged alongside with him, and everyone fell in love with the thrilling excitement.
As Leto and Mano listened carefully, they heard clacking sounds.
“A skeleton army…. No, a sea of skeletons.”
Brendel was surprised. He did not expect it was Leto who first answered, and his judgment was accurate. He had thought that he was merely a bar owner, but his identity seemed that it was not as simple as he thought.
[Strange. Where did this bunch of mercenaries come from. Their abilities are just too good to be some common mercenaries.]
Mano’s expression also changed. The number within the fog were most likely thousands. He scrutinized Brendel again.
[This youth…. how did he know the skeletons are there. Even the timing to attack the scouts was just too good, even to the point of choosing the best timing to do so. If these scouts were not removed, then it would truly be disastrous. Unless we abandoned these refugees we won’t be able to escape from that army…]
“Do we need to check their progress” Leto’s face was grave.
“No, there’s no need to. Their scouts are not here anymore and they won’t be able to catch up with us.” Brendel waved his hand. “I only want the both of you to know this, there’s no need to say it out loud. I’m familiar with Madara’s tactics, so if you just follow me, I have the confidence to bring you out–”
“But there’s one thing. The battles ahead cannot be avoided, and everyone of us might perish here. You have to be prepared, because the battles would only intensify and will not be so simple like the one we had just now.”
“Prepared,” Mano laughed. “Kid, we’re mercenaries. We’re definitely better than you in this regard. Let me tell you something, Leto experienced the ‘Roanoke’s Valley blood Battle.”
[A veteran of ‘The November War’?] Brendel smiled as he looked at Leto and sheathed his sword without saying anything.
He looked up at the moon. The sky was becoming brighter, hinting at dawn’s arrival. At least they were not going to meet Spirits in this night.
TL: Feels like Leto = Dunn. Lol.