TL: The next chapter will come 2-3 days later. This chapter is where the battle between 4 gold-ranks happens (much hype).
TL: If you are interested, take a look at the patreon for the series or sponsor the chapters with PayPal.
Chapter 47 – Silver mines (8)
============= Cohen’s POV =================
“Just who is that fellow?” Maher said.
The youths began discussing amongst themselves after Brendel left. Maher had been against that dubious person since yesterday, but the latter found a Cold Iron vein and used a large sum of money to make a trade between them. He had to admit there were good points by dealing with him.
However, Jocah was a little worried. 25,000 Tor coins was not a small sum of money, and he felt the entire situation was a little off. They had gotten money too easily. He could not help but look at Cohen. The sickly youth was the most knowledgeable person amongst them, and he even knew magic.
Whenever they got injured in the mines or fought with someone, Cohen would treat them with a magic spell. Even though it was not like the magic spells in bard tales where injuries could be healed in the blink of an eye, it was more effective than using herbs.
Eventually, Cohen was quietly recognized as their leader, although Maher did not fully admit that fact. It was mostly because the latter’s pride was a little beaten when he was taken off the leader’s seat.
“It’s none of our concern,” Cohen shook his head, “continue mining. The things that happened here do not concern us.”
Suddenly, one of the youths who was still working yelled out, and everyone’s heart skipped a beat and looked over to his direction. There were many strange tales in the dark mining pits. Even though they had not heard of any workers speaking out on odd things recently, they were afraid to encounter something that might hurt them.
The youth who yelled earlier ran towards them anxiously.
“Come over and take a look!” He shouted.
“What’s wrong?” Cohen asked.
“I-I have no idea, come over, and you will know what I mean—”
The youths exchanged glances puzzledly. When they crowded around the young man’s area where he was working earlier, they were shocked to see a silver blade sticking out from the rocks.
“Take a look at this,” that youth who alerted them brought up his mining pick only to discover that a section of the edges had been sliced off smoothly like a polished mirror.
“It was caused by that?” Cohen frowned, not recognizing that the thing in the walls was a weapon.
That youth nodded.
“That’s a sword!” Maher was the first to identify it, “I’ve heard that other races are living underground, and this must be one of the weapons they are using. Just how sharp is this blade!”
“No, wait, why would the weapons be stuck in the walls?”
“It must have been left behind by them. The creatures that came out from the pits proved they were able to come up.”
“You idiot, that’s because the workers opened a tunnel to the caverns below! There wasn’t any tunnel before we made one, and lastly, this sword is buried in the rocks!”
“Then maybe it happened a really long time ago, and a cave-in had buried the sword!”
Cohen stopped the youths from bickering: “That’s enough, let’s just dig it out first.”
“Dig it out? Why? Cohen, that’s useless to us, right? I’m a little worried about this. It will be difficult to smuggle it out without detection. Let’s just leave it in there.” The girl said.
Cohen hesitated. He was a little intrigued by the appearance of the weapon, and Maher was probably right in guessing the sword’s origin. At the same time, she was right. It would be difficult to bring the sword out. However, he made up his mind when he glanced at the mining pick’s edges. The value of the sword must be immense when it easily cut through it.
“Let’s get it out!” He said.
The young men gave a delighted agreement as their curiosity finally won over their fear of the unknown.
================ Brendel’s POV ==============
“It looks like the soldiers have sealed up the place well. There are no holes in the barricade.” Brendel said to himself.
He wanted to lure the monsters and instigate a fight between the Gold-ranked commander and them before he and his group joined in the battle at the very end, but it seemed like it was unlikely now. Still, it was not much of an issue since his original plan was to capture the commander with his own men.
He directed the Wind Spirit Spiders and sent them upwards into different groups. He knew that the workers would soon panic and bring the news to the valley. Since the mines suffered casualties from the previous attack, there was no way that the administration would ignore the monsters.
He did not go back to where he came from and instead chose another route to go back to the higher levels. Under his 20 OZ Perception, he was able to see through the tunnels as though he was walking under daylight. He entered a tunnel where the spiders had gone through without hurrying. The area was silent and empty as the workers had already fled in panic.
Very soon, he reached the lift and activated the controls, and the crude machinery began to bring him a level up. When it stopped, he got off and walked to the gathering site where the silver ore was transported to the surface. The place was almost like an artificial cavern, and part of its ground was covered with wooden tracks for the silver ore’s transportation.
He raised the crystal in his hand up to get a clearer view of the ceilings. The walls were supported with large wooden beams and had placeholders for torches.
[It seems like the workers had taken the torches away when they fled the area.]
He continued to search the walls carefully and finally discovered a subtle mark on it pointing to a nearby tunnel. He entered it and came to a crosspoint.
Suddenly, a sword thrust behind him from a blind spot like a venomous snake. His hair fluttered from the gale of air and alerted him. He dodged to the right while his head turned back, and his eyes were filled with vigilance. Very soon, the sword’s hilt came into his eyes, and he formed his fingers into a claw and gripped onto somewhere between the attacker’s sword hand and wrist with incredible speed, twisting it fully.
A light gasp of pain revealed that it was a woman’s voice, and the sword was twisted out of her grasp before it landed onto the ground with a soft clang.
“My lord……” Jana recognized it was Brendel and her green eyes grimaced at the vice-like grip, “I’m sorry, I didn’t know it was you!”
She knew that Brendel was a Gold-ranked fighter, but she did not expect him to be this amazing!
In truth, Cornelius was the sole mercenary commander who had witnessed Brendel’s abilities with his own eyes, and the other two only knew of his skill by reputation. Jana felt like her entire body was locked down when Brendel grabbed her wrist, and she felt like there were broken bones.
[I’m a Silver-ranked fighter, and I’m disabled with just a single move? Is there such a big difference between a Silver-ranked and a Gold-ranked fighter?]
“It’s fine, but didn’t I tell you not to use your weapon against the workers? And where’s Scarlett and Medissa?” Brendel asked as he released her wrist.
“I apologize, my lord. The workers suddenly disappeared in a rush, and your footsteps were disciplined enough for me to think that you were a strong enemy guard. As for Medissa and Scarlett, they are in the other mining sectors. My lord, why have you called for us with the spiders?” Jana said as she rubbed the bruises on her wrist.
“It’s difficult to lure out the commander to the outside. We need to change our plan.” Brendel sent out an aimed shot of wind at the sword and caused the dropped sword to bounce up onto his hand: “I received information that the silver mines had encountered a serious incident approximately ten years ago. The workers had accidentally dug a path into the Jurgen Underworld, and the monsters there ended up invading the mines. I have a new plan based on that—”
Brendel left a mark pointing back to the open area he was in earlier.
“In any case, let us wait for them in the place where the workers gather the ore for transportation. I think we will be able to meet up with the two before the guards come.”
Medissa and Scarlett soon arrived at where Brendel was.
“You wish to lure the commander out with this plan, my lord?” Medissa said when she entered the gathering site. She had easily made a conclusion when Brendel told her to convene with him through his mind.
“Yes. Based on the information I have, the guard commander’s name is Kodan. He was the one who led the guards personally to drive the monsters back during the attack a decade ago. It’s very likely that he would do the same thing again.” Brendel said.
“This place looks like a good place to battle, but will it hold with four Gold-ranks fighting here?” Scarlett said.
“We can try and capture him as quickly as possible,” Medissa said.
“It’s going to be a little tough,” Brendel frowned as he considered the possibility. “Our opponent isn’t some random person who recently became a Gold-ranked fighter. He’s likely to be a Grandmaster Swordsman, but there isn’t a better way. In any case…… Let us wait for him. Jana, make sure you’re waiting for us back there. You wouldn’t want to come near us.”
=============== Perkins / Kodan’s POV =============
Voices were circulating in the administrative building as soon as the morning sun rose. The rumors first started in the deeper mining sections. The workers found monsters appearing out from nowhere, and the news quickly spread to the foremen who immediately requested for a squadron of soldiers to investigate the situation.
But none of them returned—
When the foremen realized the soldiers were missing, they scrambled to put up a report. Perkins received it on his desk in less than thirty minutes. This thirty-odd years old energetic administrative officer, who was still considered young by Vaunte’s standards, finally realized the severity of this issue.
One of the reasons why he was able to come to the silver mines and work for Count Randner was because of the latter’s recognition of him, and another was because he had connections. He was the nephew of Count Randner’s wife and thus easily gained his position. Once he finished dedicating his time to this temporary post, he would be ushered into the council of advisors working for the Count.
The silver mines were of great importance to the Count, and he would be one of the trusted retainers if he succeeded in handling the silver mines without nay mistakes. This was why he governed this site with a great passion and was completely satisfied at getting the position of his dreams.
It was going well for him, and the incident where the workers broke through a cavern of monsters was a decade before his time, at least until this morning.
[Giant spiders sighted in the lower pits? A squadron of soldiers completely missing? Possibly because the workers dug through a tunnel leading to the Jurgen Underworld!? Fuck! Fuck! This is a serious incident beyond imagination!]
He felt cold perspiration coming out from his body. He could not imagine what would happen if there were invaders from the underworld. He was in a position where Count Rander kept an eye on, and he was unlucky enough to possibly encounter the worst situation.
Losing the silver mines.
Perkins sank into his seat like jelly. If he lost the mine, he might be executed by Count Randner—
When Kodan pushed the door open, he saw Perkins in a miserable state. This old man had entered the Gold-ranked status thirty years ago and was one of Count Randner’s most trusted men.
The Grandmaster Swordsman was unable to suppress the waves of disdain in his heart when he saw Perkins’s spineless expression, especially when he came to his position through nepotism.
[This boy is even more worthless than I thought.]
Kodan coughed once and woke Perkins from his stupor. When the latter saw Kodan, his grey eyes lit up in joy. The old man was different from him. Even though Perkins’ position was technically higher than Kodan because he was in charge of sending off the gold, Count Rander recognized the latter as his right hand with complete trust. The old man did not use connections like he did, which meant he had gotten to his position through sheer capabilities.
The young man took on an even more respectful tone and expression than usual because of the situation, completely hiding away his darker thoughts of cursing the old man because the latter constantly looked down on him.
“Ser Kodan, you’re here, we’re in big trouble!” Perkins spoke as though he was a drowning man clinging on to the last hope for safety.
“What sort of trouble?” Kodan shook his white hair in contempt.
But Perkins did not dare to get angry and explained the report in detail. Kodan had already gotten hold of some information along the way and understood things to a certain extent, but he was seething with fury when the young man described the situation.
[You damned bastard. You suppressed the rumors from reaching my ears and sent my men off to the pits without telling me. Now that the situation has gotten worse you’re looking for my help?]
However, the situation was grave enough for him to restrain his anger and he replied with cold indifference:
“I see. Then what are you going to do, my lord?”
Perkins felt a lump in his throat. He knew that Kodan was trying to show his displeasure through this opportunity. But he also knew that he was in the wrong, so he gave an apologetic smile and tried to think of something:
“Well….. we don’t know what the real situation is in the pits, and I’m afraid that the workers might be panicking and disorderly, so I want to send in the guards to maintain….. order……”
He gulped as he saw the old man’s expression getting darker and darker: “Perhaps, at least enough men to…..”
Kodan scoffed coldly.
“Your idea is shit. It’s utterly worthless. If you send all the guards in, wouldn’t the workers know that there’s something wrong with the pits? They would go crazy and immediately panic. Furthermore, there are over a thousand workers in the mine, and you want to maintain order with less than a hundred guards? Administrative Officer Perkins, perhaps you’re not thinking hard enough with your brain?”
Perkins’s dignity was almost shredded to pieces, but his skin was thick enough for him to ask: “T-then what do we do?”
“I’ll bring in a few men and take a look,” Kodan rubbed his sword’s sheath and said, “the monsters in the pit below are troublesome, but they won’t be able to trap me. We will discuss our options once I find out how serious the problem is.”
“Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful!” Perkins exclaimed with a placating tone. Even though the situation was not over, he was relieved to know that Kodan was going to settle it himself.