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Chapter 48 – Silver Mines (9)
[It’s strange. A large amount of Cold Iron. Mystic Eye Gems. It’s somehow familiar to me, but I’m certain I have never seen them together in the game before.]
Brendel was currently sitting on a pile of silver ore at the gathering site.
He had ambushed a squadron of guards with the aid of his Wind Spirit Spiders earlier. By using the White Raven Sword Arte, he extinguished their torches, ambushed them and knocked everyone out with a blow to their heads.
He took their swords and attached them behind his back on his belt before he called the girls to move the guards elsewhere in the tunnel. They then waited for the enemy commander’s next move. Medissa stood quietly with her eyes closed and looked like she was meditating, while Scarlett polished her halberd’s blade.
But Brendel was thinking back on the discovery of the Azure Quartz.
[If it’s not within the game, then perhaps…… Yes, that’s it, a forum post. I remember there’s a post about someone getting a quest in Trentheim. He discovered a vein of Cold Iron and two different types of strange materials. Eventually, one was identified as the Mystic Eye Gem, but the other had no conclusion during that time. I think it was a silver ball, but I don’t remember—]
His eyes suddenly widened at the notion of a silver ball.
[A Legacy of the Silver Lineage?]
The forum post that Brendel recalled was considerably early in the game, and more people eventually understood the purpose of the silver ball in the future.
In Kirrlutz’s ancient poems, the era before Mother Marsha’s creation of the world was known as the ‘Era of Eternal Night’. Within its lore, she was living in a world that every Golden and Silver Lineage lived in.
It was unclear whether Mother Marsha was created by higher Divine Entities in the Era of Eternal Night, or she was the highest Divine Power, but one thing was clear; she shed her first tear and brought the earliest Golden and Silver Lineage out of darkness. The Sages were born and fought against the creatures of Chaos and Darkness, and Mother Marsha established the Laws of Vaunte.
Gamers who played the game ended up breaking the fourth wall to fill up the missing lore. Mother Marsha was a mouthpiece for the ‘Divine Entities’, or simply the people who made the game.
Vaunte’s formation took a long time. The earliest Golden and Silver Lineage sought refuge in different supposed Sanctuaries to avoid the Twilight Dragon’s assault against them, but they were discovered time after time by the Twilight Dragon. Finally, they made their strongest stand in the Tower of Babel but ultimately lost.
Many different races disappeared that day, and it signified the start of the Era of Chaos.
But these sanctuaries remained, and Brendel had been to one when he led the refugees of Fortress Riedon out of Madara’s siege. He even got a Golden Apple from there, a type of Legacy item from the Golden Lineage.
[There are three different types of Sanctuaries. The first is half-physical, half-phantasmal, either hiding within time or space, like the Homeland of the Fairies that I’ve been to. The Second is fully phantasmal, like the tallest point of the world, Babel, the last Sanctuary that’s supposedly impregnable. And the third is a physical Sanctuary.
The Silver Lineage mostly used them, which were the most damaged from the wars. The Steel Plains were completely done in, and the Rune Dwarves were nearly wiped out. One of the Sanctuaries that remained is Heaven’s Gate within the Kingdom of Knights and had become a holy symbol. And one other is the Sealed Kingdom, Valhalla.]
But Brendel had doubts about his hypothesis.
[The possibility of this silver mine as a Sanctuary…… I should go back and check the Cold Iron again.]
Time continued to pass, and they waited until they were a little restless. Brendel suddenly stood up.
“The Gold-ranked commander has arrived,” He said, and drew in a deep breath, “and there are ten guards with him. Let’s get into the position that we have discussed earlier.”
Scarlett nodded and went over to Brendel and hid behind the carts. Jana stood behind near one of the exit tunnels, while Medissa positioned herself in the center of the gathering site, with her back facing the entrance.
Soon enough, footsteps could be heard amidst over a few talking men.
Kodan had led his men into the tunnels. He was feeling puzzled as he did not discover any creatures on the first and second level. When he descended into the third level, he finally found a giant spider scurrying away towards the gathering site. It was quickly destroyed, and they proceeded towards the room after he warned his men to move cautiously.
But when they entered the area, they were astounded.
There was a woman there. She turned around slowly when they came into talking distance.
To be more accurate, it was a girl not even the age of twenty, with silver hair and silver eyes, along with a pair of sharp, pointy ears.
The guards could only recognize that she was an Elf, but Kodan was trained as a knight. Not only did he learned etiquette from the noble families, but he also studied geography and history to a great extent. That was why he was able to recognize she was a legendary Silver Elf.
His eyes widened in shock. He thought his eyes were failing him, or that he was looking at a spirit. The Silver Elves had disappeared several centuries ago, but one was right here before his very eyes.
But despite his surprise, he did not drop his guard. He left two of his men at the entrance with a signal, while he brought the others closer to her.
“Who are you? Why have you come to Count Randner’s silver—?” Kodan asked in a gruff voice.
But before he could finish his questions, he suddenly turned around to discover two youths charging out from the carts, and they knocked out his two guards in a flash.
The grandmaster swordsman quickly understood. He threw away his thoughts about the Silver Elves; it was clear that the cause of the monster incidents was because of the culprits here!
“How much did Jara pay you?” Kodan’s eyebrows flared up, and his next question came.
Brendel blinked blankly at the sudden question.
“Who’s that?” Scarlett asked in confusion.
“Hmph,” Kodan pulled out his sword, and Brendel and the girls reacted by readying their own weapons, “since you’re not my old rival’s men, then you must be the Count’s enemy! Regardless of who sent you, prepare to die—”
His orders echoed loudly in the area, and the guards drew out their weapons. Kodan might appear to be an old man with a head full of white hair, but anyone would be awestruck by his killing intent!
[Kodan is amongst Count Randner’s thirteen most trusted knights, and while there were a few others who were stronger than him, he’s the only veteran soldier who participated in the November War. I should assume he’s within in the top five knights. Rumor has it that he entered the Gold-ranked status thirty years ago. I should treat him like he’s close to breaking through the rank!]
Brendel did not waste any more time and brought his Element Power out.
Kodan had looked at the youths in disdain when they readied out their weapons, but when he saw the youth’s release his aura, the air turned colder, and a layer of frost started to spread out from his feet. Kodan’s eyes widened instantly.
[An Element Power, he’s a Gold-ranked Swordsman at his age?]
But his surprise did not end there. Scarlett had reacted as well, and visible electricity gathered on her halberd and arms, causing hissing and spitting sounds to vibrate in the air. When he glanced back at Medissa, there was a white spectral energy concentrated on her body, causing her beauty to take on an ethereal breath, almost like she appeared from a dream.
He started to tense up.
[Three Gold-ranked opponents! Who would bother to send out three prodigies to pick a bone with me? And all of them look like they are just twenty years old. No matter where you put them, they would be treated with importance, and not used as assassins and thrown into this shit hole!]
Kodan took a step back subconsciously. He was not showing off his weak side, but he needed to think about how to protect himself when he was surrounded by three Gold-ranked fighters.
Brendel flinched when Kodan moved. Against a Grandmaster Swordsman, he did not dare to hold back, and his first move was a fully powered White Raven Swords Arte as an involuntary reaction.
The air split into countless razor winds, and they traveled across through the air towards Kodan and his men in a crescent arc. Shrill whistles followed closely as the thin blades struck the guards, instantly hacking them into gruesome pieces with blood splattering across the ground, while Kodan had jumped into the air and avoided the attack.
Several tremendous bangs followed next as the shockwave from Brendel’s attack struck against the walls and wooden pillars, and the fragments of stone and wood rained down.
Jana stared at the attack in disbelief and thought Brendel was closer to a monster than a human.
Kodan’s counterattack came as his jump brought him closer to Brendel, with his sword in a position to cleave the youth into two. Brendel immediately kicked the ground and swerved to his left, while Scarlett swung her halberd as well in a large, exaggerated arc. Kodan’s rippling muscles tensed up as he unleashed his blade from above.
The two blades collided violently, causing the metallic screams to echo in everyone’s ears. Scarlett wobbled backward a few steps and nearly toppled over to the ground Although she was a God Acolyte and her stats was higher than a normal Gold-ranked fighter, she still lost out in terms of strength and technique.
Kodan was sent hurtling back through the air from Scarlett’s attack, and Medissa did not miss the opportunity and moved closer to thrust her spear at him. Despite his unsteady landing, he managed to duck and dodge the Silver Elf’s swift strikes. His body was nimble and flexible as though he was a young man, and his aged wrinkles and white hair looked like they were lies.
The old soldier who survived the November War naturally used Aouine’s Swordsmanship, but he had incorporated his own style and elevated it to even greater heights.
His attack was a mere straightforward slash, but there was an oppressive, bloodthirsty feeling to it. Medissa guarded with her spear placed vertically to receive it, and her boots left a grinding mark across the ground as she was pushed back with her hands trembling.
Brendel suddenly felt he had misjudged the difficulty of capturing him. Be it Conrad, Tirste, or even any Gold-ranked swordsman that he had seen in the game; they were no match for this elderly man’s skill. Even Iamas back then did not give as much pressure as Kodan did right now. The swordsmanship and seemingly undefeatable aura reminded him of one person.
The Pale Knight Ebdon.
He roared in his mind and threw his sword at Kodan who ran towards him. There was no way he would be able to match the old man’s skill in with Aouine’s Swordsmanship, and he decided to even up the odds by using the system.
Kodan was momentarily confused when Brendel abandoned his sword, but he struck it away, then jumped slightly when the sword snapped into two. The youth drew another sword from his back, and that was when Kodan suddenly realized six or seven swords were hanging behind from his belt. His sword was clearly unable to handle the technique he used earlier, which was why he had to prepare that many blades.
[This must be the biggest joke I have ever seen. A Gold-ranked swordsman without a proper sword he can use?]
The old man scoffed and flickered his weapon at Brendel, aiming at his wrists, and the latter bent his knees into a low guard and parried the incoming blade by sending it upwards with his own. The two men’s swords went back and forth in a tight metallic chorus, each attacking and defending alternatively.
Brendel finally experienced Kodan’s swordsmanship fully. The old man was even more formidable than Ebdon was, and every time their blades met, there was a striking fear in his heart despite the fact that he used to be a level 130 gamer.
Kodan was surprised at Brendel’s aggressive strikes. The youth seemed like he had entirely given up his defenses to injure him. Kodan wanted to take advantage of his weaknesses, but that ordinary steel blade seemed to find its way to riposte at the very last second.
[This isn’t Aouine’s swordsmanship! Kirrlutz, no, this isn’t exactly right as well—]
However, that limit was soon reached as he eventually overwhelmed the youth in a flurry of blows and managed to kick him to the sides. He began to run to the entrance. There was no point in staying on. Once he managed to escape, he could send for help.
Scarlett had recovered and tried to bar his way, but he swung his sword in a mighty arc—
“Get lost!” He bellowed, and the girl staggered back several steps after deflecting his sword.
Kodan was briefly shocked as he had used his full strength in that swing; he expected her to be at least driven back to the walls.
Brendel was burning inside with worry. He could not allow the old man to escape. He immediately activated the Charge skill and aimed at Kodan’s legs, but the latter’s Perception was high enough to recognize the danger and turned back to deflect his sword.
Kodan’s eyes widened at Brendel’s speed but quickly realized that the attack was a feint, and it had become a thrust to his chest. He hastily drew back his sword to defend against it, but that was also a feint. Finally, Brendel drew out another sword and swung at him in a horizontal slash at his arms, and Kodan was forced to dodge to his right.
Brendel’s relentless aggression caused the old man to be in a fury. The latter used his skill in Aouine’s Swordsmanship to the utmost limits, and rage fueled his blade’s trajectory.
This time, Brendel felt Kodan’s attack was not from a single sword, but a wall that could not be avoided and gave a feeling that he was about to be doomed, despite the single white line from the system’s aid. The youth gritted his teeth and parried the meteor-like attack with the two blades with the use of Power Break.
The sword smashed away the two swords and caused them to shatter into pieces, while a shockwave struck against the walls and created a huge gash that was the length of ten-odd meters. Brendel’s legs quivered, and his hands felt numb, but he quickly took out another sword.
“My lord, please move away, I’m going to use my Element Power!” Scarlett yelled.
Electricity flowed freely all over her body and weapon, and Kodan gave up on retreating to the entrance, and instead ran to the carts that were full of silver ore. He grabbed one and easily flung one at Scarlett.
“Seventh Chord— Resounding Thunderclap!”
Bright light filled the area, temporarily blinding everyone. The cart that was hurled over to her seemed to continue in its destination before it hovered a few meters, and the violent tempest of compressed air sent it back to Kodan. Slag rained across the area as the lightning superheated the metals, and the old man hid behind the carts to protect himself.
Medissa leaped across the room and lunged her spear into the cart Kodan hid at.
“Vortex Strike!” She roared.
Kodan barely reacted in time and swung his sword to divert the spear’s path, dragging the cart along with the spear. Brendel sprinted across and jumped up into the air.
“Power Break!” He forced every bit of his strength into the blade at Kodan’s other arm and snarled into his face.
As expected, Kodan had lost his center of gravity after defending against Brendel’s strike that was aided with momentum and left him open. Brendel sank his elbow into Kodan’s abdomen, and the old man grunted in pain. He wanted to continue striking him, but countless lines appeared in his vision, and he hurriedly retreated to a distance.
Kodan’s Element Power activated and caused the surrounding objects around him to forcefully scatter.
“Stop!” The Grandmaster Swordsman shouted.