TL: Now, I just want to say. The merchant’s girl true TL name is actually Roman. But I’m not sure if it’s a good idea to keep on calling Roman, Roman. Yet Romain is just as bad. Romaine, meh. So, if you want me to choose whichever name, please choose your option. And just keep in mind, I’m speed TLing to get the intro out of the way and might contain various Engrish mistakes.
Sophie’s plan was this.
If he did not recall wrongly, the current Bucce’s guards was the famous Marden, a soldier who had participated the November war like his grandfather did.
Sophie knew him because he was the NPC in-game who taught travelers the ‘Exploration’ skill.
But the true reason why this old soldier was famous because he committed an egregious error as the guard’s leader. He had erroneously guessed the intention of the Madara’s army. He believed that Madara was trying to bring about the usual skirmishes in the past, and he evacuated the Bucce’s citizens. He originally had one chance to counter attack and be able to defeat the undead army’s vanguard. He could then retreat without casualties.
Sadly, he did not take this opportunity.
He could have become the hero of this kingdom, but instead entered into a path of darkness at the very end. Sophie was full of lament and curiosity over a person like him.
He lamented over the conclusion of his encounter, and curious over how he discovered the Madara’s undead army in advance. If one should know that this was the only visible change in the Grinoires region.
“Was it out of his own personal gain?” An impossible notion suddenly sprang out of Sophie’s mind.
But he threw out that ridiculous idea the next moment.
He needed to change history now and had to think of a way to warn them. Fire was a sign of invasion and was a warning in the army’s regulation. He could only hope that they understood.
The banging continued outside the door, and every second was steeped with a tense atmosphere.
“Brendel, they are coming in now!” Romain gripped the masonry hammer tightly with both of her hands. She stared at the door with creased brows.
Sophie did not had the time to think about them, but upon hearing the merchant girl he glanced back at the door. They would be dead if the undead skeleton army rushed in.
Crashing sounds emitted from the door as sharp swords hacked in and out. The Madara’s swords gleamed like they were the fangs of a beast.
Something knocked against the door violently with a huge crashing sound, while dust clouds slowly fell from the ceiling.
The wooden groaned as cracks widened quickly on it.
“Calm down, calm down, just continue treating like a game. Sophie, remember what missions you had done, this is merely one of them……”
He breathed deeply to regain his composure. He tied a cloth that was steeped in oil around a bundle of straws and firewood, then tied it with a string. He did this procedure with ease. The creation of a torch was the most basic task in the game, and even easier than using a skill.
He even knew this would only last around five minutes as he created this in the Nogan and Hein’s underground passages.
But the remaining time given to him was dwindling, and soon enough another violent smash struck at the door, causing the hinges to break and rattle loudly. The dust flew sharply and hovered everywhere.
“Brendel!” Romain felt as her heart was going to jump out of her throat and she blinked her bright eyes.
“I’m here, don’t worry, just a little longer.” Sophie perspired profusely. He struck the flint with a metal chain many times with sparks flying everywhere, but the torch could not be lit.
A game was different from reality.
The soldiers’ immense strength finally made the door cracked open on the sides and made it tilt sideways, but it still barred entry.
A bone hand reached in from the outside to break the latch.
The merchant girl received a fright, and she immediately smashed the hammer on it. The hammer pounded on it with a bang and cracks appeared on top of the hand, but the skeleton soldier did not feel any pain from it and only paused slightly before it tugged at the latch again.
Romain was stunned momentarily as she witnessed this scene, even forgetting the hammer in her hands.
“Brendel, Brendel, what shall I—…..” She quickly asked with fear creeping into her voice.
The fire was finally lit up, and the metal latch also fell onto the ground at the same time with a cranking noise.
With the door finally opened, a skeletons marched in with its swords. He turned their heads and the flames within their black eye sockets locked onto the youths.
What was the young man trying to do?
Before it reacted, something black in the dark became bigger and bigger in its field of vision, and suddenly a hatchet was struck into the skull.
[……. This is your final resort. When you throw your sword you must remember that your hands must be stead, your center of gravity low, and no hesitation. You need to try and maintain a straight line between you and your target…….”
[…… If your enemy is a skeleton, then your best target would be to choose the shoulder blade and arms, the spine or the thigh bone. And unless you have the confidence to break the head open, the skull is not the weakest point…..”
Sophie looked at the soldier that leaned backwards. He had used the military skill ‘throw’ which was considered to be a complex skill, but he reflexively used that as a veteran. Yet when the hatchet left its hand, the brutal realization struck at him when he remembered he was no longer that expert.
In the game he would probably have split the skull into two equal parts, but like what the instructor had taught him, a stuck hatchet in the skull did no damage to the overall structure.
“Miss Romain, be careful!” He pulled the merchant to his back as he saw it straightening up again.
“Brendel…..” She was completely terrified.
“Don’t worry, I’m here.”
Even though Brendel said that, his heart said otherwise, especially after seeing the pile of packed skeletons ready to rush in.
He could not care anymore when the situation had became dire. He surveyed his surroundings, but there was simply nothing that could be used here. That skeleton was about to shrug off from the temporary stun.
What could he do?
Just give up?
Sophie shook his head. He swore he never experienced something like this in his entire life. His experience in the game came up with nothing.
He could only gamble on it, and even in failure there was still meaning to it!
He charged forward and grit his teeth, grabbed the skeleton’s arm that was holding the sword, then lifted the skeleton backwards through his near subconscious.
One tended to be able to use every ounce of his strength under extraordinary circumstances, and furthermore the skeleton was unable to resist when it had lost its balance. It crashed backwards and even affected the ones behind him, forcing them to step back.
The Madara’s undead was stopped for a single moment, but it was more than enough.
The young man’s emotions spiraled into a daze. He could not believe he succeeded. This was reality! Was he still that useless gaming otaku?
He threw the torch onto the stacked firewood and straws in the corner of the kitchen.
Flames flared up quickly.
“Let’s run, Brendel!” The merchant girl pulled his hand from behind.
She had never felt so tense in her life. The last time she saw this young man was over one year ago, and only felt that he was shy and easy to talk to.
But today, that ordinary youth displayed courage and composure beyond belief. These qualities that were displayed during these dangerous junctures, were surely the ‘reliable man’ had that her aunt always mumbled about right?
This feeling was strange.
Her mind thought about things that she could not explain. When she noticed that she grabbed his arm, her heart raced. (TL: Yes, yes, bring a girl/boy to high places and hold their hands while confessing. I heard that story before. *Grumble* killed the tense action *Grumble*)
Smoke started to fill the place up, and the kitchen was filled with choking odors.
Sophie finally cleared his head. Mother Marsha above, he set fire to Brendel’s grandfather’s house.
Brendel would surely suffer. Err, even though he’s Brendel right now.
Messy thoughts started popping up, but amidst them Brendel’s memories gained the upper hand.
A low, raspy voice came from behind: “Move quickly, you undead soldiers. Put out this fire and ferret out that worm, we only have a minute.
The voice cleared the youth’s mind, and he started to think of a way out. Since Sophie knew that the undead was naturally afraid of fire, it would be difficult for the skeletons under the necromancer to curb this problem. Thus it was his chance now.
But the fire was a double edged sword, and he needed to make use of his time.
“Miss Romain, follow me.” Sophie pulled a string of sausages from the ceiling and led the merchant girl towards the back by blindly feeling his way there. This was not a gesture of his greediness, but to the players within the ‘The Amber Sword’ had developed a subconscious instinct when it came to food before fleeing.
The fire turned bigger and bigger, and turned the surroundings into a sea of flames with billowing smoke. The temperature was quickly rising.
However, Sophie swiftly found the small door that was used to transport food. He opened it and went inside before locking it again.
Sophie coughed once, but the merchant girl behind him was coughing in distress. He recomposed himself before searching the grounds, and instantly found the golden latch. Just as he was about to open it, he hesitated.
He suddenly recalled something.
Perhaps to the citizens of Elsengrad, the stars in April and the skies in May did not hold many differences. It was only at the end of the fifth month, the temperature would start to rise up, and when one looked down from the slopes of the hilltops, it would be a sea of red and white flowers in the early summer. It was the most peaceful place in Aouine, but it was filled with wars for centuries.
The young girl looked up, the summer night, where the sky was like a clear crystal going from the west to the north. The bright starry light painted the night, stars that held legendary tales of gods and myths.
She stood at the village entrance and looked at the hilltop. Freya was slightly worried. That extremely loud bang made her feel restless. Did they not mention there was undead movement in the nearby regions, could it be………
Upon hearing that should she turned her head, and looked at the young boy who still had traces of a child with surprise. He anxiously ran to her side, bent at the waist and panting.
“What’s wrong, little Fenris, did something happen?” The young girl’s voice was soft and clear.
“Did you hear that noise?”
“Yes, so I came to take a look at it,” Her gaze went back to the hilltop, “I’m worried about Romain, her aunt went to the nearby town….. I heard that it was unsafe recently and asked her to stay at my home for two days, but she did not agree to it.”
The young boy looked at her wide eyes.
The girl’s light orange hair was tied into a long ponytail, and her figure appeared to give out a heroic atmosphere. She wore a greyish white leather armor, and in it was a thick set of cotton shirt, the symbol on her left shoulder painted with black dye to look like a painting of pine leaves.
On her waist was a short rapier, and on the sword guard was a fire emblem.
If Sophie took a look, he would instantly recognize her as a Bucce soldier. The black pines were the most common tree in Elsengrad mountainous regions, and it was also the symbol of the Bucce forces.
But the guards also wore a well made combat robe, and only the militia would wear a greyish white leather armor made from cowskin.
In Aouine, every youth would receive militia training, and it usually started from the age of fourteen. The training would take place every year starting from the October to March until they reached nineteen. The youths and adults who received the training would be able to become militia, and become the most important reserves during times of war. This rule was set during the Year of Thunder, and militia training became one of the most important measures in Aouine’s military initiatives.
“Isn’t that guy staying over there, I heard he was a militia at Bruglas.” The young boy said puzzledly.
“The people from the city are not trustworthy,” She flipped her long ponytail and furrowed her brows: “I’m worried precisely because that guy is staying over there!”
“This is just your bias, Captain Freya~”
“What would you know……. Forget it,” The young girl lectured him without turning her head: “Alright, just spit it out, boys shouldn’t be as long winded like a girl, understood!?”
Little Fenris’s neck shrank a little: “Did you know, Captain Marden has ordered the guards to gather up!”
Surprise streaked across Freya’s eyes: “Captain Marden? How did you know this?”
“That fellow Brelin told me,” He blinked and replied: “When I came out, he already rode ahead to report to the guards.”
“Do you know what is going on?”
“No.” He shook his head.
The young girl turned her head towards to the hilltop, and she could barely see the manor’s outline in the darkness.
“Call up everyone, we’re going.”
“Freya, it’s so late now, Aunt Shia will murder us!” The boy’s mouth was agape and asked instead: “It’s better that we wait for tomorrow’s news right?”
“Coward!” She glared at him, but knew he was speaking the truth. Even if she was the captain of the Bucce’s militia, she did not dare to create trouble when she thought about her aunt’s terrifying aura.
“Aren’t you the same…..” He just mumbled a few words before he saw the girl’s serious face with a gesture to be silent.
“Shhh” She turned her head sideways, and cupped her ears. There was a faint but distinct whistling sound.
“What is that sound?”
The whistling sound came quickly from far away and approached nearer and nearer to their heads.
The young girl’s expression changed, and when she wanted to raise her head and move her body to evade, it was too late. A black shadow came from above the sky and pierced into her shoulder, causing her to yell out and fell backwards.”
“Fenris, run, run!” The ponytail girl yelled out in pain.
Arrows fell like rain.
“What’s wrong, Brendel……..? Cough, cough.” The merchant girl felt something was amiss and asked.
Sophie did not reply and searched through his memories.
When Madara attacked in the game, they were not able to avoid the gamers. They were not like the NPCs who worked in the day and rested at night. Some of the gamers were truly like nocturnal creatures.
He recalled when Madara attacked, they also received interference from other gamers like himself, but most of their actions were successful.
Indeed, he recalled that this era where Aouine was an ancient kingdom marching to its death, its neighboring countries were welcoming the new turbulent era.
The rising stars were coming…….
Sophie reflected pensively. The current Madara in this era shocked the continent with rising legendary leaders, and there was a new change in the army affairs (368th year, the revolution of the black rose) seven years prior. This change had developed a strong foundation, and their outstanding disciples that were nurtured supported this kingdom with military might.
This military might would be displayed in this war.
And in the midst of the War of the Black Rose, the Madara’s army lightning speed and clear judgment shook everyone in their boots, and yet, it was until Aouine was decimated before everyone became vigilant.
And precisely because of this.
This blight, this darkness, this shadow, would devour this kingdom entirely.
“These bastards, are not the same.”
As his rivals in the past, Sophie had a deep impression with Madara’s officers. Only people who had fought with their elites would know of them.
Sophie’s hand was placed on the cold latch, his heart sinking into numbness. The moment when he closed the door would be the moment they launched a preemptive attack on Bucce. They would not allow him to have the time to provide the warning to them, even if it was just a possibility.
Also, there was the likelihood there were Madara’s skeleton soldiers behind this door.
What should he do?
TL: So TAS chapter 5, pretty much the winning point for me to TL this series. It was pretty sweet from CH0 to CH4, but CH5, deal clincher.