Chapter 28 – Haven
“The Half Plate of the Wind Empress!?”
Brendel opened the heavy bag and took a look inside. He rubbed his temples after finding the copper colored armor tucked neatly in it.
[It’s no wonder then… It’s no wonder why the mature Rotten Beast could not drag Freya away. This armor was protecting her.]
“Why didn’t you wear this?”
“The armor shone with light the last time I wore it, and I was afraid Madara’s undead would see me. I wanted to wait for daytime when it a little brighter…..”
“It’s a a green color light that wraps around the armor sigils.”
“That’s called the ‘Wind’s Feathers’, it’s not light.” Brendel sighed when he saw her looking puzzledly at himself. This was the most basic knowledge in the game, so he did not expect Freya not to know it at all. He could only pick up the armor and explain it to her.
The Half Plate of the Wind Empress was the product of the blacksmith Saint Orso. Just like his ring, the armor had the sigil of the Wind Empress, but these items had their own additional trademark from the creators. For example the true Ring of The Wind Empress were made by the druids, while Saint Orso placed his own kingdom’s emblem on the armor.
Brendel’s ring was a replica and might have been made from a human wizard. Strange, even if it was a replica, Brendel’s grandfather should not have owned this particular equipment. He was unable to gather any useful information from his memories, so he stopped thinking about it. If he was to look at it as a gamer, then this might be a hidden mission, but that would also have to done later when he was able to find that lame merchant in the Black Pepper Street.
On the other hand, this armor plate definitely came from Elven hands. This was an equipment specifically made for the Elven guards by the Elves; but ever since the ‘Year of the Returning Light’, there were hundreds of such armor plates that were brought into various kingdoms, so they were not particularly valuable.
In the game’s equivalent, it was a 15 OZ equipment.
The ‘Wind’s Feathers’ was added onto the the armor’s Wind Empress sigils. It was a type of magic that reduces incoming force, or the game equivalent of ‘reduce incoming damage’. Plant creatures were particularly affected by this type of magic, so it was not a surprise that the mature Rotten Beast had their strength sealed to a significant degree.
The thing that Freya did not know was the light that came from ‘Wind’s Feathers’ could only be seen if it activated against enemies’ attacks.
Freya felt incredibly embarrassed as Brendel explained. She felt like she was a country bumpkin and made a laughing stock out of herself. Her head kept lowering until she finally grumbled in a tiny voice: “Why didn’t tell me this earlier?”
[Am I a mind reader? A telepath? Or Mother Marsha?] Brendel refuted in his mind.
But he understood that he had subconsciously treated many things like it was common knowledge and caused some misunderstanding. It was difficult to adjust his gamer’s habits as he had immersed himself in ‘The Amber Sword’ for years.
When he saw Freya’s crimson face and her arms hugging the bag tightly, he felt that he did not need to ask why she did not throw the bag away. It was because he was the one who entrusted the armor to her. Brendel felt quite pleased that she trusted in his armor that he gave to her this much, and did not have the heart to scold her anymore.
“This equipment is not a living thing, but you are. No matter how precious this might be, you have to protect yourself first if you encounter a situation like this again, understand?” He said.
“How about the third militia?”
“I handed things over to little Fenix.”
“Yes, Uncle Marden told me that he might be the most hopeful person in Bucce to make it big, so I used to take care of him and hope that he would become Bucce’s pride, but I thought that you might be right. How could he grow without tempering himself?”
“You might have thought it through, but did Irene agree on it?”
Brendel sighed again with relief. Freya had walked out from her little world. He thought she might still insist on making the same naive decisions, but realized after her composed behavior that she had grown instead.
“Irene and I have the same idea.”
He nodded. He was able to relax as the squadron’s affairs were settled.
[It was fortunate that there wasn’t much of a problem in the militia. Even though Freya’s a little headstrong, and somewhat of a petty person, but she’s a reliable partner. But it really bugs me that she did not throw away the bag at that critical moment. Then again I feel really touched. Hah… This is a heavy friendship.]
He turned back and discovered Romaine, who was separated by a campfire, studying the cave they were using to avoid the enemies. It was as if the cave was some sort of rare treasure to her. He wondered if she would ever be worried about her surroundings.
“Brendel, how did you know about this place? It looks as if those terrifying monsters will not be able to find us if we are in here.” She asked.
Freya nodded: “But we can’t keep hiding here forever. When the day is a little brighter, let’s set off.”
Brendel also nodded. Both of them were right. The Zevail pathway had several hiding places, and back then in that fateful year, countless ‘Nightingales’ and ‘Hunters’ paid with their lives to seek out this passageway, allowing the players to avoid the majority of the Golden Demonic Tree’s servants and get close to this BOSS. (TL: Boss directly written in English.)
But it had two caveats.
The first one was the need to travel all the way to the heart of Zevail’s pathway, into the ‘Forbidden Garden’. There were several broken ridges and they had to use a rope to go across. What would await them would be a bunch of personal guards of the Golden Demonic Tree. Despite these enemies, he was confident that he could handle it.
The second difficult point was leaving from the ‘Forbidden Garden’ shadow passageway. He needed Grifond’s crystal key, which was hanging from the Golden Demonic Tree’s branches. In the past, he killed the boss and took it away, but Brendel had to improvise this time.
He roughly enacted the entire process in his mind, and if there was any situation that suddenly cropped up, he would have to handle it on the fly. A perfect plan could only exist in novels and it could not be done in reality.
This was the importance of having a trump card, and why Brendel placed so much importance in the ‘Ring of the Wind Empress’.
He took out the soul gem to check on it in detail under the fire. The heavy item looked more like obsidian, but a wizard would be able to differentiate it if they poured energy into it, while a normal human being would be to see the differences visually if they were familiar with it.
Brendel brought it near to the campfire and the crystal immediately looked like it was about to evaporate. This proved it was a soul gem. The power of the soul was extremely unstable under fire if there was no protection, and it explained why Madara’s lower ranked undead feared fire.
“What is that?” Romaine asked curiously.
He placed the crystal to his ring and infused 10 OZ worth of power into it. The crystal first darkened a little before turning a little more transparent. Pouring any more power would be a waste.
He considered using the gargoyle statue. He would have the best chance of repairing and activating it, but ultimately gave up on it. There were at least 300 different command combinations to activate it, and he spent the entire night testing it out half of the commands combination without succeeding. The remaining 20 OZ = 20 XP was not something meager either.
It would probably take 100 XP to completely repair the statue.
[What else can I do with this then? Keep this and wait for another use?]
To the current Brendel, XP that was used now would be useful XP. He needed to raise his strength urgently. He could only change the world by surviving right here and now.
[Use it on myself? Or add it to a skill’s XP bar? But the ratio is just plain terrible, 10 XP needed to change into 1 AP! Plus, there are no skills right now that I need to learn from the Mercenary profession. But I can’t possibly waste it to level up the Militia’s level right? I have to at least wait till I have an abundance of XP.]
Brendel felt he was in between a rock and a hard place. He checked the outside sky again. It was starting to become fairly bright, and they were ready to move off. The servants relied on phototaxis receptors, sounds and mana ripples to sense their surroundings, so there was no difference to them be it day or night. Humans would have an easier time if they traveled in the daytime, as the light from the torch flames were a giveaway to the Rotten Beasts.
His hand searched within his pockets to see if there was anything else that he could use, and he quickly found that card with an artistic drawing on it. Brendel suddenly had the idea of experimenting on it.
To identity an item required a full set of alchemy tools and information books. Players who were not so good at doing that simply went to a NPC. However, it was quite expensive to identify things and the game allowed players to use items even if they did not know what it is.
So many players developed a system to test the items out.
He first tried using common chants but nothing happened. Then he brought the soul gem to touch the card and check if there was any reaction. Usually there would be some mana resonance if the item reacts to the soul’s energy.
But he did not expect the card to suddenly shine with piercing radiance from the moment he touched it with the soul gem. In fact, the soul gem completely lost its color and became a transparent crystal.
Brendel nearly jumped up in shock, and he stared speechlessly at the transparent crystal in his hand.
Soul gems that lost their potency were called ‘Creation Containers’, wizards and elementalists bought these containers and used them as storage for spells. They were similar to ‘spell scrolls’ in other games, while these crystals were the ‘spell scrolls’ in this world.
But Brendel was not concerned about this right now. He felt a terrifying shiver traveling all the way up to his spine. ‘Mana Absorption’ was one of the strongest mana ripples amongst the resonance types. He had gambled wrongly, and even if the Golden Demonic Tree was more than ten miles away, it would have felt this……
This was not the only enemy. With such a strong reaction, who knows if there were any strange creatures who had their eyes on him?
Brendel did not understand why the card reacted so strongly with the ‘Mana Absorption’ effect. Such effects only appear when it is a magical equipment over 40 OZ, and this card did not look like one.
Brendel quickly made his decision and stood up. Freya and Romaine naturally looked at him in surprise when they saw the light.
“We’re leaving. Now.“