TL: Yup. Busy. Many assignments. Need your eyes. Check mistakes. May check errors on weekend if schedule permitting.
Chapter 33 – Before the assault
Brendel looked at the steep slope that was shaped like a knife, then turned back to Romaine and let her wear the Ring of Spiderweb. He realized that her perception was surprisingly high, and letting her wear this ring would increase her ability.
Romaine had spied on the beautiful ring with black and white patterns for a long time, and was naturally happy to receive it. But she still asked curiously: “Is this a magic ring too, Brendel?”
“Mmm. It allows you to hear better. So pay attention and if there is any commotions, inform Freya. I’ll be back very soon.”
In this valley, there were another monster besides the Golden Demonic Tree that was of considerable danger, a Rock Wurm. It was a rare elite that came from the side effects of the mana imbalance. During the first time it appeared in the game, Brendel nearly ended up being defeated by it.
“There are other enemies?” Both of them spoke at the same time.
“There might be, doesn’t it pay to be careful?” He did not want to act like a clarvoyant as it was not going to be easy to explain things in the future if he chose that path, so he chose to answer in vague manner.
But Freya nodded understandingly and tightened her grip on the longsword and guarded Romaine.
“I’ll protect her, but come back quickly.”
“Erm?” He looked at her in surprise.
[When did this silly girl became so cooperative?]
He was a little flustered, but it did not look like some conspiracy, so he put down his backpack hesitatingly and took out a rope and hook. He looked at the girls again, before carefully climbing out.
“Freya, is Brendel going to be alright alone?” Romaine whispered and asked.
“He has his own plans and we can’t help him with it. It will be enough if we don’t let him worry over here.”
Freya swayed her ponytail, her bright eyes showed a serious expression. She was not admitting defeat, but felt that her current strength could only do so much. She had earnestly reflected on herself, and she had to have high expectations of herself as a leader of a squadron.
She exhaled slowly and brought her sword close to her chest. She was determined.
On the other side, Brendel advanced on the steep slope by using the rope. He was still tens of meters away from a certain gap in the wall. He breathed in deeply and glanced behind his back. It was fortunate the Golden Demonic Tree and its guards rely on sound and mana to discover their targets, otherwise he was completely open at his position.
He grabbed onto a protruding rock, and the sand trickled from the rock’s surface. The tiny sound did not count for much, but he was worried that it would escalate into something bigger, and he tried to limit his actions as quietly as possible.
[30 meters more. it will soon be over.]
There was no soul gem that dropped along the way, but Brendel knew he still had one more chance. There was a treasure in the gap— no, claiming it as a treasure was sort of wrong. Players would call all resources and rewards from hidden places as treasure, but the treasure was a memento.
In the plot within the game, there was a young noble who loved to adventure called Bergens. He came to this valley with his allies, and was separated from them. He managed to escape to the gap, but due to his injuries he died there.
There was some possessions along with a keepsake on him. He could bring the keepsake to Bruglas to complete the mission, and even though the reward was not promising, it was better than nothing.
But the possession that the noble had was more interesting. As it was a random treasure, anything could be given out as long as the person’s luck was good. The greatest treasure that Brendel opened was an Amber Relic Stone. Brendel did not hope to get that, and it would be good enough if he got a soul gem. The percentage to get one was actually pretty high here.
He quickly climbed into the gap and immediately saw the unfortunate noble’s skeleton collapsing to one side. For one moment Brendel thought he had gone back into the game, as every detail appeared to be the same.
He quickly composed himself and carefully went over to the skeleton, and his eyes fell onto a small bag. He was stunned for a moment as he noticed a piece of dry and dusty lambskin paper inside it.
[There was nothing like this in the game!]
He picked up the paper lightly and discovered that it was a will. There were only a few lines on it:
“Mother Marsha above, I might not be in this world for much longer. If I am to meet an unfortunate end, and the one who chanced upon my will, I would legally transfer all my possessions on my body to you. Furthermore, I have a secret wealth passed down from my ancestors, and would award 1/3 to you. Please pass 1/3 to my wife, Sadie, and 1/3 to my daughter…… (unintelligible).
If you are interested in this wealth, please pass my will and my keepsake to my wife, and tell her ‘The date on the Barde ball’ and she sill understand what I wish to convey.
Finally, I am sorry, Sadie. May Mother Marsha punish me.”
Brendel read everything and looked blankly at the paper. He had never seen this piece of paper. The only mission to this was taking the seal ring off and passing it to the Bruglas citizen registry and he would receive a certain amount of money. The mission would end there and there was no further continuation.
[What does this mean? Is it because this world is different from the game?]
Brendel shook his head. He instinctively refuse to believe that judgment. Everything had matched to his memories to every last detail, and there was no reason why there was an exception here. He pondered on it for a while.
[What could be the reason? Wait— Of course! It might be possible that the first person who discovered this will receive a unique mission. There are many ‘first’ missions and ‘only’ missions… But did such a thing ever happen in repeatable dungeons? Nobody had mention this before…]
He continued to hesitate for a long time, and finally took the will and seal ring carefully and put them away on him. He somehow felt that this mission sounded familiar. Someone seemed to have completed a mission with a similar ring to it, but the daughter’s name and the address of the family was completely blurred out, otherwise this mission would be much simpler.
Brendel did not really mind this point. The harder it was meant that the rewards would be much better. At the very worst he would start from the Bruglas citizen registry, as he had the clue of the noble’s name as well as his wife. But that would be a future thing, and he had to face his own problems now.
He inspected his victory loot next. Two red gems, around 30 silver coins which was a windfall, a smoking pipe, a glass bead and a gray stone fragment. Brendel poured everything out and carefully inspected them once again, and he was disappointed that he did not discover any soul gem. He sighed.
It was a decent reward if it was in the game, but he did not need money or materials, but items with an immediate impact on increasing his strength. But even though it was disappointing, he still swept everything into his bag. He did not check what was of use as they were just trinklets.
After cleaning out the gap’s goodies, he took a final look at the skeleton before returning where he came from. Everything turned out smoothly, and the girls were relieved when they saw him returning to the wall’s opening.
“Brendel, you’re finally back. When you were not around, Freya and I were so tense. There was no sound at all in the surroundings.” Romaine patted her chest and exhaled with relief.
“Don’t pull me into this-” Freya’s face turned crimson.
“I’m just out there to check the surroundings. There is a patrolling team out there, and we should quickly kill them.”
“Do we need to go out?”
“We can also wait here. When it is a little later we can leave from the other end of the exit. We can avoid a fight, we would be tight on the remaining time.”
“How long?” Freya asked.
“We will set out two hours later.”
The girl paused for a while. “How far is Fortress Riedon from here?”
The furthest she had left from home was Verbin. Even though she had heard of Fortress Riedon from the adults’ lips, it was nothing more than an impression.
“Let’s put it this way, if we are going to be late for two hours, we will be running against the undead army.” He looked at Romaine: “We might reach the fortress a little earlier, but there would be little time left.”
“If we destroy the tree we will save time?”
“There is a hidden passageway behind which was used by merchants in the past to avoid the checkpoints. I have seen it in the Bruglas’s city documents, when I was still a militia.” He lied without skipping a heartbeat. There was no falsehood about the passageway though, since it was knowledge from the game.
“Is the tree dangerous?” He pointed towards it.
“Incredibly dangerous. It’s 50/50.” Brendel answered gravely. Even though he wanted to gamble and finish the Golden Demonic Tree, but he had to tell the the girls the truth about the risk they are taking.
In a party, everyone had to make a choice about their lives, no one could force another. The basic rules in The Amber Sword.
Freya went silent.
“Romaine, are you fine with it?”
Romaine shook her head: “I liked adventuring. My life was meant to do meaningful things.”
Freya took back her gaze on her and nodded: “I understand. Brendel, please bring us to defeat it. Even if we are to fail, I will also not regret it.”
He grinned. He did not expect Freya’s reaction to be so big: “You don’t need to be so polite about this, I’ll tell you how to defeat it. But we need to settle the patrol team. Six Demonic Trees, we are familiar with them already but we need to end it in an instant.”
He brought them to the wall opening’s edge. They could see the monsters clearly. He circled an area: “We will sneak over there and launch an attack with my gesture. Before we fight we should take it slowly, and we cannot let them discover us.”
“We still have at least half an hour, so we don’t need to hurry.”
“Romaine and I will attack from the right, while you hide below that boulder on that left side. When we launch an attack, you will attack the two that are at the very back. Do you remember their weaknesses?”
Brendel wanted Romaine on her side to protect her, and ease Freya’s pressure. That merchant lass did not have any combat strength.
She nodded. The Demonic Trees’ weaknesses were at their four limbs, because their sensory organs were on the four of them. If they lost their limbs there were not a threat. But she was a little tense. The way how they handled these trees from before were schemes based on surprise, like falling boulders or something, but it was a frontal assault now. She was not worried about Brendel’s capabilities, but was she able to do so? Freya was uncertain.
He glanced at her and knew what she was thinking. Every newbie had the same problem, and even though Freya should be considered a ‘NPC’, but she was probably no different. He thought for a while, and spoke encouragingly: “You don’t need to worry too much, your armor limits them by a lot, and you should attack aggressively.”