TL: More coming. As a warning the chapters are TLed within a day, so mistakes are expected.
Chapter 38 – The Cripple
Brendel knew that Tamar had reached Rank 6 in alchemy, so he left the creation of a Cursed Crossbow to him. He collected the poisoned daggers and the Dwarven Longsword, and called out to Batum to prepare to go to the Black Pepper Street to meet up with that particular cripple.
He had wanted to meet with the cripple called ‘Roen’ for quite some time already, especially when he wanted to know if there was an extra mission regarding about the Ring of The Wind Empress. Besides that mission, he had also heard that the cripple had contacts with the black market and the likes, so it was something that he wanted to the cripple to introduce him a place where he could auction his goods.
[I’m not seeing Romaine… Looks like she’s off to do some ‘adventuring’ in some unknown places again.]
Both of them left the house with long robes. Brendel adjusted his hood in order to hide his face better, but Batum suddenly spoke behind him.
“My lord, I have thought about this for quite some time, but I think your plans are not good enough.”
“Why?” Brendel adjusted the Elven sword under the long robe before turning back to ask.
“The refugees that saw us were plenty, and even though you requested them to keep the secrets to themselves, you cannot guarantee that they are going to follow your words.” Batum carefully tuck his beard inside the hood and watched the streets, whispering.
“This was never a secret to the ones who wanted to get to the bottom of the truth, but the nobles desire a result that doesn’t harm their status. If I don’t stand out, they are even more delighted to accept this version,” Brendel thought for a while and answered. “And I need to stay unnoticed for a certain period of time, Batum.”
“But I still feel that we should have kept the refugees who saw you.”
Brendel finally understood Batum’s true motive and he laughed. He shook his head.
“We would stand out too much if we recruit these refugees in the open. Furthermore, these people might not be willing to follow us. Know this Batum, humans would seek to grasp at the wheat offered to them during desperate times, but they would not hold on to them every single moment.”
Batum nodded, but his mind disagreed. He had observed Brendel for quite some time from the sides, and knew that his ambition was big, so he wanted to aid him by going for moves that aided in growing his power.
But Brendel’s current concern was not about power, it was about the Unifying Guild. He was certain there was no one who could point to him for the murder of the fake earl, but gaining exemplary results here might invite suspicion to himself.
[Well the only ones who have an idea about what I did are Freya and Romaine… The greatest cover is my own level as an Iron-rank. Once I grow strong enough, the Unifying Guild is still people who lurk in the shadows and not an army.]
The Black Pepper street is one of the largest street in the impoverished areas within Bruglas.
This was not truly Brendel’s first time in this area, but the rats that ran openly in the streets, combined with the summer’s heat and horrid vapors of rotten odors still made him unused to this place. Batum on the other hand looked like he had found home. A mercenary like him was a frequent patron of this place, where there were sleazy bounty hunters, thieves, illegal merchants as well as low level prostitutes. It was as if this place had the stench of evil and sin.
But within this place, there were also scenes where people treated others sincerely.
Brendel was not able to criticize this place, and he did not want to anyway. He watched the children with dirty and tattered clothes carefully avoiding him from the sides, then hid themselves with greedy looks in his directions. There seemed to be gazes with ill intentions casting in his direction, so he raised his guard.
They continued walking and finally stopped at a old wooden house. Brendel raised his head and looked at the triangular carving on the ceiling, and confirmed that it was Roen’s house, and then knocked on his door—
Three loud bangs echoed within, with the door creaking as if it was going to split apart any time. Dust could be seen scattering from the door as well.
Batum frowned when he looked at this place.
“I can hardly imagine there is anyone living in this place. I have seen many poor people’s dwelling, but I have never seen a place like this that’s so dilapidated. This place can already be compared to living in a cave and—”
The mercenary stopped talking and swallowed his words, when the door suddenly opened. A venomous pair of eyes laid upon Batum for a moment before it went to Brendel, and a raspy voice could be heard from the horse.
“Brendel? When did you come from Bucce? Wait, you’re actually not dead, that’s definitely out of my expectations!”
“Does it benefit if I died, cripple?”
Brendel answered coldly. He looked at the balding old man who chuckled in a low voice twice, before looking at the two of them with his cloudy green eyes again.
“What brings you here, Brendel? Have you gotten rich? Or have you sent me a new customer?”
The previous Brendel had pawned several of his personal things at Roen’s place and therefore became linked to this malicious person. But what he did not understand was how Roen came to know about the painting in his old grandfather’s house.
Brendel glared at him with an intense expression, and the cripple recoiled backwards.
“You……. seem to be a little different, Brendel.” The old man hesitated.
“Anyone would change after they have been through enough ordeals.” Brendel gave a reply, but he did not want to waste anymore time so he went for his main question: “Do you still want the painting that my grandfather had?”
The cripple’s slanty shaped eyes immediately brightened: “Of course, of course, why, did you bring it here?”
But Roen immediately felt a cold blade placed on his neck. The greedy and scheming bastard who charged high interest loan rates and wrecked homes immediately fell to the floor with his weakened knees.
“I don’t have any patience for this. Tell me if my grandfather’s painting was stolen by your men.” Brendel glared at him as if he was going to kill him right away.
Batum turned back and saw several men flinching when they noticed his face. He picked up several rocks and hit them squarely, causing them to squeal in pain and run away, before he gestured to Brendel to inform him he was going to go after them.
Roen lost his confidence when he saw this scene unfold before his eyes, and he immediately shouted in a shrill voice: “Brendel, please listen to me, it was not me, I don’t have the galls to offend…….”
He suddenly felt he had made a mistake, and he quickly changed his words: “Brendel, you know me right, I might be unscrupulous but I wouldn’t spoil my own rules.”
Brendel watched the corner of the bastard’s eyes quiver, and knew that he had already recovered from his fear. He could not kill him here so he pulled back his sword with disappointment.
“I’ll accept your explanation, so I’ll talk about another deal instead.”
“Another deal? Brendel, I might not be able to receive your deals if they are of the same nature.” Roen rubbed his neck as if to check if it was still there.
“Hmph, that painting is gone. If my father wants my life for it, I’ll be using yours as a substitute.” Brendel threatened him with half-truths.
“I got it, I got it, I’ll find out news about this for your painting.” His mind was working quickly to guess who had the audacity to steal that particular item.
Roen looked at Brendel’s hand and saw that he did not wear anything on his fingers. He thought for a while before he spoke again. “Speaking of your father, I’m certain that your family is looking for you, are you not going to go back?”
“Not for the moment. Perhaps when I find the things that I need.” Brendel was actually afraid that his troubles would follow him back to his family, so he decided to separate from them.
[This is a particular problem. My memories from the other soul is affecting me and I want to see my family in this world… But that’s going to be impossible for a long time.]
“Very well.” Roen seemed to confirm that Brendel was not looking for any more trouble and continued with the topic. “What manner of business do you have in mind?”
“I need money urgently, and I have quality goods that I can sell. But if you think of double-crossing me, cripple, mark my words, I am no longer the same old Brendel.”
Brendel agreed with Leto’s advice to first threaten Roen before dealing with him, as the cripple drew back his neck timidly.
“Don’t worry. I won’t find fault with the things that I pawned to you in the past, but if you pull any tricks this time round, you had better wash your neck.” Brendel threw a pouch of coins beside the cripple’s feet: “I only need your recommendation and the coins here are yours if you help me with two other things.”
“Yes, yes, go ahead and tell me.”
“The first thing. I want you to help me find a woman who is about thirty years old, with purple hair and eyes. Find her within one week, and if you have any news, go to Bruglas’s market and find me there.”
Roen quickly nodded and thought for a while before shaking his head, letting it show that he had not heard of such a person before.
Brendel did not expect him to have news of her immediately, so he spoke of the second matter. “The second thing I need you to help with me is to find a noble called ‘Berg Nesson’ who stayed in this place before. You’re the most famous local scoundrel in Bruglas, surely you have heard of a fallen noble like him right?
The cripple hesitated for a while when he heard the name.
“I have heard of him before, but he had disappeared a few years back.”
“That is fine, I am looking for his wife or daughter. Where are they staying now?”
“His wife had already passed away two years ago, but I know of his daughter. She stays in a place that’s not far from here. Is she your relative?” The cripple asked in curiosity.
But this query immediately lured the Elven sword to dance in front of his eyes, before the sword went back to his sheathe. Brendel cast a side glance at him. “Do you want to know?”
“No, no, there’s no need to, I’ll tell you how to reach her place—” The cripple immediately shook his head.