TL: Again, all the recent chapters are unedited and unpolished, so Engrish beware.
12 more ch.
Chapter 57 – Weight
Brendel sat down on a chair with a hesitant face and looked at viscount Tirste, but his mind was conscious of the new facts that came to him, and was moving quickly.
[The Unifying Guild most likely suspects the relationship between Leto and me. I don’t know how Tirste recognized me, but this means that the news leaked very much earlier than I suspected. The Unifying Guild bastards’ goals are authority. The entire kingdom, royal family or the government are their enemies. If the Unifying Guild is interested in us, then it’s because of the effects we had on the refugees.]
Brendel’s lips curled up slightly.
[If I consider that, then I still have a certain gambling chip… No, I shouldn’t see it as a chip. A balance scale is more appropriate for this situation. Tirste has a Weight called “Brendel’s life”, and my Weight is “The ability to control the masses”. Which is heavier, that’s difficult to say.]
Brendel would not act like a rookie at this juncture, and he was certain that he had an advantage for knowing what the opponent had in his hand.
[I won’t give on the stakes yet!]
Brendel tilted his head and gave a small smile, lowering his attitude: “Very well. You won, or perhaps I should say your sword has won. Viscount Marnowell, Ser Tirste. I have not dealt with you before, but since you believe that I have something to do with the Red Bronze Dragon, Leto, then I will be open with you. I’m sure you want me to join you, but your goals should not end just there right—”
He spoke and send a small gesture to his summons to watch for any other intruders around the area, as he did not want anyone else to interfere with his plans. The gesture was mostly hidden, and it did not fool Tirste’s eyes. Brendel had intended to show that on purpose.
A gesture could sent the correct signals, and it could also transmit the wrong hint.
After receiving the order, the two mercenaries expressed themselves through their eyes. They took their axes and stood silently on each side of the door. The mercenaries had all the qualities of the legends, unified, brave, loyal, as well as having a great insight to strategies.
Tirste placed most of his attention on Brendel with a hand on his sword, but when the mercenaries moved, he lifted an eyebrow.
[These mercenaries are as good as the rumors. No wonder they are able to clear a path through Madara’s armies.]
Brendel had successfully led Tirste to reconsider the situation.
Tirste believed that the youth in front of him was quite likely to be the mastermind of the mercenaries, and in truth his guess was not wrong. But the problem it was only a guess. When he tried to find some evidence through Brendel’s words, he did not say anything useful at all.
The first basis of the negotiation was, ‘Brendel is the leader of Leto and the mercenaries’.
Brendel looked slightly nervously at Tirste, afraid that Tirste would somehow object or just stab him with his sword. But he exhaled quietly with great relief.
[It looks like the viscount is at least a capable and self-conceited person. The first step is working well, but here comes the next step of maintaining the power struggle and manipulating him—]
Tirste did not have Brendel’s skills in manipulation. He merely smiled with agreement in his heart. Brendel was willing to disclose his identity, so Tirste felt that Brendel was being sincere. The Unifying Guild did not mind giving out generous promises, as long as they were given absolute loyalty.
“You’re not wrong. So tell me, what exactly are we planning?” The young noble put down his sword and asked patiently.
Brendel took a silent breath and cursed him. Tirste was really troublesome to handle.
“A normal person in your position would be wondering what the mercenaries are planning to do, especially when the mastermind is hiding behind someone’s back. With the tens of thousands of refugees gathering in Bruglas, and the slow reaction from the nobles, these refugees might as well be a barrel of gunpowder waiting to erupt.” Brendel held onto the armrest and said without any change to his expression.
“Very good,” Tirste: “So what are your goals?”
[Goals? What are my goals, you ask? Isn’t it to find some base so I can level up, set up some political party and become the president?]
Brendel rolled his eyes in his mind, but he was unable to find a good answer to this question so he countered with the same question: “And what are your goals?”
“I will do what the Unifying Guild orders to me.” Tirste smiled and said politely.
Very few people knew what the Unifying Guild’s true goals are, but there were many who had heard of its infamy, and it reached even distant shores. They had caused great tragedies in different places, and the people who discussed the events would have their expressions changed. People saw them as devils incarnate.
Brendel knew them well, but he acted like he was understanding them for the first time. He laughed twice: “It seems that we don’t have the same idea, but our plans line up together on this matter.”
Brendel lied through his teeth.
Tirste turned his head back to look at the other mercenaries. They looked like they were indifferent. He believed in his eyes, and he could find even the smallest change in one’s expression. His conclusion was that the youth’s followers were not against Brendel’s words, or at least he did not lie.
Tirste thought for a while but he did not understand Brendel’s words: “Explain.”
Brendel recalled some words from his female leader. ‘The best way to lie to someone, is to let them hear what they want to hear.’ It was not something that was too complicated, but he thought that beautiful women knew how to lie well. Since his female leader was one of the top beauties in the game, she was most likely correct.
Stray thoughts entered Brendel’s mind, but he had already decided on his words.
“To put it simply. You’re against the country. I’m against the country. But you’re idealists, I’m someone ambitious, that is as simple as it is.” He answered with half truths.
The word ‘idealists’ won Tirste’s good will. “It seems like our paths are indeed different. But I think I understand what you’re trying to say. You don’t want to join us, you want us to become allies.” His thumb stroked the sword’s hilt. “Are you not afraid to die?”
“Even if you kill me, Aouine is a dying country that has many predators waiting for it, and you won’t hurt the overall situation. But if I’m alive, we would have mutual benefits, and you might even get assistance from my side. Of course, this isn’t entirely free—”
“But you must know, the Unifying Guild’s job isn’t to create a new kingdom on top of ruins.” Tirste was all smiles.
“Allow me introduce myself. When the old system fails, a new system would grown on its corpse. That is my job.”
Brendel had exceptional talent in lying as he had no change to his heart or expression.
“That is certainly brave,” The noble started clapping in spite of himself: “Because of Aouine’s different factions gathering their own power, the local nobles are scheming hard to gain independence. I am quite certain they would not expect a youth to rave like this. Tell me, what exactly do you have to steal power from the Corvado Family that had ruled this land for centuries.”
Brendel laughed with confidence, but it hardly hid his guilt. However, Tirste had already started to believe in Brendel’s words with a preconceived mindset and completely did not expect he was full of shit.
“Gamblers don’t have the confidence of a certain win. As long as the returns are big enough, the only thing that matters is the bravery to see it through. You must understand that ‘risks’ had never been used to test the desperate.”
“But if that’s the case, that means we’re doing pointless stuff right?” Tirste put his weight into one side as he raised his arms.
The Unifying Guild’s directive was to return to Chaos, but Brendel was telling him that the Laws were continuously destroyed and repaired like a natural cycle.
“If there are no advantages for us, what do you think I should do?” Tirste asked.
“When a kingdom falls into internal strife, civilization would decline, isn’t that your goal?” Brendel went straight for the jugular.
Tirste’s expression changed slightly, as if to reflect his heart: “Looks like you really do understand us.”
“I understand ALL my friends and enemies.” Brendel said with double meaning in his words.
Brendel’s forehead was starting to perspire. This was the final moment.
Tirste fell into deep thought. At this moment his condescending attitude was gone. It was the first time that he found the youth in front of him to be much more complicated than what he had imagined.
He did not entirely believe Brendel’s words, but Brendel’s steadfast resolution had intrigued him. His hand was on his sword, his heart was clear on the numerous events that letting a person to have disastrous consequences.
But was the youth going to threaten him?
“I still have another question, have you been to the Pine Fortress?” Tirste finally raised his head and asked a question without really thinking about it.
Brendel’s expression changed. He was incredibly worried that the Unifying Guild would discover that he killed a high ranking member. He had an advantage that the bodyguard in the fortress was at least two sub-tiers above his Iron-rank, and he would hardly be suspected.
But if the Unifying Guild was able to discover his presence, what was to say they could not discover the truth now?
But before Brendel had the chance to think about his reply, Tirste’s hand suddenly flashed, and the sword was already coming towards him.
[He discovered the truth?] Brendel’s heart turned cold and he subconsciously turned on the charge technique, but he immediately suppressed the thought to counter attack, as he had seen the path of Tirste’s sword when he raised his speed by ten fold—
Brendel knew that Tirste was testing him.
And just like he thought, the sword struck behind him and into the chair.
Brendel felt his forehead turning cold with perspiration.
“A mid-tier Iron-rank,” Tirste muttered to himself, frowning: “Looks like you’re not that garbage’s match. But this is really strange, how can the timing be such a coincidence?”
Brendel did not say anything, but he was cursing at Tirste for suspecting his abilities even at this moment.
Tirste put his sword back into his sheath and looked deeply at the youth. “How much trouble can you create for the nobles in the near future?”