TL: So I have about 9 more weeks till I graduate. After I clear my final few assignments, the final project is going to kick in, and I’ll be thinking on TAS main characters’ designs.
I’m probably going to translate 1 more chapter in mid October, and after that I’ll be concentrating fully on the project itself, which I’m going to post WIPs of the characters/illustrations every 2 weeks instead.
When I finally graduate, I’ll work on the backlog of TAS + other series’ chapters, most likely 1 ch per day.
TL: I completed some of my illustrations, and the WIP on the right is supposed to be a card illustration (have not decided what kind of clothes I want to put on the characters). Right now I’m thinking about improving my color usage because I feel they are not vibrant enough.
There are two scenes in TAS I think that would be kind of epic (Brendel vs Golden Demonic Tree and Brendel vs Ebdon), but I’m not sure whether I have enough time to draw them, but I’m pretty sure I will at least do the half-body illustrations of Freya/Romaine/Brendel.
TL: Please inform me if there are any Engrish mistakes.
Chapter 63 – Eke
“I’ve got to the bottom of things, these adventurers were already here even before one week ago. No, to be more precise, they are actually mercenaries.” Amandina spoke without rushing her answer.
Brendel looked at her with surprise.
The young woman found a sliver of satisfaction as she noted his surprise.
“My lord, is it unexpected that an aristocrat’s daughter who doesn’t venture out of her home would be able to handle a situation like this?”
“I’m just curious where you learned all these negotiation skills. As you well know, it is necessary for a Highland Knight to learn how to negotiate like you did, but it is impressive that a noble lady like yourself can conduct yourself so confidently.”
Brendel patted Romaine’s shoulders to prevent her from losing herself in the scenery, but she unexpectedly turned her head back to assure him.
“Don’t worry Brendel, I won’t lose my way.”
Brendel was speechless for a while. He could only look at her with a distressed gaze as he wondered.
[Just what exactly is stored in your head…]
It was fortunate that Amandina solved his crisis.
“Negotiating has always been our forte, my lord.” Amandina spoke humbly, but it was not difficult to discern that she was secretly delighted.
Brendel raised his eyebrow and laughed in spite of himself: “Not every noble lady is willing to put down their social status and talk to country bumpkins.”
It was indeed true. In Aouine, the mountain folks were considered as uncivilized boors. Even if their status were raised to lords, they might not get along with the imperial lords in the north.
[It was said that two important ministers during King Ansen’s rule frequently squabbled in the court, giving many headaches to the king…] Brendel remarked to himself.
“That’s because I’m different from them. I’m merely a poor noble lady, my lord.”
Brendel shook his head with mirth.
“If these mercenaries come at this point of time, I think they are here for the bandits in the forest. The various regions in Aouine frequently hire mercenaries to destroy the bandits’ territories nearby the village, and it has become the norm.”
He walked past a masonry workshop, and brought the topic right back to their current problem: “In a place with a dense population, the people who hire these mercenaries would either be the local security forces or the militia. But in a remote location like this, it is the entire village’s citizens who pool all their money together to pay them.”
Amandina paused for a moment. She had never read what Brendel described in her books.
“Something like this happens—?” She asked.
“Bucce in the past also did the same thing, I also paid for it~” Romaine excitedly poked her head out from the narrow alley and stared at the inter-crossing street roads, and answered Amandina without turning her head back.
“Only places with a garrison will eliminate the bandits on their own. The Royal Faction places much hope on this ‘new forces’ for a good reason. While it is true that the garrison forces represent a new type of strength for Aouine, but no one knows if this strength has the opportunity to become bigger.”
“Even if they do become a force to be reckoned with, their strength is merely a generation long.” Brendel said with many thoughts in his mind.
Amandina lowered her head and started to reconsider a number of things.
Suddenly Brendel and the others heard a violent yell behind them: “Stop right there!”
The three of them were shocked and turned their heads back, only to discover that the voice was not directed at them. They first saw a panicking young man parting the crowd with his arms to run past them, but he did not take many steps before he was stopped by the two mercenaries in front of him.
The two mercenaries pulled out their swords and blocked the youth’s path. They roared loudly:
“Eke, where the fuck are you running to?”
“You fucking bastard, have you forgotten our rules?”
The youth’s eyes widened slightly and he glanced in every direction, and he discovered there were even more mercenaries with leather armor and shining swords pulled out to surround him. Brendel and the others were at the edge of the surrounding encirclement, and he was glad that no one else noticed them. He pulled Romaine back and took a few steps back in order to avoid this strange situation.
“Capo, what do you want?” Eke said tensely. He found all his escape routes sealed and he stopped moving to take a deep breath. He pulled his short sword out from its sheath with one hand, while he wiped away his perspiration with the other.
“You know clearly what you did.” A mercenary with grey robes walked out from the crowd and eyed him coldly: “Otherwise you wouldn’t get a guilty conscience and chose today to run away. Have you forgotten the oath that you took when you joined the mercenaries? Our leader and the rest of us treated you like a real brother, and you repaid it by betraying us?”
The youth shook his head and revealed a conflicted expression: “Capo, I didn’t betray any of you.”
Capo carefully studied his eyes and sighed. He shook his head and replied: “Come back with us and we will believe you.”
The youth shook his head firmly: “Capo, no. I beg of you to stop asking. I already said we can’t go to Forest Baern……” He faltered his words, but he shook his head again: “Please believe me this time… Trust me, I won’t hurt any of you. Just think of the past, how can I betray any of you—“
“Enough, Eke!” Capo interrupted the youth with a pained expression: “No matter what you say here, you must come back with us to see the leader. If you have anything to say, you can explain to him once we’re back to our camp. He practically raised you since you were young, but you’re leaving us at this point of time? This is the same as abandoning your comrades.”
Capo pointed to himself and the other mercenaries, then he spoke again.
“Do you see them? These are your allies who stuck with you through thick and thin. What are you trying to do now?”
Eke gritted his teeth and hesitated, but he finally took a step back: “Stop it, Capo. I know I am definitely in the right this time, and I won’t go back with you. I also want to stop all of you from going to that place, but I don’t know how to persuade you…….”
He took another look around him and discovered the mercenaries were coming closer and closer to him: “Capo, please let me go on account of our relationship. Trust me, I swear I won’t let you regret it.”
“Brendel?” Romaine asked as she watched the scene unfold.
“My lord?” Amandina also turned her head.
The two ladies asked him questioningly at the same time, ‘should we leave?’ in their words.
But Brendel shook his head as he observed the youth with an expression of deep contemplation.
Capo saw Eke was adamant in his decision and he knew that nothing was going to be resolved from talking. He took a step back and sent his men a signal. The mercenaries immediately swarmed towards Eke and sealed off every path.
Brendel was immediately surprised when the mercenaries moved. The mercenaries who looked like they were nothing special, actually were considerably skilled, and a few of them matched Leto’s abilities.
[Mid-ranked Iron tier fighters…… Although it’s true most of the mercenaries with a little fame stuck to their names have this level of capability, but to think there are so many here in this small town.]
Brendel was slightly bewildered. Amandina also discovered this point. She had wanted to ask Brendel again to reconsider leaving, but she stopped herself and observed the situation.
Eke maintained his composure under the mercenaries’ combined enclosing movements.
[What…!?] Brendel was shocked.
Eke suddenly rushed forward to his front in a blur, his hand grabbing onto the nearest mercenary’s sword hand and disarmed him. His actions were so fast that Brendel almost did not see what he did, and with a shake of his arm, the mercenary was hoisted off the ground and over his shoulder, then thrown onto the ground.
He shifted his body to the left and launched his whole body as a strike, and another mercenary was immediately knocked away. The direction of the flying man accurately flew towards Brendel and the other girls’ direction.
[This youth is at least a Silver tier fighter— Judging from his appearance, he’s younger than I am by two or three years. This is certainly fitting for the chaotic world ahead. Monstrous talents just keep appearing one after another. That little Felix, Freya and even Bretton could be considered as prodigies but Tirste and this youth here are even more exceptional than them.]
Brendel was astonished by the youth’s movements.
[The number of people with such talents are no more than a handful in a normal generation if you look at history, but I already saw at least five ever since Bucce. It’s no wonder that Vaunte fell into such a chaotic state of constant wars soon after Aouine’s demise. It looks like it was actually fated to happen because there are so many skilled people.]
Brendel did not stop moving even though his thoughts raced through his mind. He had activated Power Break to catch the flying mercenary, and he placed him back onto the ground.
[Amazing… The force nearly pushed me back. If the mercenary knocked onto a normal citizen, he might have caused serious injuries. If I still have the Thorn of Light, my stats would make it easier to catch this man— This youth is really reckless.]
The manhandled mercenary took a short moment before he finally recovered. He turned his head back and looked at Brendel with a pair of surprised eyes. He had not expected a passerby to have such strength, but he suddenly remembered that he ought to thank him.
“…… Thank you, kind sir.”
Brendel shook his head to interrupt him and his eyes went back to the small ‘battlefield’.