TL: I have no ETA for the next chapter, so expect to wait for days before the next chapter (kind of need to do stuff).
Chapter 78 – Outside one’s control
The two people started to sprint to their own camps, shouting at the top of their lungs. The Nightsong Tiger immediately pursued them. His body seemed to meld together with the trees’ shadows; he was not fast, but his movements were silent and practiced to the point of awe, as if he was a creature of the night.
The chains dragged across the floor and created a ringing sound.
[The disciples have discovered the commotion over in this area, my plans must change.]
He frowned as the girls behind him withdrew their crossbows. The other mercenaries took out their weapons in silence and stared anxiously into the forest, readying themselves for combat.
“My lord?” Amandina asked.
Brendel shook his head. The plans he had decided earlier had developments that were outside his prediction, and he needed to solve the situation quickly. He reached inside his pouches and took out a gleaming crystal.
The crystal lid up in an instant, casting soft light in the area.
“M-my lord?” Amandina opened her eyes in shock.
“Brendel!” Romaine was also stunned.
Everyone’s attention was taken by the sudden appearance of light, which grew increasingly bigger before it expanded in all directions, but Brendel threw it out as soon as it did so.
The lit crystal flew in an arc that passed through trees before it ended in thick foilage. Despite the layers of leaves, the amount of light emitted from the crystal still managed to light up the surrounding area.
Three human figures who wore black hooded robes stood there. Even though their faces could not be seen, they appeared to be startled as they stood motionlessly for a few moments. However what took Amandina’s breath away were three demons half the size of an average human standing beside each man. The creatures had hoofs for their feet, grey-greenish skin with black spiraling patterns, long goat horns and sharp teeth.
Chains were wrapped around their feet and ended with the disciples’ wrists. These were indeed the lowest ranking familiar from the Jurgen Underworld.
“The higher ranking familiars are on the opposite area!” The mercenaries immediately yelled out. These legendary mercenaries had fought against great malevolent forces, and certainly knew what these creatures were.
But Brendel already knew where they were.
Once he saw the three figures, he had turned to the other direction and raised his hand. The silver ring on his thumb shone brightly as he recited the word to activate it.
The air currents seemed to be like visible lines that surged forth towards the area, before an immense blast resounded throughout the forest. The nearby pine trees were dragged along the shockwave, cause them to break and splinter, while the trees that were directly in the shockwave’s path were turned into powder.
Once the maelstrom of wind ended, the trees were gone and became a clear path in front of Brendel.
The mercenaries showed signs of awe in their eyes, but Amandina screamed and covered her ears.
[He’s a wizard! A wizard! This knight is actually a wizard!] Her mind kept echoing this thought.
Romaine had seen Brendel’s action more than once and merely tilted her head, and just as she expected, Brendel had disappeared from his original location as his body blurred—
Only the mercenaries saw his action clearly. Brendel had charged forward ten times his speed, casting afterimages in the opening area before he disappeared.
“The Sun Knight’s ‘Charge’ ability!” One of the mercenaries immediately commented.
Even though both their leaders were gone, someone from the mercenaries stood out and pointed his sword at the location where the crystal fell: “I, vice-captain Rocco, am taking temporary command. My first order is to launch an attack on these disciples!”
“””I hear and obey.”””
Eleven figures immediately pounced on the three surprised disciples.
On the other end, Brendel had caught up with the Lord of Thorns. The red demon was standing beside his owner, a man who wore crimson robes.
The Lord of Thorns appeared like a red version of the smaller demon familiars, but it had a gigantic pair of muscular wings, which resembled the descriptions of a demon within medieval folklore. On it were chains with a steel spiked ball at the end.
It had considerable injuries on its body. Not only was it missing an arm, one of its wings were gone. Brendel did not feel surprised as his ring were incredibly effective against monsters that were level thirty and below. It was considered the best artifact of its tier, with the only criticism that it had a long cooldown.
Typical demons also did not have any defensive armor, with the exception of bladed monsters.
Brendel observed the man in front of him with narrowed eyes while he was still in the air.
[A high ranking member of the Disciples of Black Flames.]
He turned once in the air with his sword pointed at them and ready to strike. This battle was different from Buga’s duel, and he did not hold back his strength. A high ranking disciple was only level 21, but there was a real demon beside him.
“White Raven, Sword Rave!”
Brendel’s sword slashed vertically with the addition of Power Strike, and a wind blade was released from his sword. The disciple was still checking the injuries of its familiar, and completely did not expect the enemy to come so quickly. He raised his head, only to find the invisible shockwave ravaging through his whole body.
Brendel would have likened the disciple as a boss a month ago, but now the disciple was unable to resist Brendel’s full power.
The man screamed as blood splattered all over the place.
When Brendel killed a disciple in the game, the demon would regain its freedom once the summoner was dead, but the contract’s dark energy between them would cause it to go insane, and Brendel wanted this situation to happen.
When he landed on the ground, the chains had already swept past his back.
“Gah……” Brendel felt fiery pain on his back.
[The demon is moving twenty percent faster from a ‘Berserked’status, it seems like the disciple is dead. Damn that hurts… The skin on my back is definitely torn off.]
Brendel grabbed the spiked chains and ignored the sharp apin in his hand, allowed himself to be dragged by the demon’s pull and went straight to the opponent.
Even though the Lord of Thorns was considered to be a high ranking familiar, it was a low level demonic existence in the Jurgen Underworld without a complete soul. Furthermore, it was driven insane by the dark energy and did not possess the intelligence to handle the unexpected attack.
Brendel borrowed its strength and pointed his sword at the demon, directly sending it into the enemy’s eye. His action was as trained as ever in the game.
The Thorn of Lord bellowed in agony as it felt the sword went through its eye, and the guttural noise echoed throughout the forest. The youth creased his brows, landed easily on the demon’s shoulders and swung his sword across the gigantic creature’s neck.
Blue colored blood spurted out like a sharp arrow, cutting the bellows to a stop and turned it into gasping noises. It struggled for a while before it finally fell over to the ground with a heavy thud.
Brendel finally relaxed. The disciples were known to be dirt poor, so he ignored the bodies to look at the situation with the remaining three disciples, but the mercenaries had already dispatched them like he expected.
This did not mean that the matter had came to a close. There were movements within the forest that he noticed, regardless of whether it came from the Grey Wolves Mercenaries’ camps, or the opposite direction.
“Damn it.” He ordered his summoned men in his heart: “Prepare to retreat, and bring along that two bastards.”
He turned his head to look at the red demon. It was still holding on to life and did not die yet. The demons were known for their resilience, and were ranked amongst the top three hated monsters in the game, along with the undead and plant-type monsters.
Suddenly Brendel realized that the creatures he had encountered were undead creatures, the Golden Demonic Tree and its creatures, and now demons. Before he had the chance to mock himself for his bad luck, green words filled his vision.
“The creature’s contract has ended.”
“The creature is a weakened state—”
“Conditions have been met.”
“Would you like to establish a contract?”
Brendel looked at the sentences for a moment before he shivered in fright and shook his head quickly.
Brendel refused the contract and quickly escaped the area along with his mercenaries.
After a short time, the Nightsong Tiger threw Redi and his companion onto the ground. The white-haired youth raised his head in defiance and glared at the people around him. But when he saw it was Brendel and his mercenaries, his irides shrank a little and tried to stand up.
However, the Nightsong Tiger suppressed him by pressing down on his shoulder and neck, causing him to kneel down. His silver eyes glared at Brendel like an untameable wolf.
He roared: “You fuckers, I knew that you’re colluding with the enem— Khhk, cough!”
Brendel did not waste time talking to him, and simply punched him in the face. He used enough strength to force Redi to cough out blood and saliva.
Amandina took a silent breath, while Romaine thought Brendel’s anger was somewhat similar to Freya at the Golden Tree Valley. The latter was also concerned with Brendel’s hand. He was bleeding from the injury when he fought the demon but he refused her aid.
The weapon from the Lord of Thorns was poisoned, but Brendel had no trouble resisting it with his high phsyique and he did not want her to have any accidents.
Redi turned his head back at Brendel as if to challenge him to strike again. He glared at him with hatred as he licked the blood from his lips. Brendel took a quick glance into the distance. The battle earlier had caused both parties to be alert, and there was chaos from the nearby forest. If he did not act swiftly, he would have been stuck between them.
Brendel’s eyes went back to Redi. Even now, they were not out of danger. It was why he felt incredibly annoyed.
“Unless you’re a fool, you should already know that we are not your enemies. If you don’t want to die, please stop struggling.” Brendel’s voice was cold.
Redi gritted his teeth. He came to the conclusion that Brendel and his men were not on the same side with the Demon he just saw. But he was furious over the fact that Brendel punched him, and thought he was taking personal revenge on him and to teach him a lesson.
Even so, he subconsciously thought that Brendel was trying to scare him.
[The ‘Grey Wolves Mercenaries’ is not a simple mercenary group and I’m not worried if we’re going to fight the ‘Paper Cards’. But this bastard actually dared to hold me here.]
Redi cursed in his heart and thought Brendel was nothing more than a naive idiot who knew nothing. He looked at Brendel with scorn, only to find him looking elsewhere.
Brendel was looking at a girl who approached them. Her eyes were closed and the long black hair seemed to accentuate her pale face in the moonlight. Brendel found it surprising that the girl did not appear to be in any panic despite the chaos in the forest.
[Who is this?] Brendel wondered how he should act, but the Nightsong Tiger came beside him and asked.
“My lord, it’s the Disciples of the Black Flames again. What should we do next?”
“Disciples of the Black Flames?” Redi’s heart jumped slightly.
Brendel looked to the northern hills before he answered: “We head to the east.”
The white-haired youth snickered. He came from a noble’s family that was involved in the military and had a certain level of insight. The ‘Paper Cards’ had already established a foothold in the northern area, while the southern valley allowed forces to regroup much more safely.
[An amateur pretending to know what he was doing. This is so laughable that I feel sorry for these veterans working under him.]
Redi started to think that Brendel was a useless leader, but he was deeply impressed when the Nightsong Tiger captured him without giving him time to react. Even though he secretly mocked Brendel, he was genuinely concerned with the phrase ‘Disciples of the Black Flames. He secretly spied on the mercenary beside him and thought he had no reason to lie.
He thought it was impossible to gather any information from the mercenary himself, so he decided to try and fish information from the idiot instead.
But the Nightsong Tiger was quite interested with Brendel’s opinion, contrary to Redi’s views.
“My lord, have you fought against the Disciples of the Black Flames before?”
“You can think of it that way.” Brendel answered without much thought. “I fought against their high ranking priests.”
[In the game.] Brendel added that detail in his mind.
“Oh?” The Nightsong Tiger’s eyes brightened up: “The high ranking priests?”
“Ha…… Cough…… Haha, why don’t you say you met with the Tree Sheperd leaders,” Redi laughed in derision: “The priests in the Disciples of the Black Flames are all silver-ranked and above. Even the army in Aouine’s capital would not claim they could score a victory against them. May I know Messere Brendel, which army were you in when you encountered them?”
He laughed again and looked at him in condescension: “You might want to get a better script if you wish to brag. Also, if you’re heading to the east, release me. I don’t want to die along with you.”
Brendel was highly amused and annoyed at the same time.
[Not only did I see more than one of them, I even killed one. At the peak of my level, I became a Crusader Knight where only one or two people within their organization that could fight against me.]
But Brendel did not want to waste time explaining with him. He merely showed a beaming smile with exposed teeth, although his dark expression made him appear intimidating.
“It seems like you don’t understand the situation you are in.”
Redi’s voice got stuck in his throat. He finally recalled that he was in no position to even speak, so he simply ignored the annoying youth in front of him and scoffed loudly.
Brendel did not mind that he acted as a mute, and he gave the order to his mercenaries to bring the girl to him.
“Who are you?” He asked when she was near him.
Redi took a quick glance at her before he turned away.
“My name is Yula, Ser knight.”
“You know that I’m not a merchant?” Brendel was surprised.
“I know even more than that. Our mercenary group is in grave danger, and I know that Ser knight is capable of helping us, right?” The girl nodded to admit that and continued to ask.
“Hey, Yula?” This time Redi looked completely stunned: “…… But these people are—”
“May I know who exactly are the enemies?” Yula asked a strange question.
Brendel looked at her curiously, but he decided to focus on the first question she asked.
“How do you know I can help you?”