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Chapter 86 – The king and the dead (1)
The Spectral Knight under the moonlight looked like it was a translucent statue made of crystal, glowing faintly from the dusty air. It held a silver spear as it rode on its horse around the temple, which then disappeared from the group’s eyes at the other side of the temple’s wall.
The whole process of the Spectral Knight’s movements were silent. There were no sounds of hooves hitting the ground or the metallic grind from its armor. However, Brendel had already determined the subclass of the Spectral Knight in a few moments and decided on his strategy.
When he looked back at his men, he found thirteen pair of eyes with hesitation, doubt and anxiety. Even the Nightsong Tiger held his breath. Amandina covered her lips and muffled her coughs, trying hard to regain her composure.
The only exception was Romaine, whose eyes were bright from excitement at checking out the temple. Brendel’s heart skipped a beat and warned her to be careful and not to slip away without his consent. In regards to girl who called herself ‘The Great Merchant Romaine’, he was not sure what she would not do.
Brendel fiddled with his thumbs as he grumbled inwardly on how Romaine’s aunt disciplined her to have such a unique personality. He quickly waved away that thought and addressed the mercenaries.
“Our strategy is quite simple,” He brushed away the shrubs and pointed towards a nearby slope: “See that black pine tree? Other than the four people that I requested, I want the rest of you to lay an ambush there. Wait for me to lure the Spectral Knight over and wait for my signal to attack it.”
Everyone was stunned.
“But…… just what exactly should we do, my lord?” The Nightsong Tiger asked with doubt creeping into his voice.
[What do you mean by that…… Do you need me to teach you to attack someone when you ambushed him? Just kill it!]
Brendel answered after a split second with an answer: “Just hit him with everything you got……”
He suddenly realized what the problem was.
“Well, imagine this, treat this enemy like he was the one who murdered your wives and children.” Brendel said.
[Murdered my wife and children?] The Nightsong Tiger did not understand.
“But my lord, to tell you the truth, my woman had died long ago during the fight with Kirrlutz.”
Brendel placed his palm over his forehead and sighed.
“Imagine that he owed you a million gold coins to your mercenary group and he intends to evade payment—”
The mercenaries had never been refused payment after they became famous. They looked towards the direction where the Spectral Knight was earlier with bloodshot eyes as if he had murdered everyone they loved. The Nightsong Tiger gripped his axe so hard that it seemed to groan.
“Mother Marsha above! So this Spectral Knight is the same type of horseshit like the people of Anjou! My lord, we swear by Mother Marsha’s name, we will beat that cursed undead till it’s nothing more than a pile of rotting flesh—” He said with a loud voice.
Amandina listened to the Nightsong Tiger’s tirade in embarrassment. Even though there was coarse language used within the nobles’ circle, she rarely heard it used directly in front of her. She gritted her teeth until he was done with his rant, coughed once and asked with a crimson face.
“My lord, the enemy is a Spectral Knight that appears in fables, can we truly defeat it?” She asked.
The Mercenaries of Lopes might have trusted him whole-heartedly, but she was still hesistant of Brendel’s simple plan. If everyone used his method, would it not mean that everyone was capable of handling a Spectral Knight?
[Our group consists of simple mercenaries. There is no great wizard, a Grandmaster Swordsman or even a battlemage. The description of a Spectral Knight requires at least someone with the equivalent of a Gold-ranked fighter, but none of us here are that skill level, not even you, my lord. A simple ambush wouldn’t raise the skill level of anyone here.]
“Of course.” But Brendel’s reply came naturally.
“Why?” She blurted the word out.
“Don’t worry, he wouldn’t be able to attack us, or to be more accurate, he can’t.”
“He can’t?” Amandina’s jaw lowered itself.
[What reason is that? Is the Spectral Knight somehow crippled? Or maybe it’s actually a peace-loving undead?]
She got a little angry at Brendel’s flippant reply, but she was unable to refute him when he had never seemed to fail in his plans. Even the most ridiculous answer like this might somehow come through.
She calmed down a little, but still grumbled in a small voice.
“As your advisor… I can’t accept that explanation, my lord.”
Brendel shrugged as it was not an easy thing to explain.
[It’s rare for a monster to follow a path to patrol, and when it does, it will do so dilligently. It’s quite obvious that this particular Spectral Knight has a strong fixation in this area. However, he has to move within a fixed area. Once it crosses a certain line, it will return to guard its path, regardless of what situation there is.]
Most of the creatures that appeared in the game that patrolled a pathing area were incredibly powerful, and gamers were usually not able to take advantage of their behavior because they were able to attack from incredible distances.
However, this Spectral Knight did not fall into that category. It was limited to a certain attacking range and was unable to leave their position. Brendel was certain that he could do kill the Spectral Knight with this method, and even if it failed, he was certain that he could take it on directly.
The only thing that he was feeling sorry about was the fact that quest mission’s loot tended to be half of the normal encounters, and this world seemed to follow the game’s logic quite closely.
[The game lore states that Mother Marsha sealed this particular Nest in the past. Aouine’s high ranking priests tried to change the oaths that the Elven kings made so they could be used, but the resistance made from the kings made the oaths twisted and turned to negative emotions. Many of the priest died that day as the guardians turned on them. The kingdom stopped providing mana, and all of the evil undead could not be sustained any longer, except one. The temple itself still provide remnants of what little mana it has, so it can only patrol around the area.]
Brendel’s mind reviewed the contents of the history behind this temple. Explaining it would require the knowledge of the Souls and Mana Cores, and these were closely guarded secrets from the Holy Cathedral of Flames. If he tried explaining it to Amandina, she would immediately doubt his real identity.
“Well….. I kind of feel that the Spectral Knight is kind of friendly, maybe he won’t attack us?” He took a few more moments before he answered in a serious tone.
“Lord Brendel.” Amandina took a deep breath.
“Look,” Brendel patted her shoulders: “Relax. Learn from little Romaine. Don’t worry, when have I ever lied?”
[Learn from Romaine?] Amandina turned her head to glance at Romaine. The latter was looking all over the temple, as if she was hoping to see a second Spectral Knight.
“I feel that you’re lying a lot……” Amandina mumbled to herself. Events always turned out the way Brendel said it would as if he had foreseen everything.
Brendel smiled in response, as he knew that she was convinced. He waved to his men to allow them to move out, then approached the Nightsong Tiger and borrowed a heavy crossbow. He felt the materials of the crossbow with his finger, then placed it on the ground with his foot in the cocking stirrup, pulled the string back and placed a bolt on it.
[A treasure amongst any serious gamers.] He remarked to himself.
The Nightsong Tiger kept frowning as he watched Brendel’s strange actions. “My lord, do you want me lure the undead?”
“No, I’m the expert in this.” Brendel patted the heavy crossbow with confidence, making the string tremble greatly, as if the bolt was going to be released any moment.
The Nightsong Tiger looked at him in great dismay. No matter how he looked at him, Brendel appeared to be an amateur, otherwise he would not have said something so impolite. Many nobles took their reputation more seriously than their lives, and it could be perceived as disloyalty to their lords.
But there was the issue of letting Brendel go out to meet his death. Amandina saw his worry as well and asked: “My lord, is there a problem?”
Brendel looked strangely at her: “What problem is there?”
The girl nearly choked to death.
Brendel laughed: “I know what your worries are, but if I find a particular crystal on the Spectral Knight’s, I’ll treat everyone to stay at Ampere Seale’s most expensive inn and drink their fine wines till everyone drops—”
The Nightsong Tiger and Amandina exchanged glances after they looked at Brendel without confidence.