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Chapter 113 – The Final Battle (1)
Nalaethar, the Nightsong Tiger, Scarlett and Sanford stood quietly behind Brendel.
He supported himself against the Elven ruin’s rugged wall, his hand holding on to a stone tile as he peeked out at the Lizardmen in the valley. His line of sight was blocked by the many trees and ruined walls, and the Lizardmen appeared in and out from the tiny holes approximately a mile away.
The stone tile in the youth’s hand was the Sage Slate. It was the size of a fist, and on it was carved with rune letters, ‘Eaam’. This word represented the land’s life and wisdom.
Since he already got the Sage Slate, his goals were half completed. The only thing left to do was to get Medissa’s pendant back from that Lizardman leader.
[Two large companies of Lizardmen, their numbers no smaller than three hundred. It seems like there are more of them at the back. Conrad and Hewjil must have met up already, they are pretty cautious, huh.]
Brendel had led a sneak attack into the heart of the Elven ruins with his men. With the aid of Medissa and Scarlet who were Gold-ranked fighters, he successfully routed the two hundred odd Lizardmen, which they ended up as Brendel’s XP. He then moved on to the entrance of the ruins where he waited for Conrad and Hewjil’s arrival.
He looked up at the clear sky that was in a shade of deep blue. The sun at noon was directly hitting the forest with its rays of light, causing the top of the trees to turn to a piercing green color.
He narrowed his eyes.
There was a faint scent of blood in the air. Even though he had ordered the men to clean the battlefield, there was still the remnants of a skirmish between his men and the Lizardmen.
When he was pondering on his next step, he suddenly heard a shuffling noise behind him. When he turned around, he saw the Elven princess tying her silver hair that reached her shoulders. She rode on her unicorn, wearing an ornate full plate armor that was painted in a saintly white color and complemented her regal appearance. Light shimmered on her legs as the layers of interlocking armor plates moved ever so slightly, and Sanford mistook it for a silver dress for a moment. Her eyes were so clear that they looked like crystals. She was so beautiful that he lost his breath when his eyes went up to her face.
Medissa’s unicorn trotted over and she looked at Brendel with a smile.
[Thank you, my lord-] She spoke in Brendel’s mind.
“It is my promise to help you.” Brendel tore his eyes away from her with much difficulty and replied as he looked at the valley again.
Medissa’s face turned a little red. His words made her recall what happened on that day. She was so afraid of disappearing that she cried in front of everyone and forgot about the Silver Elves’ royal etiquette.
She turned her head a little out of embarrassment and suddenly saw Scarlett who was standing further away from the others.
Her eyes in the shade seemed like two burning embers, while she leaned slightly against her spear. Her head was tilted a little to the sides to look at the scenery.
Brendel told her about the things that happened so far. The Blood of Gods, the disbandment of the Grey Wolves Mercenaries, as well as the events that happened after that. After she finished listening to him, she had been quiet ever since and kept her distance away.
She did not show sadness or anger.
“What will happen to that lady?” Medissa asked in a soft voice.
“The Blood of Gods has been planted in her body. The corruption cannot be removed by any means that I know, and it is currently suppressed by her own will. If she fails to control it, she will turn into an ‘Acolyte’. That word might sound nice, but you might as well call an Acolyte a monster instead.”
[…… The rules have been established with Medissa as the first Eversong card, and if Scarlett agrees I can seal her as a card. But that will be my last resort…… Also, is it not naive to think that it will work every time without any side effects?]
Brendel had reservations towards the ‘Planeswalker’s system’. Sealing was a foreign concept to him and could have unknown results and problems, especially with the powerful influence of the Blood of Gods. What would happen if she was not under his control?
Medissa’s brows frowned slightly upon hearing his words, but the quiet personality of her race made her say nothing at all.
Brendel did not continue speaking and checked the mercenaries at the opposite end. They had split up and hid themselves in the abandoned buildings that once stood tall, crafted by the Silver Elves’ grandmaster artisans. Their crossbows were currently trained on the Lizardmen in front of them in order to make sure they did not regroup with the leaders.
These Lizardmen which guarded the entrance were left alone in order to make Conrad and Hewjil believe that everything was still fine in the ruins.
“Brendel.” Another set of familiar footsteps, along with a voice filled with a little pride entered his ears. Brendel did not need to turn his head back to know who was calling him. He was even lazy enough not to turn around, and extended his palm behind his shoulders: “You’re already done?”
Romaine placed three translucent white crystals the size of a thumb onto Brendel’s hand. Amandina was a little bit behind her.
“Of course. The Great Merchant Romaine’s efficiency is very high. Here are the crystals. I already distributed a batch to everyone, everything has been prepared and we’re just waiting for your orders to attack.”
“It’s a shame that all my materials have been used up,” Amandina barely managed to make a smile in spite of her exhaustion: “But I can make more of them in the future. The rest of the materials that I have now, including the Magicite, has been dismantled to make them.”
Brendel nodded and carefully placed each Exploding Crystal into his pouch on his belt. He then signaled to the Nightsong Tiger and received a longsword from him. He pointed the blade to the outside: “The enemies are very cautious and we can’t deceive them for long. Once they are within a certain distance, I’ll go out to distract them. Medissa and Scarlett, both of you follow me. Our goal is to distract Conrad and Hewjil. As for their subordinates, Nalaethar and the rest of the men should be enough to handle them.”
The Elven Commander looked over to Brendel and nodded.
“Don’t just nod, commander.” Brendel did not forget to remind him: “Don’t forget about your promise to me.” (TL: In case anyone forgot, that promise is a taught skill if Brendel wins.)
Nalaethar gave a faint smile: “I await with anticipation.”
Medissa also smiled as she looked at the two men.
“Scarlett, any problems with this order?” He asked.
“I have no problems.” She nodded.
“Nightsong Tiger, your mission is to provide cover for our Silver Elves allies.”
[Also make sure to care of the Grey Wolves Mercenaries, they can’t revive like you do.] He added in his mind.
He turned to Sanford after seeing the Nightsong Tiger nod. “Make sure to protect yourselves, you can enjoy a victory only if you’re alive.”
“Understood, my lord.” Sanford nodded respectfully.
Brendel questioned them carefully to make sure they understood the orders. Other than Nalaethar and his men, the people here were his only available forces. Perhaps Leto could be counted as his men, but they were different because their reputation and status were actually higher than him.
The forces that he had here now were truly loyal to his cause, or at least Amandina and the Grey Wolves Mercenaries relied deeply on him because they had no one else to turn to.
It was not that he did not trust Leto, but it was good to have distance and time to be placed between them. He had seen enough betrayals from NPCs and gamers who swore fealty to each other to be cautious.
Hewjil and Conrad did not seem to notice anything out of place yet. For some reason, the dragoons were not at the front of the Lizardmen and Brendel was tremendously pleased at that sight. The impact would be greater with the first strike.
[Seven hundred meters.] Brendel read the data.
The gradual noise from the Lizardmen became louder as they passed through the forest. It was as if a current of water flowed through the forest, and the countless ants that scurried through were becoming bigger. The mercenaries that were at the very forefront placed their hands on their pouch. The Exploding Crystals were 15 OZ worth, with the force of Iron-ranked magician’s Mana Arrow.
[Five hundred meters.]
At this range, people with high perception like Nalaethar, Brendel, Medissa and Brendel were able to almost see the Lizardmen’s expressions. They appeared to be extremely tired from the overnight march, to the point that they did not realize they were going to be ambushed.
Scarlett bent to her knees as she seeked for Conrad’s familiar figure, gripping her Spear of Lightning so hard that it was making noises.
The Lizardmen continued to march closer and closer, and at this point they suddenly felt something was wrong with the area they were in. They sniffed the air and chattered, continuing to march forward, but Brendel saw ten odd dragoons stopping in the west direction.
[Shit, we have been discovered! Damn it, the leaders Hewjil and Conrad still have not appeared yet but I can’t delay any further.]
Brendel raised his hand and directed his ring into the forest. A dazzling red flash emitted from the ring and even seemed to dim the sun’s rays for a moment. A huge fireball hurled itself through the forest and dragged countless burning leaves in its path, before a loud explosion struck the enemies, and a blast of hot wind came back to him and swept his hair upwards.
The impact from the fireball killed a total of twenty Lizardmen dragoons and Lizardmen Warriors. It was certainly a surprising harvest and proof of their tight positions. This was the signal for his men to attack.
The mercenaries opposite from Brendel fired their crossbows immediately and killed the remaining guards at the Elven ruin’s entrance, then reached for the Exploding Crystals and took it out.
They were approximately three hundred meters away, but they possessed enough strength as Iron-ranked fighters to toss them far enough into the enemies’ midst. The crystals caught the sun rays and glittered as they flew in an arc before raining down onto the ground.
There was a moment of silence as the Lizardmen peered at the crystals.
It was the calm before the storm, as bright light poured through the crystals as they bounced on the ground and lit the forest. The bursts of light kept forming in succession before explosions rang out one after another; the exploding crystals’ impact ruptured the ground and the shockwave sent debris everywhere.
When the mercenaries finally recovered from the scene, they discovered the landscape of the forest had changed permanently.
There were numerous craters that formed into a deep cavity in the ground. Giant trees were uprooted and splintered into large fragments, while hundreds of Lizardmen were turned into corpses with missing body parts. Blood and soil were caked together, along bloody innards and brain matter splattered on trees and bushes, dripping down freely onto the ground.
It was like living hell depicted in paintings.
Even Brendel dry-heaved once before he forced back the urge to puke, and concentrated on calculating the remaining enemies.
[Hewjil brought the largest share of Lizardmen with him. There are at least four hundred of them here right now. I doubt he will want to distribute his forces to Conrad and the Dark Bishop if it’s not because of the search for us. Conrad has his own men…… My guess is a total of more than seven hundred men that we need to deal with. That really isn’t something to laugh about. Even though we cleared more than 10% of the enemies from that attack, we can’t deal with so many enemies. We need to do thin the numbers again.]
Brendel knew that it was his time to strike at the enemy’s formation. He signaled to Scarlett and Medissa, and they prepared themselves to attack.