TL: This sponsored chapter is in the first draft stage (completely unchecked+unedited). I’ll edit it later. If you want to see a more refined chapter, come back 24 hours later.
TL: Skip to chapter if you don’t want to see my ramblings.
I recently installed ME:2 and replayed the game again. The game has really aged. Overwatch felt responsive while ME:2 felt clunky. The story was actually not that good when I looked at it from a 2nd time. Anyways, I had my fill of space RPG and I’ll be finishing my drawings.
WIP more refined color sketch. Left image is a test image which I won’t be finishing (although it’s probably nicer to look at because the features are lit up). I’m going to complete the right image in order to improve on the anatomy skills and rim lights. I’m spotting loads of mistakes that I need to correct from the reference.
Chapter 127 – With great power comes great responsibilities (2)
“Scarlett?” Makarov’s eyes bulged slightly, before he glanced at Brendel with a heavy heart, and understood why he had asked these two questions earlier.
However, at this critical juncture, Fleetwood would never allow him to anger the youth in front of him, even if the latter sowed discord in front of him. He tried to suppress his emotions, but the emotional blow to him was so strong that he could only look away, when his adopted daughter looked at him with disbelief and a tinge of sadness in her eyes.
Even if he had a thousand excuses, or at the very least one sentence which Scarlett hoped to even listen to, he could not speak of it.
“She’s a gold rank fighter……” Buga suddenly spoke.
Makarov looked at her again in surprise and realized it was true. He did not know what happened to her in just a few days, and thought it was her potential that came out from the dire situation she was in. They had completely failed to spot her talent, but the value of the Golden Apple in Brendel’s hand surpassed any gold-ranked fighters.
That was a source of the Golden Bloodline.
Once the person ate it, they would become a ‘Chosen’.
“Scarlet, you……” Makarov’s explanations turned into these two words.
But no further words came out from him, and the girl looked sadly to the man whom she looked up to as a father. It was not disappointment she had in her eyes, but a gaze of pleading, even if it was just a white lie, she would believe it.
She waited helplessly for her merciless leader to change his mind, hoping to hear the words “I’m sorry, welcome back…..”
His words felt like he was concerned about her well-being, but his actions were clearly drawing a line that they were nothing more than strangers. The tall figure of Makarov instantly became blurry and far away from Scarlett and she clutched over her heart as tears spilled from her eyes.
“Why…..” She sobbed out a single word before she fainted right onto the ground with a audible sound with her eyes closed.
Even with this scene appearing in front of Makarov, he chose to stay silent.
Brendel’s eyes were cold and furious. He felt a tap on his back, and he nodded. If Rauze did not alert him in advance, he would not have detected Scarlett’s presence. He wanted her to know the truth about Makarov because he could not allow Makarov to keep her like a pawn to be disposed of any time.
“I’m sorry.” Brendel sighed and muttered. It was not his intention to break her heart.
He walked over to her and held her in his arms, and cleaned off the mud from her face. Her tears could still be seen on her face and looked like she was still reliving a nightmare. He then carefully propped her against a tree, before turning back to Makarov and the others with a condescending gaze.
“Mister Brendel?” Fleetwood cut in as he felt Brendel’s fury.
“MAKAROV!” Brendel’s roar was unleashed with a burning fury from his chest, his voice so cold that it was like a blade at their throats. Everyone was startled, not knowing what exactly was his relationship with Scarlett was.
“Do you think me as a fool? I know all your fucking secrets! Ever since King Ansen the Seventh took the throne, Aouine has been on a decline, and this kingdom is shrouded from the light and became dark from corruption. Ten years, you staked everything on a comeback with all you’ve got. Your carefully laid out merciless plan seemed like it was meant for the greater good, but the truth is all of you just wanted to indict Duke Arreck and control the nobles after he’s gone. You lied to the whole kingdom into thinking Duke Lantonrand is a fool so you can become the victors at the end. Who else is assisting you? Lord Schwake?”
Brendel’s words were like daggers that lodged into their hearts. Makarov and Fleetwood paled immediately and even forgot to breath as they tried to guess who exactly the youth in front of them was.
He had pointed out the gist of their plans, and even knew that it was a gamble that was all or nothing. All sacrifices were worth the price, even if it meant their lives. The political exchange between the royal faction and the nobles had become something like a fantatical belief. There was only one chance to topple their target, and once they did so, the royal faction that was losing the battle would be able to turn the tide and sweep the darkness that was plaguing the kingdom.
This was the makings of a great legend, and it should rightly have legendary ending of good triumphing over evil. It was supposed to be flawless, but the youth who was a stranger who knew more than most of their members, even had the knowledge of when the plan started.
[Who is this bastard? What is he planning?] Makarov’s forehead was glistening with cold sweat.
Brendel punched a nearby tree in explosive anger, causing it to splinter: “Under the banner of ‘justice’ from the royal faction, your sword points even at the men and women who are innocent! For the sake of the kingdom’s future, you even tried to bribe me with Aouine’s citizens. Girls?! Boys?! Your morals have been fed to the dogs! Your honor has been fucked away like whores! You sent men and women out to their deaths even if your plans fail completely and utterly!”
“Stop your insults.” Fleetwood’s wrinkles bunched up together as he also felt a wrath boiling in him. Even though the Golden Apple was something important to them, he could not allow him to insult the royal crown.
“Do you have nothing to say about your plans, Grandmaster Fleetwood?”
“Our plans have not failed—“
“Do you want to know the reasons why your failure is inevitable?” Brendel suddenly laughed in a pleasant voice. He took a deep breath as he recalled the past in his previous life. The memories of burning pillars and furniture in the castle. The kingdom was in ruins and destroyed by Madara, and everything was gone.
The Princess Regent’s final wish.
The oath from the Goddess of War.
They made their vows as though they would be able to allow Aouine to rise from the ashes, and every gamer in the kingdom poured their efforts into the war. But Madara poured in like a black sea and swept everything away. It was an ending that was destined for faliure and tragedy.
The nobles who won against Duke Lantonrand were still seating in their high chairs and manipulating the scenes from behind. They thought that they were the final victors by ruining the royal family, but they were ultimately slayed. Countless lives were lost.
Even till the end, they did not take responsibility for their actions.
[These nobles are so high up on their horses that I don’t know how to deal with them. They think their every action is sacred, putting in so much belief into their corrupted sense of ‘justice’ and ‘kindness’ or just plain ‘I deserve this shit because I’m a fucking noble’.]
“How can I let you see the truth…..” Brendel sighed tiredly. He shook his hand: “This Golden Apple. I know what kind of impact it has in your eyes, because this will make your ‘game’ shine ever brighter. You truly believe that the scales will tip in your favor. Sadly, and it’s not because I wish to shock you, you are destined to fail.”
“What are you talking about?” This time it was Buga who frowned.
“Young man, not everyone can become a seer.” Fleetwood shook his head.
“The ones who uses such lies are burned on a stake.” Makarov added with a threatening glare.
“You don’t believe?” Brendel merely laughed.
“Your reason?” Buga asked simply.
“I recall a story. During the Aouine’s brightest era, the knights of Aouine would carry their horns and swallowtail flags. With their blades pointed forth, they would blow their horns and charge forth. The golden emblems from Corvado, Grinoires and Arreck were woven onto the swallowtail flags. The nobles in that era held on their oaths—“
Brendel took a pause.
“Do you still remember that oath?” Brendel smiled.
They looked at him with a dumbfounded look.
“Don’t recall it?” Brendel’s eyes were full of ridicule: “That’s fine. I can recite it for you.”
“I swear upon this sword and will stay true to this oath! I will lead my citizens away from wars and killings, to distance ourselves from the empire’s nobles’ arrogance and greed; I will never repeat the mistakes of the empire’s bloody history. I will ensure that the nobles will be faithful to the knights’ code of being fair and disciplined, brave and unflinching, generous and benevolent. I will enforce this oath to the end of my life!”
Brendel recited these words passionately and looked at the speechless men in front of him.
“Do you still recall the person who made this vow?” He said.
Fleetwood, Makarov and Buga exchanged glances. They felt a little hot on their faces. They obviously knew who made the oath, but they merely forgot who did it.
“Indeed,” Brendel nodded: “That is the source of your beliefs, the origin of Aouine’s nobles. Your ancestral king of the wise, the First King Erik who swore upon the Lionheart. Do you remember the words after the oath? When the day comes where the nobles of Aouine have forgotten their responsibilities, then this sword shall return to where it came from and not protect this kingdom any longer.”
“Do you not remember?” Brendel asked admist the silence. “You don’t—“
“Such a pity.” Brendel spoke again after their replies still did not come.
He then sighed and cast his gaze into the distant forest. The afternoon sun seemed to shine a little brighter.
Teaser for next chapter:
“Mister Brendel, that oath you just recited seemed to have resonated with something; this power, is really strange…… I can’t suppress it any longer……” Rauze suddenly whispered. “I can’t hold it any longer, I’m releasing the barrier…..”
“T-this……. This is….. King Erik’s Lionheart sword……” Fleetwood was completely stunned.