The Amber Sword - v3c324

Outside of Ampere Seale’s South Gate, a gentle slope extended towards the foothills of the Marchenko Mountains. The black forests slowly approached in Brendel’s sights. The young men and women of the Royal Cavalry Academy could not resist cheering out loud. Although the crisis had not been fully resolved yet, everyone’s moods were uplifted and excited from being one step closer to freedom.

“We’re finally out.” Brendel breathed a sigh of relief. After all, hiding in the mountains was much easier than fighting on the streets Especially in Aouine, as the port of Ampere Seale was considered one of the places most vulnerable to infiltration from the Holy Cathedral of Fire. Fighting on foreign ground always gave people a sense of pressure.

The participation of Count Audine gave Brendel a big surprise, and he only knew after asking that Count Audine had met with Oberwei to come up with this plan long in advance. At that time, if the princess decided to head north, he would have led his soldiers to the northern port of Vlada-Pez to coordinate. But if they chose to head south like in the current situation, the soldiers stationed here would become a powerful hidden force.

Count Audine also brought in an Archdruid named Wochik. Brendel recognized this person. This Archdruid was a herbalist master living in seclusion within the Marchenko Mountains near Ampere Seale. He specialized in teaching his knowledge on herbalism to players. But Brendel was not interested in herbalism; rather, he was interested in the information itself. This Archdruid was not a friend of Audine, but he had come out anyway at the request of Master Anderson from the Loop of Trade Winds. The druid had been steadfastly neutral in ‘The Amber Sword’ and he rarely intervened in worldly affairs. Just like the Grand Elder back then who promised to only defend Valhalla.

Now, Anderson had taken the initiative to intervene with Aouine’s civil strife. nobody knew if it was his personal idea or the elder’s. However, it was more likely to be the latter’s, which meant that the Loop of the World might have already acknowledged Brendel’s existence, and approved his actions to a certain extent.

This was great news. Brendel was different from the norm. Most people thought that the druids were scattered in the forest at the borders, relaying messages and information between each other through the Loop of Trade Winds. A powerful force, one that operated solely in the peripheries–as long as you do not mess with them, that is. But Brendel knew about the existence of the Loop of the World and the Druid Loops’ Council, and he knew that if he received approval from both of them, his exploits would be more convenient in the future.

But all that was meant for the future; there were still present adversities to overcome. After a few words of greeting, Brendel did not want to waste any more time. He immediately ordered the young knights of Royal Cavalry Academy to scatter  themselves throughout the Frada Forest. He lifted his head and saw the Dragon Cavalry of the Southern Legion leaving the sky of Ampere Seale in orderly squadrons, while the Black Blade Squad was beginning to take the initiative. The circling Dragon Cavalry apparently discovered their existence, as part of the team retreated from the battlefield and swooped down towards this direction. 
The pressure from the overhead attack was so immense that the private army under the command of Count Audine immediately panicked, the archers readying their longbows. But it made Brendel doubt very much whether these soldiers had distance-judging skills at all; the best tactic against flying units in ‘The Amber Sword’ was to wait until the opponent began diving at them before counterattacking. If not, attempts to retaliate would only be just a waste of energy.

“Stop them from attacking!” without delay, Brendel yelled at Count Audine. “Bring them into the forest!” 

Count Audine too knew his soldiers were inexperienced. If the Dragon Cavalry attacked, his army would probably fall apart immediately. He nodded, and immediately drove his soldiers into the Frada Forest. 

Carlo, Bennett, and Mok were leading the team in front when they noticed the situation behind them. Aouine’s Three Elites tightened the reins to stop the horse and immediately turned back, shouting, “Mr. Brendel, the Royal Cavalry Academy also had training in archery! Let Count Audine hand us the bows and arrows, we can stay behind and cover the retreat!”

“No need for that, just protect the princess,” Brendel answered before looking up at the flies above his head, and, without mercy, immediately taking control of the hidden Wind Spirit Spiders and pointing them in that direction. When he had used the Holy Sword Technique to kill Baron Rodu’s knight at the port of Ampere Seale before, it consumed 20~30 Holy Swords. Half of the Holy Swords were still unused, which meant that they could be put to good use now.  

Everyone watched as Brendel stood tall, and a dazzling web of death appeared suddenly in midair. A few Dragon Cavalry had no time to react at all and dove into it headfirst , perishing and turned to ashes midair. The remaining Dragon Cavalry were frightened and hurried to higher altitudes. However, the rays of reddish-golden light, like raindrops made of steel, slashed apart their wings and tails, and the dragons fell to the ground. 

Brendel ordered the Wind Spirit Spiders to increase their shooting range, then activated another twenty to thirty Holy Swords, aiming even more accurately this time with the help of the experience from the first time. They flew like a long streak of reddish-gold that pierced straight through the Dragon Cavalry’s formation. Six to seven Dragon Cavalry vanished into burning ember before they even knew it. 

With this, the Dragon Cavalry of the Black Blade Squad’s morale fell apart. They dared not come any closer anymore, and after making a loop through the air, retreated hastily. But Brendel did not plan to let them go, ordering the Wind Spirit Spiders to chase after and kill them. There were only three to four left when Black Blade Squad escaped the Wind Spirit Spiders’ attacking range. 

Fools. Brendel shook his head. Honestly, even if he did not have the ‘Holy Sword Technique’ he would not be afraid of these puny little ‘flies’ either. Aouine’s Dragon Cavalry were always considered a basic level air cavalry unit amongst Vaunte’s air force and were generally used for reconnaissance. Even among reconnaissance units, there were many restrictions on the Dragon Cavalry; their ground attack ability was wanting, and they lacked the ability to fly under tree canopies. In truth, they could be classified as one of the most useless air forces in Vaunte, only second to the gnomes’ Inferior Demons.

Where did they even get the guts to attack?  Could it be that they really thought the army below them was actually just some private army of the nobility? Did they not stop to think about who it was exactly that defeated the White Lion Legion just moments ago

He looked back, the private soldiers and the officers who were entering the Frada Forest silent. The earlier scene was just far too exhilarating. Just like the young and brave wizard challenging the armies of the Demon King alone, that was a scene that would only happen in bedtime stories. The Aouine soldiers, who were naturally quiet people, could not resist cheering abruptly at that moment.

“Isn’t Mr. Brendel a descendant of Lord Darius? How could he know magic?” Princess Gryphine asked curiously.

“I’ve seen him cast magic though,” the Wolf Baron shrugged, “and he seems to have knowledge on alchemy. He is quite the all-rounder. I wonder what sort of life he experienced in the last two decades, when Lord Darius disappeared and went incognito. His life should be no different than any normal civilian’s life. Well, it’s not like we could do anything about it.” He added.

Everyone could not help themselves turning their attention to the young wizard on the side. Ciel quickly shook his head and said, “Ah, don’t look at me! In fact, I knew my Lord only a little later. At least after  Miss Freya. But my Lord told me that he was once an apprentice of a wizard, so it’s no surprise…”

Everyone now looked like they understood. But they didn’t notice that Maynild, who was standing at the side, frowned slightly, glancing at Ciel as if the explanation seemed fishy to her.

Although they repelled the Dragon Cavalry’s attack, their botched offensive had confirmed Brendel’s previous concerns. He allowed his men to break up into the forest. In fact, he had considered this action from the very beginning. The Dragon Cavalry was terrible at fighting ground units, as its low-altitude flight capabilities were atrocious. It would also be extremely difficult to find the dispersed and hidden units just by using the naked eye. Although it would not make the enemy completely lose their trail, it was much better than getting harrassed and not being able to travel anywhere.

Sure enough, the Dragon Cavalry who drew circles in the air searching for them lost their targets when the young men of the Royal Cavalry Academy and the private soldiers under Count Audine dispersed into the forest. They wanted to move in closer to take a better look, but Brendel showed them his wrath using his Holy Sword. Without any other choice, they had to follow them from a far distance in order not to lose sight of the princess.

This game of cat and mouse went on for three or four hours. When Brendel finally repelled the last low-altitude attack from the Dragon Cavalry, he stood beside a black pine tree. He observed the enemy through stacks of pine needles and made sure the enemy was outside his attack range before turning around. Almost everyone was looking at him. While the princess was doing fine–she hugged her knees and sat silently on a piece of flat rock, a little distracted–the other young men were filled with admiration after witnessing Brendel’s fight with the Dragon Cavalry. He had established his prestige among them, impressive even in the eyes of those noble private soldiers.

However, Brendel knew clearly that the reason he could be recognized and respected by all of these arrogant young graduates of  the Royal Cavalry Academy was probably largely because of his identity as a descendant of the Sword Saint -  Darius. In all honesty, Brendel would rather not bear such an identity. It was not that he wanted to be a civilian, but that he already knew the Sword Saint Darius might have undergone a trial by the Holy Cathedral for some reason in the past.

Brendel also knew of the trials of the Holy Cathedral. Ordinary people who were judged would have to go through incredibly brutal punishments, and if they somehow managed to avoid death   they would come out half alive at best. But his grandfather had no punishment imposed on him. The Holy Cathedral might have struck a deal with his grandfather, probably because the Holy Cathedral wanted to bury some past secret. Of course, this did not matter much to Brendel; the more important thing to him was that, since was so brazenly announcing his existence and claiming his identity as a descendent of Darius, the Holy Cathedral would come after him after discovering the truth.

Brendel felt an oncoming headache when he thought about this. He finally had a prominent identity, so he did not have to cheat and spread rumors to live a good life. Unfortunately, he had to deal with many troubles before he got to reap the benefits of this ‘title’. To add another source of stress to his already-encumbered shoulders, the inheritance of the Darkness Dragon was even more outrageous. Not everyone in this world was like Orthylss who had lived for thousands of years and could judge things without prejudice and see them for only their true worth. Due to the inheritance, he was likely to be abhorred by all.

But this is not the time to worry about all of these things. Brendel raised his head and sighed. “Our enemy is very smart.”

“I don’t think so.” Enrique, the one out of Aouine’s three future Sword Saints who had the best ending in ‘The Amber Sword’ replied with a smile, “I saw that my Lord had no difficulty in defeating them. Even the great Black Blade Squad’s Dragon Cavalry has no way of dealing with us. As soon as we enter the southern area, we will be as free as birds - “

Brendel looked at this guy as if he was looking at an idiot, wondering if this guy was really one of the three heroes. Did I make a mistake? Or is it just that the Gods were jealous of smart people, so idiots were allowed live longer?

Before he could finish that thought, Rouka hit the back of Enrique’s head. He quietly said, “That was why you were told to pay attention in class, the Lord is saying the Dragon Cavalry have other plans. Don’t forget the Black Blade Squad is still coming for us.” 

“Oh, I understand now!” Enrique caught on immediately and said, “These guys were so cunning, sacrificing their best men to delay us.”

“If they were not elites then they wouldn’t be able to delay us,” Mok said with confidence.  But when he saw Brendel’s amused gaze, he immediately became shy, turning his reddening face away. 

Enrique noticed this small detail, and he laughed immediately, “What a brilliant idea, Sir Chamberlain. I’m very impressed.” 

The white-haired Mr. Mok, who had once been the future leader of the Royal Cavalry. The man who lost the bet he made with Brendel and became his vassal was for a moment speechless. 

Brendel looked at Enrique, who lived by causing trouble, and shook his head. This man could not possibly be the long lost brother of Carglise, right?

“So what should we do?” Freya was the only one who took this matter more seriously. She looked at the map laid on the floor and frowned. “Brendel, I assume you have an idea?”

He indeed had a plan. 

They could not escape forever; the key point was to find a suitable battlefield to confront their pursuers. The Black Blade Squad used to be a black ops group after all, and even if they were weakened during Brendel’s generation they still had nearly fifty thousand men, greater in number and stronger than most private armies. They were superior even when compared to Aouine’s Southern army. If the Southern Army had brought seven thousand men, the Black Blade Squad would probably have brought ten thousand.

So it would not be a problem to mobilize a few tens of thousands of men for Ampere Seale’s battlefield. In addition to the remnants of the White Lion Legion and some other local armies, their opponent’s military strength was in all likelihood overwhelming. 

Brendel, on the other hand, after counting Audine’s team and the remaining members of Danos’ Southern Army’s Dragon Cavalry, would amount to no more than four thousand. The disparity between the enemy’s numbers and their army was outrageous. So Brendel had to choose a special battlefield that was good for facilitating defense, not allowing the enemy to attack them at full force.

Fortunately, they were in the Marchenko Mountains, with the Farma Mountains lying further in advance. These two mountains were the northern branches of the Arreck Mountain Ranges, which were areas meant for the level 25-30s in the game. Brendel was quite familiar with this area, so a specific place quickly came to mind. 

He was about to say something when he felt something heat up in his pocket. Brendel scooped the thing out immediately. It was a black pearl. 

Brendel raised his eyebrows. We have a guest. What a pleasant surprise.