The guests were obviously Brendel’s acquaintances - the Grey Fins Nagas. The pearl, delivered from Sani, was a gift from Winter Dew, Queen of the Nagas. It was some sort of magical tool used for communication between Nagas. Unfortunately, the production of this tool was limited, preventing all the important people around him from posessing one as well.
As soon as the black pearl glowed, Brendel immediately realized that Sani had arrived. The ones who reacted, however, first were the White Lion Battalion soldiers stationed as lookouts. The young soldiers from Trentheim naturally recognized the Nagas and led them directly over to Brendel’s party.
The first thing that Brendel saw was the sturdy, taller-than-average Sani the female Naga beside him. While female Nagas could be alluring by human standards - as was the one next to Sani - they were still far from actually being human. Female Nagas all had sharp, pointy ears, smooth skin, and three thin gills above the collarbone, and, just like male Nagas, their lower halves were those of snakes.
Brendel was a little confused in the beginning about the reason why Sani did not meet up with Amandina and sail together to Trentheim. But once he saw the female Naga, he immediately understood the reason. He recognized the female Naga too - she was Bridget, the giant sea monster. She was also one of the main priestesses of Queen Winter Dew.
In the Naga clan, those who conducted rituals and those in charge of wars were all women. Although Sani was a warrior, he was only a front-line soldier. Even though Sani later obtained the power to lead the tribe of the Grey Fins Nagas from a series of coincidences, he was an exception. The Nagas were still usually a matriarchal tribe society.
Noble female Nagas like Bridget typically appeared in the army under the identity of being priestesses, but were in fact probably there to supervise the army.
Brendel now understood the other party had come to form an alliance with him. Her appearance also explained where the Coast Guards in the ports of Ampere Seale had gone. It seemed like the Naga tribe had already decided right from the beginning that they wanted to participate in this war.
It confirmed Brendel’s prediction when the other party opened his mouth to speak. “My Lord, we came under the orders of the queen and in accordance with the sacred laws of the alliance made with the Holy Cathedral. We are here to fight side by side with our human allies.” Bridget spoke Kirrlutz’s language very well, with barely a hint of the typical Naga’s accent or the coarse and deep notes of Sani’s Kirrlutz..
When she brought up the name of the queen, she bowed slightly to Brendel. That bow was not for Brendel but instead was in respect for her own queen.
Brendel’s eyes sparkled. As a player, he was very sensitive to small details and he was familiar with the customs of the Naga. It looked like Winder Dew, Queen of the Nagas, wanted an equal relationship with him, or else their aid would have just ended there. But he would pass on believing anything about the Covenant of the Gods anything else of the sort; if such things really were effective, the Holy War between the four Holy Cathedrals would not have happened.
It was a bold move; there was obviously some kind of political investment behind such grandiose excuses. But what exactly does the Queen see in me? As far as the rest of the world is concerned, I’m just the little lord of Trentheim.
Bridget kept silent after she finished speaking, obviously not giving Brendel the chance to satisfy his curiosity. He did not bother to ask Sani either, taking into consideration the male Naga’s current lower status.
Brendel, however, was never someone who would refuse to let things go. It was better to have reinforcements than not, so all he simply accepted the alliance with peace of mind. He now owed a favor to the queen, which might have been her motive from the start. But Brendel was not worried, as he could afford it.
The arrival of the Grey Fins Nagas had caused a commotion. After hearing that they were allies, a commotion quickly spread among the surrounding youths. Oberwei could not resist poking fun at Brendel for being a lord of robbers, as the people under him were all bandits and pirates. But of course, it was just a joke, as only admiration lay in the Wolf Baron’s gaze.
Someone who only raised private armies versus someone who made friends with all parties - the difference between these two types of people was huge. Many nobles in Aouine, especially that worthless Count Graudin, raised their own private armies. They seem to be capable of doing so from birth without need to be taught. On the other hand, in order to make friends with other strong parties, one not only needed to be strong, but to possess a certain amount of charisma.
The problem was that Brendel had too many powerful acquaintances. The Nagas and the Druids were forces that ordinary people could never hope to ever interact with. Humans were worthless in the eyes of these powerful races. To the druids, nobles and civilians were no different. To the Nagas, the nobles were like fat sheep waiting to be slaughtered.
But Brendel had earned their recognition. And there was only one word that could describe him-
But there was one person who gave him a complicated look. Brendel could even clearly sense that, aside from recognition, there was also vigilance in the eyes of this half-elf princess, and he knew the reason for this vigilance all too well.
With the addition of the Grey Fin Nagas, Princess Gryphine’s’ army had grown to six thousand people. Everyone seemed to have a little hope now, especially Count Audine’s private army, who no longer looked so panicked. At first, Brendel had been genuinely afraid that these soldiers would desert at the drop of a hat.
After asking, Brendel found out that Sani and his Grey Fin Nagas followed the coastline of Ampere Seale’s harbor to catch up with Brendel. According to Sani’s description, when they had defeated the Coast Guards, they found out that Brendel had already evacuated out of Ampere Seale. At that time, the Black Blade Squad had completely assembled in the south of Ampere Seale. Sani took the initiative and ordered all the Nagas to evacuate along the river channel in the city, moving into the offshore bay of Ampere Seale. Then they were able to move onto land at Denggan Bay before finally intercepting Brendel’s group.
The terrain of Ampere Seale was very special. The lands to the north and south converged to form a crescent-shaped bay. The center of this was the strait of Ampere Seale. The northern terrain was flat, but the southern terrain was riddled with many steep cliffs. This unique landscape could be seen when taking a boat out to sea. The south of Ampere Seale’s port was basically just a knife-sharp line of sea cliffs. The bottom of the sea was densely covered by obscure reefs and rocks and it was difficult for boats to get close to the shoreline.
There were two disembarking points to the south. One of them, Denggan Bay, was too shallow a shore for boats to dock, and basically only the Nagas who could disembark onto the bay. Adding to that, there were underwater currents and hidden reefs at the bottom of the bay. Brendel knew this very well, so he dismissed the idea of heading out into the sea from Denggan Bay. Further south was St. White Bay. This was further away from the port of Ampere Seale and was the only anchorage in this area.
Looking at the current situation, it seems unlikely for us to avoid the Black Blade Squad if we move out now.
But then, the addition of the Grey Fin Nagas into his troops gave him another idea.
Brendel immediately rolled out the parchment map. The surrounding officers of the Royal Calvary Academy knew that their ‘commander’ was strategizing and forming a plan so they all gathered around him. Oberwei and Count Audine also stood beside him, one on his left and the other on his right.
“You got an idea?” Oberwei asked.
“Yeah,” Brendel nodded, “I have a vague concept, but it needs to be tested.”
“Could it be that Master has some tricks up his sleeves to get rid of those nasty flying guys in the sky?” Enrique asked while giggling.
“Brendel, can we wait till night to take advantage of the darkness and get rid of the Dragon Cavalry?” Freya also asked.
“Impossible,” Count Audine replied. He had served in the Black Blade Squad and in the Southern army before, making him the person who knew the most about the Dragon Cavalry, “The real name of the Dragon Cavalry’s mount is Eruya Dragon. They mainly live on the northern plateau. They are nocturnal creatures, trained Dragon Cavalry have no difficulties tracking their targets at night.”
They are so annoying, they can chase us all day long. Brendel ranted in his heart, but this fact was already known to him. In the game, he also served as a Dragon Cavalry and had a pretty clear understanding of the Eruya Dragon. Therefore, he had no such delusional ideas right from the start, “Well, unless knives rain down from the skies, we won’t get rid of the other party. After all, they fly and we can only walk.” Brendel said.
He said it playfully and everyone could not help but smile.
“We are also dead if the skies rain knives, Brendel.” Only Freya gave him an unamused stare.
“So we have to face the Black Blade Squad sooner or later. At our current rate, they will tach up as early as tomorrow afternoon.” Rouka, the head of the three heroes responded quickly, then said calmly, “No, it won’t even take that long. The Black Blade Squad will catch up to us even earlier.”
“They’re weak in the mountains, maybe we can get back at them?” Bennett murmured.
“Then we will lose time,” Maynild said quietly, then she glanced at Brendel. Despite having always been the army’s commander, she showed no dissatisfaction towards Brendel at the moment
Brendel also found a quality in this female knight that he appreciated very much. This quality was her obedience. She was calm, serious, and was absolutely obeyed to orders. Even he could not do so. She was a truly outstanding soldier.
But since she was a girl and looked exactly like his senior, it was a little hard for him to accept.
Oberwei did not speak, seemingly waiting for these young men to speak up. Brendel also thought the same way; he wanted to take this opportunity to witness the true strength of these three heroes of Aouine.
Rouka thought for a moment, then replied, “Our time advantage will be lost sooner or later. At least before that, we can decide on where and how to fight the Black Blade Squad.”
Taking our advantage in time and turning it into a geographical advantage. Brendel secretly praised him. This leader of the three Aouine heroes deserved his fame; his ideas actually coincided with Brendel’s. Even Brendel took a long time to come up with this idea, and compared to Rouka’s instantaneous judgment, he was still a little lacking.
Fortunately, he had never considered himself a genius commander. The only reason why he was here was that he had far more knowledge than everyone else in this timeline. But it was enough.
“What’s the goal of this battle?”
“It’s obvious, we have to stay vigilant and await reinforcements,” Enrique replied.
“So where will the battlefield be?” Everyone’s eyes turned to the rolled-out map, including Brendel. They were moving eastwards to leave the port of Ampere Seale, into the Marchenko Mountains, and now they were slightly to the south of Landin’s foothill manor.
Landin’s foothill manor was a famous landmark near Ampere Seale. It was called a manor, but it was actually a mountain inn built like a fortress. The manor was located in the glades approximately a dozen miles east of the port of Ampere Seale and was surrounded by mountains. It was also located on the mountain pass connecting Ampere Seale to the Arreck province, a pass anyone traveling from one place to the other had to go through.
This was because it was the only avenue near here. There were a few ways to go about this avenue. In fact, they were in the southeast part of Ampere Seale near the mountains. There was another avenue south of Ampere Seale which led to Frada-Pesilin. They were in between both of those landmarks.
This area was also a 25-30 level adventuring area known to Brendel. There was a defensive fort further south of Ampere Seale and beside it was a sawmill nearby which supplied charcoal to Aouine daily. Brendel had done countless missions in that area.
There was also a small iron ore mine nearby. Because of the huge charcoal supply, a large number of blacksmith villages had emerged in that area around the Year of Harvest (Year 360). With the defensive fort as the center, to the east lay mountains, and to the west was a gentle coastal area with a dense population.
Brendel’s gaze fell on this area, and he drew a line with a premeditated plan in mind.
The young people were arguing.
Carglise believes that they should take advantage of their small-numbered yet elite troops to block the Black Blade Squad in the Farma Valley. This valley penetrated into the northern part of Arreck. The terrain was dangerous, but made it perfect for an ambush.
Enrique, however, believed they should enter the Farma Mountains through the northern main branch of the Arreck Mountains. The would use the advantage of having fewer but individually stronger soldiers circle the enemies as they retreated. This was an unusual but great idea.
Brendel heard and he realized, This is guerilla warfare! We can use that as the alternative.
His mind had wandered for but a minute, the dispute over there becomingfierce. Enrique mocked the rigidity of Carglise’s mindset and his Military Dogmatism. Carglise returned by saying how crude his methods were, uncivilized as banditry.
The argument between both parties did not come to a conclusion; Bennett supported Carglise’s point of view, while Mok thought that Enrique’s was better. Only Freya, Rouka, and Maynild looked at Brendel.
Brendel smiled slightly and pointed somewhere on the map. “Let us hold a grand banquet for the Black Blade Squad right here.”
Everyone directed their attention to the location under Brendel’s fingertip and saw the location he was pointing to was not far from their current position. He drew a line directed towards a place called the Mar Highlands.
What kind of place was that?
Everyone saw that the place on the map was obviously not the most defensible place. The Mar Highlands was a plateau, and although it was also the intersection of three mountains, the open area was a flat alluvial plain, making it suitable for an army to spread out. Battling here would be a problem. If Brendel had not taken the lead earlier and commnaded them to kill their way out, everyone present - including Carglise - would have suspected him to be a spy of the Northern Army.
“Believe me, this is the best option.” Brendel laughed slightly and said, “I would not joke about my own life, right?”
“But why?” Freya asked.
The reason is very simple. Brendel grinned to himself secretly. This place, the Mar Highlands, was the nightmare of countless players. There was an instance dungeon known as the “Ruins of the Afiga Cathedral” in Mar Highlands. Afiga was a famous demon king in Vaunte, apparently rumored to be an actual devil. In truth, this cathedral had little to do with him, but it was occupied by a group of Wind Elemental monsters from the Mountain of Quelled Storms. But the dungeon was buried deep down in the ground, and might not have even been discovered during this century yet.
This cathedral was released in a later release of the game. There was also a small prerequisite quest for it. Brendel could totally imagine how big of a trouble the Black Blade Squad would be in if he were to dig out the entire thing. All the players who challenged it at that time were defeated, and it was not until five years after the release that someone finally managed to complete this dungeon.
Not to mention that in front of the Mar Highlands were the gathering grounds of the Redback Boar monsters. Without knowing the correct route, these herd creatures of level twenty and above would be enough entertainment for their enemies.
Brendel felt like bursting into laughter just from the thought.
Besides, it would lower the enemies’ vigilance by choosing that place.
But he decided not to say anything. Although the students of the Royal Cavalry Academy were trustworthy, it was hard to say when it came down to the private soldiers under Audine.
He waved his hand to signal everyone else to stop discussing among themselves. Brendel had already built up his prestige as a commander, and although the young people still had some doubts about him, they still believed their commander would be a great leader.
“This place is actually an upside-down triangle. If we guard two of the hills, we might be able to defend ourselves. I think our Lord has his own considerations... But isn’t this place too close to the fort of Ampere Seale?” Rouka frowned and asked.
“Exactly the opposite; we are going to attack along this line,” Brendel said while pointing to the manor.
“Ah, What? Seriously?” Enrique immediately stood up. “Lord, this seems to be unnecessary. If you are just wanting to show off our military prestige and put those northern people in shock…… Okay, I admit that we are already very powerful.”
“No, it is necessary.” Brendel gave him a smile. Then he turned around and said to Sani, “Sani, can you and your men sense your Demon Whales?”
Sani was stunned for a moment, then nodded his head.
“Then please bring them along with you and go immediately. You must bring Miss Amandina to me by tonight.”
Brendel rolled up the parchment and said to the others, “All of you, go prepare for battle. And don’t forget to beat the shit out of our enemies!”
Everyone exchanged doubtful looks, but all they could do was to stand up and bow.