"I am fully aware of this, Your Highness, but please listen to me. I would not joke with my life. But I have a plan, maybe we can give it a try." Brendel said in a tone unique to players eager to try anything. Princess Gryphine looked at him with a frown, "Really?"
The half-elf princess's suspicious expression was adorable in Brendel's eyes, it was a girly behavior she rarely displayed. He nodded, "Of course, if we can sneak around right under the nose of Jorgendy Ridge, why don’t we find a way to tear down the Door of Flame?"
"But first let's not decide whether or not we can destroy the Door of Flame. How are you so convinced that they can really lead us to evade detection from Jorgendy Ridge’s armies? Mr. Brendel, they are witches, best at deceiving people with their words." The princess did not hide her wariness in the slightest, only this time she was on Brendel's side, her bright silver eyes saying that she did not want Brendel to be in danger.
"Your Highness the Princess of Covardo, I became a witch when your grandfather Old Oberg was still on the throne. The witches know that their words will be overheard by the ravens, so they are careful with their words, compared to the nobles who have their mouths full of honeyed daggers, and yet you still trust them so." Babasha chortled, laughing like an old crow, and replied in a husky voice.
"Bold citizen of darkness, who allowed you to utter the name of the former king so casually!" Her Highness coldly reproached, and with a soft clang, the narrow and bright blade of her sword trembled faintly in the darkness.
Brendel hurried to stop her hand, "Babasha."
"It was a slip of the tongue, my lord." The old witch glanced at Princess Gryphine with eyes so grim that they lost their luster like wooden beads.
"Babasha, the princess is not wrong. You witches are the best at trickery, and while you never lie, you always leave the back door open. I want you to swear to the Goddess of the Pillar of Hell, not to betray me, can you do that?" Brendel, with one hand suppressing Princess Gryphine’s hand turned back and asked coldly.
Babasa bowed deeply and said, somewhat reverently, "The Lord really does know everything. We will swear to the Goddess of the Pillar of Hell that we shall not betray our lord, Lord of Trentheim, Brendel, our master, and if we do, let Dias drag us into the abyss."
Princess Gryphine watched as Babasha put her hand to her heart; she had heard of the witch's vow vaguely. However, she realized that this vow seemed extremely frightening to the witch, and at the last sentence, the old witch even trembled slightly. She knew very little about witches, and found it hard to believe that these cunning women would take an oath so seriously, for which she looked at Brendel inexplicably.
The silvery eyes appeared to be looking for an answer.
"Rest assured, Your Highness, now they won't cheat on us." Brendel took advantage of her inattention to remove the sword from her hand and gently put it back into her scabbard while replying, "The goddess of the pillar, Modesti, is part of their faith, and legend has it that Modesti was the first witch to steal Black Magic from the Sea of Magic. She passed on such spells to the first generation of prophets and the twelve witches, though she was later seized by the demons and pinned naked to a pillar with nails as eternal punishment. The blind and lame Dias was her first student, so obsessed with darkness she degenerated into a monster. A witch who breaks her vow to break Modesti’s oath would be dragged into eternal darkness by Dias, crawling out of the abyss. This is not just a legend, but a real thing; falling into utter darkness and losing her senses was the worst punishment for a witch. Since Babasha made such an oath, she would never cheat."
Seeing the princess' still puzzled expression, Brendel added, "This is secret knowledge about the witches, which is rarely known by outsiders."
"Then how do you know?"
Good question, Brendel did not expect that at such a time Her Highness the Princess would still be able to keep a clear head, and quickly found an excuse, "Because as Your Highness knows, I have read about wizards before, who are ancient entities like witches, and although they are not enemies, they are competitors and know more or less some of each other's secrets."
Princess Griffin believed it. She turned around, "So how sure is she that we won't be found out? If we only rely on the spells of the witches, I don't think the commanders of Jorgendy Ridge would be unguarded against such things, and I have also heard that there are more witches in the underground of Jorgendy Ridge. So regardless of whether the witches are enemies or allies, wouldn’t they be aware of the witches' methods?
Brendel once again felt the composure of the half-elf princess. This question actually occurred to him, but on one hand, it was the princess who did not even have the common knowledge that there was only a lord and no commander in the underground world, and on the other hand, it was him who knew Jorgendy Ridge very well. She was able to make a judgment on the basis of only a small amount of knowledge, and in comparison he was nowhere as good.
He also looked back at Babasha, hoping for an answer. His plan was still just an idea, but whether it could be implemented reliably still required further thought, no war is theorization alone, and he knew that very well.
"Compared to your dim-witted grandfather, Her Highness is obviously much wiser, and the truth is about as good as your guess," Babasha once again mentioned King Oberg the Sixth; the half-elf maiden pursed her lips to suppress her anger, the witches were so dismissive of mundane authority, which in fact was one of the reasons why they were rejected by society. What puzzled her was why the old witch treats Brendel with such respect and she wondered what Brendel helped them with. She continued listening to Babasha speak, "But other than magic, we also have some secret knowledge that the witches have passed down from generation to generation, and one of these secrets mentions a hall that has been abandoned since ancient times that leads to the northern side of the harbor beneath Ampere Seale hidden between the crevices of the hills ."
"That's impossible," she couldn’t help but interject, "it's been nearly seven centuries since the late King Erik built Ampere Seale Harbor here. For seven centuries, in order to re-survey whether the foundations of the Anderla Cathedral beneath the harbor were loosened, the people of Ampere have explored the terrain around and beneath the harbor, and there have never been any rumors of ancient ruins."
"But Your Highness also has to admit that this place was occupied long before the Aouines built the port. Other civilizations have long since flourished here besides the Silver Elves, and the reason the secret is a secret is because it is not known by anyone else." Babasha laughed.
"Now that I think about it, are you talking about the ancient passageway that seeps water?" Brendel remembered that there was an ancient relic like such near Ampere Seale, but had long since weathered away, leaving behind little more than a passageway that ran between underground cliffs. A level 57 Mother of Spider lived there for who knows how many years.
To be honest, he didn't want to mess with that thing at all if he could. In that narrow terrain, a giant Mother of Spider that had reached Elemental Enlightenment, coupled with her countless hatchlings and the ubiquitous cobwebs, creep Brendel out.
The point was that he had never heard that the ancient passage could lead to the hills north of Ampere Seale, only that one side of the ancient passage went deep into the mountains of Arreck.
"My lord, actually we don't know what the situation is like down there in that hall either." Hearing Brendel say so, Babasha was even more certain of his identity. Everything was as prophesied, and the witch's secrets were like a big open book in his eyes, to be read at will. "But since he knows about this passage as well, it means that it must exist."
This time Princess Gryphine was convinced too, beacuse Brendel certainly would never lie to her. She turned around and asked, "Brendel, is she telling the truth?"
"I did hear of an ancient passage as such," Brendel said with some sweat on his forehead; he almost exposed himself again. He couldn't help but curse Babasha for using a so-called witch's secret to fool him. "But does this passage really lead to the hills north of Ampere Seale? Well, there were no mentions of that in the wizards’ literature." Brendel felt that if he spoke any longer, the materials from the forum were going to turn into a wizard's repository of literature.
"It's a secret we've passed down from generation to generation, so naturally nothing can go wrong. This tunnel connects to the mountains on one side and leads to the hills to the north on the other side."
"That should be right, and it basically matches what I know." Brendel was sure this time that there might be a secret passage underneath that ancient passage. Thinking about this, he couldn't help but be curious. In the past, because of its proximity to Ampere Seale, there were many players who explored this ancient passageway, but none of them had discovered this other secret passage for decades.
It is impossible that a secret passage exists in the game for no reason, so there must be some sort of purpose to it. The thought of this lit a fire of anticipation in Brendel's heart, there were simply too few secrets that had yet to be uncovered in the land of order in The Amber Sword.
He never thought he’d find one today.
He lifted his head and asked, "Babasha, if I remember correctly. The entrance to that underground passage should be quite some distance away?"
"Yes, my lord." Babasha replied respectfully, "That entrance should be to the east of Landin’s Foothill Manor."
"Who has a map?"
"I have it," Count Audine immediately removed a wooden cylinder from his waist, uncorked it, and took out a waterproof roll of parchment maps. The accompanying knight then spread it out, the parchment map spread out on the ground was almost half the size of a person. It was the full map of the area around Ampere Seale.
This kind of high-precision map was not common in this era, and even in the military it wass the most important highly confidential information and also worth no less than ten gold on the black market. Back then, the players did not have such impressive items in their hands. Brendel did not expect Audine to carry this with him, and could not help but praise: "I did not expect Count Audine to carry this kind of item with him, how well prepared."
However, Count Audine glanced at Princess Gryphine with some embarrassment and said "It was Her Royal Highness who told me to bring it."
Brendel glanced at the half-elf maiden, but she did not have much of an expression on her face and even frowned slightly. He couldn't help but sigh and look towards the map. On the map, there is a place east of Landin’s Foothills Manor called the Silver Spire Mound, and if he's not mistaken, the secret entrance to that ancient passage should be near there."
But before that, there's a problem.
"If I remember correctly, the secret entrance to that ancient passage has been sealed by ancient magic. Can you guys find a way to open that seal?" Brendel asked Babasha.
"Naturally, it was actually a witch who sealed that ancient passage, my Lord," Babasa replied smugly. She does have the right to be proud of her heritage, and witches have a long history in Vaunte, having once followed the Darkness Dragon and held plenty of dark secrets and history unknown to others. "Opening that secret door requires a ritual, and only twenty people can pass through it at a time. But once we go through that passage, it is is up to yourselves whether to head north to the hills north of Ampere Seale, or south into the mountains of Arrek."
"Basically, we must enter that ancient passage no matter what?" Princess Gryphine asked.
"Pretty much, unless we're willing to draw a lot of blood, but the chances are slim," said Brendel. Still, Princess Gryphine frowned, "But they don’t know exactly what's going on in that ancient tunnel either, and it’s uncertain whether there will be any danger down there."
"No matter what, it's better than sitting back and waiting," Brendel added stiffly. "Not to mention the fact that I know what's down there with a certainty of at least eighty percent. Please believe me, Your Highness."
The princess looked at him and finally nodded, "Fine, I will believe you."
"One more thing." Count Audine, who was standing on the side, suddenly said. Under the gazes of the crowd, he pointed at the parchment map. In just a little while, the map was filled with splatters of rain and said, "We have ways to go from here to there, just now we saw at the top of the hill that there were at least more than one of Jorgendy Ridge’s armies are entering the forest, will we run head-on into them if we go in this way."
Brendel looked at the map and frowned deeply. He knew that what Count Audine said was true, having seen with his own eyes a starburst of fire on the outskirts of Ampere Seale’s harbor from the top of the mountain before, which might’ve been the glow of lava and torches. There was a big chance that they would run into them if they continued northward like this, not to mention the countless Eagle Demons still flying overhead.
He pursed his lips and frowned as he exchanged glances with the Princess. They both saw the same thing in each other's eyes.
"We need to call for backup."