In fact, the caravan spent the entire morning battling the path along the southern side of Lake Vallendaren, right outside the Anserra Forest, which had long since fallen into disrepair. This path, which had been a commercial path bustling with activity thirty years ago, became a mess as soon as King Oberg the Seventh ascended to the throne. In recent days it’s become better; since there were no signs of commercial caravans, there also weren’t things like bandit groups.
In short, the entire caravan had a morning so busy that nobody had time for lunch and held on until they arrived at Shallow Water Town in the afternoon.
Around three, Brendel could see the outlines of a lakeside town reflected onto the surface of the lake. It glinted in the sunlight --
That was Shallow Water Town.
Shallow Water Town had a deep history in Aouine. Ever since Duke Harding bought the land from the Highlanders in the last century, the immigrants chose that location to set up permanent residence. At the beginning, it provided a place of rest for those coming to seek gold at Falling Needle Hills, and then it gradually developed into a main location that connected Viero, Grinoires, and Lantolinan.
Therefore, for thousands of years the town kept many of its historical inns. Niss’ Pansies and The Trout Pool were two such inns that Brendel was familiar with.
But in the game, the location of the Shallow Water Town wasn’t important. It was important because it was the gateway to Lantonilan, and Lantonilan was rarely opened up to players. Second, in order to get to the only high rank region nearby was the Falling Needle Hills from here, you had to pass through the south part of the Anserra Forest. The mountain roads were tough and players would rather take the longer route and go from Castle Vallendaren instead of this direction.
After all, distance wasn’t a big problem since players could use a teleportation array.
This state of affairs remained until the side quest to the ancient castle at Weiston was released and Flame of Golden Ice, the Nine Phoenix Holy Blade, was revealed to the world. Then a massive amount of players congregated upon the place. But the good times didn’t last long. Very soon after, the third War of the Black Roses broke out, and what happened after that was common knowledge.
When he thought about that, Brendel couldn’t help but look up at somewhere between the mountain ranges. The Goldfinch Mountain and Anserra’s Sapphire Mountain Ranges intersected here, and the two largest peaks east from here were their largest peaks, respectively. Underneath those peaks was the Nietchenil Gap and the ancient Weiston Castle was hidden in the woods northward from there.
The legendary holy sword Flame of Golden Ice was hidden in the grounds below the castle.
That was one of Brendel’s targets, but for now, he wasn’t planning on touching that item. Come to think of it, the area around Fallen Needle Hills were filled with high rank regions, as many as there were hairs on a dog. He didn’t know what the design team had been thinking. But he knew that guarding the Flame of Golden Ice underneath the Weiston Castle was a bona fide adult dragon.
Cadina, that Deepwinter Dragon, had some sort of connection to the one at Fallen Needle Hills. But her abilities were several levels above that young dragon’s. If Brendel were to cause trouble for her now, it would be an almost certain death for him.
Brendel then looked toward Shallow Water Town. For a long time, this place would be the frontline against Madara and memories of this place were carved deeply into him. He and his upperclassman’s guild had fought and bled here. So many places bore fragments of his memory fighting with those familiar comrades.
As they passed every street and alleyway, he could see the familiar scenes and places. He couldn’t help but sigh inside with reminiscence.
The carriage entered the town from the main road closest to Shallow Water Town. Since the nearby areas were relatively peaceful, they didn’t have to go through a strict interrogation. Shallow Water Town was under the rule of Duke Latonilan. This Duke was very strict and, in contrast to places like Grinoires, it was hard to see private armies acting viciously even in somewhere as out-of-the-way as Shallow Water Town as a result.
In the end, the caravan stopped in the middle of the commercial district in the northern sector of the town. Brendel intentionally chose an inn far away from the piers. This inn didn’t have a memorable name: Caravan Home. In Aouine, and elsewhere throughout Wardt, you could find many inns with the same unimaginative name. There was no connection between them, but if you had to think of one, it would probably be that every single one of the innkeepers were lazy when it came to naming their inn.
This inn was also quite unknown in the game. At least, Brendel had never heard of it. But he chose this place for two reasons. One, to avoid the ruckus at the piers. Two, to avoid having his memories brought up by somewhere more familiar. Every memory was like a jagged fragment of a shattered mirror; as they were revealed one by one, it felt like another wound being exposed to the world.
After they settled their carriages and walked into the inn, they found business at the inn just like Brendel expected it to be -- nonexistent.
Even the innkeeper seemed like he hadn’t expected such a big client. He had been focused on keeping his head down and using a dirty rag to carefully wipe a plate. When the bald middle-aged man sensed the light coming in from the door slightly dim, he had to pause before realizing what was happening.
He raised his head, squinted and saw Brendel as he entered the inn first. Next to him were Filas and the female knight Laurenna. Following them were Medissa and Ciel; Freya held her stone tablet and came after. Next to her was Hipamila, dressed in a flaxen robe -- the female priest’s arms were bare but it didn’t seem to bother her at all in these frigid temperatures. They didn’t know whether this was the result of being protected by the Spirit of the Himiludesson mountains or whether it was because she was used to harsh conditions as an austere bhante.
Bringing up the rear were Scarlet and the little prince, who just came out from the stables. After a morning’s worth of hard work, Harruz’s head drooped wearily as he followed behind the mercenary girl. He looked like a mistreated child laborer.
For this journey, Brendel didn’t bring along a lot of people because they were heading into a very dangerous territory. This would be a fruitless trip for the unskilled. Therefore, aside from those who had to come, Brendel only brought along his cards. In addition, they were planning on meeting up with Mephisto the Ash Sword Saint, Babasha and her with underling, as well as Aloz. All in all, their party wouldn’t be greater than ten people.
But among the team was someone who had invited themselves along.