Chapter 194 - Volume 2
Chapter 139 – Warm words of hope (1)
There was a dark figure on the second floor of the hall. When Brendel focused his eyes, he found it was a gigantic skeleton covered in a weathered set of brass armor of an ancient design and wielded a battle-axe. The top of the skull had a horizontal crevice, as though someone had tried to cut across its forehead with a sword when it was still alive. Its jaw was slightly unhinged and it looked like it was looking at the scene below with a mocking smile.
[…… That’s Kabias!] Brendel identified what the dark figure was at once.
“Viscount Gaston, is it?” Kabias’s voice was dry like sandpaper, “How have you been after you left Fortress Riedon?”
It had seen this young man from afar when the undead surrounded the fortress. That youth had caught its eye for some unknown reason.
“Madara.” Brendel said through clenched teeth. He turned around and glared at Graudin: “When did the Madara became so close to Aouine’s nobles?”
“All life turns into dust with time. The only thing that does not change is profit, Viscount.” Kabias said.
[Graudin has actually colluded with the Madara undead, but for what purpose? It seems like I’m free to kill Graudin at this distance, but……]
Although the Skeleton Lord in front of him was a full-fledged Gold-ranked fighter, there was a considerable distance between them. It should at least jump down in between him and Graudin to prevent the latter from being killed but it did not do so. In fact, it appeared almost smug—
He started to search the hall for any oddities, and finally discovered a pale man wearing long grey robes hiding behind a few shivering nobles.
[That’s Rothko, I think. This bastard got me good the first time I got to this world. Two purple flame sigils on his collars. Huh. He upgraded to a mid-tier necromancer from an acolyte the first time I saw him.]
Brendel rubbed his forehead and looked back at Graudin. The latter had seemed to regain some of his composure. His hand was resting against a wooden pillar as support, while his face had that fake smile once again on it. Only his blootshot eyes revealed the anxiety and fear in him.
Brendel purposely placed his sword horizontally across his chest, causing light to reflect into Graudin’s eyes and caused him to flinch with a rat-like squeak emitting from his throat. The latter realized a few moments later that Brendel was toying with him. Fury was set ablaze in his heart but he did not show it in his face.
“I truly did not expect you to sell your soul to the undead.” Brendel’s voice was one of murder as he spoke to Graudin. He cast his eyes on Kabias again and said: “The fact that your rotten bones are here would mean that you want to preserve this worm’s life, right?”
Graudin seemed to have gotten back his courage from the support of his allies. He ground his teeth menacingly with hatred from his eyes.
“Young man, you can go ahead and bark like a dog if you so desire, but you do know I’m a Randner that even if I don’t rely on my Madara allies. Do you truly intend to go against the entire Randner family? Are you going to bring on a war between two retainers just because of a disagreement? Viscount Gaston, I think even your family wouldn’t allow you—”
Brendel’s scoff turned the temperature of the hall down by several degrees, and cold mist even appeared from Graudin’s lips. Almost everyone shivered from the cold as the latter’s words died in his throat. He did not understand how he was wrong from the very start; Brendel was a complete fake.
His swung his sword like a quick draw, drawing a line towards Graudin’s throat—
Two shockwaves collided in the air. Rothko was ready for Brendel’s attack because he had seen the attack before; Kabias kicked against the ledge and propelled down to intercept Brendel’s next attack as he activated his Charge ability. The baron looked on stupidly at the blade inching closer towards him, completely flabbergasted by Brendel’s actions which went against common sense.
But the long battleaxe had successfully parried his longsword. If the Skeleton Lord was one second late, the sword would have pierced through Graudin’s heart.
“I have said before,” Kabias looked down at the youth as he towered over him: “Baron Graudin is an important ally to us. We will not hand him over so easily to you.”
“I’m sorry to tell you that you didn’t!” Brendel yelled as he unleashed a flurry of blows of which the Skeleton Lord deflected them with ease. He activated Power Break in an overhead slash, while Kabias took a step back and sent the battle-axe in a vertical upper slash to meet the blade.
A thunderous metallic crash echoed throughout the hall and both of them took three steps back from the impact, neither gaining an advantage over each other.
“Young man, you should back down,” Kabias stopped his momentum by using the battle-axe as a support on the ground, raised his head and said: “Aouine and Madara has called for a truce. Is it necessary to cause a war over your quarrel with the baron? The commotion in the hall has probably alarmed the guards in the fortress as well, are you not worried about your servants whom you left behind in the courtyard—”
Brendel’s face darkened and his chipped sword was raised again.
“Mister Brendel!” Scarlett grabbed his wrist.
Sanford and the other Grey Wolves Mercenaries were still outside and she could not allow him to continue in his rampage.
“Miss Amandina, do you think I should let this worm off as well?”
Amandina took a short moment to recover from the sudden chain of events after Brendel called out to her. She looked at Graudin who had fallen to his rear in fear. She wanted to kick that face repeatedly until it was no longer recognizable as a ‘human face’. But she took a deep breath and answered despite her desire to do so:
“My lord, this bastard is still a Feudal Baron assigned by the kingdom.”
She pointed out to Brendel about Graudin’s status, but she was implying something else. The real trouble was the people who assigned Graudin’s title.
While Feudal Barons were assigned directly by the king, it was actually the Randner family who handled Graudin’s territory and rank. From the two prior generations before King Oberg, the family with a long history started to raise their private army in order to combat the monsters at the border. Today, almost all the soldiers in the Randner’s territory belonged to their private army.
Even if there were those within the royal family who did not view these ‘barbarians’ as important, the count’s forces were abnormal for someone his rank. Also, because of Madara’s invasion the situation in the capital had become chaotic; the royal crown could hardly care about two families waging wars at the borders.
Finally, the crafted lie about Brendel being the Viscount Gaston would be revealed.
There was no possible way for him to set up his new territory if the Randner family poured their full rage onto him. Amandina tried to squeeze every intention to a single line, requesting him to think of the consequences, while limiting her words to a single sentence in order to make sure their weakness was not revealed.
She believed that the youth in front of him would understand her intentions.
Brendel spat onto the ground.
“Observe the situation in front of you and act prudently, young man.” Kabias’s jaw unhinged and appeared like it was smiling.
The youth’s sword slowly lowered to the ground and he glared at Graudin with disgusted eyes as though he was looking at a dead animal covered with maggots.
Graudin gained his wits about him when he felt Brendel’s expression turn to something else. Perhaps Kabias gave him enough courage to threaten Brendel at that moment:
“If you don’t kill me today, Viscount Brendel, I’ll make certain today’s insult would be doubly returned—”
The baron’s voice was dripping with anger and humiliation. He had invited the local nobles only to have them witness his shameful display. That sense of failure had caused him to feel like there was an undying rage lit up in him. He wanted to find new ways to anger Brendel in order to goad him into a fight with Kabias to ensure mutual destruction, but his hand was suddenly raised.
Brendel fired a wind bullet towards Rothko who cast a counter-spell in a fluster, while his sword drew a silver line across Graudin’s cheek.
Graudin’s expression went blank as he felt his hair fall onto the ground on the side where Brendel cut. Throbbing pain spread across his face, and the nobles saw a visible wound on his cheeks. He used his hand to feel the area in a daze, then put it before his eyes. Striking red blood covered all over his fingers, and he started screaming like a pig being slaughtered.
Kabias did not react to Brendel’s attack. It saw from his position what damage the attack would do; it was not Graudin’s guard and there was no need to act there. It was also good to have the latter receive a lesson to understand their exact relationship.
“I’ll leave your head on your body for now. I’ll come back and take it the next time—” He said, then glared at the nobles around him and they stepped back in fright. He glanced at Amandina and Scarlett, sheathed his sword and walked out of the hall with angry footsteps.
When he reached the entrance, the heavily armored soldiers and guards who arrived and watched the fight between Kabias and him, immediately parted and stood on each side. Some of them even saw how he cut down twenty-odd knights with a single slash, and none of them wanted to stand in his path.
Graudin was still screaming. He wanted to order his men to cut Brendel down as he left the building, but the pain remained in his mind and the words never came.
TL: If you spot any Engrish mistakes, please point them out… I’m losing my concentration lol.