TL: This chapter was kind of difficult to TL. Hopefully the prose sounds okay here.
In other news, I found the artist for “The Strategy to Be Good at Magic” and updated the image accordingly. The colors on my screen are much more vibrant compared to the printed cover =X
Chapter 18 – The footprints on the other path in History
The vast land slept within the darkness where nature did not even emit one sound. It was as if the silence was mourning for the dead souls that had left this world. A meteor shower streaked across the starry skies, appearing and disappearing quickly, as if to symbolize the names that appeared briefly in history.
Bretton silently stood straight up against the cold night wind. He sent out command after command, and the guards vanquished the undead remnants in the ruins of the Green village. Every single undead had to be purified. Every single one.
The young vice-captain felt that this was the only way to make himself feel better.
He checked the time. He had only thirty minutes left.
Zeta looked at the scene from afar. He shook the glass flagon in his hand, and touched the girl beside him: “Hey, you’re called Irene right?”
Irene was a little startled.
“I’m Zeta. Do you want a little?” He raised the wine flagon. “Pure fire wine made from the Crystal river. Ryan and I found it in a wine cellar. Sadly, I don’t know if I can still drink this after this war…..”
He paused for a while.
“You know, I had a dream once. I wanted to become the best scout.”
“But I’m regretting it a little.”
Irene felt this person was really strange, but she was curious as to why he had regrets.
“Why?” She asked.
“My biggest goal was to discover the enemy as quickly as possible, because discovering them would justify my value. But now the thing I want to do the most is to hide the villagers. If I can hide them, at least they wouldn’t be killed. But you know what? I couldn’t do anything. I was unable to do anything.”
“It’s not your fault.”
“But I’m a soldier.” Zeta sipped the wine: “When I saw that girl cried, I thought that it would have been good if I had died like Kevin did in the battlefield. But I’m still alive now so I can’t escape from this.”
Irene fell into a silence, and she suddenly thought of Brendel. She had this strange impression that this young man who led them out from every dire situation once and again, would be able to lead them out of the darkness that was shrouding them.
Maybe her premonition would be right, and everything would be solved.
She hoped in her heart.
Brendel and Freya sat together.
Brendel truly did not think that he was good at comforting someone. He felt that it would have been better for someone else to be here right now, but that damnable Bretton just left with a grim expression without any words, and Irene just stayed far away.
[Isn’t this girl over here your captain?! Do something!]
It was fortunate that Freya adjusted her emotions quickly. But she kept staring into space in a daze, her bright eyes had dimmed and were filled with loneliness.
Brendel had seen that look before in the game. When she had become the Goddess of War, her gaze could sometimes be seen with the same quiet sadness, as though she could never be healed. Brendel felt a little sad. He very much preferred the innocent and kind Freya, who was also a little stubborn and got upset over small matters.
But what could he say? He hesitated for a long time, and when the words came up to the tip of his tongue, he suddenly felt that they were of no persuasion. The lines that he prepared did not appear to be suitable at all.
When he was agonizing over it, she spoke:
“Why do think we have wars?”
He had never really thought about it. In the game, the bigger guilds would frequently fight over profits, reputation and even a simple matter of pride. Kingdoms fought over power, benefits and lands. Wars would frequently break out without warning.
He might have answered this in the past, “Because humans are always controlled by desire. They would seek to dominate and pillage, and that is why they fight against each other.”
But after today, Freya’s sobs had etched themselves into his mind and could never be erased. He found this answer to be pointless. Humans were weak but they could be resilient.
“Wars simply happen. The only thing we can do is to accept it. We are living in a terrible era, and we can’t choose the era we want to live in. But we can try to change it,” Brendel said, and suddenly the words formed themselves in his mind: “Perhaps we are unable to change anything, but at least have tried to realize it along with many other people. The memories that we had fought together are more than enough.”
He remembered the days back in the game where he fought for Aouine. His friends and people who shared the common goal fought along with him. There were many promises that were made together, and even though everyone parted ways at the very end, he did not regret having these memories.
These were his memories of Aouine, burned into his very soul.
The young girl became silent.
“You must have loved them very much.”
“Yes.” She replied: “When my father passed away, my aunt and uncle had always taken good care of me, and were proud of me.”
“But I loved them too, so very much.”
“I’m just puzzled. Why did the heavens choose you?” Brendel said.
“Freya, have you ever thought about becoming a goddess to protect this land?”
“How’s that possible, Mr Brendel, are you trying to make fun of me?” The young girl was a little angry, but her voice became quiet again: “I just want to be a good captain. But my powers are only this much, and only this little. To fulfill my responsibilities till the very end… That’s too far away, and I can’t reach that destination.”
[No, not only did you do it, you did it perfectly. Freya, you were the last hero of Aouine, and one that people remembered the most.]
[The gods gave you extraordinary trials and you had ordinary talents. But you were humble, dedicated, kind and strong. You were beyond amazing.]
Brendel played with the small stone gargoyle statue in his hand. He looked into the distance and sighed: “Freya, I don’t know how far you would go in the future, but I want you to remember this.”
“Friends. No matter how far you are going to go, there will be many people who would accompany you. You will never be lonely.”
Freya’s eyes widened, and suddenly they were misty. She thought of Romaine, little Fenix, Mackie, Irene and everyone in the third militia squadron.
And of course, her aunt.
She wiped the corners of her eyes and looked at the crimson sky that was illuminated by the burning village. It had continued to burn, and the spiraling flames seemed to hint at the next battle which was going to be even bigger.
“Thanks.” She whispered back: “Shameless Brendel.”
Our protagonist started to cough and choke.
When he looked back in protest, he saw that her eyes had returned to its former brightness, and it was shining like the brightest night star in the sky. Brendel suddenly felt that his existence here had worth. History had started to change.
Bretton quickly found what he wanted. Medicine. Even though the Green village appeared to have been completely destroyed, the things that the undead didn’t need were food and medicine, and they were simply stacked up in a corner.
Furthermore, Brendel was there to help them.
Even though Bucce, Verbin and the green village were under the protection of the guards, Brendel was definitely much more familiar with the area than them.
With his memories, he found two secret cellars that were filled with medicine, food and other goods. There were cast iron, copper and even gold, which were useless in their current situation, so he left them untouched.
It was not Brendel’s usual habit to leave empty handed. The owners had died in the war and they had no descendants.
These cellars were the players’ favorite spots after Madara torched the village. If the players found one they would have become considerably rich. Because of that, Brendel knew these spots very well thanks to these greedy players.
He left the bulky items alone but he wanted the magical equipment.
Under everyone’s shocked eyes, he quickly opened hidden compartments with a ‘bam, bam, bam’ sound. They were mostly filled with precious gems and gold.
The leader of the young guards looked darkly at Brendel with suspicion. When did he learned something like this and became like a burglar?
Brendel brought out a half platemail meant for a female in the midst of their amazed mutterings. It was an ancient armor adorned with complicated bronze ornaments, but the black gold symbols on it showed that it was an artistic ornamental armor from the golden age of the past.
Before they finished admiring the armor, Brendel took out another ornamental armor with a flourish. He beckoned to Freya.
“Freya, over here.”
“Me?” The future Goddess of War pointed at herself.
“Try this out.”
“Wait,” Bretton immediately mocked without thinking: “Brendel, are you serious in letting Freya that piece of artwork? Not all armor are meant to see action, you do know it right?”
Brendel ignored him and wanted to put it on for Freya. But she blushed and shook her ponytail and received the ornamental armor: “I, I’ll do it myself.”
He paused in surprise. There was not much attention paid on this matter in the game. He had helped the other female players who were knights and warriors with their armor, but he forgot he was in another world now.
“What are you trying to do?” Bretton watched Freya run to an area with dense foliage and asked. (TL: Wow… Brendel tried to strip Freya in front of everyone. Ho, ho, ho.)
“That’s an ornamental armor and it’s too heavy. You can’t be serious to let Freya wear that into battle right? Besides, has the militia learned to fight wearing armor before?”
“Too heavy?” This was the first time Brendel had heard of this argument. He looked back at him with a raised eyebrow, wondering if lead had been poured into his mind.
He did not bother to explain but beckoned Freya over. He asked: “How does it feel?”
“It’s a little heavy. It’s not very flexible.”
The youths behind Bretton giggled and laughed. How could an ornamental armor not be heavy? But the majority of the laughs were made in jest and not mockery.
Brendel paid no attention and chanted: “S’Taz.”
An ancient word, its meaning was ‘Wind’.
The half plate was instantly enveloped by a green aura, which floated around Freya’s body and then tightly wrapped around her whole body. The young girl was startled and uttered a low yelp of surprise: “This?”
Brendel looked back and said: “The Half Plate of the Wind Empress that was infused with the wind element, described as heavy? The Elven armor smiths who designed this must be flipping in their graves.”
Bretton and the riders were at a loss for words.