Chapter 149 – Breaking dawn (2)
Brendel raised his sword and glanced at it when he realized the blade had broken, before throwing it away.
The youth turned around and said:
“I have returned to fulfill my promise — Do you still remember the words you promised?”
His voice was even, but it was like a sharpened blade that pierced through everyone’s heart.
The mercenaries glanced at each other but they did not answer. The reinforcements on the wall had caused them to hesitate.
“I remember……” Alistair exhaled audibly and walked out with big steps: “I await your command, my lord……” (TL: The mercenaries promised to work for Brendel if he leads them.)
Brendel eyed him for a second before it went back to the other mercenaries.
“What of the others?” He said.
But no reply came.
“You…..” Alistair glared at them angrily and wanted to punch these cowards for breaking their oaths.
Brendel’s lips curled into a faint smile while his head lowered a little, and his face appeared slightly darker: “If I am you, I wouldn’t choose to offend two lords—”
Suddenly there was a cacophony of clacking noises in the rubble of the destroyed city gates. A group of soldiers covered in black robes were running stiffly towards Brendel with raised swords.
Brendel turned around with furrowed brows. The first skeleton soldier was immediately kicked into the air when it approached him, shattering into pieces before a shower of bones hit the ground. The upper half was not destroyed yet, and clawed around in confusion.
The soldiers on the city wall looked on in shock from Brendel’s strength and the revelation that their reinforcements were undead soldiers.
The second skeleton had reached into striking distance of Brendel, but the youth grabbed its wrist with his right hand and pulled it down, while disarming its Blacksteel Longsword with his left hand. He then threw the off-balance soldier over his head and smashed it onto the ground, shattering it into multiple pieces as well.
His left hand swung the Blacksteel Longsword in a curve without any hesitation. A line of white line cut across a dozen over skeletons cleanly, spreading out in a crescent, and they quickly ceased to move. He glanced at the pile of shattered bones to make sure they posed no threat, before he raised his head and looked inside the city.
“I’ll give you a chance to redeem the regrets in your hearts!” He pointed his sword into the streets ahead: “The dead who have been crucified in this street, are now looking at your powerless selves, but I swear I shall lead you and have them bear witness your victory against the unjust! Fight with me so this wrong can be redressed!”
Everyone gasped when Brendel unleashed a torrent of cold gales in a circle around him, forcing them to take several steps back. His strength somehow blew their doubts away; his figure appearing like a legendary hero that brought about miracles.
A few averted their heads; some blinked their puffy eyes; the rest silently gripped their weapons. This was the final time the departed would see them battle.
They wept inside their hearts and implored the victims in the city to watch their backs.
Without wasting more time, the mercenaries withdrew their weapons and fell into position behind their leaders. They raised their weapons solemnly in front of them in salutation before lowering them in front of Brendel.
An oath of allegiance to fight for their commander.
Alistair looked at the change with bulging eyes. He could not believe what he was seeing.
Brendel turned back with clenched teeth as he felt fire raging in his chest. But he shut his eyes for a second and recomposed himself: “The commanders of the three major mercenary groups, approach—”
Three people amongst the crowd eyed each other briefly before they walked out.
“Your names.” He said, after the three gathered in front of him.
“Cornelius at your service, my lord. I am the commander of Rosewine Mercenaries.” An attractive middle-aged man with silver hair bowed slightly and answered.
“Raban, the commander of Firebrand Mercenaries.” A towering man with dark-skin crossed his arms while he observed Brendel.
“Jana, I am the person-in-charge for Mountain Swallows Company. My lord, forgive me for being blunt. Even though my men and I agree to participate in the battle, it does not mean we will obey all your orders and I will judge our course of actions accordingly.” A red-haired woman with a tempting body answered.
Her green eyes stared at the youth as if to taunt him.
“I do not know the composition of your men,” Brendel merely smiled in response without minding her remarks, and returned her glare: “But my order is simple. Ser Raban and you are to organize your mercenaries to guard the south gate and assault the west gate. There is only one condition. Three hours, before the dawn rises, I want to see your mercenaries’ flags on the city walls and control them—”
He turned his gaze to Cornelius: “Ser Cornelius, your mission is to lead your mercenaries and the remaining sellswords to attack the heart of Firburh with me.”
“I await to hear the details of your plan.” Cornelius bowed again and answered in an unhurried tone.
“Wait,” Jana interrupted with furious brows: “The west gate? Why are we attacking the west gate? Isn’t our target supposed to be Graudin’s manor so we can kill that damned worm?”
“I’ll be open with you. The enemies you are going to face are Madara’s undead army.”
The three of them subconsciously looked at the pile of shattered bones behind Brendel and realized the strange situation before them.
“Graudin has colluded with Madara. The entirety of Madara’s undead army isn’t in the city— Perhaps there would be a small portion in it, but the majority of their army is definitely hiding nearby. My guess is the south-western forest. Your mission is to prevent them from entering the city until we are done with killing Graudin.” He said.
Jana and Raban looked at each other with uncertain eyes, before the latter spoke: “The inner walls of Firburh are no weaker than a fortress. If Graudin colluded with Madara then there must be powerful enemies in there as well. The mission of assaulting Graudin must be more difficult than guarding the walls, so why doesn’t my lord choose us, the Firebrand Mercenaries? Are we that weak in your eyes?”
Cornelius frowned when he heard his words. But Brendel shook his head: “Did I just not mention I don’t know the composition of your men? The number of mercenaries behind the three of you are close enough for me to pick any one of your groups. Time is of the essence because this is a surprise attack, so obey my orders—”
The naked threat in his voice made the three commanders’ hearts skip a beat.
“We have to kill Graudin as soon as possible. Madara will retreat if he is killed. If anyone of you is thinking about running away now, be prepared for hell. If we fail to take Graudin down he will definitely hunt you down. Your actions on surrounding Firburh have already caused things to go beyond a path of no return. Inform your men of our plans on our respective missions along the way. Now move out!”
Brendel turned around and carried Sifrid. He walked across the rubble and entered the city.
“Brother Brendel, you don’t need to fight for me. I heard Grandfather said if I go before Graudin, everything will be fine.” Sifrid said.
“Sifrid, you don’t understand, this isn’t only your fight—” Brendel answered softly as he glanced at the crosses extending into the darkness, his voice trailing off a little. “I chose to carve a bloody path for myself— that is all.”
In the end he chose to face everything. The road before him would now become difficult and thorny, straight into a fiery path filled with blood—
His anger in the afternoon held on to hesitation, but Sifrid and the Senia’s plight caused him to realize one thing; if he still chose to avoid conflict here, then he would have failed himself and the people before him.
[I might find victory through other means by finding Valhalla, conquer everything later by hiding in the shadows and ignoring everything else along the way. But is this really something that I want? Gaining power, but losing everything else?]
In the end, he chose the most complicated plan yet again. He had tried countless ways to avoid involving himself from playing this game of roulette like a gambler, but every time he moved away from it, he found himself coming back to this plan.
He really wished to follow Amandina’s suggestions. It was so easy, so logical and so safe.
[But, we are still Brendel at the very end…..]
He mocked himself, but his expression was filled with resolution. Since he had chosen this path, he would charge forward against all odds to victory—
Brendel stopped moving and turned around. Alistair had been following him closely. The latter took a moment to recompose himself and his expression was one of neutrality again.
“My lord?” Alistair said.
“Do you hear it?” Brendel asked.
“The sounds of battle. Take care of Sifrid—” Brendel let the little girl down and took out a silver card.
The next instant, the cavalry under Graudin rushed out from the corner of a street—