Chapter 166 – Gambler’s Roulette (3)
“I’m not seeing any enemies.”
“The left street has no enemies too.”
“This alley has none of the damned skeletons either!” The yell echoed in the empty street.
Jana’s anxious eyes glinted under the dim light. Her fingers were on her rapier; her doubts in her heart were growing so deeply that she felt she was drowning. Everyone was under the same state as they searched around the streets for the undead.
When the mercenaries did not discover their presence, they regrouped and advanced in the darkness. Their hurried footsteps were not curtailed and shuffled against the soil loudly. Under the unknown presence that threatened to lurk at every corner, they felt a chill entering their soul. Fear gripped their throats as every shadow in the vicinity seemed to move.
They strained their ears to listen for the faintest hint of noise, afraid that the undead would suddenly gush out from a random alley and surround them completely.
They crossed than half of the distance required to go to the west gate and found nothing. The undead supposedly overwhelming the city was not there.
[Did that young noble judge wrongly?]
The scrawny boy was recently recruited by Jana, and he still had signs of malnourished because of his previous impoverished life. His face held a terrible pallor, mostly because of the terrible atmosphere around him.
“Commander?” The boy said.
“What is it?”
“Has that noble judged wrongly? Is the undead moving towards the north instead?”
“Impossible,” Jana immediately rejected this suggestion: “Timing is everything in a war, and undead commanders are not fools.”
“But……” The boy wanted to say more, but he was interrupted a shout.
“Commander, we found something.” One of the mercenaries ahead of them shouted: “Come over and take a look!”
Jana exchanged glances with the boy before she nodded and ran over. When she got onto the crossroads, she was stunned—
The entire road had turned into something unrecognizable, and skeletons and human bodies were found everywhere.
It was as if a terrible battle had happened there. When she looked into the distance, there were almost no stone tiles that were intact. The pavements were filled with large holes as though they had been dug out. Boulders were strewn all over the ground, and the nearby buildings were smashed full of holes as though something huge had gone through it.
Some of them looked lopsided as though the ground had sunk; when she looked closer, she discovered wooden splinters leading to smashed wooden supports destroyed with a single punch each. The damage appeared to have been caused by a Silver-ranked fighter.
If it was not for the fact that they were unable to find even a trace of the Element powers disrupting the mana in the vicinity, they would have thought it was a situation where two Golden-ranked fighters fought each other.
“Who are these people?”
When she looked at them, she discovered their clothes were no different from the citizens living outside the city, but it did not explain the destroyed skeletons. She briefly counted the number of skeletons to a body.
It was in the ratio five to one.
[If this ratio is right, that would mean the citizens have a ridiculous amount of fighting prowess. How is it possible for Graudin to live until this day?]
The mercenaries were shaking their heads in disbelief.
“Do you see their weapons?” She suddenly realized something odd.
“We didn’t find any,” said the mercenary who shouted earlier.
“You didn’t find any?” Jana took a deep breath: “Are you trying to tell me these humans used their bare fists to fight with the undead? Are you telling me these citizens are from the Silver Lineage?”
“Commander, I’m not sure if you are joking by that last remark, but the armors’ dents on the skeletons looked like they are smashed by fists—” He said in a small voice.
Jana’s eyes narrowed. The events that happened tonight were a little out of her understanding. Before long, they heard a few sets of horse hooves cantering in the street. Three riders dashed through the swirling fog. The scouts sent out earlier by her had returned.
“What did you discover at the city gates?” She broke off from her thoughts and asked.
“Commander,” the rider greeted her before he answered: “There is a fight breaking out at the city gates between what looks to be undead skeletons and humans.”
[[[What?! Are you trying to say the city’s citizens managed to push back the undead?]]]
The mercenaries who heard this answer glanced at each other and had this thought in their mind.
========== Amandina’s POV ==========
A light in the dark felt like it represented hope. Even though it was nothing more than an illusion in their minds, people were still willing to walk forward towards the light.
A fire torch was flickering in the darkness.
A young woman was kneeling on her knees in front of the light. The red hue emitted from it colored her cheeks and body. In the midst of the unsteady intensity of the brightness when it flickered, the beautiful lines of her body were repeatedly drawn.
Her lips were pursed together with a relaxed expression, and she placed both her hands on her knees without moving a muscle. Her black eyes seemed to have a light dancing in them as the fire burned unsteadily.
The sights before her eyes did not affect her at all as if she cared nothing about them.
A tremendous bang echoed in front of her. Three impossibly huge vines which needed two men to hug it emerged violently from the ground, bringing stone fragments and soil up in the air, before they whipped across the gleaming white skeletons in the darkness.
The ten-odd meters long vines easily crushed and swept across the sea of skeletons, causing a cacophony of cracking noises as the crushed skeletons were knocked high up into the air before it smashed onto the ground.
Three tall, stoic men who wore long animal hides covering their backs stood on the city wall commanded the vines. They cleared the skeletons which kept rushing in repeatedly like they were sweeping away snow. Standing near them were even taller figures with slightly hunched bodies. They were transformed Lycanthropes and stared at the sea of undead with their gleaming pupils, ready to fight off any Dark Warriors and Necromancers lurking nearby.
The battle had already lasted a full hour—
“Miss Amandina, it seems there are ally reinforcements from the city.” A gigantic Lycanthrope walked over with surprisingly stealthy footsteps and bowed to her. “They appear to be mercenaries.”
She got up and looked down from the city walls. She nodded after a moment and glanced at Romaine who was clutching her precious bag. Half her body was lying against a battlement as she slept soundly. She would have appeared quite a charming lady if it was not her drooling and half opened mouth and mutterings from her dreams.
Amandina walked over with a sigh and patted her cheeks.
Romaine immediately made a face and made a loud sound of displeasure with her tongue, waving her hands with small protests of complaints: “If you wish to kill Romaine, please wait till I’m done with my sleep—”
Amandina suddenly felt she needed to lie down, but not for the reason of being fatigued.
“Yes, yes,” She frowned with her eyebrows as she spoke in her dreams: “Get your queue number, next—”
When Amandina finally brought Romaine over, she found the female commander Jana in a grimace.
The latter was observing the Lycanthropes and Druids suppressing the undead with considerable ease.
Even if her mercenaries did not come, the results in the west gate would not change. Their strange appearances had led them to wonder what exactly they were and whether they worked for the young noble. If they were, did it meant that he had never trusted her in the first place?
[Perhaps that youth had also made countermeasures for Raban as well?]
She inhaled with displeasure. Even though she knew it was a common thing to do, she felt a sliver of discomfort. It was as if her determination to risk her life was denied by someone else. Despite her maturity, she had looked forward to achieving a miracle after witnessing the proof that the youth had killed Graudin. Her band of mercenaries thought the same way.
In this chaotic region, she and her mercenaries led a nomadic life. She had hoped that the young man was someone worth following, and at least allowed her followers to feel like they could swear loyalty to.
[He’s just like them. No matter how outstanding he appears to be, he’s only looking at us like pieces on a chessboard. He doesn’t trust us and sent additional forces to guard against the undead.]
Jana swung her hair back to her ears and looked silently at Amandina. The latter returned her gaze and stood calmly with showing any signs of being intimidated. For some strange reason, she found Jana and her mercenaries was staring oddly at her and the men here. She quickly came to a conclusion on what had transpired between Brendel and the mercenaries.
“May I know who you are?” Amandina was the first to speak.
Jana felt like she was being suppressed even though the person in front of her was much younger.
[Another damned aristocrat wench.]
“Jana, commander of the Mountain Swallows Company. We are sent here by Lord Gaston’s order, and who might you be, little girl?” She asked with a ridiculing tone, despite knowing who the girl possibly was.
Amandina’s expressions did not change, although she was smirking in her mind.
“I am also Lord Gaston’s subordinate. To be exact, I’m his chief advisor.” She said, and extended out a hand: “This is Lady Romaine, Lord Gaston’s fiancee.”
The merchant girl yawned as she rubbed her eyes sleepily.
A streak of disgust and disappointment flashed in Jana’s eyes. Amandina did not miss her expressions, and she felt the same feeling in her own heart.
“Although, I wish to be clear,” Amandina’s expression turned cold, her voice with slight disdain creeping in: “I might have introduced myself as his advisor, but that does not mean I agree with his methods. Tell Lord Gaston this, miss Jana, if he thinks he can avoid hurting others by acting on his own, he should cast off that naivety. I don’t know what he’s trying to become, but a hero isn’t a saint who doesn’t commit mistakes, but one who takes up responsibility!
Even if he chooses to commit a mistake, he carries not only his life but our hopes and love for him as well. I might respect his choice today, but I will never forgive the act where he abandoned his subordinates— Finally, tell him in this world, freedom, and hope cannot be obtained without going to war and shedding blood.”
The Lycanthropes who had impossibly sharp ears of hearing turned towards Amandina with emotional gazes.
Jana looked at the Lycanthropes who reacted strangely before she asked: “What does that mean?”
Amandina did not reply.
Jana cast her gaze at Romaine for answers, but the latter merely smiled sweetly in response.
“Erm Miss J—, whatsyournameagain……” Romaine muttered under her breath before she continued: “Miss Dame, may I ask if you have Magic Signalling arrows?”
The corners of Jana’s eyes twitched.
============== Brendel’s POV =============
A signal rose from the west gate. The bright fire from the arrow sailed across the sky and lit up the city brightly.
Brendel and his men stopped running when they saw it. The light felt almost like a congratulatory note, informing them they had won.
Brendel sighed heavily.
[If I’m a gambler, then I must be one of the luckiest one around. The roulette has stopped and pointed to the biggest door possible to the future. The fact that the west gate is held means that the Viridien Village has set out to defend it. Since the Lycanthropes didn’t go looking for Sifrid, it must have been Amandina or Romaine’s idea to guard the west gate. Perhaps somewhere along the way, they probably spotted the undead moving…… Regardless of how it came to this conclusion, I have won the day.]
He did not know what the future lied beyond that door, or at least he could not see that far ahead, but the chess piece he placed down had survived Graudin and Madara’s resistance.
“My lord, does this mean Dawn is finally here?” Ciel asked with a smile.
“No, not yet,” Brendel shook his head while he looked at the light: “But— I can finally see Firburh’s ending.”