“Return whence you came from, and carry my greetings to your lord!” Hank pulled out his longsword and roared back to him.
The knight shook his head as though he had already guessed this outcome. He mounted on his horse and disappeared from the highlands.
“Why did you not consider surrendering?” Hadsh could not help but ask.
“Did you only learn how to surrender under Graudin’s command?” The veteran scout peered back with dull brownish eyes. (TL: Hadsh was introduced in chapter 209.)
Hadsh was at a loss for words. He did not know who the old man’s identity was, but he guessed the latter was a direct subordinate of that young lord.
[I heard rumors that he belongs the Red Bronze Dragon mercenaries, but I don’t buy it. This old man moves like he’s an elite military scout. He was the one who managed to discover the movements of Count Randner’s army and led us out of a predicament. But that old knight from the Palas region lives up to his name. He used the native Highlanders as guides and ushered our army into favorable spots for their armies— It’s as if they are herding us up like deer and hunting us one by one.]
It was difficult to discover the enemy’s intentions unless one was a very experienced ‘hunter’.
Hadsh did not exaggerate his thoughts.
The other guards stationed at the watchtowers did not detect any of the enemies movements, other than the old man in front of him. The latter had to be one of the best scouts in the army, if his primary job was indeed scouting.
The old man did not mind Hadsh’s stare and knocked on the latter’s chest: “Stand straight, boy. There’s nothing to be afraid of. Abandoning someone like Graudin is the best decision you ever made. You’re now a true warrior, so bring out the courage a warrior is supposed to have—”
The other scouts immediately laughed for a while. It was remarkable they were still able to laugh.
The enemy Highlanders came late but moved quicker than them. Firburh’s defenders were delayed in this forest and got surrounded by Count Randner’s army that was commanded by a few of his knights.
Hadsh’s face was slightly red. He knew that he had misspoken. Even though he was forced to submit to that young lord, Count Randner would still perceive him as a traitor; the others could surrender to the latter but it was not a choice for him. He was initially someone with considerable pluck, but his willpower was gradually worn down by working for Graudin.
He took a deep breath and determined himself to be as hard as his blade.
Hank was admonishing the other scouts: “What are you fools laughing at, get ready for battle—”
The twenty-odd riders started moving off to various directions. The new soldiers in the watchtowers were frightened and they had pale faces long ago u
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