Titan Beneath the Heavens
Chapter 44: Fifth Episode: Chapter 8
Chapter 44: Fifth Episode: Chapter 8
Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
Night fell, and the bustling mountains finally became quiet. The summer insects and nightingales occasionally whispered in the tranquil woods. The moon shined a layer of silver across the entire sky, but the light gradually became dimmer as it traveled across the hills and trees, with only a few pale white rocks reflecting the dim moonlight.
The battlefield was completely covered in darkness, as if nothing had happened there during the day. The strong stench of blood attracted all the beasts in the mountains. Despite the sweet alluring scent of fresh blood, the beasts were afraid to get too close to the woods. They kept peering in and out of the surrounding forest, terrified of the bonfires, and of these humans who seemed more dangerous than hunters.
The Narcissus Knights lit a few bonfires in the forest, and the fires were in contrast to the entire field of slaughter. The woods had been ruined. There were lots of fallen trees and some of them, still upright, were swaying unsteadily from side to side. Surrounding them were innumerable crosses, with a dead body crucified on each cross.
Despite all the scars on these bodies, there was only one deadly wound, which was a neat cut of the throat. These were the masterpieces of the First Lieutenant Chief Arden of the Narcissus Knights. Even though Arden had just been promoted to First Lieutenant, he felt that it was not worth his excitement. Not when there were only a few officers left alive in the team.
Although the Narcissus Knights did not like to torture their captives, they were not too bothered about their principles this time. Persians that ended up in the hands of Narcissus Knights never had any happy ending anyway. Often they treated enemy prisoners with intense measures, so now they were naturally not courteous while dealing with these enemies of no clear status. Since they dared to attack the Andrew family within the territory of the empire, they should be prepared to accept the consequences and punishments.
In the afternoon, Colonel Kamille Rayen reorganized the ranks of the troops. All the Narcissus Knights who were able to ride were sent to the hills on both sides of the forest. They were responsible for taking care of anyone or anything that they felt was a threat to the troops within a two-kilometer radius, and even until now they were still patrolling around the mountains.
Regarding those Imperial Guards, the colonel had them formed into two small teams to perform the task of punishing. The Imperial Guards were not cowards, they had proved their worth during the fighting earlier that day. However, the colonel thought they still lacked the courage to fully commit to throwing themselves into the battlefield.
One small team inspected and cleaned up every nook and cranny of the woods and all the bandits who were injured or unable to move were tied up by them. On the other hand, another group of Imperial Guards turned into carpenters. They chopped down the trees across the woodland for the whole afternoon, and finally, they managed to produce a total of 176 crucifixes.
The knights faithfully executed the orders of the prince. They sent the begging bandits up to the crucifixes, and the sound of sharpened wooden stakes piercing into human flesh one after another created an oddly terrifying melody. The screams heard now were much sharper and more jarring than during battle. The scene resembled the devils of hell torturing the souls of the degenerates. The colonel invited all the women in the troop into the carriage. Although they did not witness it with their own eyes, the mournful screams still kept the ladies frightened. At this moment, Celia finally admitted that her youngest son was extremely abnormal. Through the tiny window, she saw a bandaged-up Oscar jumping in excitement while teaching the knights ways to perform executions.
The Imperial Guards had never done anything like that. The earth-shattering fight earlier today had already made them uncomfortable, but this abusive task that the prince and colonel assigned to them had dissipated their initial feeling of shock. Killing was too simply an easy task, and to watch someone lose their life in extreme pain was somewhat rewarding.
The Imperial Guards clumsily placed the enemy captives on the crosses following the orders of the prince. They first crushed the limbs of the more than 170 wounded captives into pieces, and next the guards were formed into groups of four, where one was responsible to tie up the enemy captives on the crosses, while the other three nailed them up using wooden stakes.
It was not until late afternoon that all the captives were taken care of, and the worn-out guards finally could take a rest to admire their cruel masterpieces. The hills were decorated with crosses, which each hung a painful soul. Although they had already become deadly quiet at this time, their struggles and cries seemed to still be imprisoned in the mountains, as their screams lingered in the ears of the guards and could not be dismissed no matter how hard they tried.
Blood poured into pools under each of the inverted crosses, and they quickly seeped into the soil. The bad stench spread around the compound, which attracted swarms of flies to fly around the corpses. The Imperial Guards were no longer interested in their hard work after their initial glances. It was at this moment that they really believed the old adage - the best enemy is a dead enemy. Although the enemies' lifeless appearances were horrifying, there was nothing more wonderful than a view like this.
The Imperial Guards had set up a simple campsite at the foot of the mountain which was only four or five hundred meters away from the battlefield. From time to time, the patrolling Narcissus Knights would return to the campsite bringing more dead bodies, and the number of inverted crosses would increase to thirty more after the night fell.
Several key figures of the troops gathered in a large tent. It was originally a tent for His Royal Highness the Prince, the only one that had not been damaged by the attack of the rolling logs.
Dinnertime passed by in silence. Although they all had no appetites, they knew they had to maintain sufficient physical strength. They had come to a consensus that those bandits retreated voluntarily from the battlefield after seeing their unsuccessful attempt at assassination. That was to say that they still had the power to fight again, hence no one could really predict what would happen next.
Oscar was the first one to gobble down all the food served on his plate. His wounds still hurt from time to time, but Percy had him take a couple of Dolantin, which had indeed relieved the prince from his suffering. He sat quietly and decided to take forty winks.
Oscar who appeared to be deep asleep suddenly opened his eyes sharply. At this action, the women inside the tent immediately stopped whispering. Footsteps were heard approaching the tent, and Oscar reflexively placed his hand around his machete handle.
"Your Highness, Kamille is here to report to you." The footsteps halted in front of the door.
"Come on in!" Lady Duchess Celia replied to the colonel. She saw her youngest son had already closed his eyes again, but his hand was still holding the machete.
Her Royal Highness Princess, the Lady Duchess, the Young Lady, and Annie all stood up to greet the few people who came into the tent. Kamille was not alone, behind him he was accompanied by Ricky the Liar and Doramy the King of Sins. The two giants Godot and Ferry were outside too, but they did not come into the tent. They had been keeping watch outside the tent since the end of the chaotic afternoon.
"Take a seat, all of you. Look at them, the ladies had frightened them all." Lady Celia greeted them with a warm smile. The ladies should not have had to stand up to greet the men, but the people in the room knew that if it were not for the colonel and the two men behind him, the ladies might have all been dead and discarded in some barren hills.
"How is the condition out there, Kamille? The knights are all right?" Celia reluctantly played the role of a host. Her youngest son was resting, while the other ladies also appeared to be unwilling to speak.
"Please rest assured lady, our knights are the most determined soldiers. Despite their heavy casualties, their morale is still very high. Several group leaders of the Narcissus Knights have already been discussing the possibility of annihilating the enemy!" Kamille said bitterly. His knights were in fact not well, especially those who had been sacrificed.
"Loss statistics?" Celia then asked. She saw Sasha lower her head in silence. Obviously, the young lady eventually did not have the courage to complete the task her mother assigned to her.
"Statistics..." Colonel let out a heavy sigh. He stood up from his seat and stood respectfully before the Lady Duchess. The wound on his shoulder was still bleeding. "At noon today, the troop was ambushed and the garrison troops took the lead in the fight against the enemy. After this battle, the Second Squadron of the Fifth Regiment of the Fourteenth Cavalry Division of the Narcissus Knights reports a total of 91 sacrificed, 41 seriously injured, 5 missing people, minor injuries were not calculated. The First Squadron of the Third Regiment of the Sixth Cavalry Division of the Third Military Corps of the Eleventh troop of the Imperial Army reports a total of 141 sacrificed, 69 seriously injured, minor injuries were not calculated. At present, the actual combat strength of our garrison troop is 245 people. The financial situation and other personnel losses were not counted ... I ... I am finished. "
"It's not your fault, Kamille," Celia comforted the paladin. "That's not too bad of a situation, for now, we could possibly also get help from the local garrison."
"Lady, indeed, I found the most intelligent knight to go seek for help, but ... you know, those gangsters will have surely set numerous obstacles on the way to the army station. That is to say, at the moment, we cannot expect any help from others."
"Sit down, Kamille. You need to rest." The Lady Duchess sighed. Even she could not think of other alternatives.
Kamille took his seat and also lowered his head. At this crucial moment, to perform any actions rashly were suicidal. Although the enemy lost a total of 479 dead bodies and over 200 captives were slaughtered, he believed that these guys still had enough strength and manpower to launch an attack again. With less than 250 knights and more than 100 seriously wounded knights in their own garrison, the paladin could not think of any possible plan of offense against the enemy. His knights could no longer withstand an aggressive assault like how they did at noon anymore.
"Who are those guys?"
Kamille looked around but did not figure out who was talking. Only a moment later he realized that it was His Royal Highness Prince when he wobbly sat up from the soft bed.
"I remember asking you to keep ten of them alive, so have we got any results?" Oscar wobbly stood up. Antonia, who was beside him, quickly helped steady the prince.
"I'm sorry, Your Royal Highness, my men from the Criminal Investigation Team had been sacrificed. I had locked up the ten guys that you asked for separately, but I still have yet to interrogate them," replied Kamille.
"Doramy, what do you think?"
The King of Sins stood up and pretentiously bowed to the ladies.
"Your Highness, I did a quick check and figured that they should not have been a regular army. It can be seen from their equipment because they had a combination of all sorts of messy things, but they did not have core weapons such as the heavy crossbow or repeating crossbow. So, my guess is that they were possibly just mercenaries, perhaps from Italia, Faran, Malton, or Slovenia." Doramy knew a little about mercenaries, he was part of them when he was younger.
"What about the few assassins who attacked me and the princess? They wore the uniform of the Imperial Guards. Why was that?" The prince subconsciously laid his hand on his machete handle again. It seemed like the assassination had left a lasting impression on him, and was still on his mind.
"Your Highness!" Kamille stood up again, and his action seemed a little strenuous because of the wound on his shoulder. "Your Highness, I did some research on the Imperial Guards, and some people could prove that they started the journey with the troop, but they were only added to the troop as supplementary guards before we left for the journey. None of our knights knew about their backgrounds. I only learned that they were a total of six people, in which you had slaughtered two and the paladins of the princess had killed three. Unfortunately, the two paladins were sacrificed, and the last of the six was also killed by Your Highness."
Oscar's head ached even more severely. He knew that the side effect of Dolatin had started to take place. "Well, this is a good enough explanation. Our marching route, the camp layout, the distribution of soldiers, the composition of our defense, all our actions were revealed to the enemy by these guys." The prince sat down again as he could not stand the pain of the migraine.
"Kamille, we have to thank you for we can all gather here today! If it was not for your strict defense, I am afraid we would have long been annihilated. Although the enemy had help from the inside, they couldn't find a proper opportunity. Their assassination today thus was executed out of frustration. Despite our heavy losses, and speaking from the enemy's point of view, they've achieved nothing but dead bodies! Oh yeah! They got my two servant girls, and I will definitely collect this debt from them!"
Kamille returned to his seat again, he did not want to move anymore. The wound hurt so badly, there seemed to be signs of inflammation. "Your Highness, this is my responsibility. However, it is also due to my negligence that brought upon us this situation we encountered today. I did not realize that our enemy had planted their men within our troop. As the commander, I should have considered the probability. Even until now I am still not sure if the troop is completely without the threat of internal spies."
"No, Kamille, these are inevitable, and it is not possible for us to identify them one by one. What I am most concerned about now is the identity of that guy who wanted to murder me. I am not sure if anyone realized, but he really has high ambitions! He did not only want to get rid of me, but also Her Royal Highness Princess! This is the part of the equation I can't fathom. I understand that many people want me dead, but Alanis?" he turned and looked at the princess.
"Alanis did not offend anyone, on the contrary, everyone in the empire loves her. So why? On a side note, Your Royal Highness Princess, I want to apologize to you. Snowstorm once alerted me that someone had the intention of hurting us both, but I disregarded his warning. I really cannot figure out who the culprit would be. "
"Oscar, you should not say that. You saved my life and Emory's, I will not allow you to blame yourself anymore," the princess said sternly.
The young man waved his hand nonchalantly. That was what he should do. If any misfortune really happened to Alanis, he believed Alfa III would never ever let him off the hook.
"Kamille, what's your opinion on our next move?" Oscar did not intend to try and identify the guy who planned all this in the shadows at this point, but he had already narrowed down the possible scope of the target. The bastard could undetectably put six assassins among the Imperial Guards, and also hire a mercenary group, this was definitely only the ability of an important person.
"Your Highness, I do not know. I really have no idea. As Sir Doramy had said earlier, if the enemy was a foreign mercenary, they must have had reasonable and legitimate reasons to enter the territory of Titan. If they did not, the garrison and border guards here are all under suspicion so it is not advisable to even count on the help of the military now. Maybe I can make a decision after your bodyguard and Sir Drosha return. "
"Where did they go?" Oscar wondered.
"I also did not know they left initially, I only found out that the two gentlemen were not in the troop when I was counting the number of missing people. According to Ferry, he saw the King of Assassins and the paladin chasing after the enemy deserters, and there was no more news of them after this."
"Hahahaha! Really? This is true? Ferry indeed saw all this?" Oscar was elated at the news.
"Yes, Ferry swore he was not mistaken."
"Great! This is great! Perhaps the two guys will bring back some gains! Haha, I can rest assured now. Let's go, my paladin. You mentioned earlier that we have no more interrogation experts for now? Haha, I figured it out. We have myself, Doramy, plus a doctor who can make a man experience so much pain he would rather die, is that not enough?
The woods became immensely dark at night. The dense grass and shrubs made the entire woodland resemble a floating, moving beast. Not far from the campsite burned several bonfires, but many people were still moving around actively within the camp compound. These figures advanced in and out of the tents, and whenever a tent opened, the angry swears of men and the women's screams of pain would spread across far into the deep forests.
"What should we do?" Sarlat Drosha clenched his fist around his sword. For the past few days, he had been sharing the same carriage with these servant girls of the prince, and he adored the girls. They were the purest group of teenagers, who affectionately called him Uncle Drosha.
Snowstorm grabbed his old friend whom he had "got acquainted" with ten years ago to cease him from doing anything impulsive. He too felt sorry for the girls, but as the King of Assassins, he would not allow himself to feel distressed. Now he had completely changed from the innocent country knight into a different role.
"What do you want to do? Rush in and kill all of them? They have more than 500 people in there. How many can you kill?"
"No! I can't bear to hear these voices anymore! That's right! I might be nailed to the mountain with arrows even before I can enter the campsite, but that would at least make me feel less guilty." Sarlat Drosha freed himself from Snowstorm's tight grip.
"Hey!" Snowstorm grabbed his wrist again, but this time the paladin was prepared, he held his rapier at the throat of the King of Assassins.
"Do not stop me!" Sarlat threatened his old friend, with clenched teeth. The deafening waves of wails came rushing over from the direction of the camp once again.
"Sarlat, they are finished! Do you understand? They are already dead! Keep this life of yours to seek revenge later!" Snowstorm gently moved the rapier a little to the side. "Your task now is to mark the way according to the method I had taught you earlier. It is more important than anything else, to explain the situation over here after you return to the prince."
More rustling came over from the campsite as the mercenaries dragged a poor girl from one tent to another. Sarlat could not see who it was, but he knew that the girl would not have the chance to see daylight.
"What are you going to do?" The paladin sheathed his rapier. He wanted to get out of this hell as soon as possible.
"I am going to go in and give their sentries a little surprise. If the prince decides to risk attacking this camp, then it is better to hurry, for I do not know how long I can remain hidden inside." The King of Assassins said while organizing his equipment. He threw out all the tools that could create noise that would expose himself, onto the ground. In the end, he had only one short pocketknife in his hand.
"Are you sure you want to do that? That ... is that a fruit knife?" Sarlat asked Paul with suspicion.
"You are doubting the ability of your old friend." Snowstorm waved the small knife in his hand, "Maybe to you this is a toy to cut fruit, but in my hands, it is a deadly weapon. I have yet to remove the traps and dispatch the sentries, so do not waste any more time, you know what to do!"
As the paladin silently slid into the woods, he glanced back once, but the King of Assassins had already disappeared, and in the mountain, only the fires of the enemy's campsite burned brightly.
"Do you know what you should do?" Oskar threw himself tiredly in the chair. His whole body was drenched in his own sweat. Even though the headache had subsided a little by now, he had never felt so sleepy before in his entire life! "Damn dolatin! Even if I'm dying the next time I swear I would not use this thing anymore." The prince warned himself.
"Hey, I'm asking you a question, do you know what to do?" The young man raised the head of a captive up whose face was filled with terror.
"I know! I ... I know!" Makario was full of regret. His troop leader had received some warning when agreeing to take this business, but they were naïve enough to mistakenly think that the prince was only a child. Getting rid of one child should not have been much trouble, and no one would know who did it. However, now things had completely changed, Makario had never thought he would ever be placed in such a miserable situation.
"Well, just as before, when I ask you a question, you will give me a truthful answer. Presumably, you had seen that your nine companions basically gave up all the information they had, but they still could not escape death. Do you know why? I'll give you a serious warning, the most crucial thing. Let's say if you have answered a question wrongly, then you will first lose one finger. If the most critical question is also not being answered truthfully, then what will be waiting ahead of you will be the cross. You know, I prepared ten of them, and if you want to have that last one, I would be happy to present it to you."
"I understand ... I ... I ... fully understand," Makario was about to collapse. He looked around himself and came to the realization that all these guys were not human at all. Although he had also tortured prisoners before, he never thought of such a brutal tactic.
The tent was filled with the stench of urine thanks to the traumatized captives. The small tent was filled with ten people before, and now it was only left with Makario alone in less than an hour.
Four people surrounded Makario quietly. He clearly remembered all these men from this afternoon; that butler was the archer; the old man was the insidious one; and that child was the prince, whose portrait was distributed to everyone in the mercenary troop. As for the doctor, Makario trembled when the guy smiled at him. He was definitely not a doctor, no doctor could do anything so cruel as to mutilate the human body as he did, and after that, having the unlucky guy still have a sane, conscious mind. He could never be a real doctor, never!
"It's good that you understand the rules!" Oscar accepted the coffee the butler handed him. It probably was not good for the wound, but at least it allowed him a short, sober moment. "Then listen well, the same question, I have repeated it nine times, I believe you will make me satisfied. Tell me, your identity, nationality, and whatever business it was that you participated in."
"Your Honourable Prince, my name is Makario. My public identity is a fur trader, but I am also the deputy head of the Le-Mans mercenary group of Italia."
Oscar digested the information for a moment, and in his eyes flashed a brutal glimmer, "Doramy!" he shouted.
The first person to react to this cry was, of course, Makario, "Oh, no! You know what I'm saying is the truth! No, I swear! I am telling the truth! I am... oh… No! Oh God!"
The King of Sins did not care about the screaming. With much ease, he professionally extended one of Makario's fingers and removed it from his hand in one swift cut. Makario's screams were very pleasant to his ears, and the King of Sins believed this shrill scream would have sent the birds flying off the mountain.
The Poison Doctor Percy snatched away the cigar in between the fingers of the King of Sins and he blew on it until the tobacco burned with bright red embers. He then stabbed the large cigar against the wound of the prisoner, and the blood immediately stopped flowing. Makario started wailing again and struggled wildly, but he could not move an inch away from the thick leather that was wrapped around his body.
The foul smell of charred human flesh filled up the tent.
Oscar took out his handkerchief and covered his nose. "Hey, this is only the first question, do you damn bastard think I'm an idiot? Why would the deputy of a mercenary group need a decent status to cover up his identity? I'll ask you just once more. What kind of business is it that you do?"
Makario burst into tears. Although he was discouraged after witnessing what had just happened to his companions, it was only until he felt the great pain himself that he surrendered to withholding information from the cruel prince.
"Okay ... Okay ... I also provide some military intelligence to the military agencies in Italia, but I am only the informant. Really, I provide information for them and it is usually nothing more than the deployment of the Titan troops at the border, and sometimes news about things that happen in the mainland. Really! Nothing else! I just play... a ... a small role."
Oscar was once again challenged. Why would the military institutions in Italia suddenly be involved? It seemed that things were far more complex than expected.
"So, here comes the second question, who told you to do so? Do not tell me you don't know. It would be acceptable if the nine guys before you had no idea about that, but you, you are the deputy, and if you want to ..."
"I really don't know!" Makario interrupted the prince before he could finish his sentence. He urgently filled his expression with pain and tears, "I swear! I really don't know, all the arrangements are made by the leader… Oh, yes! My leader, his name is Hondolas, nicknamed the 'Black Ape', he often deals with military intelligence agencies. Your Highness! You can ask him, he must know more than me!"
Oscar laughed slyly, "Two!"
Extremely tragic cries were heard again coming out from the tent.
The Poison Doctor took out a small bottle from his pocket. It was his treasure, the remuneration he was awarded from a case in the past. The thing contained in this little bottle was called "musk," a word that he could not pronounce, but he knew it could wake even the deadest soul. The priceless little bottle was one of the most mysterious Oriental spices, and the selling price of it on the black market was unimaginable.
Makario was awakened by an extremely stimulating smell. When he opened his eyes, he instantly regretted that he had not died.
"Who ordered you to launch this attack?" The prince asked again with much patience.
"Waa…waaa!" Makario dropped to the ground like a weightless feather. "I can't say it! It will cost me my life!"
"Think about it, my friend, the leader of your group is probably having the time of his life at this moment, embracing girls on either side. And look at where you're at now? Giving up your own life just because of a secret? Just tell me. My doctor will heal you, and I will have my butler grant you a bag of gold later. Although that might not be any more valuable compared to my head, but believe me, my dear Makario, it should be enough for you to retreat to a remote and secluded countryside town and spend the second half of your life in peace." Oscar tried to convince the prisoner.
"You swear to God?"
"I swear it by my faith!"
"Well, okay. It was near the end of May, when a secret agent who had always been in contact with us visited our camp. He demanded us to attack any possible targets, he even paid a deposit beforehand. It was only until half a month ago that we received the confirmation, and all of us, our whole troop entered the mountain area. There was a guide who led the way. Soon enough we found your procession and began planning the layout of the attack..."
Oscars heard the sudden sound of the bugle from outside the tent. He stood up with great difficulty, even though he was exceedingly reluctant to leave the comfort of the seat.
"Makario, thank you for your cooperation. I am going to retreat now, but I also need to know what is the name of the person that entrusted you with the task, how he looks like, not to forget the guide, and also how you guys got in touch with the assassins that had been wanted to murder me. And… oh hey, my trusted friends!" Oscar turned to his criminal friends, "There is something peculiar violently fighting in my mind right now, and I can't stand it anymore! Ask those important questions on my behalf, and do not let our Deputy Head Makario stay idle for even one moment."
"Attention!" A loud command broke the quiet summer night.
"Respect to the warriors who sacrificed!"
The knights were in a formation of neat rows. They pulled out their swords, and held the hilts to their chests with the sharp tips pointed towards the sky.
"Light the fire!"
His Royal Highness Prince O'Neil Andrew Morisette walked out from the queue with a torch in his hand. Behind him was his mother, sister, and a few other ladies; while in front of him was a huge pile of dry firewood mounted with numerous warriors' bodies.
His Royal Highness Prince slowly walked from the front to the back. The raging fire burned vigorously. The sound of bodies burning accompanied the crackling of burning firewood.
The fire burnt violently up into the sky, and vague images of the sacrificed knights in battle seemed to have appeared in between the flames. The knights in formation were immensely quiet and they did not make a sound. However, their eyes revealed an unprecedented murderous glint. What they needed to do at the moment was to avenge their comrades.
Most of the Narcissus Knights did not attend the funeral of their comrades. They had to carry out their duties of sweeping the area, cleaning up and guarding the campsite against enemies. Only when the fire was lit, they pulled out their swords and observed a moment of silence for three minutes, facing the direction of their comrades going to heaven.
Oscar did not say a word. These people sacrificed for himself. If it were not for this trip, maybe they would still be able to go fighting on the battlefield and even if injuries could not be avoided, but at least they would not die confused on their own soil. They could have fallen under the swords of Persians enemies, like thousands before them, instead of becoming a reward for some mercenary group.
The funeral held was rather simple. There were no farewell crowds nor seas of Narcissus. What they had were only the young lady's tribute and the knights' heartfelt wishes.
The flames sent blinding light into the eyes that looked towards it, but no one wanted to avert their gaze away from the light. The people within the sea of fire had earned their honor and trust in the most magnificent way, and if the prince had the choice, he would no doubt lead those knights once again. The young man finally felt as if a corner of his own heart had been broken. When he lit the fire, he saw the imperial guard who had taken a sword attack for him, the Narcissus Knight who told himself about the steel carriage, and also that attendant who taught him how to set up a tent, and he also saw the Narcissus scout that had hunted with him.
He was the first to leave the funeral, as he could not find a reason to stay. He did not know how his father, the commander of the Narcissus Knights, took part in this kind of funeral. He intended to ask his father after returning home, to learn from him on how to deal with sacrifices, how to face the enemy, and the most important thing – after all this, how to deal with his broken soul.
"Oscar!" the scream came from the foot of the mountain! "Oscar! Oscar!"
The young man recognized the voice of the Hedgehog Paladin. Through gritted teeth, the little fatty dragged his weak and injured body towards the direction of the sound that was calling for him.
Several Narcissus Knights escorted Sarlat Drosha to the prince. They saw the young man rushing crazily over, and he grabbed the reins of the former paladin with one hand.
"Haha! Sarlat! May the God of Light bless you! Where is the damn Snowstorm? What did you find out? Where is he?" the young man exclaimed excitedly at his return.
The Hedgehog jumped neatly off his horse. He noticed Colonel Kamille also rushed over to their direction.
"Oscar, Kamille! Paul and I discovered the campsite of the enemy. It is to the west, at a mountain pass only nine kilometers away from here."
"Really?" "How many people are there?" Oscar and the Colonel asked at the same time.
"First can I have a drink?" Sarlat licked his pale lips before answering. He had not had a drop of water since afternoon until now. The knights rushed off to find a water bag for him as they were impatient to hear about the news. They now looked at the menacing Sarlat as if he was a saint.
Sarlat accepted a water bag from one of the knights and began chugging water down his throat. He was extremely thirsty after the long ride and even shook the water bag to drink the last few drops.
"Ah ... those damn guys ... Those guys set up their camp under a cliff, and on its either side were also steep mountains. Only one side of the forest slope is considered alright, and they did not send out scouts, they only set up a few traps around their campsite. According to the number of tents they had in their camp, there should be more than five hundred fighting strength. So, what say you? Should we give them a shot?"
Both Oscar and Colonel Kamille Rayen were silent. The opposition had more than five hundred! That was twice their size!
The prince was a little hesitant. He could not wait to dash off to the enemy's campsite immediately, but he had to consider the consequences. He knew nothing of war, but the warring blood of the Andrew family inside him instinctively told him that it was a truly unique opportunity. He carefully solicited the advice of the colonel.
"Kamille, what do you think? They do not have scouts, and we could sneak past effortlessly. Moreover, our man Snowstorm is still in there, and we could just as well catch them by surprise."
Kamille was also a little hesitant. The enemy obviously outnumbered them, and he could not get rid of 500 people without alarming anyone. He must be responsible for the entire troop. "Your Highness, let us not talk about the enemy first, let's talk about ourselves. I believe we could indeed launch an attack, but we still have the wounded, and we have a few ladies who cannot be harmed. If we leave them here ... That ... that's too unsafe, a mere reconnaissance squad from the enemy can have them all buried six feet under. I mean once we don't have any more protection here."
Oscar gripped his machete tightly until his knuckles became white. An uncontrollable strong force seemed to be flowing urgently through the machete to his whole body. He knew he had to make a decision!
"Kamille, listen up! I have decided, we need to attack, we cant sit here and be sitting ducks. So I want to attack, us being severely wounded, the enemy will never expect us to launch a counterattack so soon. Bring the ladies along, and let all the wounded who can move be up on horseback. Those that cannot, we have to bring along too. If we want to fight, we should pour in our full strength. It is a matter of life and death! This is the decisive time!"
The paladin considered the decision repeatedly. There was nothing more difficult to do than to make a decision like this. Suddenly, he picked up the bugle horn that had been passed to him by Lady Celia. In fact, there was nothing left to be held back. The prince was right! Compared to being on the defensive, being on full attack was definitely more attractive!
"Your Highness! Is this your final decision?" Kamille asked one last time.
"Yes, and that is my command!" His Royal Highness Prince O'Neil Andrew Morisette answered firmly.
"Woo ... woo ... woo!" The silent valley was awakened by the bugle horn. The patrolling Narcissus Knights heard the call and pulled their horses to a halt, and carefully identified the signal. This was the attack command! Andrew Haila! They had to attack!
"Hold up!" Oscar held up a guard who was about to leave with his horse. "Knight, go to my butler and pass him my message. Tell him that my faith is the Asura the King of Demons from Hell. Ricky will know how to deal with that captive! I believe he will! Certainly!"