Chapter 18

A group of troops marched out of the woods in formation, passing through the thick, bleak morning mist surrounding the trees.

‘This is so weird…’

Breeden kept staring at the front of the group as he rode his horse alongside Luna Seyrod in the middle of the group. He was deep in thought, repeatedly tilting his head.

His gaze was fixed on the two beings next to Alan Pendragon with his white armor. The two had completely opposite attitudes.

‘Why is he bringing a goblin and a harpy with him? No, in the first place, why are they so compliant towards him…?’

The goblin was joyfully moving his shoulders up and down with flutter in his steps, with the harpy, who was constantly slipping gazes at Alan Pendragon with a scared expression. Both of them were unbound from chains, unlike yesterday. Even without any restraints, they were obediently listening to Alan Pendragon’s words. The terrified harpy he could understand… but that goblin… he…

“Handsome Kazzal had good breakfast! Pendragon is uglier than handsome Kazzal but he is a good human! Hehehe!”

“…What did I say would happen if you said that word one more time?”

“Mistake! Handsome Kazzal make a mistake! Pendragon is handsome! Even more than handsome Kazzal!”

“…

Breeden couldn’t tell if this was a joke or not. He wasn’t sure how to react to the goblin acting all friendly towards Alan Pendragon.

It wasn’t just him who felt this way.

Luna Seyrod, alongside the soldiers of the Pendragon and Seyrod family, all looked at Alan Pendragon, riding his horse alongside the two monsters, with weird looks in their eyes. Alan was not just a noble, but one of the highest-ranked nobility in the entire empire.

It wouldn’t be weird for him to treat humans and other nobles with an arrogant attitude, let alone some monsters. No one could figure out how to react to a person of such status riding beside two monsters as if they were equals.

Besides, why did he even put a feather of the filthy harpy on his helmet? He was definitely a huge oddball. But Breeden shook his head, scattering his thoughts.

‘That brat feels triumphant after coming out.’

That was probably the case. He wanted to showcase the monsters he captured to the bandits he was searching for. He probably wanted to look good in front of Luna as well.

‘Well, your moment won’t last for much longer, brat.’

Breeden gave a sly smile. But he quickly reformed his expression. He could see Southstone in the distance.

***

“Hmm…”

Raven carefully looked over the long stone walls covered with moss and bread gaps missing a few stones. It should’ve been a busy time of day, but he couldn’t see a trace of human activity. It seemed that the residents had already escaped, or were taken by the bandits as Killian had mentioned.

Rattle!

A noise came from inside the village before a figure was seen running hastily towards the other side of the village.

“It was an ugly thief soldier! Alan Pendragon!!”

“I saw it as well.”

Raven nodded his head at Kazzal’s words. It was clearly a bandit placed on the lookout. The troops stopped and grabbed their weapons tighter with anxiety.

“Don’t be shaken. Keep walking.”

At Raven’s low voice, the soldiers remembered back to what Raven had said before they had set out early in the morning. They lowered their weapons before hurriedly following after him.

Shortly after, Raven and the soldiers arrived at a small forest next to a creek on the outskirts of the village. Raven squinted his eyes and looked towards a hill that was seen across the stream.

Atop was a large building, surrounded by three smaller buildings and a high wooden watchtower, this was the monastery. Long wooden fences and rope surrounded the whole encampment and two bandits could be seen sprinting past the open entrance of the camp. The wooden barricade was covered with sharp tips which were as tall as a fully grown human adult. Due to the height of the fences and the distance, it was not possible to see what was going on inside the barrier.

“Kazzal.”

“Okay, Pendragon.”

At Raven’s glance, Kazzal climbed up a tree. Soldiers licked their lips in wonder at the sight of the goblin nimbly ascending a tree like a squirrel. After a while, Kazzal came down from the tree while stepping on the branches.

“Ugly bandits are busy! All the girls and children went into the building. Ten humans with bows. Other ones have spears and swords. Six bandits with horses. More than last time.”

The goblins truly did have amazing eyesight, being able to accurately grasp the number of the bandits from afar. Raven lightly nodded his head before asking.

“Is there anyone who is wearing armor similar to our knight?”

“Is. Three. Among the three the most handsome humans. He went up there.”

“…It’s Del Geoffrey.”

Killian had told Raven that Geoffrey was an especially grotesque person. Now that the goblin called someone the most handsome out of a group, the one who climbed up onto the watchtower must be Geoffrey.

He must’ve climbed up the tower to check the situation for himself after his subordinates reported to him about the invaders. Raven turned his head towards his soldiers that were staring at the towering monastery with nervous eyes.

“We’re heading out. All of you remember, right? Just do as I’ve told.”

“Yes, Your Grace.”

Raven and his troops left the forest. After crossing the shallow stream, he started to slow his horse when he was reaching 300 yards (around 270 meters) from the encampment. He could make out small figures in the watchtower.

“Now, put it up.”

“Yes, sir!”

At Raven’s command, a soldier came forward and finally erected a giant flagged spear that he had been carrying. The Pendragon family’s famous dragon-shaped symbol shone visible under the sunlight. The crest, embroidered with golden thread on a red background, was so massive and colorful that it would be clearly visible from afar. A scoundrel who was originally a knight of the Pendragon family would be able to recognize the symbol, no doubt about it.

“The humans on the watchtower are surprised. The armored, handsome one is most surprised.”

Kazzal rambled on with his hand perched on top of his forehead.

Again, it was as expected.

Raven drew closer to the wooden barrier. Having come this far, seeing that there was no quarrel being fired, the enemy didn’t seem to possess any crossbows. That meant that he could close the distance even more until he reached the firing range of their longbow.

Raven, having crossed about 100 yards (90 meters), turned his head and indicated with his eyes at one of the soldiers. The soldier came to Raven’s side as if he had been waiting for the signal.

When Raven turned his gaze back to the monastery, he could see the people on top of the watchtower glaring in his direction as well.

“Whoo…”

Raven took in a light breath as the tension filled the silence. He opened his mouth wide staring at the watchtower.

“This place! is this place! The! Den of the dirty rats! That betrayed my family?”

Raven’s voice burst out loud.

“Kieeeeek!”

“Kyaaak!”

The voice was so loud that Kazzal and Tata both jumped up in fright. Even the soldiers who already knew of the plan were surprised and flinched.

“Y, yesssshh. Sir Pen-dra-gon!! That is the place that the bunch of scoundrels who don’t know grace are gatheredddd!!”

The soldier next to Raven was picked especially as he had the loudest voice of all the soldiers.

“Their lair is so dirty and inferior, how befitting of mere rats! Look at them hiding in their little holes and spying on us! What a bunch of cowards! It must be a gathering of little girls who have no balls!! Uwahahahahaha!”

The soldiers burst out laughing at Raven’s mockery, and Luna’s face burned red. Raven twisted the reins of his horse and turned the horse around.

“Let’s go! Since they’re so cowardly! I can come back for them after I open the mausoleum and form a con-tract with Soldrake!”

“Well spoken, sir! Eat this, you bastards!”

A soldier pulled his pants down and shook his white buttocks towards the monastery.

“Hahahahahaha!”

The laughter of Raven and the soldiers pierced through the silence.

***

“That damned bastard!!!”

Del Geoffery, with his torn eyes, wild nose, crooked teeth, and spots all over his face, burst out in rage, his face burning bright red.

“I’m going to kill him! I’m going to kill that runty bastard right now!”

Not long ago, he had seen a giant dragon fly towards Conrad Castle. He and his subordinates were scared out of their wit when they saw the sight, but the dragon soon flew back towards the Ancona Forest after a few hours. He wasn’t sure what was going on, but he was relieved when the dragon left.

After a while, he heard that Alan Pendragon woke up from his unconscious state. It didn’t really matter though, because the Pendragon family without a dragon was a tiger without its fangs.

There wasn’t much to worry about even if the Pendragon brat brought his entire forces on an expedition outside Bellint Gate. He had the confidence to repel them within the safety of the barrier along with sixty of his men. There were plenty of traps around the fortress, and they had enough food in-store to last them for months.

The Pendragon family couldn’t just ignore the affairs within the gate and stow away for several months outside the fortress. They were sure to give up and return to where they came from. That was why Geoffery snorted when a guard reported that soldiers, presumably from the Pendragon family, were marching towards here. Two or three knights and thirty-ish soldiers could never hope to conquer this place.

When it came to it, all Geoffry had to do was fire a few arrows from safety, and send some men through the back to circle and swarm the enemy.

But, the little brat who could only piss his pants must have gone insane, because the runt made an open provocation right in front of his face. If the brat had come into the range of the longbows, he would’ve walked away a hedgehog, but he turned around and left after the provocation.

It was natural for Geoffrey to be beyond angry.

“N, no, boss. I mean, Sir Geoffrey, it’s a trap!”

One of Geoffrey’s subordinates hurriedly held him back from his side.

“It’s Alan Pendragon who woke up just a short while ago. It’s not possible that he only brought that many troops with him. It must be a trap.”

“Hmm..!”

Del Geoffrey slammed his feet on the floor with a rough snort. His subordinate was right. There was no reason to walk into such an obvious trap and exit the fortress when there might be more soldiers lying in ambush.

“No, wait a minute!”

Del Geoffrey fervently observed the area under the watchtower as if something came into his mind.

He couldn’t see anything out of place within a one-mile radius. There was no one but the thirty soldiers that accompanied Alan Pendragon. Even if there were soldiers lying in wait outside the field of view, it would take a long time for them to arrive to help. In addition, he had twenty soldiers with horses. That meant…

“We’re going to catch them!”

Del Geoffrey hastened to descend the watchtower.

“Sorry?”

“Idiot! Did you not hear what I said? What are we going to do if that Pendragon brat really succeeds in making an oath with the dragon? We’re really finished then.”

“W, well, yes, but…”

“Motherfucker! I’m not going to take this bullshit lying down. They only have around twenty men anyway. Tell the men to get ready! If we can get rid of that brat then we won’t have to worry about the dragon or whatnot anyway!”

Del Geoffrey climbed down from the watchtower and shouted at his men.

“Open the gates! Leave only ten men behind, we’re going to get those bastards!”

“Yes!”

The bandits that were on standby raised their voices.

Creaaaak! Thud!

The entrance to the fortress was opened. With Del Geoffrey in the lead, over twenty soldiers on horses quickly passed the entrance.

“Hehe! We just need to catch that Pendragon brat. Who knows, maybe we can use this as our chance to take over Bellint Gate? Then we’ll move onto Conrad Castle. Then Duchess Elena will be…. Hehehe… Hahahaha!”

He was elated that he would finally be able to satisfy his craving for killing after a long time. At the thought of Elena Pendragon’s sensual body, his lower body swelled.

“The barrier door is open! Humans are coming out!”

Even without Kazzal’s warning, Raven had already grasped the situation as a veteran of over 10 years of experience.

“Defenses, everyone!”

“Yes, sir!”

At Raven’s command, the spearmen spread out in a fan shape and erected their shields, while archers positioned behind the defenses. Although small in number, it was a well-practiced imperial formation.

“Sir Breeden! Send a liaison to the main army!”

Raven told Breeden, as they already discussed previously. But Breeden opened his eyes wide as if he had no idea what Raven was talking about.

“Sorry? What are you talking about?’

“What do you mean, what am I talking about? One of your men or yourself is supposed to act as liaison to the main group as we discussed yesterday!”

Raven raised his voice with a flustered expression.

“I have no idea what you are talking about. I’m sure I’ve already told you that the Seyrod soldiers, including myself, will escort Lady Luna.”

“What did you say?”

Raven sharply raised his eyes. Breeden held back laughter and continued in a serious voice.

“Well. Looking at the situation, I think we will have to take our leave now. They won’t want to make trouble with the Seyrod family, so we shouldn’t have to worry about being attacked. Lady Luna, let’s go.”

“S, sir Breeden! What are you talking about?”

Even Luna took on a desperate expression and tried to stop Breeden.

“We have no choice. The soldiers of the Seyrod family have to prioritize your safety first, my lady. This place is dangerous, and we must leave immediately. Let’s go.”

As soon as he finished talking, he took out his scabbard and hit the behind of Luna’s steed.

Neighhh!

Luna’s horse ran like the wind down the hill.

“Sir Breeden! S, sir Pendragon..!”

Luna’s voice gradually faded along with the horse. The soldiers of the Seyrod family followed at a rapid pace.

“Then fight hard, Sir Pendragon. Be sure to survive! Khahaha!”

Breeden, who couldn’t hold back anymore, burst out laughing and rode his horse away.

“B, Breeden!”

As he heard the desperate voice of Alan Pendragon behind his back, Breeden burst out laughing hard. He laughed to his heart’s content, not giving a second glance behind him.

“Puhahahahaha! This is the end, brat! Hahahahahahaha!”

But Breeden didn’t see it. Alan Pendragon, who was calling out to him with such a desperate voice, was smiling with his eyes.

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