47 The Operation“s Failure
The prince Guilbert had been rather mad about the operation by the Night Prowlers failing. The plan was to use the monster train to annihilate the mercenaries and even the knight Ortush in one fell swoop and then putting the blame all to the Hero again. However, the Night Prowlers came back after luring the monsters and left everything to the monsters without trying to even clarify the result. The ending of this supposed to be tragic fall of over 500 strong army had become the survival story of more people than expected and the money that was supposed to be kept because of their annihilation had to be given as compensation. Although not all of it, his heart still bled for those coins. What made him angrier was the survival of this useless knight he had disposed to lead the army of mercenaries.
"If only I could order the Night Prowlers to kill people for me. That damn old man didn't allow them to follow orders that took lives from me. If they did, I would have successfully killed off everyone that opposed my immediate ascension to the throne when father fell sick from the poison, I especially had concocted for him." Guilbert had been raging inside his mind even when he was listening to Orutsh' nonsensical rubbish of a report. He already knew what happened from the mercenaries that did not respect royal etiquette and directly reported to him what happened. That's why he had already planned to intercept the Horns of Vakthani lead by the captain that time, Caltec. However, the entire mercenary company had disappeared for more than two weeks and only repappeared in the capital Hamilton a few days ago. He was buying criminal bands all over the place, according to Night Prowlers information network.
Knowing that, the prince thought that the Horns of Vakthani might still be trying to recapture Clay after that incident, but thoroughly denied that notion when he heard from other captains that Caltec had joined the ranks of the hero through what looked like a magical contract. Meaning, he was bound to the Hero along with two other unremarkable persons. Giving more headache to the prince.
"Sir Ortush, you have done us years of service and have proven your loyalty to the throne. Therefore, I shall appoint you a few squads to go ahead of the traitorous Horns of Vakthani members under someone called Caltec and put them to justice for their deeds. If you do this right, you will have done us a great merit worthy of reward when we come back to the Kingdom."
Exhausted, the prince had seemingly given Ortush the chance to redeem himself. However, Ortush himself did not notice that he had been sent to death by the prince instead.
Sunshine who was in the shadows of the room, heard this and felt that this son of his friend the king, was dangerous worthy of the throne; if this were wartimes. However, in times of peace, this kind of people are the threat that need to be plucked before it bloomed fully. Sunshine remained in the shadows without doing anything. His other companions had already one by one gotten in contact with their families and gathered them up in secret places. They did so by covering for one who went home and then those that went home came back to Hamilton as if nothing happened to avoid suspicion. Besides, someone had already been sent to the Kingdom ahead of them. Once An arrived at Acadria, she directly sent a secret letter to Sunshine reporting to him what she had been tasked with. Sunshine had heaved a sigh of relief with utter suppression so that his breath doesn't get heard in the shadows. After hearing that news, was also the time Sunshine ordered his subordinates to move one by one.
"I shall redeem my failure with this, your Highness! Have confidence that this knight shall accomplish this without failure!" Ortush was a bit emotional as he said that. He thought he would be sent back to Acadria because he failed to bring back the criminal hero. However, the prince had given him another chance and this time, he will execute this little task with utmost sincerity. At least on the outside, that is. Ortush thought.
"You will leave tomorrow at first light. Your squads will be waiting for you by then at the gates. Good luck!" I hope this time you really accomplish your task. Your hidden quest will be to die successfully, you useless mutt. Guilbert thought viciously.
Ortush having been scolded in front of many prominent knights had embarrassed him greatly. However, with this chance, he will have an opportunity to redeem his face. His pride as a knight keeps him from breaking down and even encourages him to move more viciously to achieve a goal and keep his position as knight. Such was vanity.
The next day at dawn, Ortush woke up and had his knave help him put on his armor and then ordered to carry all his things on another horse. The knave promptly did as he was told and went with Ortush. Arriving at the gates where a few squads of knights. Ortush could already imagine the state of the Horns of Vakthani who betrayed the prince, ordering a charge with these knights on horseback will end the fight in a swift manner worthy of calvary. He was feeling excited. And rightly so, as the charge of knights was one to be utterly frightened off. At least, by ordinary soldiers.
It was a week after Caltec, Jon and Mor had met up on the way. They had been traveling for a week facing some brigands and few monsters on their journey. But this day, it felt that the air was colder than it was yesterday, and the sun was dimmer. Caltec looked towards Jon as his was the highest senses he'd ever known. And just so, Jon also felt something was wrong. Not the same type of gut feeling that Caltec had but a real feeling of danger coming from in front of them. And it was approaching fast.
With but a single nod from Jon, Caltec understood what he meant and promptly stopped the caravan from moving forward. He spoke to Jon immediately right after. Jon's sense of danger was the most accurate of sensory tools that they can use now. Knowing when and how fast approaching the enemies are, was a boon that cannot be taken for granted.
"It's fast. Like a horse riding at full speed towards us." Jon spoke ominously while he crouched and felt the earth with his ears. The feedback was telling him, it was not a horse, but horses, lots of them!
"Old Man! It's a cavalry! We need to get the carriages away from the road and move forward so that we can meet the cavalry before they become a threat to the others! Mor, ready your most powerful and destructive magic right now and hold it until you have a clear shot. I will dig a hole on the ground enough for the horses to fall over once they come as the second line of defense. Old Man, you take the last line of defense and put pound a few holes into the ground as well. We must even the battlefield if we're to fight with numerous knights all at ones. Keep the other soldiers to protect the carriages at all cost. They're the hope of our families!"
Jon was giving out orders left and right, but no one here seemed to doubt and even resist his orders. Caltec also followed without any word of resistance. It was a level of trust that couldn't be forged between comrades in a day. Caltec immediately relayed the orders to his subordinates, the former Horns of Vakthani members.
It seems that Ortush, the pawn who thought he was a knight, is about to face the operation's failure yet again.
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