Chapter 155 |
“Sir Pranbow, take a look over there.”
“Hmm.” Pranbow stopped his horse and raised his visor. His expression immediately darkened when he saw an army in the distance. He assumed it to be the main army of the beowulfs he saw earlier. They were like storm clouds in the far distance.
“I assumed there would be 200 or 300 at most…”
“Those idiotic mercenaries! Do they have goblin eyes? In what world does that look like a few hundred soldiers?” one of Pranbow’s fellow elf knights said with worry after seeing the massive army.
Elven knights were strong. Each one of them had the skills to wipe out dozens of bandits without trouble. In addition, when ten of them were fighting together, even well-trained soldiers or several units consisting of well-trained mercenaries couldn’t be their opponents. However, there was nothing they could possibly do against such a large army.
Even so, turning back wasn’t an option, especially not after they had proudly boasted of their own skills.
“Sir Pranbow. Let’s first find out which family they belong to. Very few nobles would have the resources to possess such a large army.”
“I agree. Let’s go have a conversation first,” Pranbow responded.
The head of such a massive army would certainly be a noble, and even if they weren’t one, they wouldn’t act inhospitably to an elven knight in consideration of displaying their honor and dignity to their men.
‘Is it one of the forces seeking the throne? If so, it would be good to take this chance to find out what kind of person he is and how skilled his troops are.’
Pranbow hung a handkerchief at his spear's end and started forward again. As the distance between the two groups narrowed little by little, Pranbow could see the size and the equipment of the troops more clearly.
“Hmm!” The expressions of Pranbow and the elven knights turned stiff. From what they could see, the army of unknown origins wasn’t simply a large group of beggars. They seemed to be quite disciplined, and their equipment was excellent.
‘Heavy infantrymen? And how do they have so many knights in heavy armor?’
They could see hundreds of heavy infantrymen clattered in chainmail armed with spears, swords, and shields, but what was even more surprising was the presence of nearly fifty knights on horseback armed with plate mail. But that wasn’t all… There were even dozens of beowulf warriors wearing the same armor.
And there was only one explanation for their appearance…
‘They’re not participating as regular mercenaries. The beowulfs are officially working under someone else…’
It made no sense, considering their prideful nature as warriors and high self-esteem. Pranbow’s heart grew heavier as he drew closer to the army.
“Whoa, whoa.” Finally, once the distance between the two groups drew close to less than fifty meters, Pranbow and the elven knights came to a stop.
Four knights on horseback started toward them from the army.
“Laruma tino buroru balin eland emashia?” one of the knights asked in Elandish.
Pranbow responded with a surprised expression, “Ja. Lalano Ballin?”
“Ja. Drak es Lanslo.” Lanslo grinned while raising his visor.
Pranbow nodded. “Ah, a knight from the Drak family. You still haven’t forgotten where your roots are. I commend you.”
“Haha. We aren’t given a choice in the matter of learning the language of Eland as long as we are born into the Drak family,” Lanslo responded.
“Even that is an honorable tradition that stands to prove that the Drak family has its roots in Eland. Anyway, nice to meet you, Sir Lanslo. I am Pranbow of Eland,” Pranbow said.
“Aha, so it was Sir Pranbow,” Lanslo responded with recognition.
Pranbow said with a grin, “Do you know me?”
“How could I not know the swordmaster of Eland? Anyway, it’s nice to meet you as well. However, considering the circumstances, I can’t say that I’m all too glad about this meeting,” Lanslo said, shaking his head.
“…” Pranbow’s expression stiffened. So it appeared that the knight from the Drak family had heard of him. However, for the young knight to act like this meant that he was either confident in himself or in his army. But regardless of the reason, Pranbow was unfamiliar and uncomfortable with such a response.
Of course, this also applied to Pranbow’s fellow knights, who weren’t as disciplined as Pranbow…
“Sir! Where are your manners?”
“Aren’t you a knight of the Drak family? Don’t you have the blood of elves flowing in your veins? The least you could do is to be respectful, even if you can’t join our side.”
“Have some manners! Knight of Drak!”
Most of Pranbow’s fellow knights were in their 40s and 50s, which was considered quite young for elves. As such, they couldn’t suppress their temper and burning spirits. In addition, most of them were visiting Brantia’s mainland for the first time, and all of the people they encountered until now had been extremely respectful and reverent toward them, like Baron Mondelio. In other words, it was their first time meeting a person of ‘equal status’ like Lanslo.
“It sounds to me like these elf bastards are cursing at you. Am I right?” Galfredik asked.
Lanslo responded with a shrug, “Not quite curses, but nothing nice either.”
Banneret Randolph said cautiously, “They are pointing out Sir Drak’s attitude and warning him to be polite. The knight who spoke with Sir Drak is a swordmaster of Eland, and he seems to be a noble of very high status. They’re complaining of Sir Drak’s attitude.”
“Motherfuckers, these elf bastards are pulling shit out of their mouths. Lanslo, forget everything else. Ask that swordmaster if he’s the one responsible for instigating Baron Mondelio,” Galfredik cursed.
Pranbow couldn’t understand the language of the Caylor Kingdom, but his eyes turned toward Galfredik due to the burly knight’s aggressive tone and extraordinary aura. Pranbow recognized that Galfredik, Randolph, and Clay were vampires from their relatively pale faces and unusual auras.
“A knight of the Dark Clan. Are you the head of this army?” Pranbow asked.
“He is asking if you are the commander of this army, Sir Galfredik.” Randolph interpreted Pranbow’s words.
“And what does that matter to you? Just tell him what I was saying before,” Galfredik casually said.
“Yes.” Randolph nodded before turning towards Pranbow.
“This is Sir Galfredik, an exalted noble of our clan and the knight commander of our forces. Sir Galfredik is asking if you are with Baron Mondelio.”
Pranbow managed to remain calm even after the sudden, sharp question. However, the other elven knights weren’t as disciplined as Pranbow, and they couldn’t hide their agitation after hearing Randolph’s question.
“I’m right, aren’t I? Bastards, I can tell just by looking at your faces. You scruffy elves are the ones behind Mondelio,” Galfredik said with a grin.
Pranbow couldn’t understand his words, but he recognized Galfredik’s comprehension from the smile. However, Pranbow remained proud. “And what if we are? That’s right, Sir Mondelio has decided to align his will with Eland. So listen carefully… As soon as you and your army decide to invade Lord Mondelio’s territory, you will be declaring war on Eland. Eland’s elite soldiers are protected by the great spirit. They will destroy and slaughter the troops of your army. So have your soldiers retreat and get out of this land this instant,” Pranbow spoke before tapping on his longsword. It was a fine blade nestled inside an elaborate silver sheathe. He wasn’t afraid at all, even if he was facing a high-ranking noble of the Dark Clan.
Pranbow’s words were accurately interpreted over to Galfredik.
“Uhahahahahahaha!” Galfredik burst into laughter, which caused the elves to become flustered.
“I was worried that you would cut the tail and run off. I never expected you to ask for a battle straight up,” Galfredik remarked.
“Exactly. It hasn’t been too long since they left Eland, so they must be ignorant of the world,” Lanslo replied to Galfredik’s words.
Although they were talking in their own language, the elves felt offended by the attitude and the tone of the two knights.
“How dare you! Aren’t you afraid of angering Eland?”
“Apologize immediately and walk away! I won’t tolerate any more disrespect!”
The elves shouted angrily.
Lanslo gave a meaningful smile. “Ah, come to think of you, you don’t even know who we are yet.”
“Hmph! The Drak family might be famous, but I have never even heard of the Galfredik family. I don’t know which kingdom you are from, but if you show any more disrespect, after Eland unites Brantia…” Pranbow shouted.
“I think there’s a big misunderstanding here.” Lanslo interrupted. He continued. “Our army’s master and supreme commander is over there.”
Pranbow and the elven knights turned their gazes toward where Lanslo was pointing. A knight clad in black armor was observing them from a distance under the fluttering flag of the black dragon. Pranbow narrowed his eyes. He could feel an extraordinary pressure emitting from the knight.
Lanslo continued. “If I may introduce him—His Excellency Duke Jan Eugene Batla.”
“W-what?!” Pranbow shouted with shock while almost throwing reins.
Lanslo spoke with a mysterious smile, “So Lord Mondelio is with Eland? Good. We were on our way to ask that question anyway.”
“Well, well. The Mondelio Barony was a vassal of the Batla Duchy for a long time. Since the Batla Duchy bestowed the duchy its status, the Batla Duchy will be the one to revoke it,” Lanslo stated.
“That’s right. His Excellency Eugene Batla will incriminate Lord Mondelio for betraying the duchy. Well, since a swordmaster of Eland has testified that Baron Mondelio is with Eland, any further conversation will be meaningless,” Lanslo added.
Pranbow bit his lips. He had made a mistake—a huge mistake. The right move would have been to continue the conversation after discovering the opponent’s attitude, but he had been caught off guard by the opponent’s disrespectful attitude. Moreover, he had become quite accustomed to being revered and worshiped during his stay in Baron Mondelio’s castle, which resulted in him committing such a blunder.
Pranbow started to explain, “But if you raise your sword against the Mondelio territory, Eland will…”
“Huh? You were the one who coerced the duchy’s vassal into a betrayal, right?” Lanslo said.
“Ha! And what evidence are you basing your nonsense…”
“Sir Roberi. We captured one of Baron Mondelio’s knights. He confessed that someone gave Lord Mondelio lots of silver coins to hire mercenaries and to have them pretend to be bandits,” Lanslo casually said.
It appeared that even Pranbow’s retreat was blocked.
“What will you do? Will you dare to stop Duke Batla’s righteous rebuke and rage in the name of Eland? Just know that you will be responsible if the relationship between the Batla Duchy and Eland sours due to this matter.” Lanslo’s voice remained light and his tone clear, but his eyes were now cold.
Galfredik, Randolph, and Clay glared at the elves. They were prepared to draw their blades at a moment’s notice.
Pranbow gritted his teeth faced with the dilemma. It would be extremely painful to lose their bridgehead in Brantia over such a matter. The opponents weren’t afraid of Eland, and they held the political justification in condemning Baron Mondelio.
“I…” Pranbow parted his lips with the intention of retreating.
“We are the knights of Eland! The great land of Eland will not bow to anyone!”
The enraged elven knights shouted while unsheathing their weapons.
Pranbow attempted to dissuade the knights, but it was already too late.
“Great! Not too shabby for little elves! I’ll acknowledge your spirits! Hahahaha!” Galfredik burst into laughter before raising his spear. Lanslo and the two vampires raised their longswords as well.
“No…!” Pranbow tried to speak, but he wasn’t given a chance to finish. His eyes filled with shock.
The beowulfs were already charging toward them like starving beasts. However, Pranbow wasn’t surprised by the beowulfs.
A beam of light creating shockwaves could be seen flying toward him at unbelievable speeds.
“From that distance?!”
Pranbow’s eyes were filled with disbelief after recognizing the object as a black spear.