"Ugh…" Agnas groaned.
Even though Kurdak was only one stratum above him, he still couldn't quite compete with his constitution, reaction speed, age, and purity of the impetus's aspect.
That was why the 15th-stratum Agnas couldn't quite match Kurdak despite his rich experience. Even so, Kurdak didn't have an overwhelming advantage. Agnas wasn't at the point where completely had the lower hand.
Kurdak lifted his thick leg and kneed Agnas on his chest, causing him to take a few steps back. The old warrior couldn't stand it and spat out a mouthful of blood.
"Have the other of your warriors come too. You are not my match," Kurdak said with his sword slung on his shoulder. He then shrugged his left arm. "But if we keep fighting, I can't promise you I'll show mercy."
"You might not necessarily defeat us all," Agnas said with a sigh, "I believe the most probable outcome would be us subduing you after suffering huge casualties."
"Must you go to that extent?" Kurdak attempted a last-ditch persuasion. "I don't wish to kill Hockian warriors."
"But it's an order," Agnas stubbornly said, "If your might far exceeds our ability to handle, we'll have a good reason to retreat. But that's not the case, so we can only continue."
"You used to be a knight, right?" Kurdak said.
"It was an honor I received during the founding war. I am still a knight now with my own household. This is my family insignia." Agnas proudly waved his sword to show the sword-pierced shield insignia on the sword's pommel. Either it was a mark his ancestors passed down or he had it designed after becoming a knight.
However, as my household doesn't have a firm background, I must continue to rely on my empire to win a future for them," Agnas explained, "How did you know that?"
"With your personality, I'd be surprised if you weren't a knight," Kurdak said with his sword raised, "I'm fighting for my survival, and you're fighting for your family! Everyone has a reason they must fight no matter what, so no more chit chat! Come!"
"Apologies…" Agnas felt embarrassed about taking advantage of superior numbers. He lowered his head apologetically. "Warriors, attack!"
Kurdak didn't know how many Hockian soldiers he had killed. He had thought he would fight, eat and sleep together. But for some reason, they wanted nothing more than to stick their weapons in him. Though he didn't wish to cull them in the slightest, he didn't hesitate to. He had to survive and find Vera. He'd be willing to kill many for her sake if they dared get in his way.
But Agnas's predictions weren't off the mark. While Kurdak was easily stronger than any one of them, he wouldn't be able to take on the charge of tens of people at once. New slash wounds slowly appeared on his heavily scarred body. most of them were shallow, but some showed even his bone.
The nonstop wounds slowly wore him out. If they could keep it out another 15 minutes, more reinforcements would arrive. Kurdak would find it hard pressed to escape now.
I guess i better give up. There wasn't much else he could do. Since he was fated to not be able to escape, he better stop the senseless violence. As for Vera, he could ask Leguna to help him out. But if he decided to ignore him…
Kurdak shook his head. He knew Leguna well. He was someone who could ignore his own safety for the sake of Vera, among many other people. Surely he wouldn't refuse that request.
The thought of that caused him to jump back. He broke out of the circle of men, but just as he was about to speak, he heard a rough voice from behind.
"Leader! Londo's here! Hold on!"
Kurdak turned back quickly and saw Londo charging towards him. For some reason, the fellow looked no better than Kurdak himself. His face and armor were all dirtied and his hair had clumped together from the snow and dirt. There was no unfurling the hair; it had to be cut off.
The sudden appearance of Londo happened just in time. The huge man was superior to Kurdak in terms of his physique. Even though his mind and impetus were weaker, it wouldn't be hard for him to take care of the rest of the heavily injured troops.
"Damn! You dare beat my leader up like this? You small fry don't want to live anymore? Let's see me pummel you all to mush!" Londo roared as he swung his greatsword nonstop.
Fighting while quipping had become a habit for him. It was something he regularly did on the battlefield. Kurdak wondered if he was the kind of fellow who spat in others' faces when he brawled with them as a child.
Londo's sudden appearance shocked everyone including Kurdak. By the time Kurdak reacted, Londo had already joined the fray. The middle-aged knight tried his best to stop Londo in hopes that his subordinates wouldn't get hurt.
However, Londo was the top fighter of Kurdak's unit and was more raw and savage than most kinds of seafood. Not to mention, Agnas was heavily injured from the previous exchange and he had to contend with Londo in top form. It took only two minutes for Agnas to be pushed back. During two of the bouts, his head would've been taken off if he hadn't been careful.
Londo wasn't in the best of moods. The person he respected most in his life was Kurdak. After spending two years with him, Londo resolved himself he would follow his leader to the ends of the world. How could he hold back against those who abused his leader to that degree?
He planned to kill everyone on the spot and leave with Kurdak, and given the situation, he seemed able to accomplish it!
"Londo, stop!" Kurdak called out when he snapped out of it.
It saved Agnas's life. He had been beaten to the ground by Londo and a sword was already raised over his head when Kurdak yelled. If that had fallen, Agnas would be bisected.
"What, Leader?" Londo turned around and noticed that it wasn't a good place to talk. "Let's talk after I cut this small fry down."
"No killing," Kurdak hurriedly said. He knew Londo would follow through with it, given his temperament.
"No killing?" Londo lowered his sword and scratched his head curiously. "Why?"
"No killing means no killing! Come!"
"Okay…" Londo nodded and obediently went over. He had developed the habit to unconditionally obey Kurdak's orders, so he ignored his doubts and did what he said.
"Thank you, Sir Kurdak." Agnas was indeed an experienced warrior. Even though he had a close encounter with death, he stood up without the slightest look of panic and even thanked Kurdak.
"Now, I have the ability to stand up against you. You can leave now, right?" Kurdak coldly said. Though Londo's arrival was unexpected, he could use him to make the rest retreat. It was the ideal choice.
"Leader!" Londo, foolish as he was, knew that letting them go wouldn't do. "They know your location, Leader! Later…"
"I know!" Kurdak felt really perplexed as well. He knew that if Agnas went back to report on Kurdak, it would mean a whole lot of trouble. However, he couldn't bear to let the benevolent and just knight die. He had family and he was fighting for those he protected. Kurdak couldn't act out his rage against him. Everyone had their own reasons for fighting. There was no right or wrong, only reasons.
Londo kept silent.
Agnas looked at the two and after making a rough assessment of their relative abilities, he nodded. "I shall retreat. But before I leave, I have to ask you something."
"Ask away, Mister Agnas."
"Why did you betray the empire?"
"Because I had to for the sake of someone."
"I respect your choice. I shall leave and I swear on my honor I will not expose your whereabouts."
"I trust your honor." Kurdak was quite happy with that promise.
"But don't let your guard down, Sir. I heard His Highness Geoffrey has joined your hunt. He should be in this area as well."
"Noted. Thanks for the notice," Kurdak said with a sincere nod.
But just before he left, two familiar voices could be heard.
"Oh, I suppose if I came a little bit later, these two fugitives would've been released by a certain someone. Isn't that right, Yumir?"
"Yes, Your Highness."Previous Chapter Next Chapter