Passing through trees and boulders, Locke ran into the dense forest with a person on his back. Despite the burden, Locke showed no sign of slowing down. With his life at stake, he shifted his gears into overdrive.
If Locke was moving as fast as the wind, then the Blood Red soldier behind sped like lightning. Kashir was different from Locke and hopped as he moved forward instead of plain running. Every time he landed on a tree or rock, he would kick his foot to reach the next tree or rock.
Not only was Kashir faster than Locke, he was also much more graceful in his movements.
After passing through many obstacles, Locke approached a large hill. The valleys on both sides of the hill were green and lush. The mountains in the distance didn't look dried, withered and yellow like one would normally expect in late autumn. At this time, Locke was roughly three kilometres away from where the great clash between the Blood Red and Faustian soldiers happened. In such a short time, Locke had already run so far.
Solon, Hans, Caen and the others were nothing more than specks in the distance now. Yet, Locke did not relax. A huge, oppressive entity was still chasing after him from behind.
"Just give up! It makes no sense for you to do this," persuaded Kashir, without slowing down. He felt a little bitter. Unlike Leit, who was stronger than him, Kashir had just broken through to the high rank less than a year ago. He had yet to build a solid foundation, and was not able to harness the full extent of his impetus. He was no fool and always tried to conserve energy for the way back. There was a reason why he was one of the longest-living men in Blood Red.
Locke didn't answer and continued running. Only a fool would stop. Locke was not a rookie who had just joined the army that would fall for such deception. Even if it was meaningless, Locke would struggle all he could.
"Damn it!" Seeing that Locke kept his pace, Kashir sped up. He had to catch up; there was no time to waste.
The high-rank Knecht activated his impetus projection on and directed it to his thigh muscles. An impetus jet spewed from Kashir's feet. The distance between the two of them instantly shortened by 10 metres. Kashir had used up one-tenth of his total impetus in exchange for a burst in speed.
Locke's ears were hurt by the strong winds behind him, and he was less than 20 metres away from the peak of the hill. But it was so near, yet so far. It was almost impossible for him to escape.
Kashir grinned under his mask. He wanted to twist off the head of this small fry who wasted his time. As for Angelina, while Kashir was a man of few hobbies, unlike the bloodthirsty Leit, women were one of his few vices. Angelina's saintly appearance was very tempting to him. He was already plotting a memorable night for Angelina as a punishment for daring to escape.
As Kashir daydreamed about what he would do to her, Locke seemed to notice something up ahead. Suddenly, his body shook. Despite having already reached the limits of his speed, he accelerated just a little bit more. Kashir was a little surprised to see Locke still struggling like this. Then, a wave of realisation dawned on his face; he knew what went through his mind.
A cliff? He wasn't expecting a cliff. The other side of this hill was not a steep slope like this one. There were no trees or rocks. Behind the mountain was an endless forest, and near it was a deep abyss.
Locke felt that he would be unable to climb the hilly path that stretched for kilometres. Even if he couldn't accurately calculate the height according to the slope of this hill, he knew that it was simply too high. Falling from such a height would kill even the Blood Red soldier behind him, not to mention himself.
Locke didn't want to fall into the hands of his pursuer. Seeing the cliff in front of him, the thought of suicide popped into his head. On one hand, Locke was afraid of death, on the other hand, he was ready to accept his fate. He was afraid that his loved ones would not be able to settle down, and that there would be no one to take care of his lover. However, after over four years of war and witnessing many deaths, he had come to terms with the fact that meeting such an end was only a matter of time, but he didn't expect it to be so soon. Just a day ago, he was a high-spirited platoon jarl. One day later, he was prey being hunted. Such is life. Locke, who had never read a book, suddenly felt an overwhelming wave of emotions. It turned out that in the moments before death, people did start to think more.
I would rather die than do what you want! Angelina, whom he was carrying on his back, was obviously the target. They had already killed so many of Locke's comrades. During his four-year military career, Locke knew almost every soldier in the battalion. Even the brothers of Locke's own squad had been slaughtered not long ago.
He ran straight to the cliff on the side of the hill and Kashir hurriedly closed in on him with a silent curse. Unfortunately, the two of them were still more than ten metres away. The appearance of this cliff was too sudden, and neither had adequate time to react. Locke's insistence on killing himself left Kashir helpless.
Finally, Locke reached the edge of the cliff. The tip of Kashir's sword was less than two metres away from Locke and Angelina. These two metres were like a moat. After Locke jumped, he was finally free of Kashir. The moment he jumped off the cliff, he turned back. The gloomy-faced Kashir hurriedly came to a halt, staring holes into Locke fiercely through his visor.
Locke smiled, Kashir did not jump off with him as he had expected. Locke was a little bit disappointed. If only he could've taken this guy down with him.
It went without saying that Kashir refused to jump off the cliff. As a strong and mighty Blood Red jarl, why would he choose to die? However, his mission was not completed, and he had nothing to show the king. As the looming consequences came into his head, Kashir's mood worsened.
It's all because of them! Kashir looked back at the Blood Red and Faustian soldiers who were still fighting at the foot of the mountain. Holding the long sword, Kashir rushed back to the battle. He needed to kill, he needed to have blood on his hands to distract from the fury in his heart. He wasn't bothered about the Faustians that might call for more reinforcements. Not many people on the battlefield could remain calm all the way. Even Kashir, who was known amongst the Blood Red as 'the wise one, did not want to think about the consequences now. Locke and Angelina had no chance of survival. If even someone of his level was bound to die from the fall, those two low-rank ants would certainly perish!
"Herr Wyr, look over there!" exclaimed the two soldiers that Solon sent to find Cardoj and Wyr. One of them met Wyr and got him to bring his cavalry platoon along. It was difficult for the cavalry to move in the dense forest, so they were still not too far off after separating from Solon, Cardoj and the others.
Wyr grabbed the soldier with one hand and hurried away in the direction he was pointing, followed by the cavalrymen behind him. This was the most powerful force of Cardoj. Cardoj's cavalry platoon had a reputation among the private noble troops in 2nd Division, with its jarl being a high-rank Knecht commanding plenty of excellent cavalrymen. Having the corps jarl, who was also a margrave of the kingdom, as his father-in-law, was something the others often envied about him.
Unlike the short-sighted Solon, and the platoon jarls like Locke and Karl, Wyr had a more holistic view of things, especially on magic. As a Knecht who traveled abroad and had lived in the Aomar Empire for many years, Wyr had a deep understanding of the status of a caster. Even if he was a high-rank Knecht, people who dealt with low-rank Lehrlings had to be respectful. A Knecht usually built up their ability by focusing on their own training efforts. Casters, on the other hand, relied on inheriting legacies. Behind every caster was a group of casters who guided them. It could be their siblings, elders, or masters. The caster who was being pursued as well as the pursuers surely didn't come from simple backgrounds.
Although Wyr was no stranger to trouble, he had no penchant for starting any himself. If he had been on the battlefield, he probably would not have intervened, and retreated far, far away. The low-rank caster under Cashel was among the weakest casters, so Wyr paid no special attention to him. He had seen far more terrifying and wilder casters, but oddly enough, they all had lower ranks than this one.
Like the majority of Knechts, Wyr would prefer to stay away from any and all casters.
They gradually approached the main site of battle. Wyr could feel a strong, murderous aura from far away. Aside for Wyr's war horse, the horses of other cavalrymen twisted and snorted their noses uncomfortably. The beasts often had a keen sense of smell, picking up the scent if danger, much like how Wyr detected it with his strength. The cavalrymen shushed their horses to get them to calm down. As well-trained cavalrymen, they understood what their steeds had discovered, and were prepared for what might happen next. One after another, they grabbed their lances tightly. Lances were not suited for use in the forest, but fortunately, there were few branches here. The leaves were yellow and dry, so the lances weren't going to be completely useless.
When the cavalry platoon approached, Leit and Kashir were slaughtering ordinary Faustian soldiers. Only 50 out of the initial 200 remained on the field. Over a dozen of the 40 Blood Red soldiers had collapsed. Leit and Kashir were not able to complete their mission this time. They had to do something about it, lest they faced their king's wrath. This group of Faustian soldiers would be their offering of appeasement.
Wyr was greeted by this bloody scene. In order to protect Solon, Cardoj left half of the soldiers under Solon's command. In other words, this group of Blood Red soldiers had massacred one-third of Cardoj's troops, one-third of the sons, husbands, and brothers of the families in Cardoj Domain.
"Kill!" Wyr's eyes were filled with fury. He had no mercy left for Blood Red, letting bloodthirsty anger take over his mind.
"Kill! Kill! Kill!" Behind Wyr, a hundred cavalrymen roared in unison. Seeing the slain corpses of the comrades they lived and fought with, a burning rage festered in the hearts of the soldiers.