Chapter 0176-2 Surprise Attack Part 2
Hugh McGrath muttered softly.
Already, no one was around.
Just a few seconds ago, the four ‘Crimson Swords’ who followed him up to that point entered into battle with the Union Guards.
Probably Lord Aubrey’s personal guard.
Abel and his Crimson Sword party pulled the personal guards away from Hugh.
With a sword in one hand, he pushed aside the cloth enclosure and faced a man sitting at the back.
“Finally we meet face-to-face, Aubrey.”
There sat Lord Aubrey, the Union commander-in-chief.
“That was a lot faster than I had imagined, Hugh McGrath. Impressive.”
“It’s an honor to be praised by the ‘Great General’.”
Hugh approached Lord Aubrey cautiously as they exchanged light banter.
“Honestly, even if you beat me now, the outcome of the battle won’t change. Well, I suppose you are aware of that too.”
“Oh, I know. But there’s no other way to change the outcome. All other methods have a zero percent chance. But if we beat you here, there is a chance to reverse the flow of battle. Since that’s the case, you can’t fault us for trying.”
“That’s a lie.”
He rejected Hugh’s explanation and laughed with a raised corner of his mouth.
“If the Union completely swallows the Duchy, the Kingdom of Knightley will have a fairly long border with the now growing Union. It’s already a considerable burden just to face the Empire, so it would be even more worrying if the Union weakened from the Great War regains strength, right? Even more so when there’s already so much chaos within the Kingdom.”
“Those are confident words. Do you have any grounds for that confidence?”
Hugh answered with a question of his own, not affirming or denying the contents of Lord Aubrey’s long explanation.
That was because he decided that he should collect information.
“Fufufu, admirably quick judgment. Yes, it is important to collect information. Sigh … won’t you become my minister, rather than remain as the guildmaster at the frontier? I’ll welcome you with open arms.”
“No. I trust you have the information I want? You might be able to pay for your sins if you tell me before you die?”
“Oh but I don’t plan on dying. I don’t know what information Master McGrath wants, but … let’s see, information you seek … half of the turmoil in the Kingdom was caused by me. For example, the chaos in the Royal Capital.”
Lord Aubrey easily admitted it.
Hugh was silent as he heard it.
His eyes conveyed that there were others.
“The turmoil in the East, such as the collapse of Rho Bridge, wasn’t me. Whitnash was my doing.”
As he listed, the angle at which the corner of his mouth was raised increased.
“I learned later that the organization I was using was the same as the ‘Other party’. It’s an easy-to-use organization after all, they would do anything as long as there’s gold.”
“I’m a guildmaster too so I can imagine what kind of organization you used. I’ll deal with them at a later date.”
Hugh’s information network caught wind of the so-called ‘Order of Assassins’ he probably used. And the ‘Other party’ was almost certainly the Empire.
“Your words imply that you are unaware. The headquarters of that organization seemed to have been destroyed. When my men finally arrived, there were no corpses but the entire village was frozen. I thought it was done by someone from the Kingdom, but I appear to be wrong.”
No, it was someone from the Kingdom.
If Ryo was there, he would have thought so. No matter how he tried to hide, it was clearly Ryo who destroyed the village.
“The entire village frozen …”
A certain someone came to Hugh’s mind.
The evidence was too glaring for Hugh to miss.
He could think of … a certain adventurer who was definitely the culprit.
However, he suppressed that realization.
“Re-really? That sounds terrible …”
“Hmm? Hugh, that expression, you know something, don’t you?”
“No, I don’t. You’re imagining things.”
Lord Aubrey did not pursue the matter further, though he was not deceived at all.
“Well, that’s all the information I will give.”
Lord Aubrey stood up from his chair and pulled out his sword at the same time.
Even then, his movements didn’t leave any gaps in his defense.
Hugh was looking for a chance, but even in Hugh’s eyes, he couldn’t find a chance to charge in.
Lord Aubrey, a person who crossed battlefields since he was young, was naturally competent on that front … Hugh was honestly impressed.
However, he couldn’t just admire him.
He was very worried about what the war situation was like.
Naturally, he had to do something before the City of Fion fell.
However, when two masters of the sword faced each other, neither of them could easily take the first step.
Entering an opponent’s reach is synonymous with leaving yourself open to attacks.
Entering an opponent’s reach of your own volition is synonymous with creating an opportunity for both sides.
If you plan to enter an opponent’s reach, you have to defeat the opponent perfectly with that single strike.
That could happen in the flow of events, but in a confrontation … it’s hard to hope for.
For those who have not mastered the art, their balance may be upset by minor tricks such as moving the tip of the sword a little, changing the distance with a foot sliding forward, or pulling a feint with the shoulder a little … but at Hugh and Lord Aubrey’s level, that was unlikely.
The stillness was broken by something falling right next to them.
They couldn’t afford to see what fell.
The two moved at the same time, and a fierce swordfight began.
On their tenth clash, when they were close to each other, they finally saw what had fallen beside them was a frozen person.
Hugh didn’t recognize them, but he could imagine who did it.
But that was not the case for Lord Aubrey.
In the first place, Lord Aubrey had the basic knowledge about Water-Attribute Magic that people cannot be frozen.
As long as you are a battlefield commander, this is common knowledge.
However, the object that fell right next to them transcended that common sense.
There was just a hint of discomposure.
But in that clash, it was a decisive difference.
Of course, it was a decisive difference because Hugh took advantage of it.
Hugh, from their locked swords position, moved his center of gravity to the left, released his left hand from his grip, and punched Lord Aubrey’s right flank.
“Combat Art: Pierce”
It was impossible with Japanese kendo or kenjitsu, but here there was a difference in the swords and also a difference in the ‘locked swords position’.
The armor worn by the commander, Lord Aubrey, was a custom-made leather armor, which would nullify a Swordsman’s punch … normally.
However, Hugh activated a 『Combat art』.
The strength was several to dozens of times that of a simple punch.
Naturally, Lord Aubrey was blown away.
But he utilized his combat experience to break his fall the moment he was about to hit the ground and knelt on one knee, ready to counterattack immediately.
Although his posture was stable, there was blood mixed in the spit he spat out. It seemed that his internal organs were injured.
(Damn, Master McGrath, his sword skill is incredible … or rather, that was a punch … he always does such interesting moves!)
Lord Aubrey was laughing fearlessly in his heart.
It’s an overwhelmingly unfavorable situation, but he knew that he’ll soon be in a situation where he could laugh fearlessly.
And that was……,
From behind Lord Aubrey, his guards tore through the cloth enclosure.
Six of them.
The situation was reversed.
Until a few seconds ago, Hugh was in a situation to put an end to Lord Aubrey, but now he found it very difficult to act.
If they were common riffraff, six or even ten would not give Hugh a disadvantage.
However, his opponents were Lord Aubrey’s guards.
(They’re probably well trained …)
Hugh sighed a little internally.
He didn’t think he couldn’t beat them.
However, it would take a considerable amount of time, and above all, he would not come out unscathed.
(I might have to sacrifice one of my arms …)
Of course, his side had high-ranking Priests like Rihya capable of even regenerating lost limbs.
But still …
(Losing an arm would hurt.)
“Well, Hugh, sorry but it appears I have won.”
“Why would the Great General claim victory even though it isn’t confirmed yet?”
Hugh questioned but he had a bad feeling.
Lord Aubrey is called the ‘Great General’.
The surprise attack was successful because it exceeded all his expectations, but a chance like this would only come once every ten years.
In this war, such an opportunity would never come again.
Lord Aubrey would never easily say the words ‘win’.
Was there anything Hugh overlooked?
Hugh focused on picking up signs of his surroundings while keeping alert.
But that was a feint.
By the time Hugh noticed, Lord Aubrey’s right hand was opening the lid of a bottle … and he immediately drank it.
He was speechless.
After downing the drink, Lord Aubrey grinned and laughed.
“Yes, it’s a potion. I healed my injury.”
It was at this moment that Hugh realized that all his measures had failed.
Six personal guards … it would be hard, but it was not impossible to win with sacrifices.
However, adding a recovered Lord Aubrey to the mix and it was unlikely he could win.
There was not even a one-in-a-million chance of winning.
Lord Aubrey said ‘win’ to divert Hugh’s perception as much as possible.
By diverting his attention and healing his injuries with a potion, he created a winning situation.
“Well, Hugh McGrath. Why don’t you surrender?”
Hugh reflexively turned down his offer.
No way to overcome the situation came to mind.
However, surrender was not an option.
The ‘Surrender of Hero McGrath’ would have too much impact.
“But what will you do? I have six excellent subordinates. Hugh, who do you have?”
He didn’t have any.
It was a desperate situation.
But the situation changed the third time.
“Hugh, here you are. The enemy made a golem …”
From behind Hugh, a Water-Attribute Magician wearing a robe entered past the headquarters cloth enclosure.
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