Paragon Of Destruction Chapter 301
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Chapter 301: Pursuit
The stew at the inn was every bit as good as the innkeeper had claimed . It was the best meal Arran had tasted in centuries — though admittedly, he'd had precious few proper meals during that time .
He remained in Redhill for several more days, but the food had little to do with that decision . Instead, he sought out any information he could find about the battlefield, asking the townsfolk as much as he could without drawing too much suspicion .
This proved an easy task . A few drinks at an inn or tavern were all it took to loosen the locals' tongues, and after a few more, they treated Arran almost as one of their own .
Yet while getting the townsfolk to speak was easy, Arran soon discovered that they knew little beyond what the innkeeper had already told him .
The Hunters had guarded the area as long as anyone could remember, capturing all those foolish enough to enter the old battlefield . Some people still tried their luck occasionally — treasure seekers and local youths looking to prove themselves — none of those ever made it back alive .
Although Arran was disappointed at the lack of information, he wasn't too worried about the disasters that had befallen his predecessors .
His sharpened Sense and improved Shadowcloak should make it a simple matter to avoid all but the most powerful enemies, and even if he was somehow discovered, he had a weapon that few foes could resist .
He left Redhill after three days, giving the innkeeper another few pieces of silver before he departed . The man looked at Arran with some wonder as he accepted the coins — evidently, it was a rare thing for him to get guests this generous .Advertis.e.m.e.nt
"For the food," Arran explained . "Haven't tasted anything as good as that in years . "
The innkeeper nodded in thanks, but his expression turned serious . "I hope you're not planning anything foolish . "
"No worries," Arran replied . "I know danger when I see it, and I have no intention of risking my life for some treasure . Tangling with Hunters is something best left to mages . "
"Good to hear that," the innkeeper said, a hint of relief in his voice . "Those Hunter b.a.s.t.a.r.ds have killed enough people already . I'd hate to see a friendly fellow like yourself fall to them . "
After that, Arran gave the innkeeper a final greeting, then began to make his way out of the small town .
Once he had left Redhill behind, he did not head straight for the battlefield . Instead, he set off along the road from which he had come, away from his destination .
He had no plans of abandoning his search, of course . Yet although he had seen nothing suspicious during his days in the town, something about the whole situation seemed off .
The Hunters might consider the battlefield a graveyard, but they had waged war against the Ninth Valley for long enough that the borderlands held numerous such graveyards . And if they truly wanted to keep outsiders away from places where their comrades had fallen, they'd have to occupy half the borderlands .
Yet they hadn't . As far as Arran knew, this battlefield was the only one within the borderlands that they gave such attention .
The more he considered the matter, the more he thought the explanation didn't make sense . He might not know much about the Hunters, but he could not imagine such a warlike people to be so sentimental they'd waste their troops defending a graveyard .
If they prevented others from entering the battlefield, there had to be a more practical reason . The area must hold something else — something of value .
And if the Hunters valued the battlefield for reasons other than sentimentality, then they'd keep a close watch on the nearby towns, as well .
He was barely half a mile away from Redhill when his suspicions were confirmed .
Though his eyes saw nothing, his Sense told him that someone was following him . A man — short and skinny, with a light step and nimble movements . And as he followed Arran, the man took care to remain concealed in the trees and shrubs, just far enough behind to keep an eye on his target .
Arran quickly understood that his pursuer was a skilled tracker . Had his Sense not been sharp enough to spot a squirrel from a mile away, he'd never have known he was being followed .
But as it was, the man's attempts at stealth were in vain . Hiding in the bushes, no matter how skillfully, did absolutely nothing to trick Arran's Sense .
Arran considered laying an ambush, but after a brief moment of thought, he abandoned the idea . While he might get some information out of his pursuer, the man's allies would doubtless notice it if he went missing .
So Arran merely continued along the road at a calm pace, taking care not to reveal that he was anything but a simple traveler .
For half a day, the man followed behind him, never revealing even the slightest glimpse of himself . Useless though these efforts were, Arran could not help but be impressed by the man's skillful pursuit — without magic, he wouldn't have been able to do half as good a job .
Yet at midday, the man came to a sudden halt, then began to head in the opposite direction a moment later . It seemed he'd decided that his quarry's desire to leave was sincere .
A sly smile crossed Arran's lips as he Sensed the man's change of direction, but he did not respond immediately . Instead, he continued onward for another quarter mile, taking care not to reveal anything while the man might still see him .
When he was certain that there were no more eyes on him, he slipped into a patch of brush along the road and immediately used his Shadowcloak . And then, he set off after his former pursuer .
They retraced their steps along the road to Redhill over the next several hours . Except this time, Arran was the hunter, and he had a far easier time of following his prey .
His Shadowcloak was strong enough that he doubted the man would notice his presence at a single pace, and with his sharpened Sense, he could easily detect his quarry even from a mile away .
About halfway back to Redhill, the man made a sudden sharp turn, abandoning the road and starting toward a new direction — the battlefield .
This was exactly what Arran had hoped for . If the man had gone straight back to Redhill, following him would have been a waste of time — another few days spent in the town would not bring any new answers .
But if the short man was heading elsewhere, Arran was eager to find out what his destination was . It was obvious that he was either a Hunter or one of their allies, and if he was heading toward the battlefield, it wouldn't be to enjoy the sights .
In the days that followed, Arran followed the man like a ghost, never letting his quarry get more than a few hundred paces away from him .
The short man had been cautious while trailing Arran, and as he made his way through the wilderness, his caution only seemed to increase further .
Several times, he doubled back on his tracks, choosing indirect paths to obscure his destination from any pursuers . And twice, he stopped in places suitable for ambushes, lying in wait to see if anyone was behind him .
Of course, none of this achieved anything .
The only person following him was Arran, and the man's caution could not contend with Arran's Sense and Shadowcloak . All his prudence achieved was to cause his pursuer some slight annoyance, as Arran had to stand and wait for him to resume his journey .
After nearly three days of travel, however, they finally reached the man's destination — a large clearing amid the woods, with a camp at the center of it .
Arran's Sense told him that there were over a dozen people in the camp, but the camp was large enough to hold several times that number .
There were guards, too, he Sensed . In the camp's surroundings, another half dozen people patrolled the woods, slowly moving through the shadows between the trees .
Arran briefly hesitated as he saw his former pursuer enter the camp, but then, he quickly followed behind the man . The opportunity to learn more about the situation was one he could not pa.s.s up .
Paragon Of Destruction Chapter 301
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Paragon Of Destruction Chapter 301 summary
You're reading Paragon Of Destruction Chapter 301. This novel has been translated by Updating. Author: TomVanDyke already has 407 views.
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