"Reconnaissance! Someone has to go ahead and check if its safe!" Contly said.
"I suppose that person is me?" Kieran said with a small smile, pointing at himself.
He had assumed the role of a lookout for the whole journey. It was only natural for him to carry out that lookout mission as well.
In fact, even if Contly had not mentioned reconnaissance, Kieran would have thought of it himself and suggested it to Herbert.
The fact that Contly had mentioned it though was unusual, and it made Kieran think more about her.
"Does she want to divert my attention?" he thought unconsciously.
When Contly continued though, he rejected that thought.
"No, no! Not you! I meant me!" she said.
"If you dont mind, I would like to join the recon team as well!" Lorl said.
As he looked at the newly recruited bodyguards who had volunteered to carry out the recon mission, Kieran raised his brow. He stared at them with a critical gaze.
The female bounty hunter was calm and confident, but the middle-aged mercenary tilted his head, not daring to look Kieran in the eye. He looked a little ashamed.
"Well, this says it all!" Kieran sighed silently.
The duo had no intention of doing recon work. They were not willing to continue this adventure with them.
Pierre, who had been behind Kieran all the while, looked stricken. His face had turned green. He seemed infuriated by the duos suggestion.
Someone with a rich life experience like him could easily tell what the hired bodyguards were planning on doing.
"You people! Fine! I wish you all the best then!" Pierre scolded them. Before he could continue though, Herbert nodded with a smile.
The female bounty hunter turned around and left, while the middle-aged mercenary looked apologetic. Making a gesture of gratitude, he took a bow before Herbert and then left swiftly.
"What is this?"
Harold, Cohen and Joanna were exchanging puzzled looks.
Their unusual conversation and actions had struck the three youngsters as strange.
"Professor?" Harold asked his mentor, speaking for his peers.
"Everyones life is precious. I have no right to take their lives from them!" Herbert said with a smile.
"Youre talking about them?"
The three young students immediately understood Herberts words. They were quite smart themselves after all.
"Damn it! Those traitors! We should demand our deposit back and spread word about their actions! We can give them a bad reputation!" the three students ranted. They seemed unhappy with the bodyguards decision.
Herbert maintained his smile as he looked at Kieran.
The question on his face was obvious.
"I still care quite a bit about my own reputation! Ive accepted your invitation, so I will carry out my mission just as I promised!" Kieran said with a shrug.
Compared to the other hired muscles, Kierans answer instantly gained him favor among the three students. Cohen even gave Kieran a thumbs-up in the unique lively manner of a teenager.
Of course, it was not just the three of them who were happy. Herberts smile became much friendlier. Even Pierre tapped Kieran on the shoulder, expressing his admiration.
Casss eyes were filled with respect. As a bodyguard himself, he knew what they would encounter further down the road. If it didnt defy his own contract with Harolds family, he might also have joined Contly and Lorl and left the group behind. Because of that, he showed more respect for Kierans actions and the fact that he was keeping his promise.
From Casss perspective, one should risk their lives to keep a promise, whether that was good or bad for them. A promise should always be respected.
Kieran shrugged again as everyone looked at him.
He was feeling really awkward. He could not just tell them that he was staying because of the Main Mission though, could he?
Fortunately, Herbert took the lead and saved Kieran from this awkwardness.
"From here onwards, we might face an even harder journey. There are some things that happened because of me. I knew it would be dangerous, but I did not expect it to be this dangerous. Cass, I need you to take Harold, Cohen and Joanna back. Dont take them to Herl City. Stop at one of the small towns we passed on our journey. You can wait for us there!" Herbert said slowly after glancing around at everyone.
The three students looked anxious when Herbert announced his decision.
"Professor! Things are not as bad as they seem! We could move forward in groups. Those bastards will not recognize us all!"
"We could rendezvous in Isogu City later!"
"Thats right, professor!" the three students said, hoping to convince Herbert. Their reasoning was too naive and simple though.
Kieran shook his head the moment he heard it.
Move forward in groups?
Moving in groups under unknown circumstances would only give the Night Monsters more chances to attack them and take them out one after the other.
As for the monsters not recognizing them all?
Kieran was certain there was not much of a difference between the students and the portraits the Night Monsters possessed. Otherwise, the infiltration of the cooking maid and Bill would have been an utmost failure.
Kieran did not expect the three students to convince Herbert with their reasoning.
"The Night Monsters are far scarier than you can imagine. They share the same features as humans as long as they remain undercover! You cant even know if your friends are one of them! Thats why I cant allow you to go back to Herl City. That place is as dangerous as the place we are heading to!"
"Most importantly, think of their numbers! We still dont know how many of them there are, but based on their movements, it wont be just a few hundred! Plus, I also need you to help me finish a mission while you wait in town!" Herbert took out a sealed letter as he spoke. Then he looked at his students with utmost seriousness.
"Four weeks! If we do not make it back in four weeks, open this letter and follow the instructions carefully!" Herbert emphasized each and every word he said.
The three students were shocked by his seriousness, but they took the letter.
Kieran could not help but smirk as he watched the scene.
Herbert knew his students too well. He knew that if he pushed them away, he would not have convinced them. He might as well entrust them with a mission before sending them away.
As for what was inside that letter, Kieran knew the content would not be mission-related. He didnt have to look inside to know it would only be related to the students safety.
He said nothing though, and neither did Pierre or Cass.
Then the convoy broke up into two groups, and Cass and the three students took the wagon and the hunting hounds and headed back into town.
Kieran, Pierre and Herbert took the horses and continued on with lighter luggage.
They were less than 10 kilometers away from Isogu City. Kieran assumed the role of a lookout again, venturing on alone.
Although Contly and Lorls suggestion had been a mere excuse, the recon idea was accepted by Kieran, Pierre and Herbert as a good one.
Their target was the camp area outside Isogu City, which had been formed by gold diggers.
Every gold digger from all over the country, from the northern mountains to the southern seas, gathered at the campsite. It would be the best place for a recon mission and the best place for the Night Monsters to hide.
Therefore, before Kieran actually set foot on the campsite, he entered his [Undercover] mode.
Step after step, he carefully closed in on the campsite. He could see at least 1,000 tents.
From afar, it looked like a town formed by tents.
When he was less than 100 meters away from the campsite gate, he halted and frowned.
The campsite was surrounded by wooden fences and had three outpost towers for lookouts.
Obviously, it had been well-developed thanks to the rumors about the existence of gold. There was a certain order around. It was no longer a messy gathering site.
Kieran could still not see a single soul on the campsite though.
It seemed to be empty of people. It was a dead city.
I imagined Contly to be quite a pretty bobbed head...