The command rang out over the sun-baked earth of the parade ground and the triple files of men stepped out together. At each stride, their iron-nailed sandals hit the ground in perfect unison,
setting up a rhythmic thudding that was counterpointed by the irregular jingle of weapons and equipment as they occasionally rubbed or clattered together. Already, their marching feet were raising a faint cloud of dust in their wake.
“You’d certainly see them coming from quite a distance,” Halt murmured.
Will looked sidelong at him and grinned. “Maybe that’s the idea.”
Months have passed since Horace departed for the eastern nation of Nihon-Ja on a vital mission. Having received no communication from him, his friends fear the worst. Unwilling to wait a second longer, Alyss, Evanlyn, and Will leave their homeland behind and venture into an exotic land in search of their missing friend. When they finally catch up with him, they find Horace entangled in a military coup. Determined to protect the imperial throne, Will and his band of Araluens must piece together and train a force in order to fend off the master Senji warriors intent on overthrowing the emperor. Suspense and pulse-pounding action abound in this final battle in the worldwide phenomenon that is Ranger’s Apprentice.
I love this book. In this book, Will has his final battle with his friends by his side. I can never stop being amazed by the young fearless Ranger. Will Treaty has the power to do anything. The girls, Evalyn and Alyss, are also present in this battle. They play a very important part. Read the book to find out what they do.
“Ah, Signor Halt,’ he said uncertainly, ‘you are making a joke, yes?’
‘He is making a joke, no,’ Will said. ‘But he likes to think he is making a joke, yes.”
“Gundar seemed to come to a decision.
“Well, as my old mam used to say, if it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck and walks like a duck, it’s probably a duck.”
“Very wise,” Halt said. “And what exactly do your mother’s words of wisdom have to do with this situation?”
Gundar shrugged. “It looks like a channel. It’s the right place for a channel. If I were digging one, this is where I’d dig a channel. So. . .”
“So it’s probably the channel?” Selethen said.
Gundar grinned at him. “Either that or it’s a duck.”
“How do we get there? How did you get here, by the way?’ [Will asked].
He heard Halt’s deep sigh and knew he’d done it again.
‘Do you ever,’ the older Ranger said with great deliberation, ‘manage to ask just one question at a time? Or does it always have to be multiple choice with you?’
Will looked at him in surprise. ‘Do I do that?’ he asked. ‘Are you sure?’
Halt said nothing. He raised his hands in a ‘See what I mean?’ gesture…
‘Halt,’ [Selethen said], ‘I could be wrong, but I think you were just guilty of the same fault. I’m sure I heard you ask two questions just then.’
‘Thank you for pointing that out, Lord Selethen,’ Halt said with icy formality.”
“[Will]’d barely been asleep a few minutes when Halt’s voice woke him.
‘Will? Are you asleep?’…
‘I was,’ he said, a little indignantly. ‘I’m not now.’
‘Good,’ Halt replied, a trifle smugly. ‘Serves you right.”
A FEW NIGHTS LATER . . .
“Without thinking, [Will] spoke.
‘Halt? Are you awake?’
‘No.’ The ill humor in the one-word reply was unmistakable.
He pondered whether to apologize again and decided this would go against the instruction to shut up, so remained silent.”
“There are always risks in battle. It’s a dangerous business. The trick is to take the right ones.’ [said Halt].
‘How do you know which are the right ones?’ Shigeru asked.
Halt glanced at his two younger companions. They grinned and answered in chorus, ‘You wait and see if you win.”
“Gundar, seeing Halt upright for the first time in two days, stumped up the deck to join them.
‘Back on your feet then?’ he boomed cheerfully, with typical Skandian tact. ‘By Gorlag’s toenails, with all the heaving abd puking you’ve been doing, I thought you’d turn yourself inside out and puke yourself over the rail!’…
‘You do paint a pretty picture, Gundar,’ Will said…
‘Thank you for your concern,’ Halt said icily…
‘So, did you find Albert?’ Gundar went on, unabashed. Even Halt was puzzled by this sudden apparent change of subject.
‘Albert?’ he asked. Too late, he saw Gundar’s grin widening and knew he’d stepped into a trap.
‘You seemed to be looking for him. You’d lean over the rail and call, ‘Al-b-e-e-e-e-e-r-t!’ I thought he might be some Araluen sea god.’
‘No, I didn’t find him. Maybe I could look for him in your helmet.’
He reached out a hand. But Gundar had heard what happened when Skandians lent their helmets to the grim-faced Ranger while onboard ship…
‘No, I’m pretty sure he’s not there,’ he said hurriedly.”
“Halt eyed them balefully. They were all being so obvious about not mentioning his sudden reappearance that it was even worse than if they had commented on it…
‘Oh, go on!’ he said. ‘Somebody say something! I know what you’re thinking!’
‘It’s good to see you up and about, Halt,’ Selethen said gravely…
Halt glared at the others and they quickly chorused their pleasure at seeing him back to his normal self. But he could see the grins they didn’t quite manage to hide. He fixed a glare on Alyss.
‘I’m surprised at you Alyss,’ he said. ‘I expected no better of Will and Evanlyn, of course. Heartless beasts, the pair of them. But you! I thought you had been better trained!’…
‘Halt, I’m sorry! It’s not funny, you’re right… Shut up, Will.’ This last was directed at Will as he tried, unsuccessfully, to smother a snigger.”
“The two girls disappeared into the stern cabin once more. Will watched them go, then asked Halt, ‘Anything you’d like me to do? Grow a beard? Learn to walk like a rooster?’
‘If you could stop asking facetious questions, that’d be a start,’ Halt told him. ‘But it’s probably a little late in life for you to do that.”
“You’re right, Halt,’ she said, and he nodded acklowledgement of her backing down.
‘Nice to hear someone else saying that for a change,’ Will said cheerfully. ‘Seems like I’ve said those words an awful lot in my time.’
Halt turned a bleak gaze on him. ‘And you’ve always been right.”
“It’s called a sea anchor,’ [Evanlyn] explained. ‘It’ll stop us drifting too far.’
Alyss was impressed. ‘And you said you were pig-ignorant when it came to boats.’
‘I don’t remember saying that,’ Evanlyn replied with a frown.
Alyss shrugged. ‘Oh? Well, it must have been me.”