ᆏ free ష The Red Fox Clan (Ranger's Apprentice: The Royal Ranger) online ᇍ PDF by John Flanagan ሿ

ᆏ free ష The Red Fox Clan (Ranger's Apprentice: The Royal Ranger) online ᇍ PDF by John Flanagan ሿ ᆏ free ష The Red Fox Clan (Ranger's Apprentice: The Royal Ranger) online ᇍ PDF by John Flanagan ሿ JOHN FLANAGAN grew up in Sydney, Australia, hoping to be a writer, and after a successful career in advertising and television, he began writing a series of short stories for his son, Michael, in order to encourage him to read Those stories would eventually become The Ruins of Gorlan, Book 1 of the Ranger s Apprentice epic Now with his companion series, Brotherband, the novels of John Flanagan have sold millions of copies and made readers of kids the world over Mr Flanagan lives in the suburb of Mosman, Australia, with his wife In addition to their son, they have two grown daughters and four grandsons.They were coming closer to Maddies hiding place There were a dozen of them, spread out in a long cordon, five meters apart and covering sixty meters of territory Each one carried a flaming torch, holding it high to dispel the gathering gloom of twilight She was approaching the line of searchers head on If she could break through the line, or simply remain unseen while they passed her, she would be free and clear Actually, hiding place was something of an overstatement for Maddies position She was simply lying prone, covered from head to toe by her cloak, among knee high, dried stalks of grass In the fields on either side of the one she had selected to hide in, the grass grew waist high, waving gently in the early evening breeze It would have provided better concealment from the dozen men searching for her But she had chosen the shorter grass for a reason They would expect a fugitive to seek concealment in the longer grass, so they would look carefully there The short stubble where she lay provided only scant cover, and the searchers would study the ground with less attention to detail, assuming they would easily spot someone trying to stay concealed there At least, that was what she had hoped when she had selected her current path through the search line In addition, the fields on either side were narrower, so the searchers would be closer together Since theyd expect her to be hiding there, they would pay greater attention to the ground and any abnormalities they might see there Like a huddled shape under a gray green Ranger cloak The uncertain light also gave her an advantage The sun had sunk below the horizon, and only a reflection of its light remained in the western sky It cast long shadows and pools of darkness across the rough surface of the field And instead of aiding the searchers, the light from the pitch fed torches was flickering and uneven, making their task even difficult as it shifted and wavered She could sense the yellow glow of one of the torches now, as a searcher came closer She resisted the unbearable temptation to look up and see where he was Her face was darkened by the mud and grime she had smeared on it before setting out to break through the cordon But even so, it would shine as a pale oval in the dusk And the movement would be even noticeable She lay, facedown, her eyes fixed on the stalks of dry grass a few centimeters from her face, seeing the yellow torchlight creeping over them, casting shadows that gradually shortened as the source of light grew closer and closer Her heart pounded in her chest as she heard the rustle of boots She could hear the blood pulsing in her ears like a drumbeat Trust the cloak The old mantra, drummed into her brain over and over by her mentor, repeated itself now The searcher couldnt hear her heartbeat That was a fanciful notion, she knew And if she stayed still as a corpse, he wouldnt see her either The cloak would protect her It always had in the past, and it would do so now All right I see you Stand up and surrender The voice was very close It couldnt have been than three meters away And there was a confident tone to it For a second, she nearly gave in to the urge to stand But then she remembered Wills words when he had been instructing her in the art of remaining unseen by searchers They may try to trick you into showing yourself They might call out that they can see you and tell you to stand up Dont fall for it So she lay motionless The voice came again Come on I said I can see you But the voice wasnt as confident as it had been There was a distinct uncertainty to it, as if the searcher realized the ruse had been unsuccessfulor that there was nobody near him concealed in the rough grass After a few seconds, he muttered a soft curse and began to move again His boots crunched in the stubble, and she sensed he had passed her bywhich meant he was casting his gaze ahead of him, and away from her She watched the tiny shadows thrown by the grass stalks elongate and angle to the left He was moving to the right, then She realized she had been holding her breath and silently released it, feeling the tension in her body ease Her heart rate slowed from its wild gallop to a controlled canter In a few minutes, hed be clear of her and unable to hear any slight noise she might make moving She waited, counting slowly to 120, listening as the rustle of his boots moved away until she could no longer hear them She tensed her muscles When she had gone to ground, her left arm had been thrown out ahead of her Her right was doubled underneath her body, and she would use that to help her rise from the ground a few centimeters and begin to creep slowly away from her hiding spot She began to apply pressure to her right hand, feeling the sharp grass stalks digging painfully into it It would have been so natural to move her hand slightly to a comfortable position But again she resisted temptation Unnecessary movement might give her away Better to put up with the discomfort Of course, shed have to move her arm to propel herself along the ground in a belly crawl But that was a necessary movement Otherwise, shed be here all night So she began to set her muscles once Then stopped There had been a soundfaint and unrecognizablefrom the grass in front of her And as she registered it, she remembered another piece of advice that Will had given her Sometimes, therell be a sweeper, she could hear his calm voice saying in her brain Another searcher who follows the line, ten or twelve meters behind it, looking to catch someone whos evaded the first line and is beginning to move again Its an old trick, but youd be surprised how many have been caught by it She relaxed again and waited, head close to the ground, facedown Now she heard the sound again, and this time she recognized it Whoever was coming was lifting his feet high out of the grass, then setting them down evenly and squarely on the ground, testing each step so it didnt shuffle or create extra noise It was the way she had been taught to step when she wanted to keep noise to a minimum, and she realized that this new arrival was well skilled in the art of silent movement She strained her ears, listening for any trace, any sound that would tell her how close he was, and which direction he was coming from He seemed to be slightly to her right and moving diagonally, so that he would cross close by her position And so far, she could see no sign of light from a torch She bit her lip with frustration A torch would have given him uncertain, uneven light, which would actually help conceal her Plus the brightness of the flame close to his face would reduce his night vision considerably Now that it was nearly full dark, a torch was almost hindrance than help He was close Even with the care he was taking to keep noise to a minimum, she could hear the faint sounds that he made The fact that he was stepping smoothly and rhythmically helped her keep track of him Once she figured out his timing, she knew when to listen for the next, almost silent, footstep Now he was very close But he was moving across her front, angling to pass down her left side, and she knew she had eluded him She felt a surge of triumph as he took another pace, taking him fractionally away from her Three steps in that direction and shed be in the clear Then, inexplicably, he angled back again, changing direction to move parallel to where she lay Her heart rate soared again as she realized how close he was to finding her She felt a searing pain in her left hand as he placed his foot squarely on it, bearing down with all his weight as he raised his other foot for another step Ow she cried, before she could stop herself At the same time, she inadvertently flinched with the pain, just as he recoiled a pace, sensing a foreign object underfoot It was only a small movement on her part, but it was enough The sweeper gave a cry of triumph, and she felt an iron grip on the back of her cloak, just below the cowl, hauling her to her feet Got you he said, the satisfaction obvious in his voice He turned her to face him, at the same time that he called to the search line Back here Ive got him He pushed her hood back and studied her face closely But youre not a him, are you he said Youre Will Treatys apprentice.Well, you are a catch, and no mistake She struggled in his grip, hoping to break free, even though the exercise was now well and truly over The rest of the searchers, hearing his shout, hurried back and gathered round them, the torchlight showing their grinning faces all too clearly Bad luck, said one, a handsome fourth year apprentice You nearly made it He jerked his head to the edge of the field, and she twisted in her captors grip to look The little hut she had been tasked to reach was barely fifty meters away If it hadnt been for this clodhopping sweeper with his clumsy great feet, she would have made it And that would have given her a perfect score for her end of year assessment On a low hilltop a hundred meters away, Will Treaty and Gilan watched the events in the stubble field as the search line gathered around Maddie and her captor Even at this distance, and in the gathering dark, the torchlight gave sufficient illumination for Will to see Maddies dejected, frustrated reaction That was bad luck, Gilan said She nearly made it And she did everything right Right up until the moment she went Ow You trod on me Will grinned Gilan looked sidelong at his old friend As I said, that was bad luck Halt always said a Ranger makes his own luck, Will replied If I didnt know better, Id think you were pleased she was caught, Gilan said Will shrugged Im not too displeased, he admitted She was set for a perfect score, and Im not sure I wanted that It wouldnt have been good for her ego He paused slightly Or my patience I take it you speak from experience Gilan asked Will nodded She got a perfect score at the end of second year, he said And I heard about it for the next three monthsany time I tried to correct her or suggest that she might be going about a task the wrong way She does tend to be a little headstrong Gilan nodded True But she is very good, you have to admit I admit it But shes also her mothers daughter Can you imagine how Evanlyn would have been in her place This time, Gilan grinned at the thought Youre referring to Her Highness Princess Cassandra in that derogatory tone, are you He was mildly amused by the fact that Will continued to refer to the princess by the name she had assumed when he had first met her Will shook his head ruefully I am indeed, he replied The I see of Maddie, the I see her mother in her Which possibly explains why she is such a high achiever, Gilan suggested, and Will had to agree True He stood up from where he had been sitting, leaning against the bole of a tree The search party and their quarry were heading back to the Gathering Ground, the line of torches twinkling in the darkness Lets get back to camp and sit in on the debrief, he said. 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    • The Red Fox Clan (Ranger's Apprentice: The Royal Ranger)
    • 2.3
    • 149
    • Hardcover
    • 352 pages
    • John Flanagan
    • English
    • 23 May 2017

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