Chapter 108: Chapman Lampard
Translator:?EndlessFantasy Translation??Editor:?EndlessFantasy Translation
“Alright, he’s awake…”
Thales woke up among the chaotic crowd, and when he opened his eyes, he saw Ramon’s huge nose.
‘What happened just now?
‘The Mystic Gun shot me…
‘And I “lost control” again?’
He panted. Ramon was pushed out of his field of vision, after which Putray’s thin face, Wya’s anxious expression, and Aida’s cloaked face squeezed into his field of vision.
“What is wrong?” Thales asked, without any hint of strength in his voice.
“Move! Move! Respect the doctor!” Ramon’s annoyed voice travelled into his ears from the side. “Give us some space! His Highness still needs further inspection!”
The three faces in his field of vision disappeared, and Ramon’s huge nose reappeared in front of his eyes again.
“What happened to me?” Thales regained his senses over his entire body and asked softly.
“You are currently in great condition. Truthfully, a normal person would not have your vitality and regenerative abilities…” The dishevelled looking Ramon frowned and said. “But, your body—”
“Alright,” Thales cut him off and struggled to sit up. He exercised his right shoulder and observed his surroundings. “This is not the time for us to say such things.”
Ramon had clearly sensed the abnormalities in his body… but, how could they talk about it in this place?
However, Ramon did not seem like he wanted to give up on it, and his next words caused Thales to clench his fists tightly.
As Ramon dressed his shoulder, which he had injured during the chaotic battle, he hissed with his teeth clenched, “Listen, Your Highness, others may not know, but I can sense it. Those Mystic Guns did not miss their target… but you did something to make them miss…”
Thales did his best to control his shock so that he would not appear to be too surprised.
‘What does he know?’
Thales retorted brusquely, “I do not know what you are talking about. I should get up now… Tell them their prince is fine.”
However, Ramon continued chattering away with a displeased expression on his face. “It does not matter if it was a psionic ability or not… Judging from their expressions, I guess this is not something the others know. But no matter, I am not interested in your secret. Just one thing…”
He lowered his head and said in a fierce tone, “When we reach the border, let me go. I will not join you in your damn journey anymore, or else…”
“Or else what?” Thales turned his head around swiftly and glared at him. “You will use that resurrective power of yours to deal with me?”
Ramon was slightly taken aback.
Thales hissed coldly, “You are not a doctor, Ramon. That’s right. I know about this very clearly. You used another power to cure people…
“I assume this is something not everyone knows about as well, am I right?” He looked at the disbelieving expression on Ramon’s face and tapped his forehead.
“We shall talk about this later.”
Thales stood up, leaving behind Ramon, who was completely stupefied.
The Mystic Gun unit in the distance had already withdrawn. The Fury Guards were cleaning up the battlefield and binding the corpses of their comrades with ropes. Grief and anger appeared on each and every single one of their faces.
Thales sighed and clenched his fist. ‘If this is the sort of thing I have to face in the future…
He lifted his head. Lampard’s military camp was right before his eyes.
“What happened?” Thales walked up to Putray with much difficulty and gestured with his hand to signal that he was fine.
“After their first failure, they withdrew.” Putray frowned and looked at Thales. “Are you sure you are well?”
“I am fine, just a little weak… I feel fine now,” Thales answered with a tone that left no room for any argument.
“Just what are Mystic Guns?” Thales held his chest and asked with fear lingering in his heart.
“A powerful weapon for attacking and defending cities.” Putray shook his head. “However, the price for the materials needed to produce every single shot is incredibly expensive. In addition, those materials are hard to get as well. It has low efficiency.”
‘No. That is not right.
‘It is not that simple… I can tell just based on its strange name and its mysterious working principles,’ Thales thought to himself.
“Pardon me for being frank, Your Highness, but are you really alright? You stopped breathing just now—” Wya shook his head in worry and walked to his side.
“I told you, I am fine.” Thales cut him off coldly. “We have more important things to do.”
‘This is a secret I have to keep.
With regret in his heart for his actions towards Wya, Thales lifted his head and looked ahead.
“Who is that?” Thales narrowed his eyes.
Not too far away was Arracca, covered in wounds from head to toe. He was glaring at a knight who was wearing a grey helmet and riding on a horse.
Putray said with a wary tone, “One of Eckstedt’s ‘Five War Generals’, the Fire Knight, Romel Tolja, wielder of the legendary anti-mystic equipment—Rising Sun Saber.
“Lampard sent him alone here. It seems like he is here to make peace.” Putray shook his head. “If Lampard had truly gone mad and wanted to kill us all, why did he give up halfway?”
‘In the end, Lampard has no reason to kill me.
Putray said slowly, “Nonetheless, we have already progressed up to this point. We cannot turn back.”
Thales nodded slightly.
“You are Prince Thales?” Tolja saw Thales from the distance.
The knight in the grey helmet cast a wary look at Arracca while he spoke slowly, “I am Romel Tolja. Sir Chapman Lampard has extended an invitation to meet with you.”
Thales sighed and strode over.
“The Archduke of Black Sand… I originally thought that he would be more amicable.” Thales looked around and saw the burnt corpses as well as injured soldiers and members of the diplomat group covered in wounds. As he looked at them, he forced down the displeasure in his heart. “I did not expect him to kill most of our people and then put up a farce by extending an invitation to us.”
Tolja raised his head and cast a glance at Broken Dragon Fortress, located in the distance.
“If you have any opinions regarding this matter, you can bring them up to the archduke.” The Fire Knight’s eyes were sharp and profound under his grey helmet. “I am only responsible of bringing you to him.”
Thales gritted his teeth and exhaled.
Right at that moment, the ferocious Arracca stormed towards Tolja. “Have you forgotten something, Eckstedtian?”
There was anger in the words spoken by the Kingdom’s Wrath.
“As for you, Arracca, you are not included. Go back.” Tolja looked at the hostile Kingdom’s Wrath and steered his horse into another direction. “The archduke does not welcome you… Neither you, nor your guards.
“You are only here to escort the prince, no?”
Arracca hissed furiously. “Lampard does not welcome me? What a joke. His brother died in his hands, and his father died in my hands. With this similarity between us, we should be able to get along very well.”
Arracca said with a freezing tone, “Especially since I killed so many of his soldiers and he killed so many of mine… We would surely become ‘good friends’.”
“The battle has ended, and you cannot change the results,” Tolja responded nonchalantly, as if he was already used to Arracca’s provocations. “Those who died in battle should be remembered, true, but those who are alive should not forget their mission.
“What is your mission, Arracca?”
Arracca lowered his head and looked at a burnt corpse not too far away, bound by a tow rope made on the spot. He clenched his fists even harder.
“All of you fought very courageously, but you have already completed your duty.” Tolja looked at his opponent coldly. “You should be grateful we did not use this chance to seize the Motionless Bow.”
“Why don’t you try?” Arracca grabbed the Motionless Bow in one fierce move and slammed one end of the bow in the snow. “After all, you brought that saber along, didn’t you?”
“One of these days, I will.” A brilliant glare shone in Tolja’s eyes. He shook his head. “But now is not the time.”
He continued slowly, “One of these days, we will clear all the blood debts between us.”
Arracca glared at him, then let out a cold chuckle, which made others uneasy.
“Your Highness?” Tolja did not look at Arracca any longer. He gave Thales a brief nod on his horse and extended his arm in the direction of the military camp.
Thales looked at Putray and the latter gave him a supportive glance.
“I suppose we do not have a choice, do we?” Thales looked at the knight in the grey helmet with the latter giving him a faint smile.
“Alright.” Thales looked at the disorganized battlefield and exhaled before he took a step forward. “Let us meet the organizer of this welcoming party.”
Thales cast a glance at Arracca, whose expression was difficult to read at this point. “Thank you, Baron Murkh.
“And all of you as well… all of the Kingdom’s Wrath.” Thales added after a moment of hesitation.
Arracca did not answer. He only watched his guards as they cleaned up the battlefield silently.
Thales sighed and shook his head. He then turned around and walked towards the military camp.
Putray was the first to follow Thales. Wya and Ralf followed closely behind, and as for Aida, she cast a glance at the corpses around her before she walked at the back of the group.
Willow supported Genard and followed suit. As for Ramon, after being pushed and shoved by a few soldiers, he followed them in displeasure.
Thales turned his head around in surprise.
Right before his eyes, he saw Arracca dipping his head down and placing the Motionless Bow on his back.
The Kingdom’s Wrath said quietly, “Most of the soldiers under my command and your diplomat group have died, just so that we could send you here.”
Arracca Murkh lifted his head, and he displayed an emotion that Thales could not read.
“Do not let them die in vain.”
However, the Kingdom’s Wrath had already turned around.
Arracca grabbed a length of rope and dragged the corpses of five of his soldiers, trudging back on the path he used to come to this place without turning back.
The remaining Fury Guards followed behind him, along with their comrades’ corpses, which were dragged along the snow-covered ground. Some were complete while some were incomplete.
Their backs were filled with a desolate air.
Eckstedt’s military camp was boorish and crude. The walls of the camp were made with trees from the pine forest and it was done up in a simple fashion. The tents where the soldiers rested were made using thick branches. Yet compared to these, what left a deep impression in Thales, were the soldiers of Eckstedt.
They were simply too “passionate”.
Thales even suspected that if it was not for Tolja leading with his horse in front of the group to show them the way, those soldiers from Eckstedt would have pounced on them.
The Eckstedt soldiers on garrison duty cast a hostile glance at the group from Constellation, and a sentinel even spat fiercely at his feet.
A group of cavaliers who just returned to the camp passed by them. When they saw the Constellation flags lifted high above their heads, they cackled provocatively at the group.
An Eckstedt soldier carrying a suit of heavy armor and a greatsword shouted hatefully at the diplomat group. “Go back, you Southerners! The Northland does not welcome the people of the Empire!”
“Keep on living in your dreams of the Empire!” A half-naked man thumped his chest and roared. He was sitting by a fire while whetting his greataxe. “But first, give us back our territory! The Northland only belongs to Northerners!”
“They killed our prince, but asked a child to make peace!” There was a group of soldiers sitting in a circle to their left as they walked by. The leader of the group pointed at the diplomat group and shouted, “This is how shameless the Empire is!”
The people around them voiced their agreements in anger and glared at them.
That soldier shouted, “Do you know why?! Because all their men in their country were killed by us twelve years ago!”
The people by his side roared in laughter and chimed in. “They should have sent a princess here!”
A soldier mocked, “A boy would do just as well, as long as he’s pretty enough. We don’t mind the holes in front or at the back!”
Another loud burst of laughter rang in the air.
Thales lifted his head and sighed, “Should I be surprised? Or is this how the citizens of Eckstedt ‘greet’ those from Constellation?”
“Do not be surprised, Your Highness.” said Putray in a relaxed manner to Thales, whose expression had gone stiff.
“Constellation and Eckstedt’s relationship has been bad over the past six hundred years, ever since we built our countries. It does not matter if it is the Empire’s history or the fight over the Western Peninsula, each is reason enough to turn us into enemies. We seized the Cold Castle from Eckstedt’s hands four hundred years ago.
“The earliest periods of our history brewed our hatred of each other, and that hate continued to write history.”
“Only the Peninsular War could make us temporarily forget our opinions of each other and fight together, an occasion that is rarely seen. During the Third Peninsular War, Chara the Hero and the Oath Keeper Midier were bosom friends. Together with Camus Union’s Kaplan the Prophet, they fought together with a united heart against the expeditionary forces from the Eastern Peninsula. But alas, in the end, they became enemies and an excellent chance for the Dragon and Constellation to repair their relationship was lost, just like that.
“But this is a military camp. It will be much better in other places. Plenty of Northlanders do not care about these insubstantial things.” Wya nodded. “The civilians who are busy earning their living are different from soldiers who have their hands stained with blood.”
“Why did they call us ‘people from the Empire’?” Thales frowned. “Is the Final Empire not a historical relic from an age more than six hundred years ago? Even if we truly have a grudge against each other, do we have to trace it back to the Ancient Empire more than one thousand years ago?”
Putray shook his head and said with a complicated expression, “This is their way of mocking us. Constellatiates have always been proud of our legacy and of having the blood of the Empire flowing in our veins, but alas, the Empire did not leave a good impression on the world.
“This is not just limited to the Northlanders. Alumbia of the Land of Thorns and Anlenzo Dukedom of Dragon’s Kiss Basin have bad impressions of us too. This is because for example, every single time we need to go to war, we would play up and exaggerate the ancient friendship between us, which lasted for generations. This is more effective than increasing the rewards for the soldiers.”
‘The Empire. People from the Empire.’
Thales sighed and stored that piece of information in his mind.
“Speaking of which, mobilizing about ten thousand soldiers seems to be the Archduke of Black Sand’s limit.” Putray looked at the densely packed military camp. “I believe Lampard has a lot of difficulty dealing with restocking and expenditures. Black Sand Region is not a place that is rich in resources.
“For the Northern Territory, they must have planned this for a long time and spent a lot of money on this as well.”
The Constellatiates finally arrived before a huge tent as they followed Tolja.
A tall noble dressed in military uniform had been waiting in front of the tent. He walked towards them and nodded slightly at Tolja.
The tall noble bowed before Thales and said, “This must be Prince Thales. A pleasure to meet you, I am Lazaar Kentvida.
“A viscount of Eckstedt, and my fiefdom is the City of Halting Light, located within Black Sand Region.
“Members of the diplomat group, please come with me to rest. As for you, Your Highness”—Viscount Kentvida nodded towards them, then looked at Thales—”the archduke is waiting for you.”
Thales lifted his eyebrow.
Kentvida looked at Thales with brightly shining eyes. “This is a private meeting between the Archduke of Black Sand and the Prince of Constellation.
“Do not worry.” Viscount Kentvida lifted his hand and stopped Putray and Wya from speaking. His voice was firm. “His Highness is already here. At least, before he reaches Dragon Clouds City to pay a formal visit to His Majesty, no harm will come to him.”
Thales sighed softly and produced a smile on his lips. “I believe we still do not have much of a choice, do we?”
Putray whispered softly and a brilliant light shone in his eyes. “You know, Your Highness, I suddenly came to a realization. Lampard is not mad.”
A thought occurred in Thales’ heart.
Kentvida frowned and gestured to Thales, motioning him to go forward.
The archduke’s tent was incredibly tall and wide, but it was not bright. There was a thick carpet placed on the ground, and the picture of a strong iron fist was embroidered on it.
On one side of a thick, square table, filled with food was a boorish man. He was in his forties and had grey hair as well as blue eyes. His jaw was covered in a stubble, and he wore a meticulous chain armor made of ring hoops. He was eating from a plate of roasted meat on the table.
A metal brazier was burning brightly by the side, illuminating the man’s face. It gave him an even more mysterious look.
Thales noticed that a saber with a leather scabbard was placed horizontally on the table. The scabbard had been polished to the point where it shone.
He calmly watched the actual ruler of Black Sand Region—Archduke Chapman Lampard.
While Lampard brought another piece of roasted meat to his mouth, he fixed his eyes on Thales, causing him to feel uncomfortable.
“You are calmer than I thought you would be,” the archduke remarked slowly.
“Perhaps.” He walked to the table and climbed up a chair before he sat down. “But in the face of my enemy who has formed a blood debt of several hundreds of lives, I truly cannot think of any other expression to show you… Even anger seems excessive.”
Lampard picked up a wooden wine goblet and chugged the contents down his throat. His Adam’s apple continued to move as he gulped down the wine.
The archduke put down the goblet and used his left hand to wipe off the wine that had flowed out. He then seized a drumstick to take a bite from it.
“Based on the news spreading around Constellation… you are truly not like a seven-year-old child.”
“When you have a difficult life, you learn how to be mature at an earlier age.” Thales shrugged.
“Eat. This is high quality venison.” Lampard pushed a plate of roasted meat towards him. “The Prince of Constellation cannot die of starvation in my military camp.”
Thales looked at the crude looking plate of roasted meat and frowned.
“You have guts. Breaking through in the opposite direction was indeed out of my expectations,” Lampard said coldly.
“Who made this decision? Perhaps I should reward him for causing the plan I have concocted for years to be ruined in a day.”
“You.” Thales pulled the plate in front of him, and without even lifting his head, he brought out his dagger and started cutting into the meat.
Lampard lifted his brows.
Thales cut into the venison and said calmly. “It was your decision, Your Grace. On the first day I stepped into Eckstedt’s borders, you killed half of my men… You forced us to choose a path that was the most disadvantageous to you.
“How long have you been standing around and watching the fortress across you? Two weeks? Three weeks?
“Let me take a guess, the money for supplies, and to keep ten thousand something men well-fed as well as have a room over their heads is not that easy to maintain.” Thales shrugged. “I am truly worried over Black Sand Region’s financial situation.”
He picked up a piece of venison that he had cut into the size of a thumb and delivered it to his mouth.
Lampard no longer continued eating or drinking. He looked at Thales intently, and his gaze was fierce.
The archduke said slowly, “Did you know that I originally intended to let you live and only kill those around you?”
He did not cut the venison properly.
Thales let out a cold harrumph, and started cutting another piece of meat “However, we ran into the Mystic Gun unit… With that level of attack, you were aiming for my life, am I right?”
“That was an accident,” Lampard answered faintly.
“An accident…” Thales was so angry that he let out a bark of laughter. He put down the dagger in his hand. “Your Mystic Gun…”
Nonetheless, Thales hesitated at the next moment.
‘Wait. Putray said that Lampard isn’t mad.
Thales looked at Lampard with a dumbfounded gaze.
‘Could it be..?’
“That was an accident?” Thales asked in disbelief.
“An accident.” Lampard placed his arms on the table, and his eyes shone brightly.
Thales closed his eyes and sighed deeply.
After some time…
“You did not send out the Mystic Gun unit,” Thales opened his eyes and said with certainty.
“I did not.” Lampard put down the wine goblet and shook his head slowly.
“You also did not intend to kill me,” Thales continued.
“I did not.” Lampard’s eyes sparkled.
Thales clenched his teeth.
“I see.” He exhaled and started laughing. “Someone else instructed the Mystic Gun unit to attack me.”
‘Right from the start, Lampard had no reason to kill me.
‘The Mystic Gun unit is an anti-personnel weapon that cannot be controlled… No matter how dumb he was, he would not have used that type of weapon to attack me.’
Lampard seized the wooden plate where the venison was and dragged it before him. He then took a piece of venison.
“You are much smarter than I had imagined.” Lampard’s expression was as dark as thunderclouds. He put the venison in his mouth and narrowed his eyes a little. “You understand the reason behind our meeting here, yes?”
“Indeed. I understand now.” Thales used his sleeve to wipe his dagger and put it back by his waist. He sighed again. “But I truly never expected that the famous Black Sand Archduke would have his right of command over his Mystic Gun unit easily taken away by others.”
Lampard forced down his anger. “That officer’s name is Hadel. He was tasked to train my Mystic Gun unit three years ago. The unit’s commander was bedridden this morning, and he was only acting as a temporary commander.”
“What happened to him?” Thales asked quietly.
Lampard said with a dark tone. “Once the call to retreat was sounded, he still sent the order for the second round of attack, but right then, there were soldiers who got suspicious of his orders. Hadel then slit his own throat without any hesitation… We are still unable to find the person who pulled the strings behind him.”
Thales said with a cold sneer, “This also explains why you sounded the call to retreat so swiftly after the first round of attack. Even your commands did not work properly… I am sorry, I truly do not know what sort of response I should be giving you right now.”
Lampard pursed his lips and did not say a single word.
“Their goal was probably to kill me by using you, or perhaps to use my death to scheme against you.” Thales sneered. “I think the latter is more likely. My enemies are all in my own country.”
Lampard said quietly, “The higher you stand, the more enemies you will gain.”
“That is why this sudden accident made you cancel your plans.” Thales snorted. “Did you originally want to capture me and put me in a humiliating situation, just to see whether the fortress would be shaken?”
Lampard uncorked a bottle of rye wine and filled his empty cup.
Archduke Lampard said quietly. “I hate to say it, but King Kessel has made a good move. He sent you out. The moment you stepped into my military camp, it became impossible for me to seize the fortress and the Northern Territory anymore.”
Lampard picked up his goblet and said quietly, “And his oath in Renaissance Palace was equivalent to him forming an armor for you with his royal power. If you die in Eckstedt, it would not matter who’s responsible. Black Sand Region will suffer, because we are neighbors.”
“That is why once you discovered that you could not seize Broken Dragon Fortress, and there were actually other people eyeing you with hostility, you immediately changed your stance. After that, you intended to draw me to your side?” Thales asked with a cold voice.
Lampard took a big gulp from his goblet with an expressionless face and said, “Kessel’s oath caused a group of people to give up on the idea of wanting your life, but caused another group of people to gain the ambition of killing you.
“That Mystic Gun today is just a beginning. We have a common enemy lurking in the shadows right now, be it those who are aiming for Eckstedt’s throne or Constellation’s.” Archduke Lampard’s voice was steady and stern. “The moment you stepped into Eckstedt and the Northland, our interests have been tied together.”
“That is true.” Thales lowered his head. His voice was steady and indifferent. “If I die in Eckstedt, it will not be good for the both of us.”
“I will dispatch two thousand people. Kentvida, my most trusted subordinate will lead the army and escort you to Dragon Clouds City.” Archduke Lampard’s expression became gentler. “You will arrive straight in Charleton Family’s territory, and the king’s envoys will be waiting for you there.”
“But my people died in the battlefield. They stood in front of me and acted as my shields. They were pierced through by blades, swords, and longspears.” Thales lifted his head. His expression was dark. “We have also killed plenty of your men.”
Lampard closed his eyes and remained silent for a while.
Thales looked at him, expressionless.
“Those warriors… be it my soldiers or your subordinates, will not understand the reason why they died.” Lampard opened his eyes. “It is precisely because of their sacrifice that we have understood each other and are able to sit here to make a decision for our countries’ futures… even though it will be incredibly difficult.”
Lampard said softly. “We were never enemies to begin with, and us fighting against each other on the battlefield was just due to forced circumstances. For our future and the end of meaningless bloodshed like the one today, we should cast off our past enmity. This is only logical.
“War has always been to achieve something, has it not?”
Thales suddenly laughed.
“Well said, Your Grace.” He chuckled softly with an indecipherable expression. “There are no permanent enemies, only permanent interests.”
“It is just as you said. From now on, there is no reason for us to be enemies.” The archduke nodded and lifted his goblet. “You ate my venison. Based on Northland tradition, you are my guest.
“This is high-quality rye wine.” Lampard pushed his wine goblet over. His gaze was profound. “Based on Northland tradition, once we drink from the same cup, we will be allies.
“I will provide you with all the access to manpower, information, resources, and finances in Eckstedt. Our enemies will not have a chance to strike”—Archduke Lampard nodded—”until you leave Eckstedt and return to Constellation.”
A strange light flashed across Lampard’s eyes. “In fact, they will not be able to attack you… until you are crowned king.”
There was silence once again.
The same indecipherable smile materialized on Thales’ lips again.
The prince exhaled softly, and his smile did not diminish. “Did you say the same thing to Northern Territory’s Duke Arunde, Your Grace? For Constellation and the Dragon’s thrones?”
“He was the one who came to me.” Chapman Lampard’s gaze was profound. “Val Arunde is a hero with vision and responsibility. He dared to take the step many people did not, no matter how much that path was not understood by others.
“We… Constellation and the Dragon have been enemies for many years. The Blade and Shield should not have this sort of relationship.” Lampard leaned back against his chair. The light from the fire illuminated his firm and cold face. “The Hero, Raikaru the First and the ‘King of Renaissance’, Tormund the First were originally good friends. Chara the Hero and the Oath Keeper Midier the Fourth were brothers who trusted each other with their lives. If Eckstedt and Constellation worked together, we will definitely be able to put an end to these meaningless wars and conflicts.”
‘Work together… to put an end to war and conflict?’
The image of the war appeared in Thales’ eyes.
The warriors of Eckstedt and Constellation rushed at each other like wild beasts.
Arracca roared furiously as he killed layers upon layers of enemies, and left them on the ground, screaming in pain.
Countless Fury Guards rushed to Arracca’s flank without hesitation.
Plenty of soldiers had their bodies pierced through by sharp blades and fell to the ground helplessly.
And right at the end, when Arracca dragged his subordinates’ corpses and left with the survivors, the back of the Kingdom’s Wrath stooped low in desolation.
Thales lifted his head and said coldly.
A surprised look appeared on the archduke’s face. He raised his brow and fixed his eyes on Thales.
“Val Arunde is not a hero. He is just a pitiful bug living in his own imagination.” The second prince was expressionless. “War cannot bring peace. The deaths of others cannot compensate for someone else’s life.
“And hatred as well as anger will not disappear because of the coronation of two kings.”
The archduke placed his hands together with no changes to his expression. “What do you mean?”
Thales continued, completely unbothered, “What I mean to say is that everything from your mouth is a load of bull.”
Archduke Lampard’s face became grim.
The archduke asked with a sullen expression. “Do you realize that you are embarking on a dangerous journey? What you are doing right now is refusing a powerful ally, who will bring you great benefits and ensure your safety, even your throne.”
“My experiences tell me that I should be careful with those who want to become my ally, no matter how sweet their words are and how sincere they appear to be.” Thales looked at Lampard, and as he watched his expression grow increasingly sullen, he continued softly, “And I cannot trust you, Archduke Chapman Lampard.”
“Why?” Chapman leaned forward. Due to the illumination of the swaying light from the fire, he looked even more temperamental. “Is it just because many of your people died?”
“That is not the only reason.”
Thales said coldly, “It is also because you showed complete indifference as well as callousness towards your subordinates’ deaths and sacrifice. Forming an alliance with you will mean that we are destined to face betrayal. Compared to the benefits I may receive if I form an alliance with you, I can say with certainty that when the alliance fails, the losses I would suffer will far surpass the benefits.
“I know this very well.”
Lampard’s gaze started to become terrifyingly cold.
“Also, I despise what you said.” Thales remembered Arracca’s desolate back. He then gritted his teeth and shook his head. “The people on the battlefield… died because of your selfish desires.
“And you can keep that nonsense of ‘dying a worthy death’ as well as ‘the goal for war is peace’ to yourself,” Thales picked up the wine goblet and said with a cold sneer.
Lampard let out a cold snort and said with a biting tone, “I originally thought that you were mature and level-headed, and that you possessed intelligence that surpassed your age. You are currently behaving like a child.”
“You are right,” Thales retorted coldly.
He turned over the goblet, spilling its contents. Then, he spoke to the sullen Archduke Lampard.
“And children are not supposed to drink wine.”
Thales jumped off his chair and left the tent without turning back.