Chapter 117: Star Killer
Translator:?EndlessFantasy Translation??Editor:?EndlessFantasy Translation
Beside his ears…
Unending noises, uproars that filled the air, meaningless roars and shouts erupted from the crowd…
… Right before his eyes.
The man of influence put on a gentle smile, grabbed his shoulders, and leaned against him shudderingly. He extended his head to his ear, and spoke in a low and gentle voice, “You did well, do not worry.”
‘You did well… Do not worry…’
In the deep darkness, he was jolted awake from his nightmare. The wounds on his body felt as if it had come alive instantly and an unbearable, intense pain erupted from his wounds simultaneously.
His expression twisted as he stifled the pained screams, keeping them in his throat. Then, he turned his attention to sense the things around him first.
Wind and snow howled past his ears, a foul smell wafted to his nose and mouth, the low growls from livestock a few steps away from him travelled to his ears.
He lifted his trembling left hand with great difficulty and was unsurprised when he touched an old bumpy wall that was made of rough bricks.
His Power of Eradication surged up.
In the darkness where he could not even see his own fingers, the area around him gradually formed with his senses. This was the place he had escaped to, dragging his severely wounded body after he had finished sending his message to the spies in the Brotherhood. It was an ordinary barn in a Northland village. It had a simple and thick roof made of straw. One of the walls was a crude, handmade fence, the muddy floor was a mixture of water, snow, urine, mud, and his own blood.
The Blood Mystic was nowhere nearby.
Only then did he let out a low, pained moan. He had two stab wounds, six lacerations, two bone fractures, and countless scrapes, contusions, and muscle sprains.
‘And she was a girl with such a nice smile, too.’ When he thought of the Blood Mystic, he could only laugh bitterly, ‘Why is she so hot-tempered? I only wanted to use the legendary anti-mystic equipment and make a few holes in your real body.’
When he thought of this, he touched the two weapons beside his hand.
‘Oh, Lance…’ In his pain, he sighed, ‘I was tricked by you again.’
Not too far away, two large and six small thick-furred pigs gathered uneasily together, warming each other up while trying their best to be as far away as possible from this new, unwelcome guest. A black dog bravely stationed itself outside the fence at the perimeter of its territory, emitting low warning growls at him.
The snowfall outside gradually stopped. He could now perceive what was happening outside the barn. He sensed another wooden house with a thatch roof. There were four sets of breathing belonging to those deep in slumber. Two of them were rather steady, the other two were young and restless. Next to the wooden house was a horse stable. In there were two sets of slightly different, heavy breathing. That must be two of the strong horses that were unique to Northland.
He smiled in the darkness as he recalled the days when he had been rushing around, working hard, and staying in other people’s houses in different countries.
Clearly, this was an average Northland family of four. One of the two horses should be a workhorse, and the other was a steed that was used for military service and hunting purposes. They must have rented these horses from the suzerain. Judging by the horrid situation around him, those pigs may also not belong to the family, but were kept specifically as livestock to be served on the suzerain’s table. How could pigs like these—clearly just dumped in the barn and expected to survive on their own with no more attention paid to them—survive in this sort of weather? This was, after all, not like the south, where there was a very different, meticulous set of methods used to take care of their livestock.
A long time ago, she… that dirty girl had also told him that she wanted to come to the north and see the land in the north. She wanted to see how the Northlanders survived in this cold weather.
“I wonder if they rear piglets.” She blinked, those eyes shining with curiosity and watching him.
But at that time, he cared only about dipping his head down and wiping the weapon on his calf.
‘Do the Northlanders rear pigs? I have an answer now. I’ll have to remember this… Next time, I can tell her. But right now…’
Then, the man put away the smile on his face. He clenched his teeth while lying on the ground. His Power of Eradication surged up his body and seeped through every pore of his skin to accelerate closing, recovery, and healing of the wounds all over his body.
However, this process was filled with a more terrifying wave of intense pain, and a more unbearable itchiness… it was like the countless times he had struggled with these sensations in the past.
But amid the shivers and cold sweat, the man’s lips quirked slightly and revealed an anguished smile.
‘It’s still okay. At least I don’t have to bear with Doctor Ramon’s ceaseless chatter and taunts when he healed me… That big-nosed doctor’s boring chatter can match up to the destructive power of the Mystics.’
The Power of Eradication surged in waves to all his injuries, forcing his nerves, his muscles, and his bones to recover, heal, and reassemble themselves swiftly.
Surges of stabbing pain caused him to close his eyes tightly as he shivered. His eyelids had practically fused together, and his forehead broke out in cold sweat uncontrollably.
A long time passed…
In the end, he no longer trembled and laid limply on the ground. He clenched his teeth and let out a long breath.
‘How long has it been since I was this heavily injured?’
With great effort, he flipped around, and his mouth as well as his nose brushed against the incredibly dirty floor.
‘Incredibly dirty… huh?’ In the darkness, he began to snicker softly, ‘The incredibly dirty me…
‘Now I have no right to glare at her anymore, right? That dirty girl.’
The man pushed down on the dirty floor and climbed up weakly, sensing his body’s condition. He needed food to replenish his energy, and the best would be meat.
He looked at the pigs.
The family of thick-furred pigs instinctively sensed the man’s killing intent. They quivered and made low grunts.
At the same time, the sounds of the four sets of breathing from the family of Northlanders in deep slumber traveled to the man’s ears again.
The pigs must be one of the few sources they had to survive.
He sighed. The man looked at the shivering family of thick-furred pigs and put on a smile that they could not see and could not understand.
Then, he picked up the two weapons beside his hand and climbed out of the barn. He remembered that the Day before the Bitter Cold Winter was approaching soon.
‘Thank goodness this is the Northland. Thank you, Master of Mountains. Thank you for your present.
‘And I will remember your kindness.’
“Hoplites! Form the first line of defense on the slope in front! Slow them down no matter what!” Kentvida watched the attacking cavaliers with a grim expression and sent his orders resolutely.
Under his orders, the Eckstedt infantry from Black Sand Region carried the large metal shields—unique to the Northland—and trotted to the front of the camp to form a line of defense.
“Heavy infantry! In one minute, you must be ready and catch up to the defense line! Doppels?ldners, move to the front, aim for the horses’ legs! Heavy-armor axemen, stay behind them! As long as they fall from their horses, whether they are moving or not, swing your axe down on them!
“Phil!” Kentvida whipped his head around and yelled at the archers to the side of the camp, “Have your people ready! The enemies appeared too suddenly, there’s no time to aim and shoot!”
Once he had finished speaking, a short Eckstedt soldier shouted at the top of his lungs and gave orders to the archers that stood in two rows at the side of the camp, “Nock your arrows, draw your bows and get ready to shoot together!”
“Cavaliers, mount your horses! Find a flank that will give you a chance to attack!”
“Fire the signal arrow!”
“Send the light cavaliers to the back of the camp, have the rearguards provide the reinforcement quickly!”
Compared to them, the group from Constellation who were under layers of protection by the Black Sand Region’s army, was much quieter.
“Weather bad, wind strong, hard to control.” This was Ralf’s sign language. Unsurprisingly, it caused Wya to frown again.
Ramon clenched his teeth and started mumbling endlessly beside his ears, “I just knew we’re going to war again… Nothing good comes from following you… You’re a prince and a block of cheese that specifically attracts flies, and I’m just a normal doctor…”
He did his best to shrink to the back and move himself away from Thales, but also did not leave the circle of protection provided by the army.
‘The cunning doctor…’ Wya Caso watched him with a cold glance as he pushed down on his sword. He gave a snort of displeasure.
Thales did not bother with the doctor. His expression was stiff. With complicated emotions, he watched the cavaliers who surrounded them.
It was not that he was numb to threats, but ever since he left Eternal Star City and journeyed north, he had encountered far too many mind-boggling threats, so much so that when he ran into a similar situation, his first reaction was no longer surprise or nervousness. Instead, he let out a long sigh.
‘What is it this time? Can’t they just let me get to Dragon Clouds City safely? But…’ Thales forced himself to think of something that is logical, ‘Black Sand Region has an army of more than two thousand soldiers. Patrols were done very cautiously all along the way. We were careful when we pushed our journey onwards, why were we completely unaware of these unexpected guests?
‘Putray said that these people are elites, but the guards around me are also powerful warriors and elite soldiers from Black Sand Region, I shouldn’t be too worried… maybe.’
They continued to stay on guard until a familiar voice traveled from afar, from among the masked light cavalry in gray.
“Soldiers, drop your guard!”
It was Tolja. Thales sighed in relief.
Lord Tolja—Black Sand Region’s Fire Knight, one of Eckstedt’s Five War Generals, and whom had gone to scout ahead—appeared from among the cavaliers across from them. He stopped beside the lit campfire at the outermost area of the camp.
“These are King Nuven’s personal guards! They are the team sent by His Majesty to receive the Prince of Constellation’s diplomat group!”
“Old friend, it’s not that I don’t believe you, but nowadays, it’s never wrong to be more cautious.” Viscount Kentvida drew the sword at his waist, and, with a soldier protecting him, walked to the front of the camp. “Is there a person from the king who can verify this?”
‘There’s also the possibility of spies being among the Archduke of Black Sand’s subordinates, is that not so?’ Kentvida pushed the words he did not say to the bottom of his heart.
The cavaliers in gray swiftly drew their reins and dismounted at the front of the camp.
Thales could not help but notice that their steeds were quiet and steady in the face of the cavaliers’ rough manner of halting them. They did not neigh a lot. These cavaliers stood in one line and stood neatly in the direction directly parallel to the camp, showing superior mobility and discipline.
A masked man with brown hair wearing a white cloak rode out from among the cavaliers. Tolja followed behind him and rose into Black Sand Region’s camp.
Putray finally saw the elite cavaliers clearly, and the vice diplomat sucked in a deep breath beside Thales, “Hmm, I met these people when I was wandering in the past. Based on their attire, they are indeed the King of Eckstedt’s personal guards.”
Thales swiveled his eyes to watch them, then let out a breath of relief, ‘Thank goodness, they should not be the enemy… for now.’
By his side, the Tower of Eradication graduate and attendant, Wya, was clearly taken aback. “Are you talking about the White Blade Guards?” Wya asked in a low voice. “The White Blade Guards who are matched in power to the elites of the Constellation Royal Family’s personal guards, and whom are known as the Dragon’s Imperial Guards?”
Putray nodded. “Remember that tavern owner called Kaslan from a few days ago? He was once the commander of the White Blade Guards.”
Thales raised his head in shock and looked at Putray.
The latter shook his head. “Why do you think so many retired soldiers gather at his tavern?”
Thales tucked the piece of information in his heart and carefully observed how things unfolded.
The masked man rode and stopped before Kentvida. He first cast a glance at the Archduke of Black Sand’s most trusted adviser, then, with a sharp gaze, he looked towards the group from Constellation. His eyes stopped on their Double Cross-Shaped Stars Flag for an instant before he averted his gaze from it.
“As the captain of King Nuven’s personal guards, I should be considered a person from the king, correct?”
The masked, cloaked man pulled down the scarf over his face to reveal a pale face with clear features. There was a weapon with an indistinct shape behind his back. The white hilt stuck out from under the similarly white cloak.
“Nicholas… it’s you.” When Kentvida saw his face clearly, his expression turned sour.
The cloaked man with the pale face harrumphed coldly, nimbly dismounted in front of Kentvida, then he tossed a sealed scroll at Kentvida’s bosom, “I brought the White Blade Guards to receive Constellation’s Prince… if you have any questions, take a look at the king’s warrant.”
Kentvida tore the flame red seal open with a frown.
“I ran into them when I was scouting ahead, the White Blade Guards…” Behind the cloaked man, Lord Tolja the Fire Knight quickly dismounted, and with a sullen face, he said, “Looks like King Nuven… has really placed great importance on Constellation’s diplomat group.”
Kentvida finished reading the warrant and sighed. He sheathed his sword and, at the same time, issued an order to the Black Sand Region’s army.
“Stand at ease! Let them come in!”
The masked cavaliers with the gray cloaks—members of the White Blade Guards—rode into their camp haughtily, as if there was no one else besides them in the area. Although their faces were hidden under the scarves, their gazes were sharp and fierce. They glared at each person in the camp, be they Eckstedtians from Black Sand Region, or Constellatiates at the center of the camp.
“Mobilizing an army of nearly two thousand men to protect this prince.” The man in the white cloak walked towards Constellation’s diplomat group and surveyed the situation around the camp before he harrumphed coldly, “Lampard is such a generous archduke.”
When they heard the mocking tone in his words, Kentvida and Tolja frowned.
“This for His Highness’ safety, at least until he safely meets King Nuven,” Kentvida replied in a level-headed manner, “We believe… that there are people in Eckstedt who want this prince’s life.”
“Based on the information we obtained, the lot of you from Black Sand Region surrounded them and blocked their path in front of the fortress, then used Mystic Guns to shoot them as well…” The man tightened his cloak around himself. “That’s right, it looks like someone really wants his life.”
Kentvida was rendered speechless momentarily.
“We will take over from here,” the man with the white cloak said brusquely, “As for you lot from Black Sand Region, you have done your duty… Return to where you belong. Bringing several thousands of soldiers into another suzerain’s territory is not a good idea, especially when the Day before the Bitter Cold Winter is about to arrive. Lampard’s wild ambitions end here… His Majesty will deal with him later.”
Tolja replied coldly, “The archduke gave us orders to protect the prince until he reaches Dragon Clouds City. Even if he goes with you willingly, we must follow him to Dragon Clouds City.”
“Do whatever you want. If you want to follow, then go on ahead. The money you spend in moving two thousand people and their provisions will not come from us anyway.” The man tapped the white hilt behind him and said nonchalantly, “Next time, Tolja, let us spar against each other.”
Tolja let out a displeased grunt. He instinctively pressed his hand on his saber.
The man with the white cloak chuckled softly and continued walking towards Thales.
“By the order of King Nuven Charleton, the scion of Hero Raikaru, the great Common-Elected King of Eckstedt…” while escorted by his subordinates, the man with the white cloak ignored the other people and walked in a straight line towards Thales before he lowered his head to size up the only seven-year-old boy in the camp. He did not spare even the slightest hint of a smile on his pale face, “You are Thales Jadestar?”
Putray’s expression changed. He could sense the hostility in the other person’s voice.
Thales sensed the cold chill in his eyes, too. A crease slowly appeared between his brows.
‘There’s something off about this.’
But in the end, Thales only smiled and put on a standard smile.
Beside him, Putray frowned. He looked towards Tolja who stood next to him with a sour expression, but refrained from saying anything. Then, Putray cleared his throat and said to the hostile looking White Blade Guards, “This is Thales Jadestar, the Second Prince of Constellation, and under the orders of King Kessel—”
Putray had yet to finish talking when he was rudely interrupted by the man with the white cloak.
“My name is Nicholas, commander of the White Blade Guards.” The man named Nicholas shook his head with an expressionless face, then dipped his head down to speak to Thales.
“A long time ago, the people always said that the blood of the royal family from the Empire came from the Gods, which is why their blood is a dazzling gold. When it flows out, it would even shine brightly under the sun. So, is your blood also gold in color? Would it shine?”
Putray and Wya seemed to have heard the name before. The attendant and vice diplomat stared at the man in shock.
As for Thales, he mulled over Nicholas’ words, not completely understanding them.
‘Golden blood? What the heck is that?’
“I would not know,” Thales smiled until it reached his eyes, “After all, I do not really bleed.
“Do you mean that you, King Nuven’s personal guard, really want to see me bleed?” The second prince retorted without flinching.
‘As if he would.’
“Hmph.” Nicholas gave a light snort before his expression became cold again immediately, “I also know of one Jadestar. You are leagues behind him.”
Putray sucked in a deep breath. Wya silently took one step closer to Thales, clenched his teeth, and glared at Nicholas.
Thales turned his head around to see Putray’s reaction. His heart was filled with puzzlement… and wariness.
‘Who is this man? And…’ Thales pondered over his words, and he was momentarily stunned, ‘Leagues behind him? What does he mean?’
The second prince frowned. He sized up Nicholas’ attire and remembered that this person was the king’s personal guard, then asked cautiously, “Pardon me for asking, are you talking about… my uncle, Midier Jadestar?”
“No, I am talking about the Sword of Reversing Light.” Nicholas narrowed his eyes and moved his left hand to tap his right shoulder. His pale face turned even paler, “Twelve years ago, he cut me on my shoulder… and he nearly sliced off my shoulder blade.”
Thales’ expression changed.
Another person who personally experienced the war between Constellation and Eckstedt during the Bloody Year. By the looks, he even suffered quite a bit at Horace Jadestar’s hands.
The corner of Thales’ eyes swept past Kentvida and Tolja who both stood across from him, his gaze also swept across the Eckstedtians around him.
From ambushing the supply line to charging straight to the three Archdukes of Eckstedt’s battle line, to wounding Tolja, to snatching the Motionless Bow, and in the end, the soldiers under his command had even killed the former Archduke of Black Sand. The enmity Horace and the people of Eckstedt had formed seemed to be a little too rich and colorful.
‘The Sword of Reversing Light’ Horace Jadestar. Just how many similar ‘inheritances’ did this second uncle of his leave in Eckstedt for him?
Thales could only give a light cough and maintain his constant smile as he nodded, “It is a real pity.”
Beside him, Putray furrowed his brows tightly. Thales had also noticed that Tolja let out a light breath of relief behind Nicholas.
“No, there is nothing that you should regret,” Nicholas said flatly, “After all, I have already gotten even with him.”
Putray gritted his teeth and sent a sharp glare at the man standing in before him, ‘This man… he’s mentioning this during the first meeting? Is he trying to intimidate us first?’
Thales, who was out of the loop, had a thought appear in his head.
“Get even?” he asked carefully, “What do you mean?”
Putray sighed. It caused Thales to feel an incredibly ominous air loom over his head.
“Ah,” A terrifying, freezing glare shone in Nicholas’ eyes, “I killed him, on the battlefield in Rayman Pass.”
Thales expression froze for a moment.
‘Damn it all.’ He told himself in his heart.
“That is why we got even… Horace and I.”
A ghost of a smile showed up faintly on Nicholas’ pale face. He lifted his right hand and pointed it at his left chest.
“Just like this, I stabbed him, twisted the sword, and then dragged it out diagonally… You should have seen his expression before he died…”
Thales frowned and sized up the commander of White Blade Guards again.
‘The person who killed Horace. The enemy of the Jadestar Royal Family.’
“And I proved, in the end…” Nicholas narrowed his eyes and sighed lightly, “Even the blood of those in the Jadestar Royal Family, the royal family of the former Empire, their blood is not gold… but when it gushes out…”
Nicholas licked the corner of his lips in a terrifying manner and put on a chilling smile. He looked down on Thales and said slowly, “It is all red.”
Thales glared at the pale man with a dark expression on his face. The man’s aggressive gaze, which he did not bother to hide, made Thales uncomfortable throughout his entire body.
Yet at that moment, as Constellation’s Prince, the best reaction he could give… was to remain expressionless.
“Allow me to introduce you to each other, Constellation’s Prince and everyone else.” Viscount Kentvida let out a long sigh and shook his head slightly before he took a step forward. “This is Lord Soray Nicholas, one of the famous Five War Generals of Eckstedt. The people know of him as…”
Kentvida saw the dark expressions on the faces of the Constellatiates and raised his brows in resignation before he said, “Star Killer.”
Nicholas watched Thales with burning eyes. Like a hunter sizing up his prey. A slight chill crept into Thales’ heart.
“Let us cut the meaningless small talk, citizens of the Empire,” Nicholas said slowly, “From now on, we will be the ones who will escort you to Dragon Clouds City.”
Thales was momentarily stunned.
“Of course,” The second prince watched Nicholas and, with mixed feelings in his heart, he nodded slightly, “If this is what King Nuven wants.”
However, he was feeling incredibly anxious, ‘King Nuven actually sent someone like this to receive him.’ Thales suddenly had an ominous feeling about his future days in Dragon Clouds City.
“Wait, based on rules and protocol,” Putray took a step forward in a solemn manner, “the diplomats on our side must officially speak to someone of equal status among those welcoming us from Eckstedt—”
“You talk too much,” Nicholas cut off the vice-diplomat’s words brusquely, “I have no time to waste.”
In the next moment, Thales saw Nicholas’ expression become serious, and the cloak behind him fluttered.
“Please believe me… this is for your safety, ‘Your Highness’,” said Soray Nicholas, the Star Killer. This pale man let out a cold snort with a cold smile. He gestured at Thales with his chin as his expression changed, and he gave an order to the White Blade Guards behind him.
“Tie him up.”
‘What?’ Thales widened his eyes.
 (马刀 and 佩剑 are both sabers. Just one is used by cavaliers, the other one by foot soldiers.