Chapter 121 - Clue

Kingdom’s Bloodline Masterless Sword, 无主之剑 2022/9/13 16:51:48

Translator:?EndlessFantasy Translation??Editor:?EndlessFantasy Translation

“You sure came quickly,” Kaslan sighed in Hero Tavern’s scullery and sized up the man and woman in front of him, “So you are the most outstanding Seeds from the tower from the recent batches, and you came here to help?”

Kohen Karabeyan had already taken off his police uniform and donned a Northland robe made from thick skins which would keep him warm, but those golden strands of hair on his head were still as bright as ever.

Miranda Arunde had her snow boots on and wore a dark half-plate. Her shoulder-length black hair was tied in a ponytail behind her head. The mark of the flying falcon on her black glove had already disappeared without a trace, and no one could tell that she was the young lady of the Arunde Family.

After they went through the strict training and trials from the Tower of Eradication, they knew how to better disguise and hide their identities. Field survival training would always be the mandatory class for the Swordsmen and Knights of Eradication. But their disguises seemed to have lost their effects on this old tavern owner.

“I don’t understand.” The old, white-haired Kaslan frowned deeply. “This is not some sort of game trail… Shao sent two nobles here, hmm? Young master and young lady?”

Kohen’s expression froze.

‘Where did we slip up?’

He lowered his head and gave his own attire a once-over.

“Stop looking. I’m talking about your posture and movements, you dumb boy,” Kaslan said coldly to his junior.

Kohen turned towards Miranda with an astounded gaze. The latter had a deep frown on her face as she met Kohen’s gaze squarely.

“Even if I am six kilometres away from you, I can still smell the scent of a field officer spreading out all over your body.” Kaslan shook his head. “Look at that shock on your face. You look like a rabbit whose about to jump up and bite. You just came from Western Desert Frontlines, right?”

Kohen looked at the old man in shock.

‘How could this be? I’m just maintaining the standard level of vigilance.’

Based on Zedi’s suggestion, he had already adjusted himself, and the symptoms of the ‘Battle Abstinence Syndrome’ could no longer be seen on him.

‘Unless…’ Kohen looked at the old man solemnly. ‘He is someone who was once like me—a being who lived through a battlefield.

‘And he’s the very terrifying type.’ Kohen remembered the aloof gazes from some of those in the suicide squad when he was in the desert. He could not help but feel a chill creep into his heart.

Kohen looked at the old man in front of him and sent Miranda a glance. It was a pity that his ex-cohort ignored him. Unable to do anything about it, Kohen could only smile and say, “Mister Kaslan, Master Shao gave us the task of chasing after the Disaster Sword—”

But his words were immediately and rudely interrupted by Kaslan.

“And you, lassy. Your mercenary disguise is very professional. You should be able to move about without a problem in places like Alumbia.” Kaslan ignored Kohen and continued sizing up Miranda, then continued speaking in a stiff manner. “But you must know that there aren’t many mercenaries in Northland. The people here are strong bodied and love to fight. There are plenty of things here where the men in the house could handle just by picking up their swords. Mercenaries can get no business here… Your disguise will stand out too much.”

Miranda’s expression changed.

“And your temperament… perhaps only idiots will not be able to recognize that you’re a noble, Lady Arunde.

“Oh, well, forget it,” Kaslan sighed, “At least you’re much better than plenty of the young noble ‘uns, young lady of the Arunde Family.”

When she heard this, Miranda opened her mouth wide in astonishment.

‘How could this be..? My status… How did he manage to see it?

‘I clearly took off all things that could allow others to identify the White Eagle when I entered the border.’

The old man sitting on the chair placed his hands on his knees, then raised his brows in skepticism. “I must say, do you really know what sort of being you are about to face?”

“The descendants of a duke and a count, an Arunde descendant, to boot.” Disgust was written all over Kaslan’s face as he clicked his tongue. “The young master and young lady of noble families…

“Quickly write a letter back. Ask Shao to send more people over, it would be best for them to be supreme class elites…”

Kohen frowned. ‘This is bad. Our point of contact doesn’t like us? What should we do?’

At that moment, the lady from the Arunde Family suddenly took a step forward and glared at Kaslan with anger on her face.

“Listen up, old man,” Lady Miranda Arunde spoke with a hostile expression on her face, “You do your job and we will perform our tasks properly. This is the most ideal situation, as for our abilities…

“We know what sort of dangers we are about to face, and we are not some pampered young master and young lady in our families,” Miranda’s face was stern as she enunciated each of her words clearly, “Kohen is my colleague, and he Awakened to the Glory of the Stars. I understand him.

“He spent many years on the Western Desert Frontlines, he understands battle and the ways of war very well. He is an outstanding warrior and a military officer. When he is on the battlefield, he will not be any less useful than an old pair of bones who has not moved for decades, even if he is a supreme class elite,” Lady Arunde said flatly.

Kohen looked at Miranda; at his colleague who refused to back down even an inch.

‘My god. When was the last time she praised me? Could it be that when a woman is broken-hearted, her temper would improve?’

Kaslan wore an expression as if he was amused while he stared at the girl before his eyes.

‘An old pair of bones who has not moved for decades? Interesting. How energetic. If I was thirty years younger…’

“And I have served under the Fortress Flower. I led Constellation’s Army to Cold Castle, to Lonely Old Tower, to Overwatch City, and travelled back and forth between the borders of two countries. I also led the army to fight against Lampard’s men numerous times before.” Miranda stared at Kaslan with a sharp gaze. “I know how to fight, old man. We are not recruits lacking experience.

“Of course, perhaps from the viewpoint of a veteran, only supreme class elites like Teacher Chartier and Guru Zedi can handle this situation. But Mister Kaslan, while everyone else can reject our experiences and abilities because we are, respectively, the young master and young lady of our families, only you do not have the right to do so.”

Kaslan narrowed his eyes.

“This is the first time I hear your name, Mister Kaslan.” Miranda slowly placed her hand on the sword at her waist. “It is not because you have a ‘shocking’ reputation, but it is because of your family name, Kaslan Lampard.”

Kaslan raised his brows.

As for Kohen, he was completely dumbstruck.

“Yes, all members of the Arunde Family must know the situation of our enemy’s families like the back of our hands,” the swordswoman said languidly with a low tone.

“So?” Kaslan narrowed his eyes again.

Miranda stared intently at Kaslan. “So, if you have an opinion towards the name ‘Arunde’ because you are from the Lampard Family, you can just say it to my face.”

Miranda’s pupils were narrowed as she glared attentively at the old man to find all possible weaknesses on him. She gripped her sword hilt tightly and said in a chilly voice, “We can use our swords to settle our differences, old man.”

Kaslan looked at Miranda’s sword and uttered a disdainful snort.

“Of course, perhaps this is just a simple provocation, and you want to see our abilities with your own eyes?” Miranda asked with some underlying meaning in her words. “If you are, then let’s hurry up and start. We’ll finish it quickly, and then continue with our mission instead of waste our breath with an old geezer.”

Kaslan stared at Miranda. His smile disappeared and the aloof, expressionless face returned.

When he saw that conflict was about to erupt right in front of his eyes, Kohen became so anxious that he scratched his ears and cheeks. “Um, er… Miranda… should we—”

“Ha!” Kaslan let out a bark of laughter in anger and cut off Kohen’s words once again.

Kaslan hit the table and stood up swiftly from his chair. Even if he was already in his sixties, his near seven-foot height and his muscles, which were practically not atrophied, still gave him an incredibly oppressive air.

But Miranda’s gaze remained as sharp as ever and did not move. She only bent her body slightly and adjusted herself into her fighting stance.

“Alright, the test is over!” Kaslan suddenly let out a loud bark of laughter. “You’re interesting, lassy! When you’re angry, you look like a leopardess!”

Miranda gritted her teeth. ‘It’s over? Leopardess? This old man…’

“Young Kroesch is right.” With a sharp gaze, Kaslan showed his yellowing teeth and said languidly, “‘Miranda’s observation skills are outstanding. When she runs into problems, she displays firm resolution. She will not procrastinate, but she is just a little too prideful.'”


“Ah!” Kohen placed his fist on his palm excitedly. “So, uncle, you know Kroesch? What did she say about me?”

“You, huh..? Mm… she said…”

Kaslan did not mind that Kohen had changed from ‘Mister’ to ‘uncle’ when addressing him. He dug around his memories for a while before he turned his head and put on a peculiar expression. “‘Kohen Karabeyan is not a bad person, but he is a thick-headed fool.’ That’s all.”

Kohen was stupefied for a moment before he touched his head and smiled awkwardly. In his heart, he was howling.

‘So my image… is actually that bad?’

Kaslan watched how Kohen reacted to the situation and chuckled.

“Boy… Do your best, boy!” Kaslan laughed heartily and slapped Kohen’s shoulder.

Kohen’s expression changed, but he gritted his teeth and maintained his posture so that he did not sway.

When he saw that Kohen did not move even a single inch, Kaslan praised him in his heart.

“You know,” Kaslan said in an unreserved manner, “my wife also called me a thick-headed fool!”

Kohen was stunned for a full three seconds.

‘Wife? So…’

“Enough,” Miranda frowned and interrupted them. “Can we get straight to the point?”

Kohen no longer thought about Kroesch. He shrugged in resignation to indicate to Kaslan. ‘This is how she is.’

“Heh.” Kaslan stopped smiling and his expression changed. “Listen, I know why you were sent to handle the Disaster Sword.

Kaslan regarded Kohen with serious gaze. “Boy, you were sent here for a reason. Shao told me that you had run into a Disaster Sword once, is that right?”

Kohen was momentarily stunned before he instinctively nodded. He lowered his head.

Then he said with a solemn expression, “In Constellation’s capital, they were related to Blood Bottle Gang.”

‘As for the Disaster Sword I confronted in another area…’ Kohen remembered how they had met each other again in the Hall of Stars. He gritted his teeth and did not say more.

‘Now is not the time.’

“You did not tell me about this, Kohen.” Miranda frowned and looked at her colleague.

Kohen frowned and gritted his teeth slightly. He did not answer her.

‘It’s not that I didn’t want to tell you. But… if I tell you about the Disaster Sword… Then Raphael…’

Kohen’s expression did not change, but he clenched his fists lightly.

“And you, lassy.” Kaslan turned his head around to look at Miranda. “You were not dragged into the Purgers without reason, right?”

Kohen’s expression changed. He lifted his head and looked at the swordswoman, his colleague who shared a similar background with him, who had similar experiences as his, and who had known him for many years.

Miranda gritted her teeth and did not say a word. Kaslan did not say anything either. He only waited for her reply quietly.

After a moment, Miranda spoke with great difficulty.

“This has to do with my father, the Guardian Duke of the Northern… the FORMER Guardian Duke of the Northern Territory, Val Arunde,” when she said these words, the young lady of the Arunde Family’s voice froze momentarily.

Kohen watched her worriedly.

‘That… Duke who betrayed the country, huh?’

But in Kaslan’s eyes, even though the neat-looking girl’s voice was unsteady, she still gritted her teeth and enunciated her words slowly, “During the past four or five years, I discovered that he was communicating with a strange swordsman from the north… and their Power of Eradication was extremely unusual…”

Miranda lifted her head and her expression was grim. “I told Chartier about this.”

Kohen looked surprised.

“Look, this is the reason why you’re here. You have come into contact with the Disaster Swords and even fought against them. You also know about their characteristics,” Kaslan said slowly, “That’s why you were brought into the Purgers.”

When he heard that familiar term, a serious expression appeared on Kohen’s face.

“Uncle, you know about the Purgers too?” he asked.

“Know about them?” Kaslan cracked up.

Kohen stared at him with a strange expression.

Kaslan’s expression gradually turned cold. “A long, long time ago, Shao and I created the Purgers.”

Kohen widened his eyes. As for Miranda, she stared at the old man in shock.

“Listen, the Purgers were formed a long time ago,” said the old man unhurriedly, “Just like how the Disaster Swords began their activities a long time ago as well.”

“A long time ago?” Kohen repeated these words solemnly. He remembered the records about Blood Bottle Gang and the Disaster Swords during the past one hundred years.

Kaslan nodded seriously. “A long time ago, we were two young men who were crazy over sword skills and were curious about the Power of Eradication. We tried to understand the truth behind the Disaster Swords and put an end to the threat they brought.

“At that time, we were about your age, and we were far from supreme class. We were impulsive and lively. We did not care about the consequences,” Kaslan said faintly.

“Shao and I worked hard… in every possible manner, but the results were not good. At that time, the Disaster Swords kept a much lower profile and were much more secretive with their actions. There were plenty of times when we would still be unable to find their tracks even after investigating them for several years.” An expression of fond remembrance appeared on Kaslan’s face.

“Later on, I joined the White Blade Guards. As for Shao… he became a scion,” Kaslan said slowly, “The Purgers then stopped their operations.

“Until one day, Shao told me that he was prepared to assemble the Purgers again.”

“Why?” Kohen asked in puzzlement, “Why did he decide to assemble them again?”

Kaslan cast him a profound gaze.

“Because they… the Disaster Swords have begun their operations again.” Kaslan’s words were filled with an oppressive, imposing tone. “Just twelve years ago.”

A fierce and wary look appeared in Kaslan’s eyes, looking as if he was a dangerous hunter who had fixed his eyes on a prey. He hissed these words through gritted teeth. “And this time, they are much more active. They act in a much higher profile, are even more unscrupulous, more dangerous, and fatal.”

Kohen was struck dumb.

‘Twelve years ago… Isn’t that..?’

He looked at his colleague. In his eyes, he saw Miranda clench her teeth, also shocked by this matter.

But the pale look on her face was even more prominent. It was as if she had remembered some deplorable memories.

“Come with me.” Kaslan stood up with a stern face. “I will bring you to meet Kroesch, as well as let you read the clues regarding the Disaster Swords.”

The old man turned around and led them away.

“There are quite a lot of people involved in this matter this time. It’s not just the Disaster Swords and the Tower of Eradication. The Prince of Constellation is also involved.” Kaslan pushed open a door and spoke while leading the way.

“Wait, what did you say?” Kohen asked in shock, “Are you talking about the second prince who has left on a diplomatic mission to Eckstedt, Thales Jadestar?”

“That’s right.” When he said these words, Kaslan smiled. “That is an interesting child. He stopped here to rest not too long ago.”

“Constellation’s heir… What is his connection to the Disaster Swords?” Kohen asked in grave tone.

“Didn’t Shao tell you?” Kaslan whipped his head around in surprise.

Kohen shook his head. By his side, Miranda seemed to have remembered something, and her expression changed. Then, he heard Kaslan speak slowly,

“The Disaster Sword tried to assassinate your prince before.”

During that instant, Kohen and Miranda were stunned.

Several seconds later.

“The Disaster Sword?” Kohen asked urgently, “Why? Why did they want to kill the Prince of Constellation and heir? I thought their targets were only us and the Tower of Eradication…”

“Listen up. You don’t understand the Disaster Sword, and neither do I.” Kaslan’s tone changed. He stopped moving and turned around. “But based on the experiences I have gained about them in the past…”

A grave expression appeared on Kaslan’s face. “Their goal is definitely not something as simple as attacking the Tower of Eradication and replacing it.

“As for that prince… Who knows? Perhaps this involves the Northland suzerains who want his life…”

“Impossible!” Miranda said in a level-headed manner, “King Kessel used the throne as an oath and restricted the movements of all those who want to harm him. His Highness is very safe in Eckstedt. No one would dare to harm him.”

“Really now?” Kaslan laughed heartily. When his laughter disappeared, he cast a complicated gaze on the young adults before him.

“Your prince and your king’s oath… turned your prince into a precious, ancient Alchemy Ball. Once it’s destroyed, it will explode and harm others,” Kaslan said flatly, “True, in Northland, no one would dare to attack him, or at least they will not dare to have him explode in their hands.”

When he said these words, Kaslan lowered his head, and his gaze dimmed. “But they wish that he will explode in other people’s hands.”

Thales stared at Nicholas and Marquis Shiles in front of him and pondered over King Nuven’s invitation, or rather, his request which was brought to him by these two people.

A bad hunch rose in Thales’ heart. “Wait, based on what you said, does that mean that King Nuven has not yet found his enemy, Archduke Lampard’s co-conspirator?”

“See, this is the reason why we came to you.” Marquis Shiles nodded slightly and put on a polite smile.

“Why must it be me?” Thales said in a dismal tone, “I’m just a seven-year-old child, I can’t play such high-level games.”

“You’re not just a seven-year-old child, you’re also a seven-year-old genius.” Shiles added with a wink.

Thales closed his eyes, feeling his head throb painfully.

“Just as you said, Prince of Constellation, you are the one who should have received King Nuven’s wrath,” Nicholas said slowly. There was a slight, threatening tone in his words. “But this is a chance for you to break free of the pain you should not have to suffer.

“Whether you agree or disagree to this depends on you, boy.”

Thales let out a long sigh.

“What do you know about Archduke Lampard’s co-conspirator?” The diplomat group’s vice-diplomat, Putray, asked with a grave expression. He had already realized the direction of how things would develop.

“We have a very clear goal,” Putray answered with a pale face, “When you were still in Broken Dragon Fortress, Lampard once surrounded and attacked your diplomat group in an attempt to seize the fortress and lure the fortress’ defenders to attack.”

“That’s right, something like that happened.” When he remembered Arracca and his Fury Guards, Thales sucked in a deep breath. “That is definitely not a happy memory.”

Nicholas continued speaking as he rode on his horse. “Under the orders of a military spy, the Mystic Gun unit in Lampard’s army tried to kill you, and based on the information we have and what the Secret Room has, we are almost certain that the person behind the military spy is our target.”

Thales remembered the attack from the Mystic Guns and stared at the snow-covered ground with a blank gaze. He shuddered at the thought of them.

Putray frowned. “Based from what I know, Lampard is also investigating this matter. When we arrived at your tavern, their investigations seemed to have already made progress. So, what you’re saying is that the mastermind who sent the spy to Lampard’s army to kill Prince Thales and to shift the blame onto Lampard is also Lampard’s co-conspirator when it came to him killing Prince Moriah?”

“It makes your blood run cold, doesn’t it?” Marquis Shiles shook his head, and his gaze was profound. “Archduke Lampard and this person worked together to harm their own country’s prince, but immediately after, he betrayed Archduke Lampard and tried to frame him when it came to trying to harm another country’s prince.”

“Nobles are like White Mountain Cinereous Vultures fighting over carrion. They scheme against each other and try to outwit each other.” Under the cloak, Aida suddenly spoke, “Northland and Northlanders, even if they were nobles and suzerains, were not like this in the past.

“Without the Empire, you’ve sunken even faster.”

The group travelling forward fell silent for an instant.

“Northland. Northlanders.” Some sort of sentiment seemed to have risen in Nicholas’ heart. He stared at the Crimson Dragon Flag with the black background and red lining, nodded his head slowly, and then said, “One of these days, we will regain our pride as the Dragon’s children.”

“Anyhow, the Archduke of Black Sand still does not know that the person who tried to frame him is his co-conspirator.” Marquis Shiles made a fake cough. “And we became certain of this from Lampard’s progress in his investigations.

“Chapman Lampard must know about his co-conspirator’s identity. Since he already knows, why should we not tell the truth to Lampard and work together with him?” Thales raised his head with a serious expression on his face.

“Do not forget that Lampard is also His Majesty’s enemy. Working together with him to take revenge on another enemy? I do not think the leader of Black Sand Region will listen to us obediently and work together with us.” Marquis Shiles sighed. “Besides, those Northlanders’ personalities are just… tsk tsk.”

“We will not work together with trash like Chapman Lampard; people who kill their own family.” Nicholas’ gaze was dark. “He and his co-conspirator must suffer the consequences for Moriah’s death.”

With his smile still as bright as ever on his face, Marquis Shiles took over the rather grim topic and continued putting pressure on Thales’ shoulders. “Archduke Lampard and the co-conspirator are your enemies. One of them killed most of your men at the fortress, and the other tried to kill you with Mystic Guns. King Nuven said it very clearly: It does not matter whether you agree to this or not, Your Highness, you are already a part of this.”

Thales closed his eyes and drew a deep breath.

Even though he knew a long time ago that, from the moment that title was placed on his head in the form of a crown, he had to face all the things he once hated to the core.

However, he still underestimated the might of the power play in this circle. This was a game where a person had no choice on whether he wanted to play or not, and whether he wanted to give it his all in playing that game.

‘To live for Constellation. Is this the kind of rhythm I must live to? What a disgusting feeling.’

The Second Prince of Constellation opened his eyes slowly.

“To lure Lampard’s co-conspirator out, hmm? What is Nuven prepared to do?” the prince asked faintly.

Nicholas was just about to answer when he was interrupted by the prince who used a completely different tone to speak to him.

Thales raised his head, and his gaze had the bright glint of a blade that had just been sharpened. “Also, if I agree to his plan for vengeance, what sort of benefits will Nuven be willing to give me?”

Nicholas was stunned for a few microseconds. He noticed that Thales no longer addressed their king as ‘His Majesty’ or ‘King Nuven’.

But at the next moment, the commander of the White Blade Guards curled up his lips and put on a faint, cold smile.

“You will be satisfied.” The Star Killer looked at the second prince and enunciated his words clearly. “The Charletons, the ‘Dragon Spear Family’ is never miserly.”

Thales continued with brightly burning eyes. “I have another question. You said that based on the investigation you conducted on Lampard, you learned that his co-conspirator is the mastermind behind the plot to murder me using Mystic Guns.”

“That is right.” Nicholas frowned. “What of it?”

“Where did you acquire these details in your investigation on Lampard, and how did you verify them?” Thales asked in a dark tone.

“That is our business.” Nicholas shook his head. “You do not need—”

But Thales immediately cut him off.

“This is MY business!” Thales’ expression was firm. With an accented voice, he affirmed his persistence in knowing the truth. “Especially when Nuven wants me to risk my life to play in a game of vengeance like this. I have the right to obtain enough information to know whether his plan is feasible!”

Nicholas stared at Thales. His gaze was icy cold. As to what his heart thought, Thales could not guess. This lasted until Shiles let out a light cough by their side.

Nicholas finally spoke slowly, “Lampard has been investigating the military spy that commanded the Mystic Gun unit all this while. His subordinates have very efficiently found clues in the black market, but right when they were about to discover the truth, a group of strange swordsmen suddenly appeared. They used a strange Power of Eradication and killed almost all of Lampard’s investigators, causing them to lose their trail.”

“Strange swordsmen? A strange Power of Eradication?”

Nicholas nodded. “This is not privy to Lampard. That is why he asked for help from a professional, and that professional…”

The Star Killer lowered his head and looked at his White Blade Guard attire. “He is our old acquaintance.”

“And those strange swordsmen?” Thales pursued the line of questioning.

Nicholas cast him a deep glance.

“The person King Nuven sent to Constellation to retrieve the prince’s body and to investigate the matter of the diplomat group’s assassination sent back news a few days ago.” Nicholas reported the key parts of the information in detail. “The prince’s final guard used the Charleton Family’s secret method and left behind the most crucial clue. There were also some strange swordsmen among the assassins who attacked Prince Moriah. Their Powers of Eradication were incredibly strange.”

Thales understood what he meant. “Are you saying that the people who assassinated Prince Moriah and stopped Lampard’s investigations are the same group of people?”

Nicholas nodded slightly.

“Who are they?”

“Based on our information, they are a group of traitors from the Tower of Eradication. They are a group of flies that do no good and only show partial truths to the world.” Nicholas looked at all the people on the ground. “The Tower of Eradication gave them an incredibly unique name.”

The Star Killer’s expression was profound as he spoke slowly,

“Disaster Swords.”

Thales’ train of thought was interrupted for an instant because of that name.

‘Disaster… Swords?’

“Ah!” Wya seemed to have remembered something while listening from the side. He suddenly let out a light gasp.

“Now that you mention this, when I was in the Tower of Eradication, I had accidentally overheard a few scions talking about that name before. The Disaster Swords have always been a legend… It is said that they are a group of traitors who want to replace the Tower of Eradication.” Wya, having sensed all the people watching him, said this with a slightly nervous tone.

“Wya, let’s set aside a time to discuss the Power of Eradication and the Tower of Eradication,” the second prince said.

“No matter what, these so-called Disaster Swords joined Moriah’s assassination and the betrayal against Lampard. Their relationship with Lampard’s co-conspirator definitely runs deep, that is why they listen to his orders and let him use them as he wants,” Nicholas looked at the snow plains ahead and frowned as he spoke, “We caught their tails after connecting the two matters together as well.”

“I understand.” Thales nodded with a solemn expression, then said, “When does Nuven’s plan begin?”

“Prestige Orchid Snowland is right before our eyes. Once we pass through it, we will reach Dragon Clouds City,” Nicholas said languidly as he cast his gaze into the distance where the snow plains laid, practically one with the horizon.

“The five Archdukes should have already reached Dragon Clouds City. The first trial you will have to face is meeting King Nuven with them. Prepare yourself, Your Highness.” Shiles winked at him.

“Are you saying that the target we are looking for, the co-conspirator, is among the five Archdukes?” Thales caught the crucial point with his sharp mind.

“Only one of the five Archdukes has a clear stake in this, has enough resources and power, can work together with Lampard and shake Charleton’s rule, can mobilize those so-called Disaster Swords, and even has the courage to assassinate Constellation’s Prince and betray Lampard.” Putray sucked in a deep breath.

“He is definitely among the five Archdukes. He will definitely not miss the arrival of Constellation’s Prince, not after he has done so much,” Nicholas said coldly.

“Of course.” Marquis Shiles rubbed his gloved hands together. The excitement akin to someone watching a great show starting was brimming in his eyes. “In public, King Nuven will act in a tough manner against you, and he might… be a little violent.”

“Violent?” Thales narrowed his eyes. “Really now?”

Thales watched the horizon with a spirited gaze. He touched his neck gently and remembered the feeling of when it was held in someone’s tight grip. He said firmly, “I love violence the most.”

Shiles’ smile grew even brighter. A strange light shone in Nicholas’ eyes. Putray sucked in huge mouthful of smoke from his tobacco pipe. Aida continued bowing her head, not saying a single word under her cloak. Wya and Ralf only stared at each other blankly.

Noon arrived. The sun hung high in the sky above the snow plains, but everyone who had stayed in Northland for many days knew…

The Day before the Bitter Cold Winter was around the corner.