Chapter 126 - Heroic Spirit Palace

Kingdom’s Bloodline Masterless Sword, 无主之剑 2022/9/13 16:51:53

Chapter 126: Heroic Spirit Palace

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

When Thales finally stepped into Dragon Clouds City, the rough yet bold and extravagant architectural style was not what immediately caught his attention.

In contrast to Eternal Star City’s buildings that were constructed by relying on the city district and city wall, this city was built on a gentle slope at the mountain peak. The layout of the city was built according to the mountain’s topography. It stretched up the mountain, allowing it to appear natural and smooth.

The experience was similar to the one Thales had in Lampard’s military camp. What also left Thales with a great impression was the Eckstedtians, who crowded around the city gate to watch the Prince of Constellation. It seemed like they were there to witness the fun.

“A prince belonging to the citizens of the Empire!” A hoarse voice shouted in the crowd. This?immediately initiated a noisy and chaotic response.

According to Putray, the place was supposed to be filled with commoners who were busy preparing to get themselves through the winter. They would be going into the city to exchange, sell and purchase materials for the very last time.

Unfortunately, he had arrived at this particular time.

Thales could only lower his head and sigh.

It had been a long time since he was this ‘popular’.

Even though the commoners’ attitude was a lot better than the soldiers’ and the Eckstedtians were not filled with as much hatred towards Constellation as Black Sand Region was, it was obvious that the news of Dragon Clouds City’s heir being attacked by assassins in Constellation had spread out for some time.

This resulted in Thales and his companions going through a similar experience once again. From discussing to hurling abusive words and even throwing garbage at them—Eckstedtians were much more ‘enthusiastic’ compared to Constellatiates.

“If that king has guts, then don’t send…” a furious and agitated voice rose up from the crowd. Thales could not see its owner clearly. He was quickly escorted away by the attendants before Thales got to listen to the second half of the scolding.

He could vaguely hear a voice saying, “Let that coward come personally” as well as numerous responses of agreement and refutation behind him.

“Maintain order and separate the crowd! We need to arrive at Heroic Spirit Palace as soon as possible!” Nicholas reprimanded his subordinates and soldiers in a rude manner. “You know what to do with those people who charged and collided into us of their own free will!”

Fortunately, the White Blade Guards and soldiers of Dragon Clouds City were there to separate the crowd. Otherwise, the Prince of Constellation would have to flee into Dragon Clouds City in a dishevelled manner.

Although there was not much difference at this point.

“Their offended expressions…” Thales looked at Wya and Ralf, who were on guard as if they were facing a great enemy. He sighed helplessly on the horse. “It’s as if I’m the one who murdered their prince.”

“Put yourself in their shoes and think for a moment,” Putray yelled in the clamorous environment, “If you die in Northland today, and then the next day, Eckstedt sends someone to Eternal Star City to apologize… I believe, I will probably have that offended look on my face too.”

Thales rolled his eyes at Putray, but the latter seemed to pay no attention to the prediction he had just made for the prince.

“Thank you for your auspicious words, vice diplomat,” Thales replied sourly, “If you lose your job in the future, I suggest that you go and try your luck in the Western Desert. I believe Duke Fakenhaz will surely get along with you.”

“Is he that master of the Four-Eyed Skull, that unpopular Guardian Duke of the Western Desert?” Putray sneered. “Thank you for your recommendation.”

Thales had no choice but to snort coldly in reply.

But they both knew that the real test was not here, not where these simple people were.

“Are you ready, citizen of the Empire?” Nicholas’ voice came through from the front and his voice was stained with disdain. “This will be very tiring.”

“What?” Thales was stunned when he lifted his head.

However, he quickly knew the reason why.

Dragon Clouds City was built according to the topography and slope of the mountain, with its buildings constructed on separate layers. It basically spiralled upwards.

They had no choice, but to climb up the slope throughout the whole journey in the city. They passed layer upon layer of barriers separated by the thick inner city gatehouses. There was an inner city gatehouse between each district, and altogether, there were about seven or eight gatehouses.

“I have heard about Dragon Clouds City’s layout before.” Wya clenched his teeth and observed his surroundings vigilantly. “It is said that this type of inner city structure is better at protecting the city itself. Even if the enemy breaches Dragon Clouds City’s main gate, the archers on the city walls and city gates can still turn around and carry out layered attacks on the enemy who charges into the city. Also, the warriors are able to block the enemy’s waves of attacks behind the city gatehouses.

“And because of the slope, the invaders have no choice but to face a disadvantageous situation, where they have to attack from below.

“I dare say that this type of layout helped them greatly during the Third Peninsular War when they were facing the besiegement from the Eastern Peninsular’s army.”

“So, this city is also not inferior in any respect compared to the Broken Dragon Fortress.” Thales stared helplessly at the horse that sat down and panted. The noisy onlookers outside of the guards’ separation line also caused him to become distraught and annoyed. “Even the city residents need to climb the slope when they wish to take a stroll, what more the enemies who attack the city.”

“On top of that, the nobles also have an excuse or reason to hide and cower in the city.” Aida walked on the stone tiles with her graceful and lithe figure, but she still snorted lightly in dissatisfaction. “They allow their people outside of the city to endure the sufferings.”

“I think, the first batch of people built this city purely out of military purpose. However, no one expected that it would one day become Eckstedt’s capital.” Thales glanced at the passersby who either walked by or stopped walking. “Don’t the people who live here feel tired?”

“To some degree, this city also naturally repels businessmen. This type of layout is not suitable for both peddling and opening stores, regardless of whether it is to transport goods or expand business. Can you imagine the cost to transport one load of firewood up to the inner city? It’s enough to carry three loads of firewood to other places.” The Marquis of Camus Union, Shiles seemed like he was getting used to this type of road, but he still shook his head and appeared to be speechless when he said, “Of course, this is when we, the Camians stepped in.”

“So, the higher grounds of the inner city are places that only people with more power live in? Am I right?” Thales sighed, “The differentiation of social classes is really clear, straightforward and easy to understand.”

With Putray’s introduction (“Compared to a few years ago, there may not have been any huge changes. In fact, I suspect that Dragon Clouds City has not changed much at all in the past hundred years,” said Putray.), on their journey, they passed by many districts that were entirely different from one another: there was Shield District, which looked like the slums; Hammer District, where the commoners lived; Sword District, where the bazaar and plaza were located; Bow District, which seemed to have an assortment of buildings; Arrow District, where the temples and places of worship were gathered; Spear District, where the departments such as the court and prison were located; the Armor District, where the workshops and shops converged; and, the Axe District,?where the nobles were located.

“Why did they not build another section and named it the ‘Mystic Gun District’?” Thales was infuriated when he ridiculed the city districts, which were all named after various weapons.

“I think the Mystic Gun was not yet invented when Raikaru named and rebuilt Dragon Clouds City,” Putray replied nonchalantly.

“Then, when was the Mystic Gun invented?” Thales asked out of curiosity, “Who invented it? Why was it named that way?”

“The Mystic Gun has been around for almost three hundred years and its spare parts are very easy to obtain.” Putray seemed to know what Thales intended to ask. But it almost appeared like he was intentionally defying Thales when he laughed. “Only the part at its innermost core needs to be obtained from strategic resources. About its origin… you will find out sooner or later.

“As for the naming… nobody knows about that too.”

Thales twitched his mouth.

‘Mystic energy.

He suppressed the doubts in his mind and tried hard to shift his focus to the current matter.

“Alright… Truly, the Eckstedtians were lacking in imagination when they named these city districts.

“Also, I have a suggestion for them if they run out of ideas to name their city districts.” When he saw his steed climbing up the slope with much hardship, Thales could not help but feel weary in his heart. He sighed as he said, “The Legendary Anti-Mystic Equipment District.”

“If you ask me, you have been jabbering nonstop since just now.” Putray finally took out his tobacco pipe. He glanced at Thales with a slightly meaningful gaze and revealed the truth after he deeply inhaled a mouthful of smoke. “Is it because of the situation that you are about to face…

“That makes you anxious?”

Thales was suddenly speechless.

‘Go to hell.’

Under the watchful gaze of the diplomatic group’s other members, Thales kept his mouth shut in embarrassment.

They finally ‘climbed’ out of the last road in Axe District.

No matter where they went, that Double Cross-Shaped Stars Flag behind Thales was the biggest target for spectators. The flag with a sky-blue base was held by Genard and everywhere on their journey, people crowded around to see Thales. The soldiers of Dragon Clouds City who were tasked to maintain order practically could not bear the heavy burden. The Northlanders’ naturally loud voice and fiery temperament also caused the scene to be even more chaotic.

This did not give Thales a chance to carefully observe Dragon Clouds City’s appearance at all. He was swiftly escorted all the way to the highest part of the inner city by the White Blade Guards. The city gatehouse then closed and blocked the tide of people outside.

Thales furrowed his brows and took a deep breath.

With Wya’s help, he got off the horse, stepped onto the black stone tiles of Northland, which were crude and hard. Then, he slowly lifted his head.

Before his eyes was a palace.

‘So, that is…’ Thales was stunned as he thought to himself.

“Allow me to bid my farewell to you here, dear Prince Thales.” Before he had time to carefully observe the palace, Marquis Shiles of Camus Union came before him and humbly bowed down as he whispered, “You must mentally prepare yourself.”

Camus Union’s marquis let out a mischievous chuckle. “According to the plan… King Nuven’s treatment towards you may be a little…

Thales gave him an awkward smile. He took a deep breath of cold air and nodded.

‘Of course.’

Thales rolled his eyes in secret.

‘Ever since I came to this world.

‘Was there anyone who treated me in a gentle manner?

‘This feels like a novel that oppresses its protagonist, okay?’

Marquis Shiles and Nicholas exchanged glances, after which they led Camus Union’s men and horses to leave in another direction.

Just as Thales was about to lift his head and take a good look at the palace, which may possibly be Eckstedt’s Royal Palace, the palace gates slowly opened.

A group of Northlanders filed out from the palace gates. Their attires were magnificent and neat, but they were still fully armed.

Thales involuntarily tensed up in secret.

As expected, a loud and clear voice rose up from the group of people.

“In the name of the Common-Elected King of Eckstedt, King Nuven Walton the Seventh…

“I hereby welcome our foreign guests under the king’s order.”

A?cold-looking, muscular man with a buzzcut pursed his lips at Thales and squinted his eyes to scrutinize him for a few seconds.

“The King looks forward to your arrival,” he faintly said, “Prince of Constellation.”

Thales clenched his fists tightly.

‘Here it comes.’

Nicholas guffawed and walked forward to embrace the person who led the group.

“Dear head of the guards, did you complete the mission, my friend?” the man asked in a soft voice that seemed to imply a deep meaning.

“Of course,” Nicholas also implied something different when he said, “The Prince of Constellation whom we wanted is already here.”

Thales furrowed his brows as he watched the communication between the two of them.

Then, the leading man with a buzzcut approached Thales and bowed before him.

“Welcome to Eckstedt, and her most resplendent and splendid pearl—Dragon Clouds City, Prince Thales from Constellation.”

Thales recalled Gilbert’s teachings and Putray’s advice on the journey here, so he immediately returned the greeting with a smile.

‘He seems like some bureaucrat, but his physique seems more like a warrior.’ Thales thought.

‘Or should I say, almost all Northland men look like warriors?’

“I am Lord Byrne Mirk.” The Northlander with the buzzcut was about forty or fifty years old. He was dressed in a thick robe and he had a serious expression on his face. “Before I got my title, I was once a member of the White Blade Guards. I am currently King Nuven’s administrator and I am in charge of arranging all matters regarding your reception in Dragon Clouds City.”

“Thank you for your reception, Lord Mirk.” Thales nodded and secretly confirmed his own judgement.

“Allow me to introduce you to this place as this is your first time here.” Mirk turned around with a serious expression and raised his hand to gesture towards the majestic palace. “This has been the residence of the suzerains in Northland from the ancient times until today; from the ramshackle building on the mountain during the era of the feudal kings, to the stone fortress during the age of the Empire, and finally to the majestic palace it is today.

“For a few thousand years, it witnessed the history of Northland and the emergence of Eckstedt. It also saw the children of Northern Wind and Dragon prosper, flourish and grow endlessly.”

Mirk then solemnly said the following words: “Heroic Spirit Palace.”

‘Heroic Spirit Palace?

‘Is the meaning of its name…

‘Really suitable for a living suzerain to reside in it?’

Thales was momentarily stunned, and then he slowly raised his head.

It was a huge palace. Simple in style, but it had heavy colors. Its layout was imposing, but the design was crude. It was built according to the mountain, nonetheless counting from the inner city ground he stepped on, the palace was still almost eight or nine-storeys in height. Its building materials were also quite unique. They included huge trees, rough stones, hides and metals, so much so that much of the area was finished with a crude polish.

The typical Northland style—vigorous and powerful, bold and unruly.

Before the huge palace gates were ten corridor pillars, which were over ten meters in height. They were basically supporting the towering palace roof. The corridor pillars were engraved with stories of Northland heroes of past dynasties. The engravings were simple, but bold.

Along the road from the inner city to the palace gates were eight furnaces. They were a few meters tall and they were still burning even in broad daylight. It seemed like they illuminated the small plaza in front of the palace gate all day long.

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Their surrounding was filled with the tall, fierce-looking White Blade Guards and Dragon Clouds City’s guards. Different from Constellation’s guards who were orderly and strictly distributed, the standing position of Eckstedt’s guards appeared to be scattered. They did not seem to have discipline in terms of patrolling. But under Aida’s reminder, Thales discovered that they were only ‘lax’?when it came to defenses in the outer layer. Defenses were tight in the inner layer and they left absolutely no blind spots.

Compared to Constellation’s Renaissance Palace, which had a rather creative appearance (it looked like half a pyramid), Dragon Clouds City’s royal palace seemed more like a majestic palace from a story; from its architectural style to the allocation of personnel inside.

The Red Dragon Flag with a black base was fluttering high above the palace.

Below the fluttering flag, there was another flag: a dragon spear that pierced out from the clouds—Walton’s emblem. It was the flag of Cloud Dragon Spear.

Red and black, coupled with natural snowfall. In that moment, Thales felt like there were no other palaces more suitable for heroic spirits to return to.

Thales shook his head. ‘The Heroic Spirits Palace is truly worthy of its name.

‘As for the suzerains, archdukes and the king who live here…’

Right at this very moment, Thales’ gaze was suddenly averted by something on the highest part of the palace. He could not help lifting his head up.

A stone bridge extended from the highest level of the palace, high up in the air to another mountain peak.

Thales’ gaze was fixed upon it.

It was that stone bridge.

The stone bridge that led to the Cliff of the Sky—the royal pavilion of the ‘Queen of the Sky’.

Only then did he notice a huge statue standing at the starting point of the stone bridge. Probably due to his field of view, the statue was not obvious from afar.

It was a huge, black stone statue of a male warrior.

The warrior looked heroic as well as majestic and he was holding an extremely long spear in his hands. The warrior with a robust build was neatly dressed in armor and appeared imposing when he looked down upon the Heroic Spirit Palace from its higher ground.

Thales thought to himself, ‘Surely, from that angle, he can take in the whole scene of Dragon Clouds City at once.’

Lord Mirk who was in charge of the reception was very patient. All the while, he silently waited for the foreign prince until he noticed Thales’ gaze.

“That is the stone bridge that leads to the Cliff of the Sky and above it is the statue of Raikaru the First. It was built after Raikaru passed away more than six hundred years ago.” Mirk lifted his head and introduced the statue seriously. “It was just renovated a week ago.”

Thales expression then became intense.

‘That is…’ he stared at the stone statue of the brave man.

‘The hero of the human race during the Battle of Eradication…

‘He is one of the people who defeated the calamity and the Mystics.

‘The founder and first king of Eckstedt.

‘Raikaru Eckstedt?’

The statue of the warrior was covered in snow. His motion of holding the spear was full of strength and it gave out a sense of building that was brimming with tension.

Surely for the past six hundred years, Raikaru overlooked his people, his land as well as his nation with a firm expression and a deep gaze?

Thales nodded lightly in response to Mirk.

A cloud floated by and the direction of the sun’s ray changed a little.

From afar, the expression of the Eckstedtian hero seemed to change from that of determination to grief.

Thales narrowed his eyes and secretly sighed in admiration of the sculptor’s craftsmanship six hundred years ago.

‘It was just renovated a week ago. Was it done to welcome me?

‘That is unlikely.

‘Maybe the Eckstedtians are still waiting for the Great Dragon Queen of legend, who disappeared without a trace after the Battle of Eradication? Are they waiting for her to come back and visit her husband’s statue?

‘Are they waiting for her to pay a visit to this nation that still keeps her portrait on the flag? Or perhaps, for her to watch over the Western Peninsular’s Blade, which she left behind together with Raikaru?’

“There is a room already prepared for you in the Heroic Spirit Palace. This will temporarily be your accommodation during your time in Dragon Clouds City.” Mirk gestured towards the palace gate to indicate Thales to move forward.

Thales gave him a smile. “Of course, I thank you for King Nuven’s reception.”

“For now, please come with me.” The man with the buzzcut had on the same expression, but what he said made the hearts of everyone from the Constellation Diplomat Group sink.

“King Nuven and five archdukes are currently in the Hall of Heroes, waiting for your arrival.”

Thales exchanged glances with Putray.

It was about to begin.

However, just as Thales, Putray and Aida prepared to take a step forward, Mirk raised his hand lightly and stopped the slim vice diplomat.

“The prince’s attendants, please follow my subordinate and proceed towards your rooms in advance,” Mirk said in a soft voice.

“I do not understand.” Putray stopped in his tracks and calmly looked at Mirk. “I am the prince’s assistant for this trip and I have to remain by his side.”

“I understand your obligation…” Mirk was expressionless as he slowly said, “but there is a limitation to this invitation.

“This is a respectable and distinguished conversation from suzerain to suzerain, royal family to royal family.

“Jadestar to Walton and the Five Great Clans. The king and the five archdukes only wish to see the prince himself just as the prince will also only see the king and the five archdukes.

“Hence, please attend the meeting by yourself, Prince of Constellation.”

Thales’ expression changed.

‘Face Nuven the Seventh and the five archdukes… alone?’

Putray said faintly, “As far as I know, this is not the usual etiquette for relations between our two countries.”

Even though they had already reached a preliminary agreement with King Nuven…

They could never risk the prince’s safety…

Constellation had learned enough from this aspect.

“This is a very critical period.” Mirk shook his head.

“You want us to hand over the only heir of Constellation, give up on protecting him and place him isolated and helpless under your control?” Putray cleverly pointed out the most crucial point.

Behind Thales, Aida, Wya, Ralf and the rest started to become anxious. They unconsciously reached for the weapons within their reach.

On the other hand, Nicholas raised his hand slightly and the White Blade Guards surrounded them.

The Star Killer was becoming increasingly paler. “Just as you’ve said before, you still do not have many choices. Am I right, young prince?”

Thales narrowed his eyes.

“Please believe me. This is necessary.” Mirk stared at Thales with a burning gaze. “Also, speaking of being isolated and helpless, pardon me for speaking bluntly…

“The moment you all walked into Eckstedt’s border…

“Were you not already isolated and helpless?”

Thales sighed softly.

Putray did not say another word.

This made the prince realize that this hunting partnership between him and Nuven had already started.

‘King Nuven, who is reportedly very “cruel”, eh?’

Thales secretly smiled in a tranquil and calm manner.

‘Let us wait and see.’

Under Putray’s ashened face and Mirk’s changing expression, Thales suppressed the uneasy feeling in his heart and smiled.

“Very well, I cannot wait to meet King Nuven.”

Thales turned around and looked at the people who went on the journey with him.

He nodded and said, “Do not worry.

“I will be back soon.”

After he finished talking, Thales took a step forward. His small figure walked towards Heroic Spirit Palace, which had a totally different style. Yet, it was as serene and tranquil as Renaissance Palace.