Chapter 135: Little Rascal and Alex (Two)
Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
“Wait… a similarly unbeatable power that betrayed the calamities?” In a daze, Thales gazed at the scruffy little girl before him, casting his mind back to a past event.
He recalled that horrid night in Red Street Market, where Asda Sakern, the Air Mystic stood with his back against the ruins of the chess room. Asda’s words echoed in his ears.
“So that’s written in this book?” Thales took a deep breath. “Does it specify who those people were?”
“No, it doesn’t.” The girl shook her head and lifted her chin, revealing her grubby face. Her green eyes blinked beneath those thick lenses of hers. “There’s another book about politics, ‘Foundations of the State in Theory and Practice: Constellation and the Great Dragon’. It also talks about this incident without being specific. Both books do not state the identity of the betrayers.”
“The sixth chapter, ‘The Diplomatic Influences on the Constitution of the Kingdoms’ touches on that.” Eager to convince Thales, the little girl put down the heavy book and pointed at the rows of bookshelves behind him with her teensy finger. “The book is in the sixth row from the entrance. It’s on the fifth tier of the shelf on the left, right between ‘The Collected Essays of Rudo Gangarte’ and ‘The Book of the Final Battle: King of Wrath’s Testament’.”
“Whoa, that’s very precise.” Thales averted his gaze from the tiered shelves, feeling astonished. Then, an idea hit him. “You’re… familiar with all these books?”
‘Who… really is this girl? Who else would have the opportunity to learn how to read, and be thoroughly familiar with books in the palace library?
‘Is she really just a servant?’
“Ah! I, I’m just…” The girl seemed startled. She lowered her head nervously. “I just read a lot of books…”
“You’ve got a good memory huh,” Thales said, feeling doubtful as he scanned the huge library. “Are you a librarian?”
The girl was stupefied. She then shook her head in a timid, but firm manner.
“I see.” Thales shrugged. “So, this is the Walton Family’s library?”
“Umm, sort of.” The girl’s eyes lit up and the dimple on her left cheek resurfaced. “Allegedly, Queen Clorysis loved to read. So after the war, King Raikaru scoured the whole region, the whole country, even the whole continent for all the books he could find. This is according to ‘The Collected Mandates of the Archduke of Dragon Clouds City’…”
Most of the books there were published after the Battle of Eradication, before the nations began a large-scale cleansing, erasing any trace of magic. This was the reason why there were so many works written in the ancient language of the Empire, or in a dozen other languages, even those belonging to non-human races. Hence, despite the mass cleansing, the library likely owned more books on the calamity and magic than anywhere else.
Thales wondered if the notable Jadestar Grand Library could rival this one.
The little girl was particularly delighted when she spoke of books. She no longer seemed fearful and anxious. She went on to say, “… However, during Archduke Shawlon’s regime, Dragon Clouds City stopped scouting for works and adding to the collection. Now, it’s been years since anyone last saw the Queen. Plus, the library’s located in the corner of the palace, so it is always unfrequented…”
“Wait a minute… Clorysis?” Thales had a delayed response. “You mean, Raikaru’s… Queen of the Sky?
“The female Great Dragon that married a human?”
Hearing that, the little girl panicked once more.
“Do not be disrespectful to the Queen.” She shook her head and her glasses threatened to slip off again. Flummoxed, her hands shot up to both sides of her face, holding on to the frame. “You must call her ‘The Queen’ and address her by her first name.”
Thales was surprised by her reaction.
“Well, don’t worry. It’s not like she… the Queen can hear me.” He peered at the girl’s comical face, feeling amused. “I’ll figure out the etiquette sooner or later when I finally see her in person,” he said coolly.
“Or else?” Thales was tickled.
“Or else, the Great Dragon will hate you.” The girl with platinum hair and glasses glared at him with a stern look on her small grubby face.
Thales could not help but snicker.
Seeing the girl’s furious and pitiable expression, he fought back a grin. “Okay, okay, if I meet Her Highness someday… I will do as you say.
“But, I thought Clo… Queen Clorysis has not been sighted in six hundred years? How would you know if the legend of the Great Dragon is real?”
The girl pulled a long face, but remained silent.
Thales narrowed his eyes. “If they… King Raikaru and his queen really did fight in the Battle of Eradication, there should at least be proof, like who she fought.”
‘An enemy like… Asda?’
“No! Her Highness is real!” The girl was pissed. “The evidence is right behind you, in that glass display cabinet!”
Thales turned around to look at the cabinet he passed by on his way there. In it was the signed agreement between Tormund and Raikaru.
“‘Year 11, Calendar of Eradication: Raikaru and Tormund, Eckstedt-Constellation Border Treaty’.” The girl approached the cabinet, still holding her glasses up with her hands. “It was signed by the two rulers in a longhouse belonging to the Suzerain of Cold Castle. It’s the earliest agreement between the two kingdoms for mutual non-aggression and non-interference; the two superpowers were allowed to extend their influence and territory under said pre-agreement.”
“Year 11, Raikaru and Tormund…” Thales gave up on his attempt to repeat the title of the treaty. He frowned. “It’s a really long name.”
“The appendix is even longer.” Pouting, the girl pointed at the elongated cabinet. “The paper is about three feet long. Queen Clorysis’ signature is right above the two kings’.”
Thales reluctantly inched past the three cabinets containing the appendix of the first official agreement signed by the two kingdoms, and browsed through the text. This treaty included almost everything—land and the inhibitors around the border, hunting hours, religion, and diplomatic relationships between the suzerains.
Thales’ eyes began to water. He stopped before the last cabinet and found himself looking at a few signatures of varied styles, which clearly meant that they were signed by hand.
‘Witnesses: Clorysis Nurman Da’alla Dorselle from the far edge of the high sea.’
“Look”—the little girl pressed her face against the glass—”this is the signature of the First Queen.”
It was a bold and angular signature. Each letter was linked to one another in a sleek and instinctual manner.
However, it was the signature next to it that captured Thales’ attention.
‘By: Brianne Qualls Tabark of the Soul Tower.
‘It’s a similarly precise and elegant cursive writing, but…
‘Hmm, the Soul Tower.’
Thales thought of Ramon’s words and kept this name in mind.
‘Tabark, one of the Six Great Clans that govern Blade Edge Hill— the Southwest region of the kingdom— with a blood red crescent as their family emblem.’
Thales recalled the sight of an aloof, lissom silhouette back in the Hall of Stars. It was the handsome and dazzling young duchess, Lyanna Tabark.
He looked down and saw the signatures of the two kings.
‘The High Contracting Party: The Common-Elected King of Eckstedt, the widely-esteemed ruler of the Northlanders, and the Suzerain of Dragon Clouds City.
‘Raikaru Bruste Eckstedt.
‘The Supreme King of Constellation, the descendent of the Ancient Empire’s Imperial Family, and the Suzerain of Eternal Star City.
‘Tormund Camelot Karlose Jadestar.’
The signatures of the two rulers shared a similarity.
Raikaru’s handwriting was akin to that of a toddler who had just learned how to write. Stroke by stroke, it was created by tender, awkward tugs and pulls on the paper. It appeared to have been done very slowly for fear of making mistakes.
Tormund’s signature on the other hand, was a string of hasty, messy, illegible cursive writing. It looked like the king was trying to hide the fact that he had horrible handwriting by attempting a cursive.
Thales stared at his ancestor’s tentacle-like, squiggly signature and automatically felt much better about his own handwriting after spending a month or so learning how to write.
Noticing his attentive gaze, the girl started to feel slightly uneasy. She explained, “King Raikaru’s background has always been unknown to the public. Most people believe that he was a commoner, having very little opportunity to receive education, hence his handwriting… whereas King Tormund was illegitimate and was allegedly boycotted when he was young, so…”
Thales burst into laughter.
As it seemed, the founding fathers of the two kingdoms were oafs who could not even write their own names properly.[email protected]@@@[email protected]@@@@=======
Considering the witnesses’ neat and elegant signatures, Thales could imagine the two kings’ hesitation and looks of shame when they held the pen. Perhaps, an instant connection and a mutual sympathy was forged between them after seeing each other’s handwriting.
It the meantime, something dawned on Thales.
‘Tormund’s full name.’
Despite the illegible handwriting, he managed to recognize the initial of each word.
The girl noticed an unusual change in his expression. She wiped the dirt from her face off the glass, and looked up at him. “Is there something wrong?”
Meanwhile, a voice sounded from the distance.
“Little Rascal! Little Rascal!”
Hearing the voice, the bespectacled girl became terrified and she began to tremble uncontrollably like a mouse running into a cat.
Thales looked up, alarmed.
It was a snappy, childish voice coming from behind the bookshelf. “Why are you being so slow? Are you done?”
The voice became louder as its owner approached, eventually appearing before Thales and the bespectacled girl.
It was a girl. She looked a little more than ten years old and seemed to be one head taller than the scruffy Little Rascal.
The girl had brunette hair, blue eyes and fine facial features. She was clothed in a stylish hand-sewn dress. It had laced and pleated sleeves with a matching collar. She was also wearing a beautiful headpiece. If it had not been for the fierce expression on her face, she would have looked like an exquisite doll.
She spotted Thales, but she merely took a haughty glance at his dirty clothes and turned to the scrawny girl with glasses. “Little Rascal!”
The bespectacled girl became pale. “My Lady…”
“The homework assigned by the etiquette teacher needs to be handed in tomorrow. Why haven’t you done it! If I catch you reading again…” The fancily-dressed girl paused and caught a glimpse of a pile of books behind them.
She made an I-knew-it face and scowled at the girl, whom she called Little Rascal. The little girl was shivering and casting a pleading glance at Thales.
“Oh, great!” The girl tugged at her neat, fancy dress as she stepped forward. Her face was filled with rage. “As I suspected, you’re slacking and reading, Little Rascal!”
She then lifted her hand, much to Thales’ astonishment, and smacked the bespectacled girl on the head!
Little Sick let out a wretched cry as her lips quivered. Her eyes were squeezed shut. She crouched down and buried her head in her arms.
“You were supposed to finish my homework for tomorrow!” The girl spat with an annoyed expression, while Thales gawked at her in horror. She stepped forward, and again, she raised her hand. “Instead of… slacking and reading books, neglecting the task given by your mistress!”
This time, she struck Little Rascal across the face!
Little Rascal’s glasses dropped to the floor.
“No… Lady Alex.” It was as though Little Rascal was accustomed to such a treatment. There was little to no resistance from her side. She merely sniffled and explained, “I wasn’t… The homework for the etiquette class… needs a… topic, so I’m researching… for information on the foundation of Constellation and Eckstedt…”
“Did you just talk back to me?” The sweet-looking girl pursed her lips. “You’re just a servant—my servant! How dare you?!”
She lifted her hand once again, but it was seized by Thales.
“Wait a minute!” Thales was displeased. “You are a noble? You shouldn’t be beating or chastising servants as you please. It’s disgraceful!”
The blue-eyed, brunette girl glared at Thales. “And who the hell are you?!”
The dark-haired prince let go of her hand, fuming. “Thales Jadestar!”
Frightened, poor Little Rascal crouched on the ground, squinting and shivering as she groped for her glasses.
The girl hesitated. “Oh, the prince who came to beg grandpa for mercy.” Peering at the boy who was one head shorter than her, she sneered. “I’m giving my servant the punishment she deserves. You better stay out of it!”
Thales glowered at the spoiled young girl.
‘Who knew I would still have to deal with obnoxious brats long after I escaped from Abandoned House.’
Thales and the girl were startled.
The administrator who brought Thales into the Hall of Heroes, Lord Mirk appeared with a cold expression on his face. This ended the dispute between the children.
Lord Mirk bowed before the prince. “Your Highness, you have strayed too far,” he said slowly.
With Mirk’s arrival, the girl seemed a little wary. She pouted her lips and looked away.
“Lord Mirk.” Thales nodded. He turned to look at the scruffy Little Rascal who managed to find her glasses in her state of worry. “This…”
Mirk scowled, giving the brunette girl a look of concern. “This is Alex.” He sighed as he gestured towards to her. “Lady Alex Walton, King Nuven’s granddaughter.
“Lady Alex, this is Prince Thales of Constellation, the son of King Kessel.”
Pressured by Mirk’s insistent glare, the young girl, Alex lifted her chin pridefully and huffed after his introduction. She held the hem of her skirt and bowed before Thales reluctantly.
Thales gave nodded, frowning at the same time. ‘Alex Walton?
‘Sounds like a boy’s name.
‘And she’s King Nuven’s granddaughter? I’ve never heard of Prince Moriah having a daughter.
‘Didn’t His Majesty say that Prince Moriah was unmarried?’
Mirk later turned to Alex and lectured her. “My Lady, your actions earlier were inappropriate, especially in the presence of Prince Thales of Constellation…”
“Mirk!” The granddaughter of Nuven the Seventh, Alex pouted. “She’s my servant. My family provides her food and shelter…
“Plus, soon, this prince will be—”
“Lady Alex!” Mirk shot her a stern glare. “We are not in your bedroom! This is King Raikaru’s library!” he said darkly.
Startled, Alex flinched. She seemed afraid of Mirk.
“Hmph.” She tugged at her headpiece, her eyes flaring with anger. She gave her servant, who was squatting on the floor a forceful yank. “Come along, Little Rascal.”
Little Rascal stumbled. She was clutching her glasses, and her eyes were reddened.
“We’ll settle this in my room!” Alex uttered fiercely. She then glanced at Thales and Mirk before storming off.
Filled with apprehension, Little Rascal kept her head down and followed her mistress. She took a fearful peek at Thales on the way.
Thales clenched his fist.
Watching the vanishing figures of the two girls—one scruffy and one refined—Mirk sighed.
He picked up the books left behind by Little Rascal and put them back on the bookshelf. “Lady Alex is the daughter of Prince Moriah’s elder brother, the late Crown Prince Soria. Losing both parents at a young age, King Nuven pampered her, which is why…”
Thales faked a smile, which looked more like a grimace.
‘King Nuven’s deceased elder son?
‘Then, there’s the death of Prince Moriah…’
The Suzerain of Dragon Clouds City, the patriarch of Walton Family lost all of his immediate male heirs.
“How did he pass away?” Thales gazed at the dragon head coat of arms in the glass cabinet. “I mean… Prince Soria.”
Mirk lowered his head and a crease surfaced between his brows.
“In a hunting accident more than ten years ago.” Thales watched as his eyes dimmed. “I was a member of the White Blade Guards back then. We were supposed to ensure his safety, but we failed to protect him,” Mirk said regrettably, shaking his head.
“Follow me. I’ll show you the way to your guest room.” Unwilling to dwell on the previous topic, Mirk turned back to him with his usual emotionless expression. “I believe your entourage is waiting anxiously for you. Besides, you have a banquet to attend tonight.”
Startled, Thales lifted his head.
He had to go look for Putray and tell him everything. He wanted to seek advice from him, especially regarding…
“By the way, I have a message from His Majesty. It is the reply to your message, which was delivered through Nicholas,” Mirk said softly.
Lord Mirk narrowed his eyes. “The king agrees to put his original plan on hold. Hence, Your Highness, you shall proceed with yours to fulfil His Majesty’s wishes.
“Find out who’s the culprit. Avenge the late prince.”