Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
Arc 4: Blood of the Dragon
The long night had passed. A faint light emerged in the eastern sky.
After a surviving the disaster, Thales leaned weakly against a collapsed wall, evading the sparse falling snow. He looked up at the sky in a lackadaisical manner. Last night’s incident flashed across his mind, one scene after another.
Exhaustion, fatigue, and hunger tormented his mind and body. Nearly every cell in him protested him for pushing himself too hard.
The chill breeze and sharp gravel under his buttocks gave him an absurd sense of familiarity. It made Thales think of his days back in the Brotherhood: The days of fighting between him and Quide using their courage and wits, the wild dogs, those ‘fat lambs’, or the children from other houses.
He gave an involuntary snort of laughter.
Drowsy and tired, the droopy-eyed Thales yawned in an unsightly manner. He turned his head sleepily, turning his gaze to Little Rascal who also leaned against the wall.
The stupefied and scruffy little girl was holding the black-framed spectacles in her hands with a nervous and tense look. Thales could not help but frown.
“Don’t worry, just put them on.” Thales blurted out lethargically, “If she really did mind that, she would have devoured you.”
‘Why would she tease you by blowing her breath at you?’
Little Rascal turned around hesitantly, seemingly close to tears, and eyed Thales with a helpless look.
She squinted her puffy, reddened eyes. Her petite face was smeared with filth. Her platinum blonde hair was covered with black and white smudges.
Thales found it amusing.
Little Rascal sniffled. She pursed her lips as she said weakly, “But… but…”
Thales heaved a sigh. As Little Rascal was still mumbling ‘buts’ with a look of concern, Thales reached out a hand and snatched the spectacles from the girl.
“Ah! Wait.” Slightly startled, Little Rascal leaned sideways and stretched out a hand to Thales. “Be careful not to drop it…”
However, before Little Rascal could react, Thales unfolded the spectacle frame and quickly put it on the girl’s face.
Little Rascal’s face gave a slight jolt in Thales’ hands, she only responded with a gasp after the boy’s fingers slid past her ears and secured the arms of the frame. Little Rascal’s squinted eyes opened once more behind the black-framed lenses.
She gawked at Thales with a stunned expression, unable to react even when the latter ruffled her messy hair as if he was stroking a kitten.
“Alright.” Thales gave a relieved sigh, arching his eyebrows. “If that lady does come to you for those spectacles someday, you tell her that the bad Thales Jadestar forced you to put them on.”
Little Rascal blinked, pouting her tiny lips. She tried to say something several times, but gave up eventually, and stared at Thales in resignation.
Thales burst out laughing.
Seeing that, the flustered Little Rascal—affected by the atmosphere—could not help but curl her lips into a smile a few seconds later. “She might go find you in Constellation…”
Thales laughed while he thought to himself, ‘Surely… it’ll be great if the Queen of the Sky comes back for me.’
The final words from the Great Dragon left him deeply concerned. Thales’ expression became gloomy when he thought of it.
‘A Drakonic name, is it? Drakonic…’ He heaved a sigh and closed his eyes.
‘My old man, Kessel… What foolish things have you done as an ignorant youth?’
Little Rascal blinked, sensing his emotions. She held on to Thales’ wrist, mimicking what he had done earlier.
Little Rascal tried very hard to put on a serious look. “It’s fine; it’s over.”
Thales opened his eyes. He suppressed all his worries and gave her a calming smile.
The prince leaned back and looked up towards the Cliff of the Sky not far away, at the majestic statue of the spear-wielding Raikaru that overlooked the city.
But this time, staring at the legendary hero who had ‘danced with the dragon’, Thales could not help but curl his lips into a sneer. There was not even a single bit of a serious air on him.
‘Dragon Knight. Heh.’
At that very moment, the sound of pattering footsteps came from the distance.
“They’re right there!”
Thales exhaled in the middle of the ruins. He smiled tiredly at the slightly fearful Little Rascal. “They’re here.”
But he only felt a headache building up in his head due to his current situation.
‘Shit. What took place last night… how do I explain it?’
The sky brightened a little.
A group of men holding torches and Everlasting Lamps appeared before them.
Lying dejectedly in the debris, Thales watched as an armed, aged, but powerful figure approached them with about a dozen masked and armored elite soldiers in grey capes flanking him.
“Looks like our guest from Constellation has been having a good time.”
The ruler of Eckstedt and Dragon Clouds City, the dignified Nuven the Seventh, was frowning at the two scruffy children before him. His voice was old and frail. “And with my granddaughter to boot?”
Thales sucked in a deep breath and struggled to stand up. Little Rascal had already gotten to her feet. He patted the dust and snow off himself while his thoughts raced. He said coldly, “Yeah, Dragon Clouds City has given us lots of fun memories last night.”
King Nuven’s expression changed, seemingly amused. “Thales Jadestar… don’t you have anything to explain for me?”
The White Blade Guards around him wore grim faces and stood immobile behind the king.
Thales’ thoughts raced and spun.
He glanced at Little Rascal behind him. The girl seemed to have a fear of King Nuven that could never be conquered. She started shaking the moment she saw him, recoiling in horror and trying to avoid catching the king’s eye.
‘I have to provide an explanation that makes sense.’
“A maniac abducted us.” Thales rubbed his head, lamenting in anguish. “And then… you saw what it did.”
King Nuven surveyed their surroundings—what remained of Shield District. In the dim firelight, his old face was shadowed by an air of despondency.
He turned back to Thales. The latter found the gloom and fatigue behind his gaze suffocating. “Why? Why would the calamity abduct you?”
Thales made a frustrated look that said of how he cursed his own misfortune and gave a sigh of annoyance.
“We formed a feud with them before arriving at Eckstedt. It had something to do with a Blood Clanswoman named Serena from the Corleone Family.” Thales raised his chin and, without hesitation, sold that ambitious, cunning, and venomous lady out to the old king. “Apparently, the calamity was using her for a scheme. Perhaps they hate our two kingdoms and the royal families?”
“The Blood Clan?”
King Nuven exhaled and gave a laugh-like snort, watching him. “I will have the Secret Room investigate this matter.”
Thales responded with a harmless, weary smile while meeting the king’s profound gaze.
It was then when King Nuven finally noticed the two children’s shabby appearances. His eyebrow arched. “Looks like you have had a lot of fun.”
Little Rascal trembled. Thales spread his hands. “As you can see.”
“That’s right. You don’t get to see a hydra wreaking havoc on Dragon Clouds City every day, nor the reappearance of the Queen of the Sky.” The old king shook his head with a profound look on his face.
Thales creased his brow, a little worried.
‘Hopefully, I’ll be back in Constellation before they find anything.’
Nuven the Seventh waved his hand and a bureaucrat stepped forward. King Nuven whispered something into his ear and the latter nodded as he scribbled something down in his booklet.
The bureaucrat left with the order while the old king continued to walk along the empty street, leading the White Blade Guards. Escorted by them, Thales and Little Rascal followed the king.
Thales received a waterskin from a sulky White Blade Guard and attempted to switch the subject. “Speaking of which, Your Majesty, how is the damage in Dragon Clouds City?”
When he finished, he noticed King Nuven’s clenched fists tighten.
“You’ve seen it. Look at this, it looks like it has been through a war.” The old king’s aged voice hinted at exhaustion and sadness. “That son of a b*tch calamity.”
Thales tilted his head and blinked.
“I just lost the entirety of Shield District.” King Nuven scowled and strode over to a collapsed house beam, surveying the damage with a grim look. “The number of evacuated residents does not even reach a third of the district population… as for other districts, they are not as badly affected…”
Thales gave a sigh of relief. “That’s fortunate.”
At least his operation with Black Sword was executed on time.
“That’s fortunate…? That’s fortunate?”
The king mumbled, repeating what Thales had just said.
He peered at a decapitated leg sticking out from the debris, sighed, and gazed at Thales calmly. The expressions of a dozen or so elite guards around the king turned sullen.
The prince choked on the water he was drinking. Beside him, Little Rascal lowered her head until it could go no further, as though she was trying to dig into the ground.
As Thales coughed continuously, King Nuven took a deep breath and glanced at the ruins around him. “You know… We couldn’t summon the army to fight that calamity…”
The old king closed his eyes halfway. A hint of weariness appeared on his old, wrinkled face. His tone was flat and monotonous, but strangely terrifying. “We merely let the White Blade Guards don their anti-mystic equipment and tackle the monster in separate units, many of which have not reported back yet—they have probably suffered heavy casualties.”
The White Blade Guards’ breathing quickened.
“Nicholas and Gleeward each went after the enemy alone with their weapons. Now, the calamity is gone, but up till now, we’ve received no news from them. ”
Thales’ eyes became round as the soldier beside him rudely snatched the waterskin back. King Nuven kicked a plank aside and continued his emotionless yet grievous speech.
“A lot of people saw the hydra, and their fear spread into the entire city. Dragon Clouds City is in a state of chaos. We had to evacuate the neighbouring regions such as Armor District. And because of these citizens are evacuating to the other regions, these regions are now overcrowded.”
The old man’s breathing became heavier. “The patrol teams were also busy catching those who availed themselves to other people’s unattended possessions.
“If it wasn’t for the sudden appearance of the Queen of the Sky, which calmed some of the people, I would have become the first Eckstedtian king who subdued his people with armed forces.”
King Nuven wore a calm expression. His gaze was sorrowful, his voice was deep and heavy.
“The administrators had their hands full dealing with the questions from various aristocrats and vassals so that a certain hot-headed person won’t bring a batch of people over here from either within the city or outside the city, all so that they can prevent him from sending food to the calamity…”
King Nuven sighed dispiritedly. “Thankfully, a few of the men were dead drunk after last night’s banquet, or else the administrators would have more work to do.
“On a side note, I have four archdukes cowering in the Heroic Spirit Palace, waiting to have a good laugh on their common-elected king.”
When he said this, King Nuven laughed with a grimace. The wrinkles on his face deepened. “Oh yes, and a prince of our adversary meandered on the street with my granddaughter in the middle of the night.”
Thales shrugged, embarrassed. “I also feel regretful.”
King Nuven ignored what he said and instead shook his head with a complex expression, heaving a long sigh. “And the work arrangements to sort out this mess… Can you imagine?”
The king’s eyes brimmed with desolation.
“Hundreds dead, families torn apart, injured that need saving, a district that fell into ruin in one night, damaged assets and properties… all needing a large government subsidy we do not have in the first place.
“A disrupted social order that needs to be restored, a terrorized and furious public, rumors spreading across the city, blame and condemnation from ignorant commoners…
“The requests from pretentious nobles for tax exemptions in the name of providing disaster relief, but who are actually aiming to enrich themselves; the unavoidable, arising doubt and mistrust among the vassals and the army; other archdukes’ petty attempts to make an issue of this incident; the Temple, and other countries will send their envoys to probe around, and foreign spies will also lurk about.
“Hearing this news, the merchant caravans will stay away for at least a month while the prices of goods rise and the workforce plummets. All this will affect the amount of produce in the coming years…”
King Nuven’s expression darkened a shade with every sentence spoken. Thales’ heart also sank a little.
“The Bitter Cold Winter is nearing,” the old king said with a sigh, “Since the assassination of Moriah… this year’s winter will be another challenging one.”
Thales gazed at King Nuven’s face and his heart sank. He glanced at the wreckage around him, spying the corpses sticking out of the debris.
He recalled the two Mystics who started fighting mainly because of him and caused this mess.
“I deeply apologize,” Thales said gloomily, his words were filled with sorrow.
King Nuven stared at him wordlessly. At that moment, Thales thought Nuven the Seventh’s demeanor was filled with grief and weariness.
A few seconds later, the old king sucked in a deep breath.
“You know… Sometimes, I am impressed by Constellation.” The king’s words reeked of bitter helplessness. “At least you have a ‘virtuous king’.”
Thales was surprised and he looked up with confusion. “Huh?”
‘A virtuous king? Someone like Kessel?’
Thales rolled his eyes, a clueless expression appeared on his face.
Nonetheless, King Nuven merely shook his head indifferently and snorted. “Forget it. The curfew is here to stay; there are secrets we cannot disclose,” he said flatly. “Before that, let us see the mess we are left with by this catastrophe.”
King Nuven moved on with a gloomy expression. Thales could only rub the back of his head and follow him, utterly confused.
The firelight illuminated the path. The sight of countless ruins and dead bodies weighed heavily on them.
The wreckage left behind by the hydra’s destruction, the craters dug by the tentacles, the people who died from suffocation… everything they saw before their eyes were tragedy after tragedy.
“Sons of b*tches.”
King Nuven’s expression did not change. His tone sounded calm, as though the incident earlier did not affect his mood.
And yet, Thales caught a hint of intense hatred in his words.
“The Battle of Eradication, hehe, the Battle of Eradication…”
King Nuven smiled a bitter smile and said slowly, “Why were they not… eliminated completely at that time?”
‘Thales’ heart froze.
King Nuven suddenly stopped moving. “Is this the spot where the Queen of the Sky descended?”
They were standing at the edge of a broad pit that was clearly different from the other places. Thales stared at the pit that had obviously been dug by a large claw, then frowned. “Yes.”
Little Rascal blinked and touched her spectacles a little worriedly.
King Nuven’s expression changed. “She spoke to the two of you?”
Thales sucked in a deep breath and could not help but remember the Queen of the Sky’s words. “That is indeed true. She said—”
“Wait.” The old man stopped Thales from continuing with his words and simultaneously cast a fierce glare at Little Rascal, nearly scaring her out of her wits. “We will talk when we return.”
King Nuven placed his hands behind his back before he stared at the sky high above him. With the barely lit sky serving as his background, he stared at Raikaru’s statue on the Cliff of the Sky with a complicated expression on his face.
“It has been six hundred years…” Faint sorrow appeared on King Nuven’s face. “In the end, that dragon still descended among us mortals when the calamities appeared.”
Thales could not help but notice that the old king had referred to the Queen of the Sky as “that dragon” instead of her honored title—Her Royal Majesty Queen Clorysis.
The old king suddenly laughed.
“Did you know that even three hundred years ago, when Dragon Clouds City suffered devastating losses, used up every last of her soldiers, depleted all food resources, was on the verge of destruction, and when even the ‘King of Wrath’ had died a tragic yet heroic end in battle from the Night Wing King’s Allied Forces of the Eastern Peninsula, that dragon still did not appear?” Nuven the Seventh lowered his head and stared at Thales.
“It is as if this was not the country she built with her lover.”
After experiencing an entire night of chaos, Thales’ mind was a little muddled. He widened his eyes, unsure of what Nuven meant.
King Nuven raised his head and continued with a complicated tone.
“What do Eckstedt and Dragon Clouds City mean to her? What does her husband, Raikaru, mean to her? And what does the Battle of Eradication mean to her?
“As for us Eckstedtians who regard ourselves as the North and the Dragon’s children… Hmph. Dragon’s children?”
King Nuven snorted. It was filled with scorn.
Thales noticed that when King Nuven was busy being sentimental, Little Rascal’s eyes moved, as if she had something to say, but she looked like she had remembered something else, and fear showed on her face. In the end, she lowered her head again.
“We Constellatiates regard ourselves as the heirs of the Empire, do we not?” Thales could not help saying, “But in the end, we are still not the Empire.”
King Nuven lowered his head swiftly and fixed his gaze on Thales. The oppressive air radiating from that piercing gaze caused slight discomfort to the second prince.
Only after some time had passed did the old man cast Little Rascal a glance before he said faintly, “You protected her, did you not? You protected my granddaughter even under that kind of danger, right?”
Thales and Little Rascal were both stunned before the latter instinctively moved closer to Thales.
“I can tell that her gaze when she looks at you has become different.” King Nuven’s expression did not change. He stared at Little Rascal without moving his gaze, making her even more nervous.
Thales touched his head and sensed Little Rascal hiding behind his back. He said a little awkwardly, “Erm, about that… we should all help one another.”
King Nuven stared at him for a full three seconds and did not speak. King Nuven then put on a very thought-provoking expression and spoke in a cryptic manner that would cause others to consider his words. “You know, I’ve pondered over your words later on.”
Thales’ hand that was touching his head suddenly froze. He was slightly surprised and bewildered.
“We are not born to be used for schemes, plots, and shrewd ploys.” King Nuven appeared indifferent, but there was an aged and calm air in his words. “Perhaps, for the storm the Waltons are about to face, what we should rely on most are not old nobles skilled in weighing out the pros and cons of a situation, in fighting over power and influence, and knowing when to advance or retreat in a situation. Not their repetitive and short-sighted concerns, nor a conflict over power, where that power can be shifted back and forth between people through various bargaining chips.”
The king lifted his head and stared at the statue above him. “It is the glory which shone on the heroes of the past, which we have lost for far too long.”
Thales stared at the guards around him in slight puzzlement, but they were only surveying the area with wary gazes while they waited quietly for their king.
King Nuven stared at the statue of the King of the Dragon Knights and sighed with great emotion as he said, “Perhaps a true hero such as Raikaru would truly have the glorious ability to make others obey him without hesitation, to follow him willingly, to die for him without fear, and to sacrifice themselves for him without any regret.
“Perhaps it is this dazzling glory that had built Eckstedt. That glory caused even the dragon to willingly follow him.” King Nuven’s expression turned gloomy after that. “It also caused the dragon to not spare a glance at the descendants who have his blood coursing through their veins, and why she refuses to come to us.”
A thought appeared in Thales’ heart and he could not help but blurt out the words. “A King does not gain respect by virtue of his bloodline. The bloodline’s glory rests on the deeds of the King.”
The scar on his chest began to ache dully again. King Nuven moved slightly and showed him a subtle, profound smile.
“I mentioned before that you have a ‘virtuous king’,” he said faintly.
Thales frowned again. But in the next moment, agitation rose in his heart.
Under the dimly lit sky, Thales instinctively raised his head.
The guards beside the king were much faster than Thales. Having fought in many battles, they had instinctively sensed something afoot and had long since raised their heads.
It was as if there was something that was plunging down from above the Cliff of the Sky.
The faint whooshing sound of wind could be heard coming towards them from the distance.
The king frowned. “What is that?” King Nuven narrowed his eyes.
Thales’ eyes focused. The Sin of Hell’s River surged into his eyes like a tidal wave.
The thing which fell from the Cliff of the Sky was a gray object.
Thales’ eyes followed it as it fell, and he stared at the thing that landed twenty meters away from him.
“It’s like… a gray rock?” Thales answered in puzzlement.
‘Was the battle just now so intense that the rocks on the Cliff of the Sky had come loose because of the tremors?’
Suddenly, the gray, plummeting object stopped in mid-air.
Then, the gray silhouette suddenly turned and changed its previous trajectory, plunging downwards in a straight line from the cliff… to charge straight towards them.
Thales’ heart froze. He instinctively took a step back.
One of the White Blade Guards immediately became alert and suddenly drew his sword while shouting in anger, “That’s not a rock! On g—”
But then that gray figure had instantly soared to the area above them.
Thales lifted his head in shock. With the help of the torches in the guards’ hands, he saw the gray figure that had instantly shot to the area before him.
It was a person; a man who was covered head to toe in gray, skin-tight clothing. Even his forehead was bound tightly by a piece of gray cloth.
The only thing about him that was revealed was a pair of long and narrow eyes. In Thales’ line of sight, the man’s eyes shone with a cold glare.
The man leapt in the air towards the area above their heads and released a rope he held in his hand to fling it in their direction.
‘That’s… the slider Black Sword left behind, the one he used to slide down from mountains! It’s being used by this man to…’
The man in gray placed his hands behind his back while airborne.
The elites of the White Blade Guards yelled and reacted to the situation quickly by surrounding the king and the two children.
“Do not panic!” King Nuven’s voice was loud and clear. “Send a signal—”
But in the next second, before he could finish speaking, the man in the air suddenly extended his arms. Two rays of light shot towards the White Blade Guards beneath him.
Thales was pushed back one step by a guard.
Thales instantly felt his skin crawl. An endless amount of hot liquid sprayed onto his face. Little Rascal cried out in fear.
Thales shuddered while he tasted the foul taste in his mouth. He watched the guard fall beside him, a short blade was embedded in his neck. He was covered in blood and died with his eyes wide open.
The warrior defending the spot right in front of the group swung his sword and blocked the other ray of light. Immediately afterwards, the sharp sound of blades scraping against each other rose into the air.
In the next second, the gray man landed on the ground with an unimaginable speed.
The assassin who fell from the sky landed on a guard, forcing him to fall from a standing position, face-first, flat on the ground. The terrifying sound of a breastbone shattering echoed in the air.
The assassin looked as if he was completely unaffected by the impact of the landing and swiftly raised his head. The long, narrowed eyes that glinted coldly were fixed on Thales.
A chill crept into Thales’ heart. His skin crawled.
‘His target… is me?!’
In the next moment, the assassin was instantly a meter away from him and rushed towards the two guards who stood in front of Thales to shield him.
“Stop him!” the tightly surrounded King Nuven roared in anger, “Protect him!”
As he gave the orders, the White Blade Guards surrounded the assassin without hesitation. Three machetes with white hilts and streamlined blades slashed at the assassin’s lower abdomen, throat, and thigh.
But the man turned suddenly, and when the three blades grazed past him, he leapt into the air while still amid extreme danger.
He turned his head, sucked in his abdomen, pulled up his legs, and with the most unimaginable method, he barely avoided the trio’s blades.
A thought appeared in Thales’ head. He seemed to have seen this skill before.
However, the one he saw was definitely not as agile, fast, and inconceivable.
The assassin passed the three men and landed firmly on the ground. With a flick of his hands, two daggers appeared in his palms.
The assassin’s twin daggers instantly crossed with each other and moved past the final guard blocking the area in front of Thales.
Little Rascal was scared stiff. Thales sucked in a cold breath. He could not even react in time and could only see the assassin’s daggers charge at him. The blades were getting closer.
The Sin of Hell’s River had slowed down his perception of time, but he could not find a chance to escape. That blade… was simply too fast.
In the end, the tip of the assassin’s dagger stopped in front of Thales’ nose.
The Sin of Hell’s River faded away, and the flow of time returned to normal.
Thales could not recover from his shock. His heart raced furiously.
The listless feeling gained just after surviving a disaster was gone because of the cold sheen of sweat that broke out on his skin at that moment.
However, the assassin found, to his surprise, that his blade could not move another inch further. The warrior who had suffered a fatal strike when the daggers swept past him just now had not died.
The White Blade Guard had his blade raised and his arm shield placed horizontally so that he could use his shoulder and arm to hold off the assassin’s daggers and block him, preventing his daggers from moving an inch further.
A thought came to Thales’ head, and he quickly rolled to the side in an ungraceful manner to avoid the blade.
As he endured the pain from his wound, the White Blade Guard before Thales pushed forward with great strength and roared, “Don’t underestimate… the Dragon’s Imperial Guards!”
The assassin was pushed back two steps. The three White Blade Guards behind him worked together and calmly attacked with their own blades.
Now with his balance lost, the assassin turned around swiftly, and nimbly, albeit with much difficulty, blocked off the three blades.
However, with his balance lost, he eventually had his left arm cut by the fourth guard who rushed over.
Blood gushed out from the assassin’s wound.
He could no longer hold the dagger in his left hand in a firm grip. The dagger fell on the ground with a metallic clang.
The guard delivered another slash with his white-hilted blade and drew another line of blood from the assassin’s shoulder.
The assassin’s swaying right-hand dagger also fell on the ground. He raised his head and cast a final glance at Thales. The aloof and still look in his eyes caused the latter to feel his skin crawl.
With both blades gone, the assassin dropped to the ground and rolled away to leave Thales’ side. The boy had been tightly encircled by the White Blade Guards who had reacted swiftly to the situation.
Thales panted while shuddering, and stared at the assassin who had a hand pressed against his wound as he trembled.
‘That was a close call. That was seriously a close call! Who is he?’
More White Blade Guards rushed towards the unarmed assassin.
“Keep him alive!” King Nuven pressed a hand down on Thales’ shoulder to comfort the trembling boy while a king’s awe-inspiring voice tumbled faintly from his mouth. “Make him tell us who is the one who planned all this!”
But at that moment, the two daggers on the ground suddenly ‘leapt’ from the ground, as if they possessed a life of their own.
During that moment, a White Blade Guard, who had served longer than the others, seemed to have recognized the assassin and his expression swiftly changed.
“Be careful!” the guard roared.
Almost at the same moment, the assassin got up and turned back. With blood splattering all over the air, he moved past three people in succession to break out of the encirclement.
He was so quick, the angles of his movements so hard to deal with, and his movements so nimble that the White Blade Guards in his path simply had no way of blocking him.
The guard who recognized the enemy shouted angrily as if he had gone mad. With his companions, he rushed towards the assassin. “He’s the ‘Migratory Locust Blade’—”
One of the two daggers on the ground bounced back into the assassin’s hand in a bizarre fashion. The other went flying into the darkness. No one knew where it went.
With one single dagger, the assassin’s attacks continued in an unending stream, immediately slicing across a guard’s throat. But only then did the guard’s words travel into his ears.
During the next moment, while the shoulder cut by the second guard served as a mild problem to him, the assassin gritted his teeth and made a terrifying arc with his entire body. He turned around and instantly moved past all the various obstacles.
All the White Blade Guards and Thales trembled.
But the assassin had already rushed out of the encirclement to flee far into the distance and disappear into the cover of the darkness and the ruins.
Thales stood where he was and stared dumbly at the assassin’s back as he ran into the distance.
‘Bannette Charleton? Could he be…?’
“AAAAAHHHH!!” Little Rascal’s screams of grief suddenly rose into the air.
Thales was startled and quickly turned around to look at her.
However, before he turned his head, Thales felt something touch his foot gently. He jolted, then lowered his head slowly.
The prince’s eyes swiftly became as wide as saucers.
He saw a round spherical object roll towards his feet, swaying slightly.
Thales’ breathing stopped. Several seconds passed.
As Little Rascal screamed, Thales stood there, stunned, and simply allowed the fresh blood on the ground to seep into his boots. His mind was blank.
He breathed in an idle manner and, with his head still lowered, he stared into the eyes of the common-elected king who had ruled over Eckstedt for thirty years, at the head of King Nuven the Seventh, which had long since been separated from his body.
Shocked disbelief was frozen on the king’s face.
The other dagger which did not fly back into the assassin’s hand and had instead flown into the darkness, fell on the ground with the king’s head, and it quivered slightly as it lay there.
With pain, regret, anger, and a refusal to admit defeat, the dozen something White Blade Guards cried the same word and their voices exploded out of nowhere.
The first dim rays of sunlight appeared in the eastern sky. The night was over; daylight was about to arrive.