Chapter 199: As Long As the Shadow Shield Does Not Die, They Will Eternally Follow the Form
Translator:?EndlessFantasy Translation??Editor:?EndlessFantasy Translation
Before the man could put on a shocked face, he was lifted into the air by the tall and strong Lampard.
Thales and Little Rascal, who watched the scene outside the window, were stunned.
“Why did he—” Little Rascal cowered in fear.
Thales cut Little Rascal off, calmly observing the situation. “Be quiet. Keep watching.”
The stranger suddenly found himself in a dangerous situation and reacted quickly, extending both of his hands. In one hand he held a dagger, and in the other a long spike. He thrust both weapons at Lampard. But before he can fully extend his arms, someone forcefully clamped his arms together from behind.
One of Eckstedt’s Five War Generals, Black Sand Region’s ‘Fire Knight’, Lord Tolja—whom Thales had met a few times and who escorted him to Dragon Clouds City—appeared behind the stranger. Stone-faced, he held the man’s struggling arms.
Lampard continued to impassively grab the stranger by the neck.
“You!” Unable to breath properly, the man’s eyes widened. He wanted to say something, but failed to in the end.
The next moment, Tolja twisted the man’s arms.
The sound of dislocated bone echoed. The man trembled violently. He closed his eyes and moaned in pain.
Tolja let go and the man’s arms hung down limp behind his back. His dagger and long spike dropped to the ground simultaneously.
“I gave you a chance,” Lampard said coldly.
“What?” Drenched in cold sweat, the man spoke with difficulty.
Lampard continued, “Have you heard of this saying: If you take others to be a fool, better be prepared for them to take you as a fool, too.”
The man grunted with all his might. Lampard loosened his grip slightly.
Finally able to breath properly, the man gritted his teeth and said with a hideous expression, “Traitor! We organized so many things for you from the beginning to the end, yet you—”
Before he could finish talking, Lampard tightened his grip on the man’s neck again.
“I’ve had enough.” The Archduke of Black Sand’s expression was still ice cold, but his glare was murderous. “It’s true that the Charleton Family made the attack—Camus Union pulled the strings—and that the gangs put forth their strength. However, Black Sand Region was the one who risked everything; my forces took control of the situation. We rely on the people from the south to deliver and protect the most confidential information, including the most important intel about the calamities.
“Apart from moving your mouth, you bastards did nothing!”
‘Calamities. People from the south.’ When he heard these keywords, Thales inhaled absent-mindedly.
Outside the carriage, everything carried on. Lampard still held the stranger’s neck, and Lord Tolja stood behind the stranger, watching everything with a cold gaze.
“All of you were willing to sacrifice nothing, fanning the flames of trouble instead. However, all of you want to reap what you did not sow.” Lampard’s tone was bone-chillingly murderous.
“And you have the audacity to threaten me?” The archduke raised his gaze a little and his tone suddenly increased in pitch. “Where do you all get your confidence? Those arrows of yours that lurk within the sewers? Vermin that cannot see the light of day? Lowlifes that feed on trash to survive?”
The man struggled with all his might, unable to say anything.
Inside the carriage, Thales panted and ignored his chaotic thoughts. He raised his head and continued to look out of the window.
Lampard’s expression started to change. He gritted his teeth and wrinkled his brow.
“Do you all think that you are very clever? Happily relying on having your information handed to all sides and sinister conspiracies to play tricks on powerful nobles, arrogantly making fools out of long-standing regimes of kingdoms, and smugly taking pleasure in controlling things from behind the scenes?
“However, all of you are neither the Kingdom’s Secret Intelligence Department, nor the Secret Room; you’re not backed by some powerful kingdom.” Gaze filled with hatred, Lampard raised the man even higher. “All of you are just a nest of rats that have been scampering from one hole to another for a few hundred years. Even the calamities are better than all of you.
“Did you take me for an idiot like Poffret? Did you think you could manipulate me as you liked?” The Archduke of Black Sand Region’s words went from insincere and cold, to furious and interrogative, but he was strangely still able to maintain a calm and distant tone. “Did you think that I am magnanimous enough to let you infiltrate my troops and place spies in my territory?”
Lampard narrowed his eyes a little. “Was it fun to control my Mystic Gun Unit and to have my military officer at your fingertips?”
Eyes wide, the man’s gaze was both bewildered and frightened. His arms hung limply beside him.
The Black Sand Archduke continued uttering horrifyingly cruel words in a terrifyingly calm tone. “Did you think that I didn’t want to destroy and tear all of you to shreds every single time I had to go to you, contact you, and negotiate with you?”
Tolja seemed to sense that Thales was watching him. He turned his head around abruptly and looked at the prince.
Unable to withstand his gaze, Little Rascal cowered in her seat. Thales was a little shocked, but he gritted his teeth and continued observing the situation outside the carriage under the Fire Knight’s extremely oppressive stare.
“And don’t think that I don’t know about how all of you are still infiltrating my forces even though all of you deny so.” The archduke said coldly. “You rotten bastards who only know how to hide in the sewers and eat trash.”
“After being driven to a corner in Constellation, all of you saw Eckstedt as a free paradise.” Lampard gritted his teeth, his expression was hideous. “Trust me, Northland is scarier than the south.
“If it were me, I would have dug every single one of you dirty rats out of the darkest holes no matter the cost, price, or sacrifices it would take.”
The man seemed to have forgotten how to breathe. Even his struggling weakened as he stared at Lampard in a trance.
The archduke continued speaking; even Thales, who was listening from a distance, felt his blood run cold.
“I will hang all the nobles who are secretly communicating and conspiring with all of you, and all the vile people who have relations with you, I will tear them to shreds. Wherever I am, I will make sure that every single one of you have nowhere to hide, are unable to flee, and have no way to live.
“I will suck the air that you all breathe dry, take away all your nutrients and crush your hiding places. I will bury all you sewer rats in Northland to the point where you are completely annihilated. Not a single pest can survive in my soil.”
Lampard slowly loosened his grip on the stranger’s throat. His gaze flashed with an authoritative and murderous spark. “Whether you believe it or not, I will find every single one of you, in every nook and cranny, and exterminate you.”
The archduke slowly placed his lips together. His gaze was still piercingly cold.
With trembling lips, the man shivered and uttered a sentence,
“The Shadow Master… The Shadow Master will not let you go…”
Having heard that, Lampard curled up the corners of his lips a little, flashing a fierce and profound smile. “Do you think that I’ll let him go? He’s in Dragon Clouds City right now, in Spear District, isn’t he?”
Thales tried to breathe properly. He mentally remembered everything that just happened.
‘Assassination. Charleton. Calamities. People from the south. Poffret, Mystic Gun. And…
‘…the “Shadow Master”.’
Lampard suddenly released the man, and he fell to the ground. He panted continuously.
“And you…” The archduke kneeled down slowly and flashed a virtually nonexistent smile under the man’s fearful gaze.
“Heh, do it then. We are all already prepared for it…” The man closed his eyes, as if he had accepted his fate. He had an expression akin to calmly accepting death.
“As long as the Shadow Shield does not die, they will eternally follow the form.”
When he heard these bizarre words, Thales sighed softly. His speculations were verified.
But the next moment, there was a theatrical twist. Lampard suddenly extended his hand and grabbed the man’s dislocated left shoulder. He then pressed down hard.
While the man screamed miserably, Lampard emitted a low and deep laugh. Thales widened his eyes.
One second… Two seconds…
Drenched in cold sweat, the man’s eyes widened. He realized that he was still alive; he froze. Dazed, he breathed and exercised his left shoulder, which was popped back in. He looked shocked.
“No need to be too anxious, Stake.” The archduke tapped the man’s shoulder and said calmly and flatly in a low voice, “I was just joking with you. We’re after all, partners, aren’t we?”
The man nicknamed Stake widened his eyes in disbelief. He turned his head back and glanced at Lord Tolja. However, the latter remained expressionless.
“You should look at your face.” Lampard chuckled loudly. “You’ll laugh at yourself.”
Stake turned his head abruptly and stared at Lampard in disbelief.
“You, you… just now… Why?!” He panted, surprised.
“Nevermind, just report all of this to your master.” Lampard tapped Stake’s face while he flashed a bone-chilling smile. “This way, he’ll know what I feel about all of you.”
The man stared at Lampard, dumbfounded, as if he did not know the suzerain anymore.
“Be good and pop your right shoulder back in yourself.” Archduke Lampard stood and stared at him from above. “I’ll take the boy with me, and wait until your master comes round…”
The man did not move at all. He seemed to be stupefied.
Lampard turned and said steadily, “Also, don’t hold a grudge against me. You know, if a joke is repeated too many times…”
Lampard turned his head back and lowered it slightly. His gaze was strange.
“One of these days, it will be for real.”
The man gritted his teeth and lowered his head. The next moment, Lampard left without even a backward glance. Tolja followed him without a word; leaving behind the man who was panting slightly.
It was as though the threatening conversation just now had never happened.
Still in shock, Thales watched as Lampard and Tolja walked towards the carriage.
The archduke’s conversation with his subordinate echoed next to Thales’ ears again.
“With the help of the people there, we successfully took down the last city portcullis in front of Heroic Spirit Palace.” The Fire Knight’s voice was prudent and austere. “We have already isolated Heroic Spirit Palace.”
Lampard nodded slightly.
“The rumors we spread were very effective. Garrison Officers and people from the main disciplinary hall are already starting to send their units into Shield District. President Lisban also began his efforts to stop the news from spreading. Before we are exposed, this will be a great help to us,” Tolja said flatly. “According to your plan, we have three more hours.”
“Wonderful.” The archduke acknowledged Tolja’s words without changing his expression. “But your countenance is not quite right… Is there anything else I should know?”
“There was a small mishap.” Lord Tolja nodded softly. His voice deepened. “We captured Gleeward, but Nicholas managed to escape.”
Lampard furrowed his eyebrows.
When he heard this news, Thales froze.
‘The Star Killer, Nicholas. He’s still alive…’
Walking, the archduke asked in a deep voice, “I thought that you had the Rising Sun Sword with you?”
“Yes, but someone broke into the battlefield unexpectedly.” Tolja’s tone did not change. He did not seem to be troubled over the failure of his mission. “Even though we tried our best to encircle and kill him, and we even left him many parting gifts, the intruder still managed to break out of the encirclement with Nicholas in tow.”
Lampard did not enquire any further, having worked together with Tolja for years. He simply uttered one word,
Tolja’s reply gave Thales pause again.
“A plain-looking man with superb skills,” The Fire Knight said softly, “He had a strange black sword.”
Thales’ gaze was stuck on the carriage door.
The Sin of Hell’s River left Thales body like receding waves, taking away his superhuman hearing; it also made him tired.
The next moment, Lampard opened the carriage door and boarded the carriage under Little Rascal’s terrified gaze.
Thales massaged his sore head to alleviate the aftereffects of the Sin of Hell’s River and organized his mind, which was becoming messier after overhearing the conversation between the two men.
He exhaled and, to the cold-faced Lampard, he said in a low voice,
“I thought you wanted to sell me to him.”
Lampard turned his head and stared at Thales.
“You are more valuable than I imagined,” the archduke said calmly, “The buyer needed to go back and negotiate the offer.”
Thales sneered mockingly.
“Those who lured in the calamities on your behalf,” the second prince asked deliberately, “Do they know what you plan to do with me?”
Probed by Thales, Lampard snorted softly. He turned his head away and did not reply.
“Alright.” Thales sighed as he watched the tight-lipped Lampard. “Nuven is dead, but what do you plan to do next?”
Having heard this, Lampard narrowed his eyes. “What’s next?”
The archduke sighed softly. His gaze seemed to burn. “I’m going to save this kingdom.”
The carriage moved again… into the unknown future.