Chapter 212: A Gamble in the Dark (Two)
Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
Hearing Raphael’s words, Thales was startled.
The Black Prophet’s cold chuckle sounded from the black hole once again.
Miranda shuddered. Clenching her fists, she stared at Raphael with a rather complicated gaze.
‘This cocky jacka**.’
She looked at Raphael, who had become a completely different person from three years ago. An unknown emotion flowed within her.
Kohen scornfully snorted in laughter. “Good plan… Too bad you were presumptuous.”
Hearing this, Raphael’s gaze turned cold.
Raphael turned and glanced at him. His lips curved upwards slightly. “If it hadn’t been for the ‘presumptuous’ people and their dedication behind the scenes, you wouldn’t have had the chance to stand here, Young Master Karabeyan.”
Kohen gazed at Raphael, narrowing his eyes.
“You know what?” The police officer shrugged, and with a belly full of resentment, he said to Raphael, “I’m reminded of our family dictum: ‘The brave die by the sword, the wise die by trickery.'”
“Oh?” Raphael chuckled enigmatically. His eyes were indifferent. “You will definitely die by the sword then, Mister Valiant?”
Displeased, Kohen huffed. “That—”
“You two,” Miranda interrupted them. Irritated, the swordswoman raised her eyebrows and said, “Enough. Look at the situation at hand.”
Kohen and Raphael each let out a disdainful huff.
Thales and Little Rascal exchanged helpless glances.
The young man from the Secret Intelligence Department turned his head, took a deep breath, and continued, “As for the second surprise.
“It was Lampard.”
Thales’ brows twitched. “What about Lampard?”
While the others were confused and bewildered, Raphael stayed silent for a long time, he moved his eyebrows.
A few seconds later, the look on Raphael’s face reverted back to its usual impassive and relaxed look.
“I’ve figured it out,” Raphael said flatly. “I just don’t know when it was—”
“That does not matter,” the Black Prophet interrupted him brusquely. “The more important question is, are you ready?”
Raphael took a deep breath, and as the others eyed him oddly, he gave a slight nod.
“Very well.” The Black Prophet, whose voice could only be heard, let out a frosty laugh. “Your test has just truly begun.”
Raphael stood up as he tightened his right fist.
At the next second, amid everyone’s astounded gazes, the eerie black hole on Raphael’s right arm started to shrink. The frightening sharp teeth around its ‘mouth’ closed in on the center of the hole.
“Good luck, Your Highness.” Morat let out a faint sigh within the squirming black hole. “A pity that the Dragon’s Blood fell through.”
Thales was startled. He immediately realized that the communication between them and the Black Prophet was ending soon.
Almost in the blink of an eye, the skin on Raphael’s arm slowly recovered.
And just like that, the black hole vanished.
Raphael’s arm was back to normal. It was now light and smooth as usual.
All was well except for that unsightly scorch mark from the torture.
Morat Hansen’s voice was no more.
“Goddamnit.” Kohen stared at his arm, gritting his teeth. “What the actual hell was that?”
“A little Secret Intelligence trick.” Raphael shook his head. “It’s irrelevant. What’s important is our next move.”
Unsatisfied, Kohen intended to keep questioning him, but he was held back by Miranda. The latter shook her head with a desolate, miserable look on her face. Thus, Kohen’s indignation was stuck in his throat, unvented.
“Next move?” Diverting his gaze from Raphael’s ghastly arm, Thales suppressed his curiosity, and asked, “What do you mean?
“Are we not breaking out of here?”
“All this while, I assumed that the calamity’s frenzy drew away most of the personnel, leading to the hole in Dragon Clouds City’s defense. Therefore, King Nuven could not defend himself and was assassinated.” The young man from the Secret Intelligence Department pulled down his right sleeve to cover the brand, and calmly said, “I also thought that the high efficiency of Lampard’s subordinates was due to the fact that they were well-prepared and trained.
“What led to King Nuven’s instantaneous murder was not the calamity’s outburst, or Lampard’s exceptional capability.”
A curious look appeared on Thales’ face.
Raphael did not let him stay perplexed for long.
“The security gap in King Nuven’s entourage did not result from fear of the calamity, but someone’s suggestion—like sending out most of the White Blade Guards, or clearing out the patrol units.” Raphael smiled as though he had just solved a mystery which had been troubling him for years.
“As for Lampard’s operation, it was carried out rather smoothly. The fact that the army could be sent into the city without raising any alarm was definitely not due to the highly efficient operation of Black Sand Region. He had help from someone else.”
In a split second, Thales frowned.
He found the atmosphere odd. There was something wrong with the others.
Miranda’s gaze flickered as though she noticed something. She was slowly turning towards a certain direction.
Kohen was watching Miranda’s movement. He took a deep breath, and steadily reached for the sword by his waist.
As though sensing something, Wya looked up abruptly and grasped the sword by his waist with a grimace.
Ralf frowned, staring at the heavy door on the other end of the prison cell.
Everyone looked at the door, or rather, that something behind the door.
The next moment, Little Rascal as well as Thales were shoved behind Wya and Ralf.
Raphael’s speech continued and his tone of voice was somber, “You cannot possibly imagine how much resources and personnel we had to invest in for today, Your Highness.
“When you stepped into the land of Eckstedt, the Dragon’s Blood had already mobilized. There was no turning back.” The young man from the Secret Intelligence Department drew out his sword, turning around to face the heavy door. He took a deep breath. “Lampard alone, perhaps even with his cabal, could not have managed to change the outcome we had set up.”
Raphael’s eyes became immensely fierce. “But Lampard and his people did it.
“They completely sabotaged the Secret Intelligence Department’s plan, changing the outcome.”
Thales was alarmed. “You mean…”
“They turned the tables at the gravest moment, finished off Nuven instantly, and the situation was completely controlled by Lampard, Your Highness.” Raphael turned around and gazed calmly at the prison cell’s heavy door. “They were just like ‘Fraudster Angels’, using the nest of the Kingdom’s Secret Intelligence—our plan, which we had thought out for many years—to create the result they wanted.”
Everyone became highly vigilant, averting their gazes to the thick, heavy door between the interior and exterior of the prison cell.
“This is a game of wits in the dark. We just mistook the identity of our opponent.” Raphael squinted. His eyes reflected a red glow in the gloom. “The person who sits on the other side of the chessboard is not Lampard, or his cabal, or even the Shadow Shield.”
Thales’ heart fluttered. He had now come to understand many things.
‘Like… why King Nuven would believe that Disaster Sword was involved in Moriah’s death.’
“This style, this tactic, I know it.” Raphael nodded. His gaze sharpened abruptly.
“It belongs to only one person.
“A person we assumed would only be on King Nuven’s side.”
Thales held JC’s dagger softly, and started to hold his breath.
Behind him, Little Rascal trembled, and asked, “What’s going on now?”
Thales shook his head.
The heavy door was opened.
Everyone in the prison cell became tense all of sudden!
A silhouette then ambled into the gloomy prison.
The footsteps were light.
“Sorry to disturb all of you,” the visitor said politely in a soft and amiable tone.
“It’s just that you haven’t broken out after such a long time… so I had to check.”
The moment he discerned the newly arrived guest, Thales’ gaze froze.
His heartbeat quickened.
It was an amiable-looking old lady in a red robe.
She wore a bright smile.
“Having the confidence to lure the Blood Calamity here, you must have had a hundred percent certainty of success.” The kind voice went on. She sounded friendly.
With a complex gaze, Thales watched the old lady in the red robe look up slowly. She was the Director of Eckstedt’s Secret Room; the chief of an intelligence agency who rivaled the Black Prophet; the one whose nickname was the “Red Witch”—Lady Calshan.
She turned to the grim-faced Raphael. A smile emerged on her face, which was full of wrinkles. She said impassively, “So, little boy from the Secret Intelligence Department, before you head back into the prison cell, may I ask you…
“… to hand over the Staff of Constellation?”