Chapter 218: The Blade and the Wing
Translator:?EndlessFantasy Translation??Editor:?EndlessFantasy Translation
In the darkness, Thales walked anxiously and fearfully with the fleeing crowd.
Nicholas led the last team and exhaled loudly in the darkness.
“When was this?” he asked in a hoarse voice.
No one answered him… until Miranda’s voice echoed beside him.
“If it was up to me to guess,” the swordswoman said flatly, “… since the very beginning.”
Nicholas was silent for a moment.
“He might only have been deceived.” In low spirits, the current commander of the White Blade Guards said, “You know, Black Sand Region faked the news about the Disaster Swords and passed it on to Kaslan.”
Thales exhaled a breath, feeling emotionally drained again.
‘No matter what comes next… Please… Let it end soon.’
“Come on,” Kohen answered the Star Killer impatiently. As he was walking at the rear of the team, he raised his voice.
“Your hypocritical ex-boss revealed himself and fought us,” the police officer said mockingly. “He hid among the soldiers of Black Sand Region and defeated me in two punches.”
“Then, you should feel proud.” Nicholas immediately raised his head, suppressing his anger. In the darkness, he coldly said, “Not everyone is qualified to take Kaslan’s punches.”
Kohen’s eyebrows furrowed and he was about to retort when Raphael cut him off.
“To be able to convince the ‘Ground-Shaker’ to help them”—Raphael narrowed his eyes—”Now we know how they managed to make their way into the gatehouse without causing a ruckus or killing anyone.”
Nicholas lowered his head and said nothing. No one saw how complicated his gaze was at that moment.
Thales thought of something.
“Wait, if Kaslan knew about this secret passage since the beginning,” the prince pondered, “how did all of you manage to sneak in?”
Nicholas raised his head, but Kohen was the one who answered.
“Perhaps he wanted to wait until all the White Blade Guards are here,” the police officer said through gritted teeth, “And get rid of all of you in one go.”
The others said nothing; the atmosphere had become extremely tense.
“Look, they’re keeping an eye on us, they managed to first track down the Kingdom’s Secret Intelligence Department, and then the White Blade Guards,” Kohen continued bitterly, “To encircle the enemy and wait for reinforcements to come to their aid… is there a more vivid example of this battle strategy than this?”
Nicholas threw a violent punch on the wall.
A dull sound echoed. Everyone gave him a sidelong glance despite the darkness. The Star Killer raised his head and exhaled.
Nicholas’ gaze became ice cold once more.
“F*ck you, Kaslan,” the Star Killer said coldly.
Raphael softly let out and indecipherable snort.
At this moment…
“Erm, perhaps, apart from arguing…” Thales’ voice rose all of a sudden. There was a weariness in his voice. “…we should think of what to do.”
The second prince said quietly, “If the secret passage only has this one exit…”
Nicholas clenched his fists lightly, then he suddenly laughed.
“We don’t have a choice,” he said softly, “Do we?”
So, all of them could only continue walking fearfully in the secret passage in that strange atmosphere. Perilous dangers laying in an unknown future awaited them on the road ahead…
They walked towards the mysterious exit.
Thales sighed delicately. At this moment, he could only let go of all distracting thoughts and focus on advancing together with the team.
The figure of another child shifted and went to his side. A delicate voice echoed softly beside his ears. “Thales… I won’t be able to escape, will I?”
In the darkness, Thales could not see Little Rascal’s expression, but he could tell that her voice was filled with sadness and despair.
Thales sighed. He was very irritated to begin with, and was definitely not in the mood to console a little girl.
“Don’t worry,” Thales said, a little distractedly, “Even if there are people lying in wait ahead, we will definitely find a way to escape—”
But Little Rascal suddenly raised her voice. “No!”
She seemed emotional. Thales was stunned for a moment.
“I’m not talking about this.” As she panted, her voice sounded fearful. “I mean… they… all of them found-found me… I- I can’t escape anymore. I won’t be able to leave!”
Nicholas and the others, who were conversing on the other side, could not help but cast a sidelong glance at Little Rascal’s reaction. That was when Thales came around and vaguely understood what Little Rascal was talking about.
‘She meant that…’
Thales drew himself closer to Little Rascal.
The second prince held his breath. He could sense the slight rise and fall of Little Rascal’s body beside him.
“They-they called me… Miss Walton…” Little Rascal whispered softly, trying her best to keep her body steady. Thales, however, could still sense the fear in her heart. His mood turned gloomy.
“They won’t let me leave…” Unknowingly, Little Rascal’s voice started to become tearful.
‘I see. We agreed at the butcher’s; this young servant girl planned to escape unseen when she was free from danger. But now…’
Thales raised his head and glanced at Nicholas and the rest.
‘The White Blade Guards found her, the Red Witch recognized her, and Lampard knows about her. King Nuven left her more than a ring and an identity—he also left her with a curse.
‘A curse stating that she cannot leave the game once she has joined it.’ The prince’s heart sank. ‘But that’s not all.’
Thales then thought of the situation right now, after King Nuven’s death.
‘Dragon Clouds City is in chaos. The Walton Family faces an imminent crisis in terms of where they belong. I’m afraid that the Cloud Dragon Spear will not be able to rule this city anymore.
‘Eckstedt, the Kingdom of the Great Dragon with six hundred years of history, is about to be drawn into a turbulent vortex. Its future is unknown, and the outcome cannot be predicted.’
Additionally, Lampard was leading his army and vassals in framing Thales as the assassinator of the king… Even though as the Prince of Constellation, he was not completely innocent. He was also carrying out conspiracies in the dark that were unknown to other people.
‘What is this ambitious and powerful person trying to do? Where will he lead Dragon Clouds City and Eckstedt; where will he lead the two strongest kingdoms in the Western Peninsula? All of this…’
Thales turned around, he could vaguely make out the young servant girl’s silhouette in the darkness.
‘This little girl who cried in the darkness… is all this really what this little girl—who suffered a great change overnight and went through life and death—can bear?’
Thales sighed softly and reached for Little Rascal’s hand in the darkness. Her small hand was covered in dust, and was cold and trembling.
Little Rascal drew her hand back a little.
“Are you afraid?” Thales asked softly in his gentlest tone.
Little Rascal stopped sobbing for a while.
“Yes.” She nodded in the darkness. “Sorry, but I’m really—”
“It’s alright to be afraid,” Thales said flatly.
Little Rascal held her breath for a moment.
“Like you, I’m afraid too.” Thales’ voice echoed beside her ears.
Little Rascal went still.
That night at Red Street Market came to the prince’s mind. He could not help the light clenching of his fists. “So, we must remember it. Remember this fear where you’re trampled on at will and cannot make your own choices.
“I hate this feeling very much.” Thales muttered. “This hatred even surpasses the fear I feel.”
Little Rascal listened quietly to Thales, not saying a word.
“So, try to hate it, hate this helpless situation. Hate the fact that you have no choice but to become a Walton.” Thales held her hand gently. “Then, you won’t be afraid of ‘being a Walton’ anymore.”
Little Rascal said in a soft voice, “Hate?”
Thales squeezed her hand. “Yes.”
He said unquestioningly, “Because of this hatred for it, we’ll become powerful one day, to prevent this sort of fear and be able to choose freely one day… No matter who you want to become, there’s no need to be afraid… when you can face the future without being afraid of anything.”
The prince inhaled deeply. For some reason, Madan Jines’ figure appeared in his mind at that moment.
He recalled the day she walked into the Hall of Stars in her high-heeled boots. Arrogant and alone, she strode valiantly with that unique bearing behind the king, paying no heed to the numerous stares that flanked her.
Thales’ pupils constricted minutely. “By that time, you will definitely be able to choose freely without being swayed by anything.”
Little Rascal sniffled and went quiet. On the other hand, Thales was lost in thought and also said nothing.
The first team of White Blade Guards who scouted ahead soon returned. As their footsteps echoed, Kohen and the rest anxiously drew their blades. However, the White Blade Guards carried some strange news with them.
“What? All of you didn’t find anything?”
Nicholas furrowed his brow.
One of the leaders among the guards shook his head in the darkness. He answered his superior’s question, “Nothing. We didn’t find anything even though the exit is not far. No traps, snares, people lying in wait, or people out in the open.”
The Star Killer’s brow furrowed even more.
“Is this normal?” Raphael’s voice came from behind.
Nicholas shook his head. The commander of the White Blade Guards mulled over his thoughts and said, “It shouldn’t be like this, Kaslan is supposed to know about this secret passage. ”
Kohen’s voice also echoed from the rear. “Could it be that he does not know what is happening here yet?”
“It’s possible,” Miranda said softly, “Or something else is holding him up.”
With raised eyebrows, Wya’s voice was filled with worry. “Maybe they’re lying in wait outside the tunnel, ready to catch all of us in one fell swoop.”
Thales exhaled through his nose and cut them off, “Alright. There’s no point talking about it now. No matter what’s waiting for us.”
Thales could only feel his head aching. He spoke dejectedly, “We only have one answer, correct?”
They could only go forward; there was no way back. Just like that time on the battlefield below the fortress, they could only go forward.
Everyone fell silent once more. Unspeakably anxious, they all began walking again.
For a few minutes, there was only the sound of rushed footsteps in the darkness of the secret passage.
The atmosphere became more solemn due to the darkness where nothing could be seen. The darkness where nothing could be seen, the dull rhythm, and the bottomless terror in their hearts caused the atmosphere to be grim.
Because of this, Thales could only count his steps in his mind to relieve his increasingly depressed mood.
Finally, when Thales counted until the 728th step or 827th step, a small bit of light could be seen reflecting onto the walls on both sides. Everyone perked up.
However, as some of them became somewhat relaxed or even relieved, others grew more anxious.
Nicholas placed his hand on the hilt of his blade and whispered to the people behind him. “That’s the exit. Be careful…”
Everyone immediately went silent.
Kohen exhaled and flexed his shoulders. He then slowed down his pace. Miranda and Raphael still did not say anything. There seemed to be a mutual understanding between them.
Thales did not even dare to exhale too loudly. He was afraid that he might disturb some unknown entity.
However, as their vision grew brighter, they moved faster and faster; as they neared the exit, the light ahead also became brighter.
Finally, the exit was in clear view before their eyes. It was an opening at the end of the long tunnel that shone with a jarring white light.
Nicholas breathed a sigh of relief. The rest of them also relaxed…
Not because they were safe, but because, after such a long time in a dark and oppressive environment, their mental state of mind had become quite abnormal.
So the moment they saw the exit, they felt as though something they had waited anxiously for, for such a long time, finally had an outcome. Even though… this outcome was not very good.
A figure stood silently at the exit. Thales’ heart sank.
“Is that the person that is to aid us?” he asked in a soft voice.
“Of course not.” Nicholas shook his head. He did not lower his volume anymore. “He’s not stupid enough to stand at the exit like that.”
The Star Killer’s expression turned very calm. He seemed a little… relieved?
Kohen sighed. The White Blade Guards dispersed quietly and went around Little Rascal to protect her.
Miranda placed her hand on her sword hilt and said softly, “Are all of you ready to fight?”
Raphael narrowed his eyes. “You can see that person clearly already?”
Miranda flashed a slight smile. “I can’t see the face clearly, but that figure… is much too familiar.”
Kohen furrowed his brow. “Familiar? Are you talking about Kroesch?!”
Nicholas paid no heed to the debate in the back. He gestured to the people behind him and strode forward by himself… towards the figure.
The figure turned her head to the side a little and light shone on her face. When they saw the person’s face clearly, everyone was shocked.
It was not the Ground-Shaker Kaslan.
“Nice to see you again…” Nicholas sighed softly, stopping ten steps away from that person.
In front of him, the Red Witch flashed a slight smile and nodded amiably as usual.
Thales stared in disbelief at the Red Witch who appeared before his eyes once more. He turned to glance behind him, and then turned back to stare at Calshan.
‘How could she be so fast…?’
“As expected, Kaslan told you about this secret passage,” Nicholas said coldly.
The Red Witch smiled a little.
“I just learned about this, too. Don’t blame him.” The old witch observed Nicholas’ position and raised her eyebrows slightly. “You’re close enough already, Lord Nicholas.”
The Star Killer stopped. His hand was still placed on the Severing Souls Blade.
“Where is he?” Nicholas could not help but narrow his eyes from to the light. He could not see the situation outside the tunnel clearly.
Calshan stared at him and sighed. “He won’t show himself.”
Nicholas gripped the hilt of his blade tightly.
“Hmph.” Nicholas looked away. His voice was filled with disdain. “Coward.”
Behind Nicholas, Thales wrinkled his brow. “They’re too far away… I can’t hear anything.”
He tried to activate his Sin of Hell’s River, but finding the way in the tunnel just now had exhausted too much of his strength. He tried summoning it a few times, but his Sin of Hell’s River did not react at all.
Miranda revealed a puzzled expression. “Why is there only the Red Witch?”
“It might be the old trick.” Kohen was beside Thales, protecting him and looking around suspiciously. “That bulky man with the knife might be hiding in one of those dark corners, planning to jump out suddenly like that time before.”
“Be on guard,” Raphael said without changing his expression. “This time, we have no more reinforcements.”
“Haih,” Wya said softly, “When do you think they’ll start fighting?”
Thales stared, heavy-hearted, at the two conversing people. “We will find out.”
Nicholas returned his gaze to Calshan again.
Peering at Calshan, the Star Killer estimated the distance between them. He said coldly, “What about you? Where’s Tolja? Where are your men-lying-in-wait?”
The Red Witch sighed softly.
“Outside.” Calshan nodded and bowed slightly. “Archers of a number you can never imagine are lying in wait in the craftiest corners. They’re all masters responsible for performing assassinations through sniping in the Secret Room.
“As for Black Sand Region, I don’t plan to have them participate in this manhunt.”
Nicholas’ irises narrowed slightly. He hated this feeling… of being targeted and unable to escape.
His eyes slowly adapted to the light, and he could see the scene outside through the exit. There was still no one.
Nicholas turned and stared into the Red Witch’s eye. His face was pale and his expression changed slightly. “Aren’t you afraid that I’ll hold you hostage again?”
Calshan flashed a friendly smile. “Oh, I’m prepared this time; I’m afraid that it wouldn’t be as easy for you now.”
Nicholas felt more unsettled. He fixed his gaze on the old woman and said nothing else.
“Then, what are you waiting for?” the Star Killer said coldly. “Go ahead and attack… Or did you think that we will surrender if you stand here and block our way?”
Unexpectedly, Calshan shook her head.
“Of course not… I do have the upper hand,” the Red Witch said flatly, “but that’s not what I want. Senseless violence and death make no difference to the matter. Our discussion has not ended yet…
“A discussion that only involves the White Blade Guards and the Secret Room, the Blade and the Wing.”
Nicholas was momentarily stunned.