Chapter 226: King Slayer
Translator:?EndlessFantasy Translation??Editor:?EndlessFantasy Translation
As Thales and the rest fled the gatehouse, a tense stalemate rarely seen before since the establishment of Eckstedt was happening in front the main door of the Hall of Heroes in Heroic Spirit Palace.
Amid the illumination of flames, some men stood in front of the Hall of Heroes with unpleasant expressions, and protected the noble people in the oval stone hall. This included the four archdukes’ respective protectors and the attendants of a small number of special nobles. The other nobles in the banquet were not allowed to bring their attendants along. There were also White Blade Guards, who stayed behind for garrison duty, and some palace guards. They stood together in a battle array with a tacit understanding exclusive to Northlanders. Some of them had their bows and arrows ready, while the others had their swords out of their sheaths.
A group of unfamiliar and unidentified soldiers stood opposite them. Those soldiers had the advantage of having more people. They kept a close guard on the corner and the corridor.
The soldiers wore patrol uniforms and carried the patrol equipment. They stood closely together, almost filling every single corridor outside the hall. Standing on the floor tiles, which had a long history, many of them could not help but scrutinize the decor around them with an astonished and reverent gaze. It seemed to be their first time there as they were not very used to the palace, which held an extraordinary meaning to Northland.
Even stranger, the leader of these uninvited guests was a short-haired swordswoman. With an indifferent and fearless gaze, the fingers on her right hand moved non-stop across the hilt of her sword.
Illuminated by the fire from the braziers, Archduke Roknee of the City of Faraway Prayers walked out of the dimly lit Hall of Heroes with a cold and sullen expression. The guards and attendants on both sides made way for him, but did not keep their guard down.
The long-haired archduke of the City of Faraway Prayers waved to dismiss an attendant, who wanted to drape a shawl over his shoulders. He stared coldly at the uninvited guests in front of him, and his gaze lingered on their sabers.
“Show yourself, there is no point in hiding anymore.”
Archduke Kulgon Roknee withdrew his fierce and forceful gaze. He then coldly said, “We could smell the disgusting scent of your territory even three flights of stone stairs away. Even though we are all from Northland, your soldiers smell especially different.”
The ‘patrol’ soldiers in the first row exchanged a few glances. But they seemed professional as they continued to say nothing. Instead, they stared coldly and sternly at the guards who were guarding the Hall of Heroes.
“Where is the Fire Knight?” Archduke Roknee snorted coldly without even looking at the female leader. “Regardless of what all of you are trying to do, whether it is to lay siege on Heroic Spirit Palace, or murder the archdukes, do all of you really need a weak p*ssy to lead the soldiers?”
The expression of short-haired swordswoman became cold.
Her right hand stopped moving. Instead, she grasped the hilt of her sword tightly and took a step forward in provocation.
“Be careful, Your Grace.” Speaking in an unpleasant tone, her eyes were filled with contempt and disdain. “Right now, your life is in the hands of this weak p*ssy.”
“Little girl.” Archduke Roknee shook his head scornfully. “Go home and weave cloth. Longswords are very heavy.”
The swordswoman suddenly whipped her sword out of its sheath.
Like birds startled by bowstrings, all the guards beside the archdukes rushed forward regardless of whether they were White Blade Guards, palace guards, or attendants from the City of Faraway Prayers!
But they stopped mid-way as Archduke Roknee raised his right palm to halt them.
The swordswoman stared at the Archduke of the City of Faraway Prayers with a frosty expression. She placed the tip of her sword right in front of Archduke Roknee’s throat.
The archduke neither moved his gaze, nor his body. Instead, he stared at her without showing any signs of weakness, as though the thing pointed at his throat was not a sword.
Roknee said coldly, “I suppose there’s no harm… in seeing whether our cute little girl here really knows how to wield a sword.”
His gaze became chilly. “And if she has the guts to kill someone… to kill an archduke.”
Her gaze becoming cold, the swordswoman thrust her sword forward without hesitation. The tip of her sword touched Roknee’s skin.
And Roknee’s pupils contracted.
He felt a cold sensation on his neck—it was bleeding.
The archduke’s attendants inhaled sharply behind him.
But Roknee remained stoic, not showing any expression.
At this moment, a solid and deep make voice rang among the ‘patrols’.
“Be polite, Kroesch.” A middle-aged noble with a worn face said. He was clad in martial attire as he walked out of the crowd in slow and steady steps. “We’re not here to fight.”
There were two nobles behind him. One was wearing a plated armor and had a sober face. Another was tall and thin with a sharp gaze.
The swordswoman, Kroesch snorted softly. She then moved backwards and pulled her sword away from his neck.
Roknee lowered his head slowly and wiped the blood off his neck with his hand. Staring at the blood on his hand, his expression was indecipherable.
The ‘patrols’ made way for the newcomers.
“Everyone, there’s?no need to be so anxious.” The young noble with a tall and thin figure smiled and bowed politely at the guards. “We’re not enemies, and we shouldn’t be pointing our swords at each other.”
Roknee lowered his hand. His gaze lingered on the three newcomers, and he snorted softly without showing any respect.
“As expected, surprises are never late.” Archduke Roknee’s expression became increasingly cold. He fixed his gaze on the middle-aged noble.
His attendants furrowed their brows at the same time.
Lampard nodded ever so slightly.
The two archdukes then met eyes. One of them had a gaze as cold as ice, whereas the other’s gaze was flat and calm.
The next moment, Roknee’s gaze returned to the swordswoman.
“Hey, Kroesch, is that your name?” Archduke Roknee changed the subject. He raised his brows with interest and revealed a different gaze. “Your grip on your sword is very steady.
Staring at Kroesch’s longsword and feeling the pain on his neck, he nodded in approval. “Very skilled.”
But Kroesch only stared coldly at him without saying anything.
Archduke Roknee’s gaze flickered.
“My wife passed away a year ago.
“Both the Roknee Family and the City of Faraway Prayers need an archduchess.” Not bothering to hide his gaze, Archduke Roknee scrutinized Kroesch from head to toe and solemnly said, “Are you interested?”
Watching their interaction, Lampard furrowed his brows a little.
Kroesch also narrowed her eyes.
“Find an obedient female worker who only knows how to weave clothes, Your Grace,” Placing her longsword back in its sheath, her tone was cold and fierce. “Or else, on our wedding night…”
Kroesch stared at the archduke’s crotch in an undisguised manner. “I might chop both of your testicles off.”
Laughing boldly, Archduke Roknee’s gaze on Kroesch became increasingly indecipherable.
“Brazenly seducing my subordinate,” Archduke Lampard said flatly. “I’m afraid that isn’t very appropriate.”
Turning to face Lampard, Archduke Roknee’s expression became stoic again. His smile was now devoid of any warmth. “There’s no harm in asking.”
Lampard raised his brows.
The tall noble behind the archduke, Viscount Kentvida whispered a few sentences behind his ears.
Archduke Roknee placed his hair behind his neck and coldly said, “Why? If I hadn’t been injured by the sword, would you have never showed up?”
“Of course not.” Lampard’s expression did not change. “I just wanted to wait until everyone was here.”
At this moment, another voice chipped into the conversation. It was laden with hostility.
“Don’t worry,” a slick and sly voice cleverly slipped itself through the gap of the other two’s conversation. “We were all waiting for your arrival.”
A man with a bowl cut walked out behind Archduke Roknee. It was the Archduke of Reformation Tower, Porpheus Trentida from the Trentida Family. His smile was playful, but his gaze was vigilant and cold.
“When was the last time we met, Chapman?” Trentida said with a smile. “Twelve years ago?”
Lampard’s gaze was fearful and contemplative as he stared at his neighbor from Reformation Tower, who was also from the southern part of Eckstedt and whose territory was adjacent to Black Sand Region.
“Five years ago,” he said flatly. “The emergency meeting between the three southern archdukes when Constellation declared war on the orcs.”
“Oh, is that so?” Trentida slapped his head in realization and said, “Only appearing when there’s something to gain, that’s you indeed.”
“You ignored the king’s invitation, but advanced on Heroic Spirit Palace with almost a thousand men the moment the king goes missing and Dragon Clouds City is in chaos… Isn’t that right, Archduke of Black Sand?” Archduke Trentida’s protruded jaw moved a little. Staring at the soldiers beside Lampard, he asked profoundly.
“This is why I’m here to seek all of you,” Archduke Lampard said slowly. “We’re facing an unusual situation that concerns all of your important interests.”
Turning away, Archduke Roknee chuckled scornfully.
“Unusual situation?” another sonorous voice made its way into the conversation. “What do you mean?”
The forthright Reybien Olsius, who dressed classically also appeared at the Hall of Heroes’ door. The Archduke of Prestige Orchid’s full beard was a conspicuous and memorable one.
At this moment, he stared coldly at Lampard. His gaze was filled with doubt and vigilance.
Lampard swept his gaze past each of the three archdukes.
“The king passed away last night,” Chapman Lampard said flatly as though he was talking about some unusual small matter. “We need to talk… about Eckstedt’s future.”
The moment he said that, there was quite the commotion on both Black Sand Region and Heroic Spirit Palace’s side.
Viscount Kentvida and Kroesch quelled their subordinates in dissatisfaction.
However, Lampard’s brows were tightly furrowed…
Because he could clearly see that the three archdukes in front of him were still calm and unmoved as before.
It was as though they already knew everything.
‘Seems like it’ll be a little harder than expected.’
‘It’s just another obstacle to cross.
‘It’s just another Nuven.’
Finally, an aged voice rang behind the three archdukes. The most experienced archduke, the bald Rogers Lecco from Defense City coughed and slowly walked forward. “That’s very unfortunate.”
The old archduke sighed and said, “I suppose that regarding the king’s death, you, Chapman who appeared here suddenly must have some important news for us?”
“As you said, Rogers,” The Archduke of Black Sand said solemnly and respectfully.
Archduke Lecco laughed. He stared at the floor tiles of Heroic Spirit Palace and said in contemplation, “Then, why don’t we… talk about it in the Hall of Heroes?”
He raised his brows a little and turned sideways to reveal the door of the stone hall. It shone from the illumination of the braziers. “It’s enough for the five of us to talk about it.
“There’s no need for so many little pawns to join us.”
As soon as he said that, the three archdukes on Heroic Spirit Palace’s side looked at Lampard simultaneously with varying expressions.
But all of their expressions harbored deep suspicion and wariness.
‘This is Eckstedt.’
Lampard sighed softly, and snorted internally.
He started to focus his gaze.
Enduring the gazes of the four archdukes, who were as equally powerful and ranked as him, Chapman Lampard calmly extended his hand. He stopped Count Levan and Viscount Kentvida from speaking out.
“Of course.” Lampard’s gaze became solemn. He glanced past his four fellow archdukes, the White Blade Guards and the palace guards. The guards closely guarded the door of the Hall of Heroes in a semicircle formation. Lampard nodded and said. “This matter can only be discussed between the five of us.”
Kroesch cast a questioning gaze at Lampard, but he only extended his palm as a sign for her to stay quiet.
The next moment, Chapman Lampard strode forward without hesitation. Under the gaze of countless people, he left the protection of Black Sand Region’s soldiers and walked off on his own.
He walked past numerous weapons towards the stone door of the Hall of Heroes.
He walked amid the seamless battle array of the Heroic Spirit Palace’s guards, leaving them to stand and gaze at each other.
He walked past Roknee who stood at the front, and received an astonished and respectful gaze.
He walked past Archduke Olsius. The bearded archduke furrowed his brows. His thoughts were unclear.
He walked past Trentida and Lecco. The two archdukes exchanged worried and anxious glances.
The Iron Fist pattern symbolizing the Lampard Family was vaguely visible on the Archduke of Black Sand’s cape.
It was not until he disappeared into the dimness of the Hall of Heroes that the four archdukes came around. They then exchanged glances.
Kentvida and Count Levan stared fiercely at them. Kroesch even tapped the hilt of her sword with her hand. It went without saying that she was threatening them.
“What do all of you think?” Trentida’s gaze flickered.
Olsius and Lecco furrowed their brows, saying nothing.
“No.” Staring at the dim hall, Roknee coldly said, “We’ll see what he has to say.”
Chapman Lampard stood quietly in the Hall of Heroes next to the long, brownish-black table. The flame inside the large braziers on six metal shelves flickered as they illuminated his face.
Lampard knew that the night before, the young Archduke Conkray Poffret had his neck broken by King Nuven two steps ahead of where he was standing.
But at this moment, he only stared quietly at the innermost seat of the long table, the main seat.
He remembered during the first half of his life, there were countless times that his parents brought him and Harold there to salute and bow before the person sitting in that main seat.
Nuven Walton sat in that main seat, commanding and ordering the people of Eckstedt, which comprised of archdukes and government officials to nobles and the commoners.
The common-elected king sat there and controlled the entire of Northland. No, most of Northland, as the Northern Territory of Constellation did not belong to Eckstedt yet.
He swept his gaze around the stone hall. He then rested his sights momentarily on the Cloud Dragon Spear flags that were everywhere.
The shelf on the innermost wall, which was supposed to house the Soul Slayer Pike was now empty.
‘Just as the Walton Family used to be very influential, the Cloud Dragon Spear once awed Northland.
‘The spear of a dragon, residing in the clouds.’
At that moment, Lampard really felt like laughing.
“Alright,” Archduke Olsius’ impolite voice rang behind Lampard. “We won’t be inviting you to take a seat.
“Go ahead and speak,” the bearded archduke said coldly.
Lampard shut his eyes and took a deep breath.
He then opened his eyes slowly.
“Constellation.” Chapman Lampard turned slowly. Facing the four archdukes, his gaze was sharp. “That Prince of Constellation and their Kingdom’s Secret Intelligence Department have plotted a conspiracy against Eckstedt for a long time.”
Archduke Roknee furrowed his brows a little.
“They even made use of a calamity,” Lampard said flatly. “Unfortunately, King Nuven died because of their conspiracy.”
Lecco and Trentida met eyes. Their gazes seemed to carry a profound meaning.
Lampard took a step forward and clenched his fists.
“The Kingdom of the Great Dragon is facing an unprecedented challenge,” the Archduke of Black Sand said coldly. His tone left no room for doubt. “It’s time for us to unite.”
The moment Lampard finished speaking…
The four archdukes stared at each other.
Until all of them laughed softly at the same time a few seconds later.
Their soft laughter became louder.
And their loud laughter became sneers.
Their sneers continued for almost a minute.
Archduke Lampard could not help but furrow his eyebrows as he stared at the sneering archdukes.
Olsius’ laughter was extremely cold, while Trentida’s laughter was playful and profound. On the other hand, Lecco’s laughter was very forced. Perhaps, he did not feel like laughing at all.
Archduke Roknee’s laughter was the loudest, longest and coldest. The Canon of Knights family emblem from the City of Faraway Prayers shone on his shoulders.
Lampard’s expression turned cold as well.
The archdukes finally stopped laughing.
The next moment, Archduke Roknee took a step forward and met eyes with Lampard without backing down.
Kulgon Roknee spoke coldly and brusquely with a bold voice exclusive to him,
“Go home and f*ck yourself, Chapman Lampard.”
Spitting loudly, his ice-cold gaze was filled with disdain and contempt.