Chapter 246 - A Game of Chess

Kingdom’s Bloodline Masterless Sword, 无主之剑 2022/9/13 16:53:30

Chapter 246: A Game of Chess

Translator:?EndlessFantasy Translation??Editor:?EndlessFantasy Translation

Heroic Spirit Palace, entrance of the Hall of Heroes.

In the tense atmosphere, the standoff between the combatants of Black Sand Region and those of the other archdukes persisted.

Both parties glared at one another. Many of them had their palms pressed against their weapons in readiness. With their shields held upright, they were ready to fight at any moment.

It all depended on the crucial conversation between the five archdukes in the stone hall.

Even in this kind of predicament, the Viscount of Halting Light City in Black Sand Region, Lazaar Kentvida, was one of the few people who managed to stay calm. At least, compared to Kroesch the swordswoman whose eyes gleamed with bloodlust and fingers itched to move, Viscount Kentvida appeared relaxed and unruffled… until a scout delivered the latest intel to him which made him frown.

The viscount thought for a moment, then waved at Kroesch as he walked to a corner with a somber expression. He also asked someone to get Tolja the Fire Knight here.

The trio gathered. Kentvida took a deep breath and carefully revealed what he heard. Viscount Kentvida lowered his voice and said with a deep voice,

“The sentinel at the palace gate sent a message: Someone infiltrated the gatehouse. They have most likely snuck into Heroic Spirit Palace.”

Whens she heard this, Kroesch’s facial expression changed somewhat and her gaze flickered. Meanwhile, Tolja appeared to be in deep thought.

“Infiltrated the gatehouse?” the swordswoman asked, concerned. “What went wrong with our defense line?”

Kentvida shook his head. “I don’t know. But the gatehouse is still ours.”

“Interesting.” Tolja looked up. His voice was laced with a hint of anger. “Count Levan could indeed have been too overconfident, but Vlad should be able to make up for that.”

Kentivida sighed and said. “This is what I was worried about. A count of high status and a disciplinary officer of commoner and slave? prisoner descent—they could not possibly get along to well.”

Kroesch’s gaze flickered. “How many intruders were there?”

Kentvida’s wore a strange expression, seemingly uncertain. “Not many. Reportedly not more than a dozen, perhaps even fewer.”

The other two were startled.

“So few?” Kroesch frowned. “What were they up to?”

Kentvida shook his head, implying that he did not know.

The Fire Knight snorted coldly. “We have a large troop in the palace, nearly five hundred men. Most of them are heavy infantrymen and heavy-armored axemen. Don’t worry.

The nobleman then narrowed his eyes. “What are the identities of the intruders? Their positions?”

At this question, Viscount Kentvida sucked in a deep breath, formed the politest smile he could manage, and answered cautiously—he apparently felt awkward about this question.

“Based on the sentinels’ description, they could be the remaining White Blade Guards outside the palace—maybe that includes the Star Killer, and even the Constellatiates.”

The viscount shrugged and said impassively, “I guess they came back after snatching the prince.”

As he expected, once he mentioned ‘White Blade Guards’ and ‘Star Killer’, Tolja’s facial expression turned grim, as though he heard a horribly humiliating insult.

Kentvida eyed his facial expressions and said delicately, “As for their positions, they disappeared after barging in, leaving only a carriage in front of the palace gates.”

A silence ensued. Even Kroesch remained quiet from Kentvida’s hinting gaze.

Eventually, Tolja breathed in deeply. “I’ll go look for them. Give me a team, maybe just four squads—one hundred men.” In that moment, the eyes of the Fire Knight seemed genuinely ablaze. “This time, I will eliminate all of them.”

At this, Kentvida heaved a deep sigh. Kroesch raised an eyebrow. Tolja awaited his reply quietly.

The viscount folded his arms, turned around, and glanced at the hall entrance.

“Look at these people,” Kentvida said softly.

Tolja followed the direction of his gaze and turned to look at the hall entrance. He saw countless soldiers on both sides of the confrontation. He frowned.

Kentivda said in a calm but authoritative voice, “The palace guard, the White Blade Guards, and the archduke’s entourage. There are more than two hundred of them in total. These people are not the warriors who have no leader guiding them outside the palace. They clearly know who or what they want to protect.

“Should the situation change, they will fight us to death… and His Grace is still here.” Kentvida paused for a few seconds.

Tolja kept his mouth shut and did not speak, as though he was thinking.

“In this game of chess, the whereabouts of the archdukes is the key.” Kentvida watched Tolja’s facial expressions, nodded, and said, “We need to ensure that we have the upper hand at the Hall of Heroes. Five hundred men versus two hundred is already a grave situation. We shall not take the risk by splitting up.

Tolja took a deep breath and closed his eyes.

The viscount continued, “If we ensure heavy security and control the situation in the hall, then neither the intruders nor these guards can do anything about it.”

Beside them, Kroesch the swordswoman narrowed her eyes and chimed in time, “Why can’t we bring in more people? Perhaps we could settle it even more smoothly?”

Kentvida threw her a look of approval and respect.

“The ‘more people’ you mentioned is our regular army, not recruited soldiers, ma’am.” Kentvida turned to face her and said politely, “Moreover, we did not come to guard the palace or plan to seize the city gatehouse. Due to an accident, we’re forced to be here.”

He lifted his gaze and seemingly intentionally peered at Tolja. “Our only mission is to protect His Grace.”

Tolja gave a cold snort.

“So we just stand here and watch?” The corners of Kroesch’s lips curved upwards. Her gaze on the viscount was strange. “And let a dozen flies fly around the palace?”

Kentvida shook his head. “His Grace is fighting alone in there, but I have faith in him.” He nodded. “What we need to do is stand behind him and minimize accidents.”

As he finished talking, Kentivida and Kroesch looked at Tolja.

A few seconds passed…

Tolja opened his eyes at last and released a long breath.

“You are the acting commander appointed by His Grace. Your rank is higher than mine,” the Fire Knight said coldly. “You decide what to do.”

Hearing Tolja’s reply, Kentvida smiled.

“Very well.” Viscount Kentvida nodded. His tone of voice was earnest and believable. “It’s true that we can stay here, counting on our larger troops and waiting for our exhausted enemy’s arrival with ease…”

He then changed his stance abruptly. Kentvida exhaled a breath, smiled faintly, and said,

“But thinking about it, if our opponent is that Constellatiate nobleman… He will not be so stupid as to come to us in a small group. It would be the death of him.”

Kroesch smiled as she watched him.

Kentvida’s eyes sparkled. He said meaningfully, “My Lord, my respectful lady, even the other gentleman, combatants like you will not be of much help in the army during a scuffle. You are no better than a number of ordinary class soldiers working in perfect coordination.

“So…” The viscount’s tone was laced with ridicule. “Are you prepared?”

Tolja’s eyes beamed. Kroesch narrowed her eyes.

“No matter what those people intend to do: a last-ditch assassination attempt, reckless shenanigans to disrupt the situation, or even just sneaking around…” Kentvida gazed at the corridor—at the pathway illuminated by the braziers—and smiled a faint smile. “We have to keep them occupied, so much so that they will have no time to deal with us, no place to hide, and have no way to approach us.”

Somewhere on the other side of Heroic Spirit Palace, Thales and company waited cautiously in a secluded corner.

The remaining White Blade Guards were anxiously nursing their wounds from the last fight. The Constellatiate soldiers separated to scout the paths ahead and report the enemy’s activities.

“Nicholas just stood there?” Thales leaned against the wall, frowning, recalling the unbelievable scene from earlier. “Stalling hundreds of enemies?”

Mirk looked up. “If he wants to maintain the effect of the Severing Souls Blade, yes.”

The former administrator with the butch cut nodded solemnly. His voice was deep and somber. “That legendary anti-mystic equipment has a harsh and demanding criteria.”

Putray let out a sigh beside them. “I think we lost a supreme class comrade, our only supreme class combatant.”

Beside him, Little Rascal said dejectedly, “He will be fine.”

After the scuffle just now, Nicholas turned around wearing a fearsome expression, and let them move forward.

Meanwhile, he stayed in that shiny yellow circle, fighting against the Black Sand Region soldiers’ pursuit and attacks.

Indeed, relying on Nicholas’ extraordinary actions, they barged into Heroic Spirit Palace.

‘But next…’ Thales took a deep breath.

“Go on.” The prince gritted his teeth, clenching his fists. “We head towards Lampard and the archdukes… And we end this goddamn farce.”

Raphael’s voice came from behind them. “Considering the current situation, it is a little difficult.” Raphael smiled a relaxed smile. “We just scouted the situation two corridors ahead. Although there are no enemy guards…”

Raphael stopped talking and glanced at the others. His smile persisted. Everyone frowned, waiting for his next line.

Miranda approached from behind him and said flatly, “We have made too much commotion and most probably have alerted the enemy’s scouts. People in the Heroic Spirit Palace—perhaps even Lampard—have noticed our presence.”

Thales sighed. “How many people do they have in the palace?”

“No more than the ones at the gatehouse. After all, the gatehouse faces much greater pressure.” Miranda looked at the prince. Her gaze became tense and showed a hint of guilt. “But the worst-case scenario is… that there are as many as the gatehouse had.”

Everyone’s heart sank.

“As you say, we are still in danger. Even if I came in disguised with Shiles, my situation will not be better than right now?” Thales thought of those dauntless soldiers of the Black Sand Region and their relentless pursuit. They were just like ocean waves. He felt immensely frustrated.

“About that.” Kohen arched his eyebrows, rolling his eyes. “Mister Star Killer… can we summon him back to do that trick again?”

The White Blade Guards promptly glared at him.

Mirk, too, peeked at him from the corner of his eye, the gesture was self-evident.

Kohen’s expression froze. He gave a shrug and smiled awkwardly. “I’m just asking.”

While everyone was sulking, a familiar yet strange voice came—it was Genard the veteran.

“They did not form a defense line at the palace entrance and assign patrols at the corridors.” The veteran from the Starlight Brigade narrowed his eyes. Willow, the rookie, was leaning against a wall beside him. He seemed nervous when met with the gazes of so many important people. “Duke John had said: ‘Where the enemy stays is where their thoughts are at.’ On the battlefield, it can mean a lot of problems.”

Putray’s gaze flickered as he listened to Genard’s words.

Thales’ eyes gleamed. “Such as?”

Putray picked up where the veteran left off and took in a deep breath. “Such as: They were rather confident with their defense at the gatehouse—they thought that no one could get through it.”

Thales arched an eyebrow. “Very well. At least we do not have to worry about that problem.”

‘The most crucial place.’ Thales felt a jolt in his chest. He had figured out something.

“Just now the commander had mentioned something about a hall…” The prince recalled the earlier scuffle. “I think Lampard is in the Hall of Heroes!”

Raphael nodded slowly. “Guess what he is doing?”

“Thirdly…” Putray narrowed his eyes, pondering. “At least in Heroic Spirit Palace, the manpower of Black Sand Region is scarce—they cannot act rashly.”

Thales inhaled a deep breath. “I got it,” the prince said, a little agitated. “They are in a standoff with the four archdukes!” Thales raised his head sharply. “So they cannot split up or take risks.

“… Because, to them, the approach of the four archdukes is far more important!”

He had to think of it this way, he must…

Putray nodded with a firm look.

“Hence, our current situation may seem bleak,” the vice diplomat said faintly, “but there is a staggering contrast between this and the earlier situation. We have indeed found their weak spot.”

Putray looked up and smiled. “From now on, although our team is small, but we are the third party that barges in suddenly and takes over control of the situation.”

At that very moment, everyone had become motivated. What else could be more encouraging than a silver lining in the depths of despair?

Thales’ eyes gleamed. “So, we just have to…”

Putray nodded. The skinny vice diplomat pursed his lips. “They are on the defending side and will try to stop us from coming closer no matter what, to prevent accidents. So to hell with caution.”

Confidence shimmered in Putray’s eyes. “From now on, we are the hunters… The attacking party!”