Chapter 248: I am Very Honored
Translator:?EndlessFantasy Translation??Editor:?EndlessFantasy Translation
Heroic Spirit Palace, West corridor.
“Damn it, I almost stabbed you too just now!”
Wya gasped for breath as he extracted his single-edged sword from the last enemy’s body. He patted himself on the left side, apparently the injuries had split open. “Who arranged this strange combination for a group?”
The dead body was flipped over as Kohen Karabeyan miserably got up from under it. He felt his skin crawl as he watched Wya’s sword being extracted right beside his ear and rolled his eyes.
“Oh, I’m so sorry, I just can’t compare to Miranda. I’m not as strong as Raphael and I’m definitely not as able to fight as the White Blade Guards, veterans of a hundred battles,” the police officer said perfunctorily. “That’s why I needed your help… Your Excellency, attendant Wya Caso!”
Just a moment ago, Kohen and Wya had escaped from several interceptions by the Black Sand Region’s elites.
The attendant took a deep breath and said, “Alright, perhaps I should rejoice. At least I don’t have to be grouped with the mute one—that guy’s really sensitive. He’ll notice every time I stare at his throat for more than a second. That expression of his, it’s as if I was the real culprit who crushed his throat…”
Kohen’s footsteps halted. His expression when he looked at Wya was one suggesting a foul mood. Wya was stunned for a second before he shrugged awkwardly. “Right, sorry. I forgot that you were the one who actually did that.”
“Thank you for your understanding,” Kohen replied in a huff.
Wya glanced at the three dead bodies before him, massaged his shoulder, and sighed. “His Lordship didn’t guess wrong. They sent small elite units to spread out and search for us. If the prince was still with us, our whereabouts would have probably been long exposed. Then, we wouldn’t be able to move an inch with that endless commotion.”
“Let’s hurry.” Kohen panted as he heard faint sounds of fighting from the eastern side. “Count ourselves lucky this time. Their reinforcements received the signal, but was misled by another party—I don’t know whether it was the White Blade Guards or our own people.”
They walked on for more than ten seconds until they arrived at a fork.
Wya pointed in one direction, frowned, and said, “Should we continue? We already…”
Kohen caught up with Wya’s pace. Without the slightest hesitation, he surpassed him. “We can only continue onwards, we have to widen the distance for the prince and the rest.”
Wya cast a glance at Kohen and suddenly broke into laughter as he hastily caught up.
In the heavy atmosphere, the police officer’s gaze swept across the other’s single-edged sword. He frowned slightly. “You’re the student of Teacher Chartier, but you seem like someone from Master Shao’s side when you use your sword.”
Wya nodded, his eyebrows pinched together.
“I know—my teacher told me before. My Power of Eradication is very special, even the sword skills that entails me were affected.”
The police officer raised his eyebrows.
‘Is it just special?’
Kohen recalled the figure in the white shirt and said flatly, “Combat styles of faculties like ‘Death of Crime’ are always dangerous. Most of the time, it looks like suicide.”
“And yet, it’s the most accomplished faculty.” Wya shook his head with a heavy look. “Many famous swordsmen or experts were born from there.”
Kohen slowly nodded. “Since you just graduated, how did you get elected as an attendant? Was it a good family background or your good sword skills?”
“There were many more brilliant candidates who were also born into more noble families.” Wya shook his head and continued walking forward. “But the prince was still young. They needed someone who could grow together with the prince and become his arm in the future. A newbie who just came from the tower is a white slate and most suitable for this errand.
“Otherwise, forget being an attendant, the Caso Family wouldn’t even be able to be a squire for the prince since we are a family with a long genealogical history like the local Rudollian nobles, and we’re also not a respected imperial bloodline like you Karabeyans. Four generations ago, we were only the squires of a small place, and one hundred years ago, we couldn’t even become squires, much less an attendant.”
Kohen nodded in understanding.
Kohen muttered to himself, ‘It’s also precisely because of this that the king was at ease with you serving as an attendant.’
Wya suddenly turned around and asked, “So, what does it feel like to be born into the Thirteen Distinguished Families? Not everyone has a family that has a legacy of a millennium behind them.”
Kohen’s expression stiffened. “A thousand-year-old family?” Kohen was stunned and immediately sank into deep contemplation.
‘That dark, mysterious, forbidden door; the ancient castles of all sizes…’
“You have plenty, but your burdens are great, and you cannot take them off your shoulders.” Kohen’s complexion darkened slightly. “That is what it feels like.”
Wya looked at his expression and shrugged.
“The appointed heir to the count, willing to be condescended and lowered in rank, and become a small police officer in the capital.” The attendant shook his head. “This is uncommon?”
Kohen spitefully said in his heart, ‘This ain’t nuthin—Bah! Blurted some western dialect—At Blade Fangs Dune, I’ve even arm-wrestled with the orcs in the desert before.’
“My old man said that times are changing, learning how to adapt isn’t a bad thing.” Kohen shrugged. “‘The era of Count Karabeyans being directly appointed as Chief of Intelligence has long passed. An appointed heir of a count becoming a police officer? Just treat it as an exercise—to see how the kingdom functions.'”
“Not a bad thing indeed.” Wya shrugged. “That’s why we—Caso and Karabeyan—can have the opportunity to fight side-by-side here, isn’t it?”
Kohen laughed softly. “Remember to tell your grandchildren this story.”
“Precisely.” Wya unfolded his hands, shook his head and burst into laughter. “Your grandfather used to foray with the kingdom’s future appointed count in Dragon Clouds City. They went through fire and water for the future supreme king—”
In the next moment, both their expressions changed at once.
They both took out their swords with the fastest draw-speed from their sheaths. With a slight bend of their knees and their feet apart, they nervously looked towards the flight of steps across from them.
An armored figure appeared there.
They saw ‘Fire Knight’ Tolja gradually descending those steps, one foot after another. He was watching them with a serious expression.
The police officer released a long breath, lamenting his own ‘luck’. Wya narrowed his eyes, there was apprehensiveness in his heart.
“Come on, lunkhead. I didn’t forget that blow in the prison cell.” The police officer gritted his teeth and put on a starting stance. “It’s time to pay back your debts.”
In front of them, Tolja impassively held his golden saber.
“It’s him again.” Wya nervously stared at Tolja before them and recalled the scene in the prison cell. Gravely, he said to Kohen, “Are you sure we’re going to fight?”
‘If we escape now, maybe there’s still a chance to throw him off.’
“There’s no other choice.” Kohen frowned. “Let’s do our best.”
Wya took a deep breath, raised his single-edged sword and shook his head. “Alright then.”
Tolja raised a corner of his mouth and, like a hill, he walked slowly towards them.
“You’ve practically dispatched everyone.” As he listened to the continuous sounds of fighting nearby, Tolja said with a piercing gaze, “Your people are quite spread out, doing everything they can to block us off and resist our interceptions.”
“Certainly not to assassinate an archduke… Where’s the Star Killer?” he asked in a low voice. It was like deep, growling thunder.
Both Kohen and Wya frowned.
“Where is your prince?”
Kohen and Wya were both stunned.
“You seem to be quite concerned about the prince.” Wya coldly snorted.
Tolja narrowed his eyes. The Fire Knight seemed very relaxed. He slowly drew out his saber, causing both Kohen and Wya to grow more nervous.
“I can sense that… your people are quite dispersed. It’s almost like a semicircle, progressively pressing on towards the Hall of Heroes.”
Kohen exhaled a deep breath. ‘This is bad. This guy, what did he use to sense it?’
“Your purpose is not to break through, but to serve as scouts and sentinels,” Tolja said coldly, “To hide the positions of some people and conceal their intentions, right?”
Kohen and Wya’s eyes met. They saw hesitation in each other’s gaze.
“Kentvida believes that the biggest threat lies in the middle-aged lord and the Star Killer.” He lightly brandished his own saber. “But when we met in the snowlands and I saw his gaze when he faced Nicholas, I had a gut feeling…”
Tolja said imposingly, “That seemingly harmless prince is the most dangerous one… Your prince, where is he?” Tolja’s complexion changed and he continued pressing, “What are you planning?”
Kohen and Wya both did not say a word but just nervously thought about how they could handle the fight that was bound to happen later.
But in the next moment, Tolja moved, brandishing his saber in his charge.[email protected]@@@[email protected]@@@@=======
Mentally tense, Wya felt a tremor in his heart. The single-edged sword was immediately drawn and went straight for Tolja’s face.
Kohen’s complexion changed.
“No!” The police officer roared furiously. He forcefully yanked Wya’s left arm and pulled him back.
Wya’s single-edged sword and Tolja’s golden saber collided and the air temperature rose rapidly.
The strange sizzling sound was heard again.
There was a crisp sound of metal hitting the ground.
Wya was pulled back a whole five steps by the police officer until he fell and sat on the ground. However, he was too occupied to deal with Kohen.
Wya stared blankly at the single-edged sword in his hand: The front part of his blade had been broken off. The damaged end was flat and the blade glowed red as it radiated with strong heat. It was as if it was melted off in an instant.
The broken blade clattered on the ground, and it quivered endlessly.
And opposite them, Tolja lightly snorted as if it was not the least bit unexpected. He swung the golden saber casually in his hand, stirring strange sparks in the air.
While a chill crept up their spines, Kohen and Wya watched the Fire Knight as he raised his saber and pierced through the wall next to him without any hindrance at all. He slowly moved his arm and the saber slashed across the wall. Sparks flew wherever it went, leaving only scorch marks behind.
As the sizzling sounds echoed, a stinky, burnt smell wafted through the air.
“Since it lost its corresponding prey, the importance of this saber has reduced greatly.” Tolja extracted his saber from the wall, as if he just pulled it out from water. He narrowed his eyes and looked at the two people on the ground. “But it’s still an effective weapon.”
Kohen supported Wya as he stared in astonishment at the saber in Tolja’s hands.
‘That’s…’ He recalled that old book he read in the family’s ancient castle. Then, Kohen recalled Tolja’s nickname. ‘That’s…’
“This is just a warning,” Tolja said with a solemn look. “I respect your spirit, so… I assure you, this will end very quickly.”
“How could it…” Wya muttered as he stared at the damaged end of his own weapon. “This is actually… steel refined in the tower…”
He then looked at Tolja’s saber, bewildered. “What exactly is that weapon?”
‘It can actually cut metal effortlessly, without the slightest resistance from its target…?’
Kohen took in a deep breath.
“Legendary anti-mystic equipment…” Kohen answered gravely. He stared intently at that golden luster of the saber.
“…Rising Sun Saber, known as the blazing sword edge that can cut anything…” As Kohen sniffed the air filled with the roasting stench, he felt the rising temperature and clenched his teeth. “It is also known as the Breath of Hell.”
Wya was stunned for a moment.
“Pretty good knowledge.” Tolja nodded in praise as he gazed at his weapon. “The world’s sharpest blade… has temperature.”
The faces of the two Constellatiates turned extremely unpleasant.
“What do we do now?” Wya frowned. “His blade…”
“Yeah…” Kohen gritted his teeth.
He watched Tolja raise the Rising Sun Saber and slowly approached them.
The police officer shook his head in helplessness and desolation, as if he was thinking aloud. “In the face of a weapon that’s able to cut through nearly every weapon and armor…
“What can we do?”
Another room in Heroic Spirit Palace.
Little Rascal was lost in thought as she leaned against the wall distractedly.
Thales clenched his fists and did not say a word.
Footsteps echoed—the vice diplomat of Constellation came to their side.
Little Rascal was slightly startled. She came to her senses and looked at Thales as if asking for help. The prince nodded at her.
Putray looked before him at Thales, and then behind him at the Little Rascal who became uneasy from head to toe since returning to Heroic Spirit Palace. He could not help but to heave a sigh.
“They’ve spread out to their respective positions.” He estimated their distance by hearing the sounds of combat coming faintly from their surroundings.
“Your Highness, you should also depart now.”
Thales raised his head and calmly looked at the Putray in front of him.
“Will they survive?” he asked in anguish.
Putray did not say anything but watched him silently.
A few seconds later, the vice diplomat sighed softly.
“As you said, you clearly knew where the crucial points of this chess game lie, and wanted to arrange the strongest chess pieces on the battlefield.
“If you win, we win,” Putray said plainly. “No matter how much is sacrificed.”
For a moment, Thales was surprisingly speechless. He could only lower his head. Thales just felt a heaviness in his heart.
“I am sorry. That was actually not my plan.”
The atmosphere was quite depressing. From the side, Little Rascal was pursing her lips—there was a lot on her mind.
“I know, Your Highness.” Putray shook his head, wearing his usual expression. “I know.
“We had no choice but to charge into the gatehouse, that was an accident. Getting discovered there was another accident. In the end, we were forced into this situation.”
Putray knelt slowly. The vice diplomat softly sighed.
“But one of the most fascinating things about life is that there will always be accidents to interrupt the dreams we have planned.”
Putray’s gaze drifted far away, as if recalling the past. “… Accidents.”
“I knew that.” Thales took a deep breath, looked at the bricks and tried hard not to let unnecessary emotions drain from his mind. “It’s just, listening to them…”
Putray hung his head and did not move an inch.
“Putray, I’m sorry,” Thales sighed and eventually gave up speaking. “Take care—”
“Your Highness.” At this moment, the vice diplomat suddenly interrupted Thales. The boy saw him heave a long sigh, as if he had just made up his mind.
“Before we move on.” Putray nodded slightly while his head still bowed. “I’d like to let you know something:
“Please, do not feel guilty for me.”
Thales frowned and stared at the vice diplomat, but Putray’s face was hidden in darkness, so the boy could not see it clearly.
Unfathomably, Thales felt as though the Putray in this moment was acting unusual.
“Twelve years ago, I was at the border between Eckstedt and Constellation. I was cooperating with the Secret Intelligence Department, responsible for the gathering of intel on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.” Putray’s voice had a slightly faint tremble to it. “That summer, I made a decision.”
Thales grew more and more suspicious.
“A simple decision, a harmless proposal.”
His voice was as light as falling feathers as he gloomily said, “It only required a light nod of my head and that proposal concerning Eckstedt would have been sent back into the country…”
Thales suddenly made a connection to something. An indescribable panic sprung up unbidden.
‘Twelve years ago… Eckstedt…’
Putray paused briefly. It seemed as if he was somewhat unable to continue speaking.
“But that was a mistake… An unforgivable mistake…” The vice diplomat was gasping slightly. “Thereby, the Northern Territory received many disasters.
“The fires of war burned extensively, blood flowed like rivers, and fields were strewn with corpses.”
In that instant, Thales felt a severe jolt in his heart. He suddenly raised his head and stared at Putray in disbelief.
King Nuven’s voice seemed to ring by his ears again.
‘”The assassins came from Constellation…”‘
Thales stared blankly at this slender man before him.
Putray raised his head with a slight shudder. His face was blanketed by dead, dull, gloomy grief.
“I used to lie to myself countless times before. I told myself that it was not my fault, convinced myself that that was just an accident, just an assassin’s foolish mistake… I even learned indifference, learned how not to be the least bit concerned. I told myself: Forget the past.
“But it was useless.” the vice diplomat’s expression was dull and gray, his tone seemed to be filled with despair. “Fate is just so magical. Full of things you can never expect, and also full of certainty.
“The sins you’ve committed will eventually return to you, regardless of whether you run from it or not.”
Thales watched the man’s confession, but his heart was just blank—he did not know how he should react.
“So, Your Highness, when I heard you say that you wanted to stop the war, to change, to redeem it, and to do something…:
With reddened eyes, Putray’s expression was sorrowful, yet serene.
“I’m really relieved,” he said softly with a bitter smile.
Thales stared blankly back at him. “Putray…”
Putray inhaled a deep breath, his expression vanished, and his eyes flashed. “Thales Jadestar.”
When he heard his name being addressed so directly, Thales fidgeted.
Putray quietly looked at him, his gaze firm. In the next second, Putray slowly pressed his own right breast. Slowly, he nodded, his tone was solemn and respectful.
“To have worked together with you… I am very honored.”
Once he finished speaking, Putray stood up resolutely, turned and left, leaving the startled Thales behind.
The second prince frowned, his breathing grew urgent and his thoughts were a mess.
In the room, there was only the sound of Little Rascal’s confused inquiry.
A few minutes later…
Outside the Hall of Heroes, the densely packed soldiers of Black Sand Region formed a tight defensive line. Vigilantly, they concentrated on everything in their surroundings. They did not even let the ineffable noises in the wall slip by—there were specialists eavesdropping.
Their actions even affected the four archdukes’ troops, who glanced at them repeatedly.
Viscount Kentvida listened steadily to his subordinates’ stacks upon stacks of reports, and nodded from time to time.
Finally, there was a slight change in Kentvida’s expression after one report. He hesitated for a second, then made a hand gesture at his assistant. He turned around resolutely and left.
Under the accompaniment of a troop of soldiers, Kentvida walked past layers of defense lines. Occasionally responding to the salutations of his subordinates, he finally turned into a corridor.
In this corridor, two troops of Black Sand Region soldiers were escorting a detainee. They stopped before Kentvida.
Kentvida frowned. “To be meeting under such circumstances…” The Viscount of the City of Halting Light said flatly, “Should I feel surprised? The lord who willingly walked right into the trap?”
Before Kentvida stood the vice diplomat of Constellation, Putray Nemain, both his arms were detained. With a calm expression, he raised his head and looked at him.