Translator:?EndlessFantasy Translation??Editor:?EndlessFantasy Translation
In Heroic Spirit Palace, two men covered in wounds supported one another and limped forward.
The man on the left sported a butch cut and had a round face. He dragged a hideous black pike along with him. The man on the right looked pale and held a white-hilted machete.
Both men had gloomy expressions, as though they could not get rid of the grief in their hearts.
Hurried footsteps echoed in front of them in the corridor.
Ten something fighters of Black Sand Region appeared before the two men’s eyes. They were ferocious, and their movements were sharp.
The man on the right accidentally jolted the wound in his left shoulder. He groaned in pain.
Nicholas paid no heed at all to the enemies who appeared suddenly. He shot a glance at the black pike and said to Mirk who was also at death’s door, “By the way, the young prince once privately asked me: Do you detest His Majesty… After he…”
Mirk dragged his badly injured thigh behind him. He felt as if the Soul Slayer Pike in his hand was growing heavier. He thought of both the powerful old king, and the bold, heroic prince who was in the prime of his life.
With a sullen face, the former administrator said with difficulty, “I have no right to detest him, I owe him too much.”
Nicholas swept his gaze towards the approaching enemies. The corners of his lips curled up.
“You know, old friend… I’ve always thought that you were gay—you were never apart from Prince Soria.” The Star Killer tapped Mirk’s shoulder and pushed him away. “Until I learned that you f*cked his wife.”
Mirk’s body stiffened for a moment. “Do you really have to talk about this?” he asked bitterly.
The soldiers of Black Sand Region went into formation and carefully raised their weapons, slowly surrounding the two badly injured men.
Nicholas chuckled and his expression was magnanimous.[email protected]@@@[email protected]@@@@=======
“Then you should struggle to live on…”
Pressing Mirk’s shoulder, Nicholas shielded Mirk behind his back and faced the enemies before him. Raising the Severing Souls Blade, the Star Killer could hardly control his muscles because he was so heavily injured.
He said, “Even if it’s for your Madam Adele.”
Mirk’s gaze was complicated as he stared at the back of Nicholas’ figure.
A few seconds later…
“Don’t always think about leaving your comrade behind and then standing up against your enemies alone like a hero.” Without hesitation, Mirk propped himself up with the Soul Slayer Pike and, even with his injured thigh, went beside Nicholas. He faced the enemies together with Nicholas. “Haven’t you had enough of Kaslan’s beatings that year?”
This time, it was Nicholas’ turn to sink into silence before the Star Killer lowered his head and chuckled. As he reminisced on the past, Mirk could not help but curl up the corners of his lips, too.
A few seconds later, they burst simultaneously into unrestrained and honest laughter.
The soldiers of Black Sand Region already had them surrounded in a semicircular formation. The enemies’ faces looked fierce. “Watch out for that pike. Aim for their wounds.”
The two heavily injured men said nothing. Instead, they raised their weapons and prepared to fight in what could be the last battle of their lives.
At that moment…
A shrill and clear sound of a horn rang out from the center of Heroic Spirit Palace. Nicholas and Mirk froze in unison!
Surprised and bewildered, the Black Sand Region warriors stared at each other…
… as though they just heard the most unbelievable order.
Tolja raised his head in shock amid the shrill noise from the horn and while clutching Kohen’s collar.
“Impossible.” The Fire Knight let go of the police officer and muttered, “This is…”
Kohen opened his eyes in his daze. His entire body was aching and powerless. His right arm was starting to hurt again.
‘I undoubtedly gave the fight my all, seizing every opportunity…’
This was the first time he experienced first-hand the kind of powerlessness felt when facing someone in the supreme class. But all this was nothing.
Through his hazy vision, the police officer saw that the young man lying on the ground did not move at all; he showed no signs of life.
Kohen’s eyes were filled with tears.
Trembling, Kohen stared at the puzzled Tolja, then at his sword on the ground—the weapon that was used to pierce through Raphael’s heart.
‘The Load-Bearer. No… No!’
In his heart, Kohen wailed in misery. His field of vision was colored blood red.
With the heat from the Rising Sun Saber invading his skin, Kohen felt as though he was back in the scorching hot desert. It was as though the veteran’s voice was ringing beside his ears again.
“Young master, do you want to kill that orc, that monster, and avenge everyone? Do you want to kill your way out of here and go home alive?
“First of all, you must change. Let go some of your burdens and become a true monster… Just like them.”
Kohen’s gaze slowly came into focus and the blood that covered his field of vision became thicker.
‘Become… Just like them… A monster…’
Then, the Glory of the Stars in Kohen’s body flared up suddenly. Tolja instinctively lowered his head.
The police officer, barely breathing, revealed a fierce gaze. Roaring, he reached out his hands that shone with starlight.
Kohen grabbed Tolja’s arm tightly and yanked it hard. The knight reacted quickly and waved the Rising Sun Saber in his hand.
But Kohen’s sudden burst of power exceeded his estimation.
The police officer angrily struggled to stand and headbutted the Fire Knight’s chest.
‘Kill him. Tear him apart.’
Tolja hummed and took two steps back. He was surprised that his opponent still had the energy to launch an attack. They were too close together and the Rising Sun Saber could only graze the side of Kohen’s shoulder. There was a sizzling sound with the smell of cooked meat.
The police officer’s shoulder had burst into flames, but the red-eyed Kohen did not care. Roaring, he took a step forward. Like a wild beast, he pounced on Tolja and slammed him against the wall.
‘Cut him in half. Chew him to pieces.’
The Fire Knight retracted his saber. But Kohen grabbed his wrist. The blade of the saber could only inflict a horrific wound on the side of the police officer’s neck.
Despite the extreme pain and with his left shoulder aflame, Kohen roared furiously as he pressed hard on both of Tolja’s arms. He could feel the Glory of the Stars—originating from his heart—surging outwards regardless of the cost.
A seemingly inexhaustible energy flooded his muscles. It expanded and contracted his tendons, numbing his nerves so that he could not feel the fatigue and pain in his body at all.
‘This is the feeling… this pleasant sensation…’ His vision became red. He was only thinking of one thing.
‘Like a… monster. A monster…’
An indescribable and familiar urge flooded his mind.
‘Shatter him. Destroy him.’
He felt his heart pound faster and tremble even more with each passing moment; he was approaching the limit of his cardiac load.
Even though he was caught off guard and pressed against the wall, Tolja was expressionless. “Some old fighters on the battlefield are mediocre, but the moment they see blood… they will become demons on the battlefield. Even their personalities change.”
Once he said that, Tolja head-butted Kohen. He then took the opportunity to knee Kohen and send the exhausted man flying three meters away. Kohen fell heavily onto the ground.
“AAAAHHHH—” Kohen roared as clambered to his feet.
Grimacing, he raised his head and glared at his opponent with a frenzied look. His hand reached out to extinguish the flame on his shoulder.
He felt the blood rushing through his entire body and there was an endless, pleasant sensation.
‘Capture him. Grind him to pieces.’
Amid the sound of the horn that rang in their ears, Tolja went in front of Kohen and watched the savage police officer. Tolja’s gaze burned.
The Fire Knight flicked the saber in his hand and said disdainfully, “This is a good thing, soldier.”
Tolja opened his eyes slowly. His gaze also burned with madness and satisfaction. “Accept our natural instinct as killing machines. After all…” He raised his saber and grinned. “Humans were born to kill one another.”
Kohen ground his teeth. His gaze was extremely terrifying. He hunched down like a wild beast, like he was going to pounce at any moment.
‘Monster… Let go of… burdens… just like… a monster.’
Eyes glowing red, Kohen swept his gaze over his opponent’s weapon and limbs, as well as the ‘Load-Bearer’ on the ground.
Almost instinctively, he thought of a method and a route of attack in the blink of an eye.
‘Kill him! Tear him to pieces!’
Someone placed a hand on Kohen’s shoulder.
Kohen, who was already extremely tense, jolted violently and was about to turn and attack—
“Relax. This seems to be Black Sand Region’s ceasefire signal.” A lively but weak voice came from behind him.
When he heard this voice, Kohen and Tolja froze in unison!
Even though the voice was not loud, it was filled with frustration.
“The child… actually managed to do it.”
At that moment, Kohen’s emotions began to fade, the redness in his vision slowly dissipated. The Glory of the Stars in his body slowly subsided as well.
The police officer turned around, trembling.
Tolja was utterly stunned. His eyes widened in disbelief. Tolja stared as the person behind Kohen placed his hand on his chest and rose—with great effort—by supporting himself on Wya’s shoulder.
“How-How is this…?” the Fire Knight stuttered, “How is this possible?”
Kohen reached out his trembling hands and held the person’s arm, supporting him. His face was filled with shock.
“Raphael? How… how did you…?”
It was the man who was stabbed through the heart by a sword; the young man from the Kingdom’s Secret Intelligence Department; Raphael Lindbergh had his red eyes wide open.
Black veins appeared on his face. They looked like black snakes.
The Fire Knight pinned his gaze on the young man’s heart—the area around it looked as good as new. Tolja then shot a look at the ground—the pool of blood was still there.
‘It’s impossible that I missed just now. His clothes are torn, but…’
“Impossible.” Tolja furrowed his brows tightly, staring at the clear and smooth skin on Raphael’s chest, then at the strange black veins on his face. The Fire Knight’s expression was unprecedentedly solemn. “What in the world… are you?”
Raphael shrugged weakly. The black veins on his face quivered.
“What am I? Fire Knight, you said that you… were forged and molded in a hell of blood and fire…”
During Black Sand Region’s ceasefire signal, Raphael flashed a smile.
Raphael supported himself on the shoulder of an equally shocked Wya. The black veins on his face faded slowly.
“I am extremely doubtful of that… You must not have seen the real hell.”
When Thales walked absentmindedly out of the Hall of Heroes, he was on the verge of collapse.
The White Blade Guards and palace guards—led by Lord Justin—and even the archdukes’ personal guards stared at the young prince with curious and surprised stares.
The fighters of Black Sand Region, whom were greater in number and were led by Viscount Kentvida, had sharp, hateful and murderous gazes. Many of their weapons were stained with blood.
But in the face of two soldiers who had already brought their swords and bows out, Thales, with a relaxed expression on his face, simply remained composed and gave no reaction to their presences.
The prince smiled. ‘Compared to the incident in the hall, everything I’ve experienced in the past…’
“Relax.” Thales exhaled wearily and waved his hand nonchalantly at both groups of soldiers as though they were only rows of terracotta statues.
“The ceasefire signal has sounded anyway.” The tiny figure limped past the battle formation where the soldiers all had their swords drawn. “It’s not like all of you didn’t get the order…”
Thales was like a sailboat that cut through the waves. Everywhere he went, people from both Black Sand Region and Heroic Spirit Palace made way for him—consciously or otherwise. It made the prince’s tiny figure seem especially lonely.
Thales felt mentally and physically exhausted as he walked forward one step at a time. He walked past the puzzled White Blade Guards and the fierce infantrymen of Black Sand Region; past their heavy swords, bows and iron shields, and past horrific hammer-and-chains and maces.
All of them did not manage to capture his attention… until a familiar figure at the end of the crowd appeared before Thales’ eyes.
Thales stopped walking. The corners of his lips curled up. His heartbeat, which was suppressed and almost stopped at some point, immediately livened up.
Thales arched an eyebrow and stared at the gaunt man in front of him. The man’s hair was messy and the mark on his body where he was tied up was quite obvious.
“Good day, Putray.” He heaved a slow sigh and the corners of his lips curled up. “You look so flustered.”
“Good day, Your Highness.” Putray stared at him with a profound gaze and nodded. He was calm and serene. “Same to you.”
The two figures—one smaller than the other—stood within the encirclement of Black Sand Region soldiers. Enduring the vigilant, hateful and indignant glares around them, they looked quietly at each other.
A second later, Thales forced a weak smile and lowered his head. “Thank you.”
“No, we’re the ones who should thank you.” Putray sighed softly and blinked. He stared at the soldiers around them, wearing unpleasant expressions. He sighed with a multitude of emotions in his heart and said, “You just did something that even supreme class elites, powerful troops, gods, and calamities couldn’t do…
‘We won… Won?’
With his sharp mind, the vice diplomat of Constellation realized that the prince was not in high spirits.
“Ah.” Thales shrugged, his expression dimmed. “Where are the others?”
Putray narrowed his eyes a little.
“The ceasefire signal was just given.” The gaunt vice diplomat heaved a flat sigh. “Give them some time.”
Thales lowered his head. ‘Those people… They sacrificed themselves to lure the enemy so that I could sneak into the hall…
‘How many of them will come back?’
At that moment, he suddenly realized that apart from the two groups of soldiers, there were five or six people standing in the corridor a distance away. They stared alertly and calmly in Thales’ direction.
They were led by an old man. His cheeks were sunken, and his nose bridge was not tall. His eyes were not deep-set like other Northlanders, either. He closed his eyes to rest his mind, quiet and calm.
Thales recognized the old man, he had only met him twice. Before the duel between King Nuven and Poffret, he reprimanded a few stubborn and unruly archdukes. He was also the one who walked beside the Red Witch before Thales’ carriage broke into the city gatehouse.
“That is…” Thales said, unsure.
Putray looked in the direction of Thales’ gaze and nodded. “Mm, he is Dragon Clouds City’s feudal count, the vassal King Nuven trusted the most throughout these years, Prime Minister Lisban of the Imperial Conference.
“I was also surprised when he appeared at the same time as Bright Moon Temple’s high priestess.”
Thales stared in surprise at the few protectors beside Lisban. “Leaving his troops behind and following the high priestess into the palace alone, he is brave indeed.”
Putray smiled gently. “If you learned something during this journey of ours, Your Highness,” The vice diplomat of Constellation said coolly, “I hope that it is to never underestimate the courage of Northlanders.”
Thales sighed and nodded in reply, recalling Nuven and Lampard.
At that moment, they caught something moving at the corners of their eyes simultaneously.
Two people emerged from the end of a corridor—out of four—that led to the Hall of Heroes.
It was a young man, with another man who was in his prime. It was the veteran of Constellation, Genard, who once followed the Starlight God of War, and also followed Thales in the birch tree forest. He leaned against Willow the new recruit, and walked shakily towards Thales.
Willow, wielder of the twin pikes, was pale-stricken. He seemed very anxious.
Two White Blade Guards with weary faces walked behind the two men. Nicholas and Mirk seemed to be heavily injured.?They held on to each other as they limped towards Thales.
Person after person appeared before Thales: White Blade Guards, soldiers of Constellation, and even soldiers of Black Sand Region.
With an unpleasant expression and clad in clearly damaged light armor, the robust Fire Knight walked slowly in another corridor, he seemed totally uninjured.
Behind them were the dejected looking Kohen and Wya, and the pale-faced Raphael. They flashed a smile at Thales and Putray as they walked.
Thales clenched his fists.
A group of Black Sand Region soldiers carried a stretcher with a short-haired girl on it. Thales did not know her. Viscount Kentvida’s expression changed and he walked forward.
The Phantom Wind Follower, with a splint on his right hand, carried Miranda Arunde with great difficulty. She looked like she was on death’s door as they appeared in their field of vision.
Pale-stricken, Kohen and Raphael carried Miranda over.
Right then, Thales sucked in a breath and sighed deeply.
‘Not everyone came back, but… at least…’
As he watched the people walk over from a distance, Thales could finally take the strain on his body no longer. He slumped onto the ground.
At that moment, the vice diplomat of Constellation saw the prince close his eyes tightly. The corners of his lips curled up.
His voice trembling slightly, Thales said in relief, “Ah, Putray… We won.”