Chapter 319 - Not According to Plan

Kingdom’s Bloodline Masterless Sword, 无主之剑 2022/9/13 16:54:30

Chapter 319: Not According to Plan

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


The laughter sounded like someone had their hands over their mouths in attempts to suppress their laughter while they stood in the crowd, like they were desperately laughing into their hands.

The embarrassed archduchess was immediately stunned.

‘Who is it?’

The Northlanders, who had already been incessantly irritated in the indescribable conflict, turned around in succession to seek the source of the laughter.

They found their target quickly.

A young boy sitting on a chair with both arms against his knees was seen not too far away from Viscount Ian. He held his chin up as he watched the people and events in the hall with full interest, snickering in a low voice.

Many people saw his face clearly. They also saw the symbol of the Nine-Pointed Star on his robe.

“Northlanders?” Thales continued laughing. He seemingly just noticed the audience’s gazes as his shoulders shivered. He did his best to restrain his laughter. “I’m sorry, I’m not doing this on purpose. It’s just that… Hahahaha… Hahahaha… It’s just that I find it really funny…”

Obviously, the sincerity in the prince’s apology was not enough.

Baffled, Ian widened his eyes as he stared at the young boy with the Nine-Pointed Star emblem. He stared at Thales while the prince rocked back and forth in laughter, and Ian did not seem to be registering what was going on.

In a daze, the archduchess was also staring at the young boy who seemed to be mocking her. Subconsciously, she pulled back her arm, which was holding the ring up, and instinctively pressed it against her chest.

There was a confused expression on her face, and she looked like a helpless person who had lost her way.

“Hahahaha…” The teenager’s elated laughter diminished gradually, but it was still faintly discernible.

The laughter caused more and more Northlanders to have steely expressions on their faces. Even the Archduchess’ Guard next to Thales was staring at him with a face of indignation.

With his laughter echoing in the hall, not only did the oppressive atmosphere not alleviate, it became even more unbearable.

Low curses from several vassals rang from the corner of the hall.

All of a sudden, a heavy and muffled bang erupted in the hall! It shattered the incessantly dreary atmosphere like a heavy hammer.

A powerful and sudden shout erupted among the people in the hall. “Enough!”

Thales’ laughter ceased after that. The hall turned quiet in an instant as well.

Everyone turned their eyes in the archduchess’ direction and were immediately stunned.

The one who opened his mouth to interrupt Thales’ laughter was among the six counts—it was that one-armed count who had been silent all this while.

Thales was relaxing his muscles, which had become stiff from his laughing. A thought then materialized in his mind.

‘It was him.’

He was the count who Ian proclaimed to be the best fighter.

The one-armed count looked up. His expression was cool, while his body emitted the brazen aura of someone who had fought countless battles on the battlefield.

He turned to the archduchess on the stage.

“My Lady, I do not understand you.” The one-armed count slowly moved to the center of the hall. His voice was laced with a freezing tone. “Pardon me for being rude, but whether it was meeting you for the first time six years ago or attending the council hearing today, I have not expected much from you.”

His words spread across both sides of the hall, and contained in them a certain might. People could not help but avert their gazes from the count.

The standing Saroma looked sad. “Count Karkogel…”

“But, I’ve really had enough of this farce.

“I hate watching all this repetitive and absolutely boring probing of one another’s strengths, and scheming,” Karkogel said coldly. “I don’t even want to pay any attention to any of you. I do not care if you and that clown from the City of Faraway Prayers have conspired beforehand to create such a scene, causing us this extreme embarrassment—if only we still have the honor to say so.”

Saroma and Ian’s expressions both shifted slightly.

The vassals did not have very pleasant expressions on their faces too.

Thales bit his lower lip. ‘As expected, even after a series of such dazzling spectacles, Dragon Clouds City isn’t lacking calm and rational people who can, with a glance, see through the essence of things.’

Lisban did not say a word, whereas Count Nazaire smiled faintly.

Karkogel halted in his footsteps.

He stomped his boots on the ground, sending a reverberating thump across the hall.

“However, since you’ve set up so many dirty tricks, it proves that you are not resigned to being a vase that sits around, waiting to die in this palace, girl,” the words of the one-armed count were heavy and powerful.

“Am I right?”

Low voices of discussion rose from the vassals, while the other five counts frowned together.

The one-armed count fixed his gaze on the archduchess, not caring about Count Hearst’s stare next to him.

With an expression that made him unapproachable, Karkogel glared intently at the pale Saroma who was on the stage. “For me, this is the only redeemable part of your absolutely ludicrous act today. It is filled with loopholes.”

Saroma’s expression stiffened.

“Just stop your shoddy tests on our reactions. Forcing us to submit through an outsider’s involvement in Dragon Clouds City?” the count criticized brusquely. “Hmph, we are not as deplorable as you imagine us to be, girl.”

While he watched the count and listened to the implications of his words, Thales smiled.

In the next moment, the count began walking forward without waiting for Saroma to react!

“Let the honor of the Karkogel Family bear witness to this.”

The one-armed count turned around. In a chilling manner, he faced the entire hall as his sonorous, steely voice struck everyone’s heart like a heavy hammer. “Since the archduchess has commanded it, then the ‘Fearless Steel’ Karkogel Family will answer the call.”

Saroma stared at the count blankly. She seemed to have even forgotten her original intent.

Thales and Ian exchanged looks and nodded together.

Count Karkogel’s expression was ice-cold, yet he raised his only remaining right arm without the slightest hesitation. “I, Kahn Karkogel, hereby promise that every man of appropriate age in Hunting County and Origami County will pick up their weapons and fight in Dragon Clouds City’s battles.”

Only the audible sounds of the vassals’ breathing were left in the hall.

“If Dragon Clouds City wants to go to war, then we will join you,” the resolute voice of the one-armed count spread throughout the hall. “It is that simple.”

His final syllable reverberated off the stone walls, rattling the hall.

It appeared as though the other five counts had not reacted to the situation. The rest of the vassals were also spiritedly discussing among themselves.

However, as Saroma watched the one-armed count in a daze, a spark of life gradually lit up in her eyes.

‘He… He…’

“Count Karkogel.” Saroma found it hard to conceal the excitement in her eyes. She stuttered, “I-I… am thankful for your trust.”

But Karkogel turned his head around immediately!

“No,” he said rigidly. His rejecting words stunned the archduchess. “It is not you whom I trust.

“I still remember the day we strode up Fort Liberté twelve years ago.”

The one-armed count began to speak slowly, “I was the commander to besiege the castle. Those bastards got a hold of a lot of Eternal Oil from Camus. They poured kerosene down in torrents, and it took a long time for us to conquer that castle.”

Saroma was slightly stunned.

‘Fort Liberté? That’s…’

“That was, until Prince Soria’s arrived…” Karkogel said coldly. “I still remember it. During sundown, he laughed heartily as he raised his sword in our utterly fatigued and troubled military camp, in front of the warriors riddled with wounds, before our crestfallen people.

“With his frantic and fearless shouts, Soria was the first to charge out of the military camp, out of formation, and into the great castle!”

The air in the hall seemingly froze.

The breathing of the Northlanders slowly accelerated.

Hesitant and astonished, Saroma looked blankly at the count.

“Everyone went insane. We were like stupid, boorish men charging in a wild assault behind Soria. In our eyes, there were only two choices, and both were stained with blood: Break through the castle or die in battle. There was no third choice!

“It was a really great battle.” The one-armed count raised what remained of his left upper arm. His expression darkened as he lowered the volume of his voice, “The kerosene burned off half of Soria’s face and one of my arms.”

He then lowered his gaze and softly said, “We broke through Fort Liberté on that very day.”

The count thumped his right arm heavily against his own chest.

“That was the craziest thing I’ve ever done in my life.” Karkogel contained himself coolly. “Compared to that, this is nothing.?Am I not simply handing the fate of Dragon Clouds City to a woman?

“How much worse can it get?”

Karkogel turned around and walked back to his seat. The vassals’ eyes followed him.

Saroma looked at the count in hesitation. She blurted the following words after a while, “Thank you.”

Karkogel shook his head.

“You said that you needed this war to reclaim Dragon Clouds City’s honor?”

Karkogel spoke softly as a callous tone seeped into his words, “Then you best keep your word, girl.”

Once he finished speaking, the count sat back in his seat.

Saroma had a solemn expression on her face. She did not say a word.

The hall became silent.

The vassals’ emotions began to sway.

“I am sorry, My Lady.”

Before the surprise brought upon by Karkogel wore off, another man’s voice, which was laced with hesitation rose into the air.

“Please understand. The counts wish for you to marry into our local families.” The golden-bearded Count Hearst sighed. “That is because… because we are the ones who can truly stand together with you.”

Hearst, who was in his thirties, was the youngest among the counts. He lifted his eyes and looked at Saroma with sincerity and a barely-conceivable anguish. He looked at the archduchess, who was pressing her ring tightly into her chest. “But Count Karkogel is right.”

Saroma moved slightly.

“My Lady, we belong to Dragon Clouds City.” With a complex expression, Hearst gazed at his lady. “And the act of helping you reclaim your honor is definitely not something an outsider from the City of Faraway Prayers is allowed to do.”

Saroma stared blankly at Hearst and stammered in an uncertain voice, which only came from her lips after a long period of deep thought. “Hearst…”

Hearst thumped his chest with a resolute face, not waiting for her to continue speaking.

“The whole Hearst Family and Flatiron County will respond to your recruitment, Your Grace!” Count Hearst exclaimed with a solemn expression.

“We will fight for you.”

In silence, Saroma stared at the second count who spoke up.

She only came to her senses after a few seconds.

“Thank you, Count Hearst.” Saroma took a deep breath, lowered her head gently, and blinked occasionally. “I will keep this in my heart.”

Hearst did not say a word. He bowed deeply with a determined expression.

At the side, Count Cotterson let out a faint cough.

“What you said was very reasonable, My Lady. Dragon Clouds City’s honor and victory can only be safeguarded and won by our own hands.”

Count Cotterson glared at Ian in disdain. “We do not welcome outsiders.”

He scoffed lightly. “Prepare the location and supplies, clown. We are coming.”

Ian blinked and revealed a resigned, embarrassed expression.

Cotterson turned his head around and stared at Saroma expressionlessly.

“Phalen Castle will abide by your commands and ride into battle.” Count Cotterson’s voice was flat, yet it was devoid of any hesitation. “We will fight for you, My Lady.”

After calming herself down, Saroma smiled and nodded gently. “Count Cotterson.”

Cotterson raised his eyebrows and simply responded to the archduchess by nodding in return. He looked suspiciously disrespectful towards her.

But nobody cared about etiquette at that moment anymore.

Thales watched Saroma from a distance, and he exhaled.

“Hmph,” Count Lyner interrupted. His words were as unpleasant and piercing to the ears as before. “You know, My Lady, it is not necessary to create such a grand and tragic atmosphere. It feels like we are about to hold a funeral for you in the next second.”

Ian burst out laughing, completely unable to read the atmosphere.

“It will be the same for Wild Woodland. The Lyner Family will battle for you.” Count Lyner’s eyes flashed as he glared at the tactless heir of the City of Faraway Prayers. With that, he coldly said, “That is all.”

Saroma smiled. “Thank you, Count Lyner.”

Lyner nodded faintly.

After the four counts, the vassals all turned their attention to the last and also most important two people.

“As always, the Lisban Family stands by the Walton Family.” Regent Lisban was as gentle and polite as before. “Where your eyes look, that is where we will go.”

Saroma revealed her usual dependant expression. “Ciel…”

At this moment…

“Hahahahaha,” Opposite Lisban, Count Nazaire laughed in an exaggerated manner, not bothering to hide his mirth. He proceeded to slap his chair. “So this is how it is.”

The archduchess and the count watched him in bewilderment and anxiousness, but Nazaire’s laughter softened very quickly.

The old count looked at Saroma quietly. Acknowledgement surfaced for the first time in his eyes.

“Beautifully done, My Lady.” Nazaire nodded slowly and looked at Ian with a profound look in his eyes. “Not bad, Young Roknee of the City of Faraway Prayers.”

Saroma was a little stunned. “Huh?”

Ian sat back into his seat, completely unbothered. His expression was still as annoyingly contemptuous as before.

The keen Thales sighed. ‘This old man…’

Nazaire sighed. “As for you, My Lady…”

Saroma was somewhat astounded. She hurriedly replied with slight nervousness, “Count Nazaire, I—”

Nazaire raised his hand and cut her off.

“That’s enough, My Lady. You have indeed exceeded my expectations.” The old count sighed while he looked at his old colleague. “Has she not, Ciel?

“I believe you did not expect this as well.”

Lisban simply cast a cold glance at his old acquaintance.

“Hmph, old man full of nonsense.” The regent revealed an indifferent look that was not seen on a normal basis. “Just shut up and send your troops.”

Nazaire opened his mouth wide and laughed again.

“Hahaha.” The old count spread his arms and looked at the archduchess. His expression was filled with a myriad of great emotions. “In that case, the Nazaire Family of Rubble Hill and Laughter Court County will also respond to your beckoning. We will follow your flag and journey to the West.”

He smiled as he said, “I, Holt Nazaire, am willing to go into battle for you. Dragon Clouds City will never walk alone.”

Upon hearing this sentence, the archduchess put away the last of her nervousness into the bottom of her heart.

“Thank you, Count Nazaire.”

“Be careful, Saroma.” Nazaire’s smile faded away and he sighed before he said, “The road before you is filled with traps. We, Dragon Clouds City, are your best weapons and your final source of dependence.

Saroma stared blankly at the old count and pursed her lips. It seemed like she had understood something.

“Thank you for your reminder, Count Nazaire.”

Nazaire stared at Saroma intently.

“But I will still pay close attention to your marriage.” The old count’s lips twitched. “Do not take me as a good person so quickly, My Lady.”

However, what caused Thales to shudder with fear was when nobody was paying attention to them, Count Nazaire actually glanced at him. But Thales did not know if it was intentional or not. It caused the prince to feel an uneasiness in his heart.

Along with the successive declarations of the six counts, the rest of the seventeen vassals quickly gave their consequent responses as well.

Their expressions changed gradually from doubtful to resolute. Amid the whispering in each other’s ears, their opinions slowly unified.

Finally, all the vassals looked up precisely at the same moment. They thumped their chests one after another.

“The Banner Family will respond to your call and march forth towards the Alliance of Freedom, My Lady!”

“The Hudson Family of the Sunset Snow River will fight for Dragon Clouds City!”

The declaration of the six counts was like an initial tide that brought forth surges of waves, which followed one after another. The vassals on both sides of the hall declared one by one that they would respond to the recruitment and go into battle against the Alliance of Freedom.

“The Stile Family will start mobilizing immediately!”

“One thousand soldiers from the Dylan Family will be on standby!”

“The Hudson Family of Spear City will vow eternal loyalty!”

Saroma sat back in her seat. An undisguisable flush surfaced on her petite face after all the nervousness and agitation she went through.

Thales watched her silently. The weight in his heart was put down, and a rarely seen smile appeared on his face.

‘Very good, Saroma.’

The successive rise and fall of voices rang in the hall. Thales and Ian exchanged glances, both breathing a sigh of relief.

“All right, Dragon Clouds City will send troops to the City of Faraway Prayers,” Thales said with his voice lowered. “With such reinforcements, you can end the war against the Alliance of Freedom in no time.”

“And at least before the end of the war, before the results of our battle with the king is decided, your little girlfriend will not have to worry about being forced into marriage, or be ousted from her seat halfway.” Ian patted his chest. There was a ‘traumatized’ expression on his face. “How about that, my plan wasn’t all that bad, was it?”

“I have to say, you’re a good actor.” Thales unfurled his fist, and fingernail marks could now be found on his palm. “You horrid proposer.”

‘You invoked Dragon Clouds City’s greatest fear since the passing of King Nuven and the archduchess’ succession to the title of suzerain. You are the hand that reached in from the outside, into Dragon Clouds City. It forced them to stand together.’

“Thank you for your praise.” Ian laughed smugly.

‘Yes. It’s actually not that complicated.’

Thales sighed. This was just like the lesson they had with the Old Crow a few weeks ago—the one about things turning out in contrast to their expectations.

When Eckstedt went down south in a large scale during the Bloody Year, they caused the tottering Constellation to go all out in battle. Amid suspicion and bloodshed, they rebuilt their Royal Family and allowed their country to continue its existence.

Thales looked at the vassals in the hall and silently said in his heart, ‘One of the ways to make a broken organization assemble its powers is the intense stimulation of an external origin.’

“But then, since I didn’t intend to be the bad person, I didn’t expect to score a wife.” The viscount grinned. Immediately after, his face turned into that of sympathy. It seemed to imply something different. He patted Thales on the shoulder. “As for you, tsk, tsk. Such a pitiful man.”

Thales’ complexion stiffened.

Regent Lisban’s voice rang again, “If that is the case, we will discuss with the City of Faraway Prayers regarding the details of our army’s deployment…”

The prince let out an unnatural cough. Before Ian said anything strange again, he switched the subject, “You know, I thought of an interesting point earlier.”

Ian raised his brows.

Thales sighed. “In case the vassals remain stubborn until the end and refuse to send troops, perhaps you would gain a fiancée from Dragon Clouds City?”

The prince’s gaze was somewhat somber. “Wouldn’t you be even happier then?”

In that instant, it seemed as if someone snapped a bow string between the two youths.

The atmosphere between them became tense.

The viscount remained silent for a second before he revealed his usual smiling expression.

“Haha.” Although Ian was laughing, his gaze was slowly being focused on Thales. “Then you must have misunderstood my sincerity.”

Thales narrowed his eyes. “That’s good then.”

Ian clicked his tongue.

“But, I’m also very curious. If the plan doesn’t succeed and the conflict between the archduchess and vassals cannot be remedied, what will you do? Elope with her?” Ian asked casually.

This time, it was Thales’ turn to raise his eyebrows.

“Well, about that…” The prince shrugged. “You know, a Camian friend told me a long time ago that even if it’s a business deal that you already have in your bag, you still have to leave a contingency plan behind.”

Thales let out a breath. ‘I’ll have to say that Eckstedt, or rather the politics of Dragon Clouds City, is really straightforward.”

‘At least… Northlanders will ultimately be Northlanders.’

Thales cast a glance at the seats of the six counts. All of them had presented their bargaining chips and attitudes towards the matter on the table. It allowed things to be much simpler.

At this moment, the side door of the Hall of Heroes was suddenly opened.

A noble dressed in the attire of those from the City of Faraway Prayers walked in with an anxious face.

Quite a number of the vassals, who were quietly listening to Regent Lisban’s arrangements, noticed this.

The noble walked towards the seats where the diplomat group of the City of Faraway Prayers sat in. He brought out a scrolled letter and handed it to the knight who sat in the first position for the diplomat group—the Raven of Death, Nate Monty.

Monty immediately attracted the attention of many people. He tore the letter open and his expression greatly changed soon after.

“Hey.” Thales frowned and nudged Ian. “What’s going on?”

“That’s a messenger in charge of conveying military intelligence.” With a grave expression, Ian also watched the events on the other side unfold. “Judging from his look, there have been changes to the war.”

Thales was stunned. “The Alliance of Freedom?”

Ian nodded uneasily. “Who else?”

In the hall, more and more people noticed the newcomer.

The next second, Monty, whose complexion had changed swiftly, stood up all of a sudden!

This caused everyone who was discussing the dispatchment of troops in the hall to pause their discussion.

“Sorry for the interruption.”

The Raven of Death appeared a little crude as he waved his hands at the surprised Regent Lisban. He then looked at Ian with a grave expression and strode forward immediately.

On the stage, Nicholas’ pupils contracted as he observed his old friend’s actions.

‘Monty was a scout. He executes the most dangerous tasks during wartime. There aren’t many things that can make him lose his composure like this…’

Amid the puzzled gazes, including those from the archduchess and the vassals, Monty took huge strides towards the perplexed Ian. He handed him the letter and exclaimed chillingly, “You have to read this immediately and provide an explanation to Dragon Clouds City.”

As he said these words, Monty’s biting cold gaze swept over Thales.

Thales quivered. That sensation of being targeted surfaced in his heart again.

The prince smiled awkwardly. He raised both hands and took a step in retreat. ‘Alright, alright, alright. As long as I don’t see it.’

But things were not that simple.

“No.” As Ian read the letter in his hands, he raised his head with a pale complexion. “This…”

Monty nodded his head expressionlessly. His hunter-like gaze never left Thales, as though he wanted to skin him alive.

Ralf felt that something was amiss in the situation. He took a step towards the prince.

All the other vassals in the hall exchanged glances, still puzzled. As for Lisban, he coughed.

Shivering, Ian put down the letter. Only then did Thales notice that he was drenched in cold sweat.

Ian lifted his eyes and stared at the seated archduchess before he turned to Thales, feeling terrified. “You knew?”

His gaze was incredibly complicated. It was a mix of suspicion, anger, and even conflict.

A puzzled Thales lifted his brows. “Knew what?”

Ian took a deep breath and shook his head, as though he was trying to clear his mind.

The heir of the City of Faraway Prayers gritted his teeth. “If you didn’t know… Very well, Monty, I will speak to the archduchess later…”

His shoulder was seized by the Raven of Death!

Ian shuddered and lifted his head to look at Monty in surprise.

“This is not the time for you to be willful, Ian,” Monty’s voice was very grave. There was a stern tone in his words, which did not allow any disagreement. “Dragon Clouds City has already promised to send soldiers. They must know! This isn’t something you can hide from them!”

Ian hesitated. “But…”

Monty did not wait for him. He snatched the letter from Ian’s hands brusquely. “Very well, then I shall do it.”

Before Ian could finish, Monty pushed the stupefied Ian back into his seat. The latter’s struggles were simply not enough to free himself from the knight.

Right from the start to the end, Thales stared at the scene occurring between the two men from to the internal part of the City of Faraway Prayers in shock.

Monty’s gaze still made his heart pound in fear.

‘What is it? Just what is in the letter…’

At that moment, Regent Lisban’s voice traveled into his ears from a distance.

“Lord Monty, we have heard of your reputation for a long time, but this is the Hall of Heroes in Heroic Spirit Palace.” The regent attracted everyone’s attention and asked flatly, “What is it that we need to know?”

Monty cast Thales a glance again before he turned around swiftly and faced the hall.

The brunet knight lifted the letter in his hand and coldly said, “Well, emergency military information from the City of Faraway Prayers has just came into our hands.”

Count Nazaire’s gaze was focused. “Military information?”

Monty nodded and took huge strides forward.

Thales noticed that Ian had clenched his fists tightly together, and he was constantly shifting his gaze between Thales and the archduchess.

“Several days ago, we found a third army in the deserts to the south of the City of Faraway Prayers.” The Raven of Death’s expression was terrifying, and it was as if the Day Before the Bitter Cold Winter had arrived on his face. “They are an army of four thousand to five thousand light cavalries. There may be more of them, and we are certain that they are our enemies. They’ve come for the Alliance of Freedom.”

The hall instantly fell silent.

Thales frowned as well. ‘For the Alliance of Freedom?

‘Wait, Camus and White Mountain supported the Alliance of Freedom twenty years ago, which means…’

But the suzerains who were familiar with the military situation in the country, quickly caught on to the important parts of the news.

“Cavaliers in the desert? Five thousand?”

Count Karkogel’s face was filled with shock. He struck his seat with his remaining right arm. “How can this be?”

Monty snorted coldly. “That is not all. All of them are elites. Their charge is highly skilled, and they’ve gone back and forth like the wind. They are lurking between the City of Faraway Prayers and Fort Liberté, glaring at both cities with hostility.”

Almost all the vassals frowned.

The archduchess stared at her regent with a dazed look.

“It’s impossible for the desert bandits, Barren Bone Tribe, and orcs to have such cavaliers. They have also not come from Camus, the direction isn’t right. The Golden Passage does not?have such power…” Lisban, who was well-versed in geography, stared at Monty with a grave expression. “Just where did those cavaliers come from?”

The Raven of Death sighed. He gritted his teeth, and his expression became ferocious.

“This is what I wanted to tell you.” Monty lifted the letter and hissed. “They should have come from the southeast. They came after going through a part of the desert.”

Thales frowned and swiftly recalled the geography of the continent. ‘To the westernmost direction of the City of Faraway Prayers is the Alliance of Freedom, and to the easternmost is the Great Desert. If the cavaliers who appeared in the desert came from the southeast… Wait, southeast?

‘Moved through a part of the desert? Then wouldn’t it be…’

Before he could straighten his thoughts, the fierce-looking Monty shouted in anger, “The flags the cavaliers bear have a white border and blue background… It’s a silver flag with double cross-shaped stars.”

In that moment, Thales could clearly feel his heart tremble.

The hall fell silent for a moment.

The next second, even the usually level-headed Regent Lisban could not maintain his image. He shuddered and cried out in surprise in Monty’s direction, “What?”

For a time, all the people in the hall—be it the archduchess, the vassals, the envoys from the City of Faraway Prayers, or the guards of Heroic Spirit Palace—instinctively turned their gazes to him!

They turned to the one guest in the hall who did not fit in.

Monty’s next words sounded as if they came from the horizon and only echoed faintly in Thales’ ears, “That is correct. Everything has become clear. The support behind the Alliance of Freedom as well as the instigator of Eckstedt’s betrayal…”

“…is Constellation,” the Raven of Death spoke flatly.

At that very instant, in the face of countless shocked, puzzled, and hostile gazes… the dumbstruck, stunned, and frozen Prince of Constellation could only hear his heart… tremble furiously.