Chapter 320: Releasing in “Installments”
Translator:?EndlessFantasy Translation??Editor:?EndlessFantasy Translation
After a brief silence, the Hall of Heroes instantly went into an uproar!
“Does this mean…”
“But that boy clearly…”
No matter how they felt, it could not compare to Thales Jadestar’s feelings at the moment.
At that point, the prince was almost unable to get a hold of himself. The Sin of Hell’s River surged in his body without him even asking for it to do so.
For him, the whole world just seemed to stop at this moment.
Only his thoughts continued to spin fast.
‘The hidden supporters of the Alliance of Freedom?’
With the help of the mysterious Power of Eradication, the cold and sweaty Thales tried his best to control his breathing, and only then was he barely able to keep himself from losing his composure.
There were countless questions in his heart.
“Which also means…”
At the front of the hall, the golden-bearded Count Hearst frowned and looked at Monty with anger. “Those cowards from the Alliance of Freedom…
“The reason they had the courage to tear up the agreement was because the Citizens of the Empire have their back?”
The Raven of Death shrugged and his voice was gloomy, “Obviously.”
The indignant discussions in the hall arose once again, and it reached a new height this time.
“What the hell?”
“F*ck them, Citizens of the Empire!”
“Are they crazy?”
“Their only heir is still…”
“Is it a full-scale war?”
“What’s our next move? Should we still go to the City of Faraway Prayers?”
In a daze, Thales inhaled deeply.
‘Constellation, the Alliance of Freedom, Eckstedt…’
Whether it was the little bit of information he obtained while he was under the close surveillance of Heroic Spirit Palace, the news that Putray brought to him, or the verbal messages from Dragon Clouds City, none of them provided him with any clues to the answer.
He did not receive any hints.
Just as the Dragon’s Blood six years ago.
This was, literally, an unforeseen circumstance to him.
“How interesting.” Count Lyner, who had always shown an indifferent expression, did not conceal his foul mood this time. He saw Ian’s contorted face while he stared at Thales.
“He sent his son to Dragon Clouds City right before everyone’s eyes, but still worked tirelessly at the back by manipulating various events?”
Lyner sneered maliciously. “As expected of the heir of the Empire.”
“And we… we thought we were holding the most secure chips, thinking that Constellatiates would keep to themselves. But in the end, we were played like fools, just like we were in the previous war.
“Right, young prince?”
The atmosphere in the hall became graver with each passing moment.
Thales had a stiff expression and he struggled to lift up his head to face the horrified and enraged reactions in the hall. Lisban had a doubtful look, Nicholas gritted his teeth, while Nazaire appeared to be deep in thought. When he compared their expressions to Monty’s, even Monty’s unnerving hunter-like gaze seemed much gentler…
And there was also the incredibly incredulous and perplexed gaze from the archduchess.
“Hey, you, the one with Jadestar attached to his name!”
Count Cotterson suddenly stood up and looked at the stiff prince in the corner resentfully.
“What do you even f*cking know about the Alliance of Freedom and your mad father’s army?
“Did you plan this ahead?”
Thales furled his fist.
More beads of sweat formed on his forehead.
‘I don’t know anything.
But the prince gritted his teeth before those words tumbled out of his mouth.
‘This is not the time to panic. This is not the time to cry out for my innocence.
‘It’s just as I thought, an accident did happen.
‘And what I have to do is deal with it and minimize losses.
‘Stay calm, Thales.
“Hey!” Cotterson shouted, feeling enraged. “Are you dumb?”
His voice represented the anger of the Northlanders, and it echoed throughout the hall.
The prince lifted his head up swiftly, but he only saw a panicked and helpless look in Saroma’s eyes.
The archduchess looked at Thales instinctively, then looked at the similarly grave-looking Lisban. She appeared completely bewildered.
“Look at that fearless, reassured look on his face. Perhaps Dragon Clouds City has been too good to him.”
Count Lyner tightened his fist and terrifying cracking sounds came from his knuckles as he whispered, “Maybe, we should return to our Northlandic traditions.
“Why don’t we be a little rougher with him?”
Thales did not answer.
The Northlanders’ gazes on the Prince of Constellation were becoming more and more fierce, including those of the Archduchess’ Guards by his side. In that atmosphere, Ralf, who was equally shocked, unconsciously pressed his arm.
Under everyone’s gazes, the second prince could only try his best to keep calm and focus on at least forming some basic thoughts. He did not even have time to bother about Ian, who was also sweating profusely and constantly pulling on Thales’ sleeves.
‘If that’s the case, then something’s wrong.
‘The Alliance of Freedom’s revolt, the City of Faraway Prayers’ conundrum in regards to this war, Dragon Clouds City’s power struggle, a chance for Black Sand Region to breathe…
‘They’ve all come from, come from…
‘These are all different targets, different motives, and different actions, but they converge in the same place…
‘Where is the link connecting all of these things, where are the clues leading to the truth, and where is the key to this matter?’
In the face of the prince’s silence, Count Cotterson seemed to become increasingly impatient, and he took a step forward!
Cotterson displayed an unprecedented fierce expression and gestured to Thales with his bottom teeth. He ground his teeth, and said, “Good, then we will tear him apart while he’s still alive until he speaks.”
This sentence seemingly lit a fuse in the hall’s atmosphere, where the people were already on the verge of drawing their weapons.
With the same anger that caused them to gnash their teeth, many of Dragon Clouds City’s vassals stood up and let out loud shouts of approval. Their resounding voices resembled a tidal wave.
“That’s the consequence for making a fool out of us!”
“Show him the Northlander way!”
Nicholas wanted to maintain order, but there was nothing he could do.
Ralf stood nervously behind Thales and faced the Northlanders’ rage. He seemed ready to throw everything he had in a desperate fight.
“What should we do now?” He gestured.
But as the protagonist of this matter, Thales did not move.
He appeared to have put away all emotions in him and held back all reactions. He sat as stiff as a stone statue, ignoring their curses and resentment, which sounded like a flood at this point.
“Citizen of the Empire who’s raised by a b*tch!
“Nail him to the city gate!
“Let the Constellatiates have a taste of the scaffold! Those hypocritical cowards!”
The noises were still ongoing.
They were like a never-ending torrent, striking at a coral reef repeatedly. They were ruthless, callous, shocking, and terrifying.
Thales, who was at the center of the waves, remained silent. He did not say a thing.
It was as if the world had nothing to do with him.
The disorderly hall was filled with anger and hatred.
It lasted until a piercing voice belonging to a girl cut through the jumbled-up curses and vile words like a rainbow cutting through dark clouds. The way it was spoken sounded as if she had lost control of her emotions…
Her voice resounded throughout the Hall of Heroes in an awe-inspiring manner.
All of them were surprised, and subconsciously turned towards the highest seat.
Over there, the young archduchess had left her seat at some point of time.
She clenched her fists and brought them to her side. She clenched her teeth, and her face was contorted.
At this moment, Saroma Walton was like a desperate lioness who served as the guardian of her pride. She roared in a rather hysterical manner, “This is the Hall of Heroes!
“All of you, shut your f*cking mouth!
The archduchess’ voice traveled through the pillars.
The vassals’ curses instantly subsided.
The hall returned to silence.
The only sound remaining was the young girl’s pants and gasps. She trembled as she stood before the highest seat.
All the people stared at the archduchess, whose emotions had run slightly out of control. They watched her while she tightened her fists. Her eyes were red as she glanced at the whole audience.
It seemed like they were getting to know their female suzerain again.
“Tsk, tsk, tsk.” Monty, the Raven of Death watched Saroma with considerable interest while the girl opened and closed her mouth as she panted. She seemed to be unable to recover her breathing and recollect her emotions even after a long while. He then whispered with a myriad of powerful emotions, “Truly, she is just like a Walton.”
Thales’ mouth hung open slightly as he watched the girl, who still could not calm down. He had mixed feelings in his heart.
“What the f*ck is this?” Ian whispered behind Thales, exasperated. “You said Constellation would not interfere with the matter regarding the Alliance of Freedom—”
“Didn’t you hear the Archduchess?” However, this time, Thales shook his head coldly. “Shut up.”
Finally, a steady cough broke the silence.
“Go back to your seat, Cotterson. Same for the rest of you.”
The regent’s stern voice rang.
“Being temperamental and bullying the weak are acts of cowards as well as weaklings. Northlanders are not that despicable yet.” Count Lisban stood in front of Cotterson and said, “We will decide how to deal with this after consulting with the Lady.
“It is useless to punish him for what has already happened.
“Until then, Prince Thales is still our guest.”
The regent’s words made Cotterson frown.
“He is right,” the old Count Nazaire agreed coldly. “It is just military information, and look at how flustered all of you have become because of it. If only King Nuven were still here…”
The words of the two powerful vassals calmed the restlessness and anger in the hall.
The vassals sat back in their places, but their subtle or blatant gazes towards Thales did not reduce in number.
Thales closed his eyes, but his mind was working even faster with every passing moment.
“My Lady,” Lisban turned around and said gently.
Saroma exhaled and recomposed herself. With an unpleasant expression, she sat down with the support of Nicholas’ arms.
She cast Thales a sideways glance, and the emotion in her eyes was indistinguishable.
After he made sure the hall was in order again, Count Lisban turned to the Raven of Death.
“Is the City of Faraway Prayers certain that the third army is the army of Constellation?”
The regent firmly asked, “Is there any possibility of other people disguising themselves as Constellatiates? Camus, for instance?
“You are aware of what I used to do, yes?” Monty scratched the back of his head and gestured to Nicholas with his head. “What do you think is the possibility of us making a mistake in identifying our target?”
“Five thousand light cavalries. They cannot be our local nobles. It can only be…” Count Lyner looked at Monty with a scrutinizing and skeptical glance. “Have you fought against them?”
Monty shook his head.
“During the past few days, the group of Constellatiates did not even get close to Fort Liberté. They just watched from afar and sent out rangers for scouting purposes.” The Raven of Death looked at the letter in his hand and said with a click of his tongue, “Their distance from Blade Fangs Camp to Fort Liberté—God knows how they’re going to obtain replenishments in the desert.”
Once they heard this, all the nobles were stunned.
“Wandering, hovering about, patrolling, avoiding the war, and then striking at a critical moment,” said Count Nazaire. The old man rubbed his chin. His gaze shifted. “Does this tactic sound familiar?
“Like that time, eighteen years ago?”
There was another silence in the hall, and many people bowed their heads.
Count Cotterson sighed and closed his eyes. “F*ck.”
Thales was struck by a thought.
“Are Sonia Sasere and her guards still at Broken Dragon Fortress? Where did they even get those five thousand?cavalries—even if they are light cavalries? Then, to just send them all into the desert in one go?” The youngest Count Hearst frowned. He then instinctively turned his head in search for that one figure.
“With such a large-scale mobilization, it is impossible to have no news in advance. What about the Secret Room? Madam Calshan, your—”
Hearst realized that he had said something wrong, and he closed his mouth in time.
A few seconds later, Monty snorted. “You should ask the King when it comes to matters regarding the fortress or the Secret Room. Black Sand Region knows about them the most.”
The group of vassals in the hall became quiet again.
The throne was no longer in Heroic Spirit Palace, not in Dragon Clouds City.
The Secret Room, which only served Eckstedt, would naturally not be there as well.
This was the Dragon Clouds City after King Nuven’s death.
It was no longer the same as it was in the past.
“This is not important anymore.”
The regent looked solemnly at the pale archduchess. “What is important is that if Constellation is involved, then our campaign to the west…”
The discussions between the vassals reemerged in the hall.
Count Lyner sneered coldly. “Imagine the moment we attack the city, and there’s a whole five thousand people south of the desert, watching us in a relaxed manner, waiting to attack us at any moment. Plus, the fact that all of Constellation may be supporting them…
“Twenty years ago, even if we had three archdukes joining together, the war dragged on for nearly a year because of the White Elves and Camus’ interference.” He narrowed his eyes as he remembered that year. “Let us take a guess at how long Constellation can hold us back. Two years? Three years?[email protected]@@@[email protected]@@@@=======
“The King will most certainly be very happy if he sees this.”
The City of Faraway Prayers’ diplomat group looked at each other. Their expressions were unpleasant.
The atmosphere in the hall was becoming more and more depressing.
Thales ignored the unpleasant gazes that were cast on him from time to time and quickly rearranged the information he knew.
Things should not be that simple, and they should not be that complicated.
He just needed to update the situation on the board. He originally thought that this was between Eckstedt and the Alliance of Freedom, including the storm inside Eckstedt.
He had to add Constellation into the mix.
So, what was Constellation’s greatest benefit in this storm?
“And we are still looking at this from an optimistic view,” Count Cotterson started to count with his fingers, seemingly mumbling to himself. “If we look at this from a pessimistic view… if we are truly facing a Constellation that has brought forth their full strength after the Bloody Year…
“A slightly worse situation would be if we consider the White Elves who lost in the previous war, and the four northern Camian cities who will only take their sides after observing the situation…
“And we, we only have Dragon Clouds City and the City of Faraway Prayers…”
Count Nazaire watched as Cotterson counted the cards they had in their hands, and sighed deeply. He then said some words, which made many Northlanders feel indignant.
“When was the last time… Eckstedt was defeated in a war?”
No one uttered a word.
The one-armed Count Karkogel punched the armrest, bringing up a dull noise.
His ghastly pale face already expressed his mood at that moment.
All the vassals clenched their fists.
“The situation has become complicated,” Count Lisban said plainly without changing his expression.
The two old friends and also old rivals agreed with each other, a sight rarely seen.
Thales was still thinking fast.
One assumption came to him.
“We need to readjust the mobilization of our troops, including the quality of the recruits,” the old count said in a somber voice. “Our enemies are the Alliance of Freedom and Constellation, and the difference in their strength is very big.
“You mean, retreat?” Lisban’s words came forth steadily.
“I did not say that. After all, the Lady has already made a promise, and this is a matter of Dragon Clouds City and the Waltons’ honor,” Count Nazaire said sternly. “But, if we are going to go out and fight, we cannot deal with it in a careless manner as we did in the past.
“After all, the opponent we are facing has been our archenemy for almost seven hundred years.
“Western Peninsula’s Shield, the Empire’s descendent.”
The Raven of Death shook his head and sighed.
Ian Roknee, the heir to the City of Faraway Prayers, looked at Thales and then at Saroma who was on the stage.
Saroma looked dazed as she sat on the archduchess’ seat.
At that instant…
Count Lyner looked up and attracted the whole hall’s attention.
“The problem is actually very simple.” This count, who had an icy expression and spoke as if there were knives contained in his words, looked at Thales again this time. With profound intent, he said, “We do not need to send troops or hesitate.”
Thales furrowed his eyebrows.
‘Here it comes.’
The part that he was worried about the most after the entire incident happened.
“Constellation has come with an army to throw a wrench in this situation.
“And we have their heir.”
Count Lyner coldly said, “Prince Thales Jadestar, right?
“A name that has never appeared on the Jadestar genealogy.”
That instant, Thales felt the gazes from his surrounding getting colder.
Count Hearst was startled. “You mean…”
Count Lyner continued coldly, “Chop one of his hands and send it to Eternal Star City.
“Tell his crazy nut of a father to retreat immediately.
At that moment, the archduchess turned her head swiftly and looked at Thales incredulously.
But Thales still remained still.
So, the archduchess looked at her regent anxiously, but Count Lisban just shook his head slightly, hinting that she should remain calm.
The Northlanders calmed down and peered at Thales with increasingly strange looks.
Among them, Monty, the Raven of Death, gave him a bizarre smile.
But that gaze was still like that of a hunter staring at his prey.
In the end, Count Hearst could not help but say, “This is not in line with Northlandic practices. The era of the Iron Blood King’s ignorance has been over for three thousand years!”
Count Lyner shook his head. “This is his role. We should thank the gods. After wasting six years worth of food, this hostage has finally come in handy.”
Thales’ nerves tensed.
“Wait, we are talking about the Iron Hand King who executed three hundred nobles overnight. It is said that the madman watched the whole process, and he never averted his gaze.” Count Cotterson snorted disrespectfully. “If he is as heartless as he is said to be in the rumors, he will not retreat…”
“Enough, all of you.” Count Hearst snorted impatiently. “Release him to force Constellation into retreating, or simply kill him and show our mettle? Either is fine? Are we going to torture children to vent our anger just because we are displeased with Constellation? What the hell is going on here?”
Count Lyner grunted coldly.
“We are not venting our anger. Besides, we are releasing him.” A cold glare appeared in his eyes. “But we are just doing so in installments.”
Count Hearst furrowed his eyebrows.
“If a letter is not convincing enough, then two, three, four…
“Besides his hands, he still has his arms, legs, feet, eyes, nose and ears…” Count Lyner’s bleak words echoed in Thales’ ears. “In every letter we write, we will release a part of the prince. Naturally, we will do so in ‘installments’.
“Until King Kessel makes his army retreat.
“Or he can put an end to his bloodline with his own hands.”
Thales shut his eyes after he heard this.