Chapter 338: The Point of Contact
Translator:?EndlessFantasy Translation??Editor:?EndlessFantasy Translation
Thales shivered and coughed with sweat all over his face while gulping down his hard-earned fresh air as though he was a traveler in the desert, and the air was the precious water on the sand-filled terrain.
But Gleeward did not let him go, his grip was still so tight that it was difficult for Thales to break free.
“Really, I will pay you double the amount of what they offered, whether it is a thousand or two thousand gold coins.” The fog in Thales’ mind slowly cleared. As he panted, sweat continued to break out on his skin. He could breathe again, but he had no strength. “The Jadestar Royal Family is very rich, Constellation is loaded as well… For instance, the Secret Intelligence Department has estates in Dragon Clouds City worth millions…”
Gleeward raised his eyebrows. “Very good… Wait.” In the next second, the man’s face darkened. “You mean to ask from the King of Constellation?”
“Secret Intelligence Department… The Secret Intelligence Department should be enough.” Thales blinked hard after he had just cleared the stars from his line of vision. “They will definitely give—”
In the next moment, there was another heavy weight on his neck. His windpipe was blocked again.
“Shut up, you really think that I’m a fool?” Gleeward’s exasperated voice rose into the air. “Listen, I only take money!”
Thales gulped in a breath of air with great difficulty.
‘F*ck… you bastard… Do I look like I have cash with me?!’
“If you… hand me over…” Thales tried his best to seize his opportunity. “The City of Faraway Prayers… will fight against the Alliance of Freedom, and Constellation—”
Gleeeward interrupted him impatiently, “Shut up, I don’t know politics!”
Thales, who was seeing stars in front of him, felt himself rendered speechless from feeling depressed.
‘What kind person IS he?!’
“Forget it, I’d better look for that dead-face, it’s much safer,” Gleeward muttered. He increased the force of his grip, trying to knock Thales out by cutting off his air supply.
Alarm bells rang in Thales’ head. He tried hard to think while fighting for air against his enemy, and shouting these words in desperation,
Once he said those words, Gleeward’s arms relaxed.
“What?” he asked with a frown.
Thales seized the opportunity to take in a few breaths, then hastened to clear his mind.
‘Yes. Shield District.’
“I heard… your conversation just now,” said the prince in pain while he secretly pulled the back of his head away from Gleeward’s chest.
Earlier, Gleeward was not affected by whatever humiliation and insults he suffered. And yet, only when the enemy began using Shield District, his brothers, and friends to threaten him…
“This… this is Shield District, right?”
Thales was gasping, his words gradually began to flow smoothly. “And you are probably the leader here. Look at your surroundings, it’s now in ruins… a thousand or two thousand gold coins won’t be enough to rebuild it. You need more, and not just money…”
Gleeward remained silent for quite a while, but in the end, he sneered coldly and shook his head.
“Shut up, I’m quite content with what I have. I have no interest in bringing trouble to my doorstep.”
When he saw that Gleeward was going to strangle him again, Thales quickly said,
“And I heard it! Those who died in Shield District six years ago were your brothers, right?”
Once these words were said, Thales felt Gleeward shudder behind him.
“During those six years, their surviving family members would need compensation, they need to live, and you should be distressed by this, right? I guess Dragon Clouds City did not have any reserves to compensate for the losses Shield District suffered…”
While Thales babbled on in an incredibly smooth manner, he wracked his brain over a way to free himself.
Gleeward released a guttural sound of displeasure and great annoyance. “Shut up!”
This time, there was a hint of irritation in the veteran’s voice. But then he was immediately stunned. “Com… pensation, what is that? Can it really make it up for the losses Shield District suffered?”
A thought appeared in Thales’ head, he felt as if he had found a way out of this situation.
“That’s not important.” The prince took in a deep breath, ground his teeth, and said, “What’s important is that as the chief of this district,?you bear a lot of responsibilities. You can’t bear to see Shield District, your brothers, and the territory be in poverty while having to face threats day in and day out.”
Gleeward’s breathing slowly grew faster. His voice turned extremely cold. “Shut up. Don’t make indiscreet remarks at other people’s houses.”
However, Thales did not take note of his tone. After all, he had already suffered enough mental torment from the incident tonight. “But now, I, the rich prince of a nation could lend you a hand. You have a chance to save this neglected Shield District and rebuild it, instead of extorting an exorbitant sum from the Star Killer. As long as you—”
“Shut up!” he said through gritted teeth.
Thales greedily sucked in his next breath, thinking of how to stall for time. He dug out of his mind all the information related to Shield District and all the places this wheelchair-bound warrior cared about.
“Six years ago, when the calamity struck Shield District, I saw… They were so innocent, but they went through such a disaster…”
Gleeward did not speak, but he began to shake.
Thales felt that this method might work, so he could not help but speak faster, “You are not like those cold-blooded and selfish people, Gleeward. The opportunity has presented itself. You can’t abandon Shield District just because it is troublesome. You can’t ignore their suffering and make those who died unable to rest peacefully…”
When he heard this, Gleeward’s body shook violently.
“Shut up, little brat.” His voice began to tremble, and there was an anger in it that could not be ignored.
However, Thales only felt the grip the man had over him loosen.
‘I should be getting closer to the man’s weakness.’ When he thought of this, he could not help but feel his spirits lift.
“After the disaster, the people in Shield District suffered a lot. They rely on you, but they cannot continue living like this! You have a responsibility to protect them, help them, and save them.”
Gleeward’s breathing became heavier.
Thales suddenly raised his volume. “Gleeward! You can’t run away! Your inaction won’t just cause the people who died be unable to rest in peace, but for the living who suffer, what you are doing is no different from personally murdering them—”
Once he mentioned the word ‘murder’, Thales immediately felt the arms around him jolt.
His ears shook, because a loud yell he had never heard from Gleeward before came straight to his ears.
“Shut up, shut up, SHUT UP!”
The shocked Thales only felt a buzzing in his ears. Before he could even regain his bearings, Gleeward’s arms tightened again to strangle him!
Thales struggled in agony again, but this time, Gleeward’s strength left no room for him to break free. It was as though he wanted to kill him!
For some unknown reason, Gleeward looked as if he had descended into anger and madness. His voice, too, became more and more terrifying.
“You listen, kid. Who the hell do you think you are? Stop trying to lecture me.” His arms were shuddering, but his grip did not weaken, a clear sign of how well-trained and experienced the man was in the art of killing people. “Stop trying to lecture me on how to protect Shield District.”
Gleeward was agitated, as if he was on the verge of a mental breakdown. “Six years ago, I held the Soul Slayer Pike and stood here, in Shield District. I stood amid pools of blood and countless dead to fight desperately against that damned… against that damned Blood Calamity. I fought…”
Gleeward gasped, but his breathing stopped a few times. “I fought—”
At that moment, Thales felt that this warrior, who could remain strong and lively while facing a group of enemies, seemed to have his teeth chattering… as if he remembered his greatest nightmare.
In the next moment, Gleeward ground his teeth, then roared with the intensity of a volcanic eruption, “When I fought in that life-and-death battle…” Under the moonlight, the old soldier on the wheelchair roared in agony and anger, “You still wore your split pants and sucked on your granny’s tits!”
Thales did not have the time or energy to protect his nearly deaf ears. Everything in front of him began to fade away.
‘Shit. This is… a crazy sadist, right?’
With his eyes half shut, Thales felt the torture of having his lungs completely devoid of air, as well as the desire to breathe and live. His consciousness slowly faded away…
Yet at the same time, a mysterious sensation surged through his entire body. The Sin of Hell’s River activated on its own again, like a restless and violent beast waiting for the moment to rush out of its cage.
At least it helped the already dizzy Thales hold on to his last remaining bit of consciousness. Under this dual-torture, the exhausted prince shuddered. With his last breath, he said,
At that moment…
*Clip-clop, clip-clop, clip-clop…*
The sudden sound of horse hooves and wheels from a carriage suddenly rose in the empty ruins of Shield District. A horse carriage stopped not far away from them.
A lively, light, young voice came, “Chief Gleeward, I’ve already—”
The voice shivered. Gleeward lifted his head and, with a ferocious face, met the gaze of the voice’s owner.
Then, he could not help but slacken the force in his arms, all while he trying his utmost to strangle Thales.
The prince, whose face had become purple, breathed in air once more. He coughed incessantly and swallowed too much saliva in the earlier struggle. The increasingly restless Sin of Hell’s River in him slowly calmed down as well.
In the next moment…
“WAAAAHHH!! So-so-so-so-sorry, Chief, I was wrong! No no no, I meant that I should not, I cannot, I am not… No no no, I mean that I will not say it, I will not tell anyone… No no no, I mean that I didn’t see anything, I know nothing, I just came out for a stroll tonight… No no no, I mean I have not been to Shield District tonight—”
Gleeward shook his head, trying to be regain rational thought. He saw the carriage and its coachman.
There was a young coachman who had his eyes covered while he shouted something in an almost hysterical manner on an uncovered horse carriage carrying goods.
And there was a figure with a hunchback sitting among the goods on the back of the carriage. He was coughing slightly. Gleeward was stunned.
For Kevin, this was an extraordinarily different night for this poor boy from Shield District. He was to ride this broken horse carriage and send Chief Gleeward’s guest to a special and remote area.
Kevin did not know why Chief Gleeward had chosen to meet in this place while being so cautious, but if it was from the chief, then he would still do as he was told.
After all, he was Drew Gleeward, the man in the legends who protected Dragon Clouds City alone with a spear while fighting against the calamities and the Hydra Kilika during the disaster!
Yes, Kevin still remembered that year, he remembered the calamities as well… They were like nightmares, but…
When Kevin arrived at the destination and met his chief, he could not believe what he saw.
‘What was that?’
Of course, what Kevin meant was not the heap of bodies and the blood on the ground. As the manliest of all men in Dragon Clouds City, there would always be storms of blood following Chief Gleeward, the man who could command the weather itself.
‘That’s a teenager. Yes. A handsome but skinny teenager.’
Under the moonlight, that handsome teenager was sitting on the chief’s lap, looking excited but in pain. The teenager had his hands behind his back, and he was shuddering on Chief Gleeward’s knees. He seemed to be… touching and rubbing something?
The teenager was sitting on the chief’s legs and his face was flushed red. He could not close his lips and he was gyrating his hips with a passionate and excited face while rocking up and down.
‘Rocking?’ When Kevin saw this, he felt his heart tense. ‘This can’t be. Where is the usually manly and tough Chief Gleeward?’
Kevin narrowed his eyes, trying to see things in clearer detail.
At that moment, the awe-inspiring chief of Shield District, the chief in his heart, Gleeward, hero of the commoners, was sitting in his wheelchair, and he was…
…hugging the body of the teenager closely from behind him with his rough and powerful left hand—which was missing two fingers. He held the teenager closely to his bosom.
The chief’s right hand was moving towards the lower part of the teenager’s body, placing it somewhere Kevin could not see, and his hand was also shaking slightly along with the teenager’s movements.
‘What?’ Kevin widened his eyes and his jaw had almost reached the floor.
That was not all. Chief Gleeward, who could usually effortlessly perform hard labour, was panting fiercely, right then and there.
His steel-like body was moving along with the teenager to the left, right, up, and down in a suspicious rhythm, and he was also rising and falling with the teenager in synchrony and perfect timing.
And the chief himself had his face contorted. He seemed agitated, and his face was even pressed against the teenager’s ear. He was grinding his teeth and yelling something indistinct… as if he was venting something.
‘Venting?’ Kevin’s heart made a loud thump against his chest. ‘This-this-this…’
Kevin’s face turned paler as he watched the two of them very excitedly exercise on the wheelchair, the bodies of the teenager and the chief sticking together, and forgetting themselves in pain and pleasure.
An elder in Shield District told him about this in the past. Since a long time ago, different kinds of women and girls lived in Shield District, but no matter how beautiful, how virtuous, and how good they were in managing household affairs, the reputable Gleeward never looked at any of them.
That old person sighed and told Kevin that there was a reason for this.
‘Reason?’ Kevin, who had goosebumps all over his skin, felt that he had found the reason behind why the chief was single.
‘In the middle of the night, Chief Gleeward is moving up and down, front and back with a handsome and pretty boy in this empty district… My God!’
The poor young lad did not dare to think any deeper into this matter. With complicated feelings, he instinctively wanted to crack his whip, turn around and leave with the carriage.
But right at that moment, the ferocious-looking Gleeward lifted his head to meet Kevin’s gaze under the moonlight. Kevin was instantly stunned.
‘Shit. I’ve been discovered. The chief’s secret… I will… will be killed, right…?
Kevin’s screams did not only pierce through the skies, but also made Gleeward slowly come back to his senses.
Thales gasped for air with strenuous effort. He?had already given up in communicating with Gleeward. ‘He’s probably a lunatic. There’s no way I can communicate with him.’
“…Chi-chi-chief since I never came to Shield District that means…” Poor Kevin desperately covered his face with his hands and shouted desperately, “No no no, Chief Gleeward, I swear I did not see anything…”
Gleeward frowned. He first cast a glance at the prince he had pinned in his arms, then turned to the carriage in annoyance.
“Kevin!” the Chief of Shield District roared, “Shut up!”
Because of Gleeward’s authoritative voice, which lingered in the air, Kevin’s voice froze as if his words had instantly seized up in his throat.
“How many years has it been?” Another voice from the horse carriage slowly rose into the air and it was filled with endless sentiment. “…Old friend.”
Gleeward shuddered slightly. ‘This voice…’
Thales was also stunned. ‘This… isn’t this…?’
In the dark night, a quivering hand moved a wooden walking stick out of the carriage, and it was followed by a pair of frail, old legs.
“My apologies, I arrived slightly later than the appointed time.” The man with the hunchback walked down from the carriage, and once he saw the mess around him clearly, he subconsciously frowned while covering his nose. “Oh, I see that you’re still engaged in your old business.”
Gleeward looked at the person with a dumbfounded expression. He did not even realize that Thales was no longer struggling in his arms.
“Well, f*ck me.” Gleeward gaped as he stared dazedly at the guest in the carriage. His expression made it seem as if he had just seen his neighbor’s dog lay eggs.
“Motherf*cker. I was thinking which ill-born scum sent me that invitation. It was you?!”
The guest chuckled. “Are you that surprised?”
“Tsk, you’re not dead yet?” Gleeward let out a light snort, he had very mixed feelings at that moment. “…Old Crow.”
When he heard this familiar nickname, Thales struggled to turn his head around and managed to see the person clearly.
He was an old man with a weather worn face and deep-set wrinkles. The scholar from Dragon Kiss Academy who did not have any proof of his qualifications, Gilbert and Putray’s teacher, and at the same time his and Saroma’s teacher.
The Old Crow, Meryl Hicks.
At that very moment, he stood under the moonlight, smiling and nodding at Thales.
‘It’s him.’ During that instant, Thales managed to figure out many things.