Chapter 342: Which Will You Choose?
Translator:?EndlessFantasy Translation??Editor:?EndlessFantasy Translation
The facts proved that Gleeward was indeed the leader of Shield District. Regardless of whether it was day or night, regardless of how inconvenient it was for him to move around, and regardless of how Shield District had been reduced to a maze-like wreck with barely any inhabitants in it, the veteran was still able to correctly locate the alleys and find the way out after many twists and turns in the “maze”.
Under the moonlight, Thales silently lowered his head and followed him, pretending to be the one pushing Chief Gleeward’s wheelchair. He watched Gleeward move through the alleys and streets, over the walls and fences. He even made gestures and signs to different people at each corner effortlessly, as though he was in his backyard.
Thales kicked a pebble by his feet, then pat away the dust on himself. He lamented slightly in his heart. It had been some time since he felt this sort of feeling.
The miserable state Shield District had been reduced to made him remember the days where he begged to survive in the smelly drains and alleys of Eternal Star City.
When they reached a single-storey house made of mottled stone, Gleeward coughed and knocked four times on the door—two fast knocks, two slow knocks.
With surprise and bewilderment, Thales heard messy rattles coming from within the house.
It was as if someone had fallen from her bed.
The sounds of footsteps appeared from behind the door, and it was followed by a woman’s irritated voice.
“For the Bright Moon Goddess’ sake!
“If you want to buy some goods, can’t you come tomorrow morning…”
Gleeward opened his mouth and gloomily said, “Kurtz, it’s me.”
The voice behind the door stopped.
As the wooden door opened, a sleepy face appeared before them.
It was a woman of about thirty, and she had messy, long hair. She looked at Gleeward from above. She was dressed too little for the weather, her eyes were unfocused, and the curve of her breasts could be vaguely seen.
She looked as if she had just woken up as she stared at the two people before her door in confusion.
Thales politely withdrew his gaze from her uncovered breasts. He forced down his curiosity of her identity and looked at Gleeward.
Gleeward snorted coldly. “Kurtz, tell me that you haven’t been drinking… or else I’ll have to f*ck you up.”
He cast a glance at the house. “And you’d best not have another girl in there ‘measuring’ your sizes.”
“Who’s going to f*ck who now? You? You spineless cripple?” The woman at the door rubbed her eyes. “Being popular with the women isn’t my fault. Besides, I’m one of Shield District’s few… Wait.”
After recognizing the person before her eyes, the woman’s expression changed.
Her hand behind the door swung down to her side, and it was followed by the loud noise of metal falling on the ground.
“I had a bad feeling when you came over so late, cripple, just like the first time we met.” The woman named Kurtz put on a dejected face, but her gaze turned to Gleeward’s bandaged injury, and she suddenly frowned.
“You were targeted again?”
Gleeward’s face darkened, and he nodded.
“It was those dumba**es from the market in Sword District again.”
The veteran pointed at his injury, then said disdainfully, “This time, they brought the real deal.”
Kurtz leaned against the door frame, then swiped her face using her palm as if to wipe away her sleepiness.
“I get it. I’ll help you stitch your wound.” She sighed, then looked at her surroundings warily. There was annoyance on her face. “Dragon Clouds City is already in a mess, and they still have the time to bother you? What the f*ck?”
Thales curiously watched the foul-mouthed but sexy woman as he pondered about the relationship she had with Gleeward.
“And you, cripple, I’ve told you a hundred times. The present is no longer as safe as the past.” Kurtz raised her head. There was a resigned look on her face as she tried to convince him to change his ways. “Don’t go out at night alone, at least bring—”
“Hey.” Gleeward interrupted her, and his gaze became stern.
“I’ve already settled it. I gave them a small lesson.”
Kurtz looked at Gleeward’s expression, then her own expression froze on her face.
She tested him by asking, “Your small lesson?”
Gleeward did not reply.
Thales thought of the massacre he witnessed earlier, and he directed his gaze to a spot no one could see. He blinked, not knowing how else to react to the situation.
‘A small lesson.’
Kurtz seemed to understand what Gleeward meant and immediately narrowed her eyes. “I got it.
“Then, it means war.
“And we won’t stop until one side dies, huh?”
Her face became grave as she lowered her head and thought carefully. “I’ll look for Faron now. Although the city is now under curfew, I think we can still find a hundred fighters before daylight, and an additional fifty of them after dawn breaks… We can ambush them—”
A thought appeared in Thales’ heart. ‘What?’
This woman was also… a ruffian?
Gleeward coughed and interrupted her. “Before that, I have other matters to settle.”
“They will not expect us to strike back this quickly. The patrols are still busy…” Kurtz continued to mutter about matters regarding the gang fight, but when she heard what Gleeward said, she raised her eyes. “Other matters?”
Kurtz then noticed the teenager behind Gleeward.
She subconsciously tightened the thin layer of cloth over her breasts, and when she saw the emblem of the Nine-Pointed Stars on Thales’ shoulder, she frowned in puzzlement. “Wait, who is this kid? A noble?”
“Come and greet Kurtz, Thales.” Gleeward turned his head around and looked at Thales before he languidly extended his hand towards Kurtz. “The most unfortunate seamstress-cum-doctor in Northland.”
The veteran pointed at an ugly scar on his arm and laughed coldly. “Her specialty? Stitches.”
Thales smiled awkwardly at Kurtz. “Hey, how do you do?”
The seamstress-cum-doctor was filled with doubt. “Good?”
Gleeward turned around and laughed coldly, as though he was mocking himself. “Stop guessing. He is that prince.”
Kurtz did not manage to register his words and asked with uncertainty, “Which prince?”
“Well, who else?”
The man on the wheelchair opened his mouth, “Wherever he goes…
“There, misfortunate lies…
“The Prince of Constellation.”
Thales coughed softly, pretending that he did not hear what Gleeward said.
In the next moment, just as he expected, the prince saw the puzzled look on Kurtz’s face turn into shock, and she froze on the spot.
Thales sat on a chair in the house, biting into a whole wheat bread, which was probably left from last season. It tasted very bad. During that period of time, he observed the simple and worn-down house.
There was a wooden shelf filled with many bolts of fabric. Cheap, feminine incense were strewn haphazardly all over the shelf too. Many types of clothes hung from the ceiling, and there were also various articles of clothing as well as undergarments on the floor, the table, and the bed.
Needles, scissors, measuring tapes, and bundles of thread were seen everywhere. There was also a mirror on the wall with three cracks, and a saw at the corner of a wall.
Placed behind the door was a scary-looking military sword, and Thales finally knew what made the metallic clang when the woman put her arm down behind the door just now.
Thales lifted a wooden bowl, drank a mouthful of weird-tasting water from it, and looked at Kurtz.
The woman’s identity was very clear. ‘A seamstress.’
Thales sighed in his heart. ‘But… a doctor as well?
‘What does she do, sew with one hand, stitch people up with the other?
‘Saving people, measuring cloth.’ He looked at the scary-looking military sword behind the door. ‘Perhaps she even has a part-time job in helping out with the gang fights?’
The prince cast a glance at the clothes around him, of which he did not dare compliment because they were simply too horrid for compliments. ‘And why does a seamstress need a saw?’
Thales criticized in his heart once his mind led him to the worst possible thought. ‘No wonder she’s so poor.’
On the other side of the house, Kurtz sat on a wooden bed with a broken leg once she had finished dressing up. It was supported by bricks. She was arguing softly with Gleeward, who was sitting in front of her, but their conversation did not escape Thales’ ears.
“Are you mad?”
Kurtz swept away a woman’s long dress above her head; it was made of sackcloth. She then looked anxiously at the calm Gleeward.
“It’s not just West-Express Avenue… They’ve practically set up checkposts at the city gates, the top of the city, the city walls, the gatehouses between the districts, all the way up to the forked paths, which serve as crucial points in the city. The patrol squad has taken their rewards, and they are working overtime non-stop, never relaxing their guard.”
“It’s said that even places as far as the port of Sunset Snow River are not excluded.”
Gleeward narrowed his eye. “Is that so?”
Kurtz exhaled, then subconsciously darted a look at Thales, who was still eating.
“For the past ten years, other than tax collection, Shield District and Hammer District have been overlooked. Even if there was a murder case, it would not alarm those officers.” The seamstress toyed with her fingers, then told Gleeward of the advantages and disadvantages of the situation.
“But today, the patrols and even the White Blade Guards knocked on our doors. Forget areas like?Spear District and Bow District where they have close connections with the rich and the nobility, there were even several families in Hammer District’s Madman Street who had their houses searched. Even dancers’ undergarments were checked. This entire shtick lasted until ten at night, and I heard they’ll continue tomorrow.”
Kurtz struck her palm fiercely and brought up one of her legs in an extremely uncouth manner. That leg held up one of her breasts, which was about to spill out from her shirt, and she?let her other leg swing freely under the bed.
She gritted her teeth, and the gentleness of a lady was completely absent from her. “This is a grave matter, Gleeward. It will definitely be a serious issue, and it’ll be comparable to the one six years ago when…”
Gleeward put on a mocking smile.
Thales took a bite of the bread, and without knowing why, he thought of Jines, the female officer whom he met a long time ago.
In comparison, the seamstress before him was obviously much more uncouth, but she had the same straightforward and unpretentious mannerisms as Jines.
Since Gleeward came to her with him without any hesitation even when Thales’ identity would cause trouble…
On the other side, Kurtz exhaled with a pained expression. “During the day, you heard how the Star Killer threatened us. But, he didn’t threaten just us.”
She stretched out her fingers in all apparent seriousness, and with a theatrical voice, she tried to convince Gleeward how serious the matter was, “Almost every head of each district or person with a reputation in Spear, Sword, and Bow District were told by the soldiers that whoever gets involved in this matter will become the enemy of Dragon Clouds City.”
Gleeward laughed coldly and said, “That pack of dogs can even represent Dragon Clouds City now?”
“No, you don’t understand. The disciplinary hall even had a few disciplinary officers spread the word that…” Kurtz cleared her throat and looked to the side. She saw that Thales was still eating and drinking without paying any attention to them.
She then lowered her voice and said, “They mentioned that whoever has news about the prince or his whereabouts could receive the friendship of the disciplinary hall and patrol squad, the kind that allows you to kill people on the streets, and they’ll turn a blind eye to it. Plus, if you help them look for the prince, you could even get three thousand gold coins.”
Kurtz gritted her teeth. Her face was twisted, and as her hand shivered, she showed Gleeward three fingers.
At that moment, Gleeward, whose countenance remained the same since just now, finally changed his expression. The one eye he was left with was wide open, and it was bigger than a dove’s egg!
A light crease appeared between Thales’ eyebrows.
Gleeward lifted his head swiftly. “Three-Three thousand?”
The seamstress smacked her lips, then signaled in Thales’ direction. Her sparkling eyes shone with a hint of greed, though it was involuntary. There was also an enchanting look in her eyes as she tried to tempt Gleeward into changing his mind.
“Why don’t you think about it?”
After a second, Gleeward tried his best to shut his mouth, which was hanging wide open. He coughed unnaturally.
“Hmph,” the veteran said in a stern manner,
“Do I look like a greedy person? Like those scoundrels who would be tempted by a few gold coins?”
Kurtz’s smile fell. She looked at him with a complicated expression.
Gleeward felt a little embarrassed under the woman’s gaze. He turned away before he seriously said, “We’re going to bring him out, and that’s that.”
When he heard this, Thales bit his bottom lip with his upper teeth. His heart was filled with strange emotions.
Kurtz exhaled, and her face alternated between expressions of pity as well as hesitation.
Both of them were silent for a while. Thales took the opportunity to force the last piece of bread down his throat.
“They will soon come to suspect this place.”
The seamstress sat on her bed, then crossed her arms over her chest in worry. “Although it’s not easy to search through Shield District, sooner or later, they will still come… This place is a wreckage, and it’s a complete mess. Is there any other better hiding place than this?”
Gleeward lifted his head. There was conflict in his eyes. “That is why we have to bring him out as soon as possible.”
Kurtz sighed when she heard this. “This is a deal that is going to cost us all of Shield District and Hammer District. You best have a good reason for this.”
Gleeward remained quiet for a few seconds.
“I want to bring him out.”
He said indifferently, “That’s the only reason.”
Kurtz was momentarily stunned.
The woman had a grim look on her face as she stared at Gleeward silently.
Gleeward pursed his lips while he sat on his wheelchair.
“My God.” After a while, Kurtz covered her face with a pained expression and lay on her bed. “Someday, you’ll be the reason I’m dragged to the gallows, cripple.”
“Yes, it’s a job where you will risk hanging.” Gleeward snorted coldly. “Will you take it?”
Kurtz pulled her blanket over her body, shuddered in an exaggerated manner, and released weak sobs.
Thales lifted his head without batting an eyelid and observed the exit in the house.
After three seconds…
“Forget it.” Kurtz threw her blanket off, then sat up with great difficulty. She stretched out her fingers in a resentful manner, and while they trembled, she pointed at Gleeward. “I’m telling you, cripple…
The poor seamstress’ face was filled with distress, as though she had reached the end of her life.
“I’ve actually fallen in love with the gallows!”
“Just get yourself out of those hideous clothes and change into whatever you can find here.” Kurtz stared disdainfully at Thales,?specifically at the combination of his dust covered face and his extravagant clothes. “It’s telling everyone that you are that damn prince.”
Thales shrugged and ignored the woman’s spiteful comments. He avoided the very unique female summer dresses, and in a smooth, natural motion, grabbed a set of shabby and ugly clothes made from sackcloth.
He removed his belt, which had intricate patterns and replaced it with the simplest and cheapest sash. He kicked off his salamander-leather boots, and wore a shirt made of sackcloth, something which he had not touched for a long period of time. Then he took a pair of scissors and gave himself a messy haircut.
That was not all. Thales even wrapped the dagger’s sheath, which had the words “A King does not gain respect by virtue of his bloodline” carved into it tightly in cheap, black cloth. No one could tell what it really looked like now. He also folded the map of Renaissance Palace flat before he tucked it in the folds of his clothes with black cloth, preparing to use his very bad sewing skills to fix them tightly to his shirt.
As for the Blood Fangs Bracelet given to him by the Night Queen, he wore it on his wrist, making it seem like an accessory made out of beast fangs.
Finally, Thales finished his disguise based on how he looked like during the days he was a child beggar.
He went to stand in front of the mirror, and he saw an unfamiliar person in it.
Thales nodded, satisfied. He felt that he looked just like a normal person in the city.
“How is this? Will it do?”
However, when Thales turned around and looked at the pensive Gleeward and Kurtz…
“Hey.” Gleeward sighed in his wheelchair, and spoke with his hand on his forehead.
“Is there any way to make his disguise better?”
Thales was dumbfounded.
“Of course.” Kurtz looked at Thales, and her sharp face was filled with distress. “I have a way to guarantee that even his mother won’t be able to recognize him.”
Gleeward’s eyes brightened.
Kurtz pointed at the military sword behind the door, and her next sentence caused the veteran’s eyes to darken.
“Take this and cut up his face.”
Thales opened his mouth. “Huh?”
Under Thales’ shocked gaze, Kurtz sighed while she shook her head. She crossed her arms over her chest and examined Thales. “His skin is too soft and too fair. You can tell with just one glance that he’s a noble who lives a comfortable life. Plus, he isn’t as tall as a typical Northlander either. No matter what he wears, others will recognize him.”
The woman shook her head in agony. “Getting him out of the city is just…”
The three of them sighed at the same time.
“The dung cart.” Gleeward frowned and said something that took Thales completely by surprise. “Call the ‘Sh*t Man’, Angus to come here. We can hide him in the dung that we send out of the city on a daily basis. Then he’ll be able to get out with it.”
‘In what, exactly?’
Thales’ eyebrows twitched. “Wait, are you saying…”
Gleeward did not even acknowledge him. “Find a reed or a wooden tube to let him breathe…”
But fortunately, Kurtz’s next sentence, spoken in a dejected manner, made him relax slightly.
“Nah, Angus was sent to prison today.”
Gleeward’s face tensed, but he immediately clenched his teeth and said, “Then find ‘Fast Whip’ Faron. They still need to deliver the waste.
“We have to stuff him inside!”
Thales looked horrified again.
But Kurtz shook her head once more.
“Do you know how ‘Sh*t Man’ was sent to prison?”
The seamstress spread her hands. “When Angus was driving the cart out of the city for the sixth time today, the patrol squad at the gates pinched their noses and stabbed the barrels one after another to check them. They found that he hid ten packets of Crystal Drops in the dung.”
Gleeward spent a few seconds digesting what this meant.
“Why did they…”
He first widened his eyes in shock, then immediately slapped his thigh indignantly. “F*ck.”
Kurtz scratched her one of her breasts, unconcerned. She shook her head. “Getting out of the city by hiding in the dung cart? No way.”
“What a pity.” Thales pretended to sigh in regret, but he secretly patted his chest in relief.
Kurtz seemingly saw through his thoughts. She looked at him askance, then snorted disdainfully.
Thales laughed coyly as he lifted his hands and changed the subject by saying, “Is there no other way?”
The man in the wheelchair and the seamstress fell silent. They did not make a sound.
After a few seconds, Gleeward’s face turned pale, then even paler before a red flush appeared on his cheeks.
Finally, Gleeward hammered the table with his fist!
“There is no other way,” the veteran said decidedly. “Just take the Black Track.”
Thales was puzzled. ‘The Black Track?’
Kurtz widened her eyes.
The seamstress shook her head firmly. “No, half of that thrice accursed hole has collapsed… Do you remember the last time? We almost died in there for three hundred gold coins—”
“That’s the only way.” Gleeward’s gaze was steadfast, and he interrupted the other party. “There is no other way.”
Kurtz looked at him solemnly.
After a while, her gaze softened, and she turned around.
“I understand. I’ll go and get someone.”
However, when Kurtz was halfway through her turn, she turned her head back with a frown.
“There’s another problem. From today onwards, the patrol squad has arranged for a new outpost in Shield District.”
Gleeward began to look stern. “Where?”
A troubled look appeared on Kurtz’s face. “It’s not far from the Black Track, we can’t avoid it. I heard that it was the place where King Nuven died. Those nobles think that there’s a need to keep a stricter lookout over the place.”
Thales saw it clearly: Gleeward’s face swiftly changed.
“Those motherf*ckers. How dare those sons of b*tches still touch Shield District after accepting the bribes…”
Kurtz shrugged, then scratched her neck. “‘White Pig’ Pike’s in charge of that tower. I gave him six copper coins, and he told me the truth. The disciplinary hall doesn’t want to come here either. No one wants to destroy the chemistry we’ve formed, but it was an order from the Star Killer, Nicholas.”
Gleeward was astounded. “Who?”
Kurtz laughed distastefully, and a look of helplessness appeared on her face. “You rejected him in the face of so many in broad daylight, and you even called him the ‘Star F*cker’, remember? If it weren’t for him owing you a favor, that madman would have taken you to prison a long time ago.
“I guess… this is retribution for your foul mouth?”
Gleeward slapped his thigh angrily.
“That motherf*cking Star F*cker! That disgusting dead face, shameless lapdog! Serves him right to never be able to rise in the ranks of nobility no matter how many b*lls he licks!”
Kurtz crossed her arms, pushing up the mountains on her chest. Then she comfortably placed her elbows on her ribs before she cast a glance at Gleeward as if she was looking at a child.
Thales frowned while he listened to them badmouth one of the famous Five War Generals, the leader of the personal guards of Dragon Clouds City, Lord Nicholas. He nodded, agreeing with them wholeheartedly.
After a few seconds, Gleeward calmed down, and he muttered, “Can we bribe Pico? I remember that he was born in Shield District.”
Kurtz shook her head and said, “There are tens of them under Pico. It’s three thousand gold coins, you know? I dare guarantee you that they know the prince’s face better than their wives’ faces. Not everyone dreams of being hanged like me.”
She then put on a disdainful look again and looked at Gleeward askance. “And not everyone regards money as ‘sh*t’ like you do…”
“Sh*t, right.” Gleeward suddenly lifted his head, “How about we pass by that place using the dung cart?”
Thales became nervous again.
“Can’t you have something else other than crap in your head?”
Kurtz stared at Gleeward in derision, sparing the still apprehensive prince from a fate of being hidden in dung and urine.
“Driving a dung cart to a place where no one lives to collect crap? Will you believe in that?”
Gleeward lowered his head again and sighed deeply.
“Just what sort of method can we use to sneak past the area and get close to the Black Track?”
Thales became gloomy.
‘No way. If this isn’t going to work…’
Gleeward slammed his hand on the table.
The man on the wheelchair scratched his chin. “You just mentioned… that this brat’s skin is too fair and he’s too short, or something like that…”
Kurtz was taken aback. “Huh?”
A puzzled look appeared on Thales’ face too.
The next moment, Gleeward’s eyes brightened. He looked up, extended his arm and patted Kurtz instinctively.
The bewildered Kurtz looked at the ceiling in the direction of Gleeward’s stare. She was stunned.
The perplexed Thales slowly raised his head and looked above him as well, in the direction of their gazes.
Thales’ heart shuddered, and his face turned pale!
A feeling that something bad was going to happen instantly rose in his heart.
He forced a smile on his face with everything he had and stared at the two Northlanders. His face twitched. “Mr. Gleeward, Ms. Kurtz, what… exactly are the both of you thinking of?”
Immediately after, Gleeward and Kurtz lowered their heads together and turned to Thales.
Bizarre smiles appeared on the man and woman’s face simultaneously.
“Will it work?” that was Gleeward, all while smiling coldly.
“We’ll find out,” this was Kurtz, looking very pleased.
The atmosphere in the house changed.
Thales’ heart beat faster.
Shock and terror flashed across his mind. For the first time, he began to regret running from Heroic Spirit Palace.
The seamstress extended her arm and pulled off the thing above her head. She proceeded to pick up a pair of scissors, and with a snip, she snapped the pair of scissors shut before she smiled sinisterly. “My dear, honorable, beautiful prince, the dung cart or this… Which will you choose?”
‘This is… No way…’
Thales blinked in the face of the two brightly-smiling people, as though he could not believe what he just saw.
He fixed his stare on Kurtz’s hand, and he could feel his entire body shaking.
The Sin of Hell’s River, which only appeared when he was in a life and death situation surged madly into his limbs.
It seemed like time had stopped.
Thales stared at the article of clothing in Kurtz’s hand with a dazed expression.
Laying in the seamstress’ hand… was a long… frilly women’s dress.