Chapter 346: Silver Shadow
Translator:?EndlessFantasy Translation??Editor:?EndlessFantasy Translation
Thales clenched his jaw tightly as he trembled a little.
He raised his head swiftly!
Yet, that strange man on the rock wall disappeared again.
Thales’ breathing grew rapid.
He could not be bothered with those spirits anymore. Thales frantically extended his hand towards the edge of the collapsed area. He wanted to grab hold of a spot, which would allow him to climb down to look for Kurtz.
But it seemed as if the Black Track wanted to deliberately make a fool out of him. A splitting sound was heard from above his head again.
A rock fell down. Instinctively, Thales threw himself to the side. The rock smashed against the spot where he was originally, and its fragments flew in all directions.
Countless crushed stones continued to fall around the area beside him and above him. The teenager could only hold his head tightly. He curled himself into a ball as he rolled left and right to avoid the stones, which he sensed using the Sin of Hell’s River. He avoided the larger stones with every ounce of his strength.
Eventually, Thales felt everything around him quiet down.
The prince put down his arms while he gasped and lay down on his back. He endured the numbness and discomfort in his eyes.
When he recalled the seamstress’ final look of despair, Thales could not help but clench his fists tightly. He then smashed them into the ground fiercely.
At this moment, Thales suddenly felt a chill above his head.
Just as he expected, the prince saw to his horror an innumerable number of those figures appearing around him again.
They were on the wall before him, the protruding rocks behind him, the ground by his left foot, the edge of the cliff above his head…
Their withered faces, white eyeballs, rotting lips and teeth.
‘It’s them again.’
Countless strange faces slowly emerged from the rock walls, as though they were surfacing from water. It seemed like they were not beings with corporeal forms.
There were several hundred people spread over nearly every inch of all visible rock walls. Every one of them was glaring at Thales from all directions with their stark white eyeballs.
“You don’t belong there…”
“Join us… as one… Return to the battlefield…”
Thales felt a chill run through his scalp. He moved his butt one step forward, distancing himself slightly from a “person” that was about to touch him.
More and more sounds traveled into his ears. Thales instinctively clutched his head as it had started to hurt again.
“Victory… Why… didn’t it arrive…
“All your elders, wives and children are behind. For Northland… they stay guarded here…
“Remember, we did not kill. We’re the army. On the battlefield, the army is the one killing. So, we’re not killers. The Empire was the one who killed. It’s the Empire’s responsibility. We just followed orders. We’re innocent, innocent…
“Go forth… Go forth… until death…
“There is no way. We don’t have enough food… Search for food in the village. Remember to be polite, buy the food…
“No. If anyone dares to resist offering up their food, then he’s the enemy… Let’s eat the warhorses first. Start from the diseased ones. Be swift when you swing your blade… drag the prisoners here, it perfectly justified for us to eat our enemies’ flesh raw… We don’t have any prisoners of war anymore? Go to the village. It’s alright. We’ll just choose the scum who are rotten to the core. We’re doing a good deed…
“Follow Eass. We will finish this job… As long as we get rid of Duke Arunde, Northland will be ours… The Dark Night Army’s survival will be determined today!
“Flee… The emperor has lost… We have no hope now. Flee! Flee to the desert, flee to West Billow Province, flee to Dragon Kiss Province…
“I want to crawl back. Crawl back… My daughter, my wife… they’re waiting for me… No, I cannot scare them. I have to find my head first…”
Suddenly, the prince felt something. Trembling, he raised his head.
‘It’s that man.’
That “thing” at the top of the rock wall was still staring at Thales with those terrifying white pupils. The man opened his mouth wide open to reveal his rust-colored teeth.
At that moment, he hovered mid-air. He “drifted” slowly towards Thales while black fog surrounded him.
“You… are ours…”
With every ounce of his strength, Thales chased away the chill and fear in him. He clenched his fists tightly.
When he recalled Kurtz’s expression as she fell down, rage and resentment instantly surged into his body.
“Who are you?!”
He gave no reaction, but simply drifted over quietly.
“Who exactly are—” Thales asked through gritted teeth, but his words died in his mouth.
The man came nearer and nearer. While countless faces watched them, he came face to face with Thales.
Thales understood something.
He took a few sharp breaths and overcame his trembling and goosebumps. He then spoke stiffly in the ancient language of the Empire, which Gilbert taught him before.
“Who are you?”
Thales saw that ‘he’ had paused slightly.
The revolving black fog slowly left his body.
“What do… all of you… want?”
The most special one among all those ‘apparitions’ looked up slowly while he remained levitating in the air. He shook his head violently.
Thales saw the colors on his body brighten a little.
The man’s expression changed. He moved the stiff muscles by his lips and opened his trembling mouth before he emitted a terrifying laughter.
But in the next moment, he opened his mouth ferociously to reveal sharp teeth!
A mournful screech instantly rang in Thales’ ears!
He covered his ears subconsciously and shrank back in agony.
In the wake of the apparition’s shrill screeching, the hundreds of faces in Thales’ surrounding began to grow agitated. They opened their rotting mouths and howled in response!
Immediately after, the innumerable “people” left their positions. While they howled, the rest of their bodies below their heads appeared.
They looked just like hunting beasts.
“Hell’s River. How does Hell’s River look like… Mother, can I see you there…
“I have no regrets dying while I serve the Iron Blood King…
“No, our deaths are definitely not meaningless… This so-called Empire is rotten and corrupt, and that shameless tyrant who sits on the throne… must be overthrown!
“Seek revenge for them!
“Believe me, as long as we kill all the enemies and leave none alive, peace will come… What? New enemies? We’ll continue killing… until the day peace arrives…
“My God. Dragon, that’s a dragon… How can we beat a dragon…
“After the war, I will be promoted to captain. I want to go home and marry Ellie…
“I am… Who am I…
“No, we’re only wielding our weapons for them… I’d rather go up the gallows than harm them…
“I came to serve in the army, to win the war, to finish it… That way, my son and my son’s son won’t have to serve in the army in the future…”
The countless voices were like whispers. Yet, they penetrated like screeching without the slightest hindrance and forced their way into Thales’ ears.
Thales covered his ears tightly. He was in unbearable pain.
The “person” nearest to him only had half a face left. He reached his withered hand out, which resembled a shriveled branch, while he roared angrily. Then, he touched Thales’ left arm.
Thales yelled in agony!
‘It’s like… being soaked in boiling water, then falling into iced water!’
The ice cold and burning sensation shot up his arm the same time the apparition touched it.
The Sin of Hell’s River circulated in him madly. It instinctively strengthened the muscles and bones in his arms, filled up his joints, and accelerated his blood flow.
Thales shouted madly while he swung JC’s dagger in desperation, but…
The arm of that illusory monster phased through Thales’ hand without trouble. A visible light wisp of smoke drifted up.
Thales roared in fury, and the pain remained. As the monster phased through him, the pain in his arm grew.
It was not just that. The hundreds of monstrous faces on the rock wall reached out, climbed on the rock wall and crawled towards him!
They extended their shaking hands towards him.
No, not just their arms, but legs, necks, heads…
Every time he came into contact with them, Thales felt as if he was going through torture. He could only yell in vain, because even the Sin of Hell’s River had no way of helping him.
Under that intense pain, Thales’ consciousness gradually faded away.
‘Seem to have… reached the end.’
With every ounce of his strength, he lifted his dagger, wanting to slice his palm open as a last ditch effort.
Thales suddenly felt pain in his ear.
His ears rang all of a sudden, and the sound was unbearably piercing to the ears!
It nearly drowned out the pain in the other parts of his body!
Thales twitched continuously under the irritation of the tinnitus. He felt as if his control over his own body was quickly leaving him.
A burst of sharp, silver light also arrived with the ringing of his ears.
It lit up the pitch-black cave and illuminated the narrow corner.
It was as if they had met their born enemies. The moment the hundreds and thousands of “people” saw the silver light, they collectively covered their white eyes in pain.
They let go of Thales, who was struggling in desperation, and retreated towards the back!
The silver light grew increasingly nearer.
The ringing in his ears also grew stronger and stronger.
“Their” miserable howling rose once more.
But this time, Thales could sense fear, disgust and hatred in their emotions.
“No, so painful…
“It’s him, and his powers…
“Sooner or later, he’s also going to be ours…
They released Thales in a mad rush in front of the silver light and retreated back into the pitch-black rock wall.
The silver light was so piercing that Thales could not open his eyes.
The ringing in his ears did not reduce, but Thales had slowly begun to get used to it.
As those monsters left, Thales heaved a sigh of relief. The pain in his body was being alleviated.
Very quickly, the rustling, airy murmurs stopped resounding in Thales’ ears. It was as though the window facing the city center had been closed.
The bottom of the dark pit was devoid of monsters at last. Only the pitch-black rock strata and Thales remained.
The teenager sat up arduously, and he desperately blocked that burst of piercing, silver light, which came shooting at him. The ringing in his ears was now not so piercing, and as he endured it, he first looked at his own body.
To his surprise, he realized that although the memory of that pain was still etched deep into his bones, no wounds were actually left on him by the monsters. The only injuries he had were those physical bruises sustained while he was fleeing for his life.
‘So, those things were indeed…’
At this moment…
The silver light weakened.
The ringing in his ears also vanished.
‘Wait a minute.’
A shudder ran through Thales’ whole body!
That strange tinnitus earlier… felt inexplicably familiar.
‘Yes, this tinnitus…’
He had experienced it before.
Twice. Once in Constellation, another time in Northland.
Once at the Bloodline Ceremony.
Once at the Holy Duel.
The prince realized something. Slowly, he turned his head around.
That dazzling, silver light was two steps away from him, and at the center was a human figure. The outline of the figure appeared as the silver light faded away.
It was a man formed by silver light.
The other party looked at him in silence.
Thales stared blankly at the human in the silver light and made the following conclusion: He was a warrior.
The outline of the man’s body was made up by the glittering silver light, making it seem as if the silver light was acting as an ornament on him. Only his facial features were hidden by the darkness.
The silver light formed the light armor on his body and it even portrayed the sturdy muscles and slender stature exposed between his armor.
Even then, what left the deepest impression on Thales was the heroic, awe-inspiring magnificence and charm this man made of silver light exuded when he stood before him.
He was like a character from legendary folklores.
But the other party remained a transparent silver light. Thales could even see the rock strata behind through his body.
Thales looked at him in puzzlement. ‘So, who exactly is…’
The next second, the human figure began to move his feet and spoke slowly.
His voice was chilly, and his words were crisp as well as firm.
“So you’re the main culprit.”
What traveled into his ear was a somewhat outdated form of the common language, and it was spoken in a Northlandic accent.
Thales blinked. “What?”
The human figure in the silver light shook his head and took a step forward.
“You don’t belong here.”
Thales watched as he slowly drew closer. He tensed up instantaneously.
“I, uh, indeed, don’t belong here. I’m sorry.” Thales scrambled to his feet. He exercised his wrist and felt the aches the Sin of Hell’s River brought upon him. “And who might you be, sir?”
Silver Shadowman’s footsteps paused slightly.
“Who am I?”
His heroic face slanted to the side, and his pitch-black pupils changed slightly.
He appeared to be thinking.
But Thales could only sense a deep confusion from Silver Shadowman’s words.
Silver Shadowman was seen shaking his head. “I don’t know.
“I cannot recall.”
Thales was stunned for a moment.
Silver Shadowman raised his head. His tone was resolute, “But I have to stand guard here…
“And you, you’ve come to the wrong place.”
His pitch-black pupils seemed to possess a force that was able to see through a human’s mind. It caused Thales’ heart to tense.
Silver Shadowman walked up to stand in front of Thales. Suddenly, he extended a muscular right arm, which was formed by silver light to touch Thales’ face!
Thales jumped in surprise while he shouted in pain. Silver Shadowman’s touch made it seem as if he had a corporeal form. Wherever the silver light reached, it caused Thales’ skin a sudden piercing pain!
Thales gritted his teeth and took two steps backwards to distance himself from the other party’s arm, then he gripped his dagger as he watched the man warily.
His ears began to ring again.
“You’re slightly different…” Silver Shadowman appeared to be even more puzzled. “Your body is full of ominous aura. Even the Mountain’s forces are rejecting you…
Thales widened his eyes, indicating that he could not understand the current situation.
The tall and muscular Silver Shadowman shook his head violently.
It was as if he wanted to shake off something,
When he raised his head again, his emotions had turned cold. His tone when he spoke was solemn.
“No,” Silver Shadowman said firmly. His face slowly twisted in the silver light, as though he was convincing himself of something. “You’re merely one of their new tricks…
“A byproduct of their muddled consciousness.
“Another side of evil!”
Instantly after, the silver light grew bright!
Silver Shadowman immediately turned into Silver Lightman. He appeared by Thales’ side in the blink of an eye and grabbed his neck in a tight grip!
‘Wait a minute…
‘What is this—’
However, Thales’ thoughts were quickly interrupted.
Thales felt a great weight pushing him down, and it came from that arm. He was unable to move his entire body!
The tinnitus and pain traveled into Thales’ nerves in a flash. Its severity was even more extreme than before, causing him to shriek.
Unlike the formless monsters, Silver Lightman’s arm seemed to be semi-corporeal. When he grasped Thales’ neck, it actually left the latter with the impression that he was about to suffocate.
Silver Lightman’s hesitant voice seeped through the ringing in Thales’ ears. “I have the responsibility. I have to guard…
“I, destroy threats…”
The other party raised his left arm. The silver light on his arm grew even brighter and pierced straight into Thales’ chest, sinking into it!
In that instant, Thales jolted. He felt a chill erupt from his heart!
It caused a prickling pain to travel through his entire body!
Even the Sin of Hell’s River seemed to be suppressed. It had absolutely no reaction at all!
The tinnitus, prickling pain and chill were like three types of torture, which were tormenting him at the same time!
“Arghhhhhh!” Thales shut his eyes in desperation. His face was twisted as he howled a hundred times more painfully than before.
Suddenly, Silver Lightman stopped whatever he was doing with his hands.
He extracted his left arm from Thales’ chest.
Silver Lightman’s pitch-black eyes approached him slowly. “This is…”
The suppressed Thales stopped shouting. He was drenched in cold sweat as he panted continuously. He looked as if he was about to pass out.
The light on Silver Lightman diminished. He became Silver Shadowman again as he held up the limp Thales.
‘He… What exactly does he want to do?!
‘Is he a sadist?’
Thales sensed the pain and the ringing in his ears fading away. Yet, he felt as if he had just fought in a great war. He was exhausted from head to toe, and his consciousness was fading away.
Silver Shadowman laid him down flat in a gentle manner. His left hand stopped above the left side of Thales’ chest and touched it, causing Thales to feel waves of discomfort amid the prickling pain.
In the next second, Silver Shadowman raised his head. His tone was solemn, “Who are you?”
Thales could not even focus on the most fundamental thoughts. He lay limp on the ground. He could only feel the shrieking of all the cells in his body, discontented with the abuse brought about by their master.
“I.” As he panted, he sneered endlessly. Resentment and annoyance were fused into his words. “I’m just a traveler who lost his way. A poor lamb who went down the wrong direction and met with a pervert…”
At this moment, the silver light from Silver Shadowman grew bright again!
The prickling pain and tinnitus assaulted Thales once more. It made Thales, who was allowed a moment of relief earlier, to?shudder again.
“I f*cking hate brats the most.
“So, son of a b*tch, I’m going to ask you again,” Silver Shadowman said coldly.
Silver Shadowman pressed into Thales’ chest firmly. He pushed down with force, and silver light seeped into Thales’ body again!
“Who the f*ck are you?!”
“Aaarghhhh—” The tinnitus, prickling pain, heavy pressure, suffocation, cold… As the pain from these sensations tormented him, Thales very decisively gave up on displaying a stubborn resistance. He roared in extreme shock and fear.
“I’m Thales Jadestar!”
He shouted loudly towards the sky, pouring all the grievances and displeasure he had accumulated on that day into his words. “A certain unlucky prince from an unlucky kingdom, aaarghhhhh!”
Thales’ voice traveled very far. Even the echoes were deafening.
The prince gasped while he was covered from head to toe in cold sweat. To his surprise, he realized that the hand of the silver sadist had left his chest.
The silver light, which had been causing him discomfort, vanished from the other party’s body.
Silver Shadowman stood up slowly.
He stared at the gasping prince and he seemed to be pondering over his name.
“A familiar family name.’
He turned around, stepped away from Thales and left him gaping at his back.
In pain, Thales struggled to sit up with a blurry mind. Then, he noticed that the man’s armor was formed by silver light. The decorations on it were boorish, and its ornaments simple.
‘This style… It’s just like…’
Silver Shadowman lifted his head slowly. For the first time ever, there was a strange emotion in his frosty tone, “Even if my memories of the past have already faded like ashes blown in the wind…
“It has managed to ring a bell in my consciousness and evoke ripples in my thoughts…
With reverence and doubt, Thales, whose entire body was in pain, supported himself using the rock wall and stood up. He did not want to have any relations with the sadist.
Silver Shadowman suddenly turned around. His facial features contorted again. He looked stern.
“So, young Jadestar…
“You shouldn’t have come here.
“Even more so, you shouldn’t have woken them up as well as this cruel, tyrannical curse.”