Chapter 364: Turning Against One Another
Translator:?EndlessFantasy Translation??Editor:?EndlessFantasy Translation
No one knew what kind of torture the seemingly relaxed Thales was going through at that moment.
When he fell on the ground, the feeling of weakness and pain made him suddenly realize that he forgot Black Sword’s last lesson: The Sin of Hell’s River would always release more energy than what the body could handle.
Even though Thales spent six years’ time observing the Power of Eradication of the Star Killer down to its last detail, he still needed to pay a large price when he imitated the Twist of Fate. Earlier, when he was trying hard to defend against Nicholas, the energy he spent surpassed what he usually did, and the burden his body suffered was also difficult to imagine.
His hands and legs had been broken by the Star Killer. When he lay on the ground, he found that he had used up too much of his energy and he did not have enough to recover his strength. And yet, he was severely injured and needed to be treated.
Pain?was the sensation Thales lost first. His wounds became warm and numb, and it was no longer uncomfortable, but that was obviously not something good.
The young prince discovered something terrible while his mind was in a daze: his body had started to become cold; his hands and his legs started to become stiff; it became harder for him to breathe; he began to lose his consciousness; his vision started to black out; his hearing became less sensitive; and he was getting more tired, more exhausted.
A thought came to the perplexed Thales’ disoriented mind. ‘I’m losing my life.’
But at that moment, Thales did not even have the energy to call for help. It lasted until that familiar but strange energy was activated ‘happily’ in his body, as if it had a mind of its own.
At the moment when he was about to pass out, that mysterious Power of Eradication began spreading rapidly in his body, like weeds growing swiftly after a shower.
Pain suddenly returned to him, causing Thales to jolt awake when he was about to faint. He could not sleep.
Thales clenched his teeth tightly and withstood the strange phenomenon in his body. He tried hard to breathe in a mouthful of dusty, polluted air like a drowning man trying hard to even breathe.
‘Sin of Hell’s River… Yes, this is Sin of Hell’s River’s effects when it heals my body!’
Thales tried his best to remember the moment six years ago. After the Blood Mystic disappeared, Thales had collapsed after using up a large amount of his strength. He convulsed nonstop, just like now, as though he was at the verge of death.
At that moment, it was Black Sword who used the weird fluctuations from the Sin of Hell’s River to heal the prince’s internal injuries, bringing him back from the verge of death.
Thales rubbed his face on the rocky ground, trying hard to recollect the unique sensation of those fluctuations, that fluctuation which hailed from the same source as the one in his body.
In the past six years, Thales performed several tests in secret to investigate the effects of the Sin of Hell’s River, one of them included the power Black Sword had showed—the fluctuations that improved the healing of the body. But each time, the results disappointed Thales.
‘It’s like, of all the power and speed given to me, including the enhanced senses, the healing power of the Sin of Hell’s River is insignificant, temporary, and limited. It’s better for me to recover naturally.’
Thales was nervous. ‘During the countless failed experiments, I never used the Sin of Hell’s River to recover from such serious wounds. A broken wrist, dislocated knees,?cracked humerus, many other bruises, contusions, and muscle tears. But this time, it’s different.’
In a flash, the Sin of Hell’s River gave rise to the familiar sensation and it spread out to every corner of his body fiercely like a tidal wave.
Thales shuddered, this was something he had never seen before. ‘The Sin of Hell’s River is rather… unusually active.
‘No, not just “rather”. Compared to the sluggish feeling from when I enter hell’s senses, or the swift movements that I suddenly gain when I’m fighting while nervous, the Power of Eradication right now is like a flood charging out of a floodgate, and it’s crashing down against my entire body!
‘Like a usually lazy dog suddenly turning into a hungry wolf.’
Thales did not even need to call upon the Sin of Hell’s River to automatically gain hell’s senses. Everything around him appeared in his senses: the wind, the fight, the conversation, the temperature, and even the scorpion that passed by five meters away. Everything appeared even clearer, more precisely, and more detailed than before he was injured. Alas, it was a pity because his sense of pain was also enhanced.
In the next moment, as hell’s senses grew sharper, the intense pain he sensed in his body increased drastically. Thales’ whole body squirmed!
‘Pain! Pain, it’s painful!’
The tormented Thales contorted his face, and he subconsciously gritted his teeth before he moaned loudly.
And as if the pain was not enough to torment him, an unbearable itch and a relentless dizziness rushed from his brain and towards the rest of his body one after another.
That sensation was as if someone took a hammer to hit his bones inch by inch, from the top, to the bottom of his body.
It was also like someone taking a sharp sword to cut open his blood vessels bit by bit, from the innermost to the outermost part of his body. And it also felt as if there were millions of hungry ants marching on him!
‘My god, my god, my god!’
And Thales could not move either. He could only bear with that torture as he shuddered.
‘Black Sword,’ he thought in despair. ‘That guy… how did he endure all this?’
Thales swore with his life that he was willing to pay any price to anyone who was willing to extend a helping hand to him and stop all of this… but no one heard him screaming in his heart.
While he shivered and convulsed, so much that he was practically paralysed, Thales’ senses—which were very sensitive right then—made him passively receive stimuli from everything around him.
Whatever remained of his vitality was stimulated, using up his energy to force the wounds on his whole body to recover at a visible speed.
Even the bones broken by the Star Killer were starting to recover and reconnect under the aggressive force of the Sin of Hell’s River.
Thales did not know how much time had passed, but eventually, Thales no longer felt the pain, the itch, and the dizziness.
What replaced it was fatigue and hunger.
After surviving the disaster, he lay face-flat on the ground and stretched out his no longer aching but shivering left hand. while he panted with the shock that remained in him.
Thales discovered, to his surprise and delight, that both his legs were as good as new. His right kneecap had recovered, his left humerus was no longer in pain, except for when he touched it. It was a little uneven.
As for the teenager’s left hand, although it was a bit stiff—and when he tried to turn it, there was still a rigidity in his movements which cannot be ignored—at least it did not affect his movements anymore. Thales stared dumbfoundedly at his own limbs.
He had recovered; that same unique fluctuation belonging to Black Sword had worked.
‘But…’ Thales was still horrified by the sinister torture from just now. ‘If that was the side effect of the healing, it would be better for me to get injured less. That sensation was too scary.’
The still fearful teenager slowly turned over while on the ground, but he soon became slightly bewildered.
Thales could clearly feel that he was different. To be precise, it was the Sin of Hell’s River that was different.
If the previous Sin of Hell’s River was like thin morning mist that would either actively or passively affect Thales’ body to satisfy his desires, then the current Sin of Hell’s River was like visible snow during autumn, when it was very cold. He did not need to call upon it, it would come to him hungrily to cover his flesh and blood.
In his daze, Thales suddenly understood what Black Sword said, ‘”The Sin of Hell’s River improves when its user lingers between life and death, and it’s also during that time when it’s at its most adaptive and powerful state… Just like when it was born.”‘
Thales watched the situation on the battlefield and tried hard to push himself off the ground. He walked unsteadily to the Crossbow of Time. He was very weak, hungry, and thirsty.
But he still could not rest.
Therefore, when Thales stood up with his legs, the Star Killer and the Raven of Death could not believe their own eyes. And when he lifted the Crossbow of Time and aimed it at Monty, their shock reached its peak.
“Your Highness.” The Raven of Death frowned and stared at the bow pointed at him. “What are you doing?”
“As you can see…” Thales suppressed the hunger in his stomach and said calmly, “I am interrogating you.”
Nicholas looked in puzzlement at the two others who had turned against each other, and his gaze wavered between the two of them continuously.
Monty put on a compliant and friendly smile. “Prince Thales, perhaps you did not hear it clearly just now, but I am on your side—”
“I know,” Thales interrupted him with two crisply spoken words uttered in a serious and cold tone.
“I knew long ago that you are from the Secret Intelligence Department,” the prince said nonchalantly, “Or else I wouldn’t have been that compliant during the journey.”
Monty was somewhat stunned.
“Is that so?” The Raven of Death looked at Thales as if he was thinking about something, and his tone slowly became wary. “When did you figure out my identity? Did the Secret Intelligence Department tell you this beforehand?” he asked very carefully and respectfully.
Thales stared at him, refusing to let go of the bow. The prince shook his head and said gently, “The first time after I woke up, I told you that the burden you carried was not me, but the two thousand cavaliers of Constellation in the desert. This is the intelligence the Secret Intelligence Department told me.”
The Raven of Death’s gaze shifted. “So?”
Thales narrowed his eyes. “However, a few days ago, you brought the news from the City of Faraway Prayers and interrupted the hearing, and you also jeopardized Ian’s plan. You said that five thousand Constellatiate cavaliers suddenly appeared at the border.”
Monty’s pupils suddenly enlarged!
“So, when I saw that you did not show any reaction to the vast difference in numbers between two thousand and five thousand cavaliers”—the second prince sighed—”I knew that you lied to the suzerains and exaggerated the threat of Constellation on purpose, just to have Dragon Clouds City hand me back.
“Because you are from the Secret Intelligence Department, and you knew clearly about the plan to rescue the prince.”
Beside them, Nicholas laughed briefly in disdain.
A few days ago, when Raphael—from the headquarters—insisted that the Secret Intelligence Department should rescue the prince and that they had their own methods and arrangements to do so, Thales disapproved of their plans at first.
But now it seemed like…
Thales stared at the suppressed Star Killer with a solemn gaze, then stared at the similarly weak Monty who was leaning against the boulder.
The prince felt gloomy. He finally understood the Secret Intelligence Department’s rescue plan.
Monty brought the news of Constellation’s abnormal activities, and through Archduke Roknee’s name, he urged Dragon Clouds City to hand Thales over. The prince would head to the City of Faraway Prayers near the Great Desert with the diplomatic group of the City of Faraway Prayers.
Once he left Heroic Spirit Palace’s heavy surveillance, the famous Raven of Death would lawfully escort him. There was a high possibility that the second prince would mysteriously go ‘missing’ while he was on the way to the City of Faraway Prayers, and then Constellation would welcome back their heir to the throne in the Great Desert near the City of Faraway Prayers.
After that, they could shift the blame onto King Chapman to sow discord in the already dramatic internal conflict within Eckstedt, or they could make use of his disappearance as an excuse to get a hold of the City of Faraway Prayers, thereby interfering with the domestic matters within the Kingdom of the Great Dragon. All this depended on what King Kessel wanted at that moment.
During this process, Thales did not need to worry about his safety and the Secret Intelligence Department would not even need to show up. Because other than the last step, all transitions along the journey would be in the name of the Northlanders’ acts of diplomacy from the army of Dragon Clouds City heading west for the expedition, to the diplomats of the City of Faraway Prayers returning from the west, to the sentries stationed at the frontlines under the Raven of Death, and, finally, the expedition troops from Constellation stationed in the desert.
‘Perfect, ingenious, and stable… That is, if that “minor accident” in the Hall of Heroes had not happened.’
Thales sighed secretly in his heart. ‘Who should be blamed for that accident?
‘Is it me, who acted on my own for my own selfish reasons? Or Saroma, who thought of helping me but ended up making matters worse? Was it the sharp King Chapman’s fault, or the Secret Intelligence Department who practiced the principle of things being better if fewer people knew about it?’
Monty’s mind seemed to have gone blank for a moment before he immediately sucked in a sharp breath. His voice was filled with compliments and admiration. “As expected of Prince Thales. If that’s the case, then why are you—”
Thales interrupted him again, “It was not just that.” The prince said coldly, “I even secretly talked to Nicholas about your identity when you gave me the signal and shot him that first time.”
Right then, it was as though the entire area was frozen.
Monty could no longer hide the shock in his heart. He slowly turned his head and looked up at the Star Killer in disbelief.
But Nicholas only frowned. He continued to struggle with the arrow.
Thales slowly knelt on one knee, using his kneecap to support the horizontally raised bow. His feebleness at that moment was beyond his imagination. He could not hold on for much longer. “You thought that this dead-face’s brain was that good, that he suddenly guessed your identity correctly?”
Nicholas snorted coldly, then glared belligerently at Thales.
Monty shifted his gaze to the prince. His face was filled with disbelief.
“Your Highness… Why?” The questions in his head were practically waiting to pour out of his lips.
Thales smiled faintly, then gestured at Nicholas with his chin. “Because this was the only way for the two of you to start fighting to the death.”
The Raven of Death’s breathing was starting to get faster.?With the rock as his support, he took a step forward while frowning. “Your Highness, but why…?”
“Don’t move!” Thales shouted fiercely, and simultaneously lifted the bow in his hand up high.
Monty’s feet froze.
The prince shook the arm of the bow and said calmly, “Are you sure that after being burned by the Rising Sun Saber once, and after you used the Crossbow of Time—which consumes a large amount of your energy—that you would be able to avoid the arrow?”
Monty looked at the weapon which originally belonged to him, and gritted his teeth indignantly. “I don’t understand.”
Thales nodded, then shook his head. “Yes, just like how I did not understand why you occasionally knocked me out while we were fleeing.” The prince observed the opponent’s condition and slowed down his speech rate.
Monty’s eyes moved.
“Haha, if that is the case, please forgive me.” The Raven of Death looked a bit embarrassed. “My identity is too valuable. The Secret Intelligence Department would not allow me to share it to just anyone, even if it is to you…”
But Thales still shook his head. “Why did we go east?”
Monty froze. This time, he narrowed his eyes in a barely noticeable fashion. “What?”
Thales then sighed gently. “We met in one of the groves in Rubble Hill. But during the first night, you knocked me out. When I woke up, I discovered that we were at Flatiron County, which is under the jurisdiction of Dragon Clouds City. It’s situated at the easternmost part of Rubble Hill.”
The Raven of Death looked surprised. He then said with a somewhat resigned look. “Please don’t doubt the path I took, Your Highness—”
But Thales chuckled and denied him the chance to speak. “The soil in the woods of Rubble Hill is very dry, but the land in Flatiron County had a layer of hard rock underneath which was different. I would not mistake it.”
Monty stiffened, though no one noticed it.
“A rock formation underground?” he retorted with a voice full of doubt.
“On the second night, we reached Prestige Orchid Region. That place is near the Sighing Hills. The soil was much more fertile and moist, and the terrain was more complicated.” Thales’ face became more serious, and he continued saying, “But it is located at a southeastern part of Flatiron County.?That is not the way to the Great Desert.”
Thales snorted lightly, “I even asked you deliberately whether we were on the right path. You did the same thing again; you knocked me out.”
Monty sucked in a deep breath and rubbed his face weakly. He then smiled helplessly. “But did I not bring you here to the boundary of the Great Desert?”
Thales shrugged. “That was because you were forced to. I woke up on the third or the fourth day, but we had reached Spear City, which lies on the border separating Dragon Clouds City and the City of Faraway Prayers, and you uneasily told me that we just passed through Sunset Snow River, and that there were pursuers behind us.”
The prince shook his head. “You were lying. We did not pass by Sunset Snow River, but we took a turn to head southeast, and came back to Spear City.
“According to the plan, we should have gone southwest all the way, straight to the desert, but you brought me all the way southeast.” Thales gestured to Nicholas with his chin. “You only reluctantly untied me when this dead-face chased after us. You were forced to change directions and swiftly headed west to enter the City of Faraway Prayers’ Land of Barren Stone.”
The Raven of Death looked as if he had been misunderstood. He said in annoyance, “Your Highness, maybe you lack the experience of marching with the army in the wild, so you couldn’t tell where we were going and could not identify the terrain of certain places, but we were taking a detour to avoid our pursuers—”
Thales interrupted him firmly. “Don’t try to lie to me. I remember it clearly; when there were no pursuers after us, you went all the way east, and it was only when we were chased by pursuers did you turn towards the right direction.
“That’s not the path I remembered. If it wasn’t because of Nicholas catching up to us so quickly, were you prepared to bring me all the way to the east?”
Monty was stunned. He could only hear Thales say coldly,
“I should be the one asking you why?”
Monty remained silent for a long time. The Star Killer stared fixedly at him, then at Thales, perplexed.
“Your Highness, I don’t understand.” After a few seconds, the Raven of Death sighed. “You were unconscious the whole way, how could you be so certain of where you were?”
Thales laughed. “Of course I’m sure.”
Monty frowned, and there was puzzlement on his face.
Thales lifted the bow and he said with an enigmatic expression. “Don’t you know that as a member of the Jadestar Royal Family, other than the shining blood, some generous god gave us another blessing?”
Nicholas and Monty were both stunned.
‘What? Blessing… from a god?’
Thales lowered his voice and revealed a confident smile. He stepped on the ground. “That god blessed us in such a way that as long as I stand on the ground… I will never be lost.”
Thales lifted the corner of his lips, and as he breathed, he felt that the spectacles on his bosom actually carried some weight.
“That’s right.” Thales raised his eyebrows and said in a pleased manner, “No matter what time it is, I will always know where I am.”
At that moment, the Star Killer and Monty were stunned. They looked at each other, and shocked expressions appeared on both their faces.
Three seconds passed…
“That’s impossible,” Monty said in a shocked manner. His chest heaved as though he refused to believe what Thales had said, “You—”
But at that moment, before he could finish his words, the Raven of Death suddenly moved! His expression suddenly turned cold, and he swung his right arm at Thales. What appeared together with Monty’s right arm were three flashes that cut through the sky!
The prince who had just been joking in a smug manner suddenly became nervous.
He did not even have the time to react.
Three streaks of astonishing silver light charged towards Thales while the wind howled with their movements.
“Be careful!” Nicholas’ angry roar traveled into his ears.
At that moment, the Sin of Hell’s River surged violently in him. It surged towards Thales’ almost blank mind.