Chapter 97 - Our Inland Sea

Kingdom’s Bloodline Masterless Sword, 无主之剑 2022/9/13 16:51:28

Chapter 97: Our Inland Sea

Translator:?EndlessFantasy Translation??Editor:?EndlessFantasy Translation

Broken Dragon Fortress was built in the Northern Plains, at the juncture between Constellation and Eckstedt. The main body of the fortress was located on high ground, and was only a few hundred meters away from the border of the two kingdoms set by the ‘Fortress Treaty’.

The Third Peninsula War more than three hundred years ago created the legend of the three ‘Heroes’ among the Westerners—Chara, Kaplan, and Midier. But after the war ended, the friendship of Eckstedt’s Chara the Hero and Constellation’s Oath Keeper Midier fell apart, and their brotherhood ended. This caused countless historians and bards to put on dejected expressions and sigh, and the end of the brotherhood also led to the fall out between the Great Dragon and Constellation who were allies.

Hence, Broken Dragon Fortress, located at the border between the two kingdoms and has political significance as well as military purposes at the same time, was built. Twelve years ago, the famous ‘Fortress Treaty’ between Constellation and Eckstedt was signed here.

The Northern Plains, which extended for miles, was the only place between the two kingdoms where large numbers of soldiers could be stationed while avoiding the large, snowy forest. However, the defenders of Broken Dragon Fortress could clearly see any groups of more than ten people ascending from Eckstedt. On Constellation’s side, the Arunde Family’s Cold Castle and the Zemunto Family’s Overwatch City was at the fortress’ southwestern side, while the Friess Family’s Lonely Old Tower was at the fortress’ northern side. All three parties could rush to the fortress’ aid at any moment. If any of the castles were in danger of being besieged, Broken Dragon Fortress could also warn them in time.

Broken Dragon Fortress was not a solitary castle. It was made up of the fortress’ star-shaped main body, which was the largest and steadiest building on the highland, and it was surrounded by eight medium-sized forts which guarded the periphery and surveyed each other. There were also twelve simple sentry posts further away. To take down Broken Dragon Fortress meant that countless moats and ‘chevaux de frise’ had to be broken through. The threat of bows from the eight medium-sized forts also had to be eliminated one by one. The fortress’ main body could then only be reached by walking through the only three narrow slopes that can reach it. Lastly, under the limited terrain that allows movements, a siege had to be launched at the fortress wall over ten meters tall, while braving the attack of the Mystic Guns on the star-shaped, convex walls.

If the main forces circumnavigated the fortress and directly headed south to the important cities of Constellation, this fortress which could fit ten thousand people, had plenty of supplies, and had troops in the base that could launch an attack anytime, would then immediately become the main threat, like a thorn in one’s side.

When Eckstedt’s Archduke of Black Sand, the forty-one-year-old Chapman Lampard, looked up at this giant from the fortress’ northern side while basking in moonlight he felt an especially strong threat from Broken Dragon Fortress , since it was easy to defend and hard to attack.

Since he had a fair duel with his own elder brother in front of his father and the entire family twelve years ago, then won the right of inheritance to the Black Sand Region by piercing through his brother’s heart with a sword, Chapman Lampard’s ambition grew uncontrollably. He began to dream of bringing the glory of becoming the common-elected king to the Lampard Family, to turn Black Sand City into Eckstedt’s capital city, and to bring Constellation’s Northern Territory into his governance, reuniting the Ancient Northland Territory—which was now split between the two kingdoms—into one.

The archduke wore a thick robe lined with heavy chain armor. He rode a healthy and strong Northland Horse. The knights behind him held flags that had the pattern of an iron fist that represented the Lampard Family on it. Dense military camps were stationed behind them. From time to time, low-ranked riding sentries or infantry units would leave the military camps and cross the border nonchalantly.

A healthy and strong knight who had a soldierly bearing and wore a gray helmet—one of Eckstedt’s ‘Five War Generals’, Lord Tolja—sped over from the front. He reined in his horse before Lampard and immediately bowed respectfully. Lampard nodded expressionlessly.

“Whether it is caravans, hunters, supplies or the enemies’ patrol teams, we have already cleared them all from the path and placed our mobile sentries there. If Cold Castle’s Arunde and the other two families come to the rescue, we will know at the first moment…” Tolja said in a deep voice, “Are we really attacking?”

“Of course! We have more than thirteen thousand soldiers. We have light cavalry scouts, heavily-equipped knights, handpicked and lightly-equipped executioners, Doppels?ldners, and enough archers. We also prepared Mystic Guns, catapults and other equipment needed to lay siege to a city.” The one who replied him was a knight wearing plate armor and was standing behind Archduke Lampard. He was the archduke’s supporter and number one vassal, Count Levan. “We are at an advantage, whether in terms of quantity or quality. Defeating them is as easy as flipping our hand!”

“That is open warfare, but as long as they are holed up in Broken Dragon Fortress, it would be hard for us to achieve an easy victory.” Tolja shook his head. “Ever since the fortress fell into our hands the last time, they strengthened its fortifications. I suspect that they have equipped half the Mystic Guns and city defense crossbows in their kingdom there… To forcefully lay siege would only lead to a large number of casualties.”

‘And,’ Tolja thought, ‘As long as those two are at Broken Dragon Fortress, even if there is only a disorderly mob against us, we should be extremely vigilant.’

Count Levan, donned in plate armor, had a determined expression on his face. “We mobilized so many soldiers. It is impossible for us to return without accomplishing anything… If we can seize Broken Dragon Fortress, I reckon that we can accept some casualties on our side.”

“Our enemy is not only the fortress, but also the weather…”

They turned their heads. Archduke Lampard’s wise general and advisor, Viscount Kentvida, arrived on horseback behind them. “The Day Before the Bitter Cold Winter will arrive earlier than in previous years. It is not a good time to advance. The situation is not promising for us when it comes to the transportation of supplies. If the siege does not go well, and there is a deadlock in battle… If we wait for the beginning of spring, we have a bigger chance of seizing the fortress.”

“It is precisely because there are not enough supplies that we should do it quickly!” Count Levan was still determined. “It is to our advantage to battle in winter! The Constellatiates will be dealt a bigger blow because of the winter. Twelve years ago, we seized the fortress at this time.”

“That was the warmest winter in a couple dozen years!” Tolja shook his head solemnly. “And at that time, they were busy enough with their own affairs. There were no reinforcements in the Northern Territory. But at the time, we had all seven armies from the seven Archdukes. And we can only restock our supplies on the spot after breaching the fortress and after we headed south.”

Archduke Lampard slowly raised a hand and halted his three subordinates’ arguments.

“How are things at the back?” The archduke’s voice was dreary and dull, carrying some kind of power that made people become instinctively quiet.

“King Nuven’s envoy has already arrived. We have no way of holding him back for too long. After all, we are dispatching troops in the name of revenge for Prince Moriah.” Viscount Kentvida bowed. “Besides, I heard that the Prince of Constellation is already on his way and will arrive soon.”

Lampard contemplated and asked, “Prestige Orchid Region’s Olsius Family and Reformation Tower’s Trentida Family, have they not replied yet? As fellow archdukes of Eckstedt’s southern region, they should have enough reason to dispatch their soldiers.”

“They have definitely received the news of the Prince of Constellation’s diplomatic visit,” Viscount Kentvida answered seriously, “Even though they could probably obtain benefits by seizing the Northern Territory, they will hesitate just as much as the other archdukes.

“We… I am afraid that we will have to depend on ourselves.”

After some time…

Archduke Lampard exhaled. Looking at the Broken Dragon Fortress across from him, he heaved a long sigh and said, “Depend on ourselves?”

“Sasere, that woman only has over eight hundred people. However, at least three hundred of them are elite veterans from the Starlight Brigade. They are not only good riders, but also dauntless soldiers who attack and defend well. Having fought against her before, you should all be very clear about this.

“Murkh just arrived with over two thousand people. Although most of them are garrison soldiers who have never seen blood, that man is too scary. As long as he has five hundred extremely loyal and dauntless sword-and-shield troops, he would be able to create great trouble on the battlefield.

“There are also a few thousand vassal troops that are heading over one after another. Although the fact that Arunde was put behind bars caused the soldiers in the fortress to be disunited with each other, and most of them had already withdrawn, Arunde’s only daughter is still at the fortress. According to the investigation of the scouts, at least five hundred of them stayed.

“Without the military strength of the other archdukes. We will have to battle very hard if we want to seize Broken Dragon Fortress.”

Archduke’s Lampard’s words made the three of them go silent for a while.

“To have three thousand people squeezed into one fortress.” Count Levan furrowed his brows and spoke, “With the Northern Territory’s pitiful supplies, how long can they keep up?”

“That fortress was built to accommodate ten thousand people. It has enough reserves by itself, and can help them last till the Day before the Bitter Cold Winter.” Viscount Kentvida shook his head.

“Forgive me for being frank. As the side who will lay the siege, our pressure is much higher than theirs when it comes to supplies. Twelve years ago, the entire Eckstedt was behind us. And now, because that dead prince is coming to apologize… We are as isolated and helpless as the Northern Territory.”

“The Day before the Bitter Cold Winter will be coming in less than two weeks.” Tolja also nodded in agreement to the wise general’s words. “If we do not get a good opportunity, I do not suggest that we forcefully attack.

“When that prince arrives, it would be even more impossible for us to dispatch troops!” Count Levan said indignantly, “And in another ten years, Constellation will slowly recover from its weakened state, and other kingdoms will also be free of their respective troubles. Besides…”

He paused for a moment.

‘If Nuven the Seventh is not able to live till then… There will possibly be a king selection in Eckstedt.’

“How can we just give this opportunity up?” Count Levan spoke in a hateful tone.

The other three did not speak.

“No.” Chapman Lampard slowly exhaled, creating a mouthful of mist and stared at the fortress in front of him. “We are Northlanders.”

Lampard thought of his elder brother.

Of how he held his sword with hands full of blood, and his gaze when he died with a heroic laugh.

“Northlanders never wait for opportunities, nor do we give up on opportunities.”

Archduke Lampard turned his head around. His stern face had a freezing look that was colder than the weather.

“We create opportunities.”

The moon had already appeared.

Broken Dragon Fortress was just in front. Its magnificent star-shaped contour could already be seen vaguely under the moonlight.

Watching Sonia and Aida, who were looking around vigilantly a distance away, Thales turned towards Katerina, who was surrounded by the elite warriors of Broken Dragon Fortress and the two Blood Clan warriors behind her who were only found after the battle.

“Are you sure that you want to leave now?” Furrowing his brows, Thales looked at Katerina, who was in front of him. “Perhaps the Blood Mystic is lying in wait on the path you will take to return.”

Katerina expression was as indifferent as usual. She shook her head. “This is the best time to leave. At least, the Blood Mystic would not dare to lurk around in places that are too near to this place.”

“This is too risky,” Thales spoke earnestly, “You know that the Blood Mystic came for the black coffin…”

“Trust me, since the Blood Mystic had already showed herself and caused such a big trouble, there will be people keeping an eye on her whereabouts and intentions… For example, your Kingdom’s Secret Intelligence Department,” Katerina spoke coldly, “Although Mystics are terrifying, there are still forces of power that can restrain them in this world.”

“Are you talking about the legendary anti-mystic equipments?” Thales contemplated and spoke, “But they are after all, so rare. There are only a few…”

“You are still young, and have yet to know many secrets.” Katerina’s words made Thales scratch his head. “The only thing you need to know is that, every single time Mystics appear publicly, they are taking a risk. After that, they would be quiet and go into hiding for a very long time. The legendary anti-mystic equipments are not their only threat.

Their eyes met for a second.

“Alright, since you insist,” Thales sighed, “You have to know that all the supreme classes by your side had died in battle. Serena might still be hiding in the darkness, waiting for a chance to strike, and you are after all, bringing along and protecting a legendary anti-mystic equipment.”

Remembering Hestad and Simon, Katerina’s gaze dimmed. However, she then raised her head.

“I yearn for Serena to appear.” The Night Queen revealed a gaze full of hatred. “As for the Dark Night Black Coffin, perhaps it is a legendary anti-mystic equipment many powerful parties would like to have. But do not worry, as apart from the terrifying Mystics, there would be absolutely no one who would dare try to obtain it.”

Katerina thought, ‘Perhaps with the exception of those relatives of mine in Grand Banquet Hill.

‘After all, it is the entire Blood Clan’s pledge to guard the Dark Night Black Coffin.’

Thales rolled his eyes. ‘Is it a secret that I am not aware of again?’

“Although it can be said that our bad luck today is thanks to each other, with blood debts, enmity and favors involved, I still hope that we do not become enemies. Of course, I hope we don’t meet again,” Thales said with a serious look.

Katerina stared at him intently for a few seconds.

She did it for so long that Thales raised his brows.

“You know,” Katerina said quietly, “Maybe we can really become allies.”

Thales widened his eyes.

“I heard Serena’s words,” the Night Queen said flatly, “The situation in the peninsulas had changed. You all have relations with Mane et Nox Dynasty, and Eckstedt is in good terms with Hanbol. Since Constellation is fated to be enemies with Hanbol, we have a common enemy.”

Thales furrowed his brows.

‘I almost forgot that…

‘She is a queen.’

“After forming an alliance, we can rope in the Misty Islands’ merfolk leader. That way, we can chase away Hanbol and the Trade Federation’s whalers. It would not be impossible for us to make the Southern Sea of Eradication our inland sea.

“Think of all those Eternal Oil that is swallowed up jointly by Hanbol and the Trade Federation…”

“Oh please, it’s thanks to your dear older sister.” Thales exhaled and shook his head, with fear still lingering in his heart. “Right now, I really have an extremely deep fear towards the word ‘ally’.

“For your sake, and also for my sake, let’s discuss this when I’m a little older, okay?”

Katerina, who was cut off in a baffling manner, was stupefied for a moment. Her parted lips could not close in time.

Looking at that pair of lips, for some reason, Thales thought of their taste.

Thales tapped his head, getting rid of those weird thoughts.

He had enough troubles, and he was already busy enough with them.

The Night Queen, who had always maintained a stern face, suddenly curled up the corners of her lips softly.

Thales was a little surprised. It was his first time seeing the stoic Katerina smile.

Thales frowned. “What are you saying?”

Katerina spoke slowly, “When you extended your neck towards me… my original plan was to suck all your blood dry.

Thales shuddered violently. “What?”

“After all, there was already hatred between us because of the battle earlier,” Katerina continued speaking with that ice-cold expression again.

“As long as I finish off Serena and wipe out all your other subordinates, then cleared off all traces. Apart from Covendier, no one would know the truth of the Prince of Constellation’s death.” Thales felt a chill running down his spine as he watched the queen talk about sucking him dry.

Thales had a look of disbelief on his face.

‘This… is this the farmer and the viper, the one in Aesop’s fables…’

“However, you have a tenacious vitality, and did not die from the loss of blood like I expected.”

Katerina spoke coldly, “So, my attempt to kill you failed. I reckon that you have the right to know about this.”

Thales’ expression changed many times. He felt the weakness in his body and touched the two holes on his neck that had already healed. He then raised his head and looked at Katerina with a surprised and furious expression.

“You…” With furrowed brows, Thales spoke furiously, “And Serena… You two are indeed a pair of good sisters!”

However, Katerina only looked at him with a distant gaze and with a complicated expression.

“No, please take my honesty as a token of sincerity to form an alliance. I did not hide anything from you, and do not plan to hide anything from you either. This is something Serena, who puts on an act all her life, can never do.”

The queen nodded slightly. “This should be able to remove your wariness and build the foundation of trust for our possible alliance in the future.”

Thales was immediately stunned. He was rendered speechless for a moment.

“You were telling me that you wanted to kill me,” he furrowed his brows and spoke, “And then you are saying that this is how you treat me with sincerity, hoping that I will trust you?

“Don’t you think that something is wrong somewhere?” Thales spoke tauntingly.

“I believe that you are mature enough to differentiate whether I am sincere or not,” Katerina spoke flatly, “You know, I do not treat you as a child.”

Thales was tongue-tied for a moment.

However, recalling his experience of almost being sucked dry, he could not help but be peeved.

“Oh, speaking about that,” Thales snorted and spoke vengefully, “Yo, was that your first kiss?”

Katerina’s pupils suddenly narrowed.

Her expression became cold in the blink of an eye. She spoke chillingly, “What did you say?”

Her purple eyes shot towards Thales.

Under the queen’s murderous gaze, Thales immediately felt a chill running down his spine.

He only felt slightly reassured when he saw the soldiers and the two supreme class elites around them.

Thales scratched his head awkwardly. “I was saying… there are readers who want to know, cough, cough, no… It’s just that a lot of people in the Eastern Peninsula seem to care a lot about this. Therefore, I wanted to know if I offended you anywhere, so that I can apologize…”

“No, of course not,” Katerina spoke coldly, “Did you think that I am some teenage girl who just reached puberty?

“First kiss? How childish!

“I have lived for a much longer period of time than all your ancestors added together!”

‘These words sound a little familiar.’

Thales shrugged and scratched his head, a little embarrassed.

‘Wow, even an ice queen like you had a first love?’

Watching Katerina’s face, which was as cold as an ice cube, he stuck his tongue out.

‘Your first love, haih, I can only say… that man sure had it rough, huh.’

“Okay then.” Thales sighed. He then raised his head and spoke earnestly, “I wish you all the best.”

‘May we never meet again,’ He added another sentence in his heart.

Katerina stared at him in silence. She suddenly extended her hand to him and passed him a bracelet that had two fangs strung on it.

The fangs looked ferocious and primitive, with thin, blood-colored patterns on it.

It looked like a keepsake from his past life.

Thales widened his eyes and looked at her with a puzzled gaze.

“This is Corleone Family’s keepsake, the Blood Fangs…” Queen Katerina spoke with a serious expression, “If you come round to the idea one day… come and see me with it.”

“However, to form an alliance with immortals is not exactly something that would give you a good reputation among humans… Before you make up your mind, please do keep it a secret from others. I suggest that you personally safeguard this keepsake.”

Thales furrowed his brows. In the end, he sighed and simply grabbed that fanged bracelet.

‘I will throw it away when I get back.’

“Be careful on your way,” he said quietly.

“Take care of yourself, little Prince Thales.” Katerina nodded expressionlessly, turned and walked towards her subordinates and the black coffin.

“Don’t forget our inland sea.”

Thales rolled his eyes behind her.

The next moment, the Night Queen and her subordinates disappeared from his sight along with the black coffin.

Thales sighed with sentimentality welling up in him for a second and turned to leave.

At this moment, the secret telepathic voice exclusive to Blood Clansmen faintly rang inside his ears.

“But that was indeed… My first kiss with someone of the opposite sex.”

It frightened Wya, who was beside him. Wya immediately ran forward to support him.

‘I thought it was agreed that this world is not a novel with a simple plot!’

He sighed and looked at the darkness where Katerina disappeared.

‘Hatred aside, perhaps this queen has more similarities to her elder sister than what she imagined.’