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Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
At that very moment, a deep, dejected, almost woeful laugh sounded.
Everyone’s gazes gathered on Zakriel.
Zakriel lifted his chin, strode forward, and stepped into the space illuminated by the firelight.
Everyone was startled at that very instant.
The former Watchman of the Royal Guards, the formidable Knight of Judgment, Zakriel, was chuckling softly as he limped towards them.
But this was definitely not the reason that astounded them. It was uncertain when it happened, but at some point, Zakriel’s face had been covered in tears, despite the fact that he was tough and practically invincible.
“You are clever, Your Highness.” Zakriel’s voice was hoarse, and he was choked up. His chest heaved continuously. He glared at Thales with his reddened eyes. “…Too clever.”
He lifted his axe slowly. In reaction to that, the others instinctively got into a defensive formation.
“You knew that you would not stand a chance once I had my eyes on you in this dark dungeon, so you gave up on using force, stopped running or using your forbidden power. Instead, you resorted to using political methods.”
Thales was somewhat surprised.
Zakriel’s voice was rought and filled with despair and sorrow like that of a wounded man who had lost all hope.
“You knew about my relationship with these men, so you released them on purpose. You pit them against me, observed our fight, collected information, and sought opportunities as you lay in wait, prepared for our inevitable confrontation.”
One by one, he glanced at each member of the Royal Guards, studied the look in their eyes, and found that they were full of agony and conflicting emotions.
“Since the moment we met, you looked as if you had been fleeing helter-skelter. You appeared powerless, but in truth, you were forcing me to a corner step by step with a well and thought-out plan.
“You aggravated Samel, Barney, and Nalgi with your words in an attempt to look for the information you wanted, but you never asked them directly for it. In turn, they brought you closer and closer to the truth of the Bloody Year. Then, you found my weakness and the things I care about.”
As Zakriel spoke, he scanned his surroundings and gave an anguished bark of laughter with trails of tears on his face.
“I…” Thales opened his mouth and intended to respond, only to realize that he could not utter a single word.
*Clink!* There was a sharp clink.
Zakriel’s axe had dropped to the ground.
In that moment, under the astonished gazes of the others, Zakriel finally showed rare signs of fatigue and old age. He still stood alone, facing the rest just like before.
One man against eight.
‘But now…’ Zakriel looked up. ‘But now…’
The figures before him blurred, and his gaze eventually focused on the young, disheveled, but strangely calm individual who stood in front of him.
Zakriel gazed at Thales quietly and tearfully. He smiled an anguished, woeful smile.
‘Since when… did it become a duel?’ Zakriel sighed internally, then averted his gaze from his former colleagues.
They were no longer fugitives or criminals who were imprisoned for life. Once again, they had become the pride of the kingdom.
The Supreme Royal Guards of Constellation.
In that very second, for some unknown reason, Zakriel could not suppress the tears in his eyes, neither could he fill the void in his heart… he merely stared at Thales blankly.
‘If only he wasn’t a forbidden existence, this would’ve been wonderful.’ Zakriel swayed. He arduously regained his balance.
“You questioned and sought the truth earnestly, relentlessly, pushing them into a corner and forcing them to reveal their true selves. You dug out the most valuable details that you could utilize.” Zakriel spoke faster with each passing moment. His facial expression grew more solemn and despairing. “Then, like a savior, you granted them forgiveness and relieved them of their burdens in the name of Jadestar.
“More importantly… you became their spiritual pillar and bound them to you completely.”
Thales felt a pang of sorrow in his chest. He fought back the urge to look at the faces of the people around him. Zakriel took a deep breath, and, in his anguish, he stared at Thales, who had a complicated look on his face at that moment.
The Knight of Judgment continued dejectedly, “To them, you are no longer the prince they just met… You are a mourner of Nalgi and Naer, the pardoner of sinners, the consoler of prisoners; you are the Jadestar Prince they approve of, and the saint who risks his life to resolve the misunderstanding that surrounds me.
“If I kill you, I will destroy everything they have—their bodies and their minds.” Zakriel covered his eyes and tears. He let out a bitter laugh as he trembled uncontrollably, and said,
“Everything that happened seems to have happened naturally, as if it was only logical that they did. I can’t possibly find a single fault in it—hahaha.”
Thales sighed. “Zakriel—”
But the Knight of Judgment did not give him the chance to speak.
“Earlier on, when I was still the villain, I could beat them to a pulp without hesitation, then proceed to kill you.” Zakriel lowered his arm. The others tensed up at the ferocity of his voice. “I could bear their hatred as the villain from then on. I could live and die that way. After all, I have lived that way for eighteen years! Eighteen years!”
Zakriel growled. He swayed as though he was losing the strength to stand on steady feet. He fell back and leaned against the wall. There was an unbearable silence in the dungeon. Zakriel’s expression slowly turned gloomy.
“But the things you said earlier to defend me weren’t meant for me… They were meant for them.”
Zakriel raised his head and looked at each of his colleagues. For some reason, each man who met his glance felt an indescribable pain in their hearts.
“You cleared my name. You made them revere me once again. More importantly, you turned their emotions towards me into a weapon against me.”
The Knight of Judgment’s voice became even more anguished. It began to sound like a plea.
“Because you knew… And thenceforth, when I look at their faces and no longer see their hatred towards a traitor, but the apologetic and respectful look towards a commander…”
Zakriel leaned against the wall. He pointed at his chest, then at his head with uneven breaths. “And you knew it was my greatest weakness.”
Zakriel stared at the axe next to his feet in grief. He looked up at the ceiling, opened his mouth, and emitted a roar of anguish from his throat.
“You knew that when I see them acting this way, I can’t possibly do anything…”
Thales gaped at the man, dumbstruck.
“But why?” The Knight of Judgment who was at Death’s door took a sharp breath, as though regaining his energy. “If you hadn’t unveiled the secret, if you hadn’t sought the truth…
“Perhaps…” In that second, Zakriel looked at the dead bodies on the ground, then at Barney Junior. His face was filled with deep sorrow. “Perhaps Nalgi and Naer would still be alive, breathing. And Barney would still hate me, not his father, nor the late king.” Zakriel closed his eyes.
Barney Junior turned his head away, fighting the urge to look at him. Canon took in an agonized breath, dropping his weapon.
The atmosphere became suffocating.
Thales felt an unprecedented and immense pressure in his chest. If he did not say something now, he felt like he was going to explode.
“I am sorry about Nalgi and Naer, I—”
But just as he finished, he was interrupted once more. Zakriel pushed a hand against his forehead, and his cheeks contorted with pain.
“I don’t know, I really don’t know. The things you said to them, the words that consoled them, the words you said to me when you revealed your identity, and the sacrificial act of revealing your identity itself… Were they a wholehearted confession, or a calculative pretense?
“What are we to you, living men for heart-to-heart exchanges, or pawns for certain purposes? Were you trying to save them, or yourself?”
Thales was startled. ‘Confession, pretense, living men, pawns, save others… save myself?’ Thales’ thought wandered for a while.
“Perhaps…” The teenager felt an indescribable wave of melancholy. “Perhaps a bit of both.”
Zakriel’s pants quickened. It was as if he was about to have an episode again.
“Hahaha, hiding in the dark, figuring out my weaknesses, and attacking my vitals at the end to deliver a deadly blow.” The Knight of Judgment’s laughter hastened. “The most horrifying thing is that even though I knew what you were up to all along, I was still powerless to fight back!”
Zakriel’s voice was filled with despair. “I don’t have a talent like Lord Hansen’s. I couldn’t even tell if the things you said were a sincere statement or just a pretense.”
‘Sincere statement, pretense?’ Thales stared at Zakriel with conflicting emotions. He opened and closed his mouth multiple times, only to gloomily say in the end, “A long time ago, I heard this line from a one-eyed man.”
Thales heaved a long sigh, and said, “If it is beneficial for Constellation, does it matter whether it is sincere or not?”
Zakriel jolted and froze for a few seconds. Soon enough, his teary face began to contort.
“Beneficial for Constellation? Constellation… Constellation… Hahahaha…” Zakriel mumbled to himself in an almost deranged manner.
Thales remained silent for a while before he finally said, “Honestly, I did not think too deeply about it, I just felt that… that…”
Thales opened his mouth, only to realize he could not finish his sentence.
At that very moment, Zakriel lowered his head. With tears in his eyes, he said angrily, “You Jadestars are all the same, aren’t you?”
Thales was shocked. “We?”
Zakriel let out another eerie chuckle. “He acted just as you did all those years ago. Like you, he looked at me calmly, earnestly, and revealed the truth without leaving out any information. He admitted his intentions without hesitation. He even confessed about the façade he put up, his remorse, and how he was forced to act the way he did.”
This time, the Knight of Judgment stared dazedly into the distance before he slowly lifted his finger. “Look, he’s sitting right there, giving me an innocent, earnest smile, persuading me to make a choice… As you are now.”
Thales gazed in the direction Zakriel pointed. He saw only the empty darkness.
He turned his head around worriedly, and found the Royal Guards around him staring at the unhinged Zakriel. Their eyes were filled with sorrow, and their faces with grief.
“You merged your sincerity with falsehoods. You carved a chessboard we couldn’t refuse to step on.”
At this moment, Zakriel was like a withered old man. He lost all his grace as a warrior. The sight made Thales feel a pang in his chest.
Zakriel’s voice faded away gradually. He spoke at a saddening pace. “I hate you both, but I hate myself even more for not hating you. I hate myself more for not being able to hate you.
“Jadestar… You are cruel. All the same.”
‘Cruel.’ Thales squeezed his eyes shut.
“I am sorry.” He forced these words out.
In the next instant, the Knight of Judgment suddenly bellowed in anger,
Zakriel kneeled on the ground with his hands against his forehead. “Your Majesty, Your Highness! Why?!”
His roar was hoarse, yet even more harrowing. Thales wanted to step forward, but Beldin, who was right behind him, grabbed him. Barney Junior shook his head at him.
Zakriel’s grievous howl lasted a few seconds before it died down. In the next second, however, he gazed at Thales woefully.
This time, what Zakriel said was relatively simple.
“Leave, Your Highness, leave.” He clutched his head as he crouched against the wall. He sounded like he was pleading. “Never, ever come back here. Pretend that you never… met me.”
Thales stared at the Knight of Judgment, stunned. ‘I’m safe. But… this is not what I want.’
He watched Zakriel sadly. The man was hysterical a moment ago, and was now on the verge of a complete breakdown.
‘No.’ Thales took a deep breath and clenched his fists.
“You… you can come with us. Leave the Prison of Bones. Although you may not be able to return to the capital, at least—”
Zakriel suddenly sprung up unexpectedly and yelled, “Leave!”
Thales was taken by surprise. Beldin grasped him by the shoulder.
Zakriel flopped back on the ground dejectedly. His voice became downcast, and he sounded like he was pleading.
“Before I lose control… leave. I beg you, Jadestar.”
Thales gazed at him. He remained silent for a few seconds, until Barney Junior coughed lightly behind him.
Thales sighed, turned around, and strode away. ‘It’s over,’ he told himself. But for some unknown reason, he felt no glee inside himself, only a hint of sorrow.
“Wait a minute.”
Everyone shifted their gazes.
Samel was looking at Zakriel when he said these words loudly, “Zakriel, do you plan to stay in the Prison of Bones for the rest of your wretched life?”
The Knight of Judgment did not answer. Samel scowled.
“Good. If you like it here, you’re free to die here. But before that happens, you have to tell me…” Samel clenched his teeth. “Who was it? Eighteen years ago, who was the Jadestar who attempted to usurp the throne?”
This sensitive question made everyone tense up.
However, the dazed Zakriel merely gave a chuckle and shook his head madly. “It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter anymore…”
Samel’s frown deepened. He was obviously unsatisfied. He took a step forward. “You—”
But a hand seized him.
“He’s right, Samel.” Barney Junior exhaled. His voice was laced with contempt towards the past and the lies. “It doesn’t matter who did it… the outcome won’t change.”
Samel was quiet for a moment. Eventually, he grunted and shook off Barney’s arm. He no longer looked at Zakriel.
“Very well. Now we shall?” Barney Junior sighed.
Just as everyone was relieved, Thales exhaled deeply and, all of a sudden, turned around sharply, seemingly determined to do something.
Without hesitation, he walked towards Zakriel once more. Barney Junior could not grab him with his only functioning arm. His face paled.
“Your Highness!” Beldin instinctively attempted to stop Thales.
But Thales raised a hand calmly and stopped everyone from taking any action. “I know what I am doing.”
The teenager exhaled a mouthful of air and walked towards the shivering Zakriel, whose arms were wrapped around his head and was mumbling to himself. The prince squatted down.
“Do you know, my knight?” Thales smiled a kind and doleful smile. “During my journey, I went through a period of despair filled with darkness.”
Zakriel stopped shivering. He lowered his arms to stare at the teenager dumbly, and with confusion.
“During that time, there was a lonely, selfless, unsung hero, who offered me the most generous and sincere blessing.”
In the next second, Thales did something that shocked everyone: He extended his hand and held Zakriel’s head gently.
“And now, in the name of Thales Jadestar…”
Thales delivered his most sincere speech in the softest, gentlest tone.
“I give you his blessing.”
‘Blessing…?’ Zakriel seemed to be stunned. He stared at Thales without moving.
The prince moved his body forward and pressed his forehead against the knight’s. “May the darkness baptize your soul, and may the flames guide your path.”
Thales’ voice was raspy, but there was a strange, hollow quality to it, causing the anxiety in the people watching them to disappear unknowingly.
Thales closed his eyes and pushed his forehead against the hideous brand on Zakriel’s skin.
“Lonely watchman, Zakriel, may you… never be lost.”
At the instant they touched each other, Zakriel shuddered lightly.
Thales felt incredibly calm. Once he was done, he had a feeling that he had become different. But…
“Ah!” He suddenly heard the people behind him simultaneously let out cries of surprise. Thales ignored them. He knew they were quite worried, but he also knew that he was currently very safe.
In Thales’ blind spot, Quick Rope widened his mouth. He saw a faint silver light spread out from Thales’ body, and in his shock, he took a step backwards and crashed into Tardin!
Barney Junior stared at the extraordinary light. He exchanged glances with Beldin in surprise. Barney was rendered speechless.
A few seconds later, in his daze, Thales opened his eyes and stood up. It was only then he noticed that, at some point, the eyes of the guards behind him had widened to stare at him in astonishment.
‘Strange.’ Thales was puzzled. The teenager cast a bewildered gaze at the petrified people. “What’s wrong?”
“You… just now…” Quick Rope covered his mouth exaggeratedly. He mumbled incoherently. The arm he used to point at Thales swayed non-stop. “Oh heavens, Bright Moon Goddess, Lady of Harvests, Maiden Guardian of the Ocean, Desert God…
“Could this be… the legendary royal family-that thing-gold-shining, shining—”
In the next second, Tardin covered Quick Rope’s mouth from behind him.
“It is nothing, Your Highness. He is just a little excited,” Tardin said cautiously.
Under Tardin’s merciless grip, Quick Rope could only go along with the flow and nod, even though he was near tears. Thales shook his head, baffled, but he knew this was not the time for him to look into what was going on with them.
With his body covered in injuries, Thales turned his head around in exhaustion to see the wounded Zakriel sit on the floor, dazed. The man stared at him, incredulous and silent.
‘But, at the very least… the danger is gone.’ Thales thought in his heart. He stared at Zakriel for a while before he finally sighed.
The prince moved towards the other people. Barney and Beldin opened the path for him tacitly. Samel, Tardin, Canon, and Bruley made way for him as well. Quick Rope stood where he was, dumbstruck, but was yanked to the side by Tardin.
Thales limped along the path which the guards had made for him out of respect, and while he did so, he suddenly had the misconception that he was walking into Renaissance Palace.
He smiled in a self-deprecatingly. For some reason, he felt that these people’s attitude towards him had become different; they were now more respectful towards him, but less cordial compared to the moment before he forgave and comforted them.
Thales did not think too much into it. He walked along the path they created for him until he arrived next to Nalgi and Naer’s bodies. “…How do you intend to handle their bodies?”
Barney Junior was stunned for a moment by the question before grief appeared on his face. He then softly and gingerly said, “One of these days, we will return and reclaim all their bodies.”
Thales nodded. ‘Their Bloody Year has come to an end.’
The teenager sighed. He endured the pain in his waist and bent down to pick the green key—the key of the Prison of Bones—off the floor. Thales bared his teeth and massaged his waist, which may have suffered a muscle sprain. He then looked at the people in front of him.
“So, are we all ready to get out of prison?”
Everyone looked at Barney Junior. Barney remained silent for a while before he moved his gaze away from the bodies on the floor. He quietly picked up the longsword and moved beside Beldin so that the latter could support him.
Canon groomed Nalgi and Naer’s remains one last time, nodding as he sobbed through clenched teeth. Bruley kissed the foreheads of the deceased, straightened his armor, and stood up.
Tardin let go of Quick Rope and adjusted the position of his sword. Quick Rope flashed a mouth full of white teeth as he held the Crossbow of Time. He gave Thales a thumbs-up in a ludicrous manner. Samel pulled out the silver longsword that Thales left on the ground, and followed the rest of the group.
Quietly, the wounded, exhausted warriors assembled. Barney Junior glanced around, huffed lightly, and nodded at Thales.
The corners of Thales’ lips turned up slightly, but all of a sudden, his gaze froze.
“Oh, one last thing. Since all of you are still around…”
The prince turned around. While he fingered with the key in his hand, he looked at every dirty and wounded Royal Guard before he said in a ruminating tone,
“TherrenGirana. Have you heard of this name?”
The men were puzzled. Thales glanced at each of their facial expressions. He did not discern any anomalies on their faces.
The teenager frowned and asked again, “I mean, have you heard of this name eighteen years ago, especially before the Bloody Year?”
The others gawked at one another with baffled looks.
At last, perplexed, Beldin asked, “Therren… na? Who is that?”
Thales stared at their faces. He merely heaved a sigh of disappointment.
“My mother.” He shook his head, and eventually gave up on his intention of searching for the key witness from all those years ago. “…Or so they say.”
The rest exchanged astonished glances.
“Never mind that. I was just asking. Since none of you know…”
Without any delay, Thales strode straight towards Samel and raised the key in his hand. With the strangest, most complicated emotion in his heart, he scanned the ancient, lonesome, and dark dungeon. “Come on, let us find your secret exit. We have stayed in this wretched dungeon… long enough.”
Samel stretched his hand, but he did not take the key. “Are you sure you want to go out?”
Thales was slightly startled. “What do you mean?”
Samel shook his head. “I am not sure how capable you are, but if your identity as a calamity is disclosed by the lot of us”—Samel’s expression turned cold—”It does not matter whether you are the prince; many people will want you dead.”
“Samel!” Beldin glanced at Zakriel, who was sitting in a dark corner, and sternly said, “Do not forget that His Highness has saved your life… and ours.”
Samel gave a faint huff. Thales looked at him, then at the others around him.
From the looks in their eyes, he saw not only their respect towards him, but also their fear and dread for their uncertain future.
Of course, all except for one carefree person.
Thales smiled. “That is true. If my identity is revealed, a lot of people will come after me… But you will not. And that is good enough for me,” said the prince indifferently.
In that second, Samel was dumbfounded. His gaze lingered on Thales for a long time. Some of the eyes of the people in the room moved.
Thales snorted a little and shook the key in his hand. “And we should really go.”
Samel stared at the key before he directed his gaze on Thales himself. He seemed a little absentminded. “Yes, we should go now.” Samel nodded coldly, but he retracted his hand and did not bother about the key.
Under Thales’ puzzled gaze, Samel took ten steps forward and headed for an inconspicuous corner in the room. First, he used his longsword to pry off a tile. Then, he bent down, stretched out his hand, and tugged something under the tile.
Just when the people were puzzled by his actions, a change occurred.
Faint rumbling sounds appeared from the floor. Flecks of dust also scattered down from above them, causing Thales and the group to change their expressions!
“What is—” Before Barney could finish speaking, Thales, who had covered his mouth and nose with his hand, discovered the key to the situation.
A dark hole had suddenly appeared at the spot connecting the ceiling and the wall in front of them, while dust continued to rain down from above!
While the group was shocked and bewildered, the tremors continued, and the surface area of the hole above them continued to expand.
By the looks of it, it appeared that the bricks connecting the ceiling and the wall were retreating one by one to slowly reveal a wide, square hole.
What was more amazing was that the bricks moved in a manner like they had reached an agreement before this. They retreated from top to bottom, and each brick moved at a different distance from the others. When they reached the end of their journey, they formed a flight of stone steps that led up. It connected the floor to the ceiling, and the stairs itself was eight to nine people wide. It led to the dark hole leading to the unknown.
Cold wind continued to rush into the hole that was growing larger and larger, causing Thales to shudder.
Ten something seconds passed…
When the tremors completely disappeared, the hole above them was revealed in its final form. The group was stunned.
‘This is…’ In his daze, Thales stared at the stone steps that seemed to have moved to the back on its own.
“I know. Very shocking, isn’t it?” Samel stood beside the newly formed stone steps and said with a sigh, “Such is the miracles made by the wizards. When I first saw it, I reacted the same way as you did.”
Thales sucked in a deep breath. He recovered from his shock and tried to convince himself not to be so stunned. The teenager moved forward.
“Alright, then let’s…” Thales tightened his grip over the key. ‘Wait.’
At that instant, he suddenly understood what was wrong with the situation.
“Samel.” Thales stared at Samel with a dumbfounded expression while the man stood by the stone steps. “You activated the exit without even searching for it? You knew its location since the beginning?”
The prince’s question attracted almost everyone’s attention.
Samel snorted softly. “Indeed, I have known since the beginning.”
Thales was stunned. He tried hard to control his breathing while he lifted the green key with a trembling hand.
“Then why… didn’t you need to use the key?”
Thales’ question caused everyone to realize what was wrong with the situation. Barney’s expression changed.
Samel snorted softly before he turned around. His back was now turned towards the exit and the stone steps. “Because this exit had been opened since an hour ago, before the key fell into your hands,” said Samel expressionlessly.
Thales felt faint. He tried to understand this strange logic. ‘The door that serves as the exit has been opened since a long time ago before the key fell into my hands? Wait, where did I get this key, which was supposed to be able to open every door in the Prison of Bones?
‘That is…’ When he thought of this, Thales could not help but turn pale-faced.
Samel stared into the darkness of the exit and frowned slightly. “They might be a little late and need some reminding…”
Samel tightened his grip over the silver longsword in his hand, and tapped the stone tiles. The blade instantly let out a clear sound that traveled into the empty darkness beyond the exit.
*Ting… Ting… Ting…*
During that moment, Barney Junior and Beldin’s expressions changed!
Samel turned his head around and snorted softly. He did not say anything. Soon, abnormal changes appeared in the room.
The sounds of mysterious footsteps appeared from the darkness in the exit. They traveled into Thales’ ears.
They were right behind Samel.
Barney Junior instinctively took a step forward and formed a two-man formation with Beldin. They protected Thales behind them while the prince was busy being shocked and bewildered. The two guards confronted Samel, who had an odd expression on his face.
*Thud, thud, thud…*
Multiple footsteps appeared, more of them arose, and they grew from faint to loud, far to near; they were once barely distinct, but now they were clear.
Everyone became alert!
“Samel, what did you do?” Barney Junior stared at his former colleague in disbelief. But Samel only stared back at him coldly.
*Thud, thud, thud…*
In the end, a pair of desert boots appeared on top of the stone steps. The owner of those boots walked out of the darkness and continued to move down the stone steps at a leisurely pace.
“Well done, Samel.” A voice—so unfamiliar that Thales had almost forgotten but immediately remembered once he heard it—rose from above those boots. “We waited for so long that I thought you died.”
The voice was composed, but also very cold and indifferent. Samel snorted coldly and did not answer.
Barney Junior and the guards looked at each other in puzzlement, but they did not get their answer. However, they noticed that Prince Thales’ expression had suddenly become unpleasant and surprised.
“So, all of our troubles…”
Those desert boots slowly traveled down the stone steps, and their owner’s figure was gradually revealed. The person with the composed voice continued to speak,
“Shadow Shield, Northlanders, Secret Intelligence Department, your prisoner friends, and that damn masked man… They should have already suffered considerable losses from their fight against each other, right?”
Samel nodded. He ignored the puzzled and disappointed looks from the others around him.
“Of course. The people here are all wounded. They are no longer threats.” Samel swept his gaze over his former colleagues, and he said coldly, “But Shawn did not manage to survive.”
The owner of the desert boots froze for a moment. “Ah, a pity, but we will remember him.”
Barney held his sword with one hand, and was completely on guard. Beldin guarded Thales’ side tightly, and the others went into formation with serious expressions on their faces.
But Thales was completely rooted to the spot. ‘…Impossible.’
The owner of the desert boots finally made it to the bottom of the stairs, and his entire figure was revealed under the firelight.
“No, no.” Thales stared at the person dumbly. “I personally saw you get impaled…”
The owner of the desert boots sighed slowly, as though he was a little displeased.
“Yes, yes, I know.” He sounded like a librarian who had explained the rules of a library countless times to others, but still ran into people who violated the rules on a daily basis. His words were laced with a lackadaisical tone and impatience. “You saw it with your own eyes. I died.”
At the moment the guards were surprised and bewildered, Thales stared at the person who should not appear in this place. ‘Impossible.’
“So, why don’t you take a guess, Prince Thales?” The newcomer spread his arms in a relaxed manner. With the same polite smile as before, he showed Thales his undamaged neck and chin. “Just what kind of existence in this world…”
The newcomer paused for a moment, as if he was enjoying Thales’ reaction, before he continued with a chuckle, “…would not die after he is killed, and would be reborn?”
The newcomer’s chuckles seemed to contain some form of magic, drawing out the deepest fear in Thales’ heart.
‘…would not die after he is killed, and be reborn…’ Thales turned his head stiffly to look at the man on the stone stairs. He felt as if his thoughts had halted. ‘An existence that won’t die even after it’s killed?
‘In this world, that would be… that would be…’
“By the way, thank you for helping me take care of Everlasting Truth.”
Right before Thales’ shocked gaze—his eyes were practically fixed on that man—the newcomer politely and indifferently took the silver longsword Samel handed to him.
‘It’s Ricky,’ Thales thought to himself in confusion and panic. ‘It’s him.’
This person should have died long ago under Yodel’s sword, but right then, the leader of Blood Whistle, Crassus of the Disaster Swords, and the constantly composed Ricky, stood on the stone stairs while he flashed the two lines words engraved on the blade with a streamline design.
*Thud, thud, thud…*
More footsteps appeared from above. The prisoners’ expressions changed.
Right behind Ricky, Klein, Josef, and many of the Disaster Swords who had disappeared from their sights just now walked down the wide stone stairs one after another. They were fully-equipped, and they were watching the heavily injured warriors—who had just fought continuous intense battles.
“But I do remember that you did not manage to understand the engraved words on the sword.” Ricky clicked his tongue and shook his head slowly.
As he stared at Thales, who was utterly baffled, Ricky’s eyes shone with a chilling glare. The man, who seemed to have been resurrected, recited the engraved words on the sword in a completely relaxed tone,
“We struggle endlessly. The truth never dies.”
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