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Kingdom’s Bloodline (Web Novel) - Chapter 500: End of Arc: Duke

Chapter 500: End of Arc: Duke

This chapter is updated by Wuxia.Blog

Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation

The introduction of the knight with chestnut-colored hair made everyone fall silent for a while.

He just sat on his horse in a composed manner, allowing all the people there to size him up. He did not care about the fact that there were dozens of bows still trained on his person.

‘The Royal Guards? The Watchman?’

Thales began to observe the knight who called himself the Watchman of the Royal Guards again. He could not help but compare him with Zakriel.

His figure did not give off the same oppressive presence as Zakriel’s. His expression was not as firm and anguished as the Knight of Judgment’s. On the contrary, despite wearing armor, Mallos appeared polite and elegant. He looked like a good-for-nothing boy from a wealthy family instead of an elite guard.

“Tormond Mallos?”

After mulling over the name for a few seconds, Derek’s gaze became sharp.

Paul continued to frown.

“Derek, this name…”

Derek nodded. He said something to his guard captain, and the Raven Whistlers in the area put away their threatening bows.

The atmosphere grew slightly better.

Nonetheless, Derek never let down his guard. He turned his head around and asked Thales, “Do you know these people?”

Thales resisted the urge to sigh.

‘Come on, I just returned to the country.’

However, the prince still nodded. “Let us take a look.”

Just as he was about to lift the reins and move forward, Derek put a hand over his arm.

“No, Thales.”

Count Kroma’s face was solemn.

“If they are fake, then you must not have any sort of contact with them. If they are real, you will be in a very awkward position. Neither sending us away nor keeping us around will be appropriate courses of action for you.”

Thales narrowed his eyes and stared at Kroma’s serious gaze. “So?”

“I will handle this,” Kroma said softly and released the prince’s arm.

The Count of Wing Fort turned to Mallos.

“You say you are the Watchman of the Royal Guards, but based on what I know, the position of watchman has been empty for many years. The last watchman was appointed before the Bloody Year. The position of the watchman is also unique. They have always been given to people who are of noble character and are worthy of respect—”

Before Derek finished speaking, someone behind Mallos interrupted him. “Your news is behind the times, Count of Western Desert.”

The knight who spoke had short brown hair and a stern face. He seemed to be displeased with the count’s interrogation.

“Lord Mallows was appointed as watchman one year ago. Regardless of whether it is His Majesty, Lord Adrian, or even the entire Imperial Conference, all of them have acknowledged his worth and abilities.”

One year ago…

Thales saw Derek’s expression change.

“Then… why did Lord Adrian or Lord Talon not bring a team here?” the Count of Wing Fort asked in puzzlement.

Mallos smiled, but Thales felt that his smile was just a mere formality.

“The captain and vice captain both have great responsibilities. It is not convenient for them to leave Renaissance Palace as they please.” The knight who addressed himself as a Royal Guard gestured to the twenty-four knights behind him. His expression was calm and indifferent.

“This is a task His Majesty has specially assigned to us.” Mallos retained a polite smile. “I thank Western Desert’s help on behalf of His Majesty, but your mission is over.”

Mallows swept his gaze past each of the soldiers from Western Desert. His tone gradually grew darker, and it suggested no room for argument.

“From now on, we will be fully responsible for all matters regarding His Highness’ return to the kingdom. You may return to your homes now.”

The surrounding Raven Whistlers broke into a displeased commotion.

When they heard Mallos’ seemingly polite but really aggressive words, Derek and Paul scowled together.

Even Thales sighed internally.

‘He’s just causing trouble here.’

“This is a team formed by twenty-eight families from Western Desert, and there are also soldiers from Derek Kroma of Wing Fort, as well as soldiers from Paul Bozdorf of Brave Souls Fort among them.”

Derek spoke slowly and repeated his identity. Thales could hear the displeasure in his words.

“We are currently escorting Prince Thales. If what you say is true, Lord Mallos, I shan’t hold back and invite you to join our group until we reach Eternal Star City and meet the officials who come from Renaissance Palace.” Derek remained expressionless.

A blond knight behind Mallos snickered.

Everyone turned to look at him.

“Based on what I know, six years ago, Chapman Lampard from Black Sand Region also insisted on escorting Prince Thales to Dragon Clouds City with his soldiers.” The blond knight looked at him with an amused expression. He gave off a dignified expression and shook his head repeatedly. “Guess what happened next?”

Derek and Paul were both stunned for a moment before they instinctively looked at Thales.

As the person who experienced it firsthand, Thales’ face instantly turned dark.

Being the leader, Mallos coughed loudly to give his subordinate a warning.

“Doyle, do not speak of national affairs.”

The knight named Doyle raised his eyebrows, but his tone was relaxed.

“Of course, whatever you say.”

Mallos coughed. “Also, be friendlier. Based on your family archives, Count Kroma is your… your… um…”

Mallos stopped speaking for a moment, but Doyle quickly took over the conversation, and he did so with familiar ease.

“The cousin of my grandmother’s brother-in-law’s grandnephew?”

‘What?’

Even Derek was shocked by the revelation.

The entire group went quiet for a few seconds before Doyle smiled and shrugged at the Count of Wing Fort.

“Oh, is it?”

Mallows frowned and sighed, as though he found the relationship troubling.

Derek did not care about the exchange of ridicule between them. He took a deep breath.

“You did not act according to convention and send messengers to communicate with me. Your identity remains doubtful, yet the moment you appear, you want to take the prince away. Out of consideration for his safety, I cannot take any risks.”

After Mallos listened to his words, he did not answer instantly. Instead, he started to think in silence for a little while.

After some time, he made his decision.

“Let us make things clear, Your Grace.”

Mallos cleared his throat, and his expression turned from indifference to sternness.

“I know that you are only concerned about letting the entire capital see you and Prince Thales enter Eternal Star City together so that all of Constellation will know about the relationship between the nobles of Western Desert and the prince, who also happens to be the future king.

“You are not concerned about the prince’s safety.”

Derek and Thales’ expressions changed.

Mallos gave them a fake smile, and his cheek muscles moved up.

“And my job is to stop you from doing that.”

Right when Mallos finished speaking, Derek’s expression turned cold.

The group sank into an oppressive silence again.

The Raven Whistlers stared at the uninvited guests. Their gazes were hostile.

Paul said something. The dozens of Black Lion Infantry who rushed forward from the back got into formation based on the Raven Whistlers’ location with well-practiced ease.

Mallos and his knights’ eyes sparkled brightly. They did not show any weakness even though they were fewer in number.

That caused Thales to feel a headache bloom in his head.

Finally, Derek spoke softly while he still looked as if he was deep in thought.

“All right, at least you are very straightforward and honest.”

Mallos met his gaze, resulting in an invisible pressure to spread out.

Derek narrowed his eyes.

“And if we say no?”

He stared at the Royal Guards and sized them up, from their steeds to their equipment. There was a threatening tone in his voice.

“What can you and your companions do?”

Right after he said that, the oppressive atmosphere instantly became tense!

The companions behind Mallos even lifted their capes together and pressed down on their weapons.

However, just as Thales wondered if he should say something, Mallos turned around and cast his companions one glance, managing to appease them.

“I have to admit, I lack experience, and my abilities are limited.” The brunet knight turned his head around. His voice was calm and peaceful.

“Indeed, I… do not have confidence in winning in the face of your Raven Whistlers, not when you have the numbers and fighting power.”

Paul huffed next to Thales.

Derek did not say a single word.

Meanwhile, Mallos only smiled slightly. His smile even looked a little resigned.

“But you must understand, if anything happens to us, his loyal personal guards, and His Majesty’s reputation is damaged…” The next second, Mallos changed the content of his speech, though Mallos did not change his tone, and his smile remained unchanged. “In one hour, the nine hundred rotating soldiers among the regular soldiers of the Royal Family stationed in Central Territory under the Kingdom’s Wrath behind us, as well as the one thousand rotating soldiers among the regular soldiers of the Royal Family stationed in Northern Territory under the Fortress Family, will speed up to get here once they receive the news. Among them are nearly three hundred cavaliers. They will envelop the area from behind him, and with their numbers and their advantage in their experience, they will force all of you back, close to the supply point, after you have traveled a long way to this place. You will be forced back to Blessings Town.”

Thales was stunned.

Paul’s face was pale.

Derek also scowled.

Mallos patted his steed gently to appease its unease born because of the hostility it had to face. He continued to speak, “Two hours later, Blade Fangs Camp will also receive the news. The regular soldiers of the Royal Family in Western Desert who are on active duty, and by the way, please take note that I am talking about the three thousand to four thousand soldiers ‘on active duty’. All of them are elite soldiers who form the main force. Among them are one thousand to two thousand cavaliers, and they will attack from the camp under the Legendary Wing’s lead. They will attack Blessings Town from the east, and they will fight to unite with their allies before dusk.”

Derek and Paul looked at each other before they exchanged worried glances at each other.

Mallos’ tone was moderate. His words drifted about in the air. His attitude also spoke of carelessness and relaxation as if he was talking about domestic matters.

However, the Raven Whistlers and the Black Lion Infantry were clearly affected. They began to whisper to each other.

“And today, before nightfall, the rotating soldiers and soldiers on active duty from the three regular armies will have the elites from the Kingdom’s Wrath, Starlight Brigade, and Stardust Unit. They will flank you from both sides with a two-pronged attack. They will turn all of you and Blessings Town into history lesson material in Western Desert and the kingdom itself.”

Thales took a deep breath.

Mallos’ tone grew sarcastic, and his posture made him appear even more indifferent, but the words he said became even more direct.

“Nevertheless, if we take into consideration that the Kingdom’s Wrath and the Fortress Flower will not be here, the supreme commander will be the Legendary Wing. Then, I guess that only Blessings Town will turn into historic material, and you will not. Congratulations, because all of you, or rather, the people who are beautiful enough, will be added to Williams’ head collection, and you will be placed in his museum so that he can add more color to his art collection.”

Thales seemingly remembered something, and he wore a strange expression.

Paul could no longer hold it in.

“You…”

But Derek pushed him down.

Mallos used a whistle to calm his steed. He did not even look to his front but only continued with his systematically-arranged words.

“Then after two days, this big piece of news will reach the entire kingdom. ‘After the chaos in Blade Fangs Camp, the terrifying orcs and Barren Bone people passed through the defense line and encountered the team escorting the prince back to the country. The loyal and elite forces from Wing Fort and Brave Souls Fort fought to the death to protect the prince. They defended Blessings Town for one day and one night. The two young and handsome men from Kroma Family and Bozdorf Family were loyal, but died regrettably.’ However, at least you’ll die protecting the prince.”

He finally raised his eyes to look straight into Derek’s eyes. He even shrugged, while Derek now had a dark look on his face.

“Hence, His Majesty will write you an elegy as he weeps. He will even build a monument for you. From then on, he will go all out to make his country stronger and more prosperous so that he can bring the blessings of the country to all of you unfortunate nobles sooner. He will then be able to make the nobles experience Constellation’s glory. The prince will feel grateful, and for the rest of his life, he will remember your loyalty and passion at every moment.”

Mallos narrowed his eyes.

“Then, from that day onwards, the people from Western Desert will be free from the threat of the desert. Blade Fangs Camp will have its vitality restored. The suzerains who inherit the land will be a lot more benevolent, they will be wiser, loyal, and amiable than all its former suzerains. The king’s rewards will benefit the people, and everyone will live as well as work in peace. They will live happily forever after. How does that sound?”

Right after he finished speaking, the group fell into dead silence.

Quite a number of Raven Whistlers and infantry began to look at their suzerains.

Paul was so angry that he trembled.

Derek’s expression turned even darker.

“Good story.”

The Count of Wing Fort spoke coldly. His voice had changed slightly, and his gaze on Mallos also changed.

“But the problem is, how confident are you about surviving and going back to report this matter under the pursuit of all my five hundred Raven Whistle Light Cavaliers?”

In the next moment, the Raven Whistlers came to a tacit understanding before they lifted their bows and arrows. They did not even need any commands, they just aimed at their targets!

Thales’ heart froze!

During the tensest moment, Mallos smiled.

Facing Derek’s ill-intentioned gaze, he lifted his cloak, held his sword handle with his right hand, and placed his left hand on the shield beside his saddle.

“Indeed, I do not have much confidence. Perhaps…” Mallos narrowed his eyes, and his tone made him sound as if he was uncertain. “I only have a fifty-fifty chance of escaping.”

In the next moment, the demeanor of the twenty-four people behind Mallos changed. They pressed down on their swords and held up their shields uniformly!

“Hey, everyone!” Thales could no longer hold it in. He cried out loud and stood up on his stirrup pads at the same time. Then, he revealed himself above the Raven Whistlers, who originally hid him behind them in a tight formation.

“Before you draw your swords, please remember that I am still here!”

The prince swung his hand and attracted everyone’s attention in hopes that they would reduce their hostility a little.

Fortunately, this brought about a little effect. The crowd fell so silent that not a single peep could be heard.

Most of them looked at the teenager.

Derek understood what the prince meant. With a straight face, he got his soldiers to stop displaying hostility.

Mallos stared at Thales and remained quiet for a long time.

Thales gave him an awkward smile. He could sense his legs becoming slightly numb because of how he stood in a bowlegged manner. “Thank you, gentlemen. We can now talk properly—”

“Hmm, so…:

Mallos watched Thales and contemplated for a moment. Then, he put on a puzzled expression.

“Who are you?”

Thales’ smile instantly froze.

‘What?’

His eyelids began twitching.

A second later, when he saw Thales’ expression, Mallos smiled.

“Hahahahaha.” The brunet knight laughed out loud. “It was just a joke. Please do not take it to heart.”

Before Thales could react, Mallos’ smile fell. He schooled his expression, pushed his hand against his chest, and bowed respectfully on his horse.

“Honorable Prince Thales, I, Tormond Mallos, Watchman of the Royal Guards, and my colleagues are honored to become your personal guards on behalf of His Majesty’s orders.”

Once their leader did that, the twenty-four knights behind him acted at the same time. They, too, bowed on their horses.

“From this moment until the moment we die.”

‘Wow.’

When he saw them perform textbook-example salutes and conducted themselves according to the writings in the textbooks, Thales began to slightly believe in their statuses even though he originally wanted to make them recite the Royal Guards’ oath.

“Oh, thank you, Tormo…. Mallos.”

Thales rapidly alternated between feeling awkward and relief, but he could not quite handle this sort of situation. He laughed dryly and waved his hand to signal them to straighten their bodies.

“But please, lower your hostility. This is not a major problem. We will definitely be able to find a common ground.”

However, it seemed like Mallos wanted to intentionally keep him in a perpetual state of worry.

“Yes, it is time to remove yourself from a life of living under someone else’s roof. You should leave these ambitious people with ill intentions and return to your family’s protection.”

The same time he said that, Mallos seemingly glanced at Derek by pure accident when he straightened his back.

His words made Derek extremely angry.

“I believe that you are wise enough, Your Highness. You do not need anyone else bewitching you and guiding your actions.” Mallos smiled. “Hurry up, Your Grace. Do you want to fight or surrender? What are you waiting for, His Majesty’s certificate of appreciation?”

The gazes from both parties became as sharp as the glare from their weapons again.

All of Thales’ efforts were in vain. He sat down on his saddle, and he felt his head and butt ache at the same time.

But at that moment, Thales heard something.

By his side, Paul’s expression changed. “Derek, that’s…”

The group on the Count of Wing Fort’s side suddenly burst into a commotion.

*Rumble…*

Very soon, Thales also saw a number of huge flags appear behind the Royal Guards on the Avenue of Blessings. They were accompanied by indistinct figures and horse hooves that rose and fell.

A group of people had arrived.

“Fury Banners.” Derek stared into the distance. He looked a little disappointed. “They are the regular soldiers from Central Territory stationed at the borders of Eternal Star City. They belong to the Kingdom’s Wrath.”

Thales’ expression changed.

The Raven Whistlers and infantry began to whisper to each other.

“There is also the Starlight Banner.”

Thales stared at the banner he once saw before.

“It is the regular soldiers from Northern Territory, who act as reserve forces in Broken Dragon Fortress, and they are led by the Fortress Flower.”

Derek’s expression grew even more unpleasant.

“Looks like he wasn’t lying,” Derek said mockingly. He waved his hand and gestured at his Raven Whistlers to stand down from their battle positions. “It does raise enthusiasm and spirit in the people’s hearts, does it not?”

Paul did the same thing to his infantry, but he simultaneously said with uncertainty, “They could be here to support the Western Frontlines and switch defenses with Blade Fangs Camp.”

Derek tutted. “Then they have arrived very quickly. It has only been a few days since the accident befell the camp.”

Thales wisely chose not to butt in.

Shortly after, the group from the distance arrived before them.

That was a group consisting of nearly one hundred cavaliers. They had different banners, and they surrounded a carriage pulled by two horses at the center.

They arrived next to the Royal Guards, and while their figures and movements were not as fierce and swift as the Royal Guards’, not to mention, their equipment and steeds were not as good as the Royal Guards’, their movements were uniform and orderly.

“Thank goodness”—the blond Doyle sighed—”the one in charge is here.”

Very soon, the simple carriage that arrived along the group stopped beside the Royal Guards right before the crowd’s eyes.

A gentle and stable voice rose steadily from the carriage.

“Good morning, everyone.”

When he heard the voice, Thales’ breathing slowly increased.

“You left a little too quickly, Lord Mallos.” The person in the carriage seemed to be very resigned. “Count Loz has been grumbling about us riding forward day and night. This will waste away the soldiers’ stamina.”

Even though he was interrogated, Mallos only curled his lips upward and turned his horse to the carriage.

“Thank goodness you arrived soon, Your Grace.” His voice was as indifferent as ever, but he nodded and saluted the carriage as per habit. “I was worried that I would be mistaken as a kidnapper.”

In the next second, as laughter rang out of the carriage, the owner of the carriage pushed the door open and stepped on the ground.

The moment he saw the person, Thales exhaled slowly and was completely at ease.

It was as if the journey, which had started a long time ago, had finally come to an end.

“All is well now, Derek.” Thales instinctively comforted the Count of Wing Fort. He could not help but smile. “We are fine now.”

The person who got down from the carriage still had firm footsteps. His posture spoke of cordiality. He held the staff he was used to holding and ignored the confrontational atmosphere on both sides. He went naturally to Mallos’ side and looked at Thales from afar.

He stared at him for a few seconds, and his gaze was a mixture of cordiality, shock, regret, and other emotions.

The crowd fell silent. No one spoke.

The prince calmly endured his gaze.

However, just as he was about to smile subconsciously, Thales noticed that his cheek muscles were a little tense.

Finally, the person heaved a long sigh, and he revealed a gratified smile.

“You look very lively, my young sir.” The middle-aged man’s voice quivered a little.

The instant he heard that address, Thales felt like he was hearing echoes by his ears, and he had returned to the past.

But this time…

Thales quietly stared at the middle-aged noble before him.

He noticed that while his smile was the same as before and his politeness was befitting of his status, there were now gray spots around his temples. Plus, the wrinkles by the corners of his eyes were even more obvious. The skin on his face had become lax and sunken.

Even his back… had become bent, courtesy of the gift of time.

Thales felt a little down in spirits.

Despite that, he still took a deep breath in the end and schooled his expression, even though it was difficult for him to control it. He pushed down the countless emotions that rose in his heart and tried his best to use his steadiest, most enthusiastic, and most relaxed tone to speak softly, “Same to you. I am very happy to meet you again, Gilbert.” The prince smiled brilliantly.

The area was very quiet. Neither side made a sound.

Then, the middle-aged noble, Constellation’s Cunning Fox, Honorary Count Gilbert Caso nodded slowly.

“It is the same for me, young sir.” The intonation in Gilbert’s voice became even more prominent. “I mean, Your Highness…”

However, his voice died away halfway.

Gilbert first raised his head, blinked a few times, and took a few deep breaths before his voice returned to normal.

“It is the same for me.”

Neither of them said much in the short and simple reunion. They only engaged in the simplest small talk before they looked away.

“Good morning.” On the other side, Derek nodded slightly at Gilbert with a stern countenance. His tone held a respect and solemnity that was completely different when he faced the prince. “Count Caso.”

Gilbert replied to his greeting with a smile. He appeared amiable and dependable.

“Count Kroma, I am very happy to see that you are on friendly terms with His Highness.”

Constellation’s Cunning Fox may have been standing on the ground, but no one thought that he was at a disadvantage.

“You must be the representative of Count Bozdorf.”

By the side, Paul had a sullen expression.

“I am his heir.”

Gilbert smiled politely, just as usual.

“Of course.”

Once Gilbert arrived, Mallos went back to the unconcerned attitude he adopted when he first met them. It appeared that he intended to hand over all negotiations to the honorary count.

And the facts proved that there was no problem in his choice.

Derek sighed. Right at the second he was about to speak, Constellation’s Cunning Fox already seized the right to speak from him.

“Your Highness, My Lords.” Gilbert nodded at the commanders in the area. His smile was warm and friendly. “Since we are all here and since there are so many witnesses around, I shall begin.”

Paul, who had been staring at the regular soldiers from the Royal Family warily, frowned.

Even Thales was stunned.

“Begin?”

Paul turned his head around, puzzled.

“Derek?”

But Derek only shook his head.

In the next moment, Gilbert’s expression became stern. He used his arm to clamp down on his staff, and he brought out a rather huge scroll with exquisite decorations from his bosom. He opened it elegantly and with well-practiced ease.

Derek’s eyebrows twitched.

At the back of the scroll was the nine-pointed star emblem. It stood out impressively at the back of the scroll.

Gilbert cleared his throat. His figure was straight, his posture was at ease, his voice was bright and relaxed. There was a faint and hidden awe-inspiring tone in his voice, and it was impossible to ignore it.

“With the protection of the Sunset Goddess and the witness of all late kings, Kessel Jadestar the Fifth, thirty-ninth Supreme King of Constellation, Southern Islands, Western Desert, the legitimate bloodline of the Final Empire, the heir of the King of Renaissance, Tormond, the suzerain of the Rudollians and Northlanders in the Western Peninsula, the conqueror of the Dragon Skeleton Throne and the Desert God’s Altar, the guardian of the Sacred Tree and Sera Dukedom, and the guard of Steel City and the Alliance of Freedom, I will now announce to all Constellatiates and all the people before this warrant…”

Everyone in the area moved slightly, and they let out low but restrained whispers.

Gilbert did not care about that. He only stared at the scroll in his hands, and his expression was stern and respectful.

“On the 19th of August in the Year 679 on Constellation’s Calendar of Eradication, during the eighteenth year of the honorable King Kessel the Fifth’s rule, after a period of thorough and detailed consideration, he will, with enthusiasm, give out praises and rewards in approval to a man who has performed a sufficient number of meritorious deeds, and whose status matches the rewards he is to be given.”

Gilbert paused for a moment, as though he was waiting for something. He looked around the crowd.

Thales’ breathing began to quicken.

All the people there fell silent.

Once the crowd was completely silent, the Cunning Fox spoke again and recited that name.

“Thales T.K. Jadestar.”

At that moment, Derek, Paul, Mallos, and the others’ expressions differed.

Thales had predicted it. He sucked in a deep breath. He already did not know what sort of expression he should have.

“This noble and knight had, in a virtuous move, sacrificed his rights as a prince for the past six years, and he valiantly protected the safety of the northern part of the country. He selflessly protected the welfare of millions of citizens. He guarded the dignity of Constellation in a respectable manner…”

When he said that, Gilbert spoke in measured tones, and his emotions were turbulent.

He paused for a moment again before he took a deep breath. Then, he continued to recite the warrant before the crowd’s complicated, shocked, excited, and nervous gazes.

“Hence, he and his legitimate heir will be given the right to rule over Star Lake Fortress and all the cities as well as land affiliated to it. This right will be inherited by his bloodline. He will be given the noble duty of collecting taxes and making the people do corvée. From now on, he will be the Duke of Star Lake.”

At that moment, the crowd was so silent that one could hear a pin drop.

Countless gazes simultaneously moved away from Gilbert and landed on the teenager atop the horse.

Thales only stared at Gilbert in a daze.

‘What?’

He had nothing to say as a response, and no emotion to show.

“This promise and warrant has been witnessed by the entire kingdom. It will be effective immediately and will last for eternity.”

Gilbert looked at the reactions of the crowd in satisfaction. He put away the scroll slowly and smiled again.

“That is all.”

A few seconds later, as the first depressed gasp rose, life returned to that section in the Avenue of Blessings.

Derek closed his eyes and exhaled loudly.

Paul’s expression as he stared at Thales was very strange.

Mallos exchanged glances with his comrades. He still looked as relaxed as ever.

“This official announcement will be delivered to all of Constellation along with the public warrant.” With a friendly expression, Gilbert looked at the Count of Wing Fort, who had a complicated expression on his face. “Of course, this includes all of Western Desert and your territories, My Lords.”

Derek tightened his grip over his reins. He did not open his eyes.

“Now, Count Kroma, and you, Paul…” Gilbert put on his signature, perfect smile. For the first time, he looked at the hundreds of Raven Whistle Light Cavaliers, which had an astonishing presence, and he wore a very concerned expression.

“I believe that the Duke of Star Lake will very much welcome you to join his group so that he can enjoy your company.”

Thales instinctively looked at Derek.

The Count of Wing Fort still had his eyes shut, and he remained silent for a long time.

A few seconds later, Derek gradually opened his eyes.

“No, there is no need to. I believe our mission has already been completed, Paul.”

This time, Derek’s expression was incredibly cold, and he sounded feeble.

“We should leave.”

Gilbert did not say anything. He only smiled again and elegantly nodded in a manner befitting his position to show that he understood.

Thales stared at him blankly. He was at a loss.

“Derek…”

Derek sighed and made a gesture.

The batches of Raven Whistle Light Cavaliers reacted as swiftly as shocked ravens. They simultaneously tugged at their reins and turned around to leave the area.

*Rumble…*

For a period of time, horse hooves rose up and down on the avenue, and dust rolled off the path.

With great reluctance in his heart, Paul tugged his reins and left as well.

Derek paused for a moment. Among the piercing sounds of horse hooves, he extended his hand to Thales.

The prince had yet to return to his senses. He instinctively held Derek’s hand, but he was tugged before him.

“Take care, Your Highness.” Derek’s grip was tight. With a stern face, he drew closer to the prince’s ears and whispered, “And, Thales, please remember our promise.”

Thales was stunned.

“Promise?” he asked, puzzled.

“Yes.”

This time, Derek’s voice was deep and dignified, just like his expression.

“Six years ago, when your carriage left the capital and went north to Eckstedt, we made a promise to you,” the owner of the Single-Winged Crow, the Count of Wing Fort whispered in the teenager’s ear.

‘Six years ago, left the capital, went north to Eckstedt, their promise.’

That instant, Thales was stunned, because he remembered something.

Thales raised his head swiftly and stared at him in shock.

“You… You?”

The count let go and nodded firmly with a resolute expression.

“It is still in effect.”

In the next moment, before Thales could react, Derek clamped down on his horse’s belly, and with a loud cry, he turned his horse around to join his “Raven Leader”.

They galloped away.

*Rumble…*

Thales sat alone on his horse and stared at the leaving Derek in a daze.

On the other side, Mallos quirked his eyebrows. He flung his hand as well, and the Royal Guards along with the regular soldiers swiftly came forward to envelop the prince.

*Rumble…*

Endless sounds of horse hooves were divided into two waves. One of them left, and the other entered the fray.

However, Thales remained stunned on the spot.

The teenager was a little absentminded due to the shock from the continuous stream of news. He could only lower his head. His mind was in chaos, and he only relied on his ears to sense all that happened around him.

Behind him, the dark mass of Raven Whistle Light Cavaliers and Black Lion Infantry left his side. They turned left and took a semi-circle turn before they returned to the path where they came from. With the sounds of steps as loud as war drums, they created an endless wave that came from their black feet.

*Click-clack…*

Before him, the bright Royal Guards and regular soldiers aprroached him from the right to fill up the empty space, which had been freed up by his side. The hooves of their horses kicked off the ground, and their armor was bright, creating a bright, piercing, and cold light.

If anyone looked at the scene from above, they would find that the groups moved like two fierce waves of two different colors—black and white. They clashed into each other in that majestic whirlpool, but separated from each other at the center.

The waves billowed, but the distinction between them was clear.

Only Thales remained like a small spot on the ground, which practically could not be seen. He stood dazed at the center of those two huge waves to welcome their division.

He was all alone, lost, and insignificant.

After a long period of time, the familiar and gentle voice rang by his ears.

“Now, please come with me.”

Thales raised his head with an absentminded look.

Gilbert was right in front of him. With watery eyes and a quivering voice, he uttered Thales’ new address.

“Honorable Duke Thales.”

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