Kingdom's Bloodline Chapter 147
Chapter 147: The Northland Road
Chapter 147: The Northland Road
Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
The archdukes, the devoted vassals by the king's side, even the White Blade Guards and regular Heroic Spirit Palace guards were all staring intently at Archduke Poffret in the meeting hall.
Among them all, King Nuven's stare was particularly terrifying.
He was like the ferocious human-devouring dragon of legends.
Archduke Poffret's entourage were pale. Many of them raised their heads as if they were meeting for the first time. Their eyes were filled with shock and astonishment as they looked at their master in disbelief.
Thales, who was observing all of this sighed softly. "Sometimes, it is not a good thing to be in such a rush."
In the face of it all, the young Archduke Poffret just pursed his lips and said nothing.
The commander of the White Blade Guards and the Star Killer, Nicholas was behind him. He stared coldly at the archduke, his eyes full of disdain. "Apart from that, when our men stationed at the city gate flagged them down
"This group from Beacon Illumination City did not intend to respond peacefully. They immediately drew their swords instead," Nicholas' voice grew fainter as more and more people grew restless. "That was until I personally slaughtered that supreme class fellow."
Poffret's entourage from Beacon Illumination City exchanged unpleasant looks. They gritted their teeth and looked down.
"Conkray? You?" Archduke Olsius looked at Archduke Poffret in a daze. "I thought Beacon Illumination City was the closest in terms of distance, and also Dragon Clouds City's most trusted right-hand"
"Obviously, reality is somewhat different from our assumptions." Next to him, Trentida exhaled. "Take a guess, how will tonight end?"
Right on time, the king's voice rang.
"End?" Nuven the Seventh sneered in a terrifying manner. His eyes were locked on the silent Poffret. "Believe me, everyone
"Tonight's outcome will be very terrible"
No one answered.
Still, Archduke Poffret bowed his head without a word.
With a severely bitter expression, Archduke Roknee resolutely slapped his palm on the table. The impact echoed throughout the hall.
Roknee raised his head and addressed all the archdukes; his voice was laced with disappointment and fury, "We're Northlanders, not conspiring, murdering citizens of the Southern Empire!"
Thales curled his lips and whispered, "Umm, thanks for the compliment."
"Now that this is all out, I must say, it really came as a surprise to me." Archduke Trentida's eyes exuded a slight slyness and playfulness. "Our little guest from Constellation are you really only seven years old?"
Olsius stared at Thales disdainfully. "Little vipers have a special sensitivity towards conspiracy."
Thales took a deep breath.
'Conspiracy? No,' he secretly said in his heart.
'From the assassination of the Eckstedt Diplomat Group to the battle of Constellation and the Dragon, from the battle for Broken Dragon Fortress to the Mystic Gun that shot me, from Lampard to Poffret All the dots are starting to connect.'
Just in time, a wave of fluctuations rushed up his brain, allowing Thales to think more rapidly and clearly. All the different elements and events lined up clearly in front of him like the old times.
"This is not just a simple conspiracy," Thales heard himself say.
"A lot of things have happened at the end of this year." The Second Prince of Constellation closed his eyes as he straightened things out in his head. "For Eckstedt, nothing can surpass the murder of Prince Moriah in Constellation.
"However, that was not an isolated incident. It's part of a terrifying chain of conspiracies that stretch across the Southern Peninsula's two strongest countries."
Scenes of the past resurfaced.
The Duke of the Northern Territory's sinister expression.
King Kessel's unsuppressed roar.
The mixed gazes from the Dukes of Constellation.
The Archduke of the Black Sand Region and his expressionless eyes.
Nuven the Seventh's despair.
And now, the Eckstedtians in Heroic Spirit Palace.
Thales gradually reopened his eyes and they were filled with a sense of heaviness.
"This strategy ingeniously utilized the long-standing relationship between the two countries. And, it was inflated by the Garrison Contract, bilateral conflict and hatred that has been accumulating for several decades.
The executor of this strategy would mold himself into a sharp blade for both countries in an attempt to revamp the structure on each side during unrest. This would in effect, reshape the situation in the entire West Peninsula."
Everyone in the Hall of Heroes had their eyes locked on the Prince of Constellation, even their breathing slowed down.
Behind Thales, the vice diplomat of Constellation, Putray Nemain was the only one who frowned slightly. It looked as if he was worried about something.
"First, he would murder Prince Moriah within the borders of Constellation. That would spark a war between Constellation and Eckstedt. During the internal strife between the Jadestar Royal Family and noblemen of Constellation, both parties would suffer without victory. King Kessel would have to sadly step down in defeat and condemnation. With the support of the people and glory of defeating Eckstedt, the Guardian Duke of the Northern Territory, Val Arunde would then take over authority and the royal crown of the Supreme King of Constellation.
Thales lowered his head and described it all plainly as though it had nothing to do with him.
"Just a butterfly's wings, this is just the one side involving Constellation. As for the one in Eckstedt"
Archduke Poffret unwittingly clenched his fists.
Thales' voice continued indistinctly.
"The passing of Prince Moriah would strip the Walton Family of their hope in crowning a new king, transforming King Nuven's rage into a war-instigating fertilizer. In the name of seeking vengeance for the king, Archduke Lampard would rashly send troops out. In the midst of chaos, coupled with the cooperation of an insider, Lampard would successfully conquer the Northern Territory of Constellation, achieving unprecedented prestige and gain. Finally, the Archduke of the Black Sand Region would return with the glory of battle and overwhelming prestige. He would then be successfully crowned as the common-elected king.
"Once the plan is completed, Constellation and the Dragon would have their masters replaced amid their hatred towards each other, and the nations would be born anew."
Thales paused for a while and finished with, "An elaborate, grand, risky, ambitious, and creative as well as courageous strategy."
The five archdukes exuded mixed feelings.
Roknee had a heavy expression on his face and Olsius thought about what Thales said in shock, while Trentida glanced at the others in the hall, looking askance. The old, bald Lecco just blinked, his expression indistinguishable.
Archduke Poffret's breathing grew heavier.
"A young man with so many thoughts and so much ambition," Archduke Lecco's cloudy eyeballs twitched as he said to Poffret, "But going out of your way to kill the Prince of Constellation has exposed you instead."
Poffret did not answer him. Instead, he just looked at the ground transfixed, as if everything around him did not exist at all.
"I think he did not go out of his wayhe did not have a choice." Thales raised his eyebrows. "It just occurred to me just now: the scene of my murder in front of the fortress was to completely destroy Lampard."
Archduke Lecco turned towards him.
"According to the original plan, Lampard would claim the throne to become King ChapmanI do not know the generation count for this name.
"But you, Archduke Poffret are Eckstedt's most secret ally."
Poffret finally raised his head, but he was not facing anybody in particular.
"The problem is, this plan had already failed from the start." Thales sighed.
"Prince Moriah was murdered, but Constellation's insider failed. My appearance denied the Duke of the Northern Territory any provocation of war as planned." He frowned as he recalled all kinds of things in Renaissance Palace, as well as Sonia and Arracca in the fortress. "Lampard also failed to gather the forces of the three southern archdukes to invade Constellation. Needless to say, he could not take down Broken Dragon Fortressthe war between Constellation and the Dragon was simply not possible!"
"Count Lampard could not achieve the glory of conquering the Northern Territory of Constellation, to retrieve the highly aspired crown."
Archduke Poffret exhaled ever so slightly and a low gasp for breath was heard.
"Even more terrifying with the defeat of Val Arunde in Constellation, Chapman Lampard's conspiracy was exposed." Thales forced a smile. "The raging King Nuven would seek his vengeance, and Lampard as well as the Black Sand Region would pay the price."
"Ah, exactly," King Nuven added without a care. At the end of the long table, he caressed the black ring on his finger.
The archdukes exchanged glances.
Thales nodded. "Hence, Lampard was destined to be finished. His Majesty, Nuven and Dragon Clouds City will not let him go."
Under the watch of the archdukes, he gestured towards the expressionless Poffret.
"If Lampard was really forced to his wit's end, how could his accomplice be fine alone? Judging from Lampard's character, he would certainly drag his accomplice to hell with him." Thales shook his head.
"For his own survival, Archduke Poffret had to act fast in eliminating previous accomplices and potential ones"
The long-haired Roknee snorted.
"If the Prince of Constellation had died in the Black Sand Region, Lampard's reputation would have been smeared with his blood" Thales walked back to Putray's side and sneered. "As for the throne of Constellation, even before King Nuven can act, the Dukes of Constellation would have come in droves, tearing Lampard and the Black Sand Region into pieces. I think the other archdukes would be happy to see that happen too.
"Then, you would be completely safe."
The voice of the Prince of Constellation dropped.
In the hall, many people released sighs of different intents. There was everything from deliberation to pity, grief, dissatisfaction and wrath.
At the next second, the young Archduke Poffret finally turned around. His eyes were no longer gentle and friendly as he glared at Thales up and down. He then resumed his stare at Nuven the Seventh, who was sitting at the end of the table in front of him.
*Clap, clap, clap*
A slow, rhythmic applause began to sound from the end of the long table.
King Nuven had started applauding, but remained expressionless.
Nobody joined him.
"Our guests from Constellation deserve an applause..." the old king applauded as he spoke in a disturbing rhythm and tone.
Thales rolled his eyes begrudgingly. He could feel all the eyes on him. Their stares were heavy with deliberation and fear.
"You too, ally of the Walton Family, leader of the Poffret Family, my most trusted Archduke of Beacon Illumination City, Conkray Poffret."
The eyes of the Common-Elected King of Eckstedt and Archduke of Beacon Illumination City finally met.
One side was filled with complexity and rage, while the other was numb and indifferent.
"Say something, Conkray, before you can no longer speak," King Nuven's voice was heavy and stifled. It echoed in the fire-lit meeting hall, giving people a sense of suffocation.
"At the very least, you can try choosing your own method of execution?"
All of a sudden, Archduke Poffret raised the corner of his mouth. It revealed a shady, yet terrifying smirk.
"Method of execution?" he murmured.
With a face of concern, a disarmed subordinate behind Poffret whispered, "Sir, maybe we should"
The next moment, Poffret turned around. He had furious expression on his face as he spoke coldly to his subordinate, "Shut up."
His follower began to slow down in his speech before he sighed and stopped talking.
Poffret turned back. As his face twitched, he gritted his teeth. His expression successively changed between dissatisfaction and fury.
"Hmph," the young archduke sneered.
"You want me to say something" His laughter extended further.
Thales scowled, while King Nuven's expression remained unchanged.
"Hahaha, what else can I say?" Poffret shook his head sarcastically.
A moment later, he suddenly turned around. His eyes were sharp like a falcon's as he swept his gaze across the hall.
"I do not know what you are talking about," Poffret's indifferent words caused a change in everyone's expressions.
"I received an invitation from His Majesty to come to Dragon Clouds City on the basis of a discussion regarding bilateral issues," Poffret addressed the crowd with a sneer and reached his hand out to Thales. "Then, the common-elected king, whom I respect the most, the one I cannot say no to formed an alliance with the enemy's princethe one he has a deep-seated vendetta against. All that to accuse me of being the murderer of Prince Moriah?"
"And the reason?" With a fierce expression, Poffret jerked his head back, causing Thales to jump in surprise.
"Just because I wanted to leave the banquet early? Because I wanted to rush back to my own territory? Because my people and the White Blade Guards had an unnecessary conflict in the middle of the night? I even had to sacrifice a supreme class guard!"
Poffret gasped for air as he firmly beat his chest.
"Such shameless slander!"
"Screw you, Poffret!" one of the vassals by the king's side spat. "That's a coward's defense!"
"Hey, hey, this is truly unlike the Conkray I once knewthis day has been really full of surprises." Archduke Trentida squinted his eyes and laughed.
"We have heard the child's words and seen your reaction. At this point, is there a need to quibble?" Olsius tightened his brows. "Don't forget, you're a Northlander."
"Quibble?" Poffret raised his voice as he asked. His eyes widened and it made him look insane.
"From the very beginning until now, this damn rascal has only been spouting nonsense!" Poffret pointed at Thales and roared.
"And all you idiots have been made a fool by this one Prince of Constellation, the scum of the Empire!"
Thales shrugged in resignation as he and Putray exchanged glances.
Marquis Shiles cheerfully whispered, "Wow, being able to witness this in the Royal Court of Eckstedt... It is indeed a show worth the expenses of a return trip."
Poffret turned around and out of humiliation, he looked at King Nuven angrily.
"I murdered Prince Moriah?
"I collaborated with Lampard?
"I led the assassination of this rascal?"
The archduke's face twisted as he yelled in fury.
"Is there any evidence!
"Everyone knows that I'm about the same age as Moriah. We were on friendly terms, what reason do I have to murder him?" The young archduke's words caused everyone to look at him askance and frown. They started whispering among themselves. "As you said, Archduke Olsius, the Poffret Family is the strongest ally of the Walton Family!"
Upon watching Archduke Poffret's actions, King Nuven kept silent. Nonetheless, his eyes grew colder.
"And you, Your Majesty, the benevolent yet muddle-headed Nuven the Seventh wish to finish me right here?" Poffret yelled at everyone. "Based on this ridiculous, absurd accusation because I wanted to return to my territory?
"Just because of the nonsense spouted by this damn brat?"
Archduke Poffret gasped heavily. He raised his right index finger and gritted his teeth. "If I die here, the Poffret Family will not forget about it. Beacon Illumination City will not forget
"Northland will not forget!"
Amid the frowning crowd, he roared in insanity.
"Everyone will know about the king who cut off his descendants, that Walton went mad from despair! He believed in treachery as well as his enemies and he persecuted his loyal vassals and friends. Without reason, proof or justification, he accused me, his archduke. Then, he publicly slaughtered me in Dragon Clouds City!
"Everyone will know that this a violation of Raikaru's joint pledge!"
The other archdukes watched his act silently. A sense of grief leaked from their eyes.
Poffret adjusted his breath and threatened with his words, "After I die, my brother will inherit the archduke's position. As for Dragon Clouds City, the Poffret Family will"
But just then, King Nuven applauded again.
He startled Poffret as he interrupted his speech.
"Not a bad attempt," King Nuven's old, heavy voice contained an intense chill. "I always thought you were a polite sissy.
"I've underestimated you. It appears that you are not a bad actordo try attending Dragon Kiss Academy or Dark Night Temple, just not here."
"Pfft, this is just your well-calculated scheme to cast me to my death and cripple the archdukes' powers," Archduke Poffret fiercely replied. "Do you have any other evidence besides assumptions and slander?"
King Nuven sneered.
"Of course, maybe you've lost all sense of reasoning for a long time. You do not care about evidence, or the identity of the murderer. You just want to cripple the powers of us archdukes!"
Poffret raised both arms and flaunted his chest. He gritted his teeth as he stared intently at the king. "What are you waiting for? Come, kill me now!
"Show the Eckstendtians the true colors of their king!"
"When I get to Hell's River, I will tell Moriah that his father went insane after his deaththe Walton Family died out in this generation!" Poffret gnashed his teeth and enunciated each word.
Upon hearing the name of his deceased son, King Nuven slammed his fist on the table.
Poffret ignored him.
"The rest of you sitting in on this trial without evidence, all of you witnessing this will be next!" Poffret turned around and swept his gaze across all the other archdukes. His eyes burned with rage.
Roknee shook his head in disdain as disgust seeped through his eyes.
Bowl Cut Trentida smiled at his best friend, with his smile revealing eight teeth in the process.
Olsius on the other hand, watched the young archduke, feeling speechless.
Archduke Lecco did not even raise his head. It looked like he was particularly interested in the long table before his eyes.
The king's devoted vassals and advisors also appeared as though they were deep in thought.
They were not the only ones who sensed a problem.
Thales, who was spectating also frowned a little. 'Although Poffret seems to be using a quibble as his final struggle, he isn't being unreasonable.
'An archduke comes all the way to Dragon Clouds City, but gets executed by the king'
'What will the people think? How will Beacon Illumination City react? Are the archdukes indifferent about this?
'Plus, although everyone knows it's Poffret...
'There is indeed no evidence.
'Unless Lampard comes forward to plead guilty and identify Poffret.'
Thales' concerned eyes paced between Poffret's taut expression and the old king's severe one.
'The king will recklessly execute'
While everyone was focused on their thoughts, King Nuven finally spoke up.
The old king looked up and bellowed, "Hahahaha"
Poffret was a little startled and the archdukes looked at him in bewilderment.
"When did I start requiring evidence?" Nuven the Seventh slowly raised his voice, "All I need is reason and the truth."
Poffret exhaled through his nose and sneered.
"Hmph, a typical tyrant. Raikaru will be ashamed of you." He squinted. "The vices of this empire have resurfaced in you. Maybe this is"
King Nuven did not let him finish.
The old king clenched his right fist and snorted.
"Before Raikaru Eckstedt's death, his nephew-cum-successor, the future Nuven Walton the First stood before his bed. Under the witness of the Queen of the Sky, he pledged his oath as a successor to Humanity's Hero."
"The final sentence of his pledge became the family motto of the Dragon Spear Family."
Under the scrutiny of the occupants of the hall, Nuven the Seventh lowered his voice. He solemnly said, "That's right... For the children of Northland, take the Northland road."
Archduke Poffret was alarmed and this revealed his doubts.
King Nuven clenched his fists tightly as rays of fury projected from his eyes. Yet, he suppressed his emotions and continued solemnly, "Since we are Northlanders, it is time to take the Northland road."
Everyone's expression collectively changed.
Thales thought of a possibility and his face paled.
King Nuven clapped his hands once more and two sets of footsteps could slowly be heard outside the hall.
Everyone's eyes were engaged by the shadows of the two newcomers.
Thales identified the newcomers, scowling as he looked at Putray.
Putray narrowed his eyes instead, and shook his head slightly.
Poffret stared at the newcomers in a daze.
"Come, meet our dear officer of intelligence," King Nuven raised his hand as he introduced them.
Under Thales' heavy gaze, an old grandmother whom he had met before smiled gently and greeted the archdukes.
The arrival of the Red Witch, the master of the Secret Room caused the archdukes to frown.
'What is the meaning of this?'
Regardless of people's looks, the king pointed at a veiled woman wearing a silver white robe. He coldly said, "And also the Head Priestess of Bright Moon Temple, Juwle Holme."
Thales was stunned.
He saw the symbol on the other party's body. It was a pair of moons embedded together. One of it was a crescent moon, while the other was a full moon.
'The Head Priestess of Bright Moon Temple?'
Priestess Holme was expressionless. It was as if everything around her did not concern her.
However, neither the archdukes nor the king expressed any indignation, as though that was how things were supposed to be in the first place.
Thales could not help but recall the Sunset Temple of Constellation and that Head Ritual Master, Liscia.
'What exactly are the roles they play in this world?'
"What is the meaning of this?" Poffret expressed a gloominess as he stared intently at the king.
"What does this mean?" the elderly King Nuven sneered and slammed his palm on the table. "Naturally, Her Excellency, Priestess Holme is here as a witness It is also nightfall, so there is no better witness than the Bright Moon Goddess herself."
Poffret could seemingly guess by then. The young archduke felt his throat dry up as he hoarsely said, "Witness Witness what?"
The old king revealed a threatening smile and turned to the Prince of Constellation. "Little Thales, watch carefully"
Thales was surprised. He slowly recovered from his own thoughts.
"Ancient Northland ceremonies cannot be proposed casually. In order to achieve effectiveness, it requires a sufficient number of witnesses, sufficient sacred rituals and the witness of arbitrators," King Nuven plainly said.
'Ancient Northland ceremonies?'
Thales looked at the elderly Nuven the Seventh in a daze, feeling shocked for a moment.
'It cannot be?
'Could it be that'
The archdukes and vassals looked equally astonished. Many of them even had panic in their eyes.
"Your Majesty?" a nobleman, who appeared to be an administrative minister began to speak.
But Nuven the Seventh did not give them any opportunities to ask questions.
The next moment, King Nuven's right palm shook as he slapped it against the chair!
Everyone jumped in shock.
Eckstedt's old, nearly-seventy-year-old king suddenly got up. With a face full of hatred and murderous intent, he spoke the following words in his old, thunderous voice, "I, Nuven Raikaru Caen Walton, the seventh Nuven in the genealogy of common-elected kings...
"King of Dragon Knights and Hero Raikaru, the successor of Chara the Hero...
"Suzerain of the Northlanders of the Western Peninsula, the officer guarding the perimeter of the glaciers...
"The Guardian of the Northlanders, Conqueror of the White Mountain...
"The Arbitrator of the Golden Corridor, as well as the Conqueror of Broken Dragon Fortress...
"The forty-fifth Common-Elected King of the Eckstedt Empire and Glacier Quiquer's forty-fifth Archduke of Dragon Clouds City.
"With the Bright Moon Goddess' spokesperson at this Imperial Conference, witnessed by the Archduke of Prestige Orchid, Archduke of Reformation Tower, Archduke of the City of Faraway Prayers, Archduke of Defense City and the sole successor of Constellation"
Not knowing what to do, Thales watched the king's actions vacantly.
Equally shocked were the archdukes, including Poffret himself.
The king continued to speak, his words laced with a chilling rage and pain.
"For my son, the last successor of the Walton Family and Dragon Clouds City, Moriah Bertrand Nuven Walton; for the despicable murder he encountered...
"In the name of the glorious traditions of Northland, and vengeance by a blood relative...
"I order that you participate in a sacred duel.
"Conkray Poffret of Beacon Illumination City"
The elderly king's words were resolute. Looking at the young, dazed archduke, he spat out these final words, "This duel has been ordered in the name of the king.
"You have no option but to accept."