Kingdom's Bloodline Chapter 217
Chapter 217: A Very Big Problem
Chapter 217: A Very Big Problem
Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
"Don't move, madam," Nicholas said coldly to Calshan, who was in front of him. "I'm quite anxious and am quite afraid that you would whip out some special Alchemy Ball. So I am prepared to slit your throat open at any time."
He tapped the back of his blade with his index finger.
The Red Witch's shoulders sunk upon hearing this. She went quiet.
Thales stared at Nicholas, shocked by his sudden appearance, and then at the other White Blade Guards.
"Nicholas?" He stared in puzzlement at the Star Killer who held the Red Witch at knifepoint. "Why are you—"
However, Thales didn't get to continue as Tolja tightened his grip on Thales' shoulder. Thales hissed in pain.
When he saw this, Wya became so angry that he gripped his sword tightly.
Tolja grazed the back of his blade across Thales' neck, forcing Thales to raise his head as high as possible. The boy observed the situation in pain. Tolja was with him inside the innermost part of the cell, and Little Rascal was behind them.
The Constellatiates stood in front of them and stared anxiously at the prince who was being held hostage.
On the other hand, Nicholas stood behind the Constellatiates, restraining the Red Witch. The White Blade Guards were behind Nicholas, standing firmly beside the thick doors, and vigilantly watched for soldiers outside.
"Beautiful movements, Star Killer," the Fire Knight of Black Sand Region said calmly to Nicholas, "But don't forget that the bargaining chip in my hands is more important."
The Star Killer tilted his head and shot a disdainful look at Tolja.
"Then go ahead and kill the prince." Nicholas snorted softly. "I have disliked him for a long time anyway."
Thales widened his eyes. 'Wha-What?'
Tolja furrowed his brow.
"After you're done…" Nicholas moved the Severing Souls Blade on Calshan's neck slightly. It reflected the light from the Everlasting Lamps. Nicholas smiled faintly. "Perhaps they can give you a different nickname, such as…"
The Star Killer swept his gaze over Thales, then gave the Fire Knight an obscure smile. "...The Second Star Killer?"
Tolja's eyes were almost burning as he glared fiercely at Nicholas.
"That's our prince." Kohen observed the deadlock for a while, then exchanged a worried glance with Wya and said in a soft voice, "Are we just going to stand and watch?"
"What else?" Miranda stared at Raphael who stood beside Nicholas, then at Tolja and Thales behind them. She surveyed the stalemate between the White Blade Guards and their opponents and sighed softly. "The battle is not ours anymore."
At this moment, the Red Witch opened her mouth to speak.
"The Dragon's Imperial Guards of Eckstedt, the White Blade Guards," she said softly, "All of you are standing on the wrong side of the battle."
Calshan did not seem to care at all that there was a blade pointing at her jugular vein. She smiled and said in a natural and smooth manner, "Your opponents are those people behind you, the Citizens of the Empire."
Nicholas raised his brow a little.
The Red Witch sighed softly, as if feeling deep regret. "Their Kingdom's Secret Intelligence Department planned all of this, including the calamity, and the king's death."
The expressions of all the Constellatiates, including Thales' changed.
'Fine… Calshan isn't wrong,' Thales thought nervously. The second prince glanced worriedly at the White Blade Guards, but their expressions were hidden behind their scarves. Only their grim eyes were visible.
Raphael stood beside Nicholas and sighed softly. "Oh, about that… It's very complicated. But for now…"
He went towards the two and leveled Nicholas a serious look. He eyed the blade in Nicholas' hand that was pointed at Calshan's throat. "...Shouldn't we think of a way to escape first?"
Nicholas suddenly turned his head to look at the young man from the Secret Intelligence Department. His gaze was cold. Raphael faked a relaxed smile as he endured the sharp glare. "You know, the heiress of the Walton Family is here too. This is probably not a good time to talk, especially not to the Red Witch who's full of lies."
Nicholas looked at the innermost part of the prison cell. Little Rascal froze momentarily. It took her a while to realize that Raphael was talking about her. She turned pale involuntarily.
Nicholas' gaze was cold, and his tone was strict. "The lad from the Secret Intelligence Department, if you really intend to help… don't get in my way."
Raphael sighed faintly.
"Otherwise," the Star Killer said in a forceful tone, "Do you want to be trapped here? They might bury your ashes right beneath this gatehouse."
Raphael was silent for a moment. He glanced at Tolja and Thales behind him, then at Nicholas and the Red Witch in front of him. He raised his eyebrows slightly. "I understand."
At this moment, Thales raised his own eyebrows—he saw Ralf signalling subtly at him.
Thales went still for a moment.
"For our late king's sake, Lord Nicholas," the Red Witch said slowly, "Don't do anything stupid."
Nicholas looked around and rested his gaze on Raphael and the Red Witch for a second each.
"Madam Calshan, we don't need you to tell us what to do." The Star Killer snorted coldly, but his gaze was fierce. "Only blood can cleanse the White Blade Disgrace."
The sound of palms rubbing on hilts came from the hands of the White Blade Guards. Calshan's gaze became sharp. She shouted, "So, what are you all going to do now?"
There was a hint of coldness rarely heard in the Red Witch's voice. "After the unfortunate death of our king, Eckstedt is going through a rare disaster. All of you should stand by the kingdom, by the Northlanders… Instead of working hand in hand with our enemy!"
Calshan's words echoed in the prison.
Held at knifepoint by Tolja, Thales exhaled while trembling in fear.
Nicholas suddenly laughed. His laughter was cool and taunting.
"Eckstedt's disaster? Our enemy?" The Star Killer gritted his teeth. The chill in his gaze was threatening. "Don't act as though you're so righteous, you hypocritical old woman. You betrayed His Majesty the moment your men began spreading false information about the so-called Disaster Swords and diverted His Majesty's attention so that Lampard could take action!"
The Red Witch narrowed her eyes.
"The way you and your spies worked together with His Majesty's enemy and feigned ignorance for what Black Sand Region was doing until His Majesty died in that disgraceful assassination... until our enemies are standing in Dragon Clouds City," Nicholas said coldly beside Calshan's ear, "Who did you think that my White Blade Guards brothers had to run for their lives from?"
The White Blade Guards moved as one. They turned their sides towards their opponents. Their sudden movements made the soldiers of Black Sand Region even more anxious.
"About this, if you are willing..." Staring at the blade in front of her neck, the Red Witch said flatly, "I swear in the name of the Secret Room that I can explain."
Nicholas made a vague sound through his nose.
"Why don't you explain this to His Majesty?" The Star Killer narrowed his eyes. "Oh, I forgot… He was killed thanks to you and Lampard!"
The moment he said those words, the tense atmosphere in the prison grew even more.
"Do not be so narrow-minded, Lord Nicholas." The Red Witch showed a sorrowful expression. Her gaze shifted onto Tolja and Thales. "The White Blade Guards has never been anyone's personal possession. All of you should be loyal to Eckstedt, to Northland—"
Nicholas cut her off. "I'm not the narrow-minded one."
The Star Killer's tone was ice-cold. "If you and your Secret Room cannot even be loyal to one person… don't be a hypocrite claiming that you are loyal to Eckstedt."
Madam Calshan wrinkled her brow a little. "You—"
Then, something unexpected happened: Nicholas placed his left hand on Calshan's back and pushed her forward!
Tolja's pupils immediately constricted.
Raphael, who stood in the middle, suddenly pushed Miranda, Kohen, Wya, and the others away, making way for the Red Witch flawlessly.
Shocked, the Red Witch was pushed towards the innermost part of the cell towards Tolja and Thales.
Thales stared at Madam Calshan who staggered towards them and the Constellatiates who made way for her. He suddenly understood everything clearly. He recalled Raphael's conversation with Nicholas just now—they were communicating about their plans.
"If you really intend to help… don't get in my way."
Tolja watched in shock as the Constellatiates made way. And as the Red Witch approached… He hesitated for a moment…
… until Nicholas appeared behind Calshan with a grim expression.
The Star Killer stirred up the wind with his weapon, not holding back at all. He swung it from above... towards the Red Witch's head.
It was as though he was going to take her life right then and there. Tolja did not hesitate anymore.
Still holding on to Thales tightly, he moved to where Nicholas and the Red Witch were.
The Fire Knight restrained Thales with his left hand and parried the Star Killer's blade that was about to deal the Red Witch a fatal strike. That was when the Red Witch finally steadied herself beside Tolja. Her eyebrows were drawn together.
But in the next moment, Nicholas' eyes suddenly shone with a brilliant spark that had never been seen on him before.
"Aaaaahh!" the Star Killer roared furiously. A massive power rushed out of his hands.
The Fire Knight's golden saber rang immediately with the sharp sound of metal grinding against each other. Tolja fended off the enemy with one hand and his expression changed. In that second, he decidedly let go of Thales. He held the hilt of his saber with both hands and parried Nicholas' powerful strike.
Free from constraints, Thales did not care about what went on. He followed the signal Ralf gave him and rolled backwards with his teeth clenched and eyes closed.
He bumped into Little Rascal—who came to assist him—and together, they crashed into the wall.
Flustered, Thales paid no more attention to the situation. He thought about the conversation just now between Raphael and Nicholas.
They had spoken more than that one sentence.
'"Do you want to be trapped here?"'
The moment this thought came to Thales' mind, the boy felt the ground beneath him shake.
Little Rascal hugged him. She asked in shock, "What's going on?"
He did not know how to answer her… nor did he have the chance to.
A massive sound of dirt and gravel exploding rang out. The ground beneath Thales and Little Rascal suddenly sank and cracked open.
'Again?!' This thought appeared in Thales' mind. The next moment, both of them fell into the cracked and sunken ground.
He wondered if it was Ralf's Psionic ability or the explosion, but the air in the cell howled again. Dust swirled in the air and obscured everyone's vision. Thales hugged Little Rascal close to him and shut his eyes tight.
Thales felt pain from his rear. He then fell, together with Little Rascal, onto a soft pile of sand.
It was dark.
Thales propped his body up with some difficulty. Beside him, Little Rascal coughed constantly. Violent sounds of fighting came from the prison above them, where they were just a moment ago. They were not the only ones who fell down here.
"Your Highness!" Someone pulled him up. Wya's anxious voice came. "Are you alright?"
Before Thales could answer, ten or so more figures fell from the air onto the sand.
Within the huge cloud of dust, Thales covered his mouth and nose. Enduring the great pain from his rear, he pulled Little Rascal up. He thought gloomily, 'Why is this group of people so fond of these things?"
"Follow the plan, quickly!" Nicholas' voice echoed in the darkness. "There will be people coming to your aid at the end of the secret passage! Our people will cover the retreat!"
Before Thales could complain, a tall and muscular figure picked him up by the waist. The figure carried Thales in one hand, and Little Rascal in another. Little Rascal cried out in alarm.
Kohen's exasperated voice came from above Thales' head. "It's too dark, I can't see the way!"
Amid the chaos came a clamor from above of people falling onto the ground and the intense clashing of weapons. Soon, the commotion grew nearer and nearer.
"Star Killer!" Another person fell onto the ground with a loud noise. The Fire Knight's furious roar echoed from behind. "Stop them!"
A violent clashing of metal rang out.
"Throw a few torches down here!" The Red Witch could still shout her orders calmly even after such a big accident. "Before you throw those torches… anyone who attempts to leave is our enemy!"
Thales felt a chill run down his spine. 'The pursuers are here.'
"Follow the masked mute!" Nicholas roared furiously while he fought an opponent amid the darkness and chaos. "He can sense where the exit is from the direction of the wind!"
Taking a few steps, Kohen said impatiently, "I can't even see where he is!"
In the darkness, Thales felt like he was going to faint from the grip of Kohen's arm.
Without warning, his Sin of Hell's River started working. Fluctuations surged into Thales' eyes, and he immediately saw his surroundings in strange colors.
Thales gritted his teeth and tapped Kohen's arm angrily. "Shut your mouth up, bulky man! Listen to me!"
The police officer immediately stopped.
Thales forced himself to calm down. He found Ralf within the chaos, shining with a dim green light, and said to Kohen, "Take five steps forward—No, for you it's two steps… and then turn left!"
When he did not sense any movement, Thales urged anxiously, "Start walking! Don't space out!"
As though snapping back to attention, Kohen started walking according to Thales' instructions.
Carefully taking a step, the police officer felt the solid ground beneath his feet. He asked in his shock, "Wow. You… you can see?"
Thales went still for a moment.
"Eat more animal livers and fruits—Go straight…" Thales lied with a straight face as he saw the world through his vision, made possible by the Sin of Hell's River.
"...And you'll be able to find light in the darkness!"
Skeptical, Kohen nodded.
Despite his apprehension, Kohen followed Ralf by running according to Thales' instructions. The sounds of fighting behind them grew more intense.
Thales could see that there were barely ten of them following Ralf. They ran into a narrow tunnel.
"Nicholas!" Tolja's furious roar echoed once again. "Don't even think about it!"
Then, a bright light suddenly shone from behind them, illuminating the space.
Thales narrowed his eyes and saw his surroundings clearly. The tunnel they were in was extremely narrow and covered in dust. Even the ground was uneven and made of dirt and rocks.
Ralf led the way, he moved like the wind. Kohen carried Thales and Little Rascal in his arms while Miranda and Wya followed closely beside him. Everyone was running nervously.
The White Blade Guards followed closely behind and guarded them. Only Raphael and the Star Killer were nowhere to be found. The light behind them became brighter.
Thales could not help but turn his head to the back… and froze. There was nothing behind them other than raging flames.
It was as though a shapeless, giant serpent made of fire charged into the tiny stone tunnel and was about to engulf them. The temperature rose immediately.
"This is the Rising Sun Saber!" The Star Killer's furious roar traveled from behind them. "Damn it, lad from the Secret Intelligence Department, give way if you don't want to be roasted alive!"
Under the flames, Thales saw two figures through his modified vision from the Sin of Hell's River.
One figure was glowing in a manner that looked like numerous thorns propagating outwards. That figure then pushed the other—a gray figure—away.
The porcupine-like figure, probably Nicholas, then turned and brandished his blade fiercely. Then, as though crashing into an invisible barrier, the fiery serpent stopped in front of them both, like a wall of fire.
This reminded Thales of the Air Mystic's air wall, but he could clearly see that those flames were blocked by another type of strange, invisible barrier that shone with yellow light. It was connected to Nicholas' Severing Souls Blade, which also shone with yellow light.
"All of you will not be able to escape!" The Fire Knight's furious growls came from behind the flames.
In front of the blaze, the gray figure turned and said to Nicholas beside him, "Are there any more Alchemy Balls, the exploding type? You won't be able to hold them off for long. They will catch up sooner or later!"
Thales recognized it as Raphael's voice.
"That one just now was the last one in the White Blade Guard's inventory. The moment we use one, it's forever gone!" Thales saw, through his Sin of Hell's River vision, that the shining, porcupine-like Nicholas had his Severing Souls Blade raised. He parried the flame that were getting brighter.
"Is there really no more?" echoed Raphael's voice.
Nicholas turned and said angrily to Raphael, "Do you think that those are snowballs that can be easily made, that I can take one out just like that?"
Raphael said nothing. He turned his body abruptly and extended his left hand towards the flames. He threw out a sphere-shaped object.
Nicholas stared at the ball and shouted in exasperation, "Damn it! Why didn't you tell me earlier?"
Both of them turned and ran.
The moment the Star Killer turned, the barrier no longer obstructed the bright flames and the blaze surged forward violently.
Together with the violent explosion, Thales' vision shook. Another huge cloud of dust rose. Everyone coughed and staggered involuntarily.
The sounds of explosions resounded continuously together with the sound of rocks and soil coming down in torrents. Everyone could not help but stop to turn their heads to look behind them.
The flames had reduced in brightness until it disappeared completely, the two figures vanished along with it.
Thales narrowed his eyes, then his mouth fell open in shock—he realized that the tunnel had collapsed behind him.
It was dark and silent again. There was only the rise and fall of everyone's panting.
"My God!" Wya said, horrified, "They… they…"
"Don't stop. No matter what happens behind you, don't stop." A stranger's voice echoed. It was probably one of the White Blade Guards. There was a long-repressed anger in his voice.
"All of you go first!" Miranda's resolute voice echoed in the darkness. "I'll look for them!"
Kohen halted. "But—"
In the next moment, the sound of Miranda's lithe footsteps faded away.
"Don't space out!" a White Blade Guard said coldly. "We're not safe yet!"
Kohen exhaled indignantly. Thales could feel that Kohen was turning his head to stare at the darkness behind them.
"If you're worried." Thales sighed. "Go take a look."
Thales felt Kohen's grip tighten.
"Let me take His Highness." Wya panted. "He cannot be trapped here."
Kohen was still for a moment. A few seconds later...
"F*ck!" the police officer cursed. Kohen then stomped his foot violently. He turned his head back and continue walking.
All of them followed Ralf hurriedly.
They ran without stopping… through the seemingly endless tunnel… in seemingly ceaseless danger… within that bottomless darkness… towards their only lifeline.
Thales stared at the darkness behind him in a daze. The Sin of Hell's River coalesced continuously to his eyes. A few minutes went by...
Finally, Thales' eyes flickered. A shining, porcupine-like figure appeared amid the darkness behind him…
Followed by a gray figure…
And a figure that shimmered with white light.
"... Since I only have one, it's only natural that I must be cautious." Raphael's voice traveled indistinctly through the darkness. "I don't have the habit of walking around with Alchemy Balls."
Nicholas, Raphael, and Miranda caught up with the rest of them.
"Oh, my god!" When he heard Raphael's voice, Kohen turned his head back around. He did not even care that he tripped on something. "I thought both of you were really trapped in there!"
Beside Raphael, the Star Killer muttered something in a low voice. Despite the chaotic sound of footsteps, Thales could hear his voice clearly. Nicholas said something like "what a miser."
Thales breathed a sigh of relief.
They managed to escape.
"Alright." Nicholas' voice rose, he sounded a lot steadier than before. "There shouldn't be any more danger. We are, after all, in the secret passage."
When they learned that they had escaped danger, everyone slowed down to a walk. Kohen put Thales and Little Rascal down.
Thales placed his hand on the wall to support himself and subconsciously patted his chest. Mind empty, he realized that he had lived through yet another ordeal.
Kohen's puzzled voice echoed in the darkness, the police officer spoke impatiently. "By the way… Why don't we light a fire? Do we really have to walk like we're blind?"
"The air vents here were not made very well," Nicholas said flatly. "If you want to suffocate to death, of course you can light a fire."
Kohen immediately went silent.
"By the way." Wya supported himself against the wall in the darkness and panted slightly. "Is this gatehouse not part of Heroic Spirit Palace's defense line? Why is there a… secret passage where people can sneak in?"
There was a moment of silence in the tunnel.
"The Third Peninsular War," Nicholas' leisurely voice rose. "The Night Wing King conquered all the other districts. There was only Axe District, this place, and Heroic Spirit Palace left.
"Heroic Spirit Palace was isolated and helpless. The whole place was under complete lock down, and there were no supplies. This was the final lifeline dug by the Northlanders."
"Phew." Kohen exhaled. His voice was filled with the kind of relief one feels after escaping great danger. "Thank you, Night Wing King. You are so mighty."
Everyone went quiet simultaneously.
Even though he could not see anything, Kohen felt, in that moment, all the Northlanders shooting murderous looks at him. The sound of Miranda elbowing Kohen was heard in the darkness; Kohen yelped in pain.
A few seconds later, the police officer said awkwardly, "Erm, I was just… joking?"
"After the war, this passage became an absolute secret, hidden from even the Secret Room." Nicholas snorted coldly with disdain. "Only the previous commanders of the White Blade Guards know about it."
The Constellatiates suddenly stopped walking at the same time. The White Blade Guards' stopped too. Thales stilled.
The prince raised his head and stared at the porcupine-like figure. His tone was filled with surprise and bewilderment. "Are you talking about the previous commanders of the White Blade Guards?"
Nicholas said nonchalantly, "Yes, why?"
Kohen sucked in a breath of cold air. Miranda sighed.
"Previous-previous commanders..." Thales exhaled in pain. "Does that include the ones before you?"
Nicholas promptly held his breath. "Hm?"
Sensing that something was not right, Raphael inquired, "Is there a problem?"
Thales turned and gazed into the distance through the vision—made possible by the Sin of Hell's River—at the dark and seemingly unending road ahead…
… At their only path for survival.
"Yes," Thales said faintly. "It is also... a very big problem."