Translator:EndlessFantasy TranslationEditor:EndlessFantasy Translation
Saroma looked at him. Her eyes were rather misty.
“But they didn’t do anything wrong, did they?” She sneered as she shook her head. She raised her right hand and looked at Triumph. “I simply”
“Little Rascal!” Again, Thales used that name from long ago to fiercely interrupt her.
The teenage girl raised her head, appearing to be in a daze.
“Don’t, Saroma. Even if you cannot choose who you want to be at least, don’t turn into someone they want you to be.”
Thales stared at her firmly. “Please, don’t become like that.”
But Saroma was only slightly startled before she shook her head in a mocking way. “No such thing. As an archduchess of Northland, the path of my future has been set even if it’s not this time.”
She then said in disappointment, “I’ve thought about it. I’ll marry a local noble, give birth to a male heir and be politely sent into seclusion somewhere until I’m old”
A clear sound was heard.
Saroma stared blankly at the second prince, at how he grabbed her right hand.
Thales looked at her seriously and shifted Triumph to the center of their lines of sight.
“Even if you’re a woman, you can also live an interesting life! I know of such a woman.”
“Ah, that female officer, Jines Bajkovic who taught you how to use the sword and your etiquette.” Saroma shook her head and burst out laughing. “You’ve mentioned it more than a thousand times alreadyshe extricated herself from the restrictions of her family, got a footing in the capital all by herself. The legendary woman who excels with dinner knives and swords? But she’s special, and she’s not even a suzerain”
“No, not her,” Thales said firmly, stopping Saroma’s words.
“I’m talking about another young girl.”
Saroma was momentarily stunned.
Her wrist trembled slightly, still in Thales’ grip. “You mean a young girl?”
“Yes.” Thales nodded his head firmly. “She is also the final orphan of an admirable family. She survived the chaos of war and rebellion, succeeded the title and led her territory at three years old.”
Saroma stopped refuting his words. Instead, she looked at the prince with a gaze laced with skepticism and inquiry.
Thales took a deep breath as he recalled the fall and winter six years ago. “When I first met her, she was about your age now, fifteen or sixteen. Inexperienced, young, even a little naive. But at that time, she was already an important person who took charge of her territory. I still remember the moment she stepped across the Hall of Stars and awed the world’s ministers and commoners with her powerful words.
Thales absent-mindedly said, “The moment she stood tall and sauntered into the hall wearing that casual purple-black hunting attire, everyone in the hall consciously moved back to open up a pathway for her. At that time, there were also people who ridiculed her, scorned her, despised her and looked down on her. ‘How could Constellation be ruled by an ignorant child?’
“Yet, that girl just slowly walked over like that. With a cold expression, she took small, quick steps, then gracefully but arrogantly said whatever she wanted to say without a care. She had no regards for whether her words were of satire or condemnation, whether they were of support or opposition. Two powerful counts had no choice but to walk behind her. One had a murderous look, while the other had a face filled with an air of nobilityyet they both couldn’t conceal her splendor. In fact, they were suppressed by her splendor, to the point where they were unnoticeable.
“The split second she flung her arms and spoke with a cold voice, it was as if the whole audience became a backdrop for herwhether it be the king or the dukes, the nobles or citizens.”
As Saroma listened to him recount his tale, she became rather shocked. “You’re talking about”
Thales gritted his teeth and nodded.
“Constellation’s Guardian of Blade Edge HillDuchess Lyanna Tabark.”
The prince narrowed his eyes. “As far as I know, up until now, she’s still governing the Tabark Family of the Six Great Clans, guarding and ruling Blade Edge Hill alone as an unmarried woman under the mark of the blood moon.”
Thales suddenly turned around and looked at the baffled Saroma.
“What she can do, you can too. There will be a day when you can stand alone at the peak of Dragon Clouds City by the means of your own strength without relying on anyone else. You will win everyone’s respect!”
Thales took a breath and stared firmly at the teenage girl’s face. “There will be a day where you can tell the vassals of Dragon Clouds City that the person governing them is an archduchess, and do all of it in an imposing manner.”
As Saroma stared at Thales, she was startled for a moment before she let out a helpless laugh.
“It’s too hard.” The teenage girl sighed and said, “I can’t do it”
Thales shook his head and said with unswerving determination, “It isn’t hard. What’s truly hard is when you think that you can’t do it, thus causing your vassals to feel like the Dragon Clouds City under your rule is not stable.”
Saroma blinked. Her gaze towards the prince became slightly gentler and brighter.
“I still remember that dauntless Little Rascal who dragged me out of the hands of the calamity I also remember that nervous Little Rascal who crawled out of a fireplace and recited a script in order to help me out of my predicament In that moment, that girl didn’t hesitate and say ‘it’s too hard’.”
Saroma did not say a word. She just silently looked at how Thales was gripping her hand.
“Saroma, do you remember? Choose who you want to be. If you don’t want to be a vase that’s at the mercy of people and be used as a trading tool that can be handed over to others at will”
The prince gripped her hand tightly, his tone was unquestionable, “…then don’t present yourself as a vase!”
Saroma stared at the prince in a dumb manner.
A few seconds later, her originally misty and distracted gaze became focused again.
“If you don’t want to simply get married to a man who’s old enough to be your father, and rely on your belly to survive” Thales’ gaze sharpened. “…then reject them!”
“We will think of a plan together. Of course, I think Lisban would also help you. As long as you say ‘you don’t want to’. Then, you wouldn’t have to marry them.”
The two of them stared at each other and kept silent for a long time.
Thales did not avert his gaze at all.
Saroma’s eyes shone instead. It appeared as if she was somewhat touched, yet also a little panicky.
Finally, Saroma took a deep breath as she looked at the determined prince.
“Thales.” Saroma cleared her throat. “I”
She seemed a bit hesitant.
Thales responded with an encouraging look.
The hesitance lasted for three seconds before the teenage girl gritted her teeth. Her expression became tense.
“Thales.” Saroma raised her head, her expression was serious. “I don’t want I don’t want to marry Count Hearst.”
Thales let out a breath and nodded furiously. “Alright!”
“I also don’t want to marry Count Najir’s son.”
“I don’t fancy them,” Saroma’s words slowly became smoother compared to her initial stiffness. “I also don’t want to marry anyone else.”
Thales looked at her steadily.
“Very well.” The prince raised his eyebrows. “You won’t be marrying them.”
Thales shrugged. “Because I don’t like them either.”
The two people looked at each other. A few seconds later, they burst out in laughter.
Thales felt slightly sentimental. ‘This time, Putray’s going to use the “I knew it” expression to nag me again. I have to think of an excuse to convince him. If the archduchess doesn’t marry, it would be more advantageous for us and I’ll have to make time to have a chat with Lisban within these few days regarding Dragon Clouds City as well as the archduchess.
While he laughed, Thales acted as if nothing was going on and let go of the other party’s hand.
In the library, a maidservant frowned.
“Forgive my bluntness, Female Officer Ginghes. I know that the lady’s mental state has not been too well lately but are their actions not a little too intimate?”
“For Her Grace’s sake, we should intervene.” The maidservant turned to Ginghes, the female officer and said euphemistically, “She needs us now.”
Ginghes, the female officer still retained her stoic appearance. Silently, she watched as the young prince and teenage archduchess laughed merrily.
“Believe me. For Her Grace’s sake, what she needs the most now is not us.” Ginghes, the female office shifted her strict gaze away from the duo and shook her head.
Suddenly, Saroma opened her mouth again.
But this time, she tilted her head a little. Her expression would have caused one to feel a sense of slyness in her. “If I was willing to marry them, to marry the vassals of Dragon Clouds City would you still say these things? Would you still stop me from marrying them?”
Thales felt that something was amiss as he listened to her. He was instantly startled.
He shook his shoulders. “Of course.”
The teenage girl smiled faintly.
“On the day of the council hearing, didn’t you go forth to speak on my behalf?” Thales scratched his head. “The camaraderie between friends is mutual and invaluable.”
Saroma’s gaze lowered slightly.
While he scratched his head, Thales awkwardly looked for another reason for his answer. “You know, if you come up with a local Dragon Clouds City husband out of nowhere, then perhaps my good days would come to an end Of course I have to try and stop it.”
“Oh, so it’s like that, huh?” the teenage girl’s tone became downcast again.
Thales blinked, and his eyes showed bewilderment.
Saroma lifted her head.
The archduchess narrowed her eyes in a thought-provoking way and asked, “Is Lyanna pretty?”
Thales’ eyelid twitched again.
“I don’t quite remember.” The prince exhaled and raised the corner of his mouth. “The atmosphere at that time was too tense. I only remember the continuous trembling of my two legs.”
Thales also let out a few chuckles.
His memories then returned to the moment six years ago.
‘Lyanna. Six years ago, she was only fifteen. Now, she should be at the prime of her youththe age when fresh flowers blossom. That impressive girl whose very presence leaves a deep impression in others.’
“The moment Lyanna opened her mouth to speak, when she released that blade-like gaze of hers and stood up to the dukes” Thales was lost in thought as he sketched the outline of the bright and valiant duchess in his head. “Even when she rebuked Lampard in an unyielding manner in the face of Eckstedt’s envoy”
Saroma widened her eyes as she watched the prince’s response.
“I realized that words used to describe a beauty such as pretty, beautiful, pleasant and stunning were not enough to describe her anymore… They were not enough to describe Lyanna at that moment.”
Thales shut his eyes and took a deep breath.
“She was like a magnificent diamond, reflecting light from the sun.” The prince recalled the past events in Renaissance Palace while he admired the outstandingly heroic Duchess of Blade Edge Hill. He exhaled and said, “Eye-catching, dazzling, brilliant. Eternally unforgettable upon first sight.”
At this moment…
A muffled thud shot up. Thales felt a pain in his chest. With a twisted face, he opened his eyes to see a book had been thrown into his chest.
“The books that just arrived today.” Saroma also had a book in her hands. She coldly said, “After flipping through a few pages, I found some parts you may be interested in. Hurry up and read them, you’re wasting too much time.”
“Weren’t we just chatting nicely a while ago?” Thales massaged his chest in pain. He had indeed just realized the mistake he made, but he was unwilling to admit it as he prepared to refute with a sentence or two. “But, you can’t”
“Shut up! Hurry up and read!” the archduchess put on a stern face and said harshly. “Don’t waste time, I have to go to class later!”
Thales exhaled and rolled his eyes the instant Saroma lowered her head.
Bitterly, the prince looked down, straightened his posture and opened the bookmarked ‘Confronting the Heavens’.
‘What is this book?’
“An evaluation of the Drakonic language?”
Thales opened the bookmarked page and was immediately attracted by the name of the chapter.
The prince’s face became solemn.
As per his wont, he began reading the passages in a soft voice.
“The structure of the great dragon’s throat is extremely special. Therefore, the pronunciation of the Drakonic language is also extremely complex, to a point where you can’t record it without a musical instrument Written records of the Drakonic language can only present a portion of Drakonic syllables. In the great dragon’s mouth, most of the dragon’s vocabulary possess a different, unimaginable diction and articulation”
‘The Drakonic language.’
Needless to say, Thales’ six years of life in the library had not just been to seek peace. More importantly
The prince remembered the night when that giant figure soared high into the sky from the flames. He remembered the mysteries surrounding himself, and his mood became increasingly down.
It had been six years since he searched through many documents with Saroma in a roundabout manner, and he had learned at least the names of fifteen great dragons in history. However, among these fifteen uniquely characterized names, not a single one of them was the one he seeked…
“Apart from a small number of races such as the elves who have singing voices comparable to those of the larks, a majority of the races who roamed Errol cannot rely on their voices to directly interact and converse with the great dragons.” Thales frowned as he read the painted paragraphs. “No wonder the Queen of the Sky wanted to communicate with us like that. It was because we couldn’t speak the Drakonic language”
‘Darn it. So as long as it’s a name pronounced in the Drakonic language, then it isn’t in the common language and can’t even be read by humans? If that’s the case’
“It’s not there!” Saroma’s voice was heard. It seemed like she was being rather impatient. “Flip to the second bookmark!”
With complicated emotions in his heart, Thales raised his head and snapped, “If you didn’t tell me, how would I”
Yet, the instant he saw the other party’s fierce expression, he shrank his head back. The prince obediently opened the second bookmarked page.
“Elves were one of the few races in history who could confront the great dragons without being at a disadvantage. During the Dragon Massacre War (This title came from the elves’ historical materials. Regarding the war over two thousand years ago that we know very little of, the author believed that the great dragons must have had another namelike the ‘pointy ears hunting game’ for it), the Ancient Elf Kingdom had hunted at least six reputable great dragons. Hence, they’re the race who has the most understanding of the great dragons. Most of the author’s information was even generously provided by a friend of his in White Mountain”
Thales narrowed his eyes.
‘Six? Could it be that Saroma wanted me to see the namelist of these six fallen dragons? Saroma knew all along that I was very interested in great dragons. She also searched for the great dragons’ names regularly but perhaps, she doesn’t know that that great dragon that I’m looking for is still alive today. It survived until at least fourteen years ago, when I was first born into this world. But it No, her name is’
“…The dragon killers usually split into a few groups and worked together.
“The baiters: They generally faced their enemies directly while fully equipped. They usually wielded big choppers so sharp they could cut through gold, similar to the blades used by the elven guards; they also had mithril armors and shields with melting points so high even the dragon’s flame could not burn through them. They possessed both offense and defensethe author suspects that this was the origin of humanity’s sword style. At the very least, Northland Military Sword Style should have referred to the tactics of the lurers to some extent and applied it in their spirit as well as equipment. The northern ancient history expert of the Ascetic Tower, author of ‘Biography of the Iron Blood King’, Wizard J.L. Mindis had the same standpoint. However, the weaponcraft expert of Alchemy Tower, Master Lamer believed that the Northland Military Sword Style was mainly inversely influenced by the effects of confronting the wrestling techniques of the ancient orcs.
“The ambushers: This army was responsible for long-ranged attacks and containment. Armed with various specially-crafted arrowheads that were able to affect the great dragon and heavy-weight, long-ranged bows that could be folded when held in your hands, they were able to rapidly strike as well as stifle high-speed moving targets in the air. They were also capable of striking every weak point from the dragon’s eye to its armpit. At the present, such bow-crafting techniques are still being preserved in the settlement of the ‘wanderer’ elves within the empire’s Green Heart Province. It influenced Green Heart Province into becoming the preeminent source of archers within the empire. The saying that ‘Northland is dauntless, West Billow is fierce, and the green hills make strong bows’ spread far and wide. The terrifying existence of the gray-hooded archers of the Romert Family, who can take lives from hundreds of steps away has lasted through generations. It is believed to be not unrelated to the dragon ambushing techniques of the Ancient Elf Kingdom, even if the gray hoods refuse to admit it”
Puzzled, Thales felt increasingly lost as he read on.
‘What is all of this? How to slay a great dragon?’
“The eliminators: These elves with the lowest headcount also held the most dangerous task. They aimed to approach the great dragon’s fatal weakness, striving to wound the enemy and even kill it in one strike. Usually, the most outstanding reconnaissance soldiers served as the eliminators. They go into battle in light armor to sneak close to the enemy with only one of the most inconspicuous, yet most expensive short swords. It could even be said that the price for one sword was astronomical. Reportedly, this sort of short sword was forged using special, secret materials and methods. It could pierce through the scales of a dragon, but what the author found incomprehensible was how a portable weapon like a short sword of such lengthas sharp as it iscould fatally threaten a great dragon, who had a huge physique
“According to the author’s research, this legendary portable weapon was called the ‘Dragon Breaker’. Historically, it is sparse in quantity. Only the most powerful eliminators were qualified to be equipped with them. It is said that it was a weapon with magical properties. Every time it injured or even killed a great dragon, the sword’s blade would then accumulate its prey’s powers, thereby allowing it to become ‘even more formidable, sharp, strange, fatal and full of vitality’these are the original words from the ancient elven documents, but the author still holds doubts regarding the translation of the last word”
When Thales read this, he looked up at Saroma from time to time. However, the other party’s seething gaze caused him to lower his head every single time.
Thales could only let out a deep breath.
He turned a page.
The next second, Thales jumped!
“Have you seen it?” Saroma sighed. “I felt very surprised too.”
Thales raised his head while appearing dumbfounded. One of the pages in the book was opened. There was a rough drawing of a weapon sketched in simple brushstrokes.
He touched the drawing. Instantly, he knew what Saroma wanted him to see.
“This is” Thales said in a daze.
“Yes.” Saroma nodded solemnly. “According to the written account, it’s an elite weapon only the elf’s eliminator troops possessed. It is an elite weapon, specially used in hunting great dragons.
“The ‘Dragon Breaker’.”
“Over three hundred years ago, it was named after that strong fortress the King of Oath-Keeping, Midier the Forth built at the border of the two countries.
Stunned, Thales lowered his head and looked at the diagram of the weapon sketched in the book.
It was a short sword with a strange pommel and a gemstone embedded in the center of its crossguard. Its handguard reached the tip of the sword in an arc.
Even though it was not colored, he could recognize it.
In the nearly fourteen years of Thales’ life, he had once seen a short sword like this.
No, he did not just see it.
Six years ago, Thales had personally held a similarly designed short sword in his hands.
That short sword, bright-red like blood, shone in his hands like a warrior waking up from a deep sleep. That short sword, which seemed like it had a consciousness, transmitted faint syllables, words, and named Thales as its blood brother.