Translator:EndlessFantasy TranslationEditor:EndlessFantasy Translation
An hour later, the Prince of Constellation, who had just finished dressing up in the Blood Court, walked down the corridor to the Hall of Heroes, accompanied by Ralf and Wya.
Thales took a deep breath and passed through a group of soldiers who were looking at his guards with fierce gazes. He looked at the familiar pattern and layout of Heroic Spirit Palace.
“Are you all right, Your Highness?” This came from the concerned Wya.
“Never better,” Thales replied with a blank expression. “Why do you ask?”
“Because when I was outside, Lord Putray told me that young Roknee came to propose… If it bothers you” Wya suddenly became quiet. He turned his head and saw that Ralf had clasped his shoulders tightly. His gaze was harsh as he shook his head vigorously.
“Look, this is the problem.” Thales exhaled. “Everyone thinks the same, even you.”
Wya and Ralf faced each other.
“But the real problem is…” Thales’ mind raced at a frantic pace, and he subconsciously clenched his fist. “This is impossible.”
‘That’s right. It’s a proposal.
‘What kind of joke is this?’
Just as Wya as well as Ralf became more and more puzzled, the sound of footsteps and conversations packed closely together shot into the air.
“Oh, the pattern carved on the head of this beasta five-headed flail? I know it was a personal emblem that was passed down from Nuven the Smiler to Shawlon Walton, the Big Hand six hundred years ago. At that time, the symbol of Walton was not the Cloud Dragon Spear”
It was a slightly frivolous voice of a young male, who seemed to be walking while looking left and right.
“Ah, this weapon must be the black-patterned greatsword belonging to Moust Najir the Army Destroyer, who lived more than three hundred years ago?”
The Prince of Constellation stopped.
“That is” Wya wondered.
Soon, they no longer had to wonder about the owner of the voice.
“It is just a replica,” It was Nicholas’ voice, but he did not sound very comfortable. “The real thing was buried with Moust in the White Blade Guards cemetery.”
The flighty male voice sighed. “Really? I have to say, I am a little disappointed But it does not matter. Anyway, we will soon see the famous Soul Slayer Pike, which I have been waiting a long time to see, mind you”
Thales narrowed his eyes. Nicholas and a group of the Archduchess’ Guards accompanied another group of strangers out of the corner.
The moment he saw Thales, the Star Killer frownedslightly.
“This is” Nicholas coughed.
Thales focused his eyes and looked at the special, conspicuous stranger. He was a young noble with theKnight’s Canon symbol embroidered on his shoulder.
“Thank you, Your Grace, but I know exactly who I am dealing with.” The plain, well-dressed young man in the Diplomat Group of the City of Faraway Prayers turned his head and stared at Thales.
He was very young, at most in his early twenties, with some curly hair by his ears. Compared to the long-haired archduke Thales had seen, his face looked softer, and there was a strange smile in his eyes.
‘So, this is the guy who claims that he wants to propose to Saroma?’
The hidden smile on the young man’s face turned into a clear one. He took a decisive step forward and stretched his hand out from under his robe. “Nice to meet you, Prince Thales. I have heard so much about your reputation.”
As a result, the people in the City of Faraway Prayers’ Diplomat Group turned their focus to the prince in front of them. There were all kinds of emotions in their eyes.
Thales chuckled in his heart.
‘Turns out I have quite the reputation as well, eh?’
“Thank you.” Thales suppressed all the worries in his heart. He smiled and held his hand. “Then, you must be the son of Archduke Roknee”
His grip had great strength. The patch of skin between his index finger and thumb as well as his four other fingers were covered in thin callouses. Thales was familiar with them.
He was a well-trained noble warrior, perhaps just like his father.
“Ian Roknee, Viscount of Dual Wind City, under the City of Faraway Prayers. I am in charge of coming to Dragon Clouds City as an envoy,” the young man named Ian interrupted Thales with a laugh as he introduced himself. “Father once said that there were a lot of things that impressed him about his trip to Dragon Clouds City six years ago.
“One of them was a young, intelligent prince.”
A thought crossed Thales’ mind.
Aside from the civilities, he got an important piece of information: Viscount of Dual Wind City.
‘Ian Roknee. He has his own title and fiefdom.
‘And he’s so young.
‘Also, he is already the heir to the Archduke of City of Faraway Prayers.
‘What does all of this mean?’
Thales let go of the other person’s hand.
“Please thank your father for me,” Thales said. Though he felt that something did not match, he forced the feeling down. “I also had a good impression of Archduke Roknee, especially his fearlessness and determination.”
After hearing this sentence, Ian’s expression suddenly became very strange.
He took a sharp breath, and stared at Thales with a ghost of a smile.
Thales narrowed his eyes.
“Hehehehe” Finally, the young Roknee laughed out loud.
He shook his head. His expression was interesting, and he opened his mouth.
He spoke very quickly, and his words were sharp as well as piercing to the ears. Thales could not understand a single word of it.
“Excuse me?” Thales asked in puzzlement, “I did notunderstand what you were saying.”
“Oh, sorry.” Ian looked as if he had just reacted to the situation. He apologized and spread his hands. “I mean, please forgive me.”
“I got my accent from my mother, so sometimes I am not used to talking with a Northern accent.”
Thales tensed up.
‘Not used to a Northern accent but’
Ian let out a bark of laughter. “I just said, ‘Thank you for your magnanimosity. It is only because of your kindness that you would say my father’s stubborn stupidity is actually fearlessness and determination.'”
Thales was momentarily taken aback.
The Prince of Constellation was not the only one who had this reaction. Behind them, most of the people from the City of Faraway Prayers’ Diplomat Group had an unpleasant expression. An old, experienced noble coughed loudly to alert his viscount.
“Ah, we all know that you have a coughing problem, Old Bernie,” Ian did not look back as he spoke loudly and brusquely. “Since we have already arrived in Dragon Clouds City, try to hold it back, okay?”
“That is exactly what I was about to say as well, young Ian,” the old noble replied in an equally brusque manner, “especially in front of the Prince of Constellation.”
The young Roknee snorted, completely unbothered.
Nicholas frowned and looked at the City of Faraway Prayers’ internal communications without saying a word.
“That is really… a strange and new appraisal.” The Prince of Constellation smiled awkwardly and pretended not to see the internal conflict of the diplomat group. “And it even came from his son.”
“It’s no surprise. Thanks to your wit and generous deeds six years ago, his stubborn head has managed to stay on his neck, instead of loyally following the former king to Hell’s River, then conveniently throwing the City of Faraway Prayers into a big mess.” Ian laughed and swayed his hand before he put on a thoughtful expression,
“Of course, if it does happen, maybe I can inherit the City of Faraway Prayers earlier.”
This sentence once again made Thales speechless.
There was an undisguised cough from the diplomat group again.This time it was extraordinarily loud and seemed to be filled with displeasure.
“But that is my father, a typical Northlander.” Ian sighed and immediately put on a smile. “My mother always said this in the past, ‘Northlanders’ heads have a fist-sized hole, and it’s directed to the sky. When it’s spring and winter, it’s filled up with snow, and when it’s summer and autumn, it’s empty.’ Hahahaha!”
Once he said this, both the people of Dragon Clouds City on both sides and the people from the City of Faraway Prayers’ Diplomat Group had extremely unpleasant expressions on their faces.
Ian was the only one laughing heartily.
Wya widened his eyes, and he exchanged glances with Ralf.The latter made a gesture of agreement.
Thales’ face twitched. He laughed dryly as well.
He thought, ‘This Ian Roknee is really something else. How should I put it
‘He’s very much not what he seems?’
Thales remembered the heroic and resolute Archduke Roknee, then this young and flighty pampered boy, and he sighed in his heart.
“Hahahaha,” the prince laughed. “I have to say, you… really are not like your father’s son.”
“Am I really my father’s son?” The young Roknee laughed heartily and said again, “Well, this is also a question that has troubled my father for years. I mean, no wonder my mother died so early. Is it to cover up”
Thales’ smile froze on his face.
There was a brusque shout from the diplomat group, “Ian!”
Ian lowered his head slightly and the light cast a shadow on his face.
He immediately smiled again.
“Hahahaha!” The young Roknee laughed and waved his hand behind him. “Just kidding, look at your expressions!”
At that instant, Thales knew what was off.
‘Ian Roknee, this guy, his way of saying and doing things
‘Is totally unlike a Northlander.’
“Gentlemen.” Nicholas, as the escort, vigilantly observed the two people who were cheerfully chatting up a stormat least that was what it looked like. “Maybe we shouldn’t let the archduchess wait for long?”
Ian looked at Nicholas and shrugged.
“Come on, prince.” The young Roknee disregarded the prince’s awkward look and swung his arm over his shoulder. “Let’s talk while we walk. I believe we will be good friends.”
Thales instinctively tried to get rid of his hand, but Ian just smiled.
“Believe me, Prince Thales,” There was a cheery look on Ian’s face, but his words contained a profound meaning, “there are a lot of things we can talk about.
“For example, the archduchess’ marriage.”
Thales was stunned.
Nicholas frowned with a displeased expression, but he did not say anything in the end.
Ian pushed Thales and walked with him, chatting happily, “And I am sure we will get along really well, since we’re surrounded by Northlanders.”
Thales sighed as he gave up trying to get rid of Roknee’s “way too friendly” hand on his shoulder.
‘Judging from what happened… the only person who can really get along with you is probably only Aida.’
Thales gave the worried Wya and Ralf a reassuring look and stepped forward.
“Based on what you have just said, your mother was a foreigner?” The prince recalled what had happened earlier and keenly asked, “Was she from Camus?”
“Oh, no. She was, of course, an Eckstedtian,” the young Roknee replied briskly, “and from the City of Faraway Prayers itself.”
“From the City of Faraway Prayers itself?”
Thales frowned slightly. “But you just said that her accent was not from Northland”
The young Viscount of Dual Wind City gently raised his eyebrows, indicating that he had expected Thales to say that.
They followed Nicholas and slowly drew nearer to the Hall of Heroes.
“You haven’t been to the City of Faraway Prayers, right, Your Highness?”
“I have not had that honor to do so yet.”
“No wonder.” Ian shook his head slightly and clicked his tongue.
He sighed. “When people talk about Eckstedt, they always say, ‘It’s Northland, the kingdom of Northlandersas if Eckstedtians are Northlanders.”
Thales was intrigued by what was meant to follow based on Ian’s words. “But?”
“But they have forgotten Eckstedt’s western frontier.” Ian turned his head and smiled slightly. “At least one piece of that territory is not part of the old Northland. Its people are not made up of just brutish and crude Northlanders.”
Thales shifted a little. “The City of Faraway Prayers?”
Ian nodded, his voice becoming more powerful. “The City of Faraway Prayers.”
Whether it was intentional or not, the duo started to slow down behind Nicholas. “As early as the existence of the Ancient Empire’sancient kings, there was a barren land spanning from the West Billow Cliff in the west to the Land of Barren Rocks in the east. The people who lived in it struggled to survive, and they were known as the ‘troubled citizens’.”
“The land was dubbed by the Ancient Empire as their West Billow Province, and it was very different from the Northland Province in the east and the Toto Province in the west.”
The young Lord Roknee raised his head and gently polished the Knight’s Canon symbol on his shoulder.
“After the Battle of Eradication, Raikaru the Hero’s powerful subordinate, Kulgon Roknee the Seeker, who was one of the Nine Knights, took his sword and axe before he marched into the land called West Billow. He went on a crusade in the land, built a castle, and finally conquered the land. He then announced to the troubled citizens that from that moment on, they were all Eckstedtians.”
“He was the first Archduke of the City of Faraway Prayers,” Ian said with a chuckle. “Unlike other archdukes, the Seeker is a Northlander. With the Northland’s way of doing things, the suzerain from Eckstedt governed the countless troubled citizens of West Billow.”
“I see, so that was what happened.” Thales mused. “This is something not often heard during the classes about the ‘Great Rally of the Northlanders’.”
Ian shook his head and scoffed. “Of course. Outsiders rarely care about such a difference. This extends to Eckstedtians in other places.”
He looked up with interest at the Northland-style decorations around him. “But this is no surprise. In the top ten territories of Eckstedt, Sentry Region and Defense City are wary of the oldest lines of defense in the north. Glacier Sea and Elaphure City have to be worried about the threat from the Eastern Sea Port. I don’t even have to talk about the three southern territories near Constellation. Dragon Clouds City and Beacon Illumination City have been the heart of Northland since ancient times, and they are the heart of the kingdom.
“In contrast, the City of Faraway Prayers, which is located in the west, is sparsely populated and can only deal with desert bandits as well as merchants. It does not appear to be important, does it?”
Nicholas turned his head back and gave them a vague look.
Ian immediately responded with a bright smile.
“But you are still part of Eckstedt.” Thales shrugged. “You have had a common-elected king from your side.”
“Three hundred years ago, if it had not been for the Night Wing King dealing a heavy blow to the eastern part of the kingdom, the common-elected throne would never have fallen on the Roknee Family.” He sighed. “King Lazaar Roknee from the City of Faraway Prayers would not have been crowned.”
“You can tell many things from the name. The City of Faraway Prayers, pray, far away.” The young Roknee patted the prince on his shoulder and said helplessly, “The City of Faraway Prayers is only a distant place to Eckstedt. No matter what happens to that wasteland, everyone else in the kingdom will just need to pray from a distance, and they would be considered to have very kindly shown us their concern.”
Thales did not utter a word.
But his judgment of the situation and his estimation of the City of Faraway Prayers had changed many times.
The next second, Ian lowered his head and whispered close to Thales’ ear.
“The most important thing is that since it is not the land of Northlanders, why should the Northlanders pay attention to it, pay attention to the lives of the above-mentioned troubled citizens of West Billow?”
Thales froze for a little while.
“They just need to know that it still belongs to Eckstedt. When they are bragging about it abroad, they can still show the strength of Eckstedt with that big territory. It is enough, is it not?” Ian still had his arm thrown acrosshis shoulders. He lifted a finger and whispered, “So, many West Billowers cannot help but think that maybe all the Northlanders really care about is whether the City of Faraway Prayers is part of their territory on the map.
“This is the City of Faraway Prayers, which has been a problem faced by the Roknee Family as Northlanders for the past six hundred years.”
The two men who had been whispering were silent for a moment.
“It sounds very problematic,” the prince whispered. “Your father must certainly be constantly plagued by troubles of how to rule his people? Do the troubled citizens of West Billow, as you call them, doubt his rule?”
Ian smiled a little. “It is just like Dragon Clouds City, is it not?”
Thales was silent.
But from what he heard, he noticed something.
The young Roknee looked up again, and his voice rose to a normal pitch so that everyone could hear him, “It is a pity, you see. For more than six hundred years, we have taken care of ourselves.”
Ian turned his head and smiled gently.
“So, twenty years ago, when the Born King did not hesitate to use the name of the king and the power of the city to help the west the Roknee Family remembered their kindness forever…
“Hence, the loyal alliance was formed.” The young Roknee blinked. “Therefore, as vassals and subordinates, we were willing to follow such a king until the end of his life.”
Thales raised his eyebrows and spoke while he mulled over his thoughts, “I see.”
The prince thought about Ian’s intentions.
‘This Viscount of Dual Wind City He seems to be frivolous, a troublemaker.
‘But from what he just said What he wanted to convey’
Thales looked up and lowered his voice, “Why did you ask me to come, Viscount of Dual Wind City?
“I am just a prince from another country.”
Ian lowered his head and revealed a mysterious smile.
“As I said, in order to propose to the Archduchess, I need a reliable witness.”
Thales’ expression did not change, but he took a glance at the people around him and deliberately walked faster.
He frowned slightly. “How do you know that I am reliable?”
Ian snorted through his nose.
“Because if you are not reliable”Ian chuckled”you would not have come.”
Thales was temporarily tongue-tied.
A few seconds later, the prince said, “What if your guess had been wrong? What if you had chosen the wrong person?”
“I could be wrong.” Ian maintained his mysterious smile. “But, Black Sand Region will never be wrong.”
Thales was silent.
“Are you serious about your proposal to the Archduchess?”
The young Roknee shrugged. “Of course.
“If the Archduchess wants to marry somebody else, what can we do?”
Thales frowned. “We?”
Ian snorted. He looked at him with a profound gaze, drew out his vowel, and repeated that one word softly, “Weeeeeee.”
Thales pondered for a while.
Ian loosened his grip on his shoulders and looked around with interest.
“I understand now,” Thales murmured after contemplating for a moment. “When we seek an audience with the archduchess later, is there any important matter that will take up a lot of time?”
“Let me see.” The young Roknee scratched his forehead. “In addition to the hypocritical greetings, I will hand over my father’s personal letter written in the style of the ancient knights, then cry out to Dragon Clouds City and beg them to send their troops to save us as an act of kindness. Finally, we grit our teeth and count the king’s crimes, then invite Dragon Clouds City to join the side of justice…
“After that, nothing else.”
Thales nodded and held back all his sarcastic retorts. “Then, let’s end it quickly.”
“Tonight, I will invite the archduchess and you to the dining room to get together and discuss what is really important.”
“Only the three of us? Maybe we should let Regent Lisban join too, if he insists as always.”
At that moment, Ian’s eyes lit up.
“I am looking forward to it.” The young Roknee curled his lips up. “I promise I will end things as soon as possible.”
The next second, they finally arrived at the door of the Hall of Heroes.
The diplomat group stopped in unison and tidied up their clothes. Then, they looked at Ian sternly, as though they were warning him about something.
Their gazes made Thales feel quite uncomfortable.
Ian exhaled, meddled with the symbol of the Knight’s Canon on his shoulder, and raised his hands as if he was surrendering.
“Are you ready?” Nicholas narrowed his eyes and observed the group.
Shortly after, he waved his hand.
The two guards pushed the door open steadily. It made loud rumbling sounds in the process.
This exposed the rows of Archduchess’ Guards, and the archduchess’ seat at the end of the hall.
The view also included the ferocious, black Soul Slayer Pike at the back of the seat.
All the people in the hall turned their eyes and looked at the hall’s entrance to see the visitors from the City of Faraway Prayers.
Ian narrowed his eyes and looked at the ancient hall, which represented Dragon Clouds City.
Under the sunlight, the Cloud Dragon Spear carved at the top of the hall was incredibly distinct. It made the already dark and solemn Hall of Heroes even more serious and dignified
“Relax.” Thales thumped his shoulder and said, “You are in a much more fortunate situation than when I first came.”
The prince looked at the Hall of Heroes and remembered his first unfortunate visit. He could not help but lower his head and sigh.
“Oh, really?” Ian snorted. He stepped forward and walked into the hall.
*Thunk, thunk, thunk.*
The sound of footsteps rang.
“Guests from the City of Faraway Prayers” the messenger said.
But the next moment, he was immediately interrupted by a louder voice.
“Honorable Archduchess, Saroma Walton!”
Ian walked steadily across the stone floor as he suppressed the messenger’s voice and spoke out loud, “I am Ian Roknee.
“On behalf of my father, Archduke of the City of Faraway Prayers, Kulgon Roknee, I would like to extend my sincere greetings to you.”
Everyone in the hall turned their heads around in surprise. They looked over at the person who claimed to be Lord Roknee as he slowly made his way into the hall. He very clearly did not treat himself as an outsider.
Thales sighed as he recalled the time he met Kroesch, and he wondered why there were so many strange people nowadays.
Additionally, they somehow loved announcing themselves.
The prince subconsciously stepped back and drew a distance from Ian.
Under the strange looks from the Archduchess’ Guards, Count Lisban, Viscount Leisdon and other nobles of Dragon Clouds City, and even Nate Monty of the City of Faraway Prayers, who all stood by the side, Ian Roknee kept walking. He looked at the archduchess on the seat in high spirits, sizing her up. “This is my first time in Dragon Cloud City. Please forgive me for being so excited to be here!”
Saroma seemed to be somewhat ill at ease on her seat. Her face was tense as she pursed her lips.
Thales furled his fists subconsciously.
The archduchess took a deep breath and nodded at Count Lisban next to her. Then she cleared her throat and said, “Thank you for the City of Faraway Prayers’ concerns”
However, once again, Ian Roknee from the City of Faraway Prayers acted beyond everyone’s expectations.
Amid gazes from the audience, Ian Roknee laughed and interrupted Saroma without hesitation,
“I am here on behalf of the City of Faraway Prayers to sincerely request Dragon Clouds City to decisively send troops to join our war against the Alliance of Freedom to protect the reputation of your grandfather and father. Also, we really hate the common-elected king who doesn’t do things according to the rules. I believe everyone feels the same,” the young Lord Roknee raised his hands and continued to speak non-stop, as though he was a river spilling from the banks.
“So I sincerely invite you, Archduchess Saroma Walton, to sign a joint announcement, condemning the King’s atrocities. It will soon be posted all over the country”
He spoke without pause, and with an indifferent look. Ian did not forget to bring out the letter, which was now slightly bent out of shape due to how it had been kept in his bosom. He blew at the clearly damaged sealing wax on it. Then, he handed the letter to the Star Killer, who was staring at him from the side with a puzzled look.
“…All the details are written in my father’s letter, but I really recommend that you remove all the adjectives in it before reading it, and it will read much smoother.”
Ian exhaled, seemingly happy that he had uttered such a long list of words.
After a few seconds, he shook his head and showed a brilliant smile. “Now, let me take a guess. Is our audience with the archduchess over?”
Right after he finished speaking, the entire Hall of Heroes fell into silence for a few seconds.
‘What does he mean?’
No one seemed to be responding, and even Thales was staring at Ian, flabbergasted.
Soon, there were sighs from the City of Faraway Prayers’ Diplomat Group behind Ian. All of them had sounded at the same time.
Thales could still hear the old noble from the City of Faraway Prayers exasperatedly saying that he knew this would happen, though his voice was suppressed.
Saroma registered what was happening from her shock.
She seemed to be slightly lost on what to do. She turned to Lisban, whose frown was becoming deeper, appearing to be seeking help. “Umm, I think”
“Prior to this!”
Ian lifted his index finger and seized the right to talk in the hall again. The delight in his voice caused everyone in the hall to be stunned again.
“Prince Thales of Constellation invited me to enjoy the delicacies of Constellation tonight. Honestly, I cannot wait any longer. What say we end this discussion right now?”
By then, every single person had turned their heads and stared at Thales.
Under everyone’s gaze, the Prince of Constellation scratched his forehead, feeling tormented.
He could only lift the muscles on his face and put on an ugly, awkward smile.
‘Ian Roknee. This guy
‘”I promise I will end things as soon as possible.”
Ian was still all smiles when he bowed deeply. “Once again, thank you for your passionate hospitality, honorable Lady Saroma!”
Once he finished speaking, he turned around without hesitation and walked out of the Hall of Heroes.
He did not forget to give Thales a huge thumbs up on his way out, all while showing off his full set of neat, white teeth.
*Thud. thud, thud.*
Just as he came, Ian’s footsteps gradually faded into the distance, until they were completely gone, leaving behind a hall of stunned, well-dressed nobles and guards.
The hall was filled with silence due to the crowd not knowing how to react to the situation. That silence lasted until a cough traveled into the air.
Regent Lisban’s expression turned even more sour.The meaning of his words were obscure when he spoke, “This is truly unexpected.”
“About that Now you know why the archduke sent me to be the harbinger of the diplomat group.”
The Raven of Death, Nate Monty, whom Thales met just moments ago, pursed his lips in a seemingly embarrassed manner. He spread his arms and chuckled at the people in the hall.
The Star Killer held the letter Ian shoved into his hands and stared at Monty with a sullen expression.
‘So that’s why. Monty that’s what you meant when you asked me to treat Sir Ian “well”.’
“Also, allow me to introduce to you the son of the archduke, Ian Roknee, whom all of you just met. He is the Viscount of Dual Wind City.” As if he was trying to get out of being ridiculed, Monty laughed and pointed in the direction where Ian left. “The aristocrats gave him a nickname”
Monty shook his head, looking like he wanted to laugh.
“Ian the Nuisance.”
The hall fell silent once more. It was so quiet that Thales wanted to sneak off.
While the awkward atmosphere hung above them, a voice suddenly shot up.
“By the way, I am very sorry to say this, but I will have to bother all of you again, just one more time.”
The people turned their heads simultaneously.
Ian Roknee’s face showed up again by the door.
Still with a face full of smiles, he asked the crowd in the hall, who all had very excited expressions on their faces.
“Pray tell, where is my room?”