Translator:EndlessFantasy TranslationEditor:EndlessFantasy Translation
Moonlight shone through the window, which was only covered by a few pieces of plank. It illuminated the face of the thirty-something-year-old mercenary before Thales’ eyes. He had stubble all over his chin, an apathetic gaze, and a relaxed posture. There was a cold hint of a smile at the corners of his lips.
His leather armor was fastened to his upper body, and he never took it off even when he slept. It was covered in scratches and seemed like it had gone through a lot of hardships with its owner while he moved all about the peninsular. Tied to the armor were the various tools mercenaries carried with them: a pocket knife, scissors, bandages, hemostatic powder, ropes, flint stone, and tinder
‘How did he survive all these years?
‘From a prince to’
Thales stared quietly at him, at the tough-looking man who seemed like he had gone through quite a lot.
“So, it is indeed you?
“Prince Moriah?” he asked faintly.
There was silence…
Followed by more silence.
The man before his eyes did not move.
It was as if Thales was dreaming.
Through Thales’ Hell’s senses, the shabby little house covered in dust seemed deserted and still. Separated from them by a wall, only the sound of Quick Rope breathing reminded Thales that everything before his eyes was real.
“Even though I heard a long time ago from Archduke Poffretor I should say the ‘late’ Archduke Poffretthat you wanted to be a mercenary” Thales said, “I never really thought”
Dean cut him off.
“Moriah Walton.” The bald mercenary’s expression did not change. He shook his head slowly. “This name hasn’t surfaced for a long time…
“Ever since its owner died in an assassination six years ago.
“Why are you so preoccupied over someone who’s already dead?”
Thales took a deep breath.
“The Black Track How does that place feel?” the prince asked softly.
“What?” Dean furrowed his eyebrows.
The unusual experience of fleeing Dragon Clouds City from Shield District played in his mind.
The wheelchair-bound veteran whose thoughts did not match what he said; Old Crow who spoke in a profound manner; Kurtz, the cheeky and carefree seamstress; and Kevin the sneaky driver.
It made him emotional. “When I was still in Dragon Clouds City six years ago, I heard from Gleeward as I chatted with him that they also took a deal where they led someone through the Black Track. Their employer was very generous and gave them a remuneration of three hundred gold coins.”
Dean’s expression slowly became grim.
“Three hundred isn’t a small number,” Thales said with a sigh. “Just to get out of Dragon Clouds City?”
Dean said nothing.
“But, here’s the problem,” Thales continued to speak in the dim little house.
“Someone who can take three hundred gold coins out in the blink of an eye’s definitely someone of status who’s powerful and rich. There aren’t many people like this in Dragon Clouds City, but I can name quite a few; rich merchants from Camus Union, bureaucrats and nobles from Axe District or Spear District, suzerains with rich territories or even the former disciplinary officer, Vlad, who monopolized the black market.
“However, people like that most probably have many methods to seek refuge outside the city no matter who they offend in Dragon Clouds City. Why does this particular person insist on choosing the most expensive, hardest, farthest, and most troublesome method to get out?”
Thales fixed his gaze on Dean. In the dark, he could feel that Dean’s breathing was rising and falling a little.
“Unless…” Thales inhaled deeply.
“Unless this person offended and had to face the supreme power of Dragon Clouds City.”
Dean slowly shifted his leg off the bed and stared solemnly at Thales.
“In the face of King Nuven’s pursuit and the entire city’s spies, all of his power as well as influence aren’t worthy to be mentioned. Additionally, all his communication channels couldn’t be used. He could only go to the area where the common and poor people gathered to find the local tyrant: that stubborn, boorish, and crippled veteran, who’s known to dislike King Nuven… All so that he could leave the city through a secret passage normal people would never think of.”
Thales’ gaze became increasingly sharper as he looked at Dean. “Plus, six years ago, who exactly was that person of unusual status, being pursued at all costs by the entire Dragon Clouds City?”
Dean curled up the corners of his lips a little.
“The Black Track, Gleeward.” The mercenary mulled over these words. “So, that’s how it is.
“So, you also fled through that veteran?”
He gazed back at Thales. “You bothered everyone in the Western Frontlines, and perhaps, even made all the soldiers in Western Desert Hill enter the Great Desert to work together with you?”
Thales did not answer him. At that moment, the prince’s expression was incredibly obscure and hard to decipher.
“So, you’ve been hiding among this team of mercenaries?
“Letting go and abandoning everything, including your father, bloodline and and coming here to become an ordinary mercenary?
At that moment, as Thales stared into Dean’s eyes, King Chapman’s figure in the carriage appeared in Thales’ mind.
‘”Walking away from a problem doesn’t mean that one has escaped it, and cowardly avoiding something doesn’t mean that one is free.”‘
‘”But he will.”‘
‘”After we find him.”‘
Dean was silent for a few seconds.
“I’m doing what I’m best at, that’s all,” Dean sneered and shook his head. “Just like you.”
Thales exhaled loudly and with furrowed eyebrows, he said, “Moriah, do you understand your current situation right now?”
“Moriah is dead; that’s what I know,” Dean answered him coldly. “And no matter who told you that he isn’t dead”
Thales raised his voice and cut him off.
“If Moriah’s dead, there wouldn’t have been so much trouble!”
The prince solemnly said, “But if he’s still alive, even just for a day, he’d still be King Nuven’s descendant and the first in line to inherit Dragon Clouds City as well as the Walton bloodline. His existence, and even his possible return would pose as a strong challenge to the current owner of Dragon Clouds City.
“Do you know what that means?”
The mercenary’s chest started to rise and fall.
He lowered his head and flatly said, “Let me guess, someone doesn’t like this fact and the possible connotation behind Moriah’s possible survival, right?”
Dean lifted his head. His gaze was clear and calm. “Then, is it the new Archduchess of Dragon Clouds City? I’ve heard that your relationship with her’s quite good.”
Thales’ gaze froze.
“Or is it Lisban, the one who’s actually in power and has absolute control over things?”
Dean enunciated each word in a cold tone, “Or perhaps it’s the new king who hates the Walton Family to the core?”
Thales sighed softly.
“Perhaps it’s one of them,” the teenager said gravely.
“Your niece, Saroma Alex Walton… Her position would waver because of your existence. As for your cousin brother, Chapman Lampard, he did not want to see a strong and powerful male heir gain ownership of Dragon Clouds City.
“You’re a threat.”
“So, it’s true that there are people who already know that Moriah is still alive,” the mercenary said slowly. “You, Thales Jadestar, no matter who you cooperate with, you’re here to kill or capture me to eliminate the threat.”
It was as if everything around them froze.
In the dimness, only two equally sharp pair of eyesone green and one blackstared at each other.
Dean’s eye color was slightly lighter than what Thales remembered from King Nuven’s. It was without that ineffable oppressiveness, which was normally in Kin Nuven’s eyes. However, it had a peculiar undertone like an owl that lurked in the dark, and Thales could not help but furrow his eyebrows because of it.
“Exactly, all hidden problems will disappear in a flash if I kill you,” Thales said softly.
“And by capturing you, I’ll obtain an excellent chess piece to be used as a bargaining chip when strategizing against Eckstedt in the future.”
The temperature between the two seemed to drop below freezing point.
Meanwhile, the silence lasted until Dean slowly spoke.
“Then, what are you waiting for?” The mercenary’s expression became harsh, something rarely seen on him. He placed his palm on the hilt of his axe. “You have the entire camp as your back-up, Your Highness.”
The stillness in the room reached a new level.
Through Thales’ Hell’s senses, even Quick Rope’s breathing appeared softer while he remained sleeping in the room next door.
Nonetheless, the stillness continued for a few more seconds.
In the dim house, Thales shut his eyes and sighed softly.
He moved back slowly until his back was pressed against the wall.
The sheathed JC’s dagger pressed against his lower back, making Thales grit his teeth quietly.
“No,” he said arduously.
The moment he spoke, Thales felt as if a heavy burden had just been lifted off his heart.
“No matter why you left, and no matter why you came back, Moriah…”
The Prince of Constellation opened his eyes silently. “Go.”
The bald mercenaryMoriahwas a little startled.
“Go, Moriah, disappear from our sight and never come back again,” Thales said flatly.
Moriah fixed his gaze on him without saying a thing.
After a while, the mercenary from Northland slowly lowered his head.
His voice became very deep and hoarse. When it sounded in the dark, Thales could not help but think of the former Archduke of Black Sand, Chapman Lampard. He had not become the King of Eckstedt yet, but he had experienced many changes in his life.
“A few days ago, you had a chance to return to the army loyal to you and order them to capture me, but you didn’t.
“You had a chance to lay your hand on me just now, but you turned and left,” Moriah said, enunciating each word. “Now you have a chance to hold me captive, but you’re letting me leave?
He was speaking faster with every passing minute.
Thales leaned against the wall and slowly stopped using his Hell’s senses, which was making him feel rather uncomfortable.
He snorted softly.
“Because Perhaps because you saved my life?”
Thales curled up the corners of his lips, feeling slightly melancholic. “And I’m showing my gratitude.”
Moriah shook his head slowly.
“Don’t make me laugh.” He raised his gaze and looked straight at Thales. “In the game of power, the fact that one saved your life is worth nothing.
“You definitely have another reason.
Thales furrowed his eyebrows and froze.
The teenager said quietly, “Why do you care so much?”
Moriah arched an eyebrow. His expression was rather cold under the moonlight.
“Since you ran away without a care for anything six years ago, abandoning all of Dragon Clouds City,” Thales continued, “why do you care about my reason six years later?”
Moriah remained silent for a while.
“Ran away without a care for anything? Is that so?”
His smile was a little disconsolate. “Do all those who know that Moriah’s still alive think of him this way?
“That’s really lamentable,” Moriah muttered.
Thales did not immediately speak. He observed Moriah and took in the former Prince of Eckstedt’s expression and reaction.
However, Moriah shifted his gaze back to Thales. “But you still haven’t explained why you decided to spare me.”
Thales pursed his lips.
“Six years ago, I only went to Eckstedt because of your ‘death’, Moriah.’
“I know everything about you.”
He sighed softly. “I know that you learned martial arts from Nicholas, and observed King Nuven’s political tactics beside him in Heroic Spirit Palace. I know that you were friends with the deceased Conkray Poffret. I also know that you’re sick of political strifes, and you’ve dreamed of being a mercenary since you were young.
The moment Thales said that, Moriah was expressionless.
However, Thales felt inexplicably uneasy.
Despite that, when the arrow was on the string, it had to be sent flying. He forcibly suppressed the uneasiness in his heart and continued to say, “I even know that you have a lover of a lowly status, who may be a prostitute. I also know that King Nuven was extremely dissatisfied with her, and both of you had a major argument because of it the day before you were supposed to head south on a diplomatic mission.”
Moriah raised his eyebrows.
“Nevertheless, I didn’t ask you why you abandoned your identity and status as a prince, then run away from home.” Thales fixed his gaze on Moriah. “Why do you need to ask me why I’m letting you leave?
“Just leave,” Thales said in a deep voice. “Live as free as the wind out there; isn’t it wonderful?”
Moriah did not speak for a long time.
His gaze on Thales made the latter rather uncomfortable.
“My identity’s already been exposed.” Finally, the bald mercenary with the special background slowly moved his lips and said, “There are people who’ve found out that Moriah’s still alive.
“So, I want to know why you wanted to track me down.
“If you’re really that archduchess’ friend, there’s no reason for you to let me leave. Unless this is the next trap.”
His eyes sparkled, and he was extremely vigilant.
A slight hint of uneasiness surged into Thales’ mind. He furrowed his eyebrows and sighed again.
‘A prince who’s been wandering about for the past six years is all alone out here’
“Because of Lampard.”
Thales finally made up his mind. He nodded and said, “By killing you, Lampard would have one less problem weighing down on his mind, and he would be able to continue ruling Eckstedt recklessly.
“I don’t want him to be too at easewe’re enemies.”
Thales gazed at Moriah.
“Having him know that you’re still alive will help in making that arrogant kinslayer of a king restrain himself a little, stay wary, and act within limits.
“It will also help me in keeping his claws away from Dragon Clouds City. As you said, Saroma’s my friend.
“Are these reasons enough?”
Moriah’s gaze changed.
He lowered his head. It seemed like he understood something, and he nodded slowly.
“So, it’s Lampard, our dear new king.
“He’s the one who knows that Moriah’s still around.”
Moriah appeared to be deep in thought. “And he told you about it, hoping that you could help him, help him go deep into Constellation’s territory and get rid of me completely.
“This explains a lot of things. Where did he find out about this?”
Thales furrowed his eyebrows again.
“All of that isn’t important anymore.”
A hint of impatience surged into his mind, and he said through gritted teeth, “Now, leave.
“Before I change my mind.”
The next moment, Moriah suddenly raised his head.
“Then, how about you, Your Highness?” Moriah’s expression was very grim. His eyes shone with a bright light, and they were piercing. “What happens after you let me go?
“Will you return to where the garrison officers are in the camp and look for your army as well as fighters, or even the Secret Intelligence Department to capture me?” he asked in a probing manner.
Thales sighed internally in resignation.
‘Why does this man have so much to say?
‘And he’s so paranoid as well.
‘He really shouldn’t be a mercenary.
‘He should be suitable as a spy instead.’
The teenager had no choice but to speak with a stern expression, “I told you that I’ll let you leave. Hence, I’ll let you leave.
“Forget Blade Fangs Camp, even the Secret Intelligence Department won’t find out about you.”
Thales took a step forward and went up to Moriah. In his most serious tone, he said, “I’ll keep my promise. This is Thales Jadestar’s promise, the promise of the Second Prince of Constellation.
“You’re the late King Nuven’s prince, and a Northlander. You know what a big deal these words are to us.”
Moriah stared at him for a very long time.
He swayed his head and slowly said, “So, you’ll still look for them and return to Constellation’s embrace.”
Thales furrowed his eyebrows a little.
He had a slight feeling that something was amiss.
Moriah lifted his head. He smiled under the moonlight.
“I realize that you’re extraordinarily different, Thales, especially when compared to other people…
“Extraordinarily different,” he said softly.
Moriah narrowed his eyes. “For example, compared to your reputation, you are especially naive…
“And also especially full of yourself.”
Thales was taken by surprise.
Yet, at the next moment, Moriah swung his legs from the bed and stood up.
“All right, I’m leaving.
He lowered his head and looked at Thales from above before he extended his palm. “No matter what happens, Your Highness, thank you.”
Both of their eyes met.
It lasted for a very long time.
Moriah’s gaze was filled with wisdom, and there was the ghost of a smile in his eyes. Thales’ gaze, on the other hand, was extremely solemn and earnest.
Finally, Thales’ lips curled into a smile.
The teenager arched an eyebrow and nodded. He also extended his hand to hold Moriah’s.
“No, we’re equal now.” Thales accepted Moriah’s thanks and sighed. “You saved me in the desert”
The next moment, however…
Thals could only feel pain in his arm, and he fell onto the bed!
The Sin of Hell’s River sensed danger, and Thales, who was considered “battle-seasoned” by then, gritted his teeth in shock!
He entered Hell’s senses in the blink of an eye.
Moriah moved in a flash. He pulled Thales’ arm in an instant and got behind the prince!
Moriah looked like he was about to pin Thales’ hand behind his back and force him into a kneeling position, pressing him down on the bed!
The extremely shocked and enraged Thales summoned his Sin of Hell’s River and desperately resisted the force that Moriah exerted with his right hand to shrug him off.
Thales’ back crashed hard against the headboard.
The prince anxiously extended his hand, wanting to whip out JC’s dagger.
Sadly, Moriah was faster than him.
At some point in time, Moriah had managed to whip out a small knife in his left hand and pressed it against Thales’ throat.
“If you move one finger, esteemed Prince Thales”
That very second, Moriah’s expression was cold and frightening.
He had Thales pinned against the bed. He increased the force exerted by his hands and threatened the prince coldly.
“Like those orcs, your blood will bathe the earth.”