Translator:EndlessFantasy TranslationEditor:EndlessFantasy Translation
“Don’t worry, the others in the team won’t come tonight because of personal matters.”
Quick Rope lay on to the bed carelessly, swinging his arms, which ached from the intense fight just now, he then said,
“Let me guess: Dean purposefully drew them away, and his target was you.”
A broken and damaged oil lamp, lit using animal fat, shone brightly in the small house of the mercenaries. Dean’s body was already covered with a piece of rough cloth while he lay quietly on the ground. As for Thales, he sat cross-legged on the ground, leaning against the wall while constantly remaining wary of Quick Rope who lay on the bed with a pleased look on his face.
After a long while, Thales finally managed to organize his train of thoughts. He said softly, “What is going on? Why, why are you”
“What’s going?” Quick Rope placed both his hands behind his head and looked at the motley ceiling. “It’s just as you saw it. I always thought that, other than those with great authority in Dragon Clouds City, no one else will ever learn that I’m still alive.”
Quick Rope gestured with his chin at the covered body under the rough cloth. “Until this guy appeared.”
His tone remained relaxed, as though he was a bright day without any dark clouds hovering above his head.
“The Secret Room is always everywhere, right? Father and Soria never liked Madam Calshan, and while I respect her, I keep my distance from her.”
Thales darted a look at Dean, he had instinctively clenched his fists tightly.
He turned to Quick Rope and asked the one thing that boggled his mind the most, “I don’t understand. Your hair color, your Camian accent, and your age”
Quick Rope snickered.
“Did you know that Camus Union is an amazing place? It has all kinds of cities, all kinds of races, and many weird and different cultures,” the former prince exclaimed. “And on the sea routes they opened is the Shalte Archipelago. It’s located southwest of the archipelago. They produce an amazing dye, and the locals use it to dye their hair, or as cosmetic products. It won’t fade even after a month. I only need to worry about my hair roots”
Thales watched as Quick Rope rub his red hair, and frowned.
“As for my accent and my age” Quick Rope tilted his head to the side and smiled at Thales as he said, “You might have not realized this, Constellatiate prince, but after you’ve stayed in the north for six years, to my ears you now speak with a Northlander’s accent, and you don’t seem like a normal fourteen-year-old boy, either.”
He hunched his shoulders. Thales lowered his head in silence.
“Was everything fake?” the Prince of Constellation asked while feeling horrible in his heart. “You’ve been acting since the moment we met in the Great Desert? That Quick Rope who jokes, plays with the group, fights for the rights of his dead comrades, and can’t read was all fake?”
Quick Rope’s face turned gloomy. “No, not all of it was fake.” He lay on his arms with an impassive face.
“You know, when a prince who lived a comfortable life but is dispirited walks out of the palace, the first thing he discovers will be that the world outside was not as good as he imagined.”
The low-quality lamp slowly dimmed, the room turned dark again. Thales remained still.
“Hence, when that stupid prince came to Camus and spent his first afternoon in Vallier Union, the Capital of a Thousand Ships, he had what little remained of his money conned out of his hands. Oh, by the way, the three hundred gold coins I paid as the fee to get through Black Track was really stupidly expensive.
“Back to the point, the prince had no choice but to work on a ship. He went on his first voyage which he had never dreamed of, and he flipped open a new chapter in his life, one that he had never experienced before this.”
Quick Rope said blankly, “In six years’ time, he abandoned too much, and grew accustomed to many things as well.”
When he said this, Quick Rope sneered softly.
“The first time I set sail, the boatswain was a wrathful man, and he always shouted at me loudly while pointing at the halyard, which should either be tied properly or loosened up.‘Quick! Rope!'” His voice was lamentful. “And so, I gained my first nickname in life.”
Thales still leaned against the corner of the wall with a grim look on his face. Then, when Quick Rope said his next sentence, there was a faint dejected tone to his voice.
“It’s not as stupid as the nickname, the ‘Born King’.”
Thales frowned. He suddenly remembered King Nuven, but he realized that no matter what, it was still very hard to connect the late king with this optimistic, happy but complicated Quick Rope.
“What kind of nickname will you get, Thales. Have you thought about it?” Quick Rope suddenly asked in a somewhat interested voice. “The Adventurer King? Hostage King?”
Thales came back to his senses and sighed gently. “Moriah”
“Ah, I know.” Quick Rope’s voice fluctuated in the dark. There was a slightly smug tone in his voice. “The King of Misfortune.”
Quick Rope’s chuckles came again. Thales did not give him a response. Then, Quick Rope’s laughter slowly faded away.
“Why?” Thales asked hoarsely. “Six years ago, why did you leave?”
This time, the room stayed quiet for a long while. Quick Rope sighed softly, as though he was a convict preparing to meet his destiny; as if he was about to accept judgement.
“This question, huh? During the first few years I was out here, I asked myself this question countless times.” Quick Rope’s voice traveled into the air. “The answer I gave myself was different each time.
“But in the past two or three years, that answer started to become clear to me.” He slowly sat up in the darkness, his bright eyes shining faintly under the moonlight. “…Because this is my choice.”
Thales’ breathing became faster. The words King Chapman told him and his own evaluation of Moriah rose in his head. Everything he went through during the past six years also flashed before his eyes as if they only happened yesterday.
Thales subconsciously gritted his teeth tightly. “But you just irresponsibly walked away, abandoning your country, your people, your family”
Quick Rope shivered slightly.
“Did you know that your disappearance caused Dragon Clouds City a huge blow? Did you know that your willfulness nearly caused a war between two countries that would have ended up with countless people dead? Did you know what kind of fate your decision has brought upon me, Lampard, Saroma, and your father King Nuven?”
At that moment, Thales felt as though he was back to the underground chamber in Renaissance Palace, and beside his ear was that deep, dignified and powerful voice.
‘”Fate will prepare everything for you.”‘
During the past six years, blood, death, betrayal, murder, politics, resignation, helplessness, confusion, regret… If this was the fate of the prince…
Thales was getting more conflicted. And in the face of destiny, the person before him just
“How was he my father?” Quick Rope spoke hoarsely, breaking Thales out of his thoughts, thought even he did not know were from either jealousy or indignation. “Six years ago, when he passed away how was he?”
Thales was a little stunned.
Nuven the Seventh. The Born King. That apathetic old man who rubbed his ring.
“Over the years, all I heard were rumors. But you were there, Thales,” Quick Rope said calmly. There was a barely noticeable quiver in his voice. “You were there.”
For a short while, the only sound in the room was from their breathing. Thales stayed silent for a while.
‘Dragon’s Blood… That night six years ago is really hard to forget.’
Finally, Thales sighed and suppressed the disgruntlement that had suddenly come to his heart. “I don’t know how to describe it, but at that time
“He was actually in quite a good condition; Nuven had still retained his authority and dignity as the Born King.”
He narrated his past meeting with King Nuven to Quick Rope, like a son in the house telling his family his story after years of not being at home.
“At that time, he had just punished Beacon Illumination City and unified the other archdukes, Black Sand Region was no longer a threat.”
Thales thought deeply and said, “He also managed to survive through the disaster brought on by the calamities. He witnessed the return of the Queen of the Sky, and was thinking about teaching the calamities who destroyed his toys a lesson.”
The prince then said dejectedly, “He had even conceived a plan for the future of the Walton Family and Dragon Clouds City in advance, anticipating every step and taking every possibility into account.”
‘Even the future of the Prince of Constellation.’
Quick Rope laughed. “Heh, still the same old man.”
There was nostalgia in his voice, but there was also sadness filling each of his words almost to the point of it spilling out of them. “…He still controls everything in his hands.”
Thales nodded. “That was him before he passed on, the last King Nuven,” the prince said with a heavy weight in his heart, “Then”
He could not continue on.
“Was it…?” Quick Rope took over the conversation. His tone was indecipherable.
Thales sighed and said, “Don’t worry, everything happened too fast. It lasted only an instant. He didn’t feel any pain when he passed away.”
There was two seconds of silence.
“It was?” Quick Rope leaned against the wall and hugged his knees tightly. “What about Dragon Clouds City then?”
Thales’ breathing froze. There was faint resentment in the prince’s voice as he retorted, “Seriously? You’re asking me?
“The calamity came to Shield District. They fought against the Queen of the Sky until morning arrived, there were too many deaths After the king died, rumors spread all over the place, there was no order, and the Archduke of Black Sand Region’s army invaded the city at night and met with Lisban’s troops.”
Thales took a deep breath as he spoke, and felt as if he was listening to a stranger narrating an unfamiliar tale.
“The White Blade Guards suffered tremendous loss, Nicholas brought the last of his men to fight to the death.” Thales’ tone became more urgent. “Lampard occupied Heroic Spirit Palace. The five archdukes in the Hall of Heroes fought over their futures and lives against one another. They had their hands placed on their sword hilts, engaged in a tug-of-war that would decide their lives and deaths. Archduke Roknee and Archduke Olsius had even drawn their weapons, intending to fight Lampard to the death. Kaslan, Mirk many people died in that damn tug-of-war.”
Each time he said a word, Quick Rope would shudder.
“At last, SaromaI’m talking about Alex Waltontook over your father’s position under immense pressure, and under their malicious gazes.”
Finally, Thales glared at the figure on the bed.
“Under the countless hateful gazes, Chapman Lampard wore the blood-stained crown while people fought all around him. He stepped on the bones of hundreds and was coronated to become Chapman the First.”
Quick Rope exhaled heavily.
“During the past six years, Dragon Clouds City was politically unstable. The city was in turmoil. The archduchess’ qualifications to rule the city was heavily doubted, the vassals were engaged in all sorts of conflicts with each other, the king bore no goodwill, and most of the suzerains lurked around, waiting for a chance to strike. As for me, I was trapped there as a hostage and a chess piece, until now.
“This is the answer you seek. Are you satisfied?” Thales said coldly, “This is everything that you’ve caused after you ran from your responsibilities, Moriah Walton.”
Quick Rope did not speak for a long time. Ten seconds had then passed.
“So this is the answer. Thank you,” Quick Rope answered weakly. “I am deeply regretful.”
Thales’ eyebrows were furrowed together tightly.
“You are deeply regretful?” The Prince of Constellation laughed coldly. “That is your kingdom, your city, your home. And you are ‘deeply regretful’?”
Quick Rope shook his head. His tone was a little gloomy. “Thales When you said to Dean that you wouldn’t ask too many questions and that you only wanted me to disappear forever, I thought you understood me a little.”
Quick Rope looked as if he had lost something. His voice was dejected, but there was an unspoken sadness hidden in his words.
Thales sucked in a deep breath. “If you had been around six years ago Alright, I’m just saying that if you had chosen to go back to Dragon Clouds City after you avoided being assassinated”
Quick Rope suddenly raised his head. “That would not change anything,” he said coldly.
Thales was stunned.
“It will still be the same. Plots, conspiracies, politics, and battles for profits.” Quick Rope was practically hissing through clenched teeth. “Regardless of whether it’s Dragon Clouds City or Eckstedt, whether it’s Lampard or the Waltons, nothing will change.”
Thales stared at him, dazed.
“Of course I know that there were many deaths and the price all of you paid was high,” Quick Rope said sadly, “but this is what the fight for power means.
“You are blaming me for the calamities who arrived due to my escape… but how would you know that I would cause fewer deaths if I was the Archduke of Dragon Clouds City, or even the King of Eckstedt? Would I cause less trouble than what I’m causing now? Would I be committing crimes lighter than what I am committing now? Will Dragon Clouds City be more fortunate and stable than it is now?”
Thales gritted his teeth tightly.
“You don’t know, Thales.” Quick Rope said coldly, “You thought that the disasters and calamities Dragon Clouds City suffered, Eckstedt’s turmoil and change, were really the effects of Lampard’s plot, or my willfulness, or my father’s mistake?”
Quick Rope’s back moved away from the wall.
“My father when he was alive, the Born King’s reputation intimidated the entire Western Peninsula. He subjugated all his suzerains, suppressed the nobles, and exhausted all his resources to build his army. He pushed Dragon Clouds City’s might to its greatest over the past three generations. He sowed the seeds of fear and obedience over the entire kingdom. The only thing he did not manage to do was conquer all of Eckstedt .” Quick Rope’s tone was cold.
“However, this meant that he was fated to become someone’s enemy. He was the enemy to all the archdukes, the suzerains, many countries in Western Peninsula, and even an enemy to the lowliest commoner under his rule. Even if there was no Lampard, no Secret Room, no Bloody Year, even if the accident with Soria did not happen, and even if even if I didn’t run away, sooner or later, these enemies would appear before him, and even if they weren’t Lampard or the Secret Room, his enemy would be someone else, like Roknee, Lecco, Trentida, and even his most trusted subordinates. The role of his enemy will be replaced by another group who was displeased with him. They will fight back until the throne of Dragon Clouds City is overthrown.”
‘King Nuven’ enemies…’ Thales thought deeply. The night when Dragon’s Blood was launched six years ago appeared before his eyes. The faces of those who were responsible for the plan also showed up in his mind: The Archduke of Black Sand Region who was forced to a corner; the capricious marquis from Camus Union; the Secret Room who hid themselves perfectly in the dark; the forces of power in the underground black market; and even the Supreme King of Constellation.
Even a commoner like Gleeward, who fussed over every single coin he spent over his daily necessities, also sneered at his king and regarded him with contempt.
King Nuven only had half of Dragon Clouds City at his side.
“My father did not die because of some failed plan, some accident, or by someone’s stupid actions. He died because he rose to a position of power that was too high in this era, and too many people wanted him dead.” There was grief in Quick Rope’s voice.
Thales was stunned.
There were countless days where he would recall the execution of Dragon’s Blood six years ago, and when he did, what came to mind was Nuven’s miscalculation, Lampard’s viciousness, the sinister Secret Room, the secrets of the Secret Intelligence Department, and all the schemes the suzerains and archdukes concocted after racking their brains, just to set each other up.
“There is only one line dividing success and failure; this is what it means to be in power, Thales.” Quick Rope’s tone grew frantic. “After returning from the sea and experiencing life and death, I understood this: History is not as we think it is. It isn’t controlled by the people who seem to have great status and incredible power, but is decided by the countless waves in the world you cannot hope to hold off, by the unfathomable whirlpools, by the tides that shake thousands of miles of land, and the trade winds.
“If you try to block the tide, then no matter how strong your warship is, it will still be crushed. But if you sail with the wind, even the most fragile ship can travel millions of miles. Even if there was a person as mighty as a hero, before it, he has no power to turn the tables; the most insignificant commoner can rise to the top if he just sailed with the wind.
“Too many people only see schemes, plots, open strife, hidden conflicts, the heroes, and the villains. However, before the fierce tide, we are just too insignificant alone. There is far too little that we can do. No one can move against the tide, what we can do is actually very little, no one can move against the tide or turn it, that is just our misconception towards those who rose to the water’s surface when the tide receded.
“Forget my father, even if the King of Renaissance and the Dragon Knight were resurrected, it’ll be the same for them as well. Even if my father successfully handed the throne into my hands, it’ll be the same.” His tone quivered slightly.
“I see very clearly that, regardless of who is sitting on that throne, Dragon Clouds City is destined to reach its peak, and fall. Regardless of who is leading the Kingdom of the Great Dragon, Eckstedt, too, will rise and fall.”
Quick Rope stared at Thales silently.
“Just like how that bloodline flowing through your veins fell after it reached its peak, just like how the once proud Empire fell after it rose.”
Thales subconsciously tightened his fists. Then, he spoke, sounding incredibly tired, “If you were still in Dragon Clouds City when all those things happened, at least Dragon Clouds City could have been more politically stable, at least Lampard would be kept on his toes, and many people would not need to bear”
Quick Rope lowered his head. “Do you think truly that Dragon Clouds City is in a bad state right nowunstable and in turmoilbecause of its archduchess?”
He snorted with the ghost of a smile on his lips.
“How then, would you know for sure that the new king, the former suzerains of the late king, and the late king’s enemiesbe they hidden or well-knownwould not deliver terrifying pressure that is a hundred times heavier than it is now, or use methods that are much more frightening than what they’re doing right now to the current Dragon Clouds City if it lost King Nuven but was then taken over by a legitimate male descendent of the Walton Family whom are still a powerful force regarded warily by all these people? How can you guarantee that they won’t attack us like ants eating away at animal carcasses, gnawing on us until there is nothing left?
“How can you be certain that Dragon Clouds City won’t be suffering even worse damages and casualties than what it is suffering right now?”
Thales was slightly stunned.
“Besides, I am not them, Thales. I am not my father, I am not Soria, and I am most definitely not my cousin, Chapman Lampard, who killed his own brother.”
Quick Rope sighed slowly.
“As for sitting on that not-at-all comfortable throne, plotting day and night, figuring out the people’s thoughts, and forcing myself to be the cruelest and most pathetic tool?”
In the dark room, he stared at Thales with eyes brimming with sadness.
“That is not power, Thales, it is a pair of shackles called ‘power’.”