Translator:EndlessFantasy TranslationEditor:EndlessFantasy Translation
Thales and Quick Rope stared at the owner of the tavern with dumbfounded expressions. Meanwhile, he owner himself was sitting by the table with sweat all over his head. He looked as if he was in an extremely uncomfortable situation.
What was the probability of them running into an owner of a tavern being robbed while they were out disposing a corpse?
“Marina, where are your manners? Why aren’t you inviting our two new friends to sit down?”
Ricky still seemed very easygoing, “By the way, let’s have a drink, but not alcohol. I’ll need them to stay sober.”
When he said these words, he fixed his gaze on Tampa.
‘Let’s have a drink, but stay sober.’
Thales and Quick Rope looked at each other in shock and bewilderment. They exchanged their thoughts and feelings using their eyes.
‘What are they doing?’
‘I don’t know!’
The mercenaries around them were still staring coldly at the both of them. An intimidating force unique to the mercenaries spread out from them as they whispered and laughed disdainfully at the two.
Marina raised her eyebrows. She gestured to Thales and Quick Rope with her chin, then kicked an empty table next to her.
“Did you all hear that?”
Thales and Quick Rope cast a glance at each other, unsure if they should sit down.
She lowered her head and took out both of her swords with a “swoosh”.
When she lifted her head with a fierce expression
Thales and Quick Rope had already moved to the chairs by the empty table, as though they teleported there.
They propped their hands on the table, sat upright, and showed their white front teeth, smiling obediently.
Their swiftness, obedience, and sweet smile caused Marina, who was ready to see blood, to become a little frustrated.
The mercenaries behind her came with two drinks from the bar counter, and they rudely slammed them on the duo’s table.
Thales and Quick Rope subconsciously shrank.
They pulled their hands back from the table and tried to stay away from the two drinks.
“What, worried they’re poisoned?” Marina looked at them contemptuously.
“We’re not thirsty,” said the well-behaved Thales.
“Really not thirsty,” said the obsequious Quick Rope.
Marina sighed again when she looked at the sincere gazes from the duo.
She raised her swords, and the two mercenaries behind her stepped forward quietly.
“So, you’d rather have your hands empty because you want to be able to pick up your weapons at any time?”
As soon as she said those words, Thales and Quick Rope quickly shot their hands out together in a show of great sense. With just one stretch and one pull, the beer glasses were in their hands.
It was all done in one breath.
Their heads were lifted from the huge beer glasses at the same time, and they had friendly smiles on their faces.
“Of course not” said the enthusiastic Thales.
“Why would we do that” said the humble Quick Rope.
Marina cocked an eyebrow and her face twitched when she saw the two giggle.
She snorted disdainfully and put her weapons away.
On the other side, Ricky, the leader of the mercenaries looked at the duo’s expressions and sighed softly. “Based on their expressions I guess you were just bluffing, Tampa?”
Tampa, the protagonist of the abduction, coughedwith an unpleasant expression.
“Listen, you’re acting really conspicuously. The camp won’t stand by and just watch.”
Ricky stared at the two new guests with interest, then he turned to look at the owner again.
“They’ll be busy killing things in the desert, and this is just a personal grudge,” Ricky said with a smile. “So, they really won’t care.”
Tampa’s expression became more and more stiff, “You know, you’re destroying Blood Whistle’s reputation. No employer or referral will be willing to hire a mercenary group with a criminal”
Ricky nonchalantly said, “Don’t you know? This is a one-time deal. We are ready to leave Blade Fangs Camp, and even quit this line.”
Thales, who held his beer glass tightly, looked around at the mercenaries in the tavern. Their silence gave the atmosphere in the tavern a strange sense of tension.
‘A one-time deal’
That made Thales extremely uneasy.
That meant that the group of people did not care about all the possible consequences of their actions.
Hence, how could he and Quick Rope, the two innocent people dragged into this mess, get away safely?
“I have no enmity against your Blood Whistle!”
Tampa slammed the table and gritted his teeth as he pointed at Ricky. “Hey, it was your people who weren’t careful enough and snatched those important people’s loot. They were then caught and sent to prison. I’ve tried very hard to help you”
As Tampa defended himself, the middle-aged man next to Ricky named Klein shook his head and laughed as he said to Masked Man,“Not careful enough?”
“Shut up,” Masked Man retorted rudely.
Thales silently watched their interaction.
According to Ricky’s introduction, Klein was a swordsman from Northland. Masked Man had a dangerous identity. They just joined Blood Whistle.
However, judging from their current behavior, the unfamiliarity and distance other people would otherwise havejust like Quick Rope in Dante’s Greatswordwhen they just joined a group was absent from them.
It was as if they had known each other for a long time.
The two of them had just joined the group, and they were already sitting with the leader of the team. The other mercenaries in the tavern, including Marina, who seemed to be a senior member of the group, did not seem to have any opinions about it.
‘There’s something wrong.’
Thales committed the puzzling fact to his memory.
‘This so-called mercenary team isn’t as simple as they seem.’
“If you want to blame this on me or want to earn a huge buck before you leave, then you’ve come to the wrong person.” Tampa continued trying to defend himself.
Nonetheless, Ricky lifted a finger and silenced the three people who wanted to speak.
“This doesn’t have to do with any businesses or grudges, old friend,” he said plainly.
Tampa was slightly taken aback.
“Then what do you want? Mercenaries?”
“What we want may be rather much”
There was a hint of sagaciousness and wariness.
“But first of all, you can answer a question for us.”
Thales instantly felt that there was something wrong when he saw the situation and heard how unbothered Ricky was about Thales as well as Quick Rope’s presence when he asked his questions.
Ricky’s expression turned serious. “About twenty years ago, there was a mercenary group called the ‘Nine Powerhouses’. They were active at the borders of the desert, you know that, right? Just today, I heard you talking to the young man about it.”
Ricky pointed at Thales, and their gazes on him made his cheek muscles go numb from all the smiling he did.
‘What? Did Tampa talk about this?’
Tampa looked at Ricky with a suspecting look. “So?”
“The leader of that team is a skilled young man. Now, he should be about forty or fifty years old.” Ricky placed a hand on the table, then slowly rubbed his fingers together as if he was recalling something.
“His sword style is very special. His offences and defences are one and the same. He has a variety of skills from different schools of martial arts, but he can connect all of them smoothly and use them without problem. When he fights against his opponents, he usually acts beyond their expectations and catches them off guard”
Thales noticed that some of the quiet mercenaries in the distance had tense expressions.
“Even when he faces strong enemies or even when he’s surrounded, he will not be at a disadvantage, resisting the pressure of being in an unfavourable position,” Masked Man suddenly said from the other side of the table. He sounded old as well.
Ricky nodded slightly and looked into the distance with a ruminating gaze. “Exactly.”
He turned to Tampa. “Who is he?”
At first, Tampa was startled.
“Just because of this?”
“This is very important. You are the master here, you should know him,” Ricky whispered.
Tampa took a deep breath.
“It’s been too long ago. When the Nine Powerhouses was formed more than twenty years ago, I was just a poor fool”
He shrugged. “How would I know?”
Ricky blinked and nodded in a friendly manner.
“You may not be old enough, but”
The leader of the mercenaries leaned forward with a confident expression.
“This is My Home.”
Tampa was baffled. “What about it? This is a tavern, not the Secret Intelligence Department.”
Ricky snorted coldly.
“You know, you have a good sign board.”
Tampa went a little stiff.
“Two hundred years ago, the first supreme queen appeared in Constellation, Erica Jadestar. She ascended the throne as the crown princess.”
Ricky smiled as he said, “She beat up the Eckstedtians time and again, causing them to flee in panic. They even had to make their territory smaller and give up on Cold Castle.
“This is the origin of that joke, you know? Only when it is under the leadership of women and children can Constellation defeat Eckstedt. Which is kind of true. Look at 19-year-old Sumer I, Queen Aixora who rode into war herself, the Queen Dowager Iron Spike, Queen Erica, and our very recent addition, the Fortress Flower.”
Masked Man snorted in disdain after he heard Ricky’s words.
Erica, the Conqueror of the North…
Thales had heard of her before.
Of course, it was from the very indignant Northlanders’ view.
It was said that Princess Erica was wild, and her desires were boundless. Before she was crowned, it was difficult to marry her off because of her bad reputation and her unknown father. For the sake of power, she even used her beauty and body to seduce her enemies so that they supported her position as queen. She even tempted Bolton Stustel in a crafty and obscene manner. The wise Common-Elected King of Eckstedt refused the Queen’s “superficial beauty and ugly heart” (‘Basically saying that he did not want her on the surface’Thales’ history book, note 4). He stuck fast to the interests and principles of the Northlanders, but was captured by the angry Queen of Whores through her schemes (‘Capturing him from another state, then bringing him back from Fort End to Eternal Star City’Thales’ history book, note 13). Unfortunately, he fell into her clutches (‘The body is very honest’Thales’ history book, note 15). He was imprisoned in the castle all year round, tortured at night, and suffered great humiliation (Every time Saroma saw it, she would curiously ask Thales why he laughed so strangely).
At the same time, the despicable Constellatiates secretly gathered their forces together and took the opportunity to attack. The Eckstedtians were worried about the safety of their king (‘How is he still not dead?’Thales’ history book, note 24), but they were like a headless dragon. Their people were like scattered sand. However, the Eckstedtians resisted the Constellatiates with their tenacious strength. They fought bravely, and built an unyielding line of defense in front of Cold Castle (‘And then lost Cold Castle’Thales’ history book, note 37). In the end, they crushed the evil schemes of Constellation’s Queen of Whores.
By the way, the history book filled with Thales’ nonsensical remarks and private notes was discovered by the female official, Ginghes in the end. After Lord Nicholas, the archduchess’ guard, read it, he was deeply moved by it. He decided to reward Thales by throwing the book into the fireplace so that it could contribute slightly in providing warmth for Heroic Spirit Palace during the cold winter.
Thales shook his head, then focused his attention on the things before him.
Ricky continued, “But Erica’s later years were not very pleasant. The Conqueror of the North was overthrown by her younger brother and forced into exile in the Western Desert. She ended up surrounded by enemies every single day and was also continuously betrayed. She died depressed.
“The forces loyal to Queen Erica fled to Blade Fangs Dune. They were not willing to work for the cruel Red King, and their actions were approved tacitly by the Duke of the Western Desert. They refused to join the Red King in his repeated conquests and acts of putting down rebels. But at the same time, they were not willing to fade into obscurity after they left their homes. So they chose to continue to fight on the western border for the duke and the country in the name of mercenaries.”
Ricky pointed at the door and smiled. “This is what it means by ‘Queen Erica’s last wine goblet.'”
Tampa took a deep breath.
“This is what the glorious historyor what they thought to be historyof the Western Desert mercenaries. Since then, My Home became the dispatch center for the mercenaries in Western Desert, even though they couldn’t say it out loud.”
Ricky stared at him intently. “It’s been more than two hundred years. The political situation has changed numerous times, the crown has been passed to various people, but My Home has always been the center for the mercenaries in the Western Desert, a sacred place for many people.
“And just like all the masters here, you, Tampa, took over the position and information of the previous owner, moving between the underground and legal forces in this place. You’ve played an intermediary role in the sacred land of the mercenaries. You contacted the officials in the camp while you provided refuge for the mercenaries who were away from the kingdom and its law. You introduced work to them, and your authority was their guarantee.
“Every experienced mercenary or mercenary group who comes to Blade Fangs Camp will come here to greet and be acquainted with the local tyrant so that they can form connections. So you know the general situation and even the details of almostof every mercenary group. As long as they visited this place or came here searching for business, they’d leave their record with you.”
Tampa sighed slowly.
“You may not be the most powerful and most authoritative person in this chaotic camp, Tampa, but you are definitely the one who knows the most.” Ricky’s gaze turned sharp. “Maybe, you know too much.
“Look, we came to you for a reason. ”
“Now, tell me, Tampa…
“Who is he?
“Where is he now?”
Ricky whispered, “The leader of the Nine Powerhouses who wielded the sword.”
At the same table, Klein and Masked Man also turned to Tampa and stared at the owner of the tavern from both sides.
The gazes of the mercenaries turned scarier
Tampa clenched his teeth and his face twitched.
However, he still shook his head. “No, it’s been over twenty years. It’s been too long, and they disbanded long ago. I don’t remember anything”
Ricky’s smile slowly faded.
“It seems that you haven’t realized the resolve we’ve made by coming here today,” he said coldly.
After that, Ricky nodded slightly at Marina.
Marina smiled mysteriously and put her hands on the shoulders of the two new guests.
Thales and Quick Rope turned their heads and looked at her in confusion.
‘What is she trying to’
At the next moment, Thales felt something piercingly cold shoot into his entire body through Marina’s palm!
Thales and Quick Rope’s beer glasses fell to the ground at the same time!
It was cold…
It felt as if someone had suddenly turned his blood into iced water.
The cold flowed through his blood vessels.
At that moment, Thales was as white as a sheet.
That was not all. There was also an unbearable dull pain in that chill. The cold and pain were like a pair of brothers charging forward with all their strength, not thinking about turning back.Their charge was violent and filled with madness as they invaded his nerves inch by inch.
Aware that something was wrong, Thales shrank back. He wanted to resist the terrible force.
Quick Rope reacted faster than him.
“Aarghhhh” the former Prince of Eckstedt screamed!
Quick Rope widened his eyes. He looked frightened and in pain, as though he just saw the legendary ferryman of Hell’s River .
His face was contorted while that strange cold invaded his body.
Tampa stared at the two tortured people in a dumbfounded manner.
The mercenaries looked calm and even smiled, as though that was something they always saw.
Thales gritted his teeth in pain as well. The chill made him extremely uncomfortable, but his body was numb, and it was difficult for him to free himself from it.
A force that had been quiet in Thales for several days suddenly awakened in his body!
The Sin of Hell’s River reacted swiftly, as quickly and mightily as an explosion. It filled Thales’ entire body at the speed of a beast rushing out of its cage, and a flood charging in when the floodgate was lifted.
It surged towards the cold force rampaging in his body.
‘What happened?’ Thales thought. He was a step too late in reacting to the situation.
In one breath, the Sin of Hell’s River charged head-on against that power.
Immediately, Thales started to shake non-stop!
However, it was not because of the chill and dull pain.
In truth, the pain and cold from the power had faded away slowly.
Yet, the other monster filled up his body without hesitation. The Sin of Hell’s River surged and invaded every inch of his body like a provoked beast. Its undulations were intense, and they occurred at a frequent pace. The feeling was second only to the moments when his life was in danger.
Thales was shocked.
‘What’s going on?’
That was not all, though.
The Sin of Hell’s River was like a magic potion that could bewitch a person. It quietly crept up his mind. His Hell’s sense was activated without him calling out to it. His eyes subconsciously focused on Marina’s vitals: her eyes, throat, chest, armpits, belly
Still, that was not all.
Thales “saw” a lot.
The Power of Eradication in Marina’s body raged madly. It gathered in her hands as well as arms to soothe the fatigue of her muscles and nerves. Meanwhile, it strengthened the senses on her skin in order to predict her opponent’s next attack. At the same time, there was also a terrifying aggressiveness to her Power of Eradication. It would spread through her madly every single time her opponent delivered a violent attack on her. Thales suddenly realized that he had somehow come to know this.
With trembling hands, he touched the dagger behind him.
‘As long as I move in place… I can take her by surprise and kill her.’
An impulse screaming at him to attack filled Thales’ mind, making him want to immediately attack her.
It was very calming.
The impulse made him very calm.
He really wanted to
As the Sin of Hell’s River urged him to take her, he subconsciously wanted to reach out and grab his dagger.
However, Thales suddenly felt a strange sting in his forehead.
What followed was a burst of inexplicable coolness that spread from his mind.
A strange and light ringing sounded in his ears.
The coolness and tinnitus seemed to have some effect, almost instantly cutting off the connection between the Sin of Hell’s River and Thales!
The desire to attack disappeared, and Thales regained his senses!
He took a deep breath and immediately discovered what was wrong.
The mercenaries in the tavern, including Ricky, Klein, and Masked Man were staring at him strangely while frowning.
They looked at Thales, who was panting with his head lowered.
It was as if there was something different about him.
And to the other side…
Quick Rope still had his face contorted. His screams could be heard without end. He trembled non-stop, and there was cold sweat all over his body.
“Aarghhhh” His screams grew increasingly miserable.
Marina still had her hands on their shoulders. She stared at Quick Rope as he endured great pain, then at Thales, who seemed as if he was completely fine. She became even more confused.
She muttered a puzzled “hum” and increased the strength of her grip over Thales’ shoulder.
“What” Ricky narrowed his eyes, then whispered to Klein, who was next to him.
Thales instantly reacted when he heard Quick Rope’s screams.
Warning bells rang in his head!
‘Quick Rope and I are reacting differently!’
The next second, Thales tried his best to imagine the worst,most painful and most terrible experience he had ever encountered in his life. It was not simple because he could hardly tell which one was “the worst”. Still, once he had one event in mind, he tried to emulate his emotions and reactions at that time.
Thales gritted his teeth, lowered his head,then wailed at the top of his voice. “Ooww, aarghhhhhhNooooooooo”
He pretended to be in pain, as much pain as he could imagine.
It was really hard.
After all, an act was never better than the real deal. Thales had to use every ounce of energy in him to focus before he could imitate Quick Rope’s hysterical screams, anguish, and crazed trembling, as though he was being flayed.
Marina’s eyebrows slowly eased when she saw Thales’ pained act.
‘There we go.
‘Looks like this short sissy is just someone who reacts slower.’
She nodded her head in satisfaction.
The mercenaries stopped doubting, but the process was gradual.
Tampa’s roar stopped Marina from torturing the two people, though one of them was really in pain, and the other was just acting. She let them go.
Quick Rope collapsed on the table with a dull look on his face. He let out a miserable whine as he spasmed occasionally.
Thales imitated Quick Rope’s actions and collapsed on him. That way, as the latter trembled, he would move Thales, and Thales would not have to force himself to continue his act.
Nevertheless, his heart was filled with extreme shock and puzzlement.
‘What was that earlier’
“What was that?!”
Tampa looked at the two miserable people in rage. “Your poison? Bone Blunting Skill? Or the legendary magic?”
“We just showed you some of our methods to let you learn of our determination.” Ricky still looked at him politely.
“I know that you were once a soldier, Tampa. You might still be a stubborn person, but If they are truly your people, then treat this as us urging you to be faster and us giving you a a motivation.” The leader of the mercenary group chuckled. “If they aren’t then we will treat them as examples.”
He waved his hand at Marina. “Increase your strength.”
Thales and Quick Rope shuddered.
Tampa stared at them in disbelief, and his expression was filled with shock and hesitation.
Before Marina smiled and pushed her hands down again, Tampa spat in indignation. He glared at Ricky in a bad mood.
“The Nine Powerhouses. That’s right, I remember them now.”
Ricky nodded in satisfaction.
Thales and Quick Rope sighed in relief, then looked at the owner of My Home in gratitude.
“F*ck it all” Tampa cursed softly.
“Try saying that again.” Ricky continued smiling.
Tampa clicked his tongue in anger, then spoke with great reluctance.
“Around ten years ago, during the Bloody Year, most of the Western Peninsula was engaged in war. The desert was in chaos. The nobles in the south and the people rebelled. In the end, Eckstedt even sent their army south out of nowhere. Some of the famous mercenary groups in the Western Desert: Soul Rippers, Double-Edged Sword, Moon Scar, Evil Punishers, Immortal Hunters, and Sunrise’s Servants were all affected by the chaos. They fell into misfortune. They either died or disbanded. In fact, some of them had their names wiped off, and it was the same for the Nine Powerhouses”
The middle-aged man named Klein cut him off rudely. “We know that period of history more than you do. Cut to the chase.”
Tampa instantly froze and threw a displeased look at Klein.
“But under that image presented to the public, some people in the circle knew that the Nine Powerhouses lived through the Bloody Year” he said in indignation.
Ricky’s gaze focused.
“That’s something I heard from Old Ronnie One night after the war, the Psionic accountant among the Nine Powerhouses carried their leader while he himself was covered in wounds and blood to knock on the tavern’s door,” Tampa said while gritting his teeth. “On that night, Old Ronnie searched for a doctor for them, and during that one night, he helped the Nine Powerhouses handle all the resources they left behind so that they could disappear without a trace.”
Tampa snorted in anger.
“And that person you asked about only appeared a few years after this happened.”
The mercenaries in Blood Whistle cast each other glances. Their faces were grim.
“Some of the old men who stayed here since the start told me that some underground gang that rose to power and had great influence in Constellation and the south within a period of ten something years treated him like some form myth.
“He became stronger, even stronger than when he was a mercenary. At the very least, he dared to stand up against Blood Bottle Gang, who were the claws and fangs of the nobles. He practically suffered no losses,” Tampa said coldly, “And every single time he appeared, he would appear like the legends depict him. He will appear, but will disappear without anyone being able to find him.”
When he heard this, Thales shuddered.
‘A new underground gang who rose to power and had great influence Stood up against Blood Bottle Gang
Tampa exhaled, then glared hatefully at the other three people. “He even had a new name”
He did not finish speaking, because someone else had already answered for him.
Masked Man clenched his fists, and his voice was as cold as ice.
Tampa was stunned.
During that instant, practically all the mercenaries in the tavern had their breaths still.
They stared at each other, as if they had found the greatest treasure in the world.
Masked Man slowly enunciated each and every single one of his words. “Because he used a black, ancient magic sword that is incredibly difficult to use and is extremely bizarre be it when used to slice, cut, thrust, parry, or defend.”
In an angle no one could see, Thales’ eyes slowly focused.