Translator:EndlessFantasy TranslationEditor:EndlessFantasy Translation
No one knew how much time had passed. However, when one of the oil lamps on the wall started to flicker, the suffocating silence in the tavern finally began to disappear.
“Damn it… Prince?” Tampa sighed and said in agony. “This How can I be this unlucky today”
“Sh*t Urgh, this is not a good sign” Quick Rope lowered his head and muttered something.
“You” said Marina, who glared at Thales while she had her hands pressed firmly against the hilt of her sword.
The mercenaries started to whisper to each other as well.
Klein calmly ordered. His gaze did not leave Thales, and his longsword was still pointed at Dean’s chest.
Thales no longer had any worries. He leaned against his chair as if he had been released from a heavy burden, and looked at the people’s gazes with an indifferent expression.
‘Things have already progressed to this stage, what else can I do?
‘It’d be better for me to think about what I should do next’
“Did you really think that you could secretly ship off our spoils right under our noses, Dean?”
The former envoy of Eckstedt and former baron, Lasalle Weider snorted through his nose. He glanced at Thales and coldly said to Dean, “Especially with such a huge spoil of war?”
Dean pursed his lips disdainfully. “You’re just lucky, dog of the king.”
Lasalle replied him with a scornful smile.
Ricky slowly walked forward until he stood right in front of Thales. He looked straight into his eyes.
Ricky lifted the corner of his lips. As he examined Thales, his gaze became slightly unfocused. “You’ve really exceeded my expectations…”
At that moment, his facade turned piercingly cold.
“Just like the other Jadestars.”
Thales was a little taken aback.
During the time that Nicholas, Monty, Dean, Stake, and Lasalle examined Thales, they looked at him like he was prey, or a valuable treasure most of the time.
Yet strangely, when Ricky stared at him, none of those expressions could be detected in his gaze. Instead, there was a slight hint of confusion in his eyes.
It was as if he saw another person through Thales.
However, Thales could not be bothered since he was in danger. He was carefully looking for an opportunity to escape.
Thales first coughed before he took a deep breath. “I could say the same for you, Disaster Sword.
“You really exceeded my expectations by choosing the most difficult path.”
Ricky moved his gaze away, pursed his lips, and smiled. He then turned and cast his gaze on the swaying flames along the wall.
“It seems that you’ve accomplished your mission earlier than we planned, Stake.” Ricky cast a sideways glance at Stake, who stood far away. “It was easier than we thought, perhaps too easy.”
Stake bowed in the distance. His face was full of smiles.
“All thanks to the lot of you.”
“Stop wasting time,” Lassale interrupted them decisively. “This is enemy territory; we still need to arrange our retreat.”
“You’re interfering in the Secret Room’s” Dean wanted to say something, but Klein gently turned his wrist. The threatening blade in his hand forced the spy from the Secret Room to swallow his words.
Ricky walked back and waved his hand. Klein and Masked Man nodded in response.
Thales was observing their interaction. When he saw Ricky’s hand gesture, he knew that he could no longer be silent.
Thales cleared his throat. Behind Ricky, he shouted, “I don’t understand, Ricky. I heard from an attendant that you’re a group of swordsmen who are determined to overthrow the Tower of Eradication, correct?”
Ricky’s stopped moving.
“Of course you’ve heard about it.”‘Crassus’ of the Disaster Sword laughed coldly.
“But you don’t know anything.”
Thales hummed softly.
“Is it worth it?”
The prince stood up from his seat. The mercenaries beside him instinctively switched to their battle stances. Shortly after, Ricky waved them off.
“Is the Prison of Bones… really worth you casting aside everything and standing against Constellation? To the extent that you would sink so low to work with these people to kidnap me, and turn yourselves into the enemies of Constellation?” Thales asked in a soft voice.
Lasalle frowned nearby.
“Stop talking to him. This prince is good at stirring up”
However, Ricky raised one of his hands and stopped the Eckstedtian from speaking.
The leader of the Disaster Swords turned around again, and he approached Thales.
Compared to the murderous or aggressive, unapproachable aura from the others, the leader of the Disaster Swords’ gaze was calm. He was composed and not imposing. Yet, for some reason, it was as if there was a vortex around him, one that had formed slowly over time. It grew with each step he took, and made Thales subconsciously stop breathing.
“As I said, you don’t know anything.”
He bent down and looked straight into Thales’ eyes. “You don’t know what we really want.”
Thales gritted his teeth tightly, then lifted his fingers.
“Listen, no matter what you want or who you want to save from the Prison of Bones, I can fulfill it with just a single order”
The prince took a step forward and resolutely said, “Don’t forget that I am the Prince of Constellation; I am the heir to the kingdom. This is your safest and best chance, just”
Despite that, Ricky just laughed mysteriously and shook his head.
On the contrary, it was Masked Man who opened his mouth behind Ricky and spoke in a soft voice, “You can’t”
His tone was cold.
“Unless you’re the king.”
There was a negative emotion, which refused to disappear, in his voice. He spoke as though Thales was his enemy, and it stunned the prince.
“But eventually, I will be king.” Thales came back to his senses, and tried his best to fight for a chance to get out of the situation.
“However, you’re destroying this chance”
Ricky suddenly opened his mouth and interrupted him.
“‘I will be the king.’ I once heard the same thing from another Jadestar,” Ricky said calmly. “Guess what happened to him?”
Thales was stunned for a second by what Ricky said.
“Even if you do become king, Thales Jadestar, by then, things would have changed, be it for us” Ricky straightened his back and looked down at Thales. His gaze was slightly dark. “Or for you.
“Compared to that, I’d rather choose to act in the present.”
The melancholy in his voice made Thales sink into pensive silence.
Ricky shook his head.
“Tie him up and take him away.” The leader of the Disaster Swords returned to his previously calm and merciless self.
That made Thales nervous!
‘What should I do now?’
Ricky swept his gaze over Quick Rope, who was next to Thales, and he frowned. “As for this one”
Quick Rope immediately straightened his body, and he pointed at Thales with a panicked and innocent expression. “No, no, no
“I swear, I did this because he bribed me. I have nothing to do with this person”
‘What?’ Thales raised his eyebrows.
Ricky hummed softly. “Very well then, kill him.”
‘What?’ At that moment, Quick Rope felt like someone had squeezed down on his throat. He was frozen on the ground, and there was look of disbelief on his face.
Behind Quick Rope were two mercenaries pulling out their weapons. They were ready to move forward.
Dean could not help but frown.
“Really, I really don’t” Quick Rope moved his gaze around the tavern. The words ‘any connection with him’ refused to come out of his mouth, and he could no repeat what he said mechanically. “Really Really…”
In the next second, the dumbfounded Quick Rope seemed to have made his decision. He gritted his teeth and raised his voice. He then instantly finished his sentence, which he could not do because he was stuttering just now. “…We really can’t be separated!”
Under the strange gazes from the crowd, Quick Rope flung his arms, the very image of righteousness.
“I, Wya Caso, must be with Prince Thales!” He stood in front of Thales and roared resolutely as Thales stared at him with a flabbergasted expression.
Quick Rope lifted his arms bravely and pointed at the people around him. His tone was courageous, and he looked as if he did not fear death.
“By my father, Gilbert Caso’s name, you shall not separate me from the prince!”
Dean looked at him incredulously, as if this was the first time he met this novice in his small group of mercenaries.
Thales’ face twitched.
Lasalle’s expression changed, and he said doubtfully, “You are the son of Constellation’s Cunning Fox?”
Quick Rope was initially afraid, but when he heard those words, his heart was filled with joy.
But he still schooled his expression and completely ignored the strange gazes directed at him from Thales and Dean. Under all the people’s puzzled looks, he finished by saying,
Quick Rope said energetically and sternly, “Do you remember him and the Fortress Treaty, you forgetful Northlanders?”
By the side, Thales could only place his palm on his forehead, thensighed deeply.
Lasalle stared at Quick Rope for a very long time, and then smiled.
“Well then, just tie young master Caso as well,” said the former envoy of Eckstedt with a cold smile.
“He will be useful.”
Thales noticed that Quick Rope sighed secretly in relief by his side.
“Well done, my dear Wya Caso, I was about to clap for you.” Thales mocked him while barely moving his lips. “What’s our next step?”
Marina and Shawn signalled to the men briefly, and a few mercenaries around them moved up. Klein withdrew his sword and stepped back to let these people go near Thales, Quick Rope, and Dean.
Quick Rope raised his eyebrows, “we Dean, do you still have any secret weapons?”
Dean forced down his anger. As he watched his enemies approach him, he said in a soft and sarcastic voice, “No matter what kind of weapons I have, after you are strangled and put into a sack once, all of them are useless.”
Quick Rope twitched his lips with a serious expression to express his understanding.
Thales listened to their conversation and sighed.
‘Then, what’s left is’
Thales raised his palm and stood in front of the mercenaries.
The Prince of Constellation lifted his head and took a step forward before he said loudly, “If I am really that important, Ricky, then are you going to turn me in to Shadow Shield or to King Chapman?”
Thales cast a glance at Stake, and then at Lasalle,
“For the sake of a smooth operation later, perhaps you should curry favor with Shadow Shield right now to prevent them from becoming your stumbling blocks?”
Ricky looked at him with a frown.
Lasalle snorted angrily, but next to him, Stake shook his head with a smile and denied what the prince said.
“Your Highness, there is no need for you to worry, we have an agreement before this.” Stake spread his arms from the distance, as if he had seen through Thales’ diabolical scheme. “You will be under our careful care, and you will be our guest in one of our branches for a while. Once we solve some misunderstandings, we will escort you safely back to Eckstedt”
Thales’ nerves began to tense.
But at this moment.
“No.” Ricky lifted his gaze and interrupted Stake with a cold voice. “We will watch the prince.”
This sentence seemed to have frozen the air in the tavern.
He achieved his goal.
Stake narrowed his eyes.
Ricky’s expression remained the same in the face of Stake’s question, as if the man did not speak.
Stake revealed a perplexed smile. “I don’t-I don’t understand.”
Lasalle also revealed his shock.
“He made it clear.” Masked Man’s voice appeared behind Ricky without any shred of tact. “Before the we fulfill our goal, the prince must stay with us.”
Stake raised his eyebrows. He seemed surprised.
“But, this prince is our goal.” He pointed at Thales while there was still a smile on his face.
Ricky shook his head. “But he is not ours.”
Stake and Lasalle cast each other one glance, and their expressions changed at the same time.
“That prince is the condition we agreed upon, mercenary.” Lasalle still managed to control himself, but even Quick Rope could tell that he was trying his best to suppress his emotion. “If we get him, we will help you get into the Prison of Bones.”
Ricky exchanged glances with Klein and Masked Man, and they all laughed.
“But he is already here.
“Your goal is at hand, but our mission is yet to be accomplished,” said Ricky steadily. A grim look flashed in his eyes. “How would I know that you and the people you set outside would honor your word and fulfill your promise?”
He swept his gaze over Stake and Lasalle.
“And how would I know that you will not break your promise and turn against us? How would I know that you won’t treat us as bait to lure away the enemies so that you can flee once we are outside? How would I know whether you will betray us to an entire camp of Constellatiates?”
Lasalle no longer cared about his image. He took a huge step forward and glowered at Ricky.
“You should not doubt the promise of an Eckstedtian,” the Eckstedtian said coldly.
But Masked Man took a step forward right on timing and blocked Lasalle, as if he was prepared for him.
The mercenaries became tense again, they secretly moved to block the path of these two guests.
“Based on the virtuesof the Kinslayer King?” Masked Man replied with his words in animosity. “Don’t overestimate yourself, Eckstedtian.”
Lasalle looked around him, and his gaze turned cold, “Ah ha, I smell the stench of Constellatiates.”
Ricky gently clapped his hands to stop this minor conflict.
“I don’t doubt your promise, Baron Weider,” Ricky said calmly, but he stared at Stake, whose expression was complicated. “But I don’t trust him.
“I don’t trust Teng’s assistant and pupil, much less a person who betrayed Teng.”
Stake’s expression froze for a moment.
“So, this prince will be with us. We will guard him until you accomplish the part in our agreement and until we get what we want.”
Lasalle turned his head and cast the silent Stake a glance with a frown.
Stake sucked in a breath, and grinned.
“Tonight, I gathered many fighters at short notice, took the risk to come to the camp, and spared no pains in arranging a meeting with you to suggest working together. It’s not for the sake of causing trouble or making it so that both of us suffer drastic losses.”
Stake spread his arms and spoke with a smile. The meaning behind his words was profound. “I came here to prevent your plan and our goal from clashing against one another, resulting in loss to both sides.”
Ricky sneered softly.
“So, honorable Crassus.” Stake lowered his head, the emotions in his voice slowly faded away, and his eyes started to turn cold. “When you hold on to our goal and refuse to hand him over, you are wasting my efforts today and destroying the bridge of cooperation between us.
“You are causing a conflict of interest between us.
“You must know that we still have a lot of resources which could help you deal with things like the defense of the Prison of Bones?”
Ricky’s smile slowly faded away.
“You’re threatening us?” Next to him, Klein laughed coldly. He flashed his sword handle. “Very good, this is how you should be acting, Shadow Shield.”
The atmosphere in the tavern became tense again.
“Really? you?” Lasalle gritted his teeth when he saw that the situation was not right. He struck his thigh indignantly, “Oh, come on!”
Thales gritted his teeth while he observed the situation. He thought about how to fan the flames even more.
The alliance between Shadow Shield and Disaster Sword was not stable. As Stake said, they all had their own desires, and they were wary of each other, which was why they formed a temporary truce.
In fact, the former was plotting on how to use the latter’s forces, while the latter was constantly wary of the former betraying them.
‘If I just break the foundation of their alliance’
Ricky shook his head.
“Bridge of cooperation?
“On the contrary, Stake, I am solidifying it.” Ricky stared at him fixedly, “I’m just waiting for you to give me the next brick to ensure that this bridge of ours will not collapse because one side is too heavy.”
He hit the table.
In the next second, the mercenaries in the tavern, including the ones by the railing at the first floor all stood up. They stared at Stake coldly.
Stake knitted his brow tightly.
He put his hand into his robe and wrapped around a signalling whistle tightly.
He knew that if he blew it, the assassins of Shadow Shield who were lying in wait would infiltrate the tavern from all the poorly defended corners in this place.
Stake looked at the many mercenaries standing around him, and his expression became paler.
The air was getting more oppressive. The two leaders of Shadow Shield and Disaster Sword had exchanged countless glances.
Finally, under the inexpressible tension, Stake exhaled.
“You always like to have control in your hands, right?” He put on an amicable smile again to face Ricky.
Ricky snorted softly. He did not reply.
Stake blinked. He spread his arms, seemingly in resignation.
“I understand now, honorable Crassus, if this is the case”
He lowered his head, looking as if he was hesitating for one second.
In the next second, under everyone’s worried, wary, puzzled, and fearful gazes, Stake raised his head. His smile was as bright as the sun.
“I can give you a guarantee.”
Ricky narrowed his eyes. “Guarantee?”
Stake nodded his head with a smile. He moved his hand to his chest. “The person acting as my guarantee swears that he will not sabotage your plans once we have Prince Thales in our hands.”
He took out a knife!
When they saw Stake’s action, the mercenaries pressed down on their weapons, tensed. They were ready to prevent a sudden attack.
At that moment, Thales felt his heart sink, because a bad feeling rose in his heart, right after he thought that there was a chance for events to turn.
A bad feeling came to him.
But Ricky raised his hand gently to calm his tense subordinates.
“What did I say?” Twilight was in Klein’s hands. He said coldly, “They can still conceal weapons in their *sses.”
Stake laughed. He flipped the knife and held it in reverse. The blade of the knife was directed at his own person, and it caused a tear on his robe.
Thales frowned slightly. ‘There’s another layer?’
Perhaps to prevent misunderstandings, Stake used two fingers to slowly take out a piece of neatly folded, yellowing paper from the other layer of his robe.
Under the crowd’s gazes, he moved forward slowly with a smile, and with one hand, he put the knife back into his robe. With his other hand, he presented the piece of paper to Ricky.
Ricky stared at Stake’s actions with a grave expression, then used the same slow speed to take the paper from Stake.
“What is this?” he asked with a frown.
“An old letter.
“A letter written to loved ones, to express the writer’s feelings. It’s very touching and sincere.” A rare spark shone in Stake’s eyes. “But sadly, it will never reach its intended recipient’s hands.”
Nearly everyone was stunned.
Ricky pursed his lips, and he placed his attention on the letter.
“Be careful.” Masked Man warned his coldly. “They are good at using poison as well.”
Ricky nodded, then carefully he grabbed a corner of the paper before he shook open the letter.
From Thales’ angle, he saw that it was just a rather old piece of hide. It was obviously not some cheap material.
Thales could only tell from the side that there were lines of neat and ornate, black, cursive writing after he used hell’s senses to see the contents of the letter. He could not see clearly, since his distance from Ricky was too far. But from how the letter was constructed, he could somewhat tell just how serious the writer had been when he wrote the letter.
Thales started to become puzzled.
Ricky scanned through the letter roughly, then immediately raised his head and frowned. “Why?”
Stake looked as if he had predicted his reaction. His smile remained on his face, and he bowed, as patient as ever.
“Look at the name.”
Ricky cast Stake a profound glance, clearly not too pleased with the other party’s blatant attempts to feign mysteriousness.
But he still looked at the letter,
Ricky’s expression changed.
He lifted his head and waited for Stake’s reply.
In the face of Ricky’s question, Stake presented a pleased but enigmatic smile.
“H. N. Jadestar.” he repeated word by word. His voice was airy, as if he was summoning a distant memory.
Stake sucked in a deep breath and said gently,
“That is the writer of this letter.
“Herman Nate E. Jadestar.
“The former Fourth Prince of Constellation.”
At that moment, only two people reacted to this: Thales sucked in a sharp breath; Masked Man opened his eyes wide.
But after a few seconds, many people’s expressions changed.
Stake said in a dark tone, “Eighteen years ago, at that night, I received his will, which he did not manage to send.”
The assassin from Shadow Shield narrowed his eyes, as if he was enjoying a delectable dish which he had not tasted for a long time.
“I was with Prince Herman, at the top of the tallest tower in Blade Fangs Camp beforeI personally pushed him down.”