Chapter 407 Head Towards Omniscience
In the dim environment, the Disaster Swords walked behind Josef, and the echoes of their footsteps were heard vaguely.
However, Stake walked through the crowd and went in front of Ricky.
“Wait.” Stake stared at Thales, who was detained by Marina beside her, puzzled. “Are you bringing him down there? You know that we can wait for you here, right?”
Thales furrowed his eyebrows. He noticed that many of the mercenaries moved indistinctly to surround them.
Ricky turned and shot a glance at Stake. “All of you did very well and saved us a lot of trouble, Stake.” He pressed down on Stake’s shoulder. “But I also know that all of you are going all-out and being cooperative because of this hostage in our hands.”
Stake’s expression stiffened.
“In another situation, you might not be acting like this. Now, you can either choose to walk with us, or stay here and wait for me.”
Ricky paid no more attention to Stake who had an unpleasant expression. He waved his hand and continued walking forward. Samel snorted scornfully as he walked past Stake.
As he watched from the side, Thales wished that Stake could be firmer in his attitude. Unfortunately for him, Stake still did not say anything. He only made a gesture with his hand and followed the Disaster Swords down the prison with a few assassins from Shadow Shield who were dressed to maintain a low profile.
Just like this, escorted by the Disaster Sword group, Thales continued walking forward. As they moved further down the prison, the Disaster Swords spread further apart, and many of the prisoners noticed this group of intruders.
Patrolling guards would encounter the intruding Disaster Swords from time to time. Hopelessly outnumbered, these unfortunate beings often died fighting after a violent struggle.
The Prison of Bones began to grow restless, and the chaos exceeded Thales’ imagination.
“That guard coming over from there Yes, you. Let me tell you, these few years, I earned a lot of money through buying weapons and selling them for a profit, most of them were not found by ‘them’. If you let me out, I guarantee that I’ll give you Eh, all of you, all of you aren’t guards?”
“Damn it What’s with the ruckus this time?!”
“Wow, wow, wow… There really are people breaking into the prison?! Ah… this is too awesome The gang that broke into the prison last time didn’t even manage to last five minutes before the freaks came to finish them off. Williams chopped them up like firewood. This time, all of you must perform better, you must last ten minutes!”
“Let me out! I am a devoted Priest of the Dark Night Temple! They cannot lock me here with this this group, just because of the artistic play I created”
“Hey, good friend, let’s make a deal. I’ve been locked here for four years, and I’m going crazy from not having s*x I’m not asking for you to let me out I’ll be satisfied if… if you transfer me to the female prison, is that alright?”
“Someone’s murdering someone~ This is too amazing~”
“F*ck your father, motherf*cker. There are so many prostitutes on the street, why did you only lock me up?! Girls’ clothing? What’s wrong with girls’ clothing? I like to wear girls’ clothing and be a prostitute, what’s wrong with that? If you don’t believe me, all of you can come and touch my breasts…”
“F*ck, you brat, come back! What does other people breaking into the prison have to do with you? I’m going to give you a good beating again! Keep it properly in your mouth, don’t simply turn your head around. Exactly, ooh… good boy, use some force, ah, this is how it should be Don’t worry, if I’m satisfied, I won’t hit you tomorrow.”
“I beg you, marijuana give me a little more marijuana. I’M BEGGING YOU!! If you don’t MOTHERF*CKING give me marijuana, I’ll kill myself by throwing myself against the wall. I’m gonna throw myself against it, I’m ABOUT to throw myself against it! Look, I’m REALLY going to throw myself against it! Motherf*cker, take a look at me! What if I really kill myself by throwing myself against the wall?!”
“F*ck that baron! F*ck the Stardust Unit! Fuck Blade Fangs Camp! You better believe that when I get out, I’ll kidnap that f*cking sissy Williams and force him to wear girls’ clothing. Then, I’ll find a hundred burly man to take turns and pin him on the bed, and then ah-ah, oh mmh ah-Ah! Shit, I used too much force, I’m bleeding”
“Hey, that person over there, help me pass a message to my wife. Three years ago, she wrote and said that she would bail me out of prison In the end, she hasn’t come until now I’ll give you a reward”
‘Shit, what kind of place is this?!’
Thales did not even dare breathe loudly as he walked beside Ricky. He shot a worried glance behind him. Quick Rope was still tied up. The man stared at the notorious prison with a terrified expression born from his past trauma in this place.
Finally, under Josef’s guidance, they walked down a few flights of stairs and reached an empty room that had no jail cells.
The room was very big, so big that it could fit a hundred people, almost comparable to a banquet hall fit for an aristocrat. Even the noises made by the prisoners could no longer be heard, as though they had been separated from them by the door behind.
However, at the same time, the observant Thales noticed that the ground here was laid with meticulously fired stone tiles, and the surface of the walls were also rather old. It was a sharp contrast from the crude and dirty prison cells a few floors above.
The design of the room was also quite distinctive. It actually had eight walls, like an octagon.
The more unusual thing was that there were four narrow openings on the ground which looked like wells, and it was dark inside these openings. For some reason, as Thales stared into these deep wells, he suddenly shuddered from fear and felt a chill down his spine.
‘Strange. That’s that’s’
Stake and Lasalle also noticed this. They evaluated the place with considerable surprise. Even the Disaster Swords, including Klein and Samel, seemed to have never been in this place before.
Ricky swept his gaze over his surroundings and stood still in front of one of the mottled and shabby walls. “This is the place?”
Josef nodded. He pointed solemnly at the thing that looked like a well opening and said, “Yes. As we have observed, the guards brought extra supplies here at regular intervals. They definitely threw those supplies down there.”
Ricky crouched down and knocked at the ‘well’. He then picked up a stone, tossed it in, and listened carefully.
For a whole ten seconds, no sound came out from the depths of the well. It was still completely silent.
Thales understood something.
“That’s correct.” Ricky patted the dust off his hands, nodded, and stood up. “It’s here. As for the entrance”
He lifted his head and looked at Josef, but Josef only shook his head, troubled. Ricky snorted softly. He seemed rather resigned.
“If my personality was like Williams’, I definitely won’t personally go looking for trouble.” Ricky started pacing back and forth. He lowered his head to observe the ground, then muttered, “There are no stairs here. This means that the path down must be somewhere we can reach while standing here”
Stake’s expression changed. “Wait, honorable Crassus.” Stake furrowed his eyebrows and said, “Does he mean that he hasn’t found the entrance, even though all of you want to enter Black Prison?”
Ricky paid no attention to him. Instead, with all eyes trained on him, he took a torch from Klein, walked towards the wall, and continued to observe the empty room.
“Black Prison is, after all, a legend,” Klein said coldly. “Apart from those who entered, no one knows how to get inside. And those who went in”
“Never came out.” Samel snorted softly when he spoke.
Lasalle walked forward. “Do all of you know that our time is limited? We don’t have the time to slowly play treasure hunt.” He said in dissatisfaction, “Once the camp registers the situation”
“Shut up, Northlander.” Samel cut him off. The brand on his face became even more hideous under the firelight.
Lasalle, however, not only did not restrain himself, he seemed angered by the former member of the Stardust Unit. “Do you know what kind of risk we’re taking?”
At that moment…
“Aha,” Ricky suddenly said, attracting everyone’s attention.
Thales stared curiously at the leader of the Disaster Swords.
The latter had the torch in his hand raised as he faced a wall. He stretched out his left hand, and gently patted the dust and cobwebs off the wall.
Ricky smiled and said. “The people in the past probably didn’t think about hiding it. As for the Constellatiates, they probably didn’t expect that anyone would be able to break into this place.”
Everyone looked at the wall, surprised and bewildered.
As the dust fell, a strange fragmented pattern appeared on the mottled wall. As Ricky dusted the wall, a triangle was seen first. One of its corners pointed to the left. The line connected to it curled in towards the center of the triangle.
Soon, a circle on the right side of the triangle became visible. There was a circular concave in the wall at the center of the circle.
Ricky smiled. He continued dusting the wall.
A new triangle that mirrored the previous triangle appeared to the right of the circle. This triangle, however, had a corner that pointed towards the right, and the curled line was on the left.
Ricky stepped back and looked in satisfaction at the pattern before his eyes: two irregular triangles mirroring each other with a circle between them.
“We found it.”
But many of them, including Lasalle, revealed a puzzled expression.
“What is this? An eye?” Ricky pursed his lips.
Among the puzzled crowd, Thales stared absentmindedly at the pattern. No one knew that the moment the pattern appeared, Thales’ entire body went stiff. At that moment, he even forgot that he was in a dangerous situation.
Stake also stared at the pattern, perplexed. But he had good eyesight and saw something else.
“There seems to be a sentence below this picture.” Stake walked forward, reached out his hand, and wiped off a layer of dust below the circle.
Sure enough, a row of strange words which were engraved into the wall appeared under his palms. But be it Stake, Lasalle, Klein, or Josef, all of them only stared at the line of words in confusion.
“I don’t understand this sentence.” Lasalle furrowed his brows. “This symbol is quite strange. I have read up on the emblems of all the major nobles of Constellation, but none of them look like this. These words below it aren’t even in the common language, neither does it look like the Empire’s language thatI recognize”
The uneasy Lasalle looked at Ricky with a solemn expression. “Crassus, what in the world is the Prison of Bones?”
Ricky did not answer. Another voice suddenly rose into the air.
“The ancient language of the Empire.”
Everyone turned in unison to stare at Samel who stood on the other side. The man with the brand on his face stared at the words below the pattern with a complicated expression.
“This is the purest form of the Ancient Empire’s alphabet, and are words passed down from the Ancient Chauvinistic Country instead of the Empire’s modern language, which is mixed with the common language. It is said that it was established by the first batch of ancient humans under the guidance of the ancient elves. Its grammar is complicated, and it is hard to understand.”
Samel stepped forward slowly, every Disaster Sword besides himself moved aside to create a path for him.
“Now, nobody uses it anymore. Even among Constellation’s nobility, very few are proficient in it.”
Lasalle and Stake turned in astonishment and looked at the line of unfamiliar words again. Samel stretched out his hand with a perplexed expression, as if he was reminiscing about something.
“Other than elves, no matter what branch they belong to, there are perhaps only a handful of archeologists and historians from Dragon Kiss Academy who are proficient in it.
“…I don’t recognize these words, but I remember the root for this one.” He touched one of the words with his finger. “When I was a teenager, my father hired an old scholar who taught me how to recognize some of them, to help me fight for the qualification to enter Renaissance Palace and become part of The Royal Guards of Constellation.” Samel’s face darkened. “The root of this word probably means ‘total’ or ‘all’…”
Everyone listened quietly to what the former flag bearer of the Royal Guards of Constellation said except for one person.
“…Omniscience.” The voice of a teenage boy echoed flatly among the crowd.
Stake turned in astonishment. Then, along with the displeased Lasalle, looked towards the one they least expected to know this.
Klein and Josef cast a questioning look at their leader, but Ricky also arched an eyebrow. Even Quick Rope, who had his hands tied behind his back, widened his eyes.
“Omniscience, or all-knowing.” Thales sighed and slowly walked forward, moving past the scowling Marina who was still watching him. He stared at that row of words in a daze. “That is the meaning of the word.”
At that moment, Samel’s gaze as he stared at Thales was extremely complicated. A second later, he sighed, lowered his head, and said,
“Of course, as the descendant of the Imperial Family, the ancient language of the Empire is something that someone from the Jadestar Royal Family must learn”
Thales shook his head. “I didn’t learn it well. Apart from the earliest couple of months, I basically learned the rest by myself.” The Prince of Constellation stared at that row of words with a solemn expression. “But if I only look at the individual words, I reckon that this sentence roughly means
“…Towards omniscience,” said Thales softly.
Everyone went silent as they mulled over the meaning of this sentence.
Thales raised his head slowly in the quiet room, and gazed at the pattern that resembled an eye. It felt like he was staring into another person’s eye… which made him quite uneasy.
However, Thales did not expect that the object he once searched for in books for years but could not find would be here.
‘The Prison of Bones. This “eye”. This is’
“Great, since this is the case… let us head towards omniscience,” Ricky said with a smile, cutting off everyone’s thoughts. As he spoke, he took out a long dark green stone that resembled a rod, but had edges and corners.
“What is this?” Stake narrowed his eyes and gauged the stone, which was as long as a palm and as thick as two fingers. He seemed to feel that something was not quite right…
…and this time, Ricky had no intention to hide things.
“To open Black Prison, we need a key that can open the lock.” Ricky stared at the thing in his hand with a complicated gaze. “Throughout the year, the only key in the camp is with the Baron of Blade Fangs Camp.”
Ricky slowly raised the dark green object in his hand. “…Until we found the second key outside the camp.”
Puzzled, Lasalle asked, “Key?”
Ricky did not say any more. He turned without hesitation and pressed the ‘key’ in his hand into the small concave in the middle of the ‘eye’ which, now that they looked at it, resembled a pupil.
There was a dull sound. Thales was shocked.
As everyone stared anxiously at it, a cylinder suddenly jutted out of the ‘pupil’, the ‘key’ was in the middle of the cylinder.
“Ta-dah.” Ricky flashed a smile. “Bullseye.”
He faced the people. “Black Prison is definitely underground Perhaps all of you would want to step back a little and clear the center?”
Everyone in the spacious room immediately moved back until their backs were against the walls behind them. Then, Ricky tentatively took hold of the protruding cylinder and twisted it slowly until a clicking sound was heard.
Everyone held their breaths and studied their surroundings curiously. The first one to feel that something was not right was Thales.
Through hell’s senses, he saw that the four ‘wells’ in the ground were sucking in the air.
‘No, the air is rushing inside! This is’
When Thales was still surprised and bewildered, a faintly discernible noise of something moving came from below the floor they stood on.
It rose with a slight tremor. Everyone was shocked and fixed their gazes on the floor tiles in the room.
However, they were wrong. The ground was not the thing that was changing…
…Instead, it was the wall.
“This isn’t right!” Samel turned and yelled furiously, “The wall! The wall is moving backwards!”
Thales instinctively took a step forward, and anxiously looked behind together with the others.
‘Indeed, it’s the wall.’
The eight walls were retreating, simultaneously parallel to each other. It looked like the ground was expanding.
Everyone stared, eyes wide and mouth agape, as the walls in the room moved back. Gaps appeared between the walls and kept growing in width. Fortunately, the unusual movements only continued for ten or so seconds before it became quiet… and the walls stopped retreating.
Thales stared at the walls which had moved in a really baffling manner, then he stared at the empty gap in the floor which was a few meters long. It appeared after the walls had moved away. If anyone looked from above, it would seem like someone pulled the octagonal room outwards and made it bigger.
The part that appeared after the walls were pulled outwards Thales could see it.
It was not a gap, but a fleets of steps forming a spiral stone staircase surrounding the center of the room. Naturally, it led the way down.
‘But I wonder where it leads to.’
As he thought of this, Thales subconsciously looked at the sentence below the pattern again.
“My God” With his eyes wide and mouth agape, Lasalle stared at the spiral staircase which had suddenly appeared under his feet. “Although I have heard that Constellation has a good relationship with Steel City and possess superior forging skills, this is”
Stake stared in disbelief at the sudden change and studied the now much larger room warily. “What in the world is this?”
Ricky smiled. “Do you know why only such a small number of guards are required to maintain the basic operation of the Prison of Bones, even though this place is obviously a prison for people convicted of serious crimes?”
Ricky switched to another torch and said flatly, “Because this prison isn’t really guarded by living people. Instead, it’s guarded by hundreds of dead people who died almost a thousand years ago.”
He was the first to step into the gap and walk down the spiral stone staircase.
“The Prison of Bones isn’t just a prison… and it doesn’t only lock up criminals.” As Ricky moved down the stairs, his voice echoed from below the floor. “The past is what it truly intends to lock up.”
He strode forward and walked down the spiral staircase that led into the unknown. The Disaster Swords behind him followed in unison.
Lasalle was startled. “Dead people?”
The former Baron of Eckstedt immediately furrowed his brow and turned to Stake. “Lock up the past What does he mean?”
However, the assassin from Shadow Shield only had a solemn expression.
“Over the many years I worked as an assassin, I have seen quite a number of odd things.” Stake stared at the strange room and exhaled. “But one of the things that unsettled me the most was the legend that the knowledgeable Teng had told me one night.”
Lasalle was shocked. “Teng? Legend?”
Stake nodded. He was becoming more and more uneasy. “Legend says that there was a group of people who existed in the world before the Battle of Eradication, and even before the era of the Empire.
“They despised taboos and scorned authority, but were knowledgeable, highly skilled, and did things that surpassed imagination.”
Stake gritted his teeth and raised his head to look at the strange symbol on the wall.
“They were once the most dazzling beings in the world, until the merciless passage of time turned them all into dust with nothing but tales about themnot a single trace of their existence remains.”
Lasalle’s eyebrows kept moving. ‘The most dazzling beings in the world?’
“Are you talking about?”
Stake shook his head. He saw that Thales was also brought down and quickly followed.
Filled with anxiety, Thales walked behind Samel down the staircase. It was obvious no one had come here in a long time, to the point that with every step he took, a huge cloud of dust flew up. The prince was not tall, so he had no choice but to cover his mouth and nose so that he was not coughing constantly.
This place gave him a very bad feeling. Everything in front of him was dark, and not even hell’s senses could help him. Only torches illuminated the stone steps beneath their feet.
Deeper, lower, and darker…
After walking down countless steps, Thales finally stepped onto a floor, and felt at ease.
“The first level. We’re here.” Ricky’s voice echoed airily.
The Prince of Constellation took a deep breath, and lifted his head to look at his surroundings with curiosity, excitement, baffling uneasiness, and fear.
The Disaster Swords raised their torches and studied their surroundings in astonishment.
They were still in a spacious, octagonal room that could fit dozens of people. However, compared to the floor in the previous room, the workmanship of the black tiles here was exquisite. He did not know what kind of material was used here.
There was a thick pillar erected in the center of the place. Next to the pillar was a round stone table. But Ricky did not pay any attention to the stone pillar, but turned around to face the walls.
The light provided by his torch allowed Thales to notice that the walls around them were not, in fact, walls. Instead, they were thin metal pillars connecting the top of the room to the bottom, forming bars. On each bar was a layer of dust.
‘It’s just like’ Thales stared at those bars. Through them, he could vaguely see the isolated space behind. ‘It’s just like’
Thales thought fearfully, ‘It’s just like a prison cell.’
Ricky raised his torch and approached one of the metal bars, illuminating what was behind them. Thales shuddered and took a step back.
Bones. Or, more accurately speaking, a human skeleton.
With the torch in hand, Ricky spun on his feet, illuminating eight spacious prison cells.
All over the floor of each cell were tall piles of human skeletons. There were ribs, arm bones, leg bones, skulls, and on quite a large number of those skeletons were faded clothes that were similarly covered in dust.
No one knew from which era they came from.
Samel stood in front of Thales. He stared at the skeletons left behind from long ages past, and grew agitated. He instinctively clenched his fists.
“Looks like there are no longer any survivors in the first level.” Ricky shook his head in resignation. “It’s unfortunate, but we have to continue downwards.”
Lasalle and Stake followed behind him and arrived at the cells of the first level.
“This is” When Lasalle saw his surroundings clearly, he widened his eyes. “This is the real Prison of Bones?”
Stake furrowed his brow. He seemed unable to even say anything.
Ricky let out a light snort, then swung his torch at his similarly shocked comrades.
“Of course. Welcome to Black Prison, the true main structure of the Prison of Bones.”
Ricky walked to the side of the pillar in the center of the room. He raised his torch to illuminate the picture on the pillar.
There, was another eye, and it was similar to the symbol on the floor in the room. Under the eye was the national language of the Ancient Empire.
[Head towards omniscience.]
“One thousand years ago, this place had another name.” The leader of the Disaster Swords stared at the symbol and said with a sigh, “The fourth branch of Alchemy TowerConfinement Research Center.”
During that moment, Thales could not help but clench his teeth.
Ricky turned around and, with a grim expression, stared at the skeletons in the eight prisons. “This place also has a history no one knows.”
His next sentence caused Thales to widen his eyes.
“It is the place where the first batch of anti-mystic equipment was made.”