Translator:EndlessFantasy TranslationEditor:EndlessFantasy Translation
As Barney Junior uttered those cold words, Nalgi grumbled and lay down on his spot. Canon curled up before he shrank back into the darkness. The others also looked around and returned to the darkness of their own cells.
Samel looked at them with surprise. He could hardly understand their indifference. ‘What?…’
“Barney, it’s me!”
Samel stepped forward with the torch and caught up to Barney Junior’s back. He could not control his emotions, and anxiously yelled, “I’m the vice flag bearer, Colin Samel! Nalgi? Canon? Beldin?”
However, no one paid attention to him. Samel stared dumbfoundedly at the five cold cells, and watched the figures disappear before his eyes.
Ricky coughed. “Samel, our mission…”
Samel, apparently, did not believe that something so strange could happen. He suddenly gritted his teeth and rushed to Barney Junior’s cell. He then grabbed the metal bars, refusing to give up.
“Hey! Barney, you bast”
However, Samel’s words came to an abrupt halt!
A loud bang shot up. Visible sparks appeared from the spot between his palms and the metal bars.
Samel screamed in pain. Then, as if someone had landed a heavy blow on him, he flew backwards onto the ground, and let out a low groan. His torch fell to the ground, stirring up a large layer of dust.
The sudden change gave everyone a scare.
Klein took a few steps forward together with Shawn to help the pale-faced Samel up. Samel reached out his quivering hand, there were some burns on his palm.
“Be careful!” Ricky looked at the metal bars solemnly. Specifically, he looked at the clear handprint left by Samel on the bars. “This is the trick of the wizards. These bars are strange. No one touch them.”
Thales looked at the bars with fear lingering in his heart. He wondered what they were.
Samel gasped. With Klein’s support, he gritted his teeth, and looked at the darkness of the cell in front of him.
“Barney!” he yelled.
But the cell was still dark. There was no response.
Within the crowd, Stake frowned. “What’s up with them?”
Josef shook his head. His gaze was sharp. “This is the true essence of a prisona place that can make you go insane.”
Everyone was quiet for a while. Ricky gave Samel a questioning look, but the latter only lowered his head, looking like he was struggling.
Klein tried to speak. “We”
At this time, Samel freed himself from Klein’s grip. Then, he loudly said,
“In the name of the supreme Bright God Lo Sofia, in the name of Camelot the Great, in the name of the magnificent gods, the ancient kings, the spirits of the knights…”
Samel’s voice was sonorous, solemn, but incredibly clear. There was a force in his voice that penetrated the heart. It echoed in the hall.
“I pledge this oath today.”
Thales was stunned. ‘Supreme Bright God, Great Emperor Camelot?’
Samel gasped and looked up at the five cells in front of him. In the darkness, a few wheezes that were gradually becoming quicker could be heard.
Soon, Barney Junior’s voice came from the cell, with a hint of hesitation and confusion. “You, what are you saying…”
Samel sucked in a deep breath, and took a step forward. Thales saw that the expression on Samel’s face at this moment was one he had never seen on him before. The light passed over the brand on his face, lighting up the determination there.
Samel opened his mouth and said, “I swear that this life will be dedicated to the throne, for the king, and no other master.”
He gritted his teeth, and stopped talking. His echoes traveled in the hall. The former flag bearer continued to stare at the dark cell, as if he was waiting for something.
Two seconds later, he was not disappointed. A voice like someone had just jerked away from a nightmare suddenly traveled into the air.
“I swear that this sword will only be brandished for the Emperor, will only be broken for the Emperor, and will be used for no other purpose.”
As the voice rose, the owner of the voice appeared before the bars. Thales recognized him. He was lackadaisical Nalgi… but his voice was no longer unenthusiastic.
There was a complex anguish written on Samel’s face. A third voice rose gently to continue where they left off.
“I swear that this body will be buried under the throne, or buried as I serve the king. I will have no other end.”
Tardin’s perplexed expression left the darkness in the cell, and came into the light of the fire.
Without anyone needing to give them any kind of reminder, the fourth and fifth voices followed, and the pledge continued.
“I swear that this soul will go to hell, nor will it go to the kingdom of heaven. It will not hold any love for the world, but only for the Empire. It will belong to no other place.”
Samel’s eyes sparkled. He opened his mouth slowly, and continued to recite this unusual vow with the prisoners.
“The imperial ordinance has ended. The knights have all gathered.”
The prisoners who had disappeared earlier appeared one by one into the light. With the bars between them, they joined Samel in reciting the vow.
“Those who oppress the weak shall die.”
Bitterness, excitement, dumbfoundedness, confusion absent-mindedness… Thales read many different emotions on the prisoners’ faces.
“Where the sword points, the chaos of the world shall end.”
Finally, a serious-looking Barney Junior walked out of the darkness and stood behind the bars.
“The inheritance shall not perish.” He met Samel’s gaze and recited the last sentence with him together, “The Empire is eternal.”
‘The Empire is eternal.’ The muscles of Thales’ hands tensed up slightly.
At that moment, be it Stake, Lasalle, the Disaster Swords, the tied up Quick Rope, Dean, or Tampa, all of them stared at these unique prisoners while listening to their interaction with Samel.
As the fire on the torches swayed, Samel sighed softly.
“I still remember that day. Your father, Quill Barney Senior, deliberately mentioned this before we swore the oath.” He showed a smile full of anguish. “He said that the original text of this vow was in the ancient language of the Empire. It represented our kingdom’s glory in the past, he also said…”
In the prison, Barney Junior shook his head and continued his words.
“He said that he thought that trash like us were not eligible to be Royal Guards, and were not qualified to become the Emperor’s Praetorian Guards.” Barney Junior looked calm. “He even felt ashamed to be in a room with us. Then, one day, he died in front of the palace.”
Samel’s face darkened. He bowed his head.
“My God… you are, you are really…” Beldin’s gaze was fixed on Samel while he himself was on the other side of the bars. They remained on him for a long time.
Barney Junior did not stay quiet for long. He turned to another cell. “Nalgi, Canon… light up the room.”
His words were clear and concise, still leaving no room for refusal.
Nalgi rubbed his own extremely dirty face. “Are you serious, O chief vanguard? This is the oil we squeezed from that gerbil. Even if we add these dried materials, how long can it burn? I don’t know how long it will take before we catch the next gerbil…”
Barney Junior yelled, “Lights!”
Nalgi did not continue to say anything. Soon, his cell was lit up with fire, illuminating the figures outside.
“Samel.” Barney Junior’s words carried endless sentiment and complex emotions as he stared at one illuminated face in particular. “It’s really you, vice flag bearer.”
Samel did not speak. The rest of the prisoners sucked in a sharp breath, approached the bars, and tried to see the person in front of them clearly.
Nalgi kept rubbing his own eyes. Next to him, Canon kept breathing deeply. He could not stop trembling.
“Bruley!” Tardin, the one who imitated the thunder clapping just now, turned his head around and yelled at his cellmate, “Bruley!”
The people outside the cell were a little stunned. Before they registered what was going on, they saw Tardin’s large cellmate scream in reply, “Urrgghhaaaaaahhhhh!”
Then, he rushed at Tardin like a giant bear!
A muffled sound came.
Thales widened his eyes and watched the prisoner named Bruley scream as he threw a punch right at Tardin’s face!
The strength in that punch was astonishing, and also merciless.
‘What are they doing?’
Tardin was slammed into the wall behind him. He groaned in pain. But before Bruley could throw an equally fierce second punch, Tardin shockingly bounced back from the wall, bent his elbow, and slammed it into Bruley’s chin.
Bruley’s head shook. He took a step back and yelled in pain. A fierce glare appeared in his eyes, and he charged at Tardin again!
Everyone watched in shock as the two prisoners in the cell fought against one another.
Fists struck flesh. Each strike was brutal. However, whether it was Barney Junior, Naer, Nalgi, Canon, or Beldin, they turned a blind eye to the internal fight between the inmates.
Samel also watched their fierce battle. He could not believe his own eyes, and was at a loss.
Finally, after Tardin ruthlessly kicked Bruley’s chest and pushed back his bear-like opponent, he shouted, “Enough!”
Bruley put down his arms, which he was about to use to attack again, panted harshly, and glared at him.
Soon, the badly battered Tardin, who was bleeding from the corner of his mouth, climbed up and spat out a mouthful of blood. “Damn, it hurts.”
He looked at Samel, curled up the corners of his mouth, and spoke, though his words were unclear.
“Zorry, dis is the only way, heh heh.”
Samel was baffled. Tardin rubbed his red and swollen chin, and the two of them supported each other up. They stared at him before Tardin gave a strange chuckle.
“Heh heh heh, jus’ do make zure dat you’re real, and we’re not halluzinating or dreaming.”
After a long while, Samel, who seemed to have figured out what was going on, bowed his head, speechless.
“I’m real, Tardin,” he said sadly. “I’m standing here. I’m not an illusion. I’m not.”
Thales could sense a lot of emotion in his words.
On the other side, Naer stared at Samel. “Samel, did they manage to capture you in the end? Is that what happened? What conspiracies are they cooking up now? Who are they going to kill this time?”
Samel shook his head. Canon shivered a little and hid behind Nalgi. He spoke in a neurotic manner, “What, are you going to be beheaded? Or hanged? Are we also included?”
Samel stared at them with an indescribable gaze. He continued shaking his head.
“You lost a lot of weight, and you’ve become much older.” Nalgi sneered in the cell. “Of course, at least you didn’t need a stone knife to shave.”
“Something’s not right.” Beldinthe one with the long hair and beard that reached his chestfolded his arms. He asked warily and maliciously, “What are you doing here, you coward? Who are the people outside with you?”
Samel was quiet. He let them scrutinize him, and listened to their strange questions.
Then, Barney Junior sucked in a deep breath and asked an unexpected but thought-provoking question, “Samel, what year is it now?”
When the words came out, the prisoners in the cell quieted down. They watched Samel quietly.
After a long while, Samel exhaled. “Year 679 in the Calendar of Eradication.”
Barney Junior was briefly stunned, then his face went pale and he took a few steps back. The prisoners were also baffled.
“My mind is not very clear. Help me make some calculations.” Nalgi nudged Canon. He looked around anxiously, clutched his hair, and wracked his brain over the topic. “679, 679, so, 679 minus 67… No, 65, no, 66… When did we come here?”
Canon did not answer him. He just curled up and sat down. His face was full of fear. “How can it be?”
“Eighteen years.” Barney Junior looked around absentmindedly. Then, for some strange reason, he chuckled. “It has been eighteen years already.”
Samel did not speak.
There was a well of indescribable emotions in his heart as Thales silently watched this special reunion where both sides had been parted for a long time.
“Canon said that it has been about thirty years, and Nalgi said that it was at most five years…” Barney Junior was immersed in his own world. His face was full of agony, and the brand on his face trembled slightly.
“But they didn’t believe me, I Ihave been calculating the number of times they gave us supplies. I counted it myself, and I thought it was only seven or eight years”
He sat down. His face twitched, and he laughed loudly. “Hahaha… HAHAHAHAHAHAHA…”
His laughter was sad, hoarse, and unpleasant. Soon, Nalgi and Tardin also joined in the laughter. The other prisoners were either distracted or gazed at nothing with blank looks on their faces. They did not say a word.
Samel closed his eyes. He only reopened them a long time later.
“You’re here… but what about the others?” He forced these words out of his mouth.
The laughter in the hall stopped. Barney Junior looked up, and his eyes were cold.
“Didn’t all of you bring a torch?” He spread his arms and said coldly, “Look around yourself.”
Samel frowned. He hurried forward. The glaring light from the fire caused theprisoners to cower back in pain and retreat, but he could care less about that. He illuminated each cell behind the bars.
A few seconds later, Samel wobbled several times before he took a few feeble steps back.
“How… how could it be…” he muttered.
The prisoners went silent.
In the cell, Canon covered his face, slipped against the wall, and sobbed in pain. At that moment, Thales saw the scene before his eyes clearly.
Eight of the cells were filled with human skeletons and dried corpses.
Unlike before, most of these skeletons were in one piece. Their heads were where they were supposed to be, and so were their bodies. They were placed neatly on the ground, one after another.
Behind Barney Junior were five complete sets of corpses placed neatly in a row. One of them still had some dried skin and sinew attached to him.
‘It’s just like a cemetery,’ Thales whispered in his heart.
Samel’s face contorted. He looked at Barney Junior. “How did they?”
Barney Junior snorted coldly. “Move your torch further away from us. Unlike you, we don’t get to see light too often. It’s glaring.”
Samel gritted his teeth and put down the torch. Barney Junior stared at him. He only spoke after a long time had passed.
“An internal fight broke out in Allen and Walker’s cell, around eight or nine of them died. Morion had a high fever that didn’t break, Toby had a wound infection, Ross had a strange unnamed disease, ‘Bed Bug’ fell into depression, there were a few like him…”
The more he went on, the more dejected and depressed Barney Junior became. He adjusted his body slightly to the side. His eyes were lifeless.
“Kamil went insane. One day, he just suddenly stopped eating and drinking Bobby wanted to prise open the fence, until he found out that touching them for an extended period of time is fatal.”
The hall was silent for a while, and the atmosphere was incredibly depressing.
“Myro just couldn’t wake up, we don’t know the reason.” Barney Junior’s expression tensed. He clenched his fists in pain.
“As for the big man, Laure… Well, he went a little mad. Before he managed to kill the third person, the people in his cell were forced to do something, so…”
He sucked in a deep breath and locked his emotions back inside the depths of his heart.
“Gold left the world with Skull. They were the last two in their cell, and they promised to slit each other’s wrists. Rogo suddenly started shouting madly. He cried and laughed for a day and night, and then… he went completely silent.”
Samel listened quietly, and every time he heard a new name, the torch in his hand shook a little.
“Cox rests in peace, and he even left us his last words. Clemont only had a cold, but we didn’t have any medicine. I just watched him day after day. In the end, he couldn’t stand it any longer… I was the one who ended his life.”
Barney Junior laughed dryly a few times.
“The cells are not connected to each other, we can only hear the sounds. What happened during these years was like a f*cking drama.
“Hmph. Those who died early in the same cell still got a dignified funeral.” Barney Junior looked at both of his hands and glanced at the five corpses behind him. There was an unspeakable emotion in his eyes.
“As for the last remaining few… We can only lie down and wait,” said Barney Junior dazedly.
Thales stared at this scruffy prisoner dumbfoundedly.
He looked at the deep and gloomy prison cell, at the shining bars, and remembered the skeletons and dried corpses a few floors above them. It was difficult for him to describe the feelings in his heart.
Samel fell down on one knee, and his face went pale. “If that’s the case, then…”
Barney Junior looked up and snorted at him. “Yes, vice flag bearer, Lord Colin Samel. It has been eighteen years. Forty-five men in the prime of their lives; forty-five people full of vigor; forty-five noble knights; forty-five royal guards… were sent into the Prison of Bones.”
The smile on Barney Junior’s mouth grew wider, until a hate-filled, bitter, mocking, and harsh grin appeared on him.He looked up and stared blankly at the skeletons around him, then silently met the gazes of the other six prisoners.
“There are now probably… only seven of us left.”