Translator:EndlessFantasy TranslationEditor:EndlessFantasy Translation
In Black Prison, Samel looked as pale as a sheet in the face of Barney Junior and Beldin’s questions, as if he was hit hard.
Thales looked at this fallout between brothers, and suddenly gained a deeper insight into the Royal Guards and the Bloody Year.
No matter who was the traitor, no matter what the truth was, it seemed that it was set in stone that there was something wrong with the Royal Guards of Constellation when it came to the shocking assassination in Renaissance Palace in the past.
But this was not the point.
Betrayal was much more than a conflict among those in the same affiliation, or a process where friends become estranged from each other. The truth was usually hidden much deeper under the most superficial fuse that led to the entire event.
In Northland, Lampard’s rebellion originated from the ruthlessness of the Born King after he took over Eckstedt. The Secret Room switched allegiances because it was the rational thing to do after the decline of their then king’s power, and the betrayal of the Raven of Death was born due to the merciless methods King Nuven used to rule the country.
In Constellation, the Duke of the Northern Territory’s conspiracy had always revolved around the game between the Jadestar Royal Family and the Arunde Family against Broken Dragon Fortress and Constellation’s Northern Territory. The schemes devised by the nobles in ‘New Star’, formed by Covendier, Nanchester, and the likes, reflected their expectations and ambitions towards the division of power in the country.
There was even one right before Thales right then. The chaos in Blade Fangs Camp facilitated the invasion of foreign enemies and caused him to fall into a predicament in Blade Fangs Camp. Was it not because the Baron of Blade Fangs Camp, Duke of Western Desert Hills, the regular soldiers, the recruit, the Jadestar Royal Family, the nobles of Western Desert Hills, Eternal Star City, and the borders of the west being forced to work together against the enemies of the desert even though they were hostile to each other and shared a complex, ever-changing relationship?
Then, what about the Bloody Year?
Thales suddenly had such a realization after he thought about it. The division of the Royal Guards on the surface was not a solitary case, much less the main cause. It was just a reflection, reflecting the biggest conflict of that era.
In the chaos of that era, even if those pitiful people managed to adhere to their own beliefs, they could only be swept along the flow, unable to fight back.
Even if they were invincible.
Even if they were a king of a country
Even if they were a Mystic.
The prison was silent for a long time.
Then, Ricky’s sneers echoed faintly.
“Just like I thought.”
Barney Junior, who was immersed in anger and resentment, and Samel, who was lost in sorrow and despair, turned together.
The leader of the Disaster Swords slowly moved forward and stood beside Samel.
“Do you understand now, Samel?”
Ricky said suddenly lifted the torch and illuminated the brand on Samel’s face.
The desolate Samel was dazzled by the light. He subconsciously lifted his arm to shield his eyes and took a few steps back.
Ricky said with an indifferent expression, “No matter how much you want to return to where you started, how much you want to mend the mistakes that caused you your regrets and heal the scars of the past, how much you want to remove the ugly brand on your face…”
Samel put down his hands in a pathetic manner. He straightened his back again. There was conflict on his face. He lowered his head and panted.
Ricky snorted coldly. He pulled back the torch and turned to illuminate the prison on the other side.
“…This is the answer.”
The prisoners behind the bars also avoided Ricky in a pathetic manner as he deliberately approached them with the light. Only the gasping Barney Junior stood in the same place. He merely moved his head a little. He did not move back.
As he stared at the shabbily-dressed, miserable-looking prisoners, Ricky clicked his tongue and shook his head. “This is the answer to your question from the past and from yesterday.”
Samel did not speak. He just looked at his dirty, pathetic-looking colleagues in the prison in an absent minded manner. These men were once full of spirit and energy
‘Past and yesterday.’
He thought quietly.
“And who are you?”
Barney Junior looked at Ricky disdainfully,
“Are you also one of the scum from Shadow Shield?”
Ricky stared at Barney Junior as if he wanted to find something from him. But after a few seconds, he just smiled and shook his head.
“He can’t make that vow.” Ricky slowly retracted the torch, which made his worn-out face shine even brighter. He gestured at Samel with his chin.
“Because just around an hour ago, he joined us and kidnapped King Kessel’s only son.
“Jadestar’s last bloodline.”
Thales’ breathing immediately froze because of this statement!
As expected, the gazes of the Royal Guard prisoners changed.
Barney Junior slowly said, revealing his doubts in his tone.
Thales immediately sensed several glances darting towards him from the darkness in the prison. They simultaneously landed on his person.
Marina, who was in charge of the prince, felt inexplicably pressured, and the Disaster Swords around Thales encircled him even closer.
“You said… kidnapping?” Beldin’s voice trembled a little.
“When?” Nalgi, who was humming a little song just now, had already got up from the ground. He said in disbelief, “The new king has a son again, a new heir?”
Samel remained silent outside the prison, but his face was full of pain.
“Kidnapping the prince? You? Samel,is he telling the truth?” Naer widened his eyes. His cheeks twitched, and looked outside the prison rather nervously.
“That unlucky looking boy is the current Jadestar?”
“Hahaha, that’s interesting.” The badly-battered Tardindue to previously fighting against his cellmatelooked at Samel in front of him before he looked at Thales in the distance. His laughter was bleak, and the mocking tone in his voice became clearer.
“It’s getting more and more interesting, hahaha”
Outside the prison, Samel lowered his head dispiritedly and closed his eyes slowly.
Thales was stunned when he saw their different reactions while he bore their gazes from the darkness.
Barney Junior, Beldin, Naer, Tardin, Bruley, Nalgi, Canon.
The gazes of the former Royal Guards were very complicated, and the prince could not tell what they were feeling at that moment.
Were they startled, sighing in hate, lamenting, excited or gloomy?
Thales did not know.
He just felt that these former Royal Guards were obviously staring intently at him right now.
It was as if they were looking at the past.
At their former days of glory.
Ricky, who just told the truth, looked at Samel beside him. When he saw that he still appeared dejected and upset, he could not help but frown.
The silence and surprise both inside and outside the cell lasted only for a short time.
“So you really can’t make a vow, right?”
Nalgi sat back on the floor. He looked indifferent, and he sounded as if he had been relieved of his burden. “Samel, I really hope you know what you are doing.
“Whether it was in the past, or now.
Samel’s expression changed. He looked up with faint hope on his face, as if he wanted to find solace and understanding.
But Nalgi shook his head,
“Don’t talk to me. Go to Barney. The person with the highest position has the final say.”
Samel’s words froze in his throat. He shut his mouth in disappointment and looked towards the former vanguard, Quill Barney Junior.
The shock in Barney Junior’s eyes was slowly replaced by realization and indifference.
“So this is the answer.” The vanguard looked at the stunned Samel with a complicated gaze
“It doesn’t matter whether you betrayed us in the past or not After so many years, in the end, you still ended up a traitor.”
At that moment, Samel stiffened.
“So, what is this?” Barney Junior sneered at the wall and no longer looked at the old companions,
“Abandoning yourself to depravity?”
Samel took a deep breath and moved his lips. But he could not say anything.
Ricky, who was watching the scene with a cold gaze, chuckled softly.
“How is it, Samel?”
Ricky let go of the torch and let it roll on the dusty ground.
“You told them those things,” Ricky whispered, “Then defended yourself with a few statements, told them that you’re not a traitor, told them that you’re still their good old brother.”
There was a faint, mocking tone in his voice.
“Does this make you feel better?”
Samel quietly stared at the torch by his feet. He watched as the flames flickered on the ground.
“I have fulfilled my promise and given you the opportunity to face the shadows of your past.” Ricky looked at the five prisons in front of him again. He stared coldly at the seven former Royal Guards.
“But the question is, is this really the ‘reunion’ you envisioned?”
Samel’s chest heaved.
The light from the fire reflected in his pupils. It was faint and dim, like the last sparks of light in darkness.
His dark shadow was cast onto the wall through the torch on the ground. It moved back and forth erratically.
Ricky stepped forward and snorted. “How is it? Is it full of flowers and excitement, goodness and hope, forgiveness and understanding?”
Thales felt rather upset as he listened to Ricky’s questions, which were as sharp as a knife. like a knife edge.
“Now, Samel.” Ricky coldly repeated his previous question. “Do you understand?”
Samel subconsciously looked at the swaying fire. He did not seem to notice.
“I can tell. You are not from Shadow Shield, mate.” Tardin sneered in the prison. “You sound like a brainwashing cultist.”
Ricky was first stunned, because he started laughing unexpectedly.
He did not respond to Tardin’s mocking words, but continued to stare at Samel.
“The past is gone, and it is difficult to return to it. The phrase, ‘It’s just like yesterday’ is just a dream, a form of escape, because you can never return to the past, whether to the people you once knew or the things that happened a long time ago.”
Ricky seemed to be speaking with an underlying meaning in his words. “There are many times where you can’t find the answer by returning to your starting point.
“Perhaps the answer you find will only make you fall into greater despair.”
The torch on the ground struggled to remain lit, but it was getting dimmer and dimmer. Even Samel’s expression, including that ugly brand, was getting indistinct.
Ricky sighed and said, “We can only open a new path to head to a new future in order to surpass the influence that awful past has on us.”
Samel listened to Ricky’s words in a daze. The flames in his pupils became smaller and darker.
“But this is our life.”
Ricky looked up at the stone pillar in the middle of the hall, or rather, at the eye resembling an emblem on the pillar. His gaze was slightly unfocused.
“You can’t save anyone except yourself.
“You can’t hold on to anything but the future.”
The next second, the torch by Samel’s feet was finally extinguished.
Samel’s still face, motionless gaze, confused and pained expression disappeared into the darkness as well.
They could no longer be seen.
“You are all dressed like mercenaries.” Nalgi sighed and picked up a crudely-made lamp in their prison. “But there are no mercenaries with the courage and means to make break into Black Prison and reach this place in one go. Did something big happen in Blade Fangs Camp? So much so that their guard has become so lax that you weirdos managed to sneak in?”
Ricky snorted and did not answer.
The sharp Barney Junior reacted quickly.
“So, is there a fight above again? That’s why the main forces are not around, huh? Who is it this time? The Eight Great Tribes of the orcs or the Three Great Tribes of the Barren Bone people? Or is it Northlanders? Or a civil war?”
No one answered them.
A few seconds later, Samel bent down slowly in the darkness, and the sound of the torch being picked up rose in the air.
The sound of a match being struck rang. The extinguished torch was lit again, and the prisoners shrank back once more.
Samel’s figure reappeared in the light.
It was as if he returned to the bright world of the living from the dark depths of hell.
“Barney Junior,” Samel said faintly. “You know, when you entered the Royal Guards, many people said that you only got in because of your father.”
This sentence drifted in the air, causing the hall to become silent for a moment.
Barney Junior was first taken aback before he took a deep breath. “You”
But Samel suddenly lifted his head and said crisply. His voice was filled with strength. “And I am one of those people.”
Barney Junior was stunned.
He suddenly noticed that, at this moment, Samel no longer had a pained and remorseful expression.
Instead, he looked cold and determined.
Even the brand on his face seemed to be a lot fiercer.
“Based on what I saw today, what they said was right, Barney.” Samel held the torch and shook his head, his gaze was cold.
“You didn’t inherit any of Barney Senior’s strengths at all.
“The old captain gave up on you and chose Beldin to take that person’s place as the penal officer. It was very wise of him to do so.”
Barney Junior frowned slightly. Across him, Beldin tilted his head.
“Because after years of imprisonment, you are still a fool,” Samel said these words with a soft voice. The confusion and pain in his voice was gone. He sounded like a cold and hard rock, which caused others to feel pressured. “You can’t see things clearly, and you have a poor judge of character.
“A mad man who lost his mind.”
The guards in the prison were all taken aback.
Ricky watched the current Samel chuckled silently.
“How ludicrous.” Barney Junior sucked in a deep breath. His resentment and anger built up in him again.
“To think that this actually came from the mouth of a traitor.”
But he soon realized that the subject of the conversation had changed.
A second later, Samel spat out a number coldly, “Thirty-seven.”
Barney Junior was perplexed for a moment.
Samel waved the torch to make the flame burn more fully. He illuminated the skeletons in the cells. “You said, in eighteen years, you made eulogies for thirty-seven of your brothers.”
The prisoners frowned.
There was no expression on Samel’s face. “That year, there were forty-six people sentenced to imprisonment in the Prison of Bones.”
Barney Junior’s face tensed up.
“Over the years, thirty-seven people have lost their lives. Seven of you have survived to this day. Including me, there’s only forty-five,” Samel said emotionlessly, as if he was retelling someone else’s story.
“There is still one person missing.”
Behind him, Klein and Ricky smiled.
Thales raised his eyebrows.
Samel moved forward. He drew closer to Barney Junior.
“It’s him, isn’t it?
“He is not here.”
Samel stared coldly at Barney. “I didn’t see his name on the sign.
“You came in with him, where is he?”
Thales slowly repeated this pronoun in his heart.
‘There was another person… Who is it?’
The hall sank into an unprecedented silence.
The prisoners’ breathing grew more rapid.
“I understand now.”
Barney Junior stared at Samel with a hostile gaze.
“You are not here to save us, nor to see old friends, right? You coward, traitor…” He gritted his teeth, “As for those outside”
But Samel stretched out his arm. The torch moved through the gaps between the bars, and he pointed at Barney Junior!
“Where is he?” Samel asked coldly.
“Bah.” Barney Junior stared at the flame that almost burned him. He spat resentfully.
Samel snorted and turned to the other side.
“Beldin, you took over his place as the penal officer. You should know.”
Beldin just closed his eyes and shook his head.
Samel looked displeased. He turned his head around again.
“Where is he?”
He hissed coldly, “Bruley, tell me”
But the robust Bruley just kept shaking his head in the prison. He looked ferocious, and groans escaped his throat. “Wooo”
“Stop staring at him already.” Tardin, who was in the same cell as Bruley, crossed his arms, clicked his tongue, and mocked Samel.
“Bruley can’t tell you.
“After he personally broke Laure’s neck, he stopped being able to speak.”
Samel frowned in a barely perceptible manner.
‘The once talkative Bruley’
He stared at the angry Bruley for a few seconds, and, in the end, looked away. He decided to not ask him anymore.
“You know who I am talking about!”
Samel turned around and raised his voice.
“Since Captain Cullen and your father died in the Bloody Year, he became the most important person among the remaining Royal Guards.
“All of us can die, but he won’t!”
Samel’s tone was cold, as if he no longer held any illusions that his comrades would answer him out of friendship anymore.
Barney Junior asked, “The Bloody Year?”
Samel huffed in anger and looked at him disdainfully.
“Yes, that year, the Bloody Year, the one year where His Majesty, the crown prince, the princes, the nobles, and civilians suffered tremendously, and only blood is left.
“That’s what they call that year.”
The prisoners stiffened slightly. Their expressions changed.
Thales saw this, and he felt rather sad.
‘This group of people.’
They witnessed the horror of the Bloody Year, but for a total of eighteen years, they did not know what history and the whole world called it.
Samel sounded slightly upset in the beginning, but that indifferent tone quickly returned to his voice.
“Tell me now.
“The greatest of the Royal Guards in the past, the former penal officer of the guards, and the current watchman of the guards.” Samel looked at the remaining seven prisoners with no intention of compromising. He snapped at them.
“Zakriel, the Knight of Judgement, where is he?”