Translator:EndlessFantasy TranslationEditor:EndlessFantasy Translation
‘Knight of Judgment?
In Black Prison, Thales’ eyebrows twitched. ‘Who could it be?
‘He sounds familiar.’
Flames flickered in the prison. The shadows of the people swayed, but there was no sound.
Shortly after, a lackadaisical voice slowly rose.
“The Knight of Judgment who’s feared by all was separated from us when we were locked up…”
The prisoners’ expressions changed when they heard those words.
Samel turned towards Nalgi, the one who spoke.
“Nalgi!” Barney Junior rebuked Nalgi, who decided to act differently from his comrades.
However, Nalgi only shook his head. “He should know Even if he parted ways with us, he should know.”
Barney Junior was rendered speechless.
Nalgi let out a long breath, as though reminiscing about the past. “Remember the day you struggled to break free of the chains and escaped from being detained, Samel?”
Samel was stunned. “Me?”
Nalgi nodded. He looked moody.
“That day, in the absence of a higher-ranking commander, Zakriel endured the anger of the officials. He gave himself up and said that he was guilty of helping you escape, even though we knew it was impossible since he was detained at least a hundred meters away from you.
“Despite that, the officials couldn’t care less. Enraged from shame, they only needed someone to serve as example to warn us, and the example would work better the higher his rank was.”
Samel’s shadow swayed. He appeared to be stupefied.
Nalgi sounded depressed as he said, “As a punishment, Zakriel was locked down below us in the lowest level of the Prison of Bones.
“He’s in solitary confinement,” Nalgi said in anguish.
“You know, all of us are on the same level. At least, we still have each other to talk to. As for Zakriel?
“…He has no cellmates, no one to talk to, no light; he has nothing at all.
Samel watched Nalgi from the distance without a single word.
“Indeed, he was the most skilled among all of us in the Royal Guards, a star who had a promising future. He was going to be the guards’ next commander”
Nalgi shook his head and miserably said, “He’s alone, just like this, in the pitch-black darkness. He doesn’t know what’s going on in the world outside; he doesn’t know the time; he can’t see anyone. He’s alone, and he’s endured it all for as long as eighteen years.
“We don’t even know if he’s dead or alive.”
‘He’s in solitary confinement.
Among the Disaster Swords, Josef frowned.
Thales could not refrain from thinking about the evaluation about prison cells from that one particular Disaster Sword who spent a considerable time in and out of prison.
“However, that was the only way Zakriel could save the brothers who were detained with you at the same time,” said Nalgi. He chuckled a little. “Tardin and Bruley were supposed to be charged for collective punishment because of your cowardice.”
Samel’s breathing gradually grew faster.
“Hmmm Woooorrrggghhh!” On the other side, Bruley groaned in anger.
“I can translate for him,” Naer said. His words were practically dripping with sarcasm.
“Bruley said, ‘Samel, you’re a damn coward’. That’s roughly what he meant.”
Barney Juniorthe highest ranked of the sevenmade it seem like saying anything else would be beneath him.
Silence filled the prison.
Samel closed his eyes. His breathing was all over the place.
A few seconds later, Samel breathed in deeply before he turned around to face the Disaster Swords.
“Let’s go. Our business here is done.”
He looked tired and humbled, but there was a strange coldness as well as ghastliness in his voice. “We’ll head to our goal.”
Ricky snorted and waved his hand.
The Disaster Swords threw a glance at the pitch-black prison cell with mixed emotions; Thales wanted to steal another glance, but was pushed forward roughly by Marina.
As the light sources reduced, the lit areas in the prison cell grew smaller, and the prison itself grew darker.
“A word in passing, Samel.”
Samel stopped walking.
Nalgi’s voice came from behind him slowly, and he sounded dazed. “I am sorry to say this, but
“But I hope, I truly hope that Zakriel has been driven mad beyond recognition.”
Everyone was dumbfounded.
“I hope that he will tear you into pieces when he catches sight of you, Samel.” A cold tone slowly seeped into Nalgi’s voice, it caused those who heard him to feel a chill down their spines. “This way, you will be able to rest in peace.
“Traitor,” he said with a hoarse voice.
The other prisoners either chuckled coldly or snorted in indignation.
Samel’s back was turned towards them, he did not say anything for some time.
Then, he sighed faintly.
“You know, I really wanted to free all of you.”
Samel said softly. There was a melancholic tone in his voice.
But, the next second, Samel raised his head determinedly and walked out of the hall.
Behind him, the weak flame in Nalgi’s cell was finally unable to continue burning for an even longer period of time. It died out without a sound, sending the remaining seven of the forty-five former members of the Royal Guards back into the bottomless darkness that was the Black Prison.
After witnessing this, the Disaster Swords seemed to have been affected. None of them spoke. Thales’ mind, however, raced with all sorts of thoughts.
“Thank you, Ricky.”
In the darkness, Samel suddenly said this while he led the way. Thales heard it, because he had been listening attentively to his surroundings.
Ricky gave a faint chuckle. “For what?”
Samel’s words were heard along the footsteps, but hell’s senses helped Thales hear him completely clearly.
“For agreeing to my selfishness.”
Ricky did not seem to be bothered by it. “You assume that this is your selfishness.”
Ricky’s next sentence carried a slight hint of sentimentality. “But if we were in the olden times, this would be one of the inheritances of a knight; it was the greatest and most important test for every knight.”
Samel held his tongue.
“Including you, many of us are riddled with scars, shrouded in the shadows of our past, and cursed by the ghosts of the years that have gone by, leaving us lost, confused, and unable to free ourselves from it.
“Revenge, injustice, rage, pain, guilt, indignation, suffering, and morethese are the reason we gathered together. It has also been the common trait of the Scions of the Outer Tower for hundreds of years.”
Ricky’s voice softened; Thales could only hear it clearly with strenuous efforts.
“But no matter how terrifying the past is, no matter how unbearable the shadow and the curse it cast on us are, we have to confront it, accept it, overcome it, before we can finally see ourselves clearly.”
Klein’s voice echoed from another side. He sounded a little emotional. “Ever since our first Crassus, almost every qualified Scion of the Outer Tower has had to experience this journey, either sooner or later, either for a longer or shorter time, before we can understand the meaning of our existence.
“Then, we can become truly qualified swordsmen and master the power which is the hardest to tame and is the most terrifying in the world.”
The Northlander middle-aged swordsman said faintly, “This is unavoidable.”
“This is similar to the ancient knights during the Age of the Empire. They have to pass tests that were targeted at their true selves, so that they can surpass the limits of their skills, strengths, and willpower in the end, and then move one step further on the path to become a knight.”
Klein smiled a little. “This is the pedants’ so-called ‘heart of the sword’ in the Tower of Eradication. Of course, as we are Scions of the Outer Tower, you can call it whatever you want.”
Samel snorted; his emotions were hard to tell.
Ricky’s steady voice was heard again, “Do not underestimate this. The Crassus of the previous generation told me so
“He has always thought that, compared to swordsmanship, battle tactics, ancient records, weapons, valuables, glory, reputation, commandments, the brilliant past where mankind wielded weapons and only weapons, and the influence of the superpowers and Power of Eradication which spread far and wide, this was the greatest inheritance left by the Temple of Knights that was destroyed a millennium ago.
There was a firmness Ricky’s voice was faintly discernible.
‘Temple of Knights.’
When he heard the name, some thoughts ran through Thales’ mind.
Samel’s breathing became stable slowly.
“It is only after experiencing it that we finally understand that we cannot live for the past.
“The reason we stand together is to get over the days that we cannot make up for.” Ricky’s tone slowly turned fierce and resolute. “We shall tear apart hypocrisy, break the curse of the old generation, and start a new page for the future.”
The silent Samel could not hold back from speaking his mind.
“Is this possible?”
Samel said hesitantly, “The goal of the first generation Crassus is just far too”
Klein’s laughter rang in the darkness.
“Is it possible?
“My brother from the south, I would like to deliver to you a saying in Northland.” In Klein’s voice was a unique pride which Thales was most familiar with and which he had sensed countless times from countless people. “The Northlanders never ask whether something can be possibly done…
“We only ask whether we will do it or not.”
The group continued to move forward. Samel was quiet for a while.
“As your guide, Samel, letting you walk on this journey is also my obligation,” Ricky said faintly.
Marina noticed that the obedient-looking brat in front of her suddenly trembled strongly.
Thales’ heart quivered a little.
‘Wait a minute.’
He lifted his head in disbelief and looked towards Ricky’s back.
‘Could this term be a coincidence?’
“Since you have chosen to be reborn, there are many times when you have to bid the past goodbye.” Ricky laughed a little and said, “No matter how attractive the past is or how you cannot bear to let it go.”
Thales’ heart twitched.
‘Bid the past goodbye?’
He seemed… to have heard similar words somewhere before.
‘Where could it be?’
Remember, you chose to persistently move forward without turning back,” Ricky said coldly. “Not repentance that moves one to tears.
“Misunderstanding, false charges, slander, and injustice are the mildest trials and hardships on this path.”
Samel did not say a word, but his breathing grew more stable and firmer.
“Compared to the Tower of Eradication, where the people hide in the castle and ‘nursery’ to gain shelter from the wind and rain, care for themselves, and are content staying where they are, the Scions of the Outer Tower always follow through and never hesitate and waver in our path because of the uncertainties the future may hold, and are never overcautious and indecisive in our actions just because we want to escape the past.” Ricky sighed a little.
Thales watched their backs blankly.
He suddenly recalled these people’s strange background and the names ascribed by others to them, which were even stranger and thought-provoking.
“Because this is who we are,” Ricky opened his mouth and said firmly. In his voice was firm resolution, as well as a fierce pride that was afraid of nothing.
“These are the Disaster Swords, who have experienced many trials in life, but still carry no regrets.”
At this moment, Thales’ eyebrows frowned even tighter than any other moment in his life.
Soon, his train of thoughts was interrupted.
The Disaster Swords did not stop again. Instead, they followed Nalgi’s words and headed straight to the lowest level of the Black Prison.
However, when the Disaster Swords stopped abruptly at a considerably big corner, Thales sensed that an accident had happened.
‘No, to be exact, it’s not an accident.’
“What is this, Stake?”
Thales tried hard to stand on his tip-toe. Then, through the gaps between the people and with the help of the torch in Klein’s hand, he saw that hooded man standing in front of the crowd.
He was still all smiles and rubbing his hands while he stood in front of the dim flames. Darkness surrounded him.
“Did I not say it? I will wait for you outside, and”
Ricky strode forward and said coldly, “You know that this is not what I meant.”
Ricky then waved his hand lightly.
In the span of one breath, Thales could feel that the atmosphere had become different. The Disaster Swords turned sideways and bent their knees. They kept their hands on their weapons and switched to the most suitable position for striking.
Marina did not forget to grab his shoulder, in case anything happened.
At that moment, all the people were like soldiers at the front line. They were instantly ready for battle.
Thales held his breath. He was cautious as he watched every single tiny change around him.
‘Here it comes.’
“I can feel it.” Ricky’s eyes appeared to be fixed on Stake, who was in front of him and whose smile froze. However, Ricky swept his gaze at the area around Stake, casting his eyes on the seemingly empty darkness.
“The chilly air in the darkness.
“It’s just like the tip of an unsheathed sword.”
Stake’s smile crumbled slowly.
He rubbed his forehead. He seemed to be wiping sweat off of that spot.
Baron Lasalle was still among the Disaster Swords. He noticed something was amiss. He said quickly, “Everybody”
However, in this moment, no one showed any tact to the representative of King Chapman. Ricky continued speaking aggressively.
“Stake, did you get all the manpower of Shadow Shield on the surface down here when you went out?
“And then you blocked this path to wait for us here?”
Even Lasalle stared at the assassin before him in astoundment.
Thales noticed that Klein, Samel, and the Disaster Swords were staring warily at the dark corners around them while on guard, as if someone was going to suddenly appear in the darkness.
In no time, the prince was no longer in doubt. The response provided to him by hell’s senses told him that there were more than one set of breathing. They were travelling regularly and rhythmically from that inauspicious darkness that was not lit by flames.
Steady, drawn-out, and fear inspiring.
There were two parties in this scene.
One side was completely packed by the murderous and fierce-looking Disaster Swords. Ricky stood as their commander, and they were as cold as the freezing wind.
On another side was Stake. He stood alone in darkness. The contours of his face were revealed only when lit by flames, but it felt as if he was ruling the darkness that was impenetrable by light.
Thales thought that the ‘freezing wind’ Ricky mentioned seemed to have gained corporeal form. It slowly froze up the two parties who had been collaborating happily with each other earlier.
Stake looked calm and coughed softly.
“What sharp senses you have.”
He sighed and said, “Let me get to the point then.”
In the next second, Stake’s smile faded away. His movements were tense, and he spoke in a flat tone.
“My honorable Crassus, and everyone else May I request that you hand over His Highness to me?”
Stake said expressionlessly.
Thales exhaled softly.
‘Here it comes.’
The prince could not help but frown when he saw Stake acting in this manner.
Ricky curved the corners of his lips.
“Hmph,” Klein snorted, and with it, their attitude towards this matter was clear.
Baron Lasalle noticed that things were not right.
“Stake, for the sake of His Majesty, I can feel that, this Crassus is only one step away from his goal. Maybe we should not turn on them just yet”
But this time, even Stake who usually spoke kindly and gently interrupted him brusquely.
“It is precisely because he is only one step away from his goal that I can no longer pay no mind to this, Your Grace.”
Lasalle’s eyebrows twitched. He looked towards the mercenaries.
“What do you mean?”
On the Disaster Swords’ side, Ricky’s expression did not change, Klein exhaled, Samel clenched his sword hilt, Josef bared his teeth and revealed a malicious smile.
“I appreciate your goodwill, baron.” In the dim flames, Stake’s hooded body appeared cheerless and cold, just like his voice, which was slowly turning back to how he originally sounded likecold and emotionless.
“But the honorable Crassus might not.”
Ricky and Stake’s eyes met in the air; one person’s gaze was cold and detached, while the other was as severe as thorns.
“I initially thought that temporarily handing over the prince to you was a harmless act, and nothing would happen,” said Stake expressionlessly. “After all, our wariness and balance to each other was the best guarantee in Blade Fangs Camp, and it would last until our collaboration is over.”
His voice was flat but, compared to words that were pleasing to the ears and harsh words spoken at a fast pace meant to rebuke others, these words spoken with a calm and flat tone were filled an air that could mysteriously cause another person’s heart to freeze.
“Therefore, Shadow Shield was eager to help, and was even selfless in devoting themselves to helping you.”
He was like the worst actor reading off the script.
He was completely emotionless.
When he heard this, Klein sneered and scoffed without showing any respect.
“Why does this sound so awkward?”
Stake raised his hand slowly and pulled his hood down, revealing his fair and clean face.
However, his expression only made Thales feel colder on the inside.
“When you handed over work on the surface to me, be it breaking through the defence or guarding the ground, I thought that it was because you wanted to win my trust.
“I also thought that you would not turn on me. After all, the people who guard the surface work for me. If there is any changes in the plan, both of us may die here.”
Stake continued speaking with a stable and calm tone. His eyes never left Ricky for even a second.
“But when I see a breath-taking building like this, I finally understand a litte.
“You must have prepared for this a long time ago. That is why you know the wizard’s territory inside out. Am I right?”
The leader of the Disaster Swords did not answer. Only the corners of his lips could be seen twitching.
Stake continued, “I was wondering. This is very clearly a suicide mission. Yet, you do not seem concerned at all. You have made up your mind long ago to break into this place and did not worry about the way out. You even trusted us with guarding of the surface, even though you absolutely did not trust Shadow Shield.”
Klein interrupted him impatiently, “What are you trying to say?”
But his smile caused goosebumps to break on Thales’ flesh.
Because he did not seem to be smiling, but instead, had something tugging the skin on his face to make him appear as if he was smiling. That smile was lifeless.
He looked like a puppet.
However, Stake deliberately looked into Thales’ direction with that terrifying smile of his.
“I was chatting with Prince Thales just a while ago”
Stake’s words turned the prince into the center of the center of attention for the group.
“The both of us agrees that the ventilation in this place is done too well. It is not only not stuffy, but one can also light a fire in here without hesitation.”
The Disaster Swords were stupefied.
“We are only left with one possibility.”
Stake was still staring at Thales. His words turned cold slowly. “This place, the Prison of Bones, Alchemy Tower, Confinement Research Center or whatever you want to call it has another exit, isn’t that right?”
When his words were uttered, the entire place quietened down.
Baron Lasalle who was troubled as he observed the situation by the side, started to understand something. His face turned pale.
The silence in Black Prison lasted a few seconds.
The Disaster Swords looked at each other, but none of them said a word.
Then, Ricky turned around slowly and cast a profound glance at Thales.
It caused the latter to feel a surge of cold rush down his spine.
‘Ah this is bad.’
“I was only chatting casually with him,” Thales said awkwardly. “You know, when we were in Dragon Clouds City, the Northlanders’ tunnel was also like this Since an exit was made, so the ventilation was good”
But his voice became softer, and in the end, he quietly retreated in defeat under Crassus’ gaze.
Ricky chuckled softly and said, “Perhaps I should have listened to you just now, Marina.”
Right when Marina frowned, Thales felt his heart chill, and the both of them pondered over the meaning of the words, Ricky redirected his gaze on Stake.
Before him, the person in charge of the Shadow Shield seemed to have shaken his head with a look of pity. His gaze was as cold as ice.
“My people searched through the area from front to back just now, and while we didn’t manage to find the exit, but based on your reactions just now we shouldn’t be wrong.”
Stake’s gaze turned even sharper.
“That’s why you refuse to let go of the prince in your hands, and you’re also not worried about your exit on the ground, because right from the start, you don’t intend to keep to your end of the bargain, my honorable Crassus.”
Stake gritted his teeth coldly.
Ricky let out a harrumph, though no one knew why he did that. “It isn’t that complicated.”
“I’m not a fool.” Stake said with a sigh, “When we were in the tavern, our very difficult to handle royal highness must have given you some sort of bargaining chip, and in turn, changed your attitude.”
When Thales heard this, his eyebrow twitched, and he bent his head quietly.
Stake slowly narrowed his eyes, and a cold glare shone from his eyes.
“You’ve never intended to get out from the original path, but instead, once you finish your task, you planned to disappear from another exit along with your prize of victory, as well as our prince,” Stake said softly. “Perhaps you also intend to set us up here, make us fall into a trap, and then throw us into the hands of Blade Fangs Camp and the livid Constellatiates?”
Lasalle stared incredulously at the Disaster Swords. He instinctively took two steps backwards, leaving the team that had already drawn their swords.
One second, two seconds, three seconds passed.
Ricky slowly exhaled, then laughed faintly.
“No matter what, you aren’t Teng.” Ricky sighed, seemingly in pity. “If you were him, then when you entered the Prison of Bones, he would have used every method in his disposal to attack when we were forced to a corner.”
Ricky did not answer Stake’s question, but Stake did not demand his answer.
“I won’t repeat myself, Disaster Swords.”
Stake retreated with light footsteps into the darkness. His face gradually became indistinct. When he stared at Thales, his gaze became colder and fiercer.
“Hand him over to me right now, and then we will both have nothing to do with each other anymore.”
Ricky shook his head and laughed.
“And if we don’t?”
“Or else Perhaps your understanding towards the Magic Tower is great, but”
Stake clicked his tongue and chuckled softly. He sank completely into darkness and only left behind a string of words that brought them unease.
“…we are the masters of darkness.”
In the next second, before Ricky could respond, an incredibly clear scream of pain shot up from behind the Disaster Swords’ group.
Almost at the same moment, before anyone could issue a warning, the battle-seasoned mercenaries drew their weapons without hesitation!
*Swoosh! Cling! Clang!*
Countless sounds of metal crashing against leather and metal against metal rose into the air.
Thales felt as if he was going through another Dust Bowl in the desert. It forced him to cover his ears!
Then, in the next instant
*Thud! Bang! Crash!*
As the shrill sounds of wind howling rose, practically every single person’s torch was extinguished!
All the light in the area disappeared, and the world before Thales immediately became dark.
“Careful of ambush!”
“They’re at your feet!”
In just one breath, weapons clashed, flesh was torn, screams and moans shot into the air, the cries for murder and enraged cries resounded, countless sounds of intense battle echoed in the darkness. Everything rang together and were jumbled into one!
They traveled into Thales’ ears at the same time.
Both sides, with their own agenda and who pretended to treat the other party with sincerity, finally tore off their disguises and experienced a complete fall out.