Translator:EndlessFantasy TranslationEditor:EndlessFantasy Translation
Thales had experienced the bloodiness and grimness of the battle between the two armies in front of Broken Dragon Fortress; he had felt the acute violence in the life-and-death fight between the White Blade Guards and the Archduke of Black Sand Region; he had also experienced the horrible impact of the confrontation between the desert orc infantry and the cavaliers. However, the sudden fight in Black Prison was definitely the most eerie fight he had ever seen.
The reason being, it was a fight that happened in the dark, a battle he could not see.
In the pitch-black darkness, Thales heard the roar of the wind right after he used Hell’s senses!
A loud voice came out of nowhere, and what followed was Thales seeing a Disaster Sword three steps away from him falling to the ground in pain through his Hell’s senses. Ashort arrow had suddenly materialized in his chest.
The mercenaries around him all raised their swords warily, but they were unable to see in the dark. They could not detect where the threat came from.
Hell’s senses gave Thales a much greater advantage. It allowed him to see clearly in the dark, but it gave him another level of fear, one that only he could sense because the other mercenaries could not see anything.
The difference between him and the mercenaries right then were like people who drove at the edge of a dangerous cliff during day and night.
“Three o’clock! Crossbow!”
Angry shouts from the mercenary, Shawn, traveled into Thales’ ears.
Thales saw Shawn turn swiftly before his handaxe flew out of his hand.
“Suppress the periphery!”
The Disaster Sword threw a few axes and knives at the same time. They followed Shawn’s orders and threw their weapons into the darkness to their right!
Low groans instantly rang out, signaling the result of their retaliation.
However, the Disaster Sword’s retaliation was just temporary. It was only the beginning. The sounds from the chaotic battle came from all corners in the dark.
Thales heard the sound of a robe moving to his upper left. He could not resist turning his head. Then, to his shock, he saw an eerie dark figure falling down from the ceiling. It lunged directly at a mercenary on the left side of the periphery!
The two men fell to the ground. The mercenary convulsed a few times before he stopped moving. The assassin rolled backwards to avoid the enemies surrounding him. He was agile.
“Watch the hostage well!” Ricky’s voice came from the distance amid the chaotic battle.
Thales did not even have a chance to be shocked. He suddenly felt a weight on his shoulders, and he was pushed down to the floor in the dark by Marina!
“Stay here! If you dare play any of your little tricks” the female swordsman in red brusquely said through gritted teeth. She placed her entire weight on Thales without reservation.
Thales was still coughing non-stop due to the flying dust. ‘Abusing your power to settle a personal grudge, huh?’ he thought in pain.
He finally managed to calm his breathing, and suddenly, for some reason, he was reminded of the scene when he fought against the Blood Clan in the Northland Birch Tree Forest six years ago.
‘It was exactly like this’
The noise of weapons clashing against each other interrupted his train of thought.
Not far from him was a mercenary who swung his sword instinctively. He avoided a blow that came at him from the dark, but immediately after, he cried out in surprise and tripped. It seemed like he was tripped by a rope which had bound him at some point of time. He was immediately dragged into the boundless darkness. His screams were the only thing left of him.
Even farther away from him was an experienced swordsman cursing up a storm while he cut down an assassin who wished to sneak up on him from behind. However, he was immediately attacked by about eight hidden weapons, and he groaned before he fell to the ground and died.
Thales, who could see clearer than the others, felt cold sweat break out on his skin as he watched everything unfold.
Stake was right.
The darkness was dominated by assassins.
They came prepared and they did not hold back. During the first round of attacks, the Disaster Swords could not adapt to the darkness, and they could only passively defend themselves. They were unable to react in time to the endless stream of attacks from Shadow Shield!
“Here it comes!”
“Use the shield!”
“There’s one coming on your right!”
“Aargh! Defend the line, I’ve been shot!”
Crossbows, throwing knives, swishing sounds, screams; all these sounds kept coming and echoing in his ears.
The assassins would either shoot past the outer ring of the formation with agility, persistently look for opportunities, or cry out to discover where the mercenaries were. All of those actions caused the mercenaries to be anxious.
Even Thales who could barely see things clearly found it difficult to suppress his panic and fear.
However, the Disaster Swords were the famed Blood Whistle, and their reputation was not for show. When they were faced with such a tense and difficult situation where they could not see, they expressed outstanding quality, not losing to an army.
No one panicked, no one ran away, and not a single person took a step back.
Everyone in the dark acted like the most qualified soldier, standing their ground.
“Don’t panic, guard the front row, don’t let them in! Cut all who move!”
Klein’s annoyed orders rose into the air.
“Protect yourselves, light the lamp!”
Very soon, a torch was lit again right at the center of the formation formed by the dozens of Disaster Swords!
It lit up a small area in the place.
When everyone subconsciously closed their eyes, they could not help but feel their spirits lift.
They had light now.
However, at that moment, the light from the torch acted more like blood that attracted sharks. It only brought forth an endless stream of attacks from the assassins!
From crossbows, throwing knives, daggers, to unknown weapons.
Thales could only hear the chaos by his ears. The well-prepared Disaster Sword lifted three shields and blocked off the weapons flying towards them. In fact, there were even a few who used their bodies to protect the light.
Shawn raised his shield, bared his teeth, and said, “Dream on! Quick, pass the fire!”
Once they had a source of light, the Disaster Swords could see everything ahead of them clearly.
The assassins moved around in the dark beyond the outer ring. They would either jump up and move about, or lurk around to wait for an opportunity. There were even some who hung on the wall in a bizarre fashion.
All of them were in black and wore masks. The only thingthey revealed were their cold eyes.
Many of the assassins subconsciously tilted their heads. It seemed like they were not used to the sudden brightness.
“Light, counter-attack!” Klein shouted angrily.
After lighting up the second torch, the first torch was immediately thrown outwards without hesitation. It crashed into an assassin in a corner!
The assassin could not react in time. Sparks flew all over his body, and he looked extremely bright.
That was the last of him. The assassin was stabbed in the chest when Shawn swung his second axe at him.
The thrown torch burned brightly. It lit up another assassin in the same direction, and two mercenaries immediately caught up to them.
Two Disaster Swords roared angrily when they attacked. One struck the assassin until he fell sideways.
The one who attacked after him, waved a two-handed axe and swung a clean arc with it without holding back!
At the same time, the axe slashed the assassin’s neck open, and blood gushed out of his neck. It was an intimidating sight.
The axeman roared angrily, as though he was venting out his resentment from earlier.
Heads were knocked against the walls, and bounced back. A few drops of blood splattered on Thales’ lips, causing the prince to spit the blood as he turned his head in disgust.
He hated the stench of blood, no matter what kind it was.
The feverish roars could still be heard, and the sounds from the chaotic battle rose even more frequently.
The tables seemed to have turned right then. Once they survived through the panic of the first attack, the Disaster Swords swiftly counter-attacked.
“Nine o’clock, from the back!”
“From the front, handle it with one blow!”
Disorganized orders came from everywhere, and more torches were thrown out. They either struck the assassins hiding in the dark or exposed their indistinct figures.
The Disaster Swords caught up to them in a show of great teamwork. They suppressed them together or killed them in one blow.
Most of them had anger burning in their eyes. They were acting manically, striking down the assassins who previously moved nimbly in the dark!
Obviously, Shadow Shield was better at surprise attacks and sneak attacks, but when it came to open battles, the assassins who had already grown used to living in the dark immediately revealed their very glaring weaknesses.
“Come, cockroaches!” Josef laughed in anger. He did not care that he was burning. He just crashed against an assassin who had a torch thrown at him. He then threw the assassin against the wall.
The moment the assassin came into contact with Josef, it was as if a spell had been cast on him. He shook and he could not move.
While the assassin’s eyes were filled with fear, Josef pierced through his abdomen with his sword. Then, while he laughed loudly, he pushed his sword horizontally out of the assassin’s body.
The edge of the sword dragged out a stream of fresh red liquid, and it splattered on the ground as the assassin screamed in pain.
It was both scary and disgusting.
That was not the end of it.
Thales frowned. He watched an assassin trying to sneak back into the darkness by his side, but he was strangled by a roperesembling a horse’s rein. Soon after, he was dragged back into the mercenaries’ formation.
A swordsman with a large figure flipped his sword over, and he deliberately and cruelly pierced the assassin with the tip of his sword. After he released a pleased sigh, he roared angrily, exerting strength in his arms to push down continuously!
The poor assassin who had his mouth and the back of his head pierced released a groan. He could not scream even if he wanted to. He struck the ground hard with his limbs, but they only served as an accompaniment to the tune of death, of which the melody was the sound of the sword piercing into his flesh.
Thales frowned again.
The assassins who were revealed were not a match for the battle-seasoned mercenaries. In addition, the mercenaries also had that eerie Power of Eradication, which Thales had experienced before. Many assassins would usually be knocked off-kilter once they experienced it, and they would be unable to move. After that, they would experience the tragic fate of dying miserably under the mercenary’s second or third strike.
However, all that was not what caught Thales’ attention the most.
“Haha!” Shawn rammed into an assassin with his shield, immobilizing the man. He had already used up all of his handaxes, so he threw his shield, held the assassin by his waist, licked his lips, and took out a dagger from his bosom.
“Do you all like killing this way?!”
Shawn shouted happily. He took three steps forward as he held the assassin and took three steps forward. Then, like hammering a pillar into the ground to serve as a foundation, he stabbed the assassin’s chest with the knife around ten times!
Every single time Shawn did so with lifeless eyes, the assassin would see countless drops of fresh blood splatter on Shawn’s face.
It made him look even more savage.
“Do you like that, gutter rat?!”
Then, the blood-drenched Shawn pushed the unconscious, twitching assassin aside. He turned his head around and laughed.
After that, he licked his lips again, as though he had just finished his dinner.
“Hmph,” Marina said with a cold sneer. “You haven’t wiped your mouth clean.”
Thales only felt a chill creep down his spine while he watched the scene.
‘That’s not right.’
The prince watched the experienced but ruthless Disaster Swords tear out their enemies’ bowels without hesitation, serving them the worst possible ways to die. He also watched every swordsman come back drenched in fresh blood or injuries after they fought against their enemies. There was satisfaction and pleasure on their faces. He could not believe his eyes.
‘This isn’t right!’
Thales watched as the swordsmen kill without batting an eyelid, and a fear that he had not experienced for a long time suddenly rose in him.
‘It shouldn’t be like this.’
Over the past six years, the prince had considerably seen many things.
Regardless of whether it was the invincible strength of the vampire sisters turning against each other in vengeance, the indomitable charge of the Kingdom’s Wrath to break out of the army formation, Aida’s precise strikes to break out of encirclement, or the fight to the death between Nicholas and Monty in the desert, every battle he witnessed had been extraordinarily exciting. On top of that, they were battles ordinary people would usually not be able to witness.
Thales stared blankly at the group of mercenaries who fought while they were drenched in blood.
The Blood Clan, Arracca, the elf, the Star Killer, and the Raven of Death were the most outstanding as well as efficient warriors. They were the epitome of fighters in terms of their skills. They normally did not make their move, but when they did, it was only for winning, for progress, or to achieve their purpose.
Be it killing or bloodshed, both were the most superficial and insignificant accessories in the process of achieving victory.
‘These people ahead of me’
Thales stared at the fight blankly. He watched Josef laugh crazily, Shawn lick the blood on his body, and countless swordsmen attack brutally but also enjoy the aftertaste of their attacks.
It was not some warrior’s individual style, not some special move in martial arts, not a person acting in a particular way. In fact, it was not even two people…
Practically, every single one of them was immersed in the passion of battle. They enjoyed their enemies’ wails, cries,pain, and blood.
It seemed like they had forgotten about themselves.
The more Thales watched, the more he felt his heart freeze.
‘No, this group of men, something must be wrong
‘A normal battle is definitely not like this!’
He suddenly noticed that only Ricky and Klein did not move among the Disaster Swords. Their expressions remained the same.
It was as if they were observers.
At that moment…
An airy and drawn-out whistle suddenly sounded.
The Disaster Swords all froze!
However, they were not the ones who responded.
It was their enemies.
The Shadow Shield assassins gave up the fight after they heard the whistle. They stopped their attack, turned around, and either dragged their comrades’ corpses or fled for their lives.
They hid deeper in the darkness this time.
The battle ended as quickly as it came. Within a short time, the assassins disappeared from the group’s sight. Only a few corpses were left behind as the assassins did not have time to take them away with them.
“They retreated.” Klein grabbed a torch and looked at the last assassin disappearing into the distance. He could no longer see the exact spot clearly. “They hid in the corners, the stairs, the forks all the places where cockroaches would hide.”
Ricky nodded, but his expression showed that he had not relaxed.
“Do a headcount, and report!”
After they experienced that terrible and awful battle, although the Disaster Swords had defeated their opponents, their condition was a lot worse than it appeared to be. Many diedduring the initial surprise attack, and more people were injured. They sat down and dressed their wounds. Some were even poisoned. They accepted treatment while they sat on the floor or gritted their teeth and bore the pain.
Thales was violently yanked off the floor. He rubbed his dust-covered chin in pain and tried his best not to look at the bloody mess on the floor.
“Are your people this crazy in every battle? Do they enjoy it?”
The prince looked at one of the Disaster Swords who had wounded himself badly in the process of inflicting the same degree of injury on his enemy. That man was lying on the ground in pain while he waited for his comrades to bandage his chest. Thales then said intentionally, “They’re just like wild beasts.”
“What now? Did the bloody scene scare our royal highness?” Marina insulted him sarcastically, without showing him any respect. She dragged the prince to her side. She then said maliciously, “Be patient, you will see more of this.”
Thales sighed secretly in his heart. He focused his attention on the leaders.
“They retreated, but they did not give up.” Samel sheathed his sword. His expression was one of seriousness.
“The environment here is too dark and too chaotic. It is very suitable for them to hide, to launch surprise attacks, to single us out. It will bring us much trouble.
“We need to do something.”
But when Ricky saw the disorderly scene, he shook his head.
“No, you will never be able to kill all the cockroaches.
“The only thing we can do is to make sure we take good care of ourselves.”
At the moment Samel appeared to be deep in thought, Ricky looked towards Klein, who just finished the headcount and was walking towards him.
“How many did we lose? Who was the first one to fall?” Ricky was very calm, but the question he asked was very strange.
“In one round, we have lost eight men, ten or more were injured.” Klein could not suppress his anger.
“The enemy suffered about the same number, maybe more or less. As for the question of who fell first that would be hard to tell now.
“And that baron from Eckstedt has gone missing, I suspect that he might be with the assassins.”
Ricky fell into pensive silence and nodded.
However, he immediately lifted his gaze and scanned the entire area.
“Something is not right,” Ricky said faintly.
Ricky turned, and he scrutinized the place where the assassins disappeared.
“Stake is not worthy of our trust, but he is no fool.
“It is normal for him to threaten us in this situation for the sake of the heir of Constellation. But to turn against us and end our collaboration? This does not benefit him.”
The sentence stunned Klein and Samel.
Nonetheless, Ricky did not give them more time to think. The current Crassus of Disaster Sword turned around resolutely and gave his order.
“Execute wartime defence. The standard of the defence should be based on the one we used during the Battle of Elimination.”
Compared to the past, Ricky’s words were now filled with the sternness and awe-inspiring might of a military commander.
“Klein, Josef, Shawn, all of you follow me, guard my back well. Start allocating men to their positions starting from this place. Contact them frequently. Guard the five levels above and below us well, especially the corners and the ceilings. Those assassins will not just walk on the ground. I do not need absolute security, it is also impossible to suppress them in this situation, but I want to ensure that when one place was attacked, the news would reach us as soon as possible.”
The Disaster Swords moved efficiently and agilely under the orders of their leader.
After tasting blood, the Disaster Swords were like a pack of wolves who woke up from slumber. Their unyielding aura, which they had not bothered to hide earlier, was now filled with a cold aura as well.
“Be on guard, all of you. This time, our enemy is not the Tower of Eradication,” Ricky said coldly. “But the famous assassins of the Western Peninsular feared by many, they will never attack from the front. They will only attack from the dark.
“Samel, you come with me. This time, we will head straight to our goal. We must handle this matter as soon as possible.”
Samel followed without a word. He arrived beside Ricky.
The mercenaries who had just shed blood followed Ricky. They continued downwards and examined the darkness surrounding them warily. Every single time they reached a corner or a fork, they would allocate their sentries there to secure their path of retreat, all so that their Crassus would have no need to worry about attacks from behind him.
Very soon, under the bright light of the torch, they arrived before a special hall made of rock.
“It should be here. This should be the last level; the stone stairs have come to an end.”
What appeared in front of them was still a cold, dark, and spacious great hall. It caused them to be fearful. Strangely, the layout of this stone hall was not as clear-cut as the other levels before this. There were three forks leading to three dark tunnels.
“The structure here is much more complicated.” Samel frowned.
“Based on the information I obtained from the oracle, this is the place the Confinement Research Center conducted researches on anti-mystic equipment. Constellation’s Secret Intelligence Department might have turned it into a prison later on, but they could not change most of its structure.” Ricky picked up a torch and scrutinized the three tunnels.
Crassus found a symbol of an eye very soon.
Ricky pointed at one of the tunnels. “This leads to the original storage room, I believe”
His expression suddenly changed.
“What’s that sound?”
This sentence caused all the people to be on edge. They might have set up a decent amount of defensive measures just now, but some people still turned around and, while on guard, paid attention to the path they took to this place.
Thales also frowned. He heard the sound Ricky mentioned.
It seemed to have come from the other side of the tunnel
Hell’s senses made those sounds clearer, but it only made Thales become even more confused.
Ricky turned his head to the side and listened for a while before puzzlement appeared on his face. “It sounds like someone’s praying?”
The Disaster Swords held their breaths and listened. Indeed, faint human murmurs could be heard from the other side of the dark tunnel.
“No,” said Samel. His expression changed slightly. He stared at the other end of the tunnel. “It’s not someone praying, but”
“There’s no doubt about it.” Samel clenched his teeth. His torch lit up the first half of the tunnel where the mysterious human voice came from. “Our target is right here, on the other end of the tunnel.”
The Disaster Swords felt their spirits lift.
“Take some men and ensure our exit first. If I remember correctly, it’s the other two paths.” Ricky nodded at Klein. “Don’t let the cockroaches and rats block our way. Once we’re done”
Klein smiled and led some people to head to the other tunnel.
“Others, guard outside. Pay special attention to the area behind you.” Ricky said to Shawn and Josef grimly, “It’ll be enough with just us and Samel entering.”
Right when Thales thought that Ricky was going to head forward in search for their target, out of his expectations, Ricky walked towards him, and his eyes were brimming with energy when he stared into the prince’s eyes.
“You can rest now, Marina. From now on, I will take care of our guest.”
When Thales was still amazed, Ricky walked over, and in a manner not allowing others to speak, he yanked Thales from the shocked Marina’s hands.
The prince stumbled all his way while he followed Ricky and moved through the group. Samel followed behind them. The three of them moved together and entered the dark tunnel.
“Why me?” After much effort, Thales finally found his footing. He followed Ricky’s torch and fumbled his way forward in the tunnel that was only the height of two adult men.
“Our friends lurking in the dark are too worrisome. I’d rather keep an eye on you myself listen carefully.”
Ricky’s expression changed.
Indeed, at the instant he used hell’s senses, he heard unusual human voices.
That was a dull, dry, and cold male voice. He was mumbling in a manner as if he was speaking a sluggish manner.
“I know I know I know very clearly that something is coming”
The feeling this voice gave off was similar to an antique covered in dust. It came through the narrow stone walls, echoed in the air, and traveled into his ears airily.
It was as if the owner of the voice was mumbling to himself.
The expressions of the three people in the tunnel changed at the same time.
“It’s him!” Samel could not hide his excitement. He looked towards the other end of the darkness. “That’s right, it’s him! He’s still alive!”
Ricky remained calm. “Continue.”
But compared to these two people, with the help of hell’s senses, Thales heard more.
He heard the voice from the end of the tunnel continue to speak quietly.
“I know that you did not appear without reason. You must have predicted something and came to warn me”
Thales furrowed his brow deeply.
It sounded as if the dull and dry owner of the voice was talking to someone.
But he did not have time to voice his puzzlement, because the two Disaster Swords had already forced him to move forward with their pace.
They drew closer to the source of the voice.
“But what do you want me to do? You want me to contribute again? You want me to save others again? You want to fill me with regret one more time?”
There was scepticism and longing in that voice, as if he was searching for an opinion, but also begging for forgiveness. The emotions contained in his voice was practically leaking from his words. It caused Thales to feel slightly uneasy.
‘What is that person at the end of the tunnel doing?’
Very soon, as the fire on the torch shuddered slightly, they walked out of the tunnel that caused him to feel uneasy.
The fire illuminated this moderately sized stone hall.
What was before their eyes was still a bleak ruin. What was different was that there was only one prison cell in the stone hall. It was enveloped by a thick iron curtain, and it was located at the other side of the stone hall.
And the dull and dry male voice that had lingered in the air for a long time traveled out from behind the iron curtain.
“No, I know that you’re testing me but please believe me that I’ve never wavered in my decisions because I had to sacrifice something. I know full well that this is what I must offer. Be it the merits or the sins, the philanthropic acts or the disastrous acts that it will bring, I will accept it calmly. I will never run”
His voice would occasionally rise or fall. His intonation was not set, but the rhythm was regular.
Ricky and Thales looked into each other’s eyes. One of them frowned, and the other nodded.
They slowly approached the prison cell.
“Yes, I foresaw my mission and my salvation, but when will it come?”
That voice continued speaking.
Thales stared at the iron curtain, and a feeling as if something bad was about to happen rose in his heart.
‘Then, the person locked up in the cell is’
Before he could finish thinking, Ricky had already walked to the wall and stuffed the long, cylindrical-shaped, dark green key into the center of the symbol of the Alchemy Tower.
Very soon, under the mechanical rumbles, the iron curtain was slowly lowered.
The cover was lifted, and the cell saw light, revealing the final target of the Disaster Swords’ trip this time around.
The prisoner at the lowest level in the Prison of Bones.