Translator:EndlessFantasy TranslationEditor:EndlessFantasy Translation
When he saw how uncooperative Zakriel was, Ricky gestured to Samel, making Samel somewhat anxious.
“It’s not easy for us to come down here. We didn’t just come here to talk about old times with you, but to”
“Then don’t waste time.” Zakriel touched his own stubble and raised the small stone knife in his hand. He did not care about Samel’s anxiety in the least. “Unless, you have a razor? This is a little blunt”
Zakriel turned his head and looked at Ricky’s waist. There was scorn in his gaze,
“Hey, is your sword good?”
Ricky snorted and pushed down on his uniquely shaped sword. He was filled with hostility.
At that moment…
“Here.” Thales, who had been silent for a while, suddenly said, “A razor, for you.”
As though he was performing a magic trick, the teenager took out a sheathed dagger from his shirt and pushed it in between the bars.
Zakriel was stunned for a moment before he responded. He instinctively took Thales’s dagger.
Ricky and Samel both had a change of expression when they saw JC’s dagger, which had unknowingly been returned to Thales!
Samel looked at Thales in disbelief,
“During the chaotic battle earlier, Marina pressed me to the ground so hard that she didn’t feel my hand.”
Ricky frowned and immediately smiled in understanding.
“Not bad. You were able to steal the dagger just like that? You make your ancestors proud.” Samel stared at the prince, displeased. “It’s a pity you’re not a pickpocket.”
‘Yes, I think so too.’
Thales sighed to himself.
Zakriel smiled and shook his head. He looked at the dagger in his hand with interest. His hands moved across the dagger sheath, but he did not draw the dagger out, let alone shave.
He darted a glance at them under the light. Then, he mumbled some words, which seemed to come out of nowhere.
“A king doesn’t gain respect by virtue of his bloodline, right?”
Both Ricky and Samel were perplexed, but Thales smiled.
The prince took a step forward before the puzzled gazes of the two other people.
“Who was that?
“Zakriel, who was the person who spoke to you just now?” Thales asked with a smile.
Ricky and Samel both frowned. They seemed to be very dissatisfied with the prince’s interruption.
However, Zakriel was not of the same opinion.
“Ah, after all these years, someone finally asked.”
Zakriel’s eyes were fixed on the dagger in his hand for a few seconds. Then, his lips curled up slightly. “This means that you aren’t a hallucination, or are you?”
“Of course I’m not,” the prince said plainly.
“But the man who talked to you is?”
Samel appeared irritated as he listened to the conversation, which he could not understand.
However, Ricky shook his head at him and prevented him from interrupting.
His gaze was a little unfocused. He seemed to be seconds away from returning to his neurotic state.
“When I got here, I was still fine,” Zakriel said in a daze. “I treated it as solitary training, just that the time for that training was slightly longer, the light was dimmer, the room emptier, and there was no Bruley chattering away every day with his big mouth. It was good.”
He murmured, and the chill meaning in his words made Samel lower his head.
Zakriel suddenly laughed, and out of nowhere he said, “Later, at some point of time, he came. That person, I mean.”
Samel tensed up a little.
“What? Who came?”
Zakriel was once again immersed in his own world. “One day, I saw him talking. He was over that side in the cell.”
He pointed at a corner beyond the bars. His face slowly stiffened.
“He sat there, smiled
“Him, that is,” Zakriel said with a dazed look on his face.
Ricky and Samel glanced at the place he pointed. There was only dust gathering in that corner. It was clear that no one had touched it for a long time. Nonetheless, Zakriel’s gaze had become still, and he had a dead expression. It was as if he saw that “person” right then.
Zakriel became as still as a statue.
When he saw Zakriel acting that way, Samel understood what was happening. He sighed in an infuriated manner.
“Look clearly, Zakriel. There’s nothing there and there’s nothing where you are either. There is no one, no light!”
There was a slightly accusatory tone in Samel’s words, “Zakriel, listen to me. I know that you don’t want to remember all the torture you suffered in the past, but no matter how terrible it was what you see is not true! I’ve seen Barney Junior and the others. They’ve been reduced to that state because of this f*cking prison! And you’ve been trapped here for eighteen years with only darkness and loneliness as your companion”
When he heard Samel’s words, Zakriel came back to his senses. He snapped out of that still state he had sank into and was no longer like a statue. He chuckled coldly.
“I’ve been trapped here for eighteen years, and what about you?”
Zakriel focused his stare on Samel. His eyes shone with a cold glare. “It’s been eighteen years since you’ve been trapped in your heart, isn’t it?
The Knight of Judgment shook his head disdainfully.
“In this regard, we are no different, Vice Flag Bearer Samel.”
Samel was stunned.
When they reached a stalemate again, Thales sighed.
“So, Mister Zakriel.
“You said that you saw ‘him’ here… talking?”
The prince looked at Zakriel with a complicated stare. “Who is this ‘he’ that you speak of?”
Zakriel lowered his head.
“And who are you, teenager?”
The former-Royal-Guard-now-turned-prisoner narrowed his eyes. “I suppose you aren’t like these people. You did’nt volunteer to visit the Prison of Bones, did you?”
Samel frowned. He was about to move forward and pull Thales back, but Ricky stopped him.
Thales shook his head and did not answer.
“You see him talking, but you can’t hear him.” The prince sighed.
“I believe that you first saw ‘him’ before you heard ‘him’ talking, right?”
Zakriel stared at him and pondered for a long time.
But his answer was still not definitive.
“It doesn’t matter, does it?” The Royal Guard’s formerly bright eyes were now unfocused. He sank into his memories.
“Sometimes, I see him, and then I hear him.
“Sometimes, I hear him, and he appears in front of me.
“It’s the same.
“There’s no difference.”
After he said that, Zakriel’s expression froze again.
The four people in the hall were silent for a moment because of the extraordinarily strange conversation.
‘This makes no sense.
‘He’s already been driven mad.’
Samel shook his head and darted a glance at Ricky, sharing his thoughts with him.
However, the leader of the Disaster Swords did not pay attention to him. On the contrary, he listened to the conversation with great interest.
“It’s the same, isn’t it?” Thales forced a smile on his face.
“So, ‘he’ was… talking to you?”
Zakriel’s expression became a bit sad.
“Yes, he talked as usual. He smiled and talked, and even gave me orders.” Zakriel’s mind seemed to be wandering. He stared at the corner he had just pointed to.
“But I know… I know… Sometimes he’s real. During those times, I’d be very happy.”
The next moment, Zakriel’s cheek muscles tensed up. He clenched his teeth, as though he had seen something evil.
“I also know that sometimes, other things disguise themselves as him, just so that they can bring out the weakness and darkness in my heart. They want to use it to destroy me.”
Thales moved his eyebrows.
When Samel saw that, he sighed and whispered in Ricky’s ear, “It’s meaningless ramblings again.”
Though, Ricky obviously disagreed with him. “It’s fine. As long as we can make him talk to us, let him continue.”
Zakriel ignored the whispers from the other two. He only focused on talking to Thales.
“Yes, those who want to harm you.”
The middle-aged man with the long face stared at the empty space. His words were full of emotion. “You know, he’s very good, but those things are very cunning. I can hardly tell the difference between them at the very beginning.”
As Zakriel spoke, he seemingly descended into an absentminded state.
He seemed to be talking to himself.
“They would tell me about the past. When I trained as a child, when I was chosen once I became an adult, when I performed my duty in Renaissance Palace, when I served as an envoy in Northland, when I went on an expedition in the desert, when I traveled south to Blade Edge Hill, and of course, they told me about the people around me: my father, mother, my older brother, my younger sister, His Majesty, His Highness, the old captain, Barney Sr., the old smoker, Groff, and of course, her, then”
Zakriel trembled slightly once he said the last word.
Thales looked at him, showing that all his attention was on him to encourage him to go on.
“Those things are very detestable. They like to whisper into my ears when I sleep.” Zakriel had apparently returned to the state they first saw him in. He gnashed his teeth and looked ferocious.
“They showed me things.
“They tried to destroy me.”
He stared at the dagger in his hand. His gaze was cold.
“What is it?” Thales asked gently, as though he was guiding a child to learn something.
“What did they show you, Zakriel?”
Zakriel looked up and clenched his teeth like a wild beast.
His bloodshot eyes were fixed on a spot ahead of him, like his arch enemies were there.
“Sometimes it was visible rotten faces with maggots and flies”
Zakriel’s words contained a tone that chilled others to the bone. It made Zakriel himself shiver. “They had obviously rotted away so much that they were beyond recognition, but they could still move. But I know… Those are the people from the guards. It’s their faces. They appear in the dark. They appear suddenly, right before your eyes”
Samel looked at him with pity. He shook his head and said in a low voice, “He’s really gone mad.”
Ricky ignored him.
“Sometimes there were countless heads pierced through by spears. They filled every corner of the prison. I had no place to stay, not even a place to sleep. I could only stand against the wall.”
Thales listened silently. There was sympathy in his eyes.
“All those heads belonged to people who’ve died a long time ago, but they still could speak. They liked to suddenly open their eyes and speak when I squeezed through them to get my food. Some would try to bite me.” Zakriel tightened his grip around the dagger in his hand. He held his shoulder with his left hand, as though that spot had been bitten by the monster he spoke of.
“I have to say, the head that strongly resembled Prince Bancroft was really well done. His words kept me awake for several days.”
Zakriel made a sound. It sounded like a laugh, but not a laugh at the same time.
He stared at Thales in a rather frightening way.
“There was even one day when I woke up and saw corpses hanging from the ceiling… Right there. Only the whites of their eyes could be seen. Their tongues were hanging out. They looked like they had their heads lowered to stare at me” Zakriel pointed above him, and his breathing quickened.
“They swayed back and forth above him. They twitched slowly, and sometimes, the feet as well as robes of the dead would sweep past my hair. This would last for around three meals, I think,” he said faintly.
Samel could no longer hold himself back, and he spoke up.
“But you don’t even have any light here!”
The vice flag bearer looked at the formerly-strongest guard in sorrow. “Wake up, Zakriel! There’s nothing in the prison! Everything you’ve seen is a figment of your own imagination! We’re here to save you!”
Zakriel sneered. He looked at Thales again.
“Sometimes they simply didn’t show me anything. They would only leave behind their whispers in the dark,” he said coldly.
Thales forced a smile. “Whispers?”
Zakriel nodded. There was a glazed look on his face.
“A baby would start crying in the endless darkness, over and over again, non-stop.
“The cycle would repeat. They cry everywhere. Sometimes, they were close to my ears and they became the only sounds I could hear clearly. Sometimes they were barely noticeable, and I could only hear them when I focused my attention on them. Sometimes they sounded wretched and miserable. Sometimes, full of malice… Sometimes, they wouldn’t cry… They’d laugh in a very bizarre manner.”
Zakriel sat down against the wall and curled his whole body. There was an absentminded look on his face.
Thales shook a little and struggled to maintain his calm.
“That must have been very difficult…”
He struggled as he spoke, “Living in a different world.”
Zakriel seemed a little numb and indifferent.
“In the beginning, yes. I could only tell myself over and over again: This is a test. As time went by, I got used to it”
He looked up and said in a daze, “You know, the good thing about this is that he or the things… At least, when they appear, I can hear his voice.
“Whether it’s true or not, that’s the voice before his death, his laughter, his words, his orders…”
Zakriel put the dagger’s hilt against his forehead.
“He provides me some comfort in this eternal purgatory.”
Thales was a little sad. He took a deep breath and opened his mouth to ask,”Who?
“Whose voice is it?”
The issue attracted the attention of the other two.
Zakriel was in a daze for a while.
“It’s him of course…” The former Watchman of the Royal Guards revealed a sad but gratified smile.
“The former crown prince…”
Samel swayed a little.
Thales was also slightly stunned.
“The person I saw was him before he died. He talks to me, smiles at me, tests me, tortures me, and comes to visit me all the time.”
Zakriel embraced himself tighter and trembled as he spoke.
“The king’s eldest son, Midier Jadestar.”
The hall descended into a long period of silence.
Only Zakriel’s sobs could be vaguely heard.
There was a gloomy look on Thales’ face. He closed his eyes gently.
‘Lived in a different world…’
He repeated those words helplessly in his heart.
However, as Thales thought about it with his eyes closed, he felt as if he had been thrown into a raging sea.
He rose up and down with the waves.
Then, he hit a fragment of a memory he had not seen for a long time. It dragged him back to a world he had not cared for in ages.
The unfamiliar feeling, which he had not experienced for some time was also stimulated.
It was still that voice.
The pleasant, gentle, untroubled voice that always made him laugh.
“‘Qiren, are you scared of ghosts?
‘This damn girl, she’s asking even though she knows.
‘She’s probably going to laugh at me again.’
“‘Yes, I remember that you’re really scared of ghosts. You don’t even have the guts to watch horror movies.”‘
He sighed slightly and grabbed his head.
“‘But you’ve never seen a ghost, right? Because in many people’s world, it doesn’t exist. So, naturally, they can’t see it.”‘
The female voice on the other end of the line stopped talking for a moment. She sounded a little depressed.
“‘But, why don’t you try imagining this? There’s a group of people who see ghosts because ghosts exist in their worldview.'”
“‘When they go to bed at night, they can see a hideous face on their pillow, or on the ceiling. Perhaps, when they open their eyes in the morning, they see a bloody head floating at the window or a dead white man squatting in the corner. When they walk, they might see little girls in red with no face. When they eat, they see bloody eyeballs. At all times, they feel”‘
The female was a little downcast. There was a light quiver in her voice, and she spoke falteringly, as though she was suppressing a certain emotion with all her strength.
“‘Hey, hey, don’t scare me now, my dear madam. You know… that I’m afraid of these things
The voice trembled.
For some reason, he felt uneasy.
“‘So for such people, ghosts are real. At least in their own world, they are real Really, they can see them Yet, they can’t tell if they’re true or not. In their point of view, they really see the ghosts”‘
It seemed like the owner or the female voice was unable to control her emotions any longer. Countless negative emotions surged out of her like a flood charging out of a floodgate. They filled her words, which came out of her mouth in an incredibly fragile manner like they were cracking it inch by inch.
“‘They don’t want to and they’re also very afraid Th-they aren’t watching horror movies, but but they live in horror movies. They struggle, but can’t come out There’s truly nothing they can do. In their lives, they truly see real, ferocious, living… hic ghosts”‘
He could not understand. He was confused and uneasy.
He was also a little anxious.
‘What happened to her?’
“‘Hey, is the signal bad? No, hey, you Why are you crying? Did you see something? Hey, don’t cry. It’s okay. No matter what strange things happen, I’m here. Don’t be afraid. There’s no reason to be afraid
“‘Qiren, I beg you, don’t be afraid. Don’t be afraid of me. I’m not I-I haven’t Please, I’m just I’m just Hic, I’m just liv-living in a world different from you.”‘
The gentle voice was filled with panic and fear. Even her cries quivered.
It made him extremely alarmed.
What did she mean by living in a different world from him?
He did not know.
He could only do his best to comfort her.
“‘Come on, take a deep breath with me. Don’t be afraid. There’s nothing to be afraid of, right? If anything happens, find a Taoist priest, a witch, or a psychic, okay? Come on, tell me what happened? Why did you suddenly s-say”‘
Faint sobs could be heard from the other end of the line, but the woman’s voice was a little calmer than before.
“‘Qiren, today, the psychiatrist the psychiatrist told me the results of the diagnosis.”‘
The female voice sounded much more downcast now.
There was even a hint of despair.
He wanted to say something, but his words were stuck in his heart, and he could only say three words.
“‘How was it?”‘
The woman chuckled a little.
“‘Have you heard of schizophrenia?”‘
A sudden fear seized his mind.
“‘Schizein and phren The Greek root for the first means disjointed and split, while the second one is mental and thought.
“‘The psychiatrist said that it’s a disconnection and separation between your perceptions and thoughts, so some people translate it as ‘psychosis’.”‘
The owner of the voice was sobbing softly. She seemed to be forcing herself to go through that hardship. She sounded as if she wanted to laugh, but could not.
He felt like a shadow had been cast over his heart as a result. He absolutely sad and horrified.
He could only remain silent.
“‘But we have an even more common name for it.”
“‘What is it called?”‘
The woman snorted. She spoke in a feeble and fragile manner.
That moment, Thales suddenly opened his eyes and broke free from the boundless sea of memories. Drenched in cold sweat, he returned to the pitch-black and silent underground prison that was the Black Prison.
He gasped and looked at Zakriel, who was kneeling in the cell in front of him like a man made of wood.
He could only feel the emptiness in his chest…
…as if he had lost something.