Translator:EndlessFantasy TranslationEditor:EndlessFantasy Translation
Not far from the entrance to the Prison of Bones, on the Blade Fangs Camp surface.
In the dark night, there was a slightly plump man. He stood in a narrow alley as he silently observed the large, inverted bowl-shaped fortress ahead. It was the most well-known prison in the Western Desert, and even in all of Constellation.
He rolled up his sleeves and fixed his gaze on the darkness there. He smacked his lips, making some noises in the process. A solemn step came from behind him.
“The Prison of Bones. No matter how many times I look at it, it looks like the Ghost Prince Tower”
The plump man did not even pay attention to the person behind him, because he knew who the newcomer was. He only sighed. “These two things are equally detestable.”
That solemn step stopped behind him. The plump man yawned amid the darkness and cold winds, but he still did not turn. “You came out that soon?”
The man behind him seemed to have nodded. A mildly indifferent and rough voice traveled to his ears, it sounded cold and distant. “Around ten minutes ago, their security on the surface became lax.”
As he listened to this person speak in such an unapproachable manner, the somewhat plump man shrugged. He knew that the person behind him had always behaved this way, so he was not bothered by it. Then, the plump man turned around to look at the man behind him.
That one glance scared him out of his wits. He jumped three feet above the ground! He wished to stay as far away from that person as much as possible.
“My goodness! Norb!”
The plump man tried hard to lower his voice. He placed his hands in front of his body and looked at his companion beside him as he went pale with fright.
The plump man stared at his companion who donned a very sexy and alluring dress that revealed many parts of his body, at his drawn eyebrows and very striking and colorful makeup, and at his graceful figure and alluring movements.
A corner of his robe slipped down his shoulder, exposing a part of the shoulder and his plump chest to the desert wind, so he tugged the chiffon-like cloth back to cover them under it.
The plump man could not stop himself from shivering. He pointed at Norb with a trembling finger. “I know we need to put on disguises to blend into the crowd because of work, but, but”
He stared at his companion with great terror. “…But must you to dress so nicely, make seductive gestures, and pretend that you’re a prostitute soliciting customers?”
Norb turned his head, allowing the thin dress he wore to move with the cold wind. It hardly covered his body, and this made the plump man beside him shudder.
“You have a problem with that?” he asked casually.
The plump man resisted the urge to look at him and forced out a smile. “Of course not, but there is one thing” The plump man drew in a breath, and told the truth with a pained look, “…You’re a f*cking well-built man!”
The man named Norb stared at his well-built body covered by the chiffon as he listened to the plump man cry out in a suppressed scream. He said nonchalantly,
“Any problem with that?”
The plump man nearly fainted. He went back to hide in the small alley, pressed his hand against his forehead, and sorrowfully said, “My goodness, Norb, do you know that you’re practically polluting the environment by crossdressing? Look at you, you have lipstick even though you have a stubble, your mouth is big, you have a wide back and a thick waist”
The plump man grew more distressed the more he spoke. Even Norb could not resist turning his head around to look at him.
“Oh no, please don’t turn around, please don’t look at me! I need to go back and wash my eyes today, the visual damage you present to my eyes is too great after your crossdressing”
The plump man gazed at Norb’s soft and sexy gown. He saw the barely visible thick thighs and thick hair, and he could not help but feel his face twitch. And with the large pecs… and that very serious look… The plump man felt his stomach churn.
‘Bright Moon Goddess, there’s no need to wait any longer, just send a meteor down and kill us!’
Norb cast a glance at his shocking disguise, and chuckled softly. He was completely unbothered by it. The stubbled man smiled in a very coquettish manner, and it frightened the plump manwho had just calmed his breathingso much that his heart began to race again.
“This is the essence of my disguise, Gamus. It’s just like how your reaction is the essence of your attitude towards my disguise.” Norb said to Gamus with mild confidence, “After disguising myself as a woman, I intentionally brought out my ugly features, making other people uncomfortable. My disguise breaks the norm and provides such astonishment and shock value that it would instead make everyone turn their heads away from me subconsciously. You will not have too much interest to be concerned with a lame transvestite male prostitute and wonder whether there are any secrets about him, such as whether he is someone with ulterior motives hiding in Blade Fangs Camp.”
As Norb talked, he habitually stretched out his arms and combed the non-existent hair on his forehead.
Gamus beat his chest in a terrified manner. He still insisted on talking to Norb while looking at him through the corner of his eye.
“Are you sure… that this is not the result of reading too much poetry?”
Norb cast Gamus a glance. His eyes sparkled, and he seemed a little angry. This made Gamus once more feel the urge to immediately retire from all of this.
Gamus could only exhale in pain. As though he had accepted his fate, he pointed at the Prison of Bones in the distance and said to his extremely calm companion,“Ah, whatever So, what shall we have for dinner today?”
“What shall we eat?” Norb no longer subconsciously waved his dress. He shook his head calmly. “The list of names from the Intelligence Department is clearly with you.”
The plump Gamus’ face reddened. He coughed and brought out a piece of paper from his belt before he slowly spread it out. “Alright, let me see”
Gamus looked at the paper in his hand. He instantly felt refreshed; his energy levels went up, and the trauma created by Norb after he nearly scared him to death disappeared.
“Hmm So, first, appetizers and soup.” He looked at the Prison of Bones in the distance, practically bouncing on his feet. His voice fluctuated. “The personal assistant of a certain Northland Kinslayer King.”
Gamus stopped talking. He suppressed his disgust and looked at the crossdressing Norb. “When you were in there, did you see him?”
Norb still had a calm look on his face. He nodded slightly. “Lasalle Weider, the former baron of the land the borders Dragon Clouds City. Target confirmed.” Norb was as quiet as before, but there was a sense of a rarely-seen seriousness in him. “Six years ago, I spied on him by following him until he entered Eternal Star City.”
Gamus nodded in satisfaction. He stretched out his short index finger and tapped Lasalle’s name roughly. He did it with such force that he looked like a suzerain putting his palm print on an official document.
In the cold wind, Gamus said in a ghastly manner, “Yes, this baron may be inconspicuous, but his relationship with the king is the greatest, he has the most unique position among the group, and he is the key to connecting all these events. His Grace has given his command: We must learn of his relationship with the Secret Room. Maybe this will help us figure out the mole from the Secret Room. Yes, not bad. When you prepare appetizers, you must make sure that the quantity is little, but the quality is good. It must also have an exquisite taste.”
Norb nodded his head emotionlessly. Gamus blew at the paper in his hand. His gaze shifted to the next person.
“And then we have the highly anticipated main course.” Gamus’ eyes brightened once again. “Whoa, guess what we have here? A pot of Shadow Shield assassins. I can tell that the person who prepared this dish for us did so sincerely!”
He was excited. Like before, Norb spoke slowly while he met Gamus’ gaze. “Coase, family name unknown. A vagabond of Northland, codename ‘Stake’. Target confirmed.”
Norb said plainly, “He is the most valuable target in there. He fits the descriptions of our target during our Shadow Catching Operation six years ago. His Grace pays a lot of attention to him. He especially wants to find the mole Stake placed among the higher-ups in the Western Desert.”
Gamus cackled and clicked his tongue, as if he was enjoying a piece of first-rate steak. “This may be Shadow Shield’s largest gathering since eighteen years ago Phew, the meat is fresh, and the quality is top class. As long as we cook it properly, it’ll definitely be the best dish in the world.”
Norb declined to comment. He just gracefully lifted up his dust-stained skirt.
“Next, side dish.” Gamus continued reading his menu excitedly. “The middleman who handles all mercenary businesses, the rather famous owner of ‘My Home’.”
Norb frowned slightly. “Tampa, the one who succeeded Half-Mouth Ronnie about a decade ago. Target confirmed.” The crossdressing man seemed to be in deep thought. “He will have a lot of information and money at hand.”
Gamus rolled his eyes. “This fellow has always been crafty. He never leaves behind anything anyone can use against him. But after this, we can manipulate him however we want, heh heh heh… Alright, this side dish will make us more or less stuffed”
Gamus shook his head in a seemingly resigned fashion. Then, he looked at the last row. “Next comes the final dishdessert.” This time, Gamus became serious. “Blood Whistle, the famous mercenary troop.”
Norb’s face darkened as well. “Disaster Swords. Target confirmed. Their leader does not seem to appear quite often, I can’t recognize him. However, one of them has been with me in the same prison for half a day, and then he went down. His companions called him Josef. He looks like he regularly visits prisons. I couldn’t get any information from him. Another one is Klein, the one who permanently resides in Northland.
“There is also another. I suspect that hehas been a fugitive of our kingdom for many yearsthe former Vice Flag Bearer of the Royal Guards, Colin Samel.”
When he heard this, Gamus’ lips twitched.
“Surprises always come last, don’t they? I suspect that these enemies of the Tower of Eradication fled to this place after their attack on the Tower of Eradication. Their group is so big that they can already be considered an army. His Grace is very interested in what they received after they barged into the Tower of Eradication. He is also curious about why they want to enter into the Prison of Bones. Tsk, tsk, their sweet taste lingers on the tongue. As desserts, they serve as the perfect end for our full-course meal.”
He narrowed his eyes slightly and licked his lips. He looked like he had truly tasted the dessert. Norb looked at him, still not saying a single word.
Gamus rubbed his chubby hands together. He then put away the paper with excitement on his face. He looked like a man who returned home after a day’s work.
“Well then, this is the menu for today. All dishes have been served. That sissy should be in position by now. When are we taking action to bring in the net and eat?”
He looked at the crossdressing Norb with hope shining in his eyes while he tried his best not to look at the wind-billowed skirt as well as the ‘sights’ that were barely visible under his skirt.
However, Norb only shook his head firmly. “No, we can’t take action.”
Gamus’ smile froze. “Can you repeat that?” The plump man seemed like he could not believe his ears.
Norb said in no uncertain terms, “The prince is still in there. We cannot take action.”
“So what? It’s just the prince” The plump man was initially unhappy, until he understood what the other meant.
The plump Gamus’ face changed.
“The prince? Wait, are you talking about the heir of our kingdom who came back from Northland?”
Norb remained quiet, but nodded his head slightly.
Gamus’ mouth opened and closed. His mouth twitched soundlessly. “That troublemaking prince of ours who ruined so many of our plans, and for our operation this time, is disguised as our target but is actually the bait we threw to our real targets? THAT prince?”
Gamus looked as if he saw something unclean. He raised his stubby hands in terror to cover his mouth.
“I you this can’t that’s the Prison of Bones! H-he-how did he get involved in that?! He got caught while buying a prostitute? Or was he the same as you; was he sent inside because he offered up his *ss?” The plump man looked at Norb in shock, and had even forgotten about Norb’s outfit.
“I wish I knew, too.” Norb shook his head. “But Nameless told me so.”
The plump man looked like he wanted to argue about something. His words were already on the tip of his tongue, but just as he was about to speak, he stopped himself. In the end, he could only slap his hand over his face.
“I really F*ck You know what this looks like? It’s just like that prodigious prince who suddenly brings out a huge platter of prawns dipped in a sauce with a pungent and unpleasant smell when the appetizer, main dish, side dish, and dessert are all served, and the guests are nodding in satisfaction as they wipe their mouths and sip their wine. And then he would say, ‘Surprise! Hey, there’s still another dish left, haha! Pinch your noses and finish this, you idiots!'”
The plump Gamus gesticulated wildly. He described what he saw in his mind vividly while cursing up a storm, his words dripping with hate.
“As expected of a ‘genius’! H-h-h-he he has practically ruined our entire table full of delicacies! And you know what’s even more of a coincidence? We’re the idiots!”
Gamus looked as if he was on the verge of breaking down, but Norb remained impassive. He only shook his head and said in a deep voice, “The situation in there is unclear. Taking action recklessly will just expose us to meaningless risk. Nameless is our only pair of eyes that can move around freely in there. We have to wait.”
Gamus finally calmed down. He spoke through gritted teeth, “What’s going on down there?”
“I didn’t ask much. And you know that Nameless is a man of few words.” Norb lowered his head in a guarded fashion.
Gamus said sarcastically, “Great, missions related to Nameless are always exciting, and now, we can’t do anything until that troublemaking prince is obediently rescued by Nameless?”
Norb tugged the hem of his skirt and nodded quietly.
Gamus spat on the ground violently. “Unbelievable. We need to depend on that Nameless to see whether we can even eat, and he’s so stupidly arrogant that he acts like a lunatic.”
Norb frowned. “Be careful with your words.” The crossdressing man whispered, “Nameless is not part of the department, but he has taken part in our operations more than once. Oftentimes, he even has control over the vital parts of many situations, making it so that we’re the ones who have to work with him. Do you know what this means?”
Norb pointed coldly above him.
Gamus’ face froze. He ground his teeth and said, “The thrice-cursed nepotism?”
Norb did not speak.
The plump man’s face was filled with agony. He let out a patriotic sigh filled with his laments towards the dark side of the political field and the muddle-headed royal family.
“Fine, then I’ll wait here for a while. That cold-blooded sissy will definitely be unhappy.”
Norb shook his head. “That’s no longer our problem.”
As the wind howled, the two men waited once again in the small alley next to the Prison of Bones.
Perhaps it was because he was bored of the silence, or perhaps it was because he could no longer bear the cold wind, Gamus dug his ear and said, “Speaking of which, Norb, let’s not talk about Nameless for the time being. He has always been so mysterious, and he never tries to steal any of our achievements, anyway. But, you know”
The plump man carefully darted a glance at Norb. “…can you really accept this?”
Norb frowned slightly. “You know, if we talk about ability and contribution in the Western Desert during the Bloody Year, and the battles on the desert, you are the most suitable person to succeed His Grace”
The plump man hunched his shoulders. He then spoke as though he had lost something.“But ten years ago, when that Barren Bone boy came, His Grace began training him as his successor”
Norb suddenly turned his head. This time, he no longer put on any seductive looks or deliberately made himself look fragile and gentle; his gaze turned fierce. It was a stern and cold warning.
This made the plump man subconsciously feel cold.
“Gamus.” Norb enunciated each of his words clearly. “You know what kind of a person dies the fastest in the Secret Intelligence Department?”
Gamus felt a chill run down his spine. He knew that he had said the wrong things, so he replied falteringly, “Erm, people who talk too much?”
Norb laughed coldly. “No.” The crossdressing companion gritted his teeth. He looked like a wild beast who was about to fight. “It’s the people who think too much”
The plump man’s expression froze. He stopped speaking while he sulked. The atmosphere grew very tense.
It lasted until Norb added his last phrase with a chuckle. “…and fatties, too.”
Gamus’ face became stiff. He looked at his slightly plump figure, then shrugged in embarrassment. He waved his hand and said, “Forget it, forget it. You’re the superior. As long as you’re happy, then it’s fine.”
Silence returned to them once more. They stared at the dark horizon of the desert.
After a while…
“Say, Norb, you know..”
Norb turned around impatiently. The plump man’s face was somewhat red. He looked a little coy and he coughed quietly.
“…Will you be wearing women’s clothes in the future?”
No one on the last floor of Black Prison knew what happened, including Samel.
During that fraction of a second, the former Flag Bearer of the Royal Guards only saw a flash of darkness in the light. That darkness gradually showed itself in front of Ricky.
It was like the air had suddenly turned into paper, and that paper was stained with patches of ink to reveal the artist’s creation.
However, this streak of black did not show a beautiful picture, neither did it show a still object.
It showed a sword.
Samel really wanted to cry out to warn Ricky. ‘Assassin. Assassin!’
But he discovered at the moment that he recognised the shape of the sword, the weapon that came out of nowhere had already pierced into Ricky’s throat. It then went upwards diagonally through his cartilage, chin, tongue, and brain. It ruthlessly came out the back of his skull.
Even the fastest minds would not be able to catch up to the sudden change of events at this moment.
There was a sound of metal piercing into the flesh.
The leader of the Disaster Swords could only manage a groan. His whole body shook!
Ricky’s eyes widened. He could not believe what was happening. He stared at the figure who appeared with the swordan assassin who stood before him. His movements were plain and were nothing extraordinary. He was merely an assassin who attacked with one hand on his sword.
But Ricky could no longer do anything. Once the sword pierced through him, Crassus of the Disaster Swords let out a gurgling sound as blood filled his mouth. His body would not stop shaking. It was as though he was in control of his thoughts no more. He could also no longer sense anything.
The assassin gently extracted the dark sword from his body. He shook off the fresh blood on the blade.
Ricky fell to his knees. Then his upper body crashed onto the floor. He convulsed, and as blood gushed out of his neck, he lost his life.
His eyes remained open, showing that he did not die peacefully.
‘Impossible.’ This was the next thought that came to Samel’s almost blank mind. ‘Ricky, who’s that strong The tricks from Shadow Shield how could they, how could they possibly work?’
In the next moment, the assassin disappeared, as though the ink staining the paper had dried up instantly.
It was also within that split second that Samel’s instincts made him immediately draw his sword. At the same time, he was prepared to shout!
However, other than the fictitious sound between leather and metal, another sound rose into the air. It came from a weapon that sliced through the air in the darkness, causing the wind to howl in its wake.
The former flag bearer executed a perfect sword technique; he delivered a slice backwards and deflected the weapon that flew towards him.
Samel then saw the weapon clearly. It was a torch that had been long extinguished.
Thales stood at the spot where the weapon came from. He retained his posture from when he threw the torch at him, and he stared at Samel coldly.
But what exceeded Samel’s expectations the most, to the extent that his face turned pale with fright, was the way the prince threw the torch. Not only was the angle difficult to handle, it also had a strange spin to it. It caused Samel’s longsword to tremble slightly in his hand!
‘Impossible.’ During that instant, Samel stared at the aloof Thales blankly. ‘Why? Even though he’s not skilled enough, his strength is lacking, and the way he threw it is not quite conventional it’s not wrong.
‘That style. I’ve seen it before… eighteen years ago… on that day!’
Samel could not believe it. ‘Why?! Why does the Prince of Constellation know how to use the knife-throwing skill unique to the infamous Assassin’s Flower, the Charletons’… Assasination Blade??!’
Samel was only taken by surprise for a split second…
…but that was already enough.
In that instant, the fearsome blackness that took away Ricky’s life appeared once more behind the former flag bearer! A murderous aura surrounded him, causing Samel’s hair to stand on end.
Before fell down to the floor and lost consciousness while he was filled with disappointment, the flag bearer heard the prince scream rather anxiously, “We must leave someone alive!”
A loud thud echoed. Samel collapsed to the ground.
His torch and longsword fell to the ground together.
Not far from him was Ricky’s corpse. He lay in a puddle of blood and did not move. He was no longer breathing.
Thales took a deep breath. His nerves finally relaxed completely after staying tensed for a long time.
The Sin of Hell’s River in his arm, waist and calf slowly retreated. The pain and numbness from imitating Jala from when she threw her blade surged into him immediately afterwards. It made him so tired that he sat down.
“Phew.” Thales gulped down large mouthfuls of air, but he smiled.
‘Damn you, Disaster Swords. Damn you, mercenaries. You think you’re so great just because you have a lot of people?!’ the prince criticized in his heart.
After waiting for so long, his chance had finally arrived! Two of them finally left their group and traveled alone with him!
The truly strong took everything into account. He did not measure his strength by his temporary victories or losses, did not measure his strength by his power, whether weak or strong, and much less according to the glory or shame he either enjoyed or suffered at certain points of time in his life.
The one who smiled victorious in the end was the victor!
As he stared at Ricky and Samel on the ground, Thales roared madly in his heart for a few seconds. He then wiped off the sweat on his forehead because he started to laugh foolishly.
Rustling sounds rose from behind him. Even Zakriel had his expression change while he was in the cell, watching the swift massacre which had ended as soon as it began.
However, Thales could no longer spare any energy to care about him anymore. He raised his head and looked towards the dark figure who stood in front of Samel.
Thales sat on the ground panting. He massaged his numb right shoulder while he stared at the man’s back. There were mixed feelings in his heart. He could not express his feelings into words right then.
The prince opened his mouth and asked, “Are you just going to stand there?”
The figure shuddered.
Finally, the figure slowly bent down. He picked up Samel’s torch and turned around before he began walking one step at a time towards Thales.
His footsteps were light. He acted as if nothing had happened. With the help of the light, Thales quietly watched the person before him.
‘He still looks the same, huh? Still the same figure, the same clothes, the same weapons… Still as weird as ever.’
That man stood still in front of Thales. He seemed to be examining the prince. Thales allowed the man to examine him, and did not say anything.
A few seconds later, the man spoke in a hoarse and deep voice, “It’s been a long time, Your Highness. You have grown up quite a bit.”
Thales clenched his fists. His heart jumped slightly in his chest. As he listened to this vaguely familiar voice, a sense of cordiality and ease which he had not felt for a long time filled his heart, and chased away every bit of fear and anxiety there.
It was as though the outcome to this situation had finally been set in stone from that moment onwards.
Thales moved his gaze away. He took in a deep breath first before he snorted through his nose, and shrugged. “That’s it? You have nothing else to say?”
The fire in Black Prison swayed slightly. The person opposite Thales was quiet. He did not say a word.
Thales was also silent. With complicated emotions, he looked at the familiar dark purple mask on the person’s face. He also stared at the barely visible gears behind the lenses, along with the shortsword shining in a dark light in his hand. The scene where they first met each other rose in his mind.
The silence did not last for long.
In the next second, the strange man put away his sword. He took a step back, placed his right hand over his chest, placed his left hand behind his back, and got down on one knee, just like he did the first time they met in Red Street Market.
The strange man spoke in a formal tone, but his voice fluctuated.
“Yodel Cato, at your service once again.”