Translator:EndlessFantasy TranslationEditor:EndlessFantasy Translation
Thales had not experienced this feeling for a long time.
Gray. White. He walked in a monotonous gray and white world. The floor, the wall, the gravel, the dust, and even the air shone with a shimmering white light. It was as though the surrounding darkness had been swept away; there were no other colors.
The area around him was very quiet. Barely discernible shouts traveled into his ears. It was like he was underwater and was listening to the people on the shore yelling.
‘It’s just like another monotonous, gray and white world.’ The teenager was a little dazzled. ‘It’s not right.’
His vision was a little blurry and unclear. Sometimes, overlapping shadows would appear in his view. The dazzled Thales shook his head rigorously. He leaned against the longsword on the gray ground and tried to dispel the nausea. He then tried to regain his sense of direction.
He felt someone hold his right arm; a gloved palm with faint ripples spreading out from it seized Thales’ arm.
“Concentrate.” Yodel’s voice traveled to his ears. He led him forward. “The Path of Shadows reflects reality. They will occasionally overlap, but will never meet.
“As we walk here, we will feel as though we are drifting on the sea. We will sometimes float to the surface, and sometimes sink into the water. You have to distinguish between reality and illusion. You must not get lost here.”
Thales stumbled forward. He was dragged onwards by the only object in this world that had normal colorsYodel.He tried not to look at the overlapping shadows in his monotonous surroundings.
‘This is really bad.’ He took a few deep breaths, but he felt that the the air entering the lungs was slightly unreal.
Thales watched in astonishment as he himself walked out of the grayish-white hall and headed towards the grayish-white tunnel. He watched Yodel carefully steer clear of the Disaster Swords who were also grayish-white figures in this world.
No one noticed them.
The teenager turned around. “Are we just leaving like that? Aren’t you going to help him? Help Zakriel?”
Thales gasped. He felt that even the words he said produced a shallow echo. It was like he was in a dream.
“It is not my mission to subdue the enemies.” Yodel shook his head. He kept his hand firmly around Thales’ arm. Overlapping shadows could be seen on his purple mask in thethe grayish-white background, forming a contrast. “For me, you are my top priority.”
They sped up in the grayish-white world, walked out of the tunnel, and arrived at the stone steps.
A few mercenaries who were guarding the place seemed to have received some kind of signal. They rushed towards Thales and Yodel, then brushed past the two normal-colored people.
“Don’t touch them.” Yodel’s warning was simple.
One of them seemed to have noticed something, he turned his grayish-white head around warily. His gaze swept past Thales and Yodel.
Thales did not dare let out a breath, but he only followed Yodel’s footsteps and tried to avoid brushing the mercenary’s sleeves.
After a few milliseconds, the mercenary shook his head. He let his guard down and caught up with his companions when they called out to him.
Thales only let out a sigh of relief after that.
“But Zakriel” The teenager cast a worried glance at the road behind him. “He had been detained for more than ten years. Let’s not talk about his mental state yet, his physical strength, power, and reflexes would all have dropped…”
Yodel still shook his head. He only uttered a few words, “That will not affect his fighting.”
‘Really?’ Thales frowned and breathed out. “He is only one person, he has to face eighteen of them, and maybe even more.”
Yodel seemed to not care about this issue. He just continued moving forward. “He will find a way.”
Thales fell silent while suppressing his slight dizziness.
Yodel suddenly said, “We can’t circumnavigate the area ahead. We need to become visible for a while.”
Thales was startled. “What?”
His questions were soon answered.
Next to the narrow stone steps ahead were several corpses. Both mercenaries and Shadow Shield members could be found among the corpses. Grayish-white blood stained the ground. It seemed that the struggle between Shadow Shield and the Disaster Swords still continued.
There were three masked, black-robed assassins. They appeared to be the only ones left. They had put away their weapons and were doing the clean-up.
However, one of them suddenly raised his head and trembled.
A shortsword pierced through his chest and came out the front. It was then extracted from his chest with a slick sound.
Immediately afterwards, a purple mask appeared behind his shoulder out of nowhere.
His companion was on high alert. He drew his weapon as soon as possible, but the masked ambusher was faster than him. The ambusher swiftly went towards him, then slashed him with the shortsword in his hand.
The last action of this unfortunate assassin was to hold on to his throat, which was gushing out blood in loud squirts. He then fell powerlessly to the ground.
The last assassin who was a little further away turned pale with fright. He instinctively began to move backwards, but another longsword glinting with silver light had already sliced through the air in a graceful arc. Its momentum was great and the force in that swing was strong. It went straight to his head!
The assassin raised two oddly-shaped swords with hand guards, and crossed them above his head. He was prepared to use that force when his feet slipped as he blocked the sword slash and rolled to the side.
Something unexpected happened. The longsword with its graceful arc changed direction mid-air. It changed from a slash into a thrust and was delivered swiftly.
The assassin was in disbelief. He just watched with his eyes wide open as the sword bypassed his perfect block and plunged straight into his throat.
Thales took out his longsword with a steady pull, and looked in disgust at the blood on his sword.
Once he dealt with the two people, Yodel had rushed over, but he only stood at the side to watch the prince quietly. The gears behind the holes where his lenses were turned slightly.
“A beautiful blow.” Yodel put away his shortsword, then said in a profound manner, “So, you awakened your Power of Eradication.”
Thales did not answer him verbally, only nodded.
He had just executed two different offensive sword techniques in the Northland Military Sword Style: The Phillip’s Cross Style, and the Ambushing Style. Both styles were connected by the Twist of Fate.
‘But’ The teenager looked at the assassin’s bleeding throat before him with mixed emotions. He watched him tremble and crawl on the ground, groaning as he waited for his life to end.
…The styles could not help him deliver an instant kill.
Thales looked at the despair in the assassin’s eyes and sighed. At the moment he attacked his enemy, he remembered the fervent ardor and enjoyment shining in the Disaster Swords’ eyes as they killed their enemies.
At the precise moment when the Sin of Hell’s River surged through him and imitated the Twist of Fate, the faint emotion that constantly flowed within Thales whenever he fought reached its peak.
“Hah I hate this.” Thales shook his head, gritted his teeth, and tried to end the assassin’s suffering. However, Yodel suddenly reached out and grabbed Thales’ wrist.
Under the prince’s puzzled gaze, the Masked Protector gently squatted down, thrust his shortsword forward, pulled it back, and took away his enemy’s life.
Thales lowered his sword, and silently watched the Masked Protector stand up. Yodel flicked the tip of his sword gently and the trail of blood that stained the Supreme Sword was gone. The sword was shiny and new again.
Yodel patted his shoulder.
“You shouldn’t like it,” the Masked Protector said faintly. Thales suppressed the discomfort in his heart and smiled at Yodel.
The prince looked up, and picked up the torch. He looked at the path which led to the surface. “I don’t know if you’ve heard it, but the Disaster Swords most probably know another way that will lead them outside…”
Yodel shook his head. He took out the rod-shaped, dark green stone from his bosom, and handed it to Thales.
“As long as the key is in your hand, we can capture all of them.” There was a hint of certainty in the Masked Protector’s hoarse voice. “Now, we only need to reach the surface safely.”
‘But what happens after this?’ Thales stared at the key of Black Prison in his hand. More questions rose in his heart. ‘What about Quick Rope? Dean? The Secret Intelligence Department?’
Thales knew that this was not the time to think about all these things, even though his thoughts were a mess. He tried to eliminate the distracting thoughts, threw away the torch, held Yodel’s hand which had reached out to him, and followed him again into the Path of Shadows.
But luck did not always stand on their side.
When they went a floor up and came to another corridor, Yodel suddenly shuddered slightly.
“Be careful. There is something strange ahead.”
The Masked Protector quickly let go of Thales’ arm even before the prince was able to register his words.
Thales was still enduring the discomfort caused by the Path of Shadows when he felt a tremor around him. Ripples appeared again in the grayish-white world in front of him, and like a tide, the world returned to its original colordim darkness.
Thales groaned in agony and used his sword to support himself while he was wracked by the dizziness caused by the worlds changing. He shivered and gagged.
While he was still puzzled, Yodel had already disappeared from his sight. But almost simultaneously, the moment Thales became visible, a familiar male voice that brought chills down his spine echoed from the darkness in front of him,
“I knew you would have a way to get out of trouble, Your Highness.”
As the torch was lit, a pale and clean man with a torch appeared before Thales with a friendly smile. “It seems I did not wait in vain and anxiety here for very long.”
When Thales looked at this person, he felt so troubled that he placed his hand against his forehead.
“What a coincidence.” The prince’s mouth twitched. He called out the person’s name in vexation, “Stake.”
Stake swung the torch in his hand and grinned from ear to ear. Thales suddenly missed the Ricky’s group of mercenaries.
‘Disaster Swords, shouldn’t you work hard in killing all these people? Why are you all so useless?’
There was no point in thinking too deeply about this, Thales tried to clear his unnecessary emotions. While on guard, he used hell’s senses and observed his surroundings.
Stake watched his wary expression and shrugged, seemingly resigned. He looked rather silly doing so.
However, Thales knew that ‘silly’ was definitely not one of the adjectives that could be used to describe this man.
“Do not bother, Your Highness.” Stake raised both his hands with a face full of sincerity. “I am a businessman. If I can solve something through negotiation, then I will prefer not to use violence.”
‘Oh, really now?’ Thales stared at him, still feeling troubled. He deciphered the information hell’s senses delivered to him.
‘Don’t like violence? Then why are there at least over a dozen sets of breathing in the darkness behind you?’
Thales put on a false smile and said, “That’s really reassuring,” He began to search for Yodel.
However, Yodel still did not show up, nor did he use the Path of Shadows to take him away just now. This meant that the enemy was very difficult to avoid, and very difficult to handle.
‘What would you do, Yodel?’
“Fortunately, our savvy Baron Lasalle is not here, so I will be frank and honest with you.” Stake seemed very happy. “Rest assured, Your Highness, we have no intention of handing you over to the Northlanders. Our cooperation with them is only because we wanted help from King Chapman’s intelligence channels. You know, our people in Constellation are not very competent.”
‘Don’t plan to hand me over to the Northlanders? Heh heh…’ This was the expression Thales wanted to use to reply Stake… but he could not.
“So, are you saying that you want to have me for yourself?” Thales maintained his expression. The corners of his mouth twitched.
Stake shook his head. “No, the reason why we came to Blade Fangs Camp was just to meet with you alone.” Stake narrowed his eyes into slits. His expression became serious. “We wanted to see whether the intelligent prince spoken in legends could truly become our savior.”
Thales was stunned. “Savior?”
In the next second, Stake’s words and actions gave the initially vigilant Thales a shock.
The prince watched Stake pull back his hood. He then went down on one knee before the prince, and looked incredibly respectful. He could be said to be even more earnest than Yodel.
“The first heir to the honorable Constellation, Prince Thales Jadestar.” Stake sounded obedient. His tone was respectful, his posture was humble, and he appeared to harbor absolutely no malicious intent. “I, ‘Stake’ Coase, represent Shadow Shield here to declare that we are willing to pledge our allegiance to you. We will be your forerunners, to repent for the great sins we have committed, and to reverse our steadily declining fate.
“Please accept our sincerity and our loyalty.”