Translator:EndlessFantasy TranslationEditor:EndlessFantasy Translation
In the still silence, Thales silently watched the dazed and helpless guard on the ground who no longer had anywhere to belong to.
He watchedthese men who were in despair and were about to fall apart.
A myriad of thoughts surged in his mind.
Barney Jr. knelt on the floor limply. He was stiff and in a daze.
He looked at Nalgi dully, but his gaze made him seem as if he was staring at a stranger.
“Why did he do this to me?”
Besides Nalgi, almost everyone looked away. Only Beldin and Naer were equally horrified.
“Do you really not know?”
Nalgi asked rhetorically. His cold voice was sarcastic.
“So you lived like a child in Renaissance Palace, not knowing anything, and not caring about anything? Did you really just want to be a loyal and stupid chess piece?”
No one uttered a word.
Quick Rope whispered into Thales’ ear, “The situation isn’t good. I think they forgot we’re trying to run away and flee for our lives.”
With a profound look on his face, Thales shook his head. He seemed to be deep in thought.
“It’s not that they forgot to flee, it’s just that they no longer care.”
Quick Rope was stunned. “Then, what about us?”
But Thales still shook his head with a serious expression and ignored Quick Rope.
Quick Rope anxiously looked back and forth before he scratched his head.
But Barney Jr. was still as expressionless as a puppet. He sounded as if he was talking to air.
“Why did he do this?”
Nalgi looked at Barney Jr. with hate and snorted.
Samel looked solemnly at Barney Jr. and clenched his fist lightly.
“You’re really a freak, Barney.” Nalgi looked at Barney Jr., who had his mind broken. His face was one of relaxation, the type that only appeared after someone had taken revenge, but his voice was still filled with grief.
“Quill Barney, you were born into nobility, but you were act like a noble existence who cast aside your family and lineage.
“But in truth, if it wasn’t for him, if you weren’t born into the Barney Family, one of families who belong to the Seven Jadestars Attendants, you won’t even have a chance to become one of the Royal Guards.
Nalgi said coldly, “Just like all of us.”
‘A noble existence who cast aside your family and lineage’
Barney Jr.’s lips quivered.
After this words was out, be it Beldin, Naer, Tardin, Bruley, and even the trembling Canon all lowered their heads.
Only Samel continued staring at Nalgi.
But Thales sensed something. He subconsciously took a step forward.
The teenager’s sudden speech attracted everyone’s attention.
“If you don’t want to tell him, let me know.
“Tell the last of Jadestar’s bloodline.”
Thales’ words resounded in the prison, and even Quick Rope was shocked.
This sentence made Nalgi stunned. He stared at the teenager before him, as if he was getting to know him again.
He seemed as if he was trying to recognize something from Thales’ face.
“Hey, these lunatics are real trouble.” Quick Rope held Thales’ shoulder and whispered anxiously into his ear, “We should focus on finding a way out What else do you want to do?”
But Thales just took a breath and firmly pushed away Quick Rope’s hand.
“As you said, looking for our way out.”
Quick Rope was stunned.
Thales looked at Nalgi again, and he scanned the key in his hand.
“Tell me, why did Barney’s father, you lot, and even Zakriel do that?”
Thales furrowed his eyebrows.
“Or should I say, what else did the King of Eternal Rule, Aydi the Second do besides gaining the three calamities allies as Zakriel said?”
Nalgi’s gaze gradually became unfocused.
Barney Jr. looked up with a dull gaze, but he just kept repeating his sentence.
Nalgi looked at everyone in a daze, but he found that many people averted their gazes when he looked at them. Only Samel remained watching him closely.
Finally, he seemed to have thought through something, and he chuckled in a relieved manner.
“You are right, Your Highness. The tragedy of that year was far from just being caused by the struggle between His Majesty and the shrewd vassals, not a game of loyalty and betrayal, and also not a war between Constellation and the world.
“There’s naturally a reason for the natural disasters, the rebels, and the chaos of the kingdom.”
Thales frowned tighter.
“The Knight of Judgement thought that the late king was enchanted by the legendary monsters. He felt that some people were plotting against the kingdom and brought disasters to it, but that was his wishful thinking.”
Nalgi returned to the state of looking as if he was unaware that there was someone beside him. He looked as if he was seeing the past.
“Because Zakriel is just an ancient surname belonging to a family that has been in decline for a thousand years. They don’t even have a castle and a fiefdom. So, he is too naive, he can’t feel it.
“He can’t feel our despair.”
When he said this, Nalgi shuddered.
On the other side, Tardin let out a slight sigh.
A thought struck in Thales’ mind,
Nalgi took a deep breath. He recalled the most unbearable years in his life, and he laughed with a gloomy smile.
“During that year, there were countless rumours circulating Renaissance Palace. Not everyone knows the taboo relationship between the late king and the calamities, but there is one thing that everyone knows very clearly.”
Many people’s breathing became disorderly.
Barney Jr.’s eyes slowly focused.
“What is that?” Thales listened carefully with a solemn expression.
Nalgi turned his head around and said in a daze, “During the years before the Bloody Year, His Majesty wanted to make a difference, so he made a lot of orders.”
‘Make a difference.
‘A lot of orders.’
Thales’ heart tensed up.
For some reason, he suddenly remembered the Old Crow’s lessons.
“So we the Beldins, Tardins, Barneys, who are part of the new nobles known as the Seven Jadestar Attendants, who prospered for one hundred years during the age of the Virtuous King, and who are direct subordinates of the royal family; the ‘appointed’ Thirteen Distinguished Families such as the Talons, Karabeyans, and so on; the Arunde and Tabarks who are part of the Six Great Clans who founded the country… We all saw it, and we all experienced it.”
Barney Jr. recovered from the shock and stared at Nalgi in a daze.
Nalgi swept his gaze over every guard and said faintly, “Every move His Majesty made caused our days to be harder, our future more hopeless, and our future as nobles even bleaker.”
Thales was surprised.
Tardin’s expression changed. He was hesitated to say his thoughts.
But before he could say anything, Thales, who had long since formed a guess of what happened, hurriedly urged Nalgi to continue speaking.
Nalgi raised his unfocused gaze, smiled, and shook his head. His tone was sour and sorrowful, “I don’t know
“First came the Land Measurement Act, because of it, the fiefdom of my family was drastically reduced
“Farmers on cultivated land moved to cities because of the Citizen Registration Order…”
He talked tirelessly. His eyes became even more unfocused.
His words were full of complex and chaotic emotions.
“The suzerains’ officers lost their prestige after the Political Corruption Purging Order
“We faced bankruptcy because of the Tax Order
“We had to send away our servant and dissolve our armies in our fiefdoms and castles to cut down expenses. Our mothers and sisters had to sell their jewellery to help their families financially”
The expressions of the guards turned even more unpleasant.
Nalgi laughed coldly.
“Ironically, bumpkins and upstarts can get comparable status to us through money, but it is against the law for us to raise taxes in our own fiefdoms to help ourselves get through our crises
“Then there is that damn Naming Order, it clearly distinguished our titles and our duties…
“And the last of them was the Relocation Order, which came after the implementation of the General Edict”
Nalgi shook his head mockingly.
“Perhaps the Six Great Clans and Thirteen Distinguished Families managed to withstand the setbacks and losses because their families are large and their properties are huge; they can also withstand the sanctions of the king because of it. However, for those of us who only have moderate statuses”
He stared at the air with a blank look.
“It felt as if our entire world changed overnight. The happiness and stability we were once accustomed to turned into disasters and turmoil.
“Can you imagine that?
“At that time, being born into nobility was no longer a good thing.”
‘The happiness and stability we were once accustomed to turned into disasters and turmoil’
Thales was stunned.
Nalgi spoke slowly, but no one interrupted him.
He sounded tired, just like how those who have given into despair would sound like, and for every word he said, Thales’ face became more solemn than before.
‘Assassination, foreign enemies, war, conspiracy’
He once thought that this was everything that the Bloody Year would reveal in the end, but now, based on the information he obtained
Thales remembered Old Crow Hicks and the lesson he gave the prince.
Win and lose.
Foes and friends.
“‘Do not underestimate the concept of war itself, it is not as simple as you think it is. It is not a game about victory and defeat, interests and costs, survival and death.
“‘The Bloody Year. Regardless of victory and defeat, from what perspective and to what extent should we perceive and comment on this year full of tragedies and warfare?”‘
At this moment, the young man was suddenly shaken.
The Bloody Year was not just a war, a conflict, and not just the grievances between the two Empresses and calamities.
Everything was fused in the furnace known as Constellation, and none could escape.
Kings, countries, nobles, calamities, and politics were all entangled with each other. They affected each other in this furnace, were intertwined with each other, and they could not be separated from each other.
Thales remembered the King of Constellation Lampard was wary ofthe Virtuous King, Mindis the Third.
A strange guess filled Thales’ mind, but he quickly dispelled that thought.
“I used to feel very strange about it. When the people were not united, and chaos was about to happen, why did the celebrated and powerful six guardian dukes, along with the Thirteen Distinguished Families who had firm power and influence in the country manage to keep quiet and accept the king’s orders?
“But after listening to Zakriel, I think I understand.” Nalgi lifted the curve of his mouth and showed a bitter and hopeless smile towards Thales.
“When you see that horrifying calamity spoken in legends passed down through generations in your families standing behind His Majesty, maybe you won’t have much of achoice.”
Nalgi’s expression turned gloomy, it made Thales become even more upset.
“I do not dare, nor can I judge His Majesty. After all, he is the King of Constellation. I have to obey what he says. Besides, he possesses a power no one can stand up against”
The more he spoke, the more depressed he felt, and the more pained he sounded.
This made Thales subconsciously lower his head.
“But when I returned to my dilapidated house, I saw my wife selling her dowry, I saw my son starving, and saw my younger sisters, who were at the age to be married, looking lean and haggard. I saw my sick father in bed borrowing money from merchants even though he was the suzerain, and all the while, he clung to the last shred of his dignity as being part of a noble family, even though it was already meaningless”
Nalgi’s words were filled with pain. It left many guard prisoners to have unusual expressions on their faces.
Thales did not utter a word.
Nalgi came back to his senses and looked at Thales. His gaze was ancient.
“Ever since I could remembered, my father taught me this: the Nalgi Family was granted a fiefdom from the era of the Virtuous King, and we are loyal tothe Jadestar Family, because we know that our status is given to us by the royal family. Having our children enter the Royal Guards of Constellation is a symbol of our loyalty to the crown and that we stand together with the throne, but”
Just like a drowning man who saw the final straw that could save his life, Nalgi looked at Thales eagerly and longingly, but the light in his eyes was gloomy, as dark as the gaze of those who were about to die.
“Tell me, Your Highness. Should the king not defend the interests and dignity of his vassals? Should he not provide for his vassals and subordinates and protect their happiness? Why is it that when we show more loyalty to the king and the country, the more tragic our conditions”
Nalgi choked on his words. He slumped into himself, and he looked confused and puzzled.
“Is it that I do not love my kingdom enough, or does my kingdom not love me enough?”
At that moment, Thales was so upset that he wanted to say something, but he found that he could not say anything.
At that moment, all the guards in the prison fell silent.
Nalgi snorted. He looked relaxed, as if he had thrown away all of his burdens.
“Therefore, during the continuous days filled with despair and where we felt incredibly lost, when someone promised us hope, told us that all of this is just born out of the king’s temporary muddle-headedness and his inability to discern the problems in the country, and what we need to do is just wait in silence”
He did not continue to speak.
On the other side, Canon began to weep again. Bruley no longer made any of his grunts. Tardin looked as if his soul had left his soul. As people who had not known about this, Beldin and Naer were already in a daze.
Barney Jr. mumbled words that only he could understand with a dazed look on his face, and Samel gritted his teeth while he clenched his weapon tightly.
“Tell me, Your Highness. On one side, I have my lovely wife and sickly son, who are both filled with hope, and also my old father who insists on holding fast to past traditions and who is proud of our family’s glory and on the other side is the gentle and merciful king who gives out those cruel and ruthless decrees, along with the Praetorian’s Oath we swore our lives to”
Nalgi’s face contorted. His eyes were moist.
“Who should I be loyal to, and who should I betray?”
Thales closed his eyes gently.
“Father.” Barney Jr. pressed against his head in pain. “Father
“No, you No, all of this is unfair”
Barney Jr.’s low moans echoed in the air.
On the other side, Tardin fell to the ground on his knees. He covered his face, and his shoulders quivered.
Nalgi smiled neurotically and lifted the key in his hand a little.
“If I was loyal to His Highness and Constellation, it means I was to betray my family and my loved ones
“Tell me, Your Highness. What should I do that I would be considered to have not betrayed the country? What should I do to be considered as loyal?”
Thales exhaled laboriously.
He had no words to answer to Nalgi.
Nalgi looked at the prince’s expression and smiled.
“It is fine, because I finally understood. Look at us now”
He glanced at everyone, and his tears flowed uncontrollably.
“Whether it is Jane, Luna, my beloved wife and son
“And my king, my vows”
Nalgi stared at the empty air with a blank look on his face.
“Whether we are loyal or whether we betrayed the throne
“We would still have nothing.”
At this moment, Thales felt that the air in the prison was stale and imposing, and it was an atmosphere that had never appeared in the prison before.
There was a strong aura of death in the air.
At this time, a hollow and dull voice rose out of nowhere. It brought with it the same pain and hesitation.
The voice echoed in the dimly lit room.
Everyone trembled together.
The Knight of Judgement Zakriel leaned against the wall across them weakly. His footsteps were unsteady, and he struggled to stay on his feet. He stood in the shadows beyond the storage room, and his gaze was unfocused. He spoke falteringly, “Nalgi, enough.”
He said in pain, “Don’t say anymore.”