Translator:EndlessFantasy TranslationEditor:EndlessFantasy Translation
Even though he was already prepared, Thales still stiffened when Zakriel appeared.
‘The Knight of Judgement still caught up.
‘At this moment, he is the biggest threat in the prison.’
Zakriel did not look like he was in a good condition.
The knight already looked dishevelled right from the start. At this moment, his eyes were half-opened, as if he was rather wounded rather heavily by the flashbomb just now. He once walked as steadily as a mountain, but now, he had to rely on the support of the wall and the weapon in his hand to stand properly. There was a thick bandage on his right shoulder, which was dyed in blood.
But even so, no one dared to underestimate him.
Zakriel gritted his teeth and supported himself against the wall as he walked step by step into the storage room.
He looked like a violent beast that slowly showed itself in the dark.
“No. What the ever loving f*ck” Quick Rope nervously lifted his crossbow, but before he could fire it, Thales stopped him by pressing down on his arm!
Thales gripped Quick Rope’s arm tightly and said through gritted teeth, “Not now.”
Thales and Quick Rope were not the only ones who reacted this way. The expressions of Samel, Beldin, Naer and the others were also extremely unpleasant.
“Hahahaha, ‘Don’t say anymore’?” Nalgi snapped out of his daze and said with a sad smile.
“No.” Nalgi’s expression changed, and he ran his eyes over every single person.
“Every single person here has the right to make me shut up.”
Nalgi raised his trembling finger and pointed at the Knight of Judgement.
“Other than you, Zakriel.”
Zakriel stopped in his steps.
He was already covered head to toe in wounds as he stood beside the door. With a perplexed and pained look, he stared at Nalgi, who appeared like he was ready to risk everything. Then, he swept his gaze past all his former fellow guards, who were dejected.
It was very quiet in the prison. The only sound left was everyone’s pants, which were either pained or hurried.
Zakriel shook his head slowly and averted his gaze.
“You are tired.”
The Knight of Judgement said softly, as if he was coaxing a child.
But Nalgi did not appreciate his kindness.
“Yes, I am tired.”
Nalgi stepped backwards and said with a wan smile, “I have had enough of your conceitedness and arrogance, Knight of Judgement.”
Zakriel furrowed his eyebrows.
“You do not want to sully the royal family’s name, but you cannot bear to expose us, who also happen to be a group of shameless traitors who committed despicable acts, either.” Nalgi’s breathing became quicker.
“You always want to find the most perfect way to resolve matters.”
He narrowed his eyes, and there was despair in his tone.
“But do you think that bearing all our crimes and supporting a collapsing pillar by yourself without ever sullying anyone’s glory or destroying anyone’s reputation because you managed to stay silent and bore all the burden by yourself is a great sacrifice? Do you think that by doing this, you would not be letting anyone down?”
Zakriel said nothing.
Barney Jr. still kneeled on the ground, looking as if his soul was no longer in his body and his mind was completely blank. Meanwhile, Beldin had an anxious expression, and Samel stayed silent.
Nalgi started trembling.
A few seconds later, the resentment that he had suppressed for an indefinite amount of time burst out of his throat in a rush.
“Zakriel, you damned bastard, you arrogant watchman!”
His curses echoed in the storage room and made the torch in Samel’s hand flicker.
But no one said anything. Not even Zakriel.
Quick Rope stared at Zakriel, who was right before his eyes, and Nalgi, who was having a mental breakdown, and gulped. He nudged Thales anxiously.
“What was I saying? I knew that these bunch of lunatics weren’t reliable”
But Thales only looked at the group with a complicated gaze and said nothing.
He gazed at Barney, whose mind was already broken, and the stricken Nalgi.
‘But if it weren’t for this bunch of lunatics, we would have long since become part of the Prison of Bones.’
“You think that you are protecting us, protecting those who are deceased?”
Nalgi’s eyes were bloodshot, and he growled at Zakriel, who looked melancholy, like a wild beast.
“But you do not understand!”
Nalgi’s voice slowly became softer, yet the despair in his tone became even more obvious. It also become more prominent just how much difficulty he was experiencing saying those words out loud.
“Once you sacrificed yourself for the others and bore the sins alone, it will make you mighty, glorious, selfless, and a hero.”
The pitiful prisoner from the Royal Guards fell to his knees while he broke down. His weapon and the key fell out of his hands at the same time.
“But you, you selfish bastard, you think yourself a saint, but you will only bring to us an endless amount of remorse, guilt, and torture! You will only cause us to take on the ugliest roles on the stage and face the painful reality that you are unable to face!”
Nalgi pounded against his chest hysterically.
As the deafening accusations rang, Zakriel lowered his head in silence, as if he was not in this world at all.
Nalgi seemed to have become tired of rebuking Zakriel. He crumpled down to the floor and muttered in a hoarse voice. He sounded to be in a daze.
“You and Barney Sr. are both slaughterers who kill without shedding blood”
These words made Barney Jr., who was kneeling on the ground, tremble violently.
Nalgi said as he sobbed.
“The only difference is that
“Barney Sr. made us despise him
“While you, you made us despise ourselves.”
Nalgi lowered his head and buried his face in his hands. His shoulders trembled nonstop.
A few seconds later, Zakriel raised his head in that almost boundless silence.
He stretched out his hand towards Nalgi with an expression of someone who felt at a loss. But while he was doing so, his hand quivered, and he slowly lowered it.
‘The past can no longer be changed.
‘But at least’
Zakriel shifted his gaze, as if he did not dare to look at Nalgi anymore. Instead, he staggered towards Thales.
This made a lot of people anxious!
“Barney, Barney, wake up!”
While Zakriel approached Thales, as the person with the second highest position after Barney Jr., even though it had long since been stripped off his person, Beldin found himself to be in a turmoil. He yelled the vanguard’s name loudly, hoping that the latter would do something.
But Barney Jr. continued kneeling on the floor with glazed eyes. He did not seem to have heard Beldin.
Zakriel glanced at Barney Jr. with a still gaze before he stared at the brand on the latter’s face. He then moved his gaze away.
Zakriel silently told himself.
‘The firm and unwavering Vanguard Quill Barney whom enemies find hard to defeat is gone.’
He turned with dejectedness in his heart and continued walking.
Beldin cursed and gave up on rousing Barney from his daze.
He furrowed his eyebrows and turned. Apart from the absent-minded Nalgi, Canon was sobbing in agony while kneeling on the ground, and Bruley had his eyes buried between his hands as he shut his eyes tightly. Meanwhile, Tardin looked downcast and did not move at all.
The veins on Beldin’s hands became tenser.
The truth of what happened that year threw all their hearts into turmoil, including his. He did not know what to do in the face of his fellow guards acting abnormally. Meanwhile, Zakriel, who he once admired, now felt like a stranger to him.
Behind him was the blood of Jadestars, which he pledged to protect… even though they had long since defiled their mission.
What should he do?
In the face of Zakriel walking towards the prince and his fellow Royal Guards, who were now broken and no longer united, after hesitating for a few seconds, Beldin, who was the only one left among the Royal Guards who was still sound of mind, finally made his decision and lifted his weapon.
“Naer, Samel, help me!”
He summoned Naer, who was still considerably normal, and Samel, who had a solemn expression, and tried to form a last defense.
Naer sighed and went beside Beldin.
After hesitating for a while, Samel also threw his torch to the ground and lifted his longsword.
Zakriel staggered over step by step. He ignored Beldin and the other two, who looked like they were facing a great enemywhile they moved backwards.
Thales slowly furrowed his eyebrows before slowly relaxing.
“I understand, commanding officer.” Beldin lifted his axe and shielded Thales behind him. He said to Zakriel in a hoarse voice, “Perhaps you are not the traitor, or at least not the only one. Maybe you have your own reasons, and we no longer have the right to accuse you.”
Beldin said through gritted teeth.
“But no matter what happened that year You cannot touch this child.”
As he moved forward, Zakriel’s face was completely illuminated by the torch on the ground. The brand on his forehead became more and more obvious.
“Take a look at them, Beldin.”
With an upset heart, the Knight of Judgement looked at Barney and Nalgi, who were kneeling by the side. He observed their broken expressions, andhe shook his head with a sad look in his heart.
“Trust me, burying everything here is the best method.”
Zakriel drew closer. A cold glare was reflected off the blade of his axe.
Thales stared at Beldin, who shielded Thales behind him despite not being in a good physical and mental condition, andhe could not help but bite his lips.
At this moment, the Knight of Judgement suddenly stopped.
Beldin, whose nervousness had reached the peak, exhaled.
Zakriel furrowed his eyebrows and turned.
Barney Jr., who was kneeling absentmindedly on the floor grabbed the knight’s calf with a feeble grip.
“Zakriel, tell me.”
With a pale face, Barney Jr. raised his head and widened his bloodshot eyes. He asked, begging but also demanding an answer from Zakriel.
“My father why did he do this to me?”
It was as if Barney Jr. had just woken up from a nightmare. He looked absent-minded, and his words were fragmented.
“Vice Captain Quill Barney What sort of person was he?”
All the prisoners had their expressions change upon hearing these words.
Even Zakriel went into a daze for a moment.
There was silence in the dungeon for a few seconds.
“He is a good person.” Zakriel lowered his gaze. There was respect in his tone as he remembered his old friend from long ago.
“It was just that he was born in the wrong era.”
Barney Jr. immediately trembled.
Once he said this, Zakriel walked gently away to free himself from Barney Jr.’s grip.
Barney Jr. was lost in Zakriel’s words. His body moved because of Zakriel’s momentum, and he slowly crumpled to the floor, but it was as if he was not aware of it.
Zakriel drew even closer to them. The brand on his forehead could even be seen clearly.
This made Beldin increasingly anxious. Quick Rope even yanked Thales and moved backwards.
Quick Rope whispered through gritted teeth, “We won’t be able to win against him. But we have not even found the exit where can we flee to?”
‘What should we do?
‘Where can we flee to?’
Thales and Zakriel’s eyes met, and Thales realized that there was only endless gloom im Zakriel’s eyes.
Thales could not help but inhale deeply.
Thales suddenly remembered how the other party looked like when he trembled in his cell and muttered as he acted hysterically in the world where Thales could not see.
“‘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”‘
Thales then recalled how this man handled his opponents with superb skills and with complete ease when he was surrounded tightly.
‘”I AM THE IMPERIAL KNIGHT AND HONORARY LORD OF CONSTELLATION! THE PENAL OFFICER OF THE ROYAL GUARDS, THE WATCHMAN, THE PROTECTOR OF THE THRONE, THE GUARDIAN OF THE ROYAL TREASURY”‘
He remembered the Knight of Judgement’s abnormal respect when he said that he wanted to kill Thales.
“‘Please relax, Your Highness. After your death, I will take full responsibility for the offence committed against you as a solace for the injustice you have to experience here.”‘
Finally, Thales thought of Zakriel’s relieved expression when he faced his old friends and admitted his treachery.
‘”The one who truly needs to bear the crime of fraternizing with the enemy but had despicably hidden the truth for eighteen years The disgraceful, sad, hypocritical, disgusting, self-proclaimed aloof, sanctimonious traitor who acts differently from how he looks is me.”‘
‘Knight of Judgement.
‘Just what sort of person are you?’
“I understand now, Quick Rope.”
Thales said softly, and even he was surprised by how steady he sounded. He sounded like a prey that broke loose of its restraints in the blink of an eye.
Quick Rope quirked an eyebrow.
“What have you understood?”
Thales shook his head at Quick Rope and slowly unfurled his fists.
“There’s no use in fleeing blindly.
“Because we already have nowhere to go since a long time ago.”
Thales said as he stared at Barney Jr. and Nalgi, who were dazed and distraction, before he directed his gaze towards Zakriel as the man approached him. His words carried an underlying meaning.
Quick Rope was startled, and he had a puzzled expression.
Once he said this, Thales made up his mind. He felt relaxed.
He should do this.
He must do this.
The next moment, as Quick Rope stared at him in shock, Thales took a step forward towards Zakriel.
“Is this what you want?”
The teenager’s voice echoed in the prison.
The Knight of Judgement stopped walking.
Everyone’s gaze were focused on the prince.
“To bury all the dirt and pain in the past? Hide it all underground? Pretend that nothing had happened and tell yourself that this is the best choice?”
Thales panted and shrugged off Quick Rope’s grip. Then, while he ignored Beldin’s expression and endured the pain from his wounds, he continued saying, “If I die here, will your responsibilities and your past, their torture and pain Will everything that happened that year end?”
Thales reached out with his fingers and pointed at each prisoner one by one, who were either in pain, having a breakdown, or whose minds were completely blank.
As Zakriel met Thales’ firm gaze, he froze in puzzlement for a moment.
He opened his mouth and was about to say something, but in the end, he only sighed softly.
“You do not understand, Your Highness.”
The knight shut his eyes and shook his head.
Thales inhaled deeply and swept his gaze past everyone.
Barney Jr. was still in the middle of a breakdown and was in a daze. Nalgi was still twitching. Before his eyes, Zakriel looked weak and listless. He also had a sorrowful expression.
“But there is only one thing I do not understand.”
Thales turned abruptly and gritted his teeth!
Thales said resolutely with a firm voice that left no room for doubt, which was rarely heard from him.
“Who was the person who gave you your orders?”
‘Person who gave you your orders.’
Once they heard this, everyone furrowed their eyebrows in unison.
Zakriel pursed his lips. He did not seem to want to entertain Thales with an answer.
But what Thales said after that greatly exceeded his expectations.
“I have not known all of you for long, but”
Thales slowly shifted his gaze.
“Nalgi might place more importance on his own family, but he cannot to watch helplessly as you bear his crime”
Nalgi’s shoulders trembled violently.
Thales turned towards the other side.
“Canon, Bruley, and Tardin, all of you might be aware of what happened that year, but none of you were ever able to remain indifferent towards the entire matter, to the point that you are still tortured by your conscience after being imprisoned for eighteen years.”
Canon’s sobbing came to a halt, Bruley no longer trembled, and Tardin became lifeless.
Finally, Thales looked at the dazed Barney Jr..
“I do not know Barney Sr., but from Barney Jr., I can see that his father was probably similarly stubborn, resolute, single-minded, persistent, and unwavering in his ideals.”
Zakriel’s eyebrows became more and more furrowed.
Thales exhaled and soothed his increasing heartbeat with the Sin of Hell’s River.
The prince said firmly, “I do not see the shamelessness and rotten attitude of traitors in any of you. Instead, I see that you are all in a painful dilemma where it is difficult for you to proceed or draw back.”
Everyone raised their heads and stared at Thales with either shocked or puzzled gazes.
Zakriel suddenly took a step forward!
But Beldin and Naer stood firmly in front of him, looking like they were ready to perish together with him.
Thales was shocked. But he still summoned up his courage and said the following words,
“I believe that as the Royal Guards of Constellation and the king’s intimate vassals, no matter how degenerate, evil, and selfish you are, it would be absolutely impossible for all of you to abandon the pride in your heart and betray the king to seek glory without feeling guilt.
“You are not that kind of person. You do not dare do that, and cannot do that. Unless there is another reason, an even more rational reason that allowed you to convince yourself that it was the right action, and not a betrayal!” the prince said through gritted teeth.
Zakriel’s face became even more unpleasant.
Thales knew that he was on the right track.
Hence, the prince ignored Quick Rope’s meaningful glance and continued voicing his guess with his chest puffed out.
“As for you, Zakriel, you are an honorable knight and a loyal guard. You were respectful towards me even though you were about to attack me the next moment
“I reckon that the only thing that was able to make you stomp on your honor and mission would be an even greater honor and mission.”
The moment Thales said that, Zakriel’s entire body trembled.
“Then, what type of mission was it that could make you betray the Jadestar Family without hesitation?”
Everyone’s expression slowly changed.
Thales said coldly, “Unless”
The Knight of Judgement could not stay calm anymore. He roared, “Your Highness!”
But Thales ignored him. Instead, he schooled his expression without caring about others and said arduously while his face was illuminated by the dim light of the flames from the torch.
“Both the Northlanders and Shadow Shield gave me hints, but I was always unwilling to believe it”
Thales gritted his teeth and thrust the longsword belonging to Ricky into the gap between the ancient floor tiles.
“So, tell me, Zakriel.
“Who was it?”
As Thales stared at him, Zakriel’s expression changed many times.
Thales continued saying through gritted teeth,
“That year, which Jadestar was it… who stood behind all of you nobles who were driven into a corner, bribed all parties with his noble status, and with saving your families as bait, motivated you to slack off in your duties as guards, plotted with all of you assassinate the muddleheaded king, plan to clear up the mess after the matter and ascend the throne?”
The prince’s gaze was sharp, and his aura was aggressive.
Thales’ words echoed off the walls.
Half of the people were startled.
“What did you say?” This was from the shocked Barney.
As for the other half of the people, Nalgi and Canon’s faces were pale, while Bruley and Tardin turned their heads away.
And before them, Zakriel swayed violently before he held his head in agony.
The silence continued for a few seconds.
For a time, only Thales’ hurried breathing could be heard in the dungeon.
Then, a quivering voice rose.
“So that is how it is
“This is why you want to bury all the truth and bear all the charges.” Samel swept his gaze past everyone, and his voice trembled a little. He looked shocked, like he just realized something.
“This is why all of you closely guarded the secret in your hearts and have been conflicted up to this date.
“Some might have participated directly, and some might be in the know, but this is the reason all of you have your hands tied at the same time Because you have the support of a Jadestar who has the same legitimacy to the throne?”
He took a step back and gasped twice. There was a cold sneer in his tone.
“Calamities and anti-mystic equipment are not the reason This is the real and biggest scandal of the Jadestar Royal Family that cannot be revealed to the public.”
The tip of Samel’s sword vibrated slightly.
“So laughable Betrayal, loyalty, it’s none of those bullshit…
“The nightmare that is the Bloody Year that tortured me for eighteen years, and the assassination and rebellion that all the great nobles carefully conceal, is just the Jadestar Royal Family’s
“…Internal fight against each other?”
In the face of Samel’s question, Zakriel heaved the longest sigh that had came out of his mouth that day. His hand, which was pressed against his forehead, trembled even more violently.
Barney Jr. widened his eyes in disbelief. He straightened his body.
Thales stayed quiet. He only exhaled softly.
Quick Rope’s mouth hung open. He did not know how to react.
Zakriel still had his eyes shut. He did not seem to know how to answer Thales’ question anymore.
Beldin and Naer stared at each other at a loss. Their gazes were filled with sorrow, pain, and the last hint of incredulity.
Samel laughed again.
His laughter was shaky and extremely eerie.
“Hahahahaha, let me guess”
His gaze was complicated and hard to understand. There were hints of hatred and scorn that rose at some unknown point of time.
“Was it Crown Prince Midier, who always fished for credit, whose thoughts were unfathomable, and who would have benefited directly from the late king’s death?”
Samel raised his head abruptly and said hatefully, “Or was it the heroic Sword of Reversing Light Horace, who had countless battle achievements but was violent, bloodthirsty, and ambitious?
“Was it Fat Man Bancroft who appeared plump and mediocre but actually loved indulging in pleasures and amassing wealth?
“Was it the Beauty Herman who had nothing but good looks and literary talent, and was narrow-minded, venomous, and ruthless?”
Thales could not help but furrow his eyebrows at Samel’s choice of words.
He once heard King Kessel reminiscing and talking about these princes in the Jadestar family tomb, but
‘Always fishing for credit, violent and bloodthirsty, loved amassing wealth, and venomous?
Samel panted and continued saying.
“Or was it the Duke of Star Lake, John, the king’s younger brother, who monopolized the army and was in the prime of his life, but was fated to never take the crown in his life unless the lineage under the late king went extinct?”
Thales thought of something.
The Disaster Sword Marina’s request to him from before appeared in his mind again.
In that extreme silence, Samel roared in anger.
“Was it a patricide, or a fratricide?”
No one answered him, including Zakriel, who was already swaying and unsteady on his feet.
“Or was it an even more diabolical Jadestar? Was it the Iron Hand King Kessel who mercilessly sent you, me, and everyone, whether they were in the know or not, to rot in a pile of garbage after the incident that year and is sitting on the throne right now, enjoying everything by himself?”
Samel seemed to have been made very upset by this truth. He looked at everyone, who were silent, and said loudly with a cold sneer, “Do not tell me that it was Constance, that idiotic little princess who was diagnosed as retarded since she was young?”