Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
“I remember this man. He was among the traitors of the Tower of Eradication. He came with Samel.”
Beldin’s face was tense as he said this to Barney, who was next to him. Thales listened to them, dazed, while his gaze was fixed on Ricky.
The huge shock not only exhausted his mind, it even aggravated the pain his body.
‘How could this be…’
Barney Junior stared at Samel while the man stood among the Disaster Swords. “Samel, you lied to us on purpose, and said this was the exit, to lure us here… for this?”
Barney Junior’s words caused the Royal Guards to grit their teeth. Samel glanced at Barney for a second before he snorted and shook his head.
“I didn’t lie to you.” Samel paused for a while. His voice was cold as he continued to say, “This is the only way out. If you leave through the main gate, you will only face death.”
Barney Junior grunted angrily. The overbearing swordsmen before them clearly appeared hostile, but the people on Barney’s side were…
Barney stole a glance at his right arm—it was still throbbing in pain. He also swept his gaze over the people who had suffered greatly under the effects of the Alchemy Ball, and felt the severity of the situation.
“You can save the reminiscing for later.” Ricky confidently yet politely interrupted the glaring between Samel and his former comrades. “Now, gentlemen, we should head home.”
Once Ricky finished speaking, beside him, Klein, the Northlander swordsman who could wield his sword at an astonishing speed, and Josef, who was dispatched as a spy in the prison, reached for the swords at their waists slowly.
The Royal Guards’ faces grew even more tense. They lifted their weapons laboriously—even though they were not in good condition to fight—and moved into battle formation.
“We are not in good condition, so it is best that we stay away from chaotic warfare and avoid being flanked. Their Powers of Eradication are problematic, so we cannot get entangled with them,” Barney Junior stared at Ricky before he spoke softly to the man beside him, “Beldin, I can only move one hand, and there is no room for me to test waters.”
Beldin’s expression was serious as he replied quietly, “I understand. I will wait for your signal.”
Barney Junior nodded, raised his head, and spoke loudly to Ricky, “What are your intentions?”
Ricky smiled faintly. He opened his mouth and said, “Don’t worry. I am only…”
However, Thales’ expression changed after he managed to calm himself down—which he only managed through great effort on his part. He suddenly realized what Barney Junior was up to.
The teenager instinctively raised his hand. “Wai—”
Before he could continue, both Barney Junior and Beldin charged forward with the force of an avalanche.
A battle instantly broke out!
Perhaps it was because of his injury, but Barney Junior did not take the lead this time. Instead, Beldin was the one who charged forth as the roaring vanguard. Beldin with an axe at the front, and Barney with a sword at the rear. They attacked Ricky in front of them!
Maybe it was too sudden, because even though Klein and Josef had instinctively drawn their swords while they were beside Ricky, they still did not manage to receive Beldin and Barney’s attacks. They could only watch the other two men close in on Ricky.
At the same moment, Ricky drew a graceful arc with his silver longsword, Everlasting Truth. The wind whistled with his movements before it charged with his sword to envelope the two men who came to attack him.
A soft sound rose up. Everlasting Truth struck Beldin’s axe in the air, because it had been the first weapon to draw close to him. At that moment, Beldin suddenly had the false impression that he had slipped into an endless, scorching whirlpool, and he was about to suffocate.
Worse still was that even though he predicted this, the Power of Eradication from the Disaster Sword still affected his arms, and he could not fight back against it, because it came at him stronger than all the previous times the other Disaster Swords had attacked him with their Powers of Eradication.
Scorching, oppressive, and heavy.
The slightly heavy mercenary axe in his hand began to tremble uncontrollably.
Ricky smiled. Beldin could only helplessly watch his own attack miss by inches. The axe only managed to cut into Ricky’s wrist.
Ricky sneered to himself. He knew that Beldin’s attack no longer posed a threat, so he turned his longsword to face the other man.
But at that moment, Barney Junior, who was one step behind Beldin, finally drew close.
To Ricky’s surprise, Barney Junior did not attack him with his only functioning arm. Instead, he straightened his body and crashed into Beldin!
A muffled sound echoed. Beldin grunted and loosened his grip over the axe which he no longer seemed able to control. With the momentum provided to him by Barney Junior’s crash, Beldin changed direction, wrapped his fist in his palm, and struck Ricky with his elbow!
Ricky, initially calm and unruffled by the chaotic situation, finally showed a change in his expression.
‘That axe was only a… lure?’
Beldin, who appeared to have lost control just moments ago, was now right in front of him.
Thales suddenly registered what happened. It was another variant of the Northland Military Sword Style—Defence Position. It was just that Barney Junior had decided to use his comrade as his shield.
A thought appeared in his mind. ‘Just what sort of trust and teamwork must be formed for a person to change from using a shield, to a living person beside him? How did the both of them work together to launch such an attack?’
Thales did not have time to think about this in detail. Ricky had to lower his body and move, but even so, he did not have time to pull back his longsword, and could only use the sword hilt as his shield. He hit Beldin’s abdomen violently and shifted the direction of his strike.
As Beldin grunted, Barney Junior took this opportunity and, after building the momentum of his attack for a while, finally thrust the sword at Ricky’s abdomen!
The sound of flesh being ripped apart was heard.
“Ahhh!” Ricky’s bellows resounded through the dungeon!
In that moment, both Barney Junior and Beldin, who were confident about their chances of winning, trembled, as if the air that surrounded them had been compressed.
Before Thales could understand what was going on, Barney Junior and Beldin appeared to have lost control of themselves. They stumbled like drunkards as they surrounded Ricky before they fell down in a mess of limbs!
Both the axe and the sword fell to the ground. Thales sighed in agony.
“No!” Tardin, who took over the place to stand guard beside Thales and protect him, cried out in alarm as he glared at Ricky.
In the next second, the Disaster Swords reacted to the situation. Josef and Klein finally made it to the battleground. They pressed their longswords against Beldin and Barney’s necks, and suppressed the two men who had failed in their ambush.
Ricky’s body shook. He stuck his longsword into the ground as he struggled to maintain balance. He looked down in pain. Blood flowed profusely from the gaps between the fingers of his left hand, which was pressed against his abdomen.
In just a few seconds, the dangerous and swift exchange of blows had ended. The people in the room were astounded by what they saw.
Klein, the Northlander swordsman, glared at Barney by his feet. He was flustered and exasperated. “Damn it. How many times have we been ambushed tonight?”
When he wanted to continue speaking, he was stopped by Ricky.
“No, they are extraordinary,” Ricky panted. He raised his hand, rejecting Samel’s kind offer of wanting to help him up. “Even after they have been imprisoned for years and are heavily wounded, they still found an opportunity to attack.”
Ricky watched the blood flow down his waist and sighed. Since Barney Junior and Beldin failed in their attack and were captured, Thales’ heart grew heavier and more anguished.
“Quill Barney, right?”
Ricky’s face was pale as he watched Barney get dragged up from the ground by his subordinates. Barney Junior was in a sorry state, he even looked wretched. Ricky also saw Barney Junior’s indignation and hatred in his eyes.
“Samel mentioned you to me. They always sounded like exaggerations.” Ricky knitted his eyebrows, as if he was enduring some pain.
“He told me that no matter how bad your condition was, as long as you were alive, even if you would have to rely on your teeth, you would still launch the deadliest strike.” Ricky stared at his waist, and let out a broken bark of laugh. “I believe him now. I have seen some men who know a thing or two about the Northlander Military Sword Style, but you’re one of the most threatening ones.”
Barney Junior spat violently in reply, but his gaze never left the serious injury on the man’s waist.
‘Damn it. I missed by a little… Just a little bit!’
“On any other day, you would surely make a great opponent who is worth fighting, but not today.” Ricky’s panting gradually calmed down. He turned to Thales, who had a ghastly expression. “Your Highness, I am surprised and amazed. In such a short time, you have found yourself a team of top-notch guards.
“Now, we shall end this.” As he spoke, a few mercenaries tightened their hold on their swords, which were pressed against the hostages. It was as if they were doing so to threaten them. Thales’ expression grew tense.
Ricky waved his hand with a tired look. “Capture the rest. We are leaving.”
The mercenaries, led by Klein and Josef, stepped forward once they received the order.
Tardin glanced at the Disaster Swords who surrounded them. His gaze was tense. “Your Highness, please step back.”
But at that moment, Thales suddenly stood up.
“Hold on!” Under Tardin’s worried and confused gaze, prince walked with a pale face past the guards, and stood at the forefront of his group. “I have a question.”
Klein and Josef frowned a little as they held their swords. They knew how important the teenager was to them, so they turned around to look at Ricky.
Ricky took a deep breath, drew his sword from the ground, and steadied himself on his feet. With his sword in hand, he stepped forward.
“Come on, Your Highness. I believe you have had a long day. If you have any questions, how about we talk about them after we get out of here?”
Thales ignored Ricky’s words. He only stared unwaveringly at the man, wanting to find something that was different from every single part of Ricky’s body…
…but he was disappointed.
Even though Ricky suffered from serious injuries and looked tired, compared to the corpse who previously lay in his own pool of blood, Ricky currently looked bright and fresh.
Thales inhaled. He felt his pain and exhaustion become even more prominent in his body. Even his thoughts were slower… but he must persist, especially when he was facing…
“I saw it myself. Your head was impaled.” Thales tried to stay alert as he watched Ricky with a suspicious gaze. “But you… How did you do it?”
The Royal Guards were astonished as they listened to the conversation between the prince and Ricky.
Tardin lowered his voice and asked Canon, who stood beside him, “What does he mean? His head was impaled?”
Canon and Bruley only stood looking at each other, puzzled and lost.
Ricky laughed again, and his laughter sounded natural, but it made Thales nervous and agitated. His head began to ache again.
“You already have the answer a long time ago, right?” Ricky glanced at the teenager confidently. He looked smug. “Once you straighten out your thoughts, you will understand that you have no power to resist us.”
‘Had the answer a long time ago?’ Thales suddenly noticed what was off about the situation. ‘…Right.’
Thales was surprised to see that the pain on Ricky’s face had disappeared.
Ricky sat up and let his hand fall away from his abdomen. At some point, the blood stopped flowing from his wound.
Ricky resumed the role of a calm leader. He rubbed at the blood clots on his hands and shook his head as he smiled. It was as if his waist had never suffered an injury as serious as perforation. Only his torn armor bore the testimony of what happened earlier.
Thales’ heart froze. ‘What does this mean? And he said….’
Ricky’s faint smile suddenly became mysterious in Thales’ eyes. The prince was thinking so much he thought his head was about to burst.
He stared at the damage on the man’s armor as he told off his tired mind which was urging him to go to sleep.
“Are you… from the Blood Clan?”
Ricky was a little stunned, but he immediately laughed and shook his head. “I told you. You have long had the answer, but you are unwilling to admit it.”
‘Not from the Blood Clan. No.’
The teenager looked at Barney and Beldin, who were still subdued. An inexplicable fear surged up again in the deepest corner of his heart.
“You said ‘…would not die after he is killed, and would be reborn’?”
Thales gritted his teeth, and posed the question he was most worried about carefully, “Are you… are you one of ‘them’?”
Ricky only smiled and did not say a word. His smile caused Thales, whose mind had been tortured tremendously, to feel even worse.
As he watched the man practically admit to being what Thales claimed him to be, Thales’ heart froze.
When he faced the assassins, he could remain vigilant. When he faced the Northlanders, he could negotiate with them. When he faced Zakriel, he could look for other strategies. But when he faced…
Thales’ face was gloomy. The subdued Barney Junior seemed to have understood something. His expression changed slightly.
“Hold on. You mean this man is…”
Thales shook his head. His gaze was still fixed on Ricky. ‘Shit. If this man is indeed who I think he is… If he is… No, that would be terrible. First Zakriel, now this…’
The teenager glanced around him with tired eyes before his gaze stopped on the silver longsword he used to hold.
‘If he is indeed who I think he is… I will stand no chance of winning if I fight him head-on. Unless…’
Thales felt like his head was going to explode. He had to think of a way out…
‘Think of Asda, Giza, and even Taurus. Think of how I handled them when I faced them…’
Thales inhaled and said with a quivering voice, “In that case, the Disaster Swords are literally an organization that belongs to the calamities, just like Blood Bottle Gang? They exist for you and serve you?”
Everyone was dumbfounded… including the Disaster Swords. Ricky raised his eyebrows. As he watched Ricky’s reaction, a thought struck Thales’ mind.
“You said your sword is called ‘Everlasting Truth’. Truth… I suppose it is not a coincidence.” Thales made his decision. He gritted his teeth. “So your leaders are the Truth Brothers?”
Against Thales’ expectations, his strategy to stall for time and look for an opportunity started to work.
The Truth Brothers.
In that second, Ricky’s expression changed. After he heard this, his smile disappeared, and his face instantly looked like it had frozen over.
Thales’ legs grew sore. He saw hope, but the soreness in his legs caused him to hold on to Tardin beside him to remain standing.
“Or you are one of the Truth Brothers. Are you B, or L? Should I call you the Truth Swords?”
What the prince said stunned everyone…
…except for one person.
As he stood in front of everyone, Ricky’s expression turned incredibly cold. Killing intent burned in his eyes, and it made Thales tremble.
Ricky stared at Thales coldly, as if he wanted to figure out some kind of secret from the teenager.
“Why don’t… you say it again?”