Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
When Thales stepped on the sand to drag his exhausted body towards them, most of the Royal Guards stood up straight and waited for him with stern expressions. They were filled with awe-inspiring respect for Thales.
Only Zakriel, who sat furthest away in the group, turned his head around towards Thales at a languid pace.
With each step he took on the desert, Thales brought up sand; his feet sank into the sand with each step he took, but every single time, he would break free with all his strength and take another step forward, just as he always did.
Finally, Thales stopped before the group. He quietly watched the disheveled and dejected looking Royal Guards.
‘It’s these people…’
Quick Rope’s eyes sparkled as he struggled to eat a biscuit. He quickly scrambled to his feet, pointed at himself while in Thales’ line of sight, and put on an obsequious smile that said “Hey, it’s me.”
Beldin shot a glance at Barney Junior, then at Zakriel, and when he found that they did not seem to have any intention to say anything, he could only sigh. “Your Highness—”
But Thales interrupted him, “It has ended.” The prince smiled before the surprised crowd. “Although about a thousand people witnessed your prison break… it has all come to an end.”
Thales’ voice became downcast.
‘End?’ Beldin and Tardin glanced at each other and saw the shock there.
The prince turned around and watched the desert at dawn. Groups of cavaliers rushed back and forth as they were dispatched to deliver Roman’s orders. Thales then watched Ricky return to his group to appease the mercenaries who were pointing and gesturing at Thales’ group.
“The government will say that during the internal conflict within Blade Fangs Camp, the Legendary Wing personally dealt with every single escapee and left no one alive.”
The guards showed surprise and bewilderment on their faces. They were at a loss.
The teenager airily said, “So, all the guards who were imprisoned eighteen years ago left the world. Do you… understand what I mean?”
All of their breaths slowed down as they digested the news. Thales’ gaze turned gloomy.
“I want to do so much more; I want to dig up your case, I want to clear you of the crimes you are accused of, and I want to restore your glory, but…”
He did not continue speaking. The guards were silent. They would occasionally look at each other, and their eyes were filled with uncertainty and bemusement.
“Your Highness.” Beldin sucked in a deep breath, and he looked like he had just summoned a great amount of courage. “We… we…”
But Thales simply continued on. “Baron Williams will arrange for everything else. You will not encounter any obstructions, be it from the Secret Intelligence Department or the army.”
Barney Junior frowned.
“As for how you are going to leave this place, hide your identities and your names…” Thales swept his gaze past the exhausted and wounded guards. When he spoke next, his voice was hoarse. “You are all elites with unique skills, I believe that you will find a way.”
‘Hide our identities and names…?’ Beldin and the others looked at each other. They did not understand what was going on.
He did not wait for them to register his words. Thales looked at a certain grinning person. “And do me one more favour; bring Quick Rope with you. Take him away from this place, make him leave the sights of those who are ambitious and observant.”
The people turned their heads around, and Quick Rope, who had been grinning foolishly a moment ago, tensed up his expression.
“Do not ask who he is, and do not ask where he came from.” Thales looked at Quick Rope with a tired face. He forced himself to smile. “This is what I owe him.” Quick Rope was stunned.
Once he finished saying all this, Thales sighed. He stepped on the sand beneath him—loose, cold, and still.
He raised his head and looked at the sun rising in the east. “Now, you are free.”
The moment he said this word, all the guards were stunned, including Zakriel.
‘Free?’ At that moment, confusion and perplexity filled the air.
Puzzled, Bruley and Canon looked towards the east as well, in the direction of Thales’ gaze. They seemed shaken. Barney Junior stared at the sand under his feet and sank into deep thought. Beldin and Tardin stared at the rest in astonishment. They did not know what to say.
Quick Rope’s eyes sparkled as thoughts raced through his head, as if he knew this was not a good time for him to say anything.
Only Zakriel remained staring at Thales without moving.
“Enjoy it fully.” Thales cast them a few profound glances, put on a gratified smile, and turned around to leave.
He limped towards Roman, who was under the sand dune with his white horse’s reins in his hands. He stood tall and handsome like he was in a painting.
At that moment, Beldin finally found himself unable to hold back and asked, “Your Highness, what about you?”
His words broke the indescribable atmosphere the people had sank into in their daze. Thales stopped moving, but he did not turn his head around.
“I am a prince, remember?” Thales exhaled and looked at Roman, who was still in the distance. “I will go back with them to Blade Fangs Camp first, then I will return to Eternal Star City.”
‘To where my life began, and face my destiny’—Thales clenched his fists—’as well as my future.’
Beldin sucked in a deep breath and looked around him. His comrades nodded.
“Your Highness, let us go with you, whether it is to Blade Fangs Camp or to Eternal Star City.”
A light crease appeared between Thales’ eyebrows. Beldin took a step forward and pressed his hand against his chest. He spoke sincerely as he watched Thales’ back, “This sword will only be brandished for the Emperor, and will only be broken for the Emperor…”
Tardin and Canon placed their heads over their chests as well, and recited solemnly with Beldin, “It will be used for no other purpose.
Thales shivered slightly. He turned his head around slowly and stared at the group of wounded and tired veterans who still insisted on using all their strength to puff out their chests and straighten their backs.
‘Perhaps… just like what they did eighteen years ago.’ Thales could not help but be a little sentimental.
At that moment, the desert was quiet.
Quick Rope did not even dare to breathe loudly. Finally, he looked around and, feeling awkward at least, was still able to force down his urge to ask whether he could leave first.
A few seconds later, Thales chuckled softly. The prince then sighed and said, “First of all, I am not an emperor. The world has not had emperors in a long time.”
The guards put down their arms with slight looks of surprise on their faces.
“Next, I cannot convince my father to do otherwise, and he will just throw you in prison again.”
Thales looked at each of the guards before he eyed the brands on their faces.
“He might even do something worse.”
The guards seemed unable to react to what he said for the time being. They were at a loss. Thales smiled. He shook his head and rejected them without a word. Then, he raised his feet and left, leaving behind a group of puzzled and confused guards. Another breeze blew in. It dispersed some of the heat that was beginning to rise.
“But we are already dead.” Tardin’s bleak and deep voice rose. It gave Thales pause. Tardin stared at the sand under his feet dazedly before he slowly raised his head. “Your Highness, we… do not have anywhere else to go.”
His words caused the other guards to have their emotions become unstable. Zakriel even turned his head away as he remained standing the furthest away.
“Please let us serve you. This is the only value we have that I can think of,” Tardin said in anguish.
Thales exhaled. ‘The only value…’ He recalled the guards’ oath, and he was suddenly filled with mixed feelings. ‘Royal Guards, huh?’
As he felt the indescribable sorrow within him, the teenager nodded and smiled.
“If you said this to me when I was younger, perhaps I would have said, ‘Alright, please work for me.’ But now…”
The prince’s mind wandered for a moment. He then raised his head and looked at each of the guards earnestly. He saw their gazes—lost, indignant, hollow, or dispirited.
“It has been eighteen years. The price you paid for Constellation, Renaissance Palace, the Jadestar Royal Family, and most importantly, for yourself and your own choices, is enough.”
Many of them shuddered. Thales slowly moved to stand in front of Tardin. He stared into his puzzled gaze.
“What all of you need is rebirth.”
Thales wanted to put his hand on the man’s shoulder but found to his regret that, due to their difference in height, the action would be a little awkward.
“What you need is to truly live freely without being bound by anything, and without any restrictions…”
The teenager shrugged helplessly. He could only clench a fist and punch Tardin’s shoulder lightly.
The wind and sand blew past, carrying Thales’ words into the distance. The guards watched the prince before them dumbfoundedly manner. Silence and perplexity enveloped them for a time.
“And trust me, you will always have a place you can go to.” Thales put on a gentle smile and looked towards the east, where the sun was rising. “You will go to a better place.”
Tardin stared at the prince, dazed. Beldin opened his mouth, wanting to speak, but in the end he said nothing. However, Barney Junior’s sonorous voice traveled into their ears and attracted their attention.
“Based on the history of Constellation, it is definitely not easy to live in the kingdom as a prince.”
Thales frowned and turned his head around. He saw Barney Junior move through the crowd to stand before him.
“You will need a hidden power that hides beyond the sights of the people. We are suited for the task. We can be your sword that lives beyond Renaissance Palace.”
Barney Junior stood in front of his group and gazed at Thales with brightly sparkling eyes. Thales was stunned for a second.
‘As a prince… beyond the sights… hidden power…’ At that moment, Thales thought of many things, such as the Renaissance Palace map King Nuven gave him, the crazed gaze the Raven of Death had while he was on Death’s door, and the Black Prophet’s ghastly tone so long ago.
This caused Thales’ mind to wander for a little while.
“What a coincidence.” Thales raised his head and looked at the group with a smile. “Stake, that person from Shadow Shield, also told me something similar.”
His words made all of them stunned again. ‘Shadow Shield?’
“They wanted to become the sword I have hidden in the dark.” A bark of laughter then escaped from Thales’ lips. “Power?”
Under the group’s puzzled gaze, Thales raised his head while feeling sentimental, and he looked towards the endless desert.
“Yes, I brought you out of the dark underground prison, from the bottomless abyss, and from that eternal nightmare.” He shook his head, spread his arms, and snickered before he said, “Because of that, I have obtained your loyalty? And you will now become my strength?”
The prince’s words, which he spoke in a tone that made him seem like he was mumbling to himself, made the others unable to wrap their heads around his words.
“Then what happens? Have we now formed a sovereign and subordinate relationship? Will we perform outstanding feats together, conquer the world, and leave our names in history?”
Thales gazed into the distance where the sun rose. In his eyes was a mocking look that the others found difficult to understand.
“It is a good story. You can write a novel with it.”
The guards were at a loss. They were surprised and bewildered.
Beldin said tentatively, “Your Highness—”
But Thales quickly snapped out of his daze and said with a complicated expression, “I knew a person a long time ago. He always smiled and watched children fall into an endless abyss. He watched them struggle helplessly before he appeared before them as a savior and extended a helping hand to them with a smile.
“This way, he could occupy a flawless, higher ground. He could use a moral principle no one could criticize, to provide kindness to others and get the same in return. He has no regrets, no burdens, and stands unquestionably as the master of those whom were saved. He gained subordinates both loyal and thankful to him.”
Thales sighed softly. His words made Beldin and Tardin look at each other, puzzlement appeared on their faces.
The prince looked at the people in front of him. He saw their ragged and exhausted figures, and said dejectedly, “If I change the perspective and my style of writing, beautify his deeds and hide the evil he has commited, that person will become the protagonist of an epic. He will have a perfect image, and he will logically have many accomplishments under his name during the finale, and he will bring peace to the world.”
Thales said airily, “But… I was once one of the children.”
The group fell silent. Thales remained quiet for two seconds before he raised his head.
“You know, what Zakriel did really made sense. I do wonder… whether what I did was helping you, or just helping myself.”
The veterans were astounded, only the Knight of Judgment stared right at him, his gaze unreadable.
Thales glanced profoundly into their eyes and called their names, “Barney, Beldin, Tardin, Canon, Bruley… Zakriel.”
Those who were called could not help but stand straight.
“Listen well,” Thales said sternly and seriously, “I am not the one who saved you. You were the ones who saved yourselves. You won your freedom with your own hands. You do not owe me anything.”
His words stunned many of them.
“You have suffered greatly, and after experiencing great tribulations, you escaped from prison.” Thales looked in the direction of the camp. His tone was firm. “You did not do so just to be loyal to me and obtain another pair of shackles; not to gain another master; not to make no progress in your life; and not to return to the abyss of power.”
The prince watched them with a gaze that tolerated no refutation. Even Quick Rope instinctively stood up straight.
“If you become my subordinates after you escaped the Prison of Bones, and become the second prince’s leverage in the game… then all that I did today and all that you have suffered in the past will lose their meaning.”
Thales gulped, sighed, and said, “You will only be dragged into that age-old game because of another Jadestar’s selfishness. You will be pushed back into the vortex eighteen years ago, and you will re-live your nightmares.
“None of you… deserve that fate.”
In that moment, all of them were speechless. Zakriel’s gaze on him changed.
“Do you know what you’re doing?” Barney Junior’s voice rose slowly. The chief vanguard scowled, as though he had made up his mind to refute Thales’ words. “Even if we do not talk about anything else, we do, at least… know your secret.”
He placed extra emphasis on the last word, and it caused everyone’s expressions to change!
Even Thales’ expression became gloomy. ‘My secret…’
Quick Rope instinctively tightened his grip over the Crossbow of Time while staying behind the group.
Barney Junior ignored Beldin and Tardin’s gazes. He gritted his teeth and said, “For your safety and benefit, it will be incredibly unwise if you do not use this chance to bind us to your side and strengthen yourself.”
Barney Junior continued coldly. “If even the slightest hint of your secret is revealed, the fate that awaits you… will be very terrible.”
Thales did not say a single word. Beldin patted Barney’s shoulder, but the latter did not acknowledge him.
A few seconds later, Thales raised his head and gave a relieved smile. “Not too long ago, I met a prince. Another one.”
The group was puzzled, only Quick Rope’s expression changed drastically.
“He told me that the way we choose to live determines our story. It has nothing to do with power and status. If I constantly seek personal gain, live in fear, curry up to someone’s favor for the sake of schemes, and place great importance on power and personal benefits…”
Thales unintentionally looked at Quick Rope as the latter stood among the group. He sighed and said, “…then I will never be free of the shackles of power.”
His words made everyone fall silent. Thales looked at every single one of them.
“Just like you now, your choices determine what you will obtain. Will you choose to chain yourself to another set of shackles that bears another name… or will you choose true freedom.” Thales sucked in a deep breath and let it out slowly.
The group’s expression changed somewhat. Even Barney Junior lowered his head a little. While many of them began to think deeply, a voice that had not been heard for a long time rose and cut through the wind.
“You are not like your father.”
The people turned their heads around and found to their surprise that the person who spoke was Zakriel, who stood at the periphery of the group.
‘Father.’ Thales remembered the scene where he first met his father in Mindis Hall. He then remembered the Northern Territory, Dragon’s Blood, and Blade Fangs Camp. He also recalled the crown and scepter on the throne.
‘Father…’ But Thales’ mind only wandered for a while before he smiled at the Knight of Judgment.
“Because I am not him, and I will never be,” he said with certainty.
Zakriel stared at him fixedly before he suddenly snorted. “Not necessarily.”
Those words made Thales’ smile falter. However, Zakriel said something else next, “Your mother passed away.”
Thales was immediately stunned!
The Knight of Judgment said faintly, “Do not look for her anymore.”
In an instant, all eyes were on Zakriel.
Once Thales registered his words, he asked in surprise, “What do you mean? You know my mother? TherrenGirana?”
Zakriel just shook his head, and his expression became indifferent again. “No, but remember my words: She is already dead.”
This time, Thales stared at him for a long time. ‘He said… she passed away. Then…’
In the end, the prince could only sigh in resignation to Zakriel’s face, while the man remained as silent as a block of ice.
“Oh well, I suppose you will not tell me.”
Zakriel did not answer. He just stared at him coldly. Thales snorted softly next.
“‘She has passed away. Do not look for her any longer.’ Zakriel, do you know what the most interesting aspect in language is?”
Zakriel scowled. The prince narrowed his eyes. “People love placing the main points of their speech at the end.”
His words took Zakriel by surprise. Thales smiled. The war horses neighed in the distance.
The prince sucked in a breath and gave up on questioning Zakriel any further. He turned his head around and gazed at the gradually rising sun.
“Royal Guards, this is the last time I use Thales Jadestar’s status to order… no, tell you.” The Royal Guards immediately stood in respect. The prince said airily, “Your nightmare is gone. Your darkness is no longer around.”
He looked at every person with a serious gaze.
Barney had on a stubborn expression; Beldin looked worried; Tardin appeared dejected; Canon still shrank back into himself; Bruley was filled with indignation; Zakriel remained silent; and Quick Rope looked absent-minded.
Thales smiled. “From now on, live, in the truest sense of the word.”
Once he finished saying that, Thales did not care about the others’ reactions. He turned around resolutely and walked to the sand dune in the distance, Roman waited for him there.
Thales walked through the sand, just like he did when he went to them—by dragging his exhausted body over. He walked to where he belonged. The morning sun shone on him and cast a golden light on his back.
‘My time with them is over…’ All that had happened in the underground prison came to his mind. He felt incredibly sentimental. ‘What a pity…’
“Your Highness.” Beldin’s chokingly weak cry resounded behind him, but Thales only shook his head and continued walking. He did not turn his head around.
‘Farewell, Royal Guards,’ he thought in his heart, ‘May the nightmare the Jadestars brought to you disappear from now on.’
A faint thud travelled from behind him. In his daze, Thales did not turn his head around. But in the next second, more thuds arose, and they did so consecutively.
The cavaliers and mercenaries in the distance seemed to have seen something. A small commotion rose among them, and they looked at Thales’ direction.
‘Huh?’ Thales’ train of thought was interrupted. He stopped moving.
Roman frowned in the distance, Ricky also stopped talking to his subordinates. They both looked at Thales.
When he encountered so many abnormal signs, Thales turned his head around in puzzlement… and was then stunned.
The morning sun shone on the desert that was filled with endless yellow sand. Six stubborn figures leaned forward slightly, as though they were cast irons rooted in the desert. The light and shadows made their figures indistinct, but their postures appeared uniform under the light as they received the baptism of the morning and the wind of the desert.
‘This is…’ Thales stared dumbly at the sight before him. ‘Zakriel, Barney Junior, Beldin… the Royal Guards.’
The wind blew gently. At some point of time, all the Royal Guards had gone down on one knee on the sand. They did not say a word, and neither did they move. Their faces could not be seen clearly, and their expressions could not be discerned.
They had their right hands placed over their chests, while their left arms were placed behind them. They bowed their heads in the direction of the prince, as if they were paying their final respects.
At that moment, Thales watched the six figures kneeling on the ground, and he suddenly felt a heavy weight on his chest. He pursed his lips, but in the end said nothing.
With the ghost of a smile on his lips, he raised his right fist and tapped it gently against his chest before he turned his head around resolutely. The six figures behind him lowered their heads even further.
The Legendary Wing scowled as he watched this scene from afar. In the distance, the six injured men knelt on the ground, between the golden sand dunes, and lowered their heads in salutation towards one direction.
Closer to him was a thin and frail teenager walking slowly towards him under the brightening sky. He seemed to have some difficulty walking, but his footsteps were firm. His expression was one of anguish and relief.
It looked like a portrait.
“Jadestar,” Roman murmured before he snorted.
Josef watched the six figures in a bad mood while he stood among the Disaster Swords. Next to him was Samel, who was so engrossed with the scene that he was dazed. Josef said scornfully, “If you want to, you can join them, since you cannot forget them.”
Samel’s expression darkened before he turned towards Josef. “I thought you would understand it better than I do.”
Josef was startled. “Understand what?”
Samel snorted before he looked at the horizon. “Can you forget your wife and child, Josef?”
‘Wife and child…’ Josef froze. He subconsciously tightened his grip over his sword hilt and clenched his teeth.
When he saw Josef react this way, Samel sighed. “Yes, I know. But there are certain things that you can never regain once you lose them.” Samel watched the six figures slowly stand. His tone was melancholic. In the next moment, Samel’s befuddled gaze became resolute again. “Aside from the future, we no longer have anywhere else to go. We have nothing.”
Samel turned around and left, leaving behind Josef, who had a complicated look on his face. Josef watched the six figures before he looked at Samel’s back.
Klein walked over and asked curiously, “What’s wrong?”
Josef shook his head, turned around, and packed up his luggage. “It’s nothing.”
Under Klein’s astounded gaze, Josef grumbled indignantly. “Tsk, presumptuous citizens of the Empire.”
In the distance, Thales suppressed his urge to turn his head around, and kept pressing forward until Quick Rope’s voice rose behind him.
Thales turned his head around, surprised, and he instinctively grabbed the baggage shoved into his arms.
“Your luggage.” Quick Rope stood behind him, and he sounded a little dejected. “And… your bow.”
Quick Rope tossed the Crossbow of Time at him, throwing Thales into confusion for a while.
Quick Rope sighed and watched the Royal Guards, who stood up slowly and began to move further away from them.
“Are you sure you don’t want them? They’ll be very good aides, and they have a very rare and deep tie with you; they’re loyal to you and are willing to go through thick and thin for you.”
With some difficulty, Thales carried his luggage over his shoulders. He exhaled, smiled, and said, “Perhaps.”
Quick Rope frowned and said, “You know that your identity puts you at a disadvantage… If you have them as your subordinates, then perhaps, when you run into any accidents in the future…” He did not continue.
Thales smiled a little. ‘Yes, indeed, that’s why…’
“Disaster Swords,” Thales suddenly said, “Did you know that they deliberately find people who were forced into a corner and have fallen into the bottomless abyss? The Disaster Swords use their despair and the emptiness they feel, then give them empty promises to capture their minds. They take advantage of them, while these people are in peril and driven into a corner, then take them in as part of their own.”
Thales stared at Quick Rope, who looked puzzled, and said seriously, “Even if the person who pushed them into the abyss is not Ricky, I still hate that kind of feeling.”
Quick Rope narrowed his eyes to show that he did not understand. Thales sighed and moved his gaze away from the Royal Guards’ backs. He looked at the sky.
“It’s as if there is a hand no one can see controlling fate. It torments these pitiful souls in the dark until they are injured from head to toe, descend into madness, and are filled with despair just so that when I stand here today, they will willingly become my pawns, and I can use them as I please until we reach the conclusion that was preordained.”
Quick Rope was stunned. Thales said airily, “But I can’t do it. I can’t be that hypocritical, shameless, and selfish. They aren’t my chess pieces, just like how I am not fate’s chess piece.”
The duo remained quiet for a few seconds.
Quick Rope sighed and said, “If my father were here, he will definitely say you’re stupid.”
‘King Nuven? Yeah, maybe.’ Thales smiled.
“Did you know that Ricky said my Power of Eradication has always been moving along the flow, is fickle, and directionless? I think what he said is right. That’s why I made my own decision.” Thales stared at Quick Rope. “Just like how you made your own decision. That’s all.”
His words made Quick Rope’s expression fade away, and it was replaced by a contemplative look. A few seconds later, Quick Rope suddenly said, “You’re different now.”
Thales was surprised. “What’s different?”
Quick Rope shook his head. “I can’t tell, but…” Quick Rope frowned and evaluated Thales. Then, in all apparent seriousness, Quick Rope put on a solemn and stern expression. “I can sense it. Compared to the Thales I met in the desert… you seem to have gained something, but also lost something.”
The two faced each other and remained quiet for a few seconds. Thales raised an eyebrow and smiled, resigned. “Maybe… I grew up.”
Quick Rope raised his eyebrows.
“You know, this trip taught me many things.” Thales sighed softly and looked northwest. It was the direction from whence he came. He looked a little engrossed with the view. “In fact, I learned more… than what I learned in the past six years.”
Quick Rope watched him and sighed. “So, this is farewell. You’re going back to be a prince, right?”
Thales snapped out of his daze. With a faint feeling of sadness, he said helplessly and mockingly, “Yes, I believe so, back to the shackles of power.”
‘Shackles of power.’ Quick Rope remained quiet for several seconds.
“Thales, what do you think of my father as a king?” Quick Rope suddenly asked.
“As a king?” Thales was stunned.
‘King Nuven?’ When he recalled the name, Thales remembered many past events, and he could not help but frown. ‘Nuven the Seventh of Eckstedt… as a king…?’
While he watched Quick Rope’s expression—he could not tell whether it was grief or indignation—Thales sighed and said, “He is, without a doubt, an overlord of his generation. He was farsighted, his methods of ruling surpassed the others; he was wise, brutal, and merciless.”
‘Just… very unlucky.’ Thales lowered his head dispiritedly.
“Yes.” Quick Rope seemed to have remembered the past. He nodded absent-mindedly. “Then what do you think of yourself when you compare yourself with him, Thales Jadestar?”
‘Me? With King Nuven?’ Thales was stupefied again.
In a few seconds, he remembered King Nuven’s resolution when he challenged Poffret, his ruthlessness when he killed Alex, his might when he rebuked the archdukes, his resolve when he handed Triumph over, his bravery when he personally went out to battle the calamities, and his countless schemes plotted behind the scenes that set him and Lampard up…
Thales could not help but laugh. “No, I won’t be able to measure up to him even after I have lived out my whole life.”
Quick Rope fell silent. His facial color was not good, as though he remembered something unhappy. He spoke with a sigh a few seconds later.
“Listen, Thales, I don’t know how the wise Kings of Eckstedt like the Dragon King, Winter King, Steel Breaker King, and the Whisperer led their armies and conquered lands, neither do I know how the Kings of Constellation like the King of Renaissance, the Oath Keeper, and the Virtuous King made their countries flourish and brought about great order…”
When he said the names of these famous people, his tone was not as relaxed and humorous as usual. Instead, it was rather serious. Thales found it hard to adapt to the change.
During that second, Quick Rope’s face was stern, and it made Thales instinctively straighten his back. He felt as though the person before him had returned to becoming Moriah Walton.
“But after today, I have come to learn at least one thing.” Moriah stared at the teenager. “Thales, be it my father or my brother, they cannot hope to compare to you, not even one bit.” He shook his head slowly, and his tone was firm.
Silence fell around them, and it lasted for a very long time.
While he stared into Moriah’s firm gaze that allowed no disagreement, Thales was completely taken aback. ‘What… did he say?’
When Thales finally wrapped his head around Moriah’s words, he blurted out instinctively, “Moriah, you—”
But Moriah interrupted him. “Thales, become a king, a good one.” King Nuven’s second son drew close to him slowly and pressed a hand against Thales’ shoulder. At that moment, Prince Moriah Walton’s eyes shone with a light that was rarely seen.
“Because from today onwards, I believe that you will be much better than the other kings. You can prove that even if you are bound by the shackles of power, you can live differently.”