Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
The carriage continued to move toward Eternal Star City along the avenue under the bright sunlight. The people at both sides were blocked far away by the regular soldiers, and their faces could only be barely seen.
No one would think that this unusual carriage and tens of Royal Guards were having some strange conversation between them.
Gilbert was surprised when he saw Thales raise his right arm expressionlessly and showed the object he held in his hand through the window.
Meanwhile, Mallos, Doyle, Glover and the Royal Guards frowned. They were either doubtful, puzzled, or in disbelief.
“This is the Sentinel.”
The prince rubbed against the long and narrow sword hilt expressionlessly. He spoke with a profound tone, “It is the Ancient Empire’s national sword, forged using the skills of dwarves and elves, as well as the elites from the land and the seven seas.”
Mallos was shocked.
Doyle and Glover were stunned as well.
“Your Highness, I don’t…” The Watchman looked around and suppressed the strange glances from his subordinates.
The sound where the metal slid out of leather made Mallos’ words die in his mouth.
The young man sized up the longsword that was pulled out slowly and could feel the sword glitter coldly.
“A long time ago, it is an heirloom sword handed down through the generations of the Fakenhaz Family. It accompanied their ancestors during the Battle of Eradication. After hacking its way through many obstacles, this sword witnessed the King of Renaissance build his kingdom.
“In recent times, it acted as the most reliable blade among the Royal Guards. With its master, they helped King Aydi to get his throne together after bracing through many hardships.
In front of everyone, Thales’ finger grazed past the sharp blade before he put away the sword back into the sheath. He praised it in a low voice.
“It has extraordinary meaning.”
Perhaps it was because it could no longer withstand the pressure of the atmosphere, but Mallos’ steed let out an unnatural whine before it twisted its head anxiously.
But Mallos just sat on the saddle while his eyes shone brightly. No one could tell his emotions.
The anxiety of the warhorse affected its fellow horses. They whinnied together and made the progress of the carriage become more difficult.
Doyle tried hard to control his steed while he stared at the sword with the unique arc. He opened his mouth wide.
Glover, who was beside him, pursed his lips while comforting his own horse.
Gilbert kept looking at the sword while he thought of something.
In the next second, under the different gazes from the people, the young Duke of Star Lake said coldly without allowing anyone to question him, “Lord Mallos, from now onwards. It belongs to you.”
Thales steadily raised his right arm to deliver the hilt out of the window.
‘It belongs to you.’
The surrounding became quiet in an instant, and only the sound of wind moaning could be heard.
Gilbert snapped out of his shock, and he looked at the teenager in disbelief.
The Royal Guards around him rose into a mini clamor, while Doyle even looked as if he had seen a ghost. It was as if he had just gotten to know the prince for the first time.
Mallos frowned, and he pulled tightly on his reins.
But Thales did not give him any chance to speak.
“Of course, I do not wish for merely that.”
The young Duke continued speaking gently, “In truth, upon my return, the discussion and assumptions about this sword will flood in from the whole nation.
“People might spare no trouble and keep coming over to ask you about the secret behind this legendary sword out of curiosity, puzzlement, confusion…”
Gilbert had a slightly odd expression on his face.
“This will be especially so regarding how it left Duke Fakenhaz’s cane in Western Desert and reached Renaissance Palace in Eternal Star City. They will also ask how it went from the Prince Thales and the Duke of Star Lake’s hands into your hands in the end.
“They will also ask you the reason and meaning behind why it rotated among so many people. ”
Thales glanced at every Royal Guard coldly. His intonation rose and fell, as though he was reciting an old bardic poem.
Everyone who met his gaze subconsciously avoided his eyes, and that spanned from Doyle to Glover.
In the end, Thales switched his attention back to Mallos, who was quiet but had a deep scowl on his face.
“But I believe that you can handle it very well, yes?”
The young duke said lightly while he waved the hilt.
Everyone remained silent.
All of them looked at Mallos while waiting for his decision.
At the next second, Mallos suddenly turned around!
He gazed at everyone with blazing eyes.
And it was as if they had reached a tacit agreement, the Royal Guards turned their heads around and looked elsewhere.
They dared not look at Mallos or the Sentinel.
It was as if the former was not their superior, while the latter was not a famous sword as well.
The area around them became quiet again.
But Mallos’ expression was no longer relaxed, it had not been relaxed since a long time ago.
He pulled the reins on his steed with slightly stiff movements to force it to stay quiet.
Time seemed to become a long lost mural. It was faded and silent in the background. The mural only began flaking and peeling away following Mallos’ movements.
He stared at the Sentinel, which had half of its body revealed through the window. He spoke slowly, “Your Grace, what does this mean?”
Mallos’ words were spoken very lightly and softly, just like the sound of someone flipping through old papers.
The guards around them controlled their breathing. They dared not breathe loudly.
The logistics officer, Stone, who was at the back of the group, even gulped subconsciously.
Gilbert remained silent as well.
“What I mean is…”
Only the Duke of Star Lake reacted differently from everyone else. He smiled in a relaxed manner.
“Congratulations, Lord Mallos. From now onwards, Sentinel, which has a long history and a great meaning behind it, is the family heirloom of the noble and loyal Mallos Family, who is one of the Seven Jadestars Attendants.” Thales’ gaze met with Mallos’, like they had just confronted each other in the air.
He said softly, “Remember, pass it to your son and your grandchildren.”
Mallos sat stunned on the horse. His expression was so dark that it was as if thunderclouds were about to found above his head. He just allowed his steed to move him and make his rise up and fall down.
Thales just looked at him silently.
The guards gazed at each other with different expressions.
They had no idea what to do.
“Ahem… Although the prince appreciates you very much, I do not think this is a good time for you to receive the reward,” Gilbert said stiffly to mediate the situation.
“What do you say, Lord Mallos?”
When Doyle felt as if he had just lived through almost a century, Mallos’ voice could be heard slowly traveling into his ears, and he sounded like rock formations cracking.
“This gift is too precious, and the burden is too great. Please forgive me, but I cannot accept it.”
When he finished speaking, without waiting for Thales to respond, the Watchman struck his horse and passed by Thales’ carriage window.
Mallos schooled his face while he gave an order. “The prince is tired!
“Hurry up and continue moving!”
The Royal Guards were caught in the middle of the prince and their superior. They had long since felt uncomfortable. They turned around simultaneously and moved according to their orders.
But Thales’ voice passed through the people once again and could be clearly heard.
“This is no longer a reward!”
Everyone froze subconsciously.
The young duke who was sitting in the carriage said coldly, “It is your duty, which you cannot avoid, Lord Tormond Mallos.”
Mallos movements slowed down.
“You are the Watchman of the Royal Guards, yes?
Under everyone’s gazes, Thales put away the sword hilt in a relaxed manner and played with the black gemstone inlaid at the pommel.
“If I am not mistaken, from the time Constellation was found, this position is sacred and important, and it is second only to the guard captain.
“One of the Watchman’s duties is to protect and guard the royal family’s treasury. They are also to control the coming and going of secret treasures.”
Right after he said this, the Royal Guards in the area were stunned.
Doyle frowned and looked at the penal officer, Gray Paxton, but Gray Paxton only showed him a gloomy face.
Even Gilbert had fallen into deep thought.
Thales looked at Mallos’ back and spoke with an unquestionable tone.
“Hence, their protection duties includes protecting all the secret treasures the Jadestar Royal Family possesses, and that is where the Sentinel currently is. If I am not mistaken, that family happens to be where I belong to right now.
“You are not allowed to reject it.”
The Sentinel changed its direction after Thales flipped it around.
The duke’s young voice could be heard in everyone’s ears.
“Hold it properly, and put it in the most obvious place. Regardless of what occasion it is, I want to see it is always with you.”
The sunlight remained shining on them. The sounds of hooves could be heard thundering.
However, Mallos’ back had become totally stiff.
Doyle looked at his superior tentatively, but his superior showed no response.
After a few seconds, the Watchman’s words rose slowly.
“Misusing the rules and abusing public power to take revenge on a personal enemy should not be the quality possessed by a king, Your Grace.”
His voice was not as relaxed as it previously was. Instead, he sounded more serious and ghastly.
“I am sorry to have caused this feeling in you, Lord Mallos.”
The new Duke of Star Lake’s words sounded as if they had been said by someone before. It made everyone’s expression change.
“After entering the palace, you can always bring along this sword and raise a protest to His Majesty. You can even propose him to dismiss you from all your duties. Of course, I believe that he will still put this sword into the royal family’s treasury in the end.”
Thales narrowed his eyes and said coldly, “But before that, according to the tradition and rules, as the Watchman of the Royal Guards and the person in charge of my personal guard…
“I am afraid that you will have to prioritize your job as one of the Royal Guards over your own preferences.”
At that moment, Mallos’ arm muscles tightened.
Thales snorted gently and said at last, “Please forgive me as it is my obligation.”
Mallos still had his back turned to the carriage, and his expression could not be seen. However, the Royal Guards who drove the carriage dared not look at him face to face.
Under this still and awkward atmosphere, Thales used his hilt to knock on the window of the carriage.
At this moment, Doyle coughed hard and broke the silent with his laughter.
“Ah, about that, the lord is the Watchman, and he has a higher rank. He will need to report to the king before he receives gifts. …How about this? Our flag bearer, Hugo Fuble will record what happened today and let His Majesty to decide on this…”
Perhaps this was where his talent was, but what Doyle had said eased up the tension in the atmosphere quite a bit.
Thales frowned slightly.
Doyle rushed to the side of the window, and he showed the prince an apologetic smile.
The young duke also smiled.
“Forget it. I will not give this sword to Mallos, then.”
When he said that, everyone felt like they could sigh in relief.
The sudden address made Doyle shudder.
But he immediately noticed who called him.
“Yes… yes, Your Highness?”
He saw the duke lean against the window while he sighed.
“Did you know that sixty years ago… the widow of the Silent, Sumer the Fourth, the Witch Queen Vera from the Covendier Family worked together with the Tabark Family from Blade Edge Hill to try and murder my grandfather. They intended to crown John Jadestar king, who is the former Duke of Star Lake before me.”
Thales’ speaking tone was very mysterious, and every noun that appeared from his mouth could stir up the people’s hearts even more.
The Royal Guards were in an uproar again, and even Gilbert could not control his facial expression.
Perhaps it was because his attitude right now differed too greatly from his previous image, and perhaps it was because there were simply too many secrets contained in his words, but Doyle was completely stunned at first before he gave an incredibly unnatural response.
But Thales did not really care. He only looked at the Sentinel in his hands.
“In that year, because of this legendary sword and the one who used it, my grandfather did not lose the throne, and he was smoothly crowned.”
Doyle quirked his eyebrows. He wanted to show a questioning glance at his superior, but Mallos did not turn around at all.
“Can you feel that?”
The prince’s expression slowly turned serious.
“Can you feel the rain of blood between the royal family and the two Great Clans who had been granted their feudal territories that happened sixty years agos?”
‘Rain of blood…’
Doyle’s eyelids twitched.
But Thales did not give him a chance to answer, “Today, I have decided to give Sentinel to you, Protector Danny Doyle.”
At that moment, Doyle was shocked.
The Duke of Star Lake turned to Doyle and gave him Sentinel.
“As one of the six guards who is the most reliable. Continue to do well.”
Thales winked with his left eye.
“Do not disgrace it.”
Just like his other comrades, Doyle was stunned to the ground.
“Al-what… What?” He subconsciously nodded when he stared at that sword. He came to realize something after that, and he was instantly so terrified that his face turned pale!
However, Doyle responded very fast. Before his peers gave him sympathetic gazes, he became serious all of a sudden. He straightened his back and held the weapon by his waist in an elegant and straightforward manner.
“Ahem, no. Your Highness, in fact, the sword I have was passed down to me by my grandmother…”
A slightly rueful expression appeared on Doyle’s face, but he quickly became steadfast again right after that. He looked just like a loyal teenager who was encouraged by something,
“I swore in front of my grandmother’s grave that before it is broken, I will be loyal to it…”
Thales sneered, and he shook Sentinel.
“So, you do not want it?”
“Even if it is a national sword of the Ancient Empire?”
Doyle shook his head so much that he looked like a rattling drum.
“Alright.” Thales felt a slight hint of pity. He sighed.
It was only then that Doyle felt relieved.
While Doyle sighed in relief and Thales suddenly called out another name, Glover, who was nearly expressionless, became tensed. Then, he stared at the prince with a wary look.
He saw Thales smile and wave at him.
“I heard that your grandfather used to serve as a Royal Guard too, and he had a high position.
“Then, I believe that the family that is most suitable to inherit this weapon should be the Glover Family…”
Glover shuddered slightly.
But he subconsciously shook his head resolutely.
Thales’ smile froze slightly.
“No? You do not want it as well?”
Glover’s expression remained as impassive as ever, and he shook his head like a puppet.
Thales sighed heavily again.
When he raised his head again, he suddenly realized that at some point of time, the Royal Guards who surrounded the carriage had turned their faces away. They either performed their duties for reconnaissance or put on airs to chat around with their peers.
Even Doyle had engaged Glover in a conversation, even though Glover did not say anything. He seemed to be talking and laughing.
Thales could not help but shake his head in resignation. He turned around and met Gilbert’s gaze. The man had a strange expression on his face.
“Then, I can only tell them that regardless of whether it is Mallos, Doyle, or the Glover Family, they do not care about Sentinel, which represents the connection between a Great Clan and Renaissance Palace. They cast it aside without any hesitation…”
Mallos’ horse had its hooves shudder slightly, while Doyle’s smile started to freeze.
Meanwhile, the prince smiled. He extended the longsword out of the carriage with an expression of regret.
“On the first day I came back, they cast Sentinel by the road… It is lost ever since.”
In the next second, Thales let go without any hesitation.
Right before the Royal Guards’ incredulous gazes, Sentinel, the previous national sword of the Ancient Empire, the family heirloom of the Fakenhaz Family, and a sword with an extraordinary meaning, was thrown out of the carriage. It fell on the ground, alone and helpless.
Quite a large amount of dust flew in the air.
Doyle’s eyeballs almost popped out of their sockets. Glover also pulled on his reins tightly.
A few guards subconsciously tugged their reins and made their horses change direction to avoid stepping on the sword which had been passed down for a long time.
Within an instant, the entire carriage formation became slightly messy.
Mallos turned his head around swiftly and stared at the young duke, who did not seem to care about the sword at all.
He gave an order through his eyes, and Doyle immediately struck his horse to catch up. He wanted to pick up Sentinel before it was buried under dust and dirt.
“Very good, D.D.”
Thales’ elbow was placed at the window of the carriage. His eyes lit up.
“Thank you. In the end, you accepted this weapon that no one has the courage to take.”
Doyle had already stretched his body halfway out of his horse when he heard those words. He froze while airborne.
His feet were hooked to the stirrups. His hand hovered above Sentinel. He was only one foot away from the hilt.
Doyle might have a strange posture, but it showed that his expertise in his horsemanship, but that was only if no one looked at his expression.
“Remember, it carries a significant meaning, you must treat it right…” Thales stared at Doyle with great interest. The latter seemed to be frozen above the longsword.
In the end, Mallos tugged on the reins and had his horse turn around. He looked angry.
“Your Highness, what are you trying to do?”
The entire carriage team stopped for that.
Gilbert sighed. The way he looked at Thales was a bit complicated.
Doyle, who had remained frozen in the air, seemed to have been pardoned. He immediately rushed back on his saddle in a flurry of limbs. He did not even take a look at that special sword anymore.
“What do I want?”
Thales repeated this line slowly, and his tone became serious.
He turned to Mallos. His originally relaxed expression became very serious.
“It is very simple.”
Thales scanned every Royal Guard and spoke softly, “I wanted to tell you this, ‘The meaning behind this sword is very profound and grave.’”
Mallos’ eyes flickered slightly.
“It carries a weight placed on it by many people in Central Territory, Western Desert, Constellation, and Eckstedt.
“It is so heavy that sometimes, I am not entirely sure whether I can take it up.”
Doyle and Glover looked at each other at a loss.
“So, when my mission conflicts with yours.” Thales stared at the Watchman’s expression. The rhythm in his words made his tone so tense that it sounded as if a string had been stretched taut.
“I hope that what all of you can do is not just telling me that you are sorry, my dear personal guards.”
No one answered, including Mallos.
Thales looked elsewhere, shifting the warning look in his eyes away. He sat up straight.
He said faintly, “And if next time, all of you must put His Majesty’s orders and my will on the opposite sides of the chess board…Then it will do you best to decide whether you, who are in the middle of it all, can pick up this damn sword.”
The Royal Guards were silent.
Even Mallos came to a stop, and his gaze on Thales was very complicated.
Thales knocked on the coach and stared coldly at Sentinel, which was still on the ground. “Because no matter how troublesome my wishes are for you, do not forget that there are plenty of way more troublesome matters compared to what you consider as trouble in the world.”
At that moment, Thales felt slightly satisfied, and he suddenly understood something.
Fakenhaz had not just given him a sword, but a direction.
Thales leaned back against his original place when he thought of this matter in this manner.
“Sorry, my mood is not good today. D.D., could you bring my sword back to me?”
Doyle shuddered. When he was about to bow down and take the sword, he hesitated for a while again.
“Are you saying… yo-your sword?”
Thales released out his breathe. “Yes.”
He showed Doyle a friendly smile through the window.
“It is ‘my’ sword.”
Thales said in a profound manner.
“Because except for me, no one can carry it.”
Mallos remained silent.
Hence, while everyone looked at him, Doyle quickly scooped up Sentinel with extreme care. He then swiftly handed it back to the prince. He looked as though he would be in trouble if he slowed down even just the slightest bit.
Thales held the sword and touched its arc. He sighed softly.
“Now, because of all of you, this sword is full of dust and made the carriage very dirty.” Thales lowered Sentinel and looked at his personal guards calmly. “So, before we go back to Renaissance Palace… I need to go out and have some fresh air outside. It will be best if you get me an obedient, tame, tall, strong, and good horse.”
With sparkling eyes, he stared at Mallos, who was the leader.
“Do you have any problem with that.”
Under his peers’ tense and uneasy stares, Mallos did not say anything. He just scowled deeply.
After a few minutes, Thales rose comfortably on a horse while he swayed and rose and fell while he followed the Royal Guards move forward slowly.
He was relieved when he saw the view of the suburbs in Eternal Star City.
The Royal Guards tugged the cloaks that hid their identities. Their formation seemed messy, but in truth, their formation surrounded him tightly.
Besides, Mallos also rejected Gilbert’s request to lift the Nine-Pointed Star Flag. He let the carriage go through first before he disguised himself as a regular soldier who was in charge of taking over guard duty.
‘But… this is just a beginning, isn’t it?’ Thales whispered in his mind.
“You have not just grown up, you have also become… different from before.” Gilbert sighed a little while riding on another horse.
Thales lowered his head, and his feelings were difficult to be described.
Gilbert nodded. His eyes were full of sentimentality.
“Just now, there was a moment where I thought I was back to the time when I was thirty-five years old.”
Thales raised his head.
He let out a long sigh and seemed to have returned to the past.
“Yes, because I went to Broken Dragon Fortress when I was at that age.”
Thales was shocked.
‘Broken Dragon Fortress?’
“It was also at that place where I met him for the first time over there.”
Thales frowned. “Who did you see?”
The Foreign Affairs Minister paused for a moment. “Him.”
There was a hint of charm and wariness in Gilbert’s voice at the same time.
“My negotiating opponent, the overlord of Eckstedt, the Born King, Nuven the Seventh.”
Thales was stunned when he heard this name.
When he faced Gilbert’s gratified and respectful gaze, he glanced at the walking crowd and the scenery with a dazed look.
He did not respond even after a long time had passed.