Kingdom's Bloodline Chapter 507


Chapter 507 Hometown

Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation  Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation

Blue sky, white clouds, bright sky, and a light breeze.

Under the Double Cross-Shaped Stars Flag that fluttered high in the sky, the regular soldiers that are under the command of Central Territory surrounded the city walls in an orderly fashion while they headed to the military camp located at the suburbs south of the capital.

Dozens of cavaliers among them had cloaks on while they surrounded a carriage. This group had left the team a long time ago to head to Eternal Star City.

The city defense team had received news a long time ago, and they had taken action earlier at the city gate to limit the flow of people. They cleared the tunnel and acted based on the rules to clear the path for unique messengers. They chased away the citizens to the other side of the street, and the citizens were already used to this. Once the city defense officer saw the warrant and emblem from the leader, he respectfully received the dozens of knights who kept their identities hidden in the city, and he did so while keeping a low profile.

Quite a number of passersby, from coachmen who leisurely drove their carriages to merchants who were in a hurry to go somewhere, gestured at the group with curiosity, especially at the carriage in the middle. However, no one showed extreme astonishment.

Compared to the people from the other places, the citizens in the capital could be considered to be people who have seen many things, and they could remain no matter what happened. They stood above others right from the moment they were born, and they had even witnessed the major event of Constellation’s National Conference acknowledging the second prince. What other rare event could shock them?

Hence, the carriage surrounded and protected by the knights got through the city gate smoothly. It entered the main street, and under the curious gazes of the citizens by the street, they continued forward.

A figure who seemed to be thinner that the rest in the group stretched his neck out while he sat on his saddle.

Gilbert rode forward slowly and nodded in a show of consideration. “Your Highness, welcome back to Eternal Star City. Welcome home.”

The thin figure did not answer. He only trembled slightly.

‘Eternal Star City. Home.’

In his daze, he stared at the sentry towers for the city defense team, which towered over his head, and sighed under his cloak.

A few seconds later, Thales turned his head and forced out a slightly absent-minded smile.

“Thank you.”

The knights in the group moved forward quickly. The cloaked prince no longer spoke, and Gilbert, who had always been a sensible person, stopped speaking as well.

‘Home.’

Thales sensed the tremors that came from the horses when they stomped their hooves against the ground. Through the gaps between the Royal Guards, he quietly watched everything around him.

The main street was connected to countless alleys and forks. The houses were in rows, and they were positioned in such a way that they looked like well-cut pastries. The various shops were also in business while their signs fluttered in the wind…

There were citizens who chattered with each other while they surrounded the municipal administration bulletin board. There were women who held wooden basins with one hand while they headed to Shepherd’s River to wash their clothes. There were also foreigners who stood at the middle of the streets and had wide eyes as well as confused looks on their faces…

There were exasperated coachmen who lashed on inferior horses so that their carriages could go faster. There were priests who stood on wooden boxes at the corners of the streets while they tried their best to spread their religion with red faces. There were police officers and public security teams who stood in orderly teams…

They were like a picture that had been frozen in time.

However…

“Strange…”

Thales said instinctively. He sensed that his eyebrows had furrowed, as if a weight had settled on it. He also instinctively pursed his lips.

A strange feeling that he could not quite describe surged into his heart without him being able to control it. But at the moment that emotion was about to surface, it came to a halt.

It was like a water bucket suddenly knocking against the wall of well when it reached the mouth of the well, the person who had been lifting bucket would then let go of the rope, and the bucket fell back into the well.

Countless splashes rose when it hit the water, and the echoes traveled into the air.

It made him feel as if something was missing.

After they witnessed the sword delivery scene, the Royal Guards around him, including the smooth-talking Doyle and the expressionless Glover became very high in spirits. Their backs were straight, and they kept a wide distance from Thales. They no longer acted as they did while they were on the roar. They no longer snuck glances at the Duke of Star Lake occasionally.

Only Gilbert remained by his side while he spoke softly, “Your Grace, you have been in the north for many years. It is only natural that your memories of Eternal Star City have become faint…”

Thales snapped awake from his complicated thoughts.

Gilbert’s expression remained calm. He continued speaking, “For example, this street in which we travel into the city is part of the Avenue of Blessings. It is rather chaotic, because this place is rather close to—”

At this moment…

“Western City Gate.” The prince’s voice rose airily. “I know.”

Gilbert stopped speaking.

Thales raised his head slowly, and with an emotion he could not understand, he stared into the distance.

“This place is close to Western City Gate…”

‘Western City Gate.’

The Duke of Star Lake’s voice was like a sound reverberating in an empty valley, like a clear stream washing over stones.

There was a strange melancholy in his voice.

Gilbert was stunned for a brief moment.

But against his expectation, the duke only paused for a moment before he snorted softly.

“It can be considered as Eternal Star City’s most interesting place. Farmers, vendors, messengers, government officials, police officers, soldiers, priests, beggars, brave adventurers, curious travelers, and despicable foreigners…

“You can find all the people in the capital here.”

Thales stared at the crowd who avoided them at the two sides of the street. He felt as if he was looking at the most interesting story book. His lips quirked slightly.

“But you must be careful. Do not linger around and refuse to leave after you force your way on this clean and tidy main street, or else the responsible city defense team and public security team will let you know what the might of the king is.

“Because even one strand of hair from a high class horse breed on this street might be so expensive that it could kill a vagabond.”

It might not be just one life.

Thales stared at the tiles under the horse hooves in an absent-minded state, and his thoughts wandered.

During that moment, Gilbert stared at Thales with a complicated expression.

“I remember that place.” There was a barely noticeable smile on Thales’ face. He pointed at a fork in the distance. “It leads to Lower City District.”

The duke’s voice rose airily. “If you take that path, you will first reach the grand bazaar.”

Gilbert frowned lightly. He looked as if he wanted to say something, but stopped. But Thales only continued staring in that direction with a dazed look.

“The prices of the goods there are cheap, and there are all sorts of items sold. It is the heaven of the poor citizens in the city when they wanted to earn a living. However, it has its own rules, and the things that go behind the scenes are rather deep. If a foreigner first enters that place, it will be hell for them.

“The streets in the grand bazaar are not easy to traverse. The terrain is a mess, and the layout is complicated. There are many vendors whose stalls are already designated to them, and they are spies in those areas. However, when you flip it around, it becomes very easy to hide and conceal yourself in those places. Of course, there are also street barricades and group fights in there.

“Half of the regular vendors there have connections with Black Street Brotherhood. There are also some who send messages to Blood Bottle Gang. After all, their supply of goods is complicated, and it is difficult to track them down. The grand bazaar is also the best channel to handle unlawful goods and also clear the name for something that is considered stolen goods.”

‘It is also the place with the most travelers and fat wallets.’ Thales thought in his heart.

“Your Highness…” Right when Gilbert wanted to say something, Thales interrupted him again.

“If you continue heading north and go past the grand bazaar, there is a dirt road that leads down to Stink Grove and Downstream Canal.”

The sorrow of remembering something rose in Thales’ eyes.

“That place belongs to Iron Bat Organization. Its earliest members are sewage cleaners and trench diggers. They earn a living in the sewage system spread all over the city. They do dirty private work such as human trafficking, smuggling goods, and distributing drugs using their geographical advantage,” Thales said while feeling disconcerted, “However, they are very aware of the current situation. They are one of the earliest groups that surrendered their territory to Black Street Brotherhood, and it is the reason why they have dragged out their feeble existence until now. If you have contraband goods and do not fear death, you might be able to get a good price from them.”

‘Or be deeply regretful.’

The group took a turn into another large street. The noise from the streams of people moving about ahead of them became louder. At the same time, rhythmic and melodious music as well as passionate and excited shouts could be heard.

“Run! Ignorant Northlanders! Run! Because all of you will be destroyed here! Because I have descended with a calamity!” A loud shout rose and shot through the crowd.

A row of tall houses made of stone appeared in front of the Royal Guards. Ahead of the tall houses was a square, and there was a stage there. Quite a number of citizens surrounded the stage, and they gestured at the actors on the stage.

“Dark Night Temple.” Thales moved past the knights and stared at the actors acting with all their had on the stage. He listened to the exciting music by his ears, and he watched this group of worshippers who specialized in handling funerals and who did not even have an idol to worship. There was nostalgia on his face.

“They are the only group of worshippers located beyond Morning Star Region.”

This time, Gilbert listened to him quietly.

“They never care about the cost and the price required for them to produce their plays. They write new scripts every year, and the props, stage set up, sound effects, and actors are all great. They never run out of an audience. There are far too many people who love watching something entertaining in the capital.”

But Thales snorted. “But a pity, the plays they put up are all really bad. It is either Dark Night descending to the face of earth personally to save humankind for some strange reason, or it is about how Dark Night will eventually rule over the world. Perhaps Dark Night Temple thinks that as long as they repeat it enough, the people in the world will treat it as the truth.”

‘Of course, they might actually be right. Wait.’

When he said this, Thales stared at the plump actor who was dressed in a costume with a lot of red tentacles that made him look like an octopus. He was drenched in sweat, but he still cried out at the top of his voice. Thales realized that something was off.

“What play are they putting up today?”

At that moment, a gentle and calm male voice butt into their conversation.

“Night Descends in Dragon Clouds City.”

Thales and Gilbert turned around at the same time. They saw the leader of the group, Watchman Mallos ride to their side.

“Today is Monday. They have to put up plays depicting something major.”

Mallos stared at the stage with an indifferent face. That place was now surrounded to the point where not a trickle of water could flow through even if it wanted to.

“They are putting up a play where the calamity showed up on a peninsula that no one knows about, rampages the north, and even killed a king.”

‘Calamity. North. King.’

Thales’ expression changed slightly.

Mallos stared at the ludicrous actor who was dressed like an octopus and continued speaking, “Finally, Dark Night God descended. It showed its might, summoned the great dragon, and when night almost came to an end, the calamity was defeated, and it disappeared without a trace.”

Thales raised his eyebrow.

‘Great dragon. Before night ended.’

“Really?” the prince asked with a frown.

Mallos snorted lightly. Gilbert took over the conversation.

“A few years ago, all sorts of rumors flew about when the news about the abnormality in Dragon Clouds City to the capital.”

The Foreign Affairs Minister shook his head in resignation.

“From then on, the show about the calamities and the apocalypse became popular.”

‘Calamity. Apocalypse.’

Thales stared at the red octopus that was “slaughtering the people without restraint”.

“So, Dark Night Temple thinks that the calamity is that monster, the hydra?”

Mallos fell silent.

They left the theater behind them, and in the end, it was far away from their sight.

One second later, the watchman nodded, and he cast the prince a sideways glance.

“What else?”

Thales had to avoid his gaze, which had suddenly become sharp, and nodded.

“You are right, too.”

Mallos still remained calm. “And if you do not mind, Your Highness, Your Grace.”

Thales raised his head slowly.

“You should not still have such a deep understanding of Eternal Star City six years later, especially in regards to Lower City District.” Mallos was expressionless, but his words were profound. “After all, everyone knows that you were raised by Lord Mahn.”

Once he finished saying this, Mallos raised his reins and rode ahead of them.

‘Should not still have such a deep understanding of Eternal Star City…’

As he stared at the watchman ahead of him, Thales’ gaze became solemn.

“He knows about my past?”

Gilbert seemed to be slightly awkward. He coughed.

“Lord Mallos has been sent to be your personal guard, and he is in charge of leading your other personal guards. It is only natural that His Majesty trusts him.”

‘Leading my other personal guards.

‘Of course His Majesty trusts him.

‘His Majesty.’

Thales continued staring at Mallos’ back. After some time, he said slowly, “Is it?”

Thales tightened his grip over the reins.

“So… is he Thales’ personal guard, or the prince and the duke’s personal guard?”

Right after he said those words, Gilbert was instantly rendered speechless.

His expression became incredibly sour, but the Foreign Affairs Minister only lowered his head. In the end, he said nothing.

The Royal Guards continued moving forward. They moved past a slope and arrived on another street.

Strangely, even though this street was wide and it was daytime, it was empty. There were only a few people who moved about hurriedly on the street.

Thales could not help but remember Ghost Prince Tower.

‘But why is this place so…’

This time, Thales was stunned.

During that instant, countless memories surged into his mind.

“I know this place, Gilbert.”

The teenager looked around himself and said in great sentiment, “If we enter through this entrance, we will reach…”

Thales spoke in a daze, “We will reach…”

Gilbert stared at the spot where Thales pointed, and he instantly blushed.

“Your Highness, perhaps you do not know…”

Thales shook his head.

“I know.” The duke withdrew his finger and stared at the indistinct houses further down the street. “That is Red Street Market.”

Thales felt as if his blood had stopped flowing for a moment.

“It occupies one side of Shepherd’s River, and the other side is occupied by Linhe Street. It is a place located at the southernmost part of Western District. Even though it’s not located in a good location, when night falls, it will become the place that officials and aristocrats will visit the most.”

He said absent-mindedly, “In the past, Blood Bottle Gang practically monopolized the business here, and this lasted until six years ago.”

Gilbert sucked in a deep breath before he exhaled slowly.

“Your Highness, Lord Mallos has just reminded—”

But Thales ignored him.

The teenage duke stared at the entrance that became further and further away from them. He subconsciously pressed against his chest, and there was a misty look in his eyes.

“In the past, if the child-beggars were lucky, they could get rewards that they could never dream of.”

‘Such as… a silver coin that can change your fate.’

Gilbert sighed in resignation again. He no longer tried to advise the prince, who could not quite control his emotions right then. Instead, he schooled his face and listened quietly.

The knights never stopped moving. Very soon, more things caused Thales’ emotions to surge.

“Did you know that if you continue on in this direction and move past three living areas that are stuffed full with lower class people, you will reach Lower City District?”

Thales pointed at a tattered opening in the distance and said, “Then, you will see Black Street.”

‘The legendary Black Street.’

In the face of Gilbert’s silence, Thales shook his head slowly, and his tone was downcast.

“The people who want to settle down there must be ruthless enough or brave enough.”

‘Or… be in a sufficient amount of despair.’

“Not far from it is a street with a low terrain. Everyone calls it the underground market.”

‘Underground market.’

Thales breathed in a daze. At some point of time, the place he described had already disappeared from his sight.

“Every time it rains, that place will be flooded, that’s why all the houses and shops over there, along with Grove Pharmacy, which is at the corner, will have a moldy smell.”

‘Grove Pharmacy.’

The more Thales spoke, the more complicated his emotions became.

“Aside from Sunset Pub, Grove Pharmacy is located at the highest and best section. Besides the back alley, which is filled with trash, that place is seldom flooded. Every few people dare to cause trouble there too. They have to be careful when they want to attack their target in case they offend the wrong person.”

‘Sunset Pub.’

The teenager paused for a moment, and he felt his breath hitch for a moment.

A certain graceful figure entered his mind, and it allowed him to quell his emotions in time.

“And beside the underground market…”

Thales sucked in a deep breath and looked at the streets in Eternal Star City. He felt his right hand tremble slightly.

By his side, Gilbert pursed his lips tightly.

“By the side…” Thales gulped. “…is a group of abandoned stone houses.”

His voice quivered slightly.

“Over there are child vagabonds who have no place to go. About half of the city’s child vagabonds are gathered there.”

The sounds of the horses in the group galloping continued. The guards’ wariness never decreased.

However, the Duke of Star Lake in the group slowly lowered his head.

Even Gilbert had a grave expression on his face.

A few seconds later…

“Gilbert, I never managed to ask in time in the past.”

The teenager’s voice rose airily while he rose his horse.

“But regarding the matter I asked of you six years ago…”

Gilbert’s expression changed slightly. “Oh, of course. Your search for certain books and the archduchess’ gift…”

But Thales interrupted him.

“No, Gilbert.”

The prince raised his head. His gaze was a little unfocused, but a few seconds later, clarity returned to his eyes.

“You know what I am talking about.”

Thales stared at Gilbert, as if he was the way out for a man who had lost his path.

Gilbert sighed, “Lord Mallos mentioned just now—”

The duke interrupted him again.

“Gilbert, I am begging you.” There was a slight, urgent look in Thales’ eyes. “Please.”

The group continued moving forward. At some unknown point of time, they had already left the west side of Eternal Star City. The chaotic alleys and forks disappeared, and they were replaced by wide, orderly, and smooth roads.

“No, Your Highness.” In the end, Gilbert sighed, and it was difficult for him to hide the fatigue on his face. “I am terribly sorry.”

Thales did not speak.

He only waited quietly.

“I have asked for the favor from various sides, from the Town Hall to the police station to sweep through the city, especially targeting Lower City District and Western District, in the name of clearing the city and cleaning up the streets…”

Just as he expected, when Gilbert spoke, his voice was filled with regret.

“However, as if you know, whenever that time happens, aside from catching a few ‘evil forces’ to placate the people so that the people could continue praising the stability in our society and so that their lives became better…” Gilbert paused for a moment. “In just one night, those ugly people and matters strangely vanished, and we have no place to start our investigations.”

Thales stared at the ground.

When Gilbert looked at the teenagers, he found himself lacking the courage to face him.

“My friends have also deliberately searched through the entirety of the underground market and Abandoned House, which you mentioned.”

Gilbert shook his head in disappointment.

“Of course, based on usual practice, on that day, the underground market turned into a place that is made up entirely of antique shops and funeral homes. It has also turned into a foul smelling garbage dump. The gazes of the grave diggers and those who carry corpses are foolish, sincere, innocent, and helpless. No matter how the police officers cause trouble to them or interrogate them, they will only manage to catch a few thieves who are worthless. They will also bring out a huge group of poor citizens who struggle to have adequate food and clothing. They will grumble incessantly, and it forces the officials to stop their investigations.

“It is the same for Abandoned House. Just like the dozens of investigations launched by the Town Hall previously, that place has already turned into a garbage dump that no one visits. It is also an ominous place to abandon corpses. There are only around a dozen vagabonds and lunatics who cannot even speak coherently there now.

“We did not manage to find anyone.”

Thales clenched his fists tightly.

During that instant, he felt his chest ache slightly.

It was as if the wound from six years ago still burned.

The group passed by a crowd that seemed to have gathered together to watch a variety show. The prince’s steed neighed, and it caused the horses around it to become uneasy and restless.

The Royal Guards swiftly calmed their steeds’ restlessness and changed their formation to distance themselves from the vaudevillians.

But Thales did not pay attention to this. He was thinking about something else.

Black Street Brotherhood and Blood Battle Gang had their own ways to handle matters when they come in the face of authority.

They will reduce everything to zero, cast away a part of themselves in order to survive.

Once trouble was over, they will build their nest again, and everything will go on as usual.

Thales breathed laboriously.

“Then… what about Red Street Market?”

Gilbert paused for a moment.

“Your Highness, I am afraid that my friend’s level of authority is not high enough for him to be able to publicly check Red Street Market. The ties behind that place…”

Thales closed his eyes and lowered his head.

“I understand Gilbert.”

The teenager opened his eyes.

“You need someone who understands the trade and truly understands the situation around the city, not some government official who stands high above the others and does not understand the suffering of the people.”

Gilbert did not answer immediately. He seemed to be thinking of something.

But a few seconds later, he still spoke.

“My friend has indeed suggested something to me before. Your Highness, if you can offer a bounty in the black market that is something that is only ever dreamed of but is an insignificant amount to us, in a few months’ time, useful clues will appear on your table like mushrooms after a shower.”

But Gilbert’s gaze changed slightly.

“And this means that you will leave behind a clue no one can wipe away to the ambitious people who are keeping an eye on us.”

Thales scowled.

“We discussed this six years ago.”

Gilbert nodded resolutely, and his gaze was stern.

“And the conclusion we reached at that time is useful even now.”

Thales sighed.

Gilbert continued speaking softly.

“With your current status, it will not be good for your friends to have any sort of connection with you. Their best course of action is to sink into a crowd where no one can find them and forget everything related to you.”

The further he spoke, the more serious Gilbert’s tone became.

But Thales felt terribly upset, and he did not know where he should begin digesting Gilbert’s words.

“What about the Secret Intelligence Department?”

Thales ignored his words and continued his line of questioning, “Have you asked them? They are the ones who the most suited for this task.”

Gilbert frowned.

“Gilbert?” Thales urged him for an answer.

A few seconds later, the Foreign Affairs Minister finally sighed.

“A few years ago, at the end of the period before you returned to the kingdom and when the news of your return was still not widespread, I tried asking Lord Hansen.”

‘Lord Hansen.’

When he heard the name, Thales felt a sense of discomfort rise out of the blue.

“However, during the past few years, he had reduced the number of his appearances—which had always been few and far in between, mind you. Now, he practically does not appear, not even during the Imperial Conferences.”

Thales frowned even more.

“Then we can try that person from the Secret Intelligence Department—”

Before he could finish his sentence, Gilbert had already took over his sentence.

“The young Barren Bone Man, your old friend who went through certain trials and tribulations with you?”

Thales cast him a glance and nodded.

“I tried.”

Gilbert shook his head expressionlessly.

“The entire Secret Intelligence Department, all the people I have come into contact, from the top ranks to the bottom ranks, unanimously deny that they do not have a colleague named Raphael Lindbergh.”

Thales was stunned.

“They denied he exists? Even if he appeared in public six years ago in the Hall of Stars?”

In the face of the prince’s incredulous retort, Gilbert still shook his head.

“At the very least, this person does not exist in Eternal Star City. It is either this, or he is not allowed to exist.”

Thales understood what he meant. The teenager asked in disbelief, “The Secret Intelligence Department rejected your request?”

Gilbert sighed faintly.

“Not exactly.”

“What do you mean?”

Gilbert patted the horse beneath him, as if he was thinking of a way to cut into this conversation.

“You know this, Your Highness. Putray’s specialty lies in prying for information and planning operations, but my specialty lies in overseeing the people who do these things, and based from their attitude and how they do things, I can tell…” Gilbert raised his head slightly and cast Thales a glance. “…that the Secret Intelligence Department has quite the prejudice against you.”

Thales was stunned.

“Me? Prejudice?”

Thales reacted to the situation, and during that instance, he felt that the situation was so absurd that he wanted to laugh because of anger.

“What a joke. I am the pitiful person who had to leave my home for six years because of what they did!”

But Gilbert only shook his head worriedly.

“I do not know what they think, but Your Highness, please forgive me for being straightforward, each king has always maintained a good relationship with their Chief of Intelligence and the Secret Intelligence Department…”

The group continued moving forward, but Gilbert’s words had already traveled into Thales’ ears.

The duke scratched his neck in displeasure, and he felt indignant.

“But I just want to search for a few people…”

Gilbert shook his head.

“Are you talking about the child vagabonds to whom no one pays attention to and who are nameless, who went missing for six years during that chaotic night in the notorious Lower City District?”

During that instant, Thales raised his head swiftly!

“Yes.” He stared at Gilbert seriously, and there was a stern look in his eyes. It made the Foreign Affairs Minister slightly dazed. “Along… with a female bartender.”

Gilbert quirked his eyebrows. He followed the natural course of action and nodded. “Along with a female bartender.”

The two of them were silent for a few seconds.

‘Went missing for six years. No one pays attention to. Nameless.’

Thales repeated Gilbert’s words in his heart quietly.

“And they are not people to whom no one pays attention to. They are not nameless as well,” Thales whispered.

The small figures rose before his eyes.

Gilbert watched him. There was gratification in his eyes, along with deep regret.

“Your Highness, pardon for my straightforwardness. It is very easy to search for their whereabouts, as long as we launch an operation that is of a large enough scale.”

Thales looked up.

“But what happens after you find them?” Gilbert’s expression turned serious. “Have you ever thought about what sort of effect you might bring to them if you reward, pay them for their kindness, or even observe them in the dark?

“Doing something is easy, but if you want to handle the countless consequences that this matter will bring perfectly, it will be very difficult.”

Thales wanted to say something, but he found himself speechless for a moment.

Gilbert said solemnly, “It is especially so when you returned under the gazes of the public. If this continues, sooner of later, someone will notice your actions, and we cannot hope for them to be kind and uphold moral principles.

“Nothing good will happen to either side who is involved in this.”

Thales closed his eyes in agony.

“Perhaps on the day you find them, you will end up causing their deaths.” The Foreign Affairs Minister’s voice became tense.

‘Find them, and cause their deaths.’

There was great distress in Gilbert’s words as he said, “Hence, I will sincerely suggest to you that for your sake and for that sake, give up. Do not search for them any longer, Your Highness.”

‘Give up? Give up.’

After a long while, Thales finally opened his eyes.

He watched the ground beneath the horse’s hooves fall back, and he could not help but be a little dazed.

“Gilbert,” Thales said slowly. His voice was hoarse. “You have known about this since the beginning, yes?”

Gilbert asked curiously, “Know about what?”

Thales sighed. “Six years ago, when we were in Mindis Hall, you told me that once my confinement ends, I can search for my friends.”

Gilbert’s expression changed slightly.

“And once I became the prince, you even said that I can only search for my friends once I am no longer in the limelight.”

The Foreign Affairs Minister did not speak.

“I went to Northland, and you wrote a letter to me saying that you found a few reliable clues, and you are searching for them.”

Thales sucked in a deep breath. “At that time, I believed in you, but now…”

The Duke of Star Lake looked up and stared into Gilbert, who was silent. He said affirmatively, “You knew all along.”

With an emotion Thales could not put to words, the prince said hoarsely and calmly, “Right from the beginning, when I arrived in Mindis Hall, you knew that I could never look for them again. Never. That is why from that period of time onwards, you have only… you have only…”

Thales was speechless for a moment. He could not continue speaking.

However, during that instant, all that happened in Mindis Hall six years ago suddenly became unfamiliar.

All the scenes vanished from his sights.

Gilbert closed his eyes and turned his head away.

He did not answer.

Thales lowered his head as well and did not continue asking any questions.

But he knew that Eternal Star City, Abandoned House, Mindis Hall…

He could no longer return to these places, his homes that he once thought he knew.