Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
“We could not keep this place secure.”
Glover guided his steed with a serious expression while he stood in front of the wide and exquisite iron gate, which could be opened on both sides. He stared at the refined garden and the fountain in the middle that was made in Dragon-Kissed Land. He also sized up the three-story house, which had a huge pillared corridor, before his eyes.
“What, what?” Next to him, Protector Doyle, who was checking his steed’s mouth, asked in puzzlement.
Around them were Royal Guards who were sent to protect the prince. They followed the Royal Family etiquette officer and administrative officer from the Town Hall while they entered the beautiful manor in an orderly fashion. They took over the positions of the local servants and guards, who were mostly from the Jadestar Private Army and were summoned here from Central Territory and were overwhelmed by the attention, and also spread propaganda.
“It has a complex terrain, a troublesome outpost, useless decorations, and a Jadestar Private Army with soldiers that are recruited from other places.” Vanguard Glover glanced around from the walls around the main gate to the backyard in the distance. The wary look in his eyes grew stronger.
“As well as a garden maze that is larger than Northern Territory.”
The vanguard looked around while the area around him was filled with a busy atmosphere and was bustling with activity. He passed the steed to one of his subordinates in the Vanguard Division. He frowned even more.
“More than Northern Territory…” Doyle spoke subconsciously by his side. He immediately understood something and smiled brightly.
“Relax, Zombie. This is Mindis Hall, not Broken Dragon Fortress.”
Doyle did not care about the vanguard’s expression. He stuffed the reins into another guard’s hands in an incredibly natural manner. He then saw the guard showing an unhappy face that said, “Where did you people from the Defense Division go?” while he led the steed away. Then, he finally turned around in satisfaction.
“And we are not here for a war.”
Glover snorted through his nose.
He looked at the avenue outside the metal gate and glanced at the house at the end of the garden before he said coldly,
“The prince should live in Renaissance Palace,” the vanguard spoke with a drawl, and there seemed to be a profound meaning behind his words.
But Doyle clicked his tongue and shook his head.
“No, no, no, although we were not familiar with each other previously, I know the Vanguard Division don’t perform sentry duties often…”
Glover pursed his lips.
“I don’t understand Tormond Hall and Silent Room very well, but those places are where the king and queen live…”
D.D looked as if he was showing off when he raised three fingers. Then, he began curling them one by one.
“But Ballard Room is very narrow. Alan Court is a bit too high, and it is very cold. Meanwhile, Sumer Hall is too black and dark…
“Compared to these famous and large grottoes in Renaissance Palace, trust me, you will prefer this place.” Doyle waved his hands gracefully to the exquisite garden in front of him.
Glover narrowed his eyes.
“At least, at least Mindis Hall has, has…” Doyle paused for a moment. He swept his fingers across the metal gate, garden, fountain, avenue, main hall, and in the end, he decided to point at the sun above him and smiled faintly. “…has light?”
Glover wrapped his arms around his chest and looked elsewhere, but he snorted, sounding as if he agreed to him, even though he actually disagreed.
Obviously, he was not satisfied.
“Moreover, do you know how high its artistic value is?”
Doyle’s eyes brightened, and he changed his tone in the next second.
However, Glover frowned.
“Do you know its status in the history of architecture?”
The guard turned around and spread his arms. He looked as if he wanted to hug what was before him.
“Forget the fact that this is the temporary dwelling for the famous Virtuous King… But look at this garden, this sculpture, and this brick! We’re not even talking about the art collection in storage!”
“Imagine this. If we have a feast here, the ladies in the capital will definitely rush over here…”
Doyle suddenly turned around with a dance step and looked very enticed with the idea.
Glover did not move at all. But his gaze as he stared at Doyle’s expression was full of scorn.
D.D shrugged and did not understand. “Is it wrong to love art and beauty?”
Glover looked away and took a deep breath. He breathed out in a stiff manner.
The familiar sound of a carriage and shouts could be heard from afar. It seemed like a man was guiding transportation.
Doyle, who was immersed in artistry and beautify, changed his expression.
“Oh no, they’re Stone and Fuble…”
He immediately moved to stand beside Glover. His expression was serious, and he stood straight. Then he raised his arms to point at Mindis Hall.
“Hurry up, pretend like you’re talking with me and we’re discussing how to set up the sentry duties or are talking about the protection plan. Just pretend to be very serious and immersed in the topic…”
Glover was confused. “What?
“Only by doing so will we not be asked to help with logistics.” Doyle did not change his expression. He moved his lips slightly.
Glover still did not understand. “But… why me?
“Because he will never ask the vanguards for help!” Doyle gnashed his teeth and whispered.
Logistics Officer Stone and Flag Bearer Fuble brought a few subordinates and a few carriages to pass by the duo while they were surrounded by a group of officials and soldiers from Jadestar Private Army. They also cast doubtful and puzzled gazes on Doyle. But when they saw the stern expression on Glover’s face, they still had their doubts cleared, and they left.
It was only then that Doyle sighed in relief and relaxed entirely.
Glover’s gaze on him became even stranger.
But Doyle did not find it awkward at all. He naturally switched back to the enticed expression he had while he enjoyed the scenery. He redirected his gaze, and through the gaps of the people moving to and fro the area, he saw the teenager standing quietly for a long time beside the pillars for the house in the distance. He was right beside the door made of cedarwood.
Doyle squinted while he sized up the lonely prince who did not move. The servants and guards surrounding him seemed to have good teamwork. They avoided the prince perfectly while they busied themselves with work. The closest one near to the prince was at least ten meters away.
Yet, they would occasionally throw wary gazes at the teenager who did say a single thing.
“Let’s make a bet. That kid was spanked just now.”
Glover cast D.D a very profound glance.
Doyle narrowed his eyes as if he was afraid that Glover did not trust him. “Trust me, I know this feeling, he may look very calm now, but he is acting.”
Doyle stared at the prince’s back. His gaze was gloomy, and he seemed to be very sentimental.
“But in the deepest part of his heart, he just wants to find a quiet place and cry as much he wants to…”
Glover looked at him and frowned more.
“This is not something you should say, Protector Doyle.” The vanguard coughed sternly.
But Doyle snorted gently.
“Fine. That lousy sword in the morning… You’re pissed too, right?” Doyle nudged Glover’s arms. He did not care about Glover’s sour expression, and he spoke with a tone that made him seem as if he was deriving joy over Thales’ suffering.
“I bet with you with all my properties that there will come a time where our respected duke will have a sword where he cannot carry as well.”
Glover did not answer. He only stared at the porticus of Mindis Hall and frowned deeply.
Duke Thales stood there quietly.
He gazed at the porticus. He did not make any sound or move.
It was as though he was disconnected from his surroundings.
“Are you there?” Thales asked in a daze. “Did you see it?”
A firm and calm voice was heard from behind him as a reply.
“Yes. I saw it.”
But it was not the person who Thales expected.
The teenager closed his eyes and sighed gently.
“The soldiers from the private army and servants of the Royal Family did a great job of maintaining the hall, and they saved us a lot of trouble.
“Once we finished evaluating and checking the hall, you can move into the place.” Watchman Mallos walked forward and stood beside the duke. Then, he stared at the main hall of this manor with Thales while he spoke with an intriguing tone.
“Congratulations to you, the new owner of Mindis Hall.”
‘Mindis Hall. New master.’
Thales did not turn around.
The teenager only stared at the house quietly. He looked at the corridor, the main gate, the carpet, and the interior design. The house seemed familiar yet unfamiliar at the same time.
However, this time, the feeling of familiarity was greater than unfamiliarity.
Mallos seemed to be able to sense the atmosphere. He also remained quiet and stood silently with the prince.
The servants and the guards were still very busy, and they moved hastily, but they avoided them subconsciously even more now.
After a few seconds…
“All of you do not know about this.”
Mallos frowned slightly.
Thales said slowly and expressionlessly, “You do not know that you would be sent to guard this place, right?
“Otherwise, all of you do not need to perform evaluation and checks at the very last moment.”
Mallos was slightly dazed.
But the Duke of Star Lake laughed.
“All of you were not even prepared to become Star Lake Guards,” Thales lowered his head and and appeared slightly lonely. “Because the title of the Duke of Star Lake was given to me in a hurry. It was decided at the very last minute after all of you departed.”
‘Because… of a sword.’
Mallos was stunned for a few seconds. He frowned, and Thales did not know what he thought.
“Similarly, all of you are still not ready to come… Mindis Hall.”
Mallos seemed to have understood something from the duke’s seemingly disorderly sentences, but he hesitated to say it out loud.
But Thales sucked in a deep breath. When he turned around again, he put on a smile.
“By the way, when you set up the defense, do not forget to prepare silver weapons. You might even need some benedicted weapons too.”
The speed in him changing the topic of conversation was so fast that it caught the watchman off guard.
Thales snorted and took a few steps backward. He looked at the roof and balcony of Mindis Hall. “To prevent unwelcome guests.”
The prince had a faint and nostalgic tone in his voice while he spoke under Mallos’ puzzled gaze. “Like… vampires?”
Mallos was stunned again. He felt very lost, but Thales did not make any further explanations.
He only sighed, raised his head, and looked at the pillars in a daze.
“It looks even smaller now,” the teenager said subconsciously, “I remember that the pillars here used to be very tall.”
Mallos’ gaze moved, and he cast a deep glance at the prince.
With some degree of frustration, Thales walked past the porticus and saw the wall under the chandelier. Three big portraits faced the main gate, along with the three people in them.
One of them had his back facing the sun while he held a spear and reined in his horse. He looked as brave and heroic as ever.
Another man stood in a forest. He held his sword and shield in his hands, and he looked as determined as ever.
The last one sat in a room. He held a scepter while he flipped through a book. He looked as kind as ever.
When Thales looked at those three people in the paintings, his gaze became slightly glazed.
He raised his right hand subconsciously and pressed at the area in front of his chest.
A certain part of his skin over his chest seemed to be hurting slightly.
“We can be considered to have revisited both places, but when we saw Renaissance Palace, you did not have such an expression.” Mallos followed behind him and spoke calmly.
“When I first entered Renaissance Palace, I was injured badly after an assassination attempt. I was carried in while unconscious.”
Mallos narrowed his eyes.
The prince’s expression was slightly mocking.
“Revisiting an old place, huh? What expression did you expect from me?”
But Mallos’ reply was against his expectation.
Thales frowned. “What?”
Thales saw Mallos take a step forward and stood together with him in front of the cedar wood gate. He stared solemnly on the portraits of the three kings on the wall of the hall.
“You needed to smile so that they will not doubt that your father does not like you, or the other way round.” Mallos narrowed his eyes slightly.
Thales was first stunned before he was astounded. “They?”
Mallos still looked calm. He nodded and did not even look at the duke. “The Royal Guards are all elites, and they are very perceptive.”
Thales turned around subconsciously.
The Royal Guards continued to be busy with their tasks around them. They either instructed the matters with logistics, took over tasks from the servants, or distributed tasks.
Nothing strange could be seen.
Thales remained silent for a while before he snorted all of a sudden.
“Did you know that I have a friend who also suggested to me that I must laugh?”
Mallos looked at the prince and saw him take a deep breath while he looked at the sky in the distance. He sounded lamentful.
“Because life is a burden heavy enough on our shoulders.
“We need to smile so that the burden will become lighter.”
The teenager seemed to be slightly dazed. He felt as if he was looking at yellow sand again.
Mallos gazed at Thales while he lamented before he suddenly spoke, “Then, did it manage to after you laughed?”
Thales snapped out of his daze and shook his head.
“I am not sure, but I do hope so.” The teenager forced himself to smile.
The prince turned around, but just when he was about to walk into the porticus, Mallos spoke again, and he made Thales slow down. “Do you know why this place and this manor was named this way?”
‘Why is it called this name?’
Thales stopped walking forward and cast a glance around him.
The prince pointed at the portrait to the right on the wall across him as a gesture.
In the drawing was a middle-aged man with graying hair. He was smiling at him cordially.
But Mallos shook his head.
The watchman wrapped his arms around himself, and a few hints of respect could be seen in his eyes as he stared at the hall.
“Although one hundred years ago, Mindis the Third had indeed stayed here and most of the people thought that he was the one who named the place… No, Mindis Hall was not named after the Virtuous King.”
‘It wasn’t named after the Virtuous King?’
This attracted the teenager’s attention.
“Very good. Please tell me more, leader of my personal guards.” Thales looked back with interest.
Mallos did not care about the faint difference in Thales’ tone. He turned around, looked at the direction of Renaissance Palace, and there was a profound look in his eyes.
“The twenty-second supreme king was crowned in the Year 333 of the Calendar of Eradication His name first appeared in the Genealogy of Constellation Kings.”
Thales frowned. ‘Number… what? Twenty-two?
“This king was young, but he was poor in health. So, he had to move out from the palace and find a place to rest. He passed all management of governmental affairs to his uncle and the Imperial Conference.”
Mallos’ words were firm, just like his indifferent face, but the story he told did not make the listener delighted.
“Within a short year, the young king passed away due to illness, and he did not leave behind any descendant.”
The watchman stepped on the tiles on the floor.
“Ever since then, the manor in the suburbs which he had lived before he passed away was named after him for commemorative purposes.”
Mallos looked faintly at the prince.
‘The king passed all management of governmental affairs to his uncle. Then, he moved out of the palace to rest…
‘The nephew passed away at a young age, and they named the manor after him for commemorative purposes…’
This story was very short. It did not have any plot and seemed to not be an auspicious tale.
The charm behind it was even… indescribable.
But Thales still showed an expression that said, “Oh, I see.”
“So, um, the manor in the suburbs.” Thales pointed at his surroundings and tried to continue with the conversation. “You called the Twilight District as the suburbs?”
Mallos frowned. Obviously, he was not too satisfied with the prince of catching on the key points of what he said, “It used to. Then, something which I call ‘city expansion’ happened.”
Thales quirked an eyebrow.
“However, three and a half centuries passed. When we stood here again and talk about the original owner of Mindis Hall, even the direct descendants of the Jadestar Family may not know about the ‘Mist King’ anymore.” The watchman snorted. When he looked at Thales, there was a profound meaning in his eyes.
Thales felt slightly awkward.
But very soon, he realized the title Mallos mentioned.
He extended his hand and knocked on the expensive cedarwood door. His tone was deep.
“Regardless of the time Mindis the First was alive or when he passed away, he was known by the people as the Mist King.
“When he was still the king, his rule was like a mist. He seemed to have done things for the country, but in truth, there was no substance behind his actions.
“The stories passed around after his death was like the mist too. They came quickly, and disappeared quietly.”
Suddenly, Mallos’ gaze turned sharper.
“No one remembered. No one cared.”
Thales subconsciously shuddered.
“So, put yourself in order, especially when all of the guards are around you.”
Mallos’ sight was focused on Thales again, and he made Thales, who was a little depressed and lonely, to tremble.
The watchman’s tone was cold.
“No matter what you have experienced, know that you are not the only person who has been sickly and lived a miserable life among the many masters of Mindis Hall who were inconspicuous among the people and were forgotten.”
Sick and miserable.
Thales gulped subconsciously before he rubbed his face.
“But just like the Mist King, no one could remember.”
The watchman snorted coldly.
Mallos looked at the direction of Renaissance Palace, and his gaze turned glazed.
“No one would even care.”
It had to be said, at that moment, Thales felt a bit awkward when the things and problems that had been weighing down at his mind were exposed.
After some time, the young Duke of Star Lake forced himself to laugh dryly.
“Thank you for your… encouragement, Lord Mallos.”
Although it was not very inspiring.
The watchman did not reply to his gratitude. He only cast him an indifferent glance.
“Once the room is ready, I will come and inform you, Your Grace.”
When Mallos finished speaking, he strode forward into Mindis Hall.
Thales looked at his back. He had some thoughts on his mind despite the fact that he still felt awkward.
“That royal uncle…” the teenager suddenly spoke.
Mallos could be seen freezing for a moment under the portrait of the King of Renaissance.
“Did the uncle of the Mist King who took over governmental affairs succeed the throne after Mindis the First passed away?”
Thales’ eyes sparkled.
The watchman’s back froze for a few more seconds.
Mallos turned around, and his expression was profound.
“Sumer Jadestar was the one who took over the management of governmental affairs. He succeeded the throne from his nephew who had died at a young age without leaving behind an heir.
“In history, he is known Sumer the Third, the Jackal.”
Thales exhaled deeply. He came to an understanding.
But Mallos had not finished speaking just yet.
“He succeeded the throne as the Duke of Star Lake.”
Thales was horrified.
Without waiting for him to keep asking, the watchman left without looking back, and he disappeared from the top of the stairs.
He left Thales alone while he searched for the meaning of the story.
After a few seconds, the prince smiled, as if a huge burden had been relieved of his shoulders.
‘Regardless of whether it is the master of Mindis Hall, the Duke of Star Lake, or the stories of my predecessors, all of them are so thought-provoking.’
In the end, Thales cast a glance at the direction where Mallos had disappeared. He turned around, left the porticus, and headed to the garden. While he was waiting, he put up a smile and looked at the busy people around him.
He suddenly realized that among the servants and private soldiers that came back and forth, there were two figures that stood out. One of them looked very relaxed while the other stood seriously near to the pond. They looked as though they were discussing something seriously.
Thales recognized both of them. So, he walked slowly toward them.
“You did not want to come initially, right?”
At the side of the fountain, Doyle looked at a few maidservants who were far away, and he narrowed his eyes.
“You know, the Glover Family is among the top in the Seven Jadestar Attendants. They are the main supporters of the king’s party. Their family has gained the king’s great trust over a few generations, and their positions are high and mighty.”
Glover scowled by his side.
“Your father is the predecessor of Kirkirk Mann, while he has a bright future in the Department of Finance.”
Doyle’s attention was still on those maidservants. He did not even look at Glover. He narrated while he was busy being sentimental.
“His Majesty is also eager to make progress. He is at the prime of his life.
“Yet, you are here to join us in this unfortunate mess.”
Doyle turned around and looked at Glover curiously.
But this time around, he seemed to have run into a wall.
Glover also turned around and stared at him coldly. He looked as if he was staring on a rotten piece of meat at a butcher’s stall.
He remained silent for a very long time.
After a long while, when D.D realized he would not get any response, he smiled awkwardly and consciously turned around.
“Alright, it is okay if you do not want to talk about it.
“But I am totally different.”
Doyle showed a perfect smile to a maidservant who could no longer bear with his gaze and had snuck a glance at him.
“During the years our country prospered, the Doyle family became too close with the old nobles, and we formed the wrong relationships… It ended up with us not having anyone with any important position in Renaissance Palace for three whole years.”
Glover did not say anything, but he looked away.
Doyle stared at the maidservant who stood at the wall. Her face was flushed, and she turned away.
“They are worried that if this continues, we will no longer be able to keep our status among the Seven Jadestar Attendants, just like the families who have fallen into decline, like the Tardin Family, Beldin Family, and…”
Doyle paused for a while. He gestured with his head at the direction of Mindis Hall, sighed, and said, “Mallos.”
Glover did not say anything, as though he did not hear anything.
“So, I am forced to be here.”
Doyle quirked an eyebrow.
“My father’s thoughts are very ideal. If I went from a personal guard of the king to the prince’s personal guard, I might end up being the personal guard of the king again, and in the end…”
D.D’s expression was slightly gloomy.
“Of course, those are just idealistic thoughts.”
Glover’s eyes sparkled a little.
“After all, the time where we can rely on keeping ourselves alive with our feudal lands has passed.” Doyle exhaled. He showed a resigned expression, and his tone was profound.
Doyle said faintly before Glover, who still remained unmoving.
“We are not the Six Great Clans or the Thirteen Distinguished Families. We’re just… Jadestar attendants.”