Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
Obviously, as the leader of the Duke of Star Lake’s personal guards, Mallos was not happy to see Thales welcome guests on the first day of his move into his new home.
However, as the second prince insisted while countless officials, servants and guards watched by the side, and Mallos also faced some degree of pressure (more or less) due to Young Master Karabeyan’s background, Kohen was still invited politely into the guest room, which had just been organized. Naturally, before that, Lord Mallos, the leader of the Duke of Star Lake’s personal guards, who was also known as the Watchman, did not forget to remind his prince that his guest was the heir of the Karabeyan Family.
And today was the first day of the prince’s return to the capital.
That had to mean something.
When he heard about these reminders, Thales could only smile numbly.
Then, he became tense, just like he usually was, to face the person who was in the guest room.
“I knew it. I told them that the prince has a good memory, and he would definitely remember me. He will not forget the time we fought the war together… I knew it…
“These years, I have been writing letters to you, Your Highness. But I do not know why you never replied to me until there was this one time I bumped into the son of the Caso Family when he came home. He told me that the Star Killer intercepted most of the letters that I wrote to you. What a bastard…”
Thales sat in the chair for the host while he watched Kohen as he talked nonstop. He swept a glance around the guest room that looked familiar to him while he tried hard to suppress his sentimentality.
‘Last time, while I was here…’
Kohen stopped talking. He looked at Thales as he fell into a daze. Then, Kohen raised his palms to measure Thales from his stomach to his chest before he said in surprise, “Ah, you grew taller?”
Thales looked at the chair he sat and thought about what happened six years ago.
At that time, when he sat there, his legs could not even touch the ground yet.
Thales remained silent for a very long time.
It was so long that Kohen did not know what to do but adjust his posture in the chair subconsciously.
Thales finally spoke. His smile was faint and seemed to have some hidden meaning in it, “I have grown taller.”
But Kohen’s smile faded away.
He looked at the door that had been opened.
Over there was Mallos, who stood at the entrance with his arms folded over his chest and was smiling while he looked at his two subordinates. (“No, no, listen to me, I did not call him over…” From Doyle, who was nervous.) He would also occasionally watch the meeting in the guest room through the corner of his eyes.
The police officer behaved very cautiously. “Did I arrive at the wrong time?”
Thales shifted his sight.
Kohen scratched his head. “They do not look very happy, especially the leader. Over there, that one with the fake smile on his face…”
Outside the opened door was a maidservant who was about to serve some refreshments for the duke and the guest, but she was blocked by Mallos, who smiled gently with an arm raised. Doyle, who pulled a long face, and Glover, who was as stiff as usual, moved forward together and started to check the food.
‘Not very “happy”. Of course they aren’t,’ Thales thought indifferently.
Although he had not been in their company for very long, the moment he walked from the meeting hall…
Obviously, even Kohen had sensed something.
Thales forced himself to smile when he thought about this and Mallos’ words.
“That is Mallos, Tormond Mallos. He is the Watchman of the Royal Guards.’
“I see.” Kohen seemed to have come to a realization, and he seemed to be in awe. “He is the famous Mallos, huh?”
‘Mallos. Yes, this name sounds very familiar…’
Kohen tried hard to recall where he heard the name before. ‘Where did I hear about him?’
Thales composed himself, smiled, and said, “Do not mind him. He is just a bit stern. After all, this is my first day back here, and Mallos is the captain of my personal guards.”
Kohen immediately ignored the family name which he could not remember.
“Captain of your personal guards? Wow, Your Highness.” Kohen looked pleasantly surprised. He sized up the decorations in the guest room. “This must be of a higher standard than Northland, right?”
The police officer looked around excitedly. “Mindis Hall… I was brought here by my father once when I was young… He said that this is a good place and that it has great meaning.”
Kohen patted his chair happily. “Maybe the chair I’m sitting in right now has been sat by many famous people before.”
“Yes. six years ago,” Thales said in a nostalgic tone, “The Black Prophet sat in the chair you are sitting before.”
Kohen, who had been excited, became completely stunned.
Thales smiled faintly. He remembered the tense and aggressive meeting that year.
He wondered what his reaction will be if he faced Morat Hansen again after six years?
The prince clenched his fists subconsciously.
In his impression, the Black Prophet six years ago was mysterious and formidable, and he made people terrified of him.
But the him six years later knew that the Black Prophet was not that scary, no?
At least… the Black Prophet’s leg had been broken by someone before.
Kohen moved in a parallel fashion and switched to another seat without batting an eyelid.
“You might not believe me when I said this, but during the time my father brought me here, he was summoned by the crown prince. I suddenly needed the toilet, but the servant that had been leading me around had gone missing, and I could not find the toilet, but I suddenly discovered a vase at the corridor—”
Doyle coughed loudly while he brought the refreshments into the hall, and he was just in time to interrupt Kohen, who kept describing what had happened in the past without being aware of what he was describing.
Doyle spoke with a normal tone, but he gave a ruthless stare at the guest at an angle that Thales could not see. “Kohen, this is the prince’s dwelling place, and it is because of His Highness’ generosity that you are allowed to be the first to visit this place. Be aware of your manners.”
Kohen snorted and did not care. He had a look that said, “I know the prince very well”. While he watched Doyle leave, he took the teacup and drank the tea to put on a show of force.
In the next second, the police officer’s expression changed, and he vomited the tea back into the teacup.
“Ack, ow… Hod, hod, zo hod… he muzd have done id on purpoze…”
Kohen extended his scalded tongue and fanned it in a pathetic manner.
Thales was surprised as he watched the interaction between Kohen and Doyle. Then, he tested the tea from his own teacup.
‘Hmm, the temperature is just nice.’
Under Kohen’s indignant stare, Thales coughed to break the awkward atmosphere. “So, you knew Doyle for a very long time?”
“Hah, hah… Damn, Do…? Oh, You mean D.D?”
Kohen’s tongue finally recovered after much effort, and he could now speak properly.
“He is my… Um… grandchild from one of my great granduncle’s brother-in-law?” Kohen did not sound too sure. “Yes, I think so.”
‘Grandchild from one of my great granduncle’s brother-in-law?’
Thales was impressed that Kohen could remember.
Thales looked at Kohen’s bright blonde locks, then at Doyle’s dark blonde locks. His mood suddenly became a little better.
At least the depressed feeling he had when he came out of Renaissance Palace no longer loomed over his head like dark clouds, and it was no longer so heavy that it made it difficult for him to breathe.
“But, you should spend less time together with him, Your Highness.” Kohen’s expression changed. He moved in front of Thales before he whispered to Thales while he cast a glance at Doyle’s back, “That man is a playboy.”
Thales had a curious look on his face. His lips quirked up subconsciously.
‘Just based on the fact that they liked to gossip, they are truly relatives.’
“So… where is that young man from the Caso Family? The one who uses the single-edged sword?”
Kohen did not bother himself with this small interlude. He straightened his back and searched for the figure in his memories.
“Also that middle-aged man who smokes and is very good at scheming?”
Kohen scratched his chin and tried to recall before he said, “Including the mute who can use wind?”
Kohen paused for a moment before he asked doubtfully, “Wait, the mute is not here, right?”
Thales seemed to be a bit absentminded.
But soon, the prince snapped out of his daze and answered perfectly, “They are still handling some of the matters I left unfinished at Northland, but soon, they will be back.”
Kohen sighed in relief and touched his own throat warily.
‘Yes, it will be better for me to not meet that mute.’
He watched Kohen’s expression before he looked at his familiar yet unfamiliar surroundings. Thales realized that he missed his old acquaintances even more with each passing moment.
After a few seconds, Kohen regained his vigor and became very excited, “It’s hard to imagine that we fought together at Northland six years ago…”
The warm attitude from the police officer toward the prince made him feel that he could not handle him.
“But… look at this place, Your Highness, you are now a duke! The Duke of Star Lake!”
Kohen took a deep breath and looked very happy. He seemed to have recalled something that made him proud and happy. “Even my father will have to bow to you now!”
‘But you didn’t bow to me.’ Thales rubbed his forehead in resignation.
“So, why is Mindis Hall chosen?”
Kohen patted the chair. His excitement had not been reduced at all.
“You are not an adult yet… Why are you not in Renaissance Palace?”
Thales wanted to answer, but he hesitated.
He gazed at the Royal Guards outside the door.
Thales thought of the story of the Mist King, who had come out of the palace to treat his disease. He smiled and said, “My… body is weak, and I am afraid of the cold. So, my father got me to stay here.”
Thales was a bit unhappy.
He suddenly realized that in contrast to six years ago, he could no longer treat his friends without having to be bothered about anything at all and without any reservations.
“Afraid of the cold?” Kohen stared at him in surprise. “But you stayed in the north for six years!”
Thales forced himself to smile. “Maybe that is the reason why they sent me back here, so that I will not die from the cold in Northland.”
Kohen was stunned.
He was full of doubt, and he sized up the prince in front of him again.
After a second…
Kohen suddenly came to a realization and showed a bright smile.
“Your Highness, you must be joking!
“Afraid of the cold? You are the one who bravely broke into Heroic Spirit Palace and the hero who saved Dragon Clouds City!”
Thales could only continue smiling as his reply.
“However, you cannot trick me easily.” When he said this, the police officer’s eyes sparkled.
“So, how did you come back from Northland?”
Thales’ smile became stiff.
‘It’s another tough question.’
“Although the public announcement states that you were sent back politely by Eckstedt, and their king had even sent a formal diplomatic letter to send his respects to His Majesty at the same time…”
Kohen seemed to be pondering something. His eyes shone with a brilliant light.
“But I am a man who fought before in Northland and Western Desert, and I understand those places very well. So, I know that things are definitely not as easy as they seem.” Kohen smiled mysteriously.
Thales was shocked.
Unexpectedly, Kohen looked very confident and had no plan to keep questioning on him.
“I know.” The police officer snapped his fingers in great confidence. “This year, the chaotic battle of the Alliance of Freedom, the civil strife in Black Sand Region, and all the other things are just the surface of the real problem.”
Thales was surprised when he looked at Kohen who was in front of him.
‘Is he saying…?’
“The truth is that someone has planned all this secretly since a long time ago, all so that you can come back safely!”
Kohen waved his hand and showed a look that said, “I know everything, so you can stop pretending now.”
At that moment, Thales was suddenly startled.
‘Kohen, when did he…
‘Is it the Secret Intelligence Department? Did Raphael tell him this?’
The police officer looked very smart. “Hehe, that’s not all. I also know that the person who set his mind on this plan and the planner of all this…”
Thales looked at the police officer nervously.
It had to be said that Kohen, who was in front of him, gave off a feeling that he was unfathomable, and he forced others to look at him differently.
Kohen stood up swiftly and said boldly, “… is you, Your Highness!”
The guest room became silent.
Only Kohen’s voice continued to echo in the guest room.
And the police officer remained in a dashing, valiant, and elegant pose, seemingly wanting to point out the main killer.
Thales, who happened to be the person he pointed at with the tip of his finger, froze on the spot.
Doyle, who was outside, turned around to look in curiosity, but he turned back when he was forced to do so by Mallos’ stare.
After a few seconds, Thales, who had recovered from his shock, tried his best to open his mouth wide.
However, Kohen seemed to have rehearsed this before. He switched his footsteps, pulled back his right hand, but swung his right arm and said confidently, “I know you well, Your Highness! “I know that with your intellect, you are the one who initiated all the plans!”
Kohen was very excited. “Just like six years ago, this time around. It was you who came out with the plan, and you used the Alliance of Freedom and the vassals of Black Sand Region to start the internal conflict in Dragon Clouds City and Black Sand Region…”
Thales’ eyebrows started twitching.
“When the two big forces fought against each other and everyone was busy, you successfully escaped and returned safely to the country!
“You also brutally reduced Eckstedt’s power!”
Kohen’s elegant posture was not reduced at all.
He knew at that moment that his eyes were shining with the light of wisdom. He waited for a reply from the person in front of him.
Thales laboriously scrunched up his eyebrows under Kohen’s expectant gaze.
“Urk, I guess… you are not that far off?”
Kohen’s eyes shone brightly when he received the confirmation!
The police officer was very happy. “You must have taught those Northlanders such a good lesson that they are terrified out of their wits now, right?”
Thales sighed deeply. “Um, you are… also not that far off.”
Kohen became even more excited. “And since you performed a meritorious deed for the country, you were entitled dukeship when you just came back!”
When he heard this, Thales replied numbly, “You… You are not that far off.”
When Kohen heard the prince admit to it, Kohen pulled back his arms and clenched his fists!
He did not see Thales’ complicated expression at that moment.
“Hehe, how did I do? After I learned my lesson six years ago, I have been improving my knowledge about politics.” The police officer narrowed his eyes, folded his arms over his chest, and looked as if he was in the know.
“My wisdom has improved, right?”
Thales quietly watched Kohen, who looked happy.
“Yes.” A few seconds later, Thales showed an awkward smile. “Yes, yes.”
Kohen instantly smiled brightly. He looked like a squirrel who just found a pine nut.
“So, how did the Northlanders treat you over the past few years?”
Thales had not recovered from the shock brought by Kohen’s “wisdom”. He sighed.
“Hmm, how should I say this…?”
But the confident Kohen swung his arm and interrupted him again.
“Oh, I know.”
Kohen looked. He looked like he empathized with the prince.
“When I was in the Tower of Eradication, my teacher was a Northlander. Strictly speaking, Miranda is also a Northlander… They… oh gosh…”
Kohen seemed to have thought of something. He shuddered slightly.
The police officer was halfway through forming a disgusted expression when he suddenly turned around and narrowed his eyes when he looked at Thales. “Do you know?”
Thales was stunned as he looked at Kohen.
“Er, I… That is…”
When he met Kohen’s expectant and eager gaze, the prince could only try his best to smile as brightly as he could. “Yes, I know, I know.”
“See?!” Kohen slapped his thigh in excitement. “I knew you would know!”
Thales tried his best to control his mouth from twitching.
“Unfortunately, other people do not understand.”
But in the next second, he became high in spirits again. He cast a friendly gaze at the extremely confused prince, as though he was staring at his brother.
“But that is okay. It’ll be fine if we’re the only ones who know!”
Thales could only smile and nod foolishly with Kohen to stop himself from asking that scary question.
For the first time ever, the Duke of Star Lake felt that he had insufficient IQ in this effective conversation.
When Thales was still immersed in the depression that came from him feeling that his IQ level was impaired, Kohen suddenly stood up and slapped his own thigh.
“Alright, I should get going.”
Thales was instantly stunned. “Leave? Now?”
He then saw the police officer smile at him and say, “Your Highness, take care!”
Thales looked at Kohen who was smiling at him happily, and he asked in puzzlement, “That… that is all?”
Kohen blinked, and he did not seem to quite understand Thales’ question. “Yes.”
Thales was stunned for a few seconds before he said, “Do you… do you not have anything else to do?”
Kohen thought of something, and he became dispirited. “I have. Later, I still have to report to work in the afternoon, otherwise, the director will deduct…”
‘Wait. That’s all?
‘As the one of the heirs of the Thirteen Distinguished Families, aren’t you going to probe, try to draw me to your side, approach me with ulterior motives, flatter me, coerce me, set me up, or do all the things that Mallos cautioned me on the first day I, the second prince, come back to the capital?’
The duke was stunned as he stared at Kohen, who looked dejected in front of him.
This was the first time since he returned to Constellation that he did not feel quite accustomed to whatever he was dealing with right now.
Thales recovered from his surprise and shook his head. “No, I mean…”
The prince hesitated for a while. Then, his gaze on Kohen turned slightly solemn.
“How is your father, Count Karabeyan from Walla Hill?” Thales still asked. He sounded a little ill at ease and guilty.
Kohen was also stunned. “Him…? I do not know. He should be quite well… I have not written him a letter for a long time.”
The young duke was quite surprised.
“But…You came here today just to spend a few minutes… to talk to me?”
Kohen was stunned for a moment. He started to think deeply.
A few seconds later, he could not think of anything, so he shrugged. “Yes, I just came to visit you.”
The police officer scratched his head while he looked completely clueless.
“What else did you think I came here for?”
At this moment, it was Thales’ turn to become stunned.
At that moment, the Legendary Wing, Norb from the Kingdom’s Secret Intelligence Department, the Duke of Western Desert, Derek Kroma, the Count of Black Lion, Watchman Mallos, Gilbert, Guard Captain Adrian… the many faces he saw since he returned to the country flashed in Thales’ mind.
However, when they were compared against the one who stood in front of him…
Thales quietly looked at Kohen, who looked dumb, and complicated emotions surged in his heart.
The bulky police officer similarly looked at him in puzzlement while he blinked.
After a while, the duke, who had a myriad of emotions in him, snapped out of his daze, and he took a deep breath. “Kohen, you are the eldest son of the Karabeyan Family for the Sword of the Twin Towers, right?”
At the moment, when he heard the term “eldest son”, Kohen became as spiritless as a shriveled up eggplant.
“Yes?” Kohen said dispiritedly.
Thales quietly looked at the young master of the Karabeyan Family before him. The man was also the legitimate heir for Walla Hill.
“So, you directly left for Western Desert after you graduated from the Tower of Eradication? You joined Lightning Ravens?”
The police officer waved his hand. “Yes.”
“Did your father not stop you?” Thales rubbed the teacup in his hands gently. “You must understand that since you are the heir for the territory belonging to your family, along with the title…”
“Oh, speaking of that…” Kohen tried hard to cheer himself up in order to face these matters which made him feel troubled.
“My father… Wait, how did you know I joined the army in Western Desert and went to Lightning Ravens?” The police officer looked at him in puzzlement.
However, Thales did not show any change in his facial expression. “Everyone knew.”
Kohen thought about it seriously before he came to a swift realization. “Yes, everyone knew.
“As for my father, of course, he wanted to stop me. He did not want me to join the army, and he also did not want me to leave for Western Desert. What I mean is…” Kohen answered while he pondered, and his tone gradually became dejected. “At least he tried to stop me.”
Thales stared deeply at Kohen.
For the first time, he saw something different about this huge man.
“But you still went,” the prince said silently.
Kohen exhaled slowly. “I still went.”
The guest room became silent for a while. It seemed like both parties needed some time to digest these few words.
“Did he not put any pressure on him after that?”
Thales looked at the reflection in the teacup, while he asked absent-mindedly, “Did he force you to go back and become… a qualified heir?”
Kohen trembled slightly as if he remembered something bad.
But he still smiled. “Of course. You would not be able to imagine what he did.”
When Kohen reached the end of his sentence, there was barely noticeable regret in his voice. “The way he forced me to leave the army…”
He did not continue.
“But you are still here at the capital?” Thales said faintly.
“Yes.” The police officer seemed to be dazed as well.
“At least at the capital, that old man would not dare to be reckless.” Kohen sighed and said in resignation, “If I step out of the capital, I suspect he would send the army to kidnap me… Ahem…”
Kohen shrugged and showed a smile he usually gave.
He looked as cheerful as he usually was.
Thales looked at him silently.
‘He’s smiling.’ The prince told himself. ‘Kohen…’
At that moment, Thales suddenly realized that he was not alone.
Both of them remained silent for a while.
The sound of Mallos knocking on the door gently could be heard from the distance.
The time for him to receive his guest was over.
Thales put down the teacup in his hands and raised his head slowly. “Kohen, thank you…”
The prince showed his gentlest and most sincere smile of the day.
“I am really glad to have met you.”
Kohen quirked his eyebrows. “Me too, I am—”
But the police officer was interrupted.
Thales continued talking on his own. “It feels really good to see an old face.”
Thales looked calm, and there was a profound meaning in his words.
Once he finished, Kohen’s expression changed.
He stared blankly at the prince and looked puzzled.
“Is there something wrong?” Thales smiled and asked.
Kohen narrowed his eyes, and he seemed to want to observe the master of Mindis Hall. “You look different now.”
Thales could not help but laugh. “Really? You think so too?”
Kohen nodded in all apparent seriousness.
“Yes, you have become…”
He made a great effort to observe the Duke of Star Lake in front of him.
In the end, Kohen could not think of any adjectives, and he forced out a phrase. “You have… become bigger.”
Kohen frowned when he saw the prince’s smile.
He turned his head around and thought of the child whom he had carried around by placing him under his underarm in that tunnel.
‘Yes, he looked cuter when he was younger.’
Thales thought of something.
“By the way, do you still remember Ralf?”
Kohen’s mind was in a mess right then. He said while lost, “Ra-what?”
“My subordinate, the one with the mask…”
“You mean…” Kohen thought deeply first before he came to a sudden realization and said, “… the mute!”
Thales sighed when he saw Kohen’s happy look.
‘Maybe this is a bad idea, but…’
“Kohen.” Thales paused for a moment, but he still raised his head.
At this time, the prince looked very serious.
“I… would like to ask you a small favor, in private.”