Translator:EndlessFantasy TranslationEditor:EndlessFantasy Translation
The most out of place situation in this world was probably the sudden appearance of several Eckstedtians in a Constellatiate banquet.
Whats more, these were ones that did not know when to shut up.
Thales gave Glover and Doyle a prompting look. After much persuasion and physical effort, they managed to drag Mr Big Beard Jorgewho had a befuddled look on his faceto a corner outside the banquet hall, away from the curious and inquisitive gaze of the guests.
You Southerners really make a big fuss over trivial matters. Everyones on edge just cause I got some title mixed up Jorge complained without holding back. There was once when I mistakenly addressed King Nuven as the respected king of Dragon Clouds City in the Archdukes request for assistance letter to him. It didnt bother The Born King even a bit. He still supplied us with funds and troops to deal with the bandits, what a nice guy
Doyle curled his lips; Glover shifted his gaze away.
Even though the former was generally quite carefree and easygoing, and the latter quiet and reserved, both found this guests casual and rude mannerisms off-putting.
Only Thales was amused as he listened to Jorge speak in his crass and thick northern accent.
It was definitely not the norm to hear such an accent in the orderly Mindis Hall and at this courteous banquet.
It felt as if he was transported back to the North, where people were generous, refreshing, uninhibited and straightforward.
Administrator Jorge laughed. Haha, you might not remember, Polaris, but we have met before!
Thales asked doubtfully, When?
Wow, youre forgetful, arent you?
Jorges casual tone, despite it being jarring, invoked in Thales an odd sense of affection. Even though he was only ever a sojourner in Eckstedt.
Here, Constellation, Eternal Star City, this is his home, is it not?
Jorge was in high spirits. A few years ago, during the eyre of Dragon Clouds City, when the young lady from Walton family held your handI must say, youre a gutsy oneand all the northern lads present turned sour from jealousy, then ganged up and rushed towards you for a good round of martial arts skills exchange and a friendly duel
Thales expression changed.
Jorge continued enthusiastically, The entire scene was chaotic so probably everyone else missed it, but I have sharp eyes, me. She hid you under her skirt
Thales went pale.
Ignoring the expressions of his guards behind him, he rushed forward and grabbed Jorges animated hand. Ahem! Thank you! Administrator Jorge! Thales interrupted him warmly. I am deeply moved by the generosity and well-wishes of Elaphure City! He shook Jorges hand vigorously, sincerely hoping that the latter would stop talking.
Initially stumped, Jorge then narrowed his eyes and lowered his head as if he understood.
This depressed Thales even more.
Both audience to this, Doyle nudged Glover in jest. Unfortunately, the latter merely frowned, showing no interest in participating in the joke.
Oh yeah, speaking of this Jorge naturally put his arm over the dukes shoulder, as if they were buddies, and whispered, Archduke Gaddro has a son, Edgar, the heir to Elaphure City. Hes a good lad, that one. Included in the gifts I brought you are the furs from seals and bears that he personally hunted. You have similar statuses and are both prodigies, Im sure youll hit it off with him
The Administrator had an encouraging expression as he shook the Prince vigorously, Im sure youll like him!
Thales was so flummoxed from the shaking that even his wry smile started to fade. Edgar, was it? Im sure I will
But Jorge merely grinned. Thats not all. The archduke has three daughters as well
Thales had a bad feeling about what he was going to say next.
Even though the eldest has been married twice, shes very fertile. I can guarantee that youll have a good number of children before you even turn twenty. Youll never have to worry about descendants
His second daughter, oh shes exceptional. Adept at horse-riding and archery with excellent marksmanship, even the veterans acknowledge her prowess. With her in your bed, you wouldnt even need to hire overnight guards
Thales smile gradually froze.
The youngest the youngest one Jorge was stuck for words. After some hesitation, he stammered, Sh..shesshes alright
The administrator patted the dukes shoulder in a very northernly fashion, messing Thales perfect hair which had taken him a while to grow back out since he cut it when he was fleeing from calamity.
I know, you grew up in the North, you must enjoy a good challenge How about it? There was a glow in Jorges eyes, Consider it?
The prince gave a forced smile.
It took Thales a good few minutes before he could escape Jorges enthusiasm. He invited the bear-like guest back into the banquet hall and promised to get him a bigger chair.
The guards accompanying the prince had an interesting expression on their faces. Mallos, who had been silent all this while, approached the prince to brief him about the guests that he would be welcoming next. But after he finished briefing the princeYou know, that incident he just mentioned, the one about you hiding under the skirt The guard hesitated.
The normally easy-going Thales looked up instantly.
His expression was fierce, as if he would devour whomever crossed his path.
Dont ask. The Duke of Star Lake gritted his teeth. And youll still be my favorite guard captain.
Mallos squinted, with a look on his face indicating that he fully understood, and bowed in jest. In that case, Ill go ahead and make the other necessary arrangements. Enjoy the banquet.
Looking at Mallos back as he turned to leave, Thales sighed in frustration.
Your Highness Doyle called from behind.
Thales was still on alert. He scowled at Doyle.
Dont worry. I I wasnt going to ask He waved his hand in the air awkwardly. I was just going to say that I understand it well. I have similarly experienced such a terrible situation
Coughcough ahem! Glover, who was standing across from Doyle, kept coughing as if he caught a cold. He interrupted Doyles nonsense, Cough cough cough cough!
Doyle cut himself short in embarrassment, but Thales expression had already worsened.
Thales pulled his head back stiffly; he was in a bad mood.
The first thing he will do once he ascends the throne, will be to lead an army north to
They headed back in silence.
Northerners, erm Are all northerners in Eckstedt like that? Doyle finally broke the silence with a less annoying topic.
Thales nodded glumly. Half of them, yes. As for the other half
At this moment, a voice filled with surprise and excitement exclaimed, Thales Jadestar!
The three of them were startled.
Amidst the bustle of footsteps and shouts, far down the corridor, Jonveled and Procca of the Star Lake Guards were strenuously barring a guest from rushing towards the prince. The latter waved his arms vigorously and seemed determined to approach Thales.
Thales looked at him. His bowl cut seemed oddly familiar to Thales.
Then he saw the glittering sword insignia on the guests clothing.
Its an honor to meet you. I am Levi Trentida, son of the Archduke of Reformation Tower. The guest smiled charmingly. His accent was that same familiar northern accent, even though it was less thick than Jorges.
Reformation Tower, Trentida?
This was interesting.
Another person with a bowl cuta much older, possibly much more cunning person with a more imposing aura and augustappeared in his minds eye.
Thales nodded to the guards to release the unruly northerner who had barged in without being escorted for him to approach.
Levi, was it?
Thales put on his iconic social smile. I know your father, Archduke Trentida
What a coincidence. Levi grinned. I know him too.
Thales fell silent upon hearing this terrible joke.
He glanced at the smirk on Levis face and the glow in his eyes.
Yup, they are definitely father and son.
Very well. Please send my regards to your father. Thales sighed, determined to not get caught up in it. Enjoy the banquet.
The prince turned around to leave.
Your Highness! Levi said anxiously.
Jonveled gripped Levis shoulder firmly from behind, evidently warning the latter.
Thales turned around.
I know youre busy, so alright, Ill be direct. Levi sighed, an all-or-nothing expression on his face.
Against the background noise coming from the banquet, Levi squinted and continued, You know, it hasnt been an easy journey for me. I was going to buy some souvenirs home, but I ran into some trouble That darned market bureaucrat and businessman conspired to not only alter weights and raise prices, but also to deliberately cause trouble
Souvenirs? Thales was stumped.
You know, Im traveling after all. Levi shrugged, like a spoiled rich kid. Ill buy this and that, and bring home some regional specialties.
Regional specialties? Thales raised his eyebrows.
Levi smiled awkwardly. Nothing much. Just some food, clothes and stuff to play with.
Food? Thales asked skeptically. He glared at Levi.
Yup, Im a big fan of food. Levis smile was unchanged. I just need some local officials to turn a blind eye
Thales stared at him for a few seconds.
No cant do.
Thales continued coldly, Im just a novice, principled prince.
After he spoke, Thales was turning around to leave when Levi hurriedly said, I know, I know! But dont worry, Your Highness. You wont have to do anything! Nothing at all!
Thales looked at him quizzically.
Levi broke away from Jonveleds grip andignoring the latters expression of disgustcontinued, At the banquet later, just allow me to stand beside you for a while, and make it seem like were having a jovial chat, thats it. The bureaucrat that was finding fault with me has attended today. Hes trying really hard to get close to you.
Levi looked at Thales anxiously.
Sorry. Thales shook his head and prepared to leave. Perhaps you should reveal your official status and see what they can do for you at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
But Levi started again. This time, there was a hint of a plea in his voice. For starters, that would be too high-profile and would attract too much attention, you know Secondly He shrugged embarrassedly, The exchange rate has been poor recently, I have limited funds.
Too high profile
Poor exchange rate
Wait a minute.
Bringing regional specialties home?
The prince muttered to himself for a seconda realization dawning upon him.
Alright. But if I help you Thales turned around and groaned softly. What do I get?
Levi was stunned for a moment before breaking into an awkward smile. The friendship of Reformation Tower and the Trentida family?
Thales raised his eyebrows.
The friendship of Reformation Tower and the Trentida family.
Sounds good on paper.
Thales chuckled softly.
How much was it really worth?
Levis reaction seemed to suggest that he understood perfectly the extent of the value of his familys reputation.
Alright, hear me out Levi took a deep breath and whispered something in Thales ear, disregarding the expression on Glover and Doyles faces.
Thales expression changed.
Unexpectedly, after a few seconds, Thales nodded solemnly.
Levis eyes glowed as he snapped his fingers. Young Trentida chuckled. I knew you would be easy to negotiate with. No wonder my father sings your praises every dayThales of Constellation
But the Duke of Star Lake cut him short.
I remember your father as a cautious man. He would think twice before acting and would never place a bet easily, the prince said indifferently, You came here to see me at Constellation, and hes fine with it?
Levi paused and stared at Thales intriguingly.
As a son, Levi stared at him with a knowing smile and said, if one is constantly restrained by their fatherOne can never be a man, is it not so?
Thales was silent for a moment.
His thoughts turned to the son of another archduke. The Viscount of Dual Wind City in the City of Faraway Prayersthe Nuisance, Ian Roknee.
Thank you for your frankness. I will repeat this to Archduke Trentida, Thales said calmly.
Cant wait. Levi was unfazed, instead smiling slyly. Only then will he know that not all his sons are entitled to be mentioned by the famous Polaris that reversed the fortunes of Eckstedt.
Upon hearing this title, Thales frowned.
You northerners all call me that?
Of course there are other nicknames, but this one sounds the most pleasing Levi looked at Thales cautiously and grinned. Or would you rather be called the Archduchess Starlet?
Thales face turned gloomy.
The guards around him stared at each other in dread, their expressions started to look strange again.
Oh Sunset Goddess, is this not compounding misery upon a prince that has returned from Eckstedt, a prince that has to deal with all the problems in Constellation?
Thanks a lot, northerners.
Just as Levi was about to leave, Thales suddenly said, What about King Chapman? What does he think about your visit to my banquet?
Upon hearing that name, Levis expression changed.
He kept silent for a few seconds.
Dear duke, today is a day of celebration for you Young Trentida looked around for a moment, then whispered, Lets not mention unpleasant matters.
Thales politely bid him farewell. The contented Levi finally turned and left under the escort of Jonveled and Procca.
But the princes expression became cold the moment he turned around.
Glover, Thales said in a somber tone, Find out where Gilbert is. Bring him to me.
Glover frowned slightly.
Doyle, who was beside him, was stunned. Now? But Your Highness, it is reported that the Guardian Duke of the Eastern Sea, Prime Minister Cullen will be arriving soon. You will need to
But Thales suddenly raised his voice. F*ck the Prime Minister.
The Duke of Star Lake had a chilling tone in his voice as he paused at every word; it was unnerving. Now. This instant. Immediately Thales glared. Find. Me. Gilbert. Caso.
The two that were accustomed to the gentle character of the prince were equally surprised.
Glover did not utter another word as he turned to leave. Only the frightened Doyle was left to accompany Thales; he would throw a worried glance at Thales from time to time.
Gilbert appeared quickly before Thales, looking puzzled.
Thales dismissed Doyle and Glover, and went straight to the point. Whats going on in Eckstedt?
Gilbert was immediately taken aback. Whats going on? Everything should be just fine. After eliminating his rival, Chapman the First has been busy with internal reorganization
But Thales interrupted him impatiently, Gilbert! Earlier, two northerners halted me disrespectfully. One even called me King of Constellation in public.
Gilberts expression changed.
Thales stepped forward, his eyes blazing. Do you understand now?
Gilbert met Thales gaze for a moment before sighing softly. You know, today is your big day. After today, you will officially have stepped into the social circle of Eternal Star City, stepped into the spotlight of the kingdom. Even if there was something else going on, it shouldnt compare
But Thales merely stared at Gilbert. Gilbert, six years ago, it was you who brought me to Mindis Hall. So I trust you. More than anyone.
Looking at the prince, Gilbert seemed to have something to say but hesitated, his expression complex.
After a few seconds, Count Caso sighed. A few days ago, a battle report came from Eckstedt.
Thales tensed up.
Gilbert swept away the joyful and relaxed mood of banquet day; his expression turned solemn as he entered full work mode. The troops of Dragon Clouds City, City of Faraway Prayers and Defence City have joined forces to form an army of 20,000 northern soldiers. They marched aggressively across the western border like a hot knife through butter. The Alliance of Freedom has been retreating in defeat, the entire Golden Passage is shuddering in fear.
Not long ago, the Eckstedtians finally stormed the city and besieged Fort Libert.
As one of the participants, he remembers clearly the internal and external causes of the war, its forces, and the dramatic twists and turns.
I know, Eckstedt wants to reaffirm their supremacy and status along the Golden Passage
The Alliance of Freedom, tiny as it was, affected the entire political situation in the Western Peninsula. Whether it was the Sixteen City States of Camus, the White Elves of White Mountain or other kingdoms along the Golden Passage, ever since they overestimated themselves and intervened 20 years ago, incurring the wrath of King Nuven who quelled the Alliance with a snap of his fingers, leaving them in a sorry state
In face of the current crisis, in face of the joined forces of the three cities, all the other powers have chosen to self-preserve and be bystanders; no one dared anger the giant dragon.
Including Constellation that used the opportunity to kick the Alliance of Freedom while they were down.
But something dawned on Thales. Your expression, Gilbert. What happened?
The Foreign Affairs Minister saw Thales reaction and sighed. As you know, a few months ago, the intelligence center built by Kingdoms Secret Intelligence Department was badly hit. Its still being rebuilt The information coming in is cluttered and confusing, everything is still being verified. The Secret Intelligence Department has been at it for days
Thales ignored Gilberts attempt to beat about the bush. So what have you found out so far?
Gilbert was silent for a moment.
Thales did not shift his gaze away.
Even though it hasnt been confirmed, but the general idea was that Gilberts tone was calm. The Eckstedtians failed to conquer the city and sustained heavy losses. They lost battle after battle in the span of days and suffered a huge blow. Whats more, their supplies have been cut off and they are being attacked on their escape route. They have been forced to abandon their goal The entire army has retreated.
Thales stood frozen.
Thats right, Your Highness. Gilbert sighed deeply. There was a discernable melancholy in his voice, the type that could only be comprehended by someone who was well-acquainted with history. Since the rise of Nuven the Sixth, there have not been failed conquests, nor lost battles Under the rule of The Born King, hegemony was law and his authority spread across the Western Peninsula Gilbert sighed again. Lost.
Thales was lost in thought for a moment.
The Kingdom of the Great Dragon.
The children of Northern Wind and Dragon.
The kin and descendants of Raikaru the Hero.
Gilbert was still speaking, but Thales seemed to be listening behind a curtain, nodding distractedly.
In his long life, he has racked his brains to preserve his own life, exhausted himself to escape unscathed, and traversed the endless political games and the whirlpool of the times
But this was the first time, the first time that he sincerely felt that
Times had changed.
Thales took a deep breath.
So I thought, your debut today has become more important now Gilberts voice became clear again.
But Thales was not paying attention anymore.
Sa.. roma Thales muttered subconsciously, but only managed a few syllables.
Until the second prince looked up indifferently. What about the Archduchess of Dragon Clouds City?
Gilbert was silent for a while, as if he was expecting the question, yet seemed to hesitate in giving an answer.
But the fiery glare of the Duke of Star Lake was too much to bear.
According to the current intel Gilbert continued with much difficulty, After the victory, the Alliance of Freedom claimed that they have captured the enemy commander-in-chief. Its unclear whether she is alive or dead.
At that moment, Thales could only hear silence.
It was as if the entire Mindis Hall had been muted.