As the figure wobbled forth, it became clearer.
Rodney and Dan appeared before Kieran’s sight and their hands were tied up behind their backs on top of a special pillared prisoner wagon.
The three arbiters were around the wagon, pushing or pulling it.
Soon, the prisoner wagon reached in front Kieran.
The three arbiters gave out a couple of weird laughs when they saw that Kieran couldn’t even move his finger. One of them was holding a leather whip and the other was holding a spiked bat as they walked towards Kieran with vicious expressions but the last one of the three was the fastest.
The last arbiter ran up to Kieran barehanded and grabbed the dagger embedded in Kieran’s stomach.
The dagger was pulled out and then was thrust back inside.
Compared to the automatic dagger, the arbiter’s action caused much more pain to Kieran.
“Stop it!” Rodney cried out loud and right away, a whipping from the arbiter was his reply.
“Rodney, you still think you are a knight so high on top? You are just a prisoner now! Lord Juen’s prisoner!”
One of the two arbiters was scolding Rodney as he was whipping him.
“You traitors! You bastards will surely end up on fire stakes!”
Even when being whipped furiously, Rodney didn’t forget to curse the two arbiters despite his pain.
“Fire stakes? Just who do you think is the prisoner now?”
“AND! What rights do you have to call us traitors? We are controlled by you bunch hypocrites with dirty means, now we’ve pledged our allegiance to Lord Juen who gave us our freedom, what’s wrong with that?” The two arbiters argued with their questions.
“You are just finding excuses for your cowardice!” Rodney’s pitch went up higher.
“So what?” The arbiter who was plunging holes into Kieran’s stomach turned around and questioned the knight.
Then, before Rodney could answer, a fierce kick landed on his stomach, forcing him to swallow back his words before he could even utter anything.
The three arbiters laughed out loud when they saw Rodney with his mouth opened and couldn’t utter a single word.
The laughs lasted for a couple seconds before they moved again.
Kieran, who was covered in blood and still couldn’t move, was thrown on top of the prisoner wagon that looked like a flatcar.
The three of them acted as mules again, pushing and pulling the wagon forward.
Kieran only then noticed that the quiet young knight, Dan, had lash marks all over his body.
Especially Dan’s eyes, which had turned into two bloody sockets, his half-opened mouth only housed half of his tongue and weak breathing sounded from his nose but Kieran clearly sensed that Dan’s life force was weakening by the second.
Obviously, the arbiters didn’t hold back against the executioner who had been always clamping them down and when the clamp was removed, they struck a deadly blow to the young knight.
If it wasn’t for Elder Juen’s order, Kieran could easily guess what would have happened to Dan.
Kieran’s gaze turned away and started to size up the surroundings.
Following the advancing of the wagon, Kieran saw the darkness around him had obvious changes.
The darkness faded without a sign as if there was mist dispersing, all that was left in front was a big corridor.
The corridor’s floor and ceiling were completely made up of rocks, looking sturdy and old.
Lines of thin chains in the size of a baby’s finger were holding up dish-like instruments at the end as it was filled with oil and was burning brightly.
Amidst the fire, there was a lot of smoke that smelled weird and when Kieran picked up the smell, the wounds on his body hurt him more.
He held the pain in and looked at the left side of the corridor.
Cells and cages made up of a giant wood pile were locking up prisoners inside.
All the prisoners were looking terrified and nervous, any slight noises would cause them to shiver uncontrollably. Especially when they saw the three arbiters who were pushing and pulling the wagon, the prisoners all lowered their heads deeply and didn’t even dare to look at the arbiters.
They were terrified beyond their comprehension!
Kieran knew it in his heart but he didn’t feel a bit of contempt towards them.
These people who were dragged into this peculiar place and were locked in cages without a slight bit of light, suffering endless torment.
Fear was natural, and those who know no fear would have been tortured to death early on.
Kieran then turned to the right side of the corridor.
Along the corridor, body after body was hung up. Some became dried corpses and some were nothing but skeletons, but most of the bodies were hung upside down, having a small candle at the bottom of their head, burning their scalp away and allowing droplets of oil fall into the bowl beneath.
The oil from the burning light came from the prisoner’s body without question.
Then, Kieran saw the three high clergies of Dandon being tied up on the right wall and were beaten badly by the guards there, looking dispirited and apathetic.
When the three high clergies saw Kieran, their eyes lit up but when they saw the wounds and that he was unable to move his body at all, their spirits turned gloomy again.
The guards with malicious looks noticed the changes of his prisoners. They were sizing up Kieran with increased interest.
Some of the guards slowly walked over to the wagon without pausing and obviously harbored malicious intent.
Kieran could clearly tell in their eyes as if they were waiting to see livestock being slaughtered.
Though before the guards really came close to the wagon, an irritating screech came from the far end of the corridor.
The closed door was slowly opened up.
Immediately, the guards who walked over and the arbiters quickly kneeled down.
“My lord!” They called out loud but none of them dared to lift their heads up nor dared to show any disrespectful expressions.
The wagon that stopped then floated up in the air and flew into the dark at a steady speed, followed by the door closing up again.
When the sound of the closed door echoed in Kieran’s ears, he saw Elder Juen again.
The last time Kieran saw him, Elder Juen was in an ugly state and was oozing blood all over his body but now, he had changed into a magnificent black long robe with his still scrawny face and was holding a golden scepter in his hand, sitting up straight on a black throne, looking down at Kieran with a dominating manner in reply of his gaze.
“Do you know the difference between us now? Some petty tricks would never have inflicted any damage on me! But still, you made quite an impression. Given your abilities, either you can become my servant or become my prisoner! What will you choose?”
As Elder Juen had spoken, so could Kieran. Even though he didn’t speak, he felt he could, yet he didn’t reply and all he did was size up the place.
“What a ridiculous ant! You wouldn’t think you are facing an illusion or inside an illusory realm right? This is my kingdom! The kingdom where I can do whatever I want! For example, you think you can turn the tides around with the power in your body but I can easily wipe it away!”
Elder Juen then swung his golden scepter with a sneer.
Immediately, the Dawn Force within Kieran’s body had vanished into nothing.
“Now, tell me what is your choice?” Elder Juen asked once more.
Yet this time around, Kieran still kept quiet and his face was looking weird.