Chapter 159: The Fateful Night
Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
“When Prince Soria lay in a pool of his own blood, the look in his eyes…” Mirk rested his chin on his dead daughter’s forehead, filled with despair. “I know we had committed an unforgivable crime… I could have stopped her…”
“Then why didn’t you?” King Nuven looked up. He gritted his teeth, and snapped at the weeping man, “You just stood there and watch that woman murder Soria?
“Perhaps you were secretly hoping that Soria would disappear sooner.” King Nuven nearly burst into a roar as he delivered his final line. “You were hoping that the obstacle between you and that woman would disappear?”
The administrator shivered. He turned to King Nuven with a terrified look. At that moment, Thales genuinely understood the fear, sadness, and helplessness Mirk felt.
And the deepest despair and numbness… And the panic when his darkest thoughts were exposed…
Mirk’s expression gradually changed.
He lowered his head. His face twisted into a grimace. He punched on the floor by his side and roared with intense grief.
“No!” The administrator panted violently. His expression kept changing. “I was going to turn myself in!”
Mirk gasped, his forehead almost touched the ground.
“But Adele… Adele threatened to cut her own throat with the dagger, crying, forcing me to take them out of there… she refused to stay in that place any longer…
“But I could not… I knew I could not! I am a Northlander. I was a White Blade Guard. I was also Soria’s friend and subordinate!” Mirk bawled. “I couldn’t!
“Forgive me, Adele…” Mirk was trembling. He hugged his head like a child and wept weakly on the floor. “I couldn’t!”
“But you kept quiet and let Soria rot in your lies and deception.” King Nuven had a numb expression. “And you took his child—the bastard of you and that woman—back to my palace!”
Mirk put down his hands and stared sorrowfully at his daughter, at her serene face.
“But… Alex.” His voice quivered, as if his jaw was twitching. “Alex knew nothing about this! She was innocent!”
Mirk cupped his daughter’s face in his hands with tears streaming down his face, gritted his teeth, and closed his eyes.
Little Rascal lowered her head fearfully, then she felt a shiver in Thales’ hand. She raised her head fearfully and saw the Prince of Constellation purse his lips tightly, his eyes fixed on King Nuven.
His stare was cold and filled with anger.
“What? Do you feel wronged?” King Nuven gave a wild laugh, full of mockery. “Do you feel miserable? Do you feel as if your whole world has collapsed? Because I killed your daughter?”
Mirk gasped, looking King Nuven in the eye.
Thales took a deep breath. He quietly watched Mirk’s movements.
“Remember this feeling.” King Nuven’s voice was raspy and deep, harboring a spine-chilling tone. “You deserve it.”
Mirk held his daughter. He teeth clenched, his eyes red with tears and indignation. He growled in agony.
King Nuven could not care less about the close distance between him and his mortal enemy. “Coward, bastard, if you feel wronged… avenge her then!”
Mirk’s fists were clenched with a great force and made cracking sounds. Like a beast reaching its breaking point, his eyes were filled with a mixture of hatred, agony, despair and madness.
Upon hearing those words, Thales furrowed his brow. He looked at the hall entrance.
‘Where are the White Blade Guards? Where is Nicholas? If Mirk really goes berserk and kills the king… Damn it.’
Mirk stared at the king, his breathing grew heavier, and his fists shook.
In spite of that, the king held his gaze fearlessly, as if the person that stood in front of him was not a strong former warrior of the White Blade Guards, but a defenseless, shackled weakling.
“Come, kill your king.” King Nuven’s eyes sparkled with a complex emotion. He huffed and said slowly, “Just like how, many years ago, your incompetence, cowardice, disloyalty and weakness… killed Soria.”
At that moment, Mirk’s expression changed as if he was struck by lightning. His mouth opened slightly and his lips quivered, as if he was trying to say something. But Mirk closed his mouth in the end.
The color drained from his face, his body shook and collapsed back onto the floor again, he then began to sob quietly.
Little Rascal let out a scream. The king stopped talking. Thales tried hard to adjust his breathing and control his emotions. What occurred in the Hall of Heroes today had shocked him. And for a while, the hall held only Mirk’s irregular sobbing. After a long time, King Nuven let out a snort, one that Thales could not decipher the meaning for.
“Leave,” the king said tiredly. “Do not appear before me ever again.”
Mirk raised his head numbly.
“Byrne Mirk, you shall continue to live like this, until the day you die.” King Nuven looked up and his eyebrow twitched. “Live in the torture of guilt, remorse, loneliness and pain forever. Never to be forgiven. Never to find peace.
“This is the punishment you deserve, for Soria’s sake.”
Mirk started to chortle hysterically. He lowered his head to stare at his daughter, and wept again.
“Get out!” The next second, King Nuven roared with rage. “Take your sin with you… and get out!”
Little Rascal trembled again. Without Thales’ support, she would have collapsed on the floor.
Mirk stared blankly at King Nuven. A few seconds passed before he slowly stood up, carrying Alex’s dead body. He turned around numbly.
“The child in your arms is a Walton Family disgrace—a symbol of betrayal.” The king glared fiercely at him. “She shall not be buried, she cannot corrupt my land…
“If I ever find out that you buried her in any inch of Eckstedtian soil, even if she only has her ashes left, I will send people to dig her out, and I will feed those ashes to the wild dogs!” King Nuven finished his speech sternly.
When Thales heard this cruel verdict, he sighed and frowned at King Nuven. Mirk trembled violently with his daughter in his arms, but he nevertheless gritted his teeth, took one step after another, and struggled to move forward.
“Lady Alex…” Little Rascal sniffled, wishing to follow him. Thales held her back.
“No, don’t,” Thales said softly. “It’s all over… for your mistress.”
Little Rascal shivered, staring at Thales with a piteous, helpless gaze, while Thales only watched Mirk’s back quietly without moving.
Nicholas appeared at the hall’s entrance, watching Mirk with a complex expression. However, Mirk only gazed at his daughter with an ashen face, his head down, turning a blind eye on everything around him…
Until Nicholas said, “I swear on my blood, my body, my sword, and my soul to…”
Mirk raised his head abruptly, having recovered from his trance-like state. He stopped and stared at Nicholas, dumbfounded, listening to the Star Killer uttered remaining lines.
“Ward off the enemies, win countless battles until we bleed out.
“Defend lives, fear no sacrifices until the end of humanity.
“Be guardians of the future, honor our beliefs until the sun and the moon grow dim.
“Leave a legacy of hope, cast the light of glory until the world falls into eternal slumber.”
Mirk shut his eyes bitterly, tears streamed down his face.
Nicholas finished reciting the oath with a strange gaze. He looked at Mirk sadly. “So long, my sworn brother. Your story has ended in ‘The Legend of the White Blade Guards’.”
Mirk took a deep breath and gave a tearful smile. He took a step forward and walked past his former superior officer.
“Do not forget His Majesty’s warning.” Without turning around, Nicholas said to Mirk, “If we find out that you dared to bury her in our country’s soil…”
Mirk chuckled sadly. In the next second, he held the girl’s corpse and, as if he was not conscious of his surroundings, walked out of the Hall of Heroes with a dazed expression and an unfocused look in his eyes.
Thales watched Mirk’s figure disappear at the doorstep. Then, the Prince of Constellation turned around, panting slightly, and asked the question he wanted to ask a while ago.
King Nuven looked up with a dark gaze.
“Alex… was just an oblivious little girl.” Thales stepped away from Little Rascal, towards King Nuven, and said spitefully, “What happened to Soria and Adele-what do these things have to do with her? She did not even know anything.”
King Nuven snorted.
“Send her away or lock her up… You had better alternatives!” Thales tried to control his breathing.
King Nuven chuckled coldly. His tone was sad and lifeless. “Ah, I noticed another characteristic of yours. An unnecessary sense of justice… who taught you all these things?”
“It has nothing to do with justice.” Thales balled his fists. The bony, waxen figures of the shabby children in the Abandoned Houses emerged in his memory. “She was just an innocent child.”
‘They didn’t deserve that kind of fate.’
“Every single day she lived was an affront to the Walton Family, and she is also a threat to our alliance,” King Nuven replied. “This is a necessary action, and the best choice I had.”
“You can find a thousand excuses for your actions.” Thales snorted. “Political purposes, benefits, secrecy, revenge, punishment, an act of impulse, you could even claim that you were forced to do it, that you had no choice.
“But none of that can justify and defend your deeds.” Thales glared at King Nuven, gritted his teeth, and said, “You poisoned an innocent twelve-year-old girl and ended her future, Nuven Walton, just to punish her father?”
A look of disgust appeared on Thales’ face. “Are you pleased now that you have sought your revenge?”
“Ha! Sometimes you are more cunning than the most cunning nobleman.” King Nuven snickered with a scornful expression. “Sometimes you are more naïve than the dumbest fool.”
Thales ignored his ridicule.
“I used to know someone who took it out on small children.” The Prince of Constellation lowered his head and clenched his fists. “He could not face his own failure and shame, so he took out his anger and hatred on blameless children. You are no better than that coward.”
Thales panted, remembering the feeling of having his right hand skewered. “Do you want to know his ending?”
King Nuven’s gaze turned cold.
The old king straightened his back and snorted coldly. “Do not forget: If it was not because of the girl’s birth and the sins she hid behind her, then we would not have marched south, and you would not be standing here either.”
“Damn you, Nuven,” Thales snapped. “We understand each other. Keep those senseless lies to yourself.
“Under those circumstances, regardless of the assassination or Prince Soria’s death, Eckstedt would invade Constellation. It was only the matter of time.”
“So you pity her?” King Nuven began to snigger. “I told you. You should get used to this way of life, little prince. Your enemies, too, would not hesitate to harm you just because you are an innocent seven-year-old.”
Thales gazed at him and suddenly burst into laughter. He shook his head.
“Kaslan might be wrong. It wasn’t because you have changed, nor was it because you have aged,” Thales said with sarcasm. “It is because that is who you really are.
“Soria, Moriah, Poffret, Mirk… Do you know why they all met with tragedy?”
King Nuven’s brow crinkled.
“If the Walton Family had been managing your country and treating your vassals and subordinates with these kind of methods,” Thales said coldly, “you should not expect them to repay you with loyalty and integrity.
“Your sons… they died because of a father like you.” Thales finished what he wanted to say. He looked at the king in front of him.
Oddly enough, he was relieved.
He felt no burden or had any form of conscience criticizing him for offending the Common-Elected King of Eckstedt.
King Nuven stared at him and did not speak for a long time.
The old king’s expression grew stern. He glared at Thales with a complex emotion in his eyes.
“You think this is cruel?” the king said softly. “You have not seen crueler things.”
Thales’ brow creased slightly.
King Nuven began with the solemnity of a king. “You, come to me.”
Thales took a deep breath.
‘Bloody old man. What is he up to this time?’
He raised his head slowly, stared at King Nuven, and moved his foot forward.
But he could not even manage to take the first step.
“It is not you.” The king’s gaze, sharp as blades, shot past the Prince of Constellation and landed coldly on a spot behind him. He then said coldly, “I was talking about… that child.”
Thales was stunned, and his pupils shrank. He turned towards Little Rascal.
Little Rascal, who was holding her breath all along, appeared to have an idea of what was about to happen.
Little Rascal glanced at the king in disbelief, then looked at Thales with pleading eyes. She had never experienced a situation like this before and was so nervous that she nearly burst into tears.
“Do not make me say it a third time.” King Nuven glared at her coldly.
Little Rascal shivered, she did not even dare raise her head. However, driven by years of experience as a servant, she took a fearful step forward and tottered towards the king.
Thales watched all of this in puzzlement.
Little Rascal stood in front of King Nuven and stared at the ground, shuddering.
“Since the assassination of Soria, I have made sure that Alex was well-protected,” the old king said flatly. “Most people do not even know her name, only that she exists.
“It’s thanks to this that few people know of this secret and its truth.” King Nuven’s eyes were terrifying and his tone was firm.
“From the scullery to her bedroom, from the guards to her maids, every person who knew of Alex was eliminated while you were on your way here.
“There is just one left.”
Little Rascal trembled violently.
Tears rolled out of her eyes. “No. I did not see anything. I do not know anything…”
King Nuven lowered his head and raised his right hand, staring at the onyx ring with a profound gaze.
Thales’ breathing suddenly sped up. He had a feeling he knew what the old king might be up to.
Thales strode towards King Nuven. “Hey! You…”
But after two steps, Thales’ shoulder was clutched from behind by a strong arm. A stab of pain erupted from his shoulder.
“Stay put.” The Star Killer, Nicholas, was restraining him. “Do not make a mess, little prince.”
Suddenly, half of Thales’ body could not move.
“No, you saw what happened just now—with that secret—did you not?” King Nuven said slowly to Little Rascal with his old, deep voice. “You are also one of the very few people who know of Alex’s existence.”
Little Rascal saw what happened to Thales, her face covered with tears. She turned to look at King Nuven’s expression and shuddered with fear.
“I am begging you, Your Majesty,” she cried. “I will be obedient. I will stay in the castle. I will say nothing…”
King Nuven continued to stroke ‘Triumph’ on his finger. He smiled.
‘No. Damn it!’
Thales glanced at Nicholas hatefully, then turned his eyes back to King Nuven.
In the next second, King Nuven smiled coldly as he held Little Rascal’s hand tightly. “Guess. What will be your fate?”
“Nuven!” Thales struggled violently, but in the grip of the leader of the White Blade Guards, his resistance was futile.
With a cold look, King Nuven pulled Little Rascal’s hand towards his right one.
Little Rascal was nearly frightened to tears. “No… no…”
Thales clenched his teeth tightly and drew JC’s dagger from his waist. Then, with an incredibly bizarre angle, he swung it at the Star Killer!
The fourth offensive style in the Northland Military Sword Style. The Ambushing Style.
Thales widened his mouth in shock.
He saw King Nuven extend his right hand to place the ring on Little Rascal’s hand.
Little Rascal stared at the onyx ring with the silver loop on her palm with a dumbfounded gaze.
“This is the authentication token that has been passed down through generations within the Walton Family—Triumph,” King Nuven said in a cold and steady voice, “From now on, you are the last kin of the Waltons.
“You are the granddaughter of the Common-Elected King of Eckstedt and the Archduke of Dragon Clouds City, Nuven Walton’s granddaughter.
“You are the only daughter of Prince Soria Walton and Adele Walton, daughter of Gestad, the Duke of Vine City.”
Thales and Little Rascal stared at King Nuven blankly.
“Saroma Alex Soria Walton,” King Nuven said softly, “That is your name.”
Little Rascal instinctively let out a light gasp. Her face was stark white.
A few seconds later she finally realized the meaning behind King Nuven’s words. The bespectacled girl lifted ‘Triumph’ with trembling hands and took a fearful step back.
Nicholas let go of Thales, released the dagger that had previously been thrust at him, and let out a cold snort. However, Thales no longer had any time to be bothered by his attitude.
Thales clambered up from the ground and stared at King Nuven in shock, then at Little Rascal, who was distracted and so scared that she was completely helpless.
“You must forget your past, be it your origin or the girl you served before.” King Nuven continued on with his emotionless but powerful voice. “You will listen to my commands and become a lady of the Walton Family.
“You will marry that boy and become Jadestar Family’s support. You will protect the terms of the Walton Family and the union between the two families. You will respect him, obey him, serve him, and as Saroma Walton, assist and support him.”
Little Rascal cast a glance at Thales while trembling, and her eyes behind her glasses were filled with tears. “No—”
But King Nuven cut off her pleas for mercy.
“Remember your first middle name ‘Alex’. It will forever remind you of your true identity. It will remind you of the night that changed your fate.
“But this is also a warning.” A brilliant light shone in King Nuven’s eyes. “If you prove to be a threat to the interests of the Jadestar and Walton Families, then that boy can reveal your identity anytime he wants. One single Bloodline Ceremony will be enough to destroy everything. Trust me, you will not like it.”
Little Rascal was scared out of her wits. She was so afraid that she even forgot to breathe. When her strength began to wane, she sucked in a breath.
King Nuven turned his head and stared at the Prince of Constellation with a profound expression on his face. “And you, Thales. Today, I have exposed the greatest secret and most terrifying past within my family to you.
“‘Triumph’ is just the first lock. This is the second lock: You can now, rest assured, take over the Walton Family.
“Our alliance is still in effect.”
Thales shuddered. He looked towards Little Rascal.
“It does not matter whether it is out of benefit or out of that laughable sympathy of yours, you will protect her and her identity.” King Nuven’s voice suddenly became weary and hoarse. “Just like how you will protect the Waltons.”
Little Rascal snapped out of her daze and stared at the ring on her palm before she started trembling.
“No, please, Your Majesty…” Almost in tears, Little Rascal said fearfully, “I am terrified. I know nothing. I cannot—”
“I did not ask for your opinion!” King Nuven whipped his head around and glared at Little Rascal, causing the latter’s words to die in her mouth. A fierce glare shone in the king’s eyes. “Do you understand?”
Little Rascal was so incredibly terrified that even her spectacles had become slanted. She could only nod rigidly.
A faint smile appeared on King Nuven’s lips.
Thales stared at this scene with a blank gaze. A myriad of emotions raged in his heart.
The old king sighed and said slowly, “Alright. Thales, you already know everything that you should know.”
King Nuven lifted his eyes and spoke in an incredibly exhausted voice. “Return to your room.”
Thales gasped for breath and clenched his fists. He cast another glance at Little Rascal and saw the helpless and pitiful gaze in her eyes. Then he clenched his teeth, turned around, and left.
Behind Thales, King Nuven spoke to Little Rascal in a low voice, “And you, from tonight onwards, you will sleep in Alex’s chamber.”
Thales gritted his teeth harder and harder with each passing moment. Little Rascal’s terrified cries came from behind him.
“Anytime you find yourself fed up with this, think about today and your former mistress on your bed.”
Thales’ breathing gradually quickened. He could already imagine Little Rascal’s expression.
“Think about what happened to Alex. Think about her entire body spasming, and her pain-filled expression before she died.”
Thales shut his eyes gently. His footsteps became slower. Little Rascal’s whimpers traveled into the air behind his back.
“Think about all the people who died because of this, then think about how fortunate you are.”
Thales came to a halt. He sucked in a deep breath.
“The servants and cooks have all been purged, but you should have new servants soon. It would be ideal for you to imitate her the best as you can.”
Under everyone’s surprised gazes, the Prince of Constellation turned around and glared at King Nuven as well as the sobbing Little Rascal with rage in his eyes.
Thales gritted his teeth and strode forward before he grabbed Little Rascal’s wrist.
Then, in a manner that did not allow anyone else to say anything about his actions, he pulled her to his side.
He could feel Little Rascal’s wrist, still quivering.
“Don’t be so impatient, Thales.” King Nuven dismissed Nicholas who was about to move forward. Then he said languidly, “You will have plenty of time in the future to slowly get acquainted with your fiancée.”
“That is enough.” Thales glared at King Nuven coldly. “She will stay with me tonight!”
Once he finished saying this, he dragged Little Rascal and walked towards the hall with a grave expression on his face.
Little Rascal pushed her glasses which were about to fall off, and simply allowed Thales to drag her along, occasionally turning her head back to look at King Nuven in fear and alarm.
King Nuven spoke flatly behind him, “Thales, where do you intend to take my granddaughter?”
“As long as she is not with you!” As Thales continued walking forward, he replied brusquely, “You bunch of lunatics!”
King Nuven’s boisterous laughter came from behind him, but it only made Thales become even more agitated and his thoughts to be incredibly muddled.
“Thales Jadestar.” Behind him was the King’s loud laughter. “This is your first night… Be nice to your fiancée!”
Thales did not even turn his head back. He dragged Little Rascal out of the hall and did not even acknowledge the White Blade Guards’ frowns. He only walked forward resolutely.
He continued walking until Little Rascal spoke up quietly after she snapped out of her daze and her fear.
“Um…” Little Rascal pulled his shirt timidly. “You are…?”
“I am Thales,” Thales answered coldly.
“Is Lady Alex really…?” Little Rascal sniffed and asked, upset. “Is she really…?”
“Yeah,” Thales frowned and answered firmly, “She’s dead… poisoned.”
A violent shudder wracked Little Rascal’s body. Thales frowned.
“Poisoned…” Little Rascal’s gaze became unfocused and she began mumbling to herself in a neurotic state,
“Year 207 in the Empire Calendar, Duke Sekarqi poisoned his fourth knight with poison arrows… Year 489 in the Empire Calendar, Count Kite Nander and Princess Lesley were both poisoned to death during their wedding… Year 721 in the Empire Calendar, Emperor Aydi the Third fell into a coma due to poison… Year 1171 in the Empire Calendar, the ‘Emperor of Poison’ poisoned Suzerain Raydi Zodra on the negotiating table… Year 359 in the Calendar of Eradication, the ‘Alluring Archduke’ Lycile Anlenzo died due to a cup of flower tea… Year 418 in the Calendar of Eradication, Count Lloyd Olsius was poisoned by the ‘Mourning Archduke’… Year 660 in the Calendar of Eradication, due to Blue Vine Grass, the royal family in Constellation was—”
“Enough!” Thales shouted firmly and cut her murmurs off, “Stop thinking about this!”
Only then did Little Rascal register what was going on. Thales dragged her and continued onwards.
“Um, we should go back,” Little Rascal said hesitantly.
“You cannot go back.” Thales cut her off curtly and shook his head before he spoke, “Based on what Nuven said, there are a pile of corpses there. It’s definitely not suitable for you to stay in that place.”
Little Rascal shuddered a little.
Thales sighed in his head quietly as he continued walking onwards.
Little Rascal spoke hesitantly again. “But I’m afraid that we’ll—”
“You don’t have to be afraid. There are no bastards like Nuven here,” Thales said quietly, “But I can only protect you for a period of time—”
“No, what I’m saying is… ” Almost in tears, Little Rascal said softly, “We’re on the wrong path…”