Chapter 33: Long Reign the Blood
The moonlight shone on the lawn of Vine Manor. Everyone stared in shock at the two children lying on the ground. For a while, there was only silence.
Thales lied on the floor, breathing heavily. His half-naked body was covered with nothing other than the bandage over his wound. The only thing he could feel was the cold and pain.
On the other hand, the silver-haired loli on his bosom propped up her body by pressing on his shoulder without any expressions on her face. She saw the bandage on his chest, which covered the silver coin-sized burn wound. She smelled the scent of blood on it and revealed an expression of anticipation and mesmerization.
This expression frightened Thales and he immediately sat up, before the dangerous Blood Clan girl (Thales had long since thought of her as a boss monster who would become a blood-sucking mummy at any time) could reveal her fangs, he pushed her off his bosom.
Yodel and Chris immediately appeared in front of the two children.
"I'm okay, Yodel, don't worry." Thales saw the wound on the secret protector's chest and flashed a tired smile. The latter took off the cape around his leotard and put it over Thales.
Thales nodded. "Before this, there is something urgent that must be dealt with."
He turned to face another direction. There was a large pit with a legless and half-dead person lying inside.
The Phantom Wind Follower, Midira Ralf. The person who struggled and broke free of his shackles. A survivor who did not want to escape pain through death.
"Sir Gilbert, please be sure to save that person." Speaking to Gilbert, who was some distance away, Thales' gaze became dim but determined. "If it weren't for him, I probably wouldn't have been able to last until all of you arrived."
'And also,' Thales muttered inwardly, 'he is the first person I have truly saved in this damned world.'
Gilbert nodded and commanded the Swordsman of Eradication beside him to rescue Ralf.
"Your Highness!" Chris' still face was full of excitement. He kneeled in front of the silver-haired loli on one knee. Trembling, he put the woolen blanket in his hands over her body.
Thales shirt was not big enough and was torn in many places, it only covered the little girl up to her knees. Her two fair calves were exposed. Having thought of this, Chris glared fiercely at Thales.
Her Highness was of noble status and she completely paid no heed to these ants' stares, but as the loyal butler of the Corleone family for more than six hundred years, Chris naturally had to take everything into account on behalf of his mistress.
"Your Highness, you are finally awake!"
The adorable, red-eyed, little girl nodded without any emotion on her face. She habitually held on to Chris' extended hand and spoke word by word in a tone exclusive to those in power. "Chwis, all of you did well."
Her face, which still had some baby fat, and looked like a steamed bun, was kept straight and unsmiling as she babbled with a childish, adorable, and unclear voice. "Woyalty will definitewy be wewarded."
Thales, who was beside her, took two seconds to understand the sentence, 'Loyalty will definitely be rewarded.'
And then he laughed out loud.
It was truly an appalling sight for a lisping, young, little loli to speak such solemn words. Chris, who was nodding in gratitude beside him, shot him an angry glare.
"You are… Your Highness?" Rolana and Istrone appeared in front of the little loli with surprised and bewildered expressions. The former looked at her short stature and asked carefully, "Why did your appearance become like this?"
The little loli raised her crimson pupils and looked at Thales with a complicated expression. She then spoke nonchalantly, "As wong as I wecover my stwength, I will go back to my former appeawance."
Upon speaking, the little loli looked at Thales, who was holding back his laughter. She did not look like she was aware of her pronunciation problems. And so, with an ice-cold expression, she asked, slightly puzzled, "What is so fwunny?"
Thales could no longer hold it back and laughed out loud.
At this, the three Blood Clansmen looked at him with hostile gazes. Istrone's eyes were even tinged with a layer of caution and reverence as he watched Thales.
"Nothing, haha… cough, cough." Thales immediately masked his laughter with unprofessional coughing sounds. "There's nothing fwunny… haha… cough, cough… I'm sorry."
Gilbert and Jines, who had rounded up the Swordsmen of Eradication, walked up to them at the same time. Holding his staff, the former respectfully took off his hat as a salute and said, "My esteemed Sir Thales, and this adorable Blood Clanswoman, would you mind explaining the situation to us?"
Thales put away his amused expression and looked at Gilbert with gratitude, "Sir Gilbert, I thank all of you for rescuing me, and for your sacrifice."
However, he suddenly felt that the charming forty-something-year-old lady behind Gilbert was looking at him with a complicated expression. The look in her eyes was profound and indecipherable.
'Is this the boy? The son he had with… that person.' Jines' gaze darkened immediately.
Thales did not think too much about it. He turned his head and continued speaking. "Let's postpone the self-introductions. Too much blood has been shed tonight. Therefore, along with this…" Having said this, he glanced at the little loli—who actually looked very innocent and adorable but chose to keep a straight and unsmiling face—and paused.
Looking at the red-eyed loli's hostile expression, he immediately corrected himself. "... little girl… erm, Lady... Serena Corleone… After a friendly and pleasant discussion…"
The little loli, Serena, suddenly felt her neck itching slightly. She pouted in a way so that no one would notice she had done just that.
"We have decided to let go of our hatred, end our hostility, and establish an alliance. I will provide Lady Serena periodically with my blood, whereas Lady Serena and her subordinates will serve me until…"
Before Thales could finish his sentence, he felt Yodel's hand, which was holding him, tighten abruptly. His sentence was then cut off anxiously by two others.
"Why should we serve you? We can provide you with other benefits in exchange. If worse comes to worst, we can just walk away," Rolana, the red-haired Blood Clanswoman said with a hostile countenance.
"Sir Thales! Your blood? This is too dangerous, how can this…" This was said by Gilbert, who was anxious to protect his master.
However, Thales only abruptly raised his right hand and then clenched his fist tightly.
This was a gesture he often made in his past life while leading tutorial classes of undergraduate students, to calm down discussions that were getting more and more heated and irrelevant.
The two of them stopped speaking at the same time. The boy sucked in a deep breath.
Thales left Yodel, who had been supporting him by the arm, and slowly walked towards the Blood Clansmen—despite Gilbert trying to stop him. He spoke softly, "You may serve me in exchange for my protection.
"As for myself, for you people—a group of homeless political refugees who can only deceive their way around for food and drink by relying on the Corleone banner and the Iris Flower stamp—I will provide you asylum in Constellation. It is a protection better than what this manor's owner can offer.
Chris, Istrone, and Rolana's expression changed at the same time. They looked at Serena. However, the silver-haired loli with red eyes only snorted coldly. "I did nwot tell him anything. He guessed it bwy himself."
'Guessed? Being on bad terms with Blood Bottle Gang, not being of one mind with the manor's owner, Istrone saying "with our situation right now", and the coffin on the second floor that looks like a swimming pool but is actually a large sickroom.' The boy thought quietly in his heart, 'Summing up all these elements and indications, is it not extremely obvious?'
He knew that the Blood Clansmen were extremely wary of him, but he did not mind because the problem at hand had, at least, been solved.
Thales turned his head and looked at Gilbert and Yodel earnestly. "Gilbert, Yodel, please believe in me. I will provide blood under a situation that does not harm my health to aid Lady Serena's, wecovewy… cough, cough… recovery. I made this promise in exchange for my safety just now, along with Her Highness' friendship."
Gilbert stared at Thales for a long time.
However, Jines, who was behind Gilbert, took a step forward with a complicated expression and said softly, "Gilbert, this is a promise he made, and also a promise his family made."
'Just like what he did years ago,' she added quietly in her heart.
Gilbert sighed deeply and nodded at Thales. "Of course, we believe in you. However, I will report this to…"
Thales smiled lightly. He turned around so that all the Blood Clansmen were within his sight, then said softly, "Then allow me to make a formal introduction…"
However, before he could finish his sentence, Chris, who was beside him, took a solemn step forward and spoke with a serious tone.
"Please, do not trouble yourself. Standing before you…" He softly supported the little loli by the arm as the latter walked forward unsteadily and continued, "Is the Archduchess, Lady Serena L.A. Corleone. The true heir to the Corleone family—the family that heads the Seven Great Clans in Eastern Peninsula's Night Kingdom. She is also the legal and legitimate ruler of the Hill of Pain."
Chris looked at the mortals with an arrogant gaze. Behind him, Rolana and Istrone displayed proud expressions.
With her appearance of a little loli around five or six years old, Serena lowered her round face and, holding her non-existent dress, curtsied. She then raised her head, still showing no expression on her face.
Thales pouted in his heart. 'Sure makes her sound powerful.'
Gilbert and Jines looked at one another. They could see the shock in each other's eyes.
After the earth-shattering Battle of Eradication over six hundred years ago, like many other races with a long history, the thirteen most noble clans in the Blood Clan were divided into two factions—the East and the West—in the two directions facing the Sea of Eradication.
The five clans in the Western Peninsula formed a Clan Union and the Dark Night Assembly. They occupied the Grand Banquet Hill (to be more precise, they occupied a piece of land and called it the Grand Banquet Hill). On the other hand, the eight clans in the Eastern Peninsula established a monarchy system and made their home on the Eastern bank of the Sea of Eradication with the name of 'Night Kingdom'.
Throughout these six hundred over years, compared to their relatives in the Western Peninsula's Grand Banquet Hill who were scattered, not united, and were even forced to sign the 'Treaty of Subordination between Human Countries and Immortals'; under the mighty rule of the infamously ferocious 'Night Wing King' Laurie Corleone, the Blood Clansmen in Night Kingdom became more united and powerful. They even participated extensively in the peninsula's affairs. In the second and third Peninsula War, they dispatched the 'Sacred Blood Army' which was formed by elite Blood Clan warriors to participate in the battle. In the third Peninsula War, the Night Wing King had even once personally led his army in attacking Dragon Clouds City, the capital of 'Western Peninsula's Blade', Eckstedt Kingdom.
However, two hundred years ago, there was an abrupt change to Night Kingdom's political climate. The Night Wing King mysteriously disappeared. The Eight Great Clans' foundations were badly shaken. The Hollier family even had the entire clan betray the Night Kingdom by going across the ocean and allying themselves to the Dark Night Assembly in Grand Banquet Hill.
Ever since then, Night Kingdom only had seven ruling clans left. They also lost the only elite who had hope of breaking into the 'true class'. When they were attacked by Sunrise Church, their strength slowly went into decline.
While one party fell, the other rose. For the Dark Night Assembly in Western Peninsula's Grand Banquet Hill, the Six Great Clans made great efforts to build a strong state. They reformed their rotten and outdated system and extensively developed their diplomatic skills. They even became one of the confederates for the 'Fortress Treaty' and called themselves 'The Blood Clan's Six Big Pillars'.
And the little girl in front of them was claiming to be the master of Night Kingdom's Hill of Pain—the Corleone family lair where the Night Wing King was born.
Gilbert raised his head and said respectfully, "Pardon me for being presumptuous, but based on my knowledge, the Night Queen is the master of the Corleone family right now and also happens to be the Hill of Pain's actual ruler. She is also Night Kingdom's current suzerain—'The Weeper', Her Majesty Katerina L.A. Corleone."
Gilbert deliberately emphasized the pronunciation of the titles 'Night Queen' and 'Her Majesty', highlighting its difference with Serena's 'Her Highness'.
Thales yawned, causing the already annoyed Chris to stare angrily at him again.
Serena's red pupils constricted slightly. She pouted and took a step forward. "My cwybaby wittle sister, Katerina, ilwegally seized the wight I inhewited from my father, the Night Wing King. She wusurped the Bwood Ocean Thwone. However, one day, I will wegain my thwone.
With her cheeks that were filled with baby fat tilted slightly and her little hand clenched in front of her chest, she closed her eyes and uttered Corleone family's motto, "Long reign the blood."
Istrone and Rolana's expression immediately became solemn. They humbly lowered their chest and clenched their fists at the position over their hearts. Together with Chris, they took a step back, lowered their heads, and chanted, "Long reign the blood."
'This, this, this…' Thales felt his mind whirling over the ridiculousness of it all, 'Why don't you shout "unify all lands" as well?'
"I will definitewy weward you all for your help and suppwort." Serena opened her eyes and looked fixedly at Thales. She unconsciously licked her lips.
'Like biting my neck open?' Thales rolled his eyes and avoided the little loli's fervent gaze. He spoke perfunctorily, "Wow, this is something I wouldn't be able to obtain even if I wished for it. I am extremely honored."
Serena puffed her little cheeks as if slightly dissatisfied with Thales' attitude.
Looking at Thales' strange demeanor, Istrone recalled that this was probably the same approach Thales had used to order him around. He got annoyed all of a sudden.
Looking at Her Highness' expression, he flashed a cold smile and said to Thales, "Little brat, you probably don't know much about the Night Kingdom, which is on the opposite bank of the ocean. Let me put it this way: Even if your enemy is Constellation's supreme king, with the support and protection of our 'Sacred Blood Army', he definitely would not dare to make things difficult for you."
Just as Istrone finished talking, Rolana, who was beside him felt that something was not right.
The countenances of the few people opposite them were very weird, especially the middle-aged noble (who had a strange expression) and the black-haired woman (who looked annoyed).
Chris furrowed his brows. However, he did not manage in time to stop the blond Blood Clansman from speaking. After all, he had dueled against them and knew that the masked person is an elite at the peak of supreme class.
Thales' face twitched a little. 'Egotism is a disease, and you should be treated for it!'
"Then, it's my turn to introduce myself." Thales scratched his head and said to the little loli, "Um, my name is Thales, and I am around seven years old this year. In the past…"
At this moment, Jines briskly walked forward with an annoyed expression, but Gilbert stopped her just as she was about to begin speaking.
The gray-haired noble heaved a sigh. "I believe that the alliance between us would not be too short, and Lady Serena also needs time to prepare to regain her throne. Therefore, we will be honest with you."
Count Gilbert Caso raised his head and with a solemn expression, said a few brief words, "This is Thales, Constellation's… next supreme king."
A long moment passed.
A very, very long moment passed.
Just as Thales felt that even the air was turning into stone, a gust of wind finally blew past.
"Hehe, um." He giggled awkwardly and waved his hand at the four petrified Blood Clansmen opposite him. "Thank you for your… Sacred Blood Army's support and protection."
Jines, who was behind him, snickered.