Chapter 52: Thales and Zayen (Two)
"White Eagle Family's reaction is faster than we have imagined—the Iron Eagle reached Eternal Star City two hours ago. This will give His Majesty a lot of time for prior preparation even before the news spreads." Zayen elegantly sat in a carriage that bore no crest and was driven by Knight Seychelles. He spoke those words with a cold countenance and looked outside the carriage window.
Another carriage with an equally mysterious identity stopped alongside them. The windows of both carriages were open to make it easier for their owners to converse.
"So what? No matter how fast a fish swims, it will not be able to avoid the current. This is a fated current His Majesty must face." A shrill voice rang from the other carriage.
"But there is a problem to our information," Zayen said coldly, "There is an unexpected, important personage in the diplomat group… the consequences are direr than we have imagined."
"You want to give up?"
Zayen paused for a moment and took a deep breath. "No, not at all. The plan will continue."
'There is no way to turn back now, is there?'
The shrill voice said nonchalantly, "Good, then. The general edict has already been issued. The nobles will be arriving one by one soon. During that time, Eckstedt's official response would probably have arrived—to mobilize the army, claim territory and threaten war. Guess how His Majesty would react? To swallow the humiliation for a greater cause, or to send our kingdom into hell with no regards for anything?
"And to conduct something this major, all of you are really ruthless…"
Zayen lowered his head, sighed and then shook his head lightly. "Just like your family motto—'power from violence'. This is a necessary step. I must confirm your attitude and stance—you kept refusing to participate in 'New Star', and this has made us very perplexed."
The other voice laughed loudly. "It seems like you are very confident in yourself! I cannot blame you for that. Think about this—for the young, elegant and well-mannered Zayen Covendier, the Mayor of Jade City and the Guardian Duke of South Coast, to be made heir by His Majesty! Such a marvelous scene!"
Zayen said in earnest sincerity, "We are willing to promise with our family's honor that your people's rule in the Western Desert will not be shaken by anyone. All of you might even benefit from the decay of the Northern Territory. And it is not necessarily myself… Constellation might also adopt the king selection system, is that not so?"
He spoke slowly and softly as he leaned forward slightly, "And as one of the six, you are bound to be a candidate."
A silence of more than ten seconds descended between the two carriages.
The shrill voice said slyly, "Very well, from this moment on, you have my assurance. If Constellation comes to that, without any accident, the Fakenhaz family will definitely become a force to be reckoned with."
Zayen softly clenched his fists. He suppressed the impatience in his heart. 'This man… Still unwilling to rashly place his bet.
'He can't be thinking that Fakenhaz has a chance, too? Or is he simply swinging to the other few families? Cullen? Nanchester? Or the very impossible Tabark?'
"I will remember it… Fakenhaz's stance," the Master of Tricolor Isis Flowers said plainly.
Even though Zayen kept his composure, he dreaded the person in the other carriage very much. In his list, this man's threat level was only behind the plump Guardian Duke of the Eastern Sea, and surpassed Nanchester's One-Eyed Dragon.
The shrill voice laughed loudly again and continued to speak, "I am greatly honored, Zayen, soon to be Your Majesty! I heard that lately, you have been deeply bothered by the matters of Blood Bottle Gang. Are you people not working together to control the gangs? The old man from the Cullen family is just standing idly like this?"
Having heard the words 'Your Majesty', Zayen frowned and pouted obscurely. "Thank you for your concern, everything is under control. This will be all for today, I still need to head to Renaissance Palace. As for you, you should be in the Ruins right now to personally receive His Majesty's edict."
"Do not concern yourself. Fakenhaz is never absent." The shrill voice suddenly became cold.
"Very well, Sir Fakenhaz. I look forward to seeing you again," Zayen uttered one last sentence.
The shrill voice laughed and said, "Yes. I look forward to it too, the reunion of the nineteen Noble Families in the capital city, after twelve years… haha."
The two carriages began moving respectively and went in opposite directions, going further and further away from each other.
Zayen lowered his head and shut his eyes, massaging his nose bridge gently.
Seychelles' voice rang from the front window. "Sir, something is wrong up ahead."
Zayen gently opened his eyes.
A distance away outside the carriage, intense and strange sharp sounds rang.
Seychelles let go of the whip with one hand and held the sword at his waist. He spoke coldly, "It seems like a carriage is being attacked by assassins."
"Keep calm." Looking at the beggars on both sides of the street (whether lying down or standing), Gilbert leaned forward with an indifferent countenance and opened a little window in front of the coach. After hesitating for a moment, he softly spoke in a steady tone, "Madam Jines, there is an anomaly around us."
From the little window, Thales could clearly see that Jines' figure trembling.
She slowly spoke, "... Assassins? Coming for the child?"
For some reason, Thales could detect some unstable emotions from Jines' words. He also noticed Gilbert looking worriedly at Jines' figure.
"...Might not be," the middle-aged noble said softly.
'Might not be?'
Thales checked for JC's dagger at his waist. Having heard this, he could not help but become panic-stricken.
'But even Yodel confirmed that they are assassins. Why is Gilbert telling Jines that it "might not be"?'
"Prepare to increase the speed and break away at any time. But before they really take action, Jines, you must keep calm! You must! Remember, they might not be assassins," the middle-aged noble spoke very solemnly. He seemed to realize that what he said to Jines did not sound quite right, and immediately added another sentence. "Yodel, you as well!"
"Are they coming for me?" Thales asked with a somber countenance.
Gilbert sat down, surveyed the carriage with a sharp gaze and softly said, "The situation is unclear for now. Theoretically, it is impossible for your existence and whereabouts to be divulged. But please prepare for the worst."
Even though he could not be seen, Yodel's raspy voice echoed strangely beside his ears. "At least seven of them. Skilled in hiding and well-trained, placed along the road leading to Renaissance Palace."
"I am prepared and will increase the speed anytime. Sit tight." Jines' voice rang, sending a chill down Thales' spine when he heard it.
"Jines, calm down!" Even Gilbert seemed a little off. He said these words to Jines solemnly.
At that moment, even the most inexperienced Thales could feel that something was not right with Jines. The carriage rounded a corner, traversing from mud road to brick road—they would be reaching the Central Region after two more turns.
An old beggar who was just groaning on the floor to their left suddenly changed his expression. He chased them on all fours and came up beside one of the horses. He extended his hands towards Jines and begged.
There was a whipping sound and the entire carriage then sped up without warning, rocking vigorously!
Gilbert's countenance changed greatly. He pounced towards the front part of the carriage and without caring about Thales' reaction, loudly shouted, "Jines, no! Wait—"
However, it was too late.
Jines shouted furiously from the driving seat. "Come! Shameless people!"
Along with the sharp turn of Jines' wrist, the whip hit the old beggar's body and rang furiously.
The force was great and a trickle of blood flew from the beggar's body. Along with his blood, the old beggar flew five meters away. A scimitar fell from his sleeve.
When the stunned Thales was still trying to figure out what happened, a beggar behind the carriage suddenly leaped with a dagger in his hands. He cried furiously, "It happened. Attack!"
From among the beggars and squatters, more than ten figures pounced towards the carriage! Thales' countenance changed drastically. 'There're more than seven assassins!'
Unfortunately, when he was able to count the number of assassins clearly, the enemy had already commenced the attack.
The two horses were the first to be assaulted. While rolling past the carriage, two assassins cut through the horses' stomachs. Blood splattered out together with the sad cries of the black steeds.
Amid Jines' furious yells and whipping, the carriage continued moving forward from the inertia, but then immediately ran onto the fallen horses. The entire coach began to roll towards its side.
Jines leaped up forcefully and whipped an assassin beside her. The assassin fell back on the ground.
Her countenance was frenzied. Clenching her teeth, she pulled out the long sword from her waist and turned back around, thrusting it into the left chest of an assassin behind her.
The coach finally fell onto its side on the road. The moment the carriage fell, Thales was hugged tightly by Gilbert and sheltered under his body. Along with the movement of the carriage, they fell beside the window. Three assassins leaped onto the overturned coach!
As Thales dizzily got onto his feet, Gilbert pressed him to the side.
It was not the assassins, but Gilbert, who began attacking. Calmly, he pulled out his staff, raised his arm and waved it, completely shattering the glass window above them.
Shards of glass flew upwards. The three assassins subconsciously raised their arms to protect their eyes.
Gilbert's staff extended outwards like a poisonous snake. A sharp blade popped out of the tip of the staff and executed precise strikes. Holding his neck, an assassin fell.
Thales held his head tightly. He could feel tiny shards of glass falling around him.
Two long swords extended into the coach and aimed for Thales. However, they were deflected by the Noble Rapier in Gilbert's left hand with marvelous skill and strength.
*Slash!* One blade thrust into the sofa on Thales' left and another swept past his right arm, thrusting into the air. Thales clenched his teeth, feeling the icy-cold sensation on his right arm.
One of the assassins saw the situation inside the coach. He spoke in surprise, "No…"
However, before the assassin could finish, he was cut off.
Yodel appeared behind the two assassins like a ghost and cut through their necks from the back with a dark-colored short sword.
The two shabbily-dressed assassins immediately went limp and plopped down.
"Take him away!" Gilbert growled furiously. Shielding off the falling shards of glass, he pressed on the coach and flung himself out of the carriage.
Yodel grabbed Thales' belt and fished him out of the coach.
Between Jines' furious growls, Thales saw the situation around him clearly. Under the illumination of Eternal Lamps, seven or eight assassins who were dressed as beggars dragged their long shadows and pounced towards the overturned carriage!
Passersby ran off in the midst of shrill screams and wails. The street was suddenly in chaos.
Gilbert kicked a piece of carriage debris at the nearest assassin. He then forced back a knife-wielding assassin to his left with two swords.
Yodel moved quickly and slashed open the throat of an assassin who pounced towards him. He then enveloped Thales in his embrace. As he prepared to enter the Path of Shadows, something strange happened!
A shrill explosion rang through the air!
Yodel's hand suddenly released Thales.
It was an extremely high-pitched, piercing sound!
At that moment, Thales clenched his molars in pain. He felt as though the sound was making his head explode.
'Damn! What is this sound?'
He subconsciously covered his ears. However, that intense sound was like magic, crawling into his brain regardless of any obstructions.
The sound was still continuing. Jines and Gilbert seemed to be greatly affected, their faces distorted, and they moved contortedly. Amid the quaking, Jines even cut her left arm on a blade.
The magic sound became more and more intense.
Yodel trembled, trying to resist the invasion of the sound. His head was lowered and Thales knew that he was speaking. However, the transmigrator could not hear it at all as his mind was filled with the tormenting sound.
Thales narrowed his eyes, enduring the pain in his eardrums and covering his ears with all his might. When he raised his head, he was shocked to see that the assassins could still move freely, although they looked like they were in pain. Five of them extended their hands towards their backs and took out a weapon. They aimed their weapons at Thales and the Masked Protector.
A surge of coldness passed through Thales' heart. He did not doubt anymore that this was a carefully planned assassination.
The strings of the crossbows vibrated at the same time.
In the thick of the magic sound, the pull of the bowstrings on the crossbows could not be heard. However, five elongated black shadows appeared in Thales' sight at the same time.
The next moment, Thales was thrown a few meters away by Yodel.
Amid the tormenting magic sound and the squall, Thales saw with despair that the black shadows were shooting at the Masked Protector.
As Thales twirled, he saw Yodel's figure suddenly tremble.
'No. Yodel… Yodel Cato,' Thales thought fearfully.
Thales fell on the ground, then tumbled twice.
*Screech—* The magic sound became nearer and nearer.
He covered his ears, and managed to stand up—in pain and trembling. However, there was a shabbily dressed figure in front of him.
It was an unkempt, young beggar who had a delicate and childish appearance. He was not much older than Thales.
His lips were parted and vibrated at a high frequency.
As he approached, the sound also neared. With a cold countenance, the beggar took out a dagger from his waist.
Thales, who was clenching his teeth and enduring the magic sound understood something.
Based on the instinct he had acquired after practicing for almost a month, he subconsciously placed his right foot to the back and raised his left arm. He then shifted his weight backwards and assumed the standard Northland Military Sword Style position.
One of the three defense styles—Iron Body Style.
Amid the magic sound, the dagger quickly thrust towards him and pierced through his left arm.
Pain invaded Thales. He clenched his teeth, knowing he had made the right choice.
The young beggar was a little stunned, but he immediately widened his mouth at Thales. As his lips and tongue vibrated, the magic sound became even higher pitched.
The sensation at that split second made Thales shut his eyes tightly.
He shouted wildly and futilely, almost feeling like digging his eardrums out!
Amid the intensely vibrating air, it was as though every single cell on Thales' body began trembling.
He felt himself becoming hot, like food heated up with a microwave.
He quickly retracted his arms and instinctively covered his ears.
The dagger was pulled out of his left arm with a splattering of blood.
Thales pulled his face in pain, kneeling down surrounded by the terrifying magic sound.
The dagger was thrust towards his throat again.
At the last moment, Thales opened his eyes in despair and saw that the young assassin's cold-blooded face was slowly distorting into another blurred face.
It was a girl with long eyelashes. She widened her bright eyes and looked at him curiously.
"Eh? Your name is Wu Qiren? What a weird name. My name? Why don't you guess…?"
The transmigrator trembled and extended his hand towards the bleary face. Excitement and boiling heat simultaneously rushed into his heart.
He suddenly felt pain in his left shoulder, and the magic sound ringing beside his ears became louder, making the girl's subsequent words inaudible. Her blurred lips opened and closed.
He muttered without realizing it.
'Stop. I can't hear her anymore! Stop.'
His extended hand suddenly made a grabbing motion, and it was as if he grabbed something out of thin air.
The magic sound really stopped.
His head no longer felt as if in disorder.
His eardrums were not in pain anymore.
And the scene in front of his eyes returned to normal as Thales opened his tremblingly opened his eyes.
The dagger that thrust at his throat was now lodged in his left shoulder.
While the owner of the dagger, the young assassin, held onto the handle and kneeled, devoid of energy.
Facing him, the young assassin collapsed into Thales' embrace. The corner of his lips convulsed and his whole body trembled.
Thales looked at him in bewilderment.
The young assassin's face became paler and paler. He stared into Thales' eyes, his gaze filled with bewilderment and confusion.
Thales could read this message from his gaze.
Gasping heavily and enduring the pain in his shoulder, Thales stared at him in surprise. The transmigrator also wanted to know why, only a moment ago, the murderous Psionic assassin… wait.
'Wait. This is…?'
Thales held the young man as he panted and lowered his head. The transmigrator held up his warm right hand in the space between their arms and bodies.
He looked at the warm and wet thing in his hand as he trembled. It was an irregularly-shaped red ball. There were a lot of tubes sticking out of it.
It seemed to be… trembling too?
Thales focused his gaze. He saw it clearly.
His gray pupils immediately contracted!
In Thales' past life, he did not do very well in his high school biology classes. After entering university and becoming a postgraduate student, his biology knowledge decayed even more rapidly.
But that did not stop him from recognizing the object in his hand.
It was a blazing hot, still beating… blood-red and wet… heart.
The blood vessel between its two atriums, unable to absorb any blood, convulsed abruptly.
Thales subconsciously looked towards his chest, then looked at the young assassin's chest. However, their chests were both whole and unharmed, without a single drop of blood.
*Ba-bump… Ba… bump...*
The heart beat softer and softer.
Slower and slower.
After being stunned for a few seconds, Thales trembled suddenly. The bloody, fresh heart slid from his hands and dropped between the young assassin's knees.
The young assassin's breathing became weaker and weaker. Pale-faced, it was as though he recognized his fate.
"Lucy…" He groaned lethargically beside Thales' ear.
That was his final word. Until he stopped moving.
Thales could finally hear the sound of fighting beside him again.
His entire body trembling, the transmigrator extended his hand that was drenched in warm blood. He endured the pain and, with great effort, pulled out the dagger from his left shoulder. He threw it aside without looking at it and escaped from the young assassin while rolling and crawling.
The young assassin's corpse fell face-down powerlessly. He pressed down… on that heart.
His own heart.
'What… is this? Did I 'lose control' again?'
Thales shuddered and remembered Yodel, who was surrounded and attacked by bows and arrows.
He instinctively turned his head around, but aside from the assassins' corpses beside the carriage, there was nothing else.
Thales was still in pain. His ears twitched from the sound… Another assassin fell beside him.
At the instant the magic sound disappeared, the assassins noticed the bizarre situation in the corner. As Gilbert and Jines' continued their efforts to hold them back, someone finally freed himself and rushed over to provide assistance.
The assassin that came over as support looked at the boy lying on the ground in shock, then looked at Thales before he flung his right hand without hesitation. A hidden blade under his wrist appeared.
Thales reached out towards JC's dagger and thought about the possibilities between defending and fleeing.
'Perhaps…' He cast a glance at the young assassin's corpse, 'I can use that power…'
Right at that moment, intense pain burst forth all over Thales' body!
Thales grit his teeth and fell to the side. It was as if someone was ripping his soul apart!
However, the assassin did not bother with his condition. He only thrust his hidden blade towards Thales coldly… But at that moment, Thales could not even be bothered worrying about the safety of his own life.
He had never experienced this sort of pain before. It was as if every single part of his body was crying out in protest!
In the end, Thales could not handle the excruciating pain, which made him feel as if he was being tortured. He screamed, convulsing, and could only watch as the enemy's hidden blade attacked him.
'Is this the end? So painful. So… so painful.
'That strength is truly… not without consequences.'
Right before the assassin managed to have his attack land, a tall and slender figure appeared behind him.
Before the assassin could even manage to turn around, a long sword that came charging towards him pierced through his brain.
Thales, who collapsed on the floor, lifted his head while on the verge of death.
A young, round-faced noble with elegant movements and who paid great attention to detail with his clothes, walked forth from behind the assassin. The young noble frowned, then wiped off the liquid on his sword on the assassin's clothes.
The pain receded like a tidal wave.
When he felt that the pain had temporarily faded, Thales sucked in a sharp breath like a drowning man. He looked at the noble's shoulder, and then a shiver so strong that it caused even his vision to sway wracked his body.
There was an embroidered, complicated, flower-patterned heraldry. Thales recognized it.
Red, blue, green, three petals.
Tricolor Iris Flower.