Chapter 53: Send Them Into the Palace!
That extreme pain that began from the inside of the body and extended to the outside had already disappeared from Thales' body.
Pressing on the wound on his left arm and shoulder, Thales panted with difficulty and looked at the young noble before him.
"Thank… thank you."
A distance away, Lord Seychelles' sword sparkled. He nimbly finished off the last assassin.
Near the overturned carriage, Jines shrugged away Seychelles' supporting hand. With a cold expression, she walked towards an assassin on the floor who was not completely dead yet. Under the knight's furrowed brows, she exerted great strength and thrust her sword between the assassin's eyes.
The unrelated passersby had already escaped and dispersed. Amid the chaos and dead bodies on the street, Thales could not find the Masked Protector's figure. He could only hope that he survived the double-attack of the magic sound and the arrows. After all, Yodel was a supreme class elite.
On the floor, the exhausted Gilbert looked towards their direction anxiously.
However, ever since he saw the Iris Flower emblem, Thales knew that his most urgent task at hand was to deal with the young noble who saved his life, along with his follower—the knight who could defeat the assassins with ease, and was obviously not a simple retinue.
Iris Flower. Gilbert had only started educating Thales on noble heraldry and their emblems. However, this did not prevent him from understanding the meaning behind this emblem.
When he was kidnapped by the Blood Clan, the waving flag in Vine Manor told Thales that whatever family the flower symbolized, it probably did not have very good feelings towards the Jadestar Royal Family.
"... Those people…" Thales' face was panic-stricken, just like a typical seven-year-old child who had just faced danger and had not calmed down yet. He spoke fearfully, "Those people suddenly just pounced towards us…"
'This child could travel together with the king's lover and his closest attendant—who is also the former Foreign Affairs Minister…' Zayen thought, 'and was almost assassinated on the way to the Central Region. Who is he? Could he be an unforeseen circumstance who might affect the plan?'
"Child, do not be afraid, it is alright now." The young, round-faced noble smiled and placed his sword back into its sheath.
Looking at the seven-year old boy, he elegantly said, "Assassins are creatures that live in the dark. Away from the dark, they are completely harmless and are good for nothing.
"I am Zayen Covendier, one of the thousands of nobles in this kingdom. As long as I am around, I will not allow them to hurt you. And child, may I know who you are?" Zayen asked politely and raised his brows.
Beneath his shaken appearance, Thales took a deep breath and contemplated the situation at hand, 'I have not made an official appearance, and am not recognized as a Jadestar yet. However, I am definitely a thorn in the flesh of those nobles who have the potential to be crowned.
'Before reaching the palace, I must not reveal my identity.'
Thales looked towards Gilbert.
When Gilbert saw Zayen, even his hat fell. The former Foreign Affairs Minister's body was shaky and covered in injuries. However, he braced himself with his staff and limped from afar.
'He's still a distance away, and can't explain on my behalf,' Thales thought, 'But right now…'
He looked towards Zayen. With a skeptical gaze, the latter waited for his answer.
Looking at Thales, who did not utter a single word, Zayen's suspicions grew.
The young duke glanced around and saw Gilbert, who was some distance away.
'Is he hesitating? Or does he indeed have a fishy identity and is waiting for Caso to come to his rescue?'
"Are you waiting for Count Caso?" Zayen smiled. "To be personally escorted by the kingdom's most outstanding Foreign Affairs Minister ever, you seem like you have quite the background, child."
Having felt Zayen's suspicions, the boy knew that he could not bluff his way through anymore. Otherwise, even if Gilbert helped conceal his identity, the noble with the Iris Flower emblem would not easily believe it.
"I am- I am Thales." Thales searched through his memory for his supposed identity and adapted it to his current circumstances. With the kind of fear that can only be found in a seven-year-old child, he slowly said, "They all say that I am… that I am Lord Mahn's illegitimate child."
"Mahn?" Zayen's gaze flickered. "The kingdom's warrior in the Desert War, Lord Soren Mahn who died in combat at the Western frontline a year ago?"
'The "Frontline Charger", Mahn's illegitimate child? Hasn't Mahn's territory and manor already been taken back?' He frowned slightly.
Thales was slowly sweating from his palms. Gilbert only told him about the basic state of affairs in Mahn Manor. He never told him about what sort of person Lord Mahn was.
"I don't know, they don't really tell me about… my father," Thales said sadly as he lowered his head.
Gilbert finally arrived in front of them. With a shocked and worried expression, the former Foreign Affairs Minister trembled as he bowed towards Zayen. "Thank you for your generous help. I did not expect to see you here, Duke Covendier."
Zayen immediately took a step forward and held on to Gilbert, whose body was full of injuries and was on the verge of collapsing. This time, his gaze was especially earnest.
"Count Caso, I would prefer to encounter you in another occasion and talk as we drink, rather than this despicable assassination where I lend you a helping hand," he said earnestly.
Zayen quietly recalled the identity of this man. 'Count Gilbert Caso… The Cunning Fox of Constellation.
'This was how other kingdoms, with Eckstedt starting with it, addressed Count Caso after the "Fortress Treaty " was formed. At the time, he was still a viscount who recently inherited his father's title. This is adequate proof of the man's wisdom and tactics.
'Twelve years ago, as Constellation's negotiator, he skillfully maneuvered the conference table between kingdoms and thwarted the Great Dragon of the North's intentions to push southwards.
'He was also the first noble who was promoted from viscount to count purely on the basis of diplomatic achievements.
'When news spread that the negotiation was successful, almost all of Constellation celebrated wildly. They joyously celebrated the end of the Bloody Year.
'If it weren't for political reasons, Gilbert, who was unbeatable in the political scene at the time, would have most certainly become King Kessel's next Prime Minister. That old Cullen wouldn't have stood a chance. He is a rare talent in Constellation. If one day, I become… He would be of great help.' Zayen contemplated.
Zayen quickly put on a stern and serious expression. "I will instruct the police station to not let go of this sordid assassination, no matter the reason! The perpetrator must pay the price!"
Similarly, Gilbert was also surmising the young duke from one of the Six Great Clans—the Covendier Family—and whom was promoted only two years ago.
Two years ago, when the old duke passed away in that regrettable family tragedy, everyone thought that the visibly declining Covendier family, along with the prosperous South Coast Hill, would be scattered and divided due to the endless internal strife.
His Majesty had even written an edict after reaching an agreement with the other families, preparing to intervene in this internal family strife to obtain benefits. That was until this young duke, who at the time was rumored to be at odds with his family, returned from his travels in the faraway Eastern Peninsula.
Facing pressure from three of his powerful cousins and to the surprise of all the nobles, Zayen reunited Tricolor Iris Flowers and the South Coast—making them one of the most honorable families and one of the most affluent powers in Constellation once more.
Gilbert chose his words carefully. "Sir Covendier, I will always remember your kind deed. However, before that, I have to…"
At that moment, Thales, who was beside them, suddenly spoke up and interrupted their respective thoughts.
"Sir Caso," as the two men looked at him, the seven-year-old Thales sadly lowered his head and said in a reluctant tone, "I… I don't feel like inheriting Mahn Manor anymore."
The tired Gilbert's gaze flickered. 'Thales, he is reminding me,' he thought.
"I am only an illegitimate child who has only seen my father's face a few times. I don't have many rights anyway. And…" Thales tremblingly raised his head, his eyes were filled with frightened tears. "What happened just now, I don't want to experience it again. I just want to be the Thales without a family name again!"
Gilbert sighed. With Zayen staring at him, his eyes shone. "Child, I understand what you are feeling. To be caught in the whirlwind of inheritance will never be a pleasant memory—we are truly grateful of your help, Your Grace—however, this is His Majesty's order."
"Your Grace, we must rush to Renaissance Palace immediately." Standing aside, Jines finished bandaging up her wounds and walked towards them with an unpleasant expression, cutting off their conversation. She did not dare to actually look at Thales and Gilbert. Instead, with an overbearing expression, she insisted on leaving.
However, as she was about to grab Thales, Seychelles stopped her arm midair. The latter looked at the young duke without any emotion on his face and waited for his decision.
Zayen narrowed his eyes and spoke with considerable grace, "Forgive me for interrupting, so, this boy… Thales, is going to inherit the Mahn Family assets?"
Gilbert looked at Thales with a complicated gaze. "This is a task from His Majesty, and we were not supposed to disclose it. However, since the master of Tricolor Iris Flowers is enquiring…" Gilbert sighed and nodded. "His Majesty ordered us to bring this child before him, so that his father's inheritance, including the Mahn Manor can be transferred to him.
"You know Lord Mahn emerged as a power to be reckoned with during the Desert War, and had a deep friendship with His Majesty during his lifetime. After he died in combat, all his territories and assets were committed to the royal family's care… Until someone discovered his illegitimate child." Gilbert continued to weave the lie without batting an eyelid.
"Obviously, there is a party that is not very satisfied with Lord Mahn's heir…" Gilbert looked at the ground that was littered with the assassin corpses and put on a worried face. "You know, the manor is extremely large. And after Lord Mahn rose to power, a lot of relatives appeared out of thin air."
Zayen stared at Thales, his gaze was frozen on the boy for two seconds.
'The orphaned illegitimate son of the hero? To enter Renaissance Palace? To receive a title from His Majesty, and inherit his father's wealth? At this time?'
He glanced at Jines. 'And… With the company of the Head of Female Officials, who is also His Majesty's lover?'
A distance away, bustling noises and synchronized, advancing footsteps could be heard.
The City Defense Team and police force had finally arrived.
Jines' composure was obviously anxious while Gilbert maintained his visage. However, Thales knew that Gilbert definitely did not want him exposed under the public eye. Even if it was with the identity of 'Lord Mahn's illegitimate son'.
As the other three were anxiously waiting, Zayen suddenly flashed a smile. "I see, no wonder His Majesty placed so much emphasis on this. Lord Mahn was not only His Majesty's battle companion, but also Constellation's hero. His kin most definitely should not be left to deal with ugly conspiracies."
Thales breathed a sigh of relief.
Zayen then said worriedly, "However, both of you are quite heavily injured. Fortunately, the City Defense Team and police force are here. The two of you can obtain treatment and assistance from them, and must also explain what happened in the assassination clearly from start to finish.
Zayen spoke plainly, "As for this child, since it is His Majesty's order, you can entrust him to me. I am heading towards Renaissance Palace."
Gilbert and Jines' expressions changed.
"Your Grace! That is too much trouble for you!" Gilbert's looked stern as he spoke decisively, "And this is my duty—"
"This child's safety should be the top priority! He has already survived an assassination!" Zayen said, his tone filled with emotion. He kneeled on one knee and tore out a piece of cloth from his sleeve, bandaging Thales' wounds. "And the hero's orphan deserves this from me."
Thales' expression became stiff.
Zayen thought coldly, 'This excuse is too clumsy. To dispatch his most trusted attendant and his lover to fetch the orphan of a low-level noble at such a pivotal moment? Even though that noble is the king's battle companion whom had experienced life and death scenarios together! There must be something suspicious about that boy!'
Zayen nodded at them while as he smiled, putting on an expression that told them not to worry. "With Tricolor Iris Flowers' name and Seychelles ability, he will definitely be safe."
Sensing Zayen's gaze, Thales felt a surge of coldness run up his upper back.
"Zayen Covendier!" Jines furiously took a step forward, but was halted by Seychelles and his sword.
"Step back, madam." The supreme class knight did not budge at all, his gaze was cold. "This is the duke's will, and also my mission."
Gilbert's brows were furrowed very tightly. Facing the duke and the supreme class knight, he anxiously thought of ways to handle the situation.
"Sir Covendier! This is not appropriate!" Gilbert had never spoken with such a stern tone before, "This is His Majesty's…"
"My respect towards His Majesty cannot be doubted by anyone!" Zayen said loudly, staring intently at Thales, "However, it is obvious that my carriage and guard are more suitable for His Majesty's duty compared to all of you, who are covered in injuries."
Zayen turned his head, and his words were foreboding. "Or is it because all of you are hiding something else from me?"
Gilbert was momentarily at a loss for words while Jines threw a cold glare and held the handle of the sword at her waist tightly—she was already prepared to snatch Thales back.
Thales also became anxious. 'Follow this person? How is that possible! But due to Yodel's disappearance, using brute force would only be counterproductive. What do I do?'
Thales frantically contemplated all the possible solutions, including the power within himself!
'What do I do?'
Having seen the three people's reactions, Zayen was even surer of his own assumptions. He smiled, a little mockingly, "Child, you don't have to be anxious. His Majesty is known for being righteous and impartial. And since you are Lord Mahn's heir, is it not perfectly justified for you to inherit your father's assets?
"You should be proud of your father, his brave assault in that sacrificial battle rescued us from the entire Desert War. Please allow me to escort you as a sign of my respect towards the hero."
Seeing Zayen's bright smile, Thales felt his skin crawl, he could not think of a strategy. It seemed that the solemn Gilbert and the anxious Jines could not think of one either.
The corner of Zayen's lips curled up. He stood up and extended his right hand as a sign of invitation. "Please go ahead… young Sir Thales?"
Thales took a deep breath and glanced at the middle-aged noble and the female official. 'It seems that there's no other way.'
At this moment, the people who made those synchronized footsteps finally entered their field of vision.
There were at least a dozen skilled warriors, who were completely silent and moved with precision. They were equipped with iron armors, long swords, silver shields, steel helmets, and even mystic guns and specialized infantry crossbows. Grand and magnificent, they walked into the scene in synchrony and surrounded everyone there.
Everyone's expressions changed at the same time.
Seychelles was the first one to clearly see the equipment and emblem on those warriors. With an unpleasant expression, he went near the duke and said in a low voice, "They are not from the police force and the city defense team! They are the Royal Guards!"
Zayen's countenance immediately turned extremely unpleasant. Gilbert and Jines both clearly saw the person who led the murderous, skilled warriors.
Both of their faces relaxed.
That person was a short figure wearing a cloak, the head and face tightly wrapped up. "In the name of Constellation's..."
Thales then noticed that the voice beneath that cloak belonged to a young woman. The short and small figure took a step forward and scratched her head. "In the name of that supreme king..."
However, the owner of that voice seemed to be unfamiliar with the situation, and was also a little unacquainted with this manner of speech. She continued shouting, "In the name of Ke- Kes- Kessel- what was it- Jade- ah it's so hard to pronounce! In short, in the name of your king!"
Under Thales' stunned gaze, the short and small figure placed her hand on her hip, then raised a hand and pointed, one by one, at the people there, speaking furiously, "Take Madam Jines, that gray-faced uncle, and that little brat...
"And send all of them to his palace!"
1. Fortress Treaty, previously known as Garrison Contract: Hello, after some debate with the group, Garrison Contract has been changed to Fortress Treaty. It is due to an inconsistency with one of our other locations: Broken Dragon Fortress, and since it was directly related to the treaty, we thought it was only right for us to change the name. We apologize for the previous error.