Chapter 74: Homicidal Maniac
Snow was falling from the sky onto the training field, where a small figure could be seen holding onto a heavy, thick wooden sword and shield. With his alternating footsteps and defensive moves, he parried the royal guard's wooden sword.
Thales huffed and puffed as he straightened his back once more, leaning his weight against the wooden sword. He then yelled, "Again!"
His practice partner, Chora, the head of Mindis Hall's Jadestar Private Army, stared at him with a troubled look.
"How long has His Highness been behaving like this?" At the side of the training field was Count Gilbert Caso, and he looked worried as he asked a Jadestar private soldier standing beside him.
The guard replied worriedly too, "The training has been going on continuously for three hours since this morning until now, sir. As for last night, the light in His Highness' study room was on for the entire night… Sir Chora even made us stay up all night to guard the entrance to his room, so that we could rush in immediately should anything happened inside."
After that unusual meeting with the diplomats the day before, the second prince had returned to the Mindis Hall immediately.
Gilbert, on the other hand, received the most urgent command from His Majesty—to thoroughly prepare for the prince's diplomatic mission to the north.
A healthy and strong messenger crow would not take up more than a few days to travel between Eternal Star City and Dragon Clouds City… They could depart at any time.
For the entirety of the previous day, he busied himself along with many officials as well as nobles and suzerains of different classes on various matters; from His Highness' attendants and the schedule for his trip, to the wording on his letter of credentials. It was only until now that he finally had time to take a look at Mindis Hall.
However, what Gilbert was really worried about was Thales' mental condition. After all, not every child could face such a situation peacefully where his father decided to use him as a bargaining chip and send him to appease a war.
Currently, His Highness was probably upset over His Majesty's seemingly heartless decision…
Gilbert lifted his head up and to his surprise, he saw that Thales was panting and gesturing with his hand before tossing away the sword in his grasp.
"I am going to rest for a while and have lunch. I have been training for such a long time, why did you not remind me of it?" Thales waved his hands and asked tiredly.
Chora, who looked as if a great weight was lifted off his shoulders, immediately nodded in agreement whereas Thales started to unbuckle the shield on his arm.
Gilbert swiftly walked towards him, then the former Foreign Affairs Minister spoke cautiously to Thales.
"Your Highness... pardon me for being straightforward. Your old wounds are not fully recovered yet, so you should not exhaust your body in this manner."
"Gilbert, you do not have to worry about this. Look, my wounds are almost healed." Thales skillfully and swiftly took off the shield as he exercised his left arm. He bared his teeth and said, "In a mere three days… Maybe, I really am some sort of monster."
Gilbert was left speechless before he replied with a solemn expression, "Your Highness, please do not think of such nonsense—"
"Alright, alright… it is my own body after all. And I have already been living in this world for a few years…" Thales cut him off and laughed in a contemptuous manner. "Do you really think that I am not aware of the real reason?
"This peculiar physique I have is mostly due to my mother, who is even more mysterious than a Mystic, am I right?"
Thales laughed as he carefully observed Gilbert's expression.
He was hoping to see and understand something from Gilbert's reaction.
Not long after he arrived in Mindis Hall, Thales had been skeptical ever since he saw the king's odd attitude whenever he spoke of his mother.
From his queer and mysterious mystic energy, to his strange cognitive abilities; from the flashbacks that appear without reason, to his ability to recover, which seemed inhuman…
There was something else that was the most questionable… Ever since he was found and retrieved by the Jadestar Royal Family, he could not seem to hide his abnormality as a 'transmigrator' even if he tried to. Even Thales was fully aware that his style of conversation, knowledge and experiences, reactions, and even his learning ability to become well-versed with the letters here within a short month were very uncommon.
However, other than the initial surprise, both Gilbert and his father in name had very few reactions to it, as if this was the way he was supposed to be.
It was as if Thales was born to be exactly like this.
The first and the last points, along with Liscia's and the king's attitudes especially made him almost a hundred percent certain that the traits he exhibited were indeed related to his mother, who he had yet to meet.
TherrenGirana, whom the king and God's spokesperson feared to the point where they were not even willing to mention her… who exactly was she?
Of course, Thales already formed a conclusion on this a long time ago.
He thought about what Yodel said in Mindis Hall, and what Arunde said in Renaissance Palace.
The family that was tangled with disaster.
Thales stared at his Nine-Pointed Star symbol and sighed.
His mother was very likely a…
He had always tried his best to not think in this direction before he got a confirmation.
However, he had to investigate and find the answer. Based on the king and Liscia's odd behavior as well as his middle name, he was unwilling to let go of any possible information.
Even if the outcome would not be good.
Gilbert furrowed his brows deeply.
'Indeed. His Highness had started becoming suspicious a long time ago.'
"Your Highness..." Gilbert exhaled while he shook his head and said, "I am not in the position to comment on your origins, but you must know, within your body flows the Jadestar blood, which you have inherited from His Majesty. Your bloodline also originated from the Ancient Empire, which continued on to the Final Empire. It is the most honorable lineage in the history of mankind—the Imperial Family's bloodline, Carlose Family… Maybe there are some unknown secrets that are hidden within this kind of ancient and noble bloodline…"
Thales sighed to himself. 'As expected of a foreign affairs officer. From his expression to his choices of words, he managed to not give anything away.
'I can only use another way to look for my own mother.'
"Alright, no need to worry too much about me." Thales sat down, still sweating and panting. He shook his own boot to get rid of the sand inside. "Anyway, it is not a bad thing for now."
There was no way there would be such a thing as distinctions of superiority and inferiority in terms of bloodlines and races.
So, the prince replied joyfully, "As for my mother… Anyway, inevitably I will know about her one day. But currently, my top priority is the nation with the dragon flag to the north."
Gilbert was stunned. He glanced at Chora, who was tidying up the training equipment, then looked towards Thales with a troubled gaze. "Your Highness, I think what His Majesty said when he sent you on a diplomatic mission yesterday was definitely not what he meant literally…"
"I know. The king has his own things to consider." Thales shook off the last of the sand from his boot and stood up.
Gilbert looked at him worriedly. "Exactly… therefore, you totally do not have to… er… be so dispirited…"
Thales furrowed his brows.
Then he immediately understood what Gilbert meant.
The prince turned around and laughed as he said, "Did you assume my sword practice just now was a sign of despair or a way to vent out my anger?"
Gilbert raised his eyebrows.
"Oh my God…"
Thales slapped his forehead and laughed bitterly as he said, "Well, since I am about to visit an unfamiliar nation… I still have to prepare myself no matter what. Although a seven-year-old body can do nothing much, at least, I have to practice and familiarize myself with the Northland Military Sword Style and learn how to ride a horse. So, when I am in a dangerous situation, I will at least know how to protect my own life, correct?
"If I have good luck and I am able to develop the Power of Eradication—"
Gilbert could not help but to cut Thales off. "Your Highness, traditionally, in the Tower of Eradication, the record for the youngest age of those whose Power of Eradication was awakened early due to unique training and extraordinary luck was at least twelve years old. The usual time of awakening is sixteen years old… as for seven years old… er…"
Thales felt awkward and laughed dryly after he heard what Gilbert told him. He scratched his head in embarrassment as he replied in a low voice, "Is that so? I thought it was the same thing as brushing up the degree of proficiency."
Gilbert was still staring dubiously at him. "But… do you really… have no ill-feelings, and understand His Majesty's intention?"
"What are you even saying? Anyway, I am also a postgraduate with a great ability to resist stress… ahem… I mean, I am the second prince with great mental fortitude…" Thales patted the dirt off himself indifferently and walked towards the study room, preparing to have lunch then practice writing.
"Alright, when I heard him say that he wanted to kill me in order to make up to Eckstedt, I was indeed frightened.
"But I spent an entire night rummaging through documents—Mindis Hall has too little resources, and the order is not logical too. Nonetheless, at least I understand some of His Majesty's intentions now."
Gilbert noticed that Thales either used 'king' or 'His Majesty' to address Kessel the Fifth whenever Thales talked about him. He silently sighed to himself. 'As expected, His Highness still harbors a grudge towards His Majesty in terms of how he acknowledged His Highness the last time.'
"Do you want to listen to my own opinions regarding my diplomatic mission to Eckstedt?" Thales asked as he kneaded his sore nape and grimaced.
Gilbert slightly bowed respectfully. "I am all ears."
In the dark.
Morat's unique but hoarse and old voice echoed deeply. "He managed to run away?"
The person who replied him was Raphael, who had a brisk and bright voice, "Our people also feel strange about this. It was almost like the Strange Doctor had already seen through the trap and returned without any hesitation. The assassination team missed him. These past few days, we had been constantly moving back and forth between Eckstedt and Constellation's Eastern Border, which is between Friess Family's Lonely Old Tower and Trentida Family's Reformation Tower. However, they can no longer find any traces of Ramon."
Morat placed his chin on his palms as he quietly muttered, "Even if the legacy has already been extinct for more than six hundred years, a wizard will always be a wizard. No matter how greatly we view his power, it will never be enough. But it was obvious that he came prepared…"
The Black Prophet slightly lifted his head up. "It is impossible for our trap to miss him. He must have had a helper… Let us temporarily set aside the Black Sword for now. What about the other two main Assassins of the Brotherhood? Reversed Machete and Prison Lock Sickle? Or Cenza and Roda, who are close to supreme class?"
Raphael shook his head helplessly. "From the beginning till the end, we did not obtain any news of Reversed Machete and Prison Lock Sickle appearing anywhere nearby, or find any other reinforcements from the Brotherhood. However…"
Raphael furrowed his brows a little.
On the other hand, Morat's gaze became cold and stern.
Raphael continued, "Actually, within this past week, Anton and Roda of the Six Powerhouses have returned to Eternal Star City. Apart from 'Alpha Wolf' Lazans Fischer, who is still away in the South, Cenza, Roda, Lance, Anton and Morris, five out of the Six Powerhouses are already gathered in the capital—"
Morat raised his hand abruptly and stopped Raphael's report.
His expression kept changing. After he paused for a few seconds, the Black Prophet exhaled deeply.
"All five of them are gathered together? Hmph."
Morat closed his eyes as he shook his head. "I know who Ramon's helper is, and he is not someone from the Brotherhood."
Raphael's eyes showed his confusion.
Morat gently opened his eyes, revealing his penetrating gaze. "The one who first disclosed information to us was Secret Room, but the Secret Intelligence Department's elite assassination team found nothing at the border of the two countries. Is that not obvious?"
Raphael lifted his head in realization.
Morat stayed silent for a long while.
"Haha," the Black Prophet laughed briskly and said, "It seems like Ramon is not some sort of wizard after all. That old woman from the north has once again played her tricks on us.
"But it is not without reason that she used fake news to attract our attention… She was helping the Brotherhood. As for the latter… what were they trying to hide?
"Withdraw half of the manpower back from the north, and focus on inspecting the Brotherhood's activities during the next few days… There must be a reason for the gathering of the five people…" Morat could not help but laugh. "How dare he make a deal with Eckstedt's Secret Room? Lance, that brat. As expected of my most outstanding disciple apart from Novork…"
Right at this moment, next to Raphael's hand, a violent, loud noise suddenly came from a cage, which was covered with a piece of black cloth. Raphael opened the cage without any expression on his face.
A skull resembling that of a bird and rat, which was roughly the size of a fist, protruded from the cage. It was stained with a bright red, sticky liquid, and its opened mouth was filled with sharp teeth. A piece of paper was passed out before it immediately retreated back into the cage.
Morat did not look at the sinister, strange and creepy creature. He just focused his gaze on Raphael.
The latter was staring at the small piece of paper as his expression became increasingly sour.
Raphael put down the piece of paper, and his face became unprecedentedly serious.
"We received a report, that the two main leaders of Blood Bottle Gang's eight Psionic Warriors, 'Fantasy Blade Edge' Catherine and 'Red Viper' Nikolay, appeared at Revol City one after another.
"And two days ago, our informant at the neighboring Steel City... discovered a trace of the Blood Mystic," Raphael spoke in a solemn tone.
Morat's pupils contracted abruptly!
"It seems like we have caught a big fish…" Morat smiled.
Raphael muttered to himself, "But… surprisingly, he is hidden in Steel City… It has been so many years… Did the dwarfs of the Hall of King's Chronicles not have a clue about this?"
Morat closed his eyes as he shook his head. "Over the past three hundred years, the relationship between the Hall of King's Chronicles and Empress Hellen worsened because of the Sunset Goddess. Even more so, when the Blazing Wind Cannon oddly fell into cooling mode. They did not have any usable legendary anti-mystic equipment on their hands. Even if they knew, they could only pretend to be ignorant about it."
Raphael raised his eyebrows and snorted lightly in response.
"Are you certain that it is the Blood Mystic? What is the specific report?" the Black Prophet held onto his staff in his hands a little tighter as he replied gravely.
However, he immediately noticed Raphael's sorrowful expression as Raphael sighed.
The young man dressed in white lowered his gaze and opened the piece of paper.
"There is no report," he said solemnly.
Morat lifted his head abruptly and his sharp gaze was directed straight at Raphael, waiting for his explanation.
The young man dressed in white exhaled as he replied faintly, "The reason why we were able to discover the Blood Mystic… was because… all thirty-four informants along the way from Steel City to Revol City…
"Died," Raphael said quietly.
"Furthermore… their flesh was scattered in all directions… and none of their bodies were fully intact.
"It matches the Blood Mystic's style in our records…"
He did not continue.
After a while, Morat sighed deeply.
"It is putting up a show to the Secret Intelligence Department, that outside the capital, it can find every single one of us whenever it wants," he spoke with his hoarse voice.
"Indeed, it is that damned… homicidal maniac."