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Kingdom's Bloodline Chapter 435

Without warning, the Knight of Judgment attacked. He pressed forward as he swung his blade.

Thales instinctively raised his sword to parry the attack, fending off the opponent’s saber. The sound of metal clashing against metal rose.

*Clang!*

The angle of Zakriel’s slash was incredibly difficult to deal with and was exceptionally vicious. Thales had great difficulty handling the strike, and felt his hand slip.

Fortunately for him, the silver longsword he had taken from Ricky made a great contribution. Because of its outstanding grip and balance, the weapon did not leave Thales’ hand right after the first strike…

…but Zakriel did not give the prince a chance to relax. He immediately let go of the saber and leaned forward. He pressed his fingers together and straightened his palm. Then, he thrust his palm at Thales’ throat.

Thales moved backwards and tried to force his opponent back with his sword, but he soon realized that he was wrong.

This was not the limit to the Knight of Judgment’s attack.

*Thud!*

While moving backwards, Thales felt the foot he had placed in front shudder. He was tripped and the trajectory of his longsword went askew.

‘Damn it!’ After he lost his balance, Thales used all the strength in his body and tried to turn his head while his opponent’s palm came charging towards him.

Zakriel’s nails grazed the prince’s neck, causing a sharp pain that brought fear and shock to Thales’ heart… But it was not over.

*Whoosh!*

The Knight of Judgment grabbed his saber with his left hand and parried Thales’ sword with the skewed trajectory. Sparks appeared and he went straight for the prince’s forehead.

Thales was falling towards the ground, he had no time to evade. He could only watch helplessly as the blade came charging towards him!

As the wind stirred up by the blade pierced his bones, the Sin of Hell’s River surged desperately up his arms. Then, as he fell, the prince gnashed his teeth and raised his elbow. He executed a strange and nonstandard Iron Body Style, allowing him to push against Zakriel’s right arm with his left elbow. Then, he drew on his opponent’s strength to propel himself towards the opposite direction!

*Rip!*

The wind howled loudly thanks to the blade which sliced through it. It brushed past Thales’ scalp and took with it a small piece of skin.

*Thud!*

Thales fell to the ground in pain. He did not have time to think. He hugged himself and turned his body to one side, only to receive a harsh kick on the ground from his enemy!

*Thud!*

His experience from getting beaten up when he was a child beggar, and his experience from how the Star Killer had saved his life in Dragon Clouds Cityall while settling a private grudge with himcame into play. Thales covered the vital areas of his chest and stomach with his elbows before they were struck. A loud bang shot up, he shuddered, but with the momentum, he rolled away until he hit a wall.

The first round of their duel came to an end.

With furrowed eyebrows, Zakriel tossed away his chipped saber. He turned around to look for a new weapon.

Thales supported himself with his longsword and stood up unsteadily. The teenager panted heavily. He was drenched in cold sweat and his face was pale.

‘Damn it!’

He grimaced in pain. His left arm was in so much pain that it was numb for a while. It trembled constantly, a testimony to the injuries the prince sustained just now.

Thales felt a surge of pain as he touched the wound on his neck and the missing skin on his scalp. His throat, his forehead, and his stomach. Just now, there was a total of three times where he almost

Thales clenched his teeth as he stared at the man. He was filled with lingering fear. Within the span of one second or more, Zakriel had slashed, stabbed, tripped him, attacked him with an icepick grip, kicked him, attacked with his saber again, followed by an attack with his palm, then leg. On his front, back, top, and rear.

Thales even felt like he was being attacked by a few people in that moment earlier.

This was not Nicholas’ unexpected changes in attacks; it was not the unstoppable and indomitable charge of the Kingdom’s Wrath; it was not the powerful, head-on clash favored by the Fire Knight; and it was much less the surprising attacks from Yodel, who struck when all was still and quiet. Instead, it was a fatal siege which happened in a flash. All the attacks happened at the same time, and each attack was filled with killing intent.

Thales inhaled, but it caused him to shiver nonstop. He felt pain as air entered his lungs. He was unsure if it was because of the internal injury from just now, or a sequela from the mystic energy.

The prince’s face contorted and he stared at the Knight of Judgment. He could not believe his eyes. With this kind of attack launched against him, forget about fighting back with the Twist of Fate. He could not even defend himself during the first round of the battle!

If it was not for the fact that he was trained to have outstanding resilience against stress because of the Star Killer’s oppressive attacks throughout the years.

If it had not been for the fact that he had experienced the orcs’ unparalleled strength and reckless attacks in the desert… If it had not been for the fact that he had watched countless supreme class elites battle against each other, whereby victory was decided within a moment

“Northland Military Sword Style, right?”

Thales was slightly startled.

Zakriel picked up a battle axe from the ground, turned his head, and said with a smile, “I remember that a set of the swordstyle is preserved in the royal family’s treasury. It was the ‘seven-three’ version passed down from the Empire; seven sets of offensive stances, and three sets of defensive stances.”

‘Instead of the ‘nine-one’ version in the Tower of Eradication inherited from the Temple of Knights.’ A slight hint of nostalgia surged into Zakriel’s heart.

“When I was still a penal officer, Tony would sometimes use a few moves from the Northland Military Sword Style to develop the patience of restless rookies. It’s very effective.”

Thales grimly watched the knight who had turned against him, and anxiously thought of ways to free and defend himself. Zakriel observed Thales. He noticed that there was no fear and hesitation in the teenager’s eyes, only wariness and a grave look.

He glanced at the wounds on Thales’ neck and forehead. A praising look appeared in his eyes. Even though it was only a fleeting fight, the Knight of Judgment knew that he did not go easy in any of his attacks.

‘Four attacks and three killing moves. All of them were fatal. But this child, who is much weaker than me in terms of size, strength, experience, and skill’ Zakriel gazed into Thales’ eyes. ‘Even though his movements were hasty, and he dodged in a very pathetic manner, this child still found a way to receive all my attacks and miraculously survived.

‘He even stood up again. This can’t be attributed to simple luck.’ The Knight of Judgment tested the battleaxe in his hand and thought, ‘Judging from his movements and reaction, it’s as if he’s used to fighting in deadly battles and against powerful opponents while at a disadvantage; searching for a chance of survival in a fight where he’s bound to lose; wielding a sword and fighting while under immense pressure; struggling against the current and defying death to survive.’

On the other side, with blood on his hands, Thales realized sadly that every single time he tried to ‘lose control’ again, an immense pain would appear in his chest.

‘Looks like I can’t count on mystic energy anymore. I have to think of other methods,’ Thales thought as he got up with difficulty. He executed another stance from the Northland Military Sword Style.

Zakriel arched an eyebrow slightly. ‘The Northland Military Sword Style again. It’s as if he doesn’t know any other sword styles Wait.’

This made Zakriel remember something, and he could not help but frown. He started gauging Thales again. He said with narrowed eyes. “Your moves”

‘Even though he’s the Prince of Constellation, the traditional fighting style of the Constellatiates can’t be seen on him at all. In contrast, the child’s movements are simple and crude. His aims are straightforward and clear. His moves are not meticulously formed, he is not obsessed with fancy stances or stances that would allow him to perform cunning maneuvers. He also doesn’t have the habits swordsmen usually formed by their beliefs, and neither does he have any fixed patterns. Every swing of his sword, every step he took, and every move he made appears to be more of an accumulation of experience and an instinctive understanding of fights, or more accurately, of getting beaten up.

‘Then, along with his habit of going against the norm in fights’ When he thought of this, Zakriel suddenly came to an understanding. ‘That explains the problem.’

“Eckstedt,” the knight said flatly. Thales arched an eyebrow. The Knight of Judgment revealed a complicated expression. “You are fighting just like a Northlander.”

‘Those rude and boorish men who hail real fights as their creed, they look down on training and skill sets and think that good fighters are produced through beatings.

‘So, this is the source of the child’s outstanding resilience and survival responses during battle.’ Zakriel thought of something and chuckled.

“No wonder you take beatings well.”

Thales’ expression darkened.

‘Northlanders take beatings well.’

He remembered the Star Killer. That damned, hateful dead-face who constantly looked as though Thales owed him a girlfriend.

‘Take beatings well?…’ Thales recalled the Star Killer’s constant bullying and abuse, carried out in the name of training, and he internally let out a cold snort. ‘My foot!’

The only thing that dead-face did on the training field was beat him up again and again, never corrected his mistakes, and rarely explained anything to himif jeers and sarcastic remarks counted as explanationlet alone teach him.

When Thales questioned him by arguing strongly on just grounds, the Star Killer would always reveal an unpleasant expression as if he was saying, “What does a weakling like you know?” Then he would continue to use his position to take on revenge on Thales for his private grudge; he would beat Thales up even more badly than the last time.

‘What a pity.’ Countless thoughts flashed through the Knight of Judgment’s mind during those fleeting few seconds. ‘He has already crossed the threshold.

‘If he grows a little older, becomes more skilled, experiences more things, then goes a step further by remolding himself and learn how to convert a slim chance of survival into an opportunity for victory’

When he thought of this, Zakriel’s expression darkened. ‘What a pity… that his life is going to end now. He must die here. This is the only way.’

Then, the Knight of Judgment raised his weapon again.

“Was it you?” Thales hissed. “Were you the betrayer of the Royal Guards of Constellation?”

Zakriel’s axe stopped moving. He stared at Thales with an eerily cold gaze.

“That’s why you felt neither remorse nor hesitation when you swung your blade at me…” Thales clenched his teeth and raised his sword. “…because the pledge you made to Samel before this was just bullsh*t, right?”

At that moment, Zakriel’s figure shook! It startled Thales.

The Knight of Judgment took a step back, pressed his palm hard against his forehead, and closed his eyes in agony.

“Shut up!” Zakriel let out a low roar.

At this moment, Thales did not know whether Zakriel was talking to him, or to someone from ‘the other world’.

Zakriel trembled. “Everything will end soon. End No more nightmares.” He panted in agony.

A few seconds later, Zakriel regained his composure. He slowly loosened his grip and stared at Thales coldly. “Please relax, Your Highness.”

The knight stepped forward again, making Thales anxious again.

“After your death, I will take full responsibility for the offence committed against you as solace for the injustice you had to experience here.” His dry voice became mournful and angry.

“…And your secret will be buried here, with your reputation untarnished.”

‘As solace for the injustice I experience? My reputation?’

“So, it really was you, wasn’t it?” Thales said with a sneer as he stared at the other party’s mournful and magnanimous expression, which made Zakriel look like he was saying “this is for your own good”.

“The offspring of the noble Zakriel Family which has been around since the Age of the Empire?”

But Zakriel did not reply anymore. He took a step forward. When he failed to communicate with Zakriel, Thales exhaled in vexation and executed the Iron Body Style again.

“Hey, you, stay away from that boy!”

A sudden yell interrupted the duo’s confrontation. Zakriel and Thales turned.

The owner of My Home, Tampa, stood at the other side of the passage. He spoke fiercely as he held his freshly bandaged arm, “Don’t you see that if it wasn’t for him just now, all of us would have died here?!”

The three hostages whom were saved noticed what was happening on this side. Not far away, Marina found her twin swords and stared suspiciously at the two people in confrontation.

Quick Rope blinked, not understanding what was going on. He pointed at Zakriel and silently asked Thales by gesturing with his mouth and movements. ‘I thought he’s on your side?’

Thales smiled tiredly. ‘He was. Now, he’s probably more willing to kill me.’

Zakriel snorted coldly and turned towards the tavern owner. His eyes shone with a cold glare.

‘Wait.’ Thales thought of something. He remembered what he had said just now.

‘”And your secret will be buried here, with your reputation untarnished.”‘

‘Buried here? That means’

“We’re in the desert, you better give your savior more respect.” Tampa continued to speak. He said through gritted teeth to Zakriel who was very obviously unsatisfied, “So, leave that child alone”

But before he could finish, Zakriel’s gaze became fierce and he swung his axe!

“No!” Thales instinctively reached out with his hand and screamed, “Watch out”

At that moment, Tampa could only see the man with the brand on his head stretch out his arm. The wind howled and the battleaxe shot forward fiercely like a stroke of lightning!

*Whoosh!*

The axe made the wind roar loudly, and it went straight for Tampa!

‘No, no, no!’ Thales fixed his gaze on the axe, clenching his teeth so hard that they were almost crushed.

The tavern owner froze for a moment. He could not react at all. But in the next moment…

*Whoosh!*

The sound of the axe being brandished continued to echo. But strangely, the battleaxe

…disappeared.

Only the bewildered wind produced by the swinging of the axe was left. It swept past Tampa’s forehead and the hair over his forehead was blown upwards.

The tavern owner’s entire body trembled. It was only then that he subconsciously raised his hand to shield his eyes.

*Boom!*

The sound of the axe crashing into the wall rang out together with the sound of countless falling stone debris.

Zakriel scowled and looked at the other direction. There, Thales pressed against his chest and panted in extreme agony.

As for the battleaxe, it was stuck on the wall beside the prince, the hilt vibrating slightly.

“Run” Thales stared at Tampa who was frozen in horror. The pain he felt after subconsciously using his mystic ability was so great that it was almost as if his chest was tearing open.

He lay face-down on the ground and uttered a few pained words at the hostages,

“Quick, run! Run separately”

On the other side, Quick Rope stared at the axe which vibrated continuously by itself, and then at Zakriel who was exuding a murderous aura. Quick Rope and Marina stared at each other, at a loss. A second later, Tampa snapped out of his daze.

“Lunatic” He looked at Zakriel in anger and in shock. Tampa shot a glance at Thales. Then, he turned without hesitation and ran towards the darkness. “Hang in there, Wya, or whatever other name you have! I’ll go to the surface and find help! As for you, lunatic, die here!”

Tampa’s curses faded. Zakriel stared at Tampa’s retreating figure and froze for a good few seconds. He then asked Thales with furrowed eyebrows, “Why? As long as I kill him here”

He did not continue… but Thales knew what he wanted to say.

‘As long as he is killed here you will have less trouble if you manage to flee.’

Thales propped himself up with his longsword, dazed. He felt as if someone was cutting his chest open.

‘The price to pay for forcibly using mystic energy seems to be very big.’

“There’s no reason.” He panted in agony. Every single breath he took was pure torture. Thales raised his head and arduously said, “I just have had enough with you lot. From Stake, to Ricky, and then you I’ve had enough with scum like you who frequently raise your blades and kill”

Zakriel frowned. Thales turned and looked at the blood he shed everywhere while he lost control. He suppressed the discomfort in his heart as he thought of how the Disaster Swords enjoyed killing, and how coldly those from Shadow Shield treated killing.

Thales stood unsteadily. He trembled as he waved his hand, gesturing at Quick Rope to flee quickly. “You kill out of the slightest disagreement, the slightest offence, and contradicting aims. You kill because of a conflict of interest, for the sake of keeping a secret.” Thales let out a mocking sneer. “Including you, Zakriel, you kill for the sake of correcting a mistake.”

The Knight of Judgment’s expression became a little savage. The brand of criminals on his forehead became visible again.

“Kill, kill, kill, as if killing is the only way to solve a problem.” As he hissed in pain, Thales rubbed his chest desperately to alleviate the immense ache. He felt like he was going to collapse under the dual effect of the immense pain and resentment.

“It’s as though your whole life is an absurd play for the vampires. Only by resorting to violence, killing without hesitation and drawing blood can you obtain cheers and applause. You can only prove you are that stupid, dashing main character who kills without hesitation, and through this method, can only obtain more fame and a longer career lifespan under the vampires’ adoring gazes.”

Zakriel said nothing. He only clenched his fists.

Thales tried his best to suppress his pain and uttered falteringly, “Don’t you know that stripping other people of their lives and killing those of your own kind is a choice one only makes when they have no other alternative? It’s a heavy burden that is the hardest to let go of, and something people only choose as a last resort.

“Is this your most cowardly and irresponsible answer when faced with an ultimate dilemma you think you can’t solve? One where it would allow you to also shirk your duties the most? Is this the solution you come up with after you completely admit defeat to all the possibilities out there?”

Quick Rope did not leave. His gaze was profound as he stared at the Prince of Constellation. Marina originally seemed like she wanted to flee. But in the end, she stopped and stared at Thales dazedly.

She suddenly recalled that day…

That day, she shivered as she hid among the crowd a distance away from the stage where her grandfather, grandmother, father, and mother were and her brother stared at the thick rope around his neck in despair.

Then, the messenger uttered the order

…Marina shut her eyes.

Thales inhaled deeply and felt that the pain in his chest had alleviated a little. He slowly wiped off his sweat and said with a mournful smile, “Even the people who live in the desert know that Bloody Thorn Lizards eating their own kind is the most terrifying thing”

At that moment, Zakriel seemed to remember something. Pain appeared on his face.

Thales sneered. “Those who take the initiative to choose this road despite not being forced into it by circumstance, and are unashamed of it, are probably failures and cowards.

“Because you are already at wit’s end with this society, and you find it too hard to cope with human relationships; because in this chess game called life, you are forced into a corner, and are already so defeated that you have no choice but to overturn the chessboard.”

Thales laboriously took a step forward. He raised his longsword and pointed it at his opponent. “Are you a coward, Zakriel?”

Zakriel inhaled deeply. Conflict appeared on his face, but he was calm again a few seconds later. This made Thales extremely wary.

“I’m sorry, Your Highness… but you must die here.” The Knight of Judgment’s voice quivered slightly. The moment he finished speaking…

*Thud!*

As Thales felt a shiver down his spine, he saw Zakriel instantly kick up a hand-and-a-half sword, grab it, and charge rapidly towards him. The prince roared and forced himself to endure the pain while he executed the Iron Body Style.

It seemed like he was about to engage in a hand-to-hand fight against Zakriel again

…if no one interrupted the fight, of course.

*Clang!*

The sound of metal clashing against metal arose!

Thales saw a flash from the corner of his eyes. Quick Rope had appeared beside him and swung a claw hammer horizontally at the Knight of Judgment!

Zakriel only froze for a moment before he quickly flipped over his right hand, which kept the claw hammer at bay. At the same time, there was disdain towards Quick Rope in his heart.

‘Pretty good strength. He seems to have undergone training, too.’

He stared coldly at Quick Rope who had a ferocious expression and looked like he was using all his strength to stop Zakriel.

‘It’s just that he’s too stupid; to recklessly charge here at this angle I only have to make a slight adjustment to Huh?’

A moment ago, Quick Rope looked like he was facing death unflinchingly, but the next moment, Thales saw in astonishment that Quick Rope suddenly had his expression change and flung his left hand to throw a handful of dust?

Thales was dumbstruck.

“Aaaaahhh!”

The Knight of Judgment’s head and face were covered in dust. He covered his eyes and roared furiously as he moved backwards, and waved the sword in his right hand back and forth. It was obvious that he was filled with resentment!

Thales only stared at Quick Rope dumbfoundely. The latter looked as if things had gone according to his plan, and Thales let Quick Rope pull him away.

‘Did you just throw powdered lime? You obviously have stronger arms than others, and you use the claw hammer so well, but why do you have to? Are you really a prince? Oh god, it looks so painful’

Thales’ thoughts were cut off and he pressed his palm against his chest.

“Quick, quick, quick! We” Quick Rope threw his hammer at the Knight of Judgment. He was so anxious that he did not bother to explain his actions, he half supported and half dragged Thales to escape.

Then, Zakriel’s sword appeared again, horizontal to their eyes.

“Using dust” Zakriel put down his left hand, and Thales was surprised to see that his eyes were protected well by his left palm. There was no dust in them. However, the Knight of Judgment was no longer magnanimous and mournful like he was earlier. There was only hatred and fury left in him.

“This is what I played with when I was six!” The Knight of Judgment thrust his sword forward. He was filled with anger!

Thales gritted his teeth, pushed Quick Ropewho was unarmed for the sake of supporting himaway, and held his longsword…

But at that moment, the sound of wind echoed behind Zakriel!

*Clang!*

The Knight of Judgment turned and cut down a torch the flew towards him. Sparks flew everywhere. The heat made him scowl.

When they saw the person who helped them, Thales and Quick Rope were shocked.

It was Marina. The swordswoman in red glared at Zakriel with a hostile gaze as she held her twin swords.

“Listen up, Jadestar,” she said through gritted teeth. Her tone was pained and hesitant. “You saved me once…”

She picked up something and tossed it at Thales from afar. Thales caught it in a flurry and realized that it was his confiscated bag. Marina found it among the assassins’ corpses at some point.

“But now”Marina watched Zakriel gravely and got into her attack stance”I don’t owe you anything anymore!”

Thales had not registered what happened yet. He only stared dazedly at the bag in his bosom until Quick Rope pushed him.

“Quick, run for your life!”

The swordswoman shouted the last sentence. She did not stop moving; she leaned forward, her twin swords leaving afterimages behind them, and she moved quickly and continuously to attack the Knight of Judgment!

*Cling, cling, clang!*

Within two seconds, she forced Zakriel and left him with no choice but to take a step back.

Thales and Quick Rope were about to flee, but when they saw this they became terrified. ‘She’s THIS good?’

But this stroke of fortune did not last long. The Knight of Judgment’s next strike seemed unconstrained and possessed no aim, but it accurately pierced Marina’s left hand among the afterimages of her twin swords.

Marina cried in pain and let go of the sword in her left hand.

Thales’ heart sank.

“After the ‘Heart of the Rain’ passed away, twin swords stopped being trendy.” The next moment, Zakriel stretched out his left hand and grabbed Marina’s right hand in a tight grip. He flung her last sword to the ground.

“I once had the good fortune of meeting her, and I wanted to challenge the Rainstorm Quick Sword Style which, according to legends, is able to break through all defenses.”

Marina clenched her teeth fiercely. She wanted to kick her opponent, but Zakriel neither moved nor dodged. He blocked her leg with his right elbow as if this was of no concern to him. Zakriel stared at the twin swords on the ground and clicked his tongue while he shook his head.

“Unfortunately, at that time, she was already so ill and so weak that she could not even lift a cup.”

Zakriel seized Marina’s neck and lifted the struggling swordswoman into the air! This made Thales anxious.

“Now!”

Next to Thales, Quick Rope was unaware of what was happening because he had not registered the situation in his head. But at that moment, ripples appeared in the air around them.

The next moment, a gray sword thrust forward mercilessly from the air.

*Riiiip!*

It went straight into Zakriel’s back!

“AAAAHHHH!”

While Zakriel roared in such a way that he could shake the earth and the heavens, Marina was pushed away. She fell beside Thales. Meanwhile, the Knight of Judgment quickly turned around and brandished his sword like a cheetah jumping in anger. However, he could only draw an arc in the air.

The gray sword disappeared, and only the bleeding wound on Zakriel’s back served as proof of its existence.

Then, a person showed up in front of the knight and kicked Zakriel’s chest firmly with his right leg!

*Thud!*

The Knight of Judgment cried out in pain. He was propelled backwards and fell to the ground in a disheveled manner. He landed on a pile of blood-stained debris, stirring up a huge cloud of dust.

Thales heaved a sigh of relief. He immediately extended his hand and helped the badly injured and weary Marina up. He flashed a smile at the figure who appeared.

“Aaaargh”

Zakriel moaned softly in the dust. Thales did not know whether it was because he was enduring the pain or because he was furious.

“Hah…” The knight lay on the ground, rumpled, and said, “Is it because I have become old and fell behind?

“…Or is it because you became more powerful?”

A hoarse voice came from opposite him. The voice was downcast, and the reply was concise. “Maybe both.”

Zakriel let out a pained laugh. “So, all that talk about killing, and all this nonsense was to create an opportunity for you?” Zakriel exhaled. He seemed rather emotional. “What a great show of teamwork.”

He took two deep breaths, tightened all his muscles, and slowly sat up. He stared at the masked figure before his eyes.

“You should not have returned so early,” Zakriel said coldly.

Across from him was Yodel, who left just now but had returned. He shook off the blood on the Supreme Sword and said hoarsely, “I should not have let you out.”

The Knight of Judgment and the Masked Protector’s eyes met for a whole three seconds.

Zakriel laughed. “Why can’t you be a little smarter, lad?” The knight sighed and stood up. “Why couldn’t you return after he has died in a respectable manner?”

The wound on Zakriel’s back stopped bleeding. As he spoke, he looked towards the other side to stare at Thales who was not in a good situation. Zakriel narrowed his eyes.

Thales sneered at him, then nodded at Yodel. Yodel also shot a glance at the prince a distance away, and nodded slightly.

“I left him once.” The Masked Protected moved his gaze away. He moved his left leg forward, held his gray shortsword in a reversed grip, and was prepared to fight. His tone was extremely firm.

“…That was the last time.”

His figure slowly disappeared. His voice spread out like a ripple, and it resounded through the air faintly.

Zakriel stared as the dark purple mask disappeared. His gaze was dark. No one knew what he was thinking.

“For old times’ sake, I don’t want to hurt you, young Yodel. Don’t force me to.

Yodel’s short answer echoed in the air. “I feel the same.”

Zakriel pursed his lips. Thales smiled at he stared at spot where Yodel disappeared. ‘Yodel did not leave. Just like he said. He’s always here.’

Zakriel was quiet for a few seconds. “You didn’t ask me why I attacked.” Zakriel shot a glance at Thales. He then raised his head to look at his surroundings. He had a dejected expression. “So, you know it too, right? You knew all along.”

‘All along…’ There was no answer.

Quick Rope kept winking at Thales, signaling that they should leave soon. But Thales only held his chest and shook his head resolutely.

‘No. Wait a little longer. Just a little longer.’

“But does King Kessel know?” The Knight of Judgment suddenly raised his voice. His tone was extremely cold. “Does Lord Hansen know? Does Master Veldanor know? Do the six guardian dukes know?… Does Constellation know?”

Yodel still did not speak. Zakriel picked up an axe and pointed it angrily at Thales.

“Do they know that the malicious flower from many years ago has already borne a malicious fruit?”

Thales felt a chill run down his spine. ‘Malicious flower. Malicious fruit.’

“What are you still waiting for?” Marina pushed Thales’ arm away and glared at him. “Why aren’t you leaving yet? Do you want to die?”

Thales still shook his head. His frown deepened, and he pressed his chest even harder with his palm.

‘A little longer will be enough!’

“No, Sir.” Yodel’s hoarse and short reply echoed in the air. “The only malicious flower and malicious fruit here is you.”

In the next moment, Zakriel roared furiously and started running again, charging towards Thales! Quick Rope and Marina were shocked!

Almost at the same time, Yodel’s figure appeared beside him!

“Go!” This was the shortest cue from the Masked Protector.

Thales clenched his teeth. Zakriel’s unstoppable figure drew closer to him right before his eyes, and Yodel’s gray shortsword shot forward rapidly.

Thales put down his hand, which was pressed against his chest a moment ago to quell the pain. He knew what he should do.

Then, Thales raised his arms without warning and moved them past Quick Rope and Marina’s neck, putting his arm around their shoulders as surprise appeared on their faces.

He closed his eyes.

‘Come. Choose.’

*Bang!*

Zakriel’s axe struck the ground. He even broke a floor tile, causing numerous stone debris to fly into the air. Yodel followed and pierced Zakriel’s left arm with his sword…

…but Zakriel already had no time to care about the Masked Protector who was both an old friend and an enemy. His eyes widened and he clenched his teeth.

At some point in time, the three people who were driven into a corner: Thales, Quick Rope, and Marina…

…had disappeared from his sight.

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