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Translated by Wook
Edited by Iris Sakura
The musty smell made him frown as Isserion passed through a dark and gloomy space. It was a place without a single ray of light, but their vision was opened up to some extent thanks to the lamp held by the soldier walking ahead. A flying insect that looked like a moth flew past Isserion, who was in the back. He startled and waved his hand to chase the bug away for Ricardis, who stood behind him.
“Did we really need to come to a place like this?” Isserion asked.
Ricardis answered while avoiding Issarion’s hands that were fluttering around his face.
“If we let a soldier do it, they will pass the message from one soldier to another. By the time the answer comes back to us, half a year will have passed. I’ll run out of breath while waiting.”
Isserion grumbled. Surely Ricardis would have asked someone below him to find out if he hadn’t discovered the prison himself. In any case, Ricardis was an arrogant master.
They descended hundreds of spiraling steps to reach the bottom floor. The beast-like spirits imprisoned inside the iron cages howled and stretched out their hands.
“You look pretty. Come on. Come here, pretty girl.”
“Kill me, please. Kill me. Please!”
“I’m hungry, the rat ate all the food! Dog-like children! I will kill you!”
The soldier sprinkled cold water on the prisoners, and it dug into their wounds. There were screams and moans, but it was quieter than before. Isserion clenched his teeth. It was still an unpleasant sight. He turned to his shiny master, who was not at all fit for this filthy prison. Ricardis slightly knitted his brows. He looked slightly annoyed. But judging from the fact that he always had that kind of expression on his face, it seemed right to see him with his usual expression. Ricardis moved forward with a dignified attitude. He didn’t seem to pay any attention to the surrounding scene. Isserion came to his senses and hurriedly followed him.
The solitary room on the lowest floor could only be reached after a long time. The soldier knocked on the iron cage with his spear. Kang! Kang! Kang! The sound resounded through the prison.
There was a rusty smell from the cage. One could not tell whether the stench was only from blood. A black figure dawdled and moved inside the cage. Her hair was probably light blonde, but at the moment it looked brown as it was stained with dirt and blood. She crawled forward slowly. The handcuffs on her hands scratched the floor, making a screeching sound. The woman, whose body was wrapped in dirty rags, grabbed the iron bars and barely stood up. Her white eyes gleamed through her hair, which half covered her face.
“Did Idelavhim’s dogs come? It smells.”
“I came to see the slave of Crean Tidanion. Seeing that the gods shine down brightly, you must have been at peace?”
“This must be the 2nd Laurel because only the mouth is alive and he carries no luck.”
Suddenly, she thrust her hand through the barbed wire surrounding the bars. Even though she couldn’t see with her eyes, she aimed precisely at Ricardis. Chunk-klang! Her handcuffs caught on the iron bars, and she made an unpleasant sound.
Ricardis didn’t blink an eye even as he looked at the dirty fingertips that reached out in front of him but not quite long enough to touch him. The soldier, watching her, tried to hit her with the tip of his spear, but Ricardis raised his hand and stopped them.
“Your bad habit is still there.”
“I was only trying to comfort you. Did your brother bully you again?”
Isserion pondered for a moment whether he should go call more soldiers. Recognizing his intentions, Riccardis shook his head slightly. Isserion clicked his tongue.
“You still make people feel horrible.”
Ricardis took a glass bottle from his pocket, then dropped the bottle into her hand, which was still held out to him. She stiffened her body for a moment at the cold, hard feeling, but soon brought it into her cage. She fumbled and shook her hand as if trying to identify the vial. Feeling a glint through the thin glass, she noticed that there was some liquid in it. As she stared with her blind eyes piercing the bottle in her hand, Ricardis whispered in a sweet voice.
“It’s a present for you, Katelyn.”
After a moment’s hesitation, she opened the glass bottle. Amidst the thick darkness and the thick smell of blood and filth adhering to the cold air, the scent of black tea, which did not fit well with the shabby prison, lingered on the tip of her nose. She chuckled and laughed. ‘It seems that my colleagues have failed to assassinate the 2nd Prince again. Still using such a classic method.’
“Aligarte of Lienta?”
Aligarte was the name of a tea leaf grown in the Lienta region. Despite her sharp gaze, she looked relaxed enough to even identify the type of tea.
“You are very educated, Lady.” Leaning against the barbed wire with his arms folded, Ricardis’ voice was very relaxed.
Katelyn grinned and poured the tea lightly into the palm of her hand. She brought it closer to her nose to inhale the scent a little deeper, and touched the liquid with her fingertips. For a moment, her body shook. There was a familiar aura from the shallow puddle of tea in her palm. It gave her eyes, which could no longer see, a vivid sight. Something like a dark-red rose colored haze began to form on her palm. It was a very small amount, but she knew what it meant. It was her motherland Balta’s long-cherished dream. While she was captured in Illavenia, they had succeeded in combining poison and magical power. They succeeded in manufacturing Fragment. She unconsciously clenched her fists.
Her actions convinced Ricardis. Her reaction to the colorless, tasteless, and odorless poison meant that it contained an aura that she could feel. Since she is a demon possessing magical powers, she would have felt even a small amount of magic. She took her eyes off her hand and looked back at Ricardis. A smile filled her face. She wore rusty handcuffs on her wrists, wore shabbier clothes than anyone else, and was in the weakest state she’d ever been in, but she seemed to be more elated than anyone else in this place.
[demon in this story refers to people who born with magic, and is described with the hanja (魔人): 魔 means ‘demon; magic’ while 人 means ‘person’. We will not translate it as ‘magical person’ unless you want put 2 comedy tags for this novel.]
Her harsh voice resonated happily, “What do you want to know?”
“What do you know?”
She sat comfortably in her seat, looking somewhat impertinent, so Isserion secretly cursed her.
“I… Ricardis, I know a lot. I know what you want to know. Also, I know that the light of Idelavhim has begun to fade, and that your odds are no longer high as long as ‘this’ has appeared.”
“I’m still very good on my own.”
“… You’re cheeky.”
During the three years of her captivity, she had never handed over information to Illavenia. Even the information she spit out after persistent torture was of no use since the incident had already occurred. She didn’t choose to open her mouth this time because Ricardis is less fortunate than the 1st Prince Elpidio. Nor was it because of the gift he had brought her that fulfilled a long-cherished dream of Balta.
It was because she was sure that everything would now go according to Crean Tidanion’s will, and that even if she revealed the identity of the poison, nothing would change much. She felt a black veil descending on the Illavenia Empire, and Katelyn trembled finely with the euphoria that enveloped her.
“If you see what you brought me, you must already know. Yes, that’s right. This is the product of the great Crean Tidanion. A realm of complete chaos where Idelavhim dares not to intervene.”
“Do you have the talent of talking like a dog?”
“…This poison is mixed with magical power.”
“Now it’s nice and easy to understand. Perfect.”
He had already predicted the identity of the poison, so there was no sudden shock. Aside from Ricardis and Isserion, who nodded their heads quietly, many people who followed them were confused. The prison shook with commotion. A combination of poison and magic. It was unbelievable, but the shabby woman in front of them was a former Black Moon executive. She couldn’t be trusted, but they couldn’t easily ignore her. A poison that cannot be healed by holy power. And the words came out of the witch Katelyn’s mouth, who was from the Black Moon that worships magical powers and contains many demons in their group. Many circumstances supported Ricardis’ opinion. The men standing behind Ricardis and Isserion scribbled something down on a small piece of paper. Those testimonies will be passed on to the emperor, Elpidio, and the nobles.
Ricardis waved his hand, signaling that their quest was over. Many secretaries and aides escaped the prison quickly. It seemed like they wanted to get out of this space full of bad smells and bugs as quickly as possible. Ricardis looked at their backs and clicked his tongue, then gave the woman one last look.
“All that’s left is that gift, Katelyn. It won’t do good for your body, but it’ll do good for your mental health. I will give you a chance to end your life of torture. A life without being able to eat or move properly in this dark and humid space that doesn’t have a single ray of light,” said Ricardis.
Katelyn let out a small laugh. Unlike Elpidio, who would subject her to all kinds of vicious torture, Ricardis could be considered a prince with cute taste. Ricardis, who read the meaning from the sound of her laughter, wrinkled his face.
“I am not going to use this gift, sweetheart.”
‘This woman is for real.’ Ricardis’ voice grew sharp, “Then you won’t die in peace.”
“Everyone will return to Lord Crean Tidanion’s arms. I may be blind, but my sight will be bright. I have a duty to live to see that scene. So, please, do your best as well.”
As the people escaped, the prisoners banged the bars again. The prison quickly became restless with the screams and shouts.
Read only at Travis Translations
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