T/n (CSV): 1st regular chapter for the week.
"You bastards! Walk properly!"
"You there, keep your head down! Only look at your feet while you walk!"
Cold and angry shouts hit the ears.
The hundreds of people, with their wrists and ankles tied with hard ropes, moved their feet with their heads down.
Their hairs were disheveled and grimy.
But despite that, their faces somehow looked elated.
"You bastards! Don't smile!"
One of the soldiers on the horses saw that look and shouted angrily.
The people tied up in the ropes erased their smiles with effort and kept their heads down.
"Sons of bitches. So you've won the war, is it? I've half a mind to cut off all of their heads, but…… tch!"
The soldier who shouted clicked his tongue with a regretful expression.
Another soldier came up and shook his hand.
"Don't talk nonsense. The moment we chop off their necks, thousands of our prisoners captured by the Pershion Kingdom side will lose their lives."
"I know! I know that, and that's why we're sending them back so meekly like this!"
The two conversed with heavily contorted faces.
Their identities were the soldiers of Istel Kingdom's Central Corp.
"Damn it. Those bitches of the Istel Kingdom."
One of the soldiers spat.
They were the Pershion Kingdom's soldiers who were captured by Istel Kingdom army in the war with Istel Kingdom and Byron Kingdom.
They were prisoners of war.
'We're now going home!'
'We won the war and even kept our lives!'
The captives exhaled short sighs.
Right after the war ended, the Pershion Kingdom and the Istel Kingdom began negotiating the prisoner exchange.
It was because the Pershion Kingdom, the victorious nation, suggested to exchange each nation's prisoners without any special conditions.
The Istel Kingdom, whose number of prisoners was much greater, immediately accepted those terms.
"Sons of bitches. We will definitely return this humiliation one day."
The Istel soldiers spat out curses.
The Pershion prisoners, without showing any reactions, simply hurried their steps.
'We just need to be patient for just a bit, just a little bit longer.'
The Pershion Kingdom was now right in front of their noses.
From the dreadful war, they were able to miraculously return alive.
Amongst those prisoners, men with familiar faces were there.
'It's much more easier than I had thought.'
The person who was keeping his head down and moving along just like the others was in fact Roan.
Of course, Harrison, Brian, and Clay could also be seen behind Roan.
'Everything is going according to plan.'
The Pershion Kingdom and the Istel Kingdom had just ended a war.
It wasn't possible to cross over from the Istel Kingdom to the Pershion Kingdom by ordinary means.
It, was to use the prisoner exchange between the two kingdoms.
After meticulously analyzing the executives of the prisoner exchange, he used both a carrot and a stick by luring in both those who were greedy for wealth and those whose backs were fishy.
Thanks to that, Roan, Harrison, Brian, and Clay were able to uneventfully mix in with the prisoners and head towards the Pershion Kingdom.
'We just need to cross the border.'
Once they cross the border, there was no more need to hide their identities.
Roan tightly kept his head down and busily moved his feet.
The soldiers and the prisoners crossed the Istel Kingdom's border gate and moved towards the middle of the buffer zone.
The prisoner walking at the lead let out a quiet exclamation.
A flag that they had longed for so much was standing up straight in front of them on the opposite side.
< Pershion Kingdom. >
The captives who saw the kingdom's flag all cried out tears.
"Damn it! Quiet down!"
The Istel soldiers roared at them, but the cries didn't die down easily.
Below the Pershion Kingdom flag, more than two thousand soldiers were lined up.
In the end, the Istel soldiers could only push forwards the captives tangled in ropes forwards.
"Damn it. Pershion bastards. Get the hell out of here!"
Several soldiers couldn't hold themselves back and spat out curses.
Unlike the Pershion prisoners who numbered in the hundreds, the Istel Kingdom prisoners reached several thousands.
Just by seeing this, it could be guessed just how perfect of a victory the Pershion Kingdom had achieved.
"Don't even look behind you!"
The prisoner exchange finished rapidly without any incidents.
The moment the prisoner exchange ended, boos and cheers noisily echoed from each sides.
Since that would mean the start of another war.
The side that won, the Pershion Kingdom, cheered and the side that lost, the Istel Kingdom, jeered.
A noisy battle of sounds went back and forth for a while.
"Alright. This much is enough."
"Let's go back!"
The two sides, as if rehearsed, returned through each sides' border gates.
The ropes that bound their wrists and ankles had already been untied a while ago, but that didn't mean they could get out of formation as they wished.
"There may be the enemy spies. Check the identities at the gate."
Because there were numerous cases of mixing in and sending spies during a prisoner exchange, it was a process that always had to be done.
Although this wasn't quite an agreeable procedure in Roan's position, there wasn't any need to be concerned.
'It was exactly because of a situation like this that I received Prince Simon's permission before coming.'
Currently, Roan hadn't come to Pershion Kingdom for personal reasons.
The border gates appeared as he thought of various things.
The executive of the prisoner exchange only then lined up the prisoners at one spot, and ordered the soldiers to check their identities one by one.
"Soldier Rams of the Camet Troop Third Squad, Northern Regional Corp Second Corp."
The identity check proceeded quickly and precisely.
One of the soldiers stood up in front of Roan.
"Name yourself and your affiliation."
He spoke in a cold and businesslike manner.
From deep inside, he took out a dirty cloth.
"What's this? I said name yourself and your affiliation."
The soldier frowned at that sight.
Inside, there was a clean piece of cloth sewed on with highly beautiful and elegant drawing and writing.
That was in fact the emblem of Regate, symbolizing Simon's status and prestige.
"I said name yourself and your affiliation!"
The soldier shouted once again.
With fierce eyes, they glared at Roan.
The lights in all of their eyes were saying so.
Roan, without minding them, raised up the emblem and spoke with a confident and soft voice.
"I am Baron Roan Tale, representative of the Rinse Kingdom's First Prince and the great lord of the Regate, Simon Rinse, and an official diplomatic agent."
Immediately, silence fell through the area.
The one who broke the silence was Roan.
"Guide me to the capital, Althus."
A dauntless and daring mannerism and speech.
Roan didn't lose spirit even in front of a foreign kingdom's soldiers.
That was the true bearing of a great general.
"A representative of Rinse Kingdom's First Prince Simon?"
"Roan Tale? By Roan Tale, perhaps……"
"Hmm. The Crimson Ghost……"
A short groan leaked out.
The person who leaked the groan was the Pershion Kingdom's first prince, Reitas Pershion.
'The Crimson Ghost showed up at our kingdom?'
He too had heard a lot about the Crimson Ghost, Roan Tale.
Reitas raised his head and looked his aide and a noble of the the kingdom, Baron Baite Inges.
"Are you certain that he isn't a representative of Rinse Kingdom's king but the First Prince Simon?"
"It is certain. They say that he had definitely named himself so."
Reitas creased his brows.
'Not the king, but the first prince sent a diplomat?'
It was ridiculous statement.
"And the purpose of the visit?"
Those words weren't something that he could believe so easily.
It wasn't a situation where any one prince could show diplomacy.
'Then that must mean there is another underlying motive besides creating a friendship between the two kingdoms……'
And a goal that is advantageous for Simon, a goal that Simon needs at that.
Reitas fell into thought.
'The timing too is strange……'
Until now, there was no significant dealings between the Pershion Kingdom and the Rinse Kingdom to speak of.
Suddenly, Reitas' eyes widely opened.
'Perhaps is it because of Manus?'
Reitas' face stiffened.
Considering the various circumstances and the timing, there was a high probability that it was related to Manus.
'Is the goal not a friendship with our kingdom but with Manus?'
It wasn't a bad choice from Simon's position.
'Since that side should know that Kallum and I are friends……'
But even so, it couldn't be helped that the situation itself felt irritating.
'An attitude that ignores me, the kingdom's first prince.'
Of course, this was only if Reitas' prediction was correct.
'I should watch for now.'
He raised his head and turned to Baite.
"I don't know what kind of scheme it is, but he is the kingdom's honorable guest for now. Greet him courteously."
Baite immediately lowered his head then exited the office.
Reitas, who was left alone, rubbed his forehead with his right hand and closed his eyes.
The two names rolled within the mouth.
'The things are slowly getting bigger.'
And at a much faster speed than what he thought.
Reitas exhaled a short sigh.
'Is there truly no other way……'
For an instant, a pained look flickered past.
But soon, a cold and sharp air gathered in his eyes and mouth.
'It cannot be helped. Since I can't have the seat taken away even if there is no other choice.'
His face was a one that looked to have firmly decided on something.
That day at that moment, Reitas cleared up one concern that had tormented him.
The same words circled inside him again and again.
But only Reitas could knew whether those were his true feelings or not.
"Althus Castle is quite plain."
Brian looked outside the carriage and muttered.
Clay smiled cheerfully and answered.
"It is since the Pershion Kingdom is a small nation compared to our Rinse Kingdom, the Byron Kingdom, and the Istel Kingdom."
"Is it? Even so, I thought it was a kingdom with quite a long history."
Bryon looked at Clay and tilted his head.
Clay closed the book he was reading and turned to Brian.
"The Pershion Kingdom was also a strong kingdom that once conquered the continent's northeast. But as inept kings ruled over multiple generations, rebellions endlessly appeared from various regions and was divided into tens of big and small kingdoms in the end."
"Yes. But despite so, they had lost more than half of their lands compared to before. And the one who united those other lands and raised a new kingdom was the very Madison Von Light. This is the founding story of the Light Kingdom currently at the continent's northeastern end."
Brian nodded at Clay's words.
At that moment, Harrison, who had been listening to the story, squinted and asked.
"Then, the Pershion Kingdom and the Light Kingdom must be sworn enemies, no?"
As soon as he spoke those words, Roan and Clay answered at the same time.
"No, instead, they're significantly close."
"That isn't so. Instead, their relationship is more closer to brother nations."
At those words, Harrison made a slightly surprised expression.
"How is that so, sir?"
He tilted his head as if he simply couldn't understand.
"That's because in the last several decades, the king of Light……'
The moment Roan's words reached that point.
The Coachman's voice was heard.
"We have arrived at the capital, Althus Castle. But……"
His voice was slightly flustered.
At that moment, an officer riding on a war horse approached next to the carriage.
"Prince Reitas Pershion has came out to greet you! We need to stop the carriage.
It was a completely unexpected welcome.
"Then do so."
Roan answered briefly then straightened his clothes.
Clay faintly smiled and cautiously spoke.
"It seems the Pershion Kingdom's First Prince is also feeling a bit hot." 1
Roan formed a peculiar expression at those words and shook his head.
"Perhaps. We won't know until we meet him. Whether he is heated……"
The carriage's speed gradually slowed down.
Roan looked out the window and murmured with a quiet voice.
"Or whether he is ice cold."
Whatever it was, it wasn't an easy situation.
But if it was the latter.
'We may have to worry about our lives.'
< To Pershion Kingdom (4) > End.
Translator : CSV
Proofreader: st8_lupe.Korean phrase 몸이 달다, literally means "body is heated" and is synonymous with "anxious" ↩