Chapter 3 – Thinning (2)
“Your Highness, Prince Zion!”
Had all the knights in the palace gathered? A middle-aged knight, seemingly the oldest among the ten knights, walked out and shouted at Zion.
He was Wolfent Beer, the knight in charge of defending Chimseong Palace.
Now, his face was distorted with confusion and anger.
“How did Alec… no, why did you kill Alec?”
He hadn’t believed it when one of the knights reported the matter to him, but that was exactly what the situation suggested.
The owner of the palace, Prince Zion Agnes, was born with a frail body.
As a result, he was unable to even temper his physical body, let alone make attainments in “Astral”1, the Imperial family’s ability.
It was difficult to accept that such a prince severed the knight’s neck with his bare hands, as though they were sharp blades.
However, as if betraying his conviction, Alec’s neck was rolling on the ground.
His mind still refused to affirm that Prince Zion killed Alec without any external aid, but the evidence clearly pointed towards that conclusion.
“Wouldn’t it be strange to pardon him after he committed such a grave crime?” Zion responded to Wolfent’s question in a relaxed manner.
Something was different.
Previously, Prince Zion had not even been able to address Wolfent without stuttering and lowering his gaze.
However, he was now staring directly into Wolfent’s eyes.
Moreover, his eyes betrayed a deep calm and apathy.
Those eyes instilled Wolfent with a strong sense of alienation.
What is this…
“And it’s the same for you guys.”
Zion muttered as he calmly neared the knights.
“Since you all have committed four crimes2 warranting death, there’s no need for me to provide any justification.”
Wolfent didn’t sense any momentum or force; Zion was simply walking leisurely.
However, his figure induced a sense of dread.
He knows we were involved in last night’s attack.
In fact, it would be more bizarre to overlook such an obvious correlation.
He assumed it was inconsequential even if the prince became aware, but he was mistaken.
At this time, Prince Zion was attempting to punish them by questioning them about the crime.
A gloomy voice escaped Wolfent’s lips as he watched Zion with a shaky gaze.
“…I’m going to kill the prince here.”
Regardless, he had already tried to clandestinely murder Prince Zion, so even if he attempted it once more, it wouldn’t make a difference.
He was slightly discomfited by the fact that the knights of the imperial palace sought to directly harm the prince.
However, yielding to their demands was preferable to dying.
Even if the imprisoned prince were to die, the Imperial Palace would not take action.
And even if they did, it was obvious that those they served would cover for them.
Perhaps they agreed with Wolfent’s decision, as several knights standing further behind began to draw their swords as well.
“Your Highness, Prince Zion!” Seeing that, Fredo called out to Zion urgently.
But Zion, who was staring at the knights at that time, simply smiled in response.
It seemed as though he had been waiting for this moment.
It was exciting.
It truly was exciting.
He wondered how long it had been.
How long had it been since faced enemies who brandished their swords seeking his head.
After grasping the world in his hands, all that entered Zion’s eyes were the scalps of those who cowered in front of him, fearing his insurmountable strength.
That was why Zion was enjoying the current situation.
“Let me add another charge to your crimes.
An attempt to murder a member of the royal family.
How does that sound?”
He declared that in a subdued voice as he melded into the swirling darkness, before immediately reappearing in front of one of the knights wielding a sword.
Had they not considered being struck first? Or did they believe that the prince, who had never practiced combat before, was incapable of such swift movement? Letting out a flustered cry, the knight lifted his sword, but it was already too late.
Because Zion’s hand had already pierced the knight’s chest.
The light faded from the knight’s eyes as he peered at his chest, puzzled.
By the time the knight’s body collapsed onto the ground, Zion’s figure had already vanished.
He knew that he was unable to fight these knights head-on with his frail body, and “Astral Darkness”, his ability from his previous life, had not even reached one star yet.
Therefore, it was crucial that he seize victory before the knights comprehended his ability.
Once again, Zion’s figure shifted in the darkness.
Soon after, Zion, who appeared before the knight closest to the fallen knight, swiftly struck out with his right hand, which was enshrouded in dark energy.
Even so, as if to prove that he was the prince’s knight, the knight reacted to Zion’s movement and lifted his sword.
If Zion struck it, his hand would have been torn by the knight’s sword.
However, Zion’s hand changed trajectory with ghost-like speed and aimed for the flat of the sword’s blade instead.
Tung! With a light popping sound, the knight’s sword flew into the air.
Zion demonstrated the technique of disarming a sword bare-handed, which the knight understood in theory but could not utilize despite extensive practice.
As soon as realized that his sword had been neutralized, the knight immediately attempted to retreat backwards, but Zion’s movement was faster.
Zion’s foot, which had already stretched out as if he had predicted the knight’s reaction, pressed forcefully on the knight’s boot.
The knight’s retreat was halted and he stumbled.
Zion’s knee, which approached from the opposite side of the knight’s body, smashed all of his ribs along with his armor.
Then, a fierce scream burst out of the knight’s mouth due to the flaring pain, but the scream did not last.
Because Zion’s swinging hand severed the knight’s neck.
“What a mess!!”
Perhaps the other knights had finally come to their senses, as a nearby, shaggy-bearded knight thrust his sword from behind Zion.
Had the darkness warned him or something of the sort? Zion, who evaded the knight’s sword by slightly twisting his head, reached out and grasped the blade hovering beside his head before pulling it forward.
The knight, after failing to resist the terrifying strength Zion’s seemingly untrained and feeble body contained, was dragged forward along with the sword.
Soon after, Zion’s elbow struck the knight’s solar plexus.
Additionally, as he stumbled forward due to the shock, Zion’s knee immediately smashed the knight’s head.
All of this transpired in a blink of an eye.
Wolfent was perplexed by the situation.
An unexpected question arose in his mind.
Was the Prince Zion before him the prince he was familiar with? The Prince Zion that Wolfent knew was a man who had not even learned the basics of martial arts.
No, he was so weak that he was incapable of learning them in the first place.
Moreover, Prince Zion feared blood and battle; even if he could learn them, he would make negligible progress.
Kwajik! Kwajik! Kwadududuk!
Every time Prince Zion appeared and disappeared within the darkness, a lifeless knight remained in the vicinity.
When did he acquire that kind of power?
It felt like he was watching someone entirely different.
The subtle smile adorning the prince’s lips while massacring the knights firmly strengthened Wolfent’s thoughts.
If he continues like this…
Wolfent’s gaze shifted to the knights who watched the scene of the massacre in astonishment, despite not taking part in the battle.
Those knights were purely loyal to Chimseong Palace and refused to concede to the demands of any other faction.
Therefore, these traitorous knights aimed to achieve their goal before the loyal knights made sense of the situation and stopped them, but things had gone wrong.
No, they had not simply gone wrong, their side was almost annihilated.
Before that happens, I’m going to eliminate him.
After concluding his thought, Wolfent shot towards Zion like an arrow.
A white energy filled Wolfent’s sword.
Wolfent, who had swiftly arrived before Zion, swung his sword without hesitation.
This was a blow containing all his might and determination to end Zion’s life.
Aware that the sword was approaching, Zion threw the knight’s body and reached out towards Wolfent.
A smirk crept across Wolfent’s lips.
Until now, Prince Zion had gripped the swords with his bare hands, but they were only ordinary swords.
If a considerable amount of mana were to collide with his sword, which had formed a secondary mana blade, it would be Prince Zion’s hand that is mangled.
I’m going to cleave his head off.
Wolfent’s sword accelerated further.
The moment Zion’s hand touched the blade, he gazed at the knight.
The darkness swayed from his hand.
The sword that touched the darkness disappeared without a trace.
Zion’s hand then smashed the mana sword and pierced straight into Wolfent’s heart.
A muffled murmur leaked out of the knight’s mouth.
The last scene that Wolfent saw before he died was Prince Zion smiling blissfully and Astral Darkness floating in the Prince’s eyes.
Zion, who had been staring at Wolfent’s lifeless body on the ground, unfolded his hand.
Is this the limit?
His fingertips trembled.
A body so frail that it screamed from merely this much.
I need to train.
As he turned his head toward the surroundings with that thought, Zion’s eyes caught sight of the gazes that focused on him.
Most of the servants working in the palace, including the knights of the palace, had gathered in front of Chimseong Palace.
The expressions on their faces all indicated the same thing: they couldn’t comprehend the current situation at all.
“Your Highness… Would it be possible to receive an explanation regarding this situation?” Among them, a knight who survived due to not being involved in last night’s attack and knowing nothing about it, asked Zion.
Zion’s serene eyes turned to the knight.
“Who is your master?”
“I don’t ask twice.”
“…Your Highness Prince Zion.”
The knight responded as if he was compelled by Zion’s voice, which was so low that it induced a sense of drowsiness.
“A master doesn’t offer explanations to his servants.”
So far, his past self had been like that, and he intended to do the same in this body.
He didn’t explain his actions to anyone.
He didn’t try to make anyone understand.
“All you have to do is obey me.”
It was all up to them to decide for themselves.
“These men have sinned and have simply been punished for it.”
The knight, who was staring at Zion with trembling eyes, bent his head gently.
The knight didn’t understand the current situation or know what to do.
The aura of a ruler.
Right now, Zion was emitting such an aura.
This aura alone, which had never been emitted from Prince Zion before, made the knight bow his head.
After looking at the knight for a while, Zion’s attention shifted to the numerous individuals staring at him with various emotions pervading their eyes.
After making eye contact with several of them, Zion thought so and opened his mouth, addressing the crowd.
“From now on, those who disclose information from inside the palace to those outside will bear responsibility with their lives.”
Did they take the hint?
“I accept your order.” The knight replied in a firm tone.
As if overwhelmed by Zion’s presence, the knights and servants of Chimseong Palace began to bow their heads in response.
Nodding his head slightly, Zion made his way past them and headed to the castle.
“Now, onto the next step…”
He simply strolled outside.
However, Zion’s eyes were gazing at something beyond the Chimseong Palace he was heading for.
T/N: Release schedule is sporadic for the time being.
Literal meaning is Galaxy. See the four crimes in ch.
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