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Faceless Phantom 44 Chapter 38 - Alkronia And Ghaldaran 3

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Revell had a lot of merchants who were selling what they cultivated on their farms and fields. The village was probably the source of Karmia's agricultural products. Therefore, some of them often needed escorts to travel safely to another town, including Sandune.

Still, even if the merchants had escorts, their arrival could be delayed by monsters aggression. You would never know what kind of monster would appear. It would be too risky if they only took one or two escorts since they could lose all their goods. Thus, most of them would prefer to go, at least, with a party of four.

Since the slave traders already had the five hooded men party, I doubted they would find another person. Though I still had a thought about approaching them when they were about to leave. And there were multiple methods I had been thinking.

I would ask if we could escort them or we needed a ride to Sandune. However, it seemed we would look very suspicious to them.

Paying them might work, but I was low on money. And they would definitely ask for a great amount of gold.

They would also probably declined us by saying their wagon was already full or they didn't need any more escorts.

Moreover, the fact that they were inside the village, I was sure that they would bribe the guard to enter and leave as they wished.

'One of the five hooded men easily convinced them to be their escort. There must be some connections.'

Sadly, I didn't know the slave traders whereabout or even any information about their connection. Well, I didn't have experience in that kind of thing. So I had to give up on that plan.

Therefore, if I had to be fast, the only option I had was to find another escort mission with Sandune as their destination. And that would mean I had to go to the Adventurer's Guild. I had to register to be able to get the quest. Even though I still disliked the idea to join them.

'I have no other choice. Let's just go to that place then...'

Once we were done eating, we went around the village to look for the building.

I found the inn, shops, blacksmith, but surprisingly, we couldn't find the Adventurer's Guild at all. So I wanted to ask to one of the villagers who were walking on the street, to make sure we didn't miss the building. However, my anxiety began to attack me out of nowhere.

'Ugh... Why am I reverting back?'

As always, I felt really nervous whenever I tried to talk to a new person. Also, I often practiced what I had to say within my mind multiple times. However, it was all useless if I had no courage to begin with. And in the end, I didn't even let them all out. I just kept silent and did nothing. And the lines I was thinking were all gone into the depth of my mind.

"Umm... Zeroth, how about we ask the villagers?" Mirage suddenly asked what I already thought.


"Y-yeah... Sure..." I reluctantly answered.

I stopped and stood still for a moment, looking at the pa.s.sing villagers, until Mirage realized my odd behavior.

"You want me to do it?"

Strangely, my heart jumped even more.

"No. Just please give me a moment..."

She suddenly stood in front of me and asked, "Are you okay?"

I looked at her for a second and then turned my gaze down.

"Y-yeah."

"Come on... You can do it..."

"Your encouragement makes me feel more nervous..."

"That's rude..." Mirage said as she inflated her right cheek.

I sighed.

"You already talked to a lot of people in this world, right? You even just ordered our food at the diner."

I realized that as well. However, the situations were different.

Ordering food is easy because it's just like you are going to the convenience store and buy something real quick. You're nervous but you know what to do so it lessen your anxiety.

Asking and talking to people on the other hand, it will be really awkward if you don't know what to say. And sometimes, they completely ignore you.

I knew it was within a game which the people might not as bad as the real world. However, being totally ignored really put down your confidence.

Mirage should've known that already when she saw my memories. But still, I didn't want her to see every part of them, especially the horrible ones. She might not remember or didn't see it at all. It was good that she didn't know it. Sometimes, some of them were better to be left alone and undiscovered.

"Yeah. But I still feel nervous, you know..."

"You can talk to me easily though."

She was right. It was because I had been with her for a long time now. And I had spent weeks in the dungeon with her—the only human being. Though we found someone, they were all ghosts. That was probably the main reason I reverted back, being underground and secluding from civilization.

"To be honest, I sometimes have to think multiple lines just to talk to you."

"Really? I didn't know that... Hehehe..." Mirage chuckled dryly. "I'm sorry."

"It's okay... Just give me a moment. I'll definitely overcome this horrible feeling..."

"Yes..." Mirage smiled and cheered for me. "You can do it..."

I sighed and smiled back at her.

'Yeah, I can do this. It's just talking to people... I'm an adult dammit!'

So I gathered all my courage as I waited for the next villager walking toward our direction. I composed myself and tried to ask them.

"H-h.e.l.lo..."

"Hi... What's up?"

"We're a bit lost. Do you know which way to the Adventurer's Guild?"

"Oh... I'm sorry... We don't have one here. You have to go to Sandune or Gardenia to find one."

"I see..."

I was a bit relieved. I didn't know if it was because I could talk to him or because of his answer. Regardless, Revell indeed didn't have the building. Perhaps, the village was small and peaceful so it didn't need one.

Then suddenly, he gave me some more information.

"You can ride the merchant's wagon while escorting them. Go to the square and look at the big board. There should be some quests available."

It was really unexpected that Revell made a mission board for themselves. Normally, NPCs would go to Adventurer's Guild to register their quest and reward. Instead, they posted all the quests over there publicly.

I was about to thank him, but he still continued as his face turned stiff.

"I recommend you to go to Gardenia instead of Sandune. The path is way safer than the desert. That place is full of dangerous creatures!"

"O-okay... I will keep that in my mind. Thank you very much..."

"You're welcome! Safe travels!"

Without thinking too much about his warning, we immediately went to the square and found the board he mentioned.

The board was really big and full of papers. There were multiple quests about escorting to Sandune. However, most of them took a long path by going to another town first, and it would take a week to get there.

It was really unfortunate, there was not a single quest about escorting directly to Sandune. It seemed they really didn't want to pa.s.s through the northern path. Something might be happened so they were afraid of Myrmeleo Desert.

'd.a.m.n it. So I really have to approach them tomorrow. And I have to successfully convince them to be their escort.'

I sighed.

"Umm... Zeroth, all of them take a long path to Sandune."

"We have no other choice. We will ask them directly to be their escort tomorrow."

"I see... Then we have to wake up early." Mirage said.

"Yeah..." I answered. Then I turned and walked away from the board. "Let's go to the inn right away."

"Unh..." Mirage nodded and followed me.

I was ready to sleep, but I couldn't. I kept thinking about tomorrow possible scenarios and constructing every lines I would be able say.

Suddenly, I immediately had an idea to ask Hagwim about our situation. So I tried to call him by using the bracelet he gave me.

My heart was pounding a little. Of course, it was a bit hard for someone like me to call another human being. I never called unless I needed to. Even I set my phone on silent, and I rarely picked any call if it wasn't a family or a close friend.

I knew Hagwim, and I already talked to him a lot. Still, calling him was a whole different thing since I couldn't see his face.

I gulped as my finger touched the bracelet. And then, a digital window appeared. A contact list which I only had Hagwim on it.

I stayed still in silent for a minute. Once I gathered my courage, I pressed Hagwim's name on the list.

Bzzzttt... Bzzzttt...

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Static sound could be heard, and it ended with a crack as Hagwim picked the call.

Bbzzztttt bzzttt crack!

—h.e.l.lo? Zeroth laddie?

"Y-yes... I-it's me..."

—Ooh... How are you, laddie?

Hagwim's tone was raised. It sounded like he was really happy at the moment.

"I'm fine... How about you?"

—It's fine over here as well. Our work is also progressing very smoothly. Ghe haha...

"I see... That's great. Keep up the good work."

—Yup. We will do our best! Anyway, is there anything I can help with?

"Y-yeah, there's something I want to tell you..."

—Oh alrighty laddie... What is it?

I explained about the situation and Hagwim listened to me very intently. He didn't even cut me at all. He opened his mouth once I gave him the chance to speak.

"That's all about it..."

—Slave traders... Five men who try to save their kin... And a dangerous desert...

"Yeah... I intend to approach them tomorrow when they are about to leave."

—I see...

"Also, what comes after is the main problem. Can you give me an advice?"

Hagwim was silent. It was really awkward since I didn't know what to say, so I patiently waited for him to answer.

After a few seconds, I could hear his voice once again.

—Alright, I get the big picture now... Burhahahaha... Listen carefully, laddie. I have a plan for you...

・・・

For hundreds of years, Alkronia and Ghaldaran were always be rivals in military, knowledge, and craftsmans.h.i.+p.

While Ghaldaran improved in natural way by training, Alkronia preferred in doing research by combining science and magic. Thus, during the Dark Age, they had created what people called Enhanced Human.

Human with an ability that was born by evolution without magic. This was the sole reason of Ghaldaran's suspicion toward Alkronia. Some of the people believed that the Dark Army was their creation.

With Crest of Alkronian Knight as evidence, Ghaldaran proposed a meeting to clear all their doubts. And worst case scenario, declaration of war against Alkronia wouldn't be able to be avoided if they didn't have any proofs of their innocence.

Hundreds military forces of both kingdoms were filled the western and eastern sides of the fortress. They were standing by, while their rulers were attending a meeting which decided the fate of mankind.

Within a s.p.a.cious room, two long tables with around fifty chairs on each sides were all occupied. Alkronia Empress and King of Ghaldaran both were sitting down at five meters long table which placed at the end of the two long tables.

"Attention!" The guards shouted once everyone was present.

And then, someone from Ghaldaran's side began to stand. It was someone who was sitting near the King. A golden haired young man who was wearing white s.h.i.+ny armor with red cape. A s.h.i.+ny silver circlet etched with blue gem also adorned his head.

His dignified att.i.tude was charming several n.o.blewomen to instantly pay attention to him.

"Please let me introduce myself." He said as he put his right hand on his chest. "I am Randolph Lazeus Ghaldo, the only heir of King Egbern Raiev Ghaldo. I am pleased to meet you all."

He bowed his head and then looked around slowly.

"I wholeheartedly thank you for Alkronia, especially the Majestic Empress, to answer our invitation to this urgent meeting. Because as you are all know... We have just gained a great lost within two places."

"I heard that it was the act of the cursed Dark Army."

Princess Vanea of Alkronia suddenly spoke, trying to confirm about the rumor she just heard.

"Indeed. They attacked this place, Tagran Fortress. And Felmoor, a remote village in Sir Falter's territory. There is no casualties within this fort, since the heroes fought gallantly, and they successfully defeated the Dark Army with the help of Tagran Guards." Prince Randolph then sighed. "Unfortunately, we—Ghaldaran—have lost more than ten men in Felmoor. Even if the scale of the attack was small, it is still quite impactful toward the families who have lost their beloved ones."

Everyone had no words and remained silent. And then the Prince continued.

"Do you all know what the witnesses say?" Prince Randolph asked. But he immediately answered his own question. "The Dark Army, both that attacked Tagran and Felmoor, were coming from the west."

Hearing the answer, everyone in Alkronia side gave a serious look toward Prince Randolph.

"What are you trying to say, Prince Randolph?" Asked one of Alkronian n.o.bles.

"I think there is someone behind those attacks."

"Are you suggesting someone was sending them intentionally?"

"Correct."

"I apologize for my rudeness, Prince Randolph. But... Do you, by any chance, have any proof?" One of Ghaldaran n.o.bles got curious.

"Of course!" Prince Randolph exclaimed. "Bring them forth!"

One by one, several guards entered the room. Each of them carried the Dark Army's body and put them in a line between the long tables.

"Huhh...!?"

"U-unbelievable!"

"Oh my G.o.d..."

Everyone gasped and had their eyes wide open once they saw the crest of Alkronian Knight on their chest.

With the Dark Army bodies as fuel, several n.o.bles who were silent began to join the discussion as well.

"What is the meaning of this?" One of Alkronian n.o.bles asked in disbelief.

"As you can see... They were all Alkronian Soldiers." One of Ghaldaran n.o.bles asnwered.

"So... You think the attack is our doing?"

"No. Just like what Prince Randolph said: Someone is behind the attack by controling the Dark Army."

"That is the same thing! You are basically suspecting us!"

"I agree. Someone is definitely scheming against Alkronia."

"Exactly! How can you be so sure that those abominations are our cause?"

"That crest is more than enough to prove that your research of Enhanced Human is still existing to this day!"

"So it's because of that, huh? You are very wrong. We do not do the research anymore."

"Are you sure that there is no one doing it secretly?"

"Indeed. Isn't it a strange coincidence that they were also coming from the west?"

"Tsk. You Ghaldaran can be lying. They could be coming from the north!"

"Tagran Guards themselves confirmed where they were coming from. Do you not believe in their words?"

Alkronian n.o.bles were all grunting, baffled as they didn't have anything to prove their innocence. Because Alkronia was cornered, some of the n.o.bles were about to explode.

"How dare y-"

"I believe them!"

The Empress suddenly answered the question loudly, cut the Alkronian n.o.bles before they raised their tone even more and acted recklessly.

"I believe in their testimony."

The room immediately went silent.

"However, one thing I shall let you know that our research regarding Enhanced Human had been stopped a long time ago after my great grandfather, Emperor Vargas, took the reign. The data about the subject is now long gone with their researchers. I can a.s.sure you, nothing remains within my keep."

"Then, what is the meaning of this? There is no way two squads of Dark Army suddenly appeared in Tagran and Felmoor without any command. There should be a mastermind behind this attack!"

"Yes. The fact that they were coming from the west strengthen the evidence of the Alkronian Crest."

"We agree on that matter. However, I doubt that it is the act of my people. It is definitely just a coincidence that they were both coming from the west." The Empress answered calmly.

"Then explain yourself! Because we already knew that you —Alkronia— purposely allied with the other kingdoms. And so you can try to completely control over us by sending the Dark Army. Your goal is to manipulate the people with fear. Shame on you Alkronia! You have betrayed humanity."

"Tsk. Ridiculous..." The Empress scoffed. "We would unleash the Dark Army a long time ago and easily took over every kingdom in Heallance if we had that kind of power."

"Now you finally confess! You cannot control them so you produce them a little by little."

"You b.a.s.t.a.r.d! How dare you talking like that to the Empress! Haven't you listened to her!? We are being framed!"

"Stupid Ghaldaran! You are all get played by the mastermind!"

All the Alkronian n.o.bles finally bursted their anger as they couldn't stand Ghaldaran's words toward their Empress, and all the accusations toward them.

"Shut your mouth, traitor!"

"We will not forgive you! We will definitely wage war against you, Alkronia!"

The same with Ghaldaran n.o.bles, most of them were disbelieved in what they just witnessed. Their suspicion grew stronger as they saw the Dark Army's bodies.

Thus, the meeting had become a chaos. Both parties were throwing verbal attacks here and there. Their tone kept raising, until the guards outside the room couldn't help but felt uncomfortable. They gulped their own saliva as their sweat rolling on their face.

Suddenly, there was a loud sound of explosion nearby.

KABOOM!!!

The meeting room instantly went silent.

Bam!

Suddenly, the door opened and a guard entered the room. The panicked guard immediately shouted without apologizing for his rude manner.

"The Dark Army is inside the Fortress!"

"Dark Army!?!"

"What do you mean!? There are hundreds of our military forces outside this Fortress!"

"I don't know how! But they are coming from the bas.e.m.e.nt! Please you have to run!"

Everyone gulped their own saliva and started to look at each other.

"Right. Let's get out calm-"

BOOM!

This time the explosion shook the entire meeting room. And they could see the wall cracked.

The unexpected event made everyone getting more panicked. They were all immediately bolted out the room. And then, multiple explosions followed.

BOOM! BOOM! BOOM!

The crack got bigger and the ceiling fell. They were all split, and some of them got separated.

The King of Ghaldaran, Egbern, was separated with their people. Fortunately, there was his son, Prince Randolph, by his side. They ran as multiple explosions kept happening.

King Egbern led Prince Randolph running through the hallway. Then suddenly, they met an Alkronian Soldier in front of them, blocking the way down.

"I-I heard! Y-you Ghaldaran are the cause of this attack! You traitors are the ones creating the Dark Army!? I-is that true!?"

The Alkronian Soldier raised his sword, trembling.

"Randolph, give me your sword. I will deal with this guy."

King Egbern moved his right arm sideway without looking back. He opened his hand and waited for his son to pa.s.s his sword.

Prince Randolph hesitated for a moment, but then he eventually stepped forward while unsheathing his sword.

"Yes, Father..."

STAB!

The King's eyes widened.

STAB! STAB! STAB!

The King fell, but before he hit the floor, he used his hands as supports and then slowly got up on his knees. However, he felt unbelievably weak. He could only knelt down even if he put all his strength to his knees.

"Hugckk..."

He vomited blood.

And then he put his hand on his guts while the other was on the floor to support him. Blood was abnormally gus.h.i.+ng out from his stomach and his back, creating crimson puddle on the floor.

'Is it cursed?'

It was indeed unnatural, and the sword was probably enchanted with a curse. Not only the excessive bleeding, he didn't even had any strength to move. As if, every part of his body turned limp.

As he struggled to look up, Prince Randolph grinned. And then he helped his father by lifting his chin with the sharp edge of the sword.

The King was gazing sharply at his son who just stabbed him from the back.

"I wholeheartedly apologize, Father." Prince Randolph said with an ominous smile. "However, it has to be done."

"Y-you... W-why?"

"Falter was right. You have become old. You don't even mad at what Alkronia had done to us. And to what they just did to our people."

"No... I-It... Nnn.....rrrr...fau... Hrghhh!!!"

THUMP!

Prince Randolph kicked the King right on his guts.

"Ghaaackkk!!!"

The King screamed, coughing, and then panting. Prince Randolph lifted his chin up again with his sword.

The King's eyes filled with hate and anger, ashamed and pondered to what went wrong about the way he had raised him.

"Rest a.s.sured. I will avenge Mother. So it is time for me to replace you. And I'll show you... The true power of my authority as a new great ruler."

Prince Randolph gave his last speech to his father before he quickly slit his throat. Thus, he gurgled and fell.

The King of Ghaldaran died in his own son's hand who was craving upon the throne.

The Alkronian Soldier was frozen stiff while he was witnessing such unbelievable event. His eyes shook as he saw Prince Randolph unnerving grin. He didn't know what to do, the fear of the unexpected got him right deep within his mind.

Then suddenly, drum of footsteps was heard. A squad of nine Ghaldaran Soldiers were approaching them from another hallway. Prince Randolph looked at them and pointed his sword at the Alkronian Soldier.

"Kill him immediately! He just killed the King!"

It was then, the war between the two kingdoms was unavoidable. And Tagran Fortress became the victim of pandemonium. It slowly fell within each explosions. Till it was no longer a fortress but a ruin.

Meanwhile, in the distance, Falter was chuckling mischievously while looking toward the fallen fortress.

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About Faceless Phantom 44 Chapter 38 - Alkronia And Ghaldaran 3 novel

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