Second Life Ranker - Chapter 432 - Arthia (2)
Chapter 432 – Arthia (2)
A messenger arrived in a panic at Castle Blood in the capital of Blood Land to tell the prince to escape.
“Your Highness, at this rate…!”
“Block them. Do it!”
“B-but…! It’s too dangerous. You should hide…!”
“Block them! Do you not hear my command?”
“Y-yes, Your Highness!”
The hall was always a solemn place where the four dukes and the thirty-six marquises met, but it was now in chaos. Urgent messages and communication magic poured down while the counts sent out orders.
Prince Domo leaned on the throne with his teeth clenched, watching the viscounts and barons preparing to protect the capital. He pressed his temples. ‘Where did things go wrong?’ After the great events of the fiftieth floor, which was called the Festival of Blood by rumormongers, Prince Domo barely managed to escape to Castle Blood, helped by the sacrifices of the marquises.
However, he was only delaying the inevitable. The casualties were great: his father the Gluttony Emperor, the four dukes who were the pillars of Blood Land, and half of the marquis-level players who managed Blood Land.
Overnight, he was the only one who was left to maintain order in Blood Land and deal with the immediate attacks of their enemies. ‘The Hoarder…this is all because of him…!’
He couldn’t forget the moment his role model turned into his enemy. When the Dragon Labyrinth opened and the players were split up, his subordinates had said the Hoarder had betrayed them. However, the prince defended him, saying there must have been some misunderstanding. If only he could turn back time, he would rip his past self’s mouth off for saying such nonsense.
Thud. Castle Blood quaked, and his subordinates stopped bustling around to look at the ceiling with frightened faces. The bombardment was nearing the main castle.
Rumble. When Castle Blood shook again, Marquis Narbinger burst through the door to deliver news that the enemies had arrived. “Your Highness! They’ve entered the main castle. You must hide—urk!” He pitched over, vomiting blood as a hole appeared in his chest. His blood poured out onto the floor as an army of death surrounded by dark shadows surged inside.
The royal bodyguards tried their best to stop them only to be impaled on the black spears.
“Where do you think you…urgh!”
“W-we have to stop them…ugh!”
The hall was in pandemonium as the counts and marquises that rushed forward collapsed, spurting blood. The heads of knights and soldiers rolled on the floor. Castle Blood, which had never been invaded ever since Blood Land was established, was falling to the enemy. Prince Domo wanted to die as he was forced to watch every second of the humiliation.
Dis Pluto, the army of death, killed all those who resisted and sucked them into the Soul Collection. Those who surrendered were forced to kneel.
Clack, clack. Then, an armored figure of shadows slowly padded down the hall, emanating a pressure that Prince Domo had only ever felt from those beyond the level of marquis. The pressure whirled around like a storm and filled the hall. Although the aura seemed to force down his shoulders, the prince gritted his teeth and endured it. His last act of pride and resistance was to stay on the throne.
「Hey! So this is the famous Blood Hand’s palace, eh?」 Despite his ferocious presence, the shadow knight had a mischievous voice, and he whistled softly as he looked around the grand interior. 「I wonder how much these will sell for. Our old man’s been grumbling that there’s no money these days but looks like this will ease his troubles.」 Then, his eyes fixed on Prince Domo. 「And I see some nice artifacts.」 His Inferno Sight twinkled, but Prince Domo felt himself freeze at it.
「Hey, kiddo.」 The soft voice of the knight of death sounded like the howling of a beast to Prince Domo, who was filling up with resentment. The knight was treating him the way noblemen treated ordinary citizens, just as how Prince Domo viewed people who were hostile to Blood Land as barbarians, not caring about their histories or cultures.
「You should be respectful and come down here while I still feel like being nice.」 Shanon struck Sword Breaker on the floor. Boom! Black shadows rippled out like waves. 「Get on your knees and bow. Say “I’m sorry, I won’t do it again, please forgive me”. Beg me. Say “Blood Land will pledge their allegiance to Arthia”. Who knows? I might go easy on you.」
Arthia. The name landed heavily in Prince Domon’s chest. The people that his father had defeated and torn apart were now back to wreak their revenge.
“The clan is being restored?”
「That’s up to King Temper to decide. But since he’s back, it’s probably only a matter of time. I don’t think it’s any of your business though. More importantly…why aren’t you kneeling yet? 」 Although Shanon spoke in a jocular voice, there was an apparent murderous intent sheathed in it. 「You might not believe me, but I have some experience with this. Even though King Temper’s personality is a bit eccentric, he listens to me. What about it?」
Prince Domo looked around the hall, biting his lower lip. The noblemen and knights on their knees watched him sorrowfully.
“You can’t, Your Highness! Don’t give your head to the enemy! We’ll resist until the end…ugh!”
“You cannot surrender…agh!”
The noblemen stood up to resist, but Dis Pluto, who stood behind them, took their lives without any hesitation. The other noblemen and knights trembled as they watched. Even those who had shouted loudly to resist seemed frightened now that death was staring them in the face. They avoided Prince Domo’s eyes with miserable expressions. They were only ordinary soldiers. The courageous ones who fought in wars were killed like flies, so what could they do?
「You should prevent more deaths.」
Prince Domo turned back to Shanon with a frown, but his eyes trembled. “If I kneel, will you spare them?”
「Depends on your performance.」
The prince didn’t reply.
「Aren’t they your precious people? It doesn’t matter if they all die to us. We don’t care.」 He added that they would even welcome it because it meant more fun and more souls.
Prince Domo began slowly descending from the throne with trembling steps.
Sob! “Your Highness!”
The noblemen wept as they watched Prince Domo. Some pleaded with him to stop, but when Dis Pluto’s swords drew near, they were forced to be silent. Prince Domo slowly descended the stairs, one foot in front of the other, and walked down the hall to stand in front of Shanon.
Up close, Shanon loomed so large that the prince had to look up at him. Although there wasn’t much of a difference in their physical sizes, the prince felt small next to him. If this was the strength of a subordinate, then what was the strength of the Hoarder, who defeated his father, the Gluttony Emperor?
Prince Domo slowly knelt with his head bowed.
「Bang your head on the floor until it bleeds.」
Thump! Prince Domo began to strike the floor with his head, just as Shanon ordered. He banged so hard that his skull cracked and skin tore until blood ran down his face.
「And what are you going to say?」
「I can’t hear you.」
“I apologize!” His choked voice began to fill with resentment. “I know you’re angry, but please forgive the mistakes Blood Land made with Heaven Wing and Arthia…”
“No. We beg for forgiveness for our sins…we hope you’ll find it in your generous hearts to forgive us. We know we cannot atone for our sins even with thousands of apologies. If you forgive us, Blood Land will never forget this act of kindness, and we will serve Arthia on our hands and knees. Please forgive us.” The tearful voice rang out clearly in the hall. Thump! Thump! Prince Domo continued to smash his head against the floor. The noblemen couldn’t bear to look and turned their eyes away.
As he looked at the back of the prince’s head bowing over the bloodstained ground, Shanon crouched down and whispered in the prince’s ear, 「Tsk-tsk! No, no. You’re not a servant but a dog. Ruff ruff. You know that? Alright, try saying it. Go on.」
“Ruff ruff! Ruff!”
“Ruff! Ruff ruff ruff!”
「Hahaha! Yes, now we’re talking.」
Shanon burst out in laughter and stood up. Prince Domo’s tearful barking grew louder. 「Aw. Your effort to save your subordinates is so admirable. That’s enough. Son of a bitch, lift your head now.」 Was it finally over? Prince Domo held back his tears and slowly looked up. He’d take the humiliation just this once. After all, Blood Land’s long, thousand-year history wasn’t always filled with glory, and they had gone through worse than this.
During those dark days, the kings had overcome the threat with their wisdom and kept the land intact, leaving their descendants the task of reviving the empire.
This was just another one of those low periods. Under his rule, they might have to live as Arthia’s dogs, but he firmly believed that his children or grandchildren would one day avenge Blood Land for this humiliation.
At Shanon’s permission, he looked up, sure that the empire would still be safe. However, when he spied the light flashing towards his neck, he was so shocked that his eyes widened, unable to fully comprehend the situation.
「Aww, you idiot.」
He could hear the noblemen and the knights calling his name tearfully.
「You really believed that?」
* * *
“And you say I’m the hot-tempered one.” Yeon-woo watched Shanon cut off Prince Domo’s head through their shared connection, clucking his tongue. Shanon had pretended to be lenient, only to humiliate the prince and kill him in the end.
Yeon-woo had ordered Shanon to take care of Blood Land and sent Hanryeong after the Elohim. He told them not to spare a single person, but Shanon was too full of mischief.
Shanon grinned, ordering the Dis Pluto soldiers under him to take care of the rest of Blood Land.
「Where do you think I learned all this? I learned right at the side of our great King Temper… 」 Yeon-woo cut off the connection with Shanon as soon as Shanon began blabbering again. He looked up at the sky where Laputa, the floating castle, hovered. He thought it had disappeared after losing its function as Kalatus’ lair.
It was time to retrieve the last of Jeong-woo’s belongings that he’d left behind in Arthia’s clan house, along with the elixir.