“Haha, it’s good that you know the right time to surrender.” Matou chuckled, stretching his weary limbs.

After some light stretching, he stomped on the ground with his right foot and stood straight with his left hand to his head, imitating a Warden’s salute.

“Shadow, you are hereby arrested for breaking and entering! Do not resist capture or face the consequences!” Matou tilted his head. “Also, remove your disguise!”

Kayden coughed lightly, “You caught me unawares so I’m completely naked underneath. Don’t worry, I won’t try to resist. You may tie me up if you wish.”

Matou was revolted by Kayden’s choice of words. He really didn’t need to know his opponent’s fetishes. ‘He wants me to what now? And he’s naked?’ He was now one hundred percent sure that the thief was a pervert and made it a point to completely ignore what he just heard.

Kayden mistook the disgusted expression on his face for impatience and slowly put his arms up in surrender. Wading through the warm water, he limped towards Matou.

Matou was surprised by how meek Kayden was being. He expected a fierce resistance or a desperate attempt to escape, but his worries were unfounded. ‘From the looks of it, he really isn’t going to resist capture.’ Confusion was clearly written all across his face, until he realized he was acting unprofessional, and adjusted his expression. Nodding sagely, he said to himself,

“Indeed, even I scare myself with how awesome I am!”

Kayden gritted his teeth but didn’t say anything. Thankfully, the young lord was incapable of seeing through illusions, for what was hidden beneath the illusion was him gesticulating wildly with the most vulgar of hand signs. It would make even the vilest of criminals blush.

Kayden wasn’t too worried about his arrest as he had a plan. During a speech, the city lord had made it clear to the public that his son was going to the prestigious Solus academy and wouldn’t be back for a while. The city lord made plans for a farewell party where all citizens were invited, and it was scheduled for tomorrow. The plan was simple, he would simply wait for his master to break him out.

Very simple.

After all, it wasn't the first time he was thrown into prison, and each time he did, his master would help free him. He was a young thief-in-training back then and was only caught for small crimes. Naturally, the wardens didn’t take his various escapes seriously since he looked quite young. He also always had a disguise on, making nearly the whole list of escaped convicts him alone.

It had been nearly five years since the last time he was caught, which meant the number of crimes committed by his ‘Shadow’ persona was a lot. He was a little reluctant to part with this identity, but it was a small price to pay for freedom.

Matou pointed his index finger at Kayden’s wrist as a stream of reddish-brown mana poured out. It gently wrapped around Kayden’s wrists before solidifying into a simple handcuff made out of sturdy rock.

“Good job, me!” Matou exclaimed as he finished inspecting his handiwork. He clapped Kayden’s back with a great deal of force, sending him into a coughing fit. “Now off to prison we go!”


The prison that Kayden was being brought to had a special background. It was originally an ancient dungeon that had been long cleared out and repurposed to be some sort of sewer system. Located to the northwest of this underground network was a place specifically constructed to hold prisoners, the Serpent Dungeon. The Serpent Dungeons got its name from the fact that the entire dungeon was one singular corridor that stretched for nearly a mile. It was rumored that before it was cleared out, it had been a Basilisk’s burrow.

Basilisks were massive serpents with eyes that could turn men to stone. His master had told him that she had fought multiple of them with her party back in the day. Kayden was slightly skeptical but chose to believe her anyway.

He was being escorted down the never-ending corridor by two guards wielding spears. He had been given a black and white striped shirt and pants and so he didn’t need to cover his naked body any longer. His face, however, was disguised to look like an older man with graying hair. Coupled with his height and build, he looked very much like a grizzled veteran of sorts.

The corridor was three meters wide, enough for him and the two guards to stand shoulder to shoulder with plenty of room left. Every twenty meters or so, there were metallic bars built into the wall, where Kayden could see criminals of all types banging and hollering at their gates.

“Oh? Some fresh blood! Why don’t you join us? I’ll take good care of you~”


“Actually, once you get used to this place, it isn’t so bad! I would give this place a solid 4.5 stars!”

Kayden ignored that last comment.

One particularly fierce-looking prisoner had a large scar perfectly horizontal on his face and he took the opportunity to spit phlegm at the passing guards. Not only did it dissolve upon hitting a thin barrier, one guard took notice and jammed the butt of his spear into the prisoner’s eye. The prisoner clutched his swollen eye and tears leaked uncontrollably as he yelled in agony. This incident caused most of the rowdy prisoners to quiet down.

Kayden took note of the terrible conditions the cells were in. They were all incredibly filthy and the pungent smell of rot assaulted his nose.

Time passed slowly as Kayden’s legs grew fatigued. With nothing else better to do, he conversed with the guards.

“So why do you keep prisoners here? Don’t you think that escorting prisoners up and down this long hallway gets tiring? Hey, I just got a great idea! I think it’s better that you lock me up somewhere else—”

“We’re here!” A gravelly voice interrupted his poor attempt at conversation.

At a glance, the cell was empty. Before he could get a clear picture of the jail cell, he was ruthlessly thrown in.


The sound of metal hitting metal rang out and echoed around the corridor as the doors to the cell slammed shut.

Xenoth’s face grinned as he peered into the cell. “That will teach you not to mess with us Wardens.”

Kayden groaned as he sat himself up and leaned on the wall of his cell. He got a closer look at the guard and was surprised to find that he recognized him.

“From commander of the Wardens to common guard, eh? Oh, how the mighty had fallen!”

“Hah! You wish! I volunteered to escort you myself! All so I could see your dumb face!”

Seeing that the guard was not in any hurry to leave, he retorted.

“I sure am honored!” Kayden put on a sweet expression and clapped his hands together. “Oh! I seem to recall that the one who captured me was a 13-year-old, not you! Pardon me for thinking you got demoted because of that.”

Xenoth’s face darkened, but it soon formed a smug look.

“Hah, where does that leave you? You got caught by a 13-year-old! That’s worse for you than it is for me!”

“Nah, I was bathing at the time. If I had my equipment, I clearly would have won that fight. You can let me out for a rematch if you want proof.”

“Hmph! Say what you want, but it doesn’t change the fact that you’ll be stuck here forever!”

Kayden smirked under his disguise but remained silent. Contrary to the Warden’s belief, he was confident he could leave. Seeing that the prisoner no longer had any retorts to spit out, Xenoth walked off in contentment.

Kayden gazed around his new cell. It was walled off by the same cobblestone bricks that made up the Serpent’s dungeon. There were patches of moss growing at the corners of the cell, hinting at its lack of maintenance. The cell was fairly large and had six stone benches—three on each side— that served as beds. The back end of the cell was walled off and he found what seemed to be a makeshift toilet behind it.

Kayden walked towards the metal bars that separated him from his freedom and gave it a good knock, more out of boredom rather than checking its durability. He stuck his finger through the bars, only to hit an invisible barrier.

That prisoner from earlier has poor taste. Rather than 4.5 stars, I think I would rate it 3 stars instead. The ventilation of this place could clearly be improved—

“Welcome!” A voice called out to him from within the cell. “You are in the presence of the king!”

“AHH!” Kayden dropped to the ground in fright. He had been sure there was no one else sharing a cell with him. Squinting at the source of the sound which was at the far-left corner, he held his arms up with his fists clenched, ready for a fight.

From the corner of the room appeared a ripple in mid-air. Like pulling down a curtain, a figure was revealed from head to toe as the spell faded. Standing at an impressive height of three feet tall, a haggard old man spread his arms wide as if welcoming a round of applause. A large bulbous nose grew on his face and a scruffy white beard cascaded down his chin. His grin showed a few missing teeth and the outfit he wore looked very extravagant, with a huge golden crown on his head to top it all off. They were so luxurious that Kayden was ninety-nine percent sure they were made with illusion magic, even if the invisibility spell didn’t already give it away.

The old man opened his left eye to peek at Kayden’s reaction, only for him to be disappointed at the stoic illusory face.

“Oi! Have you never learned any manners! You should greet others properly!”

“Okay… Talk about orc calling the troll green.” Kayden rolled his eyes.

He pushed himself off the ground and stood up straight. He couldn’t help but notice the immense height disparity between them.

“Excuse my lack of knowledge, but are you perhaps a Halfling?”

“Gnome!” The old gnome seemed incredibly offended. “Don’t compare us to those roving band of thieves! My boy, you should get your eyes checked.”

Kayden frowned. “With your type of magic, I wouldn’t be surprised if you were arrested for thievery. Besides, aren’t gnomes supposed to be these tiny little men with large conical hats?” He eyed the gnome up and down. “Well, at least you got the tiny part right.”

That comment seemed to make the gnome angry. His face grew comically red, sporting the same color as that of a tomato.

“I AM INNOCENT!” He shrieked. “And I’m tall for a gnome! Are the people of this city all this dumb? I bet they locked me up here just because they think I’m a halfling!”

Kayden was skeptical. “Really? They don’t normally lock ordinary criminals in the Serpent Dungeons though. Even if you were a halfling, you must have committed some sort of crime to be brought here.”

“That’s only because...” The old gnome sighed. “I was put here when I was caught trying to rescue my daughter.”

Upon mentioning his daughter, the gnome seemed to deflate. His shoulders slouched as he gingerly sat on the stone bench nearest to him, his stubby legs hanging from the top of the bench as they couldn’t quite touch the ground. He heaved a deep sigh and started recounting his tragic tale.

“You see, my daughter— “

“Yeah, I’m sure you have a tragic backstory and all that. But just now I had to walk all the way here with my injuries untreated. So, I’m going to sleep.”

The eyes of the elderly gnome twitched as he drew in deep breaths to calm himself. Kayden noticed that he was being rude and out of respect for his new inmate, sat down on the bench opposite the gnome. Both gnome and human sat in uncomfortable silence until Kayden took it upon himself to break the tension.

“I can sleep later, please continue.”

The old gnome began to recount his tragic tale.

A note from Kageko

Kayden goes to freaking prison! 

Hope you're having a nice day! Unlike a certain thief...

Here's a question for you that maybe you'll answer... Do you like chapter titles? I already have them written, just never got around to publish chapter names.

About the author



Log in to comment
Log In