But behind that satisfaction, Cale suddenly felt chills on the back of his neck. It was because Ron drank the lemon tea without any complaints.
Why did the sound of the teacup being placed on the table feel so loud? Thankfully, it was not just Cale being paranoid. Choi Han, who had been quietly enjoying his tea, started to frown.
“Why don’t you enjoy your tea a little more quietly?”
Ron held back his laughter after seeing Choi Han take a peek at Cale before speaking in a more respectful tone to him. Today, he had found a decently useful sword for Choi Han. It was a sword made by the same blacksmith as the one who made Beacrox’s cooking knife.
‘Want to try it out?’
‘I will not fight against someone who is trying to cut someone else with a cooking knife.’
His son, Beacrox, kept nagging Choi Han to fight him with that sword. It was because Beacrox learned a bit about Choi Han’s strength from that short bout last time, and wanted to find out more. However, Choi Han continued to reject him.
‘Ho, what a funny punk. What, do I need to bring a bloodied sword like you?’
Choi Han closed his eyes for a moment before opening them back up and responded to Beacrox as if he was confirming it for himself.
‘I, I will now be someone who protects. He said even I could do it.’
‘What the heck are you saying?’
Ron watched his son and Choi Han’s cute bickering, before following Choi Han to come see Cale. He didn’t expect to hear such a precious thing.
‘I can’t live as a trash forever.’
That was what Ron was thinking about as he drank the lemon tea. But it looked like he was glaring at Choi Han. Cale was watching that scene with satisfaction.
Ron and Choi Han’s relationship in ‘The Birth of a Hero’ was just like this. They were always at each other’s throats, but still continued to travel together. They were tied together by a contract, but they both knew they could also rely on one another.
Cale thought that a lot of things got twisted because of his actions to not get beaten up, but it looked like their relationship was forming in a similar manner.
‘It is disappointing that it got twisted a bit, but my life comes first. I can’t let the novel dictate my life.’
For Cale, his life was the first priority. After that, it was that everybody living within his territory lived peacefully. What else could you need?
“Sweet teas are really the best.”
Ron flinched at the words that Cale happily said.
The tea time for these three individuals ended in the middle of the downpour.
“I guess the next time I will see you will be at the capital.”
Cale shook his head toward Billos, who greeted Cale as he came down from the third floor after tea time.
“I will be coming here everyday for a while.”
“Is that so? To read the book?”
“Whatever I feel like doing.”
“Please feel free to visit whenever you would like. This tea shop is open to you at all times young master.”
Billos was watching Cale, who walked by while pretending not to hear what he said, with curiosity. Ron was just quietly observing them from behind.
The bastard son of the Flynn Merchant Guild. The fact that he was extremely talented made the official children resent him. That was why Billos had to come to this remote, yet profitable region in the Henituse territory.
He couldn’t even use the family name of, ‘Flynn,’ either.
Ron was observing Cale being friendly with this greedy Billos and clicked his tongue. It was because he thought to himself, ‘Why does it matter to me if that puppy young master is close to Billos?’
“Tsk. I guess even dislike creates affection.”
“I don’t want my dislike of you to turn into affection.”
Ron let out a sigh after seeing that the clueless Choi Han had misunderstood.
“Not you, punk.”
Ron’s gaze was on Cale.
Ron was planning on heading to the capital anyways. It was because he had a bad feeling about it. He had been thinking about it countless times ever since Choi Han came out from the Forest of Darkness and entered the city with that dense murderous aura on him.
The reason Ron had to hide out in this territory. The reason he had to escape from the Eastern Continent. It looked like he needed to research the people responsible for it one more time.
‘Wouldn’t it be appropriate for me to make sure our puppy young master safely arrives at the capital and safely leaves as my final duty as his servant?’
He claimed to others while laughing that he would be by the young master’s side because he found Cale’s scared expression to be funny, but would an assassin ever tell the truth to others?
‘I should tell Beacrox to make food that our little puppy young master will like during the journey.’
Cale was someone he looked after even more than his own son, Beacrox. Ron knew very well about the terrible things Cale has done, and the terrible personality that Cale had. However, there was someone else he knew.
Ron remembered how the young Cale had consoled his father when his mother died. He also saw how Cale hated his stepmother and her family, but never caused a ruckus with them, even when he was drunk.
‘But he definitely is still trash, tsk.’
18 years. Ron had watched over Cale for too long.
* * *
Cale returned to his chamber immediately after returning to the estate, only to find the two baby kittens staring up at him.
“Ah, I forgot about the two of you.”
He should have brought Choi Han, who cherishes small animals. Choi Han had returned to his own room after saying that his heart needed to become stronger to be someone who protects.
When Cale laughed and asked who Choi Han was going to protect, Choi Han responded that he would let Cale know once he became stronger. That answer gave Cale the chills. Cale didn’t know why someone as strong as Choi Han would want to become even stronger.
Hans approached Cale as he was staring at the kittens.
“Young master, what do you think? Aren’t they even cuter, lovelier, and more adorable now? They are so mean though, they wouldn’t even let me pet them. Haha!”
Hans crouched next to the kittens and looked up at Cale with satisfaction. His expression was so full of admiration that it surprised Cale and Ron. His expression was not related to the cuteness of the kittens.
“Don’t you agree?”
This strong butler candidate seems to like cats very much.
“Oh, um, I guess so.”
The two kittens, that were sitting on a silk cushion that came from who knows where, definitely looked fuller and healthier. What kind of magic did this deputy butler do in that short amount of time? However, the two kittens continued to avoid Hans’s gaze. It seemed to be a very stereotypical relationship between a butler and a cat.
“Then I will be heading out now, young master. Please call me if there is anything you need for the kitten-nims.”
After verifying that Ron got Hans to leave, Cale avoided the sparkling eyes of the kittens as he went into the bathroom. At that moment, the kittens’ ears fell down.
Ron approached the kittens after getting Hans to leave. Only Ron and the two baby kittens were currently in the bedroom.
“You are children of the Cat Tribe.”
The golden eyes of the kitten’s turned sharp. However, Ron did not seem to care, as he verified that the bathroom door was closed before standing in front of the kittens.
There was an odd smile on Ron’s face.
The Cat Tribe was known for their sensitivity to their surroundings. The Cat Tribe was one that was better known in the Eastern Continent than the Western Continent, but there was no way that someone like Ron, who was involved with assassinations, would not know about them.
Unlike most beast people, who became violent when they went berserk, the Cat Tribe became stealthier and sharper. That was why they were a scary tribe, although they were not at the level of the Wolf, Tiger, or Lion Tribes.
There was only one thought on Ron’s mind as he watched the two Cat Tribe children. It was a sudden thought, and they were still young, but…
‘I can teach them.’
Ron checked to make sure that the door to the bathroom was closed once again.
The Cat Tribe put a lot of importance on relationships. If they trust someone once, they will never betray them. They were suspicious by nature, but, like the Wolf Tribe, they valued interpersonal relationships.
Children of such a tribe came looking for Cale on their own accord. Ron thought it would be nice to give his puppy young master a farewell present.
Ron moved a bit closer to the Cat Tribe children. He then reached out to caress the head of the slightly larger silver kitten.
The silver kitten slapped his hand away and quickly moved away to the corner of the room along with the red kitten.
Ron’s eyes turned curious. These Cat Tribe children seem to have already figured him out. It made sense, since they needed to quickly recognize people like him, people who were close with death, in order to live for a long time. Even if cats do have nine lives, they needed to treasure them. The Cat Tribe was known for their long lives as well as their stealthy night movement. In this regard, they were stealthier than anyone else. Ron started to smile.
“One child is fog and the other one is poison.”
The silver one was fog and the red one was blood, or poison. Even if they did not become killers, they had the right foundations to become shadows. THe silver kitten turned its head away as Ron said that, while the red kitten snorted. The two siblings had no desire to become killers who gave off such a thick scent of death.
The two kittens scoffed at Ron, as if they knew about his identity as an assassin already. Once Cale came out of the bathroom, they were still sticking very close to each other as they looked up at Cale.
“Stop looking at me.”
They immediately stopped looking at him once he said that.
“Ron. Go get me my meal from Beacrox.”
“Yes, young master.”
Ron left and Cale sat down on the couch and looked toward the two kittens. He then spoke to the two kittens who were whining in a corner far away from him.
“You two are part of the Cat Tribe, aren’t you?”
The two kittens nodded their heads without making eye contact with Cale.
“Are you planning on following me?”
There were no responses to this question.
Instead, the red kitten slowly walked over and rubbed its cheek on Cale’s leg, while the silver kitten approached Cale soon after and started to tap Cale’s foot with her front paw.
Cale already had a plan for these two siblings. He nodded his head and made up his mind about the kittens.
“Then make yourselves useful.”
The kittens immediately responded.
“Answer in human language.”
The pupils of the silver kitten, the older sister named On, started to sparkle as she spoke. (There are many Chinese characters for “On,” but I think the author is referencing the, “On,” that means conceal, because she is the fog that Ron describes.)
“I want to eat meat. I’m still hungry.”
The red kitten, the younger brother Hong, tapped Cale’s leg as he added on. (The name “Hong” is probably from the Chinese character for Red.)
“I want to eat cake.”
Cale responded to both of them.
“I will give you a lot of meat and cake, so you know what to do, right?”
The kittens immediately replied, and that was how the two siblings, who were kicked out of the Fog Cat Tribe, became a part of Count Henituse’s household.
Four days later, Cale joined his family for breakfast for the first time in a while. Count Deruth looked at his son, who was wearing extremely simple clothes, and started to smile.
“I guess you are leaving today.”
Today was the day that Cale would leave the Henituse territory and head toward the capital.