In order to achieve the results he wanted, Cale had to choose to camp outside. There were no villages along the way until the village near the hidden cave of the Black Dragon.
The red Cat Tribe kitten Hong meowed and wagged his tail, as if he was excited. It was because of the delicious smell filling the area.
‘The joy of the day comes from eating a delicious dinner.’
That was what Cale was thinking. A warm dinner was the signal to end the long and tiring day, and start a relaxing night.
Tonight’s main course was a soup with rabbit meat.
It was not Ron’s doing. Cale turned his gaze to the side. Choi Han, the person who had caught the rabbits, was happily eating his soup.
Tap. Tap. On and Hong were tapping on his leg, asking him to give it to them if he didn’t want it. Hans had a wide smile on his face as he cautiously approached the two children.
“Would our precious kitten-nims like to eat the jerky that I prepared for you? It is very healthy, without any salt or preservatives.”
Naturally, On and Hong ignored Hans. Hans, who did not know they were part of the Cat Tribe, found that sass to be cute as well and continued to linger around them.
Contrary to the fact that they had their first battle, it was a very relaxed and peaceful environment. However, the atmosphere around the knights seemed to be a bit odd. They kept peeking toward Choi Han, who was eating his soup next to Cale. The Vice Captain seemed to be full of agony.
Cale clicked his tongue.
Cale’s party had to fight off tens of bandits today. The one to handle most of those bandits was naturally Choi Han. He did not kill the bandits. However, he had no issues cutting off a limb or leaving them a deep scar. Not only that, he did it in an unbelievable speed too.
‘Young master, the battle is over.’
The Vice Captain had reported this to Cale with a shocked expression on his face. He had not expected it to end so quickly.
The bandits were ones who were pushed out of power in a different area nearby. The bandits they had thought were stupid were at their limits and felt that they could handle five knights because of their numbers.
Unfortunately, their first target ended up being Cale’s carriage with Choi Han.
The reason the Vice Captain’s face was completely pale was not because of the strength of the bandits. Choi Han approached next to the Vice Captain and added on.
‘It was a light battle. Not even enough for a warm-up.’
Cale could see the Vice Captain slightly flinch after hearing Choi Han’s words. He could also see Choi Han smirking while looking at the Vice Captain flinch.
‘He really isn’t the type to let people do as they please with him.’
There was no way that someone like Choi Han, who had no issues beating up the Count’s son, would be nice and let people just continue to mess with him.
“Do you have no appetite?”
Cale seemed to be frustrated, as Ron approached him with his usual benign smile. He looked back and forth between the rabbit soup and Ron, before suddenly realizing something. This old man enjoyed making fun of him.
“Yes. None at all.”
Choi Han responded to that statement.
“Are you feeling unwell?”
“No, nothing like that.”
‘I would have no issues if you caught anything other than rabbits.’
Cale looked toward Choi Han, and waved his hand to tell Choi Han to not mind him.
However, Choi Han continued to look toward Cale with a serious gaze.
“What are you looking at?”
“…Was that you first time experiencing a battle?”
Cale just casually responded back to Choi Han who asked with a serious expression.
“What battle? You mean with the bandits earlier?”
“Of course. I’ve never seen so many bandits before.”
Choi Han nodded his head and quietly mumbled to himself.
“…Must have been your first time facing potential death.”
Ha. One of the soldiers let out a gasp.
Ha! Cale let out a loud gasp as if he was completely shocked.
‘First time facing potential death my ass. Do you know how nervous I’ve been the last few days because of you?’
That wasn’t even it. Ron’s smile as Choi Han brought back the rabbits, the sight of Beacrox sharpening his cooking knife, Cale was also nervous because of them. Cale started to think about all of the nervous moments he has had since they left the Henituse territory.
‘Now I really have no appetite.’
He had lost all of his appetite. Clang. The spoon in Cale’s hand just fell onto the soup bowl. That was why he didn’t realize that the soldiers were looking at him with an understanding gaze, or that Choi Han had stopped paying attention to everyone around him as he nostalgically thought about the past.
Cale was thinking about how he didn’t need to be so nervous anymore because he managed to avoid getting beaten up and also got the Indestructible Shield, when Choi Han’s voice snapped him back to reality.
‘Why does he keep talking to me?’
“The first time is always difficult to handle.”
“What are you talking about?”
As Cale stoically asked back, Choi Han had a slight smile on his face before he asked in a stoic expression. The gaze in his eyes was extremely serious.
“Cale-nim, do you not study any martial arts?”
“Shouldn’t you at least have the strength to protect yourself?”
There was concern in that seriousness. Cale wondered why Choi Han was suddenly becoming so serious, but decided to answer the question anyways.
“I have plenty of ways already.”
Cale took his gaze off of Choi Han and looked around. 15 soldiers who were stronger than him, and 5 knights who would do well no matter where they went. There were only a few servants aside from them, but Ron, Beacrox, the two kittens, and even deputy butler Hans were much stronger than himself.
Cale made eye contact with each of the people before turning back to Choi Han to ask.
“You can see them too, right?”
‘This is the protection for a wealthy Count’s son.’
Cale started to smile. He knew that they would all protect him. Of course, he wasn’t sure about Ron or Beacrox, but they would at least prevent him from getting killed by someone.
‘And they are not the only protection.’
Cale decided to be a little more honest to Choi Han, who was sitting there looking at him. He patted his heart as he answered.
“I trust my heart. I will live.”
Of course. The Indestructible Shield surrounding his heart will protect him. Well, as long as he avoided people like Choi Han that is…
Choi Han looked toward Cale with shaky eyes.
“Hmm? What are you doing?”
On and Hong approached Cale and started to push on his legs with their small paws. The claws on their paws hurt, making Cale frown, but the Cat Tribe siblings stopped eating and started to rub their cheeks on Cale’s leg.
Clack. Choi Han put down his empty soup bowl and stood up from his seat.
“…I’ll be practicing with my sword now.”
“Right after eating?”
“I feel like I need to get stronger.”
‘…Scary punk. Are you trying to get strong enough to blow the whole Earth away?’
Cale turned away in disgust. At that time, Beacrox approached him with a new dish.
Cale looked at the plate that was filled with the highest quality spices and highest quality beef steak, and started to smile.
“Bitter food and drinks like lemonade are best to restore your appetite.”
This was the first time Ron had handed him a lemonade since their interaction at the tea shop. Cale just ignored the lemonade because he was excited about the steak.
“If everyone has finished eating, we will start our evening training session soon.”
Cale could hear the Vice Captain’s loud voice and started to think.
‘The Vice Captain must have been motivated by Choi Han.’
Cale looked at the fired up knights and soldiers as he chowed down on the steak and even the rabbit soup as well. The rabbit soup was pretty good once he tried it. Of course, he adamantly declined the jerky the kittens offered him. There was no seasoning on it so he wouldn’t even touch it.
* * *
Cale calculated as they entered the village.
‘The Black Dragon will cause a mana explosion in 3 days.’
They were now in a Viscount’s territory that was right next to the Henituse territory. A villa belonging to the Viscount was built in the mountain on the right side of this village a few years ago.
Naturally, while it was labeled as the Viscount’s villa on the outside, in reality, it belonged to Marquis Stan, the person responsible for making the Black Dragon go crazy. The viscount of this territory was nothing more than a dog of the Marquis.
‘And in the mountain behind the villa hides the cave with the Black Dragon.’
The Black Dragon causes a mana explosion and sends the cave and the mountain flying. Cale looked at the small peak to the right of the mountain he crossed, and clicked his tongue.
Venion of Marquis Stan’s family. Cale was thinking about the Marquis’s second son. He was a crazy psycho who crippled his own older brother to rise to the position of heir. That psycho visits the villa every so often to torture the Black Dragon for fun.
Hans flinched at Cale clicking his tongue, and quickly brought Choi Han over and started to speak.
“Young master, I will take Choi Han-nim and quickly look for an inn. Please wait a moment.”
The carriage was currently stopped outside of the village entrance.
“We will be right back.”
Cale nodded his head at Hans’s statement while observing Choi Han. He had a nostalgic look in his eyes. Just why would Choi Han fight with an existence that caused a mana explosion? It was because he could not throw this small and quiet village away.
Harris Village. This village was similar to the village that taught him about both love and hate. That was why he made a move to save the lives of these village people that he did not even know. Cale started to frown as he called Choi Han over.
Ah. A small gasp came out of Choi Han’s mouth. This 17 year old boy who had lived for tens of years started to have an innocent smile on his face as he nodded his head. (Remember, Choi Han really doesn’t age)
“Yes sir. I will be right back.”
Cale motioned as if he was annoyed, but Choi Han bowed before quickly starting to walk toward the village with Hans. Cale, who preferred this focused Choi Han to the one who had a blank expression, continued to watch him before suddenly starting to frown.
He could see a carriage quickly heading in their direction.
‘I have a bad feeling about this.’
Cale felt like someone with extremely sweaty hands was handing him a poisoned apple. It was a really bitter feeling. The cause of that bitter feeling was soon to be revealed.
Cale could not believe it.
He could see an old man who could not manage to avoid the carriage, fall down on the road. He could also see Choi Han rushing toward the old man, as well as the carriage continuing to travel down the road like it was not going to stop.
‘Such a cliche!’
There was a flag hanging on that carriage. A red snake. It was the symbol of Marquis Stan. Cale’s eyes started to shake. It was about to happen. An incident was about to happen.
Choi Han flung himself to rescue the old man, and the momentum forced him to smash into a building wall. Only then did the black carriage belonging to Marquis Stan finally stop.
Cale let out a sigh as he opened the carriage door. It looked like he had no choice but to head over to the site of that cliche event.