Cale had Ron and Freesia, who had done a great job in preparing everything, get on the carriage before heading toward the Gyerre territory. The carriage was being driven by one of Freesia’s subordinates.
“Explain it in detail.”
Freesia immediately started to respond.
“There is a baron’s household that became a vassal of the Gyerre Duchy about 50 years ago.”
The name of that household was Chryshi.
“This was before the current Duchess became the ruler of the territory. The other candidates for the position of lord brought the vassal household in in order to expand their own influence.
Antonio’s grandmother and the current Duchess, Sonata. This had happened when she was just one of the potential candidates for the Duchess position. The Gyerre territory had accepted multiple vassal households during that time.
The Chryshi household was one of those vassals.
Cale started to speak.
“Isn’t the Chryshi household a household that is famous for being a household of scholars?”
It was the household that had been the instructors of the crown two hundred years ago. That was why the Gyerre Duchy chose to accept such a household without any territories or wealth as a vassal.
Ron gently responded to Cale’s question.
“The past does not necessarily continue to the present.”
“I guess that is true.”
Regardless of whether they were a household of scholars in the past, they were a terrible household now.
The fact that they would hire people to kidnap children showed that they were not right in the head.
“Young master-nim, it was two nights ago.”
Cale looked toward Ron. The fact that Ron had been seriously acting like a benign old man since earlier was making Cale feel iffy. Ron seemed to look healthier after receiving his fake yet strong arm.
“Maybe it is because I am getting older, but I could not fall asleep that night. That was why I decided to talk a light walk through the back alleys of the Gyerre territory.”
‘…Are the back alleys really a good spot to take a walk?’
Cale wanted to ask that question, but held himself back.
“I happened to see some children pulling a carriage and going toward the corner of the slums.”
Cale looked toward Ron with confusion after hearing that children were pulling the carriage. Ron clarified his comments.
“They were husky children who seemed to be about 30 years old.”
‘…When did buff gangsters turn into children?’
Ron continued to speak as Cale sat there in silence.
“Anyway, I found those children interesting and chose to follow them. Of course, I did it stealthily so that they wouldn’t notice me.”
Cale ignored Freesia, who was looking toward Ron with a gaze of respect.
“When I stealthily followed behind them, I noticed a couple of houses near the bridge that is at the edge of the slums. Many people were being held captive in the basements of those houses.”
The fingers on his fake left arm cracked as Ron bent his fingers. He then gently continued to speak.
“They were doing terrible things that even assassins would not do.”
Cale turned his gaze away from the assassin Ron.
However, Cale wanted Ron to get to the point. Ron got to the core of the issue.
“I noticed one of the Chryshi household’s butlers going into one of those houses last night. Those buildings are regular houses for families in the slums during the day. However, once the sun goes down, those so-called families turn into employees.”
Freesia added on.
“After tailing the butler until early the next morning, we verified the butler meeting with a merchant.”
There was a high chance of that merchant being part of a merchant guild that was part of the slave trade.
She quickly continued to speak.
“One of my subordinates is currently tailing that merchant. We will soon receive a first report about the identity of that merchant guild. We will be able to have a good idea about their identity and know for certain after the second report.”
Cale tapped on the armrest before looking back toward Ron. The old man realized that his young master had realized something.
Cale slowly started to speak.
“A merchant guild illegally purchasing people as slaves…”
Where would those slaves go?
Slaves were illegal in the Roan Kingdom.
Unless the Chryshi household was crazy, they would not sell slaves within the kingdom.
So, who would need slaves?
Furthermore, who would need to use a merchant guild in order to stealthily gather slaves?
Cale had a good idea about the answers to these questions.
“…Those bastards who want to ring the bell to end the lives of others built a bell tower?” ( Ringing the bell to end life is apparently a popular saying in Korean. I translated it as is because it only makes sense about them building the bell tower when you have the two instances of, ‘bell.’ )
Freesia was confused at Cale’s comments, but Cale waved her off and continued to speak.
“The merchant guild is probably from the Empire.”
“… The Empire?”
Freesia’s expression turned serious.
Not only did they sell citizens of the Roan Kingdom as slaves, but they even sold them off to a foreign nation? This was only possible for people who had no fear.
It was not something that a baron would dare to even attempt.
That was why Cale had a question.
“Did the Chryshi household act on their own?”
“… Our investigations indicate that the Gyerre household is not involved.”
Freesia licked her lips and continued to speak.
“The Chryshi household that was brought in as a vassal without owning much of anything was placed in a state of uncertainty after Sonata Gyerre became the Duchess instead of the candidate they were supporting. That was why they tried everything they could to expand their influence.”
“They would have needed money to do that.”
Cale asked one more question.
“Does the Chryshi household seem to know where the merchant is from?”
“… I am not sure about that.”
Freesia cautiously started to speak to Cale, who seemed certain that the merchant guild was from the Empire.
“Young master-nim, we don’t have information on the merchant guild yet. How about we wait for the information before making a decision?”
Cale did not respond in any way. All he did was sigh.
The kittens, On and Hong, continued to pat Cale’s thighs with their paws. It was their way of saying, ‘let’s beat those bastards to death.’
Raon was speaking into Cale’s mind.
– Slaves … I cannot forgive them.
Raon could not forgive people who would enslave others without reason.
The Chryshi household had done something that the Black Dragon would never accept.
After spending the first four years of his life in the black cave, Raon detested slavery and imprisonment.
“Yes, young master-nim.”
Cale looked toward the Gyerre territory gate and started to speak.
“Change of plans.”
* * *
Early the next morning.
Cale was laying down on this soft and comfortable bed while enjoying his sleep. However, there was a hand that was patting him on the shoulder.
It felt like a concerned parent’s warm hand-
Cale’s eyes opened wide.
“Young master-nim, you are up.”
It was Ron.
Cale was so shocked that he curled up underneath the blanket.
The kittens were laughing at him.
“Human, wake up! You can’t sleep in!”
Raon was urging him to wake up as well. Cale listened to this quartet of experts as he got up. Ron handed him a teacup once he got up.
“They did not have lemon tea. The Gyerre Duchy does not seem to be that great.”
The corner of Cale’s lips was twitching as he picked up the teacup.
All of Cale’s group, other than Freesia and the information guild, were currently staying at the Gyerre Estate.
Although they had arrived late last night, they were able to spend a few nights at the Gyerre Estate thanks to Cale sending Vice Captain Hilsman ahead in order to notify them of their impending arrival.
It would be weird if a Duke was unable to let a passing noble spend a few days at their Estate. Furthermore, it was not just any noble, but someone who was the crown prince’s close confidant and had received a medal from the Empire.
“How disappointing that they don’t have lemon tea.”
Cale sounded happy despite the fact that he said that he was disappointed as he took a sip.
He then couldn’t help but groan.
Ron gently started to speak.
“The Gyerre territory seems to enjoy bitter tea though, hoho.”
Cale started to frown as he started the day off with bitter tea.
He immediately headed out of the room as soon as he finished dressing.
Vice Captain Hilsman had been waiting outside the door before following behind Cale.
“Hehe, you look very handsome today, young master-nim!”
Hilsman was commenting about how Cale looked like a proper noble today. Although it was not fancy and was just decently luxurious, he still looked the part of a promising young noble.
“Is that so? Good.”
However, Hilsman flinched after seeing that Cale’s smile looked pure.
‘A pure smile?’
It did not suit Cale at all.
‘I thought I heard that he was going to punish the Chryshi household?’
Hilsman found it weird that Cale looked pure and innocent when Ron had told him about Cale’s plans. The Vice Captain did not know about the human trafficking yet.
“Where is it?”
However, he quickly responded to Cale’s question.
“He is said to be in the garden at this time. He likes to take a walk after eating an early breakfast.”
“I guess we can stop by the garden on our way to the main gate.”
Cale immediately headed toward the garden.
Hilsman followed behind him while looking at Ron. Ron just smiled as he followed behind Cale as well. Hilsman found it even weirder that the kittens were not with Cale, but did not question it for now.
Cale was able to meet with Antonio Gyerre once he arrived at the garden.
Of course, he pretended it was a coincidence.
“Oh, young master Cale. Did you sleep well?”
“I didn’t expect to see you in the garden, young master Antonio. I slept well thanks to you.”
Cale and Antonio happily shook hands with each other.
Antonio observed Cale, who was dressed like a noble and did not have anything out of place.
The crown prince’s close confidant, the person who prevented the incident in the capital, and the person who did something amazing enough to get a medal from the Empire.
That person had sent his guard in advance to ask whether he could spend a few nights here. He had asked for something else as well.
‘Can we chat?’
Cale, who was the crown prince’s close confidant, and Antonio, who was a close confidant of a different prince and maintained the kingdom’s southwest territory, had obvious but important things to discuss.
It was bound to be a very greedy conversation.
Antonio felt that Cale was as greedy as the other nobles based on the way he asked for a, ‘chat.’
That chat would happen in secret tonight.
“Of course we can do it. Have you had breakfast yet?”
Antonio casually brought up peaceful topics of conversation. He could see Cale responding with a noble-like smile.
“I have not.”
“Oh no, you are taking a walk without having breakfast? You should eat.”
“I am okay. I plan to eat breakfast soon.”
The peaceful conversation changed a bit after Cale’s next words.
Cale gracefully added on.
“I heard that there is a famous bar, so I plan to eat breakfast there.”
Antonio was shocked.
Cale still said what he wanted to say.
“I happen to like a bit of drinking. Alcohol is best in the morning. Until later then, I plan to go drink some beer as morning soup! Haha!”
Antonio recalled Cale’s original nickname before he was called young master Silver Light.
Antonio could see Cale, who was announcing that he was going to act like trash today.
“I have nothing to do today. I plan to drink all day since I am still in recovery. Isn’t it wonderful?”
Cale was currently said to be recovering after using his ancient power in the Empire. He had said the reason he was visiting the Gyerre territory was to stop by on his way to the warmer southern region.
But such a person was drinking?
Antonio started to speak after a while.
“…Will you still be able to chat after that?”
“Do not worry, young master Antonio. Chatting after drinking makes it much easier to chat. Then I will be on my way now.”
Cale was respectful and proper until the end, even if he was speaking nonsense. A pale Hilsman and a casual Ron followed behind him.
“…I really can’t figure him out.”
Antonio’s expression turned complicated as watched Cale leave. However, there was a bit of disappointment in his gaze.
Antonio was someone who judged people based on how noble they appeared. Cale seemed to be placed lower on Antonio’s personal nobility scale.
“Will it be okay?”
Hilsman asked with concern, but Cale was not listening. He headed up to the third floor as soon as he got to the bar.
He then sat down at a table by the window and watched the flowing river until he turned his head.
“Would you like to order?”
The waiter cautiously asked after seeing Cale’s gaze.
The noble appearance and the person’s majestic demeanor made him look like he was at least a Count. That was why the waiter could not help but be cautious.
Cale did not even look at the menu before starting to speak.
“All of it.”
It was a powerful statement.
Cale gave his order again to the confused waiter.
“Give me a bottle of every different kind of alcohol you have. Oh, also give me your most expensive snacks.”
Hilsman blinked while listening to Cale’s extravagant order. Cale bluntly asked Hilsman once the waiter left with a shocked expression.
“What are you looking at?”
Hilsman smiled brightly, contrary to Cale’s expectations.
“You really haven’t changed, young master-nim! Yes, Choi Han isn’t here! Let’s get wasted! Hahahaha!”
Cale shook his head, but Hilsman opened a bottle and started to hum. Cale ignored him and looked outside the window.
He could see the river flowing through the Gyerre territory.
The river that separated the slums from the rest of the territory was right outside this bar. Cale could see the bridge as well.
The slums were just past that bridge.
Cale could see ten shabby houses across the bridge.
Those were the houses where the kidnapped individuals were imprisoned.
– …We will break those houses! No, we will destroy them!
Cale listened to Raon’s vicious comments before picking up the bottle instead of the glass that Hilsman had filled.
“Y, young master-nim.”
Hilsman became anxious.
However, he came back to his senses after hearing the empty bottle being placed back on the table. He could see that Cale’s face had turned red. Cale picked up another bottle.
Cale, whose face was red even though he was not drunk, pushed the bottle toward Hilsman who was looking at him. Hilsman flinched after recalling how Cale used to throw bottles in the past, before slowly taking the bottle from him.
Cale truly ate and drank all day without saying anything.
He finally said something as the sun started to go down.
“Yes, young master-nim.”
As the guard, Hilsman had stopped drinking after one or two drinks. He was admiring how Cale’s experience as trash really was not a lie based on how he could drink all day as he observed Cale.
Cale started to speak again.
Ron, who had been sitting quietly, stood up and responded.
Cale turned to look at the two men who were waiting for him to speak. He caressed an empty bottle as he looked out the window to watch the setting sun.
He could see Freesia on the bridge sending him a signal underneath the sky that looked as if it was burning.
The merchant guild had been from the Empire, just as Cale had expected.
Cale stood up and started to speak.
“I will be using the shield today.”
“Excuse me? Why all of a sudden?”
‘Is he drunk?’
Vice Captain Hilsman thought Cale was drunk, but Cale smiled as he added on.
“I need to destroy them.”
He was talking about the ten houses.