– Human, w, what are these things?!
They had come out for a walk.
It was a stroll to the casino.
Cale casually walked while looking at the fancy fountain, the magic gambling devices, and the tables to one side of the first floor.
– H, human! Did you just see that?! He put in a copper coin and the magic device returned a gold coin!
The invisible six-year-old dragon’s eyes were hurriedly looking around the first floor.
There definitely was not any magic that would turn one copper coin into numerous gold coins. Both magic and alchemy returned something equivalent to the item you sacrificed.
You used mana to create fire or wind. Something like that.
The Black Dragon quickly figured out that you needed to line up the pictures of the same fruit to win on these magic gambling devices. The intelligent Dragon that had experienced the world for the past two years shared his thoughts with Cale.
– Human, do you want to loot these magic devices?
Cale was flabbergasted. He was amazed at the same time.
‘Dragons really are different.’
Rather than trying out these gambling magic devices that resembled slot machines of his previous world, the Dragon instead wanted to steal the device and break it apart in order to see how it worked.
Cale did feel a sense of satisfaction, but feigned ignorance as he asked.
The floor was so loud that nobody was paying attention to Cale, who was talking while holding a small kitten in his arms.
Only Vice Captain Hilsman who had Hong in his arms and Billos behind him looked at him with confusion. Cale naturally did not pay attention to the two of them.
– What do you mean why?! We need to figure out how they work! How could you not know that?
– And then I will be able to take all of the money from here! I will use 1 silver coin from my piggy bank in order to rake it all in!
Cale’s expression turned stiff.
A dragon really was amazing. Raon was thinking even more practically than Cale.
Cale seriously considered Raon’s suggestion before seeing someone put in 1 copper coin, which was 1 cound in the Caro Kingdom’s currency, into a machine and then turning away.
Resignation, anticipation, desperation, obsession, and despair. Cale didn’t want to take the money that was gathered through the collection of all of these emotions.
Wouldn’t it be better to steal from wealthier people if he was going to steal?
“Young master-nim, over there.”
Billos stealthily pointed in a direction. Cale’s gaze headed toward the innermost section of the first floor.
They were in a building in the shape of a large golden tree.
They called it the Golden Tree because you might strike gold in here. This was the Caro Kingdom’s legal casino.
Anybody could get in if they paid 1 silver coin, or 10 counds. There were fountains in the center of the first floor that were visible once you went into the building.
Once you got past the assortment of fountains, there was a path that started with a golden door.
It was the path to the upper levels that were known as the Fruit of the Golden Tree.
A single person was currently going through that path right now.
This was one of the two people that Cale had Billos send invitations to attend the auction.
It was a middle-aged man who seemed to be in his fifties with a solemn expression on his face.
However, even with the solemn expression, he reminded Cale of a Korean Congressman.
‘But more like an extremely corrupt one?’
That seemed to describe this man perfectly.
Cale was calm while Billos let out a gasp and continued to stare at the middle-aged man in the path.
“…I didn’t expect the merchant guild leader to actually come.”
The middle-aged man was a merchant guild leader.
His merchant guild was known as one of the top five merchant guilds in the Mogoru Empire.
The Singten Merchant Guild.
They had strong business abilities, but more importantly, they had a significant amount of political influence that allowed them to quickly rise in rank in the Empire during the past ten years.
The name of the leader of this merchant guild was Plavin Singten.
Billos was shocked that he had come in response to the anonymous invitation that Cale had sent him, but he gasped after realizing a more shocking fact.
‘Young master-nim really must have the Determination of Fire.’
Billos had personally written the invitations. That was why he knew what Cale had used to bait the two people to show up.
The Determination of Fire.
That was the name of the jeweled necklace that the Singten Merchant Guild was said to possess.
It was a mysterious jewel that was discovered in lava a long ago that no fire could damage. The Dwarf Expert who designed the Magic Tower eventually turned it into a beautiful necklace.
It was said that the Singten Merchant Guild purchased it from the Golden Tree Auction house here in Vegas City about ten years ago.
‘So how did it end up in young master-nim’s hands?’
Billos could not figure out how it happened. However, he was in awe of Cale’s abilities.
No matter how it happened, it meant that the necklace was currently in Cale’s possession.
‘Then he must really have the Night’s Exultation as well.’
The Night’s Exultation was the jewel used to bait the second person.
Billos recalled how Cale had called this a jackpot and licked his lips. His chubby face was full of anticipation.
‘It will be a minimum of 20 billion counds.’
The Determination of Fire had sold for 15 billion counds ten years ago. Since it will be traded in secret, it should be close to that value, give or take a bit.
However, that was only if the Singten Merchant Guild wanted this necklace, but the fact that the guild leader himself showed up meant that he really wanted this jewel.
Billos quietly whispered to Cale. He sounded very excited.
“Young master-nim, it looks like you will make at least 15 billion counds.”
“What are you talking about?’
He could see Cale looking shocked.
Cale truly was shocked.
‘15 billion counds?’
“Yes, young master-nim.”
Billos stood up straight after seeing Cale’s serious expression.
“I don’t understand how items can be auctioned for billions of counds.”
Cale could not understand the winning bids for the jewels and artworks in the auction.
“However, I’m sure they are sold for those prices because they are worth the value.”
That, ‘value,’ could be purely artistic value, investment value, or something completely different. And Cale had every plan to utilize that, ‘value,’ to his advantage.
That was why he had set the price appropriately. The final value of the Determination of Fire came out of Cale’s mouth.
Billos blanked out after hearing the number that Cale called out.
‘Did I hear him properly?’
Cale had said that he couldn’t understand how things sold for such expensive prices before naming a price that was twice the value of the item.
The amount was no joke either.
30 billion counds.
Cale was talking about 30 billion counds for sure.
The currency used in the auction house was the Caro Kingdom’s cound. As a kingdom with a significant development in commerce, 30 billion cound would be worth about 35 billion gallons in the Roan Kingdom’s currency.
‘He is not the type to speak nonsense!’
Billos started to become frustrated.
Cale was not one to speak nonsense. Although he looked like he didn’t pay much attention to things, Cale was very meticulous when it came to calculations and personal profit.
That was why the number he said was bound to be a reasonable number.
“I will always be by your side.”
Billos looked toward Cale like a loyal servant. Cale snorted and ignored Billos’s flattery.
Billos became even more curious after seeing Cale’s response, however, he could not ask about it. The Cale he knew was someone who would only share the necessary information and allow you to naturally figure things out if you remained by his side.
‘But I’m still curious. Should I ask? But he’s not the type to easily answer, even if I do ask.’
Billos was correct.
Cale could not explain to Billos even if he asked.
The information Cale received from Ron and Freesia about the merchant guild involved in the slave trade was quite detailed.
The name of the merchant guild he heard in the first report was one he had never heard of, however, the second report told him the true owner of that merchant guild.
The reason Ron was not in this Golden Tree Casino right now and the reason Tasha had joined with them had all happened after they learned about the identity of the true owner of that merchant guild.
Cale had reported the findings of the first report the night he chatted with the crown prince. He had then shared the second report with the crown prince as well.
Some of the profits from this trade were for the crown prince. Of course, giving Alberu the chains to Antonio’s neck allowed Cale to change the ratio from 5:5 to 7:3 in his favor.
He remembered what the crown prince had said.
‘…The power behind that merchant guild is the Singten Merchant Guild?’
They were the true masterminds of the slave trade.
This was the same Singten Merchant Guild that he would meet with to trade the Determination of Fire.
How interesting that they were getting involved like this.
‘Your information network is quite amazing.’
It had no choice but to be amazing.
He had Ron, as well as Freesia and her other assassin guild members who used to be active in the southwest region.
They had seen a member of the merchant guild involved in the slave trade enter one of the Singten Merchant Guild’s branch locations by the Empire’s border and come out with a large amount of money. That led them to start investigating that branch until they managed to intercept a secret message the branch manager was sending through a messenger bird and figure things out.
‘Won’t you consider introducing your information network to me?’
‘Absolutely not, your highness.’
It was only going so smoothly because Ron and the other information network members have never been revealed to the public.
‘Your highness, how should I proceed?’
Cale was asking about how to deal with the trade with the Singten Merchant Guild’s guild leader in regards to this new information about the slave trade. However, Alberu just asked him back.
‘How do you wish to proceed?’
‘I say we follow the original plan.’
‘The original plan?’
Cale believed that the original plan was a good one.
‘Sell the jewel to make money from the Singten Merchant Guild while you continue your investigation to capture the merchant guild, your highness.’
‘…Take a ton of money from them before capturing them and squeezing them dry?’
‘That is correct.’
‘Marvelous. We will go with that plan.’
Cale just had to do it however he wanted now that he had the crown prince’s approval.
“Excuse me, young master-nim.”
Cale looked down at Billos who was cautiously looking at him.
“I, I’m just very curious about how you plan to sell it. Could you give me a small hint?”
-I, I am curious as well! 30 billion counds?! Human, you are great and migh, no, I am the one who is great and mighty, but you are still amazing!
Raon’s loud voice was echoing in Cale’s mind. Cale started to frown after hearing the loud voice of the shocked six-year-old Dragon.
This action made Billos flinch. He wondered if he shouldn’t have asked. However, it was not just Raon and Billos. Hilsman, who was just as curious as the other two, as well as On and Hong looked around the area.
The loud noises of the gambling devices continued to echo throughout the building. There were no other people next to Cale’s group right now.
Cale started to speak.
“Think about how the Singten Merchant Guild reached their current position. That is the answer.”
Billos, who had attentively listened to Cale, looked confused.
However, Cale was smiling.
How did the Singten Merchant Guild reach their current position?
This was a merchant guild that rose quickly in the past ten years. They had the best relationship with the Empire’s royalty.
They were determined to be a merchant guild with significant political influence.
This was something that both Billos and Cale knew about. Furthermore, Cale knew something else as well.
‘The Determination of Fire was found in the Pope’s secret area.’
Although it was said to be in the Singten Merchant Guild’s possession since about ten years ago, Cale had found this necklace among the Pope’s belongings.
What could that mean?
‘Either the Singten Merchant Guild offered it to the Pope or the Pope ordered the Singten Merchant Guild to get it for him in the first place.’
It was bound to be one of those two options.
And that information would make the Singten Merchant Guild’s guild leader’s heart go wild with uncertainty.
The current relationship between the Church of the Sun God and the Empire explained everything for him.
‘The Singten Merchant Guild is said to be good with politics, but they have their feet in both sides.
And that would be the unfavorable factor for them from here.
Cale thought about the merchant guild leader flopping like a fish caught in a hook. That image automatically filled his mind.
Cale was not planning on just taking a ton of money from him.
You shouldn’t return a weakness so easily.
Furthermore, there were two weaknesses this time.
The necklace they offered to the Pope and the slave trade.
It was easy to imagine how the Singten Merchant Guild had risen so quickly since about ten years ago.
The Alchemists’ Bell Tower stopped using the orphans and children of the slums around that time. The Singten Merchant Guild was one of the main partners providing them with other people to experiment on since then.
That must be how they continued to grow.
Cale heard Raon’s voice in his head. Raon was still amazed.
– Human, I will collect about that much as well! Human, where do you plan on spending that money? Buy me some apple pies!
Cale casually nodded his head.
Of course, he had already decided how he was going to use a portion of the money.
Cale had created two copies of the information regarding the Singten Merchant Guild that he had gathered through Ron and Freesia.
One was the copy that he handed to the crown prince.
The other was the copy to hand to the alcoholic alchemist and the Cat Knight Rex, who were both currently hiding in the Empire and gathering their forces.
Of course, he would pass this on to them much later.
‘I have to take everything from them.’
Cale was planning on slowly taking everything from the Singten Merchant Guild.
He felt as if that would be the only way to forget those expressions of despair that he saw on the faces of the people imprisoned in the slave traders’ basements.
‘Make some money as well. Very good.’
It was quite a favorable plan.
– …Human, why are you suddenly smiling like you are about to scam someone? I just need one apple pie!
Cale ignored Raon’s comment as usual before looking toward the other person Billos was pointing at.
“…It seems as if they are the person that person sent.”
The other jewel. The Night’s Exultation.
Cale’s gaze moved toward a single person.
It was a priest wearing a regular priest robe. He was carrying healing tools as he quickly disappeared through the golden door.
The robe has the crest of the Church of the Sun God on it.
The Caro Kingdom had the second highest number of Sun God believers on the continent. Of course, their number is not that high in comparison to the Empire.
The Night’s Exultation was said to be stored in the Sun God Temple in Vegas City.
This jewel had quite a lofty meaning to it.
‘But he offered it to the Pope for his position.’
The second individual was the Bishop of the Caro Kingdom’s Church of the Sun God.
He could be said to be the representative of the Caro Kingdom’s Church of the Sun God, as well as the person who was most likely to become the Pope in the future.
This person would become the light for the half-Saint Jack’s future and be his reliable supporter.
Of course, it will not be of his own free will.
He would have no choice.
Jack was the one who will become the next Pope of the Church of the Sun God.
– Human! What kind of scam are you planning that you are smiling so much?
Maybe it was because he was in such a vibrant city, but Cale could not help but laugh.