Ron’s cold gaze headed toward Cale. Cale quickly turned his head away while making it look as nonchalant as possible.
– Human, grandpa Ron’s gaze is vicious!
Cale’s shoulders shuddered after hearing Raon’s comment. It could not be helped.
Cale had not told Ron in advance that he would take control of the Eastern continent’s underworld. All he had said was to come with him since Ron knew the Eastern continent well.
Ron’s voice did not have its usual gentle nature.
The old man’s vicious voice made Cale respond as a reflex.
“You are the only one I can trust to handle this.”
It was the truth.
Compared to the terrible actor Choi Han, the innocent Mary, or the oddly talkative Vice Captain Hilsman, Ron was very fitting to be the ruler of the underworld.
However, Cale could not look at Ron.
He was scared.
No matter how strong he got, this old man was oddly even scarier than Choi Han. Someone who charges at you and someone who stealthily approaches you and cuts your head off. Which of the two would be scarier?
It is naturally the latter.
Ron Molan was talented in quietly taking people’s lives.
Cale kept his mouth shut and tried his best to avoid Ron’s gaze.
However, Ron was focused on Cale’s back right now. He was giving off such a scary aura that the former bandit leader kept his mouth shut in fear as he peeked back and forth between Cale and Ron.
Beacrox was in the corner cleaning the dust off of his greatsword and pretending not to care, however, his full attention was on his father.
The silence was broken as Ron started to speak.
“The person who has lost everything once and ran away has lost his viciousness and is now an old man.”
Ron was talking about himself.
He had run away with Beacrox after the Molan household went down and he had lost the rest of his family. He had lost his original viciousness and was now just an old man.
He was too old to continue to develop like Choi Han or Mary.
Ron was trying to tell Cale, who was asking him to take control of the Eastern continent’s underworld, the harsh truth. It was at that moment. He could hear Cale’s voice.
It was full of disbelief.
“No more lies.”
Cale still could not look at Ron.
If Ron was considered weak, all of the other assassins in the world would need to retire. Why was he acting so modest, unlike his usual self?
Cale did not hide the disbelief in his face.
Ron could not say anything as he looked at Cale who showed his true emotions.
‘No more lies?’
Ron looked toward his young master who was too tall to be called a puppy now. He could hear him grumbling.
“All you’ve been doing during your free time is cleaning your dagger. Weak? You don’t know how scary you look each time you do that. My goodness.”
The smile on Ron’s lips quickly disappeared. He looked down at his hands. What Cale had said was true. He was indeed wiping his dagger every day.
There was a simple reason for it.
It was because he didn’t know when the enemies might appear and because they were in the middle of a war.
There was no way he could keep his weapon away from himself during such a time. However, he suddenly thought about something.
‘Is that really the only reason?’
He turned his head.
He could see his son Beacrox wiping his greatsword off. His son did not avoid his gaze and looked him directly in the eyes.
An odd smile appeared on his son’s usually stoic face.
‘Father, you were caught.’
That was what the smile seemed to be saying.
Yes, he had been caught.
Ron started to slowly smile as well. It was a cold smile that was far from his usual gentle smile.
Choi Han, Mary, and Hilsman. His hands and feet had been itching to move as he watched their battles. While his feelings were a bit different than the sword master Hannah’s itchiness for battle, his entire body was boiling with passion.
He knew that the chances of an old man like himself growing were much smaller than the chances of those younger punks, however, he could not put his dagger down. He had trained his fake arm early every morning before going to wake Cale up.
What was the reason for that?
“Old, my ass. You still got decades to live.”
He looked at his puppy young master-nim who was grumbling.
A benign smile appeared once more on Ron’s face.
“Young master-nim, everything you said is true.”
Cale slowly turned his head. He felt his heart sink the moment he made eye contact with Ron.
“I have too much greed to be a boring old man just yet.”
‘Why is an old man’s gaze so vicious?’
Cale put his hand over his heart and gulped. Ron did not care as he looked toward the bandit leader and started to speak.
“We return grace at a hundred times the value of what we received, while we get our revenge by bringing death to our enemies.”
Ron believed everybody had an internal candle within their minds. The candle slowly starts to go out as you get older until the light goes out and you live your life in a cold world filled with darkness.
However, he had been wrong.
The thing that was putting out the candle of his heart was not the shrinking base, but the wind that he allowed to enter. Furthermore, he had chosen to turn away from the small flame that continued to burn.
He finally realized it.
Ron started to take care of the small flame that was close to going out.
Doing that allowed him to feel it properly. He could feel his unwavering determination that was saying that he could keep on going for a long time.
“Young master-nim, thank you very much.”
He thanked the person who helped him find that tiny flame that was still burning strong inside of him.
On the other hand, Cale was feeling chaotic.
‘What is with the sudden, ‘revenge by bringing death,’ and then thanking me?’
He was anxious as he could not figure out what was going on, however, seeing Ron’s gaze returning to normal along with the benign smile made him relax, for now. His heart that had sunk in fear started to beat normally again.
He heard someone’s voice as he calmed back down.
“But, bandit leader-nim.”
The former bandit leader looked toward Cale and cautiously started to speak. Cale looked at him with a gaze that seemed to be asking, ‘what do you want?’ as the bandit leader continued to speak.
“Won’t we need a lot of money to control the underworld? In terms of strength, I believe these great individuals around you should be enough.”
Cale’s expression turned odd.
‘I guess he really isn’t the same as Toonka.’
Toonka would not have cared about money or anything else other than destroying everything. In that aspect, this former bandit leader was surprisingly sly and intelligent.
That was probably what allowed him to escape from slavery and become the leader of a bandit group. Cale calmly started to speak as he liked people like this who knew how to use their heads.
You needed more money and strength in order to move up in a dirty place like the underworld.
As the bandit leader said, money was more important than strength in the beginning stages of taking control of the underworld.
“Do it with your money.”
“Yes, your money. Don’t you have a lot saved up from all the bad deeds you’ve committed?”
Cale was planning on taking everything from this bandit group.
“…There is none.”
The former bandit leader awkwardly scratched his head at Cale’s question.
“We live as if each day is our last. We only have enough money to party for about a week. Hahahahaha!”
The bandit leader felt the atmosphere getting colder as he laughed even louder. However, his back was quickly being covered in sweat.
He gulped after seeing Cale sigh and brushing his face with his hands. He felt as if he was suddenly in serious danger.
He heard a calm voice at that moment.
“Then I will give it to you.”
The bandit leader watched as Cale took a bag out of his pocket and threw it onto the table. The pretty large bag fell onto the table and opened up.
All sorts of jewels fell out of the bag.
“Wow, shit, wow. This-”
The bandit leader could not speak properly.
He had robbed quite a few merchant guilds until now, however, he had never seen so many jewels before, nor anyone who would calmly throw them around like they were nothing.
The bandit leader’s gaze headed toward Cale, the owner of the bag of jewels.
Cale had changed a portion of his earnings from the auction house into jewels and brought it with him before coming to the Eastern continent. He casually added on to the bandit who was looking at him.
“Well, I can bring you hundreds of bags like this, so you won’t need to worry about money.”
The former bandit leader felt as if there was a bright aura coming from behind Cale.
At the same time, he felt a sense of fear. Who was this person who had such strong individuals such as his subordinates and had so much money?
Cale got up from his seat at that moment. The former bandit leader who had been kneeling jumped up as well.
“We will start at a nearby city. Got it?”
The bandit leader responded loudly, and Cale walked past him before adding on.
“Good. We will start with mental conversion now.”
“We need to fix that rotten mind of yours that made you do those terrible deeds.”
Cale watched Ron gather the jewels as he ignored the gaze of the bandit leader who would not be able to use even 10 gallons without permission in the future. He then looked toward Beacrox, who put on a pair of white gloves and got up from his seat.
That made the former bandit leader ask a question.
‘Why do I need mental conversion?’
That was his question.
“Don’t I need to become even more terrible in order to be the ruler of the underworld? Don’t I need to become even more rotten?”
Cale had no problem responding to that question.
“It’s whatever I want.”
The bandit leader was at a loss for words.
“In addition, anybody who continues their bandit ways will be beaten to a pulp. Anybody who steals someone else’s things or hurts someone else will be goners.”
The bandit leader had a lot he wanted to say, but could not get himself to say it.
‘I thought you wanted me to be the ruler of the underworld? Isn’t doing what you’re saying just turning me into a good person?’
However, he kept his mouth shut after seeing the cold gaze in Cale’s eyes. Cale walked out the door as he said one last thing to the bandit leader.
“As for your sculpture, you’re dead if you make it.”
Cale ignored the shock on the bandit leader’s face as he walked out of the house. He could see the bandits bowing their heads and moving away once they made eye contact with him.
He heard Raon’s voice in his head at that moment.
– Weak human! Something is weird! Why are you giving him all of that for free? I’m sure grandpa Ron will use the expensive jewels properly, but you are spending money too frivolously!
Cale calmly responded back to the child who seemed to be in a state of chaos.
“It’s nothing much. Think of it as an investment of sort.”
– …Weak human, what does that mean?
Cale looked toward the direction of the city that was the closest to Mount Leeb. It was the city that the bandits went to sell off their stolen goods.
That meant that the underworld was quite developed there.
Cale started to smile.
He needed to take control of a few of the organizations in charge of the underworld in that city in order to start the takeover of the entire Eastern continent’s underworld. Once that happens, the wealth of those organizations will naturally become his.
“I’m going to take all of the money away from the bad guys.”
Of course, he was only planning on taking money from Arm and other really terrible people.
Wouldn’t stealing from bad guys make him even worse than them?
‘I’ll properly enjoy being trash.’
Since there was nobody who knew him here, he was planning on taking whatever he can.
– So human, you’re saying that we’re going to take money from the bad guys?
“That is the case.”
– …I like this way of making money very much!
Cale felt as if he could hear Raon’s wings fluttering.
Cale and Raon were both silently laughing.
Eruhaben, who was coming back from observing the stone pillar, noticed this and had an ominous feeling after seeing Cale’s expression.
“…Why is the unlucky human laughing like that?”
The kittens On and Hong who had gone with Eruhaben started to mumble.
“Noona, I don’t know what is going on, but it looks like we’re going to have some fun!”
“…I think there is a good chance that it won’t be fun at all.”
Nobody, including Eruhaben, heard the sighing of the silver kitten On.
Cale looked at the former bandit leader who was coming out in order to receive his mental conversion as he asked.
“What is the name of the closest city?”
“It is Leeb-An City.”
“What is it famous for?”
“It is a free city, so many adventurers and mercenaries frequently come through.”
That made Cale smile while the bandit leader flinched.
A free city.
That meant that there were no noble families that ruled over it. It was a city controlled by a few people in power. Furthermore, it was a city with a lot of mercenaries.
In that case, what would they be famous for?
“Then the underworld must be famous as well?”
The bandit leader put on a sly smile at Cale’s question.
“It is quite famous in the Eastern continent’s northwest region.”
“There should be a ton of people to backstab.”
Cale decided where he would start to build his base in the Eastern continent.
* * *
A few days later, the ancient Dragon Eruhaben let out a deep sigh.
“…Now I know how you end up being so unlucky. You put yourself in such terrible situations all the time. Aigoo.”
However, nobody was listening to his ramblings. They were all busy taking care of their individual tasks.
The two kittens quickly jumped up the wooden steps and headed toward the second floor.
The wooden steps screeched as the kittens jumped on them.
-Human! I will follow them as well!
Raon was flying in the air above On and Hong.
Beacrox frowned as he wiped the table with his gloved finger.
It returned with a lot of dust.
Although Beacrox was sighing, Cale was quite satisfied with what he saw as he turned toward Ron and the former bandit leader.
“Indeed, young master-nim.”
Ron almost looked toward the former bandit leader with a satisfied gaze. The former bandit leader blinked his now black eye as he started to speak.
“I am quite knowledgeable about Leeb-An City.”
It was the closest city to Mount Leeb and the place that the bandit leader had always came to sell off his stolen goods.
It was a city with a quite developed underworld, as well as one of the free cities.
Many mercenaries and adventurers came through this city. ( Not sure why he needed to repeat all this information. (PR: Word count probably, lol) )
Cale looked down at the steps that screeched every time someone stepped on them.
“Yes, it is very old.”
It was a deserted inn that looked as if a strong breeze could knock it over.
Cale was satisfied as he looked at the three-story inn that the bandit leader acquired in Leeb-An City. He then continued to speak to the bandit.
“Hey, the basement.”
The former bandit leader quickly headed toward the counter.
He then moved a table in order to reveal a hidden door.
The door to the basement that had not been used for a long time slowly opened up.
The bandit leader quickly started to explain.
“There used to be an illegal casino here in the past and the owner was my friend.”
“What happened to him?”
“He fled to another city with his money.”
“That’s why the inn was deserted?”
“Yes sir. It has been deserted for around five years.”
The door to the basement opened completely with a small noise.
Cale could make out the steps through the darkness.
“It is a small three-story inn on the outside but has enough space in the basement to fit at least 300 people.”
Cale started to smile along with the bandit leader.
“You’re quite smart.”
“Hehe, thank you.”
The bandit leader scratched his head and answered in embarrassment.
“This would be the perfect place as a secret base to do bad things.”
“Thank you, hehe.”
Cale left the smiling bandit alone as he pushed the inn door open.
It became loud as soon as he came outside. He could hear many people speaking on the streets.
“Where are you going today?”
“Someone was looking for a person to catch a wild boar that was ruining their field. That’s where I’m going.”
“Someone supposedly found an old base over the mountain. It seems to have a lot of history behind it.”
“Oh, then I should head over there as well!”
“Cheap traveler’s robe for sale! We have other equipment as well!”
“This is the inn of flowing dreams! We have a grand opening discount for all guests! Extended stay guests welcome!”
Cale smiled while standing outside the inn.
Many mercenaries and adventurers, as well as residents of Leeb-An City, were busy starting their days.
He could see some street artists as well.
This seemed to be the gathering spot for all of the bright spots of Leeb-An City.
He was full of satisfaction.
The bandit leader had found a great spot.
“It’s full of energy.”
Cale turned his head.
He could see the part of Leeb-An City that was still dark and quiet. That was the red-light district and the location of the underworld.
He turned his gaze away from the side that would become vibrant during the night time and looked at the new plaque he placed over the inn entrance.
< Hope and Adventure Loving Inn >
Cale had come up with the name for the inn.
The old three-story inn. Starting today, this would become a place that adventurers and travelers come to find hope and love.
Of course, the hidden meaning behind the name was that there would be plans in the basement for the dream and hope of backstabbing the bad guys and the heart-pounding adventurers of going into the bad guys’ bases and making them kneel.
Isn’t it a great name?
“I really came up with a great name.”
Cale had a warm gaze as he looked at the old inn.
It was a good start.