Cale immediately started to move in order to continue this good start.
He headed out of the small yard in front of the inn entrance. One of the neighborhood grandmas looked toward Cale and the old inn with curiosity.
“Did you buy this inn?”
The old woman looked at the handsome red-haired young man with satisfaction and worry.
“This is a good location, but it is very old. Oh, and it doesn’t look like you have heard the story about this place. The owner used to run a gambling ring until he fled with his money.”
“I heard about it.”
The young man hesitated for a moment before continuing to speak with a vigorous expression.
“But shouldn’t it work out if I work hard? I have many people working with me. All of us are planning to work hard as if we are living a new life, so please take good care of us.”
“Aigoo, you are such a good talker.”
The young man’s positive demeanor made the old woman start to smile and nod her head.
“Of course. Us new neighbors should look after each other. My husband runs the bakery in the next alley. Come to our shop if you need bread.”
“Yes ma’am, thank you very much.”
The old woman received the, ‘thank you,’ from the young man holding two kittens as she headed toward the alley with her bakery.
‘A nice young man moved in.’
It was good news for the old woman.
Cale finally lifted his head up once the old woman was no longer visible.
The door slightly opened at that moment and someone started to speak.
“Our Hope and Adventure Loving Inn’s goal is to provide warm meals and a relaxing room at a cheap cost for all travelers. Got it?”
Someone asked and others energetically responded back.
“And our Hope and Adventure Loving Inn also seeks to backstab the bad guys, while our adventures will consist of taking their stuff. Got it?”
“…We will remember it deep in our bones!”
“Yes sir, yes sir! No matter what you say, yes sir!”
Cale started to frown. The bandit leader who was coming out of the door flinched and started to shake.
“Tell everyone to work quietly. Rumors spread before the rats and the birds know about it. Don’t you know about that?” ( There is a Korean proverb that says that birds listen to day-words and rats listen to night-words. So, the English equivalent of this would be, ‘rumors spread like wildfire.’ )
“O, of course!”
The bandit leader quickly came out of the door and closed it.
The sounds of the people inside could no longer be heard once he closed the door.
“Hey, clean the window properly!”
“Make sure there isn’t a single speck of dust! Each speck is a single white glove!”
The energetic voices of the bandits quickly disappeared.
The bandits were tormented for three days and nights before they came to Leeb-An City. Cale then picked five bandits who looked useful and brought them with him.
Ironically, they were the same five bandits who had been heading to the stone pillar in order to turn it into a sculpture. They were now completely loyal to Beacrox and Cale.
The five bandits who became the first five staff members of the < Hope and Adventure Loving Inn > would now be responsible and law-abiding staff members.
Cale left the work to the staff as he proceeded with his own tasks.
* * *
Cale looked down from the top of a building that made it possible for him to see the entire Leeb-An City.
“The Mercenaries Guild and the Merchant Guild are the two most influential guilds in Leeb-An City?”
“That is what they say, sir!”
The bandit leader energetically responded back.
“It would suffice to say that Leeb-An City is controlled by the Mercenaries Guild and the Merchant Guild during the day, and the underworld during the night.”
He was responding back with as much information as possible as he peeked around.
They were on top of a tall roof. He didn’t understand why they were chatting here, however, he just silently watched Cale and the two Cats who were eating junk food, the old man who ended up being the scariest person of the bunch, as well as the man with white gold hair who had earned Cale’s respect.
The bandit leader decided not to think about any of it as he just explained everything he knew.
“After looking at the history of Leeb-An City, it makes sense that the mercenaries and merchants have a lot of power in this city.”
The bandit leader coughed after seeing Cale’s gaze that seemed to be telling him to explain and then proceeded to speak.
“This place was said to be full of monsters in the past. The monsters roamed in Leeb-An City as well as the surrounding region, including Mount Leeb.”
Cale’s gaze headed toward Eruhaben. Eruhaben was already paying attention to the bandit leader.
They were the reason that the stone pillar had been placed here.
“That is why no kingdoms nor nobles were able to extend their reaches into this region.”
“The mercenaries gathered here instead.”
The bandit leader nodded his head at Cale’s comment.
“Yes sir. The merchants soon followed after noticing that the mercenaries were here. The adventurers showed up as well. Soon enough, this free city had been developed. The monsters slowly dwindled after that as well.”
“…The number of monsters went down?”
“Yes sir. That was why the other kingdoms tried to take control of Leeb-An City that ended up a free city, however, the mercenaries and merchants had already gained a lot of power prior to that. Furthermore, although the number of monsters had decreased, there were still enough monsters to scare people away and keep this as a free city.
The number of monsters had decreased.
Cale’s gaze headed toward Ron.
“I knew that Lee-An was a free city, however, I didn’t know about such a history.”
Ron was originally from the east region.
There was no need for him to know the details about a small free city in the northwest region of the Eastern continent.
– Human, human! Why do you think the number of monsters went down? I’m curious!
Cale was curious to know how the monsters in Leeb-An City that required the Super Rock to create the stone pillar to defend had disappeared.
Eruhaben seemed to be having the same thought.
However, Cale had another thought at the same time.
“What about the mayor?”
There needed to be a public figure who took care of the free city.
“Ah, the position of mayor is passed between the Merchant Guild and the Mercenaries Guild each election.”
“Is that so?”
“Yes sir. That is why people who are not part of either group have a lot of complaints. But what can they do about it? The underworld bastards are already in cahoots with the Merchant Guild and the Mercenaries Guild. There is no way that the average citizen would be able to win against them.”
“…Really? The others don’t get any say?”
The bandit leader stopped talking.
It was because he saw the smile on Cale’s face.
The witty bandit leader felt chills on his back and started to speak almost as a reflex.
“…The mayor has never been someone from the regular citizens! This is because there is no shrimp that can win in a battle of whales!”
“Well, a regular shrimp won’t be able to win.”
The bandit leader and Cale made eye contact.
“But, well, there could be a shrimp that ends up winning. Right, Ron?”
“…Young master-nim, I do not wish to be a shrimp.”
“Hmm, Beacrox is really good at cooking.”
Ron watched his puppy young master-nim who was smiling while avoiding his gaze. He was certain that Cale was hatching another plan in his mind.
Everybody was slightly worried as Cale tended to do things on a large scale whenever he did something.
However, Cale did not know about this as he thought about all sorts of things before asking the bandit leader a question.
“Do the Mercenaries Guild and Merchants Guild have connections with the underworld?”
“That is part of the reason that Leeb-An City is called the city of pleasure and lawlessness. They work together quite frequently.”
“Then who are the strong ones in the underworld?”
“Mm, two organizations are strong in Leeb-An City.”
The bandit leader took a map out of his pocket and handed it to Cale. Cale immediately opened it.
It was a map focused on the east side of Leeb-An City which was divided into pieces.
“One side is an organization that has been controlling Leeb-An City ever since it was founded. It is an organization led by someone named Mostue, and they are pretty close with the Mercenaries Guild.
“And the other is Arm?”
“Yes sir. They are the other organization. They have a bad relationship with the Mercenaries Guild.”
“And the Merchant Guild?”
“They always remain neutral.”
Cale looked at the map of Leeb-An City’s underworld.
Although the map was divided, there were many spots on the map that were marked with circles as well.
“What are these circles?”
“The small organizations that are still around.”
The bandit leader flinched after seeing an evil smirk on Cale’s face again.
“That, umm, the old man that I sell my goods to run his own independent region. This map is something I received from that old man in the past.”
“Yes sir. Approximately 6 months ago. Arm’s influence is slightly stronger now.”
Cale tapped on the map with his finger.
“You need a strong foundation in order to control the underworld. Isn’t that right, former bandit leader?”
Cale’s gaze headed toward Ron.
“What would happen to Leeb-An City if Arm took control of Leeb-An City’s underworld?”
“They would become their subordinates. So would the Merchant guild and the Mercenaries Guild.”
Cale looked at the map and started to think.
A few words came out of his mouth.
“…Mayor… Mercenaries … Merchant … Mostrue … The mayors of the other cities……”
Eruhaben shook his head after hearing Cale say, ‘mayor,’ twice. The unlucky human was screwing up his life again. However, it sounded like this time he would not be screwing up his own life, but someone else’s life.
Eruhaben looked at the bandit leader’s pale expression, as well as the blank expression on Ron’s face.
Cale started to speak at that moment.
“How often does the mayor change?”
The bandit leader hesitated after seeing Cale’s gaze that was waiting for the answer before finally responding.
“Funny thing is that there are only about three months left. Hahahaha!”
Cale let out a gasp as his eyes started to sparkle.
The bandit leader felt annoyed at his useless wit and avoided Cale’s gaze. Of course, Cale was not looking at the bandit leader.
He was quickly plotting things in his head.
‘I need to shake Arm at their roots in the Eastern continent if I want to catch them. The starting point is important. It will not be enough to take care of them only on the Western continent.
That was the reason Cale had come to the Eastern continent.
Cale had a lot to gain here as it was a free city.
It was somewhere where a person’s identity did not matter.
Cale’s fingers that were tapping on the map started to get stronger. The bandit leader who was watching this with caution made eye contact with Cale.
“Go do what you have to do.”
“Ah, yes sir!”
The bandit leader bowed in his clean outfit before heading down from the roof. His movements were quite agile for his large size.
Cale started to speak once the bandit leader disappeared.
“Looks like I will need to learn more about Leeb-An City’s history.”
Cale looked toward Eruhaben who knew what he had to do without Cale needing to say anything.
“How can you learn about it’s history? You will need quite ancient information if you wanted to know the history starting from the Super Rock’s time.
It was not easy getting old history for anywhere.
This was especially true when you were not looking for written history, but the truth.
Cale could see Eruhaben casually answer back.
“I just need to ask a Dragon.”
‘What? A Dragon?’
An existence revealed itself in the air as Cale became shocked.
“Goldie! There are other Dragons?”
“Why are you asking such an obvious question? Little kid, there are 10 Dragons on the Eastern continent.”
“Wow! I want to meet the other Dragons!”
Eruhaben spoke sternly as he said that.
“That bastard is crazy.”
‘…If he is crazy using Dragon standards…’
Cale did not say this out loud.
“Then Goldie, how do you know him? You have a really good personality!”
The corners of Eruhaben’s lips twitched at Raon’s question, however, the Gold Dragon let out a fake cough without smiling.
“Ahem, because I have a good personality.”
Eruhaben started to frown as if he was thinking about that Dragon and continued to speak.
“I protected him when he went through his first growth phase.”
“Goldie, why do you need to protect them when they are growing?”
Eruhaben’s expression turned odd at Cale and Raon’s question.
“… Didn’t I tell you that I was planning on making this kid go through his first growth phase in my lair?”
“I think you did?”
Cale recalled when Eruhaben had taught Raon many things.
“That was so that I could protect him. My lair is the safest place. As you all already know, Dragons go through a total of three growth phases.”
The body’s plate grows with the first growth phase. The physical appearance does not change as it is only creating the foundations for the Dragon’s future growth.
The Dragon then grows significantly during the second and third growth phases and becomes stronger as well.
“There are growing pains each time. Not all Dragons are the same. There are rankings in a Dragon’s level of strength, and the Dragons that will go on to become stronger will suffer the most.”
‘I didn’t know.’
Cale had not known about this.
All he had known was that Dragons go through three growth phases. The novel did not discuss a Dragon’s growth.
However, it almost seemed obvious once he thought about it.
It would be weird if they didn’t have any reaction to a sudden explosive growth.
“I assumed you knew this, but I guess you didn’t.”
“I didn’t know. I am great and mighty, but I did not know this! But it is fine because I learned it now!”
“The little kid has turned weird.”
Eruhaben patted the Black Dragon’s round head as he continued to speak.
“That is why young Dragons suffer a lot when they go through their first growth phases alone, but it looks like you won’t need to suffer.”
“Even I know that! I am not worried!”
Raon’s shoulders moved up and down as he stealthily peeked at the rest of the group. Of course, Eruhaben noticed this and started to smile.
This little Dragon had grown quite a bit. And he had grown properly.
Although he was not like a Dragon, he still grew up like a Dragon.
Eruhaben made eye contact with the Black Dragon.
“You will naturally have to be there as well, Goldie!”
The ancient Dragon let out a laugh.
He found it cute that the little kid was pretending not to know that he did not have much time left. Eruhaben patted the Black Dragon’s head a little harder.
“Little kid, I am a very busy person.”
He expected Raon to grumble as usual as he said that. In fact, Eruhaben was looking forward to the little kid’s usual reaction.
However, Raon’s expression turned odd.
“…Why are you calling me in such an ominous way?”
Cale, who had been sitting at the edge of the roof and looking at Raon, had an odd expression on his face.
His face soon started to turn into a frown as his gaze headed toward Raon’s chubby front paw. A video communication device appeared in Raon’s paw.
It was an emergency call.
“Human! It is a call from the slightly crazy bastard!”
The one calling was the slightly crazy Guardian Knight, Clopeh Sekka.
Cale had no idea what this bastard had to say.