Naturally, the king could not hold back his anger and his body started to shake.
“Y, you dare to speak that way to me-!”
However, all the king could do was stare at Toonka.
Part of it was because he himself was weak, while the other part was because he could not tell the knights to attack Toonka.
The Whipper Kingdom was in an odd state right now.
The king only had the title of, ‘king,’ while the government and all administration fell to the military.
Toonka was the center of the citizens and soldiers of that military. That was why even the knights guarding the king did not dare to act rash toward Toonka.
They were people who joined the royal faction to save their own lives and maintain their benefits, so although they held their swords up out of loyalty, they did not dare to actually attack Toonka.
The king was aware of that as well.
As a result, he could only glare at Toonka in anger. Toonka observed the king with even more anger in his eyes.
He then resumed speaking.
Toonka knew himself quite well.
“I don’t have anyone above nor below me.”
That was why he could lead the way no matter where he was.
“And killing strong people is my hobby.”
He had stood in the vanguard and killed the ones that smelled the strongest. Of course, there were times that he had lost to those strong individuals, however, the enemies all eventually ended up avoiding him.
Whether that was because they were scared or because they found him to be dirty, but either way, they avoided him.
That was the important part.
Toonka looked down at the king who was willing to surrender in order to save his own life. The king felt as if he had become prey. He too had avoided Toonka in the past.
He had given the excuse that he avoided Toonka because he was stupidly strong and wild, however, the truth was that he had avoided Toonka out of fear.
The king’s gaze slightly missed Toonka and headed downward.
Toonka’s voice could still be heard in his ears.
“Only think about how we will achieve victory if you wish to live.”
‘If you wish to live.’
The king gulped at that statement.
Both anger and fear were making his body shake. One of the royal faction’s knights started to speak at that moment.
He had the title of being the captain of the guard knights.
“Your majesty, what do you think about moving elsewhere if you have finished delivering your message?”
The Knight Captain flinched after seeing Toonka’s gaze turn toward him.
He was not someone who had become the Knight Captain because of his strength.
For a kingdom like the Whipper Kingdom where magic was abnormally developed in the past, the knights were weaker in exchange. The mages had obstructed the growth of strong knights because they wanted to maintain their dominance, and thanks to that, the, ‘knights,’ of the Whipper Kingdom were likely to be people who gained opportunities with political influence or had a talent in sucking up rather than strong individuals.
“Ahem, commander, why don’t you complete your tasks in peace as well?”
Toonka stared at the Knight Captain and the king before turning around. He then walked toward Chief Harol’s side.
Anybody could tell that he was ignoring the Knight Captain and the king.
However, the Knight Captain consoled the king from getting angry. The Knight Captain motioned with his gaze to tell the king that they should leave, while the king took a deep breath before walking away from Toonka and toward the door.
However, the king’s gaze was still on the correspondence from the Empire that was in Harol’s hand. He could respond to the Empire if he took that away, however, all important documents were in Toonka’s hands.
“You stupid bastards! You can’t even see that I was giving you a way to live!”
In the end, the king shouted in anger before heading out of the strategy room.
Cale let out a groan as he looked toward the king and the knights who left without even paying any attention to him. There was a simple reason for it.
– Human! For some reason, I don’t like that punk of a king!
It was because his mind was quite loud from Raon’s mumblings.
– 100,000 people are enough to win against the Empire if he goes to war with them! But 100,000 people for 80 years?! That king doesn’t even know how to do basic math! As expected, he is not as smart as the great and mighty me!
‘He’s so loud.’
Raon seemed to be not fond of this king at all.
On the other hand, Cale was just thinking that there were always guys like these no matter where you went.
‘It’s just the way the world works.’
Even in Korea, no, even on Earth there were people who did worse things than this king for their own survival when the world descended into chaos once.
Furthermore, was it only the people in power that did that?
Not at all. In fact, the majority of the people were like that at first.
It was right after Cale, no, Kim Rok Soo had taken his college entrance exams and was working part-time at a restaurant. The violent upheaval had happened without warning.
People ignored each other in order to survive.
However, the world came together to support each other and return balance to the world quicker than expected.
It was because there were people who were willing to help each other survive rather than step on each other.
Someone had said that the world would turn to hell if the apocalypse was here.
However, all people hated hell. That was why they flailed around however they could to avoid hell and realized something in the process.
It was difficult to do it alone.
They needed each other.
That was what brought the people of the world back together in order to get back to a world that was bearable.
Cale’s gaze headed back to Toonka and Harol.
He had decided after seeing the Whipper Kingdom’s king that the best thing to do was ignore trash like that. However, it wasn’t that Cale agreed with the king.
Cale, just as when he had been Kim Rok Soo, was someone who wanted to turn this world into a decently livable place. You would still be lonely, even if you were happy alone in hell.
‘Yes, a relaxed slacker showing off his money is the greatest way to live.’
Cale looked toward Harol and Toonka with a different gaze after thinking about that.
There was the simply stupid Toonka.
Then there was Harol, the one with a weird vibe about him whom Cale thought was even crazier than Clopeh.
These two bastards had bloodshot eyes from trying to maintain this, ‘world,’ of theirs in the Whipper Kingdom. That fact felt new but oddly familiar at the same time.
He heard Raon’s voice at that moment.
– Human! Let’s loot that king bastard’s safe! Let’s loot him dry!
Cale let out a groan at the six-years-old Dragon’s suggestion that he knew he couldn’t do but was quite tempted to do so.
The others were watching as he did that.
Chief Harol’s eyes became cloudy.
He had shown a terrible sight to the person who had stealthily come to help out the Whipper Kingdom while looking like a priest.
No, it was not just terrible, he had shown the worst possible sight.
Harol and the other chiefs in the strategy room remained silent as they didn’t know what to do.
Toonka approached Cale at that moment. He remembered what Cale had told him earlier.
‘We are behind you.’
Toonka thought about that and started to speak to Cale.
“When the Empire made that offer to us-”
Cale raised his hand and stopped Toonka from speaking. The chiefs all had gloomy expressions as if they expected this response until Cale continued to speak.
“How can we speak in secret when you broke the door? Is there somewhere quiet we can talk?”
Only then did they all look toward the door that Toonka had destroyed. There were guards standing there that were not sure of what to do.
“I will lead you somewhere else.”
Chief Harol stepped up and Cale nodded his head.
“I wish to speak only to you and Commander Toonka.”
Toonka agreed right away and Cale could soon move to a quieter location.
* * *
Cale handed Choi Han who was stiffly standing there a teacup before picking up another one for himself and asking Toonka a question.
“Do you think the Empire wants the Whipper Kingdom to accept that offer?”
Harol responded to the question instead.
“No, I believe that they sent the correspondence while knowing that we would reject an offer like that.”
Who would be willing to surrender and give 100,000 people up as slaves?
The Empire knew about Toonka’s belligerent personality.
Harol’s gaze turned cold before he looked down.
“I believe the Empire wanted us to become angrier and charge at them.”
Harol looked toward Toonka who nodded his head. Chief Harol then asked Cale a question.
“I presume the Empire wants the Whipper Kingdom and not just Maple Castle?”
Cale took a sip of tea. He could see the reflection of his magically dyed white hair and blue eyes in the tea. He casually started to speak.
Cale put his teacup down and Harol’s expression worsened.
The Whipper Kingdom’s chiefs were from the non-mage faction and mainly consisted of young scholars who were quite intelligent in areas other than magic. Harol explained the conclusion that they had determined.
“The Roan Kingdom can’t openly assist the Whipper Kingdom I presume?”
If the Roan Kingdom openly assisted the Whipper Kingdom then they would become enemies with the Empire.
The Roan Kingdom was currently pretending to be close with the Mogoru Empire while planning to take down their Alchemists’ Bell Tower. The Whipper Kingdom naturally knew about that as they were part of the alliance, however, they still asked the question.
It was because they needed the Roan Kingdom’s strength.
Cale calmly answered back.
“Correct. None of the Roan Kingdom’s forces will be revealing themselves during this battle.”
“…Does that include Mr. Choi Han and the necromancer-nim?”
Harol closed his eyes.
However, Cale did not budge.
‘In order for the Roan Kingdom to become the Mogoru Empire’s new sponsor, we can’t become enemies with the citizens of the Empire right now.’
The citizens who did not know about any of the sketchy things would hate the Roan Kingdom if they saw that the Roan Kingdom helped out the Whipper Kingdom in this war.
All of the goodwill that Cale had built up through the Plaza Terror Incident and the incident at the Empire where he received the Medal of Honor would all disappear from that single battle.
That was why the Roan Kingdom was not planning on sending anybody in their true appearance to support the Whipper Kingdom without any justification.
Harol opened his eyes back before seeing the cold expression on Cale’s face and starting to speak.
“And the Jungle is not going to fight at Maple Castle, but instead will be moving independently?”
“Correct. The Jungle is planning to hit the Empire separately.”
Both the Roan Kingdom and the Jungle which bordered the Whipper Kingdom could not help out at the battle of Maple Castle. Of course, the four kingdoms and one tribe were planning on helping out with materials and food, however…
‘We don’t have enough strong individuals. Our forces for battle are low in number.’
Harol reaffirmed all of this information before looking toward Cale, who still came to see them in such a situation.
Cale had not come as a commander right now.
He had come on his own as an individual.
He had come to help them.
That was why the chiefs could not figure this part out yet.
“…I suppose we won’t be able to see Commander Cale-nim’s shield nor the pillar of water and stone spears that we saw during the battle at the Gorge of Death?”
Some of Cale’s ancient powers had become famous after the war against the Indomitable Alliance.
They were naturally the Indestructible Shield that he used throughout the war, as well as the Dominating Water that was used in the battle against the Dragon half-blood.
The story about the unbelievable stone spears was spreading around as well.
That was why they had welcomed the fact that Cale was coming to help. However, Chief Harol still needed to ask.
But he had said, ‘won’t be able to see,’ rather than, ‘can we see,’ to ask.
“Correct. You won’t be able to see it. I need to hide my identity as well.”
If the Roan Kingdom needed to hide, it was only natural that Cale needed to hide as well.
He was the most recognizable hero of the Roan Kingdom right now.
Harol held back a sigh. Toonka started to speak at that moment.
“The fact that you came here is enough! Cale, and Choi Han, you too.”
Choi Han who was standing behind Cale flinched and looked toward Toonka. The same Toonka that Choi Han had beaten to a pulp one rainy day was looking at Choi Han with gratitude.
“Chief Harol! The natives and soldiers are enough! We will get an overwhelming amount of potions and material as support as well!”
Toonka spoke to Harol in his usual loud voice. Harol looked at the commander who had matured a bit and now knew how to console someone with an odd gaze.
Originally, Harol had chosen to serve Toonka because he believed that Toonka could help him get his revenge by destroying the Magic Tower.
However, maybe because they had now fought together before or because they shared the same goal of saving the Whipper Kingdom, but Harol now wanted to let Toonka shine as a commander.
“I understand. Commander-nim, I believe we will be victorious like last-”
“By the way.”
Harol stopped speaking.
Cale had started to speak to the two of them. He asked them with an odd expression on his face.
What was he trying to say?
“Why didn’t you ask about the pillars of fire in the Gorge of Death?”
Those pillars of fire had played the biggest role in preventing the Indomitable Alliance from destroying the Gorge of Death and crossing over. Cale looked toward Harol who had not asked about it.
Harol answered back with a peculiar expression.
“It is because we could not be certain whether those pillars of fire were the work of the Breck Kingdom or the Roan Kingdom.”
The pillars of fire.
There were many different thoughts regarding those pillars of fire among the other kingdoms.
All of them were certain that it was not one of Cale’s powers. However, with both the Breck Kingdom and the Roan Kingdom remaining quiet about it, they could not be certain about who had created them.
The rumor on the street was that it was more likely to be from the Breck Kingdom.
This was because the last attack that had come before the Flame Dwarves launched the magic bombs was Rosalyn’s magic.
Furthermore, the strength of the mages from the Breck Kingdom that was revealed made them suspect the pillars of fire were their creation.
“…It is presumed that those pillars were created by Miss Rosalyn and the Breck Kingdom’s mages.”
It was hard to describe the expression on Harol’s face right now.
The Whipper Kingdom had killed the mages and destroyed the Magic Tower.
“That is why, even if the Breck Kingdom is our ally, it is difficult to even bring up the pillars of fire.”
It was hard to ask the Breck Kingdom’s mages for help.
In addition, they could not openly ask a foreign kingdom for mages to support them when many of the Whipper Kingdom’s citizens still hated mages. Using magic scrolls or magic spells were taboo enough already.
This was the greatest difficulty for the Whipper Kingdom right now.
The issues that happen when you completely isolate something were making it difficult for the Whipper Kingdom right now.
Although they didn’t have the luxury to be picky right now, the current Whipper Kingdom was being supported by the non-mage faction and could not move to oppose that.
That had been the results of a different war.
However, Harol cautiously asked Cale a question.
“Do you think that we would be able to ask the Breck Kingdom to send some mages to help us?”
100,000 people for 80 years. That number was pressuring Harol.
The bastard who had almost been crazy with his hatred of mages was looking for magic because he was afraid.
It was at that moment.
“What are the coordinates of this place?”
Cale asked a completely unrelated question.
Harol didn’t know what was happening, but still gave Cale the coordinates.
Raon responded in Cale’s mind at that moment.
– I memorized it! I will tell them these coordinates! They will be here soon!
Just who was coming soon?
Cale got up after hearing those responses. He looked toward Toonka and Harol and started to speak.
“Commander Toonka and Chief Harol. The Breck Kingdom’s mages will not get involved either.”
Harol did not look too good after hearing this.
Cale continued to speak at that moment.
“Do you remember the mages who were not involved in the Whipper Kingdom’s mage faction?”
Harol really could not figure out where this conversation was headed.
“I don’t remember.”
However, Toonka honestly responded to Cale’s question. Toonka had stopped caring about the mages around the Whipper Kingdom once the Magic Tower was destroyed.
On the other hand, Harol had not stopped caring about them. Harol started to speak as he looked toward Cale with an odd expression.
“There were many mages who were not part of the mage faction and had been living in hiding. We were unable to capture most of them because they had escaped from the Whipper Kingdom once the Magic Tower was destroyed.”
Cale shared one of the things he had discussed with crown prince Alberu with Harol.
“Many of them ended up coming to the Roan Kingdom.”
Although the truth was that crown prince Alberu had called them over to the Roan Kingdom, Cale was making it sound like they had happened to come to the Roan Kingdom during their escape.
“And the Roan Kingdom has accepted them as citizens of our kingdom.”
Harol kept his mouth shut.
He had already expected that the mages who had run away would have gone to different kingdoms around the continent. But it wasn’t like they could blame the Roan Kingdom for it.
The Roan Kingdom had already helped them out quite a bit.
Furthermore, it was Cale who was telling them this information.
“…Young master Cale-nim, let’s shove this conversation under the rug for now.”
That was why Harol decided not to deal with this issue at this moment.
He did not want to fight with the Roan Kingdom while they were fighting with the Empire already. However, Cale did not want to do that.
“Unfortunately, I cannot do that.”
It was at that moment.
The room started to shake.
Harol, who was half a mage, stiffened up and looked toward a direction.
He heard Cale’s voice as he did that.
“I invited someone who wanted to help the Whipper Kingdom out.”
A bright light flashed and a person appeared.
Harol’s chair made a noise.
Harol stood up without being able to say anything.
The person who had just teleported into the room smiled gently toward him.
“It’s been a while.”
She had come here alone.
Cale stood next to her and spoke to Harol and Toonka who were standing there with blank expressions.
“Miss Rosalyn, who was kicked out of the Breck Kingdom’s royal family and has become a free person, wishes to be hired as a mercenary by the Whipper Kingdom.”
The story about how Rosalyn had been kicked out of the royal family was quite famous.
Harol let out a gasp.
Rosalyn shrugged her shoulders and explained why she wanted to participate.
“All of my friends said they were going to the Whipper Kingdom. As their leader, I chose to come as well.”
Cale answered back as Harol subconsciously asked.
“The mages who are now citizens of the Roan Kingdom wish to participate in the Whipper Kingdom’s war.”
The mages who are now citizens of the Roan Kingdom. Harol and Toonka immediately understood who they were.
The mages who had been in hiding but were not a part of the mage faction and had ended up escaping from the Whipper Kingdom to avoid the non-mage faction.
The mages who were now a part of the Roan Kingdom’s Mage Brigade.
Cale shrugged his shoulders and added on.
“His highness, our crown prince, happily gave them some leave.”
The Roan Kingdom would not participate in this war.
However, there were many ways to help them from the shadows.
“All of the mages decided that they were going to spend that leave time by going back home.”
Of course, not all of the mages who were originally from the Whipper Kingdom wanted to come here. However, most likely because they were all not from the mage faction and did not like how the mage faction did things, but the majority of them understood the feelings of the non-mage faction and the citizens of the Whipper Kingdom.
They wanted to help out their place of origin.
“The Roan Kingdom is also planning on giving those mages some magic stones so that they can have some fun during their leave.”
The Roan Kingdom was going to provide the mages with magic stones to support the war at Maple Castle.
Furthermore, Rosalyn, the leader of the mages, was willing to help them out as well.
Rosalyn was the strongest yet most free person in terms of identity and status to help them out.
Chief Harol started to frown. His pupils were shaking.
Although they were no longer a part of the Whipper Kingdom, these mages that were originally from the Whipper Kingdom were coming to save them. They were coming to save the Whipper Kingdom that had nobody to reach out toward for help. They were willing to brave the danger and come, even when the Whipper Kingdom’s citizens probably had nothing good to say about them.
Harol was having conflicting thoughts in his mind. No, it felt as if it was more of an issue for his heart than his mind.
Cale then slowly started to smile like a villain and asked a question.
“Oh, and those pillars of fire. You thought that they were from the Breck Kingdom, right?”
‘Perhaps? Did the Roan Kingdom make them?’
Harol’s eyes opened wide as the thought crossed his mind. Cale pointed to himself with his finger.
“…It’s not the Roan Kingdom’s but yours, young master Cale-nim?”
“Yes. And for reference, it is alchemy, not magic.”
Chief Harol was at a loss for words. All he could see was the white-haired Cale who was smiling.
It was at that moment. Harol turned his head to the side.
He could hear a suppressed laughter.
It was Toonka.
Toonka’s shoulders were moving up and down as he tried his best to suppress his laughter. However, he jerked his head back and let out loud laughter in the end.
Toonka could not hold back his laughter anymore.
He looked toward Cale and started to speak.
“I am not afraid. I am not afraid of this war at all!”
Cale’s smile became thicker.
This seemed like the real Toonka. He looked like the crazed warrior who only cared about fighting. This madness was the reason that his enemies feared him.
Toonka then confirmed something with Cale with sparkling eyes.
“I will chew the Empire up.”
Cale casually responded back to Toonka.
“Don’t overdo it.”
Toonka laughed even louder than before after seeing Cale’s expression that seemed to be asking what was so funny.
– Human! Toonka is laughing as if he is back to his original self!
‘I know, right?’
Cale gently smiled toward Harol who, unlike Toonka, had a complicated expression on his face.