“…Young master Cale-”
There is a path.
Rosalyn thought about that phrase and slowly called out to Cale. Cale gave a short response back to her.
“We just need to find a path.”
They just needed to find a path into Section 7.
There was bound to be a path for them to use.
A smile appeared on Rosalyn’s face to remove her bitter expression. She slowly started to speak.
“I’ve been waiting for you to say that.”
“There is a path, isn’t there?”
Cale immediately followed up with that question. His gaze was saying something to Rosalyn.
‘I’m sure that you would have found one.’
Rosalyn’s smile became even bigger.
‘As expected of Rosalyn.’
Cale started to smile as well.
“The smart Rosalyn and the human are smiling like when he is chatting with the crown prince!”
He ignored Raon’s comment. He just petted Raon’s bumpy back as he started to speak again.
“But it looks like there is an issue.”
They had found a path, but there was a problem.
Rosalyn nodded her head and pointed down to the ground as she responded back.
“Let’s head down first and then chat.”
* * *
Section 8 of the Jungle.
It was located right under Section 7 where the palace was located, but not that many people lived in this section.
However, there were more people here today than ever before.
Cale turned his head after hearing someone sharpening their sword.
One of the warriors was leaning on a tree while sharpening his blade.
It was not just him.
The Jungle was a place where there were a lot of trees, as well as many vines and branches intertwined throughout. There were small paths for people to walk through, but the majority were not proper roads but were instead covered with trees and foliage.
The Jungle people were able to easily traverse through those rough terrains and the Jungle warriors were the strongest of those people.
Many warriors were giving off a vicious presence as they leaned on the trees or sat on the dirt or grass as they were maintaining their weapons.
He could also see some of the warriors’ animals who were their friends and methods of transport.
He could hear the invisible Raon’s voice.
– Human! Everybody here is angry! They look ready to destroy everything!
Venomous aura seemed to be coming from many places.
Cale couldn’t help but cower whenever the brown-skinned Jungle warriors showed their vicious eyes from the shadows of a tree.
“It’s over here.”
Cale turned his head after hearing Rosalyn’s voice. Rosalyn opened the flap of a tent.
He could see what was going on inside.
Choi Han and Mary both jumped up.
A large black panther rushed over and rubbed his head on Cale. It was Litana’s black panther, Ten.
‘…Ah, so scary.’
Cale lightly patted the black panther Ten’s head before approaching the person who was sitting at the table and looking at him with a sad expression on her face.
“Long time no see, Miss Lina.”
“Young master Cale.”
Litana, the Queen of the Jungle.
She seemed so worn down and pale.
“Are you okay? I heard that you fainted. I’m sorry to call you here right away.”
Litana asked with an apologetic expression after seeing Cale’s pale expression.
The black-robed Mary moved next to Cale and observed him. Choi Han was just being quiet and biting down on his lips.
The other leaders of the Jungle could not say much either after seeing Cale’s pale complexion.
Only a single existence was speaking quite a bit.
– But human, your complexion seems to be getting better ever since you made that water spear……! It’s just that your strength is at the level of a gnat. Mm… A… Lot… mm…….
Cale ignored Raon and started to speak.
“The more important question is about the Jungle.”
That made Litana close her eyes before opening them back up. She brushed her face as if she could not hide her sorrows before starting to speak.
“It’s my fault for being late.”
One of her subordinates called out to her, but Litana raised her hand and stopped him. Cale watched her eyes slowly open back up.
He could see anger and magnanimity within the sorrow.
But at least her eyes were clear.
Litana started to speak.
“I headed for Section 7 as soon as I left you those messages.”
It was the call that had come right before Cale had grabbed Imperial Prince Adin’s neck. Litana explained what had happened after that.
“I thought about sending just a few people to Section 7 first using teleportation as we did not have many mages with us, but our teleportation got rejected by the destination. No, they created a magic circle in order to prevent teleportation.”
“Where were you trying to go?”
Litana started to frown.
Cale immediately understood.
“The Empire’s spy must be in the palace. The Empire must have taken over the palace first. Do you have any idea who it might be?”
Litana nodded her head.
“It is most likely one of the mid-grade leaders responsible for the defense of Section 7.”
She did not need to say anything else for Cale to figure out the rest.
A mid-grade leader responsible for the defense of the capital was neither a high nor low position.
They wouldn’t be able to know about extremely secret affairs, but would still easily be able to notice large numbers of warriors moving around.
Litana let out a laugh of disbelief.
“…Section 7 fell into the Empire’s hands easily.”
She had immediately moved to the outside of Section 7 after the teleportation was rejected.
She then saw the golems.
She saw those large monsters that made her feel uncomfortable. Those things were blocking all four entrances into Section 7.
The sight of the gates that were made with the unique trees of the Jungle being trampled upon and replaced by those black giants had given Litana quite the shock.
Furthermore, she saw the capital defenders dying on the castle walls as they were killed by their fellow capital defenders.
She had immediately shouted once she saw that.
‘Do not resist!’
She had a mage use amplification magic so that everybody inside Section 7 could hear her voice.
She was feeling emotional but had remained rational, but most importantly, her instincts were strongly warning her.
Don’t attack those golems nor that airship.
That was what her instincts were saying.
‘This is an order from me, Litana! Don’t throw your lives away for no reason!’
They were all people of the Jungle.
The Jungle was somewhere that was difficult for people to farm.
You needed to hunt and gather food in order to survive here. The terrain was rough as well since there were no flat areas. The natives and citizens of the Jungle had their own level of stubbornness.
That was why even those who were not warriors might try to fight against the Empire’s forces.
‘I, Litana, will soon…! The Jungle Warriors will soon save you! Trust us and wait!’
Litana wanted to prevent the people of the Jungle from dying for no reason.
Cale responded to her after hearing everything.
“That was a wise decision.”
“…I feel that way about it now as well.”
Litana had a bitter smile on her face. She had heard and seen everything that the Empire had done through Clopeh’s video and Rosalyn’s descriptions.
“Something similar to dead mana, but even more deadly. Terrible things would have happened to the Jungle and our citizens if they had attacked.”
The black despair was an issue in a desolate plain like the one Maple Castle was located in, but it would be even worse in a place like the Jungle with many plants and animals.
Litana touched her spear as she continued to speak.
“I also think I know why the Empire is staying within Section 7 without moving.”
Cale nodded his head.
It was easy to tell why the Empire was remaining in Section 7 while keeping the golems as gatekeepers.
‘It’s because of the contents of the battle with the Whipper Kingdom.’
Furthermore, Adin had been injured thanks to Choi Han.
Finally, their use of black magic had been revealed.
They could not attack the Jungle right now when they had to worry about their relationships with the other kingdoms, as well as the churches.
That was probably why this fortress was created.
This was a chance for the Jungle.
This was a chance for them to flip the situation around.
Cale immediately got down to business.
“Where is the path?”
Litana looked toward Rosalyn. Rosalyn approached the table next to Litana and Cale and opened up a piece of paper.
It was a map of Section 7 and the surrounding area.
Rosalyn put her finger on the map and started to explain.
“After the Jungle warriors went out to patrol many different times, we estimated the observation range of the golems and airship to be about this wide.”
Her finger drew a circle around the entire Section 7 and a bit outside of it.
Vice Captain Hilsman slowly chimed in as she did that.
“…So, the only way to reach there by land is to do it openly?”
He hesitated for a moment before cautiously adding on.
He hesitated because the range of the enemy was the entire Section 7. That meant that it would be an open confrontation.
However, with the entire Section 7 in the Empire’s hands right now, doing that could lead to a terrible situation.
“But if we openly confronted them, isn’t it possible that the Empire will use that black liquid in order to prevent us from approaching?”
‘Don’t they also have the dead mana bombs?’
The Jungle would become desolate and the warriors would not be able to approach.
Hilsman continued to speak.
“Furthermore, the hostages, ahem, the citizens in Section 7 will be in danger as well.”
They had no way of knowing what the Empire would do to those hostages if Litana approached.
Saint Jack slowly asked after hearing Rosalyn’s response.
“Then are we going through the sky?”
Hilsman shook his head at Jack who was thinking about the white skeleton birds.
“Saint-nim, the airship is in the sky.”
“Ah, right. Then is an open confrontation the only option?”
Jack’s expression did not look good. He looked toward Rosalyn with concern before flinching.
She was smiling. She responded back to his question in a calm voice.
“No. We will proceed in the stealthiest way possible this time.”
Her finger pressed down at the center of Section 7.
“Our goal is to infiltrate Section 7 with a small number of people, destroy the golems, and aim for the airship.”
The Jungle warriors in Section 8 could then get in and fight the enemies.
“And there is a route to conduct that raid.”
A new finger appeared on the map as Hilsman and Jack stood there looking confused after hearing Rosalyn’s plan.
It was Cale. His finger drew a line from north to south in Rosalyn’s place.
There was a river where his finger moved.
A river cut through Section 7.
Cale looked toward Litana and Rosalyn as Hilsman let out a gasp.
“The reason you are here in Section 8 is so that you can go up the river and aim for Section 7, right?”
Both women started to smile.
Rosalyn started to speak.
“It is possible to use magic to go up the river while underwater as long as it is a small number of people.”
They were not going to move on top of the river. They would not be using boats.
What she was talking about was moving stealthily underwater.
That was why it needed to be a small number of people and naturally, these people had to be strong. They needed to be strong enough to destroy the golems.
Rosalyn started to speak.
“Currently, Queen Litana, Choi Han, and Miss Mary are planning on going.”
Cale flinched for a moment before understanding.
Litana was someone who was just under Choi Han in terms of skill, as well as strong spear user who could keep up with Choi Han for a while. She was perfect for this task. It was reliable having her around in the chance that Choi Han ended up bewitched again.
“I will lead the operation from the rear.”
And Rosalyn would be supporting them from here.
“But there is a problem.”
Rosalyn finally got to the issue they had with this plan.
“It is the purification.”
They could destroy the golems.
But the problem came after that.
The golem’s core.
“Miss Mary says that she can purify them, but it will be hard for her to do it alone. The issue is that we need to get rid of them extremely quickly, but we can’t ask young master Cale to do it. You know why, right?”
Cale nodded his head.
“We can’t let the forest burn.”
The Jungle. Cale could not use his Fire of Destruction here given the terrain.
It could easily lead to the trees and buildings catching fire and harming the innocent citizens. Furthermore, a fiery thunderbolt was not stealthy enough for a raid.
Rosalyn continued to speak.
“Correct. The other issue is the remaining dead mana even if Miss Mary purifies the black liquid. Miss Mary said that it would be difficult to quickly get rid of it at once.”
Mary chimed in at this moment.
“I haven’t tried to purify it, so while I know that I can do it, I can’t be certain about how long it will take.”
Purification as well as absorbing dead mana.
It was too much for Mary to handle on her own when time was of the essence.
“Is that what’s worrying you?”
Cale asked and Queen Litana nodded her head.
“Yes, that is the concern.”
However, Rosalyn asked instead of nodding her head.
“Young master Cale, you have it, don’t you?
You have a solution.”
Rosalyn had seen it. She saw that Cale was smiling.
Cale nodded his head.
Raon’s voice appeared in Cale’s mind at that moment.
– They’re here!
It was what Cale had asked Alberu for before coming to the Jungle.
A light flashed inside the tent.
It was the light of teleportation magic.
Cale turned around after feeling someone pulling at his sleeve. He saw a black robe. It was Mary. Cale seemed to have figured out what she was thinking as he smiled at her and approached the teleportation magic circle.
He recalled what he asked Alberu to do.
‘Your highness, Mary cannot do it alone.’
He could not use the Fire of Destruction.
There was no way Cale would not have thought about this in advance. That was why he was relieved to find out that Mary had gone to the Jungle before realizing what else was needed.
Cale looked at the person in front of the group that just teleported and started to speak.
“Tasha, long time no see.”
The Dark Elf, Tasha.
She had a refreshing smile on her face.
Dark Elves who were darker than the people of the Jungle and had skin the color of black pearls had appeared.
The ones that were here were all highest-grade Dark Elf warriors.
All of the others other than Tasha had clothes covering their skin, leaving only their glaring eyes visible. Only their eyes were showing, but the pressure coming from there was strong.
Necromancers and Dark Elves.
Black despair and dead mana. They were people who could take care of both of those issues.
They were extremely necessary for the Jungle, no, for the future.
“It really has been a long time, young master Cale.”
Tasha reached her hand out to shake Cale’s hand.
“…As I expected.”
Rosalyn realized what Cale was thinking and nodded her head. Litana and the leaders of the Jungle gasped at the team of Dark Elves and could not hide their joy.
They had realized Cale’s plan as well.
However, one person…
“Young master Cale?”
Rosalyn could see that someone was stiff.
It was Cale.
He was stiff as he looked at the team of Dark Elves.
His pupils were shaking.
He could hear Raon and feel Raon shaking him.
However, that was not the issue.
Cale could see a brown-haired man within the group of Dark Elves who had a slightly lighter skin tone than the rest and also had everything below his eyes covered by clothes.
Why is he here?’
Cale recalled what that person had said.
‘Contact me at the Jungle. See you there.’
‘He meant it when he said see me here?’
The man behind Tasha walked over and put his hand on Cale’s shoulder as Cale started to speak in shock.
He spoke in a voice that was extremely low in order to prevent people from recognizing his regular voice.
“Long time no see, little brother.”
‘Alberu Crossman, why the hell are you here?’
Cale was at a loss for words.
Blonde hair and blue eyes.
Those who only knew of Alberu’s fake appearance would never be able to tell that this was the true appearance of the quarter Dark Elf Alberu. It was far from his usual majestic self.
Furthermore, it was even harder to tell as he had his face covered other than his eyes.
It was only Cale and Raon who had seen this appearance before who recognized him.
Cale was flabbergasted.
‘Why is the person who said that they are making a declaration tonight over here?
No, is it even okay for him to be here? In this form? What about the Roan Kingdom?’
Cale pushed away the hand that was on his shoulder in shock. He bluntly responded back while playing along with Alberu’s story.
“Hyung, don’t you have work to do?”
The brown eyes that were visible on the covered face curled up like crescent moons.