‘The Imperial Prince can’t be found in the capital?’
Cale motioned to Billos with his chin.
He had not had any time to look through the information about the Empire. It was now time to carefully listen.
* * *
“…So, what you are telling me…”
Cale, who was sitting on a couch in a room that Billos had guided him to, started to get an image of the current situation in the Empire after hearing everything that Billos had to say. He then explained it in one phrase.
“The information in the capital is being controlled right now.”
He brushed back his magically brown hair.
“Yes, young master-nim. That is why there are soldiers from the Empire undercover and monitoring myself, as well as the other merchants of the Empire.”
Billos thought about the Flynn Merchant Guild’s building as well as his other residence that was publicly known as his official residence.
There were currently people he believed to be the Empire’s soldiers and knights stationed undercover to watch his every move.
Cale thought about what Billos had just explained to him.
‘Furthermore, the number of soldiers at every gate heading into the capital has been fortified.’
The true reason for the increased number of soldiers was to control the information going out, however, the regular citizens would just think that they were doing this to prepare for war.
“There already seems to be many merchants from other nations who have been captured by them.”
Billos gulped at Cale’s stoic expression before continuing to speak.
“All of the video communication devices that do not belong to the royal family nor the nobles have all been confiscated as well. The official video communication device belonging to the Flynn Merchant Guild has been confiscated as well.”
“…But there should be others like you who have a secret video communication device, no?”
“Yes sir, I’m sure that there are. I believe a few people including myself know about the situation outside the capital right now.”
Cale pointed out the most important thing in what Billos just said.
Controlling the gates.
Controlling the merchants.
Confiscating the video communication devices.
The result of doing all of those things.
“The citizens of the capital must not know about the current situation with the war.”
Billos nodded his head with a serious expression on his face.
He quickly added on.
“And the people who do know are not able to easily open their mouths.”
“Because they might be captured?”
“That is the case.”
Cale thought about Imperial Prince Adin and commented.
“Trash really is trash.”
Billos flinched at Cale’s extremely annoyed voice. Tasha, who was next to them, interjected.
“Then the citizens of the capital must know nothing right now.”
Billos looked toward Tasha and nodded his head.
“Yes, the only thing that the royal family said was that the war was going to go longer than expected.”
He thought about the current situation in the capital.
The elongation of war.
That made the citizens gather in different spots in the capital while hoping for the Empire to win and for the Imperial Prince to save the Empire.
“…The majority of people do not know about the Empire’s defeat, about how the Imperial Prince and the nobles ran away, nor about the reappearance of black magic.”
Billos peeked to look at Cale before continuing to speak.
“That was why Sir Rex, Miss Freesia, and I focused on figuring out the current state of things rather than spreading the truth.”
It would have been bad if any of them had ended up being captured while blabbing about the truth.
Especially while Cale was not there.
“Then what do you mean by the Imperial Prince not being here?”
Billos turned his head toward the source of the voice.
Choi Han, who was standing there with brown hair, was looking at him.
Billos let out a fake cough before resuming his explanation.
“You should already know that I have connections with the purchase of goods for the soldiers.”
The group nodded their heads.
That was how they had been able to tell when the Imperial Prince would head to the Whipper Kingdom and how large his force would be.
“I was able to figure a few things out using those connections.”
Billos lifted up one finger.
“First, the amount of goods entering the Imperial Palace has gone significantly up ever since the Imperial Prince’s group ran away from the Whipper Kingdom battle.”
Choi Han commented on this.
“The number of, ‘mouths,’ to feed in the palace suddenly went up.”
“That is the case.”
Billos could see Choi Han saying the things he had deducted after hearing that information.
“That means that the nobles, mages, knights, and others who ran away with the Imperial Prince are most likely staying in the Imperial Palace right now.”
‘…He’s very smart.’
Billos showed his agreement with Choi Han’s deduction and added on.
“Second, the amount of goods heading to the Imperial Prince’s palace and the Imperial family has remained the same ever since the Imperial Prince headed out to war.”
The amount of goods going into the Imperial Palace had gone up while the personal goods for the Imperial Prince and the Imperial family had remained the same.
Choi Han started to frown.
“That alone is not enough to confirm that the Imperial Prince is not in the capital.”
He then added on.
“In fact, it is probably more likely that the Imperial Prince is hiding with the others in the Imperial Palace.”
Billos nodded his head and responded back.
“That was what I believed at first as well. But, Choi Han-nim.”
“Didn’t you say you injured the Imperial Prince?”
“…I did, why?”
The final piece of information came out of Billos’s mouth.
“Third, the Imperial doctor has disappeared ever since leaving the Imperial Palace.”
The Imperial doctor.
That word made Choi Han’s expression change.
Billos quickly added on.
“Sir Rex, Miss Freesia, and I tried to figure out where that doctor went after hearing from our information network that the Imperial doctor and his students had all left the palace.”
It had been the night after Saint Jack had headed to the Whipper Kingdom’s battlefield.
Billos had stealthily followed behind the doctor who was leaving the palace.
“Of course, we did not have too many people so we had to be far away from others as we made our move. That was why we weren’t able to see everything, but…”
Billos recalled what he saw outside the capital’s palace.
“The last thing we saw were the footprints and carriage tracks of the people who we believe to be the doctor and his students outside the northern gate.”
Choi Han and Tasha started to frown.
The Imperial Prince had been seriously injured.
And the Empire’s best healer had headed North out of the capital.
“That is why two of Freesia’s subordinates are currently following the carriage tracks and heading North. One of my mages is with them as well so that they can check in very frequently.”
Tasha started to speak.
“…You have done very well even though I’m sure that there have been a lot of restrictions in the capital.”
Billos had done as much as he could with the limitations that had been set around him.
Tasha complimented Billos before biting down on her lips.
“Do you think the Imperial Prince headed North then?”
The chances of that being the case seemed high based on the information.
However, she hesitated before adding on.
“…I don’t think that is the case.”
Her intuition that had been developed for hundreds of years was telling her that that was wrong.
She made eye contact with Choi Han as she raised her head while thinking about what her intuition was telling her. She could tell that Choi Han felt the same way and started to speak.
“I believe that the Imperial Prince is still here.”
The Imperial Prince was in the capital.
Her intuition was telling her that.
The person who had been silent all this time finally started to speak.
“Yes, young master-nim.”
Cale started to smile.
“Did you know this?”
The heavy atmosphere changed with Cale’s action, making Billos flinch as he looked at Cale. Cale didn’t care and just said what he needed to say.
“There’s something I’ve been curious about for a while. Do you know what it is?”
“…I’m not really sure?”
Cale really was curious about something.
He had become even more curious after seeing the golems and the dead mana bombs in the Jungle.
‘How many people must have died by the Alchemists’ Bell Tower for them to have this much dead mana?’
He had a single question as an emotion that was beyond the level of anger filled his mind.
“The Alchemists’ Bell Tower brought the people from the slums and forcibly made citizens of other kingdoms into slaves and brought them here, right?”
“Yes, young master-nim?”
Even the citizens of the Roan Kingdom’s Gyerre territory were turned into slaves and almost sent to the Empire by their merchant guild in order to be used as experimental fodder.
Then those people who were captured as slaves…
“How did those people come into the capital?”
‘Did they openly bring them in through the gates and delivered them to the Alchemists’ Bell Tower?
Were they brought in with teleportation magic?
That large number of people?
Especially when it was for over tens of years?
I don’t really want to say this, but…’
“How did they hide their bodies?”
Choi Han and Tasha jumped up. Saint Jack was clasping his shaking hands together.
“…Young master-nim, are you thinking-”
Billos could not say anything else.
The thought that was going through all of their minds was flowing out of Cale’s mouth.
“Don’t you think that there is a secret passage going outside the capital?”
He thought about the call he had with Adin.
He had only seen black walls and Adin’s face, but his complexion had been good.
He didn’t seem hurt at all even though Choi Han’s sword had cut right by his heart.
“The Imperial Prince is probably getting healed at the place he considers to be the safest place for him. Then where would that place be?”
The person who had not said anything until now finally chimed in.
“The Alchemists’ Bell Tower.”
It was Mary.
Cale nodded his head and added on.
“It is where the Tower Master would be.”
Cale stood up from his seat and gave an order to Billos.
“The Northern gate. Guide me to the place where the tracks ended.”
Billos looked at Cale’s cold gaze and also stood up. He heard Cale’s voice as he did that.
“Tell Freesia to have her subordinates cautiously continue tracking the carriage.”
Cale thought about Adin who treasured his life the most.
‘Such a bastard would leave the place he has the most influence?
The one who wants to control everything would leave his bedroom empty?
What if someone else took it over?
He would also leave the Bell Tower behind?’
“Looks like the chances of that carriage being empty are very high.”
It was more likely that the carriage was a trick.
It was a bait that he put out while hoping that people like Billos, foreign spies within the capital, would get caught.
Of course, Cale could be wrong.
“Tell them to observe it from as far of a distance as possible.”
“S, shall I do that now?”
It was the moment Billos was hesitating.
Billos’s video communication device started to go off.
He quickly tried to call in the mage who was waiting outside the room.
However, before he could even leave the room…
White gold mana surrounded the video communication device and the call immediately connected.
Freesia’s face appeared on the screen.
– Young master-nim! You’re here!
The assassin who sculpted the rabbit that resembled the devil’s guard dog and who was currently the leader of Cale’s information guild under Ron.
She started to speak with urgency.
– I’m not sure if you heard yet, but my subordinates have found the carriage.
– …There were only regular soldiers wearing healer outfits inside while the Imperial doctor was not there.
She quickly added on.
– Furthermore, my subordinates were discovered by the soldiers and knights and are currently on the run.
Billos started to mumble.
“…It really was a decoy, a trap?”
Cale started to speak to Freesia.
“Do you think they can get away safely? If not, I can send someone over.”
– It doesn’t look like they will get caught. They have Mr. Billos’s mage with them as well. We plan on sending reinforcements if they are in danger.
Tap. Tap. Tap.
Cale started to tap the table the video communication device was sitting on. He then started to speak.
“You’re currently in the slums?”
– Yes sir.
“I’ll send Vice Captain Hilsman and Saint Jack there, so stay there with Hannah. Also-”
Cale looked at how Choi Han, Tasha, and Mary who were standing there and added on.
“Tell Sir Rex to come to support us here. Have him bring as many video recording orbs as possible with him.”
– Yes sir!
The call ended.
Someone started to speak as silence filled the room.
It was Choi Han.
He looked toward Cale and asked.
“The Alchemists’ Bell Tower-”
The Cat Knight, Sir Rex.
Video recording orbs.
Sir Rex remembered a bit of the internal layout of the Alchemists’ Bell Tower after escaping from it in his youth.
And recording orbs that could record anything you want.
Not just one, but a large number of them.
Choi Han could see the image in Cale’s mind and asked Cale about it.
“Are we infiltrating the Alchemists’ Bell Tower?”
Cale nodded his head.
Choi Han asked another question.
“What are you planning to do with the video recording orbs?”
Cale started to speak.
“What else? We have to stealthily spread them around the capital.”
Cale recalled the golems and Honte from the Whipper Kingdom’s battle.
The explosion had been strong even though it had happened on a wide plain.
Furthermore, it also had enough power to blow up the entire Section 7 of the Jungle.
The Empire’s capital.
What would happen if a battle started in the capital where entry was being controlled right now?
What would happen if a battle started in the place where golems and dead mana bombs were all gathered together?
Would the battle only happen around the Alchemists’ Bell Tower?
Cale started to speak to the group who was looking at him.
“They need to run away.”
He needed to inform the citizens of the Empire’s capital about the danger and have them run.
“…It might be the most terrible battle ever.”
Something even worse than a golem might even appear.
You always had to prepare for the worst.
“That is why we have something we need to do as we go to hit the Alchemists’ Bell Tower.”
He couldn’t allow the Imperial Prince who did not care for the lives of others to have the option of taking people as hostages again.
“Destroy the walls and gates surrounding the capital. Then assist in the evacuation.”
Make it so that everybody can run.
Make it so that they can see the battle between Cale’s side and the Imperial Prince through the destroyed walls and gates.
They needed to make that happen.
‘But there are a lot of things to prepare before that as well.’
Cale started to think about everything that he needed to prepare.
It was a way to overwhelm his enemies while having the least number of casualties. Cale’s mind was moving without rest.
Choi Han watched him for a while before blinking once and nodding his head.
It was very Cale-like to think about the lives of the Empire’s citizens.
Billos cautiously started to speak at that moment.
“Young master-nim, how do you think we can find that secret passage?”
Cale slowly looked toward one side. The person receiving his gaze sighed before shaking his head.
“Haaa, it’s a problem when you are too great and mighty.”
Eruhaben slowly got up from his seat.
– Human! I’m here too!
Raon shouted with excitement in Cale’s mind.
He nonchalantly gave an order to Billos who was looking at him.
“First, lead me to the spot they disappeared.”
Imperial Prince Adin.
Where could he be hiding?
He would slowly start to lose everything once Cale found out.
Cale who had become, ‘it,’ in this game of hide and seek started to smile.
– Human! You haven’t smiled like that in a while!
“Sigh, you unlucky bastard.”
He ignored the comments from the Dragons.