“Cale-nim, do you think the path to the Wind Island will be difficult? Is there really a need for only one person to go?”
Choi Han calmly asked while Raon excitedly added on in Cale’s mind.
– That’s right! I’m invisible, so I can go! There is nowhere a great and mighty Dragon cannot go!
Cale sighed and quietly looked at Choi Han.
Cale did not know about anything that happened after volume 5 of The Birth of a Hero.
What would Choi Han have done after volume 5?
Cale was thinking that Choi Han was unluckier than himself.
He had lived happily for seventeen years before he was dropped into the Forest of Darkness and lived a terrible life that made you wonder if there was anything worse that could happen to a person.
Then his second hometown of Harris Village was destroyed and its people massacred.
After that, he did many good things for the greater good to grow stronger. Blood always followed behind that path of growth as if it was an obvious part of growth.
Choi Han, who was looking at Cale with concern, closed his mouth after hearing Cale’s comment.
– Human! Choi Han is baffled while looking at you right now! I feel the same way! Who is calling who unlucky?
Cale just ignored the six-year-old’s comment.
He chose to focus on the voice of the Super Rock in his mind instead.
– You unlucky bastard.
‘…It feels oddly uncomfortable hearing this from the Super Rock as well.’
“What’s so unlucky about me?”
Cale started to grumble. He had a scowl on his face.
“I’m the eldest son of a Count, I’m rich, I am strong enough to not get beaten to death anywhere, well, I am a bit busy, but… And that business is making me famous- shit.”
Cale decided not to grumble anymore.
Just talking about it was making him angry.
– Huuu, how cute.
He ignored the Super Rock’s comment.
He also ignored the pitiful gazes of the group who were shaking their heads at him. That led him to look toward the Mercenary King.
“You really are my friend. I feel like I found my soul’s friend!”
‘What’s wrong with this bastard?’
Cale could see Bud Illis grabbing his hand.
“I’m the same! I’m the Mercenary King! I’m the head of the Mercenaries Guild! I’m also rich. And strong. But there’s a lot of work. And my life is on the line with that work. Shit!”
Cale slapped Bud Illis’s hand away before choosing to just look out at the foggy ocean.
That was the most relaxing thing to do.
However, once he could see an island through the fog…as they approached close enough for him to see the port…
Cale oddly started to frown.
“That is my hometown island!”
He could see a large island.
But that was not the issue.
– Human! Human! I feel like I smell alcohol!
“It’s the smell of alcohol!”
“It reeks of alcohol so much!”
On and Hong, whom the Mercenary King already found out were Cats, as well as Raon, the three children averaging nine-years-old scowled and commented on the scent coming from the port.
Cale watched the bow of the ship reach the port as he warned the children averaging nine-years-old.
“Ask Beacrox first before you drink anything here.”
Beacrox stoically nodded his head. The kittens nodded their heads as well.
Cale then gave the children averaging nine-years-old an extra gold coin as allowance before disembarking from the ship.
– Human! You really are a good person! You gave extra money than our allowance!
“Let’s all go around eating together!”
“I smell yummy food!”
Cale approached Choi Han who was warmly looking at the excited On and Hong and asked.
“How much do you need?”
Cale handed over a bag with ten gold coins.
‘Unlucky bastard. I have to at least feed him a lot of delicious food.
It looks like he’s lost a lot of weight, so let’s fatten him back up.’
“This is for you.”
Choi Han had a shocked expression on his face, but Cale who had turned around and was walking with On and Hong in his arms could not see the expression.
However, the look of satisfaction on Cale’s face slowly started to turn odd.
“Oh! Bud, you’re back? The best drinker is back!”
“Wow, Bud, when did you get back? Your dad didn’t say anything about you coming back.”
The islanders were warmly welcoming Bud who was walking toward the top of the island.
“Glenn, long time no see. Have you been well?”
Glenn Poeff. People were welcoming the mage next to Bud as well.
The purple-haired mage made eye contact with Cale. He then immediately started to speak.
“Bud is the weird one.”
Cale nodded his head.
Mage Glenn Poeff continued to speak.
“Making alcohol requires a lot of focus and effort.”
Cale listened to Glenn as he watched people crowd around Bud.
None of the people who were smiling at Cale and his group, who were foreigners, seemed drunk at all.
Cale could also see the buildings around them as they headed toward the mountain on the island. He could see that they were all brewing alcohol.
The people of this island seemed to be hard-working and happy people.
“The environment, humidity, temperature, and ventilation to ferment and mature different types of grains or fruits. All of that needs to happen without any issues.”
Cale nodded his head with a satisfied expression after hearing Glenn Poeff’s thorough explanation.
The scent of alcohol was coming from everywhere and there were definitely people who seemed to reek of alcohol, however, they were all people who were working to brew the alcohol.
Glenn continued to speak.
“Alcohol is art.”
Cale turned his head after feeling that something was odd.
“It is beautiful and artistic, like magic. Even alcohol that is filled by one person will taste different based on the date, time, and temperature present when he filled the bottle. Isn’t that beautiful?”
Glenn seemed to slowly be getting excited.
“Alcohol is similar to life. It is art, ART! That is why we need to treat it as precious and cherish it!”
Clap, clap, clap.
The islanders started to clap.
“Our Glenn always has such beautiful thoughts.”
“Smart people are great with words too! Yes, alcohol is art indeed!”
– Ohhh, alcohol is art? How amazing, human!
The children averaging nine-years-old focused on the conversation between the islanders.
Cale started to walk quickly and approached Bud before whispering behind him.
“Hurry up and take me there.”
Bud subconsciously nodded his head at Cale’s vicious tone and quickly started to walk.
Bud slowly headed toward the peak of the mountain on the island.
This mountain that had a surprisingly smooth path was almost as easy to climb as a hill. Of course, it wouldn’t have mattered as Cale just used the Sound of the Wind to easily climb up.
‘This is weird.’
The smell of alcohol was disappearing as Cale went higher up the mountain.
However, Cale felt that something was weird.
He could hear the sound of the wind the higher he climbed.
Stronger and stronger gusts of wind filled Cale’s ears as he moved.
And finally, once he arrived at the peak and looked toward the other side of the island…
Bud pointed to a spot beyond the foggy ocean.
Cale’s expression stiffened up.
– Human! That looks too dangerous! Don’t go!
He could hear Raon’s worried voice.
In the middle of the foggy ocean. He could see the island that managed to even push away even the fog to reveal itself.
It could not be helped.
The whirlwinds from numerous directions, these blade-like winds were roaring and surrounding the island.
Honestly speaking, Cale could not even see the island itself.
He could only tell that the island was there based on the thousands, no, tens of thousands of wind blades and whirlwinds that were crashing against each other.
Choi Han approached Cale with a serious expression on his face.
‘…It doesn’t look artificial at all.’
That was the reason for the serious expression on Choi Han’s face.
This was not aura or mana. The things on that island were natural wind.
That wind was roaring like a natural disaster.
The Three Restricted Areas. This place was fitting to be one of the three areas.
The ancient Dragon Eruhaben approached Cale.
“It’s been a while since I’ve been here.”
He turned toward Cale and calmly continued to speak.
“You do not need to go there.”
However, they could hear Cale’s usual relaxed voice respond back.
“I need to go.”
He sounded confident in his answer.
The Super Rock commented at that moment.
– Let’s take this difficult path.
– A path where you don’t have to sacrifice yourself or others. However, it will be painful and difficult for your body. You could get hurt.
– But at least your mind could be at ease.
Cale started to speak.
A path where your mind could be at ease.
“That is the easy path.”
* * *
“You need to go alone from here.”
Cale was standing on the deck.
He was wincing because it was difficult to keep his eyes open due to the ferocious wind.
The wind from the island was causing the rough waves, trying to push the ship away.
“I want to go with you!”
– Same with me!
The children averaging nine-years-old bumped into Cale’s body.
Mage Glenn Poeff had his arms crossed as he started to speak.
“That’s difficult. That island only shows the ancient artifact to one person with the wind attribute at a time.”
Bud Illis pointed to an area on the island that was difficult to see because of the wind.
“That is the entrance.”
He then continued on with a concerned expression on his face.
“You remember what I said last night?”
Bud Illis had told Cale about how he could come out of Wind Island alive.
Cale recalled what Bud told him.
‘There is a temple at the deepest spot in Wind Island. There is an altar with a jar on it.’
‘That jar fills with a liquid when you hand it to an injured or dying person. Drinking the liquid will heal them.’
The ancient artifact in the shape of a jar.
‘However, that jar seems to have a limit or maybe it is just old, but it cracks every time it is used. I guess this ancient artifact is one with a limited usage.’
The jar would eventually crack until the point that it breaks apart.
‘Based on the history left with my family, the jar has been used three times until now.’
‘You have to also return the jar back to the altar within one week.’
Cale turned to look toward Bud.
Bud’s family had arrived at that island at some point and created the first brewery and kept it going until now.
‘People of my household inherit the wind attribute ancient power every other generation.’
Bud had a bitter smile on his face when he had said that.
‘I am the guardian of Wind Island.’
‘That was the will of my ancestor who settled on this island. However, our ancestor did not leave behind the reason behind why we have to be the guardians of Wind Island. But…’
Cale had never seen Bud with such a serious expression on his face in the short time that he had known him.
‘But, he did say that we needed to make sure that the ancient artifact did not fall into an evil person’s hands. He said to destroy it if it looked like someone evil would take it.’
Cale finished thinking about the things Bud had told him last night before looking at where Bud was pointing.
The Mercenary King put a signal flare into Cale’s hand just in case he needed it for an emergency.
“Fire the flare if you don’t think you can do it. You can always get to the ancient artifact next time. You should be able to make it out within three days even if it takes you a while to get there.”
Bud had said that three days was plenty of time to go in and come back out.
Cale slowly nodded his head.
Cale flinched. Ron was looking at Cale’s clothes before continuing to speak.
“Please use the food and materials in the spatial pocket bag as needed. You know what is inside right?”
“Yes, yes. I know very well. I know everything you just told me, Ron.”
Cale quickly nodded his head.
– Human! Launch the flare if you need help! I will destroy the island!
He could hear the whispers of the vicious Dragon.
“Cale-nim, I will be waiting here outside the island.”
‘…There’s no need to be waiting on the ship.’
Cale pretended not to hear Choi Han’s comment.
“I’ll extend your life for you.”
Cale quickly cut Eruhaben off before kicking off the deck and flying up. He turned back toward the group and waved.
“I’ll be back.”
It was a quiet noise compared to the winds of Wind Island, however, the Sound of the Wind started to surround Cale’s body.
He then shot forward toward the island like an arrow.
Cale’s robe and his clothes underneath were fluttering.
However, he flew toward the spot Bud had pointed toward without any hesitation.
‘It’s been a while since I went anywhere alone like this.’
He had not moved alone since that time he earned the Indestructible Shield.
– It will be dangerous.
– Be careful.
Cale started to smile.
He could hear the voices of the owners of the ancient powers.
‘I guess I’m not completely alone.’
He still had the voices in his mind.
He could see two large whirlwinds crashing against each other once he got to the point that the Mercenary King had pointed to.
However, Cale could see a small gap between them.
‘Cale Henituse, only follow the path I tell you. That is the only way to not be cut up by the wind blades.’
Cale thought about the path on the map that the Mercenary King had handed him before charging toward that small gap.
Cale could hear the voice of the thief, the owner of the Sound of the Wind at that moment.
– I was an average person.
The husky voice was full of sorrow.
– However, once my family died and our home was destroyed…
That sorrow slowly turned into anger.
– I then became a thief. I ended up becoming the greatest thief on the Western continent.
– It was because I stole an ancient artifact from a temple.
Cale could see the island as he pierced through the gap between the two whirlwinds.
Wind Island, one of the Three Restricted Areas.
‘There is no life on Wind Island.’
That was what the Mercenary King had told him.
‘That is because only dirt and rocks that are poisoned by dead mana are there.’
Cale could see the black island.
The thief continued to speak.
– I was an average person, but I knew how to handle the wind and I had another unique power.
The powers that she had in the past.
The Sound of the Wind.
It consisted of wind and sound.
– I could hear the sound of the wind.
The sound that the wind made.
– I could hear the voices of the Wind Elementals.
Elementals were natural beings that were said to be the closest to nature.
She was not an Elf nor an Elementalist so that she could make a contract with an Elemental, however, the thief had been able to hear only the voices of the Wind Elementals.
She could not see or feel them, but it was enough to hear them.
– I couldn’t see from the beginning anyway. I just needed the sound.
The greatest thief of ancient times had been blind. However, she could feel and hear everything.
– Find my top’s whip.
– It will bring you a number of strong yet friendly and shrewd yet temperamental allies.
The husky voiced woman gently spoke to Cale.
– I like your decision. Let’s easily walk through the difficult path. I will be with you.
Cale started to smile as he looked at the black island.
* * *
One week later. Cale still had not come out of the island.