A mountain range located on the northern part of the Eastern continent. A person who arrived at that location bent down.
He then cautiously sniffed the scent of the mountain in front of him.
The person’s numerous years of experience helped him realize something.
“…It smells fishy.”
Cold air was coming down from the mountain.
His intuition was telling him that something was off.
He heard a calm voice next to him.
“It seems to be covered in the scent of blood.”
Choi Han commented before turning his head to look at the man behind him.
“Cale-nim, I have a bad feeling about this.”
Ron who had smelled the scent of blood stood up straight and reported to Cale.
Cale quietly observed the two of them before quietly asking Beacrox a question.
“Beacrox, did you smell the scent of blood too?”
“…Young master-nim, do you really think they could smell blood even though the mountain is so tall and wide? It is just intuition. Intuition.”
Beacrox responded with a stoic expression before turning away from Cale. Cale thought this was very fitting of Beacrox’s personality as he started to speak.
“It’s too quiet.”
The bottom of the mountain.
Originally, mage Glenn Poeff and the mercenaries he brought with him should have been stationed here waiting for Bud to contact them.
However, there was nobody here.
All they could see were traces of people who were waiting here before rushing up the mountain.
He recalled what Bud told him.
‘The entire mountain was under an illusion.’
‘Now that the illusion is gone, the entire mountain is covered in enemies.’
‘Please quickly help me.’
Cale’s gaze started to sink.
The golden top’s whip in his hand started to glow.
“We are going to enter the mountain now.”
The enemies had cast an illusion.
That must mean that there was an illusionist here as well.
Furthermore, that illusion was supposedly destroyed.
He was tired of illusions now.
There were also so many enemies that they could cover the entire mountain.
The Mercenary King’s mercenaries and the Elves Cale gathered numbered in the hundreds, but the Mercenary King seemed to have determined that the enemies overwhelmingly outnumbered them.
Bud was probably right.
He was the Mercenary King who had experienced many battlefields.
“…That is why we can’t just go up without a plan.”
The mountain was so high that the peak was covered in snow.
This was the largest mountain in the mountain range that blocked the cold air from the north from reaching south, so, it was naturally tall and wide.
That was why they could not just go up as is.
The Molan household’s assassins were quietly standing like shadows behind Ron and Beacrox.
This group of assassins was half of the assassins who had infiltrated the Molden palace earlier. They had urgently rushed over along with Ron.
“Our preparations to infiltrate the mountain are completed.”
Ron had expressed it as an infiltration not to a castle or a residence, but to a mountain.
It might seem as if he used the wrong word, however, it was accurate.
Cale opened his mouth to call someone.
He had someone who could trick people and hide their presence using a different method than illusions.
On and Hong stopped rubbing their bodies on Cale’s legs and looked up at him. White smoke started to surround On before spreading out.
She seemed to have understood Cale’s intentions as she had prepared to use her fog in advance.
Cale had asked Raon to quickly bring On and Hong over.
– Human, are we going in?
Cale took a step toward the mountain.
“We are infiltrating the mountain.”
It was quiet at the foot of the mountain, but they might hear weapons clashing or people screaming once they entered.
Furthermore, the chances of those screams belonging to their allies were high.
“Our first goal is to reinforce our allies and save them.”
Cale entered into the forest.
The shadows of the trees made the forest dark even though it was day time.
It was an urgent situation right now.
That was why Cale gave an order that was different than usual.
“Our second goal… Is to get rid of the enemies.”
The gazes on the faces of the assassins of the Molan household quickly changed.
“Our third goal is to identify the enemies, however, if that may lead to injuries… Then we will immediately escape or focus on our second goal.”
Both the first and second goals were focused on saving as many of their allies as possible.
Ron walked over toward Cale without making any noise and then asked.
“Young master-nim, which direction do we need to go?”
Cale tightened his grip.
The top’s whip in his hand was continuing to shake unlike usual.
Cale heard two of the three Wind Elementals that always moved around with him. One was with the Elves in the mountains right now.
‘C, chaos, destruction, anger! Elementals are screaming all over the mountain!’
‘I hear Elementals fighting all around the mountain! No, that’s not it; they seem to be running away!’
The Elementals sounded more frantic than ever before.
‘I can’t hear the one we left here at all! I think it’s in a dangerous situation too!’
‘This is bad! Chaos, destruction, disorder!’
Although the Elementals were frantic, Cale was calm.
Of course, his heart was beating wildly as well. He was in a hurry as well.
He imagined the Elves getting injured as the Wind Elementals told him that they heard Elementals screaming.
Cale bit down on his lips.
He was currently the commander of the Elves. He could not forget about the responsibilities that came with the role.
‘Chaos, destruction! The screaming seems to be slowly heading toward the center of the mountain!’
‘This is it!’
Cale’s eyes started to sparkle.
‘Cale, The Elementals’ screams are slowly heading toward the center of the mountain.’
‘I found it.’
He had found the information he was looking for.
If the screams were slowly heading toward the center of the mountain…
The meaning behind those words appeared in Cale’s mind.
The Elementals should be with the Elves.
The Mercenary King should be with the Elves as well.
It meant that their allies were slowly moving toward the center of the mountain.
They were moving in that direction while the Elementals are screaming.
‘That means that they are not moving there out of their own free will. Someone else is making them move there.’
They were not gathering together by choice.
It meant that numerous enemies were herding their allies to the center.
There was only one explanation for it.
Cale started to speak.
The enemies were herding their allies to one location. They were doing that to either hunt them down or with another goal in mind.
That other goal was definitely not good either.
The air around Cale turned cold.
Unlike how the group’s fighting spirit had gone up and heated the air around them earlier… The air was now getting colder as their fighting spirit went up.
The assassins’ gazes turned cold.
Ron’s gaze sunk the most.
Mercenary King Bud. The Poeff household’s Glenn Poeff.
Ron was quite concerned about them as he had his base on the Eastern continent.
The others realized what was going on as soon as they heard that word.
Cale noticed that was the case, however, he still started to speak.
“Our allies and the enemies are gathering toward the center of the mountain.”
“Will we head over to save the allies right away?”
Beacrox asked as he was unable to be patient any longer.
They all looked ready to charge forward to save their allies at any moment.
However, Cale shook his head.
Choi Han quietly called out to him.
Cale had a smile on his face even though this was an urgent situation. His smile looked angry.
The enemies were using battue on the allies.
That was why he would make them realize something.
If the enemies were using battue… ‘I’ll use battue on you bastards.’
Cale started to speak.
“We will strike the enemies that are gathering our allies to a single spot from the back.”
Ron’s eyes clouded over.
Just like how their allies were gathering to one spot…
The enemies that were herding them over were gathering toward one spot as well.
Cale looked down.
He could see On and Hong.
Raon was probably nearby while remaining invisible as well.
Cale did not plan on letting any more allies get hurt.
‘We will strike the enemies that are gathering our allies to a single spot from the back.
But we will not show ourselves.’
“We will hide behind magic, fog, and poison to stealthily strike the enemies from behind.”
The children averaging nine-years-old all responded.
On kicked off the ground and climbed up a tree before looking down at Cale. Hong was next to her as well.
That meant that they were ready.
– Human! Do not worry! We will flip everything over with the poisonous fog! We will hide grandpa Ron and all of his subordinates as well!
An illusion. There were things other than illusions that could trick people.
“On, I leave it to you.”
The silver kitten nodded her head. The calm On would lead the children averaging nine-years-old without letting them get hurt.
Cale needed the children’s help, but he was still going to make them act from the rear where it was safe.
The fog surrounding On became thicker and started to spread.
On and Hong became covered in fog such that they were no longer visible.
– Human! I am hiding in the fog as well!
Cale heard Raon and Hong’s voices through the fog and started to speak again.
Choi Han stood next to Cale.
“You are heading toward the center with me. Our goal is to get there before the enemies or our allies.”
Whirlwinds appeared at the tips of Cale’s feet as he activated the Sound of the Wind.
“We’ll head there first.”
Cale started to head toward the forest with Choi Han.
“Ron. I’ll tell you the enemies’ locations through Raon, so use that information to surround them.”
Cale was planning on sending a Wind Elemental to inform Raon about the enemies’ locations.
He had informed Raon about it on their way here, so there shouldn’t be any issues.
“Do not worry about it. Young master-nim.”
Cale turned around only to see the assassins disappear into the shadow of the forest.
All he could hear were leaves rustling.
Beacrox disappeared as well and only Ron, as well as the growing fog, remained.
The fog then covered Ron as he benignly informed Cale.
“I guess it is time to do some shadow hunting.”
This was the fighting style for the assassins of the underworld.
Ron started to smile.
Cale chuckled before turning his head and heading toward the location that the enemies were herding their allies.
Of course, he still shared his sentiments about Ron’s comment.
* * *
Cale and Choi Han were quickly climbing the mountain without resting.
Choi Han was about two steps behind Cale as Cale was in the front finding the path.
The golden top’s whip was vibrating as the Wind Elementals told Cale the direction of where the Elementals were screaming.
‘Chaos, destruction! It is the center of the mountain but slightly higher than the actual center! It is right underneath the area with the snow!’
‘Cale, I will go deliver that message to Raon-nim!’
The two Wind Elementals were more rushed than Cale.
Cale who was quickly rushing past the forest was scratched by a branch and his cheek started to bleed.
Choi Han who was shocked by Cale’s quiet groan started to speak.
It could not be helped.
Cale looked more frantic than usual as they were heading toward where their allies were presumed to be gathering.
Of course, Choi Han understood how Cale was feeling.
‘…1,001 people have already gone missing here.’
This was where the Mercenaries Guild’s Ranger Brigade had instantly gone missing.
‘Also…there were the things we saw on our way up.’
They were moving quickly, but both Cale and Choi Han had observed their surroundings as they moved.
They saw a lot of blood on the trees and boulders as they started to climb the mountain.
Whose blood would it be?
They couldn’t help but speed up as they thought about that.
However, Choi Han had to think about Cale’s health as well.
Forget Cale not getting hurt, Choi Han realized that they could not let Cale become unconscious after hearing about Bud’s situation and the Whale tribe’s battle.
There were a lot of battles going on right now.
Cale was the brain.
The brain was the center of all reactions.
That was why he could not get injured nor push himself too hard.
“Cale-nim, aren’t you overdoing it?”
He took two quick steps to move next to Cale.
Cale’s arm blocked Choi Han.
Choi Han could see Cale stop him before starting to move in a different direction.
He quickly chased behind him.
Cale was moving past the leaves and grass and headed somewhere other than their destination.
‘Chaos, destruction! I heard a weird noise!’
‘It is a human-shaped life form! It’s breathing is very weak!’
The two Wind Elementals were saying there was someone nearby.
‘I will go take a look! Chaos, destruction, urgent, urgent!’
One of the Wind Elementals headed there first and Cale increased his speed as well.
The allies and enemies were all headed toward one spot right now.
However, there was someone who was apart from the rest.
It could be the enemy, but…
‘They said that person is breathing weakly.’
Weak breathing could mean that there was an enemy hiding and holding their breath down.
‘They also said that they heard a weird noise.’
That meant the chances of it being a hiding enemy was low.
It was more likely to be someone who was injured and groaning in pain.
That was why Cale could only consider one conclusion.
‘The Ranger Brigade!’
It might be one of the missing 1,001 people.
It could be a member of the Ranger Brigade who managed to avoid the enemies and the illusion and was hiding.
The Mercenary King was unable to find this person because of the illusion, but he might be able to find this person now that the illusion was destroyed.
‘I need to find them.’
He needed to find them, especially if it was one of the Ranger Brigade members.
If the noise the Elementals were hearing was weak, then he needed to find the person before they died.
Most importantly, he needed to find the person to hear what happened on the mountain.
Only then would he be able to understand the enemy’s strength.
That would allow him to save the Mercenary King and the others in a safer way.
Cale started to use more of the Sound of the Wind because he still needed to quickly head to the Mercenary King as well.
‘I need to hurry!’
There were too many things he needed to do all at once.