Cale had suddenly turned right while going up to the top of the mountain.
Choi Han who was following behind him opened his eye wide after hearing what Cale had to say.
“Apparently, there is someone off on their own.”
“…Are they one of the enemies?”
“I don’t know, however…”
Cale stopped talking for a moment before wading past the bushes and starting to speak again.
“However, I believe it might be a survivor from the Ranger Brigade.”
It could be a hiding enemy or an ally who was injured and left behind.
‘Bud isn’t the type to leave an injured ally behind like this. Neither are the Elves.’
That was why Cale started to walk faster.
Cale could feel a bit of a burden on his body.
His body’s condition was bound to be bad after using the stone imugi and the Fire of Destruction at the same time.
Of course, Cale thought that he would be able to last a while because of his Vitality of the Heart.
However, the ancient powers seemed to think differently.
– You haven’t rested properly for a while. Remember that.
He heard the thief of the Sound of the Wind’s husky voice.
– You might not be able to use any of your powers in the upcoming battle if you use any more strength right now.
Cale agreed with that assessment. That was why he was maintaining his speed instead of going faster.
‘The thief is right. There will be a time when I need my strength. I need to save some strength for that time.’
There were going to be a total of four battles if a battle broke out with the White Star’s subordinates who had infiltrated the Roan Kingdom.
Cale may need to use a lot of his strength during at least one of those battles.
That was why he needed to use his head and come up with a plan based on his powers.
“Cale-nim. If it continues in this direction, I will lead the way and create a path for you.”
That was why Cale let Choi Han take the lead.
Choi Han stepped forward and took out his sword.
There were bushes that came up to their waist now.
Choi Han’s sword ruthlessly cut through the bushes as they quickly moved.
Cale’s eyes soon sparkled.
A cold breeze blew directly into Cale and Choi Han’s faces.
“Choi Han, stop!”
Choi Han immediately stopped as if he seemed to have realized something as well and turned around to look at Cale.
Both of their expressions stiffened.
“Cale-nim. It seems to be a cliff.”
The bushes had suddenly decreased in number and they could see the sky outside the forest.
That meant that it was a cliff once they got past this forest.
The top’s whip in Cale’s hand vibrated.
‘It’s the cliff in front of you! The cliff!’
‘Chaos, destruction, what a predicament! But I can still hear the groan! The breathing is still weak!’
Cale slowly took steps forward.
“…You mean the survivor?”
Members of the Ranger Brigade were likely to know many ways to avoid the enemies and stay alive, and the chances of those methods not being typical were high.
Cale exited out of the forest.
The edge of the cliff was right in front of him.
Choi Han followed behind him and looked around before starting to speak.
“I don’t see any kinds of traces.”
There were no traces of enemies or allies passing by here.
Cale lowered his body at that moment.
He then lowered his head toward the edge of the cliff.
Choi Han approached him in shock to see Cale smiling.
“I found it.”
Cale was looking at a single spot. Choi Han looked toward that spot as well.
The cliff was very steep such that it seemed to have been sliced right off. Cale saw some blood at the middle of the cliff.
It was something that would have easily been missed if someone wasn’t paying attention.
There were two trees that were growing out of the cliff a bit lower than the spot with blood.
Cale could hear a Wind Elemental’s voice.
‘There’s a cave hidden by leaves! It’s under the two trees! It’s big enough for a person to go in!’
There was apparently a cave that was hidden by the trees.
‘Chaos, destruction, discovery! The person seems to be in there!’
Cale started to speak.
“There’s supposedly a cave big enough for a person hidden under those leaves.”
“The survivor must be there then.”
Cale started to smile.
“What an amazing person.”
This person had hidden their tracks so well that even Choi Han could not find it and crawled down the cliff to hide in the cave.
This was difficult to do without being skilled.
“We are going there.”
Cale stood back up and looked down the cliff.
How could he get to that hole?
Did he need to use the Sound of the Wind?
Did he need to go bring Raon?
Cale’s mind started to become complicated. However, he could not worry about it for long. He needed to hurry.
He decided he needed to use more of the Sound of the Wind to make it act similarly to flight magic. Cale determined his course of action and started to speak.
“Yes, Cale-nim. Please get on my back.”
He turned his head to see Choi Han offering his back for Cale to climb on.
Cale subconsciously asked and Choi Han answered with a confused expression.
“The cave is not far and looks to only be about twenty steps down. There’s no need for you to use your ancient powers, right?”
The cave was not far as Choi Han mentioned. Furthermore, he needed to conserve his ancient power as well.
Cale peeked over the cliff and looked down.
The cave was not far, but the cliff was quite steep and high. Falling off would mean saying goodbye to the world.
“…You’re going to go down there without any equipment?”
Choi Han’s innocent face started to frown as if asking why Cale was asking such obvious questions. Choi Han urged Cale on.
“Let’s hurry down there. It’ll be quick. Twenty steps will take less than 20 seconds.”
Cale answered as he got on Choi Han’s back.
‘…It should be okay, right?’
As he had that thought…
Cale suddenly felt his body start to shake.
Choi Han had started to move. His body moved toward the cliff without any hesitation.
Choi Han was quickly walking toward the edge of the cliff and looked as if he would soon fall right off.
Cale couldn’t help but curl up.
Choi Han made the short comment before Cale felt as if he was falling.
Cale subconsciously clenched onto Choi Han’s shoulder.
He didn’t want to fall off the cliff and not be able to fulfill his dream of being a slacker.
However, Cale’s jaw soon dropped.
Crack. Crack. Crack!
This was the sound of Choi Han’s hands and feet stabbing into the cliff. Cale blankly stared at Choi Han’s foot that kicked into the cliff with his jaw dropped.
The cliff seemed to be made of mud.
Choi Han quickly stabbed his hands and feet into the cliff or grabbed a part of it with his hand to move down.
Cale looked at Choi Han and thought to himself.
‘…He seems steady.’
Choi Han’s back was relaxing as usual.
As Choi Han mentioned, Cale had almost instantly arrived by the cave.
The cave was big enough for an adult to go in as the Wind Elemental mentioned earlier.
“I’m going in now.”
Choi Han then kicked off the wall and landed inside the cave.
He didn’t seem to be impacted by having Cale on his back at all.
“Oh, you’re so amaz-”
Cale was about to praise Choi Han but stopped mid-sentence.
The cave was not deep.
They could see the end of the cave from the entrance.
Cale looked past Choi Han’s shoulder only to see a person curled up at the end of the cave.
He heard Choi Han’s voice.
“…He looks like he’s from the Rat tribe.”
The person at the end of the cave was short. He was even shorter than the mixed-blood Dwarf Rat Mueller who was back in the Henituse territory.
Only someone from the Rat tribe would have such an appearance.
“W, who are you?!”
The Rat who had used branches to make a splint for his injured leg seemed to struggle as he got up.
His side seemed to be injured as well, as dry blood and a cloth that were covering the injury.
Furthermore, his face was pale and he was wary of Cale and Choi Han.
‘…A member of the Ranger Brigade!’
However, Cale’s expression brightened.
He remembered what Bud had told him.
‘A Rat. That punk remains as far back as possible in case of the worst possible situation. He is the best at running away. But even he stopped contacting us.’
This was the ranger who was said to be a 100-person team on his own.
Choi Han started to walk again.
He needed to walk into the cave a bit more for Cale to be able to get off his back inside the cave.
“D, don’t come any closer!”
The Rat reacted to their movement and shouted.
He took a small dagger out of his pocket and clenched it in his hand as he started to speak again.
“If you get any closer, if, if you do that- damn it! I’m the weakest person here! F*ck! Just, don’t come!”
‘…This bastard seems a bit weird.’
Cale turned stoic after seeing the Rat’s actions. However, he quickly started to speak as this was someone who could provide precious information and he needed to hurry over to the Mercenary King.
“We are people Bud sent over. We are looking for members of the Ranger Brigade. We are on the same side.”
Choi Han took something out of his pocket and threw it toward the shocked Rat.
It was a metal plaque.
The Rat who saw the plaque slowly started to speak.
“A plaque for members of the guild.”
The plaque Choi Han threw symbolized that a person was part of the Mercenaries Guild.
It was something that only other guild members would recognize.
‘Oh, when did he grab something like that?’
Cale wondered when Choi Han had gotten it, but decided that it was a good thing.
It would let the Rat trust that they were his allies.
However, the Rat just plopped down on the ground.
He then started to mumble to himself with a disappointed expression.
“I knew that damn Mercenary King would not send decent people! Ow! Look at them, just look at them! The one who needed a piggyback ride because he couldn’t get down the cliff looks like he’ll faint if someone pokes him! Aigoo, my poor life!”
Cale’s expression turned stoic.
“The one giving the piggyback ride looks innocent and young! Aigoo, my poor life!”
Cale quietly got off Choi Han’s back because there was enough room for him in the cave.
The Rat continued to lament as he did that.
“Aigoo. You guys somehow seemed to have slowly made your way down the cliff to find me, but still! Aigoo, my poor life! Such a weakling and a doof! Bud, you damn bastard! You damn moron!”
He stopped lamenting and looked toward Choi Han and Cale as he continued to speak.
“Hey, weakling, and you, doof. I’ve never seen either of you before, are you newbies? I guess you must be newbies. There’s nobody in the Mercenaries Guild I don’t know! None at all! Keke! I need to know all their faces to avoid the scary ones! It’s how I keep myself alive! Kekeke!”
This person was quite the talker.
He pointed to Choi Han first.
“What’s your name? I need to at least thank you for coming to save me. We need to introduce ourselves to do that.”
Choi Han started to speak.
“…Hmm? Why does that name sound so familiar?”
The Rat tilted his head.
The Rat then made eye contact with Cale.
He could see the twisted smile on Cale’s face.
“And I’m Cale Henituse.”
“Son of a…!”
The Rat subconsciously punched his head.
“I’ve even seen pictures of your faces! Crazy, crazy, crazy!”
Choi Han and Cale Henituse.
Most regular members of the Mercenaries Guild didn’t know about Cale Henituse because he had been stealthily working with the Mercenaries Guild, but… The chief executives all knew his name and his face as well as the names and faces of those in his group.
The Ranger Brigade had received information about Cale Henituse before this operation as well.
‘If that redhead is Cale Henituse, then that doof next to him is…the sword master…! T, that vicious swordsman!’
The Rat quickly moved his leg in the splint.
He kowtowed on the cave floor and started to shout.
“Thank you for saving me! Oh, great heroes! I could not see properly because I am in pain! It is an honor to be in your presence! Please forgive me! I will pay you back for your grace with everything I have!”
His voice was so loud that it made them wonder if he was really the person who had been breathing weakly.
The Rat peeked up after seeing that the cave was quiet once he was done talking.
He made eye contact with Cale and saw Cale opening his mouth to speak.
“Choi Han. Grab him. We are heading for the Mercenary King immediately.”
The Rat curled up after seeing Choi Han’s calm and pure expression as he lifted him. The pain in his leg and side disappeared once he saw Choi Han’s scabbard.
However, the Rat could not help but speak again once he made eye contact with Cale again.
One corner of Cale’s lips was twisted up in an extremely wicked way.
The moment he saw Cale’s smile…
“My apologies sir! I’m a terrible bastard!”
The Rat desperately begged once more.
Cale quietly responded.
“Shut your mouth.”
The Rat covered his mouth with both hands.
“Choi Han, let’s go. Can you move both of us at the same time?”
“Yes, Cale-nim. It’ll be quick.”
Cale looked out the cave.
He could have the Rat explain things on their way over.
* * *
“Huff, huff, huff-”
Bud was out of breath.
However, he could not stop moving.
He heard a voice behind his back.
“Hey. Leave me behind.”
“Are you crazy?”
He instantly started to frown and responded in annoyance as if telling the other person to stop with such nonsense.
He heard weak breathing coming from behind him.
Bud could hear blood dripping down his shoulder falling to the ground.
It was the blood that had spurted out before he could control the breathing.
His shoulder was being covered in blood.
It was not his own blood.
“Hey. Glenn Poeff. Don’t you dare pass out. I will kill you myself if you do.”
“Haaaaa… I get it, you damn punk.”
Glenn Poeff’s blood was wetting Bud’s back and shoulder.
Bud started to walk faster.
The Elves were motioning for Bud to move quickly.
None of them looked fine.
Bud and the others all looked like messes. They had desperate expressions on their faces as well.
They continued to walk.
Their enemy, a monster, was chasing behind them.
Bud took a deep breath and quickly started to walk.
He thought about a single person.
‘Hurry up and get here you punk!’
However, Bud could not say that out loud.
He said something else instead.
“…Don’t come. Please.”
‘Don’t come. There’s a monster here. No, there are monsters here.’