Count Mock could not believe what he was seeing.
‘What the hell is going on?’
His mind blanked out for a moment.
Choi Han, who was said to not be at the Black Castle, had shown up.
That alone was shocking, but this Bob bastard who was said to be young master Naru’s trusted subordinate was choking him.
He could only come up with one conclusion.
“Ugh, were we b…betrayed?”
Were the Vampire bastards and Cale Henituse working together?
That was the only plausible explanation.
Count Mock got chills throughout his body after he barely managed to get that question out.
‘The mana orb!’
If the Vampire bastards truly had betrayed them…!
If they really were working together with Cale Henituse…!
Then it was obvious where that mana orb would go.
The mana orb then slowly headed toward the Black Castle.
Then the being that had been covered by the large mana orb was revealed.
‘…The Black Dragon!’
Cale Henituse’s black Dragon that had been hiding behind the mana orb was revealed.
Mock’s head started to hurt.
If Choi Han and the black Dragon were both here…
Then Cale Henituse was bound to be here as well.
He could not speak properly as he was being choked.
However, the person choking him finished his sentence for him.
“ ‘How was this possible?’ ”
Mock who had been looking at Choi Han slowly looked toward Bob who was choking him.
Mock’s eyes were asking Bob for an answer. He wanted him to quickly tell him what was going on.
Alberu slowly responded to him.
“What good will knowing how it happened do for you, you bastard?”
Mock suddenly felt like Bob was looking down at him from above instead of looking up from below.
It was the unique type of pressure he had felt when in the White Star’s presence.
Why was he feeling that type of pressure from a damn informant?
Mock’s body shot up into the air at that moment.
He could finally breathe properly for the first time in a few minutes.
However, he was still groaning.
A chain made of wind appeared and bound him.
Then, there was an explosion where Count Mock and informant Bob had been standing.
Choi Han, who saw the explosion, started to run toward Alberu contrary to their original plan.
The people who launched the attack angrily started to shout.
“Change the target!”
One of the Dark Elves stood up and pointed toward Choi Han.
A few of the Dark Elves had stealthily planned a surprise attack the moment Mock ended up in Bob’s hand.
Their attack that was aimed at Alberu was what caused the explosion.
Black arrows that suddenly appeared were pointed at Choi Han.
“Rescue the Count-nim!”
Some of them shot up into the air as well.
Wind was swirling at the tips of their feet.
One of the Dark Elves in the air flew toward Count Mock.
“I’ll release you right away, sir!”
Count Mock whose neck was now free started to frown.
“It’s not over yet!”
The Dark Elves who had jumped into the air had to hear the shouts of their Elementals.
The Elementals that had created the wind at the tips of the Dark Elves feet were warning them.
They were telling them to look down.
The Dark Elves looked down.
Once the dust from the explosion disappeared…
The masked Dark Elf was pointing a large spear toward them.
As the Dark Elves shouted in shock after looking at the large magic spear…
That spear started to move toward the Dark Elves.
The Dark Elves quickly moved away from Count Mock.
Count Mock could feel the current fluctuating behind him.
The spear of light stopped right behind Count Mock’s back.
“Count Mock’s body will be filled with electricity if you try to get close again.”
The Dark Elves did not dare to approach the chained Mock after hearing Alberu’s threat.
“Also, make your Elementals stop moving. Did you really think that I wouldn’t be able to tell that they are moving?”
The Dark Elves had no way of knowing whether Alberu was lying or telling the truth.
But the chances of this half-blood’s statement being true were high as he still had some Dark Elf blood, so the Dark Elves could not send the Elementals around the forest as Count Mock had ordered earlier.
“I can’t ever put my guard down.”
Alberu finally waved his hand and pushed away the dust around him.
The Dark Elf who had given the command to attack was grinding his teeth as he glared at Alberu.
“How dare you attack one of your own race even though Dark Elven blood flows through your body! You’re attacking those on the same side!”
“Ho, my goodness.”
Alberu shook his head from side to side.
“There’s no point to even answer.”
Alberu ignored the Dark Elf.
‘Attack my fellow race?’
How many times had the White Star and Cale’s respective Dark Elves clashed already?
Why had Count Mock and these Dark Elves not said anything and continue to serve the White Star through it all?
‘It’s not because of who is a Dark Elf and who is not, it’s a matter of the difference in what each group wants.’
Alberu did not say anything else.
Instead, Choi Han pulled out his sword and stood next to Alberu.
The Dark Elf started to frown in response.
“Ha! You’re betraying your race because of the human blood inside you!”
Alberu started to frown under his mask for the first time.
Alberu clicked his tongue and observed the Dark Elves in front of him.
He could feel their hostility. Alberu started to move toward his goal in front of such hostile enemies.
“Your liege will die if you make any movements.”
The Dark Elf who was shouting toward Alberu shut up after hearing those emotionless words.
He sounded like someone who would do as he said.
It was at that moment.
“Let’s make a deal!”
Mock shouted at the top of his lungs.
Alberu looked up at Mock as if this reaction was unexpected.
Mock ignored Alberu’s gaze and twisted his body to look at Choi Han as he continued to speak.
“There’s nobody who would destroy the area in front of their house. That Dragon won’t use the mana orb. He won’t want to burn this area down to the ground.”
Choi Han started to frown.
The Dark Elf old man Mock’s eyes sparkled after seeing this reaction.
‘I knew I was right.’
That large mana orb and the black Dragon.
There was no way that that thing would really attack this spot.
There would be too much aftershock for the Black Castle and the nearby area.
‘That means that I have no reason to fear that mana orb.’
Mock’s mind started to clear up.
‘There’s still a chance.’
The Vampires’ betrayal was like a sharp dagger attacking him, but it was not an extremely dangerous attack to the point that he would die yet.
‘Squad 1 and 2 are still there.’
He still had allies to the North and East.
‘I’ll need to look for an opportunity while talking about making a deal.’
He just needed to flip this situation over when he saw an opening.
Mock immediately started to speak.
“Choi Han, deliver this message to Cale Henituse. Tell him that I want to make a deal. I’m sure you guys don’t want to fight us in front of your territory as well, right?”
He continued to speak to Choi Han who was quietly looking at him.
“No matter how strong you guys are… There are bound to be injured people if we fight. And we will go until the very end if we start to fight.”
‘Then this area in front of the Black Castle will become a mess.’
That was the meaning behind Mock’s words as he looked at Choi Han.
Choi Han responded to him.
Mock resumed speaking at this gesture that showed that Choi Han was willing to at least listen to what he had to say.
That word caused some rustling in the forest to the west.
Mock ignored that and continued to speak.
“We will return if you let us take care of the Vampires.”
“…The Vampires have agreed to cooperate with us.”
“They betrayed us to work with you. Why are you trying to fight us until the end while tightly clutching onto them?”
It was at that moment.
“Count Mock! What nonsense are you spewing now?”
The western forest…
Solena stepped forward from the forest where Squad 3 was stationed.
The corners of Mock’s lips started to twist. Solena was the person who was serving Naru right now and one of Duke Fredo’s trusted subordinates. Mock resumed speaking after she made her appearance.
“What do you mean by nonsense?! We are negotiating a peaceful resolution to end this issue!”
He looked toward Choi Han.
“Choi Han. Think about it. Isn’t it beneficial for you guys if we make a deal like that?”
“I guess so. There would be no need to fight if we agreed.”
“Exactly! Furthermore, the Dark Elves and everybody on our side will all cooperate with you guys from here on.”
Mock’s heart was beating wildly as he said that.
‘This could be extremely beneficial the more I think about it.’
He had a lot to gain between Cale Henituse and the White Star if he used this situation properly.
If he would get past this current predicament, pretend to cooperate with Cale Henituse, and then tell the White Star everything!
‘And if I report Duke Fredo’s betrayal as well…! If I take that open Duke position for myself……!’
Could there be a more beautiful conclusion?
Mock ordered his subordinates.
“Lower your bows now! Stop attacking!”
The arrows pointed at Choi Han instantly disappeared.
The Dark Elves quietly stood there while peeking toward Mock.
“Choi Han, I am being serious.”
Count Mock looked toward Choi Han with a serious and honest expression.
He truly wanted to make a deal.
Choi Han was quiet for a moment. He then raised his head and looked at the black Dragon.
The black Dragon moved away from the mana orb, came down, and put his mouth by Choi Han’s ear.
He then started to speak using magic.
– Choi Han! The human says don’t act, just repeat the words the human tells you to say!
Raon delivered Cale’s message and Choi Han finally started to speak.
“Fine. We will gather all of the representatives.”
Solena shouted but Choi Han did not show any reaction.
– Good job, Choi Han! The human said not to do anything!
Raon praised him and Alberu started to frown as he moved away from Choi Han.
“There’s nobody you can trust.”
Alberu raised his wariness toward Choi Han.
Choi Han started to speak again.
“Cale-nim said that he wishes to chat with the Vampire representative as well. He said all representatives should meet to discuss a deal.”
Solena started to frown and headed back toward the western forest.
‘Kehehe, I guess she’s going to get Naru.’
Count Mock started to sneer as he responded.
“We will call the leaders of Squads 1 and 2 as well!”
He watched Choi Han head toward the gate to the Black Castle and then turned his gaze over to informant Bob.
“How about you let me go?”
Informant Bob moved his hand.
The spear of light disappeared and Mock landed on the ground.
“I will not release the chains.”
However, he did not release the chains.
Mock started to frown but internally, he was at least happy to be back on the ground. He then raised his voice.
“Squad 1 and 2 leaders, come on out! We are making a deal!”
There was movement in the eastern and northern parts of the forest.
It was the sign that Squads 1 and 2 which were hiding and waiting were starting to move.
Squad 1’s leader Andrei and Squad 2’s leader should come out soon.
‘One is a sword master while the other is a talented assassin.’
Mock’s eyes had a wicked glare to them.
‘If the negotiation goes bad, then I’ll use the two of them to capture Cale Henituse.’
He would take Cale Henituse hostage while everybody had their guards down.
A clear plan started to form in Mock’s mind.
The Black Castle’s gate started to open wider than before.
He continued to hear footsteps coming through the forest.
Mock could feel his plan slowly starting to become completed.
‘I will turn this around.’
He would definitely flip this situation around.
Mock confirmed these thoughts as he relaxed his tense shoulders.
“I guess I have to come out since they asked for all representatives.”
It was at that moment.
Mock who was starting to relax had to question his ears.
Mock looked to the west after hearing footsteps.
He could see the person walking out of the western forest.
It was the person who represented Squad 3 and the Vampires.
This person should have been Naru Von Ejellan, but…
“Why, why is Duke Fredo-?”
“What’s wrong? Is there a reason I can’t come out?”
Fredo was walking forward while wearing armor.
Choi Han started to walk back out of the castle as well.
Mock heard some suppressed groans.
Mock did not dare to look toward Choi Han. He felt chills on his back. He felt as if there were goosebumps all over his body.
“My apologies, sir! Ugh!”
However, he had to turn after hearing someone calling out to him.
“Squad 1 and 2 leaders are here.”
However, what he saw were the two squad leaders who were bound and carried out by Choi Han.
Their titles of sword master and assassin seemed laughable right now.
If they were here, then what were the noises he heard coming from the east and north?
Mock looked toward the north and east.
“Hohoho. I guess I will come out as the representative since I am a resident here as well.”
“Do you think I’m a representative too?”
Gashan walked out of the northern part while laughing out loud. As for the east side… Lock walked out while scratching his head with an embarrassed expression.
Mock felt as if all of blood was draining from his body.
However, the most important representative had not come out yet.
“The last representative is coming out.”
Mock started to think about Cale Henituse after Choi Han said that.
However, he heard an unfamiliar voice instead.
“You dare to set your eyes on our house?”
Mock turned after hearing a woman’s voice.
He looked toward the Black Castle… And saw a white-haired woman flying up above it.
“How laughable that you tried to destroy my home.”
Lord Sheritt landed on the highest spot on the Black Castle and opened her arms.
“A deal? I do not negotiate with the enemies. I only destroy those who try to attack me.”
Hundreds of white shields started to appear in the air.
Mock’s face turned pale.
“W, where is C, Cale Henituse?”
He subconsciously turned toward Choi Han.
But someone else answered his question.
Fredo started to laugh as he recalled what happened a few moments ago.
‘I’m heading out then.’
‘Goodbye, my son.’
Fredo continued to speak while looking at the confused Count Mock.
“He went to our house.”
* * *
“The preparations are completed, young master-nim.”
“Solena, isn’t it confusing to call me that when I don’t look like Naru anymore?”
“I guess I just got used to calling you young master-nim, Cale-nim.”
Cale nodded at Solena and looked out the window.
He could see the vibrant Endable Kingdom’s capital excited for the festival.
“Eruhaben, shall we go?”
“Miss Rosalyn, you too.”
Eruhaben and Rosalyn covered their faces with their hoods and walked up next to Cale.
The video communication device in Cale’s hand started to glow and then he heard someone’s voice.
– All preparations are completed.
Cale motioned to Rosalyn with his eyes and Rosalyn walked up to Cale in order to turn the video communication device off.
Cale observed the screen as she did that.
‘This should be enough.’
He saw Bud, numerous mercenaries, and his friends who were at the Molden Kingdom through the screen.
“See you guys soon.”
The call ended after Cale said that.
“Let’s go out.”
Solena opened Fredo’s bedroom door once Cale said that.
Operation Hunt’s second step had started.