Cale got off the carriage once they got to Harris Village, the village closest to the Forest of Darkness. His thoughts once he got there were simple.
It had been a little longer than two months, but Harris Village was still dark. Cale looked down toward his feet to see that there were still black ashes on the ground.
He then looked back forward and heard the Vice Captain’s bitter voice.
“Everything burned down.”
Cale turned around to look at Vice Captain Hilsman.
“Where did they say the graves were?”
“I will go find out.”
It had been a while since Cale had seen Vice Captain Hilsman being so calm, but it wasn’t Hilsman’s fault.
A large stone wall. Harris Village, The village located outside of that wall heading into the Forest of Darkness, was no more. All that was left was the crumbling ruins of houses and dark ashes that served as signs that something once existed in this location.
“I feel a strong sensation of fire here.”
“You can feel something like that?”
“I am from a tribe of the sea after all.”
Witira lightly smiled and responded, but then she seemed to get emotional. However, Cale did not have time to pay attention to her. He headed over to the Wolf children who did not seem to be able to get off the carriage.
The eldest Wolf, Maes, was stiff after seeing the remains of the village in front of him. Cale was pretty sure that they were currently thinking of their hometown.
“Do you know why I brought all of you here?”
Maes could not answer Cale’s question. Cale had not told him why he brought all of them here. It was a small group such that even deputy butler Hans and Beacrox were not here, but they were included.
Maes looked toward Cale with uncertainty. The young master that Lock told them to serve leisurely started to speak with his arms crossed.
“A lot of money is about to fall into my hands.”
The sudden talk about money confused Maes and the Wolf children. Cale just continued to speak without care. The Magic Tower and the Queen of the Jungle. He would have a ton of money after these two interactions. He was also going to bring the rights to a peaceful sea route to his territory.
“And I plan on using some of that money to rebuild this village.”
The term, ‘village,’ caught the children’s attention.
“I also plan on building a villa here for all of you, me, and the rest of the group to play together.”
“…I heard the Forest of Darkness is dangerous.”
“Are you being serious?”
Cale questioned Maes and looked around. On and Hong were getting off the carriage and the Black Dragon was probably flying around somewhere. The Whale siblings were approaching a well that was covered in ashes.
“Will they be stronger than all of you when you grow up?”
The blunt question reached the Wolf children’s ears.
“I promised Lock that I would take good care of all of you. That means I also have to provide a place for you to live like the Wolves you are.”
The moment a smile that seemed to say that it was not hard to accomplish at all appeared on Cale’s face, a cold wind passed by them. Once some of the black ashes flew away with the wind, Cale’s voice once again filled the void.
“I will create that place for you. I will help you grow and develop into great Wolves before Lock gets back.”
Cale looked toward Maes and the Wolf children and started to frown.
Cale was not satisfied with the children’s answer and started to walk away. Maes looked toward Cale, who was walking toward the wall, before turning around. His younger siblings were all looking at him.
Maes started to speak.
“…Let’s all grow strong.”
Maes then looked around the village. He was thinking about how this black village would one day become a warm place like the hometown in his mind. Maes could feel that his siblings were feeling the same way, even though they did not say anything.
They were all Wolves.
Cale did not know about the Wolves’ determinations as he tapped on the Stone Wall.
“It’s quite thick.”
Cale turned his head to see the only gate on the wall. This Stone Gate was the only access point to the Forest of Darkness. Of course, Choi Han did not use this gate when he first arrived at Harris Village. He jumped over the approximately 10-meter tall wall to enter.
“Is the Forest of Darkness past this wall?”
Cale peeked over to Witira, who had approached him. Her blue hair and pupils were both dyed brown with magic, and her face was also magically changed to an average face. However, her voice was still just as beautiful.
“I can’t see past the wall, but it should be pretty unique seeing as how it is one of the Forbidden Regions, right? I wonder if the wall is strong.”
Witira smiled as she lightly pressed onto the wall with her index finger. However, that finger stabbed right into the wall.
Witira awkwardly started to laugh.
‘Whales really are a scary race.’
Cale pretended not to see and turned away. These two long-haired siblings were still not used to controlling their strength on land. Cale quickly changed the topic.
“Hmm? What is?”
“Past the wall. You said it probably looks unique.”
Witira let out a small gasp and Cale just shrugged his shoulders. He turned away from the wall as he continued to speak.
“The Forest of Darkness is a regular forest, just like any other.”
Cale saw that Witira had quickly approached him and was walking at the same pace as him and continued.
“But the thing inside of it is different.”
Nobody knew the reason why, but the Forest of Darkness often had mutated plants and monsters. It was easy to tell the mutated monsters apart because they looked different, but it was more difficult for the plants. Although they might look similar, a mutated version of an herb used for healing could end up being poisonous.
‘And there are also monsters that are generally found in the Eastern Continent as well.’
That was why it was one of the Forbidden Regions. It was the one place on this continent that they could find traces of the Eastern Continent.
Cale nodded toward Vice Captain Hilsman, who had called out to him, before turning back to speak to Witira.
“Please take care of the children.”
“Of course. There are quite a lot of young Beast people.”
Witira quietly watched Cale who sighed with an annoyed expression at her statement. Cale then turned around and headed toward Hilsman.
Cale only had Hilsman with him as they headed to a certain location.
“Here it is.”
Many graves were located here. This was where Choi Han had buried all of the villagers of the Harris Village.
Hilsman moved away from Cale and went to stand with the soldiers before looking toward Cale. The fact that Cale Henituse came to this village was surprising, but the fact that he looked for the graves as soon as he got off the carriage was even more surprising.
The Vice Captain had moved away to give Cale some alone time. Of course, Cale didn’t even realize or care about the Vice Captain’s action and just started to talk to himself.
“…The fact that he didn’t go crazy is amazing.”
The fact that Choi Han remained sane after this incident was amazing.
Choi Han seemed to have put a lot of effort into these graves, but they were mostly just made with dirt. In addition, they did not have any gravestones, instead they just had their names written on flat pieces of rock. Cale counted the number of graves.
Choi Han had personally buried all of the bodies underneath the graves.
Cale had an interesting thought every so often. The reason behind the death of the Harris Village villagers that had remained a mystery in the novel. The novel made it sound like it was done for the main character to develop. But was that really it?
‘I feel like there is more to it.’
He kept having this feeling that there was more to the story these days. The reason was simple.
The Forest of Darkness, mermaids, and the destruction of Harris Village.
These three things gave Cale a scenario. However, this was a problem he would tell Lock to share with Choi Han or, if Choi Han ended up coming back with Lock, he would pass it off to Choi Han himself.
Harris Village was not Cale’s problem but Choi Han’s problem.
“Yes, young master.”
So all Cale did was what he needed to do as a member of the Henituse family.
“Tell them to give them proper graves in the future. This is too shabby.”
Cale patted Hilsman, who responded more energetically than usual, on the shoulder before looking toward the soldiers. The soldiers slowly moved back and Cale kept his hand on Hilsman’s shoulder and whispered.
“You know what to do?”
All sorts of emotions appeared on Hilsman’s face as he recalled what had happened two nights ago. They were camping out in the when Cale called him over to his tent.
‘I will be going into the Forest of Darkness.’
‘What? Why would someone in recovery go somewhere so dangerous? The perpetrators will not be in there. Do you have to do so much for Choi Han-.’
The small Black Dragon appeared while Hilsman was talking. He was extremely surprised when it had happened. But that was not the end.
The kittens meowed before turning into people. They were Beast people. Furthermore, the Vice Captain felt chills for the first time in his life after seeing the woman pull out a long water whip and the man holding a sword with a whirlpool at its end.
At the center of all of these strong monsters was Cale, who had a relaxed smile on his face. The fact that Cale seemed so normal around them made Hilsman even more shocked.
Hilsman had made up his mind in the last two days. Although he was someone whose only goal was to become captain, he still wasn’t an idiot.
“Yes, I got it, young master-nim.”
Cale turned away without any other issues from Hilsman. Hilsman followed right behind Cale, who continued to speak.
“I trust you.”
That made Hilsman clench his fists. He had thought that it would be enough if he could make it to the Captain position in the Henituse Knights’ brigade. However, his mentality had changes in the last two days. He shared his thoughts with Cale.
“Young master-nim, I will get stronger.”
“Do whatever you want.”
Cale answered disinterestedly, only feeling relieved that it sounded like Hilsman would take care of the headaches.
That was why there were no guards by where Cale was standing in the middle of the night. The Vice-Captain had changed the patrol areas. Cale touched his magic bag while standing in front of the Stone Wall and started to speak.
“There are two swamps in the Forest of Darkness.”
This large forest only had two swamps. Cale leisurely continued to speak after making eye contact with Paseton.
“One is where monsters live and the other is where nothing can live.”
He then asked Paseton.
“Paseton, you said it looked like the mermaids’ poison got stronger. So then which one do you think it will be?”
Paseton nervously answered.
“I think it is the one where nothing can live.”
“Correct. There is a high chance it will be that one. That is why we will be heading there first.”
They could head for the one with the monsters if the first one was not correct. That was actually easier location-wise as well.
At that moment, Witira, who had been quietly standing there, looked to Cale’s sides with concern. She then hesitated for a bit before finally asking the question.
“Won’t it be dangerous for the children?”
On and Hong were dangling on Cale’s sides.
“Young master Cale, you said that the Forest of Darkness is dangerous. And if it is a swamp where nothing can live, it is definitely either that there is poison everywhere or that the swamp itself is dangerous.”
Witira felt something was odd as she continued to speak. The Cat Tribe’s silver kitten On’s tail was happily wagging.
“A dangerous place like that is our specialty. But more importantly, he said we will not get hurt.”
The Cat Tribe was cautious and talented in searches. Witira looked up at Cale because On’s response was not what she had expected. Her eyes then turned wide.
It was because Cale was smirking and the other Cat Tribe child, the red kitten, was also smiling. Both of their smiles seemed villainous. Hong seemed to be very excited as he started to speak.
“I’m going to get stronger today. It’ll be fine!”
It was time to improve the poisonous fog.
A safe encounter for the children, who wanted to get stronger, and Cale, who wanted safety and peace, had arrived. Cale started to speak to Witira.
“It is a great opportunity.”
A poison fog strong enough to impact even the Whale tribe might be completed here if they were lucky.