They were taking the bait.
All of the members of Litana’s group had odd expressions on their faces while they were watching Cale, who slowly walked to a corner of the cave and sat down.
“Thank you for giving me a place to stay tonight.”
It was a gentle and respectful tone. Naturally, Cale was the one who said it.
Litana shook her head at the average looking red-haired man.
“It is only normal between travelers. You seem to be cold from the rain, so please rest by the fire.”
However, her subordinates remained wary of him. Even if he looked shabby from the rain, he was still a stranger.
– What rain! He wasn’t hit by rain at all! I did it with warm water!
Raon was complaining about what Litana said.
Cale had ripped his raincoat nearby the cave while Raon used warm water and temperature maintaining magic on him before he moved toward the cave.
Cale patted On’s back for acting her part well.
On seemed to be anxious as she looked up at Cale.
Litana was looking at the two of them with a stealthily sharp gaze.
‘He doesn’t seem like a normal person.’
Litana didn’t sense it when her subordinate had pointed his spear at Cale earlier, but taking another look at Cale, the person in front of her had a different feel than a traveler or adventurer.
He seemed healthy, but his posture and walk made it clear that he had not practice any sort of martial arts. However, he did not seem like he was a mage nor any other type of strong individual either.
Her intuition was spot on.
– You seem as strong as the tip of my claw again.
Cale’s body was surrounded by the Dominating Aura right now.
While Litana was observing Cale, Cale was also observing Litana through the corner of his eye.
The people of the Southern Jungle, otherwise known as the Southerners, were known for their bronze skin and firm physique. Having a natural location like the jungle as their home, they were very close to nature.
Close to nature.
That closeness to nature developed into a very different culture when comparing the Whipper Kingdom’s citizens and the Southerners of the Jungle.
While the Whipper Kingdom developed a sense of, ‘survival of the fittest,’ and, ‘struggle,’ the Southerners developed a sense of, ‘win-win,’ and, ‘leader and followers.’
An awkward silence filled the cave. The voice that broke the silence was Cale’s casual voice.
“The rain seems to be getting stronger. We should leave the forest tomorrow, right, On?”
The expression on the man’s face as he gently spoke to the kitten was as warm as the fire. However, On was looking at him with disbelief.
– …Why are you acting like this?
Raon was confused as well.
Litana and her subordinates all looked toward Cale with stiff expressions. Litana was able to make a guess based on what the man had just said.
“You can just call me Cale.”
“Yes, Mr. Cale.”
Litana could see that the man had a magic bag on him, but did not have a sword or anything else, as if he had just come into the forest for a stroll. He also seemed to know his way around.
He had an odd atmosphere around him.
She suddenly thought of something.
‘…Is he a dragon?’
She recalled the legend about the dragon that would grant your wish. The legend did not say anything about the dragon’s appearance nor how it showed up. Litana knew her thoughts were probably wrong, but she could not help but become full of anticipation.
It was at that moment. Litana made eye contact with this man named Cale and could see him start to smile.
“I am not a dragon.”
She flinched as she let out a gasp. She could see Cale brushing back his wet red hair that had fallen onto his face.
“However, I do know the way in here.”
Litana and her subordinates, who had no issues around the complicated and irrational Jungle, were lost in this forest. However, this man in front of them knew the way in here?
Seeing Litana’s confusion on her face, Cale started to smile and answered back.
“This child is from the Cat tribe.”
Cale petted On with a gentle gaze that seemed to fit the gaze of a saint.
“I happened to run into this child in the slums on a rainy day like this in the past.”
He looked out the past. He seemed to be nostalgic about the day they had met. On recalled that day as well and knew that it was not such a nostalgic moment. However, she kept her mouth shut and her tail started to shake with uncertainty.
“This child, On, can control the fog.”
“What a rare power.”
Litana thought about the fog covering Oorim and let out her admiration.
“It is. I learned about this place while traveling out from my territory. I read in an ancient text that this place was controlled by the fog.”
Litana turned her gaze from On to look back at Cale. She sensed elegance in his actions and tone the longer she spent with him. He was definitely at least a noble.
“That was why I headed to this place with this child.”
Cale’s eyes started to sparkle by the fire. Litana and her subordinates could see it as well. Cale’s calm yet passionate voice filled the cave.
“We came here because we thought that we could use our power to give hope to the people who lost their way, as well as their family members who are desperately waiting for them.”
– …That wasn’t it.
Raon was mumbling to himself while On was just quietly wagging her tail.
Cale had a tiny smile on his face after seeing Litana’s gaze starting to change.
“Thankfully, I was right. We were able to see the path once On controlled the fog.”
He quickly explained the secret of the fog. He explained how it could make someone hallucinate and cause mana disturbance as well.
Litana couldn’t hide the bitterness in her heart.
“The legend… it probably does not exist.”
If it was fog and mana disturbance, the legend about the dragon causing this was definitely a lie. Disappointment filled Litana and her subordinates’ faces. However, at the same time, Litana thought it may be for the better.
It was a much better situation now than when she was debating whether she had to set this forest on fire.
“Then is it possible for us to ask you to guide us to the exit when you are leaving tomorrow?”
“Of course. We have to help each other in times of need.”
Litana’s gaze became more gentle and warm toward Cale. He was as good of a person as he looked. She probably felt that odd aura around him because he was such a good person.
Cale then had a disappointed look on his face as he looked toward him.
“I’m sorry. I’m sure you had a desperate wish as well.”
“That is okay. There is nothing I can do about it. I am just glad that I do not need to set the forest on fire.”
Fire. That word made Cale’s eyes sparkle for a moment before it quickly disappeared.
“Fire. It is a very scary word. I can feel how much struggle you must have faced since you are a Southerner who treasures nature.”
“Do you know about the south?”
“Not much, but I have read about it in books. I enjoy traveling and love beautiful sights.”
– Hoh, I see I see, weak human.
Cale felt the chills after hearing Raon’s response but continued to speak as brightly as possible.
“I read about how beautiful the Jungle’s mountains, lake and everything else is. Now that we will be able to get out of this Oorim, I plan to visit there in the future.”
Litana was full of disappointment, bitterness and sorriness. She could not lie or feign ignorance to this person who was looking forward to the beautiful scenery of the Jungle.
Her subordinates’ faces turned gloomy as well.
“Unfortunately, the Jungle you will see once you get out of this Oorim will not be beautiful.”
“…What do you mean?”
The Jungle was about a day’s worth of travel from Oorim. It was quite wide as it took up the majority of the south. However, why would Litana have come to this Oorim?
It was because it was close to the location of fire.
“There is a fire in the Jungle?”
“What? Then shouldn’t you put it out right away?”
“… It is a fire that doesn’t spread but also one we cannot put out.”
Seeing Cale’s chaotic gaze, Litana started to explain about the fire in the jungle.
“One day, Section 1 of the Jungle, oh, the section of the jungle by this Oorim is Section 1, a sudden fire started there. Water, magic, incantations, nothing seemed to work on it. We were very worried, but it just remained in Section 1 without spreading elsewhere.”
She started to mumble with a bitter expression.
“I’m not sure whether that is good or bad.”
It was an odd fire.
However, Cale knew the identity of this fire.
A fire that could not be put out through magic or incantations.
The answer was alchemy.
Alchemy was more scientific than magic. There was an Empire that was very developed in Alchemy and nothing else.
The Mogoru Empire.
The Empire with the Alchemists’ Bell Tower was the one who caused this fire.
‘To be more accurate, it is the imperial prince of the Mogoru Empire.’
The imperial prince who was worried about Litana who managed to unify the fifteen sections of the Jungle had stealthily caused this fire.
However, no secrets could remain secrets forever. By the end of volume 4, Litana, who caused a fire in Oorim to escape finds out that the imperial prince is responsible for the Jungle’s fire and partners with Toonka, even though his philosophy of ‘survival of the fittest’ was not a match with theirs, to take on the Mogoru Empire.
The Queen who rides a Black Panther instead of a horse led her warriors to protect the Jungle.
‘But that isn’t my problem.’
Cale did not want to take part in that at all. He was just going to take care of the fire and get paid for it, before taking care of a few other things and returning to the Henituse territory.
It was because he did not want to see the imperial prince of the Mogoru Empire.
‘He’s not a good person.’
Crown prince Alberu and the Empire’s imperial prince were similar people. That was why Cale could consider him to be a peer, but it was a bit different.
Crown prince Alberu cared about justice. That was why it was easy for Cale to talk to and put him to use.
However, the Imperial Prince was not like that.
He only cared for himself.
He was also very sly and insidious.
He was similar to Cale but different. Cale pushed away his thoughts about the Imperial Prince who wanted to take control of everything at the center of the Western Continent and quickly moved the muscles of his face.
He made himself look concerned.
“Is it a big fire?”
“…I have never seen such a large fire in my life. It shoots high up into the sky whether it is day or night, making it feel like there is an explosion every day.”
“Then it is probably difficult to approach as well.”
“Yes. Neither animals nor humans can get close. Just getting close makes it feel like we will get burnt.”
“Terrible, sigh, it is very terrible.”
Litana looked toward Cale who seemed to truly feel disappointment about it and felt grateful. It was rare to find a citizen from the center of the continent who cared so much about the South or nature.
“However, we will do our best to put the fire out.”
She could see Cale who was nodding his head suddenly fall into a state of deep contemplation. However, it did not last long.
It was very short. However, his eyes seemed to be full of determination.
He brushed his face after suddenly stopping and sighing. However, he ended up looking at Litana with determination once again.
“Please take me to the fire.”
The Litana Cale knew about was someone who was weak against the weak and tried to give anything she could to the good. She also returned any wrong at ten times the pain while trying to return any grace at one thousand times what she received.
Cale had a very genuine expression on his face as he started to speak with a purposefully slightly shaky voice.
“I believe I may be able to put out the fire.”
Raon started to shout in Cale’s head.
– Weak human, what are you doing? You are very weird today! You are weak! What are you trying to do?
Cale did not care as he still had a determined expression on his face.
“I believe I will be able to put it out.”