Zich and his companions traveled in their usual manner. In the name of training, they completely gave up on a civilized lifestyle and did kind acts in the villages they occasionally visited. It was an arduous journey, but Hans and Snoc were fired up with passion.
‘They are so simple.’
Zich clicked his tongue while watching them. The reason for their excitement was because Zich had told them their destination. As they got closer to their destination, they climbed a mountain and began to walk on the main road. On the road, there were many people: pedestrians walking with loads while depending on their staffs, a slow-moving wagon filled to the brim with people, and a heavily decorated, shiny carriage that occupied the middle of the road. They walked the same route that all different types of people walked. And under the blue sky, enormous walls appeared into view. The walls faithfully protected the city, but for some reason, they appeared more welcoming and friendly compared to other city walls.
“Look! We’ve arrived, Nowem!” Snoc held Nowem above his head and showed Nowem the castle walls. Nowem answered back with a ‘Koo!’ and Hans’ eyes sparkled.
“That place is…”
“Yeah, that’s right.”
Zich’s eyes rested on the castle’s entrance. “It’s Violuwin.”
Violuwin was the name of the city in front of them. It wasn’t the capital city of a country, nor was it a city where an immense amount of money and supplies passed through. It was neither a place with a rich granary so that it could support a big population, or a city situated in a strategic location. Yet, this city was famous in the whole world for one thing: tourism.
“Like I promised…” As soon as Zich spoke, Hans and Snoc stared at him. They reminded Zich of baby chicks looking at their mother’s mouth for food. “…We will rest here for a while.”
Hans and Snoc rejoiced at the news. They had endured Zich’s harsh training during this journey for this dream-like break. Violuwin was so world-renowned that even Hans and Snoc who had resided in their homes or the mines their entire lives knew of it. It was a tourist destination that everyone wanted to visit at least once in their lifetime, and they couldn’t have been happier to be here.
They went inside the city. Because the city was bustling with tourists, there was a long line from the castle’s entrance, and it took them a long time to get inside. However, as soon as they stepped inside, Hans and Snoc realized that the place was completely worth the wait. A well-maintained expressway stretched out in a straight line, and houses made from Violuwin’s characteristic white stones lined both sides. And from a distance, they could see fountains shooting out water. They had only passed through the city's entrance, but it was a sight that they had never seen before. Hans and Snoc’s mouths naturally hung open.
Both of their heads shot forward, and Snoc even rammed Nowem with his forehead. Nowem let out a cry: ‘Koo!’
“Move faster, idiots.” As Hans and Snoc disrupted the flow of the road by standing still in their spots, Zich struck the back of their heads and walked forward.
Regardless of how much stronger they got, they could never get used to Zich’s classic strike to the back of their heads. They couldn’t even sense any presence as if they were attacked by a ghost, and it felt as if Zich was an entity they couldn’t catch no matter how much they followed him.
However, when they saw a gigantic building in front of them, all thoughts disappeared from their minds. The lodging that Joachim had reserved for them didn’t falter behind this building, but this place gave off a special atmosphere as housing for tourists. Zich paid for three rooms. It cost him a large sum of money, but he recently received more than enough gold coins from the Karuwimans for helping them destroy the Bellid’s northern base. Of course, if he used money recklessly without a second thought, he would run out no matter how big his wallet was. But Zich didn’t plan to stay for that long.
Zich called Hans and Snoc. Then, he said as their eyes sparkled, “Five days.”
Zich stretched out his five fingers. “I’ll give you free time for five days. Play however you like until then.”
Hans squeezed his fist, and Snoc hugged Nowem tightly. Their short break had begun.
* * *
Hans and Snoc disappeared like the wind. It seemed as if they were using all the skills they had learned from Zich’s training to run out.
‘Should I go too?’
Zich went out of his room to tour the place, and while he was at it, he scouted the area and explored the city’s structures. His two servants who left ahead of him moved so fast that Zich already couldn’t see them anymore.
Recalling his pre-regression memories, Zich strolled around the city. As expected of a famous tourist site, there were many sights to see. On one side of the street, a wandering poet sang, and on the other side, flowers bloomed spectacularly in a flower field. When he walked a bit farther, he saw a wide river running right through the city. There were bridges in different spots of the river, and the stones on these structures faded in color stylishly. On top of them, the various expressions on the pedestrians’ faces were colorful as they enjoyed the beauty around them.
‘Was this place always like this?’
Zich had come to this city once to get Tornium, but at that time, he didn’t even think about going around to sightsee. He had simply heard that a demon sword called Tornium existed in the city and focused all his attention on obtaining it.
‘Didn’t I make a ruckus at that time too?’
If he thought about how obsessed he was about gaining power during that period, it probably didn’t end with a small commotion.
‘Now that I think about it, it’s a bit regretful.’
Even Zich with his horrible temperament and personality had an eye for beauty. But his past self had no interest in a place’s beauty and was only vaguely aware that this place was a tourist city.
‘I couldn’t afford to.’
And by the time he gained enough strength to afford this privilege, he was fighting the whole world.
He crossed the bridge and arrived at a commercial district. In addition to selling necessary commodities sold in all other cities, shops and carts were also selling tourist packages on sale. When they walked a little further, the smell of delicious food wafted in front of them. Various shops selling all kinds of food lined the street.
‘Should I buy something to eat?’ Zich took out some spare change from his money bag. While moving the coins around his bag and thinking about which food looked tastier, Zich stopped his feet. His attention shifted towards one area. It was an ordinary skewer shop. Unknown pieces of meat were being cooked on a flaming fire, and the smoke and smell coming from the meat grabbed people’s attention.
However, it was not the food that grabbed Zich’s attention. It was the person who stood in front of the skewer shop. In this bright and vibrant city, under the clear blue sky without a cloud in sight, a person covered head to toe in a dark robe stood in front of a skewer shop; they looked extremely suspicious. Because of the robe, a long shadow covered the person’s face, but it was obvious to anyone that the person was looking at the skewer shop. The owner of the skewer shop kept glancing at the robed person with concern.
‘How can there be a coincidence like this?’
Zich smirked. He thought about taking out the sword inside his magic box, but he changed his mind. He slowly walked towards the robed person.
The robed person quickly turned around and stared at Zich. After discovering Zich, the person flinched and took a step back.
“Hey, it’s been a while.” Zich smiled brightly and waved his hand. If either Hans or Snoc saw this smile, they would have immediately become suspicious and tried to run away as far as possible. “What are you doing here? Ah, since we are in a tourist city, I guess that should be self-explanatory.”
Zich talked as if he was talking to an old friend, and he saw that the robed person was now puzzled. However, Zich was calm. He turned his head towards the skewered shop. The owner of the skewered shop, who had stared at the robed person with suspicion, went back to cooking their meat. The owner seemed to have assumed that the robed person was waiting for Zich to order.
“Do you want to eat it?”
There was no reply, but Zich walked towards the skewer shop. “Please give us two.”
“Yes!” The shop owner handed Zich two well-cooked meat skewers. After Zich handed the owner some money, he turned towards the robed person.
“Here!” Zich put out one skewer towards the robed person.
And he put the other one in his mouth. The juices of the meat burst out inside his mouth as he bit on it. The meat wasn’t of high quality. Even though Violuwin was a massive tourist city, one couldn’t expect much from a random store on the street. However, the owner was skilled as the meat was well cooked and there was hardly any smell coming off it.
“This is better than I thought. But are you not going to eat it?”
The robed person did not even glance once at the skewered meat and stared at Zich instead. It was obvious to anyone that the robed person was completely confused.
“…What are you doing?”
The voice beneath the robe was a woman’s. Contrary to her suspicious appearance, her voice was extremely lovely. “You know who I am, right?”
“Did you forget what happened between us?”
“That we loved each other passionately?”
The robed woman closed her lips firmly. Anyone could see that she was annoyed.
Zich raised his hands high up. “Hey, hey! Calm down. I’m just making a light-hearted joke.”
“…Just tell me what you want from me.”
“I already told you.” Zich pushed the skewered meat towards her again. “Let’s go on a date.”
She tilted her head. The robe fell down a bit and some of her silver hair glistened in the light. Under the shade, her red eyes came into view for a bit and disappeared. But a moment was enough.
‘Damn, she’s fucking beautiful.’ Even though Zich had seen a lot of beauties in his life, she was the most beautiful person he had seen by far. She was the magician who killed Ms. Bargot at Ospurin and ran away right after.
“As I told you last time, I will take care of all the costs and find the location of where our date will take place. I will definitely do a good job escorting you around. You just have to enjoy it.”
“You want me to believe that?”
“I’m really telling the truth. I just want to have a date with a beautiful woman. And if we think about it, there’s no reason for us to fight. The Bargot monster you killed was also my enemy, and your infiltration into the Ospurin estate has nothing to do with me here.”
“What’s the real reason?”
“I’m curious about a lot of things about you.”
“…I don’t have anything I want to tell you.”
“Yeah, I expected you might say that. You don’t have to tell me anything. I will find out what I want by looking at your actions or guiding your words to get the answer I want.”
She looked at him as if he was being ridiculous, but Zich shamelessly held his chin up. “I’m good at things like that.”
“…And you think I will accept your request if you say things like that?”
“I don’t know. No matter how great I am, I can’t perfectly read people’s hearts, especially a stranger like you. However, there’s just one thing I definitely know about you.” Zich pushed the skewered meat closer to her. “I know that you really want to eat this skewered meat.”
“I’m not joking. It really tastes good. It’s well cooked and seasoned with salt. It also doesn’t smell much.”
Seeing her hesitation, Zich added another sentence. “It’s not going to be good if it gets cold.”
She snatched the skewered meat from his hands. But even then, she stood for a while, thinking, and then she carefully bit the end of the meat.
“…Wow.” After letting out a sound of amazement, she quickly gulped down the food. As expected, she really wanted to eat the skewered meat.
When she was on her last meat piece, Zich asked her, “Can I accept this as a yes to the date?”
The robed woman, who was quickly finishing the skewered meat, suddenly stopped. However, she nodded her head and then focused on eating. Zich waited for her to finish, and it did not take her long to finish.
“Then tell me your name. Shouldn’t I at least know your name if we are going on a date? Even though you already know, I just want to tell you again that my name is Zich.”
“…Lyla. It’s Lyla.”Previous Chapter Next Chapter