Chapter 14: Heading Out (1)

“It doesn’t look like you are nervous.”

Cale smiled instead of responding to his father’s statement. Cale’s complexion had gotten much better in the last few days. It had no choice but to get better.

‘Since I didn’t get beaten to a pulp.’

It was raining in the Henituse territory until yesterday. If the story went as it did in the novel, Cale would have been beaten to a pulp on a rainy day. Of course, Cale was not beaten up yesterday.

He could also sleep well now. This was because he could feel the Indestructible Shield always surrounding his heart. Knowing that he could manage to survive, even if he did something wrong to someone like Ron or Beacrox, made it easier for him to sleep at night.

“Father.”

Cale looked at the breakfast spread that was fancier than ever before, as he asked.

“It looks like the number of people in the envoy has grown again. I asked you to reduce the number.”

He had asked his father to decrease the number of servants accompanying him to help with his needs. He said that Hans and Ron were enough. Of course, Hans turned pale at first, however, he started to pack right away after hearing that the kittens will be traveling with them as well.

“Ah, about that...”

For some reason, Deruth stopped his sentence without finishing. At that moment, someone else’s voice interjected itself into their conversation.

“That was my decision.”

It was the Count’s wife, Violan.

Her hair was perfectly formed in a bun, without a single stray hair, as she was looking down at her plate. She looked so similar to her son, Basen. Even the way they both did not make eye contact with Cale and had a stoic expression was the same.

“We can’t have someone from our family looking poor and terrible just because you want to go with such a small envoy.”

It was an extremely stoic voice. Violan then lifted up her gaze to look in Cale’s direction before continuing on.

“… I am not saying you are terrible.”

“Even I know that much.”

Violan hesitated for a moment after hearing Cale’s response, before taking another bite of her food and continuing to speak.

“People, especially nobles, care a lot about appearances.”

The Countess Violan. Cale quietly watched her.

She was born as the eldest daughter of a poor artist’s family, and had dreamt about being the head of a merchant guild when she grew up. She was influenced by the luxury items being sold to the nobles and came to the Henituse territory. Once she got here, she fell in love with the art of sculpting.

Eventually, she met Count Deruth and fell in love, living as the director for the territory’s cultural business operations.

In Cale, no, Kim Rok Soo’s opinion, she had a lot of pride for herself and her life, which was why she had a lot of pride for this family as well.

Even though she knew that Cale was silently observing her, she continued on without a single change in her expression.

“Art is not for those human tras- mm.” (PR: Cut off without the, 'h,' on purpose)

She was a bit of a coarse speaker because she worked in the merchant world for a while.

“Anyways, there are a lot of people who think that appearances reveal everything about a person.”

That was her way of telling Cale to take a lot of servants with him. Her goal was for Cale to not be judged negatively just because he only took a few servants with him.

Naturally, Cale wanted to take a lot of people to do his biddings for him as well.

‘How nice and relaxing would it be?’

He was finding it difficult to get changed without a servant now. Kim Rok Soo had been in this world as Cale for only about a week, but he already could not let go of that easy life.

However, a few days into Cale’s future was a crazy Black Dragon.

If he cannot release this crazy dragon in advance, it might go wild and kill a lot of people. Although Cale didn’t care about what happened to other people, he still did not want to see people dying in front of his eyes.

Furthermore, he also didn’t want to take responsibility for those people who will be injured because of the dragon.

Responsibility was a heavy burden, and for someone like Kim Rok Soo, who had taken responsibility for his own life since he was a young boy, he knew that responsibility related to people and people’s lives was the scariest and heaviest burden.

That was why he started to speak.

“Art is the mirror of the soul.”

Violan lifted her gaze off of her plate and looked toward Cale. This was the first time in a long while that the two of them had made eye contact with each other.

“…You do know about that.”

“Yes. I do know.”

Cale had roamed around the entire territory the last four days to prepare the things he needed on this trip. He just recited one of the things he saw on one of those trips.

“Sculpting is not just cutting into a chunk of marble. It is creating a reflection of what is in your heart.”

This time, it was Cale who looked at his plate and continued to eat while Violan was watching him.

“I read that on the plaque at the Gallery.”

The Gallery in the Henituse territory displayed the works of new sculptors. That statement that was written on the plaque in the Gallery was something that Violan had personally written.

“…Do as you wish. I will reduce the number of people going with you, but, in return, the carriage and everything in it shall be of the highest quality. That is how it should be for us Henituse people.”

“That is fine with me. Please give me the most expensive stuff.”

“Great. I will make sure you have a carriage that won’t even hurt your butt as you travel across bumpy roads.”

“Only the best.”

Cale could not see it because he was looking at his plate, but there was a slight smile on Violan’s face before it disappeared. Count Deruth, who had been watching this from the start, let out a fake cough to cover up his slowly rising smile and asked Cale.

“Did you verify the information from Hans regarding the personalities of all the nobles who will be going to the capital?”

Deruth had used his own network, as well as the information guild to purchase information on the other nobles, and had handed it to Hans to give to Cale.

“Yes. It was pretty entertaining.”

It was probably difficult to purchase that file. In fact, it probably cost a fortune. Although it only had about three or four lines about each person, it was precious and expensive to purchase information on nobles.

“There are some petty ones, some stupid ones, some smart and scary ones, even some who are desperate for power. Looks like all sorts of people are coming this time.”

Of course, there were also some stupidly nice people, villains, and trash as well.

“You read the file I sent you. Ahem. Anyways, do as you please. But Cale.”

“Yes, father.”

“I heard a strange rumor.”

Cale’s shoulders flinched just ever so slightly.

“Apparently the man-eating tree, that black tree, has changed. It is now a white three with beautiful blue leaves. There are even grass growing in that spot where nothing used to grow.”

The place that had changed the most in the last four days was none other than the top of the hill in the slums. It was a location where only the black tree had resided, however, that tree turned white with blue leaves after Cale had resolved its grudge, and it was now a beautiful tree that looked almost divine.

“Isn’t it an interesting rumor?”

“It is. What an interesting rumor.”

Cale had no intentions of revealing his Ancient Power right now, so he simply pretended to have no knowledge of it.

There was no way that Count Deruth did not know about the fact that he went to the slums. However, he would not have any knowledge of the Ancient Power. He would just suspect that something happened with Cale and the man-eating tree.

“Yes, but it isn’t that big of a deal. However, you need to pay attention to rumors no matter what you do. There is nothing scarier than human eyes and mouths. However, anything that happens inside the territory is fine for members of our household.”

“I will keep that in mind.”

Cale felt like he really could live a peaceful life, as long as he remained in their territory. How great would it be to quickly come back from the capital and live the life of a couch potato?

The luxurious breakfast that was made for Cale, who was leaving for the capital, finally came to an end. He received goodbyes from the Count and Countess, who couldn’t watch him leave because they had work to do, and then made eye contact with his siblings, who were awkwardly standing there.

“What?”

His younger brother, Basen, just shook his head at Cale’s question. His younger sister, Lily, slowly approached him. 7 years old. This youngest sibling of his was 11 years apart from him.

“P, please have a safe trip.”

“Thanks. You be safe here too.”

Lily vigorously nodded her head.

“Yes!”

She then quietly looked at Cale. Cale just casually asked in response to her gaze.

“Should I buy you a present while on my trip?”

“Really?”

‘As I thought. She wanted a present.’

Cale nodded his head as he watched the surprised, amazed, and happy expression all taking turns showing up on Lily’s face.

“Yes. What would you like?”

“A sword.”

“…What?”

“Please buy me a sword.”

‘A 7-year-old wants a sword?’

Seeing the shock on Cale’s face, Basen started to speak.

“Hyung-nim, Lily’s dream these days is to become a swordsman.”

“Is that so?”

Cale seriously looked toward Lily. The people of this household all had long arms, long legs, and a good physique. Lily was only 7 years old, but she was tall for her age and could easily become a good swordsman if she put in the effort.

“I guess it would suit her.”

Lily’s eyes started to sparkle.

“I will buy you an expensive one.”

Lily started to smile as she lowered her head in embarrassment instead of responding. Cale did not see this, as he looked toward his 15-year-old younger brother, who was looking at him.

“You want something too?”

“A fountain pen.”

“Got it.”

The breakfast came to an end once he got the list of presents from his siblings.

***

Cale’s expression was odd as he stood in front of the carriage that would take him to the capital.

‘How odd.’

He had an odd expression as he asked the person standing next to him.

“Why is it that their seat is better than my seat?”

Cale was looking at the expensive and soft cushion next to him, as well as the two kittens sitting on the cushion.

“Young master, shouldn’t our precious cats travel comfortably on this trip? They are so small and precious.”

Hans answered as he put the special treats he prepared for the cats in the carriage as well. Cale and Ron both had blank expressions on their faces.

‘It’s because he has not seen them create fog and fill it with poison.’

Cale called On and Hong to an empty corner of the garden three days ago.

‘What can you do?’

In response to his question, On created fog while in her cat form, while Hong used a bit of his blood to spread poison into the air. Of course, On was able to control the poisonous fog to prevent Cale from dying. Furthermore, the poison Hong could spread was only at the level of paralysis right now.

‘You two are quite useful.’

On and Hong proudly answered back after hearing Cale’s praise.

‘We were able to run away because of our poisonous fog!’

‘We are quite useful!’

Starting from that day, On and Hong were able to eat delicious food all day long. Naturally, Hans was happy to provide for them.

“Young master, I will be sitting with the driver up top.”

“Okay.”

Ron jumped up next to the driver, and Cale was about to board as well when Choi Han approached him.

“Cale-nim.”

Choi Han said that he did not want to call Cale young master, instead choosing to call him Cale-nim.

“What?”

“Is it okay for me to not be in the same carriage protecting you?”

Cale’s expression turned like he had eaten some bitter persimmon.

“…Is there…”

‘Is there a reason to do that?’

That was what Cale’s expression was saying, and Choi Han didn’t say anything else, instead just nodding his head. Cale started to squint his eyes while watching Choi Han walk away.

‘It’s really weird.’

Choi Han’s eyes were still not very clear. His mind still seemed to be full of anger and thoughts of revenge. When Cale mentioned yesterday that they had sent people to Harris Village, he could see the anger in Choi Han’s eyes.

But he felt a little different than before. He wasn’t in complete despair like in the novel, thinking something along the lines of, ‘The world does not want me to be happy! How could they kill all of my loved ones?!’ That was why it was weird.

‘He recovered pretty quickly.’

He seemed to be at the stage in the novel when he was traveling with Beacrox, Rosalyn, and Lock, with a sword in his heart but a calm demeanor on the outside. [1] He let it be since it wasn’t bad, but Cale had an oddly bitter feeling in his mouth. It was at that moment.

“I don’t think this is your spot.”

The leader of the envoy, the Vice Captain of the territory’s Knight Brigade, approached Choi Han and started to speak. The Vice Captain looked at Choi Han from head to toe before smirking, like he was looking down at Choi Han.

‘I knew we would have at least one person like this.’

Cale clicked his tongue.

Choi Han had hidden his abilities to that of an average level.

The problem was that Choi Han was the first person Cale brought to the Count’s Estate as a guest, and the fact that Count Deruth treated him like an important guest.

Adding on the fact that he was going as part of Cale’s guards this time made some people start to dislike and oppose him.

They didn’t annoy him visibly because he was still Cale’s guest, but there were a lot of things they were secretly doing to annoy Choi Han.

‘Young master, I do not think Choi Han-nim is getting along with the other knights who will be going with us to the capital.’

‘Is that so?’

‘Yes. I think the Vice Captain is responsible for it.’

‘I got it Hans. You can stop worrying about it.’

Cale thought about Hans’s report and felt bad, not for Choi Han, but for the Vice Captain.

‘Soon enough, he’ll realize that his eyes were not just at the ground, but completely underground.’ [2]

It’ll be fine as long as he doesn’t do anything to get beaten up.

Cale did not choose to try to resolve their issues.

The Vice Captain will not be able to sleep properly once he sees Choi Han’s real skills. How could he sleep when he is extremely scared?

“Young master, shall we leave now?”

The Vice Captain asked Cale, and Cale closed the carriage door as he answered.

“Yes. Let’s go.”

15 soldiers, 5 knights, and one special guard. Cale’s envoy, which consisted of this protection squad and then some other people, finally started to head toward the capital.

Of course, as with most fantasy world travels, it was not a very uneventful trip.

Nobody dared to touch Cale’s carriage in the Henituse territory. The carriage did not have the flag that represented the family, but the carriage itself had the Golden Turtle, the symbol of the Henituse family, drawn on it. It was representative of the Henituse family’s love for wealth and longevity.

However, as soon as they left the Henituse territory, they ran into a situation.

‘As expected, they really do show up.’

While they were rushing through a mountain range, tens of people suddenly showed up in the valley.

“Pay the toll if you want to cross this mountain!”

“Take out everything you have! If we find anything after you claim to have taken everything out, it will be 1 slap for every 1 bronze we find!”

Yes, it was the bandits.

There were bound to be bandits in a fantasy story, but the fact that there were tens of them was surprising. They probably relied on their numbers to attack this carriage, which only had 5 knights. Cale looked toward the kitten On, who was yawning and asked.

“You think they can’t see the symbol on my carriage?”

“I guess so.”

“Idiots! Beginners!”

Cale nodded his head at Hong’s assessment. He was not afraid of bandits. Why would he be?

Knock Knock.

The knocking came from the small window by the driver’s seat before the window slightly opened, and Ron looked inside.

“Young master, it looks like we will need to take a break. There seem to be quite a lot of rabbits here.”

Rabbits. Cale shook for a moment. Ron went, ‘Ah!’ before smiling and added on.

“Ah, this rabbit is different from the rabbit I was going to catch for you, young master. Of course, these rabbits will not be caught by me but by other people.”

Cale was being protected by someone who was scarier than the bandits. He listened to the sound of the bandits’ screams coming from outside the carriage, as he started to calculate the time.

“About a day and a half.”

In about a day and a half, they would arrive around the area where the Black Dragon was being tortured. It was earlier than when Choi Han arrived in the novel. This was the reason he had made them rush forward without taking any breaks.

1. Looking really calm even though he still has a strong desire for revenge internally.

2. Been really blind.

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