The crow observed the fainted rat in Choi Han’s hand. The crow on Cale’s shoulder approached the rat and thoroughly observed it.
“The Illusionist seems to control rats.”
Choi Han put the fainted rat down and picked his sword up again after hearing the certainty in Gashan's voice.
The ground underneath the entire alley was flipped over. Choi Han frowned every time he stabbed his sword into the ground. Once the sword stabbed a certain length into the ground…
‘…There’s a path!’
He felt a small underground path that small animals such as rats would be able to cross. Choi Han quickly flipped the ground over. He then raised his senses to become as sensitive as possible.
He then heard a quiet noise. Choi Han turned his head. Somewhere in the dark alley… A shaded spot in the corner of the wall that even Choi Han who was hiding there had ignored…
Squeeak, squeak, squeak!
Choi Han made eye contact with a rat that started to run away. He looked around at the ground, the alley, on top of the wall, and then across the Dubori territory.
‘…We're on top of the White Star's palm!’
He had no idea where else those small rats might be hiding. He had no way of knowing where they might be hiding and observing them.
‘Since when…since when were we being observed?’
Choi Han got goosebumps on his back.
Had they been observed by those rats as soon as they entered the Dubori territory? Or were they being observed long before they even arrived at the territory?
‘The rumbling we felt in Young-en when we were meeting with crown prince Valentino. Was that rumbling from the West we felt the Illusionist's doing as well?’
Choi Han had known the White Star was strong this whole time, but for some odd reason, he had not been afraid of the White Star. He felt as if the White Star was an enemy they could defeat at any moment.
‘Why did I have such thoughts?’
The White Star and his subordinates were not people they could look down upon.
The White Star had clashed with Choi Han and the others many times, but it had been as if he had been hiding himself every time. The situation in the Mogoru was something he did by making the Empire's people move.
But now, the White Star was revealing himself without hiding at all in the Caro Kingdom’s Dubori territory. It felt as if the White Star’s power, influence, and abilities were coming out of hiding and surrounding Choi Han.
Choi Han finally started to feel a sense of danger.
‘I didn't think I’d only realize I was stuck in a spider web until after I was already stuck.’
Since they entered this small city with the Lord’s Castle, no, since they entered the Dubori territory or even the Caro Kingdom, they had been caught in the White Star’s web and had been moving on top of his palm.
Choi Han realized he could not hear anybody speaking through the crow's cawing.
‘Even Cale-nim is quiet.’
He felt the weight of this dangerous situation even more after seeing that both Gashan and more importantly, Cale, were quiet. His gaze headed toward his silent liege.
Choi Han could see the silently smiling Cale. His smiling gaze met Choi Han’s eyes. Choi Han then realized why he had not been scared of the White Star until now. Every time he was about to be shocked because of the White Star’s strength, there was someone who was always smiling as if it was nothing.
“Choi Han, there's none left around us now, right?”
Choi Han closed his eyes after hearing Cale’s question. His sensitive swordsman’s senses were activated again and he soon opened his eyes.
“There are no living creatures other than us here.”
The Illusionist's rats were nowhere to be found.
“Is that so?”
Cale then crouched down on the ground. The ground that Choi Han had overturned earlier… Cale put his hand inside the now soft dirt.
A few crows surrounded Cale and Choi Han. Choi Han's eyes opened wide as this small area outside the White Star's gaze was created.
The Western continent’s common language was being written on the ground.
< Choi Han, Gashan. They won't be able to see this. >
There were no rats nearby. That meant that they would not be able to read these words.
Cale quickly erased the words he had just written. He then started to write something else in the ground.
< Go call your friends over right away. >
The crow looked toward Cale in confusion but Cale shook his head. Choi Han also looked confused but Cale kept on writing.
Go call your friends over right away. And then…
< Tell your friends in the desert about our situation. >
Choi Han started to move his hand.
< Cale-nim, who are you talking to? >
Who was Cale giving this order to? Cale looked at him and started to speak.
"The White Star used his head very well.”
The words on the ground were covered up once again.
“He created the fire with an illusion and made us rush here in shock. He separated Raon and I with the mana disturbance and hid his ears throughout the city.”
Choi Han and his location, as well as Gashan's existence. They were all revealed to the White Star.
However, Cale had something the White Star did not know about. Cale tightened his grip around the golden top's whip.
‘Okay! We’ll be back soon!’
‘We’ll leave one punk with you. I think it’ll be better to leave this one by your side.’
‘Chaos, destruction. I stay here.’
A breeze brushed past Cale and rose into the air.
“Choi Han, you heard the soldiers earlier, right?”
The two of them made eye contact.
“Yes Cale-nim, I heard them.”
The soldiers had said the following.
‘There will be a luxurious feast today for the esteemed guests of the Lord-nim!’
“What are you planning on doing?”
He heard Gashan’s voice through the crow.
Cale closed his mouth. He looked toward Choi Han. Cale started to write on the ground again as Choi Han was about to question his gaze.
< Gashan, an Illusionist this strong can probably bewitch people easily, right? >
Cale confirmed the crow nodding its head before starting to write more things. The crow read what Cale was writing before leaving Cale’s shoulder and flying up.
All of the crows left Cale’s side at once.
Choi Han covered Cale's words with dirt in order to get rid of the evidence. Cale then motioned toward a direction with his head and the two people stealthily started to move.
They were heading toward the Lord’s Castle where the luxurious feast was to take place.
The Dubori territory. This was known as a terrible territory that nobody would visit because it had the Land of Death, one of the Forbidden Regions, next to it.
“Ahahahaha! I never expected a day like this!"
A knight wearing a fancy suit instead of his armor raised his wine glass into the air.
The glass clinked against a different glass in the air, making a clear noise.
“I agree. It’s nice to not have to stand guard for the first time in a long while! We also get to wear these new suits!”
His subordinate knight was smiling while looking at his suit. He continued to touch this new suit of his. There was a gold-plated badge with the Dubori crest on his outfit.
“Exactly! I don't know where the lord found such talented people to bring over.”
The knight agreed with his subordinate and took a sip of the wine. His eyes then peeked toward the center of the hall.
He saw the people standing next to the useless and greedy lord who had no thoughts about taking care of the territory. Today was the day they were celebrating these people the lord had brought over a few days ago.
“Kaaaah, for such a dazzling feast to happen in the Dubori territory!”
It was a celebration that the knights, mages, and the territory's administrators all got to enjoy! There were beautiful chandeliers, expensive wine, and food that was both beautiful to look at and delicious to eat!
“Hehe, who knew we would get to enjoy such luxuries after guarding the entrance to the Land of Death day after day?”
His subordinate nodded in agreement. These two were people who guarded the city walls heading into the Land of Death.
“The Lord-nim seems extremely giving by calling everyone here to celebrate like this!”
The man who was listening to his subordinate knight let out a sigh.
‘The lord’s giving?’
“…It's not the Lord-nim but those new individuals who are very giving.”
The knight's eyes were filled with greed as he looked toward the three people standing next to the lord.
These three had paid for this feast and had brought over the new soldiers and mages to protect the territory.
‘…Why did such people come to the Dubori territory? I can’t understand what they saw in the lord to want to serve him. Something is weird.’
The knight covered his ear after hearing a sharp screech.
“Sir, what’s wrong?”
“No. It's nothing.”
The knight shook his head. The Dubori badge on his suit glowed red for a moment before returning to normal. His eyes clouded over for a moment before returning to normal as well.
“Sir, are you really okay?”
“Of course. Shouldn't we enjoy ourselves when such a grand welcome feast is taking part in our territory? Kahahahahah!”
The questioning thoughts about the three individuals had disappeared from the laughing knight’s mind. He picked up his wine glass.
There were small rocks inside his wine glass. The knight frowned and looked up. He could see the banquet hall's old ceiling that was covered by the beautiful chandelier.
“Tsk, they should replace the ceiling or something. There are things falling down.”
“I will get you a new one!”
The subordinate tactfully replaced the wine glass and the atmosphere became merry again.
‘That scared me.’
The person hiding in the old ceiling curled his shoulders.
The other person who had created a small hole in the ceiling to look inside turned his head and flinched.
‘Do it properly.’
The curled up Cale was looking at Choi Han with a vicious glare. Choi Han who had made the hole erased his aura from his fingertip with an awkward smile.
Cale shook his head side to side as he mouthed silently. A small candle was flickering in the darkness.
‘Choi Han, there are no rats, right?’
Choi Han nodded his head.
‘Yes, Cale-nim, there are no rats in the ceiling.’
Cale finally let out a sigh before stretching his legs out and sitting down.
Cale was a mess. He looked completely dirty as he was covered in dust and dirt.
‘Who knew it would be this hard to move around while avoiding rats?!’
It had been difficult for Cale to infiltrate the Lord’s Castle while dodging the rats throughout the Dubori territory.
‘Raon… He truly is great and mighty.’
Raon's invisibility would have allowed them to fly through the air or walk in freely. Cale frowned as he recalled how he had to roll around in the dirt as the new employee Kim Rok Soo for the first time in a long while. He started to frown even more while looking at Choi Han.
Choi Han was clean. Cale finally felt the difference between his physical abilities and this strong swordsman.
Choi Han tapped his shoulder and pointed toward the holes in the ceiling. There were two holes and Cale held back his sigh as he laid on the ground again.
He then looked through one of the holes.
He almost scoffed in disbelief. A fancy feast. He could see people enjoying themselves. Cale thought about the different rooms in the castle he passed by before getting here.
‘The video communication room, the magic research room, the military strategy room, and the teleportation magic circle.’
They were all empty. Only black mages were walking through the castle.
‘No wonder they can't receive crown prince Valentino's calls and are so happy.’
All forms of communication had been cut while the area was surrounded in mana disturbance, which probably meant that crown prince Valentino gave up on magic and was probably rushing over here with the Knights Brigade.
“Okay, everybody raise your glasses!”
Cale could see the territory lord raise his glass through the small hole. The Dubori Lord was sharing his happy sentiments.
“Today is a great day for our Dubori and the Dubori territory! Look over here! These are the people who will help the Dubori territory develop to the next level!”
The lord pointed to three individuals.
“The White Star, the Bear King-”
The familiar white mask and the feeble-looking Bear King were smiling while wearing fancy suits. Cale’s gaze turned sharp.
‘Is that person the Illusionist?’
A woman with short green hair was smiling while standing between the Bear King and the White Star.
‘It’s not here.’
Cale started to frown.
‘…There's no staff, talisman, or anything!’
Unlike shaman Gashan, she did not have a staff. The woman who he assumed was the Illusionist only had a wine glass in her hand.
‘…Did she leave the medium in the basement?’
Cale had not yet visited the basement that the Wind Elementals had mentioned. Not only was it being heavily guarded, it would be complicated if the rats saw them.
Cale who was biting down on his lips saw the lord pointing to the White Star.
“Well then, Sir Barrow, why don’t you say a few words before we drink?!”
Cale thought about the first Dragon Slayer Nelan Barrow. Cale thought it was funny that the White Star who threw away the Dragon Slayer position to follow the path of the ancient White Star was using that last name.
“Then I will say a few words.”
The White Star stepped forward. He raised his glass and looked around the hall. His gaze slowly looked around before stopping somewhere. He then started to speak.
“Lord-nim, it looks like a rat has arrived.”
“What? What do you mean?!”
Two strands of light shot out from Bear King Sayeru's hands before the lord could finish responding in shock.
The light arrows pierced through a spot in the ceiling where the chandelier was hanging and exploded.
“What the hell!”
The people covered their heads at the sudden situation and started to run from the ceiling that was hit by the light arrow.
One of the chandeliers fell to the ground.
“I, I'm alive.”
Everybody thankfully managed to escape and was busy calming themselves. It was at that moment.
“There are two rats.”
There were two people descending onto the chandelier as the woman with short green hair giddily spoke. It was a man with brown hair and a man with light beige hair.
The White Star laughed and took a step toward the chandelier.
“Cale Henituse, you look like a mess.”
Cale’s stiff face that was covered in dirt faced the White Star. Cale opened and closed his mouth a few times before finally opening it and starting to speak.
“…How were you able to locate me so easily?”
The corners of the White Star’s lips under the mask happily went up while someone else answered Cale’s question for him. Sayeru started to speak giddily.
“There are always a ton of rats in the ceiling no matter where you go. But why were there no rats in this ceiling?”
He looked as if he was about to roll on the floor in laughter as he pointed toward Choi Han and Cale.
“We left it empty for the two of you to hide there! Keke, kahahahaha!”
Sayeru’s loud laughter filled the hall. The White Star took another step toward Cale and Choi Han.
Choi Han took out his sword. The White Star looked at Choi Han for a moment before looking back toward Cale and starting to speak.
“How does it feel to have been running around on top of my palm? I didn’t think you would hide in the empty ceiling as we expected.”
It was at that moment.
“It's because I knew.”
The corners of Cale’s lips twisted up. The stiff expression had instantly disappeared.
“I hid in the ceiling because I knew you bastards intentionally left the ceiling empty. Did you think I wouldn't even know that?”
The golden top's whip was in his hand.
‘We brought all of our friends who live in the desert!’
‘Chaos, destruction. Now begin.’
Cale could see the White Star's expression start to stiffen.
“… You hid there in purpose?”
The moment he heard that confident response…
Baaaaaaaaaang! Baaaaang! Baaaaang! Baaaaaaaaaang!
They heard loud explosions around them.
“What the hell!”
“Where are these explosions coming from……?!”
The people in the hall looked toward the direction of the explosions. Outside the banquet hall window… They all looked west. Cale turned his head as well.
He heard the Wind Elementals’ voices.
‘We brought the Dark Elves contracted to our friends as well! We did good, right?’
There was a large fire and gusts of wind around the city walls with the gate toward the Land of Death.