“It’s been a while, young master-nim. Raon-nim.”
Cale saw a gently smiling Ron once the light disappeared from the teleportation and he arrived at his destination.
“It's been a while, grandpa Ron! Good to see you again! Thanks for the apple pie!”
Ron had offered Raon an apple pie with efficient movement.
He had then offered Cale a cup of lemon tea that was still steaming hot. Cale grabbed the teacup with a grim expression before heading toward the window.
“There’s nothing for you.”
Choi Han did not respond in any way to Ron’s comment. He looked as if he had not expected anything from the beginning.
Cale did not care as he looked out the window.
“A lot of it has been cleaned up.”
Arm's remains outside the office window were all gone, and… He could see the reconstruction of the Molan residence taking place under the fluttering Molan family flag.
“Hello, young master-nim.”
Cale looked toward the direction of the voice to see Bud's close friend, the highest-grade mage Glenn Poeff looking at him with an awkward smile on his face.
“You struggle a lot because of him.”
“…It's nothing. I just should never have become friends with a bastard like Bud.”
Glenn who was shaking his head saying it was nothing had a gaze that seemed to be thanking Cale for understanding his suffering.
"Where is Jopis’s residence?”
Ron immediately answered Cale's question.
“It’s in a village so remote that there aren’t even any merchants that visit.”
The Molden Kingdom was a kingdom famous for its shipping routes.
The fact that there was a village without any merchants meant that it was extremely remote and lagging behind.
“Young master-nim, you do not need to worry about the route as I will guide you there myself.”
Cale awkwardly turned away as looking at Ron’s benign smile oddly gave him the chills. He then started to speak toward Glenn.
“Why did Bud go to meet Jopis?”
Bud had told Cale not to worry about information regarding the Molden Kingdom as he would figure it out.
‘He may seem like a doof, but he's still the Mercenary King.’
There were many ways for Bud to gather information.
The living and breathing mercenaries around the entire Eastern continent were his informants.
But he didn’t know why such a person would go to meet with Jopis who was exiled and had nothing.
Glenn's face instantly stiffened.
That made Cale, Choi Han, and the others who were looking at him stiffen as well.
Glenn started to speak again once all of their gazes were focused on him.
“…He said it was a secret.”
Glenn awkwardly started to smile. He avoided Cale's gaze and quietly started to mumble.
“…Bud, you crazy son of a bitch.”
He then clenched his eyes shut as he continued to speak.
“He said he got his hands on some precious information and that he would tell me about it later as he was going to personally look into it to deliver the information to you, young master-nim. He said getting you this information would relieve him of his secretary status.”
Glenn felt like he could hear Bud’s voice in his ear.
‘Kahahaha! I will show him this Mercenary King-nim's abilities for sure this time! He always treats me as an errand boy, and I, I'm always treated the worst! Sob!’
Glenn could not speak about the scene Bud caused while drinking. However, everything was delivered through his expression.
Choi Han started to speak.
“…He must not have told you anything and just said it was a secret.”
Ron clapped and laughed in disbelief.
Glenn, who was from the Poeff household that was as famous as the Molan household in the underworld in the past, bid Bud farewell after seeing Ron's vicious gaze.
Cale sighed before starting to speak.
“In the end, I guess we have to meet with Bud and Jopis to figure anything out. Ron, please lead the way.”
“Yes, young master-nim.”
Ron who was already wearing a black outfit walked next to Cale before stepping forward.
Cale took a sip of the lemon tea and stealthily put it down after seeing Ron start to walk.
“Human! Is lemon tea tasty?”
Cale felt Ron looking at him after hearing Raon's innocent question. He voluntarily drank the rest of the lemon tea before they left toward Princess Jopis's residence.
“Young master-nim, it is over there.”
Cale quietly observed the small old house Ron was pointing toward.
“It looks easy to escape from there.”
Choi Han looked at the shabby and low fence around the house as he commented to Cale. However, Glenn shook his head.
“That is not the case.”
Cale looked toward Glenn.
Glenn pointed to the area around the small house.
It was a small house built on top of a tiny hill right underneath the rugged Molden mountain range.
There were no trees around that house and there was a small village at the bottom of the hill.
“There are three types of people living in that village.”
They could see people moving about the village, and a lot of them seemed to raise dogs as they kept hearing barking.
“Most of them are people who have lived here for generations. Other than them, half of the remaining people are people who are watching Princess Jopis.”
A small house on a tiny hill without any trees.
That was an easy spot to observe from the village.
Choi Han’s expression turned odd.
“…Even if it is easy to observe this house from the village, how is there nobody observing the house from a closer distance?”
Wasn't observing from a nearby location the most certain and easiest way?
Glenn answered that question.
"The last group of people living in this village is the people who served Princess Jopis until the very last moment.”
The people keeping an eye on Jopis were not only watching her.
“The nanny who raised her since she was young, her servants, maids, guard knight, administrator, and teacher. They are all in the village without the power to do anything.”
As for the guard knight, they had maimed his arms before forcing him to live here forever. It was the same for some other knights as well.
“The watchdogs in the village come up to Princess Jopis's house at set times to confirm her presence. There are also tens of magic alarms set that are difficult for anyone who is not a highest-grade mage to avoid.”
The sound of a dog barking echoed in their ears.
“But Princess Jopis should be able to run away if she wishes to do so.”
Even if they were watching her from below, she could find a route if she escaped toward the mountain range.
“However, the moment she does that… Everybody in that village who followed her until the end will be massacred. Not just them, but their immediate and extended families as well. All of them.”
Choi Han did not ask again after hearing Glenn’s full explanation.
‘…It must be hard to choose to escape.’
Choi Han would have found it difficult to escape if he was in Jopis’s situation. Actually, he would find it even more difficult than she does.
Cale started to speak at that moment.
“Why did Elisneh the First not kill her?”
“I am not sure.”
Glenn shrugged his shoulders at Cale's gaze.
“Officially, it is said that the older sister felt sorry for her younger sister. But as you know, Elisneh the First is not that kind of person.”
That was the case.
Putting the fact that she was the White Star's subordinate aside, Elisneh the First was someone who had no issues controlling people and showing them despair.
She could really have felt sorry for her younger sister, but the chances of that being the case were low.
Cale looked deep in thought as he focused on the small house.
“Young master-nim, I think it would be best to first head in there.”
Ron suggested in a benign voice. Glenn agreed as well.
“That’s right. It is difficult to maintain the magic for a long time. Of course, Raon-nim is here with us.”
The group was currently using invisibility magic to avoid being discovered by the watchdogs. That was why they could chat freely like this.
They could only hear barking around them, but there were no humans around to see nor hear them.
“Sure. I guess that’s our only choice.”
Cale nodded his head.
It was at that moment.
As Cale heard the invisible Raon’s voice in his mind… Cale could see the old wooden door of the small house open.
The face he saw through the video recording device appeared.
It was the graceful woman whose hair was pulled up without a single stray hair.
Choi Han subconsciously put his hand on his scabbard after hearing her elegant voice.
They were currently invisible with Raon and Glenn's invisibility magic.
Princess Jopis who should not be able to see anything had opened the door and started to speak.
“I've been waiting for you.”
She was skilled.
Choi Han knew that she was quite skilled to realize they were there.
‘Something is weird.’
But something was weird.
Choi Han used a person's presence to determine the level of a person’s strength.
In Jopis's case, he could not tell what kind of power she had.
However, it was weak.
It was not that he could not tell her strength because she was hiding her presence, instead, it was that her powers were weak.
Cale started to walk forward at that moment. He was still invisible so Jopis could not see him as he approached her and started to speak.
“Ma’am, you must be a shaman.”
Choi Han gasped.
Jopis was a shaman.
Her gaze headed toward the direction of the voice.
“Sir, I am too lacking to even be considered a shaman.”
That was the case.
Choi Han had felt that her power was weak.
- That's true! Human, I feel something similar to Gashan from this princess but the Tiger gramps is much stronger! That princess is even weaker than the child shaman from the Tiger tribe!
Even Raon who had revealed Jopis's identity to Cale was saying she was weak.
- I don’t know how she realized we were here!
‘Really, I do.’
Cale headed toward the fence. He naturally avoided the magic alarm device Raon informed him about in advance.
“Your incantation skills may be lacking, but…”
He stepped past the old shabby fence. He stopped walking once he was standing in front of Jopis.
Jopis was looking forward even though she could not see him. Cale looked right into her eyes.
“Shamans have friends.”
An elegant smile appeared on Jopis's face.
Behind the house…
A puppy poked its head out.
Alarm magic only responded to humans.
They would waste a lot of manpower and equipment if it responded to animals or insects.
They could hear dogs barking throughout the forest.
Jopis started to speak.
“That’s right. My friends have sharp ears and a great sense of smell. They always take care of me.”
Just like how Gashan had his crows…
Jopis petted the puppy that was rubbing its head on her leg as she continued to speak.
“These friends of mine move around the Molden mountain range in a pack. Unfortunately, I am not strong enough to maintain our connection past a portion of the Molden mountain range.”
Jopis had her dogs.
“Please come in. Although I cannot tell who you are.”
Even now, her puppy was telling her the identity of the people who were here.
“The person who bosses the Mercenary King around… And has the Molden mountain range’s new, no, returned owner, the Molan patriarch as his subordinate.”
Cale started to smile.
Jopis stepped aside from the door and Cale started to walk.
“Please remove the invisibility magic.”
- I understand, human!
Raon removed the magic.
Choi Han and Ron followed behind Cale before the wooden door closed.
“…I am not familiar with you, sir.”
Jopis, who had never seen Cale before, smiled elegantly and offered her hand.
Behind her was Bud who still had a gag in his mouth sitting on an old couch flailing around as if he was happy to see them.
Cale sighed and looked away from Bud as he shook Jopis's hand.
He then started to speak.
“Nice to meet you. I am the person who will blow up the Molden Kingdom.”
Bud gasped and stiffened while Princess Jopis started to speak with an elegant smile still on her face.
“That sounds more fun than blowing the Mercenary King's f*cking head up.”
Bud gasped again.
Bud’s eyes were shaking in fear as he looked toward Cale and Jopis who were smiling and shaking hands.