Nobody was able to say anything for a moment.
Cale could only stare at Mercenary King Bud Illis's hand due to the shock.
He could hear Raon's shocked voice in his mind.
On and Hong who had jumped out of Cale's arms earlier were also looking at the Mercenary King as if he was weird. However, Mercenary King Bud Illis was unable to see the expressions on the faces of the children averaging nine-years-old.
“Ah. Friend, are you angry because I mistook you for someone else?”
Bud’s hand was still there as he looked toward Cale with an apologetic expression.
“I'm sorry, I'm sorry. I can’t really see without my glasses. Your hair color, eye color, and even the presence you give off is so similar that I thought you were him.”
Choi Han moved right behind Cale at that moment. The Mercenary King and Choi Han. The two of them were observing each other. An odd gaze filled Mercenary King Bud Illis’s face as he looked back toward Cale.
He smiled as he quietly responded back.
“…My hand is feeling really awkward now….”
Choi Han’s gaze was quite cold as he looked at Bud.
Choi Han had read the information Alberu had brought over as well.
‘Sword master. Also has a special ability that we have not been able to determine.’
That information alone was not enough to get him worried. However, he was just being careful just in case something unexpected happened.
However, Mercenary King Bud Illis’s comments made Choi Han start to worry.
‘Friend, nice to meet you!’
‘Your hair color, eye color, and even the presence you give off is so similar that I thought you were him.’
Someone whose eye color and hair color were similar to Cale.
Someone who gave off a similar presence.
There was only one person that came to mind.
The White Star.
The tips of Choi Han’s hands were tense.
Of course, if the White Star and Mercenary King were friends, then the information about how Arm and the White Star were aiming for the Mercenaries Guild had a high chance of being incorrect.
Either that, or there was something they were missing.
There was something else that made Choi Han have no choice but to be tense.
‘That bastard can almost completely tell how strong I am.’
Choi Han could not forget the look in the Mercenary King’s eyes when they made eye contact.
Those eyes had been quite cold and did not look drunk at all.
His eyes had clearly been observing Choi Han.
Someone who could tell Choi Han’s level of strength had to be around his level to do that.
That meant that this guy was not a sword master at the level of Duke Huten nor the crazy Clopeh Sekka. They were already strong, however, they were not strong enough for Choi Han to fear them.
There was something clearly different about this Mercenary King.
‘That is why it is an issue.’
The Mercenary King was only giving off the same level of strength as a regular sword master to Choi Han. However, he knew that the Mercenary King must have something else up his sleeve.
He was someone whose level of strength could not easily be determined. He was someone to be wary around.
‘I need to let him know.’
He needed to let Cale-nim know about this fact. However, he could not speak to Cale right now.
Choi Han saw Mercenary King Bud Illis start to speak again.
“…Are you going to reject my handshake?”
The cheeriness had disappeared from Bud Illis's face. Choi Han’s wariness shot up exponentially. It was at that moment.
Cale started to speak. Choi Han couldn’t help but flinch. It was because Cale’s voice was cold. Choi Han stood next to Cale and turned his head.
He could see the expression on Cale’s face. A face that looked annoyed was looking at the Mercenary King. The cold voice then continued to speak.
“Put your hand away.”
Cale was telling the Mercenary King to put his hand away.
Silence filled the area at that moment.
The first floor of the inn was still loud and the former bandits who were now employees were doing their best to work hard while avoiding Cale's gaze, however…
It was completely silent around Cale.
But that silence was quickly broken.
“…You want me to put my hand away?”
Bud Illis asked as if he could not understand what Cale was telling him to do. He then looked toward Cale.
The two of them were similar in height, however, the Mercenary King could see that the red-haired man in front of him seemed to be looking down at him.
The red-haired man continued to speak as the Mercenary King's eyes started to turn cold.
“Go bring me some alcohol instead.”
On and Hong tilted their heads in confusion.
However, Cale motioned to Bud Illis with his chin.
“If you really are my friend, you should know that we drink instead of shaking hands. How could you not know that?”
Bud Illis started to smile. His voice became cheery once again.
“Alcohol is the alcoholics’ way of greeting each other, huh?”
Cale answered back in an annoyed tone.
“Will you stop with the obvious nonsense?”
Bud Illis let out a small chuckle. That chuckle soon became very loud.
His laughter was as refreshing as his smile.
“Friend, I really like you.”
Bud Illis put his arm around Cale's shoulders. Cale looked at the green eyes beyond the glasses with a stoic expression. The Mercenary King did not care as he kept his arm around Cale's shoulders and led him to his table.
“Come, come. The alcohol that will take the place of a handshake is on my table. Let’s go over there.”
Cale moved Bud's hand from his shoulder.
Bud Illis looked at Cale in confusion as Cale stoically started to speak.
“Follow me. Both the food and alcohol will be of the highest quality.”
Bud Illis started to smile.
Cale started to walk back upstairs as he responded back.
“Yes, I'm the boss of this inn.”
Cale motioned to Beacrox, who was looking over from the kitchen, and started to walk back up the stairs. He then looked at the table where Bud’s associate was sitting and continued to speak to Bud.
“I have a lot of money. It'll be my treat.”
Bud’s jaws could not help but drop.
The Mercenary King truly seemed to be full of admiration.
Cale heard Raon's voice in his mind as he was climbing up the stairs.
Cale ignored that voice and started to speak to Ron.
“Food and alcohol-”
“I will bring it to the third floor.”
Ron, who already understood what Cale was going to say, finished his sentence for him. Cale looked at the Mercenary King who was being guided by Ron before heading back up to the third floor without any hesitation.
Choi Han followed right behind him.
Choi Han called out to him as if he was trying to whisper to him. However, Cale just smiled and responded back before he could say anything else.
‘Does he even know what I'm going to say to be able to say it is fine?’
Choi Han questioned it for a moment but started to relax. He did not say anything else before following behind Cale.
“Wow, the boss of this large inn is my friend? And that friend is someone who knows how to drink?”
“…Will you stop being so loud? It's embarrassing.”
The Mercenary King was leisurely looking around the inn. The robed mage next to him was the one who said that it was embarrassing.
Cale could hear the two of their conversation coming from behind him.
“Why is it embarrassing? I'm just looking around my friend's house.”
The Mercenary King continued to say whatever came to mind as he entered the special room on the third floor.
“Wow, forget an inn, this feels like food a noble or royalty would eat.”
Mercenary King Bud Illis could not help but compliment the food and alcohol being placed in front of him. Cale felt the same way.
Cale could see Beacrox who was putting the plates down on the table. He sneaked a thumbs up to Beacrox who pretended not to see it.
He could hear Raon's excited voice.
However, Raon had to stop talking.
It was because of what Cale suddenly said.
“That friend of yours that you confused me with earlier…”
A warm atmosphere was around the table right now. Cale asked Bud Illis the question as they sat around the table.
He didn't beat around the bush and instead got straight to the point.
“Does that friend of yours wear a white mask?”
Choi Han flinched.
He looked back and forth between Cale and Bud.
Cale was openly asking the Mercenary King about the White Star.
Bud Illis put a bite of chicken salad in his mouth as he answered back.
“Ohhh, how did you know?”
Choi Han flinched once again.
The Mercenary King had answered too easily.
“That’s right! That’s my friend! He wears a mask that covers his nose to his forehead! His eyes are a lighter brown color than yours!”
He sounded happy as he responded back.
Raon was chatting away in Cale's mind as if he could not believe what he was seeing.
However, Cale’s expression turned odd.
‘Similar to Toonka?
He thinks this bastard is similar to Toonka?’
The smile on Cale's face started to grow wider.
The Mercenaries Guild was currently fighting against Arm.
Arm had been developing its roots in the Eastern continent for at least fifteen years.
The Mercenaries Guild had an even longer history than Arm.
What was the likelihood that the head of that organization, someone who had received the title of, ‘king,’ had never seen the leader of Arm before?
The Mercenary King was friends with the White Star without knowing who he was?
That thought simply made Cale start to laugh. He asked the Mercenary King a question as he laughed.
“You’re going to kill that friend, right?”
The lively table suddenly became quiet.
Cale was asking if Bud was going to kill the White Star.
Cale asked while Choi Han, Eruhaben, and the others looked toward the Mercenary King. The Mercenary King did not even hesitate as he answered back.
He was full of admiration as he answered back.
“You are right. How did you even know about that?!”
The Mercenary King had answered that he was going to kill the White Star.
Bud Illis pushed up his glasses as he became curious about Cale. He then shook his head before continuing to speak.
His eyes were curling up behind the glasses.
“My friend is someone who knew who I was without even asking my name. It’s only natural that he knows that much.”
Cale became certain after hearing the Mercenary King's response.
‘The Mercenary King, Bud Illis, is a lunatic.’
There was one more thing Cale became certain about.
‘He’s someone who will understand me.’
Cale recalled what Eruhaben had said in his mind earlier when they were downstairs.
Cale picked up a bottle and started to speak.
He popped the bottle open, and then…
He placed the entire bottle in front of the Mercenary King.
He then asked a question.
“You know what other people's abilities are, don't you?”
Cale recalled how the Mercenary King had mistaken him for the White Star earlier. He had thought about what had caused him to make such a mistake.
Hair color and eyes?
He had rushed over from a distance without his glasses on.
Cale’s calm voice continued to speak.
“Even if you can’t be certain about the details, you have a decent idea about the powers a person has, am I right?”
‘Although he doesn’t know all of the details since he made such a mistake.’
The special ability that the Mercenary King had that they weren't able to determine. Cale was taking a guess at that ability as he asked.
“That is the reason you mistook me for the White Star, isn’t it?”
Cale and the White Star both had multiple ancient powers.
Cale also had the fake Dragon Slayer’s power while the White Star had the real one.
The Mercenary King probably ran into the White Star before. How else would he know about the White Star’s red hair and brown eyes?
And if this bastard’s hidden power was what Cale was thinking it was…
Cale continued to speak to the silent Bud in a friendly way.
“The White Star's abilities. Can you tell me what they are, my friend? Hmm?”
A thick smile appeared on the Mercenary King's face at that moment.
“What is it?”
The mage who was covered by a robe sighed and asked as the Mercenary King looked toward Cale and responded back to the mage.
“I really like this bastard.”
Bud Illis then drank a whole bottle of alcohol.
The empty bottle was placed on the table before Mercenary King Bud Illis started to speak again.
“Friend, nice to meet you!”
Bud reached his hand out and Cale grabbed his hand.
“Yes, nice to meet you.”
The two of them properly shook hands this time.
Bud continued to speak at that moment. Cale could see the cold gaze behind the glasses.
“I can get a pretty good idea about that person's abilities.”
He quickly added on after that.
“There are limitations though.”
He sounded refreshed as he said that.
"That is why the White Star wants to kill me without anybody knowing.”
The air above the table suddenly felt as cold as ice.
However, Cale and Bud Illis were smiling at each other.
Bud Illis let go of Cale's hand before continuing to speak.
“That is why I am openly walking around where people can see me.”
The Mercenary King was purposely personally leading the investigations while spreading the news about his whereabouts.
It was so that everybody would know where he was located at any moment. He also only went to places with a lot of people.
There was a simple reason for it.
“I need to survive.”
Mercenary King Bud Illis continued to speak with an expression that was as cold as his eyes.
“I also want to kill that bastard as well.”