Cale looked toward the others who came with him.
Raon looked quite dirty as if he had been covered in dirt at some point.
Bud's back was covered in fake blood and he seemed to have lost a lot of weight.
Choi Han looked the most normal.
‘…Wasn’t he the one who moved around the most?’
Choi Han had been the one to fight against the White Star. Of course, the injuries on his hands and arm that had been holding the wind whip were healed with potions, but he still should have looked the worst.
But he looked clean. He looked slightly disheveled at most.
Cale looked down at himself.
He then looked back up.
Adin's Imperial Palace.
Moonlight could not make it into this palace because the curtains were shut at night.
However, the magic lamps inside the room made the room quite bright.
Nobody usually lived in this dark place. That was why Cale's group was staying here.
Raon moved past Cale toward the people in the room.
“Good little Mary! Rosalyn! Hannah! It’s been so long!”
Cale could see Hannah who was sitting but pretty much lying down on the couch, as well as Rosalyn and Mary who were standing in front of him to greet him.
Hannah, the fake Holy Maiden who was now just a sword master.
The necromancer, Mary, and Rosalyn, the mage.
Rosalyn started to speak after making eye contact with Cale.
“Not everyone could gather at such short notice. Sir Rex is currently taking care of administrative business while Jack-nim is at the Vatican.”
The Cat Knight Sir Rex and Saint Jack were busy working even in the middle of the night.
“Tasha-nim and Miss Freesia are inside the capital taking care of things.”
Alberu had returned to the Roan Kingdom, but Dark Elf Tasha and some other Dark Elves remained behind to support Sir Rex. Freesia and her subordinates, members of Cale's information network, were busy as well.
"Everybody is busy.”
Cale first headed toward the couch.
Mary got in his way and started to speak.
“You must wash up, eat, and then get to work. The only time you should not eat is when you are dead.”
Cale turned toward the bathroom instead of the couch. He then heard an awkward voice behind him.
“Um, are you not going to introduce me……?”
Cale turned around and started to speak to Rosalyn and Mary after hearing Mercenary King Bud's voice.
“He’s my servant.”
Cale ignored Bud's shocked mumbling as he headed toward the bathroom.
A piece of steak was placed inside Cale's mouth.
“Human! You can eat more!”
Cale could see a large piece of meat being placed on his plate. Raon had given it to him.
He could see Rosalyn smiling at Raon's actions. She lifted up four fingers once she made eye contact with Cale.
That made Cale think about the past.
It was Rosalyn, Cale, and Raon who ate together like this when they first ate at the Roan Kingdom's capital.
Cale had lifted four fingers back then to tell Rosalyn that Raon was four years old.
‘You eat your food. This is mine.’
The Raon back then had hugged his plate of homemade sausages and did not want to share.
Two years had passed since then.
Cale ignored the emotions piling up inside him as he put a piece of steak into his mouth.
“Ahh! The alcohol is great! The Western continent’s alcohol is great!”
Naturally, nobody was paying attention to Bud. Choi Han was looking neat and proper but had already finished off a couple of plates of steak.
“Young master Cale, I heard you have to stop by a merchant guild? Will you be heading over right away?”
Cale finished the piece of meat in his mouth as he started to speak.
“Yes, we will probably head back right away after taking care of some business. But we will be back soon.”
‘Be back soon?’
Bud looked confused.
Cale asked Rosalyn a question.
“Do you see signs of a revolt happening any time soon?”
The fork in Bud Illis's hand fell to the table. He then touched his ears.
“…Haaaaa, I can’t eat or drink without worrying about anything.”
He mumbled to himself before flinching.
“Seems to be about 50/50.”
It was because of Rosalyn’s response.
Rosalyn, Mary, and Hannah were sitting at the table but were not eating. It was because they had already eaten dinner.
The teacup in Rosalyn’s hand was placed on the table.
“Young master Cale, can I open up a map?”
Rosalyn's fingers started to move.
Red mana gathered around her hand. Cale nodded his head while eating a dish that was made with potatoes and cream.
It was only natural to talk about this after hearing about the Mogoru Empire's situation from the crown prince.
Red mana started to shoot out from Rosalyn’s hand.
Imperial Prince Adin's fancy blanket that had shocked Cale in the past started to move.
The blanket opened in the air.
Rosalyn waved her hand once more.
Red mana started to draw an image on the blanket.
“…It seems to be the Mogoru Empire.”
He could see a map of the Mogoru Empire drawn with red mana in front of him.
“As expected of the Mercenary King, you quickly recognized the map of the Western continent.”
Rosalyn smiled toward Bud. Bud awkwardly smiled back in response.
The information about the three women at this table was going through his mind right now.
‘I have no idea why Cale Henituse brought me here.’
Bud could not understand why Cale would bring someone like him, someone from the Eastern continent, to the Mogoru Empire. That was why he started to think about the information he gathered regarding the people around Cale.
First was Rosalyn.
She had thrown away her position as the heir to the Breck Kingdom and was doing things here and there.
She was famous for her highly skilled magic.
‘…I heard many talks about her being a future Tower Master of a Magic Tower.’
The mages who were said to be the core of the Western continent's magic had disappeared after Toonka killed the Tower Master during the Whipper Kingdom's civil war.
People deemed Rosalyn to be the one to eventually inherit that position.
The reason for this was because of her skilled magic she had shown in the Gorge of Death and other places.
It was rare to find someone so talented and so young.
Rosalyn was more skilled than even Bud's close friend, Glenn Poeff.
‘Of course, there is someone who is better than her.’
The mage they met this time.
The mage who seemed to be the White Star’s loyal subordinate.
He was young but extremely talented.
Bud started to think about Rosalyn and the White Star’s subordinate mage's skills.
‘Should I smell her scent?’
Bud Illis had a wind attribute ancient power that allowed him to get a good idea about someone else's power and strength.
He had smelled the White Star’s subordinate mage’s scent.
It was fine since he was an enemy.
However, he had not sniffed these new friends of Cale.
He had sniffed Cale’s scent when they had first met, but that was because he didn’t know who Cale was at the time. Now that they were on the same boat, it would be awkward if someone noticed him using his power during their first meeting.
Bud slowly turned away from Rosalyn. He could see Mary and Hannah. These two were even more famous than Rosalyn right now.
However, he did not have time to think more about these two.
“Let me explain the map.”
Rosalyn sent some more red mana toward the map.
A red dot appeared near the central region of the bottom of the map.
"This is the Mogoru Empire's capital.”
That was where Rosalyn and the others were located right now.
She turned toward Cale as she continued to speak.
“The Mogoru Empire is in a state of chaos after the Alchemists’ Bell Tower incident.”
It was to be expected.
The Alchemists’ Bell Tower that was the pride of the Empire ended up being the center of black magic, while the Emperor and Imperial Prince had both committed all sorts of evil deeds.
“Well, as everybody already knows, a lot of administrative issues were discovered and slowly resolved after the Alchemists’ Bell Tower battle.”
Cale started to speak.
“But the throne is empty.”
Everybody seemed to be interested as nobody dared to say anything.
“Imperial Prince Adin and the Emperor are locked up, but realistically speaking, they will not be able to rule again. They have committed too many sins to do that. They will soon be tried for their sins.”
But that trial had been delayed for a few months.
“Then people who are aiming for that empty throne will start to pop up?”
Bud opened a bottle as he asked.
Rosalyn nodded her head and responded.
“The Empire’s royalty has had difficulties with passing down the bloodline for generations. But there are others with the royal bloodline aside from the Emperor and the Imperial Prince.”
This was the case for Adin's father, the Emperor, as well as the previous Emperor as well. The Mogoru Royal family had weak bodies for generations. That was why their bloodline was precious.
Nonetheless, there were quite a few people with royal blood.
Some of them had proper rights to the throne as well.
“Those royal family members were quiet at first. However, Sir Rex did not say much and just focused on restoring the stability of the Empire while the Church of the Sun God just focused on fixing itself.”
“Then those people will slowly start to crawl out.”
Rosalyn responded to Bud.
“That is correct.”
Sir Rex and the Church of the Sun God.
Seeing that both of these entities were quiet, the royal family members were bound to show their interest in the throne.
Rosalyn waved her hand in the air.
Tap. Tap. Tap. Tap.
Red dots appeared in four spots, one each to the North, South, East, and West of the Empire.
“The Empire has four other Alchemists’ Towers in addition to the Alchemists’ Bell Tower. You can consider them as branches I suppose.”
Although these towers did not have people as skilled as the ones at the Alchemists’ Bell Tower, they were still well-known.
“They had experimented with black magic as well, however, they have been as quiet as mice since the incident at the capital. They locked the doors to their towers and remained quiet without doing anything.”
Rei Stecker, the alcoholic alchemist, had gathered hiding alchemists and escaped alchemists who had not touched black magic as Cale had requested.
He was someone from one of those branch towers who had been shocked and escaped after seeing one of those black magic experiments.
Bud who had been listening had a question.
‘Why did they leave those alone?
Shouldn’t they thoroughly investigate any place that was connected to black magic?’
According to the information he received, a large number of the Western continent’s people had died because of those black magic experiments.
However, he soon figured out the answer to his question. His eyes clouded over.
He could see Rosalyn’s sparkling eyes.
“And we were quiet as well.”
Rosalyn sounded excited although she was saying they left those four Alchemists’ Towers alone and remained quiet.
They had been waiting.
The people here had been waiting.
This was especially true for Rosalyn who was the most involved of Cale’s group in the Empire's administration.
“This was because we knew some of those royal family members would try to partner with the forces of the Alchemists’ Towers.
They planned to capture all of them at once.
“Furthermore, the nobles and influential people who approved of the Mogoru Royal family and Imperial Prince Adin’s methods will try to partner with them as well.”
Bud started to frown.
They were places that had ties to black magic.
No matter how much you liked power, it was not right to tie yourself to such places.
‘But if they let them tie with factions like that-’
The answer to this thought came out of Rosalyn’s mouth.
“Doing it like this makes it easy for us to tell which noble families, merchants, and influential people have no ties to black magic.”
Her tone slowly started to become serious.
"We do not have much time. We also need to shed as little blood as possible. The ones to suffer the most if the chaos continues are the innocent people doing their best to live honest lives.”
Rosalyn stopped speaking for a moment.
However, Bud felt as if he could tell what she was going to say next.
That was why they needed a way to figure out the bad seeds at once and take care of them.
They just need to investigate the people and things tied to those bad seeds if they found them all together at once.
Then they would be able to quickly figure out anybody tied to black magic.
Bud started to speak without even touching his bottle. He was subconsciously sitting up straight.
“Then there will be a total of four factions? Those red dots on the map?”
“Yes, Mr. Bud.”
Rosalyn looked at the map and continued to speak.
“There are four factions and the southern faction currently has the strongest forces.”
Bud started to think.
‘If factions are being created…
And these factions even have royal family members…’
“Then it seems obvious that a revolt would happen, so why did you say that it was only 50/50?”
Bud looked around the table. He could see Cale happily munching away at his steak. However, Cale's eyes were focused on Rosalyn's map.
“It is because the capital is a fortress.”
He heard Rosalyn’s response.
North, South, East, West. All four of those factions were aiming for the throne.
They also valued their own safety.
That was why these four factions who were not allied. All of them wanted the throne but they could not easily make a move.
“The soldiers who were left behind by the Imperial Prince during the Mogoru Empire's war against the Whipper Kingdom.”
The Whipper Kingdom's battle that had been filled with golems and the black despair.
Imperial Prince had left the soldiers behind and ran away at that battle. He had even left dead mana bombs to kill those soldiers.
But those soldiers had survived.
“They are always at the capital.”
They were all brave warriors.
These warriors were not just infantry soldiers either. There were knights, archers, and other specialists within the ranks.
Rosalyn started to smile.
Bud subconsciously gulped after seeing that smile.
The soldiers who had returned alive and were stationed at the capital.
There were a large number of them.
“Of course, they are all remaining quiet.”
As long as these soldiers were quietly hiding, none of the four factions dared to move.
Bud licked his lips as he started to speak again.
“…But no matter what, don’t you need to take care of those four places?”
“That is correct.”
“Mm, it sounds complicated.”
Bud put on an awkward smile.
They needed to get rid of the factions that had gathered around the four Alchemists’ Towers.
However, the other factions may make a move for the capital if they focused on one.
“It looks like it will be difficult.”
It was at that moment.
“No, it’s simple.”
Bud turned his head.
He could see Cale elegantly wiping his mouth with a napkin.
He pointed to the map as he continued to speak.
“We hit all four at once.”
North, South, East, West.
They would attack all four places at the same time.
Bud shared his thoughts on reflex.
“…Even if there are a large number of soldiers in the capital, is it enough to hit all four at once? It would be complicated if even one of four places ended in a draw.”
Attack all four places at once.
It was idealistic.
But that was only if they were victorious on all four sides.
It would be dangerous if even one side was defeated.
But Bud soon closed his mouth.
Sword master Hannah who had kicked away the title of Holy Maiden started to laugh. Bud finally realized the atmosphere around him after hearing her laugh.
He could tell that they were all thinking the same as Cale.
Cale started to speak.
“Hannah to the North.”
“Good. Very good!”
The quiet Hannah finally started to speak, and her eyes were filled with passion.
Cale took a quick look at those eyes before continuing to speak.
“Jack-nim to the East.”
The East would have Jack who was a Saint and would be the Pope.
“Rei Stecker to the West.”
The half alchemist who was called the alcoholic alchemist. He currently represented the alchemists who were not related to black magic.
Cale then looked toward the southern portion of the map.
The Southern Alchemists’ Tower was said to have the strongest forces.
“Sir Rex will take the South.”
Cale's gaze moved past the map.
He made eye contact with Bud.
“Bud and Raon will be responsible for maintaining communication between the four groups.”
Bud finally understood why Cale had brought him here.
Raon was capable of teleporting and communicating while Bud would be the contact person with Raon's help.
“There will be a helper in each direction as well. The help will stay hiding unless absolutely necessary.”
Cale picked up a wine glass as he continued to speak.
“Miss Rosalyn to the North.”
“Mary to the East.”
Mary quietly nodded her head.
“Choi Han to the West.”
Choi Han quietly looked toward Cale.
Cale looked back at the map.
The hand not holding the wine glass undid his top button.
The map of the Mogoru Empire was being recorded without the slightest mistake in his mind.
“And I will support Sir Rex in the South.”