“No, it's not that…”
“I cannot say anything else, eh, enough!”
“Ahaha, you are still a bronze mercenary.”
“Then you. You are the same as me…”
The trade route in Tamoe Forest, stained with monsters.
There were travelers who would normally move with tense faces, but not now. Most of them were now walking with bright expressions on their faces. And they were talking too.
No one thought it was strange either.
Because a large-scale party had gathered with almost 200 people, so it felt much more reliable than most times.
‘And if it is the eldest son of Wise, there will be no problem with monsters or demonic beings.’
‘It is fine even if a demon comes. We have a Sword Master on our side.’
‘As long as it isn’t too dangerous, I think it will be fine if there is one attack. I don’t want to miss the chance to see a Sword Master’s aura.’
Gael Wise, the eldest son of the merchant.
He wasn’t some lucky kid.
He was someone who made an impact with his trade skills, personality, and someone who also played an important role in the harmony between humans and elves. And thanks to that, talented people were with him.
And today was the same.
There was a well-trained army. Five Experts were among them. Besides them, there was also a Sword Master, Brudie Schaffer, a talented person who looked at them all with a smile.
In the midst of the group which resembled a nation’s army, no one felt afraid to enter Tamoe Forest.
“Is Gael Wise going to the Holy Kingdom?”
“Is he going to contest? I heard that he is someone who has handled both sword and magic…”
“What about Brudie Scaffer? Do you have anything to say about him?”
“Uh, that gentleman is over 70. He cannot do it at that age.”
“Ah, right. Hahaah.”
Everyone was able to laugh in the relaxed air.
Airn nodded his head.
Gael Wise promised to protect the people not only in the forest but throughout their journey to the Holy Kingdom.
And the situation was a lot better than having an escort of mercenaries.
But not everyone liked it.
Jarin, Giovanni, Kenan and Ethan.
Airn looked at the people whose words sharply declined. It had been two days since they entered Tamoe Forest.
‘It is fine. There is nothing to be nervous about.’
Phew, Ethan, mumbled to himself.
Right, it wasn’t forever.
It was just a bit of discomfort and sadness for his party for a few days. All they had to do was to not argue and stay quiet.
‘But I cannot talk back.’
Currently the main lead for the group was the Wise’s party, but they alone couldn’t handle all the tasks for the entire group.
So, the current arrangement was for the leaders of the small parties to place those roles on the members, thus allowing the main party to smoothly continue the journey.
Whether it was arranging for the night watch, arranging the tents and beds, or making meals and doing chores… of course, no one hated it.
If not for the Wise group, who would willingly come through here?
In the process, things continued to happen which made Ethan uncomfortable.
‘Well, it is no big deal.’
Ethan nodded his head.
At most, their meals were delayed, and there were too many shifts of watch for them and the side to which their beddings were assigned to was somewhat vulnerable to monster attacks.
Thinking too deeply about it could be a deep problem, but if they had bold people to talk about it, then it wasn’t much of an issue.
Actually, Ethan was about to pass it on, but Jarin stopped him.
‘Sorry. Everyone is suffering because of me.’
‘No, no. Why would it be because of you? This is just a coincidence.’
The elf had a dark expression all the time. And the entire party was in a slump because they cared for her.
Ethan’s thoughts changed however, when it kept happening to them.
And it felt burdensome, and he wanted to suggest it.
‘Actually, Jarin must be overreacting.’
He heard of the story before.
However, it was too much to say that what they were experiencing now was because of what happened…
It had to be a coincidence, or some bad luck.
Right. It was fine. They were all minor problems which could be solved with suggestions.
Ethan, who took control of his heart, approached the mercenaries who were playing cards.
It was because he thought it would be better to talk to a few leaders of the small parties and ask the main party together rather than asking by himself.
“Uh? A sorry. I am making an important bet now. later…”
“Uh? Ahh, yes. Right, we were going together… um! But now, my stomach hurts. Sorry, next time.”
“Oh my, I don’t think it is right to go now with a drunk face.”
Ethan’s expression hardened.
They were quite familiar with the mercenaries for about 10 years now, and they had helped a lot of them too. So, he thought this request of his was nothing.
But he was wrong. It was just his own opinion.
After feeling a bit bitter, he exhaled.
“Right, it’s not a big deal. I can just go alone. Ah. Right.”
Ethan slapped himself on the cheek.
Right. It’s not a big deal. It’s a suggestion not some protest, it has to work out.
He couldn’t back out. He was going to do it. All he had to do was to ask politely.
‘Besides, who am I? I’m Ethan, the Sword Expert.’
And he smiled.
He always thought about it. Despite not being the best, he lived a life where he was proud even when he was in front of the best.
It was the same even now. This couldn’t be much.
Whether the opponent was a small group or a large one like Wise’s which helped the continent, there was no problem as long as he didn’t make things awkward.
Ethan controlled his thoughts and moved.
There was a large barracks located in the centre of the grounds. That was the place where Gael Wise had established himself.
He slowly approached it. His feet felt heavy, but it wasn’t that he couldn’t move.
It was fine to sweat a little. No one would tease him.
He saw a familiar face.
“What is it?”
“… there seems to be a minor problem with the distribution of work… I wanted to talk about it.”
Ethan smiled as he said it, his expression and voice weren’t natural though.
He felt strange, his mouth didn’t work as usual, and his heart felt heavy. Although the man in front of him was someone he had known for long, they were not close friends.
Because of their history of getting into fights.
However, most of them ended with Ethan being victorious, so he thought he could deal with them anytime.
But he was wrong.
The moment he saw the Wise symbol on the chest, the moment he saw the bald man in the large tent with a relaxed face, he felt strangely lost.
He seemed big and self like a dwarf.
“It cannot be so important, right?”
“… still, we can talk right?”
“Yes. We can talk. So, tell me.”
“Tell me. I will let them know.”
“You don’t have to if you don’t want to.”
Ethan stood silently for a long time in front of the man who smiled with his teeth exposed.
He didn’t want to go back.
This guy wouldn’t relay his troubles. Considering their past fights that was expected.
Rather than telling him, he could wait until Gael Wise came out and he could speak then.
But he couldn’t do that.
He said that to himself, but it didn’t matter… he felt pressure like he was in front of a demon.
No, worse than it, it was hopelessness.
“Are you going to keep standing?”
“How long will you do that?”
The voice of the man could be heard.
It wasn’t a question but a joke, a mockery. Ethan hesitated without saying a word.
It wasn’t a huge deal, so maybe was it better to go back?
No. Why was he feeling so troubled with such trivial things?
… he didn’t know why. Yet he knew it, better than anyone.
Ethan, who finally made the decision, bowed his head.
It was the moment he decided to cover his heart and step back.
“Can I speak instead?”
Ethan looked at Aron’s smiling face and made a bewildered expression.
He never talked about this to him!
No, before that, was he going to speak now?
In a situation like this, where he was feeling bad, this man is going to speak?
“Who are you?”
“Ah, hello. I am Aron. From Ethan’s party, I have something to tell you.”
“Mr. Wise is busy.”
The bald man was shocked at the sudden appearance.
It was because the way he was approached was too relaxed and it felt alien to him.
‘Is he the ignorant type?’ the man thought.
Well, it was no problem.
He brought out the aura.
It was difficult for people to act in the presence of the pressure of aura, but this was enough to make the blonde realize his intentions.
It would be enough to drive him away.
The young man was speaking with a calm face.
“I heard it from behind, that I should speak to you?”
“Thank you. It is no different from what Mr. Ethan said, there seem to be minor problems with the task distribution.”
Before long, Aron began to speak about it all. It was no big deal, and depending on the person, the problem could change.
Right. The content wasn’t that bothered the bald man. Seeing the blonde speak so casually, his expression hardened.
‘What is he?’
He looked like an infinitely pure kind of man. If it wasn’t for the strong physique he had, one could think of him as a scholar.
However, the way he spoke was different.
The name of Wise didn’t stop him, and the pressure he was releasing didn’t stop him either.
It didn’t feel like he was ignoring everything.
He was neither timid nor fussy. Seeing Aron clearly convey what he wanted to, the bald man felt his heart shrink.
“What? They have complaints?”
“Yes. What is supposed to be just once, ends up overlapping in succession for them.”
“It seems like it is still going on.”
The story got long and those around began to look at them. Quite a few even nodded to the words of the blonde man.
So, the bald man started sweating inside his armor. He couldn’t think straight.
And then, as two men came into the tent, the atmosphere completely changed.
“What is it?”
The bald head froze.
He couldn’t help it.
Except for special events such as the Warrior’s Festival, a being which hardly speaks, spoke to him for the first time.
The eyes of Sword Master Brudie Schaffer, who had an aura that an Expert couldn’t handle, swept past him.
However, Aron, no… Airn didn’t move back.
Along with that man was the manager of the party, who had a tall stature, good looks and a gentle smile.
The half elf, Gael Wise was looking at him.
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