Chapter 22: Returning the Favor (2)
Editor: Borderline Masochist
After easily passing through Puzzle City’s gate, the Henituse family’s Golden Turtle carriage followed the lead of deputy butler Hans to the inn.
“It is smaller than Western City.”
Cale nodded at On and Hong’s words, and looked outside the carriage.
‘It won’t follow me into the city, right?’
According to Choi Han, the Black Dragon would follow them from a far distance, before coming by in the early morning to drop the food off and then running away.
“Isn’t it cute? The dragon seems like a little kid that hasn’t lost its innocence, even after living such a terrible life.”
That was what Cale was thinking as Choi Han spoke to him with amusement. If Choi Han had seen the dragon blow a mountain away, he would not be saying things like, ‘Cute,’ to describe it.
Cale didn’t know why the dragon was doing this, even though it said that it hated humans. It was really overwhelming for Cale. This was not the way he was expecting things to go.
Since it was still young, Cale thought the dragon would stay away from the Marquis’s territory and create its own lair to develop its strength. Cale was hoping that, after growing stronger, that the dragon would destroy the Marquis’s estate before the war broke out in the continent.
That would be helpful in keeping the Henituse territory peaceful for a longer period of time.
Cale clicked his tongue, and the kittens, who were excitedly looking out the window, flinched before approaching him. It seemed like they had seen something odd outside, and had come to ask.
“Each house has a rock tower in front of it.”
“Very very weird.”
Cale just casually answered.
“This is the city of rock towers.”
Puzzle City was famous for the ancient ruins with a lot of rock towers, but it was also famous for the fact that each house had small rock towers in front of them.
The people in this city made a small groove outside of their windows to put a small rock tower on top of it. It really shouldn’t be called a rock tower, because it was made with less than ten rocks, but the rock towers were formed in different shapes based on the personality of the home owners.
That was why it was only natural that the luxurious inn that Cale arrived at also had a rock tower in front of it.
“Will we be staying here?”
Hans quickly responded to Cale’s question, as they followed behind the inn owner. Hans seemed to be very excited, as he was walking with the kitten siblings in his arms.
“Yes sir. We have reserved two days for Choi Han-nim, and have agreed to pay for the rest of the group depending on how long we end up staying here.”
Ron flinched for a moment at Hans’s words before quickly following behind with the magic box in his hand. Hans continued to speak.
“We arrived right before the Rock Tower Festival season, so the room was not that expensive.”
The Rock Tower Festival. Puzzle City was currently busy preparing for next week’s Rock Tower Festival. Cale just let out what he was thinking without giving it any thought.
“It’s not like there are a lot of rocks here, but the rock towers are quite interesting. Very odd.”
“I know the reason for that.”
Cale peeked toward Hans, who had responded to his mumblings.
“There is a sad yet thought provoking story that has been passed down through the ages.”
“Stop right now if it is going to be long.”
Cale really didn’t care about it. However, Hans continued to speak, as he had probably determined that the story was not very long. The group that had entered Cale’s room watched as the attendant stepped out of the room and then had to listen to Hans’s story.
“This story, well, this legend, is about something that happened in ancient times.”
The attendant had closed the door behind her and only Cale’s group was left in his room. Cale responded to the words, ‘Ancient times.’
“Yes. Ancient times.”
The kitten siblings in Hans’s arms were wagging their tails, as if they were interested in the story, and looked up at him. Ron just silently poured a cup of lemonade from the bottle he carried in with the magic box and handed it to Cale.
Cale held the cup of lemonade in his hands and sat down on the couch with his legs crossed and motioned to Hans with his chin. He was telling Hans to hurry up and speak.
“Ahem. This city supposedly fell out of the grace of a god in the past.”
‘Falling out of grace?’
Cale did not know anything about this story.
“This is my first time hearing about it.”
“That is because young master has not studied history.”
“...You seem to enjoy talking back to me these days. Are you going to keep talking back like that? Hmm?”
Hans quickly turned his gaze away from Cale.
“It is only natural for a great butler to inform their master about things that the master does not know.”
Hans started to speak about the ancient times.
“I do not know why this city fell out of the grace of a god. However, that is apparently when some of the people in this city started to gather together to build rock towers. It seemed to have been an act of worship to reach out to the god that had abandoned them.”
“Did it work?”
Hans sternly responded to Cale’s question.
The god did not listen to them.
“Apparently, none of the prayers went through. That is why the present day Puzzle City does not have a single temple.”
“There’s no reason for me to worship a god who has abandoned me. Is that it?”
“Ding ding ding! Our young master truly is smart and does not need to study at all.”
“...You want to get punched?”
Hans turned away from Cale to look at a far away mountain and continued to speak.
“Ahem. Anyways, they have rock towers instead of temples. The rock towers represent a promise that the people made after all of that. It was a promise between the people, as well as a promise with themselves.”
“What kind of promise?”
Hans started to explain an odd rule that was followed in Puzzle City.
“A human who has had their wish granted will destroy their rock tower.”
Cale started to smile.
“What an interesting city.”
“Isn’t it? Since they were abandoned by their god, they needed to achieve everything with their own strength. The act of destroying their rock tower represents, ‘overcoming the odds.’
Cale liked the act of destroying the rock tower very much. He then recalled the numerous rock towers in front of the houses.
“The rock towers are not created to seek help from a god.”
“Right. It is more of a representation of their own determination.”
This kind of rock tower held a lot of importance, even if you never got to destroy it.
“I guess it wasn’t the god granting their wish in the end.”
“Yes. You are right. Although it is sad that they were abandoned, this story also gives people a lot of hope.”
Cale casually gave an ordered to Hans who was responding to him.
Seeing Hans looking confused, Cale pointed to Hans’s chest with his finger.
“Looks like the kittens are angry.”
Gasp. Hans looked down and gasped as his eyes opened widely. The kittens were showing their teeth in anger. The golden pupils staring at Hans were vicious.
“Aigoo. Why are our kitten-nims so angry? Should I go bring you some more jerky?”
Hans started to smile as he put the kittens down from his chest. Since he still had no idea that they were beast people, he just assumed they were angry because they were hungry. However, the kittens were not angry because of that. Cale recalled the things that the siblings had told him earlier.
‘I heard from Hans earlier.’
‘If you make a wish at a rock tower, it will come true.’
‘He said the rock towers were pretty.’
On seemed to be angry, as she was tapping on the floor with her paw, while Hong was tapping on the floor with his tail. They were angry that Hans had lied to them about the rock tower, but Hans seemed to have gotten the wrong message.
“Aigoo, our precious kitten-nims. I will go get some delicious snacks for you! Young master, may I go get something for them?”
“You can stay out as well.”
“I will be back really quickly.”
Hans said that he would hurry back, but he still made sure the things he brought for Cale were neatly organized, before heading out like the wind as soon as it was done.
“Ron, you can go rest as well.”
Ron was still left in the room. Ron turned toward Cale and started to smile.
‘I have a bad feeling about this.’
Cale really hated that old man’s smile. His smile made Cale even more uncomfortable than normal. Ron approached the couch Cale was on, before starting to speak.
“Will Choi Han-nim be leaving in two days?”
Cale suddenly had a thought and started to smile as he asked.
“Why? You don’t want to send him away? Do you want to go with him?”
Ron’s benign smile became even bigger.
“Why would I leave you behind and go somewhere else, young master? I like being next to you.”
This gave Cale the chills.
“It is just that it is disappointing that Choi Han-nim will not be going with us all the way to the capital. I will need to speak with him as much as possible before he leaves. Beacrox will probably be sad to see him go.”
Cale’s expression became a bit better after hearing the rest of Ron’s words. He didn’t really pay attention to it because it was annoying, but it looks like a level of friendship had developed between Ron, Choi Han, and Beacrox.
Choi Han was difficult to read, but if he really hated someone, he would not even speak to them. Cale thought about his plan, and started to smile mischievously as he answered.
“Well, you can see each other again at the capital, since you’ll be moving together.”
‘The three of you can leave this kingdom and go to Rosalyn’s kingdom. What do you think? Wonderful, right?’
Cale did not say that part out loud, as he started to smirk while Ron started to smile even brighter.
“I look forward to when we are all together with Choi Han-nim in the capital. This old man’s wish is that everybody arrives there safely.”
Cale did not believe anything Ron was saying. ‘Looking forward to it,’ or, ‘wishing that everybody arrives there safely.’ Those type of emotions would not fly with this old man.
The kittens also snorted while looking at Ron. On and Hong found it annoying that Ron kept trying to teach them assassination skills that they already knew behind Cales back.
“...You can leave now.”
Cale easily got rid of Ron from the room.
“Hans is a liar!”
“I trusted that butler!”
The kitten siblings finally let out their anger while Cale was ignored them by looking out of the window.
Cale was looking in the direction of a cave in the corner of Puzzle City. This cave was the location of the incomplete rock tower and the, ‘Vitality of the Heart.’ There should be a small house in that cave.
‘Didn’t it say the person lived until they were 150 years old?’
This was a power that an ancient being left after naturally dying from old age. The deceased person thought his power to be a curse. Cale got up from his seat, fixed his clothes a bit, and opened the door.
Hans happened to be right outside the door. Seeing the deputy butler, who had run back with his arms full of jerky, Cale started to speak.
“Let’s go see the rock tower.”
The kittens’ ears started to twitch. Cale smirked internally at the kittens, who ran toward him like they were never angry to start, and picked the people that would go with him.
“It will just be us and Choi Han. Oh, bring On and Hong with you too.”
The human who died at the age of 150 had wanted to finish a rock tower in this Wind-Gathering Cave.
‘It was wood last time, now it is wind?’
The center of the cave has a hurricane that seemed to have appeared out of nowhere. The old man had spent over 100 years trying to build a rock tower in the eye of that hurricane. However, he failed.
Well, the old man always destroyed his rock tower whenever it looked like he was going to finish. He repeated that over and over until he died one day after stacking it back up about half way.
Just what wish did that ancient old man have? Cale didn’t really care. He just planned on carefully looking at one thing while they were out looking at rock towers today.
‘Might as well make it look good if I’m going to build it anyways.’
Since he had to do it anyways, he was going to make it look good. He also had to pay attention to some people, just in case, at the Rock Tower Ruins.
A bit later, Cale, the two kittens, Choi Han, and Hans arrived at the entrance of the Rock Tower Ruins. They didn’t bring their carriage that showed the symbol of the Henituse family, and Cale had a hat on as well, using the excuse that he did not like the sunlight.
‘They really are still here.’
He was able to locate the people that he was looking for as soon as they entered into the ruins. Cale stealthily hid behind Choi Han and Hans.
At a bit of a distance was a casually dressed man and woman. The man was in a wheelchair, with the woman pushing the wheelchair and heading out of the entrance of the Ruins, which was also the exit.
They didn’t notice Cale’s stealthy gaze and casually left the ruins. The man turned his head slightly toward the woman and asked.
“Why did you want to come here today?”
“I don’t know if it is a message from the lord or just complete bullshit, but I’ve had the same dream for a couple of days that I needed to come here. My dream said that our future benefactor will show up if we came to the ruins. Something about how even the lord didn’t know how that benefactor will act, other than the fact that they will be coming to the ruins today.”
“There’s even a person that the lord cannot predict?”
“Who knows? Half of the things the lord says is bullshit. Complete bullshit.”
The woman with short brown hair vented with annoyance.
“Bullshit? It is the word of the lord. Plus, wasn’t it a secret that you can hear messages from the lord?”
The responding man was the eldest son of Marquis Stan’s family, Taylor Stan.
“It’s not like there are any priests in Puzzle City. And who cares about the word of the lord? Does the lord feed us? How can there be a benefactor for people like us? Absolutely bogus. I’m hungry. Let’s go eat.”
The woman who looked annoyed was Taylor’s close friend, Cage, the woman who will eventually be called the Crazy Priestess. Taylor responded back to Cage with a serious expression.
“Cage, I suddenly feel like drinking beer.”
“Really? I’m craving smoked pork.”
They looked at each other with serious expressions. Taylor pointed forward with his finger, and seriously responded to Cage.
“What a wonderful combination. Let’s go. Push! It’ll be my treat!”
“Aigoo, your treat?! This priestess will do her best to escort you there.”
The two of them started to laugh as they started to move.
Cale could not hear their conversation because he was far away, but he was doing his best to remember the faces of these two individuals, who were still able to laugh while in the middle of some terrible situations.
‘Now that I’ve confirmed what they look like, I just need to make sure to avoid them.’
Since they didn’t know who he was, Cale just had to make sure he avoided them in the future.