Chapter 4: They Met (1)
Editor: Borderline Masochist
He could not think about anything else while food was in front of him. He could not even prevent the admiration that was flowing out of his mouth.
“Ha. It’s so delicious.”
The deputy butler Hans flinched at the words that came out of Cale’s mouth. Cale was sitting alone at the table, with Hans standing next to him.
Other than breakfast, Count Henituse’s family tended to take care of the other meals freely. To be honest, it was mainly because they each had their own responsibilities.
Nobody said that it was easy to be a noble.
Especially if you were in administration or politics, you had to follow a strict schedule, dropping everything else if you received an order from someone above you.
Count Deruth had responsibilities as the lord of the region, making it difficult to share other meals together, while Cale’s younger siblings timed their meals based on their studies. The Countess was busy interacting with the wives of the influential households in the region, as well as other tasks.
‘Now that I think about it.’
Cale put the fork down after suddenly remembering something. Hans started to get nervous, thinking to himself that this was the normal Cale. He was worried because he did not know when that fork may fly toward his face. Cale did not care whether Hans was nervous or not as he got lost in his own thoughts.
‘There are a lot of experts hiding as artists or craftsmen.’
The Roan Kingdom was pretty advanced in construction and the arts, especially sculpting. It was because there was a lot of marble in the Roan Kingdom. Thanks to that, the Henituse region became the fifth best marble mining region, bringing in a lot of money.
Furthermore, a mountain range took up most of Count Henituse’s region. Even though it was located in the northwest, the mountains were extremely fertile, allowing the residents to grow grapes in between the mountains for wine. Although there was not a large quantity of wine from these fields, it were still treated as one of the best wines in the entire continent.
However, Cale’s mind was filled more about the, ‘strong individuals,’ and not these facts. He had even missed lunch as he sat in the study thinking about that all day.
‘Why are there so many experts on this stupid land? This isn’t the murim.’
There were so many hermit experts here like in the murim. That was why Cale came to a conclusion.
Do not mess with just anybody.
An average looking chef could be a poison expert, and the person working in the repair shop could be someone who viciously killed people with his wires. This was that type of land.
A deep sigh came out of Cale’s mouth. He had just completed his plan to prevent himself from dying and living peacefully.
Cale, who wanted to let out another sigh, turned his gaze to the source of the cautious voice. It was the deputy butler Hans.
“Should I get them to make something else?”
Hans held back his sigh after seeing Cale frowning and opening his eyes widely. He was thinking that Cale would now flip the table. Hans didn’t know why the Count would assign him to take care of Cale, but held back his rising despair as he waited for Cale’s response.
And Cale did respond.
“Why would you remake something this delicious?”
Cale picked his fork back up and sliced the meat. Dinner was even fancier than breakfast. It was not delicious because he had never had something like this when he was still Kim Rok Soo, but because it was an extravagant taste, even for the original Cale.
Kim Rok Soo didn’t know how Cale grew up, but the original Cale had issues with anything that was not fancy. He liked that fact quite a bit. Everybody knew that was the case and only brought the best of the best.
Cale put a piece of the well-cooked, but still juicy, piece of steak in his mouth as he asked Hans. His attitude was one that said he did not care about etiquettes at all.
“Hans, who made this meal?”
“Ah, it was second chef Beacrox.”
...Cale suddenly lost his appetite.
Beacrox. He was clean cut and was the son of the servant Ron. However, unlike his father, he specialized in the way of the sword and not assassinations. Beacrox was also obsessed with cleanliness and sharpened his spotless blade every day, using that same sword to slice the heads of his enemies off their bodies.
‘...He also specializes in torture.’
That kind of guy ends up admiring Choi Han’s sword skill and chooses to follow him. His father Ron makes a deal with Choi Han to help him, and chooses to leave with the two of them for the sake of his son. Although he may not look like it, Ron cherishes his son quite a bit.
Cale looked down at the medium rare steak that was still slightly pink on the inside and gulped a few times.
‘I can’t allow my blood to shed like this steak.’
He turned his gaze toward Hans who was still looking at him before cutting another piece of steak and putting it in his mouth.
“It is delicious. He is Ron’s son, right? I did not know he was such a talented chef.”
“...I will deliver your message to chef Beacrox. I’m sure he will be very happy to know that young master Cale complimented his cooking.”
“Is that so? Let him know that I truly enjoyed this delicious meal.”
Hans was looking at Cale with a stiff expression, but Cale had made up his mind. He was not going to mess with Beacrox and would work to make a good impression.
Cale enjoyed the meal once again with a relaxed heart. Everything will be settled once he made Beacrox run into Choi Han and leave the region. Cale had already made what he thought to be a pretty good plan to make that happen.
Just like during breakfast, Cale completely emptied the dishes. He had a satisfied smile on his face as he got up and looked toward Hans.
“Hans, why did you suddenly end up being assigned to me?”
Hans had mentioned before dinner that his father, Deruth, had sent him to personally handle Cale’s needs. Although Cale did not know about the situation in Count Henituse’s family once Choi Han leaves, Hans was extremely skilled and probably had the best chance of all the deputy butlers in becoming the official butler.
Hans slightly bowed his head and answered the question.
“The Count-nim was concerned after hearing that young master had missed a meal while working in the study and ordered me to make sure that the young master makes sure to eat every meal. As a result, I will be overseeing just the meal-related duties for the young master.”
To be specific, Hans was responsible for the meals.
“Is that so? My father did something he didn’t need to do. I would eat properly on my own. But I guess I would not have realized it was time for dinner if Hans did not come tell me.”
Cale was busy writing down all the fateful encounters in the first five volumes of the novel in Korean. After leaving the dining room, Cale smiled toward Hans.
“Hans, take good care of me.”
“Ah, of course. Please take good care of me as well. I will do my best.”
Hans stumbled a bit as he answered, but Cale just let it be. Cale saw Ron standing there as soon as he opened the door and started to frown.
“Ron, didn’t I tell you to go eat?”
Cale told him to go away because he did not want to see this old man’s face, but he would not leave. He just roamed around Cale like a fly. Ron had been waiting outside the door when he was in the study, but even that got on Cale’s nerves.
“Young master, it is my duty to take care of you.”
Cale clicked his tongue after seeing Ron smiling at him. He then threw a bit of a tantrum.
“Enough. I don’t need it so go eat. Why don’t you go eat even when I tell you to go eat? Don’t follow me. You know my temper if you do, right?”
Cale threatened Ron with his gaze to reinforce that he did not want Ron to follow as he headed back to the study. When he peeked back, Ron was standing there with a stiff expression while Hans was looking towards him with shock.
‘Should I not have thrown a tantrum?’
Cale was scared of the assassin old man’s stiff expression and turned his head back around before speeding back to the study.
The desk was completely empty.
The document that he had been working so hard on to write in Korean was already burnt in the fire. Cale had done so himself. There was nobody here who knew Korean, but he had to be careful. He had also told all the servants not to enter the study without his permission as well.
‘I remember everything anyways.’
Kim Rok Soo had always been good at remembering things he enjoyed. Comic books, novels, movies, no matter what it was, as long as he enjoyed it, he was able to remember the names and appearances of the characters. Of course, if he didn’t like something, he would not remember anything about it at all.
Cale leaned his back onto the chair and thought about what he needed to do in the future.
‘First, I need to see Choi Han tomorrow and do that.’
The corners of his lips started to slowly rise.
‘I need to pick up a shield.’
To live long without dying. He had no intentions of fighting.
In order to achieve that goal, the first step was raising his defenses. Second was finding a recovery method. Third was being faster than anybody else. Fourth was a strength that does not hurt him but can kill others.
Of course, the most important thing was to avoid the battlefield or anywhere where there may be bloodshed.
Cale thought about these so called plans of his as he slowly closed his eyes with satisfaction. He was thinking about it even as he fell asleep.
‘At least, I will not be beaten up even when the time comes for it in the novel.’
The Indestructible Shield. Cale was thinking about this first shapeless strength he was going to get as he fell asleep. The corners of his lips that had gone up did not seem like they would ever come down.
Fateful encounters did not have an owner. It was a first come first serve type of deal.
The important day. What did he need to do in order to calm his nerves and be successful? Cale thought the first step was to have a hearty breakfast.
He felt like the only thing he did after coming to this world was eating, but he was going to enjoy the meal since he will be busy for a while starting tomorrow.
“Mm, ahem. I heard you fell asleep in the study last night.”
“It somehow ended up that way.”
He casually answered his father’s question and continued to focus on the food. The fact that he did not even look at his father probably seemed rude, but it was fine since he was known for being the trash.
Cale finished eating first and stood up. The screeching noise of the chair made everyone focus on him.
“I will head out first.”
It was not proper etiquette, but Cale’s father Deruth just seemed to like his son no matter what. He looked back and forth at Cale and the empty plates before starting to smile.
“Sure. Go ahead.”
Cale needed to quickly leave because he had a lot of things to do today. But Deruth held him back for a second.
“You don’t need any allowance today?”
“...I do need some.”
This really was a family with a lot of money. Cale held back his smile after hearing that his father will send him the allowance through Hans and left without even saying thank you. He did make eye contact with his brother, Basen, for a moment, but Cale just ignored it and headed toward the dining room door.
He saw that Ron was following him and shooed him away.
“Ron. I’m going out. Don’t look for me.”
Don’t look for me. That was Cale’s code for letting Ron know that he was leaving the estate that was located near the rear of the city to go drinking. Whenever he did this, Ron just smiled and told him to have a safe trip.
“Will you not go to the study today?”
But for some reason, Ron asked a rare question today. Cale started to frown.
“Ron, I don’t think that is something you need to be curious about.”
“...I understand, young master. I will be waiting for you.”
Cale’s forehead started to show even more wrinkles after hearing that Ron will be waiting for him.
“Don’t wait for me.”
Cale flicked his finger to beckon one of the servants standing at the entrance of the residence over and walked out with him. Cale still seemed angry, so that servant did not say anything as he followed behind Cale.
Once he exited the residence, he could see the garden and the gate of the exit farther away. It was only then that Cale let out a sigh and peeked backwards. He could see Ron’s stiff expression through the closing door.
‘I’m glad I was able to shake him off.’
He was glad that Ron did not follow him. However, Cale was afraid of that stiff expression. He was an assassin after all. Cale decided that he will treat Ron better and not make him angry starting the next interaction as he exited the estate. Of course, he was on a carriage.
He arrived at his destination a little bit later.
“Young master. Is this the right place?”
The driver cautiously asked as he opened the door. He then peeked toward the shop in front of him. The driver’s face was clearly filled with confusion.
“Yes. This is it.”
Cale, who was wearing clothes that would be fancy to others but was the simplest thing in his closet, walked out of the carriage. Nobody was around them, as they had moved away as soon as they saw the carriage with the count’s crest on it.
[The Fragrance of Tea with Poetry]
It was a tea shop that allowed you to read poems while drinking tea. This clean three story building looked to be pretty expensive. It was true that the owner of the shop was very wealthy. In fact, as the bastard son of a concubine of a large merchant guild, he was even wealthier than Cale. The only thing was that he was living here while hiding that identity.
‘If I recall correctly, the owner goes to the capital around volume 3 to meet Choi Han there. It is there that he claims that, he may be a bastard son of a concubine of the merchant guild, but that he will become the owner of the merchant guild.’
The man who shouts and swears to Choi Han that he will become the owner of the merchant guild. Cale only read the first five volumes, and thus did not know if the man ever ended up becoming the owner of that merchant guild, but since he was one of the main character’s partners, he probably will succeed.
Cale looked toward the driver who was sweating like a hog and gave an order.
“You can leave now.”
“Are you going to make me say the same thing twice?”
“No, that, do I not need to wait for you, young master?”
Cale casually answered as he opened the door to the tea shop.
“Yeah. I’ll be here for a while.”
Gulp. He could hear the driver’s gulp behind him, but a much clearer and pleasurable noise filled Cale’s ears. Clang. A quiet but clear bell sound announced Cale’s entrance into the tea shop.
Cale stood at the entrance and looked around the tea shop. It was still early, and there were not many people there. Cale could see that all of them were shocked to see him there.
Well, the novel did say there was nobody in this region who did not know about Cale. He was public enemy number one for the merchants because he had a tendency to break everything in their shops.
However, the owner of this shop warmly welcomed Cale in. Cale looked toward the baby pig-like man who welcomed him in from the counter.
‘He must be the owner.’
The wealthy bastard, Billos. His round face and full body definitely looked like a baby pig like the novel described. His charm was his extremely bright smile.
‘He looks like a piggy bank.’
Cale took out a gold coin and put it on the counter as he ordered.
“I plan on staying on the third floor all day today.”
Billos stared at Cale with a smile on his face. Cale pretended not to notice as he pointed to the bookshelf.
“Any tea that is not bitter. Do you have novels here too or just poems?”
Clang. The sound of someone putting their teacup down rang through the shop. Cale just thought of it as someone putting the teacup down hard and looked toward Billos. He prefered novels to poems.
“Of course. We have a lot of novels as well, young master Cale.”
“Really? Then send up the most interesting book and a cup of tea.”
“Yes. I understand.”
Cale’s gold coin fell onto Billos’s chubby hands. Cale turned away as Billos tried to give him change.
“I’ll drink more tea later so just keep it.”
“...But it is still too much, young master.”
A gold coin was worth 1 million gallon. Having that coin, that was worth 1 million Korean won, Cale did something that he had always wanted to try.
“I have a lot of money. Consider it as your tip.”
Talking about how rich you are. Who cares if Billos actually has more money than he does? He also knew about many fateful encounters that will earn him a lot of money. Cale tried to look cool as he pointed toward the tables on the first floor with his chin.
“Well, if it is too much, you can treat everyone here to a cup of tea on me.”
Golden Bell. He wanted to do something like this once. After he told his father that he needed allowance, he received three gold coins which were worth a total of 3 million gallon.
“Young master, still...”
“Ah, enough. Just bring my tea.”
It really was good to be the trash. Cale did not care about being respectful as he headed up to the third floor. He could hear whispers coming from behind him, but he did not need to care because there were already enough rumors about him, the trash of the Count’s family.
“Just like I thought.”
There was nobody else on the third floor right now because it was early in the morning. Cale took a seat in the innermost corner of the third floor. He then looked out the window.
‘This is the right spot.’
The spot where you could best see the Northern Gate of Western City. Cale planned to watch Choi Han from this location today.