Author: Dawn

Escort (4)


  • Age: 16, Stratagem Level 5
  • Traits: [Death Avoidance], [winds], [Ironman], [Mysophobia], [Worst Condition], [Devil’s Blood], [Eccentric Actions]
  • Titles: [Quick-witted Impersonator], [Skilled Assassin], [Persistent Shadow], [Resourceful Savior]

In the past three years, I’d grown quite a bit.

Even if I could only see the traits, I’d definitely improved compared to before.

The Inexperienced Trickster had become a Quick-witted Impersonator, and the Inexperienced but Calm Novice Assassin had changed to a Skilled Assassin.

Through infiltration missions, I acquired Persistent Shadow and even gained a new trait from this recent task.

On a separate note, I had some doubts about the Resourceful Savior trait when I first saw it.

Unlike other traits, there was no explanation that it gives any Stratagem experience.

‘It just says that when rescuing someone, your mental and physical abilities are enhanced compared to usual.’

At first, it seemed like a trait that didn’t quite fit with the values of Stratagem. Rescue missions were rare.

It might be useful for guarding missions.

In any case, it wasn’t a bad trait. Once the main story began, there would likely be many rescue missions.

And it had been a while since my Stratagem level increased.

As I got used to the duke’s missions, I didn’t notice much growth in my abilities, so it was quite rewarding.

Even though it was the same practical experience, it felt a bit different.

Anyway, despite this growth, my mind wasn’t at ease.

After escaping from the Kiberun mountain range, ten days had passed. The mission was handled promptly.

Upon arriving in Kahalin, I immediately spoke with Nadmo and the Chief, and we quickly organized the branch.

We couldn’t go directly to the Imperial capital, so we decided to find a nearby hideout to lay low.

‘It was hectic.’

Clearing an entire Merchant Guild in just one day was no small feat. Some losses were inevitable.

In any case, some agents stayed in Kahalin, waiting in case Phiri and the other agents returned.

However, by the seventh day, all of those agents had also withdrawn from this location.

There was still no news from Phiri and the agents.

It was strange, considering that something with the label ‘Savior’ had appeared. I thought at least one person must have survived.

The only contact with the leader was just once. Security was important.

Since there were many people, some of the personnel were sent to other branches.

Mohen was also among them, and he didn’t pay any attention to me here, maybe because I had revealed part of the truth.

But a few people, including the Chief and me, were waiting here.

Perhaps it meant to offer support or join us when news from Phiri arrived…

In reality, after ten days, my expectations weren’t very high.

‘Should I have taken the risk and helped Phiri?’

A small regret crossed my mind, but it was a pointless thought.

If I had done that, I might not be alive now.

I hadn’t talked about the devil worshippers yet.

It would be dangerous to talk without Phiri. If Phiri really didn’t come…

I felt like I would have to bring it up when I meet the duke later. I closed the book with a sigh.

It was a tome about devils and their followers.

I had brought it from the duke’s mansion and was examining it to find the symbols I had seen.

But I found them quickly enough, and I couldn’t focus.

‘Let’s do some training.’

In a cave far from Kahalin.

The artificially constructed cave was quite large and had a place for training.

As I was about to take out my sword, Winds’ Sense caught a strange sign at the entrance of the cave. Three people were there.

‘Who could it be?’

Just a passerby? Or could it be agents from the spy division in the Imperial capital? 

After all, the vice-leader was missing, so it was natural for someone higher-up to come and investigate the situation.

In any case, there was no need for great concern. Even if they entered the cave, they could only come inside by operating the hidden mechanisms.

I sharpened my sense sensitively.

Among the three, only one person walked confidently into the cave and deftly activated the mechanisms.

Creek. With the sound of rolling stones, the entrance opened, and at that moment, I couldn’t help but widen my eyes. The person who entered the cave was Phiri.


Phiri raised the corner of her lips slightly.

“Did you wait long?”

I genuinely felt glad. Phiri was a good person, and her life here depended on me.

Phiri looked quite tired, but she smirked faintly.

“Call me ‘big sister’.” (+) [1]

Phiri whispered softly as she stepped out of the cave.

“It’s okay now. Come in.”

Soon, a middle-aged man and a man in his mid-twenties quickly came down.

I quickly assessed the situation.

Three people. That meant two of the initial four agents were no longer alive.

However, the middle-aged man’s gaze kept lingering on me. He walked up to me and stood in front of me.

“Are you Carlyn?”


“And you caused the snowslide?”


The man nodded solemnly.

“Thank you. I owe you. I am Toun Zaha. Thanks to you, I survived.”

His words were brief, but I could feel the sincerity behind them.

So, he was Toun Zaha, the one I had wondered about before. It turned out to be true. Even though we had just met, I felt a strong connection.

“It was something I had to do.”

As Toun Zaha was about to say something, Phiri intervened.

“Let’s go inside and talk.”

Phiri moved inside, turning her head to me.

“I heard the story briefly. You did well, beyond my expectations.”

“Why did you come so late? I thought you were dead.”

“I have no words for that.”

Phiri glared at me with an annoyed expression and then shrugged.

“When the leader sent you a message, our message reached you too. After that, we didn’t contact separately for security reasons. We were told to come here.”

It seemed that our communication had missed each other by a slight time difference.

If they had received the message just a day later, Phiri and the agents would have come here and told us to wait.

Phiri looked around inside the cave and asked. 

“Where’s the Chief?”

“I will guide you.”

* * *

I was able to hear from the Chief about the experiences Phiri and the agents had gone through.

Normally, I wouldn’t have been included in such discussions, but since I was Phiri’s junior, I received some consideration.

In any case, the situation was as I had expected.

On the day of the snowstorm, the agents initiated their escape. It was Operation ‘Kahalin 1-3,’ where a strong combatant drew the enemy’s attention while the others relayed survival information.

‘Toun Zaha drew the enemy’s attention alone, though.’

Anyway, only half of the agents who escaped using Toun Zaha as bait survived. 

Even that was possible because of Phiri’s help, and if it weren’t for me, Toun Zaha would have died.

That was the essence of the story.

Unfortunately, the information the agents managed to bring back was quite limited. They were chased before they could accomplish much.

The only thing they found was that the enemies were gathering human bones in one place.

Upon discovering that, they decided to retreat and hide.

It was somewhat helpful information for me, as I was planning to talk to Phiri about the devil worshipers.

However, Phiri and the Chief remained silent about the devil worshipers. 

They suspected it might not be a group created by the Empire, but they didn’t seem entirely sure.

When the conversation was almost over, Chief asked cautiously, 

“What will happen to us?”

“Godfather will be dispatched elsewhere. Since there was friction with a group suspected to be related to the Empire, those who were active in Kahalin should change their identities.”

“Where will we be sent?”

“Not sure yet. If you wait, you’ll be contacted soon.”

The Chief nodded heavily.

It was almost like a natural disaster, but since he was responsible for a branch, he must have felt quite regretful.

It was bad news for me too. Dispatched by Godfather. I had to stay in the Empire. But it wasn’t the right time to bring it up.

“That’s enough for now. You look tired.”

“Yes. Thank you for coming all this way. Carlyn, please guide the vice leader. We’ll have a brief talk later.”


It was necessary for those who were originally in Kahalin to have their own conversation.

I led Phiri to the space I had prepared, hoping for a possible return.

Phiri placed her hand on my shoulder.

“Let’s go.”

* * *

“You did well, really.”

Phiri said as she plopped down on the bed, which had accumulated some dust despite being an old place.

I used Winds to clean up the dust.

“You mentioned it earlier as well.”

“Tsk. When adults say something, you’re supposed to say ‘thank you’ and listen.”

“Thank you.”

Phiri turned her body toward me while lying on the bed, and with one hand, she lightly brushed her long hair behind her ear.

“Honestly, I was really worried.”

“Is that so?”

“Yeah. Even though you’re quick-witted, you were still a rookie when you first came out. And to help Toun Zaha and suggest going back to the branch—were you really the one to do that?”

“It was Nadmo’s judgment.”

“Anyway. What matters is that your opinion is aligned with theirs. You did well.”

“Yes. Thank you.”

Phiri looked at me with narrowed eyes while still lying down.

“Ugh, why are you so serious? Forget it. I’m going to sleep.”

I hesitated slightly in my spot. Should I talk about the devil worshipers now?

There was a slight twist in the Winds with Phiri joining late.

“Why? Do you have something to say?”

Phiri chuckled ominously as I didn’t leave.

“Why? Are you so happy to see your big sister after such a long time? Do you want to spend more time together?”

“Actually, there’s something I want to talk to you about.”

Phiri sensed something amiss in my serious tone and sat up slightly.

“What is it?”

“I found some clues that could raise suspicions about who those people might be.”


I carefully brought up the tattoos I had discovered and the possibility of them being related to the devil worshipers.

It was a story that was hard to believe just by talking about it, so I had to show the book as well.

Even so, it was hard for Phiri to believe, and she had a perplexed expression.

“Isn’t it just a coincidence? It doesn’t necessarily mean they collected human skin.”

“I’m confident in my memory.”

The story of the devil worshipers was unbelievable, so I deliberately spoke with a confident tone.

Phiri, with a half-doubtful face, asked sharply, 

“Wait. Set that aside for now. Why didn’t you report it earlier?”

It was a question I expected in that brief moment.

“At the time of the escape, we were in a hurry, so there was no time to talk about the tattoos. Plus, I didn’t even know if they were related to devils.”

“And what about afterward?”

“Among the people here, you and I were the only outsiders.”

Phiri’s face contorted.

“Are you suspecting our own people?”

There was displeasure in her words. It might have been a hasty remark.

They had built up a long-standing relationship with Phiri longer than me. But it was an inevitable situation.

I already reported it only to Phiri because the leader was involved with the devil worshipers. There had to be a reason why I reported only to Phiri.

Confirming it just before Phiri’s arrival lacks persuasiveness.

She should have gone directly to the Chief instead of heading to the entrance of the training place.

‘But there are advantages to provoking Phiri’s displeasure.’

I had two reasons for telling her.

Anyway, it was a part I had to talk about, and it might make Phiri more cautious.

The internal enemy.

It was a simple throwaway line, but the important thing was to plant that seed in Phiri’s heart.

When the time came to deal with the leader, it might be slightly easier for her to accept it than if she heard it later.

Moreover, she was the vice leader, so she might sense something strange in the leader’s actions.

“The Chief will be displeased.”

“I’m willing to accept that.”

Omission of information. The Chief would naturally think that I didn’t trust him.

Phiri let out a deep sigh at my words.

“Ah, fine. It’s understandable that you’d have doubts. After all, they were a group of over a hundred people. But be more careful from now on. Don’t say anything without solid evidence.”


There was displeasure in Phiri’s words, but there was also concern. I took her genuine advice to heart.

And now, it was time to bring up the topic I had prepared.

  • 1. TLN: Noona/Nuna = Big Sister
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