Author: Dawn

Escort (5)

“But how did you find this connection? And where did you get the book?”

As I was about to speak, Phiri threw a sharp question. It was within my expectations.

I calmly delivered the prepared response, 

“I once read this book in Godfather’s mansion library.”


Though it was an old book, it resembled a historical record, detailing the era of the founding emperor.

At present, it wasn’t hard to find, even though it might not be commonly read.

“During my return to the branch, I had a hunch, so I managed to obtain the book from the Merchant Guild branch.”

“Like last time, your memory is truly remarkable, huh?”

Phiri expressed genuine admiration.

“Not really.”

“Trying to be humble now, huh…”

Since it seemed like a topic might leak out, I redirected the conversation back to its original course.

“Earlier, the Chief and Vice leader mentioned that these people might be a newly formed group by the Empire.”

“Yeah. They weren’t the Empire people I know. Not just a large number, they weren’t the only sloppy ones either.”

Phiri took out a cigarette and lit it. I used Winds to make sure the smoke didn’t reach me.

“There’s only the Empire. As you said, maybe some crazy people from the Empire are orchestrating such incidents.”

Her tone didn’t seem to take my words seriously. I wanted to confirm her intentions.

“Do you really believe that the devil worshipers have returned?”


Phiri hesitated in his response.

“To be honest, I think the possibility is low. They might exist, but…”

“Are you suggesting that it’s more likely that the Empire deliberately disguised themselves as devil worshipers for terror attacks?”

Phiri nodded.

It wasn’t the definitive answer, but it was a reasonable opinion. Perhaps it was an inevitable reaction given the current situation.

“Your thoughts might be halfway right.”


“If they are indeed the devil worshipers you mentioned, isn’t it strange that they suddenly appeared without any warning signs?”

I nodded. In the game, they simply appeared out of nowhere, but I hadn’t thought about it much.

It was just a game, and I wondered if the devil whispered to someone.

“If they truly are devil worshipers, wouldn’t it be more accurate to see them as a group created by the Empire, but now they are no longer under their control?”


At first, it seemed like a random thought, but upon further reflection, it might be plausible.

Since I hadn’t cleared the game, I couldn’t know its essence either.

If the Empire deliberately created devil worshipers who later broke free and started attacking the Empire with short swords, why couldn’t they control something they themselves created?

Though it might not be the case right now, Phiri might be seeing a few steps ahead.

I was somewhat impressed.

To deduce that much from limited information, it was no wonder she became vice leader.

Perhaps I was too fixated on the game’s information and needed to think more flexibly.

“Of course, it’s possible that the crazy devil worshipers suddenly appeared.” 

“I think you’re right, vice-leader.”

Phiri admitted, taking my words more seriously than I expected.

Phiri nodded. 

“Anyway, it’s not entirely impossible. Let’s consider multiple possibilities for now…”

She looked at me seriously. 

“Let’s keep what you reported to me a secret.”

“Is that okay?”

“Sure, after all, I am the vice leader. Pretend to come back to me and report in two days. You can say that you remembered something crucial while passing by during a critical situation.”

“Wouldn’t that lack persuasiveness?”

“If I also mention something similar happening during combat, it’ll be fine.”

Although Phiri said it casually, it was evident that she was saying this out of genuine concern for me.

I felt truly touched.

“Thank you.”

“It’s alright.”

Phiri yawned as she stretched and settled back into the bed.

“Now, is there anything else to discuss?”

“…What will happen to me? Will I be assigned somewhere else?”

I still hadn’t heard an answer about my future. Being reassigned would be a big problem.

Phiri lifted the corner of her mouth in response to my question.

“Why? How would you like it to be?”

“Does it depend on my words?”

“Well, it could, and it couldn’t.”

“I hope to stay in the Empire.”

I couldn’t tell if Phiri’s words were genuine or not. It seemed like she wanted me to stay, but…

I couldn’t easily reveal my thoughts to a superior. Phiri’s smile deepened.

“Do you not want to be separated from me?”

“It’s not that… I mean, it’s not like that, but I’m here since I wanted to be in the Empire.”

Phiri chuckled softly.

“If you’re going to flatter, do it properly.”

“I apologize.”

“Don’t worry. You’ll be with me. Perhaps wait a bit and then return to the capital. You might receive a different mission.”

I inwardly sighed with relief. Hearing it verbally put my mind at ease.

A few days later, we received a message from the Empire’s capital.

It wasn’t about returning; it was a new mission.

Orders were given to disperse and scatter the personnel here, including us.

Additionally, we decided to lay low in Kahalin for a while.

Investigating the enigmatic organization right after cleaning up the branch was a risky investment.

Instead, we planned to use the Empire’s influence.

After finishing the cleanup, we would intentionally leak information about the Kiberun Mountain Range.

‘We’ll see how this plays out.’

The Empire’s capital had a relatively good information network compared to the northern regions. We would gather intelligence and monitor the Empire’s actions.

By observing their behavior, we could determine if they were the Empire’s dogs or not.

After that, under the duke’s leadership, we would prepare to establish a new branch for further investigation.

I was slightly surprised to hear that the duke would personally get involved. On the surface, it didn’t seem like that big of an incident.

‘Is it because he’s perceptive?’

For me, it was a positive development.

If more capable agents came in and gathered information, our response capabilities would increase.

In truth, I wasn’t supposed to hear about this. It was entirely due to Phiri’s consideration that I was informed, as I had earned merit and now had the right to know about future affairs.

During the large-scale movement, while the others remained in place, Phiri and I moved first.

On the day of departure, despite Phiri’s objections, Toun Zaha escorted us all the way to the entrance.

It was probably because of me. Even while we were together, he showed a lot of interest in me.

There was also the debt of saving his life, and it seemed like he was trying to repay the loss of junior agents through me.

When he mentioned that the agents who had tried to sacrifice their lives to help them escape had died, he was clearly holding back tears.

As for me, there was no reason to reject his favor. I learned a lot from him, listening to various experiences from real missions.

Even during our final farewell, Toun Zaha’s gaze lingered on me. He extended his rough hand.

When I shook his hand, Toun Zaha responded with a hearty laugh.

“Someday, I’ll repay you properly.”

“You’ve already been a great help to me.”

My words made Toun Zaha burst into laughter.

Seeing Phiri, not understanding why, Phiri replied, hiding her smile.

“He’s just saying, let’s survive and meet again next time.”


It was a parting greeting typical of mercenaries and those risking their lives for their work. I nodded.

“Yes, please repay me properly when we meet again.”

“Sure thing.”

Toun Zaha grinned and nodded.

* * *

After parting ways with Toun Zaha and walking for a while, I cautiously brought up the topic with Phiri.

“But seriously, you’re not going to tell me where we’re going?”

“Newcomers are supposed to move without knowing anything. It keeps things interesting.”


I didn’t say anything, and Phiri clicked her tongue.

“You’re not fun.”

“I’ll take that as a compliment.”

“We’re heading to Tumak.”

It was a location to the west of here, in the northwest of the continent. A city situated at the border between the Empire and Horigle.

It was far, but not as far as back to the Empire’s capital. The return journey would be tougher.

“Do you always travel around like this?”

“Hmm? Why?”

“I mean, you’re the vice leader.”

I began to suspect that the leader intentionally kept Phiri away.

Even if she was a vice-leader who preferred fieldwork, not searching for her during her disappearance was strange, especially given the timing.

Phiri nonchalantly shrugged her shoulders.

“I told you before. I’m a field-oriented vice-leader.”

“Even so, don’t you think it’s a bit excessive? What if the leader suddenly dies? How will the handover of duties be handled?”

“We have agents directly under the leader for that.”

True. Mohen was practically the Chief’s personal agent. So, it was only natural for the leader to have them.

Phiri chuckled.

“But aren’t you curious about why we’re going to Tumak?”

“If it’s something essential to my mission, you’ll tell me eventually.”

“You did ask where we were going, didn’t you?”

“Well, normally, they don’t tell you where you’re headed, do they?”

“True. It’s usually like that.”

“Don’t make a fuss.”

When I retorted, Phiri let out a hollow laugh and playfully glared at me.

“You’ll be surprised to hear this.”


“You’ll really going to be surprised, I bet.”

It seemed like she wanted me to ask. Perhaps that was why she intentionally kept it a secret.

I inwardly sighed.

“What is it?”

“We’ve discovered ruins.”


Ruins? I couldn’t help but be surprised at the mention of another territory. Ruin exploration instead of espionage?

Well, upon thinking about it, it wasn’t entirely impossible. Espionage agents often disguised themselves in various professions.

This time, we entered Kiberun Mountains disguised as herbalists.

It was entirely possible to stumble upon such activities. It would be an unexpected harvest for the espionage agency.

If rare treasures were found, they could be sold for a considerable amount, covering the expenses of their activities.

“Are you surprised?”

I couldn’t deny the fact, so I nodded.

Phiri seemed pleased with my reaction.

“It’s not confirmed yet, but there’s a high probability of valuable artifacts being there. It’s a truly rare opportunity. It’s the first time in my life that I’d explored ruins like this.”

“It’s definitely not an ordinary event.”

In the game, I had only encountered ruins twice. There weren’t any significant finds.

However, there were valuable items that could be sold, so I always took the opportunity to plunder them.

I was somewhat excited. I wondered what would be found in these ruins. It crossed my mind for a moment.


Unlike the game, Denif hadn’t yet awakened his Mystic. Could it be related to these ruins?

Of course, the methods to obtain Mystic were diverse, so I couldn’t be certain. Some people obtained it suddenly at the age of 50.

Regardless, I had a feeling that something valuable would be found, even if it wasn’t Mystic.

There must be some basis for the Haisen Intelligence Agency to believe there was something there.

However, upon arriving at Tumak, I realized that my expectations and the situation were quite different.

This time, we were on the wrong side.

Author's Thoughts

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