Author: Dawn

—I don’t know their name. An insider betrayer. Our information’s been leaking lately.

Rodri’s words were casual, delivered with an innocent expression. Even thinking back, it was unbelievable, and a bitter laugh escaped me.

No, when someone was looking for a person, didn’t they usually know who it was they were looking for?

This meant that despite seeing a glimpse of my strength, he didn’t consider me as important as that.

It was strange in the first place to entrust someone like me, a newcomer mercenary, with such a task.

I had somewhat expected this.

Considering the situation with Rasphal and all. The Rodris were a rising faction. I had to be wary of whoever was approaching.

‘Maybe he’s making things up, but that’s not Casmak’s style.’

Well, it shouldn’t be too difficult.

I could pick up on sounds in the vicinity using the Winds. Once I found someone having a suspicious conversation, I might get some answers.

‘It’s a bit troublesome, but I can’t help it.’

Listening to multiple voices wasn’t helpful for my mental well-being. It made me dizzy and quickly drained my energy.

If I knew the name, I could focus on specific conversations, but this time, that wasn’t an option, so I had to keep concentrating.

Let’s try to find them once.

If I couldn’t do it on my own, I might have to ask for help from the other agents.


Since I left the tavern, I’d noticed a tail. Probably a member of the Rodri faction.

They were probably trying to figure out who I was and what I was up to.

Shaking them off wasn’t difficult. After zigzagging through a couple of alleys, the tail disappeared.

There might be another set of eyes, after all, this was an unfamiliar place.

The day was slowly turning to evening. Keeping my ears open, I headed straight to the lodgings.

Toun and the other agents were sitting in a restaurant, sipping on beer.

‘Giving a day off, and they’re already hitting the booze.’

Judging from their flushed faces, they’d been at it since earlier.

They all had the demeanor of field agents.

“What, drinking so heavily already?”

“Do you have any idea how difficult it was to come all the way to the West? Gotta enjoy it.”

Vasco lifted his glass, a mischievous glint in his eyes. Giving them a proper break was the right thing to do.

I chuckled and ordered a beer for myself.

There were four of us from our team.

Toun, Vasco, Toby, and me. Except for me, the rest were field agents. They were all good people.

They judged me solely on my skills, ignoring my age. Didn’t they feel uncomfortable given orders by me?

After passing a sip of beer, Toun lowered his head and asked,

“Did you find what you were looking for?”


I put down the glass. At my sudden words, Basco and Toby’s mood shifted.

“I apologize for acting ahead, but I’ve found our top priority target.”

Vasco and Toby’s eyes widened. There was a hint of a smile on their lips, but also a puzzled expression.

To address such a matter before the mission even began was a bit strange.

“No need to apologize, you’re the leader after all. Is it the same Casmak Rodri you mentioned earlier?”

Toun narrowed his eyes, his tone questioning.

It was only natural for him to be suspicious. After all, Rodri wasn’t even on the candidate list, and this was my individual action.

“By the way, how did you find out about this growing organization? How did you come to know?”

“I’ve met someone from the West during a mission. They were unexpectedly strong and wise for their age. I wanted to verify it.”

“I guess that person was quite impressive.”

Toun nodded as if agreeing, but his gaze was sharp.

“If you made such a decision in a short period, it must be certain. What did you see?”

“The brightness in their eyes and their demeanor.”

I knew that it wasn’t a precise answer. I was simply trusting the time I spent with Toun and myself.

“Well, yeah. You’re not someone who would lie. Clever people can recognize each other.”

“They were quite remarkable. Just judging by their strength alone, they’re on par with me or even better.”

Toun furrowed his brow.

“Who is this guy named Casmak?”

“Yes. He’s not the eldest son, but the third, and Casmak Rodri is the actual leader.”

I continued by explaining the situation from earlier and providing all the information I knew about the Rodri family. I hadn’t approached them in detail yet.

“He must have seemed quite insignificant.”

“I would have thought the same, even in your shoes.”

“Of course, you might have considered this, but there’s a question of whether you revealed internal information to an outsider.”

“For now, I will take care of this matter.”

I smiled and dismissed the concern.

“The others should proceed with their original missions to examine the candidates. We’ll confirm it later.”

“Sure, we’ll do that.”

Toun nodded gruffly, but Vasco and Toby’s expressions seemed somewhat gloomy.

They must have hoped for the possibility of not having a mission at all.

I understand. Toun also seemed a bit disappointed deep down, I thought.

Well, not all missions can be exciting. Observational and infiltration missions fall under the annoying category.

There’s no need to praise diligence. Regardless, showing annoyance is quite common.

“Anyway, that’s it. There won’t be any major changes to the mission, and we’ll start tomorrow.”

I raised my glass.

“I’ll try to make a judgment as quickly as possible without causing you trouble.”

“Sure. You know we trust you, right?”

“Of course.”

Vasco and Toby, their faces a little brighter, raised their glasses with smiles.

* * *

I had some knowledge of Rasphal’s situation before I arrived. I was able to obtain additional information with a small amount of money.

As expected of a chaotic place, there were many factions. Rodri was an emerging force, and there were three organizations around it.

Given the leaking of information, it was likely the organization closest to Rodri.

Since the daytime drinking session seemed to have no end, I decided to take a walk alone.

Had it been around six hours?

Midnight was approaching. The port city had quieted down long ago in preparation for tomorrow’s departures.

In the midst of this, I overheard a conversation among some men in a rundown alley.

“…When the hell are they going to take action? Can’t they see that things are getting weird inside? They even gave us a date, why aren’t they moving?”

“Damn it. Beron and Muic are being stubborn. They’re forcing sacrifices from our side.”

“Fuck. Wasn’t it already agreed upon? That’s what they said. Are they playing a joke on us now?”

The low voices of the conversation were quite distinct. I instinctively identified the person Rodri had mentioned.

I quietly descended from the building’s rooftop.

“They changed their minds. After all, they won’t be the ones immediately affected.”

“You guys hurry up…”

“Luico, don’t piss me off. Can you at least sell your name? Think it over.”

Luico fell silent for a moment.

“For goodness sake, I’m sorry. I got impatient.”

“I understand. Just wait a little longer, I’m also making efforts.”

“…Anyway, once this is over, don’t forget what you owe Reyna.”

Reyna? She was Casmak’s younger sister. Even the reasons for her betrayal seemed spineless.

To make matters worse, Luico was also Casmak’s cousin.

There was no shortage of lunatics.

It was hard to imagine that even for Casmak, his cousin would resort to such actions.

“…If I’m caught, I’ll let you know again.”

The two men exchanging the shabby conversation disappeared into the darkness. They had recognized someone observing them.

I made my way toward Rodri’s tavern. Unfortunately, Casmak wasn’t there.

“Well, well, if it isn’t the guy from earlier. What brings you here? Can’t you handle what Casmak asked you to do?”

Amidst the gaze of the Rodri faction, the tavern owner chuckled.

An unheard-of person like him was talking.

“A glass of beer.”

Smirking, I sat at the bar table and tossed a coin.

“And tell Casmak that I’ve found what he was looking for.”

“Who do you think you are giving orders…”

“If I were you.”

I cut off the middle-aged man’s words and stared at him.

“You wouldn’t treat someone who brought what Casmak wanted like this.”

The man sealed his lips. He wasn’t afraid of me, he was afraid of Casmak.

Instead, someone sitting in the tavern got up.

“Kid, I don’t know what you’re up to, but I hope it’s legitimate. Otherwise, you’ll end up dead.”

“We’ll see.”

Without turning my head, I drank my beer. The chilling glares from behind felt ominous.

In the stillness, the only sounds were that of cigarettes being lit and drinks being consumed.

By the time I finished two beers, Casmak Rodri returned to the tavern. He walked with confidence, his long coat swaying.

Amidst the sea of scents of alcohol and cigarettes, there was a hint of the ocean as he sat down beside me.

“I found it.”

My voice was calm and devoid of any strong emotions. The tavern owner instinctively poured a drink.

Casmak, having emptied his glass in one go, looked at me with meaningful eyes.

Since I had shaken off the tail during the day, he probably knew I wasn’t just a kid playing mercenary games.

“Alright. I’d prefer to discuss the details privately.”

There were too many people around. It wasn’t a suitable environment for a conversation.

There was a vacant room far away, so it would be better to go in there and talk. After all, this issue wasn’t the only thing to discuss.

“Everyone, leave. Maxi, you too. Bring out a bottle of rum.”

At that command, the faction members left without hesitation. To be honest, I was a bit surprised.

I didn’t think he would go this far, knowing we were going to a room.

“I hope it’s not about picking up random nonsense.”



Casmak’s brow furrowed in surprise. He must not have expected it, since Luico was his cousin.

“For now, I’ve only found that guy. I don’t know if there are others.”


“Think about it and talk, that reaction is quite disappointing.”

If it had been the Casmak I knew, he would have immediately pierced through the truth. But it couldn’t be helped.

He was still inexperienced. The Casmak I saw had lost both family and hometown.

Perhaps that incident was the one triggering his awakening.

“I know he’s your cousin. He’s been giving information to the Surde guys.”


“When this is all over, he’s asking for Reyna.”

His hand holding the bottle of alcohol trembled. It was amazing that the bottle didn’t break.

His glare was fierce. He was on the verge of losing his composure.

“Go on, before I get even more disappointed.”

With a sip from Casmak, half of the bottle vanished.

“Surde is collaborating with Veron and Muic to eliminate your clan. Didn’t expect that, did you?”

“…Veron and Muic?”

I could tell from Casmak’s expression that he understood the situation.

“It seems like they’ve come to an agreement with them. Were you planning on taking Sudre? Dividing the territory a bit?”

Casmak’s eyes widened.

Perhaps Veron and Muic had recognized Casmak’s strength more than the Sudre guys did.

In the first place, they were the larger force.

Especially Veron, who was also a contender for leadership among us. Cunning and malevolent.

“Casmak, those who have something don’t like change, especially the kind that suddenly grows like you. There’s a reason for everything.”

Casmak lit a cigarette.

“Surde is playing into Veron and Muic’s hands. They are weaker than themselves and won’t become stronger. And during the process of dealing with you, the Sudre guys will also weaken. You’ve been looking at things too narrowly.”

The exhaled cigarette smoke filled the tavern. The air quality was good.

I pretended to wave my hand, using Winds to blow away the smoke and then poured the remaining alcohol into my glass.

About two minutes passed in silence.

“Alright. I’ll need to confirm, but it’s likely I owe you. I’m sorry. I misjudged you.”

“Good to know.”

“With that level of judgment at your age, you’re no ordinary mercenary, I suppose. Are you from the Empire?”

He seemed to have figured out I was a spy. I nodded.

“Is your proposal still valid?”

“Of course.”

“Then can I ask one more thing?”

“I’ll listen and decide.”

“I need your help to handle those guys.”

Of course, I was willing to help with that. I nodded.

“When the time comes, I’ll come to listen.”

“No. Right now, immediately.”

Casmak stood up from his seat.

“We need to deal with all of them before tonight is over.”

At that moment, I felt like I was looking at the ruler of the Western Territories that Casmak once was.

Yes, he was that kind of person.

He would suddenly start a task.

Even when it seemed reckless, he wouldn’t think about the aftermath. Just like that.

But everything was handled cleanly.

“Sorry, but I’ll hear about your business later. Also, why you chose me. Is that okay?”

And the tasks were accomplished one by one, with full effort. Casmak extended his hand to me.

I shook his hand with a wry smile.

“Sure. I’ll help.”

“Great, my friend.”

“Friend? Aren’t you confirming that a bit early?”

“You wouldn’t lie about something that would be revealed soon, right? And isn’t trusting without seeing, what a friend does?”

He said that and pulled me into a hug.

Our shoulders bumped into each other. Though due to the height difference, it was more like Casmak’s chest against my shoulder.

Still, it was satisfying. Because not just anyone could become Casmak’s friend.

Casmak swung open the tavern door and shouted.

“Bring Luico, alive.”

Author's Thoughts

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