A large restaurant in the center of Arlington.
“It has been a while.”
Harrison seemed to be nicer as he shook my hand. It probably means that his wariness of me has lowered by a lot.
It is not because it is our second meeting. He must have received communication from Shione.
He was probably anxious until now since it was possible that I attacked the Church of the Sun headquarters with another group, stabbing Shione and Harrison in the back.
So of course, he was happy to see that I showed up as promised.
In addition, only I know the location of the Church of the Sun headquarters that was drawn on the map. Well, at least for a little longer.
I put some strength into my hand that was shaking Harrison’s hand as well and shook.
“Yes. Nice to see you again.”
“The people with you last time have not come with you?”
Humbley and Kaldera.
They may be plotting with me, but that is currently limited to things regarding the Jeppi race. There is no reason to include them in this as well.
“It is best to have the least amount of people knowing about this.”
“That is true.”
“Have you gathered your team?”
“Here is the team roster.”
Harrison handed a list to me. The document included the team member’s name as well as a brief description about them, their levels and specialties.
However, there seemed to be at least 100 people on it. It was too many people. It will be difficult to move stealthily with this size.
“There are too many. Can you get it down to about 20 people?”
“The Church of the Sun is a very strong organization. I personally think it will be difficult even with everyone on this list.”
It definitely is lacking in number. However, that is only if there are no other means of support.
“There are others who will help us out. I thought our only chance of victory will be through stealthily taking care of it with a small number of people and prepared a couple of the strongest warriors.”
He doesn’t seem to like my suggestion very much.
It makes sense that he’s not happy that I included a third party in this secret mission.
But he will have no choice. This is something I need to be at the center of to complete.
Harrison thought about it for a moment before finally answering.
“Then we will only select 20 people. The rest will be ready for support. Shouldn’t we prepare a backup in case our plan fails?”
I’m sure what he really is thinking about is a backup plan in case I betray them with the third party.
It doesn’t matter. Something like that will not happen.
Preparing a backup plan is not a bad idea. As long as it doesn’t get discovered by the Church of the Sun or the Ameri Kingdom.
“Can they move without being noticed?”
“Everyone on the list is the very best. You can trust them.”
“Even Shione-nim will be placed in danger if things go wrong. You are aware of that, right?”
His daughter’s life was on the line. Seeing Harrison still confidently answer was good enough for me to trust them.
Harrison started to pick 20 people out of the list.
“The combination is very important. We will need at least one or two extremely talented magicians.”
“We have one of the best magicians in the entire continent on our side.”
That was nice to hear. I was worried that we were lacking magicians.
“Really? Who is it?”
Harrison pointed to a name in the middle of the list and answered.
I had no choice but to be shocked. It was the same as the name I knew about. And he is one of the best magicians in the continent? There is no way there are two great magicians with the same name.
I confirmed Bernard’s information in shock.
[Bernard (147 y/o): Level 527 Fire Magician from Avanguarde. Nickname: The Incarnation of Fire]
All of the information matched the person I knew, but one thing made me certain it was the same person.
Bernard, The Incarnation of Fire.
Kaicher, the Warrior of Light. Goonto, the Dwarf of Steel. Just like the two of them, Bernard was someone I was planning on eventually making one of my own.
However, my skills were still low to approach him. I need to be at least level 400 to hand my business card to Bernard.
But that Bernard was close to Harrison and on the same side?
“Are you close to Bernard?”
“May I ask how you know each other? I just want to properly confirm that we can trust him.”
“He is my ancestor’s sworn brother and my father’s magic master. He is one of the most loyal individuals to the Batoru Kingdom and our hero.”
We should be able to trust him then.
But there was something I was worried about.
“Wouldn’t someone that amazing be on the Ameri Kingdom’s list to watch?”
“The Ameri Kingdom believes that Bernard-nim is dead. He is residing in a safe location right now so there is no need to worry.”
I was feeling great. If a magician like Bernard joins us, our strength will rise significantly. I don’t know how strong the Church of the Sun headquarters may be, but this operation will definitely succeed.
‘Then I should be able to modify the plan a bit.’
Harrison finished selecting 20 people while I was modifying the plan in my head. Along with Bernard was one attack magician and three support magicians. The rest of the team was made with warriors who focused on agility.
“That should be fine.”
“Great. Now will you tell us where the Church of the Sun headquarters is located?”
Why is he so rushed? We’re going to go there together. Is he worried that I will die?
It will be best to at least give him the approximate location.
“Please go to a location approximately 100 km west of Titan Valley and wait for me there.”
Harrison seemed to be shocked. He probably never expected the Church of the Sun headquarters to be within the Batoru Kingdom.
I was initially shocked as well and verified it multiple times to make sure I was reading it correctly.
But I was certain.
I verified the path between Titan Valley and High Village on another map. Not only that, I also checked the terrain around it. Humbley had managed to get his hands on a very large and detailed map.
That was why I visited Humbley once more to check the map.
It was a perfect match. The path, surrounding terrain, and even the small stream of water. Everything that was on the combined map was on Humbley’s map.
“We will talk the details after meeting up there. Let’s plan on meeting there in exactly four days.”
I immediately headed to Avanguarde after leaving Harrison.
Humbley or Kaldera probably figured out my location by now since my movement will be reported to them every time I used the Magician’s Tower portal.
They should be waiting for me. Kaldera will probably be dying to see me right now.
But it was not the time to meet with them right now. This operation needs to remain a secret from them as well.
I headed for the Volcanus Temple as soon as I arrived in Avanguarde.
“Oh, look who is here! Kang Hwi Ram-kun, the one blessed by Lord Volcanus!”
Avanguarde’s Volcanus bishop really is a memorable figure. He definitely has to be a reincarnation of Zhang Fei from the Three Kingdoms.
“Nice to see you again.”
“Hoho, it has been quite a while. Did you finish the Expert Blacksmith quest?”
He was someone who knew my secret and managed to keep it under wraps until now. Nothing will change even if I let him know a little more.
“Yes. I am currently attempting the Best Blacksmith quest.”
“Oh! Already? You really are amazing. My eyes were not wrong. Muhahaha.”
The bishop was as happy as if he had become the Best Blacksmith himself. He was a very affectionate person compared to his appearance.
“By the way, did my friends arrive?”
“Ah, you mean the people from the Dwarf Village. They have already arrived about five days ago. They should be in the smithy right now.”
As expected of the blacksmith race.
The bishop personally guided me there. I knew the way since I pretty much lived here for a while, but the bishop insisted on going with me.
But he could only go to the entrance of the smithy anyways.
“Oh my, this heat. I don’t think I can go in any further.”
“Then I will return after meeting with my friends.”
“Yes, yes. Hoho. A human who has become friends with the dwarves. You have definitely received Lord Volcanus’s blessing. Muhahaha.”
I could hear the bishop’s laughter as I walked into the smithy.
Clang. Clang. Clang.
I could hear the sound of hammers as I walked.
You could only hear two people hammering in the past, but right now, it was extremely loud as if ten people were hammering at the same time.
I could tell the sound apart better as I got closer. It was too much for it to be only five or six people.
‘What is going on? Are there really around ten of them?’
This was weird. The original two dwarves plus Goonto’s five would only add up to seven.
But even seven dwarves hammering at the same time wouldn’t lead to a sound like this.
Am I unable to tell apart the sound of seven people hammering at once?
I started to speed up. I could finally see the dwarves who were focused on hammering.
“It looks like you don’t have enough mithril.”
“You don’t think the temperature is too high?”
“The balance is not right. In order to make it stronger, you need to either increase the amount of mithril or lower the temperature a bit.”
“That was it!”
They definitely looked like dwarves. They were sharing their own experiences to support each other.
But why were there so many dwarves? There was a total of twenty of them. Ten of them were focused on hammering while the other ten were looking around and trading information.
My ears were not wrong.
But there was something else that was weird. There were a lot of dwarves, but the dwarf that was supposed to be here was missing.
“Where is Goonto?”
The dwarves stopped working after hearing my voice and turned their heads.
“Oh, Kang Hwi Ram. Long time no see.”
“We heard the news. You accomplished something great. Haha.”
It was Bachu and Pichu.
It really had been a while. I visited Avanguarde every so often, but never stopped at the Volcanus Temple.
“You still look just as ugly.”
“This is a manly look for us dwarves. Haha.”
Casually joking to say hello can stop there.
“But where is Goonto? I don’t see him.”
“Goonto could not leave with us.”
I remembered his face. Was his name Chupato? He was the dwarf that followed Goonto around like a shadow.
But what does he mean Goonto could not leave with them?
This is bad. All dwarves were stronger than humans, but Goonto’s strength was overwhelming.
Furthermore, in a plan like this where we needed a small number of people, a single Goonto was better than twenty average dwarves.
“Why? Is he not coming at all?”
“He was training with the fortified solar blade when he had an epiphany. He has been focused on hammering away in the smithy since about a month ago.”
It didn’t matter to me whether or not Goonto had an epiphany. What was important to be was whether or not I could utilize Goonto’s strength in this plan.
“So, he will not be coming?”
“He said he will meet up with us before the promised date. However, even I don’t know whether he will be able to completely comprehend whatever he figured out by then.”
In other words, even Chupato did not know whether Goonto will be joining us.
If Goonto’s right hand Chupato doesn’t know, there was no way any of the other dwarves would.
‘Shit, this complicates things a lot.’
But it wasn’t like I could just wait for Goonto to arrive. Harrison was currently moving with his team.
I need to first meet up with Harrison. It won’t be too late to decide whether we should wait for Goonto or not at that point.
“Is that why all of these dwarves are here? To replace Goonto?”
“That is not the case.”
“No? Then why are they here?”
“Please fortify our weapons as well. We will pay you handsomely for it. We will naturally help out with this task as well.”
“Mine as well.”
Shit! That was their goal?
Honestly speaking, there was no reason for me to reject it. I need to train Jewel Alchemy whenever I have time anyways.
If I’m going to train it, I might as well use the most efficient method. It is better to combine Jewels of Fortification two or three times than to combine Jewels of Creation 100 times.
Since I can gain something else at the same time, it was like killing two birds with one stone.
But the person with the advantage cannot move that easily.
“It is difficult to fortify all of them. However, I will promise to fortify the weapons of three dwarves who perform the best in this task.”
The dwarves’ eyes started to sparkle. It was like they were determined to make sure they would be selected by Kang Hwi Ram.
If it is like this, they should be able to properly fill the missing Goonto’s spot.
I took out a note and sealed it so that nobody else could open it and handed it to the bishop.
“A dwarf named Goonto might arrive here. Please give this note to him if he does.”
I left the same note with the Magician’s Tower since Goonto will definitely need to use the portal at the Magician’s Tower if he wants to come to Avanguarde.
Then he will be able to receive my message without wasting time to head over to the Volcanus Temple.
“Shall we go?”
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Translator : Miraclerifle
Proofreader :Borderline Masochist