‘I knew that we understood each other well.’
It was possible that he remembered what I had told him a few years ago. I had told the bishop that, at some point in the future, I would take Kaicher with me to the Southern District.
Everything thankfully progressed smoothly.
“I’m sure you are aware of it, but you need to pay for a priest in order for them to accompany you for a quest, whether it be with money or with Guard points.”
‘Oh! It was possible to do it with money? I thought it was limited to just Guard Points.’
Then, of course, I would pay for it with money. Guard Points would become important to me once I complete the Blessings Quest.
“I wish to pay for it with money. How much will it cost?”
“Your fame is very high and you have completed a large number of Ares Temple and Athena Temple quests. His majesty looks favorably on you as well, and since this is related to the Blessings Quest, you will only need to pay 20% of the normal fee. It will be 1 billion won a month.”
20% of the normal amount is 1 billion won? Then it is 5 billion won a month without the discount.
What an exorbitant amount.
However, it was not that expensive when compared to Kaicher’s abilities.
And the most important thing was what came next.
“The deposit is for 4 years worth of time at 48 billion won. If it takes longer than 4 years, Kaicher will return right away. You will need to put down a higher deposit if you need him for longer than 4 years.”
It’ll take 2 years if it goes quickly, but no later than 3 years at max.
I needed to handle it within 3 years because of the Jeppi tribe. Any longer than that and the damage from the Jeppi tribe will be too much for the Batoru Kingdom to recover from.
“I will return with him within 3 years.”
“The basic deposit is still 48 billion won.”
It looks like I need to pay it right now.
No worries, 48 billion won was basically pennies to me. I had about 1.5 trillion won at the Magician’s Tower. I also carried about 50 billion won in my bag with me.
I immediately put 48 billion won into a coin and handed it over.
My actions made both the bishop and Kaicher’s expressions change. They seemed to be shocked that I could take out 48 billion won on the spot.
“It will take me about half a month to prepare. I will take Kaicher with me at that point.”
I walked away from the bishop with Kaicher.
Kaicher finally started to speak again. The amount that he spoke went up just slightly since I stopped talking.
“Are you confident?”
“Of course. I do not attempt things that are impossible. However, it is possible that you may find some of our team members make you uncomfortable. You can deal with it, right?”
‘This punk isn’t responding again.’
Whatever, not like he can do anything about it. It shouldn’t be a problem since there won’t be anyone that will be going against the rules of the Ares Temple.
“Be prepared. I’ll come to get you soon.”
I left behind Kaicher, who only answered back with his gaze, and exited the temple.
‘I’m finally going home.’
It felt really weird.
There wasn’t really a place to call, ‘home,’ in Royal Roader. I’m always on the move, so anywhere I lay down with a blanket was pretty much my home.
However, thinking about this place always made me think of it as, ‘home.’ It didn’t matter that it was the shabbiest place I had stayed in.
Comparing it to Huksen’s Athena Temple would be like comparing a palace with a tent. However, I longed more for this place than the Athena Temple’s residence.
‘Why do I feel this way?’
It probably had to do with the people there rather than the fanciness of the place.
These people right here.
“What?! Look who it is! Is that you, Kang Hwi Ram?”
“Huh? Kang Hwi Ram is back? Where? Oh! Hwi Ram!”
It really has been a while, but I still remembered the faces of all of the miners.
There were some faces that I especially longed to see.
“Master, sob, sob.”
‘Ah, yes! I did want to see you too, Jul Goo. Although it was just a tiny amount.’
“Caaaw, Chief did a lot of work while you were gone, master.”
I had thought about Chief more than Jul Goo. This was because Chief was going to be the main character for this journey to the Southern region. I needed to make sure that Chief was alive, no matter who I needed to sacrifice in order to make that happen.
“Welcome back, master.”
I couldn’t help but smile after looking at Eruni. Her expression had been dark when we had attacked the headquarters of the Church of the Sun, but it was much brighter now.
In fact, it seemed even brighter than before the attack. She seemed like a normal 20-year-old young lady and no longer seemed to have something weighing her down.
The pain in her heart must have been healed in this past year.
She really had no more use now that we took care of the Church of the Sun. She was just a normal slave now.
But looking at her still made me happy.
However, Eruni was not the one that I was looking forward to seeing the most.
“You’re finally back!”
Yes! This voice!
The voice had changed a bit since before. It used to be one of someone who was about to fall over and die at any point, but now it was much deeper.
However, the warmth and tone had not changed at all.
I raised my head to see Jonnan’s face.
His appearance had changed a lot as well. He had changed a lot last year when I saw him, but now he looked even stronger and healthier.
It looked as if he had aged backwards to his forties.
However, his gaze was still the same. Seeing his eyes tearing up as if he was releasing the year’s worth of longing all at once made me start to get emotional as well.
“Have you been well?”
Jonnan grabbed my hand and patted my shoulders, arms, and waist.
“Why wouldn’t we be well staying at home? We’re more worried about you. How hard was it traveling around for another year?”
“I’ve been doing well. It is good to see all of you doing fine, seniors.”
Batoom and Goultan had walked up and had the same look in their eyes as Jonnan.
The other miners were the same as well. Although we had only worked together for a short duration of time, there was something special that was binding us together.
I guess it was the Northern Mines that were binding us together.
“B, but who……who is this person?”
There was fear in the miners’ voices.
It must be because of Rohas again.
I debated leaving him alone in an inn or something at Titan Valley, however, I do not trust him completely just yet. His loyalty is only at 67 as well.
I would be held responsible if anything happened while I left him alone.
It was easier to just take him with me rather than risk something happening.
That was why I had him wearing a thick robe that is covering his entire body, but the vicious presence he gave off could not be hidden.
I briefly explained for them to relax around Rohas.
Of course, I could not completely get rid of their nervousness. The aura that a Dark Elf gives off is not at a normal level.
They all still smiled for me since it had been a while since we had last met.
I needed a long time in order to greet everybody one by one. It took about two hours for the joy of our reunion to end.
However, there was a voice that destroyed that great atmosphere.
“Kang Hwi Ram, why are you here?”
It was a grumpy voice.
I turned around to see a familiar face. However, it was hard to remember his name.
‘Ah, I remember! Tarok!’
He was one of Titan Valley’s Guards. In reality, he was the leader of Deputy Mayor Donstar’s lackies.
He was the same one who had prevented the miners from entering the Batoom Mines once Bae Doochi became the owner.
It looks like he came back to cause another scene.
“Is there a reason I cannot be here?”
“You are banned from the Northern Mines. Get out.”
“Banned? Who gave you that power?”
“Did you forget that the Northern Mines now belong to the Deputy Mayor-nim? Only people who have his permission are allowed to enter.”
‘Ah, right! I forgot!’
I had received over 1 trillion won by selling the Northern Mines to Donstar. Since the two years we had discussed had passed, it was rightfully his.
Gildeon was still watching over the mines, but he seemed to have no authority.
‘I guess that is the case.’
I could see that Gildeon was frowning. Donstar seemed to have made Gildeon into a scarecrow supervisor.
He really is asking for a beating.
Whatever, it is just one more year. Donstar will pay for his sins at that point.
I also had nothing to be disappointed about. I wasn’t here because I had any longing for the Northern Mines. It didn’t matter where I was, as long as I was chatting with Jonnan and the miners.
“Let’s all go to Titan Valley. A round of drinks on me.”
The 200 miners all rushed out of the mines. Even the supervisor Gildeon followed me to Titan Valley.
This shocked Tarok and made him get in our way.
“It is currently work hours. Where are all of you going?”
“Work hours my ass. Four o’clock passed a long time ago.”
“Didn’t you all usually work until after 6?”
“It is up to us whether we choose to work after hours or not.”
Tarok tried to raise his voice, but logically he could not win against the miners. He had no choice but to get out of the way.
It wasn’t even 5pm yet, so we got to Titan Valley in the early evening.
“The snacks can come out slowly, so bring the alcohol out first.”
“Yes sir. Coming right up.”
The waiters moved quickly in order to fill all of our glasses.
We all cheered and drank until the snacks came out soon after. However, it was obvious that they had rushed it.
“Why is the meat so stiff?”
“Who cares about the snacks, man? The alcohol is still great.”
“Of course it is great. Think about who we are drinking with! Hahaha.”
“Please drink all you want. It’s on me today.”
“Good, good. Haha.”
Everybody happily continued to drink.
Jonnan was the same. He seemed to have developed a higher tolerance once his body recovered from the curse.
“Ah, so good. By the way, what are your plans from here onward?”
Jonnan wiped the alcohol from his mouth as he asked.
He must be asking what I planned to do since I could no longer enter the mines. Jonnan and the other miners were probably wondering what kind of relationship we would maintain from here on as well.
I had prepared what I was going to say. It was related to their futures.
“To be honest with you, I am more curious about all of your futures. Are you planning on staying at the Northern Mines?”
“What do you mean?”
Jonnan seemed a bit shocked. It was because my tone was saying, ‘Isn’t it about time to leave the Northern Mines?’
It was the same for Goultan, Batoom, and the other miners as well. All of them looked as if I had said something completely unexpected.
“Where else would we go if not the Northern Mines?”
“To be honest with you, I don’t have much attachment to the Northern Mines. If you want to create a new path for us, I am willing to leave this behind and follow you right away.”
Batoom was the one who made that comment.
Once he did that, Jonnan quickly added on as if he could not lose to Batoom.
“That is only natural. We’ve made a lot of money already. There’s no reason we would be focused on the Northern Mines. But is that the case? Did you find a new path for us?”
I looked at Jonnan, Goultan, and the rest before I gently smiled.
“My future path might be difficult. Do you still wish to go with me?”
“I’m sure you wouldn’t pick a difficult path for no reason. Wouldn’t our gains be worth the pain? I will go with you no matter what.”
Jonnan was first this time.
Goultan, Batoom, and the other miners all agreed with Jonnan.
“Of course you have to count me in.”
“You can’t forget about me.”
“Hyung-nim, I am here too.”
Over 200 miners were all of the same mindset. That showed just how much they trusted me.
I felt as if things would progress smoothly now.
“Then please head to High Village at some point. The construction has been completed, so it shouldn’t be hard to get there.”
“Hmm? High Village?”
All of them were shocked, just as I had expected.
However, it was only for a moment. They all exchanged meaningful gazes with each other.
They had known about my development of High Village for a long time. They would understand it as there being a jackpot they don’t know about in High Village.
“Was a new mine developed in High Village?”
“No. I want you to reopen one of the old mines.”
“An old mine? Wouldn’t all the veins of ores be exhausted in those?”
“My goal is not to mine for ores.”
Proofreader: Borderline Masochist