Here’s the extra free chapter I owe you guys.
Chapter 41 The Ranch (Part 1)
We killed three in the first fight and killed seven in the second fight. How will the lycanthropes, who have similar intellect as humans, react to this?
After suffering such fatalities, they won’t remain careless, and in the least, might they not come attacking in scores?
In that case, even if we were to walk fast, there is no way for us to evade the lycanthropes. Eventually, the situation is that we will have to face and fight them but if that is the case, we are at a disadvantage.
Last night, we trapped the seven lycanthropes in a trick and annihilated them easily, but that was a victory by strategy.
If we fought in a forest full of obstacles against a larger party, I am not confident we would win.
‘But there is no exam that cannot be cleared.’
It’s my guess that the hint to clearing this exam is in this village.
I mean the village people that are living smack dab in the middle of the lycanthrope territory.
They neither have weapons or wariness, let alone any watchdogs!
‘It makes no sense that there’s no dogs.’
It’s a truth I realized only a moment ago, that because lycanthropes can change into humans, that in order to distinguish them, watchdogs are needed. A village on hostile terms with lycanthropes should have watchdogs at its entrance.
But in this village, there isn’t a single dog.
‘I’ll investigate a bit more.’
I summon Sylph and begin to explore the village and gather information.
At the village square, a dozen people approached the chief that had just returned from escorting the group to the empty house.
“Chief, what happened?”
“I put them in the house that Jason used to live in.”
“Isn’t this too dangerous, chief? They said they fought with those monsters.”
“My goodness, they said they killed ten…”
The boys, here and there, their expressions, were stricken with fear.
“They are dangerous ones, indeed.”
As they chatted, the chief became lost in thought.
The lycanthropes that controlled this area, the silver clan is a subject of terror to this village’s citizens. To the point that they could not even have any thoughts of of daring to resist.
So the appearance of travelers that fought and killed ten of that silver clan is plenty enough to send the village into shock.
“Maybe they’re bluffing? Travelers that roam about often like to brag.”
“Yeah, yeah. I think that too. I’m sure they just want to put on airs with us.”
“I’m sure in reality they didn’t even meet any lycanthropes or they barely escaped, one of the two.”
The men badmouthed the visitors and were intent on belittling them.
But the chief shook his head.
“They do not appear to be bluffing. They were too sincere to be.”
At the chief’s words, the atmosphere settled again.
“What if they are strong travelers? Ajumma Barry said so. She said they didn’t seem to be scared of lycanthropes at all.”
“That’s right. If they really are so strong they consider lycanthropes just some post-dinner exercise…”
“That is impossible.”
The chief spoke firmly.
“It is probably true that they did kill ten lycanthropes. But they probably aren’t that strong.”
“You think so?”
“You never know.”
At the men’s rebuttals, the chief spoke again.
“You idiots. Recall that silver leader.”
At those words, the men’s expressions changed.
The silver leader.
The silver clan’s lycanthrope leader himself is shock and terror. There is most likely no one entity stronger in this world.
“There is no person human that can look at that and not be scared. These travelers merely have not seen him yet.”
“Then, then, what?”
“We carry on as always.”
The chief’s eyes turned cold.
“Put sleeping pills in the food to be served to them. They may catch onto something so split it into their lunch and dinner. And notify all this to the silver clan. The silver clan will probably know already.”
As he turned away, the chief mumbled.
“As always. That will do. We don’t need any unexpected change.”
As he returned to his home, the chief mumbled to himself.
“We have lived well up to this point…”
And from above, there was someone small, watching the scene down below.
The life in the form of a cat, made of wind, wagged its tail.
The chief proceeded on schedule.
He sent one man to the silver clan to relay the news, and he ordered the village women to serve food to the travelers. Of course, it’s a meal with sleeping pills.
Periodically, he pretended to ask the travelers how they were holding up, as he watched their movements, and perhaps the sleeping pills worked or they had relaxed, because the travelers went to bed early.
‘All according to plan.’
The chief laughed quietly to himself and went home.
The home of the chief who lived alone, without a family, is dreary.
The chief took out some wine from a cupboard and pours it into a cup, and drinks. It is the time of day he likes the most. In this barren village, there is no equal to its luxury.
To age and grow old itself is a luxury here. Where living a day more is lucky, the chief is the oldest person in this village.
That is power.
The chief found pleasure every day in sweet power.
Suddenly he thought of the travelers that came to the village.
For sure, they passed various adventures to survive to this point.
These travelers were strong enough to win against lycanthropes, more incredible than an old chief from a small village.
They are young people who have, for sure, lived more incredible lives than that lived by this old man, and their fates will not pass past this night.
He pitied their tragic fate, and at the fact that he could still feel pity, the chief oddly felt excitement and gratification. It is because he can conclude that he is better because in the end, he is alive.
“You are young and your prime with futures ahead, do not resent us so much.”
He mumbled so and took another sip of his wine.
“Don’t you mean if you do something worth resenting, you are ready to receive resentment?”
From a voice heard behind his back, the chief felt like his heart would stop from alarm.
In his surprise he drops his cup which breaks and the wine wets the floor.
The chief turns and looked behind him.
And his two eyes grew wide.
Someone that should be out cold from sleeping pills right now is standing right in front of him.
It’s obvious, but we didn’t touch our food.
The village women, who brought us our food with sleeping pills in them and told us to enjoy our meal as they smiled, were frightening.
How used to this are they?
I wonder how many travelers they tricked that they are so comfortable with it.
As it grew dark, I used Sylph’s skills to eliminate any noise and infiltrated the chief’s house.
For a person that entrapped a visiting group, he showed no guilt and his free and easy going spirit is despicable.
“You… you… how did you…!”
“I came to thank you for the great meal.”
“Oh, really? Haha, there’s no need for that…”
“Give me a seat, why don’t you. You don’t have any more chairs?”
“Haha, sure. Actually, let me call someone to get you something to drink.”
I can tell a lot of things from this trivial behavior in getting someone else for something so small. This is the chief, exercising his power as the strongest person in the village.
At most, where does this power come from, in an old man?
I now realize what that is.
“Shut up and sit.”
At my words, the chief who had been trying to leave his house, freezes.
“If you don’t shut up and sit down, I’ll gouge your eyes out.”
I threaten him strongly, one more time. Well, that’s an expression I learned from Kang Chun-seong.
Luckily, the chief seems to think I am a person capable of doing so. Stricken with fear, he obligingly sits down in his seat.
I gaze around the house and bring a chair I see and sit across from him.
“In the dead of night there is no one watching guard, and as for scouts, you only have but two. A village like this surviving in the lycanthrope district is as plain as day.”
I continue speaking.
“You have a mutual agreement with the lycanthropes, or you’re ruled by the lycanthropes, one of the two. Am I wrong?”
“If you don’t answer, I’m going to cut off your fingers one at a time.”
“Hik! Yes, that’s correct!”
“Then, in what way do you sustain your relationship with the lycanthropes? I thought about it through and through and came up with some hypothesis, listen.”
I continue talking.
“You said this village is made up of people escaping from a corrupt lord? I think that part is true. Only then does this make sense. People who are escaping from the heavy taxes keep coming into this village, and every time, you guys feed them sleeping agents and serve them up to the lycanthropes as meals, and with that price, you retain your lives.”
“You probably have people coercing others to come to this foreign village? If you don’t do that and offer those people up, you’ll become the meals. Am I wrong?”
The chief continues speaking with a shaky voice.
“We do not want to do these deeds either. If we were strong like you guys, I’m sure we would have fought these heinous lycanthropes! But we are not strong…”
The chief’s eyes start to water. He continues talking, as if this is cathartic to him.
“How many village citizens became their meal! If I think about all the family and neighbors we have had to sacrifice to survive…”
I can’t go on listening to it and speak.
“Sylph, cut off a finger.”
With the wind dagger, Sylph cuts off the chief’s right thumb.
The chief sees his right hand with a missing finger and his eyes get bigger and he screams.
This despicable old man’s screams didn’t escape out of the house. It is because I used Sylph to eliminate the noise.
The chief kept on screaming out loud.
He seems to be trying to call in villagers with his screams. Up to his tricks amidst this, I chuckle.
Chul suk! (slap)
I lash out at his cheeks until he becomes blank. He looks like he can’t believe he is being slapped by a guy young like me.
“What? You flustered?”
I grab the chief’s chin and lift his face up and stare him in the eyes.
“You lived ruling this village like a king, never thought you’d be here like this?”
“A dirty old man like you, I think I get how you can live here, treating others like servants.”
“In this village over 200 people, of the people that are over 50 years old, there’s only you.”
The chiefs two eyes get wide.
I’ve hit a nerve.
I make a cynical smile.
“You probably gave any old person up to the lycanthropes. And the person who decides who becomes a meal, is you. Having received that responsibility from the lycanthropes, you set yourself up as the leader.”
“It’s, it’s something someone must do. If not for me, this village…”
“Then shall we test your sacrifice, considering your sincerity for this village?”
I grab the chiefs collar and pull him close to me and speak.
“You called the lycanthropes to this village, didn’t you? I’m going to use you, chief, and kill all of those bastards. But thinking about this village’s safety, you cannot align yourselves with us and make enemies with the lycanthropes. But of course, if you don’t cooperate, I will kill you. So, how’s that? Want to show us your noble sacrifice?”