If someone asked what the most chaotic region of the continent was, the most common answer would be 'The South'. Using the peace treaty as a shield, nations continued to engage in civil wars and slaughter.
There were numerous thieves who were spread throughout the nation amid the collapse of public security, but the situation showed no sign of improving as the nobles just strived to protect themselves.
In comparison, the East was considered to be a relatively peaceful place.
However, there was one place that even those who had been through the harsh environment of the South were reluctant to go to — Godara.
No matter how heinous of a person they were, they wouldn't enter this place.
Even those who were blinded by the strong desire for revenge wouldn't follow their enemies into Godara. While passing through the Eastern continent, it was a story that Airn had heard countless times since there were too many rumors surrounding it.
Even if only half of them were true, it would still have been a living hell for people.
But the atmosphere inside Godara, which he personally checked, wasn't too different from other cities.
People were walking by normally.
There were normal people everywhere.
He saw merchants who no one would consider strange and customers who were bargaining with them. And the streets looked rather clean, so Airn genuinely thought that this city was better than other places.
But Airn couldn't release the stiff expression he had on his face.
All around him…
He could feel it. Everyone was looking at him.
A man with a strong physique and a lady who seemed to be tired of life.
The children in the alleyway and the elderly couple with smiles on their faces.
It was as if the whole city was watching him. It was a strange feeling that he had never experienced anywhere else.
"Uh-Uh! Sorry! Sorry! Ah, this…"
"You fool… sorry."
At that time, one of the men walking by while talking, bumped into Airn.
A bunch of fruits rolled on the floor, and both men looked at him feeling apologetic, and they left right away after picking up the fruits.
It was no different.
"So, this is how this place is like."
Airn mumbled in a voice that had no expectation or disappointment and moved.
He didn't look around anymore. Ignet's exact whereabouts weren't clear, but he moved without hesitation as if his destination had already been decided. And he continued to keep moving.
After a while, he reached a vacant lot.
He stopped in the middle of the lot and took a sip of water as he watched a group of people approach him.
They were on a different level from those he had met in the East.
Among them, a man in his early 40s opened his mouth and said.
"I know you are confident in your skills. I can tell by looking at your gait and your gaze when you walk. You seem to have noticed us following you right away. You are no ordinary person. It usually best to not touch such people if possible."
"But we cannot help it. There are people who want to taste you. Look at me… you are so my type. It is unfortunate for the others."
"Right. Sorry for the long talk. But you probably won't be able to perform to your best right now. I used a powder on you. It was because I am afraid, so I hope you understand it."
After the explanation, the man drew his sword. It seemed like a good one. It wasn't as good as a numbering sword, but it was in such great shape that any swordsman would want it.
But what was remarkable was the presence. The defensive presence of following that one wouldn't feel in an alley with so many people. Yet, Airn's skin tingled.
The others were also weird.
He saw a gigantic man with his heavy hammer raised, and a skinny man who was ready to throw a sharp dagger. Everyone else there was giving out their momentum to pressure Airn.
Little by little, the distance between them decreased.
Airn didn't draw his sword.
Instead, a monster that sprang from behind the ground attacked the boss.
"Are you Mr. Airn Pareira?"
Airn still didn't say a word.
However, everyone knew that this wasn't a positive sign. And what they heard terrified them.
Without even holding the weapons in their hands tightly, they froze like stone statues.
It was because of the name they had heard.
The other man had also exploded their boss's head in one blow.
It wasn't something they could handle.
"Someone wants to meet you."
"They probably have the information that Mr. Pareira wants."
There were no more talks.
The man moved right away and swiftly sheathed his sword. And Airn followed his steps into the darkness. Neither the monster nor the hero had changed their expressions.
After a while, the suppressed breathing of the group resounded throughout the empty lot.
"Ha…Airn Pareira? That was the real Airn Pareira?"
"Insane…. Why is he here?"
"I don't get it."
They were fortunate. No matter how crazy they were for money, it wasn't more important than their lives.
Even though they made a wrong choice, they were holding their breath, and now they were sure that luck was following them.
"Let's stay quiet for a while. If we all don't die in the coming days, then we can move like usual."
"But what about this?"
The second person turned his head and checked the floor. He saw a corpse without a head, and then they remembered what they had forgotten.
And immediately after, the man said.
"Sell what we can sell. Let's go."
"Are you fine? With the smell?"
"The general public are unaware of it, but a Master's heightened senses can smell the stench…"
The guide went silent.
The power which was spread on Airn's body when he collided with the passerby was supposed to be odorless, but it couldn't deceive the sense of smell of an elf or a Master. If it was this much, then even he wouldn't like it.
However, the man who was most likely the most unhappy with the whole incident didn't even respond, so there was nothing further the guide could say. So, he just did his duty.
He led Airn to an ordinary inn, spoke some words, unarmed the traps, and walked into the secret passage.
After a few more procedures and little time had passed, an old wooden door caught their eyes.
Seeing this, the guide nodded and said.
"Well then, have a good time."
Airn didn't speak even then. Just like when he first arrived in Godara, he entered the basement room with an expressionless face.
"I will tell you the prerequisite for giving my information right from the start. The hero cannot go out for 24 hours from now."
"As you can see, everything had been made ready for you. Delicious food, alcohol, beautiful women, historical antiques, and world-famous paintings… if there is anything else you want, just say it. I'll get it to you in 30 minutes."
"So, can't you enjoy just one day with me and go out tomorrow. After that, will not stop whatever you do."
Unlike the unsightly door, which wasn't even oiled properly, the room inside was spacious.
It wasn't just wide. The soft light coming from the magic tool was even more beautiful than natural light, and the air inside was so clean that it was hard to believe that it was a basement.
It seemed so great that it didn't fall short of an actual palace. No wonder the guide looked confident.
The old man in the room seemed bold as well. If it was Zakuang, he would probably enjoy the food and the place without a single complaint.
But not Airn.
After being silent for a long time, he said.
"It smells bad."
"Uh? That… The air quality here should be better than usual since there are air fresheners imported from the Gerbera Kingdom…"
"Where is it?"
"Where is it?"
The old man in the room went silent.
He knew what the young hero was asking him about, but he had no intention of giving an honest answer. It was his mission to keep the hero tied in this place for 24 hours without showing it.
And he didn't think it would be difficult.
The heroic figure in front of him was a far cry from what he saw on the magic screen a few days ago.
Staring at the young man, who must've lived a completely different life because of the path he took, the man snapped his finger.
A magic screen appeared on one side of the wall.
Suddenly there were more than one hundred screens on which each and every angle of the Godara city could be viewed.
"If the hero leaves this place in the next 24 hours, an innocent citizen will be killed."
"The same goes if you try to harm me."
"And if you try to get information by force."
"…someone will die. For your purpose, people who have nothing to do with it will get killed without even knowing the reason. They will be dumped on the side of the road, and will be subjugated to torture and harassment."
"If you want that to happen, then you can do whatever you want."
Facing the young man who was looking at him, the old man grinned.
Right. The young man was a kind one.
And that would serve his purpose.
And it would give him lots of fun.
He wasn't the kind of person to sacrifice someone else.
He was stronger than anyone in Godara, but at the same time, he was a person with the most fatal weakness.
'He is the easiest to deal with.'
The old man smiled.
He wouldn't have to hold him too long. He just had to make him wait until 24 hours had passed. No, maybe everything would be done much sooner. His current actions were probably just insurance for those people.
He looked relaxed until his eyes widened abruptly.
Movements that were hard to feel even with the senses of a Master.
There was a roar and a cough.
The old man, with his eyes wide open, shouted.
"Did you not hear me? A person will die. If you move further…"
Another subordinate in the room lost his life. It was the guide. His expression as he was pierced by the sword, was one filled with shock.
It was the same with the old man.
This was different from what he had expected. In his opinion, this hero should have stayed still. He shouldn't be trying to get out of this room or even trying to do anything.
He snapped his finger, and 5 people on the magic screen lost their lives.
For the old man, these deaths meant nothing, but for the hero, they must have hurt. That was how it should be.
However, the young man with the golden sword still had an expressionless face.
And he said,
"I cannot stand it anymore."
Airn closed his eyes, and the stench tingling his nose became more distinct.
It wasn't the powder that was used on him earlier.
It was the human malice.
The citizens of Godara, who had lived in the bondage of long and deep feuds for as little as 10 years and as long as 100 years, gave out a painful odor that was comparable to that of the devil.
It was the same…
With the old man.
And the old man's people too.
They were people who wanted to kill for fun, and they would all die.
They were even worse than the people who killed that child.
… In Airn Pareira's eyes, they weren't people to be protected.
The roaring continued. Whenever Airn's body blurred, one of the subordinates hiding in the basement would die. And they all accepted that as if it was their destiny.
The old man was in the same situation. He was Sword Master and the man who controlled the city of Godara from behind the scenes, but it wasn't enough to stop the burning anger of the hero. His existence felt insignificant here.
He needed support.
Closing his eyes, he thought of the great magicians above him and made the decision.
"So, he's there."
A signal went out from the heart of the old man.
Airn Pareira, who confirmed the place it stretched out and reached., stomped on the ground.
A huge fire broke open the ground like a meteor crashed, and Airn shot out towards the darkness.
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