* * *
“The healing is not over yet! If you move around like that……!”
“I don’t need it. Don’t touch my body and get lost. Commander, where is Commander Cadel?”
Inside the healing room, Van was in a scuffle with the healer with bandages all over his body. He was displeased with his condition of wearing bandages that was disgusting just to see, the fact that this was Viscount Stra’s mansion, and the situation that he could not know the whereabouts of the commander. He felt so dirty that he felt like he was going to kill the healer in front of him.
As if feeling Van’s murderous intent, the healer who was blocking him faltered. When he met the cold eyes that seemed like he wouldn’t mind seeing blood right away, he wanted to give up everything, including the order of the Viscount.
It was the moment when the healer gave strength to his trembling heart.
Wasn’t Van’s face, which used to be tough, relaxed mildly as if spring had arrived, and he smiled warmly enough to give goosebumps? Before the bewildered healer could even turn his head to meet Van’s gaze, Van pushed his shoulder first and walked to the other side.
“Commander! Where were you? I was nervous because I couldn’t see you.”
“Sorry, sorry. How is your body? Are you okay?”
“Of course. I’m completely cured now.”
A man who had behaved so brutally as if he would kill one or two people just now, in front of a man called the commander, he was like a nine-tailed fox and acted as docile as a sheep. When the bewildered healer laughed, Cadel’s gaze belatedly turned to him.
“Thank you very much. You saved his life.”
“……You can say your greeting to Viscount.”
“Are there any precautions? He needs to take a rest right now…….”
Rest? What kind of rest is rest when I haven’t finished the healing work.
He wanted to snap at him like that.…… Standing grimly behind Cadel and facing Van’s face, who was staring at him as if he were going to kill him, he couldn’t speak. The healer shook his head roughly.
“There is none. He’s recovered completely, so he can run out right now.”
“Ah! That’s fortunate. Then let’s go, Van. I need to talk to you.”
Looking at Cadel’s back, taking Van out with a polite farewell, the healer muttered with a bitter look.
“I feel sorry for the commander…….”
* * *
“That aristocrat guy offered you to be a magician under his command?”
Even though he was still inside the said aristocrat guy’s mansion, Van laughed at the Viscount without hesitation. Cadel looked around instead and nodded his head.
It was better to be a magician with the protection and support of a viscount than a street mercenary. Maybe Van thought so, too, and he was nervous that he’d choose to abandon him.
But that was not going to happen. At least as long as he was in this world, Cadel’s goal was not to lead a stable life.
He tried to convey the truth before a useless misunderstanding occurred. There was nothing more tiring than a misunderstanding. But before he could get his word out, Van struck first.
“To make such an offer before even paying the commission fee is pathetic. So, what is Commander’s plan? Are you thinking of taking the money and turning it down?”
Contrary to his worries, Van did not seem to even think about the option of ‘Cadel abandoning the mercenary corps’. Facing his own shadow that emerged in those beautiful golden eyes full of trust, Cadel felt itchy for no reason.
Has he ever received such transparent trust from someone in his life? Of course, the loyalty of Van was made up of one system or another, but…… Still, he felt good.
“It should be that. That’s why I’m here to check on you just in case your treatment takes a long time. I’m just thinking of taking the money and leaving.”
“But it would be difficult to avoid interference as long as we stayed in the Viscount’s territory. He might use a coercive method.”
“Right. Originally, I planned to stay here a little longer and look for other quests, but…….”
Cadel sighed and swept his hair up. The initial plan was to increase capital by processing a number of requests at the ‘Midday Whale’. He would train himself and improve his skills. That was how the game was played. But this world didn’t allow him to focus on growth while delaying the story.
‘Well…… Maybe I can stay at the Viscount’s mansion for a while and help Van grow with the money I receive.’
Maybe that way would be more efficient. Instead, there was a risk that Van’s loyalty would plummet.
Van detested nobles. He didn’t know the reason in detail because he didn’t look for individual stories, but in any case, Van Herdos’ hatred for aristocracy was deeply rooted. The only one he followed was Cadel, a fallen noble. So, it was obvious that Van would not be able to endure Cadel giving his loyalty to Viscount Stra even for a short period.
‘Of course, he won’t betray me all of a sudden, but it’s uncomfortable. I want to get along well.’
Belonging to a viscount family was not a necessary step, and as long as he received the commission fee for the Smog Plains, he would not have to starve for money in the near future. He didn’t want to make it difficult for the future due to choosing a more comfortable choice.
“Do you know how long it takes to get out of Viscount Stra’s territory?”
“Well, the nearest place from here would be the city of Hermel. It’s close to the capital, Drakium, so it’s easier to find work……. If we go on horseback, it will take about three days.”
Three days! Cadel cursed inwardly and clenched his fists.
Even now, he had been up all night, so his eyes were strained, he wanted to rub his disgusting body with bath water right away, and he was dizzy from hunger. But he had to go on a three-day trip starting tomorrow morning.
‘Do I have to sleep in the woods? I’ll have to do it, right? Sleeping in the open? Even bugs……. There will be a lot of bugs too. It’s cold, the ground is hard, and all I’ll eat is muddy bread or beef jerky…….’
His eyebrows drooped helplessly because he was depressed just by imagining it.
“Commander? What’s wrong, are you tired?”
Van tilted his head to examine Cadel’s complexion as if he was bothered by his gloomy face. Cadel’s mood improved a little when his worried gaze reached him.
‘Yeah. It’s not just me suffering. As long as I grow properly, I will say goodbye to this hardship.’
This was no time for whining. What about three or four days of hard work? It wasn’t something to be unhappy about if there was something to gain from hard work.
“Let’s eat something first. I’m going to faint from hunger.”
“That aristocrat guy didn’t even serve you a meal?”
“He gave me tea. By the way, if you keep calling aristocrat guy this, aristocrat guy that―”
“Hmph, no matter how much Commander looks like he only eats morning dew, he didn’t give much thought either. Did he think a mercenary who’s been fighting just now wants to drink fragrant water?”
What the hell are you talking about? Cadel pressed his forehead and dragged Van out of the mansion. It seemed like something terrible would happen if he stayed even a little longer.
* * *
Cadel and Van strolled through the streets lined with stalls. Because there was not enough money in hand to enter the restaurant, instead of a well-prepared meal, Cadel had grilled skewers in both hands, and Van held a bucket of water next to him in case he choked.
“I’m going to eat it all because you don’t have an appetite, but don’t think of refusing to eat after receiving the commission fee.”
“All right, Commander.”
Seeing his smiling face like an angel, the motivation to nag more disappeared. Cadel shook his head and was absorbed in the work of devouring the skewers. Then he suddenly remembered something he had forgotten.
“Ah, right, hold these for me.”
After passing all the skewers to Van, Cadel searched inside his bag that Van was carrying.
“Commander……? What are you doing?”
“I have something to give you.”
“Who else can I give it to but you?”
What he took out of his bag was a long, gray bandage that looked familiar. Van looked down at the bandage Cadel held out and smiled awkwardly.
“It’s not just a bandage, man. It’s an advanced artifact from the Mummy Queen.”
The identity of this bandage was the [Queen’s Bandage], a hidden item he had obtained as a quest reward.
While looking for the healing room to meet Van, Cadel remembered the existence of the reward. After confirming that the item was stored in a virtual storage called ‘Inventory’, he pulled it out.
‘If you have it, the weak undead can’t approach you, and if you wrap it around your body, it’s a super-high-end item that increases recovery power, and if you wrap it around your equipment, it increases durability! ……I don’t want to explain this, so I’ll just cover it up.’
Cadel snatched the bandage from Van, who was trying hard to hide his embarrassment and began to wrap it around the greatsword attached to his back. He tiptoed and meticulously bandaged it, giving it a pretty cool appearance. At least it looked better than the rag-like piece of cloth Van first had.
“Good. Don’t ever lose it because good things will happen if you carry it around.”
“It’s such a precious item, can you give it to me? Rather, Commander has…….”
“What are you talking about? You’re my man. It’s not a waste to give good things to my people.”
Besides, he didn’t even have the equipment to wrap that long bandage with. And it was also helpful for growth to focus the initial capital investment on knights rather than players. Thinking about that, he patted Van’s shoulder with satisfaction, but a system window suddenly popped up.