Note: We have changed the name of White Ghost (the assassin among the seven heroes) to White Phantom
“What kind of name would suit me?”
Even Sungchul sometimes asked himself this question. He began to think deeply about the alias he would use when he arrived on the frontline. It seemed like a childish concern, but it meant a lot to him. He believed that a name held power.
For instance, the name Sungchul was possibly the most widely-known name in this world. It had a weight of its own. What if some other name such as Ahram Park or Krill Regall was chosen? He would be considered nothing more than generic minion A.
“How about Eckheart?”
Bertelgia had been watching Sungchul’s deliberation from the side and offered her opinion.
He flatly rejected it, and Bertelgia’s face briefly turned red. He narrowed his options down to three, then etched it into a rock with his fingertip. Esper Kim, Chulin Kim. Favre Kim.
Bertelgia let out a taunt.
“Something’s very wrong. What the heck is Favre? You sound like someone that never had any friends!”
“It’s the name of an academic more famous than your dad.”
“Don’t say such things. Anyways, all three options are bad.”
Sungchul’s eyes lit up.
“What’s the issue?”
“Why do all the names have Kim? Can’t you just forget the Kim? Why do you think you’re using an alias for? Isn’t it to hide your identity?”
Bertelgia said everything she wanted to say despite fluttering about wildly.
Sungchul grew quiet. He knew that Bertelgia wasn’t full of nonsense.
“If you got nothing, then pick something mage-like. I thought you were going to go to the frontline as a mage anyways?”
“An Alchemist to be exact.”
“Then a name with an ‘S’ or ‘T’ at the end would work! I don’t know why, but famous mage names usually end with S or T.”
After hearing her suggestion, Sungchul immediately added an S and removed the Kim. He added three more names for a total of 6 names in the rock: Espers, Chulins, Favres, Espert, Chulint, Favret. Sungchul rubbed his chin as he muttered the names to himself to check how it sounded. On the other end, Bertelgia was fuming.
“Why are you so attached to those three names? All three are awful!”
“In the end, I think they all sound better than Eckheart?”
“Ugh. Good for you. Really. Why not just use a name from the Seven Heroes at this point?”
“The Seven Heroes?”
A strange light flashed in his eyes. The names of the Seven Heroes weren’t that well known, but their names had significant weight since the past. Sungchul began to recall their names in his head.
Desfort, the leader of the Seven Heroes. Dragoman, one who reached the peak with swords. Daltanius, pursuer of endless strength. Sajators, the mage of multicast. White Phantom, the assassin without a record. Vestiare, Echo Mage. Ga Xi Ong the Devourer of Souls. Which name among these should be chosen?
“I choose White Phantom.”
“White Phantom? That weirdo who wraps himself with that white cloth thing?”
“You’ve seen White Phantom?”
“Yea, but only from a distance. I haven’t even heard him speak. He’s a lunatic like the other Seven Heroes, and writes instead of using his perfectly good tongue to communicate.”
“I see. How did you manage to meet him though?”
He knew that Bertelgia and Eckheart were from the same era as the Seven Heroes. However, there was no guarantee that these people would ever meet just because they lived in the same period. This was especially because the Seven Heroes were great figures in their time, but Bertelgia answered his question without hesitation.
“The Seven Heroes were regulars at dad’s shop. They always ordered a bunch of stuff before they left for battle.”
“Hoh… is that right?”
“Yep. That’s why my dad called himself the Eighth Hero.”
“What did the Seven Heroes usually buy?”
“Well, I was really young, so I don’t remember much, but it was mostly potions like Elixir and high firepower Alchemic Bomb. The bratty kid mage and the bitchy woman bought mana essence and Dark Crystal.”
“Could I make that with my ability right now?”
“You could make some, but not others.”
Sungchul nodded at her assessment. He felt amused by Alchemy, but he was getting fed up with making useless alchemy items. However, he might feel motivated if he could start producing items worthy of the seven heroes.
‘I think it might help if I synthesise things every now and then to raise my alchemy technique and knowledge as she suggested. They might be good for me.’
He chose the name and his goal and descended from the wild rocky mountain moving towards the stronghold.
The Battlefront of the Demonic Realm was largely divided into four regions. The first region was the flat plains to the west that was mostly a wasteland. This region contained the most number of conflicts out of the four regions and was occupied by the Order of the Iron Blood Knights. They utilised immovable fortifications in key locations along with the powerful strength of their knights to defend their region.
The second region was a mountainous area with rugged mountain ranges that appeared like folding screens. They were occupied by the dwarves, known as the children of the mountain range, within impregnable fortifications that the demons wouldn’t dare invade.
The next region was a sea of trees underneath the mountain range. This region was occupied by an alliance of Elves called the Varan-Aran. Antagonising these people was like making an enemy of the forest itself. There were no records of hostile demons surviving the forest.
The final region was a zone of retreat behind the three regions. This region that can’t exactly be called the frontlines was occupied by the allied fleet of the Human Empire, mercenaries of the Coalition of Merchants, the Swordmasters of the Ancient Kingdom, and a mishmash of various backup forces held in reserves. Nevertheless, Marquess Marin Breggas, one of the top six champions among the thirteen champions of the continent, had gained the authority over these forces. Sungchul picked Trowin, a city within the zone of retreat, as his destination.
The reason he didn’t head directly to the Storm Battlefront was simple. The zone of retreat was where most people congregate, and it was known that all information regarding the frontlines flowed through here. More than anything, the recruitment of mercenaries occur here too. The free city of Trowin was the busiest area of the zone of retreat and was most apt for Sungchul’s needs.
Sungchul arrived at the walls of Trowin at early morning. However, the city guards were unusually grim. The city borders were ceaselessly patrolled by packs of soldiers comprised of werewolves, and knights on gryphons were looking down from the skies.
Sungchul could force his entry, but he didn’t wish to attract such attention to himself at this place. He would go through proper channels if he could help it. After coming to this decision, he hid within a field of reeds and observed the situation. He overheard conversations from merchants, housewives, and soldiers until midday and got a grasp of the situation within the city.
There was only one reason due to which the city was on full alert; It was the Enemy of the World. It was known that the Enemy of the World had left for the Demonic Realm, so notices requesting for high alert with the authority of each ruler had been spread within the frontlines as it couldn’t be predicted when the Enemy of the World will appear again.
“Really. What did you do that made everyone hate you so much?”
Bertelgia couldn’t watch any more of this and muttered to herself.
“I did cause some accidents. I emptied a vault, stole a hammer, destroyed a Royal Palace, and killed a rotten prince…”
“Wait, now that I’m listening to all this. It doesn’t really sound like a little?”
When Bertelgia retorted, Sungchul shook his head and continued.
“It isn’t that simple. First and foremost, they resent me because I am powerful. Next, it is because I disagree with their ideas. A good mixture of the two created this level of fear and resentment.”
Sungchul pulled out an outfit from the Soul Storage. It was a worn-out brown coat and military pants that had become grey as its colours faded away. Sungchul pulled off the clothes he had been wearing without thought and changed into his new outfit.
“Ugh. Even if I am a book, I am a maiden at heart so I’d appreciate it if you didn’t just change without warning.”
Bertelgia made a serious request while he changed. Of course, Sungchul didn’t give her plea a second thought.
“Isn’t it enough to just close your eyes?”
Sungchul put on a snap buttoned plaid shirt over his muscled body.
No matter how you look at it, the plaid shirt looked bad. It must have turned out like this because he had been stealing clothes of the summoned at the Golden City before entering the Summoning Palace without checking them. Sungchul ripped the shirt off and buried it before pulling out another shirt of a similar style.
He had been trying to put in some effort behind it, but his outfit hadn’t progressed an inch from his hobo appearance.
“Wouldn’t the clothes of a summoned stand out?”
Bertelgia flew around Sungchul once and judged his outfit. Sungchul shook his head.
“There are several groups of summoned that purposely try to wear their styles of clothes similar to their original world’s.”
“It is to avoid losing their distinct identity even after coming to this world. Well, a lot of the people that choose to keep the clothes from their original world often choose the path to return.”
A bitter memory passed by Sungchul’s eyes.
‘If only she had chosen to return, all of this could have been avoided.’
The past was the past. Sungchul brushed the memory aside and looked onto the main road.
“Anyways, how will you get into the city? I don’t think they’ll just let you in.”
“How many people do you think comes in and out of Trowin? It’s thousands if not tens of thousands of people. It’s not easy for a couple of guards to inspect all of them”
Sungchul stood on the side of the main road and waited for a wagon on route to the city. It didn’t take long for such a wagon to appear.
It was a transport wagon with a forgettable old man, pulled by a pair of old and skinny horses. Sungchul carefully looked at the wagon before he let it past.
“Why did you let that one go? I think you’d be safe if you hid in the stuff at the back.”
Bertelgia spoke from his pocket, but Sungchul just shook his head.
“It’s common for guards to press down harder on security if the wagon looks poor and the horseman looks spineless.”
Sungchul let several more wagons pass until a massive stagecoach pulled by a team of eight angelic horses, the Pegasus, approached from the distance. Seeing that the stagecoach was pulled by pegasuses and it had a floatation stone instead of wheels meant that it was a high-class stagecoach capable of flight.
“Hmm. That one looks like someone with some money would be riding it?”
Sungchul nodded at Bertelgia’s words and blocked its path.
“Could I get a ride? It is quite bothersome to walk all that distance.”
Sungchul handed out a single silver coin to the driver. The driver let out a laugh and shot Sungchul a cold glare.
“Do you think you can ride this stagecoach with just a single silver coin? Get out of the way!”
He raised the whip in order to move the carriage, but Sungchul pulled out something different. The driver’s eyes changed. It was because a shiny gold coin was held in front of him.
“It was only because I wasn’t aware of the ways of the world. Is this enough?”
Sungchul held out his gold coin. The driver looked at him once again.
Sungchul looked like a typical summoned on the outside. He looked pitiful, but his appearance was that of a young man in between his 20s and 30s. The driver had recently heard of the existence of the preselected among the summoned who received privileged treatment upon arrival to the Other World.
‘Is he one of those idiots? Whatever, I can just earn some coin.’
Finally, he received the coin and carefully examined its surface. Where there was supposed to be a mark for the mint, it was etched with the marking of the Human Empire foundry.
There had been an order from higher-ups. Report anyone with an unmarked coin to a superior officer. It wasn’t something that even a driver from a transportation company affiliated with the Coalition of Merchants could ignore. Also, the coin was confirmed to be without problems. There was no reason for the driver to reject Sungchul.
“Open the second door and get on. Don’t bother the other guests.”
Sungchul excused himself before entering the cabin. When Sungchul opened the door to the cabin, Bertelgia whispered in a quiet voice.
“It looks like you’ve done this before?”
Sungchul didn’t confirm or deny it. The cabin was more or less empty. The only guests were a middle-aged noblewoman with a fan made of the tail feathers of a rare bird, a man of sophisticated airs reading a book with a monocle, and a stubborn-looking male dwarf whose feet didn’t quite reach the wagon floor. It was just these three. They glanced over at Sungchul as he stepped onto the coach, but didn’t make much of it. However, Sungchul could feel a bit of repulsion from their faces, especially the noblewoman.
“Let us leave.”
The coach left on a relatively light note. Green farmlands could be seen outside the window as they passed the rural villages of the border on their way to the castle gates. There was a formation of 5 guards examining the coaches as they entered.
Due to the coincidental alignment of the wagons, Sungchul was just barely able to watch a wagon undergo the inspection through the window. The one currently being searched was the rickety load-bearing wagon ridden by the old horseman that he had just passed. Four guards surrounded him as they stood beside the wagon’s load with their tridents in hand. Bertelgia squirmed as though she was watching the scene herself inside his pocket. Soon, the head gatekeeper’s commanding voice roared.
“Commence Special Search!”
As soon as his order fell, the four guards began to stab away at the bale of hay with their tridents with fearsome vigor.
“Full Power Spear Thrust!”
It was a fearsome inspection that would not only make a pincushion of anyone inside but shred them to pieces as well. Sungchul stroked Bertelgia in his pocket and quietly whispered to her.
“Do you get it now?”
Bertelgia shook her body lightly. Soon the turn for the coach that Sungchul was riding came. Unlike the previous search, the guards and the gatekeeper had a completely different attitude. They didn’t even dare to open up the coach door, and only spoke to the coach driver. After a few words from the driver, the gatekeeper nodded and gestured to let them through.
The noblewoman’s face grew ugly, but she didn’t make any further actions. She had decided that exercising her patience a bit longer was less effort than reporting the repulsive man. Thankfully, this allowed Sungchul safe entry into the town center of Trowin. It was an economic result at the expense of some time and a gold coin.
Sungchul, after arriving at the town center, entered into the back alleys to seek out an information broker. He inquired between several information brokers to find the one who had his finger on the pulse of the battlefield. The one who met the qualifications was a disabled veteran missing an eye and a leg. Sungchul held out several silver coins and asked a question.
“I am seeking a mercenary mage by the name of Deckard.”
The former soldier looked up at him with his remaining eye. When Sungchul nodded, the man let out a sigh before speaking again.
“If the Deckard you speak of is the mercenary mage affiliated with the Storm Battlefront, He is probably… well… he’s most likely dead by now.”
“What does that mean?”
“He committed a crime and got assigned to the suicide unit.”
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