Ranker's Return

Chapter 508
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Chapter 508

Translator: rainbowturtle

After their long conversation, Hyeonu finally brought up why he visited John Blake: “Do you know where Baler is now?”

“Baler? Why are you asking?” John Blake asked.

“His Majesty has something he wants, but it is related to Baler.”

“Something he wants…” John Blake sighed.

No matter what the emperor might’ve said, it would not be a simple thing for Hyeonu to find Baler.

‘What are you trying to do?’ John Blake wondered. John Blake knew a lot about the emperor as he was the emperor’s teacher. He had taught the emperor for over 10 years, so it would be strange if he didn’t know the emperor well. This person’s personality didn’t fit a dull position like the emperor. Rather, a battleground with blood flowing like a river was much more fitting.

‘I don’t know. He might want to start a war…’ John Blake shook his head, thinking it was a silly idea. Yet Hyeonu’s words soon caused John Blake’s eyes to widen.

Hyeonu said, “He said he wants to start a war. It isn’t to let the demons and demonic creatures come to Etono but to expand the front lines and start a war. His Majesty will take the vanguard himself.”

‘Start a war’—they weren’t light words.

The emperor wouldn’t die, but it was obvious that many imperial people would be sacrificed.

“Who will pay for that sacrifice?” John Blake murmured.

Hearing John Blake’s mumbling, Hyeonu conveyed the emperor’s thoughts: “Don't worry about it. The main force of the demon world expeditionary force will be adventurers. They will lead the war since they can be resurrected after death.”

“Adventurers? Do they have that ability? I know you are a special adventurer, but… I don’t believe that other guys will be at your level.”

“Of course, they aren’t that strong, but they can grow stronger rapidly. You just have to throw the right compensation before them, and they will fight harder than anyone else.”

At Hyeonu’s words, John Blake couldn’t hide his disbelieving expression. The adventurers he remembered were so weak. Even if dozens of adventurers were gathered, it would be hard for them to kill even the lowest grade demonic creature. That was the kind of adventurers who were in John Blake’s memory.

“There are many adventurers in Etono. You can see them for yourself later. Their level isn’t as low as you think,” Hyeonu said.

“It’s fine. I don’t like it, but that doesn’t mean a war won’t happen,” John Blake replied.

Hyeonu nodded. John Blake’s words were right. War would still break out even if he wasn’t satisfied with the level of adventurers. This was what the emperor meant.

“Baler doesn’t stay in his city. It is because no one targets his territory in the first place. Therefore, it is impossible to find him at a certain place,” John Blake explained Baler’s whereabouts.

In his words, it was impossible for Hyeonu to find Baler. He had to visit Hyeonu instead. That was a much more likely story.

“So it’s impossible for me to find Baler?” Hyeonu’s expression stiffened. As he had expected, it wasn’t going to be easy to complete the quest.

‘I will take a lot of time for this,’ he thought.

John Blake saw Hyeonu’s stiff face and added, “Not necessarily. He wanders about, but there seems to be certain rules to his wandering.”

Hyeonu’s expression relaxed slightly as a bit of hope rose within him.

‘Rules?’

“What rules?” Hyeonu hurriedly inquired.

John Blake answered, “You know Baler is raising demonic creatures, right? They are located all over the demon world. Each one is strong enough to dominate an area.”

Hyeonu knew what John Blake was referring to. After all, Hyeonu had driven one of the demonic creatures—Teramas—to the brink of death, so it would be strange for him not to know.

‘He is talking about those like Teramas.’

“I know. I don’t know where they are, but I know he is raising them.”

“Then this will be a fast talk. Baler will wander around visiting them as long as there is no work. He travels around by teleportation, so you will probably meet him by staying in one place for a few days.”

It was good news. Hyeonu could meet Baler after only a few days.

“Thank you, Sir Blake. I know where one of Baler’s pet demonic creatures is, so I think I’ll be able to meet him soon,” Hyeonu spoke with a bright smile.

This was a great profit. It felt like a highway to his destination had appeared in a quest that wasn’t visible.

“It’s ambiguous as to whether this is really a good thing… In any case, I hope things work out,” John Blake said and then paused. He felt this wasn’t something to celebrate. It was definitely good that the work of Hyeonu, his disciple’s student, was going well. However, it was terrible that it would lead to a war between the demon world and the Yusma Empire, even if the main players of the war weren’t the imperial people.

Hyeonu read John Blake’s heart and poured out words like lip service: “I’ll try to use my strength to ensure the empire receives as little damage as possible. It is a weak influence, but…”

Even if Hyeonu was able to reduce the severity of the damage, there would still be damage the moment war broke out.

“It’s fine. Stop and go meet Baler.” John Blake waved his hand at Hyeonu.

“Then I’ll see you next time, Sir Blake.”

Hyeonu left Blanc’s castle as John Blake drove him away.

***

Hyeonu left Blanc and moved directly to Quere using the Quere Return Stone. Then he summoned Caruso. It was quite a long way to walk to the Forest of Death, so it was better to move on Caruso to save as much time as possible.

“Tang-E, do you know where we are going?” Hyeonu asked as he looked down at Tang-E who was attached to his arms like gum.

“How can I know that, Master dude? If I knew, I wouldn’t have followed Master dude. I would’ve stayed in my village as a fortune teller,” Tang-E replied with a sulky expression.

“We are now going to the Forest of Death.”

“The Forest of Death? Where is that, Master dude?” Tang-E didn’t remember the Forest of Death. He had wandered around many places with Hyeonu, making it difficult for him to remember every place. Tang-E tended to forget quickly when no particular events happened.

“What? You don’t remember that place? The forest with thick gray fog.” Hyeonu kindly explained the appearance of the Forest of Death to Tang-E who seemed to have forgotten it.

Hyeonu’s explanation brought back memories of the Forest of Death, and Tang-E started to whine at Hyeonu: “Uh… That isn’t a very good place, Master dude. Why are you going there again? Can’t we go somewhere else?”

That time in the Forest of Death wasn’t a good memory for Tang-E. The atmosphere alone was already the worst. The Forest of Death was a place he didn’t want to go to again.

Hyeonu smiled and lied to Tang-E, “It won’t be long this time. You don’t have to suffer like before. I just need a bit of time.”

He didn’t actually know how long it would be. If Baler appeared early, they could leave the Forest of Death early. Otherwise, they would have to wait until Baler appeared. Yet if he told Tang-E this, he wouldn’t be able to handle the whining that would occur. So he had no choice but to lie in good faith.

‘Tang’s heart is comfortable, and my body is comfortable. How good is that?’

Seeing the smile on Hyeonu’s face, Tang-E looked up at Hyeonu and smiled brightly with a bit of relief.

Caruso flew quickly. Instead of flight, he was using magic power to move, so he showed a fast speed like that of a car. No, it was more like a train or an airplane.

‘Are we almost there?’ Hyeonu wondered inwardly. As the surroundings passed quickly, gray fog started to creep in. From here, he thought it would be better to walk around instead of riding on Caruso.

‘I don’t know where Teramas is.’

If he rode around on Caruso, he clearly wouldn’t be able to see anything.

‘In addition… it feels like the summoning time is coming to an end.’

The 30-minute time limit was approaching. Hyeonu stroked Caruso’s neck and said, “Let’s go down. Land on the ground.”

At Hyeonu’s command, Caruso started to descend quickly toward the ground. Caruso descended so quickly that it seemed like he would collide with the ground. Then he suddenly spread out his wings and flapped them loudly, implementing speed control for the perfect landing.

Thump!

He landed his heavy body, and there was a strong vibration from the earth. After confirming that they had landed safely, Hyeonu kicked off Caruso’s back and jumped toward the ground.

“Good job today. Go back.” The moment Hyeonu’s words were over, Caruso’s body started to disappear little by little. Hyeonu placed Tang-E on the ground and slowly took a step.

‘Last time, I met Teramas first,’ Hyeonu thought.

The first monster he met upon venturing into the Forest of Death had been Teramas. Then Baler appeared and took Hyeonu to Quere where they met John Blake. In other words, Hyeonu had no information about the monsters in the Forest of Death.

‘It is going to be a fun hunting time.’

The unintended hunting time was back, but Hyeonu didn’t show much irritation or disappointment. It was because the current hunt wasn’t an aimless one but an essential hunt to progress his quest.

‘I have to hunt anyway.’

Hyeonu touched one of the rings on his hand. The name of the ring was Rainbow of Desires. It was a ring that emerged when Rubolle was killed.

‘I think there are around 50 left now?’

Rainbow of Desires was a growth-type item. If certain conditions were met, the hidden option for the item would be unlocked. The condition to open the second stage was to kill monsters and other creatures.

[Rainbow of Desires: Contains the seven powers possessed by Rubolle.

Stage 1 Infinite Desire: Experience will rise 15% faster.

Stage 2 opening condition: Lives killed 2,467/2,500]

‘It’s 33.’

It wasn’t long before the second stage would be opened. Hyeonu suddenly felt the desire to hunt.

“Tang-E, what are you doing? Why have you lost your mind? We should be hunting.”

He stroked the head of Tang-E who was staring blankly at the ground. However, Tang-E didn’t show much of a reaction; he seemed distracted.

‘Look at this?’ Hyeonu’s eyes narrowed as he stared at Tang-E.

Tang-E’s spirit seemed a bit more relaxed recently. Perhaps it was because Hyeonu had given too much meat. In that case, there was a need to make Tang-E tense again.

“Tang-E, you always seem a bit full lately? How about doing unpaid work for the first time in a while?”

Tang-E trembled at Hyeonu’s words and looked up at Hyeonu pitifully: “No, Tang-E will hunt. I have to get meat. Give me meat.”

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