The morning breakfast that day was luxurious. It was specially made for Basen because soon he would be leaving for the capital.
“Make sure you eat a lot, Basen.”
Violan offered him more juicy meat, which he happily accepted and stuffed inside his mouth. Lily who sat next to Basen pouted lightly and played with her food. She mumbled very quietly and only Basen who was next to her could hear.
“I don’t want Oppa to leave…”
An itch of annoyance pricked Basen’s chest. He glanced upwards and saw Cale, his face still a light flush of red, an obvious sign of him partying all night. Basen didn’t see the glare Cale gave him because he closed his eyes to enjoy the delicious flavour of meat that invaded his taste buds. His skin glowed a light pink of satisfaction.
The rest of the meal was silent, only the occasional clashes of metal. Once breakfast was finished, he got his goodbyes from the count and the countess because they had other work to do. Only Cale and Lily were standing in front of Basen as he was ready to head out. Lily seemed to be a little awkward around Cale so she rushed forward and held onto Basen’s sleeve.
Basen looked up at Cale who in return gave him a rude snort.
He shook his head at Cale’s question and looked back at his 7-year-old sister. Even though Basen was still 15 he was mentally an adult. Lily’s childlike innocence made her look a little pitiful. Basen kneeled down to Lily’s height.
“Be safe Oppa!”
She smiled and cheered her brother on.
“Thanks, you be safe too Lily.”
She vigorously nodded her head with shining eyes. Basen pondered for a moment.
“Do you want me to buy you a gift on my way there?”
He thought correctly, Lily indeed did want a present.
“What would you like?”
He asked as he watched Lily’s many changes of expressions.
“Oppa, can you buy me a sword?”
Basen nodded his head. He remembered the many times Lily rushed to his side in small cuts and a wooden sword. He knew well enough that it was her dream to become a swordsman in the future.
“It would suit you.”
Lily giggled, probably glad her brother praised her. After a quick head pat, Basen looked at Cale with a dead-pan face and asked
“Do you want anything?”
Cale, who now had a bottle of wine in his hand that he seemed to have gotten out of nowhere looked down at Basen who was much shorter than him. Basen didn’t mind the rude response and pointed at the bottle of wine.
“Do you want me to buy you some wine?”
Cale’s facial expression seemed to be saying “A kid like you going to buy wine?”.
“As long as it’s the most expensive it should be ok. I’ll get going now, goodbye.”
Basen didn’t wait for an answer from Cale, he put on his coat and walked away. Cale muttered some incomprehensible swears and turned to leave. Before he could get very far, someone in all black blocked Cale’s view, Choi Han coldly stared at Cale. His more trained sharp ears probably picked up the swears and Choi Han didn’t approve of Basen being mistreated like that. He noted this and dragged the red-headed drunk’s reputation down by a few hundred points. Cale’s brows frowned and he tried to knock Choi Han out of the way with his shoulder. Choi Han dodged with fast reflexes, he brushed the side of his coat that got touched by Cale’s fabric and walked away.
Basen walked up towards the exit when a hand suddenly grabbed his shoulders. He tried his best not to scream in fear and turned around to see who it was. Choi Han’s innocent smile greeted Basen’s pale scared to death expression.
“...What took you so long.”
Choi Han stared at Basen for a moment before turning a bit awkward.
‘I was rating trash.’
As Choi Han was about to answer Basen cleared his throat a couple of times and blocked Choi Han from speaking.
“Nevermind that let’s prepare to leave.”
Basen stepped behind Hans, who was peering inside the carriage in joy and muttering endless praise.
“Kya!! AA Kitten-nims are so AdORaBLE HHHHHH AHHH SO PRECIOUS AIGOO!”
Basen shoved Hans to the side and opened the door. Hans who saw Basen quickly tried to be professional again, pretending he had never squealed like a girl seconds ago.
Basen silently applauded this cheery butler’s shamelessness and opened the carriage. There were two cute kittens sitting in a seat even more royal looking than the one prepared for him. The kittens mewed and welcomed him in as they sat in a dignified manner. Basen turned to Hans for answers. Hans looked a little worried before hurriedly reassuring Basen.
“Young master-nim is just as important as the kittens don’t worry.”
‘I’m equivalent to cats…?’
Basen was curious about what went inside Hans’s thought process. He waved Hans away and closed the door. Basen observed the kittens he picked up not too long ago.
He recalled the butler’s screams of joy as Basen handed him two wet skinny kittens. Hans took very well of them, only a few days passed but they had already visibly fattened. Basen didn’t mind it, he would need to feed the two a lot more in the future anyway.
Choi Han sat silently in his room. He recalled the conversation with the young master.
“Have you ever seen a dragon?”
He remembered Basen telling him about the dragon’s abuse, and it’s freedom being taken away the moment of their birth. Choi Han’s body tensed up for a moment.
He pondered as he looked out the window. Was there really going to be a dragon at the top of the mountain? Choi Han had his doubts at first, but when he saw the firm look Basen gave he swallowed his words of uncertainty. Perhaps this boy spoke the truth. It didn’t matter to Choi Han, he would be willing to help Basen any way he could.
After sharpening his sword he climbed towards the second floor. Choi Han swiftly landed into Basen’s room which was only one story above his. He heard Basen talking to the two cats.
“You two follow me.”
The boy who should have been asleep by now turned around as he heard the wooden planks creak.
“You’re here. Put this on quickly.”
He opened the box and threw a costume to Choi Han. They were clothes similar to the ones worn by arm, except the logo was poorly stitched on.
“Did you make this..?”
“Yes, it’ll work for now.”
Choi Han thought of Basen sitting down and stitching clothes like a grandma. He coughed away his laugh and quickly got back to being serious.
“Are we doing something bad?”
“Yes, we’re doing something bad to Venion.”
Choi Han recalled the blond bastard they met in the streets not too long ago. He smiled.
Choi Han swiftly put on the clothes given to him.
“By the way these kids are from the Cat Tribe. They are beast people.”
Basen casually introduced these cat beastmen. Choi Han looked at the kittens and gave a polite greeting. The cats who knew the strength Choi Han held and stayed on guard.
“He’s Choi Han, this is On, that is Hong. End of introductions. Everybody get ready.”
Basen put on a black mask which covered half of his face. The clothes on him were a bit baggy so he had to tuck in the extra cloth away.
They were ready to head out. Choi Han opened the windows but felt a hand tug on his sleeve.
“I will break my legs if I jump down at that height.”
Choi Han looked down. For him, the height wasn’t a big issue but for someone like Basen nim…
He looked back at Basen and saw the boy’s undeveloped body. The thought of Basen jumping down a two-story building and breaking his legs terrified Choi Han. He quickly lifted up his arms and clumsily gestured for an embrace.
“I will carry you.”
“...I think a piggyback would do.”
Choi Han immediately switched to piggyback position. He kneeled down and gave Basen an honest look. Basen picked up the two kittens and cradled them in his arms, he wrapped his free arm around Choi Han’s shoulders.
Choi Han took off swiftly, he was fast and the steady. Even the kittens comfortably balanced between Basen’s arm and Choi Han’s back.
Basen looked back at the tavern, which was almost out of sight by now. They were going...really fast…
The guards by the cave entrance yawned in boredom. They chattered about women and drinking like the bastards they were. Basen peered out from the bushes and gave Choi Han his order. He had already given a description of the strength level of each guard to Choi Han earlier.
“Get rid of them quietly, but don’t kill them and don’t show them your sword arts.”
“Also wear this voice changer, it’s expensive so don’t break it.”
Choi Han nodded and went towards the guards. Soon the black orb would activate and cut off every magic tool’s usability. This would give them a chance to attack the cave without being found out by Venion.
By the time Basen finished preparing and activated the orb, Choi Han was casually dodging and punching his way through the guards.
In that short amount of time, the soldiers already had injuries on their arms and legs and were knocked out on the floor. The guards were confused and scared, they were being beaten by a mysterious man.
“W-who are you people!?”
The high levelled knight rushed towards them with his sword. He saw a weaker looking person behind the mysterious man and went to aim for him.
Choi Han swung his sword and blocked the attack. His eyes were fierce and full of rage. The voice that came out was low and most certainly not human.
Cold sweat leaked down the high levelled knight’s forehead. The last thing he saw was a fist charging towards his face before he passed out.
The other guards choked on the two kitten’s poison. It didn’t take very long for them to be defeated. Basen patter Choi Han and walked deeper into the cave.
The last person in the cave was the torturer. He was already in a state of chaos, he held the magic device in a frantic panic.
“Why, why?! Why is the Magic Crystal Ball not working?!”
The Magic Crystal Ball that the torturer held onto was one of the emergency backups that Venion had prepared in case something went wrong.
“D, don’t come here! Do you know what is in here?!”
Basen didn’t answer, he signalled the kittens to spread poison around the torturer.
“W-what kaak, urggg AAgGGH what is this!!”
The man fell down, his head swelled red as he choked on the gas. He scratched his neck begging for air before passing out completely. It was a gross image to look at but Basen stayed unfazed. He bent down and started to search the body. Once he heard a jingle he picked up the item. The keys to the prison.
As they entered the prison cell there was a stench of blood that reeked the room. Choi Han’s eyes darkened as he saw the little black dragon curled up in a defensive position with chains locked around it. It looked extremely weak, and it’s shut eyelids shook in fear.
Basen opened the cell and crouched near it.
The dragon did not move one bit. Basen used the key he had obtained from the torturer to undo the chains.
The dragon flinched and opened its eyes at that moment. Basen started to smile after looking at the dragon’s eyes. He could see two blue gems staring back at him.
It was still a very strong gaze. It had not lost its will to live just yet.
It was not the dying gaze that Choi Han had run into in the novel. It still gazed with a strong desire to live. That was why it was filled with energy, anger, and resistance.
It was the gaze of a dragon.
“What a nice gaze.”
Basen gently lifted the dragon up.