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    I’m picking this up! This novel is wayy too interesting and a fun read for me to not to translate.

    Also, just a heads up, there may be some changes in the naming of certain places/names since I can’t really remember how the prev TL translated them as… So, if you noticed any, please let me know!

    Enjoy this chapter!

    Edited: 13th March ’24

    On the western side of the continent, there is a long and rugged mountain range stretching from north to south.

    Starting from the border region between the Kingdom of Flanders and the Duchy of Asein, this long mountain range passes through Rohan and becomes progressively higher and more treacherous towards the north, eventually forming the boundary of the demon realm where the demon tribes reside.

    In the past, it had various names such as the White Eagle Mountains or the Blade Mountains, but now, the people of the continent simply refer to this vast mountain range as the ‘Western Mountains’.

    At the entrance of the Western Mountains, near the border of the Kingdom of Flanders, there was a small slash-and-burn village that had been established only a few years ago. It was a small village built by a small number of Flanders people who had lost their homes during the war with the Duchy of Carthago and had fled into the mountains.

    However, with the recent influx of refugees from Rohan, the village’s population suddenly swelled to nearly a hundred people. Needless to say, housing shortages, supply shortages, and food shortages became severe.

    It took no time for the small slash-and-burn village to turn into a den of bandits.

    One of the reasons was that most of the newly arrived refugees were former bandits who had been engaged in banditry in Rohan and had been driven out by the subjugation forces.

    Aslan, who had gone hunting and was returning with only a few rabbits caught in traps, not having had much success, noticed that there was an unfamiliar wagon parked in the village square again today.

    ‘It’s a bit smaller in scale than usual……’

    Aslan asked the man standing next to him.

    “What did they rob this time?”

    “I’m not sure. It seems to be a peddler passing from Asein to Flanders.”

    “Ah, seriously…. What are they all trying to do? How many times has it been just this month? What if the Archduke of Asein organizes a subjugation force?”

    When Aslan frowned, the man shrugged his shoulders.

    “Well, what does it matter? It doesn’t seem to be a proper merchant group anyway, and do you think Asein would even care? I heard it was an easy target without any escorts.”

    From what he heard, it seemed that the scouting party had accidentally discovered a group of peddlers while patrolling the mountains.

    With a single wagon carrying sacks of food and three prisoners, accompanied by two low-ranking mercenaries, they were stealthily slipping away on an old trade route that merchant groups rarely used these days.

    The moment the bandits confronted them, the merchants and mercenaries abandoned the wagon on the spot and fled.

    “There were prisoners?”

    Aslan asked back, puzzled.

    Why would a peddler take prisoners across the border?

    “All three of them are criminals who have been sentenced to extreme punishment. Sometimes Carthago buys such guys at a low price. They throw them into the rock salt mines and make them dig rocks until they die.”

    The rock salt mines of Carthago are really the worst. Those poor bastards would be better off just dying here.

    The man said that, shook his head, and left.

    Indeed, following the sacks of food, three people were dragged down from the wagon.

    One had burns all over his body, his face so distorted that it was unrecognizable, while another had one eye socket hollowed out and all his fingers cut off. Seeing their horrific appearances, Aslan unknowingly frowned.

    The last man who got off seemed relatively intact on the outside, but on the back of his neck exposed above his loose robe, a dark brand was visible. Even seeing only a part of it, one could tell that it was a terrible brand received from being tried by the heretic inquisitors.

    The mark of a devil worshipper.

    In a sense, he was the prisoner who had received the most vicious punishment among the three.

    The three were immediately transported to the dwelling of the boss.

    I guess they’ll confirm their backgrounds before killing them. Aslan thought to himself and turned away from the village square.

    Aslan is an orphan boy from Rohan. Not knowing the faces of his parents, he had been living with a group of bandits in Rohan since his earliest memories.

    He didn’t even know his exact age. Based on the circumstances he had picked up from the people in the bandit group, he could only estimate that he was no older than 16.

    In the rough and uneducated bandit group, Aslan was an exceptionally noticeable boy. He had a calm disposition by nature, was smart, and learned quickly.

    He learned various fighting techniques that the bandit members would show him playfully, and while helping a bandit who was a former hunter, he also learned how to set traps.

    A bandit who had been a member of a village guard but had been falsely accused and fled even taught him the basic aura cultivation techniques.

    Within the bandit group, there were occasionally people who had unfortunately encountered the bandits but had their lives spared due to their useful skills. People like the herbalist Simone and the low-ranking priest Gustaf.

    They basically had a grudge against the bandit group, but they showed a relatively gentle attitude towards young Aslan. Soon, he learned how to read and write and gather medicinal herbs from them.

    Before long, despite his young age, Aslan became a position that could not be ignored within the bandit group.

    This was both a blessing and a curse for him. As a powerless orphan who was often abused and exploited, he could enjoy a relatively stable life, but the opportunity to leave the bandit group and completely wash his hands of it was becoming increasingly distant.

    -I hope that one day you can leave this place and live a proper life.

    It was what Simone and Gustaf always told him, but at some point, Aslan had completely given up on that possibility himself.

    When a large-scale subjugation force from Rohan swept through the Western Mountains, Aslan, who had gone to check the traps he had set up, narrowly survived. However, the bandit group he had been a part of was completely wiped out.

    The subjugation was carried out with such cruelty that there was not a single exception, and even Simone and Gustaf, who had been forcibly brought along, lost their lives in the process. For Aslan, who was a member of the bandit group and had a small bounty on his head, there was no longer a place for him to settle in Rohan.

    He continued to head south along the Western Mountains to avoid the subjugation forces and eventually ended up being pushed to the border region of Flanders.

    In the slash-and-burn village where Aslan settled, other members of the bandit group who had fled earlier had already established themselves.

    Jerome, who had become the current boss of the village, was also a bandit from Rohan.

    He was one of the bandits who had fled and had succeeded in building his own forces by leading the most comrades and heading south early on.

    At first, Jerome was not very fond of young Aslan, but as he came to know about his various skills, he gradually began to take a liking to him. The frequency with which he sought out Aslan for various tasks also gradually increased.

    From making hangover relief drinks and simple medicines to cataloging stolen goods, there were tasks everywhere that were difficult to solve without Aslan. And among them was also identifying aura users.

    Aslan was mentally prepared for being summoned by Jerome soon, and sure enough, Jerome’s henchman called for him.

    By the time he arrived at Jerome’s quarters, two corpses were already being carried out. It was the burned prisoner and the prisoner without fingers that he had seen earlier.

    Seeing their mutilated state, Aslan briefly frowned and walked into the hut.

    “Those two bastards had their tongues cut out too. They were just making loud, incoherent noises, and I couldn’t find any reason to keep them alive.”

    Seeing Aslan’s face, Jerome explained something that hadn’t even been asked, with an irritated expression. They were not in a condition to work properly anyway, so their deaths were an inevitable course of events.

    Jerome was a cruel man by nature. With a physique to match his large stature, he had tremendous strength, and his fists would fly at the slightest annoyance.

    So bad were his violent habits that his wife became crippled in one arm from being beaten, and his son became lame from being thrown as a child.

    It was probably Jerome who had smashed the faces of the two prisoners earlier. Aslan’s eyes naturally turned to the third prisoner standing in front of Jerome.

    He was in better condition than expected. Judging by the bloodstains on the corner of his mouth that weren’t there before, it seemed he couldn’t avoid being hit once, but to that extent, it was really a considerate treatment.

    Jerome pointed at the prisoner with his chin and said to Aslan.

    “This fellow says he’s an herbalist. Originally, he was a priest, but he was branded a heretic and put on trial for studying the plague.”

    In other words, he’s someone useful for the slash-and-burn village. The probability of the third prisoner surviving had risen dramatically.

    “Check if this guy is a trained aura user.”

    Despite his hasty temper, Jerome’s eyes as he said that were as cold as could be.

    Although they had been recklessly robbing Asein’s trade caravans recently, Jerome had a basic level of caution. Even for a prisoner with such a terrible brand, he wasn’t completely ruling out the possibility of him being a spy sent by Asein or Flanders.

    Aslan approached the prisoner and examined him carefully. He was a tall man, and his body in the loose robe was slim, giving the impression of a typical priest. He didn’t look weak, but it was a bit difficult to say that he had received professional physical training.

    Above all, the flow of aura around him felt almost stagnant. It was a characteristic of people who were extremely weak or bedridden.

    “This man is not an aura user. Rather, his aura is unusually weak even for a living person.”

    Jerome nodded.

    “Well, it would be strange if someone who had gone through a heretic trial had a normal body, wouldn’t it?”

    Thinking that the business was over, Aslan was about to turn around, but the following words caught his ankle.

    “Check if this fellow’s knowledge is really useful while you take him around with you.”

    Ah, Aslan hesitated for a moment without answering. He wasn’t very keen on the idea.

    Jerome’s words to take him around meant, in other words, that Aslan had to take care of everything from food to bedding. There was no set time limit, and if the prisoner were to escape, the responsibility would fall entirely on Aslan.


    As he was hesitating to answer, a sharp voice came from inside the hut.

    “Why are you doing such a troublesome thing? Just kill him, Father.”

    Limping, a irritable-looking boy approached them with a limp. It was Jerome’s son, Kaien, who had been thrown by Jerome as a child and could no longer walk properly.

    Unlike Jerome, who had an imposing physique, the boy who was often subjected to violence had a stooped posture and a somewhat small build. However, he had inherited his father’s cruel nature, and Kaien’s face was always twisted with anger towards his surroundings.

    Even now, his sharp eyes scanning the prisoner were filled with malice and gleaming.

    “Why do we need two herbalists? We have this guy.”

    He pointed at Aslan with his chin and said.

    “Herbalists are a valuable workforce. Kaien.”

    Hmph. The boy snorted at Jerome’s answer.

    “Ah, Father. Think about it. We’ve been robbing some caravans lately, right? I’m already worried sick about the reaction of the Archduke of Asein, and now an herbalist that suits our tastes perfectly shows up?”


    “Are you going to keep him alive while feeling uneasy about this? Why take the risk?”

    “He’s a guy who’s been through a heretic trial and even got branded. Surely he’s not a spy sent by Asein?”

    “But why does he look fine to me? That’s even stranger, isn’t it?”

    “That’s for me to think about, not for you to worry about.”

    “Ah, let’s just kill him. It’s simple, isn’t it?”

    Aslan’s head was starting to ache from the neurotic quarrel between the father and son.

    That bastard Kaien just wanted to kill everyone indiscriminately. Jerome was the same, but with Kaien persistently insisting, he seemed to be getting competitive out of spite.

    If a third party found it this troublesome, the prisoner whose life was actually hanging in the balance was just blankly watching the father and son bicker.

    Didn’t he just witness two prisoners being beaten to death by Jerome right next to him? He must know that they were arguing about his treatment, but he was so calm that he showed no change in emotion at all.

    Anyway, if he stayed here, even the guy who was supposed to live would end up being killed by an annoyed Jerome. Aslan made up his mind and said to Jerome.

    “Then, I will take this man with me.”

    Jerome gestured with his hand without even looking this way, with an annoyed look on his face.

    Aslan pulled the hem of the prisoner’s robe, who was still standing there blankly, and hurriedly left the hut.

    Next chapter is coming soon!

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