Book 3 Chapter 60 - Ionian Plains (3)

Game of Divine Thrones

Although it had tried to blend in with stacks of hay at the top, it was almost certainly a merchant's carriage. There was something off about a merchant choosing to haul hay as goods, after all, it was quite expensive to engrave a magic array on the carriage.

‘Is he a smuggler?’

There were indeed a few smugglers who acted illegally, providing goods that were deemed as contraband and sourced from free cities. They were the core of what was known as the black market.

Weapons, drugs, slaves, magic books, etc.

They would deal with anything so long as it meant they made a profit.

‘It’s worth looking into.’

Unlike Erica’s merchant group, these smugglers wouldn’t have any qualms dealing with all kinds of criminal organizations. It was very possible that they were in some way conected to the rebellion.

“Let’s intercept that carriage.”

Woohyuk jumped on to his horse and kicked its flanks.


The swift horse blew from its mouth as it galloped forth.

Seeing Woohyuk approach at great speed, the smugglers dropped the act.

“We’ve been discovered!”

“Quickly, maximum speed!”

The coachman whipped the horses frantically, but the gap between the two continued to narrow. Finally, Woohyuk’s swift horse had arrived at the carriage’s side.


The Vampiric dagger flew out, sinking into the coachman's ribs.


As the coachman slumped down, the carriage lost its conductor and began to lose control.

Seeing that they wouldn’t be able to escape, the guards turned to look at Woohyuk, then charged towards him.

“You insolent whelp!”

“How dare you!”

In these guards’ eyes, Woohyuk was but a young pup, still wet behind the ears.

A fatal lapse in judgement. These guys weren’t able to recognize the veteran that stood before them and the result was a terrible ending.



Seeing that their guards were useless, the smugglers’ eyes widened in worry.

‘Who is he?’

This man appeared to be more of a mercenary, rather than a knight serving under Count Huntington.

A young man with red hair.

Although he wasn’t able to recognize him, the smugglers chose to flee since they knew that his opponent was quite skilled and that they wouldn’t be able to best him.


Of course that was just their wishful thinking.

After summoning Irene to take the coachman's place, Woohyuk chased at full speed. It wasn’t long before he caught up, brandishing Grandia and causing a few heads to go flying.

“Please, spare me!”

The only survivor pleaded desperately for his life.

Woohyuk grabbed him by the neck and yanked him down from his horse.

“What are you guys carrying in your carriage.”


The man hesitated to respond, as he had an awkward expression. Naturally he was worried he’d be branded as a criminal. However he had worse things to worry about just then.

“If you don’t answer right now, you’ll regret it.”

As Woohyuk showed him his Vampiric dagger, the blood drained from his face.

Eeh! We transport slaves! If you want, they are all yours. Please show mercy….”

The man fell down to his knees as he bowed his head.

Woohyuk signalled Jung Sanghoon to deal with him, as he went to inspect the carriage.

‘Is it some sort of concealment magic?’

He was quite certain that he couldn’t hear any sounds coming from inside. It could still be a trap, so they first had Undine undo the magic array.

“It should be fine now.”

Although she was a water spirit, they would always think of her as an adventurer like them. She was currently going the route of a Cleansing mage. It was all due to Song Anna entering a contract with her, which allowed her to obtain a physical body.

“Keep an eye out.”

Leaving the group behind, Woohyuk went ahead to open the doors. Upon looking inside, his forehead began to crease.

‘It’s only children.’

To be more precise they were all young girls, so their destiny wasn’t hard to fathom. First stop was a free city, and then some remote location where they’d be sold off as sex slaves.

There were some nobles with certain peculiar tastes that would pay good coin for these young women.

“Please don’t hit me.”

“I won’t ask for any more food….”

The children dressed in rags shrunk back in fear as they begged for his mercy.

“Woohyuk reached a girl with brown hair which sat closest to him.

“Come here for a bit.”


The brown haired girl trembled noticeably as she reached out and held his hand. A gaunt appearance, clearly she hadn’t been eating her fill.

Woohyuk stroked her head to reassure her.

“Where do you come from?”

“The Erutonia province.”

Erutonia was located just south of Ionia. No doubt she had been kidnapped and was now headed towards the free city of Media.

“What is your village’s name?”

“Denber, but it's gone now. Some bandits came and burnt it to the ground.”

Even if she were released, she would have nowhere to go now that her parents had been murdered.

As the brown haired girl sniffled, Woohyuk took out an apple from his pouch.

“Here, have this.”

“Tha... thank you.”

She was so famished that she bit into the apple on the spot.

Woohyuk spoke to them once more after giving each of the children an apple.

“You won’t be sold into slavery.”


“You’ll just be sent to a merchant group  in a free city where you’ll be asked to do a few house chores.”

Erica wouldn’t treat these orphans badly. At the very least he never that they wouldn’t be treated as sex slaves.

Upon closing the carriage door, Woohyuk turned to the middle aged man.

“Who did you have dealing with on Count Huntington’s side?”

“Ah, it was sir Andrew.”

Andrew was a fairly high placed vassal within the Count’s retinue, however it seemed that he had a hand in smuggling orphans from the Ionian plains.

“What about the clans? Surely some of those people that walk around with watches just like these have also been your customers, right?”

As Woohyuk showed him his Adventurer’s watch, the middle aged man nodded back frantically.

“Ye...Yes, I was going to sell then some information.”

Ionia’s latest developments as well as any military weaknesses. Because they were looking to learn as much information as possible, the Hwarang clan made use of the many smugglers scattered across the kingdom.

These smugglers could easily obtain all sorts of information through their many contacts and customers.

‘The Hwarang clan.’

As Woohyuk heard what the middle aged man said, he looked up to the sky.

It was a name he had seen many times in the clan rankings. Still, because in the past they had been very far apart, he had never had the opportunity to face them.

By the time Isaac took power, their clan had already been dissolved.

“You’ll have to come with me for now.”

Now that a traitor in his circle had been uncovered, it was time to have a face to face chat with the Count.

After knocking the man unconscious and placing him on the back seat, Woohyuk turned his head.

* * *

Count Huntington was furious upon learning of the nobles’ intention to revolt. It had been a year now that the Crown Prince, John, had assumed the throne.

He had known that the power struggles had intensified in wake of king Frey’s death, but he hadn’t expected them to be aiming for the throne.

“I was wrong in misjudging sir Andrew.”

Huntington sighed as he looked out the window.

He was a talented swordsman, yet he betrayed his own lord, even plotting against him.

He had placed his faith in the wrong person.

“I will capture and bring him here myself.”

Woohyuk, who was staring at the map of Ionia, mentioned.

A less skilled fighter might fail, so it was better to make sure.

“I would appreciate it. There aren’t many that could best sir Andrew in a fight.”

If it was a fair one-on-one duel, even the Commander of the Knights, Gilbert, wouldn’t necessarily be able to come out on top.

If Woohyuk didn’t go out and deal with him, things might become more complicated.

“I’ll accept a reward in gold.”

It would cost coin to send the girls all the way to Landium, and all the preparations were already in place.

There wasn’t even a need for him to send a letter, because he still had members of his clan staying in Landium. They could simply exchange messages through the Unity ring.

“It’s quite surprising to me that you care so much about these children that have no future.”

Count Huntington was beginning to have an even better opinion of Woohyuk.

Mikaelovich’s disappearance had been easily solved, and despite his appearance, he appeared to be quite righteous.

He had wanted to offer him a position as a senior knight, but the timing wasn’t right.

“For peace in the Rhine kingdom.”

Woohyuk couldn’t ignore the plight of these poor girls, since this was the kingdom he would soon rule.

The Eeth’s continent’s natives would age at the same speed as humans did back on earth, until the age of twenty. After that, they would age very slowly, which meant that they could continue to work in their respective professions for a very long time.

In other words, these girls represented valuable human assets.

‘I need to create a place in which everyone can thrive.’

Even if he couldn’t abolish the current class system, the act of villages being looted and burnt to the ground had to be stopped.

If the people’s safety wasn’t guaranteed, in the long run the kingdom’s power would wane.

‘No doubt John is feeling overwhelmed right now.’

He was quite young to bear a king’s burden. Even if he managed to survive, he wouldn’t ever be regarded as a wise king. Unlike Frey who was known as the Honorable King, his personality wasn’t that great.

In the past, his failure to stamp out the noble’s rebellion was directly tied to his lack of human empathy as the King. It would be best to allow him to be poisoned by Count Ludwig.

“I don’t know if King John is aware of this treachery yet. He has to gather the soldiers immediately and kill these traitors.”

“In order for a secret letter to be sent to the king, It has to be someone reliable and familiar with the capital’s politics.”

Either way it would all be in vain, but Woohyuk didn’t want to burst the Count’s bubble.

It would be troublesome if he were to feel guilty and fall into a depression. For now all he had to do was to give it his all to protect Ionia’s grain harvest.

“I need to find a way before this entire kingdom becomes one huge battlefield.

Count Huntington on his end, wanted the other nobles to suffer due to their greed.

Woohyuk then set out, leaving the nervous Count behind.

‘He said that they would meet near the water mill.’

It was where he learned Andrew would meet with the smugglers. 

Wheat was the Rhine kingdom’s main produce, so there were many water mills along the river in order to grind it into flour.

After entrusting the smugglers’ guard to Jung Sanghoon to watch over, Woohyuk headed to the outskirts the Count’s territory.

‘A one-on-one duel.’

On the Eeth continent, there were many talented individuals that were self-taught.

Even if he had become quite strong, it was never a good idea to underestimate others.

It didn’t take long to meet a man that was relaxing by the river’s side. Woohyuk walked up to him and unsheathed Grandia.

“Are you Andrew?”

“That’s right.”

Andrew smiled as he looked back at Woohyuk. He thought that the young man with red hair standing before him was the smuggler he was set to meet.

“I challenge you to a duel.”

“Because I don’t see you throwing your gauntlet, I guess you aren’t a knight. It doesn’t seem like you're the person I was waiting to meet either.”

Knightly etiquette required one to throw their gauntlet when challenging another to a duel. If the opponent picked it up, it meant that they accepted the challenge.

Andrew felt annoyed that the etiquette hadn’t been followed, but on the other hand he had also been hoping for this secret meeting to have gone off without a hitch.

“Are you afraid to face me?”

“Not at all. I might have some apprehension if it were Gilbert, but I’m not the least bit afraid of some nobody like you.”

Andrew replied and he unsheathed his longsword.

His face contorted into an unpleasant expression.

The very fact that someone else had showed up to their secret meeting place, meant that something had already gone wrong.

‘Most likely the smuggler has been caught.’

They had left many loose ends, so it wasn’t that surprising that they’d been found out. Still, it was a rather unfortunate turn of events since they were almost ready for the surprise war.

It would have been easy to kill off Count Huntington if they had gone unnoticed for a few more days.

As Andrew clicked his tongue, he parried Woohyuk’s strike.


His expression changed to one of surprise.

‘He is actually quite skilled.’

He knew that he couldn’t be anyone ordinary since he had sought him out on his own. Although his swordsmanship was flawless, it was his presence that stood out.

A living energy that once he encountered gave him an eerie feeling, one that instinctively cause him to shrink back.

Andrew became nervous upon experiencing such a feeling for the first time.

“What the hell are you?”

“Just an ordinary mercenary.”

A totally unbelievable lie. 

He must be the second strongest among Count Huntington’s knights. There weren’t many people that could make him feel fear.

‘I need to go all out.’

There was a technique which he had yet to show off. As he was exchanging blows with Woohyuk, Andrew’s eyes narrowed. 

He lifted his sword to strike once more.


However he disappeared from sight, leaving behind nothing but an afterimage. Vanishing into  the shadows, he had disappeared from Woohyuk’s field of vision.


Andrew, who had just appeared behind Woohyuk, had a victor’s smile.

[Shadow Step]

The only person he wouldn’t be able to catch off guard and kill with this technique was Joshua, the Shadow Swordsman, and his teacher.

It was a secret skill which he had never even shown to the Knight’s Commander, Gilbert.

Because he was confident in this skill, Andrew never doubted that he’d achieve victory as he aimed for Woohyuk’s neck.

“It’s too slow.”

A cold voice came from behind him.


Andrew turned around with an expression of shock, only to see Woohyuk standing behind him.

‘Wait, what?’

He hadn’t even seen him move.

He just realised that Woohyuk’s vanishing arts was a higher level skill than even his own Shadow Step.


His fist smashed into Andrew’s face. As he fell down to the ground with a groan, Woohyuk kicked his longsword away.

“You’ll have to come with me for a bit.”

An overwhelming difference in strength. It had taken less than a minute for him to be disarmed and helpless. Even taking that long was only because Woohyuk hadn’t given it his all.

‘A complete defeat.’

Even if he were to try again, the result would be the same.

The man who stood before him had already reached the peak, a place he would never rise to in his entire life. Just the very thought of it made him lose all his fighting spirit.

Andrew trembled in fear at the sight of him.

Previous Chapter Next Chapter