Kael stood in front of a tent, carrying a girl on his back.
"Lady Ramia. Please come out and take your daughter." He called out.
A lady dressed in wide sleeping unrevealing sleeping garments exited the tent after a while. Upon seeing the girl on Kael's back she frowned.
Kael smiled wryly, "I thought I'd teach her a lesson to not take adults lightly and gave her a bottle of booze. Who would have expected her to drown the whole thing in one go and collapse right after."
"Ahh..."After hearing the explanation her frown dissolved and she sighed. Right after she called out for her servant Johann and told him to bring Kathrin to her bed.
"Seems like my daughter troubled you quite a bit." Melissa gave a light smile to Kael and invited him for a talk.
"It's no problem miss, she's just a curious kid. It's natural at her age to poke her nose into places it doesn't belong to." Kael was a bit taken aback by the amiable manner of the woman, not expecting her to be so friendly after the recent development of things, answering her properly for the first time since they met.
It was Melissa's turn to be surprised this time. She didn't expect this manner from the drunkard she previously saw.
"If Sir Kael doesn't mind I'd like to ask a question."
"Feel free." Kael gave a nod.
"I heard before that you were a genius temple disciple. Which temple do you hail from?"
"Misses overpraised me. I was just a minor disciple at some minor Buddhism temple."
"Buddhism? That's not a common religion around this empire. Especially in this region." Melissa fell into thought. After a while she came to a conclusion, "Are you from the Kuja temple?"
The Kuja temple was the only Buddhist temple in Jara.
"Misses is quite knowledgeable. That's right. I was thrown out of the Kuja temple two years ago."
"Drop the Misses part. It makes me feel older than I already am. Just call me Melissa." Melissa was surprised to hear that Kael left the temple two years ago, but replied jokingly with a smile.
"If Miss Melissa doesn't need anything else I'd like to excuse myself." Kael bowed and left.
Melissa fell into deep thought while staring at the figure fading into the night. "Two years. This can't be a coincidence."
Two years ago... Two years ago a major accident occurred at the Kuja temple.
One of the head priests of the temple died during a spar with one of the disciples. Although it was an accident and the temple didn't reprove the disciple, he left silently by himself. It's said the disciple wanted to repent for his crime by himself and thought he lost his right to stay at the temple to become a priest because he already stained his dharma and didn't have the chance to become a Buddha anymore.
If someone ventured deep inside the mountains he would have the chance to find a small cave hole at one of the mountainsides. Although the cave entrance was small, the inside was spacious, splitting into a wide tunnel network spreading through the mountain.
Inside one of the cave rooms, a burly man stood in front of a fireplace.
"Boss, we spotted a caravan. Our scouts say that the amount of mercenaries protecting it is low, and their individual fighting strength amounts to lieutenant at most. Although the caravan isn't large and they travel with a few civilians, there seem to be a few ware carriages. We are currently in dire need of some stocks and fill up our storerooms so this caravan would be the perfect target."
A thin emaciated man entered the room and reported to the burly guy.
"Good. Get the men ready and gather up at the hall. We're moving out." The burly man turned around and gave an order with a stern expression.
The caravan continued their journey on the next day.
Kael didn't sit at the merchant's cart anymore and sat down beside Johann at the driver's seat. Although he didn't accompany the merchant anymore he was still mainly occupied with drinking.
"Why is Sir blessing us with his presence today, instead of fooling around with the other drunkard at his cart." A wooden sliding window opened behind Kael and Johann and a girly voice sounded out with an obvious underlying satirizing tone.
Kael turned around and saw that it was Kathrin sneering at him.
"Hooh. You woke up already? How does your head feel?" Kael smirked back.
"Hmph. Who would have a headache from this little bit of..."
"Kathrin." Kathrin wanted to argue back, but Melissa shut her down with a raised tone. "Let's not fight about trivial matters."
Right after she turned her head from her daughter towards Kael. "But it's truly unexpected to see you at our cart today. Is there a matter?"
"It's nothing of major importance, but we're entering bandit territory so I moved here, in order to protect you in case of an emergency." Kael replied properly to Melissa.
"Hmph." Kathrin snorted when she saw the difference in treatment between her mother and herself.
Melissa was a bit taken aback as well and asked, "So you do take your job seriously?"
"Naturally. Two hundred silver is no small amount of money." An explanation followed suit.
"How come you're so unappreciative towards your employee's then?" Kathrin interrupted snappingly. Melissa frowned at her.
"The job description was to protect you, not to babysit you if I remember correctly right." Kael smirked again.
"You..." Kathrin's head flushed read and was on the verge of shouting at him before Melissa shut her down with a stare.
"Amusing. I never saw my daughter blowing the fuse that fast from someone." Melissa thought to herself.
"We're in your care then..." Before she could finish her sentence the window was shut in front of her and she could hear a low voice. "Please stay inside Miss."
Kael jumped from the cart and sprinted towards the carriage of the largest mercenary group. Right after he turned towards their leader and shouted.