The Lishan region was a poor land vulnerable to countless natural disasters, and it was devoid of natural resources.
The only green area in the territory was Mt.
But for centuries, the mountain had been covered in dangerous monsters.
Some said it had been cursed by God.
Sometimes the mountain would suddenly burst into enormous flames that reached the top of the sky.
The fire would extinguish itself soon after.
This was the very place Apollonia wanted to go.
Calt, home of demons.
To be exact, she wanted to go somewhere in the middle of the mountain – a place called the “Heart of Calt.”
“The most dangerous place.
The impassable place.
A place no one can predict.
In that place, I hid a piece of the empire’s heart.”
The final wish of the late emperor.
It was an ambiguous wish, so she couldn’t even be sure it was a wish – but she had to try.
Calt was the only place she could think of.
If her guess was wrong, it would all have been for nothing.
“Are you sure you don’t want to meet Viscount Diaman He might be able to find us an escort.
If we request an audience, he might be able to help.”
Viscount Diaman was the man who’d been taking care of Lishan after it was abandoned by its owner.
Apollonia had never met him, but he was her vassal.
“I originally wanted to meet him, but I changed my mind.
It seems that Viscount Diaman has turned a blind eye even when all of the people in his fief were thieves.”
“Then he should be fined for dereliction of duty.”
“I’m not here for that.
You should know that.” Apollonia didn’t explain her true reason for the visit to Sid.
He tried to find other alternatives, as if he was worried about his master visiting one of the most dangerous places in the empire without a proper guide.
“We can’t go any further today.
If we’re out when the sun sets, we’ll become the monsters’ meal.” Tanya grumbled from the front.
She’d fought hard when Apollonia had first suggested her as a guide.
However, when Sid had glared at her and threatened her, she’d had no choice but to obey.
“But the sun’s still out”
“From here on, there won’t be any more towns or houses.
We need to take advantage of the town here to rest so we can climb Mt.
Tanya had calmed down since earlier.
Apollonia had been keeping a close eye on her all day, to see if she was hungry or thirsty.
“Your house must be nearby.”
“Ah… that’s not true! I’m just saying we should sleep here!” Tanya’s face flushed a bright red from Uriel’s words.
“What does that mean” Apollonia asked him.
“Poor children from the slums want to find travellers to bring as guests.
If they can convince the travellers to go their house, they’ll earn good money.”
Tanya’s ears turned crimson, as if confirming Uriel’s accusation.
“That’s true, but I’m not lying! It’s dangerous to go further!”
“Of course, if the guest seems rich, they’ll definitely try to seize their wallet at night.” Uriel continued speaking as if he couldn’t see Tanya’s flushed face.
“Miss, even if you look at the map, there’s hardly any houses between here and Mt.
I don’t think she’s lying.” Sid spoke gently, defending the child.
He tried to hide it, but he seemed to pity the child.
“Of course, If she steals from us, she’ll pay with her life,” he added grimly before Tanya’s face could turn even redder.
“I see.” Apollonia nodded.
“Well then, Tanya, guide us to your house.”
“That’s a good idea! Even if you don’t listen to me, all of you will die anyway…”
Tanya’s countenance instantly brightened, but Apollonia wasn’t done.
“Before that, Uriel, cut that rock in front of us with your sword.”
Uriel’s sword swung through the rock before Apollonia even finished speaking.
His stroke was incredibly fast and clean, and the rock was cut in half in an instant.
Two perfect halves of the rock, cut right through the center, slammed to the ground.
“Did you see that” Apollonia said to Tanya.
Even though her tone was soft, her words carried an unknown tension.