TRAIGS (Novel) Chapter 54

 C 54

Raon and the trainees used the dimensional gate to move to the southern end of the Zieghart’s domain in a single day.

They normally would’ve moved more slowly to gain experience in things like camping, but they had to move as quickly as possible because the mission had suddenly changed.

The trainees’ expressions were darker than the dim sky because of the tension surrounding their first mission.

“We will rest over there for tonight.”

Rimmer pointed at the village that they could see at the foot of the hill. It was a small village, but it looked friendly, with gray smoke rising from the roofs.

Since the village was part of Zieghart’s domain, the burning sword emblem was engraved at the entrance.

“Instructor, shouldn’t we keep moving instead of resting?”

Burren approached Rimmer and asked.

“Look at yourselves. You’ve exhausted most of your stamina from crossing the dimensional gate. Do you think you can track them like that?”


Burren looked back, and groaned.

Although the dimensional gate allowed for long-distance travel in a short period of time, it also cost a large amount of stamina and willpower.

Since it was the first time most of the trainees had used the dimensional gate, they were even more tired.

“Tonight is your last rest. Don’t worry too much, as we will be tracking them from daybreak tomorrow without any rest or sleep.”

“But there might be other casualties if we end up being late…”

“Although they might be small, the Snow Tiger bandits have connections with the South-North Union. Stop thinking that you will win against them just because you are stronger. If you encounter them while tired, you might end up losing instead.”

Rimmer glared coldly at the trainees.

“Remember what I told you. Don’t be careless or nervous. You aren’t following either of the two. Brace yourselves again as you rest tonight.”


“Then let’s go.”

He went to the village first, the trainees—including—Raon following after him.


Raon furrowed his brows. He could feel a powerful yet familiar energy from the village.


“What’s up?”

“Are there family swordsmen in the village, by any chance?”

“Your senses are really impressive.”

Rimmer whistled and nodded his head.

“Did you really feel that?”

“I felt a pressure too powerful to be a villager.”

“You are right. A swordsman was dispatched from the house, just in case the bandits decided to move to the north and attack them.”


Zieghart was famous for the reliable protection they provided to the villages and cities under them. It seemed that the swordsman was dispatched as soon as a problem arose near the village.

“Your senses are really mysterious.”



Hearing Rimmer’s astonishment, Burren frowned and tried to feel the swordsman’s presence. Martha snorted as if it was nothing special.

“Zieghart’s swordsmen have arrived!”


Upon arriving at the village entrance, the villagers waved their hands and cheered, recognizing the burning sword emblem on the instructors’ combat uniform.

“Open the gate!”

Without any verification, the village gate opened. That was how much the name of Zieghart meant to them.

‘And the same thing happened at Robert’s.’

When he acted under Robert’s emblem in his previous life, people in the South had reacted in a similar way.


Raon buried his desire for revenge, reignited in his heart for the first time in a long time, and entered the village. The sweet smell of dinner being prepared covered the place.

“Welcome, Zieghart’s swords. I am Jarten village’s chief, Cammon.”

An old man with gray hair walked up to them with the help of a stick and bowed his head. Rimmer greeted him with a smiling face and turned around.

“He said he will guide you to your lodging. Today is the last day you will be able to rest comfortably. Gather before sunrise, make sure to be on time.”

“I still have a lot of stamina. I’ll check the terrain around here in the meantime.”

Burren raised his hand, eyes shining.

“That’s the spirit. It will make things easier if you check the way beforehand. But do you know the geography around here?”

Rimmer abruptly looked down on Burren.

“F-from the map…”

“This village is surrounded by forests and mountains. Even if you saw the map, you will still get confused once you’re there. And what if bandits ambushed you in that state? Your head will be sent flying before you can even fight back.”

Rimmer smiled, tapping on Burren’s head.

“I know how you feel, but your impatience will become their opportunity. Like I’ve said, they can’t get away from this area, so calm down.”


Burren and the collaterals awkwardly lowered their heads.

“Starting tomorrow, you won’t be able to rest even if you want to. Take a good rest for now. We will start the operation at daybreak tomorrow.”


“Then let’s go.”

The trainees followed Rimmer to the center, where the village hall was located.




The next day at daybreak.

Like Rimmer said, they kept marching south without rest. They filled their stomachs with dried food while walking, and they didn’t sleep for more than three hours.

Moreover, it started snowing heavily enough to completely block their vision, which made the trainees as slow as turtles.


Sweeping off the snow covering his shoulder, Raon took a glance at the trainees.


“Damn shitty powder falling from the sky!”

Even Burren and Martha were unable to walk properly due to the snow piling up to their knees.

“Aww, this is so annoying!”

“When is this heavy snow going to end?”

“We’re so slow.”

Since even those two were struggling, the other trainees were obviously floundering in the snow, and they couldn’t even advance at half the usual speed.


There was a single exception. Runaan was smiling while gathering snow, but she was a peculiar one.

Anyway, they might even end up losing the bandits at that rate.

Instructor Rimmer was watching them from the side without saying anything.

He seemed to think giving advice was too much since he was accompanying them as their guardian. Which meant that Raon needed to do something about it himself.


Raon stepped up and stopped everyone.

“You shouldn’t force your ankle when you walk on a snowy ground. You will only end up wasting your stamina.”

He continued, looking around the trainees.

“Relax your ankles and knees and step on the snow like you’re bouncing on a leaf. You should be able to do it with a little practice, since you’ve already acquired the River Footwork.”

Raon smoothly stepped on the snow and walked ahead as a demonstration. His legs were advancing faster than when he walked normally, almost as if he was sliding on the ice.



The trainees gasped.

Raon demonstrated a few more times so that everyone could imitate his snow step.

“We will move in a single line from now on. Burren, come forward.”


“When facing a snowstorm or a strong wind, you are supposed to move in a line in order to reduce the wind resistance. You will be leading the other children at the front.”


Hearing the word lead, Burren’s eyes sparkled.

“The rest should stand in a single line, facing Burren’s back.”

One line was created, with Burren at the front, Martha in the middle and Runaan at the back.

“The lead will change every hour. Start moving.”

Without getting in the line, Raon went to the side and guided the trainees.

As the trainees moved in a single line after learning the snow steps, their speed was almost twice as fast as before.


“I-it’s really fast. It is not any different from the usual.”

“How did Raon know about this?”

“He is such a mysterious guy.”

The trainees admired him, looking at Raon as he single handedly walked through the snow.

“That’s really good.”

“I know, right? He’s teaching them very efficiently, like he’s already experienced marching.”

“I was about to give them some hints, but that wasn’t necessary.”

The instructors following behind them were also amazed.

Rimmer smiled gently, looking at Raon and the trainees.




Raon and the trainees managed to arrive at a village through the snowstorm.

However, the village was completely blackened, burnt up without a single sign of life.

A part of the village was filled with corpses of all ages and sexes, whose names and faces couldn’t be recognized.

It was the village that the Snow Tiger bandits had attacked.



Those with weak stomachs among the trainees were nauseated, and even those with strong stomachs frowned or turned their heads away.

Raon stayed next to Rimmer and examined the corpses like he didn’t feel anything.

‘They were burned after being killed by a sword.’

They didn’t die from the fire, but they were mostly slashed to death by a sword before being burned up. It looked like the bandits stole belongings by attacking the village and running away, just like he’d heard.

‘It’s just that…’

He couldn’t understand why the bandits decided to attack the village when they could have just collected tolls on the mountain road.

“Are you okay?”

As he kept looking at the corpses, Rimmer approached him with a worried expression.

“I’m fine.”

“I’m alright.”

In fact, the only people who were looking at the corpses up close were Raon and Martha.

‘I knew it…’

He’d already had that impression, but it looked like Martha was used to seeing corpses. Or making corpses herself.


Burren came up while biting his lip and examined the corpses. He was clearly forcing himself.


Runaan was having difficulties, but she was still trying to examine the wounds on the corpses to understand the bandits’ swordsmanship.

She was a completely different person from when she was frightened just by seeing blood. It looked like he didn’t need to worry about her anymore.

“This is what the Snow Tiger bandits have done. Keep this in mind and never forget, so that your swords won’t hesitate upon meeting them. Let’s go.”


Hearing Rimmer’s advice, the trainees' eyes shone menacingly. The nervousness from their first mission had transformed into an intense anger.


* * *


Two days later.

Raon and the trainees arrived at the Ruten mountain, where the Snow Tiger bandits were thought to be hiding.

They would reach the blockaded official road if they advanced for two more days, and since the house’s swordsmen were closing in around them, the bandits were for sure hiding in the vicinity.

“Attention, everyone.”

Rimmer clapped his hands to gather the trainees.

“Here is our foothold. We will be forming groups to track down their location from now on.”

He personally formed the groups for them, and Raon got grouped up with Runaan.

It was a relatively small group compared to other groups, who had three to four members, but it outclassed them in terms of might.

“Take a whistle as well.”

Rimmer distributed a silver whistle to each group.

“It’s a whistle that you need to be trained to hear. Blow on it if you get in danger. The instructors watching after you will react immediately.”


“Instead of whistling at the first danger, try doing what you can by yourself. You can combine forces between groups or try fighting them without our help. Just remember that their swords will be merciless, so never let your guards down.”


The trainees recalled the horrible scenes in the village that the bandits had attacked, and started moving in the direction they each picked.

However, Raon didn’t start moving immediately. He looked around at the Ruten mountain located in the east, the low hills in the west, and the dense forest next to it.

‘That mountain.’

He directed his gaze at the Ruten mountain. Since they could watch them from the mountain and they could run away from behind, the mountain was the correct place for the bandits to be.

However, since it was the correct choice, the mountain wasn’t the answer.

There was no way that bandits that knew they were being chased and surrounded were going to hide in the mountain.

The same went for the forest. They wouldn’t be easily discovered because it was a dense forest, but it was also difficult for them to run away.

‘Then, I think…’

Raon looked at the hills. They were too visible, but there could be other terrains within.

It seemed to be a good idea to check that place first.


As Raon made up his mind and stood up, Runaan approached him and tilted her head. She seemed to be wondering why they weren’t moving.

Raon had wondered why he was put in the same group as her, but it seemed Rimmer wanted him to take care of the soft-hearted Runaan.

“Let’s go this way.”


Raon started climbing the hills along with Runaan.

‘I knew it.’

It was as expected. Though the hills looked empty at first, there was a forest that couldn’t be seen from the outside. It wasn’t dense, but it looked pretty deep.

He lowered his gaze and examined the entrance to the forest. Apparently, the forest was full of animals. The numerous small footprints of animals made it difficult to find traces of humans.


That would’ve been the case with a normal hunter or tracker, but Raon was different.

In order to become the best assassin, being skilled in murder wasn’t enough. Tracking skills, perception, and information gathering all needed to reach the highest level to become the best assassin.

Without giving up, Raon looked for the bandits’ tracks while advancing slowly in the forest. Even though they were specialized in mountains and forests, they still must’ve left some traces, since they were humans.

‘I found it!’

Raon’s eyes flared red. It wasn’t on the ground. There was a very small sign that a human had passed by on a shoulder-high bush.

“Hold your breath and follow me.”


Raon lowered his body after hearing Runaan’s answer. Guessing the bandits’ location from the sign, he slowly moved his legs.


Raon extended his hand to the back.


“There is a trap.”

There was an invisible thread trap right in front of them. Passing through it would’ve resulted in their legs being cut, giving the people inside a signal.

‘I can’t let that happen.’

Raon removed the trap in a way it wouldn’t signal them and kept moving forward.

How did you even see that?

Wrath exclaimed.

I really don’t understand what kind of human you are. Even though the King of Essence has lived for a long time, it’s still incomprehensible.

‘I was lucky. It was reflecting in the sunlight.’

Hmph, what a joke.

Wrath snorted, telling him he didn’t believe him. Raon told him to think whatever he wanted and went deeper into the forest.

There were more traces of the bandits. While examining the ground to find their exact location, he found a strange sign.

‘This is…’

It was an inappropriately small footprint. It looked like a child’s footprint.

‘Is it a child from that village?’

It looked like they kidnapped children from the village in order to use them as hostages.

‘What a bunch of evil bastards!’

He breathed out to calm his boiling anger.



“Your footsteps shouldn’t make any sound from now on. Walk like me.”

He taught Runaan how to walk without making any sound. Because it was an application of River Footwork, she managed to replicate it very quickly.

“And the whistle?”

“Not yet.”

It would’ve been a different story if there weren’t hostages, but since children were involved, he needed to avoid the instructors making sounds as they came towards them at the sound of the whistle.

Discovering the location of the children and bandits before whistling was the correct thing to do.

“Blow the whistle as soon as I give the signal.”


Runaan nodded, holding the whistle tightly.

“Let’s go.”

Raon lowered his body while pointing ahead.

“We are almost there.”




After crouching through the forest for about ten minutes, they found frequent traces of the bandits.

‘They didn’t even try to hide it around here.’

They avoided leaving traces as much as they could at the hills and forest’s entrance, and there were traps in the middle, but that place was different.

It seemed as if they believed they wouldn’t be found out, since the traces were scattered around everywhere.

‘As expected, it wasn’t a mistake.’

Raon frowned after examining the surroundings. The children’s traces existed there as well.

“The bandits have taken children as hostages.”


“Yes. Let’s grasp the situation first before deciding whether we should blow the whistle or act by ourselves.”


Runaan nodded immediately. It looked like she’d believe him no matter what he said.

“Let’s go, then.”

Raon gestured with his head and almost crawled as he advanced, Runaan following behind him.

After about ten minutes of crawling, a human voice could be heard from ahead.

Raon’s eyes grew as dark as shadows.

They had found them.

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