A.U.P - Chapter 190
C190: Lantern for the Abandoned (2)
How long has it been since the rain started?
Alex raised his head and stared at Rudger. There was a determined light in the empty eyes.
-Did you decide?
Alex grabbed Rudger’s hand and Rudger lifted Alex up not caring that his clasped hands got dirty in the mud.
-Now then, since it’s a monumental day, let’s go and punish those who robbed my subordinates’ money first.
-Wait a minute. Why am I your subordinate?
-Isn’t that obvious? I made the offer, so I’m the captain.
-I didn’t agree to that!
-Call me leader.
-No, you, what are you doing now……!
Rudger and Alex walk into the bar where the gambling fraudsters were. Then, several people’s screams have resonated along with the sound of something breaking.
That was their first meeting.
“Mr. Alex also has a very unfortunate past.”
The other members couldn’t say anything for a while about Arpa’s pure appreciation since their pasts were also complicated.
In the end the first person to speak was Hans.
“I understand. I was treated like a monster because of this bloody constitution and ran away here and there.”
“Well, that’s the same for me.”
Seridan nodded her head with her arms folded.
“I was treated like a weirdo in the town of dwarfs and kicked out. Oh, my. I almost blew up half the town.”
“No, you deserve it!”
The people gathered here were all the same. They have been abandoned in the world or turned their backs on the world.
They were people who would never have met yet here they are gathered together in the same place and at the same time, thanks to one person.
“It’s all thanks to the leader.”
“If it wasn’t for you, I wouldn’t have come all the way here.”
“I benefited a lot from the boss.”
Rudger scratched his cheek awkwardly as everyone looked at him.
“I don’t deserve your praises.”
“It’s not too much. Leader is like a lantern.”
“Yes, a lantern for those who were abandoned, like us.”
Everyone nodded as if they agreed with Alex. Rudger, who had hoped to refute Alex’s words at least a little, felt his face heat up. No. It actually got hot.
“Owner. Are you embarrassed now?”
“Oh, it’s true. Leader’s face is a bit red”
“Huh. I can’t believe brother can react like that.”
The members were talking as if they’ve found a rare sight.
“Brother, are you not annoyed or anything?”
“Why? If I’m annoyed, will you stop?”
“Uh, um, maybe?”
“To be honest, I don’t feel too bad.”
“At least what I’ve been doing was not in vain.”
Rudger muttered and a small light came out of his chest.
The relic fragment that he obtained from the Kunst auction house the other day was shining.
“Brother, it’s shining now.”
Everyone’s eyes were on the light but no one knew that it was Rudger’s most sought-after item at the Kunst auction house that day.
Soon the light disappeared and the fragment returned to its original form.
“Leader, what the hell was that?”
“What has the fragment reacted to?”
“Reacted? What the hell? More than that, all of a sudden?”
“That’s what a Relic is. Because it is an unknown thing that is difficult for us to understand, it wouldn’t be strange if it suddenly did this.”
Alex, who had been curious since before, asked while the opportunity arose.
“Leader is aiming to collect the fragments, right?”
“Yes. In the first place, the reason I traveled around the world was to find this.”
He wandered around the world looking for the relic fragments, that was the only thing the members knew but they didn’t know why he was looking for them.
“If it’s not rude, may I ask why you’re looking for them?”
Everyone waited for Rudger’s answer to Arpa’s question.
“Have you ever felt that the world is stuffy?”
They thought they would get a clear answer, but it was a random question instead.
“Have you ever felt like the world was a huge cage that someone had built?”
Other people exchanged looks at Rudger’s question.
It is true that they suffered from inequality and irrationality in the world, but what Rudger said was something more comprehensive than that.
“Leader, is this a riddle?”
“It means as it is.”
Rudger stared at the relic fragment on his palm.
“The world is a cage created by someone, and those who live in it live without knowing that they are oppressed.”
Rudger clenched the fragment strongly.
“This is the key to breaking the cage.”
The members, who didn’t initially understand, realized that Rudger was not lying.
“Wait. As the leader said, if the world is a cage, and the relic is the key to breaking it…….”
“Doesn’t it mean that the complete version of the relic can break the world itself?”
There is not a single person here who doesn’t know how dangerous a Relic is. Its power is enormous and it could cause various phenomena. Perhaps it might really “break the world”.
“There will be nothing for you to worry about.”
However, Rudger’s words were calm.
“How can you be sure of that?”
“Because the people who made this didn’t want it.”
“What do you mean by the people who made it?”
If someone made this ancient relic, he must have been a great man in the distant past.
Since it was made so many years ago how could Rudger know that the creator didn’t want it?
But since it’s Rudger, they thought he might know somehow.
“Collecting all the pieces won’t fix this broken relic.”
Of course, restoring the relic requires a corresponding process. He couldn’t imagine how much it would simply cost to restore the lost technology.
“Wait a minute.”
Hans suddenly remembered that Rudger was investing somewhere after making a huge amount of money.
“Don’t tell me that you saved so much money while walking around the world…….”
Rudger has made countless sums of money so far. When he was working as Arsene Lupin, he robbed the coffers of nobles and vicious merchants.
With that money alone, Rudger could go anywhere and live free of worries but he didn’t, instead he was busy wandering around the world.
Then, what happened with all the money he stole?
Hans didn’t bother to care about that in the past but now that Rudger revealed a part of the truth he could guess where he was spending the huge profits he made.
“It does cost a lot of money to recruit famous archaeologists who have a big mouth and create an institution to study relics.”
“……That’s why. I’ve done business here, too.”
“So that’s how it is.”
Even his salary as a Theon teacher is already a large sum that ordinary people cannot touch in their lives.
What about Bellbot Rickson’s secret safe? The wealth he accumulated illegally was simply vast.
Rudger even created prosperous business as ‘Owner’ still he didn’t show that he had a lot of money and he didn’t spend money except when he invested in business.
“All for that one thing…….”
Hans didn’t understand and it was the same for others.
Rudger said the world is a huge cage and they understood it was frustrating to know it. But it’s a whole different story to go around hiding your identity all your life trying to destroy it.
“Isn’t it a waste?”
“What do you mean?”
“With the money you’ve earned so far, you can buy a house in a good land and live while playing and eating all your life.”
Hans’ dream was to enjoy a peaceful life in his own house while looking at his endless land. So, for Hans, Rudger’s behavior seemed incomprehensible and phenomenal at the same time.
“I could have done that.”
“Why? I couldn’t stand still. Maybe I’m the same as you guys.”
“Same as us?”
“Didn’t I tell you? Everyone here is abandoned in the world. It’s the same for me.”
At first, he thought it would be nice for him to live quietly but he knew he couldn’t. His constitution, his destiny, and the world didn’t allow it.
“There was always a chance to run away. This is not like a mission that must be achieved in the first place. I don’t have to take responsibility, and I won’t die just because I can’t achieve it.”
Even though he knew that he couldn’t stop.
He wouldn’t have known that the road ahead was a bloody thorny road.
“At the end of the day, I’ll be angry, too.”
He was just angry.
“I’m trying to fight because I’m angry, and I see abandoned people on the side of the road.”
So he gave them his hand and led them to move forward together.
“It’s really nothing special, and it’s for a nonsensical reason.”
No one could open their mouth.
The desperate emotion felt in Rudger’s muttering was what everyone here was feeling.
“No, it’s not nonsense.”
Alex denied Rudger’s words.
“If it weren’t for leader, we wouldn’t have come this far.”
“Thank you for saying that.”
It was then that Pantos, who had been listening, opened his mouth.
“That’s surprising. I thought someone as big as you would have a greater ambition.”
“Was this not enough?”
“There is nothing strange about collecting relics. It’s just that the trigger was simpler than I thought.”
Rudger smirked at his words.
“Maybe it’s simpler.”
“What does that mean?”
“No. I just said it.”
Pantos had a hunch that in Rudger’s words, there was something more that he hadn’t said yet.
“It somehow became a place to talk candidly.”
Rudger’s trembling words made the members laugh.
At first, it was a place to comfort Alex but from some point on, it became an atmosphere where they confessed that they were the same.
“I have a question.”
Did she think he had no chance if it wasn’t now?
Belaruna raised her hand.
“What is it?”
“Boss knows our past……but we don’t know boss ‘ past.”
When she said that, they thought, “That’s right.”
“Come to think of it, it’s true.”
“We don’t know what you did in the past.”
“Don’t you know Mr. Hans?”
Hans broke out in a cold sweat as the arrow returned to him and looked at Rudger to ask for instructions. Since Rudger did not answer, Hans refused to answer.
“I don’t know everything. It’s funny that I’m talking freely even though it’s not my business.”
“Honestly, I’m curious. Sir, if you’ve come all the way here, can’t you tell us?”
Seridan also supported Belaruna’s opinion.
“I agree. Honestly, I do wonder what leader has done in the past.”
“Me too, me too!”
Alex and Arpa helped.
Pantos was convinced and nodded.
“Uh, no matter how hard it was, you helped us…….”
Although only Violetta hesitated to keep her loyalty to Rudger.
“Violetta, be honest. You’re curious like us and we won’t get a better chance.”
“Well, a little bit…….”
At Seridan’s point, Violetta had no choice but to raise the white flag.
Naturally, the atmosphere flowed in the direction that Rudger had to tell his story.
‘This happens when a lot of people gather.’
Rudger complained to himself.
Seeing their eyes he knew they wouldn’t let him escape. He has been swept by emotions and defeated.
“But, well, it’s not polite to hide it when I’ve come all the way here.”
“Bother, are you going to tell us?”
“Then should I lie? I’ll continue to be with you, so it’s time to let you know.”
At Rudger’s words, Violetta’s eyes, who pretended not to be curious, changed.
Pantos, who pretended not to be interested, also pricked up his ears.
“I was going to tell you one day, but I’ll tell you now since this has happened.”
The members who were waiting for those words felt like their hands were sweating.
‘Why am I so nervous?’
Rudger opened his mouth in the stillness that sank like dew at dawn.
“I was royalty.”
His words took everyone’s breath away.