Cale felt like he was coming out of a swamp as he came back to his senses. He tried to recall what had happened.
He had no strength left and fainted. Cale realized that it was time for him to open his eyes. It was because he could hear a voice in his head.
– 3, 2, 1. Half, half of half … human, I will count back down from 100. Wake up before I reach 0, or I will destroy this continent. 100, 99, 98……
Cale heard Raon’s voice and immediately opened his eyes. He was shocked at what he saw.
‘A flower garden?’
There were flower petals floating in the air. Raon’s voice could be heard by his ear.
The voice that was as quiet as a whisper seemed to be shocked.
Cale lowered his head. The voice had come from on top of his stomach. He raised his hand to feel something invisible on his stomach. It was Raon.
‘Has he been here the whole time?’
Cale got scared thinking about how this Black Dragon would have been reciting his countdown the entire time. Cale felt the naturally cold reptilian skin as he patted Raon’s back. Other people would think that he was patting thin air.
He then turned his gaze.
Why did the first face he saw have to be Ron’s? Ron, whose benign smile was missing, looked stiff as he stopped what he was doing and focused on Cale. What Ron was doing made Cale become scared.
‘…Why is he sharpening his blade?’
Ron was sharpening his dagger at the boundaries of the flower garden. He seemed to have removed all of the blood off the dagger, as it was shining under the blue sky. Cale felt like just touching it would cut his skin.
Cale blankly stared until he turned his gaze after hearing Raon’s voice.
– Human! Why did you faint for three days?! I can make hundreds of thunderbolts like that! Do not do that ever again! Weaklings should live like weaklings!
‘3 days? I fainted for 3 days? Me?’
“He woke up! He finally woke up!”
Cale could see Choi Han, On, Hong, and the rest of the group all running toward him. Cale started to frown as soon as he saw them.
‘Why are they still in a mess?’
Raon had said that it had been three days. Cale looked at Choi Han and Lock, who were still wearing the black outfits and looked like they did not even clean the dry blood off of their bodies. He then looked down at himself and was relieved.
Although he was wearing the black outfit as well, there was no blood or dirt on him.
– I cleaned you up with my magic! I am a clean dragon!
Raon really was the best. Cale could see that even On and Hong still had the black dye on their bodies. However, he did not get up, as it was annoying to even get up.
“Finally, finally! You finally woke up.”
Choi Han spoke on behalf of everyone. His voice was a mix of relief and admiration.
For the past three days, Choi Han and the rest stayed by his side without leaving. The Elves had told them that this was a safe location and to trust them, however, neither Choi Han nor the rest could trust them easily. After all, all of them had grown up with some sort of trust issue.
Choi Han made eye contact with Cale. Cale’s gaze seemed to be asking where they were located. That was correct. Cale definitely had that on his mind as he looked at Choi Han.
‘Why am I here looking like this?’
Choi Han started to speak in order to answer Cale’s question.
“This is said to be the place with the strongest amount of life force and natural power. The Elves told us this was the best place for recovery.”
Cale quickly understood that this was the Elf Village’s flower garden that was described in the novel. The branch of the World Tree was nearby this flower garden. Cale moved his still weak hand to touch his head.
He was curious about what was on his head. It seemed to be a crown made of the World Tree’s leaves. Cale started to smile once he felt the leaves on his head.
‘They’re giving me the best possible treatment.’
The Elves had provided a human a crown made of the World Tree’s leaves and placed them at the location closest to the branch of the World Tree. This was beyond the treatment they would give him for helping them. There was only one answer.
Cale remembered the shocked voice he heard right before he fainted.
‘A great and mighty being’s protection……!’
The Chief of the Elf Village seemed to have realized the existence of a Dragon. The problem was whether it was just her that knew of Raon or if everyone else knew as well.
Cale pointed to his stomach. Choi Han avoided Cale’s gaze.
Cale started to frown. Choi Han started to touch the flowers in the garden as he quickly said in a quiet voice so that nobody else could hear.
“Ahem, nobody has seen Raon, but the Chief and the Guardian Knight know about that existence being nearby.”
Cale asked Choi Han with his gaze.
‘Just the two of them?’
Choi Han, who peeked over at Cale, turned his gaze away again as he answered.
“The others probably suspect it.”
Cale could hear Raon mumbling in his head.
– I, I never showed myself! I kept my promise! I quietly stayed next to you, human! I even ignored the Chief when she tried to talk to me!
It had been 3 days. He had been out for too long. He had no idea what these fools may have done while he was out. Cale looked past Choi Han, who wouldn’t make eye contact with him, and took the time to look at each person, starting with On and Hong, then Lock and Beacrox, and finally ending with Ron.
“Young master-nim, do you have the strength to speak?”
The group all looked toward Cale at Ron’s question. He had fainted after coughing up blood. They knew that Cale was a good person who really liked to help others, but they also knew that Cale did not enjoy moving around and getting hurt. (Pfft, you’ve all been scammed to believe he’s a good person! (PR: I mean, he COULD have just ignored the Elves’ plight…) )
That Cale had used so much strength that he fainted. They were all so shocked that their minds went blank. They focused on Cale’s lips, that were slowly starting to open.
It was his usual indifferent voice that sounded very cold.
“Nobody got hurt?”
Ron slowly started to smile. On and Hong meowed as they started to rub their faces on Cale’s body. All of the black dye on their bodies seemed like it would end up on Cale’s outfit.
“Yes sir. Nobody got hurt. You do not need to worry, young master-nim.”
Cale answered with shock.
“It’s only natural.”
The enemy would need strength at the level of the Whale royalty for Choi Han to get hurt. It was only natural for them to not get hurt. Cale started to get annoyed while looking at Choi Han, who was smirking. He was also annoyed while looking at Beacrox, who was slowly removing his bloodied white gloves, as well as Ron, who was pretending to be a benign old man again.
Cale looked back toward Choi Han after hearing his fake cough. He needed to get up. He felt like he had recovered enough strength, however, this flower garden was softer than he expected.
Choi Han let out a fake cough before starting to speak. He needed to report the results of the battle from three days ago to Cale. They had taken care of things properly, but they may have gone a bit overboard.
Everybody turned away so as to not make eye contact with Cale.
“All of the enemies retreated after the battle three days ago. Number 1, the assassin, is dead, while the magic spearman will not be able to move his lower body in the future. As for the tamer…”
Choi Han could see Cale’s palm in front of his face. Choi Han stopped talking at this gesture that was telling him to stop talking and looked toward Cale. Cale’s face seemed healthy, but tired.
He was looking for meat in the Elf Village, which only had vegetables. He had hoped for a piece of bread before he fainted, but now, he felt like he needed some meat. His strength had recovered, but the starving feeling had not disappeared.
Cale confidently responded back to the confused Choi Han. His voice was cracking after not being used for a few days.
“Tell them to bring out some meat.”
Beacrox stood up at that moment.
“I will go get some for you.”
‘As expected of the chef.’
Beacrox seemed reliable to Cale for the first time. Cale watched Beacrox put on a new pair of gloves and heading away to cook before Cale slowly lifted his body up.
The crown of leaves fell onto his thighs. The crown that was made of the World Tree’s leaves was now green, just like normal leaves. If there was a color to describe the color of an aurora, this would be it.
Cale felt iffy while thinking about how he had been laying here while wearing this fancy and holy-looking crown of leaves for the past three days. That was why he picked the crown up with only two fingers as he looked toward the entrance of the flower garden.
Originally, nobody had been there. However, a group of people arrived right as Beacrox left.
Cale looked toward them and started to speak.
“I wish to lay down on a bed.”
The Elf in front of the group was the Elf Chief Canaria, who was a recurring character in the novel alongside Pendrick. Her white hair was combed up tidily and a smile was on her wrinkly old face as she bowed.
“I will provide a house fitting for our esteemed guest who has received the protection of a great and mighty being.”
It was an extremely respectful demeanor.
Choi Han had seen this for the past three days, but he still felt a bit overwhelmed by this extremely respectful demeanor. Although they had helped the Elves, this level of respect seemed to be beyond what they deserved. He subconsciously started to frown as he looked toward Cale.
He knew that Cale did not like this kind of demeanor, even at the palace. However, Choi Han could only keep his mouth shut at Cale’s corresponding actions.
He was twirling the crown in his hand as he casually answered like it was natural.
“Lead the way.”
People might even think that Cale was a Dragon.
Cale didn’t care about this as he accepted the situation as is. However, he felt a bit awkward after seeing the house.
“Here it is.”
It was a house made by carving a hole in the largest tree in the Elf Village. The house inside of the large tree was magical.
Cale looked toward Chief Canaria.
“It is my house.”
The Chief had given him her house. This was the best house in the entire village.
Cale flinched for a moment before confidently starting to speak.
“May I go in?”
There was no reason to reject such a good house.
Cale, who sat down on a soft couch made of leaves, heard the rest of the story about what had happened in the last three days while he ate bread. Cale picked up the glass of fruit juice that Ron handed him while he observed Choi Han, Canaria, Jeet, and Pendrick, who were all sitting in front of him.
“The tamer lost his eyes and fainted before teleporting away with the magic spearman.”
Cale had repeated the results of the battle.
“The magic spearman lost his spear and injured his legs, so it is expected that he will not be able to use his lower body in the future. Only the two of them managed to run away, while the middle-aged swordsman and a few of the organization’s members are imprisoned. As for the rest-.”
They were dead. The animals were dead as well.
Cale made eye contact with Chief Canaria. She had a wise gaze that only someone who had lived for many years could have. He then started to speak again.
“Then we can leave now.”
With everything settled, they did not need to be here any longer.
Pendrick flinched and started to speak.
“We need to reward-.”
Cale’s group had gone above and beyond what the Elves had originally expected. However, Pendrick could see Cale raise his hand to stop him.
“No need. The Elves will have enough issues restoring the village and the boundaries, so how could I ask for anything? I am happy enough that none of my group got hurt.”
Pendrick’s pupils started to shake. He had felt it last time as well, but how could there be such a good person? He had heard that nobles were greedy and seeked power, but all of that information seemed to be wrong.
At that moment, Pendrick could hear the Chief starting to speak.
“I can see why you have a Dragon’s protection.”
Pendrick flinched. As he had expected, the great and mighty being was a Dragon. The Chief and Guardian Knight had not said a single thing to the suspecting Elves.
Everything seemed to make sense after hearing what the Chief just said.
That overwhelming natural power that destroyed the enemies belonged to a Dragon. Although gods existed, Elves believed that Dragons were gods that lived in the world with them. Cale was a person protected by a being that was a god of all living creatures.
“I’m sure that there is a reason Dragon-nim is roaming by your side without revealing themselves.”
Chief Canaria was observing Cale.
The Dragon was hiding his identity, but had revealed his powers. Someone like her, who had lived for a long time, naturally understood the Dragon’s intent.
‘He doesn’t want us to worship him. However, he probably wants us to treat his person like we would treat him.’
She had been iffy at first when Pendrick had said that a human was coming to help them. However, if it was someone who had the love and protection of a Dragon, especially a person like Cale, who had protected the Elves and the World Tree to the point that he coughed up blood…
‘We can do that.’
She slowly started to speak.
“As someone who has Dragon-nim’s protection, I believe you have the qualifications to hear everything.”
Cale started to frown. He had a bad feeling about this. All he wanted to do was take as much as he could from the Elf Village before he left.
Cale urgently started to speak.
“They seem to be looking for the World Tree.”
He had heard something useless before he could even shout, ‘Hold on.’ Cale’s pupils started to shake. An odd smile was on Chief Canaria’s face as she noticed Cale’s reaction.
“The location of the World Tree is not known. There are almost no humans who know about it.”
However, Cale did know the location.
The World Tree was in the last of the 5 Forbidden Regions, the Valley of Despair.
Only a few Elves knew about this location.
“…It is not a place people need to know about.”
Cale pretended like he didn’t know the location. He also did not want to find out through the Elf Chief. However, the Chief must have misunderstood, as she started to smile.
“You are right. However, greedy humans always want to know the location. Like that organization this time. However, there are bound to be the opposite kind of people as well.”
She felt like this benevolent man who was willing to sacrifice himself without desiring any profits in return should know everything. Furthermore, he had a Dragon next to him.
The fact that a Dragon, a race known for their selfishness, was willing to use their power for someone else meant that this human was the first of his kind. He would be a hero who would be talked about for ages. There was a reason that the human heroes in the ancient legends always had a guardian Dragon with them. Sadly, humans had forgotten about these ancient legends.
Dragons tended to only help out talented humans with strong wills.
‘Although this time, it seems like the Dragon has picked a weakling. But he is someone who has had many fortuitous encounters in order to gain multiple ancient powers. There will be no one as lucky as him in the future.’
The Chief quickly got to the point.
“That is why we plan on sending Pendrick to Sir Gold Dragon-nim to handle the situation. The defense around the World Tree is currently controlled with his magic.”
‘What did she just say?’
– Gold Dragon?
Raon showed a similar response. This was different than with the Dark Elf mayor. Chief Canaria seemed to know the location of another Dragon.
‘…I want to feign ignorance.’
Naturally, Cale did not want to know the location of the other Dragon, especially since it was related to the World Tree. Of course, nothing big would happen if the World Tree was to disappear from the Western Continent.
– Human! I am curious!
However, Raon was curious.
– Ask her! I am curious about the Dragon!
Why did this Dragon show such curiosity for another Dragon? Their race was known for only liking themselves. Cale hesitated for a long time before finally asking.
“Where will Pendrick be going?”
He did not directly ask the location of the Dragon’s Lair. Cale was hoping that the Chief would avoid answering the question by saying that it was none of his business. However, the Chief immediately answered.
“He is in the Whipper Kingdom.”
Cale’s shoulders flinched as Raon started to shout in his mind.
– Human! Don’t we need to go sell that thing to that idiot? We also have to go destroy the Magic Tower!
Raon was right.
They needed to meet with Witira and then head to the Whipper Kingdom to meet Toonka.
There were benefits to be had and a Magic Tower to be blown up.
Raon was excited.
‘What did I get myself into?’
That was the only thought on Cale’s mind.