“That is crazy.”
Cale received the large wine glass from the young man.
He was currently at the closest village to the Lake of Despair.
This was the only small inn and restaurant in this village. The owner’s grandson shook his hand frantically after hearing Rosalyn ask about the Lake of Despair.
“It might be okay in another season, but saying that you will go there in January is just asking to die.”
“Is that so? I guess people do go during the other seasons?”
Cale took a sip of the alcohol before quickly stopping.
The alcohol was warm. It was also pretty strong.
‘I asked for weak alcohol.’
This was the weakest alcohol they had but it already felt like his neck and stomach were burning.
– Human, is alcohol tasty? Why do you keep drinking even though you are frowning?
Cale turned his gaze toward the empty chair. Although it looked empty, the invisible Raon was currently sitting there. Cale looked around before sternly starting to speak.
A six-year-old drinking alcohol? That was not allowed, even if he was a Dragon.
What if Raon got drunk and blew up a mountain or something? That would be a giant disaster.
Cale ignored Raon’s disappointed voice. He then focused on Rosalyn’s conversation with the man instead.
Currently, Cale’s group had all dyed their hair the common brown color with magic. Of course, the Whales Paseton and Archie were wearing robes due to their stunning appearances.
“Mm, there are people who try to go during the spring or summer.”
The owner’s grandson lightly shook his shoulders.
This was one of the Five Forbidden Regions.
The courageous people did try to get there.
However, the results were never good. The man peeked over at his grandmother who was sitting by the fireplace before continuing to speak.
“The people who ran away after seeing the snowstorm managed to survive, however, only half of those who went into the snowstorm managed to survive.”
“But half of that group did survive.”
Choi Han interjected into the conversation.
The man shook his head.
“The ones who returned alive were all severely poisoned. They went blind soon after they returned.”
Cale had heard that the poison in the snowstorm made people grow weaker while going blind and losing their sense of direction.
Cale thought about this fact and started to think.
‘This is actually a cruel world if you think about it.’
The Desert of Death spewed out dead mana while the Lake of Despair had a poisonous snowstorm.
This world also had many scary existences outside of turmoil between people for power. There were many strong and cruel beings throughout this world, such as Beast people or races with the darkness affinity.
‘But that is why the monsters can’t do anything.’
They all prevented the monsters from running wild. This led to the regions with monsters being very small. Of course, Cale did not care as he had no plans to meet with monsters.
The owner’s grandson cautiously warned them as if he was worried about their first guests in a while.
“Anyway, please carefully think about it if you plan to go there. It is a very scary place.”
The grandson stopped talking after hearing his grandmother, who had not said anything until now, call out his name. The inn owner looked toward the fire and started to speak.
“There is something I’ve felt as I watched people head to the Lake of Despair.”
The old woman’s shadow seemed to fill up the walls that looked to be as old as her.
She had lived here since she was young. She ended up marrying a man who was an adventurer and the two of them had built this inn together.
They then had a daughter and watched her get married and give birth to her grandson.
The old woman turned her head.
She made eye contact with Cale.
“None of them listen.”
None of the people heading to the lake ever listened.
“My daughter and son-in-law were the same way.”
Her husband who had died a few years ago had told her that he would go see their daughter and son-in-law who left before them and told her to take her time before joining them. He had told her to stay until their grandson grew up and got married.
The old woman had told him that she would do that.
The old woman who had been observing Cale’s eyes turned her head.
“…It looks like you are listening, but still plan to go anyway.”
The old woman heard Cale’s response.
“I will return alive and drink all of your alcohol.”
The old woman reached her hand toward the fire for warmth before starting to speak.
“Don’t charge them for the alcohol.”
Cale shook his wine glass toward the awkwardly smiling grandson, Sully, before drinking the remainder in one giant gulp. Cale heard a voice in his mind at that moment.
– …Human, let’s destroy that snowstorm!
Cale ignored it.
On and Hong were meowing as they tapped on the table. Cale ignored that as well. He remembered what Eruhaben had told him.
‘You need to destroy the World Tree in order to get rid of the snowstorm.’
‘But the World Tree controls the snowstorm, so it will open up a path for you if you use my token.’
Eruhaben rarely warned Cale about anything, but he had something to say this time.
‘You might think that the World Tree is cruel when you see the snowstorm. However, the World Tree is an existence that has lived, died, and resurrected many times for over ten thousand years.’
‘The World Tree is the closest thing to nature. Living and dying are natural. Remember these words.’
The World Tree had caused the snowstorm to protect itself from danger.
Although many people died by the snowstorm, that allowed the World Tree to be safe from the greed of other lifeforms.
Cale put the wine glass down and stood up to head to his room.
On and Hong followed behind him.
He quietly gave an order to Choi Han who got up as well.
“Pack up all of the remains you see by the lake. Tell everyone.”
Choi Han stopped following him and nodded his head. Cale headed up to his room while Choi Han smiled before returning to the table.
Cale had to deal with Hong’s question as soon as he laid down on his bed.
“Do you think I’ll be able to turn people blind if I eat this poison?”
Hong sounded excited as he quickly headed over to his sister’s side in order to prepare for bed. Hong was thinking about how he could eat as much of the snowstorm as possible before he fell asleep.
* * *
The next morning, Hong was a bit away from the raging snowstorm when he opened his mouth wide.
Flakes of snow started to land in his open mouth. This tingling sensation was different than other poisons he had eaten before.
Hong’s excited voice made Cale push Hong, who was in his arms closer to the snowstorm. The Killer Whale Archie was watching this with shock.
‘He’s pushing a kitten into the snowstorm!’
Archie may be rude, but he still had a sense of morality. Archie opened and closed his mouth multiple times without saying anything before putting his hand on Paseton’s shoulder.
‘Shouldn’t we stop him?’
That was what he was about to say when he heard Hong’s voice.
He then heard Cale’s voice as well.
“You’ll get a stomach ache if you eat too much.”
On, who was next to him, responded back.
“Snow is so small that you won’t ever get full.”
Cale shook his head.
“You’ll get a stomach ache if you eat too many cold things.”
On let out an, ‘ah,’ before nodding her head. She then turned her head to the side. Raon, who was wearing a fur coat and using thermal magic on himself, was sniffling next to her.
“You’re right! You need to be wary of catching a cold. Even great beings can get stuffy noses.”
On nodded her head at Raon’s statement. She then started to create a fog.
Cale looked down after hearing something by his leg. On was creating fog next to him.
“What are you doing?”
“I want to make my fog like this snowstorm.”
On answered back and looked toward Cale, who shared his honest sentiments.
On calmly smiled before continuing to swirl her fog. The Black Dragon gave her some advice while standing next to her in order to help her create a stronger fog tornado.
Paseton was watching all of this with an odd expression on his face.
“W, what the hell!”
The half-blooded Whale Paseton pretended not to see Archie stuttering. His gaze was focused up ahead.
He saw a lake that was much wider than the Black Swamp they had seen in the Forest of Darkness with Cale last time.
Honestly speaking, Paseton could not clearly see the frozen lake that should be past the frozen trees in front of them. He was just assuming the size of the lake based on the size of the snowstorm.
Paseton quickly looked around.
The Black Dragon had said that there were no other lifeforms around the lake. That was why everybody was relaxed.
But this itself was amazing.
‘They can just let this wind go by without any issue.’
The snowstorm was creating strong gusts of wind.
It made sense why many people turned away once they saw this snowstorm. The wind was so strong that it could push people back.
Furthermore, every speck of snow that landed on you would prick at your skin, instilling fear that you will be seriously poisoned if you continued to go farther into the snowstorm.
The trees, grass, and even the ground were completely frozen in this area. That made it even scarier.
However, the people around Paseton were all calm.
The Killer Whale Archie, Choi Han, Rosalyn, Raon, On, and Hong were all their usual selves.
Even Cale was the same.
‘As expected, young master Cale holds strength that is not normally visible.’
There were many occasions where he was shocked by Cale’s oppressive aura. Paseton looked toward Cale, who was standing tall against this wind.
What he did not know was that Cale was using the Sound of the Wind to push the wind away. The Vitality of the Heart was also healing him every time a poisonous snowflake landed on him.
However, he still felt a prickling pain every time, so he put Hong down on the ground.
He wanted to quickly create a path through the snowstorm so that he did not have to feel this pain anymore.
Rosalyn picked Hong up and approached Cale. They returned their hair to normal color after seeing that nobody was around, making Hong, Rosalyn, and Cale’s hair seem very vividly red in contrast to the snow.
“Young master Cale, are you planning on using Eruhaben-nim’s token right away?”
“That is the plan.”
Cale noticed the curiosity in Rosalyn’s eyes.
A token from an ancient Dragon. It made sense why a mage like Rosalyn would be curious about it. She had been in her laboratory the entire time that Cale was in the Empire.
Eruhaben had said just one thing to evaluate her achievements.
‘Ask me if you have any questions.’
Rosalyn had picked up quite a few things while Eruhaben was teaching Raon. Although Eruhaben pretended not to notice, he had never told her to ask him if she had questions until this time.
The fact that he told her to ask him if she had any questions proved that Rosalyn had improved.
Cale focused on this part.
“Eruhaben-nim will teach you if you ask him about the token later.”
“You’re right. I’ll definitely ask him when we get back.”
Rosalyn nodded her head energetically. Cale remembered how excited Rosalyn had been that Eruhaben pretended not to see her listening in when he was teaching Raon.
Her determination was amazing.
Rosalyn looked at the token in Cale’s hand that was shining blue as if she was inspecting it before she heard Cale’s voice.
“Miss Rosalyn, what do you think about creating a Magic Tower?”
“Yes. Excuse me?”
Cale casually responded back to Rosalyn’s question.
“Don’t you think that you are qualified enough to do it?”
Rosalyn responded back with a calm expression on her face.
“You’re right. I am qualified.”
Cale looked toward Rosalyn. She had her usual rational yet confident look on her face. Rosalyn was very clear about her status and abilities.
She was also certain about her dreams and aspirations.
Cale knew all of this as he responded back.
“Please let me know if you need money or magic stones.”
“Thank you very much.”
Rosalyn did not reject his offer. Cale responded back with a smile before starting to walk into the snowstorm with the token in his hand.
‘This is a bit difficult.’
The snowstorm was so strong that he still felt pressure, even after pushing the wind away with the Sound of the Wind.
Cale walked out of the forest and toward the lake.
‘The Lake of Despair has been a Forbidden Region since ancient times.’
He recalled what Eruhaben had said.
‘The World Tree does not meet with just anybody. The snow moves according to the World Tree’s will.’
‘The World Tree gifts paradise to those who make it through the snowstorm.’
Cale thought about the word, ‘paradise,’ as he suddenly stopped walking.
He was right in front of the lake that was covered by a snowstorm.
He needed just one more step to stand on top of the edge of the lake.
Cale fumbled with the token in his hand as he stepped forward.
The token made a small noise as light started to pour out of it.
Cale stepped on the ice.
It was at that moment.
Cale stopped walking.
He looked down at his left hand that was not holding the token.
Red electric currents were crackling in his palm.
It was the Fire of Destruction.
Something else Eruhaben had told him passed through Cale’s mind.
‘Well, there was a time the World Tree went wild and the snowstorm covered the entire north and froze everything. Even I have only heard about it as it was before my time, but it was said to be very scary.’
‘Ah! The legend said that there was a human hero who got rid of all of that ice.’
Cale suddenly remembered the Elf Chief he had met on the Ten Finger Mountains. She had handed him the book with the Super Rock legend as she said something.
‘It is quite a funny legend. A hero with a strong destructive power was supposedly extremely greedy for money. Once that hero died, the hero in this legend was said to have found the wealth of his friend and kept it safe.’
‘Would a hero be greedy for money? Especially a hero who supposedly saved the world from freezing yet did not seek any power, influence, or fame? How could someone like that be greedy for money? Isn’t it unbelievable?’
Cale went back to what Eruhaben had said about the legend.
‘The legend has some nonsense about how the hero tried to burn up the World Tree as well. How could that be true? The World Tree didn’t respond when I asked about it in the past. Wouldn’t that response mean that it was false?’
Cale felt the fiery thunderbolts on his palm as he lifted his head up.
The snowstorm created a path that looked like a transparent cave following the direction of the blue light.
“Young master Cale, did you use the token?”
“Human! Why are you taking out your fiery thunderbolt?”
He heard Rosalyn’s voice and Raon’s urgent voice.
But Cale also heard a different voice at the same time.
The Super Rock was saying something different than usual.
– Are you planning on destroying it?
‘This is a different pattern.’