Cale started to clap.
Clap. Clap. Clap.
Other people were cheering and clapping while watching the bishop pour water on the altar as well.
“Let all of this years sorrows disappear the moment the water seeps into the ground!”
“Let all of this years sorrows disappear the moment the water seeps into the ground!”
The bishop shouted first and the people repeated it back.
People even started to stomp their feet to cheer for the lake with the legend of the god’s tear.
Cale had thought that it would be somber because it was an offering ceremony, however, it was vibrant.
Cale used the noisy environment to ask Hong, who was in his arms, a question.
“Those bastards are staying there?”
Hong, who still looked like a kitten probably because he was still only eight-years-old in human years, meowed in response. Cale started to organize his thoughts after hearing the response.
Those bastards, Arm, stayed at the Duke’s Estate instead of leaving after handing over the item.
‘Will we end up meeting them in the Duke’s Estate?’
Cale was thinking about how he will get to meet new members of Arm as he slowly started to walk away from the loud crowd.
He had left Rosalyn, who was weaker than Clopeh, and the extremely handsome Whales, behind just in case. Only Choi Han and the children were with him. It would be bad if they were seen by Clopeh or if people remembered them later on.
“Even our god will be happy about our hopeful dispositions!”
Cale watched the people cheering as he took a tteok kkochi from Choi Han. (tteok kkochi is a crispy spicy rice cake on a skewer. )
Cale found it interesting that citizens of the Paerun Kingdom, a kingdom without a national religion and even had many different religions within it, were all praising a single god together.
Maybe they weren’t necessarily praising the god in the legend of the God’s Tears, but instead just enjoying the fact that it gave them a reason to relax and celebrate.
‘Well, that is none of my business.’
Cale chewed on the rice cake as he looked above the altar.
He did not see Guardian Knight Clopeh Sekka as he had expected. Instead, he could see the current family head, Duke Sekka, Clopeh’s father.
‘People still think that the duke is the, ‘Guardian Knight.’
That was how it was known throughout the kingdom.
Only a few people knew that Clopeh was the true Guardian Knight.
The people who knew could be categorized into two groups.
The first group was the people who were working with Clopeh in order to declare war against the southern kingdoms. The second group was Cale’s people.
Cale started to feel annoyed for no reason as he casually lifted Hong up with one hand as he finished the tteok kkochi.
It was at that moment.
He heard a sad voice in his mind.
– …H, human.
It was Raon.
– I have a piggy bank … I have a lot of money. Please buy me a tteok kkochi as well.
Cale lowered his head to see that Hong was salivating as well. On, who was in Choi Han’s arms, was focused on Cale as well.
He felt the gazes of the three children and started to speak.
“I’ll buy it for you later.”
He then said one more sentence.
“With my money.”
On and Hong’s ears twitched while Raon’s voice echoed in his mind again.
– Our human really is a good person!
‘Of course, of course.’
Cale nodded his head at Raon’s comment. He was planning on letting them eat and play all they want for the next few days.
They’ll be working without sleep on the last night.
“Choi Han, should we go to a restaurant?”
“Do you not want to stay until the end?”
Choi Han pointed to the lake that was still filled with people cheering. However, Cale had no reason to stay anymore.
“Yeah, no need to watch. Let’s go before it gets busy. We can eat in peace this way.”
Cale heard the voices of the priests at that moment.
“Although the lake is dry, we can see traces of our god!”
“Our Paerun is the only place that a god personally created water for the people!”
“Glory will come to Paerun when this lake is filled with water once again!”
Choi Han’s expression turned stiffer the more he listened.
He asked Cale, who was wading through the crowd, to get out without any interest.
“Just what kind of god is it?”
Choi Han was curious about this god that they were so frantically praising.
However, Cale had no way of knowing.
None of the books talked about the identity of this god.
“The people of this kingdom call it the god of Paerun.”
The citizens praised this god as the god of their land.
This must have been something Cale didn’t need to pay any more attention to as he quickly ignored it and headed toward the restaurant they had seen earlier.
Choi Han peeked toward the altar and the people before quickly following behind Cale.
Cale who had arrived in front of the restaurant, brushed back his magically dyed brown hair, and let out a gasp of admiration.
A delicious scent tickled his nose.
– Human, human, make sure you slip some food underneath the tablecloth! I will definitely eat some of it!
Raon urgently spoke in his mind.
– YOU MUST!
Cale ignored Raon and walked into the restaurant that was still not very busy. He had picked a restaurant with a long tablecloth on purpose so that Raon could eat while hiding underneath.
He headed toward a table in the corner of the room when he felt something odd.
“What are you doing?”
Choi Han had stopped walking and was looking at him.
‘Why is he acting like this?’
Hong urgently patted Cale’s arm at that moment. Cale looked down to see that Hong looked as if he had something to say.
Cale looked around for a bit before acting normal once a server came up to him.
“Welcome! Shall I take you to a table?”
“I would like a table in the corner of the restaurant.”
“No problem! Please sit over there!”
The server guided them to the corner table and put some menus on the table before walking away while telling Cale to call for her once they were ready to order.
Cale lowered his head once the server left and Hong stepped on Cale’s shoulder with his front paws and whispered in his ear.
Raon spoke in his mind as well.
“The people we saw last night are here.”
– Human, there is a lifeform as strong as Rosalyn in here.
Cale had a blank expression after hearing their comments.
The people from last night.
They were the people from Arm.
Cale turned his head at the sound of a chair moving. Choi Han sat across from him and quietly whispered.
“Your 9 o’clock direction.”
Cale naturally looked around the restaurant. He saw two blonde people who looked like siblings in his 9 o’clock direction.
Cale recalled what Raon had just said.
‘Human, there is a lifeform as strong as Rosalyn in here.’
That word became stuck in Cale’s mind. Those two blonde people reminded him of someone.
They seemed taller and bigger than average, but still agile.
They made him think about the Tiger tribe that would be rolling around in the snow back home.
Cale could see that their golden blonde hair seemed to be shooting out in all direction.
Cale looked toward Choi Han and tapped on the table with his index finger.
That made Choi Han look down at the table and Cale started to move his finger.
His index finger wrote out some letters on the table.
< Lion? >
Choi Han shook his head in order to say that he did not know. Cale looked down at On and Hong, who both shrugged their shoulders.
Even Beast people could not immediately tell each other’s true identity. It was much harder against those stronger than you as well.
He heard Raon’s voice at that moment.
– Oh! They are Lions! No wonder they seemed similar to the Wolves but smelled differently!
This really was an all-knowing Dragon.
Cale brushed his face with both hands.
Tiger, Bear, Whale, and Lion.
These were the four strongest Beast people, with the Wolves being right underneath them in strength. Of the four tribes, the Bear tribe and the Lion tribe were known for having a larger number of tribe members.
‘I didn’t expect the secret organization to have some Lions.’
Cale thought that there were only humans in the secret organization.
The way they treated the Whales, Wolves, and Tigers until now made him think that they were acting to make humans the strongest lifeform.
But this changed things.
Cale stealthily observed the two Lions.
‘…They seem to be strong.’
The Lions who were gracefully eating seemed pretty strong. The aura around them made Cale think that they probably held some rank in the Lion tribe as well.
‘I guess someone staying in the Duke’s Estate needs to have some rank.’
Hong whispered again.
“All of the other members had masks on. Only they did not wear masks.”
They definitely held some rank.
That was why they were as strong as Rosalyn.
Cale started to get annoyed.
‘I wanted to eat in peace.’
But he had to deal with these useless fools.
However, he calmed himself down and opened up the menu. Choi Han observed Cale seriously looking at the menu and cautiously started to speak.
“It is fine since I am here. Should I follow them afterward if you are worried?”
“Have you decided what you want?”
Cale responded with a serious expression.
“They all look delicious. I can’t pick what I want.”
Cale had pushed everything else aside in order to pick something to eat. He didn’t care that Choi Han was looking at him with a blank expression and instead motioned with his eyes to the kittens, who stealthily pointed to the pictures of the dishes they wanted.
– Human, I will pick five! I will pick five things! I can eat it all since it is free!
A Dragon really was great and mighty.
Cale was wowed by Raon’s comments as he ordered everything. Choi Han also ordered and then observed Cale who leisurely responded back.
“If you know the enemy and know yourself-“
Choi Han recalled the quote from Earth.
‘If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles.’
‘Is Cale-nim going to say that?’
However, he was wrong.
Cale continued to speak.
“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you can create an even bigger mess.”
Cale spoke with joy.
“And you can also steal things without them knowing.”
‘You can also prepare for the future.’
Cale did not say that last part. He did not care about Choi Han’s expression as he peeked at the Lions who were getting up after finishing their meal.
He ended up making eye contact with the male Lion.
The male Lion scoffed at Cale.
It was as if he was saying, ‘yes, I understand why you would want to look at such a handsome man like myself.’
And that was exactly what he was thinking.
“I suppose I catch attention wherever I go.”
The male Lion chuckled at the people inside the restaurant before leaving with the female Lion.
Cale started to think.
‘What is up with that lunatic?’
He was a different kind of crazy than what Cale had seen.
However, Cale had learned a lot of things based on the two Lions’ appearances.
The Lions truly must be around Rosalyn’s level of strength as Raon mentioned, as they did not recognize Choi Han nor Raon’s levels of strength. They also seemed to think On and Hong were just regular kittens.
‘They are not overly strong.’
Cale had looked at the Lions’ large bodies and started to think.
‘Lions are good at living in a pride.’ (A group of lions is called a pride. )
Unlike the Tigers, Lions lived in groups, making them stronger than when they fought together. If a Tiger streak went up against a Lion pride, the chances of the Lions winning was higher.
However, Cale was thinking about a different tribe at the moment.
The Blue Wolf Tribe.
Wolves were weaker than Lions, but there were times they became scary.
‘I need to raise Lock properly.’
Although he had fixed a bit of Lock’s timidity, the young Wolf boy was still far from becoming the Wolf King.
Cale had seen Choi Han training him using human methods.
However, seeing the Lion tribe made Cale believe that he needed to develop Lock quickly.
‘Not just Lock.’
The Wolf children needed to grow up as proper Wolves as well.
‘If we add the Tigers’ guerilla warfare tactics to them…’
There was nobody who could win against the Tigers’ wits and strength when it came to a one on one battle.
If you put the Wolf tribe and the Tiger tribe together…
‘It’s worth a shot.’
It was definitely worth trying. Although he was a bit worried about the Bear tribe, that was a problem for later.
Cale watched the two Lions walk out before starting to speak.
“Let’s eat first.”
– Me, me! Please put the salmon steak under the table for now!
Cale stealthily pushed the salmon steak underneath the tablecloth and started to eat. He enjoyed the taste of the food as he observed more people coming into the restaurant.
He then started to think.
‘I’m going to mess with them a lot.’
Cale had not forgotten about how the Lion had scoffed at him.
* * *
Cale started to frown early in the morning.
Push, push, push.
A total of six paws were pushing down on him.
‘These little punks.’
Cale opened his eyes with a frown on his face. He could see the dark blue sky outside the window. However, it was still winter, so the sun would not be up for a few more hours.
Red fur appeared in front of Cale’s eyes.
Hong sounded a bit sad.
“Yes, it is tonight.”
“Time for fireworks!”
A calm On and an excited Raon made Cale sit up in annoyance. Someone knocked on the door at that moment.
Knock. Knock. Knock.
The door slowly opened.
Cale could see Choi Han and the Killer Whale Archie. Archie was standing behind Choi Han with an odd expression on his face while Choi Han looked refreshed.
Cale asked a question.
“Your morning workout went well?”
“Yes, Cale-nim. I feel refreshed.”
Choi Han responded with an innocent smile as he brushed the dirt off of his hands while still outside the room. That made Archie quietly shake his head.
Choi Han had buried the fluid that would create the pillar of fire in the dry lake.
“Working out is the best.”
Cale, whose favorite way of working out was breathing, played along with Choi Han and welcomed the day.
The last day of the festival, the day they had planned to set off the fireworks, started off with a bright morning.