The battle at the Gorge of Death would take place in two days.
Cale had to busy himself in the remaining time.
Well, at least he was supposed to.
Cale brushed his face with both of his hands.
“…Choi Han, what is this estimate sheet for?”
Cale was waving a piece of paper in his hand.
The paper that was fluttering in Cale’s hand had a lot of numbers written on it.
A piece of the palace had been broken and this was the breakdown of the costs of the repair.
Choi Han silently lowered his head.
Cale sighed and picked up another piece of paper. That paper fluttered in the air as well. He was looking at Mary this time.
“Why did three nobles suddenly fall ill?”
An innocent and mechanical voice responded back.
“I am not sure. They were curious about my powers, so I showed them a bit of it.”
Mary recalled the small gathering that had happened after the parade. It was only a small celebration as the war was not over yet, however, it looked as if the world was sparkling in Mary’s eyes.
It was an extremely shocking experience for Mary, so Tasha had helped the overwhelmed Mary head out to the terrace to rest.
Three nobles had appeared at the terrace at that time and spoken to her in a friendly way, asking about her powers. She thought that they were trying to get close to her and showed them a bit of her power.
“But they suddenly said that I should throw young master Cale-nim away and join up with them. They said that we could then take you down and take power for ourselves.”
Cale turned his head after hearing suppressed laughter coming from behind him. Crown prince Alberu had his head down on his desk with his shoulders moving up and down.
It was obvious that he was struggling to keep himself from laughing.
Cale’s lips started to twist.
The black robe started to speak in a serious manner. She had become wary of the three nobles at that moment.
“So then am I the, ‘enemy?’ That was what I asked them. They responded back with, ‘you can be the enemy, or you can come and join us from here on.’”
The three nobles were people from the central faction.
They were trying to pull Mary toward their faction, however, Mary heard the nobles’ conversation about power differently.
“I wondered if they were from Arm as they were talking about taking you down, young master-nim. I thought they were either from Arm or the Indomitable Alliance. However, I just remained quiet as you told me not to fight. But then they just suddenly fainted.”
Mary recalled how the three people had suddenly started to faint.
“They were weird people.”
Mary could not understand the courage that those weak people had to say that she could be their enemy.
Cale let out a deep sigh. He could still hear Alberu’s snickering, but he ignored it as he looked toward Choi Han.
Choi Han’s situation was a typical cliché.
“One of the nobles’ sons threw a glove at you?”
Choi Han lowered his head once more. Someone else responded in his stead.
“Yes sir! Young master-nim!’
It was Vice Captain Hilsman.
“During the celebration, Marquis Ailan’s successor suddenly questioned whether Choi Han was really a sword master and threw a glove at him in order to issue a challenge.”
Cale had a blank expression on his face.
Fantasy worlds always had the spoiled young masters who challenge the main character or other strong characters.
The Ailan household was known as the strongest martial artist household in the southeast region and the entire Roan Kingdom.
“And? I’m sure Choi Han would normally have ignored such a thing.”
“Of course! We remembered your orders and ignored him. However, that noble’s son then started to talk crap about the Henituse household.”
“…What did he say?”
“He said that, for being a martial arts household, the Henituse household is extremely weak. All they do is use money in order to have strong subordinates to protect them.”
‘Well, they’re not wrong.’
Cale didn’t really take it as talking crap. Although the members of the Henituse household knew how to handle the sword, there were no extremely strong individuals. Lily does show great potential, however, it was still only potential for now.
Furthermore, the person had said that they were rich and had strong subordinates.
Isn’t that even better?
It didn’t annoy him at all. However, contrary to his expectations, Hilsman still seemed to be angry as he was huffing and puffing.
“That was why Choi Han accepted the challenge! He ended up destroying the palace’s training ground in the process. But it is not his fault that that young master was so weak!”
Alberu’s laughter hit Cale’s ears like background music. Hilsman continued to speak.
“Of course, Marquis Ailan appeared and took that young master with him. He then apologized to Choi Han and said that he would apologize to the Henituse household as well. A message will be sent to Count Henituse soon!”
“…My poor life.”
Alberu’s laughter became even louder.
– Human! I truly am the best!
Raon’s voice echoed like background music in Cale’s mind. He then jumped up from his seat. Choi Han and Mary tilted their heads in confusion as they looked toward Cale.
Even the crown prince held back his laughter as he looked at Cale.
“Where are you going?”
The crown prince asked with a serious expression.
“I’m going to go get some air, your highness.”
“Oh, should I go for a walk as well?”
Alberu could see a blank expression on Cale’s face.
“…But I am going to the North.”
Cale’s walk was to quite the distance away.
“I will be back in half a day.”
Cale needed to go north before going to the Breck Kingdom. It was because of the ancient Dragon, Eruhaben’s request.
Eruhaben was still in the Eastern continent looking into the stone pillar and the Leeb-An City region on Cale’s behalf. He had something to do on the Western continent and Cale agreed to do so in his place.
“I need to go see the Elves.”
That lake was probably still surrounded by snow.
He needed to go see the Elves and the World Tree.
“…You’ll be back in half a day?”
“Yes, your highness.”
It was fine as long as Raon was with him.
“Then we just need to finish the preparations while you are away.”
Mary, Choi Han, and Hilsman’s expressions changed after hearing Alberu’s comment. Cale looked around at them and nodded his head.
“That sounds great.”
Cale went for his walk with a light heart.
* * *
The Elf Village underneath the lake with the World Tree.
“…Here! We gathered some more!”
The young Elf priestess took a pouch out of her loose sleeves and handed it to Cale.
The refreshing sound of coins hitting each other reached Cale’s ears.
“The World Tree has not said anything, but I thought that we would need another bag of money! I gathered it on my own accord. We cannot have a sea of fire!”
The young priestess made it sound like she was close to Cale as she welcomed him with a bright smile.
Cale debated it for a moment before taking the bag of money.
‘It should be fine to take it because Elves are not materialistic.’
Cale was not the type to reject when someone gave him free money.
Instead, he took a small jewel out of his pocket and started to speak.
“Lead the way.”
“I understand! The World Tree has been waiting for you!”
The young priestess energetically started to walk. Cale slowly followed behind the young Elf.
“Oh! Raon-nim, your cuteness is just as explosive as ever!”
“I get to meet Raon-nim like this again! I can die happily now!”
“The great and mighty Raon-nim!”
He could hear the voices of other Elves coming from behind him. Raon, who puffed up his chest and was flapping his wings, pointed his front paw toward them.
“I am busy right now! You can admire me a bit later!”
He then chased behind Cale.
Cale peeked toward Raon and then patted him on the head as he continued to walk toward the World Tree.
In addition to Eruhaben’s request, he had something to ask the World Tree.
He headed for the spot where the leaves of the large trees rustled in the wind. It was the average looking tree at the center of that bunch.
Cale could see that the World Tree looked even more average than last time.
“Hey World Tree, have you been well?”
One of the World Tree’s branches slightly trembled as if responding to Raon.
The World Tree had lost three branches while telling Cale three things last time.
Find Raon’s parents.
There is an existence that has gathered three ancient powers.
Find the Water of Judgment.
Cale remembered what the World Tree had told him.
“Cale-nim, you can speak to the World Tree like last time.”
“I guess it is possible to chat now.”
The World Tree had fallen into a slight slumber after telling Cale those three facts. The young Elf put on an odd smile and nodded her head.
“Yes, short conversations are possible.”
Cale slowly headed toward the World Tree. He then put his hand on the trunk and closed his eyes.
– Cale, it’s been a while.
The World Tree sounded weak.
Cale held the small jewel with his other hand.
“This is the item that Eruhaben-nim made. There is a defensive magic in order to protect the Elf Village and World Tree-nim within in it.”
Eruhaben had decided to strengthen the defensive magic around the World Tree after one of the branches was stolen and had asked Cale to take care of it.
“Raon will install it. It will not take long.”
– Is that so? Thank you. Tell Eruhaben thanks as well.
The World Tree’s voice was slightly shaking even though they were just having a short conversation. Cale’s expression turned into a frown.
The World Tree must have realized this, as it started to explain.
– I am still in recovery. I’ve already recovered a good amount. I should return to full strength within the year.
Cale was glad to hear this.
If the World Tree was at full strength, there would be no reason to strengthen the defense. However, Eruhaben chose to strengthen the World Tree with defensive magic because it was hurt.
– You look like you have some questions. Is there something you wish to say?
Cale’s shoulders flinched.
He debated it for a moment before starting to speak.
“You don’t need to respond if something similar to last time will happen.”
The young priestess who can only Hear Cale’s voice flinched after hearing, ‘like last time.’
She recalled how the branches had fallen down.
Her heart was beating so fast just thinking about it. Raon recalled that as well and started to frown.
Cale started to speak after hearing the World Tree’s response. He made it a little vague knowing that Raon was by his side. He knew that the World Tree would still understand.
“Where do I need to go to find it? Not the Water of Judgment.”
The others that he had to find.
He was talking about Raon’s parents.
Cale bit down on his lips. He didn’t want to ask if he didn’t need to do so, however, it was difficult to find any clues. This was especially because they were currently in the middle of a war.
– I guess I can answer this one.
Cale subconsciously let out a sigh of relief. The weak but slightly strengthened voice entered his head.
– I’m sure it is not the answer you want to hear, however, this is my current limit.
‘Not the answer I want to hear?’
– A king is someone who is accepted by nature.
‘Why is the World Tree suddenly talking about a, ‘king?’
Cale started to frown. However, he had no choice but to pay attention to the World Tree’s words.
– An existence that should have died is alive.
The hand touching the tree flinched.
Cale had asked about Raon’s parents. However, he had heard a different response.
The existence that should have died in volume 1 of The Birth of a Hero.
– Nature has accepted that existence.
Nature had accepted the existence that should have died.
– The one that has a twisted fate. That alone was enough to receive the qualifications to survive. Changes, the forbidden and the unbelievable.
Cale felt something pat him. He then calmed himself back down. He could see Raon’s round head when he looked down.
“Human, is everything okay?”
Cale heard the faint voice of the World Tree at that moment.
– That is what nature truly is.
A continuation of the mysterious and the ever-changing. That was the way nature worked.
‘Is it possible?’
Cale was thinking about the king that nature would approve. The chubby Dragon that was slightly more than 1 meter and 20 centimeters slowly started to frown.
“Human, why are you looking at me like that?”
The young priestess approached them and started to speak as Cale could not respond back.
“The World Tree-nim has fallen asleep again.”
“…I know. I’ll come visit again next time.”
Raon had a disappointed expression as he kicked the sand on the ground with his feet.
“How disappointing. I wish to speak to the World Tree as well!”
‘…There’s no way, right?’
Cale shook his head to get rid of such thoughts. There was no way that was possible. If what he was thinking about was correct, he had started off by causing an extremely serious issue.
‘…There’s no way saving a single Dragon would cause that big of an issue.’
Cale could not say that word out loud as he started to speak to Raon.
“Let’s hurry back.”
“Alright! I will hurry so we can go see Lock!”
Cale watched as the six-years-old Dragon took the jewel he had received from Eruhaben and flew off toward the defensive barrier before pushing everything off in his mind.
A half day later with only one day left before the battle with the Indomitable Alliance. Cale was standing on top of a teleportation magic circle with Raon.
He was headed somewhere other than the Roan Kingdom right now.
* * *
Cale opened his closed eyes. He could hear the invisible Raon’s voice.
– It’s been a while since we’ve seen everyone!
Cale started to smile.
They were inside a small tent. A teleportation magic circle was drawn within this tent.
There were two people greeting him as he stepped out of it.
“Long time no see.”
Rosalyn and Lock. The two of them welcomed Cale over. Choi Han, Hilsman, and Mary had not come over yet. Cale had come here stealthily without anybody else knowing about it.
Cale was smiling brightly as it had been a while since he had last seen the two of them. However, that smile quickly disappeared.
“Long time no see, young master Cale.”
Rosalyn was smiling, but there was something slightly odd about it. Next to her was Lock, who had his head down and could not look at Cale in the eyes.
The Wolf boy Lock.
He could not dare to look Cale in the eyes. Cale flinched after seeing Lock act this way.
‘Is he upset because I left him here alone for a long time?’
It was the moment Cale had that thought.
“Yes, Lock. Long time no see.”
Cale put a hand on Lock’s curled up shoulder after hearing his upset voice.
His hand patted Lock’s shoulder.
“You suffered quite a bit on your own here.”
It was the moment he said that.
Cale could see the now slightly taller Lock’s face. Although his head was down, Lock’s eyes were looking at Cale. Lock hesitated for a moment before starting to speak with shaking lips.
“…I can’t go berserk anymore.”
What is he talking about?’
It was when Beast people were at their strongest. It was the moment that their animal features and their human features became much stronger.
But that wasn’t possible anymore?
‘He can’t do it even though his first berserk transformation already happened?’
Lock continued to speak despite his shaking hands as Cale thought about this issue. However, Lock’s voice was extremely shaky.
“I, I need to hurry up and become the Wolf King’s successor. I really need to do that.”
Originally, Lock would have grown after the despair caused by losing Pendrick.
“…It looks like I cannot get stronger.”
But this Lock was different than the one from the novel.
He wanted to be stronger, but could not go berserk.
Cale looked back at the tall young boy who could not look him in the eyes.