The Breck Kingdom’s side of the Gorge of Death border.
Inside a quiet and dark tent.
The only place with light was on top of the table at one side of the tent.
Tap. Tap. Tap.
The finger tapping on the table finally stopped.
That finger then brushed the side of the person’s whose eyes were bloodshot from fatigue.
Roan Kingdom’s crown prince, Alberu Crossman.
He was not in the Roan Kingdom’s palace, but currently was still unable to sleep inside the Breck Kingdom’s Gorge of Death.
‘Your highness, did you know about young master Cale’s situation?’
One hour ago. Rosalyn was speaking coldly when he had received her call. However, she was not cold on the inside as well.
Crown prince Alberu knew that this was the case, thus that was why he was not angry.
‘I knew about it, Miss Rosalyn.’
Rosalyn did not ask a naive question like why he didn’t tell her.
She was smart enough to know what would make Alberu keep that to himself. Anybody could get sick during a war.
‘However, it doesn’t look like his highness knows about everything.’
‘Is there more, Miss Rosalyn?’
‘I shouldn’t have asked.’
Alberu should not have asked Rosalyn that question.
Rosalyn gave the response to Alberu’s question. She shared what she had seen, as well as everything that Ron had told her.
The greater good was important, but sacrificing oneself was not right.
Alberu could not help but use coarse language because he had such thoughts.
“You crazy bastard.”
“Are you talking about me?”
It was a familiar voice.
The entrance flap was opened.
It was late at night.
Cale Henituse was standing outside the tent with a glib expression on his face.
‘Why is this bastard here right now?’
Alberu could not hide his shock as he asked.
“Why did you come here?”
Cale was shocked at crown prince Alberu’s blunt tone.
‘Why am I here?’
“I came to destroy the Empire.”
Alberu stood up and picked up the bottle of wine his subordinate had brought him in order to let him sleep well.
Alberu seemed experienced as he picked up the bottle of wine. He was able to pull out the cork with a casual pull.
“What is it?”
“Are you not going to hide your strength?”
“I do what I want.”
“Our Roan Kingdom’s future sun truly is admirable.”
Cale smiled in a cheesy manner before casually sitting down on the couch. He then picked up the wine glass.
“I have returned.”
‘I knew I didn’t like this guy.’
Alberu frowned and sat down on the other side of the couch.
“You damn bastard.”
The wine glass was filled with wine.
“Hey bastard, you’re the only noble who would get a glass poured by the crown prince.”
“It is an honor, our Roan Kingdom’s sun.”
“Just how much oil did you put on your tongue?”
Cale had a look of disbelief.
“Not as much as you, your highness.”
The crown prince also put on a similar expression. It was at that moment.
There was a fruit basket that was brought with the wine.
Some of the fruit in the basket floated up and then disappeared after making small noises.
He could hear someone eating the fruit in the air.
Alberu turned away from Cale and looked toward the sound of the crunching. He then started to speak.
“It is an honor to meet you, Dragon-nim!”
Raon removed the magic.
A six-year-old Dragon with a fruit in his front paw and fruit juice around his mouth waved one paw.
“Nice to meet you, crown prince! I am the great and mighty Raon Miru!”
“Yes sir, yes sir. You are great and mighty.”
Forget being a quarter Dark Elf, Cale couldn’t believe how glib Alberu was while greeting a Dragon.
“Little crown prince, you’re not shocked?”
Raon seemed to be shocked as well as he asked Alberu the question, however, Alberu just smiled as he pointed at Cale.
“This punk is more shocking.”
Cale started to frown after seeing Alberu pointing at him. On the other hand, Raon nodded his head.
“This is why you are the crown prince. You are a bit smart.”
“Thank you for the exaggerated compliment, great and mighty Raon Miru Dragon-nim.”
“No, you really are smart!”
“Thank you very much. You seem to have been drawn together with all of the knowledge of the night.”
Raon’s mouth was twitching and his wings were fluttering at Alberu’s compliment.
Cale made eye contact with Alberu at that moment.
‘Is this good enough?’
That was what Alberu’s gaze seemed to be saying.
‘He’s got such a glib tongue as usual.’
He didn’t even seem to have trouble praising a Dragon.
This made Cale feel like Alberu really was a person he could connect well with.
Cale nodded his head with a stoic expression. He then reached his palm out.
There was no need to say anything. Alberu took the top file on the table and handed it to Cale.
Cale opened up the file as Alberu started to speak.
“Crown prince Valentino seemed to be very hungry.”
Cale stopped for a moment before reading the first page as he thought about the Caro Kingdom’s crown prince, Valentino.
He was a humane crown prince and someone who was known as a close friend to the Mogoru Empire’s Imperial Prince, Adin.
He recalled the meal they had together.
‘You can eat anything when you are hungry. You also become desperate. Commander Cale, I wish to speak in secret with crown prince Alberu.’
‘Of course. He will fill your empty stomach, your highness.’
The Caro Kingdom and crown prince Valentino realized that they had been made fools after learning that the Indomitable Alliance and the Empire were in an alliance. He could not hide his anger regarding that issue.
“Your highness, how did the Caro Kingdom find out that the Empire was aiming for the Whipper Kingdom?”
“The Empire was thinking very lightly of the Caro Kingdom.”
Crown prince Alberu took a sip of wine before continuing to speak.
“Someone from the Caro Kingdom’s side found their light-affinity churches speaking with people from the Empire.”
The Caro Kingdom was grinding their teeth in anger at the churches who were no help and instead wanted to run away during the battle of Castle Leona.
However, they did not bare their fangs in public.
In fact, crown prince Valentino pretended to try to become close to them again for the recovery work after the battle while stealthily keeping a watch on the churches.
Thanks to that, the Caro Kingdom was able to find some churches making contact with the Empire.
Cale thought about something after hearing this information.
“The only reason that the Empire would need to contact churches is to gather priests with healing abilities.”
“Correct. These priests with healing abilities are the most important resources during a war.”
Cale understood why the Empire and the churches would do such a thing.
He was certain that the Church of the Sun God, the largest of the light-affinity churches, would definitely work with the Empire.
Even if the Church of the Sun God did terrible things inside the Empire, there were still many believers within the Empire.
The Caro Kingdom’s Church of the Sun God’s bishop probably wanted to take control of that area as well. That was the way for him to become the pope.
How angry must the Caro Kingdom have been after learning about all of this?
These bastards were doing all sorts of things in their front yard.
Cale understood why crown prince Valentino was so angry. However, crown prince Alberu had not finished speaking.
“Also, the Empire approached the Caro Kingdom.”
“To align together.”
“That is the case.”
Cale was flabbergasted.
“…Crown prince Valentino must be grinding his teeth.”
“Not only did they look down on the Caro Kingdom, they considered them to be idiots.”
The Mogoru Empire had helped the Indomitable Alliance even as they sent soldiers to help out the Caro Kingdom.
Such a place was aiming for the core of the churches by recruiting the priests with healing abilities and asking the Caro Kingdom to make an alliance.
“The Mogoru Empire supposedly said that they wish to use this chaos in order to increase their power along with their close friends, the Caro Kingdom. They wanted to do this together.”
Cale shared his honest sentiments.
“Well, war and politics are always like that.”
“I guess that is true.”
Crown prince found it a bit odd while watching Cale nod his head with a look of disbelief.
It was because Cale seemed a bit innocent as he was getting shocked and angry at something like this.
‘I guess he is only twenty-years-old after all.’
It was the moment he had that thought. He could see Cale start to smile.
“Please tell the Caro Kingdom to align themselves with the Empire.”
Crown prince Alberu looked toward Cale.
“The Empire probably wants to be like the Paerun Kingdom in the Indomitable Alliance, however, shouldn’t we make it so that the Caro Kingdom plays the role of the Paerun Kingdom instead?”
The Paerun Kingdom had betrayed the Indomitable Alliance.
The Empire would also end up betraying the Caro Kingdom. However, they will make it so that the Caro Kingdom betrays them instead.
“…I guess I thought wrong.”
“Hmm? Did you have a different plan?”
‘I was stupid for thinking you were innocent.’
The corners of crown prince Alberu’s lips started to go up like Cale’s lips. He had the same thought.
“I already told them to do that.”
Cale started to clap. Raon stopped eating fruit and clapped as well.
“Crown prince Valentino has accepted that suggestion.”
“Oh, your highness, as expected, our Roan Kingdom’s sun always does great things.”
Alberu did not look happy at all at the human and Dragon’s clapping. It felt as if they were clapping for him to work even harder.
That was why he raised his hand in order to make them stop clapping before continuing to speak.
“Enough sucking u-”
“Let’s decrease the Empire’s territory.”
Crown prince Alberu made eye contact with Cale.
“Wasn’t that your plan, your highness?”
Cale knew about Alberu’s abilities based on how he had stolen the mages that were hiding away from the Whipper Kingdom during their civil war.
It was difficult for the Indomitable Alliance to try to take territory away from the Roan Kingdom because of the Forest of Darkness and the Gorge of Death.
However, the Empire did not have such obstacles.
Crown prince Alberu knew that Cale had the Cat Knight Sir Rex, the alchemist, and the Sun God twins.
Would someone like he miss this opportunity?
He was probably aiming for it.
Even if he cared for the greater good and peace, he was born with the blood of a ruler.
‘Then it is better for me, who has all of these weapons lined up, to say it first.’
It was beneficial for Cale if the Roan Kingdom got stronger. That would decrease the number of things he and his people have to worry about in the future.
Ending a war quickly and bringing peace back to the kingdom was good for the suffering people of the Western continent as well.
Cale wanted to do it big if he had to do things anyway, with the hope that his late twenties could be the start of his slacker life.
He still had not given up on that slacker life.
Cale reaffirmed his goal before taking a sip of wine. Alberu rubbed his chin as he casually added on.
“I think I’ll get a stomachache if I eat up all of it.”
He’ll get a stomachache if he ate up the entirety of the Empire.
He would also have to be cautious about the other kingdoms in the alliance. Furthermore, he couldn’t just increase the strength of the allied kingdoms on a whim.
What crown prince Alberu truly wanted was peace.
“Just enough not to get a stomachache?”
He was only planning on taking a bit of the Empire.
“If it goes according to our, no, your plan, there will be a new ruler in the Empire.”
The current royal family would be no more.
That was the only way to change the roots and get rid of the seeds of war on the continent.
Alberu was moving for that peace, however, there was something he wanted in secret. Of course, it was something that he was pretty certain Cale would know about.
“Young master Cale, we don’t know whether that new ruler will become a king or an emperor.”
“Yes sir. We also don’t know if the Mogoru Empire will remain an Empire or become a kingdom instead.”
“We don’t know what the Roan Kingdom will end up becoming either.”
Alberu lifted his wine glass toward Cale, who clanked his glass against it.
Cale and Alberu’s new plan for the Roan Kingdom started with the clear sound of glass clinking.
Cale took a large gulp of wine to celebrate that.
The empty wine glass was placed back onto the table.
The crown prince could see Cale starting to get up.
“You still have things to do?”
Cale quietly left the tent after seeing Alberu shooing him away with no regrets.
Raon turned invisible and followed behind him.
Cale was heading for his tent.
Eruhaben should be there right now.
There was somewhere for him to go with the ancient Dragon that was waiting for him.
* * *
Inside a man-made underground cave. A torch was lighting the dark cave.
Cale was guided by Witira as he walked through the cave.
“He is in the innermost cell of this underground cave.”
Witira was guiding them while looking around.
The ancient Dragon Eruhaben, Raon, and finally Cale.
The three of them were walking through the underground cave made by the Breck Kingdom’s forces.
The three of them were silent.
However, they were calm.
Witira did not think much about it. Instead, she stepped back once they arrived at the cell at the end of the cave.
“He is in here.”
Witira could see the magic lock easily being broken.
It did not take much for Raon to break the lock with his black mana.
Witira could feel Raon’s growth while choosing to be silent.
There was someone who walked past her and entered the cell.
Cale was the first to enter.
He could see someone laying on the ground like a corpse with his body slightly shaking.
Both his eyes and mouth were covered, and he was also tied down.
It was the Dragon half-blood who was covered in scales and looked neither human nor Dragon.
Cale sat down next to the Dragon half-blood. Raon was standing right next to him. He could feel Raon being wary, however, Cale did not say anything before taking off the device that was covering the Dragon half-blood’s eyes and mouth.
Cale had given the Dragon half-blood a week to decide whether he would die now or live for six more months. Cale had come to find the Dragon half-blood before that week was up.
The Dragon half-blood’s black eyes focused on Cale.
It was at that moment.
“…You are human.”
The voice came from outside the cell.
It was the person who had not entered the cell.
The ancient Dragon Eruhaben’s voice reached Cale’s ear.
Eruhaben’s voice had a mix of anger and lamentation.
“You ate a Dragon’s heart.”
The Dragon half-blood could hear Eruhaben’s voice, however, he could not help but continue to stare at Cale.
There was no sympathy nor anger in those eyes. An emotionless gaze and expression were directed at the Dragon half-blood. The cold reddish-brown eyes asked the Dragon half-blood a question.
“Who are you?”
The Dragon half-blood who had been spending his time in pain couldn’t talk properly at first because his mouth was dry. However, the corners of the Dragon half-blood’s mouth slowly started to twist upward.
“Have you heard of the word, ‘chimera?’”
It was a creature made up of parts of multiple other creatures.
For example, a creature with a lion’s head and a horse’s legs. It was a term used for a mutant creature.
The Dragon half-blood looked at the fully human and the two fully Dragons as he continued to speak.
“I am a man-made monster.”