It has been two days since Cale woke up.
Cale called out the ancient Dragon’s name once again.
“The ancient artifact-”
Eruhaben ignored Cale.
“Human, shut up!”
A piece of meat gently landed in Cale’s open mouth.
Cale chewed and swallowed the piece of beef that Raon had placed in his mouth with magic.
Choi Han would cut the meat and then Raon would use magic to place it in Cale’s mouth. Cale was lying on the bed and thinking to himself.
‘…This isn’t right.’
He had been rolling around on the bed for two days. Cale looked around at everyone before starting to speak.
“Isn’t it about time we got started-”
Ron handed him a lemonade with a smile and Cale took a sip without complaining.
They were keeping a close eye on him.
Cale had to deal with this constant and vicious watch for two days.
The children averaging nine-years-old, Choi Han, Ron, Beacrox, and Eruhaben. Furthermore, the Mercenary King who was pretending to be drunk and the mage, Glenn Poeff, who was actually drunk.
They were all taking turns making sure that Cale got some rest.
It didn’t matter that he felt like there was a mountain load of things to get done.
‘Ahem, if we want to defeat the White Star.’
‘Human, shut up!’
‘Eruhaben-nim, isn’t it about time you used the ancient artifact?’
‘Shut up, you unlucky bastard.’
Cale’s attempts had failed over and over.
Cale had let time pass by the past few days as he failed time after time. His finger started to move.
“Human! What are you doing?!”
Cale poked Raon’s chubby cheek. He then caressed On and Hong without responding.
A piece of fruit landed in Cale’s mouth even as he did that.
“…Being a slacker really is the best.”
Cale confirmed that fact to himself and opened his mouth again.
“I’m fine now.”
Eruhaben looked toward Cale who cut him off and started to sit up. Cale confidently looked back at him.
It was at that moment.
He could hear someone scoffing at him. Cale turned his head. He could see a table.
When he looked at who was sitting at the table…
“…That damn alcoholic.”
The alcoholic who was drinking even with his head on the table raised his head up. Of course, his eyes were completely focused.
Naturally, the alcoholic was Mercenary King Bud Illis.
“In this secretary-nim’s opinion, you’ll need to rest for about one year in order to be fine.”
Cale could not help but sigh.
‘Why did I make a bet to make him my secretary?’
He opened his mouth to speak.
“Aren’t you disappointed that you didn’t actually try to win the bet? How about we do it for real?”
“…A drinking bet?”
“Yes, Yes. A drinking bet.”
Cale pointed to himself and continued on.
“If I win, you will no longer be my secretary and I don’t ever want to see your face again. What do you think?”
The Mercenary King smirked before lowering his head.
“Aigoo, I’m getting drunk!”
He put his head back on the table and turned away from Cale.
Cale started to get annoyed.
He had never faced a lunatic like this before.
Bud Illis pretended to be drunk and ignored Cale every time Cale told him not to be his secretary.
‘Who cares if you pretend to be drunk?
Even though you smell like alcohol, your eyes are completely fine!’
The annoyed Cale flinched after hearing Ron’s voice.
“…Are you really talking about drinking in your current condition? Are you talking about drinking when you only ate the food Beacrox packed you for one day and starved for six days?”
Cale let out a fake cough before turning away from Ron and slowly getting off the bed. Ron’s son, Beacrox, sighed and added on as well.
“It would be better if you at least tell us what you were doing in there or why you starved for six days.”
Cale shut his mouth even tighter.
He had vaguely explained to the group about what he did on Wind Island for a week.
He had said that he was a bit late because he was fortifying the Sound of the Wind. He was late because the island was a dead mana storage facility.
However, he had not been able to explain a few things yet.
Cale made eye contact with Choi Han. He recalled Choi Han’s question.
‘What kind of fortification was it?’
Cale had given a short response back to that question.
‘Just a regular one.’
Nobody believed that answer. What kind of fortification required him to starve for close to a week?
However, Cale had not explained any further.
It could not be helped.
‘It’s not like I can lie.’
He could not lie about the contents of the test, but he could also not tell them what had actually happened.
There was no point to do so.
It was all fake.
It was all an illusion that would not happen in the real world.
Why would he tell them that only to make the children and the old men anxious?
Cale raised his foot up with a calm expression.
He then kicked the table.
Bud, who had his head on the table, pretended to be shocked as he raised his head. Cale started to speak to him.
He pointed to the ancient artifact and continued to speak.
“Go prepare a quiet place.”
They couldn’t use this ancient artifact in a crowded bedroom.
Cale could see the ancient Dragon getting up while sighing.
* * *
A large iron gate was opened and an empty area appeared.
Bud had a bottle in his hand as he introduced the area to the group.
“This is the place where I had to go through my grandfather’s training from hell as well as where I became a sword master and the gatekeeper for Wind Island!”
Mage Glenn Poeff sighed and shook his head. However, Bud was serious.
“This is the place that has my blood, sweat, and tears! This is the training ground for the gatekeepers! Sob, you don’t know how many times I ate dirt here in the name of training, sob!”
Bud Illis was sobbing, but none of them gave a second glance as they walked into the training ground.
“Cheer up! What a sad story!”
Only the red kitten Hong who was the last to enter patted Bud with his front paw.
Bud tried to hug Hong, but the kitten easily moved away from the alcoholic. However, the kitten had to stop.
“I will do it alone.”
It was because of Eruhaben’s comment.
Cale had the ancient artifact in his hand as he observed the Dragon who was saying that he would do it alone. Eruhaben calmly responded to that gaze.
“I wish to do it alone. I would prefer if everybody waited outside.”
He then reached his hand out toward Cale. He was telling Cale to hand him the jar.
“No! Goldie gramps, I will be right next to you!”
Raon argued back as if his being there was obvious. The others showed their agreement with Raon. Eruhaben added one more sentence at that moment.
“I am a great and mighty Dragon.”
He was someone who gave off a strong aura even when he was just standing there.
“I do not wish to show my healing process to others.”
There was someone who was the first to be pushed back after hearing the words coming out of the pale but firmly standing ancient Dragon.
“I pray that the ancient artifact is effective.”
It was Ron Molan.
The old man understood the ancient Dragon’s sentiments.
Nobody knew how he would look as the healing happened. He might flail in pain or struggle a lot. Ron understood better than anybody else why the ancient Dragon would not want others to see that.
It was because he remembered the expressions on the faces of people who were there when he was suffering in pain after losing his arm.
Next were Choi Han and Beacrox.
The children averaging nine-years-old grumbled, but moved back after seeing Choi Han and Beacrox move.
“Ahem, hem. Then I will explain how to use the ancient artifact once more.”
Mercenary King Bud stepped back while explaining how to use the ancient artifact.
“That ancient artifact will fill with just enough water for the user who decides to use it on themselves.”
Bud pointed to the cracking jar.
“Once you drink the water, any issues related to vitality will be cured to the point you want. Of course, it may be a bit painful depending on the situation. My stomach did not feel good when I used it.”
That was the power related to healing and extending someone’s life.
Cale heard the thief’s voice in his mind.
– The vitality filling up in that jar comes from the people who lost their lives in the past.
This jar contained the vitality of the people who died earlier than they were supposed to because of the Forest of Darkness.
– That is why I like that it is being used for a good reason.
The thief showed her support for Eruhaben using it.
Cale focused on both the thief and Bud. Bud continued to speak.
“Of course, if the amount of vitality necessary for the user is greater than the limits of the jar, then the jar will break after the user drinks the water.”
Cale was thinking that there was a good chance the jar would break. This was a Dragon’s life they were talking about.
The longest living existence, who was just as strong. It would take a lot to increase the vitality of such a creature.
Eruhaben didn’t say much before nodding his head and pointing with his chin.
“Give me the jar and stay outside. I’ll call you in when it is done.”
Cale handed Eruhaben the jar without complaining. He then left the training ground without any hesitation.
The others either quietly followed behind him or slowly followed with hesitation. Raon stopped for a moment and shouted toward Eruhaben.
“Gramps! You have to live for a long time!”
Eruhaben smirked as he answered back.
“I know, little kid.”
He then shrugged his shoulders.
“You think you guys can take on the White Star without me? I am someone who keeps my word.”
Cale observed the smiling ancient Dragon.
“I said I’ll live a long life, so I have to live a long life.”
The ancient Dragon had a relaxed smile on his face which finally got Raon to leave the training ground and sit next to Cale.
Eruhaben looked at the group outside the gate before turning around and snapping his fingers.
The iron gate automatically closed following that noise.
The others could not see what was going on on the other side after the iron gate closed with a bang.
Cale walked over and leaned on a wall as the others just stared at the gate.
“Oh, my friend. Aren’t you a bit too relaxed?”
He bluntly responded back to Bud’s question.
“You said that you just need to drink the water and that there are no side effects, didn’t you?”
“Correct. I was so shocked when I saw it filling with water that I just gulped it all down.”
Bud smiled and nodded his head. However, his smile quickly disappeared.
“Mm, but I cannot be certain about how much pain he would feel. The ancient Dragon-nim and I are different.”
Cale just nodded his head with a stoic expression. His hand headed inside his pocket.
Bud took another gulp of alcohol after seeing everyone standing silently before looking back at the gate.
He then started to think.
‘We need the ancient Dragon’s strength in order to be able to defeat the White Star.’
There would be a big difference in their chances of defeating the White Star and his subordinates if the ancient Dragon was with them or not.
Bud Illis had determined that the ancient Dragon needed to live a long time for strategic reasons, at least until everything involving the White Star was finished.
That was why he was waiting for the healing process to finish with an anxious heart.
It was at that moment.
Something happened in the silent area.
Bud turned to the side.
Cale was the one who had just scoffed.
“I knew it would be like this.”
Cale then started to walk.
“Cale-nim, what is it?”
“Human, what’s wrong?”
Cale ignored their questions.
He heard something breaking inside the iron gate.
Hong shouted in response.
“I think the ancient artifact broke!”
An odd sense of anxiety filled the group.
Eruhaben had used the ancient artifact. However, the ancient artifact was unable to endure and broke. How much would it have helped Eruhaben before it broke?
Everybody was waiting for Eruhaben in suspense.
That was why they had forgotten about Cale who had been walking toward the gate. They did not think it was very important.
Cale stood in front of the door.
His right hand was still in his pocket.
That hand was holding onto the top’s whip.
‘The Dragon is using the ancient artifact!’
Cale had been hearing the voices of the Wind Elementals since earlier.
He trusted Eruhaben.
However, he had seen something.
The jar started to fill with water as soon as Eruhaben grabbed the handle.
It was filling slowly, very little at a time.
This jar was something that filled with water as much as the user wanted and needed.
If a Dragon was trying to extend his life, if he really wanted to do that…
Would the water really fill that slowly?
The Mercenary King said that he had to quickly gobble it all up when he used the ancient artifact. Wouldn’t that mean that the water fills very quickly?
That was why Cale had grabbed the top’s whip as soon as he came out just in case.
He had immediately heard the voices of the Wind Elementals.
He still trusted Eruhaben.
However, he knew that Eruhaben cherished Raon, himself, and the others. Cale knew what people who had things they cherished tended to do.
It was because he had been cherished by people in the past.
Cale had heard the voices of the Wind Elementals.
‘Wow! The Dragon only took one gulp!’
The jar only filled with enough water for one gulp.
‘He’s putting the jar in his spatial dimension? Wow, he’s faking a breaking noise with magic.’
The corner of Cale’s lips started to twist.
He heard an old Wind Elemental’s voice.
‘Child. Do you want to know what the Dragon inside mumbled to himself?’
Cale did not respond at all. He didn’t even nod his head.
Eruhaben’s thoughts were something he needed to personally ask and get an answer. However, the old Wind Elemental answered even though Cale didn’t ask.
‘The Dragon who took one gulp mumbled to himself. ‘This is enough to last long enough,’ is what he said.’
This is enough to last long enough.
The meaning behind those words was obvious.
‘…Until we defeat the White Star.’
You just needed to put that at the end of that sentence.
This is enough, this is enough to last long enough until we defeat the White Star.
That was not something someone with the goal of living a long life would say.
It was also obvious what Eruhaben was trying to do by hiding the ancient artifact in his spatial dimension as well. He would definitely not use it for himself.
Cale put his hand on the doorknob. Wind was gathered in his hand.
The large iron gate slowly opened thanks to the wind.
Cale entered through the small gap. He said something to the group as he entered.
“You guys don’t come in.”
The group responded with odd expressions on their faces.
However, the door that opened slightly slammed shut again.
Cale looked at the closed gate before turning around.
He could see the large training ground.
Eruhaben, who no longer looked pale, was looking at him with a confused but smiling expression.
However, Cale started to frown as he asked.
“So this is how you’re going to act?”
It was an expression that crown prince Alberu would say was extremely disrespectful if he was here to see it.