“What is that?”
The approaching Tasha looked toward the badge in Cale’s hand.
“The Henituse badge.”
“…It doesn’t look like such a normal item though?”
She had never seen a badge vibrate like this. An item that did not give off any sense of magic or Elemental powers vibrating on its own like this was naturally eye-catching.
Tasha could see Cale start to smile at that moment.
The corners of the lips that leisurely went up seemed full of mischief.
“Why, do you want it?”
“No. I absolutely, definitely, do not want it.”
Tasha had gotten rid of all interest in the badge the moment she saw Cale’s smile.
Cale looked at her for a moment before turning back to the badge.
It was very difficult for others to identify any powers that were sealed with the ‘Embrace’ ability. In fact, it was close to impossible.
Cale shook the badge slightly as if to tell it to stop vibrating before putting it in his inner pocket and speaking to Tasha, Mary, and the Dark Elves around him.
“This is a bomb, a bomb. A time bomb.”
“…A time bomb?”
“Yes. It is currently ripening.”
Mary immediately took a step away from Cale.
Cale looked toward her as he had not expected this reaction, and the GPS-like voice started to speak from under the black hood.
“Young master-nim, I heard you telling the great and mighty Raon-nim to either run away from or beat down and destroy dangerous things.”
Raon who was no longer invisible clapped his two front paws together to agree with him.
“You must either run away from or beat down and destroy dangerous things as good Mary said!”
“That’s right. I believe that is correct. I could not beat you down and destroy you, young master-nim, so I stepped back.”
Cale could not see Mary’s face underneath the hood, but he responded with a blank expression after hearing her oddly satisfied voice.
“……I see. Thank you.”
“It was nothing.”
Cale, who had temporarily been at a loss for words because of Mary, flinched.
He heard a child’s voice.
He stuck a finger in his ear to clean it out.
“Why is there such a cute singing in this cold place?”
The cute child’s voice echoed from all directions.
“…Is there something like that snake here too?!”
“It’s a weird noise! We must cover our ears!”
Beacrox quickly covered his ears in shock while the children averaging nine-years-old looked around.
The Underground City was empty after the humans and the Dark Elves who could not fight had evacuated. The water was still flowing and the green plants were visible around them, but it had a cold and odd feeling.
Hearing a child’s singing in such an environment made the group who had been shocked because of the red snake tensely look around.
It was at that moment.
“It’s the alarm.”
Mary answered calmly like a GPS.
“We made it so that an alarm would go off throughout the Underground City thirty minutes before the dead mana smoke starts to rise in the desert.”
Cale could see Beacrox’s face turning as red as gochujang. He wanted to compare it to a better-known comparison like a tomato, but his face that instantly turned red reminded him more of gochujang.
He quietly walked over to Choi Han and whispered in his ear.
“Choi Han, doesn’t he look like gochujang?”
Choi Han barely managed to hold himself back from laughing out loud. However, he soon had to face Beacrox’s angry gaze.
Beacrox’s eyebrows twitched on his red face.
He had been bewitched by the snake.
Beacrox was embarrassed that he was tricked by something even the children would not be tricked by and sorry that he had almost put the Kittens in danger.
That was why he had overreacted to the alarm just now.
He changed that embarrassment to anger toward Choi Han.
Choi Han who received that gaze quickly ignored Beacrox. Cale who felt guilty about the situation slowly took a step away from Choi Han.
He then asked Mary a question.
“Why is it a child singing?”
Tasha responded to the question instead.
“We didn’t want the elderly or the children in the city to get scared if we had a loud or scary alarm. That is why we made it a bright and energetic voice. Isn’t it great?”
Forget great, it was even scarier.
Hearing a child singing in an empty city in the middle of the night…that was a scene straight out of a horror film.
However, Cale couldn’t share that sentiment. It was because Tasha continued to speak with an embarrassed expression.
“They recorded my singing when I was younger and have been using it ever since. Everybody said that I had a great singing voice.”
Cale who could not share his sentiments with the embarrassed Tasha quickly changed the mood.
Dead mana smoke would rise in the Land of Death for a few days after that time.
“What’s the White Star’s current status? No, where is he right now?”
“Ah, you see…”
Tasha started her report. Cale grabbed the golden top’s whip at the same time. He could then hear the Wind Elementals’ voices.
‘Long time no see. Destruction, chaos, love.’
‘It hasn’t even been a day, how is that a long time?’
Cale started to listen to Tasha and the three Wind Elementals’ reports.
“The White Star is currently investigating the center of the desert in two teams with the Bear King leading the other team.”
‘That’s right, that’s right! We didn’t see the Lion King though! The Illusionist wasn’t there either!’
Cale started to speak.
“The White Star and the Bear King. You’re saying they’re moving separately, right?”
“Yes, sir. There were also some strong individuals we had not seen until now.”
‘That’s right. We also saw some strong individuals who were not part of Arm, the Lion tribe, nor black mages. They all seemed to be people with unique abilities. Chaos, destruction, love.’
Cale had a pretty good idea about who they were.
‘I guess they are the bastards who were at Arm’s second secret base.’
Arm members wore black outfits with one white star and five red stars surrounding it.
Cale had noticed that many of the people roaming around the second secret base were not wearing Arm uniforms.
A portion of them must have come with him.
‘The second secret base was a place that was imitating the Dragon Slayer village. That must mean that the White Star gathered strong individuals from around the continent, similar to what the first Dragon Slayer had done.’
Cale made sure to remember that the White Star had another source of strength before wetting his lips with his tongue. It was at that moment.
‘Chaos! No, urgent! Urgent news!’
‘Cale, this is big!’
He heard the shocked Wind Elementals’ voices and could see a whirlwind surrounding Tasha. Tasha seemed to have heard something urgent from that wind.
She then started to smile.
“The White Star supposedly fell into the final trap!”
It was an urgent but excited voice.
Cale turned his head. He looked toward Tasha and the other Dark Elves who were covered in dust. They were all smiling.
‘Uhehehehehehe! Destruction, chaos, back, front, and sides!’
The Wind Elemental who had acted solemn was laughing in excitement. Both nervousness and anticipation filled the area.
“What is it? What is the plan? What is the final trap?”
Only Bud who didn’t know anything looked around in confusion. Mary approached him.
“The residents of the Underground City all worked together in order to create a trap before the White Star got here.”
This was the one thing that the entire Underground City had helped to do.
“…What is it?”
Bud was intrigued and asked with anticipation. Mary’s head that was covered by the robe turned toward Cale.
Bud quickly looked toward Cale as well. Cale didn’t answer Bud’s question and gave an order to the others.
“Everybody move out.”
The White Star was smart.
These past two days made him look really stupid, but he was actually quite smart.
Such a bastard was unable to find Cale in the desert. In that case, where would the White Star and his right arm, the Bear King start to look?
“It’s the final plan.”
Cale gave an order to the focused group.
“We will kill the White Star if possible. If not, we destroy.”
Bud’s eyes opened wide.
‘Destroy? Destroy the White Star? Or is there something else?’
Cale continued to speak at that moment.
“The other underground area. We will destroy that place.”
Bud’s jaws dropped.
He finally realized what it was that the residents of the Underground City helped to create.
His gaze moved around the underground area he was standing inside.
“…They created another place like this?”
They did all of that to drag one bastard in there?
Bud made eye contact with a smiling Tasha.
“It’s not the size of this Underground City but about half the size. Oh, and we did not create it for the White Star.”
The population inside the Underground City had grown exponentially through the years. The Dark Elves naturally increased their numbers in this peaceful environment, but the humans who had escaped from the Dubori territory had grown in numbers while staying in the Underground City as well.
The population of the Underground City grew even more as the Dubori territory became almost inhabitable due to the taxes the past few years. That was why they had decided to build a new Underground City three years ago.
The place they were in right now was large, but the residents who had to live in hiding in this city wanted a wide and pleasant area.
That was why they started to build a new city even though this Underground City was not at max capacity yet.
However, that plan had ended up failing.
Tasha recalled when that happened.
‘It was a major headache for the administrative officials. Of course, that was all before we met young master Cale.’
After they met young master Cale, to be more specific, after they participated in the Roan Kingdom’s war, the Dark Elves were able to roam freely above ground.
The escaped humans were able to stealthily head up with the Dark Elves to get some fresh air every so often.
“There is an underground area we didn’t finish building. We plan on using that this time.”
“Why did you stop in the middle?”
Tasha and the other Dark Elves smiled at Bud’s question. Tasha gave a short response.
“We realized it too late that the ground in that area could easily crumble.”
Bud’s eyes clouded over. He could see Cale starting to open his mouth again as he looked over.
The people in the empty Underground City started to move to their respective destinations.
* * *
“I found it.”
The White Star started to smile. He raised his only remaining hand to brush the sand away.
The mysterious desert where the sand is red during the day and black during the night. The White Star was able to find more of the hidden black entrance door as he brushed the black sand away.
The circular plate made of iron was locked shut and showed the depth of time.
“You finally found it.”
Bear King Sayeru who had been sitting next to the White Star was smiling as well. The two teams had gathered here after finding this spot.
Sayeru looked toward the White Star and asked.
“Can you feel the power of earth?”
Sayeru instantly started to frown but the White Star’s smile became even thicker.
“I never felt the attribute of the ancient power right away for any of the ancient White Star’s powers. They were always hiding and I could only feel it once the obstacles disappeared.”
The White Star lifted the hand that was brushing the sand away and touched his opposing shoulder. Only a wrapped up stump was there instead of an arm.
“The fact that I cannot feel the power of earth means that Cale Henituse has not acquired that power yet.”
Sayeru finally nodded his head and brushed the door with his palm. He too was using his one remaining hand. His hand then stopped somewhere.
The handle to the circular iron gate was broken. There was also the debris of the broken chain by the iron gate.
Anybody would be able to tell that someone had gone inside and broken the handle in order to make it difficult for others to enter.
“They weren’t in the sky nor on the ground.”
Cale and Choi Han. The Dark Elves, necromancer, and Cale’s other group members as well. They had searched the sky and the desert for them but did not manage to find them.
“The only thing left is under the ground. They must be underground.”
Sayeru turned toward the White Star and asked.
“What do you want to do?”
Sayeru gestured toward their subordinates after hearing the White Star’s response. Some of the Lions quickly came over and lifted the heavy iron gate.
The iron gate was lifted completely while making a chilling noise.
A large circular path appeared. That path was heading deep underground and they could not see properly because it was so dark.
However, it seemed quite wide and sturdy for a path in a land where nobody lived.
There must be a reason for it.
Sayeru looked toward the White Star with excitement.
“What should we do, head right in?”
It was at that moment. The White Star started to frown.
“What is it?”
The White Star suddenly crouched toward the ground and put his hand through the sand.
“What are you doing?”
The White Star closed his eyes without responding to Sayeru. He then started to speak with confusion.
“…Why is there dead mana flowing out through the sand?”
“What? Dead mana? I don’t feel it.”
Midnight had passed and it was a new day.
The dead mana smoke was slowly rising from the black sands in the desert. The White Star was the first to notice the small amounts that were rising to start.
However, he soon realized that the rising dead mana smoke was getting thicker. He thought that it would soon be at a level that others could notice it and a level that would be dangerous for normal people.
The White Star’s eyes soon clouded over and he licked his lips before mumbling to himself again.
“This could end up being very advantageous for me.”
It was at that moment.
On a sand hill far from the White Star…
A tiny skeleton monster made of black bones so that it was hard to distinguish from the black sand was observing the White Star.
The small skeleton monster that was the size of a rat was buried under the sand and not moving at all.
However, the black lights in the spots where the skeleton monster’s eyes should have been were transmitting what it was seeing to its master.
“The White Star has arrived. He ripped the entrance door open.”
Cale smiled at Mary’s report.