Duke Fredo’s grand residence.
All Vampires related to that residence were currently in the first-floor hall chatting with each other.
“What’s going on?”
“Who knows? We’re all here because they told us to all gather.”
All of them looked nervous.
The ones in charge of cooking, cleaning, and even the guards. Beyond them, the vassals who were responsible for handling everything big and small that happens in the Ejellan Duchy.
“…But the warrior-nims aren’t here?”
“You’re right. I think everybody except them is here.”
The large hall almost seemed small as everybody except the warriors was gathered here.
Actually, it was a bit small.
Some of them had opened the doors to the room connected to the hall and were inside there as they looked around.
“The Butler-nim isn’t here either.”
“I’m sure that the Butler-nim went to escort young master Naru-nim!”
Young master Naru-nim.
The Vampires around him stopped talking for a moment after hearing that.
The reason they all looked nervous…
The reason for that came out of one of the Vampires’ mouths.
“…Do you think that they have to tell us something related to the Duke-nim?”
That voice sounded full of concern.
He looked toward his close friend who was not saying anything and started to whisper.
“You saw the healers urgently rushing in just now. Something, what if something-”
“Hey, shut up!”
He finally looked around after hearing his close friend shout.
He looked into the eyes of the others who looked as nervous as he looked and shut up.
The White Star and the other nobles had visited after young master Naru-nim returned yesterday.
Things had been peaceful since then.
They were all relieved that at least young master Naru-nim was here while the Duke-nim was unconscious.
That was why they had started the day a bit more relaxed than yesterday.
‘Yes, we were a bit relieved.’
The Vampire who had shut up after his friend scolded him clenched his eyes shut.
They had just seen healers rushing to Duke Fredo-nim’s bedroom led by the butler.
He had not seen young master Naru-nim all day and Solena-nim was not visible either.
‘I have a bad feeling about this.’
Was something going to happen?
That uncertainty was slowly creeping up in the minds of all of the Vampires inside this grand residence.
The Ejellan Duchy, no, Duke Fredo, was an extremely precious liege for them.
It was at that moment.
The staircase heading down to the first-floor hall.
Naru Von Ejellan appeared at that spot.
Behind him were Solena and Butler Melundo as they slowly walked down the stairs.
The three Vampires walking down the stairs looked more serious than ever.
The Vampires in the hall stood up straight and stopped talking.
‘This is the first time.’
‘I’ve never seen the young master-nim looking so serious……!’
Naru Von Ejellan always had a gentle smile on his face.
His face was stiff, unlike usual.
The Vampires’ hearts started to thump a bit louder.
Naru stopped at the middle of the stairs.
‘There’s so many of them.’
Naru, no, Cale was slowly looking around at the Vampires standing inside the hall at the bottom of the stairs.
Well, the hall and the nearby rooms and the kitchen.
Everybody inside this grand residence was gathered here.
Everybody except the warriors.
Cale recalled a piece of information at this moment.
‘It’s been about 20 or so years since the Endable Kingdom was created.’
It was the information that Duke Fredo had given him.
He had said the following as well.
‘That means that the White Star is barely over twenty years old in this life.’
Cale had learned that the Endable Kingdom was started when the White Star’s current life had started.
Of course, the White Star would have prepared for the creation of this kingdom in his previous life. It had started about 50 years ago.
That meant that this Endable Kingdom had a history of about 70 years, including the preparation time.
Cale opened his mouth to speak.
“Thank you all for gathering together even though you may be busy.”
The people in the hall raised their heads to look at him.
Cale was looking at their gazes as he recalled a portion of the conversation he just had with Duke Fredo before coming down here.
‘Yes, my friend. Are you really planning on fighting against, ‘Cale Henituse’?’
Cale had shrugged his shoulders as Duke Fredo asked that.
‘No? Why would I fight?’
Duke Fredo had a relaxed smile after hearing Cale say that he wasn’t going to fight as he nodded his head.
‘Okay then, my son. Do as you please. Your father will cheer on his son’s dream!’
‘How about you drop the act?’
‘But this is quite entertaining.’
Cale snorted at Fredo’s response and casually asked.
‘I guess you don’t like to fight?’
‘I hate fighting.’
That response came without a second of hesitation.
Cale found it odd such that he subconsciously asked.
Fredo asked a question instead of answering the question.
‘What did you see on the streets on your way to this house?’
Cale was about to respond right away before choosing to remain silent for a moment after seeing Fredo’s gaze.
Fredo’s gaze seemed more serious than ever.
Cale answered honestly after sensing his seriousness.
‘Everything was the same.’
It was the same.
‘Here and the Roan Kingdom. They looked the same.’
What he saw in the Henituse territory and the Endable Kingdom’s Section 1 were the same.
Cale chuckled and started to speak after realizing this.
‘You made Solena take me through there on purpose to show me that, didn’t you?’
‘My son is so smart.’
Fredo also laughed and continued to speak.
‘It was a father’s desire to teach his son something. That was why I showed you the path to this grand residence.’
Fredo turned toward the window as he continued to speak.
‘As you mentioned, everything is the same. This place and the outside world.’
Although they each had differences if you took a closer look, they were similar at a distance.
They shared the common factor of living.
‘Us Vampires had to live in hiding for generations such that we could never settle anywhere.’
Fredo recalled how things were more than twenty years ago.
‘I said the following to the Vampires as we created our home here.’
That moment remained vivid on his mind.
‘ ‘I will create a hometown that all of you can always return to in the future.’ ’
He wanted to create a hometown, a place of their own for the Vampires.
‘I think I did what I needed to do by creating a place for Vampires to settle down, a place that they can always return to if needed.’
He turned back toward Cale.
Fredo looked into Cale’s eyes as he sternly continued.
‘I do not wish to shed any more blood.’
Cale finally realized what this enemy, Duke Fredo, whom he had been suspicious about, truly wanted.
He understood why he wanted the King position.
He understood why this Duke lived in a 12 years old boy’s appearance.
He understood why Fredo tried to befriend Cale, his group, and even Alberu.
He understood it all.
Cale was silent and Fredo continued to speak while looking at Cale.
‘And it is just my intuition, but I do not think that the White Star truly cares about the Endable Kingdom.’
On the other hand, Cale could tell that Fredo truly cared about the Endable Kingdom.
Fredo looked south from his home that was located on the northern part of the floor.
He could see a white palace.
The center of Section 1. It was the White Star’s palace.
‘The White Star and Chief Priest Gersey. I can feel it. Neither of them treasures this place.’
A bitter scoff flowed out of Fredo’s mouth.
‘As for the Dark Elf old man and the knight, they are quite greedy, but they are attached to this kingdom.’
The two among the first four nobles who were greedy for power and influence.
Fredo did not hate them.
‘I do not hate them. It is because I can feel that they consider this place to be home.’
Cale realized it at that moment.
‘I can trust this guy a little bit.’
Also that it was time to tell him.
Cale started to speak.
‘The White Star has been cursed.’
‘I know. Isn’t it the curse of reincarnation? Of course, it might be a blessing to him.’
Cale continued to speak and Fredo started to frown for the first time.
‘The White Star cannot cherish anything. The moment he cherishes someone or something, he loses that thing. That is his other curse.’
He was silent for a while before saying just one thing.
‘…This Endable Kingdom was just a means to an end for him. Everything is just a means to an end.’
Cale thought about how Fredo’s expression had looked as he said that before he stopped thinking about him.
Instead, he started to speak to the Vampires looking at him.
“Father is currently in a coma.”
Someone let out a gasp.
“And we do not know when he will wake up.”
The atmosphere instantly changed.
However, Cale continued to speak before anybody could say anything.
The boy’s voice that had always been gentle calmly caused a ruckus today.
“Father told me this.”
The owner of this household.
The boy who was the son of that owner was talking to them.
“ ‘I will create a hometown that all of you can always return to in the future.’ ”
Silence filled the area.
The Vampires started to tear up.
Everybody other than the Vampires who were born in the last twenty years or so remembered those words.
They started to think about Duke Fredo.
There was a reason why every Vampire in the Eastern and Western continents followed Duke Fredo and cherished him.
Fredo Von Ejellan.
He always kept his word to the Vampires.
Duke Fredo always spoke the truth to Vampires who specialized in camouflage, stealth, and escaping, and had created a place where they did not need any of those things.
They came here not trusting the White Star, but trusting Duke Fredo.
They were given a peaceful life as a result.
An extremely precious peaceful life.
“I, Naru Von Ejellan, give this order as the acting patriarch.”
His son was talking to the Vampires in this house right now.
The Vampires could feel it.
These words were not just for them in here, but for all Vampires.
That was what their intuitions were telling them.
The boy they always just saw as a little kid was speaking calmly but more confidently than anybody else.
“Until my father wakes back up…”
This was a precarious situation.
“Trust me and follow me.”
Cooks, maids, guards. All of the Vampires living in the Endable Kingdom clenched their fists.
“Some bad things may happen. It might become chaotic.”
Cale looked toward the Vampires looking at him as he continued.
“But trust our Ejellan household and follow me.”
He was serious.
Duke Fredo was someone he could trust.
‘Cale Henituse. You can do as you please. However, you must remember that this place is the same as the Roan Kingdom.’
‘Isn’t that obvious? Places people live are pretty much always the same.”
‘Yes, it is obvious.’
Fredo had said the following.
‘I do not want this peace to be destroyed because of the White Star’s greed. He will probably start a war against the Eastern and the Western continents. However, the Vampires and all different races inside this kingdom have already suffered a lot prior to making this place our home. Most of the regular citizens welcome this peace and are happy. You can tell that that is the case if you walk the streets.’
Fredo was able to walk freely around this kingdom, get close to the citizens, and see their lives because he could become Naru, a young and gentle boy.
Vampires, Dark Elves, and the other races.
All of their lives were normal here.
‘I must protect this peace. That is my responsibility for the people who trust and follow me.’
Fredo’s voice echoed in Cale’s ears.
Cale spoke honestly as Cale and not as Naru.
“I will fend off the people who disturb your peace with my own hands, so do not shake even if it becomes chaotic.”
The Vampires clenched their fists.
This was it.
The Ejellan household was such a place.
“Remember these words from today and continue to live as if things were normal. Then everything will have passed.”
Cale then walked through the hall and headed to the main door of the house.
The door slowly opened and Cale walked out.
There was a black carriage outside to take him to the palace.
Cale got on the carriage.
He turned his gaze.
Solena got on the carriage with him and quietly whispered.
“Thank you very much.”
He could sense her gratitude in her voice.
“No need to thank me. I’m going to cause a shitshow from here onward.”
According to the plan, Duke Fredo will stay in his coma for a while during which things would happen to cause the White Star headaches.
There won’t be a war inside the Endable Kingdom, but it will become noisy.
Cale just did what he needed to do to make sure the Vampires who would be even more flustered because their leader was in a coma would not cause trouble.
A gentle smile appeared on Solena’s face.
“It’s okay, young master-nim. We will be able to carry on as if everything was normal without being shaken.”
She stopped for a moment and started to close the carriage door.
Solena could see the Vampires heading back to work.
Their strides looked much less concerned about their patriarch’s wellbeing.
The carriage door closed and she resumed talking to Cale underneath Naru’s appearance.
“And that is why I am thankful.”
She felt that he was sincere.
Cale had been sincere when he said that he would stop the people from disturbing their peace.
“…I don’t think I did anything that really deserves gratitude?”
Solena smiled at Cale who was looking at her with a brusque expression that seemed to be asking what she was talking about before opening the door toward the driver.
She then addressed the driver.
“Let’s go to the palace.”
The driver responded energetically and the carriage started to move toward the palace.
* * *
The center of Section 1 of the Endable Kingdom’s capital.
The white palace that was said to be the White Star’s residence.
The center of that palace, in the grand assembly room currently filled with 101 people.
‘Shall I get started?’
Cale stealthily looked around as if he was a hunter with his prey in front of him.
Of course, he just looked like an awkward and innocent boy who was not yet used to this type of assembly.