“What are you suddenly talking about?”
The White Star asked Mock as he observed him.
Mock became nervous after hearing his voice but quickly responded.
“I come with some useful information.”
“Yes, your majesty.”
A smile appeared on the White Star’s face.
“Is it information that you gathered without my knowledge?”
Mock’s shoulders slightly shook.
He slowly raised his bowed waist and looked at the White Star.
The White Star’s non-masked face and his stoic eyes were looking at him.
‘…I feel this every time, but it’s too different.’
Mock became tense every time he saw the White Star’s face without a mask.
Of course, he had not seen it many times.
‘This is the third time.’
Even Mock who had served him as his liege for a long time had only seen it three times.
It was a special moment that came every so often on a schedule. His face was only visible during those times.
It just happened to be right now when he visited this time.
When he had his mask on and when he didn’t…
The White Star’s demeanor felt too different.
That was why Mock was daring enough to seek a Duke position but did not dare to become king.
Mock peeked toward the tub the White Star was dipping in.
It was full of a black liquid.
The White Star looked peaceful dipping in a tub of dead mana.
‘What a vicious human.’
Mock quickly stopped thinking that the White Star was a vicious human before bowing again.
“My apologies, your majesty.”
There was no need to say anything else. It was better not to make excuses.
The White Star opened his mouth again.
“What is this weakness of Cale Henituse that you brought me?”
“…Do you know about the black castle inside the Forest of Darkness?”
‘The Forest of Darkness.’
The White Star’s eyes sparkled the moment he heard that, but Mock who was bowing could not see that.
“No, I do not know about the black castle.”
Mock continued to bow as he offered the document forward.
“Please take a look at this.”
The document that Duke Fredo had created that he had received from Naru…
Mock had used that information to create this new document.
It was so that he could get all the merits for it.
“Bring it here.”
Mock approached the White Star and handed him the document.
The document was slowly flipped page by page and an odd smile was on the White Star’s face as he read through it.
Mock could see the tired eyes of the man who had lived numerous lives for the past 1,000 years slowly starting to light up.
That made him certain that he could proceed with this plan.
It was based on his intuition from serving the White Star as his liege for a long period of time.
The document was closed.
“It looks good.”
The White Star handed the document back to Mock after saying that.
Mock carefully took the document and stood there with his head down.
The White Star looked out the window for a moment as he started to think.
“He is my fated enemy.”
One side had the Demon World. The other side had the gods.
“We are people who were chosen by different transcended beings.”
He stood up from the tub.
The black liquid did not fall down and swirled around his body.
“But he and I are different.”
The White Star’s eyes no longer looked tired.
“A transcended being. I will become a transcended being myself. However, he will not be able to become a god.”
The White Star started to smile.
He turned away from the window and looked down at Mock.
“Count, proceed as you’ve planned, however.”
“Don’t let it hinder my greater plan.”
“Thank you for trusting me, your majesty.”
Mock was truly thankful.
“Then I will take my leave now, your majesty.”
Mock started to walk toward the door. He heard the White Star’s nonchalant voice as he walked.
“Did it say you were going to drag Naru into it?”
“Yes, your majesty.”
“Please make sure he does not get hurt.”
Mock looked toward the White Star.
He had a picturesque expression on his face.
“I understand, your majesty.”
“And also see if he can be a useful subject.”
Mock’s shoulders flinched. He looked back toward the White Star.
The White Star still had a warm expression on his face, but his voice just sounded cold to Mock.
“Based on what I saw this time, he seemed to have the potential to become as strong as Duke Fredo. That is why you should let him take charge when it is not dangerous in order to see if he has what it takes.”
Mock started to think.
“Naru is the Endable Kingdom’s future.”
‘You mean you need a strong subordinate rather than that he is the future of the Endable Kingdom.’
Mock was the only old man among the first nobles.
He had lived for a long time.
That was why he had his years of experience.
“I will definitely keep that in mind, your majesty.”
He bowed to the White Star but did not trust him.
“I will definitely return with results to satisfy you.”
“Good. You may leave.”
“Yes, your majesty.”
Mock carefully opened the door and stepped out.
The door closed with a quiet noise.
The White Star looked at the closed door before dipping back into the tub.
One of the walls moved and created a path after he called out. Chief Priest Gersey walked out of the path while carefully holding a white mask that was wrapped in a white cloth.
“Yes, your majesty.”
“Didn’t Count Mock come up with a good plan?”
“It does seem that way. We will be able to calm the noble awaiters’ complaints if we go with the Count’s plan.”
Gersey and the White Star made eye contact.
A gentle smile appeared on the Chief Priest’s face.
“We should be able to carry on with the festival without any issues as well.”
Gersey sternly added on.
“There should be no issues with our grand vision.”
The White Star started to close his eyes after hearing that and lowered his body deep into the tub.
Gersey quietly moved back after seeing his action as he continued to speak.
“I will bring you the mask when it is time, sire.”
The White Star closed his eyes completely once his body was deep inside the tub.
The night continued on that way.
* * *
Cale touched the top button of his shirt as his neck felt a bit stuffy.
A purple-eyed boy was frowning at him as he stood in front of the mirror.
And past the boy’s shoulder… Duke Fredo was lying on the bed looking sick.
Fredo started to speak again after hearing no response from Cale.
“Are you going to the grand assembly hall now?”
Fredo looked at Naru/Cale’s back and started to shake his head.
“My goodness, my son’s answers are all so short.”
Cale just ignored him and headed toward the bedroom door.
He was pretending to be a filial son who had spent all night nursing his unconscious father before finishing his preparations and heading toward the castle to see the results of his motion.
Cale heard Fredo’s voice again before he started to turn the doorknob.
“Do not look down on the White Star.”
“…What do you mean?”
“The mask that he is always wearing. That is an item from the Demon World. Only the White Star and Chief Priest Gersey know about its powers.”
The mask truly did come over from the Demon World.
Cale who was looking at the door without turning around starting to think about the excommunicated priestess Cage.
Fredo continued to speak at that moment.
“The White Star is completely different with the mask and without the mask.”
Fredo’s gaze sank as he looked at Cale’s back.
“His face without the mask shows the appearance of a man who truly has lived over and over again for 1,000 years.”
His tired and stoic gaze truly revealed itself when he took the mask off.
That was when the White Star’s true self was revealed as well.
“Of course, he cannot take the mask off very often until he becomes a member of the Demonic race. He can only take it off during special times. This is something the White Star and Gersey know. The Deputy Chief Priest is the only one other than the two of them who knows about this.”
Fredo also knew about this.
Basically, Fredo was saying that he knew about this because he was working with the Deputy Chief Priest.
Cale’s gaze became sharp for a moment as he looked at the door before returning to normal as he started to speak.
“I don’t look down on anyone.”
After realizing this new side of Duke Fredo as it related to the members of the Ranger Brigade, Cale was now paying attention to everything.
Cale turned around and looked at Fredo.
“Anyway, I will keep what you just said on my mind.”
Fredo just laughed and said goodbye as if he could not do anything about Cale who had nonchalantly responded to his warning.
“Okay then. Have a safe trip, my son.”
Cale ignored him and walked out of the bedroom.
The bedroom door soon closed and Fredo started to mumble to himself while looking at the door.
“Hmm. I hope he really does keep it on his mind.”
The masked White Star and the unmasked White Star.
The difference between the two was something you had to experience yourself to know.
They truly were different.
“It feels as if they are different people.”
Fredo decided he would describe it better for Cale once he returned before getting out of bed.
He lightly stretched before heading toward a wall without a mirror.
His finger pushed on a part of the wall.
There was someone who was secretly watching him while invisible.
That being recalled what Cale told him early that morning.
‘I really can’t trust him. He seems like a good bastard to his subordinates, but I don’t think he is a good person.’
His invisible chubby front paws quickly covered his mouth.
The owner of those paws… Raon held back the words that he accidentally almost blurted out and just said it to himself internally.
‘Our human truly is smart when it comes to things like this!’
An arch-shaped path appeared on the wall Fredo pressed on.
Fredo walked down the staircase inside the path.
‘Human! I, the great and mighty Raon Miru will figure everything out!’
Raon made sure Fredo walked all the way down before stealthily heading toward the mirror.
He tapped on it very quietly.
It was so quiet that someone with higher than normal hearing would need to be focusing very hard in order to hear it.
Raon then quickly but carefully started to follow Fredo down the stairs.
‘Raon. Of course, your safety is the top priority.’
Raon clearly remembered Cale’s words so he prepared a spell in order to escape at any moment if needed before flying down.
A moment later…
The mirror opened.
A person who had higher than normal hearing and was focusing harder than ever before came through the mirror and into the bedroom.
‘Raon gave me the sign properly. There really is nobody in here.’
That person was Choi Han.
Choi Han confirmed that nobody was in the bedroom before quietly looking at the open path and stealthily starting to move.
‘Choi Han. You find an opening to search the bedroom. Gather any and all useful information.’
Choi Han followed Cale’s order to search the bedroom without making any noises.
His movements were so stealthy that even the butler outside the door did not realize he was there.
As for Cale, he followed Fredo’s trusted subordinate Solena and got on the carriage.
Cale leaned on the seat of this now-familiar carriage as Solena started to speak.
“To the castle.”
Solena ordered the driver who started to lead the carriage to the white castle.
Cale leaned on the back of the seat and looked out the window.
‘When he is wearing the mask and not wearing the mask… He seems very different?’
He was thinking about what Fredo had told him.
Fredo didn’t know this, but Cale saying, ‘I will keep that in mind,’ meant that he would remember it more seriously than anything else.
It meant that he would record it.
‘An item from the Demon World…’
The White Star and his white mask.
‘Looks like I need to investigate a bit.’
Cale started to think about the excommunicated priestess Cage with whom he was supposed to chat later tonight.
She should know something about it.
The carriage slowly approached the castle as these plans moved together to create a picture in Cale’s mind.
* * *
“I will now announce the results of the motion brought forth by Naru Von Ejellan!”
Count Mock shouted inside the grand assembly hall louder than ever before.
100 peoples’ gazes were focused on him right now.
“The result is the ‘Destroy the Black Castle’ plan.”
The grand assembly hall became rowdy at that moment.
Most of the people could not hide their shock at this unexpected revelation of a plan that seemed odd to be the results of a motion.
However, the people who knew about what happened last night were all looking at Count Mock with different gazes.
There would be no more grand assemblies after this one until after the festival.
This was the last grand assembly before the festival.
“The details of the plan are simple.”
Count Mock revealed this ‘festival’ of a battle that 96 people had been wanting for a long time.
“We will destroy Cale Henituse’s base.”