Cale looked at the portrait as he touched his face with his hand.
He looked like Naru right now, but he was thinking about his past appearance.
“…We do look similar, right?”
The person in the portrait looked oddly similar to Kim Rok Soo.
Hair color, eye color, nose, facial structure…
Everything was different, however, for some odd reason, the overall feel of the face was almost identical to Kim Rok Soo.
He looked like Kim Rok Soo with different hair and eye colors and slightly thicker eyes, nose, ears, and mouth.
Cale turned toward Choi Han.
“…Yes, he does seem very similar. I’ve seen your face.”
Choi Han agreed without any hesitation.
He recalled how Kim Rok Soo had looked in Choi Jung Soo’s memories.
The White Star’s portrait reminded him of exactly when Kim Rok Soo had been in his early twenties.
“That’s right. You’ve seen my face.”
Cale looked back at the portrait.
“Cale-nim. Do you think that this is a coincidence?”
Cale could not respond to Choi Han’s question right away.
November 8th was an important date for a lot of people already.
Then there was how Kim Rok Soo and the White Star looked and felt similar.
Furthermore, the White Star and Cale Henituse’s hair and eyes were similar in color.
‘All of us also have some sort of relationship with the God of Death.’
Cale sighed after suddenly having a thought.
‘If Choi Jung Soo had come here as the God of Death originally intended instead of me, Choi Jung Soo would have found it quite difficult after seeing the White Star’s face.’
Based on Choi Jung Soo’s personality, he would have been shaken after seeing the White Star’s face.
However Cale, well, Kim Rok Soo, was not as soft.
Especially when it came to dealing with himself.
It didn’t matter whether their faces looked similar.
“I don’t give a shit whether it was a coincidence or inevitability.”
Raon who had been focused on Choi Han and Cale shouted energetically at that moment.
“Human, I don’t think Fredo felt that way!”
“Fredo had written something underneath where he placed your portrait and the White Star’s portrait side by side!”
“What did he write?”
Raon had a stiff expression as he sternly repeated the words.
“Coincidences happening over and over must mean that they were inevitable.”
Choi Han quietly groaned.
Raon and Choi Han both heard Cale’s firm voice at that moment.
“What bullshit about inevitability when even fate can be changed.”
The corners of Cale’s lips started to twist as multiple emotions roared inside him.
Lee Soo Hyuk and Choi Jung Soo had died instead of Kim Rok Soo who was supposed to die.
Fate could be changed.
As someone who was the result of a changed fate, Kim Rok Soo didn’t care about inevitabilities nor fate since he just had to change it again.
He just had to change it in a way he thought was right.
“Human, something is weird.”
He nonchalantly responded to Choi Han and Raon who seemed worried about him.
“There’s no need to think that it is weird. Just continue doing what we’ve been doing.”
Choi Han could not let it go as easily as Cale had done.
An odd sensation overwhelmed him.
It felt as if death was near him. It was peaceful right now, but the tension of standing in the vanguard and facing the enemy pushed down on his shoulders.
However, Choi Han could not share his sentiments properly.
It was because a sharp noise started to ring.
That was the beginning.
Multiple other noises filled the room as well.
Cale looked toward the table.
Four of the five video communication devices on the table were glowing.
“Let’s take care of those first.”
Choi Han decided to share his sentiments later and stepped back.
‘I’ll need to talk to Miss Cage about it since it relates to the God of Death.’
Choi Han decided that he needed to meet up with Cage on his own at least once. Cale tended to be slow when it came to things related to himself, so he had to do something.
‘I’ll need to discuss it with Rosalyn too.’
Someone like Rosalyn who was knowledgeable but did not blab about things was the perfect type of person to discuss this kind of issue.
Cale gave an order to Raon as Choi Han was organizing his thoughts.
“Raon, connect them.”
Video communication devices soon surrounded Cale, who was sitting on a chair.
The four video communication devices started to vibrate before screens popped up on top of them.
“Human, I connected all of them!”
He heard Raon’s voice followed by different voices coming from the video communication devices.
– It’s been a while.
The ancient Dragon, Eruhaben.
– It’s our first time gathering like this.
The mage, Rosalyn.
– It’s been a while. It is nice to see everyone. I am happy.
The necromancer, Mary.
– Hoho. I’m glad to see everyone looking healthy. Although one sir’s face is unfamiliar.
The shaman, Gashan.
His friends’ faces started to appear on the screens.
– We’ve all been split apart for a while.
Rosalyn smiled as she said that and the others nodded their heads in agreement.
She looked at Cale’s face and the others’ faces visible on the screens as she continued to speak.
– Young master Cale, that look seems to suit you well too.
Cale shrugged his shoulders at Rosalyn’s comment.
Mary chimed in at that moment.
– You look cute. You look young enough that you won’t look like a jackass even if you frown. It looks great.
Cale pretended not to hear what Mary said.
– I guess he is cute. Haha!
– Tsk. You unlucky bastard.
Cale pretended not to hear Gashan and Eruhaben either.
Rosalyn who had been smiling while looking at Cale suddenly became serious.
– So, you are saying that our future Vampire leader is going to charge into the Henituse territory?
Cale looked into her now cold eyes and started to speak.
“To be more specific, into the Black Castle in the Forest of Darkness.”
– I guess that is why it is a problem.
That was the case.
That was the reason it was a problem.
The Forest of Darkness was pretty much home to Cale.
Furthermore, Sheritt and the Dragon half-blood were currently in the Black Castle. The non-warrior Tigers and the still young Blue Wolf children were at the nearby Harris Village as well.
Cale recalled the conversation he already had with Sheritt.
Rosalyn looked at Cale and continued to speak.
– Young master Cale, there must be a reason we’ve all gathered together, right?
Everybody could see Cale starting to smile at that moment.
“Please come to our house that’s been there for a while.”
Our house that’s been there for a while.
Before the Black Castle moved to the Forest of Darkness…
The house located underneath that area…
He heard the Scary Giant Cobblestone’s voice.
– Are you talking about my house?
Everybody return to the Super Rock Villa.
Cale smiled as he added on.
“Let’s see everybody face to face for the first time in a long while.”
‘Hey White Star, do you think you guys are the only ones with an underground house? Do you think the Endable Kingdom is the only thing underground? I have one too.’
“Human! You look weird having such an expression on your face while looking like a kid!”
Cale let Raon’s comments in one ear and out the other.
The fifth video communication device that had been left alone on the table started to glow at that moment.
“Human! It’s a call from the Roan Kingdom!”
Cale stood up from his seat at that moment.
The preparations were ready.
He saw the center of the room glowing and started to speak.
“I guess it’s time to go see Duke Fredo.”
* * *
Knock knock knock.
Solena looked toward the door and then to the bed after hearing someone knock.
Duke Fredo who had been leaning on the head of the bed immediately lay down and closed his eyes.
The door then opened.
“Isn’t it annoying to greet me every time you see me?”
Solena stopped the greeting she was about to give and welcomed Naru/Cale in an awkward position.
The door closed and Duke Fredo who had his eyes closed started to speak.
“My son, you’re coming so often.”
Fredo opened his eyes and looked toward Cale after hearing Cale calling him in a low voice.
Although Cale looked like his young self, it felt different looking at him as someone else was on the inside.
“My son, what is it?”
Cale sat down on the chair right next to Duke Fredo’s bed where Solena had been sitting earlier.
“Hey Duke, do you know who the scariest person is?”
It sounded like a random question, but Fredo played along.
“Who is it?”
The corners of Cale’s lips started to go up.
He pointed to Fredo who was lying on the bed.
“The person who knows everything you know.”
Fredo’s mouth instantly shut.
‘What does he mean by that?’
Fredo’s eyes were thoroughly observing Cale’s expression.
“Why do you keep observing me like that?”
Fredo stopped observing Cale after hearing that. Instead, he bluntly asked.
“What are your intentions behind saying that?”
“What are my intentions?”
Cale got up from the chair.
He grabbed the chair and dragged it with him.
The chair stopped moving. Cale stopped there as well.
He had moved to the wall without a mirror.
He then raised his hand and started to touch a spot on the wall.
‘Human! I saw everything!’
Cale pushed the part Raon described without any hesitation.
A hole appeared on the wall and the passage started to open.
Cale could hear Solena’s shocked voice behind him. However, Cale just stood there with his arms crossed and quietly waited for the passage to open completely.
And once the passage fully opened… The moment he saw the stairs heading down…
The chair was moved right in front of the passage.
Cale looked toward Fredo and sat down on the chair.
He then quietly observed Fredo.
Fredo started to frown.
“I guess I was too relaxed since it was my house.”
“I benefited a bit thanks to that.”
Cale started to smile.
“…What do you want?”
Fredo asked the smiling Cale who shook his head and started to speak.
“There’s something we need to do before that. We discussed deciding on this prior to the start of the Black Castle destruction plan.”
Fredo opened his mouth to respond, but Cale continued to speak without giving him an opening.
“The Black Castle is located in the Henituse territory. It is on the Roan Kingdom’s land. Attacking this place could be seen as creating a hostile relationship between the Endable Kingdom and the Roan Kingdom.”
A foreign kingdom’s troops entering another kingdom’s land without prior discussion was a declaration of war.
“We are crossing a bridge, a river that cannot be reversed.”
It was quite difficult to return to a positive relationship after creating a hostile relationship even once.
“The Endable Kingdom’s Duke Fredo who loves peace did not want to become enemies with the Roan Kingdom that is the strongest kingdom on the Western continent.”
Fredo had agreed with Cale’s plan but had expressed his concerns for attacking the Roan Kingdom.
“As a result, we decided to come to an agreement with the Roan Kingdom prior to commencing with the plan.”
Cale’s voice was the only voice talking inside the bedroom.
“Furthermore, he wanted to confirm that the Vampires who will be part of the Endable Kingdom’s troops invading the Henituse territory’s Forest of Darkness would be safe.”
According to Cale’s plan, the Endable Kingdom’s forces that would invade the Henituse territory would not be able to return as they pleased.
That was why Fredo was worried about his subordinates’ safety.
“In addition, he wanted to ask for help regarding the Vampires living on the Western continent.”
The Roan Kingdom had pretty good relationships with the other kingdoms throughout the Western continent.
That was why Duke Fredo wanted to discuss the Black Castle destruction plan while also asking for the Roan Kingdom’s assistance in matters related to the Vampires living on the Western continent.
Duke Fredo listened to Cale before starting to speak.
“…And the Roan Kingdom agreed to inform me of its desired compensation for working with me with all those issues. However, they have yet to tell us what they would like in return.”
Cale looked at him after hearing that comment.
“Yes, but all of this is also based on you becoming the king.”
In other words, everything they were discussing revolved around the White Star not becoming king and being taken out.
Fredo’s side had shared these things through Cale who had discussed it with the crown prince.
Fredo and Solena were waiting for the Roan Kingdom’s response regarding their cooperation and their requested compensation in return.
‘The Endable Kingdom cannot continue on its own.’
The Roan Kingdom’s cooperation would be quite beneficial for the Endable Kingdom’s future as Fredo planned.
It was a strong kingdom that had favorable views regarding races with the darkness attribute and had good relationships with other kingdoms.
That was why he had purposely discussed a lot of things in order to find a way to create a connection with the Roan Kingdom.
“…Did the Roan Kingdom issue their list of desired compensations?”
Fredo asked with a stiff expression and Cale nodded his head in response.
“Yes, The Roan Kingdom has shared what they would like in return.”
“What is it?”
Cale put up one finger at Fredo’s question.
“The first thing you must provide…”
If there was a first, then that meant that there were more after that as well.
Fredo wondered what they would ask for and how many things were on this list as he waited for Cale to explain.
Cale opened his mouth to speak at that moment.
“A Duke position will become vacant once you become king, right?”
Cale continued without any hesitation as Fredo’s eyes started to shake.
“Promote that to an Archduke. And then you’ll need to give that Archduke position to us.”
Fredo instantly started to frown.
“Are you planning on planting someone from the Roan Kingdom? Is the Roan Kingdom planning on interfering with the internal affairs of the Endable Kingdom?!”
His eyes were full of rage.
That position was lower than the king but had a lot of power and influence depending on the situation.
“I am not trying to sell the Endable Kingdom to the Roan Kingdom!”
“We have no plans on doing that.”
Fredo flinched after hearing Cale’s stern response.
“The person is not from the Roan Kingdom nor are they even a person.”
“…What do you mean?”
‘They aren’t even a person?’
“I mean that they are not human. The person who will obtain the Archduke position is a Dark Elf.”
Fredo listened to Cale’s calm voice before thinking about the Dark Elves related to Cale and the Roan Kingdom.
Those strong individuals had shown themselves many times in the battles against the White Star.
“…Are you talking about the Dark Elves who cooperated with the Roan Kingdom? The woman who was the leader of those Dark Elves?”
“That Dark Elf is already a citizen of the Roan Kingdom.”
Tasha was a Dark Elf whose merits were already accepted at the Roan Kingdom’s awards ceremony after the war.
She did not fit the condition that Cale was talking about.
“You don’t need to know who it is right now.”
“…Are you saying you will not tell me right now? Do you think we can have a proper discussion like that?”
Fredo could see Cale staring at him with a piercing gaze after hearing that question.
“Duke Fredo, you’ve been hiding a lot of things from me too.”
Fredo finally saw the passage behind the sitting Cale’s shoulder.
He then clearly heard Cale’s voice again.
“The White Star and I are an inevitable pairing. Is that how you phrased it?”
Fredo looked troubled.
“I’m quite suspicious about your intentions about bringing me into this.”
Fredo started to frown as Cale continued to speak in a gentle voice.
He let out a deep sigh.
“I’ll hear you out first.”
He stopped being angry at Cale and looked ready to listen.
“Good. You need to listen first so that we can negotiate any excessive demands.”
‘Negotiate? Not force, but negotiate?’
Fredo’s eyes clouded over. He looked back at Cale who nonchalantly commented.
“Of course, not with me.”
“I’m not going to negotiate with you?”
“Yes. Someone is here as the envoy to the Dark Elf who will take that Archduke position and as the proxy for his highness the crown prince to lead this discussion. Discuss the rest with that person.”
A shocked Fredo noticed Cale looking away from him and looking toward the mirror.
Cale started to speak again while looking at the full-body mirror on the wall.
“I thought you wanted to quickly take care of things so I brought a talented proxy -cum-diplomat.”
The moment Fredo scoffed in disbelief…
He heard a noise coming from the mirror.
Duke Fredo looked toward the passage that appeared once the mirror disappeared.
“My goodness. My son keeps pulling one over me.”
The anxiety was gone from Fredo’s face and he now looked calm.
‘He’s really setting the field for me.’
Cale had told him to negotiate.
He had thought that he would get to chat with a strong kingdom like the Roan Kingdom with Cale as the middleman, but the fact that he said to negotiate meant that they were considering him to be on equal footing.
‘Should I be thankful? Or am I being dragged into his plan?’
However, it was an opportunity.
It was a chance to speak with the person at the center of the Roan Kingdom’s power, the crown prince’s proxy.
Fredo then heard a voice that seemed to be made extremely low through magic.
“What an interesting passage.”
Fredo could see someone walking out of the secret passage.
Duke Fredo thoroughly observed him before starting to speak.
“…A Dark Elf half-blood?”
“No. My mother was the half-blood and I am her son.”
The quarter Dark Elf who crossed over with Choi Han guiding him was wearing a mask that covered from his nose to his forehead.
“Nice to meet you. My name is Bob and I am his highness, the crown prince’s proxy and also the person in charge of the crown prince’s information network.”
Cale pushed the corners of his lips down with his hand as he looked at the quarter Dark Elf wearing a mask that covered half his face who was speaking elegantly and respectfully.
His voice that was lower than usual thanks to Raon’s magic sounded quite serious, unlike his usual self.
‘…What’s with his name?! Why is it Bob?!’
Cale worked hard to hold himself back from sighing. He pointed to the quarter Dark Elf Bob.
“This is Bob hyung, one of my close hyungs. He is a talented hyung who works behind the scenes so nobody knows about him. You can consider Bob hyung to represent the will of his highness, the crown prince.”
Cale and the now Bob Alberu warmly smiled at each other.
Choi Han lowered his head to avoid seeing the two of them.