Cale’s family was naturally the first to greet him back home.
Cale’s body was turned to the left and right against his will.
Tap. Tap. Tap.
Cale’s shoulders, arms, face, and both hands were thoroughly inspected. Cale just had a blank expression during the entire process.
“Looks like you don’t have any serious injuries.”
Count Deruth inspected Cale for a long time before finally smiling in relief. Cale put on a soulless smile and fixed up his messed up sleeves.
Count Deruth was still strong because he still practiced with his sword every morning.
“How is your condition? Are you tired?”
“I am fine.”
Once Count Deruth was finished, Countess Violan approached Cale.
“I heard you have more people with you now.”
She was talking about the Wolf children and the Whale siblings. The Whale siblings currently looked completely different thanks to the Black Dragon’s magic.
“Yes, it somehow ended up that way.”
Cale could see the still flawless Violan’s eyes turning chilly. ( :O If I didn’t know any better, I’d say this is Beacrox’s mom! )
“…I heard they still have not caught the terrorists.”
“That is what I have heard as well.”
“Alright. That’ll do for now.”
Violan’s gaze turned to Count Deruth, who also looked back at her as they exchanged messages through their eyes. Cale wondered what they might be conveying, but pretended not to know of their silent conversation. Their gazes looked like they were going to do something big. Count Deruth started to smile gently as he started to speak to Cale.
“We can hear about the incident at the capital and your ancient power later, so go rest for now.”
“Yes, daddy.” ( I’m sorry, I just had to. It was the perfect opportunity. )
Cale could finally head to his room at the Count’s suggestion. However, there were more people holding him back. They were his younger siblings, Basen and Lily.
“Hyung-nim, how are you feel-.”
Cale turned away from his siblings and motioned to deputy butler Hans. Hans immediately approached them.
“Here you go.”
Cale handed the items he took from Hans to Basen and Lily.
“Fountain pen for you, and a sword for you.”
Cale had not forgotten about the items his siblings had asked him to get. He handed them their presents and looked at them before asking.
Basen’s face was stiff.
“I’m sure it was chaotic.”
“I still had to keep my promise.”
Basen listened to Cale’s emotionless response and stared at him before clenching onto the box with the fountain pen and starting to speak.
“I will study very hard. I will work for this territory’s administration and development.”
‘You have to be the next Count, so it will be great for you to study administration.’
It was a great mindset in Cale’s opinion. Cale started to smile while Basen hesitated for a moment before adding on.
“I will not do anything that will trouble you.”
“What do you mean?”
“Nothing, don’t worry about it.”
Basen did not say anything else after that. Cale looked toward Basen with curiosity before eventually turning away to look at his youngest sister, Lily Henituse.
The expression on this little 7-year-old’s face was oddly determined.
“I will become strong enough to lead our knight’s brigade and protect our territory. I will protect everyone.”
“Oh, I will be cheering you on.”
Basen with administration and Lily with the knights. The two of them will make the territory run properly. How great would this be for Cale? Cale caressed Lily’s head with a satisfied expression.
“You will make an awesome knight.”
“Thank you. I will make it so nobody has to get hurt.”
Cale stopped caressing her head and started to walk.
“I need to go get some rest now.”
“Hyung-nim, please rest well.”
“You must rest well in order to get better!”
Cale waved at the two children and headed toward his room. The two siblings watched Cale walk away for a long time.
Cale had returned to his room for the first time in a long time, but his room did not feel like it had been empty for a while.
The two kittens rolling around on the bed seemed to be very excited, but Cale could not even put those kittens in his eyes, as he saw who was waiting for him outside his bedroom and started to frown.
“…You’re going to be the one serving me?”
It was Chef Beacrox. Was he trying to stop his duty as the Second Chef and do Ron’s job? Beacrox ignored Cale’s questioning gaze and handed him a letter.
“It is a letter from my father.”
“He told me it was a report.”
Cale could see that the letter was not open. Although Ron had sent a letter through Hans when he had left, it seemed like he was now going to make his reports through his son.
“I set it up so Maes and the rest of the Wolf children will help out with the kitchen and serving.”
Beacrox’s shoulders flinched, but he managed to answer after a few seconds of silence.
He seemed to be very weak while walking away, but Beacrox was doing a good job with the Wolf children so far.
Cale closed the bedroom door and the Black Dragon immediately appeared.
“Our house is great. Our house is very very great.”
The Black Dragon jumped onto the bed with On and Hong in excitement. Cale snickered at the actions of the three children, whose average age was only 7-years-old, and leisurely opened up the letter. He then almost dropped the letter.
< I am still alive. You are still alive too, right, young master? >
The report had only a single line.
How could there be such a scary report? However, it let Cale know that it was actually sent from Ron. Well, the writing and the seal they agreed upon before Ron had left also supported that it was from Ron.
Knock knock knock.
“Young master, may I enter?”
Cale heard Hans’s voice along with the knock. The kittens calmed down while the Black Dragon immediately turned invisible.
Hans entered with his arm full of snacks for the kittens as he started to speak.
“The mage said it is fine to visit at any time.”
“Then I’ll go now. You don’t need to follow.”
Cale left Hans in the room as he left to head to the administrative building.
– Where are you going? To meet with a mage?
Cale slightly nodded his head for the Black Dragon who followed him instead of staying back to play with On and Hong.
Cale was certain that the dragon got interested in the word, ‘mage.’
“Young master-nim, welcome back.”
There were many people greeting Cale once he entered.
“Hello, young master-nim.”
“Oh, long time no see.”
“I heard you did something big. You are so amazing.”
Cale found it to be annoying and sped up. The invisible Black Dragon observed everyone before starting to flap his wings a little stronger and following after Cale.
The Black Dragon’s ears flickered more and his smile became bigger as more and more people appeared to greet Cale.
Cale did not know any of this as he opened the door to his destination. Of course, he knocked.
“I haven’t seen you before. Nice to meet you.”
“It is my honor.”
This was the mage responsible for the territory’s magic video communication. The video communication was usually handled by someone between the beginner and intermediate level.
“Can we connect right now?”
“Of course. Where shall I connect you to?”
The mage continued to peek at Cale as he prepared the video communication device. The territory was currently filled with stories about Cale Henituse. Maybe that was why, but the mage couldn’t help but be curious about who Cale wanted to contact as soon as he got home.
Cale did not know about the mage’s curiosity, as he casually answered.
“Ah, the palac- the palace?”
Cale added on to specify a bit more.
“Connect me to his highness, the crown prince.”
Cale saw the hesitating mage, and lightly started to frown.
“Why? Is it not possible? Then can I just leave a voice message?”
“Ah, no. It is possible. Of course it is possible.”
Since the palace received so many video communications, it was possible to leave behind a video or voice message, since it might not be possible for the palace to accept all requests due to the sheer number of requests.
‘This world is quite comfortable, other than the fact that you need mages for things every so often.’
The mage seemed to be flustered as he set the device to the palace and reported to Cale.
“It looks like it will be difficult to connect right now, but you should be able to leave a voice message for his highness.”
Cale preferred to talk face to face, but it wasn’t really necessary. Cale nodded his head and the mage started the device before heading out of the room. Once Cale was certain that the mage was out of the room, he started to speak toward the device.
“Your highness, it is Cale Henituse.”
He got straight to the point as usual.
“I plan on buying the Whipper Kingdom’s Magic Tower.”
The first use of the golden plaque. Cale imagined the look on the crown prince’s face once he heard this message. Cale also knew that Alberu had no choice but to approve. Alberu might act flustered and annoyed, but he would actually like what Cale was doing. He would also be curious.
That was why Cale added on another sentence.
“For your information, I will not be able to communicate via video or voice communication for a week. I need to head somewhere for a bit. I just wanted to let you know in advance.”
Cale then pressed the button the mage told him to press once he was done. A blue light appeared on the device to signal that the voice message was left.
He then called the mage back in and the mage looked at the light before starting to speak.
“It looks like the message was left properly.”
The mage saw the smile on Cale’s face and decided to speak.
“It looks like you left a pretty happy message?”
“Well, I guess so.”
The crown prince would probably hear the message tomorrow. Cale was smiling about how the crown prince would be waiting a week for his return.
– …I feel bad for the crown prince.
The Black Dragon suddenly started to feel bad for the crown prince. Cale ignored the comment and headed out of the communication room before heading toward the estate to look for Count Deruth. He wanted to take care of everything at once while he was here.
“You want to go to Harris Village?”
Cale nodded his head at Count Deruth’s question. He had told his father about both the ancient power and Harris Village. However, Count Deruth was focused on Harris Village.
Deruth looked down at the, ‘Harris Village Incident Report,’ in Cale’s hands before looking up at his son. Cale’s gaze looked serious. He really meant it.
Count Deruth had headed over after hearing the report from the investigation squad. He felt anger and sorrow once he saw what had happened.
The village really was completely destroyed, and there were no signs of the perpetrators.
That was why he had asked for cooperation from the nearby territories, as well as reaching out to the Information Guild to keep their ears open for any information.
“…Is it because you are concerned about that young man named Choi Han?”
Count Deruth had found signs of a battle at Harris Village. That allowed him to estimate the level of Choi Han’s strength. There was no way that his son, who had spent a longer time with Choi Han, would not know about his strength.
“I guess you could call it that.”
Cale nodded at Deruth’s words. That was the only excuse he could give anyways.
He could not say that he wanted to go there for the Wolf children’s berserk transformation and wild instinct training. He could not say it was for the Black Dragon’s growth. He definitely could not say that he was going to the Forest of Darkness to find a solution to the Whale tribe’s war against the mermaids.
Cale continued on, as he could see that Count Deruth was contemplating.
“The investigation squad has already completed their investigation, but I wanted to see it with my own eyes. Plus, I don’t even need to worry about the monsters. It is not winter.”
“That is true.”
The monsters of the Forest of Darkness. There was a large man-made stone wall between Harris Village and the Forest of Darkness. It was to protect against these monsters. ( … The Henituse family is the Night’s Watch … )
There have been no monster attacks in the last 150 years. Maybe people were scared because there are so many stories about how you’ll die if you go into the Forest of Darkness, but it was very rare for an actual monster to appear.
The problem was that any monsters that actually came out were extremely strong mutant monsters.
The Count found the fact that no monsters have appeared in 150 years to be odd, and so he had sent multiple investigation squads, but they could only roam around the Forest of Darkness without actually going in.
Finally, Count Deruth started to speak.
“There are still soldiers in Harris Village, so it should be safe.”
He seemed to have made up his mind and continued to speak.
“You have to take care of the people you have taken in.”
Cale slowly shook his head. It was an unbelievable misunderstanding.
“Choi Han is not my subordinate.”
Have Choi Han as his subordinate? Cale would never do such a thing. Deruth smiled at his son before nodding his head.
“Sure. Whatever you say. You are all grown up now.”
“Of course. I am 18 years old.”
“You grew up so fast. Alright. You can go now.”
Cale bowed to his father before turning around to head to the door. He could hear count Deruth’s voice behind him.
Deruth continued to speak as Cale turned back around.
“The golden turtle has not always been our family crest. We are a family of warriors who are sworn to protect our family and anything else.”
The two of them made eye contact.
“We protect everything with our strong shell. However, you must remember that the most important thing is to protect yourself. That is why we are a turtle.”
A turtle that protects itself with its strong shell. Count Deruth, who was known for being mediocre in all aspects by others, reminded his son once more.
“That is why you should always remember to put yourself first.”
He then smiled gently and added on.
“The ancient power you have earned is very cool.”
Cale smiled similarly to Count Deruth, as he jokingly answered.
“Isn’t it? It is a very cool power. Oh, and I always put my own safety first.”
“Good. Then I’m glad.”
Cale observed Deruth nod his head and look back down at the report on the desk before heading out of the office. The Black Dragon had a question for him as soon as they left.
-The two of you are family, right?
Cale nodded his head at the question.
The next day, Cale got onto the carriage as he started to speak to the Whale siblings.
“Not bad for my new guards.”
Witira with her whip in her hand and Paseton with a sword in his hand, both smiled toward Cale. They were still under the Black Dragon’s appearance magic. Cale started to head toward Harris Village, well, the Forest of Darkness, to be more accurate.