They heard some quick footsteps.
Cale looked toward the watchtower entrance.
It was Lee Soo Hyuk.
“It looks like we’ll need to fight with the yellow head toni-”
His words that were coming out not too quickly yet not too slowly had stopped.
His urgent footsteps quickly stopped as well.
“Why are you stopping? Is something going on on the watchtower-”
Park Jin Tae shoved his head to Lee Soo Hyuk’s side before flinching.
Park Jin Tae could see Kim Rok Soo, who had an extremely pale face and was shaking.
Choi Han, who was supporting Kim Rok Soo, had a terrible expression on his face as well.
But the way he was supporting Kim Rok Soo made it seem as if he had done it many times before.
‘I was wondering why they went back so quickly, was it because of this?!’
Kim Rok Soo had quickly returned to the watchtower even though they had set everything up to celebrate his birthday.
They thought he was just worried about the enemy that could come at any moment and had also quickly eaten before they were about to return to their posts.
But Park Jin Tae had come to the watchtower with Lee Soo Hyuk after hearing the alarm go off.
But what he saw was not the cold commander he had seen until now but a young kid who was suffering in pain with only Choi Han by his side.
‘What is going on? Why was he in so much pain?’
He had seen Kim Rok Soo being tired and bleeding during the battle at the original central shelter.
He had not been in this much pain then.
Why was Kim Rok Soo looking like this right now?
The same question kept repeating itself in Park Jin Tae’s mind, but he could not open his mouth and say anything.
Instead, his eyes focused on Lee Soo Hyuk’s back as Lee Soo Hyuk headed toward Kim Rok Soo.
Lee Soo Hyuk’s expression was calm as he quietly called out to Cale.
However, his eyes were focused on Cale, who was barely standing up with Choi Han supporting him while his hand was clutching his chest.
Lee Soo Hyuk’s footsteps quickened.
“Kim Rok Soo.”
Cale looked back at Lee Soo Hyuk who was now calling him by his full name.
Lee Soo Hyuk stood in front of Cale.
“Kim Rok Soo, I know that you are hiding something.”
Kim Rok Soo was calm.
It was actually Choi Han and Park Jin Tae who flinched after hearing Lee Soo Hyuk’s question.
“You are the same Kim Rok Soo I know from the past, but I know that something has changed.”
The corners of Lee Soo Hyuk’s lips started to go up.
“But you should still tell me the things you should tell me, don’t you think?”
Cale already knew that Lee Soo Hyuk was quite angry even though he was smiling.
“You should tell me if you’re in pain, hmm? Rok Soo.”
Lee Soo Hyuk watched as the corner of Cale’s lips slowly started to go up.
He could feel the amount of effort it took to smile through the pain.
As they were surrounded by all sorts of alarms…
Cale smiled and slowly started to speak.
“It feels like someone is trying to pull my heart out.”
Choi Han’s fists clenched while Park Jin Tae subconsciously closed his eyes and turned away from Kim Rok Soo.
Another person came up to the watchtower at that moment.
“Commander-nim! They said they’re going to move the device to the castle wall and activate the defense!”
It was Choi Jung Soo.
He had come to the watchtower to deliver this message for the others who were busy getting ready as he was not going to participate in the battle like Kim Min Ah and Bae Puh Rum, and then he saw Cale.
He gasped while standing behind Park Jin Tae.
However, there was someone whose expression had not changed.
“And the method?”
Lee Soo Hyuk was still smiling as he asked.
Cale looked toward the large figure heading toward them from the distance in this night fog.
The yellow head was coming.
And the lives of everyone in the Seomyeon shelter…
The method to take care of everything.
‘The God of Death gave me a hint.’
< The people who tried to save you broke the law that said that you were supposed to die. >
Humans were able to break laws and fate.
That was how Lee Soo Hyuk and Choi Jung Soo had died to save him.
‘Nobody can die this time.’
Cale opened his mouth to speak.
“I’ve mentioned the method quite a few times already.”
His voice sounded weak as he was breathing heavily, but his tone was firm.
Cale looked around past Choi Jung Soo and Park Jin Tae, before looking at Lee Soo Hyuk.
“Successfully completing this hunt without anybody dying.”
That was one of two ways for Cale to change fate.
Lee Soo Hyuk slowly started to speak.
“…Is that the answer?”
He asked once more after hearing Cale’s response.
“Are you sure?”
Was he sure that this was the correct answer?
Lee Soo Hyuk could see Cale smiling at him after asking that question.
Cale then started to frown as he started to speak.
“Only being somewhat certain is not enough in order to change fate.”
Was he sure?
It wasn’t that level of commitment.
Cale quietly started to speak.
“I will make that be the case.”
Lee Soo Hyuk flinched after seeing Kim Rok Soo’s gaze.
His eyes were completely still with the violent nature that seemed to be strong enough to cause a severe storm.
“No matter what.”
He was slowly saying each word as if he was chewing on something.
“With absolute certainty.”
His body was standing straight while ignoring the pain.
His gaze was firm.
Definitely. No matter what. With absolute certainty.
“Successfully completing this hunt without anybody dying.”
Cale said that before speaking to the others.
“Do you understand?”
Cale moved his hand away from Choi Han’s shoulder and stood up on his own.
“Please return to your posts.”
He then nonchalantly added on.
“And we will hide my condition as much as possible.”
Choi Jung Soo started to frown after hearing that. He could hear Park Jin Tae’s annoyed voice.
“Do you really think we can hide that?”
Park Jin Tae snorted at Cale’s response, however, he did not say anything else.
He knew the chaos that would happen if people found out that their commander, forget being able to fight, could not even stand up on his own without being in pain.
It was something Cale and everybody else here knew as well.
Cale took a flute out of his pocket and started to play.
However, the individual he was trying to call with the flute was already headed toward him.
It was the Steel Feather Hawk.
She got close to the watchtower and shoved her face close to Cale.
“Oh no! Why does my little dongsaeng look like this? Did someone feed you poison?”
As the Steel Feather Hawk was inspecting Cale in shock…
“I’m heading over first.”
Lee Soo Hyuk was the first to turn away from Cale.
“Let’s talk later, Rok Soo.”
Park Jin Tae kicked the watchtower once before following behind Lee Soo Hyuk. He had already taken his gun out of his pocket.
Choi Jung Soo tried to follow them as well, however…
Someone called him. Choi Jung Soo turned his head.
Choi Han was motioning toward him.
“What is it?”
Cale was looking at Choi Han with confusion. It was because Choi Han had suddenly stopped Choi Jung Soo.
Choi Han grabbed Choi Jung Soo’s shoulder once he got close and started to speak to Cale and Choi Jung Soo.
“Mr. Choi Jung Soo, you should come with us.”
The original plan was for only Cale and Choi Han to be on the Steel Feather Hawk.
“You have to look okay in front of the others. Rok Soo hyung, weren’t you the one who said that?”
Choi Han cut Cale off and continued to speak.
“We can’t have you staggering or falling off the Steel Feather Hawk-nim, so it would be good for Mr. Choi Jung Soo to make sure that you don’t fall off.”
“We do not have much time.”
The yellow head was now much closer than before.
They could also see people moving around and lighting torches all around the castle walls.
Cale ended up doing as Choi Han said and headed toward the Steel Feather Hawk with Choi Jung Soo.
“Dongsaeng. You don’t need to get treated?”
“Noonim, I am okay.”
Cale calmly responded to the Steel Feather Hawk’s concerned voice and got on her back.
He was moving as slowly as possible, but his heart was hurting.
To be more specific, it wasn’t his heart but more that his body and his soul were not aligned with each other, making them twist around and cause him pain.
‘I’m sure that the White Star is either trying to or is doing something to my body right now.’
The aftershock was being transferred to Cale in this body.
Choi Jung Soo took a step forward to help the struggling Cale.
But he felt his shoulder getting pulled and had to hear Choi Han whisper in his ear.
His voice was so quiet that nobody else could hear it.
“Hold onto Rok Soo hyung properly so that he doesn’t end up in danger.”
He was speaking informally for the first time. However, Choi Jung Soo wasn’t upset about it and nodded his head.
“I got i-”
Choi Jung Soo looked toward Choi Han.
“Retreat with Rok Soo hyung if you think your lives are in danger.”
Choi Jung Soo suddenly recalled someone else after seeing Choi Han’s gaze.
He recalled how his father and mother had been worried about him when he went to Seoul to take his practical skills exam for college.
He also recalled his grandfather’s stern gaze.
The man who was clearly younger than him but had eyes that seemed to hold the weight of time continued to speak to Choi Jung Soo.
“You cannot die. You absolutely cannot die.”
Choi Jung Soo was suddenly at a loss for words.
Choi Han then asked him a question.
“Do you understand, sir?”
Choi Jung Soo barely managed to respond.
“…I got it.”
Choi Han laughed at that moment. As Choi Jung Soo flinched…
“Please speak formally to me.”
“…Huh? Excuse me?”
Choi Jung Soo sounded confused at what Choi Han just said. Choi Han then put a hand on Choi Jung Soo’s head.
“Well, speaking informally makes us sound close, so that’s nice too.”
He then ruffled Choi Jung Soo’s hair.
Choi Jung Soo looked at him with shock but Choi Han didn’t care and just pushed him forward.
Choi Jung Soo ended up right behind Cale.
Choi Han sat behind him and the Steel Feather Hawk started to fly up once all three of them were seated.
“Here we go!”
The moment the Steel Feather Hawk cut through the night fog and headed toward their destination…
Heo Sook Ja shouted from the castle wall below them.
“Point the light at the enemy!”
All of the lights inside the castle and on the castle walls were tilted in one direction.
These lights were created with abilities, electricity, and anything else that they could find.
“Point the lights at the yellow head!”
They were all pointed at the enemy.
They could finally see the enemy through the fog.
The Steel Feather Hawk was the closest to the monster right now.
Cale slowly opened his mouth.
He quietly laughed.
Choi Jung Soo gasped.
Choi Han started to speak at the same time.
“It really is going to be difficult.”
The yellow head had changed.
Actually, the yellow head was no longer just yellow.
It was now a large monster with a blue horn and blue and yellow scales that made it look as if it had stripes.
This monster that now looked like a dragon that could not fly was looking directly at the Steel Feather Hawk, no, Cale who was on the Steel Feather Hawk.
The yellow head had eaten the blue head.
“Did its abilities really get absorbed?”
Choi Jung Soo mumbled in a concerned voice.
The Steel Feather Hawk started to speak.
“The abilities are one thing, but its body seems larger than before too.”
The yellow head was now 1.5 times its original size.
The Steel Feather Hawk and Choi Jung Soo…
The people who had already seen the yellow head before…
And even the people who had faced an unranked monster for the first time…
None of them dared to say anything.
It could not be helped.
The nearby monsters would start to rampage, whether it was due to fear or anger, whenever an unranked monster appeared.
They could hear the sounds of the monsters rampaging all around them.
Kim Woo was standing on the castle wall taking all of this in as he started to speak.
“Everything that young kid predicted was really on target.”
Kim Rok Soo had said something to them.
He had said that there was a good chance that the yellow head would have changed when it comes back.
‘The blue head… This monster ripped the part with the horn and ran away with it in its mouth. It could have done it out of friendship, but the chances are high that there was a different reason for it. We must consider all potential variables.’
One of those situations was that the yellow head would come back after having absorbed the blue head’s powers.
Kim Woo subconsciously looked up at the sky.
He was not the only one.
Everybody was looking up and searching for the Steel Feather Hawk.
That was where the battle would start.
Cale, who was up in the sky, was quietly observing the yellow head instead of looking back at the people who were looking at him.
The monster quietly growled as it glared at Cale.
Cale heard Choi Han’s voice behind him at that moment.
“How long will the pain continue?”
Cale nonchalantly responded.
“I don’t know.”
Choi Jung Soo started to frown after hearing Cale’s nonchalant response.
It was because he could see that Cale’s body was still shaking and he was breathing heavily.
Choi Jung Soo looked at Cale, who was still standing up straight, as he heard Cale continue to speak.
“I’m certain it will die down soon.”
Cale was certain that that would happen.
It was because he knew that his friends would have started to make their move.
He trusted the abilities of his friends who were in a different world right now.
That was why Cale could not stop.
“I’ll be back soon.”
Choi Han kicked off of the Steel Feather Hawk’s back and started to fall down.
He pulled his sword out.
His black aura that was rampaging more wildly than ever before shot up as if it would pierce the heavens.
The moment people saw this black signal…
“Open the castle gate.”
The gate opened and Lee Soo Hyuk, Kim Min Ah, and Mr. Rabbit headed out.
The representatives of the different regions and hundreds of warriors were following behind them.
* * *
Alberu Crossman raised his head.
He could only see the stars in the night sky through his helmet.
Alberu Crossman was wearing a black armor without the Roan Kingdom’s crest today.
He was here today not as the crown prince, but as a friend and as a hyung.
He looked down.
The black barrier was gone from the sinkhole.
He looked down at the large sinkhole where the Endable Kingdom was located and started to speak.
“Let’s head down.”
Cale’s friends stepped into the sinkhole without any hesitation.