The three unexpected guests came into the room without caring about the fact that Alberu was sighing.
– Hey crown prince! I’m here too! Give me some cookies if you have any! I’ll pay you for them! The human gave me a ton of allowance! He gave me everything he owed while he was unconscious!
All three of them had come through the window.
“… Aigoo, my head.”
Alberu clutched his head.
Click. Choi Han closed the window and Raon revealed himself.
“Hey crown prince, why does your head hurt? You can’t get sick! Oh, you must be looking shabbier than usual because you are sick!”
The corners of Alberu’s lips twitched.
Cale sat down on the couch with a calm expression on his face. He was acting as if it was his own house.
“Raon. Everybody looks like that if they’re suddenly woken up while sleeping. His highness must have been extremely busy as the sun of our Roan Kingdom. He must have barely found some time to take a quick nap so it’s normal to look a bit scattered.”
He then smiled brightly toward Alberu.
“Of course, even your shabby appearance is extremely radiant, your highness. Isn’t that right, Choi Han?”
Choi Han just slowly avoided Alberu’s gaze instead of responding.
It was because of Alberu’s gaze.
‘Choi Han. At least you would give me a normal response, right?’
That was what Alberu’s gaze was saying.
Alberu sighed at Choi Han avoiding his gaze and got up from the bed and walked over to the couch.
“I had them put some here just in case but I didn’t expect it to actually be needed.”
He placed a box of cookies onto the table.
“You really barged into my bedroom.”
“You seem oddly shocked about it, your highness.”
“Hey crown prince, here’s 1 silver! This is mine! Hehe!”
The sound of Raon crunching on cookies filled the bedroom.
Cale crossed his legs and calmly started to speak.
“Raon said that the palace’s barrier is quite strong.”
“It needed to be when considering that our enemy is the White Star.”
Alberu brushed back his disheveled hair.
“…We made it so that the barrier would not activate for certain people.”
Those people were trustworthy allies such as Cale.
It would be a problem if their allies could not reach the throne room in times of emergency because of the barrier.
“Anyway, why are you here? What happened now?”
Alberu’s gaze had turned serious.
“I recall you telling me that you would come to the capital tomorrow morning.”
Yet Cale had barged in during the middle of the night.
It must be something big.
“Your highness. Duke Fredo arrived at our territory in critical condition.”
Alberu held back a groan.
Cale’s face was stiff as well.
“According to Duke Fredo, the White Star is planning on conducting two summoning rituals.”
Alberu realized the reason very quickly.
“The eight sculptures. The first summoning ritual must be to call forth the unranked monsters. As for the other one…”
Alberu started to frown as if he didn’t even want to think about it before he added on.
“…lt is probably the sealed god.”
“Yes, sir. He wants to release the seal.”
Alberu touched his head as if it was giving him a headache.
The sealed god.
That god was called the evil god or the God of Despair.
The god’s attribute itself wasn’t that big of an issue.
There were bound to be evil since there was good. Similar to the Sun God who had cast away all races with the darkness attribute, those supposed ‘good’ gods weren’t necessarily good either.
‘The issue is that he is sealed because he broke a rule. He’s also deeply associated with the White Star.’
Alberu didn’t like the sealed god based on the test he gave Cale.
Furthermore, Alberu didn’t like anything that could harm his Roan Kingdom, whether it was a monster or a god.
“Both summoning rituals will take place in Puzzle City?”
He was also extremely annoyed that all of these things would happen on the Roan Kingdom’s territory.
“Duke Fredo was unable to figure that out. The only information he got was that the White Star’s side is planning on coming to Puzzle City.”
Alberu suddenly had a confused expression on his face.
“Yes, your highness.”
“Why did Duke Fredo show up in critical condition?”
He saw Choi Han’s face stiffen up.
Raon stopped chomping on a cookie as well.
Cale started to speak at that moment.
“Your highness. You said that the Wolf children were the sacrifices?”
Why was Cale suddenly bringing up the Wolves?
The Wolf tribe was known for being disowned by the gods.
The Wolf children were going to be used as the sacrifices to summon the 8 sculptures.
Alberu looked toward Cale after a thought suddenly popped up in his mind.
There was a bitter smile on Cale’s face.
“Your highness. Do you think the White Star truly cared about the Endable Kingdom?”
That bastard was cursed so that anything he cared about would be lost.
Everybody here knew about that.
“…I’m sure he didn’t.”
Everything the White Star did was a calculated plan so that he could gain power and become a king or god or whatever he wanted to be.
Alberu had expected this as well.
However, his hypothesis had seemed to vastly underestimate the White Star.
Alberu slowly started to frown.
“Your highness. This is what Duke Fredo told me.”
Cale repeated the things Fredo had told him earlier.
“We were substitutes prepared for any unexpected situations.”
Alberu closed his eyes and started to speak.
“They were substitutes to replace the Wolves?”
Existences accepted by nature but disowned by the gods.
The Wolves were not the only ones like that.
“I believe that is the case.”
“You believe? Fredo didn’t tell you everything?”
“Duke Fredo fainted again after telling me a few things.”
Duke Fredo had an extremely high fever and had not been able to wake up again. Mary and Eruhaben were working together to nurse him after this sudden change but they had no idea when he might regain consciousness.
That was why Cale had rushed over to the capital instead of waiting for him to wake up.
Cale shrugged his shoulders while Alberu clenched the armrest of the couch.
Tap tap tap.
Alberu’s index finger tapped on the armrest.
Alberu’s mind was a complicated mess.
The Endable Kingdom.
The freedom and liberation he had felt there was still vivid on Alberu’s mind.
“What happened to the other Vampires? What about the Dark Elves? Did you not hear anything about them?”
The Vampires and Dark Elves.
They were races that absorbed dead mana unlike the Wolves but they were also accepted by nature but shunned by the gods, making them unable to use potions from the temples.
The sacrifices would be these two races.
It would be the regular civilians who had been peacefully living in the Endable Kingdom.
Cale started to speak after receiving Alberu’s gaze.
“They are not dead.”
“That makes sense. The summoning ritual has not happened yet.”
Cale took a few documents out of his pocket and placed them on the table.
“I recorded everything I heard from Duke Fredo.”
“…I’ll reference these to set the direction of the meeting.”
The list of things for Alberu to do kept growing.
However, Alberu could not complain about that.
Only thorough preparation would guarantee peace.
“That sounds great, your highness. That is why I came over now. I thought I should give this to you as quickly as possible.”
“Good. I’m glad you came. We would not have had enough time if you came in the morning since the meeting is scheduled for tomorrow during the day.”
Alberu looked up from the documents after hearing Cale’s confused voice.
“What is it?”
“…There’s a meeting tomorrow?”
Alberu’s expression seemed to be asking what was wrong.
“It is a grand assembly with the representatives of the different kingdoms for the peace of the Eastern and Western continents. The meeting is planned for noon tomorrow.”
It was a grand assembly with quite the ambitious name.
“…Your highness. Didn’t you say that we would have a meeting ‘soon’ during our call?”
“That’s right. I said soon. Tomorrow at noon. Ah, it’s past midnight. So then, today at noon.”
“…Is that soon?”
Alberu shrugged his shoulders.
“It’s quite the urgent issue and everybody is busy. They all agreed to meet at noon once I told them you were coming in the morning.”
Raon raised his front paw.
It was a gesture to show that he had a question.
“Hey crown prince! Will the human have to go to the meeting without eating if it is at noon? Gentle Beacrox told me to make sure the human eats his meals on time!”
“Please don’t worry, Raon-nim. I will have food ready for Cale Henituse at around 11am.”
“Oh! Okay! I will drag the human here by 11!”
Choi Han had a smile of satisfaction while hearing their conversation.
Only Cale didn’t look happy.
“Your highness. No, hyung-nim.”
“I think I should go to the Eastern continent to scope out the current situation. Can I skip out of the meeting?”
“Ah. Don’t worry about that. I’ll let the Mercenary King know about the information Duke Fredo brought over. The Molan patriarch should be able to gather a lot of information if you ask him as well. You have a tendency to making things bigger wherever you go, so it’s probably better to ask the two of them to gather information.”
“Since when do I-”
Cale opened his mouth to complain but his voice was drowned out by Raon and Choi Han’s voices.
Raon and Choi Han were nodding their heads in agreement.
“The crown prince is right! If we need to make a hole on a cliff, the human being there will make it so that we have to destroy the entire cliff!”
“You truly are wise, your highness.”
Alberu nodded his head at the two of them before starting to frown after seeing Cale’s expression.
“Why do you have such a delinquent expression on your face?”
“…It’s nothing, your highness.”
“Anyway, it’ll be a quiet meeting so you don’t need to worry about unnecessary attention. We got rid of all of the burdensome procedures due to the current situation.”
Cale stood up from his seat.
“Then… I’ll be here by 11am.”
“Good. Are you heading to Duke Henituse’s Estate in the capital?”
“Yes sir. We told them in advance that we would head over.”
Cale flinched and turned toward Alberu after hearing his reaction.
It sounded oddly ominous.
“…Is there a problem, your highness?”
Alberu thought about something for a moment before putting on a bright smile.
“Duke Deruth seemed quite skilled. He’s very similar to you.”
“Hey crown prince, doesn’t that mean that Duke Deruth would turn a task where we need to make a hole the size of a needle on a cliff to one where we need to destroy the cliff?”
“Hahahaha- Raon-nim, you say such funny things.”
Alberu was laughing.
However, he did not say that Raon was wrong.
‘What is going on?’
Cale slowly started to get worried.
This ominous feeling was as bad as the one he got when the soldier dropped his pen and documents the moment he saw Cale at the Henituse Lord’s Castle.
“Goodbye. Rest well and see you in the morning. Ah, Mayor Obante and the Dark Elves are currently looking into finding information on other Dragons so they should contact us soon.”
The other Dragons might become extremely strong allies in their battle against the White Star.
The Dark Elves and Elves had some information about Dragons. They were putting the information they had together along with Eruhaben’s information to search out the other Dragons.
“Yes sir. Please let me know whenever you hear something.”
“Sure. Be safe.”
Alberu walked up to the window to say goodbye to them.
That was why Cale had even more of an ominous feeling but chose to head over to the Duke’s Estate for now.
* * *
Once he arrived at the Duke’s Estate…
The building looked the same as the Count’s Estate he had stayed at on his last trip to the capital.
It did not become fancier because it was now a Duke’s Estate.
– We are at our house at the capital!
The transparent Raon shouted with joy.
– It’s exactly the same!
The house that had not changed at all gave off a sense of familiarity and peace.
However, Cale stopped walking and started to blink.
– Human! Duke Deruth heard you were coming and came out to welcome you!
It was currently the middle of the night.
Although the residence looked the same, there were magic lamps all around that were keeping it quite bright.
It looked as if it was the middle of the day.
Cale could see a smiling Duke Deruth walking toward him. His seemed full of emotions as his footsteps continued to get faster.
He was almost running as he reached Cale now.
But Cale was just standing there as stiff as a statue.
He heard Raon’s confused voice at that moment.
– Human, is Duke Deruth going to war or something? Is he going to take over a neighboring kingdom?
“…I know, right?”
Behind the running Duke Deruth…
He could see a group of people gathered at the brightly lit building entrance.
They were not soldiers.
That was the problem.
They all seemed to be strong swordsmen and mages.
They were not extremely strong like Rosalyn and Choi Han but they all seemed above average.
‘Where the hell did he get all these strong people?’
Those people were stationed all around the building.
Cale looked around.
This was the area with homes for nobles.
The other residences had lights on as well, although none of them were as brightly lit as the Henituse Estate.
People opened their windows and looked out toward Cale.
Cale had a strong feeling that he would not be able to quietly enter his house.
Duke Deruth stood in front of Cale.
He could only look at the still alive Cale with tears in his eyes, so full of emotion that he couldn’t even hug him.
“…I’m so relieved, really-”
Unlike Deruth who could not speak properly, Cale had something he wanted to know.
He pointed behind Deruth.
“Father, who are they?”
Cale noticed the look in Deruth’s eyes change the moment he asked that question.
His gaze was full of anger and steadfast determination.
“Cale. Nobody will be able to touch the Henituse household or the citizens of our territory.”
Cale asked again after feeling an unknown sense of nervousness.
“…So, who are they? They seem quite strong.”
“That’s right. They are strong people. Most of them are free and do not have a kingdom they serve.”
“How did you gather such people?”
“Ah! You wanted to know how I gathered them here.”
Deruth’s firm gaze had disappeared and he was now smiling.
“How else? I hired them! They all came once I told them I would pay then 10 times the basic pay and that the contract was only for 6 months! Hahahaha!”
“Yeah! Cale, just trust your father! I will gather any and all strong individuals throughout the Western continent! Hahahaha!”
‘…How much money does he really have?’
Cale wanted to ask but could not get himself to do so.
There was a simple reason for that.
– Human, human!
Raon urgently reached out to Cale.
– There’s a Dragon over there!
– Human, inside your house! There’s a Dragon among those people!
There was a Dragon among the people Duke Deruth had hired.
– The Dragon is pretending to be weak!
– He has a delinquent-like smile while looking at us!
A Dragon had come to find them on their own.