Dodori, who had not heard about Sheritt, tilted his head in confusion, but Cale had no time to explain.
Choi Han started to speak as if he already knew what Cale wanted him to do.
“I will stay behind and inform his highness about the situation.”
That meant that he would take part in the grand assembly as Cale’s proxy.
Cale nodded his head.
‘He’s an innocent one, so he should do a good job.’
Choi Han and crown prince Alberu, the two people who knew the most about his current situation, should be able to take care of any weird situations that pop up.
Cale felt that he had some reliable people supporting him.
“The preparations are complete.”
Cale looked at the other Dragons after hearing Eruhaben’s comment.
Mila was walking toward him with a gentle smile and Dodori by her side, Rasheel was awkwardly stiff as he walked over, and Dodori was happily walking after hearing that they were going together.
Cale started to speak while patting Raon’s back.
“Shall we go?”
There was a bright white gold light, and everybody except Choi Han disappeared.
“W, what just-”
The Chief of Staff who had rushed in after being contacted by a servant didn’t know what to think as he watched Cale disappear.
He naturally walked toward the person who could give him some answers.
“Choi Han-nim. May I ask what is going on?”
Fear was visible on the Chief of Staff’s face.
There was currently a secret meeting between the chief executives of kingdoms throughout the Western continent. One of the people who should know how important such a meeting was had just disappeared with a stiff expression on his face.
Choi Han started to walk as he answered back.
“An individual may leave their body today.”
The people following behind Choi Han opened their eyes wide and shook in fear.
Leave their body.
That meant that someone might die.
‘Who is it?’
They wanted to ask who might die, but they knew that they shouldn’t ask.
There was just an even more awkward silence. The Chief of Staff could not break the silence and instead looked at Choi Han in admiration.
‘He’s not shaking.’
Choi Han’s age was not revealed, but he looked young enough to be known as the youngest sword master. His age probably corresponded with his appearance.
But such a youngster was calm while talking about someone’s death.
‘…Heroes are bound to be surrounded by other heroes.’
The Chief of Staff started to think about the hero and the hero’s party that was also full of heroes. He then thought about death and felt as if he was being suffocated.
This suffocation was probably from the pressure that those heroes are always facing.
That was why the Chief of Staff got out of the way for Choi Han, who was walking into a room that was heavy with a different type of pressure without any hesitation.
Choi Han walked into the meeting room and flipped the room with his words.
The meeting paused because of his unexpected arrival, and Alberu jumped up to look at Choi Han with confusion.
“Choi Han, no, instructor? What brings you here?”
His eyes were asking a question.
‘I thought you guys were dragging Dragons inside?’
Choi Han slightly shook his head and started to speak.
“Your highness. Cale-nim had to leave for urgent matters, so I came in his place. I was told to participate on his behalf.”
Cale had left for urgent matters.
Those words made Toonka, Litana, Valentino, Clopeh Sekka, and the rest of the representatives look toward Choi Han with piercing gazes.
They had come here wanting to ask about Cale’s condition, but that hero had left for urgent matters without even showing his face.
Silence filled the area for a moment.
“…Is something the matter with young master Cale’s health?”
Litana broke the silence to cautiously ask that question.
Choi Han did not think much about it and answered honestly.
“His health is never good.”
He needed to deliver the information about the negotiation with the Dragons and the Dragon half-blood’s condition to Alberu without informing the others.
That was why he had honestly answered Litana’s question while walking closer to Alberu.
“His health, how bad must his health be-”
Litana’s voice was shaking and she could not even finish her sentence, but Choi Han did not notice it.
He was focused on relieving Alberu’s burden, as Alberu seemed to be thinking that Cale had caused some kind of trouble.
“How sick is my close friend?!”
Choi Han nonchalantly told them about the things he had seen after hearing Toonka ask a question as well.
“He coughed up blood and fainted a few days ago and could not control his shaking limbs.”
The weak Cale that Choi Han had seen was, naturally, during Cale’s time as Kim Rok Soo.
“However, he survived it with his desire to save everyone and to change the future. He was in so much pain that it felt as if his heart would be ripped out, but even that could not stop Cale-nim.”
“…C, Choi Han-”
Alberu was so shocked that he forgot to call Choi Han, ‘instructor,’ and instead called out his name.
Choi Han finally realized what he had just done.
‘I made a mistake.’
Kim Rok Soo and Cale.
Choi Han, who considered the two as the same person, had talked about how Cale had been while fighting against the unranked monster.
The current Cale’s condition was not that bad.
He was a bit skinny and pale, but… his health was much better than before thanks to eating well and resting well lately.
Choi Han felt an odd chill and turned away from Alberu to look around at the meeting room that was located at the deepest part of the palace.
The different representatives of each kingdom were seated around the table. They each had a few executives with them and there were also the individuals stationed around the room to protect all of them.
Everyone’s pupils were shaking, and they could not hide their shocks.
Clopeh Sekka, who had been sitting quietly until then, let out a quiet sigh before starting to speak.
His face that seemed to be full of concern seemed even worse than usual.
“Even if it is the path of a hero who will go down in history… As someone who is living in the same time frame as that hero and as the representative of a kingdom, I cannot just sit still.”
Alberu and Choi Han were the only ones who could see the craziness in Clopeh’s eyes.
They thought they could feel Clopeh’s strong desire to chase after Cale, who was creating a legend, so that he too could go down as a part of that legend.
“We will definitely join hero Cale Henituse in his terrible yet noble fight for justice.”
He truly wished to do so.
Clopeh’s strong will to help made another passionate person respond.
“I will also join my close friend! The shield will not break!”
It was naturally Toonka.
But a burning desire to help slowly filled the hearts of everybody else as well. Some of them were passive, but they must have felt the overall feel of the room as they silently nodded their heads.
This was something that Choi Han, Alberu, and especially Cale had not expected at all.
* * *
A magnificent black castle that was well-suited for the Forest of Darkness appeared in front of Cale.
Its majestic nature made Dodori respond with excitement.
“You really did have a hidden base! Wow! It’s a black castle that is a complete contrast to the White Star! It’s even located in the Forest of Darkness! Who knew you had such preparations!”
Dodori’s mom Mila put a hand on Dodori’s shoulder and spoke in a quiet voice.
“Mom, how can I be still when looking at a black castle that is making my heart beat so fa-”
Dodori was about to argue back to his mom before shutting up after seeing the look in Mila’s eyes.
‘I need to listen to my mom no matter what she says when she has a gaze like that.’
His Dragon life had consisted of 14 years so far. This was one of the many lessons he had learned through years of trouble.
Mila looked away from the now-calm Dodori.
“I wish to know what is going on, however…”
She looked at Cale and the no longer invisible Raon and continued to speak.
“I guess I will need to wait until later.”
“I’m curious as well!”
Dodori added on because he was curious before quickly shutting up. It was because of his mom’s gaze again.
However, Dodori also started to frown while looking at Raon’s face.
He had only seen this hoobae Dragon once before, however, maybe that was why he felt concerned after seeing the look on Raon’s face.
‘What happened that he needed to rush out almost immediately?’
Dodori kept his mouth shut.
This was the same for Rasheel as well. The still pajama-clad Dragon quietly looked around.
Unlike Dodori, it was not because of Raon’s expression.
‘…That black castle is no ordinary castle.’
He was looking at the black castle in front of him.
He could tell that something was unique about this castle.
Dodori probably could not notice it, but Dragons at Rasheel and Mila’s level got chills after sensing the magic circles inscribed in the castle and feeling the surrounding mana.
They could feel a strong presence inside as well.
The castle’s gate opened on its own.
Rasheel and Mila became certain.
‘…It’s a Dragon.’
There was definitely another Dragon here.
‘Is it that Lord?’
‘It’s the Dragon Lord.’
They heard Cale’s voice at that moment.
“I must head in first. If it is okay with you, could you please wait in the first-floor reception room?”
The Tiger Shaman Gashan and Lock who happened to be inside came out to greet them.
Both of them had grim expressions on their faces.
“Gashan, please take good care of our esteemed guests.”
“Yes, sir. I understand. Please head on in.”
Gashan looked at Raon for a moment before looking away.
Cale started to walk behind Lock, who had turned around to guide him.
Raon had a difficult-to-describe expression on his face while flying next to Cale. He wasn’t shaking unlike earlier.
Eruhaben was a step behind them as well.
“This room over here.”
Lock stopped in front of the door to the most isolated room inside the black castle.
He didn’t need to say who was here.
The Dragon half-blood and Sheritt. The two of them should be inside.
Cale stood outside that door for a moment.
The Dragon half-blood was an extremely complicated individual for Cale.
He did not grab the doorknob.
The individual who had opened the castle gate was not opening the door.
The door finally opened once Cale said that.
Sheritt, who was sitting on the couch, made eye contact with Cale.
No, she opened her arms toward Raon, who was floating behind Cale’s shoulder.
“Will you come here?”
Raon then quietly flew over and snuggled in her arms.
Raon’s gaze headed toward the inside of the room.
Cale’s eyes moved in the same direction.
Similar to how Cale had been during that final battle against the unranked monster…
Dead mana and his light attribute were continuously clashing and making the Dragon half-blood flail around with shaking limbs as he felt as if his heart would explode.
“Ugh, ugh, in the end, ugh.”
The Dragon half-blood could not speak properly.
Cale walked over to him.
Cale plopped down on a chair next to the bed and started to speak.
“I guess you finally reached your limits.”
The Dragon half-blood started to smile even though Cale sounded stoic.
A strand of black blood was dripping down the corner of his mouth.
“Ugh, yes I did. I’ve lived for a long time.”
“So then, are you going to die?”
The Dragon half-blood scoffed after hearing Cale’s cold tone once more.
Cale had asked the Dragon half-blood a question in the past.
‘You, what would you do if there was a chance for you to start over?’
That was the day that the Dragon half-blood had told Lord Sheritt and Raon everything.
That chance was for the Dragon half-blood to stay in the black castle, similar to Lord Sheritt.
The Dragon half-blood struggled to catch his breath as he spoke.
“I, ugh. I am a bastard who deserves to die.”
“That’s right. Even death is too easy if you consider all the terrible things you’ve done. You have so many sins to pay for.”
Cale’s voice was extremely cold and emotionless.
However, the Dragon half-blood started to laugh.
It was because he saw the complicated gaze in Cale’s eyes.
He opened his mouth to speak.
His voice was shaking as if it could cut off at any moment.
“…However… I, I don’t want to disappear like this.”
His heart was in serious pain numerous times every minute.
He had lived a little over half a year while dealing with this endless pain that felt as if his body would rip into pieces.
However, this had been the most peaceful time of the Dragon half-blood’s 900+ years of life.
‘…And I was happy.’
He was so happy that he kept telling himself that he didn’t deserve to be happy.
Because of that…
Because he had felt that way…
“I want to pay for my sins.”
He also wanted to get revenge.
Cale could see the fire inside the Dragon half-blood’s eyes.
“I will not stay in the black castle.”
Cale had said something else to him in the past.
‘Rest a bit and then we will go attack Arm when I call you again… You will go with me to strike Arm.’
‘You will destroy Arm’s secret base with me before you die. That was the deal.’
Cale had taken the Dragon half-blood to strike Arm’s base and took back the Molan residence. They also destroyed the base by the Gate to the Demon World, the area around the current Endable Kingdom.
However, the White Star and Arm were still around.
Cale and the Dragon half-blood’s promise had yet to be completed.
The Dragon half-blood had organized his knowledge of magic while staying in this castle.
He had also conducted some research.
He was searching for a way to kill the White Star.
He never looked into anything that might let him live.
His soul was stabbed with guilt anytime he felt even an ounce of happiness.
“Personally. I will personally rip that bastard’s head off and kill him.”
Cale looked back at the Dragon half-blood with an expression that seemed to be asking what nonsense he was spewing.
There was no way to maintain the Dragon half-blood’s body.
Someone walked into the room at that moment.
Cale looked at the person who walked up to him.
The person’s black robe was dragging on the ground.
“I believe you may need my explanation.”
It was Mary.
“Whether it is this castle or bones… They all require magic circles. I believe I can manufacture bones that are strong enough to handle magic circles.”
Cale’s eyes clouded over for a moment.
Mary took out a pile of papers that looked as if someone had gone through them quite a bit. These papers were full of expressions and formulas regarding magic circles. He could feel her tenacity and dedication to make it work.
Mary’s calm voice filled the room.
“A Bone Dragon that moves with its own will. It is highly probable that I will be able to fulfill Mr. Dragon half-blood’s request.”
‘…Bone Dragon? Are they…?’
Cale’s gaze headed toward the Dragon half-blood.
“…You’re going to become a Bone Dragon?”
The Dragon half-blood smiled in response.
Mary nonchalantly added on as if she was reading a book.
“However, both the Bone Dragon and Mr. Dragon half-blood will be gone forever if the bones break. This is just a reminder that the White Star has destroyed many of my Flying Skeleton Brigade already. Bones are strong yet weak at the same time.”
Although the Dragon half-blood was restricted to the black castle, he could live in peace here.
Then there was this other method where he could fight once more, but he would die the moment that the bone with the magic circle inscribed on it was destroyed.
The Dragon half-blood started to speak to Cale, Raon, and everybody else in the room.
He at least needed to get their permissions to do this.
“I want to become the Dragon that the fucking bastard wanted me to become for so long and fight against him.”
That was his last and only remaining desire.
Will he become a Bone Dragon? Will Cale say yes?
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