Cale questioned it, but had no choice other than to ask the conclusion he came to in his mind.
“…I pass because of my looks?”
– My goodness!
The voice that sounded like a person in their mid to late teens shouted as if she didn’t know what to do.
– So cute! Look at how grumpy you look while asking if you pass because of your looks! You’re such a little cutie!
Cale’s ‘my goodness’ as he sighed was for a very different reason than the Drew Thames of her teens. He heard the voices of the Super Rock and the other ancient powers in his mind.
– …Ho. I’ve never seen someone like this.
– She has a sharp eye.
– How amazing. She’s amazing in many ways. The first thing she noticed while looking at Cale Henituse was his face? Hohoho.
This was the first time that Cale had ever been told he was cute, whether in this world or during his life as Kim Rok Soo. He had never been called cute in his thirty-plus, almost forty years.
Cale couldn’t help but laugh in disbelief.
Someone came back to their senses after hearing him laugh.
Ron Molan. Ron had only been anxious about this sudden situation for a moment before walking over to Raon with a stiff expression on his face.
“Hmm? Good to see you again Grandpa Ron!”
Ron couldn’t put on his usual benign smile even at Raon’s bright greeting.
“Raon-nim, how did a tree end up growing here?”
The grave of Cale Henituse’s biological mother…
Ron had been thinking about a lot of things just from the fact that Cale came here. But a giant tree bursting through the grave and growing like this? The tree was beautiful, but Ron couldn’t get rid of the stiff expression on his face.
It was because Cale Henituse, the child of the owner of this grave that was now gone because of the tree, was laughing so emptily while being surrounded by these beautiful red leaves.
The laugh seemed somewhat full of disbelief but also as if there was nothing behind it. Ron slowly looked around.
Raon, Lily, and Hong were just watching the tree and Cale as if they were amazed. But everybody On and older were only shocked for a moment before they all looked at Cale with complicated expressions on their faces.
Ron’s gaze then landed on a punk.
“Mm, mmph! Mmph!”
This bastard’s face had turned into a mess after being pummeled by the buzz-cut Dragon Rasheel. Lion King Dorph’s eyes were wide open as he flailed while looking at the red tree. His face looked both astonished and shocked.
“Why is this son of a bitch whining like this without considering the situation?”
Rasheel raised his palm as if to say Dorph was being annoying.
Rasheel smacked Dorph’s back extremely hard and Dorph’s head lowered while shaking intensely. Rasheel snorted before smirking.
“This is my first time seeing someone gain an ancient power. Truly fitting for a human this mighty Dragon has appro-, no, that’s not right. Hey! Is this okay?!”
Rasheel’s eyes opened wide.
“Is it okay for Cale Henituse to gain another ancient power? Is his plate okay?! Won’t it break again?”
Ron still looked calm, while some of the others stiffened up while hearing that.
“…What do you mean by… his plate breaking again?”
Basen quietly asked while Rasheel nonchalantly commented as if he couldn’t believe Basen didn’t even know that.
“Cale Henituse’s plate is wide but is pretty much completely full already. His plate will probably break into pieces if he takes in one more ancient power.”
“W, what would happen if it breaks?”
Lily quickly barged in. Rasheel was annoyed at these little pests but held back his anger and responded bluntly.
“What else? He’ll die if his plate breaks. I heard he’s been through this many times already? This time is probably really dangerous.”
Ron tried to stop him, but Rasheel had already said it and Lily and Basen turned completely pale. Rasheel didn’t care as he looked toward the bottom of the hill.
“Who is that?”
“…She is the Duchess of the territory.”
Ron answered Rasheel’s question while looking at the pale expression on Duchess Violan’s face. She had just gotten here.
The Violan Ron knew would not have come here while Cale was here. However, she probably came over because she was worried after seeing this bright red tree and hearing Cale’s scream.
She had run over on her own. A lot of people probably wanted to come with her, but she probably came alone because she was worried that she might bother Cale who had wanted to go to his biological mother’s grave quietly.
And after rushing over on her own, the first thing she heard was what Rasheel had just said.
Ron clicked his tongue internally before bowing toward Violan. Duchess Violan stopped walking and disappeared behind a tree without getting any closer.
He heard Lily’s shaking voice at that moment.
“S, shouldn’t we stop him?”
Rasheel was standing there with an odd expression on his face as if he had not been the one to ask if Cale was okay a few moments ago.
“I’m sure Cale Henituse knows the condition of his body. We should just wait for now since he chose to do this.”
The great and mighty Rasheel was concerned about Cale, a rare person he could easily converse with, but he did not have the authority to stop him.
But Lily and Basen were different. Basen subconsciously walked toward the red tree.
“That is not acceptable. He cannot keep doing this. Hyung-nim should not do this if it can be dangerous for him-”
“What if it is something he needs to do?”
He stopped and turned around after hearing a voice.
The pink curly-haired Dodori was standing there with his arms crossed.
“Cale Henituse most likely knows that this may be taxing on his body. He made this decision despite knowing what it could do. He most likely believes that this is the only way for us to be victorious.”
Basen’s mouth slowly opened as he let out a quiet sigh.
“I will respect Cale Henituse’s decision.”
Dodori then closed his eyes.
That was not a title that was given at a person’s birth.
The path that the person has taken… The numerous decisions the person has made… The many things the person has done… All of those things combined together and the results they created were what made people give someone the title of ‘hero.’
That was how a hero was born.
“If you cannot understand the weight he is carrying on his shoulders, you should at least respect his decisions.”
As the eyes of the young pink Dragon Dodori reflected what he had just said…
“Our human will be fine.”
He heard Raon’s confused voice. Rasheel, Dodori, and the siblings turned toward Hong and Raon, who looked confused, and On who was shaking her head.
The moment Dodori felt that this was odd…
Dodori, Rasheel, and Raon turned toward the red tree.
Rasheel subconsciously rubbed his arm that had goosebumps.
It made Lion King Dorph’s face slam to the ground, but Rasheel didn’t care. Rasheel pressed down on the fallen Dorph with one foot while wetting his lips with his tongue.
‘Something is getting twisted.’
An odd twist of something that even a great Dragon like himself could not detect was silently happening around them.
it was happening at the center of these sparkling red leaves. It was happening where Cale Henituse was located.
‘What is it? What is being twisted?’
Rasheel could tell that something was happening, but could not tell what it was. It was the same for Dodori.
But they did not step in.
‘…It is just a small amount of power.’
‘It is weak.’
They didn’t know what it was, but the twist and the strength of the power were weak.
Rasheel and Dodori chose to watch for now.
But one being… the black Dragon that was clenching his front paws so tightly that they were getting sweaty… The young Dragon’s instincts told him what was moving right now.
Something that was not visible in the sky or the ground… Something that had less presence than the air but definitely continued to flow and absolutely abided by the laws of nature…
Raon could feel this existence of ‘time’ twisting with the red tree at its center.
‘No! This is not time!’
Raon had a feeling that this great existence was not just time.
Something even greater than time was hiding inside this twist.
It was something that could be impacted even less than time.
A single word popped into Raon’s mind. Raon could somewhat make out the true nature of this twist that nobody, not even the other Dragons that were here, were able to decipher.
He could not make it out completely because he was still young and inexperienced, but the word seemed to embed itself in his mind.
The power heading toward Cale Henituse right now was fate.
It was extremely small and weak, but Raon thought that it was a more dangerous power than anything else.
‘It’ll be dangerous if that power reaches the human……!’
Raon’s heart started beating wildly. Something that existed inside him started to squirm. It was like the smallest of embers that landed on a handful of dry leaves. A small amount of power similar to the ember that was so small but had the power to completely swallow those dry leaves in flame was squirming inside Raon.
Raon had not noticed it because he was too busy thinking about how Cale could be in danger.
That power slowly started to aim for that small amount of ‘fate’ on the red tree without Raon noticing.
It seemed to be the only power that could get rid of this omnipotent force.
This was the only moment to break the restrictions of fate given to a life form… The ‘present’ was the only time to do it.
A red light covered Rasheel, Dodori, and everyone’s eyes.
There was a gentle breeze as everything looked to be covered in blood.
The blood-red light seemed to be swept up by the breeze, and they could see Cale Henituse floating up to the top of this red tree.
Raon gasped while seeing the smirk on Cale’s face.
The small amount of power that had been rising up without Raon’s knowledge sunk back deep inside Raon’s body.
Raon subconsciously called out to Cale.
The blood-red lights headed toward Cale at that moment.
The red light tried to crash into Cale like an angry wave or a tsunami.
But Cale was focused on something else.
Although the red light looked extremely destructive, Cale could feel a type of warmth he had never felt before.
Cale pulled back the whirlwinds that had been surrounding him and moved toward the red wave, the wood attribute ancient power, ‘annual rings of life.’
Cale could not really hear the shouts of people underneath the tree.
He just closed his eyes and focused. He then called forth an ability that existed inside him.
At that moment…
– …Hey cutie, you are my kin?
Drew Thames sounded confused before she continued in a slightly happy tone.
– I just need to go in here, right?
Cale opened his eyes at that moment.
There was a diary in his hand.
It was the item that Drew Thames had left behind.
Cale’s Embrace ability was used on the diary.
“Yes, ma’am. Please go in here.”
Cale severely lacked the plate space to absorb any more ancient powers.
That was why he used Embrace to put his new power into this diary.
– That’s a relief. I let you pass because you look so cute, but you need to be a part of the Thames household to use this power properly.
This ordinary brown diary… The red light slammed down into it and Cale closed his eyes for a moment because it was so bright before opening them back.
It was just a short moment, but he could feel the power going into the diary.
Once he opened his eyes, he could see that the diary was gently surrounded by the red leaves and had turned red. He could not hear Drew Thames’s voice anymore.
Cale touched the pages of the diary with an odd gaze in his eyes.
Now there were multiple powers he used Embrace on, including the earth attribute ancient power from before.
‘There’s also the black World Tree.’
It wouldn’t be bad to discuss the future of the fake World Tree he ‘Embraced’ at the underground labyrinth of the Molden Palace when he went to see the World Tree after this.
Cale organized his thoughts in his mind.
Cale suddenly flinched and his eyes opened wide.
The diary left his hand and flipped pages on its own.
It opened to an empty page and red words started to appear.
< ...Are the contents of this diary true? >
Cale could tell that Drew Thames he had just ‘Embraced’ was the one writing in here.
“Yes, ma’am. They are true.”
Nothing appeared in the diary for a moment.
Cale quietly looked at the diary and the diary must have felt his gaze as more words appeared, albeit in a much smaller font as if she was mumbling.
< ...I guess I really did end up on my own. >
He could not understand what she meant, however, the handwriting looked weak and full of sorrow.
Based on what Cale knew, the Thames family had perished and Drew Thames had been the only one of the Thames bloodline by the time Deruth met her at the academy. He hesitated for a moment before opening his mouth.
He was going to ask about the Thames family, the issue that he had tried not to pay any attention to at all.
< Hey, cutie. >
But Drew Thames started writing again before Cale could say anything.
< ...I'm relieved that you are a soul who ended up here because of a transmigrator. >
She then wrote something else.
< You would have been hunted the moment someone found out if you were a single-lifer. >
Cale’s expression stiffened up.
“Human, is it done now?”
Raon fluttered his wings and flew up next to Cale. However, Cale could not answer that question as he could only stare at the diary.
There was someone Cale believed to be a single-lifer.
It was Choi Han.
* * *
“Yes, your highness.”
Alberu was tapping on the long circular table in the meeting room of the Puzzle City City Hall.
“Should we do it?”
“What are you talking about, your highness?”
Choi Han and Alberu looked into each other’s eyes.
The corners of Alberu’s lips twisted up.
“Pretending to be dead.”
Choi Han’s expression became visibly distraught but Alberu was smiling brightly.
“First was Cale Henituse.”
He was currently said to be between life and death.
“Second was the majestic gold Dragon, Eruhaben-nim.”
Alberu then pointed at Choi Han and himself.
“Third is me. And fourth will be my instructor-nim.”
Alberu brightly continued after seeing Choi Han’s expression turn odd.
“Choi Han, do you want to try dying once?”
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