< ...There is? There is a single-lifer around our cutie? >
The new letters showing up in the diary looked shaky, as if the writer was shocked. Drew Thames then stopped her shaking and calmly continued to write.
< That’s okay! It has all been settled, so hunters won't appear! Our cutie doesn’t have to worry! >
‘…I hope so?’
Even though a part of Cale was telling him that he should one day dig more into the Thames household, the maternal family of this body… Another part of him was making a firm decision.
‘Let’s not look into it for a while.’
Cale decided to set the foundation in order to make that come to fruition.
The others who came here to the North with him turned toward him after hearing his voice.
Ron and Beacrox… On and Hong in their respective arms…
The invisible Raon and the other Dragon Rasheel.
“Hey. The good human is talking. Why do you keep flailing around? Do you want to get fucked up?”
The last one was Lion King Dorph, who was being dragged around in a large bag by Rasheel.
These were the members for this trip while Dodori remained in the Henituse territory just in case he urgently needed to head over to Puzzle City because of a sudden change.
‘How disappointing! I want to go with you too!’
The pink Dragon Dodori had been extremely disappointed, but one Dragon had to be close to Puzzle City and the buzz cut Dragon Rasheel adamantly refused to go to Puzzle City where Eruhaben and Mila were if Cale wasn’t with him.
‘…No thanks. Even a great Dragon like me doesn’t want to be around those old ha…no… Anyway, I will be going with you. And you better keep this to yourselves. The fact that I called them old was a mistake. Forget about it. Ahem.’
Dodori and Raon had looked at Rasheel with shocked expressions, but Dodori chose to respect his wishes.
‘My mom is a bit scary after all.’
That was how Rasheel ended up coming with Cale.
Everybody, including Rasheel but not Dorph, was looking at Cale.
‘Something is odd.’
Ron’s gaze seemed very cold while looking at Cale. Cale had the same stoic expression on his face, but his eyes seemed more complicated than ever.
‘No. Is it fear?’
He felt as if he could maybe see fear in the midst of the complication. Cale looked as if he was controlling his fear with his firm will.
Ron could hear Cale continuing to speak at that moment.
“I will take some time off after this is all over to get some rest and think hard about farming.”
That ‘some time’ Cale was talking about was a minimum of five years.
The part about thinking hard about the farming actually meant that he would push the farming back during that time as well.
In addition, the ‘farming’ he was talking about was more so the size of a small garden, as he only planned on scattering a few seeds.
“I’m going to quietly live as if I don’t exist.”
Ron then heard the residents of the area talking.
“The Western continent has been peaceful until now because Young master Cale-nim stopped everything for us. I’m sure that he will take care of this as well.”
“…The guardian of a sealed god……?! It sounds terrible!”
“I told you not to worry. Young master Cale-nim and his allies will take care of everything as usual. We just need to pray for them.”
Beacrox subconsciously looked toward his father, who was standing next to him. There was a benign smile on Ron’s face, but his eyes were looking past Cale’s shoulders at the people chatting.
‘I don’t know why such rumors have spread, but it makes things complicated.’
Beacrox frowned while thinking about this rumor that was similar to the truth but completely different.
‘I understand their reaction though.’
God. A guardian protecting that god.
The destruction of the Western continent.
It was natural for people to become scared and look for a pillar of support after hearing such provoking words.
Both Beacrox and Ron knew that that was the case, but they were Cale’s people. It did not sound good to them.
Beacrox looked at Ron and the nearby area before turning toward Cale.
‘I’m going to quietly live as if I don’t exist.’
Cale’s last words echoed in his mind.
Cale Henituse, the first young master of the Henituse household, was called a hero by the world but Beacrox knew that he was just a twenty-years-old whose biggest problem was the fact that he was extremely weak if Beacrox did not make sure he was fed properly three meals a day.
Beacrox looked at Cale as he spoke.
“There’s no need to pay any attention to useless rumors, young master-nim.”
Cale looked toward Beacrox.
Beacrox frowned after seeing Cale ask back as if he had no idea what Beacrox was talking about.
Cale Henituse has been so idiotic since he ridiculously started chugging alcohol and causing petty incidents while calling them acts of a trash.
Beacrox had not cared much about it back then, but Cale seemed truly stupid the more Beacrox paid attention to him.
Cale’s gaze changed at that moment.
Cale closed the diary and put it away before Beacrox could even question what was going on. Cale then looked around and smiled.
“There’s a weird rumor going around.”
Cale’s eyes were sparkling.
Beacrox realized something at this moment.
‘It looks like he really didn’t know.’
Beacrox’s gaze sunk low for a different reason, but Cale had no idea as he walked over to Rasheel.
“We should go into the nearby inn first.”
The contractor of the Fire Elemental… This inn was being operated by the Elementalist Sully.
The Elementalist was currently with the Elves, so only his grandmother would be there, but there would be a relaxing and quiet place for Cale and the others there.
Cale gently kicked the bag that was being dragged on the ground.
“There are a few things we need to find out.”
Dorph must have been shaking inside as the whole bag was shaking.
* * *
– So, what you’re saying is… The flow of mana in the forest near the lake with the World Tree is a mess?
“Mm. And you are saying that this rumor that the White Star spread is spreading like wildfire across the entire Western continent?”
Alberu who was visible on the video communication device…
Cale who was looking at him…
The two of them were focused on very different things.
“That’s right crown prince!”
Raon was no longer invisible as they were in the largest room at the inn the old innkeeper had arranged for them and was shoving his face close to the screen.
“We were planning on heading over to the World Tree right away, but we couldn’t set the teleportation coordinates for some odd reason! It was the same for the entire forest with the Lake of Despair!”
The most likely culprit for teleportation coordinates not being able to set was the coordinates being unable to be determined because of a disturbance in the flow of mana.
– …Is it the mana disturbance tool?
Both Cale’s side and the White Star’s side had used these devices to hinder each other many times in the past.
“The chances are likely! That is why we teleported to a nearby village in order to gather information before we head for the forest.”
“But we ended up hearing a completely unrelated rumor without finding out anything useful, your highness.”
Ron, who had come back after quickly scouting the area, added onto Raon’s comment.
Cale had finished thinking things through.
“We will meet up with the World Tree as quickly as possible before coming back to join you there.”
– Okay. I will do what I can to take care of the rumors.
Alberu hesitated for a moment before continuing to speak.
– …Will you have the clue you need to stop the White Star from reincarnating again after meeting with the World Tree?
“Yes, your highness.”
Cale already figured out how to stop the White Star from reincarnating through Drew Thames’s diary, but he had not shared everything yet.
Only Raon was keeping his mouth shut while observing Cale with an odd gaze on his face.
– I see… I also heard that you captured Dorph?
Cale let out a short chuckle.
– Well… I’m sure you’ll take care of everything.
Alberu had a stoic expression and did not ask anything else. He just told Cale that they should chat as soon as either of them got any new information and started hanging up.
Cale found it odd to see Alberu suddenly trying to hang up like this, but he managed to hear a door barging open and a person shouting just before the call ended.
– A legend full of lies like that is not okay at all! I will never ac-
‘Hmm? Clopeh Sekka?’
He heard the voice of the lunatic. But the video communication device turned off at that moment.
‘Did he call Clopeh because we are up North?’
Cale thought that Alberu didn’t really have any other reason to call Clopeh Sekka over and decided not to think about it.
Cale would regret this decision quite a bit in the future. He would complain about how didn’t know that a plan that started with good intentions would end up so crazy because of Clopeh, and that he should have grabbed Alberu by the collar, if he had to, to stop him at this time. He would regret it so much that he would even complain to Alberu’s face while drunk.
The future Alberu Crossman would apologize to Cale saying that, ‘I didn’t know he was that crazy of a bastard.’
However, the current Cale Henituse just found it odd that he had the chills and rubbed his neck as he headed to the next room.
The door opened and Rasheel smiled brightly before welcoming Cale with a grumbling expression.
Cale gently smiled back at Rasheel and sat down next to Rasheel, who was satisfied with his smile.
He then looked down at Dorph, who was kneeling on the ground.
“You look like shit.”
Rasheel must have beaten him up a lot as Lion King Dorph looked terrible. He looked even worse because his berserk transformation had worn off and he was back to his original appearance which was skinnier than most Lions.
Cale didn’t care about that so he just stoically looked down at Dorph and started speaking.
Something truly was weird.
Ever since Dorph saw Cale at the Henituse territory…
“Why do you keep avoiding my gaze?”
Dorph would flinch even if Cale just lightly touched him and would not make eye contact with Cale.
“Did I not beat this son of a bitch up enough?”
Dorph flinched again after hearing Rasheel’s comment but he still did not try to look at Cale. He just looked at the ground.
Dorph then saw Cale’s shoes pop into his view.
Cale was standing right in front of Dorph.
“I’m going to start asking questions now.”
With the World Tree being the number one priority…
He didn’t have much time to waste on Dorph right now.
“You don’t need to answer them right now.”
“That’s right. I will make you open that damn mouth of yours sooner or later.”
Rasheel revealed a vicious smile.
“Thank you very much, Rasheel-nim. You truly are great and mighty.”
“This is nothing.”
Cale turned away from Rasheel who was having a hard time preventing himself from smiling and resumed speaking while looking at the back of Dorph’s lowered head.
“Where is the White Star?”
That was the first question.
“What is the White Star trying to do with the sealed god?”
The second question.
“Did the White Star gain an earth attribute ancient power?”
These were all questions about the White Star until now.
“How many more are on your side?”
“And how were you able to eat a Darkness Elemental and gain its powers?”
There was a question about Dorph as well.
Cale then turned toward Rasheel. The Dragon nodded his head and smiled, as if telling Cale to leave it to him.
Rasheel would get answers from Dorph while Cale and the others went to meet with the World Tree.
‘Don’t worry. I will figure everything out.’
Rasheel had confidently said that on their way here.
Dragons never bluffed when it came to things like this because of their extremely high pride, so he should be reliable.
‘I guess I should head toward the World Tree right away.’
Cale was about to end this short meeting and one sided conversation with Dorph without any hesitation.
It was at that moment.
He heard Dorph’s voice.
Dorph had raised his head and was looking at Cale with astonishment in his heads.
“What do you mean by ‘red’?”
Cale’s stoic gaze was still looking at Dorph without any emotions.
“The method of consuming a Darkness Elemental.”
Dorph looked both astonished and full of disbelief, but managed to calmly speak.
“A person possessing a red light taught me how.”
‘A person possessing a red light?’
Cale had an odd sense of déjà vu.
“Who is that person? Why would he teach you how to consume a Darkness Elemental?”
“…When I was very young…”
Dorph shook his head as if he was remembering a memory he did not want to remember.
“The Lion tribe treated me as a mutant.”
“I don’t care about your sob story.”
Cale had no desire to learn about Dorph’s past or his story.
“But you probably should listen.”
A rare smile appeared on Dorph’s face. It looked as if he might be sneering.
“It was before I met my liege.”
“…I guess I should listen.”
Cale walked over and sat down on a chair before focusing his gaze on Dorph.
“I was barely making it within the Lion tribe when a human showed up to our tribe. I did not see his face because he hid his face underneath his robe. All I could see was that he was giving off this red light that shone like the sunset before it slowly turned into the color of blood.”
Dorph closed his eyes and recalled that beautiful and brilliant red light. It had been hundreds of years but it was so clear because he had been unable to forget it.
“That person taught me how to control the darkness, how to hunt the Darkness Elemental.”
That word stabbed into Cale’s ears as if it was a thorn.
It made him think about the people who supposedly hunted single-lifers.
“That red light…”
Dorph’s voice was shaking.
He slowly opened his eyes. He looked toward Cale as if he couldn’t believe something.
“…Was similar to that red light that surrounded you earlier today.”
He shook his head.
He changed his statement.
“No, it was the same. It was exactly the same. It was the same clear red light.”
Cale had a bad feeling about this.
It was no longer just an iffy feeling; it was a truly bad feeling. It was a terrible feeling, the type of feeling he would have if the God of Death would appear in his dream tonight and ask him to share a meal or something.
“Is there anything else you want to say?”
Dorph shut his mouth and did not say anything else.
“Rasheel-nim. It looks like I will need to head out because I do not have much time.”
“Okay. I will find everything out for you. Nothing is impossible for a great Dragon like me.”
“Please take care of it.”
Cale did his best to push aside that terrible feeling and headed for the door.
He heard Dorph’s voice before he could even twist the doorknob.
“Maybe…all of this-”
That was all Dorph said. It sounded as if everything he had said was because he couldn’t handle the complicated mess in his mind and subconsciously blurted it out.
Cale turned the doorknob without any hesitation. Silence filled the room once Cale left.
Rasheel was the one to break the silence.
He walked closer to Dorph.
The slightly old wooden floor creaked as he walked.
Dorph lowered his head again and could feel the Dragon standing above him.
He heard the Dragon’s stoic voice at that moment.
“It’s very entertaining to have a lot of secrets. But Dragons are the guardians of this world and one of the beings that are qualified to look into the secrets of the world.”
It was at that moment.
Dorph got chills all over his body. He started to frown. He wanted to raise his head. But he could not do that.
Dorph was currently seriously injured and fatigued. In addition, the Dragon Fear was focused on him alone. Dorph could not raise his head even if he wanted to do so at this aura that was suppressing his whole body as if it wanted to make him unable to breathe.
“By the way, I am not like the others at all.”
Rasheel crouched down and whispered in Dorph’s ear.
“I’m not nice like them.”
The vicious Dragon’s low voice and the shadow created from his body both covered Dorph.
* * *
The Lake of Despair where the World Tree is located.
At the entrance of the forest headed toward that lake…
“Human! The mana is a chaotic mess from this point!”
This winter forest was silent as long as the wind wasn’t blowing.
It was a vast forest located at the northernmost point, filled with both trees with dry branches and evergreens.
Cale looked toward the odd forest without even a small breeze.
“We have detected hundreds of people inside the forest. We will only be able to tell for sure once we go into the forest, but they are believed to be enemies.”
Hundreds of individuals breathing quietly and observing in this area where mana was chaotic.
If they were all enemies…
“Then we need to get rid of them.”
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