The white steps were creating a path to the sky.
It was wide enough for four to five people to walk up side by side.
“We will proceed with the first dispatch.”
Everybody turned toward Alberu after hearing his voice. He turned toward the steps and took a step.
“The members should walk up the steps now.”
The path to the temple.
Alberu Crossman took the first step toward it. The small number of people on this team started to climb after him.
Cale quietly observed him from the side.
“Isn’t this a great team?”
Cale turned his head to see Rosalyn observing the people climbing the stairs as well.
“Young master Cale.”
“Yes, Miss Rosalyn?”
“They all volunteered, so don’t think too much about it.”
She patted Cale’s shoulder and moved forward.
Rosalyn was one of the people climbing the steps as well.
Cale raised his head and looked at the top of the temple. A blue orb was shining brightly.
The temple would first show the people who enter illusions based on sadness.
Cale was looking at the people who were climbing the steps, despite knowing that was the case. Litana walked up next to him with a stiff expression on her face.
“Don’t push yourself too hard.”
“I won’t. Time for me to go as well.”
The last person to put a foot on the steps… Was Cale Henituse. Nobody else climbed the steps behind him.
The chief executives nearby the steps… And the numerous eyes focusing on this area were watching the people climbing the steps.
The people on the steps did not look back. They only looked forward. They only focused on the temple.
Of course, Cale was an exception. He quickened his pace.
“Young master Cale, why are you in such a rush?”
“I need to speak with his highness about something.”
Cale walked past Rosalyn, who was in front of him.
She had volunteered to be a part of this first dispatch team. The reason was simple.
‘I am the human who is most skilled in magic. That means that I am also skilled in dealing with any unexpected situations. Furthermore, I have not walked an easy path.’
Her will must be firm after throwing away her position as the crown princess of the Breck Kingdom to walk down her own path.
The representative from the Breck Kingdom had originally objected to her involvement, however, he had to shut up after a single comment from Rosalyn.
‘Don’t you know my personality?’
Rosalyn was someone who liked challenges, but she was not rash. In fact, she was extremely rational and collected as someone who researches magic.
That was the reason she joined the first dispatch team.
“Oh! My close friend! Kahahaha! At least your face looks decent today!”
He ran into Toonka once he walked past Rosalyn.
He was the only representative from the other kingdoms who forced his way onto the team despite all others trying to deter him. The Whipper Kingdom’s executives at the bottom of the steps were unable to hide their anxiety.
Toonka nonchalantly commented to Cale as he walked past.
“Do you think that I won’t be able to do this either?”
“How would I know?”
He heard a brusque voice back. In some aspects, they really looked like close friends. Cale felt that way as well, and turned around.
Toonka looked into Cale’s emotionless gaze that was directed at him. Cale said something else at that moment.
“You would know about yourself.”
The corners of Toonka’s lips curled up before he started laughing out loud.
“Kahahaha! That’s right, that’s right! As expected, you know.”
Everybody who goes into this temple will see illusions that will push at their mind and their emotions. It was going to be difficult and dangerous because they need to get past their respective illusions on their own.
Toonka knew why everybody had been against him going with this team.
Because he is dumb.
Because he is emotional.
He may be put in danger or mess up the test because of those reasons.
However, Toonka believed that he needed to step up for those same reasons.
He wouldn’t think hard about things because he is dumb.
He was honest because he was emotional.
He thought that he might not receive as much emotional damage in such a test.
He was also one of the few people here with a lot of battle experience.
Battles were not simple fights. Wars were not just about fighting.
There were whirlwinds of emotions, especially with misfortunes. Toonka was someone who had persisted past those whirlwinds.
“Would I not know you?”
Cale said that sentence before continuing to walk. Toonka laughed even louder behind him, but Cale did not turn around.
Instead, he was walking past someone else at a brisk pace.
“Young master Cale-nim.”
He heard Clopeh Sekka’s voice behind him, but he pretended not to hear as he urgently moved past.
‘Why are we bringing this bastard along?’
That was the first question he had had after looking at the list of members.
‘Clopeh Sekka. Isn’t this guy wrong for this kind of thing?’
Will the fact that he is crazy be a variable that helps him?
‘I still don’t think this is right.’
Cale tilted his head in confusion but managed to not turn around. That was why he had not seen it.
He had not seen the sparkle in Clopeh Sekka’s eyes.
“…I will record it all and spread it throughout the world.”
Toonka, who managed to hear him, closed his mouth and shook his head side to side.
“Even the gods cannot defeat crazy bastards.”
Cale, who had no idea what was going on behind him, met with approximately ten people as he walked past.
There were healers and mages with grim looks on their faces walking with Saint Jack at the center. They were not going to enter the temple. They would wait outside the temple entrance for any dangerous situations.
“Long time no see.”
Sword master Hannah was with them as their guard. Cale greeted Hannah with his eyes before approaching two people who were walking a bit farther ahead.
“Will you be okay?”
The two people slightly turned after hearing Cale’s question. The first to speak was Mary, who was wearing a black robe.
He couldn’t see her face, but Cale had heard that she was the first to volunteer to go.
“Yes, sir. I will be fine.”
Her voice was GPS-like but full of certainty.
“I am a strong and cool person.”
Cale would have frowned instantly if Clopeh or Alberu had said something like this. But he could not do so for Mary.
It was because Mary was a strong person who had overcome numerous obstacles since she was young. She had a lot of pride for everything she had overcome and was just saying things as they were.
Cale believed that the two people in front of him might do better on this temple’s test than himself.
“Choi Han, will you be okay too?”
“Cale-nim. You know my attribute.”
Choi Han’s aura’s attribute was despair. It was also hope.
The young boy who had spent countless time in the Forest of Darkness had despair in his sword, but he was able to get hope through that despair in the end.
That was the reason his black aura was violent and black, but also shining and bright.
“Cale Henituse. The better question is whether you will be okay.”
The person standing in the front… Alberu Crossman slightly turned his head and asked Cale.
Cale walked next to Alberu and asked quietly instead of responding.
“Did you see the red light earlier, your highness?”
The orb was currently bright blue in color, but it had been red for a moment at first.
“It seems odd, doesn’t it?”
Alberu looked stoic, but concerned.
“It sure does.”
Cale had the same expression on his face.
“…But it’s not like we can just not go in there.”
It was better to take a few people to take a look rather than having a hundred people or so go in.
“First day is within five minutes no matter what. We must all come out by that point. Do you understand?”
The original plan was to use the entire five minutes, but the direction had changed after seeing the red orb. Whether it is one minute, ten seconds, or even one second… They could give up at any point, but no later than five minutes.
“Of course I did, your highness.”
“You must keep that in mind. Got it?”
“Yes, sir. I will keep that in mind.”
Alberu looked up at the air and resumed speaking after hearing Cale’s not serious at all response.
Cale’s shoulders flinched.
He heard Raon’s voice, although he couldn’t see him.
“I am watching everything.”
Cale had promised the children averaging nine-years-old prior to coming to the temple steps. He promised to give up after five minutes today.
“Raon, you cannot go inside.”
“I will not go in. However, I will be keeping an eye on my watch. I will wait for five minutes. I am going to destroy the temple from the outside if you don’t come out.”
Ahn Roh Man told them that no attacks seemed to work on the temple.
A Dragon had already thrown a giant boulder at the temple to confirm whether that was true. That boulder had instantly turned to dust and did not manage to even leave a scratch on the temple.
However, he felt as if Raon would be able to destroy the temple.
“Okay. I will be back within five minutes.”
“Human, promise me!”
Alberu looked at him suspiciously, but Cale was being serious.
“I will be out within five minutes.”
He meant it.
He really would be out within five minutes today.
He needed to confirm whether it really was not possible to re-enter the temple for 24 hours after going in once.
That would allow him to move on his own.
He would come out within five minutes to confirm whether it was true, and then…
‘I won’t come tomorrow.’
Cale made up his mind, but still debated what he would say to the children averaging nine-years-old. However, he had no thoughts of changing the plan.
He could not let the children see him bleed.
Cale stopped walking after seeing Alberu stop.
A holy temple made of white marble. The entrance was a white door that was firmly shut.
“I leave it to you.”
Alberu was left out of the first expedition.
It was because there was nobody better than Alberu to control and lead over numerous different situations that may arise. It was especially true because it was the first expedition.
“Please don’t worry.”
Choi Han answered as the representative while Cale headed toward the temple door.
Choi Han, Mary, Rosalyn, Clopeh, and Toonka followed behind him. Rosalyn started to speak.
“Everybody has their video recording devices and watches?”
‘We don’t know why, but apparently everything other than teleportation and video communication were allowed. Your attacks will launch if you attack but they will not break the illusions.’
According to Ahn Roh Man, if, for example, a spell was cast to destroy the thing scaring you, the spell will launch and hit the target but it will not harm the temple at all nor affect the illusion.
The illusion could only be taken down with mental strength.
The temple door opened on its own once the six people stood in front of it.
It was dark inside the temple. There was no source of light and they could not make out any objects.
“I will go in first.”
Choi Han was the first to step inside.
“I’m going as well.”
Mary followed behind him, and the others started entering one by one.
Cale turned his head for a moment. He could see the Gold Dragon and the Grey Dragon flying around the temple as if to keep an eye on it.
They left the Dragons out for the second round.
Cale waved toward the general direction of Raon’s voice and walked into the darkness inside the temple.
“I will be back within five minutes.”
The temple door slowly started closing once he said that.
Once Cale heard the door close behind him…
He saw a blue light attacking him in the darkness.
Once the blue light disappeared…
Cale was standing in the middle of a normal village.
He put his hand in his inner shirt pocket to look for something.
The pocket watch was working well.
‘Things that work without any external power sources worked fine in the temple as well.’
The seconds and minutes hands were moving properly.
However, Cale suddenly felt that something was off.
He realized what this ‘sadness’ was trying to show him.
Cale headed toward a fountain nearby. He then lowered his head. He looked at the water inside the fountain.
He could not see anything.
He then looked down at his body. There was no shadow.
Cale’s gaze moved.
He looked up at the tall stone wall to the north of the village.
He observed the forest past it as well.
This was Harris Village.
“Little Han, you’re here?”
“Madam, I brought the medicinal herbs.”
This Choi Han was a bit more introverted and innocent than the Choi Han Cale knew. Choi Han seemed to be full of affection as he happily chatted with the village people. Choi Han walked into the village with some herbs in his hands.
“Choi Han, I heard the Chief is teaching you how to read?”
“Yes! It’s fun!”
“Sure, sure. I’m going to bake some bread later, so come get some.”
However, nobody noticed him.
Choi Han approached Cale.
Cale’s arm passed right through him.
Cale understood his present situation.
“I’m a ghost.”
“I’m a bystander.”
This was before Cale met Choi Han.
It was when nobody in Harris Village had died.
It was the time when Choi Han had made it out of the Forest of Darkness, started to understand human affection, and was slowly starting to become happy.
Cale clearly understood the sadness this temple was trying to show him.
“It wants me to watch.”
The Birth of a Hero.
Watching the story progress as it was supposed to go.
That would be sadness for the current Cale.
“…This is going to be a bit difficult.”
Cale started to think.
On and Hong wouldn’t appear in the Birth of a Hero. They would just be running away looking ragged.
Originally, Choi Han would be in pain because of what happened at Harris Village for a long time.
Mary was highly likely to not appear.
‘As for Raon-’
“…It definitely will be difficult for me to just watch.”
That was why Cale was just a bystander observing it all in this test.
Cale released a sigh-like gasp at this completely unexpected illusion. He then recognized it.
‘It seems more realistic the longer I look.’
Everything he looked at was so similar to the real things. It didn’t even feel like a dream.
He couldn’t feel anything since he was only observing, but the others would probably be feeling things as well.
Cale looked down at that moment.
“Mm. I should hurry up and get out.”
It had already been 4 minutes and 50 seconds since he came here.
‘I don’t know what the tests for the other emotions will be, but it is quite beneficial to know that this is the test for sadness.’
There were only 3 seconds left until 5 minutes already. Cale recorded everything he could see as he opened his mouth to speak.
At that moment…
The ground suddenly shook and he could feel his heart beating abnormally loudly. Cale tilted his head before opening his mouth again.
“I give up.”
“…I give up?”
“…Sir, I give up?”
‘Hmm? Why… Why can’t I leave? Is this temple’s test different from the temple that appeared on Earth 3?’
‘This isn’t good. What about the others?’
Cale’s face instantly stiffened while thinking about Choi Han, Mary, and the others.
* * *
While that was going on…
“Five minutes… It has been over five minutes!”
“What is that?”
“Your highness! The orb, the orb has turned red!”
Alberu subconsciously shouted.
“Fuck! Open the temple door!”
However, the firmly shut temple door did not even budge.
* * *
Mary looked around. She was in her old house.
The Caro Kingdom’s Land of Death. The Dark Elves’ city underneath the desert. Her house within that city.
Mary mumbled to herself while looking at the calendar.
“It is before I met Young master Cale-nim and Raon-nim.”
‘What will my sadness be?’
She quietly mumbled as she stood up. She realized it while looking at the date.
“It won’t be that long.”
This was not an illusion from a long time ago. There was only a short period of time before she would see her other family again.
* * *
Rosalyn looked around before starting to speak.
“It’s the royal palace. Is it the past? Ah, I get it.”
She looked down at her desk as she continued to speak.
“This is when I was preparing to go to the Whipper Kingdom’s Magic Tower. Will I be headed to the Roan Kingdom soon?”
‘What is my sadness?’
An odd smile appeared on her face.
“I give up.”
Her smile became even thicker.
“…It is not working?”
There was a sparkle in her intelligent eyes.
“Something is weird.”
* * *
“Mm. This is my past where I was walking down a false path of a legend without knowing the truth path to a legend.”
Clopeh Sekka mumbled while observing himself in white armor.
“…The time I didn’t know the true path. I suppose that is sadness. However, I just need to go find the true hero.”
His eyes flashed with a weird sense of desire.
* * *
“Do I need to have another boring battle if I can’t give up?”
Toonka sighed as he calculated the number of days.
“Mm. It’ll be the time I was at the Roan Kingdom’s waters soon.”
Toonka was silent for a moment before he blurted something out.
“Should I just head for the Roan Kingdom? I might as well go and see my close friend’s face. Kahahahahah!”
* * *
Choi Han, who was smiling brightly, quietly mumbled to himself while heading for the Chief’s house.
“…I didn’t expect to see it again. Will I overcome my sadness if I can save them this time?”
A small bit of sadness was visible in his eyes.
* * *
Cale’s eyes opened wide while watching Choi Han.
‘What did he say? Will I overcome my sadness if I can save them this time?’
He subconsciously tried to grab Choi Han’s shoulder as he headed for the Chief’s house.
However, his hand went right through Choi Han’s shoulder. Cale shouted without being able to hold back.
“I, isn’t that the real Choi Han?”
‘Holy shit! We were told that we would each see different illusions!’
The Choi Han in front of Cale mumbled at that moment.
“I guess I have no choice since I can’t give up. I must overcome it.”
Choi Han had anticipated the contents of the test and shouted that he gave up before entering the village, however, he could not leave. That was why he had no choice but to walk into the village.
Cale brushed his face with both hands.
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