There were many documents in Alberu Crossman’s hand as he walked into his office.
Unlike the outside situation where the cool spring evening was perfect for tea time outside, Alberu’s expression slowly stiffened as he walked into his private area.
“Your highness, should I bring over some refreshments?”
His expression softened after hearing his attendant’s voice, and he turned around with a smile.
“That’s okay. I’ll let you know if I need some later.”
“As you command, your highness.”
The door closed with a quiet sound and Alberu was finally alone.
He sighed before brushing back his orderly hair.
‘There’s too much to do.’
A stealthy investigation would be launched regarding this ‘Cale’ existence that Alberu had reported to King Zed.
The responsibility of taking care of this, as well as the issue with Commander Toonka, was assigned to Alberu as he seemed to know the incident the best.
Alberu had been assigned the task as he had wanted, but he couldn’t help but have a headache from the preparation as it was related to core individuals of different nations.
There was also the deal with the White Star.
Alberu had said that he would think about the offer, but he needed to make sure that the decision he made was the best one.
The King’s birthday celebration was coming soon.
Alberu needed to show something by then to contest the second prince who had reliable backing and the third prince who had the king’s affection.
What a heada-”
Alberu’s gaze stopped somewhere as he undid his neck button out of frustration. His gaze immediately sunk cold.
“Who are you?”
On top of his office desk… There was an orb he had never seen before.
Alberu quickly searched the office with his gaze. He heard an unfamiliar voice at that moment.
– You’re scared.
Alberu looked toward the orb again.
There was a tiger with a black mane staring at him with a sparkling gaze.
Alberu had never even seen a creature like this even in books. He subconsciously frowned after hearing the tiger’s next statement.
– Do you think that the answer would appear because you stare at me?
It was obvious that this tiger was provoking him. However, the problem was that the black tiger’s serious demeanor and low voice made it not feel like provocation at all.
Alberu stopped frowning and started speaking.
“But there is no reason to not observe the other party.”
– That is true.
Cale quietly watched the two Alberus converse.
‘I can tell after seeing them like this that his highness had some rough patches in the past.’
Although the Dark Tiger, the Alberu of the present, was not visibly showing anything, it was obvious that he would pity this Alberu in front of him.
– Let me ask you a question.
The black tiger asked Alberu a question. There were no emotions whatsoever in his voice.
– Is there anybody in this world who is nice without reason? Is there happiness that suddenly shows up without notice?
‘What nonsense is this tiger suddenly spewing?’
Alberu had asked about the tiger’s identity and felt frustrated after getting this nonsense back.
The tiger said something at that moment.
– Things like that don’t exist.
Alberu’s eyebrows slightly rose up.
– There is bound to be a hidden blade in goodwill without reason and happiness that suddenly shows up is bound to be covering betrayal that cannot be seen.
The crown prince looked at the life form inside the orb with a different gaze from before. It was the first time the corners of the tiger’s lips curled up.
– That is what you think, isn’t it?
Alberu showed his agreement through silence. This black tiger was accurately stating his thoughts.
“…I will ask one more time. Who are you?”
The tiger gave a simple response.
– Use your mana.
Alberu’s eyes immediately opened wide.
– I’m talking about dead mana.
‘How does he-?’
Alberu’s eyes quickly stopped looking shocked but became even warier of this tiger.
‘He knows that I use dead mana.’
That meant that he also knew that Alberu had some Dark Elf blood in him. It was at that moment.
“Why are you doing this so inconveniently?”
Alberu heard another unfamiliar voice. Over on the couch in the office… There was an Elf with white gold hair leisurely sitting on the couch looking toward him.
Elf. Alberu flinched and looked ready to attack. Dark Elves and Elves did not have a good relationship, and Alberu knew about that history as well. However, Alberu’s eyes looked full of suspicion after hearing what the Elf said next.
“I am a Dragon.”
“Yes. You can’t believe it?”
Alberu couldn’t help but not believe it.
It was a Dragon of all things. An existence that was difficult to see even once in a person’s life had come to his office? It was better to believe that it was a lie.
“Hmm. You look unconvinced.”
The Elf realized Alberu’s thoughts and smiled. A cold gaze appeared on his face. His voice sank low.
“I loathe those shitheads who question my identity.”
Eruhaben’s pupils extended vertically as they glowed.
Alberu groaned and clutched his shirt.
An invisible presence suddenly suppressed him. The source of that presence was this Elf… no, it was this Dragon. Alberu’s body was shaking and he was barely standing as he bowed.
“I… greet… an esteemed Dragon.”
The presence suppressing him instantly disappeared. A bead of sweat dropped from Alberu’s forehead.
‘That power just now was definitely Dragon Fear.’
Even if he was only a quarter Dark Elf, he still had Dark Elf blood flowing through him. He fixed his clothes that were now a bit messy and quickly started thinking.
‘One of them is a Dragon, but what about the other?’
Eruhaben chuckled and motioned toward the black tiger with his chin as if he realized what Alberu was thinking.
“Just so you know, even I don’t know that punk’s identity. He suddenly came to see me and we are temporarily working together. Isn’t it a similar situation to what you are going through right now?”
That was right. It was indeed similar to Alberu’s situation if the Dragon was telling the truth.
“However, there is something I can tell you. These punks are not from this world, and even I can’t fathom what they are.”
“…Sir, did you say punks?”
“Ah, yeah. There are two of them. One cannot be seen. Also-”
The ancient Dragon nonchalantly commented to the crown prince who had some rough edges but gave off a confident demeanor and looked quite talented.
“Also, the punk you cannot see is the real Cale that you are looking for.”
Alberu’s eyes opened wide.
It was out of pure shock this time.
‘The Dragon just said that they are not from this world and that even he cannot fathom what they are.’
That meant that they were as strong, if not stronger than Dragons, and there were only a few existences at that level.
Gods, the Demonic race, and the Divine race. He thought of a few existences.
‘That’s weird. I’m sure that Toonka said that Cale was his close friend.’
His chaotic eyes turned toward the black tiger.
“… A God?”
– …A God?
The tiger was looking at Alberu as if he was looking at a child. The crown prince found this gaze to be oddly unpleasant.
– You don’t believe in things like that.
Yes. This tiger knew Alberu’s inner thoughts too well.
That was the reason for this unpleasant feeling. However, it was different from repulsion. It was an iffy feeling but not something that made him think that this tiger was the enemy.
‘He knows my inner thoughts that I have not shared with anybody else. Is he… Is he really an existence I cannot fathom?’
These information were things that even his enemies would not know.
Alberu’s mind turned into even more of a complicated mess.
– There is no need to complicate things. I will tell you the reason I came to see you. Listen to it and decide for yourself.
However, the black tiger did not give Alberu any time to think.
– I just need to capture and fuck up one bastard.
Cale flinched at Alberu’s coarse choice of words before staring at Alberu inside the cintamani.
‘He seems very angry.’
It made sense, since even he was angry at what the sealed god was doing to this world’s Alberu as the White Star. If he was angry, how angry would Alberu be when it was being done to himself?
– Yes. The White Star. You received an offer from that bastard, right?
Alberu’s eyes clouded over.
The White Star. That person was someone who was already giving Alberu quite the concern.
The White Star had made Alberu an offer.
The Alchemists and mages would be Alberu’s backing if he would give them a place in the Roan Kingdom.
‘But there is nothing for the White Star to benefit from that deal.’
That was the reason the crown prince was contemplating it so much. But a new mysterious individual had now appeared saying that he needed to kill that bastard.
“Sir, are you and the White Star enemies?”
– Ah, feel free to speak informally. There is no reason for you to speak so formally to me.
The black tiger shuddered as if he hated it, before scoffing as if it was funny.
The Dark Tiger thought about the White Star’s identity.
The sealed god.
‘A god as my enemy-’
– That bastard is someone who threatens my position.
The position that tiger Alberu was talking about was not a position of power.
His position. He was talking about the Roan Kingdom, the relationships he had built, and the home he had created. The sealed god was currently messing with his home and his precious friends.
The Dark Tiger saw Alberu’s eyes cloud over at his comment and held back the bitterness in his heart.
‘He seems to have understood the position I mentioned as a position of power.’
The Dark Tiger did not correct the illusion Alberu’s mistake.
– I’m the type who cannot sleep if I can’t get rid of something that is getting in the way of my survival.
Alberu had a thought after hearing the tiger until there.
‘I like him. Yes, it should be like this.’
Unlike the White Star, this tiger in front of him was clearly showing what he wanted from the deal. There was something for him to benefit from in making this deal.
Alberu now had something to say as well.
“And what would I benefit from this?”
– Can you really think about benefits when you were almost stabbed in the back?
– You seem to think that he only threatened my position. I’m pretty sure your position is in even more danger.
“What do you mean by that?”
Alberu’s face instantly stiffened. The Dark Tiger shook his head as he continued speaking.
– The Alchemists that the bastard will bring are black mages. The Empire is working with black mages camouflaged as Alchemists in the Alchemists’ Bell Tower.
Alberu could not fully believe that statement.
– And the mages that will come with them are not reclusive mages from the Whipper Kingdom, they are his subordinates.
“…Is that the truth?”
– The Dragon next to you is going to infiltrate the Empire and record some footage from inside the Alchemists’ Bell Tower, while I will tell you the location of the reclusive mages. They are scattered around the Whipper Kingdom, but you should be able to confirm it quickly. You may be doubtful, but at least you would be able to confirm it within three days. You should have at least that much time, no?
Alberu scoffed before briskly walking.
He then picked up the cintamani and walked over to the couch where Eruhaben was seated.
– How about not treating this so roughly?
Alberu almost tossed the cintamani onto the table before taking the head seat. The ancient Dragon watched him oddly as he sat down and crossed his legs, but Alberu didn’t pay him any attention.
As Cale had that thought, Alberu put on an elegant smile for the first time since he walked into the office as he looked at the Dark Tiger.
“In detail. I hope you can tell me everything in detail one by one.”
The Dark Tiger Alberu slowly smiled as well.
– Will you make a deal?
“I don’t know about that.”
Alberu responded with a refreshing smile on his face.
“If everything you said is true… That White Star bastard… I want to fuck him up too.”
– That’s a good mentality.
Alberu, the Dark Tiger, and Cale… All three of them had the same smile on their faces.
* * *
“Your highness, are you planning on making the deal?”
“That’s right. However, I cannot trust you completely.”
The White Star nodded at Alberu Crossman’s comment.
“Of course. I will return with a few representatives in a bit, your highness. You will be able to confirm everyone at that point.”
“Yes. Let’s do that.”
Alberu put his teacup on the table as he smiled.
“Are we on the same boat now?”
Alberu reached out his hand and the White Star cautiously shook it as he responded.
“It is an honor, your highness.”
The meeting between Alberu and the White Star took place in his office. As for the deal…
There was an orb covered in a black cloth with just a small gap to look out where the deal took place. The Dark Tiger’s sparkling eyes were observing the White Star from inside the cintamani.
‘He really doesn’t realize it. We were right to think that he cannot recognize the item arranged for by the God of Death.’
Dark Tiger Alberu had an extremely satisfied smile on his face.
‘This makes it easier to smack him in the back.’
He licked his lips as if he had become a tiger with an extremely delicious prey in front of him. He couldn’t hide his excitement for what would happen soon as he thought about Cale, who went to see Mary.
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