Choi Jung Gun accepted Cale’s greeting in an extremely awkward voice.
Cale peeked toward the notepad on the table where Choi Jung Gun had been sitting.
‘Everything else was the same.’
Cale had not noticed anything special after finishing his evening lessons and following his memories back to the orphanage last night.
‘My room was a single room.’
The children at the orphanage usually stayed with a roommate until the end of their freshman year of high school. However, Cale’s situation was different because the kid who was sharing the room with him had left the orphanage. He had heard that the kid had come to the orphanage because his family’s financial situation was not good but had returned home with his dad once it got better.
‘It’s a good thing.’
Cale was relieved that he had time to think alone without any interruptions.
“It seems like you two know each other?”
Cale gave a simple response as the book club president looked back and forth at the two of them and asked.
“I come here to borrow books every day at lunch. I’ve seen this sunbae-nim a lot during that time. That’s how we’ve become familiar with each other.”
“Oh, is that so? Do you like books?”
“Wow. I’m glad that we got someone who actually likes books. The book club’s tasks are surprisingly hard and very repetitive.”
The club president walked over to the desk where Choi Jung Gun was standing and pulled out an application form.
“We need to record and barcode every book, organize books, and clean the library daily. Everybody seems to think that the book club is a reading club, but our school’s book club has a lot of things to do. We are even busy during festival season. Anyway!”
He smiled warmly to the new freshman whose name was visible on his uniform.
“What I am saying is that you need some level of affection for books to be able to enjoy the book club’s duties. Does that change your mind about joining the book club?”
Cale gave a firm response with a smile on his face.
“No. Not at all. It makes me want to join the book club right away.”
“Okay. That’s the right attitude for a good club member.”
The second year president smiled mischievously before handing Cale a pen and the application form.
“Use the inside of the desk over here to fill out your application. It doesn’t look like there is anybody here today.”
The library was oddly empty today.
“You see that chair next to Jung Gun hyung? You can sit there.”
Cale responded and quickly headed toward the chair next to Choi Jung Gun.
Choi Jung Gun blankly watched for a moment before he flinched and urgently sat down. He then hurriedly started cleaning up his open notebook and pens. The club president looked apologetic.
“Hyung, I’m sorry for bothering you while you are writing.”
“Huh? No, not at all.”
Choi Jung Gun closed his notebook as he peeked to the side. Cale was focused on filling out his application.
A quiet sigh flowed out of Choi Jung Gun’s mouth.
However, Cale had already seen it.
He had not missed that instant of opening to see a word as the notebook closed.
Choi Han, Rosalyn, Lock… It was not the name of any of the people in The Birth of a Hero.
However, it was a special word.
Cale couldn’t help but smile after seeing those four letters.
This Choi Jung Gun was that Choi Jung Gun.
He was the first Dragon Slayer, and Nelan Barrow, the author of the novel, ‘The Birth of a Hero.’ It really was that punk.
Choi Jung Gun noticed Kim Rok Soo raise his head a bit and look toward him.
Kim Rok Soo smiled at him. It was not the same bright smile he had seen until now; it was extremely different and looked as if he was plotting something.
Choi Jung Gun turned a bit pale and his pupils started shaking.
“What, what is it?”
He subconsciously asked and Kim Rok Soo commented as if he didn’t mean anything by it.
“I want to write too.”
No. It was a lie.
“Yes, sunbae-nim. I want to write a popular fiction novel.”
Cale looked at Choi Jung Gun as if this was new and unexpected.
‘He seems a bit clueless.’
The Choi Jung Gun who stole Taerang from Ahn Roh Man’s world was extremely skilled according to Ahn Roh Man. He needed to be in order to steal Taerang without any issues.
However, the Choi Jung Gun in front of Cale right now was a bit-
‘He seems a bit dopey.’
He didn’t seem to be that skilled.
Cale returned to ‘nice mode’ toward Choi Jung Gun, someone who was much older than him and was Choi Han’s elder, as he responded. Of course, the individual he referenced for his nice mode was-
‘Hmm? Who was it again? Who was I referencing? Ah, right.’
Alberu Crossman with a deal to be made. Cale was referencing the crown prince.
Yellow dust was fluttering underneath Cale’s shoes at that moment. It decreased in size the moment Cale thought about Alberu Crossman before it started increasing again.
However, nobody was able to see it.
Cale responded to Choi Jung Gun who gulped as he waited for Cale’s response.
Choi Jung Gun’s eyes opened wide after hearing that Cale wanted to write a fantasy novel.
No. What would be the point of writing a fantasy novel when he already lived in a fantasy world? Cale’s true desire was to spend that time reading a fun book and rolling around the bed.
“Yes, sunbae-nim. I really do.”
Cale pretended to be energetic as he responded.
Choi Jung Gun looked at Cale as if he was weird. Cale, who knew everything, instantly understood the meaning behind that gaze.
‘He’s not this kind of person.’
That was what the gaze seemed to be saying.
Cale knew it was true though.
Freshman Kim Rok Soo was not this kind of person.
He was not like that at all.
Raising one corner of the lip was technically considered a smile.
However, there was only one reason he was doing this right now.
‘I can’t figure this out.’
Cale had organized his thoughts while lying on his bed and looking at the ceiling last night.
He was able to come up with something odd.
‘There’s no reason for Choi Jung Gun to write The Birth of a Hero right now.’
At first, Cale had thought that Choi Jung Gun was writing The Birth of a Hero for Kim Rok Soo when he transmigrates as Cale. However, he came to a different conclusion after thinking about it some more.
‘Choi Jung Soo is alive right now.’
The reason that Cale ended up in that world was sort of like a butterfly effect. Choi Jung Soo chose to die in Kim Rok Soo’s place and taking Cale was the God of Death’s solution.
‘Choi Jung Gun is probably around me to observe me because I was affected by the aftershock of the White Star’s reincarnation.’
That was possible and understandable.
‘So right now, the thing he is writing…’
It was not The Birth of a Hero.
That was how Cale should think.
Choi Jung Gun was right to call it a guidebook.
In that case, who was this guidebook for?
‘Probably Choi Jung Soo or Choi Han.’
Choi Han should be fighting in that world right now. He was in the Forest of Darkness long before Cale Henituse regressed through time and transmigrated as Kim Rok Soo.
He could conclude one more thing from this.
They had not seen much of Choi Jung Gun, but he was trying to do something within his powers to help Choi Han and Choi Jung Soo.
‘Is that why he formed a sort of cooperative relationship with the God of Death?’
He heard the club president’s voice at that moment.
“Are you done?”
“Let’s see here. Good job.”
The club president checked Cale’s application and patted his shoulder.
“Please work hard.”
The club president looked at the energetically responding Cale with satisfaction before turning his head toward the door after hearing a noise.
The door opened and a student peeked in.
“You were here?”
The person motioned with his head.
“The homeroom teacher is calling you.”
The club president looked at Cale as if that put him in an awkward position. He needed to inform Cale, who applied later than the others, the basics of the book club.
He hesitated for a moment before looking at Choi Jung Gun.
This sunbae was a bit unique as he transferred right before winter break of his second year and immediately asked to join the book club. He had a slightly stoic expression at the club president’s desperate-looking gaze as he nodded his head.
“Go. I’ll explain things to him.”
“Oh! Thank you very much, hyung! Kim Rok Soo, listen carefully to Jung Gun hyung’s explanation.”
“I will, sunbae-nim.”
“See you later.”
“Okay, have a safe trip, sunbae-nim.”
The club president left the library with his friend.
There was silence for a moment but Cale simply looked around the desk as if he didn’t notice. Choi Jung Gun was the first to break the silence.
“I didn’t think you were like this.”
“Yeah. Whenever you came to check out books you seem a bit-”
Cale chuckled and responded as Choi Jung Gun was unable to say the last part.
“I seemed bratty?”
“Well, not too bratty, but…”
“A bit bratty?”
Choi Jung Gun was objecting intensely before he saw the calm look on Kim Rok Soo’s face.
“Sunbae-nim, you know how I said I am interested in writing? That is why I am trying to talk to you. It is taking a lot of courage for a person like me to do this.”
Choi Jung Gun gasped before peeking at Cale and asking.
“What kind of fantasy novel do you want to write?”
Cale said things with the events that had happened to him the last few years serving as the foundation.
“Mm, a story about a guy who travels to a different dimension at around my age and becomes a hero?”
Choi Jung Gun flinched.
Cale did not notice as he looked up and said whatever came to his mind.
“He has a mage and mm, a Beast person as his companions. Then they get involved with a Dragon. They also work with the crown prince of a kingdom.”
Choi Jung Gun subconsciously licked his lips as he rubbed his palms against his knees.
Cale realized it at this point.
‘He really is easy to read. This guy is Choi Han and Choi Jung Soo’s ancestor? They’re completely different.’
“Anyway, I want to write a story like that.”
“Really? …Is the main character a swordsman?”
“Yes. A swordsman.”
Cale held back a laugh as he responded.
Choi Jung Gun was visibly waiting to hear what Cale had to say.
“I would like to write a story where the main character and his companions don’t have to suffer a lot and easily takes care of the things they need to do and then achieve happiness.”
Choi Jung Gun looked at Cale at that moment and Cale smiled while making eye contact with him.
“Those stories are always the nice ones.”
Choi Jung Gun opened his mouth for a moment before closing it back. He avoided Cale’s gaze and looked up at the ceiling as he responded.
“…Yes, those stories are the best. They really are.”
“Right? They really are the best.”
Silence filled the room again.
Cale looked away from Choi Jung Gun, who seemed to have a lot to think about, and rummaged through some documents on the desk. Shouldn’t he do his job as a book club member properly while he was here? It was his first time doing club activities like this.
‘This kind of test isn’t bad.’
The yellow dust roaming by the tips of Cale’s foot increased in size a bit.
It was at that moment.
Choi Jung Gun opened his mouth.
Ding dong ding dong-
The warning bell rang at the same time.
He hesitated after hearing the bell but said what he wanted to say anyway.
“I, umm, I’m going to go to an e, event this weekend for a part-time job.”
‘Event? What the heck is he talking about?’
Choi Jung Gun did not look at Cale and continued very cautiously while Cale was finding this to be odd.
“…It’s an event about the past martial arts of our country. There is a part on sword arts as well.”
Cale thought of someone at that moment.
No, he thought of a family.
The Choi family.
He also thought about Choi Jung Soo who would be 17 years old and a freshman like him right now.
“Do you want to come? I should be able to bring in one person without a problem.”
Cale could not hold back and asked after hearing Choi Jung Gun says that.
“Sunbae, why are you going there?”
‘Why the hell are you going there?’
He thought Choi Jung Gun’s answer would be obvious, but he had no choice but to ask.
“…There are some people I need to see.”
Choi Jung Gun said that before looking at Cale again.
“It’ll be good for you to go.”
‘Yes, I’m sure it would be good. It’s obvious why.’
Cale nodded his head and responded as if he didn’t put much thought into it.
“That sounds great! I think it would be helpful for my writing. I didn’t have anything to do this weekend anyway.”
Cale thought about Choi Jung Soo as he said whatever came to mind.
“I thought I’d be bored this weekend, so this is great.”
For reference, Cale liked being bored. In fact, Cale liked being bored a lot.
However, Choi Jung Gun flinched before looking at Cale with a pitying gaze. Cale didn’t notice, but Choi Jung Gun looked at the clean but extremely skinny Kim Rok Soo before clenching his eyes shut for a moment. He then quietly mumbled so that Cale could not hear.
“…How lonely must he have been on his own without even knowing his fate……”
He opened his mouth with a determined look on his face. He looked at Kim Rok Soo, whose gaze was quite bleak for someone who was seventeen.
Choi Jung Gun spoke in a firm voice.
“After the event is over, I will show you a few things that might help you with your writing.”
‘Hmm? Why is he suddenly so enthusiastic?’
Cale wondered why Choi Jung Gun’s demeanor had changed like this, but he simply nodded his head as being around this guy would make it easy for him to gobble up information.
‘I’m not that interested if it isn’t seeing Choi Jung Soo though.’
As he had that thought on his mind…
“Observing the sword art will be helpful, but seeing a lot of things is important for writing. For example, plays or movies during production.”
‘Something sounds odd.’
Cale thought that it was an extremely sudden change to go from sword art to plays and movie productions.
He then remembered something.
It made him think of someone.
‘Team leader Lee Soo Hyuk. He had desired to be an action star but ended up not succeeding. Perhaps?’
Cale looked at Choi Jung Gun with a suspicious gaze and Choi Jung Gun avoided it as he added on.
“Anyway… I’ll show you some fun things. Just follow me. I’ll have everything prepared.”
Cale thought that this guy looked quite profound right now.
“I’m sure of it. Someday… Even if it is not for writing, I’m sure these things will someday help you out in your social life or survival.”
The things he was saying were profound as well.
It was as if he was saying that he knew about Cale’s future. That seemed to be why he wanted Cale to have these subliminal encounters with Choi Jung Soo and Lee Soo Hyuk in advance.
‘Would you look at that? Can Choi Jung Gun see the future? How does he know about Cale’s relationship with Choi Jung Soo and Lee Soo Hyuk in the future?’
Choi Jung Soo mumbled as if he made up his mind about something.
“…The threads of fate are bound to get intertwined at some point. I don’t know what results will be born, but……”
He probably said that thinking that Cale would not understand, but this Cale was not Kim Rok Soo in high school. He immediately understood it.
The single-lifer Choi Jung Gun seemed to be able to see something like the ‘threads of fate’ and not the future.
That seemed to be how he knew that Cale, Choi Jung Soo, and Lee Soo Hyuk would get involved with each other somehow.
‘But he doesn’t know the results?’
He didn’t seem to know the results of the intertwined fates. He probably would not have left Choi Jung Soo to die in Cale’s place if he knew the results.
Cale spoke as if he didn’t understand anything.
“Is that from a book?”
“…No. Anyway, you’ll go, right?”
Cale answered and got up.
Classes were about to begin again. He was acting like quite the proper student. Cale organized the spot he had been sitting at as he thought to himself.
‘This isn’t bad.’
He was in a test about sloth, but this illusion was quite entertaining.
Since this illusion had Cale’s past as the foundation, his actions were changing the past here. This made it so that the things he was seeing right now were highly likely to be things that actually happened in the past.
Whether it was the no-named actor Lee Soo Hyuk he may see at the movie production or the Choi family who were participating in the sword art event…
They probably did those things in the past as well, but Cale’s changed actions in the past were allowing him to experience those things as well.
‘It really is different.’
His life was different because his actions had changed.
Cale felt both joy and an odd sense of bitterness. But it wasn’t a bad feeling.
The yellow dust rose from his feet to his knee level as they fluttered around.
* * *
The palm left a red mark on the cheek.
Rosalyn had slapped herself. Her eyes were red from being bloodshot as well.
She clenched her clothes with both hands. Her eyes turned toward the garden that had seemed serene until now.
She looked down at her hand. She could see her small and chubby hands.
Around 10 years old. Rosalyn was back to that time.
It was the time she had spent running around the palace with her younger siblings; a time when she had received a lot of love from her mother and father.
“This test is extremely dangerous.”
Rosalyn looked around.
She then mumbled to herself.
“I almost forgot.”
She slowly repeated some words.
“Magic Tower, Choi Han, young master Cale, Lock, Raon-nim……”
She repeated her precious things one by one.
Although she couldn’t see them, there were yellow dust particles fluttering around and surrounding her.
“…I didn’t expect it to be this kind of test.”
A fire was visible in young Rosalyn’s eyes.
“It makes you stay at a peaceful time of your past and makes you start hating reality.”
Unlike the ‘Sadness’ test, this test was not about overcoming a person’s past sloth. In some ways, it was the complete opposite.
This test makes the challenger feel apathetic about the reality outside this illusion.
The more you like this peaceful past… the more you accept it…
“It makes you not want to go back to reality.”
Rosalyn had welcomed this peaceful time quite a bit.
However, that did not mean that she did not want to go back to reality.
The past was the past and an illusion was only an illusion.
It was not her reality.
Even if her reality right now was filled with war and battles, that was where the future she wanted to grasp and the people who were precious to her, the people she wanted to protect, were located.
However, this test ‘forcibly’ made the challenger hate reality the more they accepted the peace.
Rosalyn had almost forgotten about reality for a moment because of it.
‘Should I give up?’
Should she give up for now and resume the test after coming up with a strategy?
She knew how young master Cale would act in this situation.
Cale would try to finish this test until the end without giving up.
He had already told them about it.
He said that he was planning on giving up at first and then doing it all on his own the next time.
‘…I can’t give up on the test and leave him here.’
She could not give up while knowing that young master Cale and her friends would keep pushing forward in this test.
“I need to keep moving forward.”
The invisible yellow dust around her started to shrink as she said that.
Of course, they did not disappear completely.
“I wonder if everybody else is doing well.”
Rosalyn thought about the others who were going through the test as well and could not hide her concern.
OMG I’m worried about Cale, the yellow dust is increasing around his body… But i Know he will overcome the test
He will probably get all the info he needs and like peace out easily LMAO. He has always appreciated his current relationships more than what could’ve happened
Cale is sure enjoying his time
I’m shocked when Rosalyn slapped herself. I thought she slap the sealed god. Kekekek. 👌
If the author pull some ORV plot twist here I will cry. Cuz what are the chances that he himself ends up writing the novel TBOAH and forgets about it? He also said it himself, the 1st of his high school life was very peaceful but he doesn’t have a clear memory of what happened. CJG may have played a part with that. Which also means, Cale meeting LSH & CJS was meant to be ;-;
Also, the sad fact that CJG is a dimension hopper is pretty sad since he remembers everything. His time is warped still but it seems that the Dominating Aura wasn’t just his only natural ability. Seeing dates huh… My previous theory of him being the 11th single lifer that was killed by GoD or being that GoD is now ruled out since he can do that. Also, I’m just glad he can visit his family even if they may not remember him anymore. He seems more innocent than CH too. (┳Д┳)