However, there was a bigger issue than this purple indignity test.
“Goldie gramps! The human, something is weird! I keep sensing the human’s powers in that yellow piece!”
The chubby front paw was pointing at the yellow piece.
“The Super Rock, fiery thunderbolt, water, and shield! The human seems to be in a big fight right now!”
“It’s serious, nya!”
“This is not right, nya.”
Raon, Hong, and On commented after coming to Eruhaben’s side and were huffing with serious expressions on their faces.
“What is it, gramps?”
“I don’t feel anything.”
On and Hong nodded their heads to show that they somewhat agreed with the ancient Dragon. They were not suspicious about Raon, instead, they were curious. Raon pounded his chest as if he was frustrated.
“Anyway, I can feel it! I can feel our human using his powers! That is the problem!”
The ancient Dragon and the Cats nodded their heads.
It was a problem.
Cale was the only one who could not make it out of the sloth test.
Why was he using so much of his ancient powers in this sloth test?
All of these were things that made them confused. He seemed to be in a problematic situation.
* * *
Choi Jung Gun stared at Cale who was speaking affectionately but with a vicious attitude and opened his mouth.
“Chat about what?”
Cale wanted this conversation with Choi Jung Gun to be short. He didn’t need to chat with this guy for long.
“Sunbae. That ability you just used that can slash through anything. Is that really your ability?”
Choi Jung Gun had used Lee Soo Hyuk’s ability.
‘The cataclysm happens after I take the College Scholastic Ability Test. Team leader Lee Soo Hyuk is known to have gotten his slashing ability after the cataclysm.’
Kim Rok Soo was only 17 in this illusion.
That meant that Choi Jung Gun had this ability before Lee Soo Hyuk.
That was why Cale had a single question.
How did team leader Lee Soo Hyuk end up with Choi Jung Gun’s ability?
Choi Jung Gun did not say anything. Cale took that as a positive response and asked.
“Can you pass that power to someone else? Or can someone else learn it?”
Choi Jung Gun looked at Cale with an inspecting gaze before responding.
It sounded casual but the tone was sharp.
“You want it for yourself?”
Choi Jung Gun was asking Cale as if to get a feel for what he wanted.
“Yes I do.”
Cale just answered since he didn’t want to explain everything.
Choi Jung Gun flinched after hearing Cale answer without any hesitation and dodged Cale’s gaze to look at the car again. However, he still responded.
“Other people can use this power too.”
Choi Jung Gun nonchalantly answered.
“However, I need to give up this power for that to happen.”
His face was cold without any emotions visible on his face.
“I don’t plan on handing this power to someone else by losing access to it. It is not something for you to desire.”
Cale couldn’t help but chuckle.
‘He has no plans on handing it to anybody else?’
In that case, how did team leader Lee Soo Hyuk end up with it a few years later?
The answer was simple.
Choi Jung Gun, Mr. Nelan Barrow, gave up on this power and handed it over to team leader Lee Soo Hyuk.
Cale let out a sigh.
‘It’s hard to understand.’
Choi Jung Gun was currently crazed about hunting Hunters. Why would someone like that hand over a power that was useful for hunting to someone like Lee Soo Hyuk, a person he has no connections to whatsoever?
‘Questions only bring forth more questions. Let’s just focus on the truth right now.’
Cale did not create any more questions for himself.
The answers would be revealed at some point.
Choi Jung Gun was now searching Park So Jin’s half-crushed truck before he asked Cale a question.
“Then why do you want that power?”
“Do you wish to know?”
Choi Jung Gun looked back at Cale.
“Did you already know who I was?”
The corners of Cale’s lips curled up.
“Nelan Barrow? Or are you looking to be called the first Dragon Slayer? Maybe the person that the Super Rock saved until the end?”
Saved until the end.
Choi Jung Gun’s stoic face slightly cracked after hearing those words.
Cale recognized the emotions visible through that crack.
Choi Jung Gun was feeling guilt toward the Super Rock. However, he quickly erased that crack and put on an iron wall-like face.
“I don’t need it.”
“The powers you have. I don’t wish to know about them nor do I have a reason to do so.”
Cale could see Choi Jung Gun tightly clench his fists after accidentally blurting it out.
The fiery thunderbolt cheapskate sighed but Cale was more focused on the fists.
‘I should stop provoking him.’
He was slightly scared.
This was an illusion, but he was still a bit scared. That was the reason he said the following.
“Later, you will understand everything by the time the day ends.”
It was at that moment.
Wiiiiiiiiiiiing- Wiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiing- Wiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiing–
Choi Jung Gun had a rare frown on his face after hearing sirens.
There was a police car approaching them from the distance.
Choi Jung Gun looked around.
They were on a two lane street by a quiet rice paddy without any CCTV nor light poles. There weren’t any houses nearby.
He turned his head after suddenly hearing something break.
“The dash cam.”
Cale looked relaxed as he destroyed the dash cam in Jung Yi-Rang’s car with a stone spear.
“Do you have one in your car too?”
“I don’t carry things like that.”
Cale nodded his head and stood next to Choi Jung Gun.
The police car was not too far away now.
“What are we going to do? Should we take Jung Yi-Rang’s car and go?”
Choi Jung Gun took out a crumpled paper from his pocket instead of responding.
It was a teleportation magic scroll. It looked quite expensive.
“Where did you get that-?”
Cale asked and Choi Jung Gun calmly responded.
“You can get anything with money.”
“I guess you have a lot of money, sunbae-nim?”
Choi Jung Gun responded sternly.
Cale was wealthy as well but he felt envious for some reason. He responded without covering the envy visible on his face.
“Then let’s hurry up and go see Lee Soo Hyuk.”
Choi Jung Gun was truly shocked this time as he looked at Cale.
“How do you know Lee Soo Hyuk……?”
“What’s wrong? Wasn’t the event earlier so that I could see Choi Jung Soo?”
Choi Jung Gun’s face stiffened for a moment and Cale recognized the vicious gaze in Choi Jung Gun’s eyes and clenched Choi Jung Gun’s shoulder as hard as he could.
“If I was a Hunter or your enemy, would I have remained quiet and let you use me as bait?”
Choi Jung Gun read the fire that was residing inside Cale’s eyes. Cale spoke quietly as if he was whispering.
“The reason I let it be was because I didn’t want to leave Choi Jung Soo as the bait. Do you understand, sunbae?”
Cale smiled and pointed to the scroll.
“Let’s go quickly. We don’t want the cops to see us.”
Choi Jung Gun’s eyes were full of chaotic emotions. The number of things he wanted to ask was increasing.
The ancient powers, Lee Soo Hyuk, his relationship with Choi Jung Soo, the things Cale knew about him… The things he needed to ask were starting to pile up.
The freshman Kim Rok Soo that he knew was not here.
However, he could not ask.
Kim Rok Soo’s gaze was not allowing any questions. Furthermore, the demeanor of this guy was not that of a regular high school student.
The special aura and determination of someone who has led others during a crisis were coming out of Kim Rok Soo.
This was not based on talent but based on years of experience.
Choi Jung Gun tightly clenched both hands.
The teleportation scroll was ripped and a police officer got off the car and shouted the moment the scroll wrapped around Cale and Choi Jung Gun.
“What is going on, eek! A, a person-!”
Cale let the teleportation take him as he heard the gasp of astonishment that sounded almost like a scream.
* * *
Cale looked forward while standing on top of grass.
In the busy filming location…
Well, slightly away from there where the supporting characters were waiting for their scene… The place designated for them was just a dirt floor without even any chairs.
Cale was in a forest from where that open area was visible and saw Lee Soo Hyuk leaning against a tree.
He addressed Choi Jung Gun who was standing next to him.
“Do you have any plans on using Lee Soo Hyuk as you used me?”
Choi Jung Gun looked at Cale’s face before he responded. Cale’s face still seemed indifferent while looking at Lee Soo Hyuk, but his eyes were full of joy and delight. There was also this thick sense of longing.
“No. I don’t. He has no value being used like that.”
He has no value.
It sounded cruel but it was the truth.
That should mean that it is not a lie.
“Sunbae. What is that patriarch thing you asked Jung Yi-Rang and Park So Jin about earlier? Does the Hunter organization have its own head?”
“Is there a reason for me to explain?”
Cale chuckled at Choi Jung Gun’s question.
“Shouldn’t you at least give me the foundational information after trying to use me as bait? Am I wrong?”
He was not wrong.
Choi Jung Gun observed Cale, who was looking around as if there was no need to even look at him, and started speaking.
“A long time ago, there were some families called the ‘Bridle of Karma.’ ”
Cale suddenly remembered how Jung Yi-Rang had said ‘Take this offering of karma.’
Jung Yi-Rang disappeared into the red wall after that, so it must be related. It might even be the secret to their dimension travel.
“There are currently five families and the person leading each of the five families is the ‘patriarch’ and, based on what I know, they are responsible for planning most of the hunts.”
“Then I guess your goal is to get the patriarchs, sunbae?”
Cale turned to look at Choi Jung Gun for the first time since they came here. Choi Jung Gun was looking up in the air.
“The King’s Successor.”
A fishy smile appeared on Choi Jung Gun’s face.
His appearance was turning back to the one with the short brown hair from before he released his restriction.
“The five patriarchs protect the King’s Successor and await the grand vision for after the successor has grown.”
Something vibrated at that moment. Cale looked at the phone in Choi Jung Gun’s hand and Choi Jung Gun calmly turned the phone off as he responded.
“They’re going to film soon, so they want us to hurry over.”
Cale turned his gaze.
“Okay, okay. Gambling center thug stand up!”
The person who seemed to be in charge shouted and Lee Soo Hyuk stood up firmly and walked over.
The man peeked at Lee Soo Hyuk before shaking his head, but nodded his head after Lee Soo Hyuk awkwardly smiled at him.
“Alright, I guess we have no choice! We’re lacking people. But Lee Soo Hyuk, it’s not my fault if the director cuts you out, okay?”
“That’s okay, mister.”
Lee Soo Hyuk smiled brightly, but the man-in-charge turned his head with an iffy look on his face.
“Tsk. You give off such a cool vibe. If you come off cooler than the main character, ah, seriously.”
Lee Soo Hyuk pretended not to hear the man’s compliment that wasn’t actually a compliment and touched his hand. He was doing it because he was embarrassed, but the man-in-charge thought that even that made him seem as if he was filming a noir on his own.
He sighed and threw a bottle of water at Lee Soo Hyuk. It was his way of taking care of him.
“Thank you very much.”
“Go to the other side instead of to me next time!”
The man-in-charge pointed his chin toward where the main role actors were before walking past Lee Soo Hyuk. Lee Soo Hyuk smiled brightly at the man-in-charge and bowed once again.
Choi Jung Gun observed Cale, who quietly watched the scene before speaking.
“This is new.”
A gentle smile appeared on his face.
However, the words that came out were the complete opposite of the smile.
“What is the grand vision they are trying to achieve with the King’s Successor?”
“I’m not sure yet.”
Choi Jung Gun could see Kim Rok Soo nodding his head with an, ‘mm.’ Kim Rok Soo continued to nod as he mumbled to himself.
“The Hunters’ goals, battle styles and escape. Oh, Lee Soo Hyuk’s ability as well.”
‘I learned all that I need to learn.’
Cale made up his mind.
‘Time to go.’
He saw Lee Soo Hyuk and Choi Jung Soo’s faces. He heard the minimum amount of information necessary.
He could not linger here forever.
“Then sunbae, you go ahead to film now. Ah, will it be difficult because of the blood?”
“…If I go, what about you?”
Cale smiled at the confused Choi Jung Gun and responded.
“I need to go too.”
It was at that moment.
Cale made up his mind to get out of this illusion and push forward toward reality.
His firm resolve would not waver.
Cale could see the yellow dust surrounding him, the forest, and the entire filming location.
“I guess it was these things that ate my memories.”
Choi Jung Gun looked at Cale in shock.
The tips of Cale’s feet were slowly cracking and becoming faint.
Toward the shocked and anxious Choi Jung Gun…
“This is all just an illusion.”
“It is an illusion of my past.”
Cale could see everything becoming dyed yellow and things starting to disappear from the distance.
Lee Soo Hyuk was slowly covered in the yellow dust and disappearing.
“You’re an illusion, no, I’m an illusion-”
The bewildered Choi Jung Gun grabbed Cale who was slowly becoming faint.
“Who are you? Are you really Kim Rok Soo? Did you come from the future?”
Cale had no problems answering.
“I am Kim Rok Soo but also Cale Henituse. The one who comes out in The Birth of a Hero. Also the one who came from the future.”
Cale suddenly got the chills.
Choi Jung Gun was becoming covered in yellow dust and disappearing as well.
However, an explosive fire rose in his eyes as soon as he heard Cale’s response.
He shouted that name before shouting toward Cale.
His lower half was gone from the yellow dust now.
“There were a total of seven Hunter families in the beginning!”
There were five families now.
Choi Jung Gun tightly grabbed Cale’s shoulders with both hands.
“The Red Blood family perished a long time ago. The White Blood family betrayed the Hunters and escaped!”
In the short moment as the yellow dust erased his upper body and was about to cover his face…
“Oh, descendant of the Thames!”
Choi Jung Gun shouted as if Cale needed to know this.
“The Red Blood did not perish! The Red Blood, find-”
The illusion disappeared.
Cale did not manage to hear the rest of Choi Jung Gun’s statement. However, he could easily finish the sentence.
“…Find the Red Blood.”
Cale’s face turned as cold as ice.
It was not because he was angry or because he turned cold-hearted.
“…What the hell?”
He had lost all color because he became anxious.
– Error. Error.
Green light started surrounding Cale once he passed the yellow sloth test.
The green illusion was called Failure.
Cale started thinking about the failures he had experienced in the past and the failures he might face in the future.
– Error. Error.
However, the voice that had announced the retest earlier could be heard again, and Cale looked around.
“What the hell is this?”
Numerous footages covered in green light were brushing past him.
They were all failures he had experienced in the past.
Some of them were potential failures Cale imagined could happen in the future.
– Error. Cause determined.
The voice continued.
– There are numerous worst failures in the challenger’s mind. There is no ranking of failures in his mind.
– He cannot forget any of his past failures and recalls them all equally.
– His uncertainty and fear for potential future failures are also on equal footing.
– Unable to choose one due to the existence of multiple worst failures.
Basically, Cale considered all failures as equal and felt equally anxious about all potential failures in the future.
‘So, it can’t choose one failure as the worst? …Is that a good thing?’
Cale could not decide whether this was good or bad.
Continuously deciphering the causes of failure in the past and thinking about the uncertainties of the future to protect the present and the future… That was something Cale felt was normal for him to do in order to organize information and analyze data.
– Unable to determine a fitting test for the challenger. Unable to test.
The voice said that Cale could not be tested before sternly adding on.
– Relevant test destroyed.
The numerous footages glowing green started breaking.
The failure of surviving the battle against the unranked monster alone.
The failure of seeing team members being injured for the first time since joining the company.
The failure of losing a subordinate for the first time after becoming team leader.
The potential failure of people around him getting hurt in the future.
The numerous failures started breaking.
‘…Oh, this is good.’
If it was unable to test him, then didn’t that mean that it would pass him on to the next test?
It was beneficial for Cale to skip a level.
– Proceeding to the next test as according to the manual.
‘Oh. This is great.’
As color returned to Cale’s face…
– Next test, indignity. The difficulty level of the indignity test has been modified to two times the normal level.
‘Hmm? …This is not good.’
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