The world was extremely calm, being the complete opposite of Cale’s emotions.
He took the children averaging ten years old and headed toward the temple in the Henituse territory.
Unlike how it was in real life, the Henituse territory was only allowed to have one temple.
It was the temple worshiping the God of Despair.
‘This is driving me nuts.’
Cale started mumbling to himself while looking at the backs of the children averaging ten years old looking out the carriage window.
“So, the god of this world is the White Star, and the god in the sky is the God of Despair. The White Star will go up to the sky in the future and rule over this land with the God of Despair together?”
“That’s right, human! Stop saying the same thing over and over!”
Raon jerked his head around and frowned as if he was frustrated.
Cale was flabbergasted.
This was completely unbelievable.
‘Nothing about this situation makes sense.’
The White Star wished to become a god.
‘A bastard like that cooperating with the God of Despair? That makes no sense.’
Furthermore, the God of Despair wanted to cooperate with a human like the White Star?
That also did not make any sense.
‘However, it is a possible future.’
Cale now knew that the Hunters were behind the God of Despair, the White Star, and all incidents.
It was possible that the Hunters organization did something to create a world where the White Star and the God of Despair coexisted. Such a future was possible.
It was possible if Cale should fail.
The carriage stopped.
“We’ve arrived, young master-nim.”
Ron respectfully announced before Cale got off the carriage and looked at the temple.
“You say that every time you come here, young master-nim.”
Cale turned his head after hearing a voice.
The individual in a priest robe was a familiar face.
‘Bear King Sayeru.’
This bastard was pretty much the White Star’s right-hand man while he used the light attribute ancient power.
That bastard was now a priest, greeting Cale outside the God of Despair’s temple.
“I will escort you, young master-nim.”
“We will be playing.”
Sayeru took the lead while On took Hong and headed toward the garden in front of the temple.
– I’m going with them! Enjoy your time, human!
The invisible Raon seemed to be following On as well.
Cale looked at the garden the children were walking toward. There were all sorts of people seated and laughing. Men, women, old, and young… They were all seated there looking completely at peace as they chatted, played, and rested.
Cale’s eyes opened a bit wider.
There were Dark Elves, Vampires, and beast people among those people.
It seemed like the world that the crown prince, the Vampires, and the beast people wanted.
Sayeru stopped walking and called out to Cale with a pale but gentle face.
Cale looked away from the peaceful view and followed behind Sayeru.
They walked into the temple.
It was peaceful inside the temple as well. There were beautiful pillars and wall decorations made of white marble potentially mined from the Henituse territory. The area that gave off a refined and holy atmosphere was silent.
It was silent and peaceful.
Cale followed behind Sayeru and observed the faces of the people in the temple.
There were people looking happy, joyful, or excited while others looked busy, tired, or annoyed.
However, nobody looked as if they were in despair nor resignation.
“I heard that you were fired from doing work in the territory, young master-nim?”
Cale turned his head after suddenly hearing that comment. Sayeru was standing next to Cale and talking. There seemed to be a mischievous tone in his comment, as if he was slightly joking.
Cale responded as if it didn’t faze him at all.
“I was. The Duke-nim fired me because I was so bad at it.”
He gently shrugged his shoulders.
“Hahaha. I think I can imagine how the Duke-nim reacted. I heard that documents were flying through the air?”
“Please don’t remind me about it. The documents were not flying through the air, they were flying at me.”
“Aigoo. The Duke-nim is too much sometimes.”
Sayeru patted Cale’s shoulders as if consoling him for his suffering.
Cale gently smiled bitterly.
Sayeru slightly raised his fist and made a ‘fighting’ pose.
“Please cheer up, Cale-nim.”
Cale slowly nodded his head.
‘But you see…’
There was something Cale had been curious about since earlier. He wanted to ask Sayeru about it.
‘How do you know what happened between my father and I? Hmm? How the hell does a priest know about a conversation between the Duke and his son? It sounds like someone in the Lord’s Castle was spying on Duke Deruth and me and continuously reporting to Sayeru. Is it just my imagination? Hmm?’
Cale felt an unknown sense of déjà vu.
That black line on the marble covered mountain… It was the same feeling he had while looking at that snake-like line.
Boom. Boom. Boom.
His heart was beating fast.
‘Why am I feeling like this?
Is it fear? Nervousness? No, it’s nothing like that.’
However, it wasn’t because of joy, anticipation nor excitement either.
“We’re already here.”
Sayeru had led Cale to an area full of single-person prayer rooms on both sides. Sayeru opened the door to the room at the end of the hallway and bowed as soon as Cale walked in.
“I pray it will be a time of deep enlightenment.”
The thick steel door closed.
These prayer rooms were the only rooms with steel doors.
Cale subconsciously chuckled.
A single-person prayer room.
There was an orb floating in the air inside.
Cale had seen something that looked exactly like this but bigger.
It was that large orb that appeared above Puzzle City on top of the sealed god’s temple before he entered this test. It looked the same, but was much smaller.
This orb was the size of Cale’s head.
The orb was glowing red.
When the sealed god had thrown Cale into a test and tried to make him fall into despair…
It was this same red color.
“…It wasn’t a simple prayer.”
Cale turned his head.
There were texts written on the wall as if it was the prayer.
< To the defeated, those trying to hide >
< I will give you a chance to be born anew. >
< Endlessly remember the feeling of defeat and despair that you felt >
< And through eternal self-reflection and eternal repentance >
< Follow the White Star in the darkness and bow before god to allow yourself to be born again. >
‘The defeated or those trying to hide?’
Cale observed the red orb for a bit before heading toward the door.
The door to the prayer room opened easily.
“Oh my, Cale-nim.”
However, Sayeru was standing in the hallway outside the door.
“You cannot run away. You must start your prayer and show your faith.”
Cale responded calmly.
“Can I go to the restroom first? I’m a bit nervous.”
“I see. I’m sure you know the way, but would you like me to guide you there? Ah.”
Sayeru suddenly gasped before pointing toward probably the direction of the restroom.
“Never mind. Please go and return on your own. However, as you already know… It is the children’s turn if you escape, Cale-nim. You know that, right?”
Cale’s eyes slightly twitched. However, Sayeru’s face was calm.
“Your choice to temporarily block the White Star-nim’s path. You must pay for it.”
It seemed as if Cale went up against the White Star in this illusion world but failed, with his attempt being nothing more than a temporary hindrance.
Basically, it meant that the White Star had an overwhelming victory.
Sayeru saw Cale’s stiff face and gently smiled.
“Do you remember the fallen Saint and the evil necromancer’s successor? You may end up as a sacrifice if you make the wrong decision. Please keep that in mind.”
Cale could tell right away.
Jack, the Saint of the Sun God, and necromancer Mary were not in this world.
They were dead.
“Of course. No need to worry.”
“I will trust you, Cale-nim.”
Cale didn’t respond to Sayeru and headed toward the restroom. His steps were calm and gentle.
However, once he arrived at the restroom…
He heard a familiar voice call him Cale-nim this time. It had annoyed him to hear Sayeru calling him Cale-nim.
The restroom. Choi Han was coming out of it.
He had wondered where Choi Han had gone since he didn’t come out when Cale left the Henituse Estate earlier, but he was here.
‘He’s been crying.’
There were no tears on Choi Han’s face.
However, his eyes were slightly red on his washed face and his eyes were bloodshot. Cale opened his mouth to speak.
This was the restroom close to the prayer rooms.
It seemed pretty obvious that Choi Han would have been to the prayer rooms.
“Was the prayer hard?”
Choi Han avoided his gaze.
“It was hard for me.”
Choi Han’s eyes opened wide and he responded out of reflex.
“I will fill your share on your behalf! The quota filled up pretty quickly when I prayed.”
Cale was able to figure some things out about the prayer room at that moment.
“You’ll have to feel the despair again.”
Choi Han faintly smiled and Cale realized that he was accurate about what happens.
‘I have a sense of how it works now.’
The God of Despair was the sealed god.
That bastard gained power through the despair of living creatures.
The single person prayer rooms tightly lined up down the hallway… Those were places that the people who hindered the White Star and the God of Despair had to offer despair to the God of Despair in the name of prayer.
Since the red orb was in the room, it was probably despair through illusions.
Cale casually commented.
“I guess it is better than being a sacrifice.”
Choi Han called out to Cale again. However, there was deep sadness and desperation in his voice.
Cale had a pretty good idea as to what that was too.
Choi Han’s reaction and Jack and Mary’s situation made him pretty certain.
If the God of Despair wanted despair, the White Star wanted dead mana.
Living creatures had to die to create dead mana.
Numerous people had lost their lives in the Mogoru Empire’s Alchemists’ Bell Tower in the past for that same reason.
The sacrifices were probably referring to the people who had to die for the White Star and for dead mana.
Cale chuckled in a low voice and mumbled as he thought about the peaceful situation outside the temple.
“Do you understand the situation?”
Choi Han asked, wondering what Cale was talking about, however, this question was not directed at Choi Han.
– …I come back to my senses and find you taking such a weird test.
– Why don’t we burn it all up?
– That motherfucker! He made the ground useless? Again? He’s doing the same shit that the ancient one did!
The ancient powers were speaking up for the first time in a long while.
Thankfully, in this illusion… Cale could use all of his powers.
That was why they felt that something was off.
‘I, no, there is no way that we would lose.’
Cale asked Choi Han a question.
“Is the central location of the God of Despair’s temple in Puzzle City?”
“…It is. The central temple is at Puzzle City. Cale-nim, why are you suddenly asking such a question-”
Choi Han stiffened up without being able to finish his sentence while Cale turned around and smiled.
Bear King Sayeru was headed toward them.
“Cale-nim. Why are you asking about Puzzle City?”
Cale nonchalantly responded.
“I was thinking of going to the central temple to pray.”
Choi Han’s eyes opened wide and his pupils were shaking while Sayeru smiled brightly.
“Ah, is that so? I thought that you might be having other ideas.”
Sayeru spoke as if he was happy.
“Then I guess you can be in charge of delivering the sacrifices from the Henituse territory next time, Cale-nim. I’ve been quite concerned about whom to leave in charge of the delivery because the quota for the Henituse territory increased to three times what it used to be. You will do it, won’t you?”
Cale willingly nodded his head.
* * *
That night… Cale had to face Deruth not in Deruth’s office but the Duke’s personal study.
It was rare to see Duke Deruth being this angry at Cale. He couldn’t stop frowning.
“I made it clear that you are not to do anything! Why did you volunteer?! Why?! Even his highness ordered you not to do anything!”
Cale figured out why Duke Deruth and the crown prince made it so that Cale could not do any work. No, he had realized it earlier in the day.
“Cale. Please. You stay out of it. Basen and Violan will step aside during their turns as well. This is something that only your father should dirty his hands with. You go and rest peacefully. Please?”
Cale firmed his resolve once more after seeing the desperation on Deruth’s face.
‘This motherfucking test.’
“I will take care of the sacrifice delivery.”
Deruth was about to raise his voice but peeked toward the door. Cale put his hands on Deruth’s shoulders.
‘This motherfucking test. Until I let out all of my rage… I’m going to flip this shit over.’
“I have no intentions of resting.”
Cale was the only one who knew the meaning of these words.
He started to think.
This final test… Wrath.
‘It truly deserves to be the final test. The last test should be like this.’
The final corner to reach the sealed god…
The sealed god’s final act should at least be at this level.
Cale’s eyes were sparkling viciously as he put aside any thoughts of resting for a moment.
The Super Rock cautiously asked in a voice where his excitement could not be hidden.
– …Are we going to rescue the sacrifices first? Or maybe destroy the central temple? …How about we just destroy everything?
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