“Is the black-haired person the Dragon-nim?”
Cale heard some whispers behind him. They were not whispering quietly like Cale’s group. They seemed to be trying their best to suppress their voices but were too excited and envious to do it right.
However, Cale didn’t have time to pay attention to other people’s reactions.
‘There is over fifty percent chance that this Dragon is real and it doesn’t seem to be normal?’
It was at that moment.
Eruhaben spoke into his mind instead of out loud. It meant that he needed to be that careful about it.
– Mana does not go around that being.
That ‘being’ Eruhaben was talking about was the black-haired woman.
– Nonetheless, that being has strong mana. However, she’s worse at hiding herself even more than Raon. It’s as if-
Eruhaben hesitated for a moment before finishing.
– It’s as if she is raw. It is as if she has never learned how to handle mana nor ever practiced it properly.
The ancient Dragon’s currently green eyes were looking into the black-haired woman’s black eyes.
– Something is weird. A Dragon should naturally know how to handle mana.
That was true.
When Cale first rescued Raon, Raon had learned how to control mana on his own despite never learning about it.
– Human! Something, something makes me think she is a Dragon!
Instead of confirming that she was a Dragon over and over, Raon kept repeating that he thinks that she is a Dragon.
Cale organized his thoughts.
‘It is likely that the black-haired woman is a Dragon but her condition is different from regular Dragons?’
That should be enough to record in his mind for now.
It was at that moment.
The woman walking behind Sanders, the woman they believed to be a Dragon, stopped walking. The woman with radiant blonde hair next to her immediately grabbed the Dragon’s arm.
“What is wrong, ma’am?”
Cale knew the blondie’s identity.
‘She is the first young lady of the House of Huayans.’
The Huayans were the house of the Emperor’s instructor. They were the Black Bloods. She was the future matriarch of that family. She was almost guaranteed to be a Hunter.
The black-haired woman looked forward and shook her head.
‘Did she recognize Raon and Eruhaben-nim? Did she figure something out?’
Cale was tense for a moment, but the woman did not look toward Raon or Eruhaben. She just shook her head as if something was weird. However, she removed that confused look from her face and spoke calmly.
“I think my senses are a bit sensitive because I am a bit tired.”
Cale looked at the black-haired woman with an odd gaze.
He heard Eruhaben’s voice at that moment.
The little kid. That was his way of calling out to Raon while avoiding questions from other people.
“You stay a bit away for now.”
Eruhaben then shared his thoughts in Cale’s mind.
– If that being is a Dragon and that weird state is because of some constraints by the Hunters… The Emperor’s instructor, who will show up soon… The patriarch might be quite skilled.
He was saying that it would be better to have Raon leave for now just to be safe. Cale nodded his head right away.
Eruhaben seemed to be trying to convince Raon.
“…Yes. I know that you are strong, but… Stay outside for now.”
They heard a quiet booming of a drum.
The orchestra stopped playing.
It was telling everybody to compose themselves as the Emperor was headed over.
Cale was looking at the three people by the First Imperial Prince’s side. He looked at the black-haired woman, the first young lady, and the person hiding under a robe before he heard Raon’s grumbling voice.
– Human, I am heading out because goldie gramps told me to get out! I’m not angry! I’m really not angry!
Cale slightly nodded his head. He then added on in a whisper. He was speaking extremely quietly.
“Go and see if anything was installed at home. Or if someone goes through our stuff.”
– Oh! I got it, human! I’ll go do that!
“Moderately. If it gets d-”
– I got it, I’ll run away if it gets dangerous!
Raon, who now had something to do, said that he was leaving multiple times before leaving through the open terrace window and flying over to Palace Nineteen.
The ancient Dragon sighed. However, Cale could see Eruhaben’s gaze turning cold.
“His Majesty, the light of Iska, is now gracing us with his presence!”
There was an energetic shout and a beautiful melody started to play.
Everybody showed respect as their palace’s Chief of Staff taught them.
On the Emperor’s path from the door to the throne… The candidates were having some stealthy mental warfare as they lined up along that path.
Cale’s group moved back on purpose and bowed their heads.
They could not raise their heads until the Emperor told them to do so.
They heard the noise of a cane and the Emperor appeared.
They heard some cloth dragging behind him.
How much time must have passed…
“Raise your heads.”
The Emperor, who was standing in front of the throne, looked down from above the steps as he gave the command. Cale slowly raised his head.
This was the person in Xiaolen with the strongest necromancer abilities.
His face that was full of black lines and his clear blue eyes were looking down at the candidates.
Cale felt a hand slightly clenching his sleeve.
Mary’s eyes were shaking while looking at the Emperor. He wanted to ask her what was going on, but this was not the situation to do that.
Instead, he looked toward the person who was at a step lower than the Emperor and standing off to the side like he was the Emperor’s shadow.
This was the current Emperor’s instructor and the patriarch of the House of Huayans.
‘They said his name is Wallot.’
He was gently smiling while wearing a white mage robe.
This man with half-white hair who was past his mid-years and headed toward his elder years…
‘They said that he is the first young lady’s grandfather. He’s most likely a Hunter too.’
The corners of Cale’s lips curled up.
‘It’s been a while since I’ve been in this kind of situation.’
The Emperor, the patriarch… The First Imperial Prince, the black-haired woman, and even the first young lady. Nobody recognized Cale nor paid any attention to him.
Of course, there were some people who were paying attention to Mary, but the Emperor and the patriarch did not even glance at Mary. They were simply looking down at everyone.
– How entertaining.
Cale heard Eruhaben’s voice in his mind.
– That patriarch is strong. I can’t fathom his strength. Same with the Emperor. They do not seem to be below me.
That meant that they were as strong as the ancient Dragon, if not stronger.
This was the first evaluation the ancient Dragon had given since they entered this world.
Cale finally felt as if he could understand why Mary’s eyes had been shaking while looking at the Emperor.
Cale then saw Choi Han groaning as he slightly turned his head toward him.
The patriarch and Emperor were so strong that even the ancient Dragon, who had the most experience out of their group, could not fathom their strength.
This was clearly not a good situation.
– …Cale, are you worried?
Eruhaben asked with concern after seeing the scowl on Cale’s face.
However, Cale did not have the proper mindset to respond to the ancient Dragon.
– Cale. That Emperor…
The Fire of Destruction. The cheapskate was suddenly talking to him.
– He seems close to death.
Cale observed the Emperor. The middle-aged Emperor was full of dignity and looked full of life. Of course, he was limping and leaning on a cane.
‘Only the current Emperor survived the last test, but one of his legs was injured during the test.’
According to priest Durst’s information, this injury was from decades ago but the Emperor had been healthy without any reasons to be injured since then.
‘But he is dying?’
– You know, I’ve seen quite a lot of people dying from being poisoned by dead mana. How do I explain this…
The cheapskate rambled as if it was difficult to explain.
– Although the Emperor has black lines like Mary… Doesn’t it feel a bit like those lines are not as clear and are dying the skin around it? It’s kind of like paint spreading. Pay specific attention to his wrists inside the sleeves.
Cale looked toward the Emperor’s sleeves.
‘…It really is like that.’
He looked at the wrist that was slightly visible through the sleeve to see that the black lines were dying the skin like a water drop fallen onto parchment.
The Emperor then naturally used his other hand to push down his sleeve to cover the wrist.
‘…But he didn’t look at me.’
It didn’t seem like he did that after sensing Cale’s gaze.
– Mm. That’s symptoms of addiction from overdosing on dead mana.
Cale could not understand it.
Mary had consumed a lot of dead mana as well, but she had never shown signs of addiction from overdose.
‘She’s probably overloaded before though.’
Similar to how overusing mana leads to being overloaded, necromancers overusing dead mana should end up overloaded.
– …That’s right. This is definitely an addiction symptom from overdose. I know it is.
The cheapskate was silent for a bit before mumbling in a somber voice.
– …Not many humans have seen more people die from dead mana than I have.
However, he started to speak energetically again.
– Why is he showing addiction symptoms from overdosing on dead mana when he is a necromancer? Dead mana shouldn’t be poisonous for them?
– That is weird.
The Super Rock, who had not said anything for a bit, chimed in as well.
– There are two possibilities.
The cheapskate continued in a serious tone. Cale was stealthily observing the Emperor’s complexion without being noticed as this happened.
“…I do not know which of you will end up succeeding my position, but this is a test to determine the one who will have that honor. I hope that all of you will give everything you have.”
The current Emperor was giving the opening remarks for this event.
He wasn’t saying anything important that Cale needed to remember.
In fact, he had to pay more attention to the cheapskate’s voice.
– The first possibility is that this Emperor is not a necromancer. The second possibility is that there is some kind of dead mana that can even lead necromancers to addiction.
The cheapskate continued in a cold voice.
– Either way, he will die in the next six months since he has those symptoms.
The Emperor spoke again.
“May glory be bestowed on you all.”
The cheapskate commented.
– He’s probably aware of it as well. He should know that he is dying.
The Emperor was finishing his remarks.
“There will be a celebration for the victors after the first test. I hope that I can see you again at that time.”
That was the end of his remarks.
Cale could see the patriarch of the Black Bloods approaching the Emperor. He whispered something to the Emperor, who faintly smiled and nodded his head.
The patriarch motioned to the Chief of Staff, the Emperor said a few things to the Chief of Staff, and then got up.
“You youngsters should enjoy this in peace. I will make my leave.”
The Emperor smiled quite happily before gently speaking to the candidates.
Anybody could tell that the Emperor was telling them that he was leaving so that they could be at peace.
“Hmm? Are you going to leave as well, instructor-nim?”
“Yes, your Majesty.”
The patriarch slowly moved behind the Emperor.
“You’re not even going to say anything to them?”
The Emperor mischievously commented, making the patriarch with half-white hair smile faintly as well.
His slightly cold demeanor became a bit softer.
“Is there a need to speak to them right now, your Majesty?”
However, his gaze was cold. That cold gaze observed the hall before he gave a short remark.
“May you all survive.”
Silence filled the hall.
“Hahahaha! My goodness, instructor-nim, you’re even worse than me.”
The Emperor laughed out loud as he walked out of the hall. The candidates bowed again and the patriarch was smiling gently as he walked out behind the Emperor.
The Chief of Staff moved forward once the two of them left and addressed the crowd.
“The details of the first test will be revealed at the end of this celebration, so please enjoy yourselves until then. The palace you are in right now and the rear garden outside… You may freely use any of the areas here, esteemed candidates!”
The Chief of Staff bowed respectfully.
“Now then, may you have a relaxing time.”
The Chief of Staff motioned and the orchestra started to play some cheerful music.
“…His aura truly is different.”
The candidates and their helpers slowly started to loosen up and speak.
Cale also approached Mary.
“Would you like some refreshments, my liege?”
He was faithful to his duties. Choi Han approached Cale.
“Should I get you some meat, sir?”
‘Haaa, you should be serving Mary, not me!’
Since Choi Han couldn’t act to save his life, Cale had simply told Choi Han to do whatever was easiest for him.
“We need to serve our liege first.”
Cale gently smiled under the mask and responded to Choi Han.
Eruhaben was already standing behind Mary’s back like a guard knight.
Cale motioned toward the terrace with his eyes to Mary. It was better to stealthily discuss her reaction from earlier and the information he had gathered.
However, it was not easy to do that.
“You must be the faaaaamous Heni Wishrop.”
Cale frowned while looking at the person approaching them.
‘Who the hell is this typical trash-like bastard?’
Mary turned toward the sound of the voice. The Fourth Imperial Prince was approaching them.
Anybody could tell that the Fourth Imperial Prince, who had a cheeky smile on his face and was holding a wine glass as he was inspecting Mary from head to toe, was trying to start something with Mary.
Cale felt that way as well.
‘I guess we don’t need to pay any attention to him.’
Cale immediately stopped caring.
“Who are you?”
“…What? You… asked who I am?”
‘Mary will take care of him on her own.’
“Yes. Who are you?”
“…Did you just speak informally-”
“All candidates are equal. Anyway, who are you?”
“…How could you not know who I-”
“Should I know who you are?”
‘As expected, none of these bastards who show up like this have strong mental fortitudes.’
Cale calmly nodded his head before stopping.
“Wow! All of the famous people are here!”
A man with disheveled hair approached Mary and the Fourth Imperial Prince.
Cale knew this person.
‘Zero, the man with mercenary origins.’
He was number one on the list of mysterious individuals given by Durst and the church, while his abilities were said to be one of the highest of the candidates.
“This area seems quite interesting. Can I join in as well?”
Another person approached them.
‘The Second Imperial Princess as well-’
Although her necromancer abilities were ranked fifth among the Imperial family, she was said to be quite skilled in other areas.
‘…What the hell, why is everybody coming here?’
Cale’s expression slowly became unsettled.
The three people gathered around Mary.
But that wasn’t the end.
‘We need to go exchange information at the terrace though?’
Regardless of that thought going through Cale’s mind…
The man who was standing aloof with a stoic expression on his face without engaging in conversation with anybody… The First Imperial Prince was approaching with his gaze focused on Mary.
‘Why are you all doing this-’
Cale first moved Choi Han, who was standing next to Mary, behind him since Choi Han’s acting sucked. He then moved in front of Mary.
It was at that moment.
They heard a loud explosion.
Anybody would be able to tell that this was an explosion. Cale looked out the terrace window.
A fire was shooting up from a distant palace.
An alarm started to ring and someone urgently rushed over to the Fourth Imperial Prince and whispered in his ear. However, everybody around them could hear what he said.
“The Agents of Destruction have attacked the Imperial Palace walls!”
‘Agents of Destruction?’
Cale recalled some information Durst had given him.
‘There is an organization that believes that they can go to a new world if they destroy this one. They are called the Agents of Destruction.’
Cale sighed internally.
‘Man, this world has so many issues too.’
Issue after issue lol.
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