Cale ended up closing his eyes again.
“Why are you closing your eyes again?”
‘Damn it! Son of a bitch!’
Cale raised his arm to cover his eyes. Team leader Lee Soo Hyuk started to chuckle at this clear indication that he didn’t want to open his eyes.
“I see that you still don't like to listen.”
Cale mumbled as he opened his eyes.
“What kind of dream is this?”
Although it was in a dream, a too familiar sight was in front of Cale right now.
The office where Kim Rok Soo had worked. The space that he had worked in for 15 years had appeared, and Cale was sitting in Kim Rok Soo’s seat. He was sitting on an office chair that he had never used in Cale's world.
Kim Rok Soo’s seat wasn't team leader Kim Rok Soo’s seat either.
It was Kim Rok Soo’s seat from when he was a rookie, the seat closest to team leader Lee Soo Hyuk.
He was told that rookies had to be next to the team leader or a veteran team member because they never knew when a rookie would cause some trouble and put their lives in danger.
Cale looked toward the team leader’s seat. Lee Soo Hyuk was sitting there as if everything was normal. The person who had tapped Cale's cheeks to wake him up had returned to his seat.
“What is this?”
Lee Soo Hyuk who had a significantly feeble body for a swordsman looked younger than Cale’s final record. He looked similar to the Lee Soo Hyuk that Kim Rok Soo had met when he was a rookie.
“What could it be, you little punk.”
The team leader took a sip of the instant coffee in a paper cup before smiling as he looked at Cale.
The team leader had said that he used to only drink americanos but knew that he needed coffee even when the world flipped over and went to a mart to buy some instant coffee packets.
It had to do with something about not being able to forget the sweetness of the past or whatnot.
It was too similar. The Lee Soo Hyuk in front of Cale was not a scene in one of his records, but he was acting too similar to Lee Soo Hyuk.
‘Is this real?’
The moment he had that thought…
“Apparently, I died in your place?”
Cale instantly started to frown. The person in front of him was indeed team leader Lee Soo Hyuk.
“Saying something like that without any emotion must mean that you really are the team leader.”
“You finally realized that?”
The team leader shook his head before looking up and down at Cale before commenting.
“But why do you look so terrible?”
“What’s wrong with how I look?”
Team leader Lee Soo Hyuk shook his head again in disbelief at Cale’s grumbling.
“You just walk around covered in blood. It also looks like you'll become a very famous hero?”
Cale was frowning so much that he could not frown any harder even if he tried.
How did the team leader know about what he was doing? Why was he appearing in such a form?
There was only one answer. There was only one existence who could do something like this. The same existence that kept throwing stuff in front of Cale and loitering around.
“That motherf*cking God of Death.”
Cale could hear the team leader’s voice as he brushed his face with both hands.
“You're right. He is quite the motherf*cker.”
Cale let out a short laugh.
The chair was pushed back and the team leader got up and headed toward the window. The curtains on the window were closed. Normally, he would see the destroyed and desolate remains of Seoul once those curtains opened.
However, the area outside the window was black.
“It must be because this space was created from my memories, but anything I can’t recall thoroughly is black.”
The team leader calmly commented as he looked toward Cale.
“The God of Death must have felt bad for us because we died when we weren't supposed to and gave each of us one chance.”
Cale could see a paper cup that suddenly appeared in the air and landed on the table. There was instant coffee in the cup and Cale picked it up. However, Lee Soo Hyuk started to speak again before he could take a sip.
“Choi Jung Soo, that punk, met his paternal cousin once removed whom he could share his memories with and showed him everything. But I don't have someone like that.”
A stoic voice came out of Cale’s mouth.
“Is that me?”
“Yes, it’s you.”
“That motherf*cking God of Death bastard.”
“You're right. He was a total nutjob.”
The two of them scoffed while looking at each other. Cale brushed his hair back. His hair and hand were both covered in blood and ashes, but that wasn’t important.
“Are you dead or alive?”
‘What is your current status?’
“That is something you don't need to know.”
“I guess you mean it’s going to be bad for me if I know.”
“You punk, you always have something to add on when you can just understand and keep it to yourself.”
“It’s my specialty.”
“You never like to lose. Always giving me a headache.”
“I don't have such a power.”
The team leader continued to speak with disbelief after hearing Cale respond to everything he said.
“…You still are the same.”
“So, are you going to give me your memories?”
Cale looked toward the team leader and shared his thoughts on the matter.
“I don't need them.”
He didn't want to see the team leader’s memories.
He didn’t want to know what kind of pain Lee Soo Hyuk had felt when he died. It didn’t matter if he was being a coward or that they were the memories of the person who died in his place.
He didn't need them. The human who could never forget always had to protect himself. Cale shared his feelings once again.
“I don't need-”
“Who said I was going to give them to you?”
Lee Soo Hyuk walked over to Cale and took the paper cup in his hand before taking a sip.
“What the God of Death offered Choi Jung Soo and I were not our memories.”
An image passed by Cale’s mind after hearing that.
“… Are you passing down your ability to me?”
Even the talented Choi Han would not be able to recreate Choi Jung Soo's White Miru to use as he pleased based on his memories alone.
“Correct. We were given the chance to give one ability to one person.”
Choi Jung Soo had chosen Choi Han. Of course, Jung Soo did not know that there would be such a cruel method of delivery. The God of Death's chosen method of delivery was good for neither Choi Han nor Choi Jung Soo.
However, Choi Jung Soo's abilities would be best transferred to Choi Han by showing him those memories.
Cale, no, Kim Rok Soo did not require such methods.
He had more records about Lee Soo Hyuk’s abilities than anyone else.
“Kim Rok Soo, I use the sword.”
Team leader Lee Soo Hyuk was famous for his sword art. There was also one more ability.
“But you're going to give me your other ability.”
He was famous for having two different abilities.
Kim Rok Soo had many abilities as well, but there were many people with multiple abilities by the time his abilities had awakened.
However, there were less than ten ability users with multiple abilities when the team leader had awakened with two abilities.
Furthermore, the two abilities were incompatible with each other, making everyone in the world curious about how someone could have two unrelated abilities.
Most people had similar skills and there were almost no instances of completely different abilities being in the same person.
That was why there was a lot of discussion when team leader Lee Soo Hyuk chose to work for that company instead of joining a guild or the government.
“Don't you want it?”
Cale calmly answered as team leader Lee Soo Hyuk mischievously asked.
“Hand it over.”
He calmly opened his palm to urge his team leader to hand over the ability.
“Hey, since when is anything in the world free?”
Cale started to frown. The team leader didn’t care and continued to say what he wanted to say.
“You need to pay up with money or find other ways to pay for your meal.”
“What’s wrong? Did you forget who I learned this from?”
He had not forgotten. How could he forget that? Cale leaned back in the chair and observed the team leader.
“What are the conditions?”
The team leader lifted one finger.
“Once this is all over, create a farm in the Forest of Darkness. Create an orchard and a field to plant crops as well. Plant tomatoes, watermelons, cucumbers, pumpkins, etc. Plant all sorts of different crops. Oh, plant similar things if your neighborhood doesn’t have those crops. And take care of them yourself.”
Cale started to frown.
“Farming is not an easy job. You know that, right? You must look after the crops every day. So, don't go wandering off to random places and instead just farm with that little kid named Raon. You can do it with Choi Jung Soo’s paternal cousin once removed and your other friends as well.”
Cale could not stop frowning because he knew why Lee Soo Hyuk was telling him to do this.
‘We need to take you with us. If we don't, forget being a slacker, you're the type that would go around causing trouble.’
He recalled something Lee Soo Hyuk said in the past.
“Team leader, I'm rich. I'm going to be a rich slacker.”
“So, you are not going to take my offer?”
Cale started to smile.
“Who said I wouldn’t? All I'm saying is that a superior who wishes to prevent his subordinate from being a slacker is petty.”
“Oh, how did you know? I'm a petty person.”
The team leader reached his hand out and Cale grabbed it. The moment the two of them shook hands…
He heard a sharp noise. Cale looked forward with a stoic expression.
It was being destroyed. This office was slowly breaking down. Team Leader Lee Soo Hyuk was slowly turning to dust as well.
“Are you leaving?”
Cale calmly asked.
“Yes. I have to go.”
Lee Soo Hyuk calmly responded. However, his body was quickly breaking down in contrast to his relaxed demeanor.
“Kim Rok Soo.”
Cale looked toward Lee Soo Hyuk who was squeezing his hand.
“There are times when gods make mistakes. Maybe it is because he’s a nutjob.”
His still calm voice continued.
“I didn't die in your place.”
Cale's shoulders slightly flinched. However, his eyes were focused on the slowly disappearing Lee Soo Hyuk.
“I died while I was running wild. Got it?”
Saying that he died while running wild instead of having died in his place. There was no way Cale would not know Lee Soo Hyuk’s thoughts and intentions behind that statement. He was trying to lower Cale’s guilt about the situation.
“No. That’s not it.”
However, Cale had no intention on responding the way Lee Soo Hyuk wanted.
“It wasn’t my fault nor the team leader's fault.”
“…You're right. That is the correct answer.”
Cale formed a fist with the hand that was in the handshake.
The hand that was shaking his hand disappeared as well. Cale could now see Lee Soo Hyuk’s true smile.
“Kim Rok Soo, stay alive. Being alive is the best.”
Cale looked into Lee Soo Hyuk’s eyes and nodded his head.
“Oh, by the way, the original owner of your body is living well too. He said he is happy.”
The whole area was destroyed, and the only things left were Lee Soo Hyuk’s eyes. However, he could still hear Lee Soo Hyuk's voice clearly.
“And Jung Soo and I are happy as well.”
That was his final comment. The eyes were gone now as well.
The world around him broke apart. Only darkness remained.
Cale closed his eyes after looking at the darkness.
He had a feeling. He had a feeling that it was time to wake up.
Cale could feel someone cautiously tapping his cheek.
“It’s about time he woke up.”
He could hear Hong’s mumbling. Cale immediately opened his eyes as if to respond to that statement.
He could see the front paws of the kitten who was falling over in shock. Cale sat up while feeling the softness of the blanket. He was a bit dizzy and could not see properly.
“Young master Cale, are you feeling okay?”
“Human! You are a total idiot! Human!”
He could hear many people's voices. Cale slowly opened his mouth to speak.
How much time has passed?
He suddenly stopped before asking that question.
Cale's pupils started to shake. He could feel it once the dizziness disappeared.
He could clearly feel a new power taking place in his body.
It was Lee Soo Hyuk’s power. The team leader’s power now existed inside Cale’s body.
Cale recalled Lee Soo Hyuk’s final words at that moment.
‘And Jung Soo and I are happy as well.’
It was as if a tsunami hit him. The large wave that he had kept suppressed in his mind was causing chaos in his mind.
‘I have to first start with a small field. I'll first plant tomatoes, cucumbers, and watermelons. Ah, I have to plant some hot peppers too.’
‘Can't I live a peaceful life later because I've lived such a difficult life?’
‘You're so funny. What’s the point if my pay grade goes up here? I'm not doing this to rise in rank.’
‘Then why am I doing this? How would I know? I just want to do it!’
‘Kim Rok Soo, how the hell are you going to be a slacker? Hmm?’
The memories. The numerous records that he had kept suppressed rushed into his mind. Cale felt as if his whole body was being swept away by a tsunami. However, the comment about how the team leader and the others were happy was helping him center himself within that wave.
“M, my goodness!”
He could hear the children averaging nine-years-old gasping.
“H, human! Y, you’re crying!”
Cale then realized that he was crying. He had thought that his cheeks were wet from blood, but they were from his tears.
“…Why am I crying? I'm not sad.”
He was not sad. In fact, he was feeling refreshed and at peace.
‘I should be smiling right now.’
Cale started to smile. However, that smile made the others go silent.