Team leader Lee Soo Hyuk.
Cale started to think about him.
The company that Kim Rok Soo had worked for would have been worth nothing without team leader Lee Soo Hyuk.
That was how influential team leader Lee Soo Hyuk was as one of the legends and heroes of the Korean ability users’ world.
One of the other employees had once asked team leader Lee Soo Hyuk what kind of person he was before the world flipped over.
He had been curious to know what kind of this person with so many achievements had been.
‘Mm, I was average.’
‘What was your job?’
‘Me? I was a slacker with no job.’
‘Wow, look at this little punk, Kim Rok Soo. He chimes in because we are talking about being a slacker!’
Kim Rok Soo who did not usually participate in these get-togethers and had come for the first time in a long while was interested about hearing that the team leader had been a slacker.
The team leader who was laughing as he looked at Kim Rok Soo shrugged his shoulders at the employee who was asking if he really was a slacker.
‘Yes. I really was a slacker. A slacker with many dreams.’
‘Boo, too boring.’
The employee lost interest in team leader Lee Soo Hyuk's response and moved away. The table soon became loud and there was only one person who paid any attention to the team leader who was drinking on his own.
‘What are you looking at?’
‘What is it? Our rude youngest punk who speaks to me so informally.’
‘…I am not the youngest.’
‘Once the youngest is always the youngest. Anyway, what's up?’
‘What was your dream?’
Team leader Lee Soo Hyuk picked up a shot of soju instead of responding to Kim Rok Soo’s question. He then stared into the soju inside the transparent shot glass as he started to speak.
‘To become an actor.’
‘…Team leader, you wanted to be an actor?’
‘Is it hard to believe? I'll be honest with you. My dream was to be an actor for an action movie. Doesn’t that sound cool?’
‘Action movie actors are cool, but you aren’t cool at all, team leader.’
‘Ha! What an honest little punk.’
Lee Soo Hyuk chuckled before gulping down the shot of soju. Kim Rok Soo had a thought at that time.
It suits him well.
He was thinking that team leader Lee Soo Hyuk would have been quite successful as an action movie actor. He had a muscular body and his face was perfect for the main character of a thriller or an action movie with a mysterious past.
Of course, Kim Rok Soo didn’t say such praise out loud.
‘Well, the subordinate of the evil villain would have been a perfect role for you.’
‘Aigoo, is that so?’
Lee Soo Hyuk stared at Kim Rok Soo who was spewing such nonsense next to him instead of getting along with the other team members before continuing to speak.
‘You see, here’s the thing with actors. They need to be able to store everything. Sometimes they have to be the judge, sometimes a murderer, and sometimes even the only main character. They have to be able to store the character’s story and their life inside them each time. That’s the only way to become that person.’
He started to laugh before looking embarrassed as he continued to speak.
‘It’s something I realized while being a slacker! It’s all just nonsense, pure nonsense. It’s just shit coming from a bastard who never even made it as an extra, hehehe.’
Kim Rok Soo had asked while looking at the laughing team leader.
‘Team leader, isn’t that your ability?’
Lee Soo Hyuk turned toward Kim Rok Soo.
‘The power to store anything.’
Lee Soo Hyuk started to smile.
‘That’s right. That is my ability. Remember it well. I will teach you how to use it in return for keeping a drunk superior company.’
He filled Kim Rok Soo's glass.
‘The moment the thing you are trying to store comes at you… That is your chance.’
Kim Rok Soo, no, Cale, slowly drifted away from the memory of the past and faced reality.
Team leader Lee Soo Hyuk had not been drunk at all during that time. He had just shared the way to use his ability, something that others would have kept as a secret, with this punk who couldn't get along with others at the get-together.
The large snake charged toward Cale with its mouth open.
However, it was not just charging forward.
The snake was gobbling up all of the granite in its way. The snake's scales turned even redder and resembled blood the more he gobbled up.
The snake's body started to get larger as well. It looked as if the large snake would cover the entire peak and crush Cale.
The red liquid coming out of the snake’s mouth was dying the mountain peak red.
He heard Choi Han's voice, but Cale only focused on the snake charging toward him.
That made Choi Han bite down on his lips and move back.
Cale’s reddish-brown eyes were observing the enemy like Kim Rok Soo's reddish-brown eyes had done back on Earth.
Cale was recording the snake right now.
‘I need to trust him.’
Choi Han decided to trust Cale as he stepped back. However, he was ready to jump in to save Cale from the snake at any moment.
Cale did not see any of that at all.
Boom. Boom. Boom.
His eyes were recording the Blood-drenched Rock, this red snake every time his heart beat. How it was moving, what it was destroying, what noise it was making… Cale was seeing and listening to everything as he recorded it in his mind.
He recalled Lee Soo Hyuk’s voice he had heard at the get-together.
‘Kim Rok Soo, the opportunity came knocking on its own, right?’
‘Yes, sir. The opportunity has come, team leader. The snake is coming to me.’
‘In that case…’
The snake came closer. The snake that was now as large as a large building was destroying the boulders as it moved.
‘Take a good look. You're better than me when it comes to looking.’
‘Yes, sir. I'm looking at it. I'm still looking at it now. I am recording it. I am recording everything about this snake.’
‘Then you'll be able to see it. You'll be able to see the center of the bastard you are trying to store.’
He looked at the approaching snake and felt his heart beating as he waited.
He waited until he could see the center of this snake.
That was because this snake was still an ancient power!
The Sound of the Wind was a top underneath a boulder surrounded by whirlpools.
The Indestructible Shield was a pit under the tree.
The Scary Giant Cobblestone was a stone in the Super Rock villa.
The Fire of Destruction was a sculpture at the center of the magma.
The Vitality of the Heart was a stone pillar at the center of a whirlwind.
The Sky Eating Water was a chained spear.
"What are you?”
This red snake was not it’s true body.
‘Blood-drenched Rock, what is your true appearance?’
The existence that hindered a person from earning an ancient power. Ancient powers always existed at the center of that obstacle.
‘Alright, Kim Rok Soo. What do you think? You should be able to see it, right?’
Cale, no, Kim Rok Soo repeated Lee Soo Hyuk's voice in his mind as he focused on the red snake.
The large snake was getting closer while destroying the mountain peak. The snake continued to gobble up boulders as it approached right in front of Cale.
Yes, it gobbled up the boulders.
Where would those boulders have gone?
Cale started to smile.
‘Can you see it?’
‘Team leader, are you drunk?’
‘Hey, can you see it?’
‘Yes, team leader. I can see it now.
1 second, 2 seconds, 3 seconds…
He recorded the snake's appearance every second.
That record and the present was being compared in Cale’s mind.
He could then see it.
The snake’s body that continued to get larger.
The snake’s scales that continued to get redder.
The red liquid that was slowly starting to drip out in larger amounts from the snake's mouth.
And then, once the snake finally raised its body and lifted its head in front of Cale… Once it raised both its head and tail and tried to gobble Cale up…
“I found it.”
Cale had finally found it.
He looked toward the snake’s tail.
The cracked bell.
The bell that cracked after being hit by Cale's spear.
The crack continued to get bigger as the snake moved roughly.
And finally, once that crack went from the top to bottom…
He could see the small rock hiding inside the bell.
A red rock caught Cale’s attention.
‘That must be it.’
‘Alright, Kim Rok Soo. You can see the center, right? In that case…’
Cale’s body started to move.
The snake’s open mouth moved down toward Cale.
‘Run toward it. Got it? Kim Rok Soo, run toward the center. Then, your Embrace power will start to run wild.’
‘You mean your Embrace power will run wild, not mine.’
‘Ah, come on! Listen when I'm telling you about my great ability! Hmm?’
The snake’s head slammed down on Cale.
Choi Han’s shocked shout could be heard through the loud noise.
The snake also screeched in anger as well.
The snake’s mouth was only full of broken rocks. The snake’s red eyes started to move. He noticed the running human.
“Huff, huff, huff.”
He didn't use the Sound of the Wind. He felt like he would faint if he used any more of his ancient powers.
He didn’t get Choi Han's help either.
‘I can’t get any help if I want to have full control of this power.’
Cale's mind started to quickly move as he was running so fast that he was almost out of breath.
It was observing. It was recording.
It was anticipating.
‘It’ll come at me again!’
The snake charged toward him again as Cale anticipated.
He started to imagine the snake’s movement. He didn’t need much data. There were only a few ways that such a large body could move on this narrow mountain peak.
‘It also needs to aim for me!’
The debris from the broken rocks started to leave scratches on Cale's body. However, Cale had already anticipated when the snake’s scale would twitch.
‘3, 2, 1.’
Cale counted down and kicked off the ground.
He jumped up as far as this feeble body could jump.
“Cale-nim! Behind you!”
He heard Choi Han's voice.
Cale felt a warm breath behind him. It was the snake's rough breathing.
Red liquid fell on Cale's head.
However, Cale didn’t care.
His scratched up two hands were holding onto the snake’s bell. One of his fingers then touched the red rock through the crack on the bell.
‘After that, just leave it to the ability. The Embrace ability will take care of everything for you as it shoots up from your heart. What do you think, doesn’t my ability sound amazing?’
‘It really is, team leader.’
Cale could feel a strong power shooting up from his heart. The power flowed through his two hands. It then passed through his fingers to touch the red rock.
‘I'll be honest with you. I gave it the name Embrace, but… Ah, I'm only telling you, okay? That ability is more of a binding than an embrace? No, hmm, is there no better word for it? Ah, right, dominance!’
Lee Soo Hyuk had laughed as he continued.
‘That power is like dominance. It dominates the target and binds them into your hand.’
‘…Isn’t that too violent to call it Embrace?’
‘Nah, even such a power can be an embrace if I use it for good. Isn’t that right? I only use it for good.’
Cale started to laugh.
It was similar to Lee Soo Hyuk's laugh from his memories.
The snake started to screech in pain. Its large body started to twist.
The snake started to shake around trying to get Cale off its tail.
Cale clenched onto the bell and the red rock tighter as the snake flailed.
That action seemed to make the pain worse for the snake that could not even twist its body properly. The ‘embrace’ that came out of Cale’s hands was surrounding the red rock as time went on.
The bell broke into pieces.
The snake’s screeching became worse and Cale heard an unfamiliar voice in his mind.
He was hearing the voice of the ancient power like the others now that the obstacle was gone.
Cale’s lips started to twist up.
The owner of the Blood-drenched Rock. That was the ancient White Star.
Cale recalled the end of Lee Soo Hyuk's explanation.
‘To finish it off, just place the power you've embraced into a location of your choice! Then tada, the process is complete!’
‘I'm sorry, team leader. I'm not someone who can do something like an embrace.’
One corner of Cale’s lips twisted up into a wicked smile.
The red rock that was surrounded by a transparent aura was inside Cale’s right hand. Cale put his left hand into his robe and pulled something out from the chest area of his shirt.
It was something that was on his commander uniform.
It was a golden turtle badge that symbolized that he was part of the Henituse county, no, the Henituse duchy.
Cale moved his left hand with the badge toward his right hand.
The red rock and the golden turtle badge touched each other.
Cale could feel the power roaring in his hands. Red light burst out of the gaps between his fingers. It was the power of the red rock. However, that power could only send out the light as the Embrace ability was holding it back.
He heard the ancient White Star’s shout.
However, that noise slowly disappeared.
And once the red light disappeared, the Embrace ability disappeared, and Cale could only feel the badge in his hand…
He smiled at Choi Han who approached him and started to speak.
Choi Han laughed at that. It was a laugh of relief.
It was at that moment.
He could see the others running to the mountain peak. Hunter Bobe, who was in the front, opened his eyes wide as soon as he arrived.
“The snake, the snake is-!”
He couldn’t finish his sentence as he watched the red snake start to fall to the ground.
He then gasped.
The red scales started to fall off the falling snake. The scales that were falling like flower petals started to spread out because of the wind.
The falling snake disappeared without a sound as the scales dispersed.
That sight looked extremely beautiful to Hunter Bobe.
They had made it to the peak by walking through the fog.
The sun was setting, and the red scales fluttered toward the sunset.
Cale was standing at the center of those red ‘flower petals.’
“F, for that snake to really disappear…”
The old Hunter who had to avoid the snake his whole life started to tear up.
He could see the rest of the group heading toward the red-haired man.
Cale turned away from the others and looked down at the Henituse badge in his hand.
He then started to smile.
‘Team leader, what do you do after storing the power?’
‘After that, well, you just take it out whenever you need it. Shouldn’t you be able to use your things as you please?’
‘Oh, that sounds good.’
Yes, it was very good.
He gently caressed the badge.
He was planning on using it any time he needed it.
‘Should I use Embrace on the White Star's other ancient powers?’
Cale who was thinking about using them in a way that did not fit the 'embrace’ name then heard the Super Rock's cautious voice.
Raon's voice appeared in Cale's mind at that moment.
The Land of Death where the White Star should be. They had received a call from there.