Alberu could feel someone poking at his cheeks.
His eye slowly opened to see who was responsible for this action.
“Huh?! He really woke up after I poked his cheek!”
"Crown prince, nya!”
The culprits were Raon and Hong.
Why was it that the two of them were becoming more like Cale every day and treating him as if he was some next-door neighbor?
He wanted to laugh in disbelief, however…
Alberu looked to his side. He could only groan after seeing the person next to his bed.
‘…The more I see him…’
Ron Molan was quietly sitting there observing him.
‘…He’s really vicious.’
He had thought that this man had looked different from normal servants from the beginning. However, learning that his true identity was the patriarch of the Molan Household that ruled over the Eastern continent's underworld made him think that this truly suited Ron.
But the more Alberu saw him…
The more he felt that this man was vicious.
“Ah, you're up, your highness.”
Alberu was stoic as Ron benignly smiled and asked that question.
Alberu took the cup of water from Ron as if Ron was his own servant before starting to speak.
“Molan patriarch, you don't need to stay here and protect me like this.”
He then casually added on.
“The young patriarch as well.”
Ron was next to the bed while Beacrox was by the head of the bed.
Ron slightly shook his head.
“Not at all. Your highness, someone must protect you when your guard is down like this. Furthermore…”
Ron started to smile.
“If someone must protect you, isn't it better for a stealthy person to protect you for something like this that requires a lot of secrecy? But I will tell my son to not come from now on as you wish, your highness.”
Beacrox, who was holding On by the head of the bed, shook his head.
“Father, I do not want to do that. I will protect his highness as well.”
“That’s what he says, your highness.”
Alberu started to think at that moment.
‘What they’re saying isn’t even funny. They want to protect me? Stealthy guards?’
Did they really think that Alberu wouldn’t know about their true intentions?
Alberu let out a chuckle.
‘They don’t want to protect me; they're just curious about Cale Henituse and Choi Han.’
That was why he turned toward the Cat children, Raon, and the Molan duo as he started to speak.
“Both of them are doing well. They have not fallen, fainted, nor been heavily injured until now.”
The children averaging nine-years-old looked happy to hear that.
“Hehe. I'm going to go eat then! The human said to make sure to eat every meal!”
“I'm going to eat a lot and grow big, nya!”
Hong and Raon left Alberu’s side without any regrets and headed out of the tent.
On jumped out of Beacrox’s arms and followed behind them before looking toward Beacrox.
The other two looked toward him as well.
Beacrox debated for a moment after seeing their gazes before heading toward the tent entrance as well.
“I will be back after feeding the children.”
Beacrox walked out while removing the fur that was stuck on his clothes and the children averaging nine-years-old followed behind him.
That left only Ron and Alberu inside the tent.
Ron slowly started to speak.
“Your highness, are you really not planning on talking about…?”
Ron smirked while looking at Alberu who feigned ignorance.
“About what the test is about. You're highness, all you've told us is that you are able to chat with the young master-nim and Choi Han but nothing else, making me extremely curious.”
Ron observed Alberu who looked back at him.
Alberu had called over all of Cale's close confidants once he woke up from being the Dark Tiger the first time.
He only told them that he was able to communicate with Cale and Choi Han while he was asleep.
Alberu quietly observed Ron before starting to speak.
A quite cold voice flowed out.
“Hold back your curiosity.”
Ron’s benign smile became thicker.
Alberu then added on.
"Cale is working hard and living pretty well. I can tell you that for sure.”
The benign smile disappeared.
Ron's now stoic face and sunken gaze slowly focused on Alberu.
But he soon had a benign smile on his face again as he started to speak.
“It seems as if the kingdoms of the Eastern continent will align themselves with the White Star.”
Alberu started to frown.
“…They have no intentions of chatting with us?”
“Yes, your highness. We predict that all kingdoms other than the Molden Kingdom will end up on the White Star’s side and the ones that have already decided to do so are currently pushing the Mercenaries Guild out of their territories.”
Alberu looked as if he could not believe it.
“…Ha. I remember it wasn't like this when we were discussing the Molden Kingdom.”
The Molden Kingdom's Elisneh the First.
Cale and the Elves had infiltrated the Molden Kingdom and fought against the illusionist who was the White Star’s subordinate.
Elisneh the First's younger sister, Jopis, was going to take the throne.
Alberu had stepped up to help mediate all of that with the rest of the Eastern continent's kingdoms and they had all agreed to Alberu’s suggestions.
‘Even if they wouldn’t ally with us, I thought they would at least cooperate with us!’
But the Eastern continent's kingdoms had a different reaction now that Alberu was surrounding the area around this Gate to the Demon World and was about to start a fight with the White Star.
They were starting to ally themselves with the White Star one by one.
‘What is going on?’
Why were these kingdoms suddenly joining the White Star’s side?
All kingdoms except the Molden Kingdom led by Jopis had turned their backs on the Roan Kingdom and Alberu.
‘At this rate, it’ll be difficult to fight against the White Star on the Eastern continent even if Cale comes back.’
Forget being difficult, Cale, the Mercenaries Guild, the Molan Household, and the Western continent's kingdoms would seem to be the invaders who were causing chaos on the Eastern continent.
Ron quietly continued to speak.
“We may need to withdraw from here soon.”
The troops that were gathered around the Gate to the Demon World might be forced to withdraw if they were pressured to do so by the Eastern continent's kingdoms.
Alberu started to speak.
“What about the infiltration?”
Ron answered that question without any hesitation.
“We have sent out informants from the Molan Household to try to infiltrate each kingdom’s palace or at least the homes of some chief executives.”
Alberu’s side wouldn't sit back and let those kingdoms pressure them.
The reason they were taking the White Star’s side.
They decided they needed to figure that out and sent the Molan Household's informants and assassins to stealthily go out and gather some information.
“…Has the Whale tribe contacted us while I was asleep?”
“Not yet, your highness.”
Alberu was working hard and chatting with many tribes in addition to the Western continent’s kingdoms in order to shake this playing field.
He thought for a moment before starting to speak.
"What about Miss Rosalyn?”
“I heard that she is currently doing a good job with the Western continent's issues along with Mary, your highness.”
Alberu hesitated before he started to speak again.
“…Have we received any contact from Eruhaben-nim?”
Cale had asked him to do something before he fell asleep again last time.
“No, your highness. We have not. I presume he will contact us in about an hour.”
Inside this sinkhole that was the Gate to the Demon World…
Eruhaben was hiding inside the Endable Kingdom's capital.
‘What is it?’
‘You said you video chat with Eruhaben-nim at least once a day?’
‘Yes. We need to share information with each other.’
‘Then could you please deliver a message for me?’
‘What is it?’
Cale had answered with an extremely serious gaze.
‘Please tell him to not push himself too hard and to stay alive until I return. Please tell him that.’
Alberu started to speak.
“Let me know as soon as Eruhaben-nim contacts us.”
“Yes, of course. Your highness.”
There was silence for a moment before Ron stood up and headed toward the tent entrance.
He was probably going to do the things Alberu told him to do.
Ron stopped walking after hearing Alberu’s voice.
Alberu remembered something else Cale had asked him to do.
“The ancient times. No, how is the task of gathering as much information as possible about the gods going?”
“Currently, the Saint-nim, Miss Cage, and Marquis Taylor Stan are leading the group gathering that information.”
“Yes, your highness. Then I will be on my way now.”
“Okay. I will head out soon as well.”
Ron silently left the tent and Alberu was left alone inside.
He quietly sat on the bed and recalled what Cale had said.
‘The sealed god.’
‘Please gather information on it.’
‘This world is extremely weird.’
‘What’s weird about it?’
Cale, well, Cale in Kim Rok Soo's appearance, had quietly responded.
‘Choi Han said that the God of Death nonchalantly told him something.’
Alberu had noticed Cale's eyes cloud over.
Cale had continued in a quiet but firm voice.
‘The sealed god is not able to return to the past, but he is able to push his way into a different dimension.’
Cale started to smile.
‘But you see…’
What Cale said next stabbed into Alberu’s ears.
‘Would a god say something useless?’
Alberu started to speak.
There was no way that a god would say something like that if it was useless.
Although he couldn't tell what a god was thinking about…
There must be a hint in there somewhere.
He recalled the world that he had seen as the Dark Tiger.
No matter how he looked at it…
“That world is not an illusion.”
It was too elaborate to be an illusion.
‘And all those people trying their best to survive-’
Alberu quietly mumbled.
“…There’s no way that they are all fake.”
There was no way that all those people doing everything could do in order to survive were fake.
At least that was what Alberu thought.
That was why his mind was slowly becoming more complicated.
“Is this the training ground?”
“It sure is!”
Doctor Kang urgently nodded his head at Cale’s question.
Doctor Kang was extremely fidgety although Cale was calm.
It was at that moment.
They heard a loud noise.
Doctor Kang jumped up in shock before he started to speak.
“I told them not to let anybody in. It seems like-”
The old man didn't know what to do as he looked back and forth between Cale and Choi Han.
Cale didn’t look at the old man and just looked at the door in front of him.
This iron door that led to the indoor training ground seemed extremely heavy and strong.
“Should I open it?”
Cale nodded his head at Choi Han’s question.
Doctor Kang looked extremely tense as he looked at the calm Choi Han and Cale.
He had called the two of them here because he didn’t want to be on bad terms with Cale's people, but things were going very differently than he had expected.
The door opened easily.
A large indoor training ground with high ceilings was revealed.
It was at that moment.
The three of them saw someone slam into the training ground wall after hearing an even louder noise than before.
The person who slammed into the wall before falling to the ground was groaning.
The person responsible for this started to speak.
“Hey, Jin Tae.”
It was Lee Soo Hyuk.
Park Jin Tae was the person who had slammed into the wall before falling to the ground.
Cale could see Lee Chul Min breathing heavily in a corner of the training ground with a pale face.
But he didn’t look there for long.
Cale turned toward Lee Soo Hyuk.
Lee Soo Hyuk’s sword was at a corner of the training ground while Lee Soo Hyuk observed Park Jin Tae with gloves on his hands.
Lee Soo Hyuk did not look at them even though he knew that Cale, Choi Han, and Doctor Kang had entered.
He just started to speak again.
“Hey, Jin Tae. You need to get up.”
He slowly started to walk toward Park Jin Tae.
Park Jin Tae was slowly starting to stand up. His hands and feet were shaking.
But the completely fine Lee Soo Hyuk quietly asked a question.
“Your hyung will teach you something for the first time in a long while. Jin Tae, do you not want to learn?”
Cale briefly made eye contact with Park Jin Tae.
Park Jin Tae avoided Cale’s gaze and pushed himself up all the way.
He spat up some blood before getting back into a stance and responding to Lee Soo Hyuk.
“Who said I didn't want to?”
Lee Soo Hyuk smiled and nodded his head.
“Yes. Jin Tae, that’s good.”
He then looked toward Cale and continued to speak.
“Hey, Rok Soo. Han. Close the door.”
Lee Soo Hyuk was not smiling anymore.