Choi Han took notice of every gaze that the people around the auditorium were giving Cale.
‘There’s nobody here as strong as Lee Soo Hyuk.’
Choi Han then thought about Choi Jung Soo.
Choi Jung Soo should be in the training ground doing his best to reach his limits right now.
Choi Han had a slight smile before it disappeared.
He put on a poker face and looked around once more.
‘There’s nobody as strong as Lee Soo Hyuk, but there are a few ability users at Park Jin Tae's level.’
The atmosphere was tense as the strongest people in the country, as well as the people who had the greatest chance of joining that group in the future, were all here.
Of course, none of them were openly baring their fangs.
They were all smiling on the outside, but their gazes were extremely wary of each other.
Each of their greetings was filled with attempts to analyze the person that they were greeting.
Choi Han could see sharpness, curiosity, and wariness in the gazes of the people as they looked at Cale.
Choi Han recalled what Cale had told him.
‘It’s been a long time since I've been the center of attention like this.’
Choi Han started to speak.
“You must have had a lot of situations like this, hyung-nim.”
“I may not look like it, but I did all sorts of things while I was a team leader.”
Cale nonchalantly responded before adding on.
“This is new.”
Cale did not say much and just smiled while looking at Choi Han.
“I see a lot of familiar people.”
Kim Rok Soo had become the team leader after Lee Soo Hyuk.
He did not have as many achievements as Lee Soo Hyuk at that time. Furthermore, he had started as a rear support team member.
Whether it was for that reason or not, there were many people who did everything they could to not help him out when he first became a team leader.
No, most of the people did not trust that he was capable of doing a good job as a team leader.
‘Even if Team leader Lee Soo Hyuk personally named Kim Rok Soo to be the team leader after him… He’s only in his mid to late twenties and did not develop his ability until much later.’
Whether it was within the company…
In the government…
Or even leaders of guilds and other organizations…
‘Mm… Things really are slower than when team leader Lee Soo Hyuk was in charge. Is it because you were originally from the rear support team? It is not as refreshing.’
‘You weren’t even an ability user at the beginning of the cataclysm. We know better than you do. We will just do things according to our guild's methods. You understand?’
Kim Rok Soo had to report to those people or request for their assistance and cooperation.
‘Of course, I didn't just let things go either.’
Later on, people would say that they understood why team leader Lee Soo Hyuk named Kim Rok Soo as the new team leader. Some even said that he was even scarier than Lee Soo Hyuk.
But Cale didn’t care about all those gossips or gazes back then.
He didn’t care about any of that right now either.
But there was something new that he was feeling right now.
‘Those people that I had to report to and ask for assistance are all here.’
They were not as strong as they would become in the future as Cale remembered.
‘That is why I need to help them grow stronger.’
It needed to happen faster than it did in the past.
Cale was smiling, but his gaze was extremely cold.
Even Choi Han stiffened up a bit after seeing his gaze.
‘I'm sure this feels burdensome.’
Choi Han was thinking about how Cale was feeling.
Cale needed to ask for assistance from the ability users walking into the auditorium right now.
Then, Cale would need to convince them to let him be the commander.
It needed to happen so that they could safely handle the attack of the first unranked monster while keeping their casualties to a minimum.
Cale's group needed the help of as many people here as possible.
But it would not be easy.
‘I hope at least half of them will be willing to help us.’
As Choi Han was having that thought…
Kim Woo, who had been staring at Cale, stopped leaning on a pillar and walked into the auditorium.
“Woo hyung-nim! Wait for me!”
The leader of Seongsan-gu (Seongsan district) in Changwon, who had been standing next to Kim Woo, followed behind him.
Their actions made the others standing around the auditorium look away from Cale and start to enter one by one.
Choi Han was standing next to Cale as all of that happened. Choi Han then felt someone approaching them and looked back.
“Are you not going in?”
It was Heo Sook Ja, one of the three pillars here at the Seomyeon shelter alongside Kim Woo and Lee Soo Hyuk.
Next to her was Ma Seung Jin, the man who would become the guild leader of Daejeon's greatest guild in the future.
“I will go in soon.”
Heo Sook Ja stood next to Cale and continued to speak.
"Will they cooperate with us?”
Choi Han frowned for a moment before he returned to normal. Heo Sook Ja seemed to be concerned about the same thing as Choi Han.
‘If at least a third of them help us…’
That was the minimum number of people they needed to agree to help them after hearing about Cale’s plan.
The two of them looked toward Cale with concern while Ma Seung Jin looked at Cale with curiosity.
Cale started to walk at that moment.
His voice reached them as he walked forward.
“I am not going in there for their cooperation but to give them an opportunity.”
Heo Sook Ja flinched while Ma Seung Jin opened his mouth in order to ask what Cale was talking about.
But nobody could say anything to Cale who was walking into the auditorium without any hesitation. Only Choi Han smiled as he followed behind Cale.
“Noonim, shall we go?”
“Yes, let’s go in for now.”
Heo Sook Ja and Ma Seung Jin thought about the meaning behind Cale’s words for a bit before walking into the auditorium.
They saw Cale going up some steps toward the platform.
The auditorium was naturally full of whispers.
It was at that moment.
“I was wondering who gathered us here but it’s just a skinny little kid?”
A loud voice caused silence inside the auditorium.
Everybody looked toward the speaker.
A middle-aged man sitting at the seat closest to the platform was crossing his arms and looking at Cale as if he wasn’t impressed.
Changwon Seongsan-gu's leader Kim Kang Hoon was watching this with a curious expression.
He was seated in the middle and not next to Kim Woo who was up in front.
‘How will he respond?’
He looked down at the black invitation card while waiting for this young man named Kim Rok Soo to respond.
He heard the woman sitting next to him sigh at that moment.
“He should just shut the hell up if he doesn’t know anything.”
Kim Kang Hoon looked toward her.
“…Do you know that Kim Rok Soo person?”
The woman started to frown. She seemed to be asking why the hell he was talking to her.
Kim Kang Hoon smiled in response and the woman just sighed again.
“I saw him when he went past our shelter area.”
She recalled what had happened when Cale's group had passed by her shelter area.
Kim Rok Soo's group had claimed they came to personally hand her an invitation as her shelter was on their way to Busan.
She got the chills thinking about that moment.
Kim Kang Hoon cautiously asked at that moment.
“How is he?”
That question asked many things at once.
Kim Kang Hoon was extremely curious as he watched her mouth slowly start to open.
This was the same for the ability users around them as well.
The woman started to speak.
“He’s fucking strong.”
Kim Kang Hoon sounded confused.
The woman didn’t notice as she was deep in her thoughts about what had happened. She messed up her hair as she started to mumble.
“My goodness… After I saw those people fighting against the monsters… Wow, holy shit.”
A different ability user next to the woman started to speak.
“…Can you please tell us in detail what you mean?”
The woman started to blurt out as if she had been waiting for that question.
“First of all, they are very strong. Furthermore, some fucking strong monsters are on their side. And then, when some lunatic starts screaming, ‘I have faith!’ Those people became even stronger and… Wow, I only believed what I saw because I was sober at the time. I would have thought that my mind had done a 360 if I was drunk.”
‘360 would bring you right back to where you had started…’
Kim Kang Hoon wanted to say that but held himself back.
“Is that person strong as well?”
He was looking toward Kim Rok Soo.
The woman scoffed as she looked at Cale.
There were others in this auditorium looking at Cale with similar gazes.
These were the people who had personally received the invitations from Cale on his way to Busan rather than from a messenger.
‘Is that person strong too?’
She started to speak again.
Her voice was firm without an ounce of hesitation.
He was very strong.
But at that moment…
“I wouldn't have come if I knew the invitation was from a fucking kid! Who the hell are you to tell a busy person like me to come here?”
The man who had spoken in a loud voice earlier was still talking.
About half of the ability users who had not met Cale yet seemed to agree with this man.
He wasn’t wrong.
They truly were busy.
Every minute was important to build up their new central shelters and fend off the monsters.
The black invitations had been delivered to them in many ways.
< Hello. My name is Kim Rok Soo and I have the ability of foresight. >
The word, ‘foresight’ had caught their attention.
< An extremely strong monster that is incomparable to the monsters you faced when the original central shelters were destroyed will soon attack Busan. >
The invitation had then listed some information about the unranked monster.
It ended with a short request for their cooperation to fight against the unranked monster.
The leaders of the new central shelters or their chief executives who had read the invitation couldn't help but come to Busan.
They couldn't just pass it off as nonsense.
They needed to confirm the truth for themselves, which was why the leaders came or sent one of their chief executives if it was difficult for the leader to leave.
But they wondered if they had wasted their time as they saw a weak-looking barely twenty years old kid standing at the platform.
The man who had raised his voice was angry at the fact that he had come to Busan because of a puny kid like Cale.
He was also trying to show off his power.
‘Information. I will leave once I hear the prophecy.’
The man didn't care whether a monster appeared in Busan as long as his own shelter was safe. He finally got a safe place where he could act as king so why should he take part in a dangerous fight?
That was why he needed to show off his power and take control of the atmosphere.
A little punk like this might spit everything out if he felt cornered even a little bit.
‘I can leave if others start to agree with me.’
He could stand around without saying anything before getting the information and heading back to his shelter.
That was why the man looked toward the people who seemed to agree with him and raised his voice again.
This was the last thing he had to say.
“I came all the way here because of some nonsense about foresight. Tsk! Just hurry up and tell us the prophecy! Stop wasting our time! We are all busy!”
Choi Han, who was standing behind Cale, started to frown.
Cale stopped walking once he arrived at the top of the platform.
His gaze slowly headed down.
It was directed at the man who had raised his voice.
The man snorted while looking at Cale.
“Hmph. Even your gaze is that of a little kid.”
Cale started to speak at that moment.
"Ability user Kang Il-Rae.”
The man, Kang Il-Rae, flinched.
It was because he heard his name.
Kang Il-Rae flinched once more after hearing what Cale said.
His face stiffened up.
It was a number he could not forget.
But the other ability users who could not understand what Cale was saying couldn't help but frown.
Cale's gaze moved to the people next to Kang Il-Rae.
“Ability user, Jo Min Yeh.”
The middle-aged woman flinched.
Her eyes opened wide after hearing what Cale said.
She knew the meaning behind that number.
Cale was still speaking.
He looked toward the man next to Jo Min Yeh.
“Ability user Kim Tae Hoo. 176 survivors.”