Cale, Lily, and Basen. None of the three could easily say anything.
Cale couldn't speak because he knew he had spoken nonsense to Lily, Basen couldn't speak because he was thinking about what Cale had said, and finally, Lily was remaining quiet because of her, ‘what is going on?’ comment that she had subconsciously made.
However, that silence was soon broken, and Lily was the first to speak.
“I'm not going to be the territory lord; I'm going to be a knight!”
She didn't know why that unexpected question had suddenly been directed at her, but she tried her best to share her intentions with Cale. She tightly clenched her fists.
Of course, Cale flinched as he watched Lily suddenly clench her fists, however, Lily did not manage to see that.
“I wish to become a strong knight who will protect the territory and the kingdom!”
“Okay, do that.”
Lily, who was planning on sharing more of her aspirations with Cale, flinched in shock after hearing Cale immediately accept it. Cale didn't care and said what he wanted to say.
“Work hard, but don’t work too hard. Children need to play.”
‘She’s not even a teenager yet, so she should play. Shouldn’t she?’
Cale nodded at his own question. He then made eye contact with someone who was looking directly at him.
Basen's eyes seemed more concerned than ever as he quietly looked toward Cale.
Cale scratched his head after seeing the complicated gaze.
‘This kind of atmosphere doesn’t suit me well.’
Cale debated for a moment before starting to speak again.
"Basen, is there something you want to do like Lily does?”
Basen’s pupils started to shake.
What he wanted to do was taking care of the internal administrative and financial needs under Cale’s leadership as the territory lord. That was because Cale was famous, not just in the kingdom, but throughout the entire continent and had lots of things to do. He wanted to help his brother, who would be busy with external affairs, lead the territory in a safe and innovative way.
“You’re probably interested in looking after the territory and helping it grow, right?”
He was right. His hyung-nim was right, but Basen did not respond. He didn't look like he was trying to be rude. In fact, he looked to be deep in thought about what to say.
Cale thought for a moment before starting to speak again.
“You guys are still young, but I will tell you the truth since you are both intelligent but more so because you are my younger siblings.”
‘My younger siblings.’
Those words made Basen’s shoulders shake. He then noticed Cale calmly looking at him.
It made him recall the younger version of his brother who was blunt and almost rude as he spoke but always looked at him with a pitying but calm gaze.
“I do not wish to be the territory lord.”
Cale decided to be honest. It might make him seem like an eldest son with no sense of responsibility, however, it didn't matter since they all thought that he was originally trash, right?
“To be honest with you guys, I wish to rest after finishing what I am doing right now.”
Basen’s eyes opened wide.
“I want to live over by Harris Village and live a quiet and peaceful life.”
Basen let out a quiet gasp but could not think about what to say as he looked at Cale scratch his cheeks while saying these things in a slightly awkward and embarrassed tone.
‘Yes, the things hyung-nim is doing right now-’
Everything that the Cale who suddenly changed two years ago started to do caused a lot of noise in the kingdom. Everything he did raised the fame of the Henituse household and their territory, especially his achievements during the battle between the Indomitable Alliance and the Henituse territory. Cale also accomplished a lot in the kingdom and the rest of the Western continent after that, making the fame that he had thought had reached its apex to continue to rise.
His actions made people stop talking about making Basen the successor and the talks of making Cale the successor were rampant in the territory now.
‘How hard must it have been for hyung-nim this whole time?’
This was the reason Basen had been at a loss for words after hearing Cale say he wanted to rest. It was because he remembered that while Cale’s fame and the household’s fame went up, Cale himself had to fight with his life on the line many times.
The person who turned pale, coughed up blood, and fainted time after time was saying he wanted to rest after this was over.
Furthermore, he mentioned that he had hesitated to tell the truth because Basen was young but that he decided to tell them because they were his younger siblings. Anybody would be able to tell that Cale was being honest. However, his hyung-nim who was saying he was young was only 20 years old and had been 18 when he started to fight two years ago.
His hyung-nim was also still young.
Basen’s thoughts were so complicated that his mind wanted to blow. Many different emotions and thoughts filled his mind. He heard Cale's voice at that moment.
“Of course, you don’t have to do something you don't want to do if you don't want to do it.”
Cale could see Basen finally start to open his mouth.
A calmer than expected voice was coming out of Basen’s mouth. Cale looked into Basen’s eyes that were looking at him.
“Then hyung-nim, are you doing what you want to do right now?”
Cale answered that question without any hesitation.
“Mm, half and half?”
The things he started because he didn't want Choi Han to beat him to a pulp had ended up becoming this big and causing major headaches.
“Anyway, it is true that I am doing things right now because I want to do them.”
Getting rid of the White Star. He was originally doing it because he thought that he and his friends were the only ones who could do that properly, but now he wanted to quickly smack that guy from behind.
He then wanted to be a slacker and play all day once the world became peaceful.
Basen barely managed to smile as he nodded his head.
‘I'm sure hyung-nim is being honest when he says half and half.’
Something he wants to do and something he does not want to do at the same time. Who would want to cough up blood and fight such difficult battles? It was normal to not want to do those things. But the part where he says he wants to do it…
Basen started to think about what he wanted to do.
He was not talented in the sword like the people of the Henituse family. He was only slightly better than average, which was why he only trained in the basics.
He chose a different direction instead.
He chose a direction where he could help the territory, his household, the residents, and his family. Administration, finance, and politics. He had studied a lot of things.
That was what he wanted to do.
“…Do you think I will be able to do a good job?”
Basen could see Cale tilting his head to the side in confusion after hearing his question.
He then called for their youngest sister Lily.
Lily who had been nervously and carefully listening to her two oppas’ conversations responded energetically as Cale asked with a confused expression still on his face.
“Isn't Basen smart?”
“He’s very smart!”
“Right? Don't people compliment his administrative and finance skills?“
"They do it quite often!"
Basen blankly looked toward Lily and Cale. Cale then turned toward him and continued to speak.
“Is there anything that people are good at when they first start? Things will work out as you keep doing it. What is most important is if you want to do it. Lily, would you not be a knight if you were terrible with the sword?”
“No! I would be a knight even if I sucked with the sword and would keep working hard until I became good at it!”
Lily sounded energetic as she responded to Cale in the way she would respond to her master. Basen blankly watched this as Cale scratched his cheek and observed Basen’s expression as he started to speak again.
“Mm, if it feels that burdensome…”
Cale debated for a moment before deciding to help Basen who wanted to be the territory lord but could not make up his mind because he worried that he would not do a good job.
“I’ll take care of dealing with his highness or the rest of the kingdom, things like dealing with the nobles and the external affairs.”
‘Who in the Roan Kingdom would dare to touch the Henituse household after we get rid of the White Star?’
Cale said this thinking there would probably not be many external affairs issues for him to handle and Lily chimed in right after him.
“I will lead the Knights Brigade and the troops! My master is teaching me tactics and military arts right now!”
Basen quietly closed his eyes after seeing Lily confidently step up while saying to leave the troops to her and Cale giving Lily a thumbs up with a look of admiration.
‘…Yes. I'm not doing everything on my own.’
He was already planning on taking care of the internal affairs because Cale seemed as if he would be traveling quite a bit.
‘Hyung-nim, Lily, and I.’
Wouldn’t it be fine if these three people became the three pillars of the Henituse territory?
‘Would the burden on hyung-nim go down if the three of us split up the work?’
This was planning for the far future as both his father and mother were still young and healthy, but Basen started to imagine the future with the three siblings in power.
It looked exciting. It made his heart beat wildly.
‘Hyung-nim would take care of things outside the territory, I would take care of thing inside the territory, and my little dongsaeng would take care of the city walls and protect the territory.’
Basen slowly started to smile.
"What is it?”
“Do you not need the title of nobility?”
“Ah, I’ll tell you everything since I decided to be honest. I am not interested in a title or a government position at all.”
Basen could not help but laugh after seeing the honest expression on Cale’s face.
What was going on?
Basen oddly felt himself calming down. He slightly smiled toward Cale who was looking at him as he started to speak.
“What is it?”
“I will think about the territory's successor position.”
‘…What the heck?’
Basen was saying that he would think about it, but Cale was getting an odd feeling. Basen’s faint smile made Cale think of someone else.
- Human! Good boy Basen is smiling like shrewd crown prince Alberu! This is weird! He’s not smiling cheekily like the crown prince, but it feels similar! This is bad! Basen cannot grow up like the crown prince! Human, you won't be able to rest if that happens!
‘Nah, no way. This honest to a fault brother of mine becoming like the crown prince? That makes no sense.’
Cale erased such an unbelievable thought from his mind. Basen continued to speak with a mischievous expression.
“I’ll think about it and let you know if I want to do it.”
‘Mm, that’s right. He should only do it if he wants to do it.’
Cale nodded his head at Basen’s statement but received an oddly weird sensation. Basen didn't care as he started to walk toward the training ground entrance before stopping again.
He looked toward Cale and Lily as he continued to speak. His voice was light and slightly bright.
“You know that father and mother must agree on the successor, right? None of our discussions matter if we do not have the two of their permissions. Then, I will head up first.”
Basen disappeared from the underground training ground with light footsteps. Cale was silent for a moment before he turned toward Lily and asked.
“Was Basen's personality always like this?”
“I don’t think so?”
“… He seemed happy, right?”
“Yes, I think he wanted to be the territory lord.”
Was that the case?
Cale didn’t think Lily was right, but just nodded his head and started to speak to Lily again because he had no way of knowing what was making Basen happy.
“I will cheer you on to achieve your dream of becoming a knight to protect the territory.”
Cale smiled while looking at the smile on Lily's face.
‘Heh, Basen will be the territory lord and with Lily taking control of the troops, it looks like I’ll just have to travel every so often to meet with his highness.’
It was a satisfying future for all three of them.
- Mm. Human, I feel like all three of you are misunderstanding something!
That was why he easily ignored Raon's ramblings.
However, something soon happened to get rid of that refreshed smile and make Cale start to frown again.
“Then I will head up first.”
Cale bowed toward Count Deruth and Countess Violan as he got up from the table.
Countess Violan’ sharp gaze checked how much Cale ate while Count Deruth noticed Cale’s skinnier than before wrist and stealthily motioned with his gaze to the butler of the capital residence, but Cale who had no way of knowing this felt relaxed and full for the first time in a long while as he headed to his bedroom.
“Let’s talk about the details tomorrow. I'm sure you are tired so get some rest.”
The original plan was to have tea-time after dinner, but Cale was tired, and his family was understanding and told him to go rest.
Cale happily accepted the offer and slowly started to walk toward his room.
Heading to his bedroom with a full stomach… This was a wonderful schedule.
He then happened to make eye contact with two employees who were walking down the hall.
They seemed to be new as Cale had never met them before, and they jumped up in shock before bowing toward Cale and quickly walking past him.
‘…This reminds me of the past.’
He recalled how the employees had avoided him when he first opened his eyes as Cale. Cale, who didn't mind such a situation, just smiled as the two whispered to each other as they walked past him because he was happy from being full and headed toward his room.
“Like the rumors… hero……”
Their conversation did not manage to reach Cale’s ears. Instead, as Cale walked a bit farther down the empty hallway and stopped in front of his bedroom…
- Human, you're here?
Raon who should be in his room started to speak in his mind. But something was off.
- Human, Mmph! Human, hold on, ugh!
‘What the hell?’
He recalled how Raon had not even eaten dinner as he wanted to sneak out with Cale to eat the skewers and other junk food from the street vendors.
That was why Cale purposely had nobody come into nor near his bedroom. He wanted Raon to be able to relax without being invisible.
However, the way Raon was speaking urgently inside the bedroom was weird. He was clearly sending the message with magic, however…
- Human! W, wait a moment, mmph!
His voice sounded stuffed and urgent. Cale's pupils started to shake. His hand quickly headed toward the doorknob.
- You look ready for a fight.
The Super Rock noticed Cale's current emotional state and the ancient powers got ready for battle.
The ancient powers inside Cale’s body quietly started to roar. Cale then slammed the door open.
The door opened with a loud noise.
Cale who was about to shout, ‘Raon!’ instantly started to frown.
Raon was quickly trying to swallow the piece of cake in his mouth without managing to clean the chocolate cream and crumbs around his mouth.
“Oh my. Please eat slowly.”
There was a person gently patting Raon's back and wiping the chocolate cream off Raon's mouth.
That person looked toward Cale before taking off his hood. That person, no, that quarter Dark Elf, soon started to smile brightly.
Raon seemed to have opened it for him, and his smile matched the dark night sky outside the now open terrace. The table Raon was on was full of cake and cookies. It was even more dazzling than the ones they ate in the palace last time.
Cale let out a sigh.
Raon urgently wiped his mouth as he started to speak.
“I wasn’t trying to eat the whole cake on my own! I was planning on eating it with you! But I ended up eating it all before I knew it! I still have enough room in my tummy to eat skewers with you! I really want to eat chicken skewers! You can’t say I can’t have it because I ate this!”
He then pushed the empty cake stand over toward the crown prince. The crown prince then smiled brightly as he started to speak.
“Cale, do you want some?”
There was a cookie in his hand.
‘What the hell?
Why did this guy sneak in here? Why is he in his quarter Dark Elf form?’
The sound of Alberu crunching on the cookie became louder the more Cale started to frown.
Alberu smiled brightly and commented on the taste as Cale closed the door.
The door slammed shut and Cale approached Alberu before asking in a disgruntled but respectful manner.
“Why are you here?”
The quarter Dark Elf’s eyes were full of mischief.
“I need to borrow Choi Han and you.”
‘What nonsense is he saying now?’Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Hope you all enjoyed Christmas! Show some love for my new novel Tomb Raider King in the poll :(