Choi Han’s gaze as he looked at Cale, who was at a loss for words, was firm. He looked determined or almost stubborn to not shake no matter what Cale said.
Cale who barely managed to open his mouth made eye contact with the large snake’s red eyes over Choi Han’s shoulder.
“Damn it! Follow me for now!”
Cale started to run toward the top of the mountain again. Choi Han followed right next to Cale.
“Please don’t overdo it.”
He then picked Cale up like a stack of hay and started to run.
“Hey, hey! What are you doing?!”
Choi Han calmly responded to Cale's shocked voice.
“Cale-nim, you've been using your ancient powers without even being able to rest properly. Even if you took a short rest during the meal, you will faint again if you keep pushing yourself too hard.”
He heard Cale's laugh of disbelief behind him, but Choi Han held onto Cale even tighter as he lured the snake chasing them to the peak.
He then heard Cale's voice again.
“Hey! I'm going to get sick and vomit! Just carry me on your back or something! Ay, damn it! I feel like the meal I just ate is going to come back up!”
Choi Han gasped with an idiotic expression on his face. The terrain that was covered in rocks became rougher as they headed toward the peak. Cale who was being carried over Choi Han’s shoulder felt like vomiting as his head was almost upside down looking back and forth between the large snake and the shaking ground.
It was to the point that Cale had subconsciously said, ‘hey!’ to his friend’s paternal cousin once removed.
“One moment please.”
Choi Han quickly moved Cale as if he was handling a doll and Cale was soon on Choi Han’s back instead.
Choi Han then immediately started to run toward the peak again.
“Ah, this is nice.”
Cale finally felt relaxed as he glared at the snake chasing them.
The snake opened its mouth and screeched, but Cale who was surrounded by the Dominating Aura did not feel scared at all.
‘This snake bastard, it’s super big.’
He was just overwhelmed by the snake’s size. He was also feeling awkward about Choi Han who was carrying him so that he could peacefully climb to the top of the mountain.
Cale who could not be rude to his friend’s paternal cousin once removed cleared his throat and tried to negotiate.
“Choi Han, you read senior's story too.”
“Yes, senior. You are Choi Jung Soo’s paternal cousin once removed, so I can’t call Choi Jung Gun who is more senior than you so informally.”
Choi Han who had been at a loss of words for a different reason started to speak again.
“…Please just call him Choi Jung Gun. I think that is best to not get it mixed up.”
“Really? Then I will do that. Anyway, you saw Choi Jung Gun's memoir.”
“…Yes. I di-!”
Choi Han stopped talking and quickly dodged after feeling a strong power coming from behind him and turned around.
The snake’s head crashed with a loud explosion where Choi Han had just been standing.
Choi Han noticed the stones in the snake’s now raised head crumbling into pieces. There was red liquid falling from the snake’s mouth as it swallowed the crumbling rocks.
It was as red as blood.
Choi Han immediately headed toward the peak again without looking back.
‘This is dangerous!’
He was able to overcome most of the fear because of Cale’s aura, but he still felt an unknown source of fear coming from that snake.
He heard Cale’s voice in his ear at that moment.
“You remember Choi Jung Gun’s comments? It is most efficient if I do it.”
Choi Han closed his eyes and opened them back after hearing the word, ‘efficient.’
He faintly remembered the information that had been written in Korean inside Choi Jung Gun’s memoir.
< The final battle against the White Star who wanted to become a god. That battle would have been impossible without the Guardian. >
< Although the sky looks down at everything from above, the place where everything lives on is the ground. Even the birds in the sky end up sleeping in their homes on the ground. Thunderbolts, rain, and even meteors all fall to the ground. Yet the ground stays firm without breaking. >
< We were able to defeat the White Star after the Guardian of Boulder blocked all of the White Star's sky attribute attacks. >
‘The Guardian of Boulder. Cale-nim has carried on that power.’
< This battle was extremely difficult because the White Star had both the sky and earth attribute ancient powers. However, if. …Hypothetically speaking… If the White Star did not have the earth attribute ancient power… If Mr. Super Rock had both of the earth attribute ancient powers in the world… >
< Although the earth cannot defeat the sky alone, an easier battle would have been possible with the help of people who possessed the other attributes. >
Choi Jung Gun had emphasized the fact that the earth attribute ancient power was important many times, which made it difficult for Choi Han to forget about it.
< As a result, I believe that it is most effective for a person with the earth attribute power to fight against the sky. If that person gathers both earth attribute ancient powers and fights against a sky attribute user in the future… >
Choi Han started to think.
He imagined Cale with both earth attribute ancient powers fighting against the White Star.
< Yes. It might sound cruel, but… If we sacrifice the person with all of the earth attribute powers, wouldn't the others be hurt less and the world be more at peace, making it easier on everyone else? >
Choi Han heard Cale's relaxed voice.
"We need to move in the most efficient manner. You agreed with me back then too.”
Choi Han subconsciously started to speak after feeling Cale patting his shoulder as if he was consoling him and letting him know that Cale understood what he was thinking.
“Yes, Cale-nim. I did. I did agree with you. However, I agreed when I didn't know it would be this difficult.”
“I realized it after using an ancient power myself. I realized how much pain and suffering you’ve endured, Cale-nim!”
The fog became thinner as they headed to the peak. Choi Han continued to jump across the sturdy boulders as he ran up.
He raised his voice as if to let out his frustration as he moved in a zigzag pattern to dodge the snake.
“I also realized how you've kept all of that pain and suffering to yourself! And then you keep pushing your tired body to do more things for the sake of the future! How heavy your tired mind and body must have felt! I'm saying I understand all of it now!”
Cale was weaker than Choi Han.
His plate was said to be like glass as well.
Thinking about that made Choi Han think that he was a terrible person for not thinking about how hard it must be on Cale until recently.
It must have been very, very hard.
However, he also understood Cale's desire to sacrifice himself. He was someone who had lost his family, watched the world turn to ruin, and lost all his friends as well. How precious must these moments be for someone who had lost everything?
Choi Han could now easily notice the friendship and gentleness underneath Cale’s stoic expression and blunt tone.
That was why he wanted to do it this time. Although he couldn't carry the same weight as Cale, he wanted to carry at least half of it.
“I can’t watch you suffer and be in pain by yourself anymore, Cale-nim. I know I am being stubborn, but please step back this time. Don’t you always say something like this, Cale-nim? Children need to leave things to the adults.”
Choi Han had never spoken in such an uncompromising way to Cale before. However, once they earn this earth attribute ancient power, they would properly start to prepare for the final battle against the White Star.
That was why he needed to act like this now. If he didn’t do this now, he couldn’t imagine how Cale would act during that battle later, nor what Cale would try to sacrifice.
“I am more of an adult than you in terms of age, so Cale-nim, children like you should leave it to adults like me. Do you understand?”
Cale listened to Choi Han's rambling before sharing his honest sentiments.
“No, I'm not in much pain-”
Cale slightly curled up in fear.
‘Did he just get angry at me?’
Cale was a bit scar, no, shocked.
However, he was telling the truth. Cale was not in much pain because of the Vitality of the Heart. There were a few times he had been in pain, but overall, it had not been very painful.
‘I’m not in much pain right now either.’
“And please, don't try to do everything on your own! Please?”
“…No, we’re all doing it together now?”
Cale shut up after hearing Choi Han’s stern voice.
It was at that moment.
- …The two of you should not argue.
‘Why is he chiming in now?’
The Super Rock suddenly acted all serious as he started to speak to Cale.
- Did you know about this?
‘Know about what?’
- Us ancient powers figured out an amazing truth. Are you curious as to what it is?
“Cale-nim, you're giving up, right? I'll be in pain with you from now on.”
‘Ah, why are they both acting like this?’
It happened as Cale was about to frown.
- You and the White Star have completely opposite powers.
“Cale-nim, please don’t go, ‘huh?’ while feigning ignorance. I won't be fooled.”
Cale ignored Choi Han for now. He then focused on what the Super Rock was saying.
- The White Star's Fire of Natural Disaster and your Fire of Purification.
Although the cheapskate was called the Fire of Destruction, his attribute was purification.
- The Sky Eating Water is a spear. Then there is the White Star's water wall. It is the shield. Your Sound of the Wind is 'storm and movement’ while the White Star's is a wind wall. I don’t know about his wood attribute ancient power yet.
As the Super Rock mentioned, they didn't know about the wood attribute ancient power yet, but for some odd reason, all other attributes were opposites.
- Finally, the rock that tries to defend and the blood-drenched rock.
The Super Rock calmly continued to speak.
- You're afraid that your balance will be destroyed by adding another earth attribute ancient power, right? Your friend here seems to be worried about you as well.
He’s probably afraid that your balance will be destroyed by adding another earth attribute ancient power, right?
His calmness had a warmth to it as if he understood everything.
- We worry about you as well. Of course, we know that you weren’t in as much pain as that guy over there seems to think. However, we want you to not be in any pain at all. Anyway, we came up with a solution for you.
The Super Rock sternly started to speak as Cale’s eyes opened wide.
- Take them all!
‘Hmm? Did I hear correctly?’
- Once the White Star is dead, take all of his ancient powers as well. It’s up to you whether you take the sky attribute ancient power or not, but grab the other attribute ancient powers. Wouldn’t your body be back in balance then?
His body would be balanced as he would have two of each attribute.
- You do everything and become the strongest. Then the White Star would be gone, and you will be strong. Nobody would be able to touch you even if you lived your life as trashy as possible! What do you think?
‘What kind of-’
Cale almost blurted his thoughts out loud but held it in.
- Ahem, hem. Of course, we thought about how you will be in pain because your body would not be in balance until you get those powers. But you haven't forgotten, right?
The Super Rock sounded full of pride.
- You have me and the Vitality of the Heart.
There was a time when the Scary Giant Cobblestone had turned Cale's body sturdy for three days in fear that his plate would be broken.
The restoration ability of the Vitality of the Heart had helped Cale survive as well.
- And I will suppress my strength. You can consider it almost as being sealed. I can do that much for you.
Furthermore, if the Super Rock suppresses his strength to the point of sealing himself, the new earth attribute power coming into Cale’s body should not be that much of a burden.
- Take it all and do as you wish! Hahahaha!
Cale started to think as he listened to the Super Rock’s refreshed laughter.
‘…That’s a good idea.’
It was a very good idea.
Telling him to take everything, it was an extremely large-scale suggestion that made Cale who didn’t care about power nor fame and only cared about money in order to live his slacker life start to get excited.
These odd punks he had not expected anything from had given him a great idea for the first time.
- What do you think?
The Super Rock and Choi Han who were waiting for Cale's response finally heard him speak.
“I have a method too.”
“No, I'm saying there is a way for me to get that power without breaking my balance and not being in pain.”
Choi Han who had arrived at the peak at some point had a blank expression on his face.
He did not understand what Cale was trying to say.
‘Is there really such a method?’
Cale quietly whispered at that moment.
“Choi Han, you remember team leader Lee Soo Hyuk, right?”
Something flashed through Choi Han's mind at that moment.
“I got one of the team leader’s abilities. Which one do you think I got?”
Cale continued to speak to Choi Han who could only make that one noise right now.
“Put me down.”
Choi Han immediately put Cale down.
Cale stood on the ground and looked around. He could see the fog-covered mountain as well as the distant scenery.
He then turned his head to look at the snake that was chasing him. The large snake’s eyes were looking at Cale as if it wanted to rip him into pieces, and Cale calmly started to speak as he looked at it.
“I'm someone who prefers to not be in pain if possible.”
He really was that kind of person.
Cale was not planning on using any ancient powers from here on.
He undid his top button and the buttons on his sleeves. Cale quietly started to mumble to himself while thinking about team leader Lee Soo Hyuk.
“Team leader, you knew I would do this, didn’t you?”
Team leader Lee Soo Hyuk.
A strong individual who was known for his multiple abilities.
He had a characteristic called, ‘slash,’ and another incompatible characteristic.
It was something that did not suit someone like him who was always carrying a sword.
Team leader Lee Soo Hyuk had used a single word to describe that power.
Whether it was a tangible item or an intangible power. This ability allowed him to store anything in a set location.
It was completely different than his slashing ability that cut things.
“Alright, come to me.”
Cale opened his arms and welcomed the red snake.
Kim Rok Soo and Lee Soo Hyuk. The two of their powers that coexisted in Cale’s body started to move.