Cale blinks when he wakes up, seeing Ron at his side again. Ron offers him a drink of water for his hangover and mentions that his father wants to see him at breakfast for today too. He goes to breakfast and eats happily and pauses when Basen still drops his fork, his father still stutters upon seeing him enjoy the food, and the other two also show their surprise - one elegantly behind a napkin while Lily’s eyes go wide.
Cale pauses. Though he still asks for allowance, knowing that he needs money, his mind rapidly goes through countless observations and scenarios as he walks out of the dining room.
It is when he asks Ron what the date is when he truly understands. And groans, nearly palming his face and holding his poor head at the complicated mess this world is.
The Birth of a Hero never mentioned time loops!
But, once again, it is March 29, Year 781 of the Felix Calendar and Cale has repeated a day. The same day when he had transmigrated into this world.
Cale stares at his mental plans for the future and almost mentally burns it in frustration at the waste, but it is a futile motion because Cale is a person who can never forget. Still, what can he do about protagonists and dragons and other things when the protagonist hadn’t even made it to town yet, the dragon is an entire day’s travel away, and all the events happen far off into the future?
Cale sighs as he sits in his room, wondering what he should do.
He then thinks about it again and blinks. Wait. This is fine too. He can perpetually rest if he doesn’t have to worry about meeting the main character or about any of the other dangers of the world.
Cale can slack on March 29, Year 781 of the Felix Calendar.
Cale smiles and goes back to sleep.
Or he tries to, but he feels a gaze on him. Slowly looking up to see Ron’s sharp gaze and then benign smile, Cale flinches, wondering if he did something uncharacteristic and Ron knew that he was a different person and Ron was going to assassinate him-
Okay, so he can’t go back to sleep.
Cale quickly gets out of bed and accepts the lemon tea like it is going to be the poison that causes his death and leaves the estate, going far away from scary murder butlers that might kill him at the slightest provocation.
(He forgets that Ron hasn’t killed the real Cale before even when the crazy guy had been acting like an utter piece of trash for nearly a decade under the butler’s care. The butler wouldn't kill him for slacking, but what the current Cale doesn't know, he doesn't know and he scurries out.)
Once out, Cale stares at Rain City, wondering what to do. If he’s in a time loop, then this day along with anything he did in the day wouldn’t matter. He could go crazy. He could relax and enjoy the bustling city.
Cale isn’t really the type to go crazy or to sight-see so he chooses to go to The Fragrance of Tea with Poetry, buy out the third floor, and fall asleep on the table.
If he can’t sleep at home, then he’ll just sleep somewhere else.
Cale sleeps, sometimes dozing off between the planes of dreams and reality. In the sweet limbo, he hears two voices quietly, but hurriedly whisper to each other. That’s weird. He had bought out the third floor. Cale is sure of it because he finally did what he always wished to do and that was to extravagantly use his money. The whispers grow and he hears something like ‘chance’ and ‘poison’ and ‘riddance’, but that can’t really be it. His mind must have been scared so much by the local assassin that he was thinking these scary things all the time now. Cale decides to sleep a little more to rest his head.
Cale dozes off a little more in deep sleep before he wakes up with a mighty yawn under the last rays of sunlight. After stretching, Cale absently takes his cup of cold tea and drinks it. As he drinks the tea, he absently remembers a part of his dream and those three words which couldn’t be real, had to be a part of his imagination while he was asleep because The Birth of a Hero wasn’t that kind of world and, ara, he must have been really tired because the world is blurring-
Cale wakes up in his bed again. His eyes are slowly widening and shaking, even as he maintains his composure to ask for the date from Ron.
It is still March 29.
Cale goes through the motions, mind fixated on what happened yesterday at sunset even as he stubbornly tries to unsee it and cover all the thoughts rampant in his mind.
Cale wants to forget that it had happened, but when he stares at the tea shop he was going to visit tomorrow should a tomorrow appear, Cale can’t bring himself to open the door.
So he turns and decides to find another cafe to sleep in.
Cale wakes up to see his ceiling again.
It is just his imagination. It is just his imagination. It is just his imagination.
Think about it. What would Cale Henituse have done to make civilians plot murder? All the guy did was throw bottles at wall, drink heavily, curse and cause havoc- Okay, so the guy did do a lot, but he never outright hurt anyone before. He did nothing to cause revenge, right?
Besides, this guy is a noble’s son. His father is beloved by the people, giving the son a lot of lenience among them. Even if the father wasn’t really that beloved, surely people would hesitate to offend, much less provoke the son of a noble, right?
It is just his imagination.
There is no one trying to kill Cale Henituse.
Cale scurries out of the estate to avoid the old assassin’s watchful eyes. Upon reaching a street with a café different from the two before, Cale nervously hesitates and decides to instead sleep in someone’s house.
An inn might work as well, but surely no one would intrude a private residence.
He sees a nice old woman and buys out a guest room with enough money to cover up the madness of a trashy noble’s son wanting to sleep in a random civilian’s home.
He doesn’t even make it to the bed.
In the middle of a conversation with the old woman, he realizes that the old woman had mistaken a flower of her own medley with a poisonous one. And he dies. This time, awake.
...It may not be just his imagination.
No, no, no, this was an accident. An unplanned incident. And damn it still hurts, but it was not premediated murder like he suspected the first two were - no! Imagination, imagination, imagination, no one wanted to kill him. He was in the starting village. He was in a... bloody death-laced novel, but still, no one had died in Rain City. Not even Choi Han killed someone here. Rain City is literally the only city in the entire series that was unaffected by death! (Cale just realizes this and finds himself both pitying the protagonist and scared by that realization of the kind of novel he is in.)
No one wanted to kill him.
Cale shudders at his butler’s benign smile, pauses at the glass of wine on his table at breakfast, hesitates to leave the estate when breakfast is over, and goes to the library. Libraries are quiet. Most people avoided libraries. Ruffians hated libraries. Libraries are safe zones.
Cale happily reads a book in a less-traveled corner of the library in town and dozes off on the hundred thirteenth page. Something creaks and cracks, alerting his senses which have lately gotten more wary of the world, but in his half-dazed, lazy sprawled state, he doesn’t react in time to the heavy oakwood bookshelf filled with ancient tomes falling on him.
Cale stares as he watches all of this happen in slow motion. As his eyes take in the details of the shelf and realizes that this was an accident that shouldn’t have really happened. That bookshelf shouldn’t have randomly broken. Just as how the old woman who knew a lot about medicinal herbs and flowers wouldn’t have mistaken one for its lethal counterpart.
Some details slot.
As Cale dies, he realizes.
Rather than a stranger trying to kill him, it may be that the world was trying to kill him to correct this mishap of time. Or god.
Cale didn’t know which one was scarier.
He wakes up to see Ron’s face and decides imminent, visible scary things were scariest and hurriedly gets out of bed to avoid the assassin’s ire again. Meanwhile, Ron is bemused by the young master’s attitude towards him. His young master has never gotten out of bed that fast before. Did the puppy realize something?
Although Cale still longs to sleep somewhere, Cale decides to gather information about the situation and leave March 29. He can sleep on another day. This day is already becoming too scary for him and he thinks he might permanently take a day off whenever it comes each year because of the paranoia slowly rising in him because of the past loops.
After searching through Cale’s things for supernatural things and asking around the taverns if the previous Cale had met anyone suspicious before today, Cale is stumped.
As he had thought, the previous Cale had no involvement with supernatural phenomena that could cause something like this to happen. Like the novel had mentioned, all he did during the day was drink. All he had in his room were expensive clothes and wine.
Why was there a time loop?
Cale sighs as he walks home after bribing and questioning another bartender. He closes his eyes, wanting to just sleep. Maybe if he just rested a little against a wall, he could slack for a loop and work on another-
Cale opens his eyes and sees an out of control carriage.
You’re kidding me. He thought, arms waving indignantly at his side. All he wanted to do was slack! Just a little! And a carriage?! What kind of bullshit cliche situation was this?!
He wakes up again on March 29.
Cale hates March 29. It is officially the worst day ever in a year and if he was god, he would cross it off the calendar.
...what a scary thought. No. Forget that. Even if it was to cross off a day, Cale didn't want to even think about the scary thought of becoming a god. He just wants to slack, people.
After dying a few more times in his journey of investigating the city for supernatural things, Cale chooses to just sulk and roll on his bed. Who cares about the assassin butler? The assassin butler was the most harmless thing in the world. At least he hadn't killed him before yet.
Cale heavily misjudged the butler. Ron was a good man. He was safe. He was harmless. He wasn't scary-
Ron smiles benignly again and Cale zooms out of his bedroom again.
Okay, maybe he was harmless, but he was still scary-
A maid screams and he looks up to see a chandelier that she was cleaning fall on him.
Maybe he really should just give it a try and sleep in his bed all day. So far everyone was doing a better job at killing him than the local assassin. At the very least, he hasn't died in his own bed yet.
He thinks about it again and decides to get up from his bed yet again. He's been noticing that he only dies when he slacks or begins to slack - and there is no reason to make the local assassin scarier or to corrupt the safe feeling his bedroom has in his mind.
If he has memories of dying in his own bed, he really might just go crazy.
Then again, Cale is pretty certain that he will move out of this city in the future once he has enough money. Even the Forest of Darkness sounds like a nicer place to live than Rain City at the moment. Maybe he'll build a villa there and slack for the rest of his life once he finds a way out of the loop.
Cale nods to himself and begins attempt number ten of trying to find a way out. He probably should have investigated the Henituse Estate earlier, but he hadn't wanted to unlock some hidden backstory that would make his life even more troublesome so he procrastinated but it seems like he couldn't push it back any longer.
Cale hesitates, but sighs and leaves the room. Hopefully, the minor villain with only a few pages in the novel had a normal past.
Under a tree, Cale buries his head in his arms after a couple of loops of interrogating a father that cried upon every mention of his late wife and after digging up a journal and being hugged by a tree in the Henituse graveyard.
There is too much to comment on.
What minor villain. The whole novel is a lie and Cale wishes to bleach his memory and forget everything to continue to live in ignorance.
His family appears and run towards him, comforting him, thinking that he is crying and grieving in memory of his body's mother. He doesn't blame them because he is crying and grieving. In memory of his ignorance.
No, since the new information held no meaning for the present situation and every evidence that he had seen the journal would be wiped once he died, he could continue to live in ignorance.
Cale welcomes the next loop and avoids the faces of his family.
He didn't know, he didn't know, he really didn't know.
Cale decides to take a break from investigations and learning plot devices meant to bring troublesome things in life and drive forward a story he doesn't want to follow.
He manages to make it through an entire day without dying and learns that death only comes when he doesn't make a move for a while. Or when he doesn't seem like he had any intentions to break the loop, though how the world knew of his intentions, he didn't know. Just that when he tried learning how to sleepwalk one loop, a bear appeared in the garden. Later, he checked in the library and there were supposed to be no bears within hundreds of kilometers of Rain City.
(He stopped questioning the world in his seventh loop when a squirrel appeared and-)
(Cale doesn't think about the seventh loop.)
In the midst of his break, Cale simultaneously learns about cats that were Cats and how an old restaurant owner was really a retired knight captain that hated him when he brought the cats to eat with him at said restaurant. Over a few loops, he also learns that the Man Eating Tree gives different monologues for different kinds of food and if he gave it a full course meal, then the ancient power came out exponentially faster.
(The glutton also tells him about ancient times when she catches him reading an ancient tome, but he doesn't think about that either because it sounds too much like a complicated backstory leading to a major villain origin story and world-ending plot that really sounds too much like trouble and work-)
(There will be no second White Star. No megalomaniac bastard trying to become god and take over the world. The organization Choi Han faces is a normal organization of assassins and the only war within the novel is within the Western Continent. There is no such thing as the Eastern Continent as far as he knows. No such thing.)
Cale could only wander around aimlessly in denial for so long. The time loops demanded his attention despite him really having no idea on what caused it so after a couple loops, he picks up the investigation again.
Though he really has no clue on what could have started a time loop.
Even the Thames don't really know anything about regressions and time loops. (No, don't think about it. Cale Henituse was a normal boy. There is no complicated backstory or connection to things that should be left unknown. His mother was a normal woman who died a normal way though it was an unfortunate loss.)
Cale sighs as he is forced to review similar plots and common story tropes. How did the Groundhog's Day movie go again-
Some tropes evidently would probably not work and should be ignored. Cale carefully does not think about the ending of that movie. Even if it was to escape a time loop, Cale can't ever imagine falling in love with someone. Besides, there was no room for any romantic or fluffy vibe when the time loop he was in kills him whenever he attempts to slack.
That's right. Somehow he always finds something killing him whenever he attempts to slack. Thinking over that again, maybe, that is the case because the world was trying to get him to do something and if he does it, then the time loop would break.
But what is it that needs to be done?
It takes a couple loops to find a way to reach Harris Village within a day. Harris Village is a week's worth of distance away (unless you were Choi Han and then you'd only have to run for a day), but Cale found out that if he skipped breakfast, rushed through feeding the glutton, and created a slingshot with a couple trees and the newly earned ancient power and kept doing that all the way to Harris Village, then he could technically reach the village within a solid six hours.
However, his efforts are in vain. Nothing he does - using the wood ancient power to plant flowers over the graves, rebuilding the village with wooden houses, and even catching the protagonist to feed him and offer a home in that one time that he managed to arrive at the village faster than Choi Han had left - works.
Cale tries to get Choi Han to Rain City within a loop to see if that would break it, but that doesn't work either. And he wasn't willing to try it again - having felt as crazy as he sounded when he had suggested to the emo protagonist his plan of slingshotting them back to Rain City. He himself wouldn't have done it had he had a choice, shield softening their crash lands or not.
Cale was so glad that everyone other than him couldn't remember the past loops. That was an experience he was going to forget as well.
A pity though. It had taken a miracle to convince Choi Han to go through with it that once. He was still amazed by how he had accomplished that.
Since Rain City, Harris Village, and Choi Han weren't the answer, Cale turns his attention to the dragon. The dragon is a similar distance away and Cale had become a reluctant master at tree-slingshotting.
After breaking into Billos's residence for a couple loops to find the fastest way to steal magic tools, he speedruns through his day, retrieving glutton, interrupting the monologue, retrieving the magic tools, slingshotting to Viscount Tolz's territory, setting off a bomb in the Tolz Villa, setting off smokescreens of various poisons in the cave, running into the cave with a mask to hurriedly place on a gas mask on the little dragon's head as well, and escaping out using the secret tunnel.
Glutton tells him that he is a jerk for having interrupted her food monologue in the morning, but that he is a crazy amazing jerk and she is impressed.
The black dragon is as well. The little dragon always is- though no matter how he saves the little thing, it seems that saving the black dragon isn't the answer to his problems either. Regardless of whether he kills all of the dragon's captors, allows the dragon to kill them and destroy everything instead, names the black dragon and offers a home when he notices one loop that it was following him, nothing seems to work.
Another pity then. Cale was quite proud of how he had accomplished all of that - speedrun through Rain City, slingshot over mountains, destroy the Tolz Villa, beat the knights, and rescue the dragon - within a day as well.
Although he can't come back for another loop, he adds the dragon once again to the list of things he would have to do once escaping the time loop. After all, he had promised Raon a home when the little dragon had worked up the courage to ask.
(Raising a dragon was just asking for trouble, but Cale couldn't quite ignore the plea in the little dragon's eyes.)
(Having a dragon around would also make things safer when time did decide to move instead of rewind and the plot of the story progressed.) (But no, one does not think about the little hints of potential villain power level and world problems escalation found when asking around in the starting city of a novel. He saw and heard nothing. He didn't know, he didn't know, he really didn't know.)
Cale sighs when he takes another break after so many loops used to figure out the best way to save Raon by himself under so many limitations.
After that feat, he gains a little bit more confidence of his place in the world. And when Ron offers lemonade again, he pauses but rejects it.
To his surprise, Ron doesn't take offense at the rejection. He also doesn't seem surprised. Instead, his benign smile seems oddly a little wider and lighter and brighter-
It's so scary that when the next loop happens, Cale decides to take his cup of lemonade.
(What he doesn't know is that the original Cale doesn't drink lemonade and would reject it if it was offered - and so Cale's refusal to drink it had actually brought a little bit of relief in the butler that his young master hadn't abruptly, suspiciously changed instead of whatever discontent and ill thought Cale thought the butler had of him for doing so.) (But what Cale doesn't know, he doesn't know.)
Cale really has no idea what to do to get out of the time loop. He's talked to every resident, even flipped open many lids of pots, learned the history of the minor villain character he was in, read almost all the books, consulted the glutton, found hidden experts, reluctantly reread Jour's novel and went through all her things, helped Choi Han and Raon and the little Cats that hadn't been mentioned in the novel, burned down Rain City after evacuating all the residents-
"Your city is under attack too?!" A mage shouts over a video communication device and Cale perks and looks at Deruth and said device.
"Too? What do you mean too?" Deruth asks, completely bewildered by everything.
"The capital's burning as well!!" The mage shouts and the entire crowd of yelling knights and panicked civilians and practically everyone silences.
Cale stares with rapt attention at the image that appears on the projected screen.
The capital is burning.
People are screaming, palaces are collapsing, decorated gardens already burst into ashes and flames. In the midst of the burning palace, there are some tied up members of the royal family starting from King Zed to little prince Robbit.
...That wasn't supposed to happen.
Well, he knows his next location now.
His father, however willing to spoil his child that he is, doesn't let him use their territory mage to teleport into the capital. That was fine because he didn't need to know.
With enough money and blackmail (Cale knew everything about everyone in the city and even many people outside the city now), Cale manages to bribe and buy the silence of the territory mage to teleport into the capital.
It's satisfying to be in a new city. Although Cale liked being in one place, slacking is impossible within the time loop and after so many deaths and wandering and exhausting talking and investigating, Rain City is filled with so many memories, stress, and feelings that Cale wants to forget.
At this rate, he really might burn the city once he gets out of the loop and move into seclusion in the Forest of Darkness. No one can bother him there. Nothing will happen there. With a dragon and two Cats, he will also be safe.
It's a good idea.
But first, to explore the capital and get out of the loop.
Surprisingly, it doesn't take long for him to find a clue. Or rather, for a clue to come to him.
His highness, the Crown Prince, seems to have a lot of feelings about being in a time loop as well and seeks him out the instant he got news that he had appeared in the capital. He must have heard about the fire in the Henituse capital in the last loop as well.
"Cale Henituse." The crown prince states dryly as his eyes observe him for abnormalities. "Are you in a time loop as well?"
"Yes." Cale says just as simply because if he was asking that question, then that was all the confirmation that he needed. His brows furrow in disappointment though. If the crown prince was asking that, then it also meant that the crown prince had no ideas as well.
The crown prince seems to deduce the same and he huffs in discontent. "Answer me with your highness." He says bitterly after a cold, unhappy silence. "Time loops are no excuse to disregard manners."
"Call me hyung!" Alberu demands a few hours later, staring wide-eyed as King Zed voluntarily walks to his own doom off the highest tower. The crown prince looks like he had just got his early birthday present. "What did you say to him? How did I not know you before? What other things do you know? Do you have anything on the second prince?"
King Zed commits suicide, Cale sighs when getting the king to kill himself doesn't work too, and for the rest of the loop, Alberu takes care of the aftermath while Cale goes to investigate for any causes for the time loop in the capital too.
Alberu promises a fourth of his wealth if he could get blackmail on all the royals and nobles and important people in the capital as well so Cale works on that on the side. A fourth of a crown prince's wealth would be useful to start building his isolated Forest of Darkness villa.
Cale learns a lot of things he rather didn't know.
Alberu is happy to learn it for him so that he could forget it ever existed. Trusting that Alberu would deal with it, the novel having portrayed him as a good prince under his sly demeanor, Cale happily forgets in peace.
He also learns a lot of things that were interesting to know. Though he still rather not know because of how troublesome they were.
Though perhaps it is inevitable like the other things he learned over the course of the time loop because of how thoroughly he was investigating for the cause.
"Huh, you're a Dark Elf." Cale blinks when Alberu forgets about him and practices with dead mana one time. Alberu startles, remembering his existence, and stares with wariness and trepidation, but Cale just shrugs and continues quietly reading on his couch in the corner of the room. "It suits you." He says. And the brown hair and eyes and dark skin does, even more so than the excessively shiny-ness of his blond appearance.
"Oh, hi," Cale greets back when Alberu introduces his aunt to him. His aunt is confused by Alberu's trust in this random stranger to tell him about her race and Alberu's eyes are shaking by the casual, normal treatment and polite response Cale gave to his aunt despite knowing. Many people hated, feared, or were disgusted by Dark Elves, but Cale shows none of the prejudices common to man when meeting his aunt.
"I'm not completely certain what it means, but I think it is okay for you to become king." Cale says when Alberu shows him the boulder engraved with the Sun God's curse underneath the Grand Library when Cale was beginning to run out of things to check. Cale is stunned by the words written, but he thinks of how Alberu was being developed to eventually take over the throne in the novel and of how Alberu is the best prince for the Roan Kingdom out of all of his siblings and it doesn't take much thought for him to conclude. "No, you were meant to become king, your highness. If it's really a curse, then if it's you, I think you can break it."
Alberu doesn't tell Cale to call him hyung again. Instead, the crown prince kisses him, catching him by surprise. They land against the boulder, tongues interlocked, breaths matching, little noises escaping. Cale is so stunned and caught by the deep kiss that he doesn't notice the boulder behind him melting. Alberu doesn't either and they both fall again and stare when a beautiful white spear with a powerful presence appears.
It is not the cure to the curse that is the time loop, or something with answers about the Crossman curse, but it is apparently a spear forged from the bone of a monster of a parallel Earth.
Alberu is stunned and awed and happy because maybe the boulder really wasn't talking about a curse because why would it when it was giving him such a great weapon. Or maybe Cale was right and he did break the curse, was accepted by the Sun God as a rightful true heir to the crown. Cale is stunned and with a major headache because what? Earth 3? Dungeons and monsters? What kind of novel was The Birth of a Hero again?
Cale is so stunned and also so wants to forget and ignore everything that has happened and all the new information that was coming in that when Alberu kisses him again out of joy, Cale gives himself into it and kisses back.
He doesn't want to think about this anymore. He gives up. Maybe it was best if the world doesn't progress past March 29.
They kiss and tug clothes and sleep together... And of course, in such a cliche fashion, wake up together in a cold underground room next to a melted rock and a sentient spear on a new day that is now not March 29 anymore.
Cale closes his eyes and then is happy when he realizes that he can finally rest and slack again and he dozes off again.
Alberu is amused as he watches the other's reaction to everything, having woken up earlier than Cale to be able to see his slow and happy realization, having also known how much his partner wanted to be able to slack, the other having never kept it a secret, and kisses him lightly on the lips, whispering softly.
"Cale. Wake up. Wait until you get back home first. It'll be even more troublesome if either of us are caught here."
Cale groans, but opens his eyes again at the keyword (that is: troublesome) and allows himself to be helped into his clothes. He sneezes, a soft noise like a rabbit, and remembers that he still needs to find Vitality among other things that he wants to do now that he is out of the loop.
Though he still can't believe, that was the way to break the time loop. Damn it, The Birth of a Hero. Nelan Barrow, how many cliches do you have to stuff into your novel?
He pauses when he realizes that there is an important question that needed to be asked no matter how much he wanted to avoid it because of how troublesome it was.
"Your highness." He coughed awkwardly. "What is our relationship?"
Alberu blushes in the midst of absently toying with Cale's hair. Apparently, he hadn't thought too much when last night happened either. Cale wonders if they were both going to ignore it, but the crown prince nevertheless answers. "If you are fine with it, lovers. I would like to court you, Cale."
Cale stares. He really hadn't thought that there would ever be this development when he had transmigrated and decided to stay in this world. He thinks about it though, and he really didn't mind it. With how they both had been together for nearly a hundred loops by now, they also knew a lot about each other.
The silence makes Alberu a little worried and he adds, "I promise that you will still be able to live a slacker life in the palace."
That makes Cale's lips crack into a smile. They really did know a lot about each other. And Alberu was the first person to believe in his dream and say that. Cale thinks about how he really didn't have any bad memories in the loops in the capital either - having always been able to make it to midnight without dying. It wasn't a bad place to stay.
After a while, Cale decided. Still, he challenges. "Convince me."
Alberu's own eyes gleams in happiness and understanding. "I will," he promises, kissing Cale again.
They couldn't restart this day though so it was only a kiss before they both got up to review what happened the day before and to get to the places they needed to be.
Fortunately, the final loop ended well. They hadn't burned down any locations, killed any people, do anything that could end badly for them. It had been a normal loop where Cale had been reading another ancient tome in Alberu's room as Alberu practiced magic while contemplating on whether or not he should bring Cale to the boulder.
Well, the final loop hadn't been perfect though. Having bribed the territory mage to sneak into the capital and stay the night, Cale now had to return back before Ron cared enough to tell his father of his absence. There was also the fact that he had been seen in the capital and in the palace - which was likely to make some nobles wary of whether the Henituse were allying with the crown prince if it wasn't hushed up enough. Though Cale did trust Tasha and the other secret Dark Elves to help keep his presence a secret.
As for Alberu... Although he already knew all the contents of yesterday's paperwork, he still had to finish them all before he got criticized by others for not doing any of it. He also had to help Cale secretly get out of the capital and explain to Tasha the developments she likely wanted to hear as his aunt.
Well, not all things could be perfect anyways and it was a better March 29 than many others so they were content.
Sneaking out to their respective places with a parting 'meet you at the capital in a month', they started on March 30.
A day that would also be exciting with how one person was a fourth-of-a-crown-prince's-wealth-and-magic-tools richer and the other had enough blackmail to subjugate all the nobles in the kingdom under his hand for a couple decades.
And so, the story really starts.