It all started with a DREAM or well, one of the memories. In that dream, he and two close
brothers teammates were spending their day off together at their 'secret base' that Jung Soo accidentally came across when he was patrolling the area and dragged Kim Rok Soo along with their older brother team leader Lee Soo Hyuk. It was an underground basement that filled with all sorts of collections that old and antique. Of course, Jung Soo and Soo Hyuk were more excited about the antique collections rather than him, Rok Soo who were more fond of the old books that somehow survived under the rubble of the broken bookshelf. After a while of spending more of their time together at the basement whenever they got a day off, Jung Soo unofficially claimed the basement as their own secret base. Soo Hyuk easily agreed while Rok Soo, well, grumbling about what nonsense they are talking about but never went against it since he thinks it is actually nice. They would always spend their time together in their so-called secret base on their day off since it is quite far from their company. Rok Soo is happy only a BIT as he spent his time together with his two hyungs. But...well, after their death, he never went there ever again as he was busy with his responsibilities as a team leader and all. Deep down, he knew that he is running away. And...he doesn't think he can go there, ALONE without his family.
Cale sighed deeply as he once again subconsciously played the record in his mind about the moment he spent with his two
hyungs team members. Raon, On and Hong cannot be seen as they are playing together with Mary and Sherritt at the black castle, leaving him alone. Not that he minds because it is quiet and peaceful without their loud noises. Although it is a little bit lonely.
'Damn it...this is not like me at all. But well...what's wrong with it anyway? Just...for today, I want to appreciate
them it. Just...for today, only...'
Cale slowly closed his eyes as he finished his thought. He plays the records he hid deep in his mind to appreciate the memories he recorded when Lee Soo Hyun and Choi Jung Soo are still alive.
'Just for today...what can go wrong??'
-MEANWHILE, WITH CHOI HAN-
"I thought you said you guys will be busy today? Something about a meeting?" asked Choi Han in confusion as he held the cintamani that connect him to people in Earth 3 he met when he helped Cale in his test that the Sealed God bastard--ahem, gave him. He can see one of the people in the Cintamani casually answered,
-Well, it goes too well unlike we expected. Who would expect that they will agree right away?
The other two people beside him helplessly shook their heads as he said that in a casual manner like a certain someone. Yes, it was Kim Rok Soo himself. Our tsundere, cute, and ahem, moving on.
-That is because you didn't only threaten them to expose their deeds, but you also threaten to report them to higher-ups.
Jung Soo mumbled as he looked away from Rok Soo who heard him since they are sitting quite close with each other.
-I never threaten them, okay? I just nicely 'chat' with them in a polite manner. That's all. Plus, it's their own fault to committed those despicable deeds in the first place.
-But you also reported them just now, don't you?
Soo Hyuk interrupted as he glanced at Kim Rok Soo.
Lee Soo Hyuk sighed deeply at his dongsaeng's manner as he looked at Choi Han who completely understood the situation even though he didn't know the full details and he is not curious at all.
-Well...as you can see, we are free for now so we thought why not chat with your Kim Rok Soo for a bit since it has been a while.
"Sure. I will bring you to him right away. Please remain quiet for a while." Choi Han covered the Cintamani with a cloth as he said that three people in the Cintamani can hear and talk even though it is covered. Until now, they didn't know how to turn it off even though the war is already over months ago so they can only covered it with a cloth. Cale instructed Choi Han to keep it in his room since he is Korean, too. As for Lee Soo Hyuk's side, the Cintamani is well-keep in his private room and no one can enter the room without his permission or without him except for Rok Soo and Jung Soo.
KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK
"Cale-nim, it's me, Choi Han. May I enter?"
'Is he sleeping? But Ron said he already is awake a moment ago, though?'
Choi Han slowly opened the door and peeked inside. He lightly chuckled as he saw Cale staring outside the window with a daze who is lazily laying on his lazy chair.
"Hmm? Oh...it's you, Choi Han. What is it? When did you come in?"
"Just now. I knocked but you didn't answer me so I came in. What are you thinking about so deeply?"
Cale stares at Choi Han for a while before turning back to look outside the window. He can see leaves slowly fall as autumn is almost over.
"...nothing much. I am just thinking about Lee Soo Hyuk and Choi Jung Soo. I...kinda missed them, I guess?"
"Well, it's been a while since you last talked with them, after all. That's why I..." Choi Han slowly removed the cloth that is covering the Cintamani to expose it but froze halfway as Cale cut him off.
"No. Not them. I mean, my Lee Soo Hyuk and Choi Jung Soo in my timeline."
"...oh, I see."
"I sort of dream about the time I spend with them together. And I can't help but think of other times, too because why not? It's not like me, huh? But well...it's only for today, anyway."
"...can you tell me about what did you dream about last night?" asked Choi Han, com[letely forgetting the reason why he came here in the first place. The half-covered Cintamani was completely ignored and forgotten.
"Hmm...sure, why not? It all started with--pfft!" Cale covered his mouth as he chuckled before resuming his talk.
"Sorry. It all started with Jung Soo, you know. Your own nephew. He somehow miraculously manage to find this underground basement while he is supposed to be patrolling. The basement was filled with all sorts of collections that were old and unique such as books, clocks, and coins. After a while, he declared it as our secret base and Soo Hyuk agreed immediately as if they already talked about it before. Well, I thought it was ridiculous and all, but I think it is not bad so I never went against it. We will always go there together on our days off. But well...after their death, I never step my foot in that secret base anymore because of the responsibility as a new team leader and all, but I know that it is just me afraid didn't want to go there alone like a coward. Maybe because that place reminded me so much about them. You can say it is one of my regrets, I guess?"
"...are you still regretting it? I mean...about you leading them there on the day they died as you didn't know it will be an unranked monster?"
"Nope. Not anymore. After the test, they all survived, right? I manage to change the future when I am the only one who survived. I didn't regret it anymore since they are all alive and well."
"I see...what did you guys usually do in that secret base?"
"Nothing much, actually. I will sometimes read the books while Jung Soo and Soo Hyuk will find anything interesting and valuable to bring back home to our apartment while fooling around. But overall, it was fun. Truly fun." Cale smiled fondly as he finished talking but soon his brows furrowed in confusion and turn to look at Choi Han, who is the cause of his confusion.
"Anyway, why are you here in the first place? You didn't come here just to ask me bout that, don't you? Did you need anything?"
"Oh, I came here because they want to tal---I mean, I...uhh, inform you that I am going to...um, palace! Yes, palace!! I am going to the palace tomorrow so I came to inform you!" Choi Han said nervously as he hid the now full-covered Cintamani behind his back. He internally sighs in relief as he manages to miraculously lie smoothly.
"The palace? I thought you said his majesty gave you one week vacation...yesterday?"
"...okay, if you say so."
"Human!! We are back!! Let's eat dinner together!!"
"Let's go, nya!"
"Let's eat, nya!"
Cale sighed as
his the children ONCE AGAIN slammed the poor door to barge into his room. They surrounded him while pulling him to go eat together.
"I told you don't slam the door--, no, never mind. Let's just get going. Choi Han, let's go."
"Oh, I will be there in a minute."
"Oh, okay. See you later." Cale followed the children to eat dinner together in the hall with everyone else, leaving Choi Han alone in the room. Choi Han hurriedly removed the cloth that is covering the Cintamani and immediately apologizes.
"I am so sorry. I just...um..."
-No. It's fine, actually.
-Yeah...it doesn't look like it was the right timing. You did the right thing.
-You should go and hurry to join them for dinner. We gotta go, anyway. We will talk at another time. Talk to you later.
"Yes...see you. I am sorry."
Then the Cintamani was dark due to Lee Soo Hyuk covering it with a black cloth on the other side. Choi Han took a deep breath before slowly walk exiting Cale's room to head to the hall to join others for dinner.
Lee SooHyuk, Choi Jung Soo, and Kim Rok Soo are quiet after the Cintamani was fully covered. Soo Hyuk is the one who broke the ice first,
"When is our day off again?"
"In a week."
"Well...shall we do a little tour then?"
-A MONTH LATER-
"It's been a while since we last talked. Why did you suddenly want to talk now?" Cale asked as he sipped the sweet tea. He didn't really mind, actually but the emperor of Roan Empire, who visit him without any prior notice, is now sitting opposite him while casually biting the cookies. So he can't just ignore his Hyung, who possibly visits him to slack off from his duty, right? Not that he really cares about that, though. Wait. Has he even care before? Nah. He is secretly happy able to see Soo Hyuk and Jung Soo after a long time. Ofc, along with Rok Soo himself.
-Hear me out, Rok Soo! We found an interesting place 3 weeks ago on our day off! It's a little late but I want to tell you anyway!
"Is that so?" Cale nonchalantly replies as his Hyung, Soo Hyuk seems excited. He can also hear Rok Soo and Jung Soo's voices in the background.
-Oi, Jung Soo! Put that damn statue back! Don't you dare bring that back home!
-Oh, come on!! Just look at this statue!! Arent it cool?!
-Cool, my ass! Throw that away!!
-Eh~ How can you be so heartless??
'Statue? Come to think of it, Jung Soo found this weird statue in the secret base back then. Ugh, that guy. I can't believe he actually brought it back home and have the gut to put it in our office. And he put it on my desk!'
Cale grumbly thought but soon slightly chuckled as he remembered that piece of memory.
"Seriously, dongsaeng? How can you easily laugh with them but act like a total bastard with me? You make your beloved Hyung sad." Alberu said dramatically while he put his hand on his chest. Cale smirked and smiled brightly at his 'beloved' sworn brother.
"How can I dare to casually laugh in front of our respectful and esteemed Emperor, the bright sun of Roan Empire? My lowly self such as myself cannot compare to--"
"Cut the bulshit, Cale. You really are a bastard, hmm~?"
Choi Han fondly laughs at those sworn brothers' interaction with each other while Cale casually shrugged.
-Well, I don't really know how to describe this place, so I'm just gonna show it to you.
"Oh, okay." Cale focused his attention back to the Cintamani and widened his eyes in surprise as the place Soo Hyuk was talking about came to view. The rusty, and old stairs that lead to the underground basement, the pile of old books under the rubble of destroyed bookshelf and he can see Rok Soo sitting nearby reading one of the books and lastly those antique collections that scattered everywhere. It is exactly the same as his memory. Precious memory. It is too precious, too familiar. His eyes sting as the tears threatening to fall. He then heard Jung Soo's voice shouted in excitement.
-This will be our own and only secret base!!
-Ohh!! That sounds amazing and cool!!
-Please stop talking about such nonsense. Are you guys out of your mind?
-You say that, but you didn't deny it!! Also; you didn't stop reading the books either!! What is so fun about it anyway?!
-Well, at least I am better than you who get excited over a mere statue that is obviously useless! I am warning you, Choi Jung Soo. DON'T YOU DARE brings that thing back home.
-Why not?? I think it will suit your dull desk at the office!
-Choi Jung Soo!!
"Pfft...hahaha! Haha! Seriously...how can all of us act exactly the same?!! Hahaha!"
People around Cale became speechless as Cale fondly laughed in amused while holding his stomach. Raon, On, and Hong, who are eating were bewildered as the food was now on the floor while their mouths are wide open in surprise. Even Choi Han and Alberu are speechless and broken as if their brains actually stop working as they witnessed a magnificent scene in which is Cale is laughing loudly with ease as if it was his natural persona. Heck, even Jung Soo who is talkative was surprised witnessing Cale's laughing scene and that stoic Kim Rok Soo near him actually smiled! Among them, Soo Hyuk was the first one who snaps out from the daze and unexpected scene and widely smiled as he looks at Cale who is still laughing and Rok Soo is smiling while watching Cale. His heart fluttered in joy as he watched his two dongsaengs are happy.
'Well...as long as they are happy.'