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    The words Abel said were indeed true. Sometimes the record keeper’s gaze felt like surveillance. Especially during meals, his staring gaze was piercing. Since breakfast was usually eaten in the lodging, the two of them ate together in the same room, but the record keeper always ended up eating late because he was observing Abel.

    So, one of his roles seemed to be to confirm whether Abel finished his meal. The reason Abel suspected this was because whenever they ate together, he would feel his energy drain and drowsiness creep in.

    “Aren’t you going to eat?”

    At the record keeper’s blunt question, Abel looked up from the soup with steam rising. The record keeper sitting across from him stared back with a sharp gaze.

    “Even if you don’t have an appetite, please eat. These are specially prepared dishes for Prince’s Regas, and properly eating is also one of Prince’s Regas’ duties.”

    Abel nodded and put a spoonful of soup into his mouth. The strong taste, with plenty of spices that made his nose tingle, filled his mouth. Still, he swallowed the contents without grimacing. He continued to eat a few more spoonfuls when a question came up.

    “By the way, how does the Prince call you?”

    Abel paused, holding the spoon in mid-air, and looked up as the record keeper shrugged as if it were nothing.

    “His Highness only follows you, and I heard that he often speaks to you. So, I was just curious if there is any nickname or something he calls you separately.”

    The young voice of the prince calling him ‘Eppel’ came to Abel’s mind, but he slowly shook his head.

    “There isn’t.”

    “Is it really?”

    The questioning was sharp, unlike the curiosity that was expressed. The gaze of scrutiny was filled with suspicion of whether the other person was lying. Abel nodded dumbly as he faced him.

    “Yes, it’s true.”                        

    ⊹˚. ♡.𖥔 ݁ ˖

    Nod, nod.

    Abel, who was listening to the lesson next to the prince, began to doze off as usual, nodding his head. The teacher had momentarily left the room, so he didn’t hear a scolding, but it was obvious that he would be kicked out if caught. It was a given that he would be scolded for dozing off instead of completing the homework assigned during the teacher’s absence.

    Fortunately, there was someone who could help him.

    Shake, shake.

     A small hand that was writing something grabbed Abel’s arm. However, with his mouth half open, Abel took a deep breath and didn’t wake up from his sleep. The prince turned his head and confirmed that there was no one in the room, then shook Abel’s arm again, calling him this time.

    “Eppel. Eppel.”

    Surprisingly, Abel opened his eyes as if he had been struck by lightning.

    “Oh! Oh, Your Highness, did you call me?”

    Nod, nod.

    Abel, as if trying to regain his senses, rubbed his eyes with the back of his hand and smiled bashfully.

    “Hehe, it seems like I dozed off again. Oh, wait. Then the teacher… Ah, he’s not here. Wow― I’m relieved. Thanks to you, Your Highness, I’m alive. I really wonder what would happen if you weren’t here. Haha―”

    The last words pleased the prince, and the child put strength into the hand of Abel who was holding his arm. He felt indispensable to Abel. The prince’s heart pounded inside his chest, but he didn’t know how to express it. Lately, Abel had been sleeping a lot and they had less time to meet, but receiving such praise felt good.

    Moreover, even if Abel fell into a deep sleep, he would wake up as if under a spell when he called him ‘Eppel’. This was also something only he could do. That’s why he didn’t want to show others how Abel reacted to his voice.

    No, he didn’t want to show Abel to anyone else. He was filled with the desire to go into the forest and be alone together, but a small fear was barely holding back the prince. He was afraid that Abel would be disappointed. The scariest thing was the thought of him not smiling if he were to do so.

    Because his voice, as he spoke about his future in the forest, felt deeply sad. Therefore, it wasn’t right to make Abel sadder. Even if he had a strong desire to reject and attack those who approached and spoke to him. The prince was young, but he knew it well. Just like the words of the man he met in the forest, he didn’t have the power to protect anything right now.


    With the sound of the door, the teacher who had gone out for a moment came in with the record keeper. As soon as he came in, he made Abel’s complexion pale by saying that he would check the homework. So Abel thought he would get scolded again and lowered his head, but all he heard was praise.

    “Hmm, for once you’ve answered everything correctly.”

    Huh? Startled, Abel looked up and realized that the answer was indeed written in his book. It was only then that he glanced at the prince and realized the reason. While he was sleeping, the prince had answered on his behalf. Abel smiled gratefully and secretly gave a thumbs-up.

    The prince is the best! It seemed as if his voice could be heard, and the prince clasped his hands together. His appearance was like that of a child feeling shy after being praised. Abel struggled to push away the urge to fall back into sleep as he watched the prince. He could feel the record keeper’s gaze piercing through his back.

    In the cold gaze, Abel discreetly stabbed his thigh with the sharp pin he had hidden in his hand. Despite his skin already being bruised and injured from dozens of stabs throughout the day, he did not hesitate to stab again. The sharp pain slightly eased his drowsiness.

    “Has it already been ten days and there is no reaction except for occasional napping?”

    The new attendant asked in response to the words of the record keeper who came to report. Although the new attendant asked as a representative, Truyde and Norhox, who were also in the room, were equally curious.

    “Yes. Just in case, I also increased the dosage of the medicine a little, but other than sleeping during class he is perfectly fine and accompanies the prince.”

    Immediately, a chilling voice erupted from the attendant’s lips.

    “Hah! I thought it was merely bear-like in appearance, but it truly is a bear. Enduring drowsiness even after increasing the dosage. Have you ever seen such a monstrous creature?”

    He awkwardly shook his head and looked at Truyde who had a puzzled expression.

    “What should we do? If this guy doesn’t respond to the medicine, then should we increase the dosage…”

    He trailed off, glancing briefly at the record keeper before continuing.

    “If he get close to the lethal dose, he could die from poisoning earlier than we expected.

    Truyde could not answer as he thought, but it was Norhox who casually answered.

    “Increase it more.”

    Yes? The new attendant turned around in surprise and his lips twisted.

    “What’s the problem if we send that guy to his death a little faster anyway?”

    “That sounds like it means it’s ready, is that correct?”

    When Truyde intervened, Norhox’s laughter deepened.

    “It was so easy to find someone similar because a bear-like guy is so common. Some of them even understand words, so we can prepare it in a short time.”

    Norhox looked at the record keeper and, as if waiting, the record keeper handed over the data he had collected on Abel. Norhox accepted it and added advice to Trude.

    “I’ve heard that the prince’s obsession is severe. It would be better to remove the bear fellow quickly before he realizes his danger and says something strange to the prince. Hmph, he’s probably a fool without even that much sense.

    Trude did not agree with Nohox’s last words but nodded in agreement with his other opinions.

    “Attendant. Increase the dosage.”

    After giving the order, Truyde also smiled.

    “And proceed as planned.”

    ⊹˚. ♡.𖥔 ݁ ˖

    The next morning, the prince’s bedroom was unusually quiet. The new aide, who came to the prince, delivered the news that Abel could not get up because he was sick.

    “Abel is unable to get up because he is sick. Would you like to go and check together?”

    The prince finally moved and went to Abel’s bed himself.

    However, even though he pushed people away and called Abel several times, Abel did not open his eyes. Fear covered the prince’s heart.

    Why won’t he wake up? The prince put both hands on Abel’s stomach.

    ‘I got sick because I didn’t put a pillow above my stomach.

    Remembering what Abel said at night, the prince patted his stomach with his small hand. However, even though he patted his stomach warmly for a long time, Abel still only slept. The prince, who didn’t know what else to do, sat like a doll, and someone gently patted him a while later.

    “If you keep staying like this without doing anything, Abel will be sad later. Your Highness, shouldn’t we make Abel happy later when he wakes up?

    Abel opened his eyes in the deep of the night. His unusually pale face seemed even more haunting under the dim light of a single lamp. Abel raised his heavy head and stood up, looking around. Fortunately, the record keeper wasn’t around, but someone else was watching him from a distance. It was the maid Serene, who hadn’t been seen for a while now due to the change of palace administrators.

    “Uh? What’s going on here?”

    Abel was surprised and opened his eyes wide, Serene avoided her gaze elsewhere and answered quietly as if murmuring.

    “Just… I heard you were sick.”

    “Wow, did you take care of me? Thank you, Serene.”

    Bowing his head, Abel smiled weakly, causing Serene to turn her face even more to the side. Her face was flushed, but Abel couldn’t properly see her appearance as a different thought suddenly came to mind.

    “Um, I’m sorry, but how long did I sleep?”

    The prince must have been worried. Even now, even if it was late, he thought he should go to the door of the prince’s bedroom… But despite the urgency, his body couldn’t move properly. Abel barely managed to sit up, but the chest pain and dizziness made it difficult for him to breathe. Still, he had to get up, and just as he was about to prod himself up, Serene’s belated response reached his ears.

    “You’ve been asleep for three days.”

    Abel, who was about to raise his head, stopped his movement. Serene noticed that he was surprised and was about to explain that everything would be fine, but she immediately closed her mouth. The words of the record keeper, who told her to keep it a secret, came to mind.

    “This is a medicine that will cure your illness. But you must never tell anyone. Understand?”

    Since the new manager arrived, she has been chased out of the kitchen and has been paying more attention to the food that is brought to Abel. Although he was younger than her, he always gave her a kind smile, and she found herself constantly drawn to him.

    Thanks to looking after Abel frequently, she discovered that the record keeper was secretly putting a bluish liquid in Abel’s food. Even though he was caught, the record keeper explained it casually.

    “Abel has been too close to the prince, so his health has deteriorated. You’ve felt it too, right? The prince emits a bad energy that harms people around him. Since he has been with him every day, he’ll collapse soon. This is medicine that will help him recover even a little. So don’t tell Abel. He cares about the prince, so he won’t believe such words.”

    Serene nodded her head. And she believed that Abel collapsed because of the prince. Why wouldn’t she?

    The prince has eyes that give people chills just by looking at them.

    It’s not surprising if a poison emanates from him, knocking people down.

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