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    When Abel opened his eyes, the first thought that came to mind was one thing.

    ‘Could it be I’m reincarnated again?’

    However, as he slowly lifted himself from the dirty ground, he realized it was still reality. It was dark, but he recognized the body he had become accustomed to over the past month—it was the young master’s.

    Then I must be alive.

    Blink. Blink.

    Abel looked around the pitch-black surroundings and sat down for a moment before standing up completely. As he moved his body, his stomach made a growling sound. But strangely, other than being hungry and thirsty, there was no pain anywhere. His body felt refreshed as if he had slept deeply and all his fatigue had vanished.

    Abel then remembered the medicine he had taken. He’d been told to drink it only when he was really sick, and it had worked. Despite collapsing by the roadside at night, fortunately, it was late summer, so it wasn’t cold enough to catch a cold.

    Thinking that he was lucky, Abel headed towards the barely visible path. Without hesitation, he walked in the direction Karas had gone. He didn’t know why Karas had spared him, but if it wasn’t too late, he wanted to follow and help him.

    Although Karas was a very, very frightening person who had tried to kill him, he was important to the prince. If he arrived at the Crimson Valley within three days and captured the enemy’s king, the war would be over. And Abel believed Karas could indeed capture the king. But to do so, he had to arrive within three days.

    By now, Karas must have gone very far, right?

    As he guessed and walked for a short while, Abel spotted a light in the distance.

    A person? With the thought of at least getting some water to drink, he increased his walking speed and approached the light.

    It was dark, but thanks to the faint moonlight, he didn’t fall and headed towards the bonfire, but he stopped abruptly nearby. The owner of the bonfire was Karas.

    Huh? Why did he only get this far?

    Surprised, Abel opened his eyes wide and soon burst into a bright smile and started walking quickly again.

    “Wow~ Commander! You waited for me! Wow~ I’m really touched!”

    Abel couldn’t control his excitement and waved his arms wildly as he ran towards him. Karas, while roasting something on a branch, looked up at the loud noise. He had noticed the footsteps coming this way since earlier, but never thought it would be that guy. Even if he was lucky to survive, he naturally assumed the guy would have run in the opposite direction. However, not only did he come back on his own feet to the person who tried to kill him, but he was also having some strange misunderstandings.

    “As expected, the Commander is a good person. Hahaha~ Of course, being by His Majesty’s side, he must have been a good person! Please wait for me…”


    Karas’ cold remark immediately cut off Abel’s laughter. And Abel, who had already heard the same words several times, was surprised and blinked.

    “Huh? Yes?”

    Karas, unusually displaying a bit of kindness, pointed behind him in response to Abel’s puzzled expression. Abel then strained his eyes to examine the dark area behind them. Faintly, he could make out the shape of the road. It was a three-way intersection. Karas had stopped because he didn’t know which way to go.

    And so, he was sitting here roasting a bird, pondering his dilemma. Anyway, catching the bald one could be done at any time. He had walked into this trap out of sheer boredom. But now, with his path blocked and the Crimson Valley out of reach, he was contemplating hunting down the small guy which he had found collapsed again.

    Of course, assuming that the prey had escaped. But instead of running away, he appeared right in front of him as if served on a platter. Even now, knowing that he hadn’t waited for him, he still smiled.

    “Hehe, you didn’t know the way. Then, it was right for you to wait. I’m sorry for making you wait for so long, Commander.”


    Nodding, the fellow who even greeted him with a chuckle sat down across from him. Initially, he felt bad. Then he got angry. And now… he was annoyed. Karas, still staring at him mimicking Abel, finally spoke.


    “Yes?” Warmth filled the green eyes that looked up.

    Karas’ gray eyes, which had lost their haziness, turned cold again as they stared at the other person. Abel tensed up under that gaze but didn’t look away. After a while, a slow question came out of Karas’ mouth.

    “You don’t know me?”

    He thought that if he asked directly, he would catch the other person’s lie. However, in Abel’s appearance, there was no sign of confusion or trying to hide a lie as he blinked his eyes. Instead, he asked.

    “Aren’t you the leader of the Knights?”


    Is it because of the reflection of the bonfire in his gray eyes that they shone more fiercely?

    Abel was taken aback and shook his head.

    Isn’t he the commander? Then, the chief? No, the commander is higher.

    As Abel hesitated, Karas tilted his head to the side. It was as if this time, the gesture signaled, “I will really kill you if you give the wrong answer.”

    Feeling anxious, Abel quickly spoke up.

    Abel, who became anxious, quickly opened his mouth.

    If it’s higher than the commander…



    “Haha, Commander-in-Chief! Hahaha- You are the Commander-in-Chief, the chief of the commanders! I apologize. Of course, you should be angry!”

    Abel raised his thumb towards Karas, who seemed to be stern for some reason and did not spare his praise.

    “Oh, you really look young, but to be the commander-in-chief at your age, you are amazing Commander-in-Chief!”

    Commander-in-chief. The more he heard it, the more it felt like a distasteful word that even broke his spirit. Thanks to that, Karas missed another chance to kill the other person.

    ⊹˚. ♡.𖥔 ݁ ˖ ⊹˚. ♡.𖥔 ݁ ˖

    Having spent six years on the battlefield, it became a habit for him to have a sword and dagger within reach. He slept with it, and even at the slightest sound, he would immediately grab his sword. Sleeping on the bare ground, covered in dust and blood, without even washing, was as familiar to him as sleeping in a bed.

    Insects crawling over his body due to the smell of blood was a common occurrence, and waking up in the cold dew of dawn was nothing out of the ordinary. Despite the foul odor emanating from everyone, he continued to sweat as he moved. That’s why setting up camp in one place and even sleeping under a tent was considered a luxury. Stopping their journey meant there was an enemy ahead, and it meant they had to fight.

    Their camp had been set up for over a month now. There hadn’t been any large-scale battles yet, but they were keeping an eye on a small fortress about three days’ travel away. Dealing with the various attacks from small enemy units was annoying but not particularly difficult.

    After all, if they captured and eliminated the leader who gave orders to them, it would be over. That’s why they deliberately set up a camp here. Even if they were dealing with attackers through surprise attacks, there would be patterns to follow. Karas’ unit was identifying the enemy’s positions and gradually pressuring them.

    So, outwardly, they pretended to be flustered and unable to move due to the attackers’ sporadic attacks, but in reality, they were driving the attackers into the small fortress. They gradually took away the enemy’s activity area. When they realized they were trapped, it would be too late. They had already moved some of the troops near the small fortress.

    But a variable occurred in the situation that he thought was already settled. Unexpectedly, the emperor jumped into the enemy’s territory. If this became known, not only would there be internal turmoil, but there could also be changes in the enemy’s movements. However, the biggest problem was the internal spy, the King’s Heart who was disrupting the war.

    They will definitely inform their enemies of the emperor’s movements using this opportunity. Since Karas is alone, they will do everything in their power to capture their emperor and support the enemy country.

    Three days. Ashler believed that he had three days to hide the fact that Karas had disappeared. Within that time, he had to at least find out the about the emperor’s whereabouts.

    Ashler returned to his camp that night, but he couldn’t sleep due to various thoughts. Naturally, most of his worries should have been about Karas’ disappearance, but there was no concern about the emperor being injured or killed.

    Even if he fell into a trap surrounded by numerous enemies, he had faith that he would prevail. If anyone were to hear this, they might mock it as baseless faith. However, Ashler had a secret that no one could laugh at. Even if he were to tell people, they might dismiss it as an unbelievable story and laugh at him even more.

    Indeed, even Ashler, the sole survivor of that time, sometimes doubted whether it had truly been reality even after four years had passed. Yet, even now, when he closes his eyes, it vividly comes to him—the vast expanse of corpses that once blanketed the valley.

    The torn corpses were so unrecognizable that they couldn’t be distinguished as friend or foe, staining the ground even redder than the reddish sky. Among the dead were also allies, but they were not true allies. When driven into the valley by the enemy’s pursuit, soldiers who were believed to be allies suddenly thrust their swords towards Karas.

    Ashler finally realized that these were the people who followed the orders of the King’s Heart. However, by the time he realized it, it was already too late. The commander directly below Ashler laughed and said that if he sided with them, they would spare his life.

    Behind him were hundreds of enemy soldiers, and in front of him were over a hundred allies who turned against them. Ashler chose to protect Karas until the end and die with honor. He drew his sword and stood in front of the young king, blocking his way, and bid his final farewell.

    ‘It was an honor to serve you, Your Majesty.’

    And he tried his best to create a path for Karas to escape. However, he couldn’t fend off all the charging soldiers at him, and he was eventually injured by an attack from behind, falling off his horse. Unable to move his body, he looked up at the king, thinking that now only death awaited him.

    At that moment, he saw it for the second time. Karas’ gray eyes began to elongate like blades. The snake’s eyes that he saw on the first day of exile looked down at Ashler. Unable to withstand the momentary terror, Ashler lost consciousness. However, before closing his eyes, he clearly heard Karas’ sinister chuckle.

    ‘Then bring me more.’

    What happened while he was unconscious remains unknown. Why he alone survived while all his enemies perished is also a mystery. Perhaps the former allies who had betrayed him returned to help the king and fought against the enemies. Although it is unlikely to explain the many deaths, this is the only hypothesis that seems plausible.

    However, Ashler chose a different hypothesis. When Karas, who had returned to his usual gray eyes when he woke up from the pile of corpses, looked up at the sky. He was still a boy smaller than Ashler. However, Ashler couldn’t take his eyes off his small back. The clothes and both hands were stained red with blood. His face was increasingly splattered with blood. However, he casually spoke to Ashler as usual while looking up. His eyes were fixed on each of the birds that flew by.

    ‘Even if the hawk eats rotten meat, it doesn’t get sick. Do you know why?’

    Naturally, he couldn’t say a word. Unable to believe the situation where he was alive and all his enemies were dead, he couldn’t even breathe properly. Of course, he didn’t know the answer either. However, it seemed that the other person wasn’t expecting an answer as no complaints were made. After a while, when the hawks disappeared from the sky, Karas’ voice was heard again.

    ‘Let’s go back.’

    Suddenly, Karas lowered his head and took a step forward. Ashler automatically got up and followed him. After that, Ashler never asks Karas about that day. Officially, it was reported as a valiant battle where everyone died fighting the enemy, not a betrayal by allies.

    However, to Ahsler, the truth of that day is only known to Karas alone. He saved his life and rescued him. It was all thanks to Karas that he could breathe, eat, and laugh every day. After that miraculous day, Ashler’s life belonged to the emperor.

    However, when he recalls that day, the first thing that comes to mind is the boy who asked about hawks while looking at the sky. There was a slight excitement in his voice. The wonder of spotting a hawk in the sky by chance. And then, seemingly delighted by the memory that came to his mind.

    That was the only time Ashler saw Karas smile in the past 12 years. Although his face didn’t have a smile and his laughter couldn’t be heard, Ashler felt like he was truly happy. Despite not knowing what memories evoked him about the hawk, he thought that perhaps it’s because of Abel.

    Unfortunately, it was regrettable that Karas only laughed while reminiscing about the past. It was the same before and after that. Even when Karas heard stories about Abel or when a Regas resembling him appeared, he showed no emotions.

    Karas seemed to hold his only emotion for Abel. But if that connection were to wither and fade, what would be left for him? The war, which had become tedious, showed signs of ending. However, Ashler was more worried about what would happen after the war. He feared the emperor’s following actions once the immediate threat of the enemies disappeared.

    Perhaps now was the worst situation than when he was bound by chains as a prince. Back then, Abel appeared, but now there was no one to control him. So, on one hand, Ashler found himself wanting to believe Melmond’s absurd words.

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