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    It was supposed to be a pleasant evening, but an unexpected contact disrupted Truyde’s private life. On this day, he was about to return to the mansion, almost refusing the party he usually attended. He canceled all his schedules upon hearing the news that Truyde’s trusted subordinate, who could be called his confidant, had procured a better toy than before.

    He should have headed straight home, but something came up. The issue was his wife, who had been sent near the capital under the pretext of recuperation He had left their young child in her care, and she kept making demands using the child as an excuse. Though she had never crossed any lines, it was undeniably annoying and frustrating.

    So, he thought it might be about the child again, but it wasn’t. From the entrance, it was clear what the problem was. Enormous gifts filled the grand hall. They were luxurious furniture and decorations, gorgeous silk, exotic pottery, jewels, and colorful fruits. There was even high-quality salt in an ivory box. The problem was that they didn’t know who sent the gifts. However, the Duke immediately recognized the sender just by looking at the salt placed at the forefront of the gifts.

    “The person who brought it said it’s a very valuable salt, so it should be shown to Your Grace before anything else.”

    The Duke barely held back his laughter at the servant’s words. There were no cards or letters, but there was only one person who could be associated with such fine salt. The war profiteer who had become rich from salt mines. Truyde smirked as he glanced over the gifts.

    After Truyde hinted that he would support him, this man had soared, crushing two of the King’s Heart factions with financial pressure. Both families, who had been managing the temples for generations, were in a position where even their lands that had been passed down for generations were taken away. As a result, the past two weeks had been filled with their complaints, making Truyde’s ears ring.

    However, those factions still believed the emperor would not return alive and continued to boast loudly, turning against Truyde, who offered no assistance. Since Karas’ fate was not yet fully confirmed, Truyde had not suggested to the other King’s Heart members that they bring in the war profiteer.

    If Karas were to come back alive, there would be no need to rush and bow down to those guys. However, it was unexpected that the war profiteer sent a gift first. Perhaps he was anxious, unsure if Truyde would truly be on his side.

    Recalling the man’s shifty eyes, Truyde concluded that he would be easier to manipulate than he had thought. Impatience always reveals one’s weaknesses and mistakes.

    “Send everything back.”

    Imagining the war profiteer’s shock at learning his gifts were refused, Truyde added one more instruction.

    “Leave the salt.”

    With this, he would realize that he is not someone who is impressed by things like jewels. Since he has accepted the salt, a war profiteer with any brain will prepare an even grander gift. He will likely act as a spy for Karas while hiding his allegiance to Truyde.

    He knew that his child was standing next to his mother in the distance, but he didn’t spare a glance at them and left the mansion. Knowing that it was nothing serious, he quickened his steps to do what he had planned. His mind was already filled with thoughts of playing with the new toy.

    ⊹˚. ♡.𖥔 ݁ ˖ ⊹˚. ♡.𖥔 ݁ ˖

    When Karas mentioned the word ‘everyone’, four people gathered. The 1st Battalion Commander, the 2nd Battalion Commander, Ashler, and the Captain of the Royal Guards who was currently absent and, on a mission, to find something by the emperor’s orders. These individuals all shared the common experience of having their lives saved by Karas. Therefore, they were the ones who followed the emperor’s orders unconditionally. They were among the few who knew Karas’ plans.

    The interesting point was that Karas had given each of them specific orders related to the King’s Heart, but these instructions were not shared among them, leaving each person unaware of what the others were doing. Consequently, no one could fully grasp the overall plan in the emperor’s mind. Thus, when they gathered like this, the information they could hear collectively was limited to this extent.

    “Two months.”

    Karas, speaking of the timeframe, glanced at the three of them with his half-closed, hazy eyes and added more.

    “It ends that time.”

    The brief statement conveyed a meaning that needed no explanation. It meant they would annihilate the King’s Heart entirely within it. There was no doubt about its feasibility. Even if their Emperor had said two days, they would still have believed him. Karas’ gaze, after expressing his thoughts, paused on the 1st Batallion Commander.


    He didn’t ask who, but the 1st Battalion Commander naturally mentioned one person.

    “I’ve instructed our contacts among the war profiteers to prepare to assist Your Majesty. I’ve also heard that they’ve exerted financial pressure on key figures close to the King’s Heart. They seem to be performing even better than expected.”

    Ashler, who had been listening from the side, felt a firm belief in the voice of the 1st Batallion Commander and barely swallowed the words that came to the tip of his tongue. He also knew who the war profiteer was. He was the one who voluntarily led soldiers and helped Karas for a year when the war first started.

    Thanks to that, he received a new territory as a reward, but Ashler didn’t like him. He was someone who hid his greedy nature. Moreover, he had already been away from the battlefield for several years. It was fortunate that he had accumulated enough wealth to rival the King’s Heart and restrain them, but it also made him more uneasy. Who could guarantee that he hadn’t changed in those few years? However, the 1st Battalion Commander in charge of communication with him was so certain that he couldn’t voice his doubts.

    “If he helps, we can definitely finish the job within two months.”

    He said with confidence, but Karas, who seemed uninterested, asked Ashler this time.

    “The items?”

    “Yes, we received word from the Captain of the Imperial Guards that it has been found. It has already been retrieved and they should be able to join us at the camp before reaching the palace.”

    Still unresponsive, Karas gestured with his eyes to the 2nd Battalion Commander.

    “Pass the items to them.”

    Ashler thought that only he and the Captain of the Royal Guards knew about what the items were. Or was it not the case?

    He looked at the 2nd Battalion Commander with surprise, but the taciturn man remained silent, keeping his mouth shut. It struck Ashler as odd, prompting him to wonder what kind of plan Karas was planning.

    Why gather everyone now to discuss this when it didn’t seem particularly urgent?

    As he pondered, Karas’ command to the 1st Battalion Commander was heard.

    “Send the 3rd Battalion Commander as is.”

    He was originally sent by Norhox, and the 1st Battalion Commander was supposed to chase after him and deal with him. If he went first like this, he might find out that Karas’ is still alive and intervene with the King’s Heart.

    “Your Majesty, if you don’t need a witness, it would be more advantageous to eliminate the 3rd Battalion Commander upon arrival. Surprising them without them knowing whether you are alive or dead…”

    “That’s what we’ll do.”

    How can they surprise them when the 3rd Battalion Commander is supposed to depart first?

    “Then shall we move the soldiers faster?”

    “No. Just you…”

    Just me? Ashler perked up his ears, expecting what command would come next. However, Karas suddenly stopped speaking and seemed to remember something, staring intently at Ashler. He looked at him from head to toe. His gaze grew increasingly cold.

    “Your Majesty, do you have something to say to me?”

    Wondering why he was being scrutinized so intently, Ashler asked cautiously, but Karas’ response came abruptly, along with his narrowed eyes.

    “You seem quite handsome.”

    An unexpected compliment came out. Ashler, taken aback, tried to brush it off as a joke, attempting to smile. But the compliments continued.

    “You’re good at swordsmanship.”

    “Th-thank you…”

    “Your voice is also exquisite.”

    Though the words were clearly compliments, the atmosphere grew increasingly tense. Moreover, his gaze revealed even more hostility.

    Hmm. Ashler, who was surprised without realizing it, was taken aback and almost took a step back. However, his two colleagues, unaware of the situation, sent jealous glances at Ashler, feeling sidelined by the fact that only he was receiving compliments, further increasing his discomfort.

    “Your Majesty, these are words of excessive praise.”

    “Come to think of it, you also killed a bear.”

    A muttered remark followed.

    “We are similar.”

    Did I hear that correctly? What’s similar to what, and with whom? And a bear, really?

    Though the meaning behind the words was unclear, one thing was certain. Karas was looking at Ashler coldly, as if the dead bear were his close friend.

    What’s going on?

    Confused, Ashler couldn’t speak, therefore Karas turned his gaze to the 1st Battalion Commander, known as the epitome of discipline within the unit.

    “Get ready.”

    The next morning, as Ashler chased away the sleepy 3rd Battalion Commander, he finally understood why Karas had simply dismissed the 3rd Battalion Commander and instructed the 1st Battalion Commander to prepare something.

    “Tell Norhox. I’m looking forward to his Regas. Especially with his blond hair and green eyes, fairy-like appearance.”

    Ashler, who was listening nearby, was startled and before he could stop him, the 3rd Battalion Commander nodded and got on his horse, disappearing with his soldiers. After he left, Karas started walking somewhere as if he had been waiting.

    “Your Majesty, the appearance you mentioned just now…”

    When Ashler, who was following behind Karas, spoke with a mix of worry, he got an immediate answer.

    “It’s Truyde’s preference.”

    In response to Karas’ dry tone, Ashler remained silent. Come to think of it, Karas was right. He had gathered information about the King’s Hearts faction, and Truyde’s only weakness was his own preference.

    Why didn’t he think of that?

    When he saw Abel’s reincarnated appearance, he should have been more cautious. Then, was Karas not aware of Abel’s true identity but had another plan to exploit him?

    As he doubted, he heard a murmuring voice.

    “So, we have to hide him. In the forest.”


    However, he had no chance to continue pondering the emerging question. Before they knew it, they had reached the outskirts of the camp where no soldiers were visible, and ahead stood the 1st Battalion Commander. As Ashler caught sight of his appearance, he couldn’t help but widen his eyes.

    ⊹˚. ♡.𖥔 ݁ ˖ ⊹˚. ♡.𖥔 ݁ ˖

    Due to Melmond’s insistence that Abel’s face must be covered, Abel had to turn the hood of the cloak that covered his face until they completely left the camp. Only when he heard that they were out of the camp he could finally breathe and manage to take in some air. However, the stifling feeling in his chest wasn’t solely due to the inability to breathe properly.

    Abel crawled to the end of the carriage and slightly lifted the tent to look outside. Apart from the deserted road, there was nothing else in sight once they were completely out of the camp. When they arrived at the place to board the ship, they would return by the same route they had come from. Abel knew that.

    He knew that this feeling of suffocation was ultimately because he hadn’t seen the prince.

    Despite knowing that wanting to see the prince was selfish, his lingering feelings of disappointment and sadness didn’t disappear. Still, it was fortunate that the war was over. At least now, he could escape from the battlefield drenched in blood. He murmured, “Thank goodness,” however, he still couldn’t help but sigh.

    Still, it was fortunate to be away from the Battalions. Now he could follow the terrifying Commander-in-Chief’s warning. With no chance of catching his eye, there was hope to stay alive for now and perhaps see the prince later, even from afar. Thinking positively lifted Abel’s spirits, but suddenly the carriage came to an abrupt halt.



    Following the screams of Melmond and the butler, cries of “Hee-yah!” were heard. Abel tried not to roll around inside the carriage and stuck to the carriage wall, then finally regained his composure, and approached the carriage seat. The horses seemed to have calmed down as the carriage ceased its movement, but strangely, there was no longer any sound from Melmond and the butler. There should have been some conversation about the sudden stop, but there was none.

    “Melmond, what’s going on?”

    He pulled back the curtain of the carriage and raised his head, and something caught Abel’s eye. The first thing he saw was Melmond and the butler, frozen like statues. Blocking the path ahead of the carriage was a man in his late forties with piercing eyes. Clad in shabby traveling clothes, he stood with his arms outstretched, as if to halt the carriage. From him came a thick yet firm voice.

    “Let us take the carriage.”

    Due to his menacing face and low voice, it sounded like a threat to hijack the carriage. However, Melmond and the butler were not intimidated by this threatening appearance. Abel, too, was frozen, but for a different reason.

    Thud, thud.

    Sure enough, someone in shabby attire emerged from the roadside, and the man who had been trying to hijack the carriage pointed to him, adding something to his demand.

    “My companion too.”

    The companion introduced himself and people’s attention focused on him. He tilted his head sideways and spoke honestly and briefly.


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