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    This place was originally near the border. It was never a wealthy area, but even though the border had now disappeared with Karas conquering the neighboring country, there were no special benefits. On the contrary, it had become even harder to live due to the need to procure supplies for the long war from the nearby areas.

    Especially during the six-year war, many men who should have been working were continuously taken away, so there were many who ran away later. Still, being caught by the army was always the fate of the poor. Those with money typically avoided it by either hiding elsewhere or paying someone to take their place.

    Thus, among those who gathered to go back to their hometowns upon hearing the rumor that the war had ended, there were also many who had been hiding and appeared during the chaos of the war, committing all sorts of evil deeds. However, even if they were caught, as long as they had noble status and money, they wouldn’t face punishment. For them, the end of the war was rather regrettable.

    Among the crowd at the dock trying to board ships, there was a group of about twenty who were particularly displeased by the war’s end. They were all from lower nobility, and after spending years wandering together, they had realized that the best disguise was to appear as soldiers.

    Each of these individuals had three or four subordinates and they went all around pretending to be part of Karas’ real army, committing all sorts of crimes, including looting. The war had been a delightful time for them. Returning to their hometown with the spoils of war wasn’t too bad either.

    As they pushed through the line of people waiting to board the ship, it was evident to anyone that they were posing as triumphant soldiers from the emperor’s army. Consequently, nobody dared to say a word, they simply looked on with a mixture of respect and fear. Even without that, there were already rumors that Karas’ large army was moving nearby, so their appearance was natural.

    “Move aside! How dare you block the path of the 1st Battalion Commander, who has always been at the forefront of His Majesty’s army?!”

    With a loud noise, a blond-haired man in gleaming armor ruthlessly kicked those trying to board the ship. His voice was so loud that even Karas’ group, standing at the end of the line, couldn’t help but notice. The real 1st Battalion Commander, in particular, narrowed his eyes and subtly placed his hand on his sword. Seeing this, Melmond quickly reminded him of his disguised identity, fearing he might cause an accident.

    “Commander of the 1st Battalion in Commander-in-Chief’s command.”

    Just uttering the title was exhausting, but it had the desired effect. The commander simply tightened his grip on his sword, restraining himself well. While Melmond sighed in relief, one of the thug group members sneered at the frightened people.

    “Pathetic cowards. To think that His Majesty, the so-called King of Slaughter, and I had to fight so hard for trash like you.”

    The sharp eyes of the King of Slaughter also narrowed. Although he didn’t move his hand, the murderous intent emanating from him was palpable, as if he might disregard everything around him and annihilate them all. The disguise was at risk of being blown in half a day. Adding to the tension, Abel, who seemed to have lost his senses after reincarnating, instigated Karas.

    “Wow, Commander-in-Chief must be really happy, meeting a comrade in a place like this,”

    Everyone’s gaze turned to Abel at once. However, Abel, not realizing what he had said, looked around at his companions with a ‘what’s wrong?’ expression. Then he flinched, realizing his mistake.

    Considering Karas’ personality, there was no way he would have any close comrades! As he recalled Karas’s foul temper, he realized he had made an even bigger mistake. He had forgotten Karas’s warning and had acted as if he knew him first. Abel hurriedly waved his hands at Karas, signaling that it was not true.

    “I definitely wasn’t acting like I knew you! It was just an exclamation, yes! Just an exclamation!”

    Thanks to his excuse, which even a passing dog wouldn’t believe, Karas stopped moving forward. However, his gaze remained fixed on the thugs. One of the thugs had been looking their way, drawn by Abel’s voice. At that moment, as Abel shook his head, his hood slipped halfway off, partially revealing his face.

    Melmond quickly put the hood back on Abel, but the thug who saw Abel’s face narrowed his eyes sharply. He soon started whispering to the other thugs while pointing towards Abel. Only Karas noticed this, and as he quietly observed them, the ship owner, who had already been paid in full, came up in a hurry to deliver some bad news.

    Melmond and his group needed to take a large ship that could carry their carriage and horses, leaving them with limited options. However, the problem was that the only available ship had only two cabins they could use. One was a single room, and the other was a third-class room where dozens of people slept together.

    “Suddenly, those soldiers boarded the ship and said they would use both the single and double rooms. So, there is only one single room left in poor condition. I’m sorry. As for me, I’m in a position where I have to take care of His Majesty, the Emperor’s soldiers first.”

    Because of this, the real Emperor was at risk of not being able to board the ship, but the ship owner, insisting on departing soon, urged them to make a decision quickly. However, Melmond, who had stepped forward as the representative, couldn’t easily give an answer.

    Who should sleep in the single room? In terms of status, it was natural for the Emperor, Karas, should stay there, but it was also a problem to let Abel, who had injured his arm, sleep in a place where several people slept together.

    On the other hand, it was not possible for the emperor to give up the single room. Melmond thought for a moment, but the conclusion came quickly. It might be better to give up this ship and take another one, even if it meant staying one more day. It was even better because he was already bothered by the fake soldiers who had appeared a while ago.

    However, the conclusion he had reached with effort disappeared into thin air in front of his eyes. The Commander of the 1st Battalion had already moved the carriage onto the ship. Startled, Melmond hurriedly approached the Commander of the 1st Battalion.

    “Didn’t you hear? Didn’t the owner say there was only one single room?”

    “I know.”

    Along with his blunt answer, he added the explanation that Melmond wanted.

    “The person with the injured arm will naturally use the single room as the Commander-in-Chief stated.”

    Melmond was relieved by those words, but he was also moved by the small act of kindness. To think that someone who was considered cruel and only focused on revenge would care for the injured.

    I have underestimated His Majesty’s morality.

    Melmond boarded the ship, feeling so proud that it was a pity that the only person he could share this emotion with was the butler.

    And as the ship began to move, Melmond realized that he had truly underestimated Karas. Once on board, he had an early dinner. Then, as he was moving his luggage to his room, Abel insisted that he couldn’t have a nice room to himself.

    But despite his objections, they forcefully took him to a single room, claiming it was because he was injured. However, there was already someone in that room.

    Of course, it was Karas. Without saying a word, he sat on the bed and looked at Melmond and the butler.

    “Get out.”

    His Majesty’s morality had been overestimated.

    However, Abel, who was surprised by Karas’ actions, hesitated and stepped back. Karas personally stood up, grabbed Abel’s arm, and pulled him inside, slamming the door shut. Melmond and the servant finally realized something as they looked at the closed door.

    Huh? There’s only one bed in there?

    ⊹˚. ♡.𖥔 ݁ ˖ ⊹˚. ♡.𖥔 ݁ ˖

    Abel was in a serious dilemma. The situation was just like inside the carriage, except Melmond was not there. Karas was staring at Abel intensely, and Abel was sitting on the bed, staring at the wall in front of him.

    Abel was confused about whether he should speak up and say that he wanted to rest alone, however, fearing that it would make him seem like he was pretending to know him again. He also considered just getting up without saying anything, but he gave up when he remembered being grabbed by the shoulder in the forest, opting to stay put after just briefly looking around.

    At that time, when he grabbed his shoulder and asked where he was going, it was a bit scary. However, he was already so tired that if he didn’t move and just stared at the wall, he felt like he would collapse first. Unable to do anything else, Abel had no choice but to open his mouth for the first time in hours since entering the room.


    He whispered softly, but there was no response. Abel glanced sideways at the person leaning against the corner.

    Could he be asleep?

    For a moment, he had that hope, but then he met the person’s half-opened hazy gray eyes. Startled, he tried to turn his head again, but he heard his response.


    His intense gaze felt like he would strangle him if he even took a breath, however, since he didn’t say he would kill him, Abel felt slightly relieved. Gathering his courage, Abel looked back at him. Despite only occupying half of the bed, he seemed to fill the narrow room with his presence.

    Out of habit, Abel smiled slightly and tried to give him a compliment. Compliments were the best way to get closer to someone.

    “Hehe, Commander-in-Chief is truly…”

    However, there was nothing to praise. If it were someone else, he would naturally come up with something to say, but when it came to Karas, there was nothing that came to mind except how terrifying he was. All he had seen of him so far was his skill in killing people and slicing bears with a single stroke.

    Yet it would be strange to suddenly bring up how excellent his bear-hunting skills were. As Abel struggled for words, Karas leaned away from the wall and approached. Showing unexpected interest as if to say, ‘Well?’

    Abel, feeling flustered, settled for the safest compliment he could think of.

    “You, um, you’re really handsome!”

    As he blurted it out with a pounding heart, he realized that Karas was indeed handsome. However, there was a chilly feeling about him. Especially in his gray eyes, there was no warmth at all, and the cold aura emanating from him was stronger than his appearance. Then Karas’ response was heard.

    “I know.”

    Somehow, Abel sensed that this response would lead to further questions. There was a sternness in his voice as he continued.

    “Is my appearance important to you?”


    Abel answered without hesitation. Although he couldn’t understand why the compliment seemed to have put Karas in a bad mood, he felt strangely relieved when asked a question he could answer honestly.

    “It doesn’t matter if you’re ugly. No, even if you have one eye and two noses, it’s okay.”

    Abel jokingly threw the words and smiled softly, thinking of someone with yellow snake eyes.

    “Really, even if Commander-in-Chief has a different appearance from others, it doesn’t matter. People are all different in their own ways, so what? What’s the use of being a little better or different? We’re all the same people. Actually, I was originally ugly… Ahem, anyway, I complimented you for being handsome because I thought it would be a nice thing to hear.”

    After a moment’s silence, Karas nodded, looking into Abel’s green eyes.

    “Yeah. Good.”

    Abel smiled again, relieved, but his smile froze as he noticed Karas’ gaze who was silently staring at him. His heart felt strange. His heart trembled like waves. He had felt the same way before when looking at Karas.

    Strange. Why is my heart feel like this again?

    Abel turned his gaze away as if hiding the inexplicable feeling. As he pondered whether he should take one of the butler’s pills, he heard a faint sound rustling against his ear. Without realizing it, he turned his head, and Karas smoothly moved from the bed to approach Abel, who was sitting at the edge.

    Abel, who had been leaning against the wall at the edge of the bed, was so startled that he instinctively recoiled down, shifting his hips back. Thanks to this, Karas easily blocked Abel’s path by crouching in front of him. Not content with just that, Karas leaned against the wall, effectively trapping Abel with both his arms.

    Then, tilting his head to the side as if he was about to say something, Karas hesitated and lowered his gaze to his arm. There, a black beetle commonly seen on ships was crawling up Karas’ arm. Seemingly annoyed by the interruption, Karas used his other hand to grab the bug, applying pressure with his fingers.

    However, Abel reflexively reached out and stopped him.

    “Just, please let it go.”

    Abel was surprised to have touched Karas, quickly retracting his hand, but his eyes remained firm.

    “Since the beetle didn’t hurt you, can’t you just let it go?”

    It was a funny interference when you think about it. He couldn’t even stop Karas when he killed a person, but he was telling him now not to kill a mere beetle. However, Abel had always felt that Karas was strangely similar to the prince.

    So, he thought that he should use the same method he used to the prince to persuade him. His master had said such things. A blade of grass, a single ant. Those who come to appreciate the value of such small lives eventually come to value human life as well.

    You shouldn’t ignore the small things. Those who destroy the lives of small things and treat them lightly will eventually treat the lives of bigger people recklessly. Thoughts are like habits. When correct thoughts are repeated, they naturally apply to other subjects and actions.

    Though he felt somewhat ridiculous, Abel wanted to start by stopping Karas from harming the small things. Karas’ killings had been justified by war until now. The problem was the lingering unease that he felt his life would continue like this, regardless of whether there was war or not.

    Of course, to prevent him from killing a single bug, he felt like Karas might just kill him instead. Abel awkwardly smiled at Karas, who stopped moving and carefully took the beetle out of his half-folded hand. His hand was trembling, making him look even more ridiculous, but he forced himself to have courage and laughed even louder.

    “Haha, th-the bug, if you look closely, it’s kind of cute. Well, even if it’s not cute, um! Please, think of it as, uh, Commander-in-Chief’s subordinate and spare its life. I hereby appoint this creature as the Commander-in-Chief’s Beetle Knight Number One. If you look closely, its shell looks like armor. What do you think? Doesn’t that make it a bit cute? Hehe, heh.”


    “……Isn’t it cute?”

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