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    Abel widened his eyes and tried to stay awake. He resolved not to faint or fall asleep no matter what happened tonight. Sitting at the edge of the bed, Abel made this resolution over and over. But the situation felt oddly similar to the previous night. Karas, seated opposite him, stretched his legs towards Abel and stared at him intently again.

    Abel felt a tingling and numbing sensation spreading through his left side where Karas’ gaze lingered. If things continued like this, Karas would wait for him to fall asleep again, thwarting Abel’s plan. Eventually, Abel couldn’t help but glance sideways. The moment he did, he met Karas’ gray eyes, which seemed to have been waiting for him.

    “Ha, haha. It’s night again.”


    “Uhm, aren’t you sleepy?”


    Abel laughed awkwardly once more and tried to turn his head back to the wall when he suddenly remembered something important.

    “Ah! Commander-in-Chief, be careful of the bugs!”

    With that, Abel moved closer to Karas, shifting his position on the bed. He then pulled down his shirt to reveal his shoulder, showing the evidence of the bite marks. Concerned, Abel showed his shoulder.

    “Look at this. I didn’t know I was bitten by bugs this much. I didn’t realize I was bitten because I was, uhm, asleep, not because I fainted. Commander-in-Chief, weren’t you bitten?”


    “Still, be careful. They might appear again tonight.”

    As he gave this serious warning, Karas tilted his head to the side, looking at Abel with a drowsy gaze.

    “They will appear again.”


    Abel asked in surprise, however, Karas closed his mouth again and just stared at him silently. The silence filled the room once more, but this time, Abel found it difficult to look away from Karas. Once their gazes met, it was hard to turn away. Trying to think of something to say, Abel decided to bring up a simple topic about the forest.

    “Speaking of bugs, hehe, it reminds me of when I was young. There was a huge forest near my house. My brothers and I used to go and play there every day. There was a nobleman from far away, not from our village, who collected butterflies. He offered money for butterflies with unusual patterns. So, we spent a whole month searching through the fields for them. At night, I would dream about butterflies flying around because I saw them all day. Every night. But here’s the really amazing part—one night, I dreamed of a butterfly with a purple pattern. And the next day, I actually saw that butterfly! Just like in my dream! Isn’t that unbelievable?”

    Once he started talking, he unknowingly became excited and waved his arms while babbling. At a young age, it felt so amazing that he felt like he had become a magician. Thus, he bragged to his parents and brothers that he saw that in a dream, but they all didn’t care and so, he just cried.

    When he was young, he was a well-behaved child who never threw tantrums or had greed. But at that time for some reason, he had cried loudly, upset that no one believed him. Looking back now, it was nothing special. Back then, however, it had felt like a tremendous miracle to him that no one else recognized.

    Perhaps, if someone had shown even a little bit of enthusiasm and agreed with him, it would have made him happy, even if he hadn’t caught the butterfly. Lost in thoughts of past events, Abel suddenly realized that he was talking to the Commander-in-Chief and snapped out of it. He had been talking too loudly.

    He turned around, wondering if Karas was angry, but what he saw was unexpected. Karas was leaning against the wall with his eyes closed. He didn’t seem to be sleeping, he just had his eyes shut. Thinking he might have been too noisy, Abel quietly tried to get up. But then, Karas’ hand caught Abel’s wrist with a firm grip. And still, with his eyes closed, he muttered softly.

    “Keep going.”

    Though he knew Karas wanted him to continue his chatter, Abel found it strangely hard to speak as his attention was drawn to Karas’ face. With his eyes closed, he looked surprisingly peaceful.

    “Ah, so, um, I didn’t catch any butterflies. But I really wanted to catch that butterfly from my dream and show it to my family, so I went to the field alone at dawn.”

    Abel, still somewhat captivated by Karas, continued his story in a calmer voice.

    “I trampled through the dewy grass in the early morning, so my pants got wet. The strange thing is, even though I was very young, I still remember that morning vividly. The sun hadn’t fully risen, so everything was a beautiful shade of blue. Dark blue. I went to the field where I used to run around with my brothers and catch butterflies. Even though it was dawn and I couldn’t see any butterflies, I thought that butterflies would still be asleep at that time. Sleeping butterflies would be easy to catch, I thought. So I moved cautiously, trying not to wake them, carefully inspecting the flowers. I thought butterflies would sleep with their wings closed around the flowers they fed on. I naturally thought that covering the flowers with petals would help them sleep better. And then I also remembered that the dew had moistened the petals. The petals were softer than leaves…”

    With his eyes closed Karas listened to Abel’s voice, which flowed into his ears and gradually settled within him. With his vision blocked and only hearing his voice, it became increasingly difficult to distinguish as time passed. Like a spell, the delicate and beautiful voice transformed into a deeper, warmer sound. It was the voice of Abel that he hadn’t heard in the past 12 years. Combined with the voice that had been sealed inside him, and the newly combined story settled in Karas’ heart. For the first time in 12 years, he fell into a deep sleep.

    “Since then, whenever I see a butterfly, I first check if it’s a purple butterfly.”

    Having finished his story, Abel fell silent and listened to the other’s breathing. He watched Karas for a long time, his head slightly tilted, his chest rising and falling rhythmically in sleep. When he lowered his gaze slightly, he saw the large hand that still held his arm.

    However, his grip slightly weakened. Abel wondered what to do and tried to move his hand to take it out. However, as soon as he moved, his large hand tightened its grip. Calloused and rough from wielding a sword for so long, the hand did not let go of Abel’s wrist.

    However, Karas was not awake. He was exerting force on his hand while still asleep. Abel stared at his hand for a while. A vague feeling spread inside him again. Then he turned his gaze to the empty space and sighed. Abel pressed his hand against his chest, suppressing the pounding of his heart.

    “It’s strange again.”

    ⊹˚. ♡.𖥔 ݁ ˖ ⊹˚. ♡.𖥔 ݁ ˖

    It had been a few days since Truyde received the news that Karas is alive and was returning to the palace. Truyde came across some unexpected information in the latest report.

    [The Emperor and the 1st Battalion Commander are not visible. Information received indicates they are traveling separately by another ship.]

    Traveling separately with the 1st Battalion Commander. The sender was a spy within the emperor’s army. Truyde couldn’t help but smile as soon as he confirmed the contents. Karas, who led the war to victory, was full of confidence.

    Perhaps the sorrow that threw himself into the war to avoid the King’s Heart had already turned into a blade of revenge. Now all he had left was to reclaim his palace. Truyde barely held back his laughter, clutching the small piece of paper which had come through from the front lines.

    It was obvious even without looking. The young emperor burning with ambition seemed to be surveying the land that would soon be his, accompanied with only a few soldiers without any fear. He probably couldn’t contain his excitement at the prospect of becoming the proud Emperor who had vanquished the King’s Heart. Recklessly indeed. Truyde found amusement in Karas’s delusion.

    He must have believed that the King’s Heart had weakened due to the war profiteers. In fact, one of the families within the King’s Heart had completely collapsed. This had shocked people even more than the news of the emperor’s arrival. The other two families were barely holding on, so Karas’ delusion would have solidified into conviction.

    But he doesn’t know. The downfall of the other families would actually strengthen the King’s Heart, now centered around Truyde. There was still one family among the King’s Hearts that did not support Truyde, however, it was only a matter of time. Norhox had already become Truyde’s servant, and the other families were also under Truyde’s command due to financial pressure.


    Truyde couldn’t help but burst into laughter. In the otherwise silent room, his small laughter echoed sharply, as if cold water poured over in. The gazes of those inside had been directed at Truyde since earlier, but he paid no attention and leisurely pulled the rope to summon a servant. He ordered the servant to call for his men and then twisted his lips again in amusement. Finally, someone broke the silence.

    “Duke Truyde, is there something amusing?”

    A stern voice cut through the spacious room. The anger contained in the voice was evident to anyone, but Truyde’s smile remained on his face. And as he looked around the room, his gaze stopped at one place. There was a difference in the wide room where the King’s Heart was deliberating compared to before.

    Where there had always been five people seated, now there were only four. Duncan, who had collapsed and fallen apart in the blink of an eye, was missing. Whether the rumors were true that he had lost everything, including the horses and carriages he used to manage the temple to the war profiteer, or whether he was ashamed of his fallen state, he did not appear today.

    In either case, it was foreseeable that he would not be seen in this room again. The remaining four had already refused his previous request for help. Only one person had given him a few coins as if he were a beggar with nothing left. It was the person who now spoke to Truyde with an angry voice.

    “In a situation where the King’s Heart is in crisis, I hope you would refrain from personal enjoyment.”

    Along with the cold voice, threatening eyes were added. It was Marquis Yan, the only member of the King’s Heart whose family, aside from Truyde’s, remained intact. The late 60s white-haired Marquis had secluded himself at home and had not been involved in the affairs of the King’s Heart after his only successor died in an accident.

    However, even the old man who mourned the death of his successor had to come to his senses at the news that one of the King’s Heart families had disappeared and the emperor was returning. He blamed Truyde for the current state of affairs. As the only one among them without any financial setbacks and effectively wielding real power, this situation could have been avoided in advance.

    That’s why the Marquis who appeared today had been aiming at Truyde from the beginning with a firm determination. However, no matter how determined he was, he could see that the situation was turning strangely. Norhox, who had always confronted Truyde, was bowing his head as if he were a servant, and the remaining person was the same.

    Only then did the Marquis realize why Truyde had let the situation escalate like this. It was clear that he had disrupted the balance of the five families that had been going on for a long time and had ambitions to become the ruler himself. If his prodigal son hadn’t died, the Marquis might have been struggling with financial difficulties by now and bowed his head to Truyde like the others.

    Realizing the absurdity of having to be grateful for his son’s death, the Marquis glared at Truyde.

    Even if everyone else submits, I will not.

    His intense gaze conveyed this message, prompting TruYde to twitch his lips and offer an apology.

    “I have been indulging in my own amusement too much. I apologize, Marquis Yan. But if you are saying that the King’s Heart is not in crisis, then is it alright? Then I may continue to laugh as I am.”

    “Don’t speak recklessly!”

    Despite the Marquis shouting loudly, Truyde responded calmly.

    “Reckless? I’m just stating the facts. Isn’t the King’s Heart not in crisis but rather facing a greater opportunity for development?”

    “Opportunity? What opportunity? One of us has completely fallen, haven’t they?”

    “Not fallen, but rather a proper removal.”

    Truyde cut off the Marquis’ words expressionlessly.

    “Shouldn’t we cut off the rotten branch that has tarnished the name of the King’s Heart by not properly fulfilling its role of protecting the temple? Of course, Marquis, you must also know, don’t you? Duncan used the temple to carry out all sorts of evil deeds in an attempt to solve his personal problems. If this continues, we will lose the trust of the people that we gained through the temple. The strongest support base of the King’s Heart.”

    “We could have quietly dealt with Duncan’s problem.”

    “Then did Marquis offer to help?”

    After Truyde’s sarcastic remark, the Marquis twitched his eyebrows, revealing his discomfort.

    “That’s right. I regret it too. Instead of dragging in the dirty money of a war profiteer, I should have helped him even if it meant my own downfall.”

    The Marquis’ gaze swept harshly over Norhox and the other person. He knew that their financial situation had suddenly improved. It was the price they had paid for bowing their head to Truyde. It was also evidence that Truyde had joined forces with the war profiteer.

    T/N: Btw guys, I change the novel cover in the site just in case T-T

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