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  • In fact, a few days ago, the Marquis received a gift that filled his house. There was no name of the sender, but there was one peculiar item. High-quality salt in a magnificent box. Such a vulgar act of trying to win favor with money could only come from a war profiteer.

    The Marquis poured the salt on the floor and returned the rest, but others would have gladly accepted it. At this rate, the war profiteer might step into the King’s Heart. However, he had no power to stop it. He believed that there was only the emperor as an enemy, only to realize that Truyde was actually right behind him, thrusting a knife behind his back.

    It was too late to defend himself. Moreover, since he had sided with Truyde, the Marquis had few options left when confronting the King’s Heart. The real enemy, the Emperor, would soon arrive. To confront him, the King’s Heart had to unite as one. To do that, he had to bow his head to Truyde and submit, or engage in a power struggle with him, even at the risk of his own life.

    “I understand your regrettable feelings, Marquis. However, it is already too late. To bring Duncan back to this position, you would have to give up all your assets. Can you afford it? Now is the time to focus on the more important enemy than Duncan.”

    Truyde urged as if soothing a child. Thanks to that, the Marquis’ eyes became even colder, but he did not smile.

    “I just heard some very interesting news. Would you like to listen?”

    Still receiving no response from the Marquis, Norhox, who was watching from his side, showed interest in Truyde’s words.

    “I’m curious about what the news is.”

    Truyde deliberately smiled even more as he revealed the news to the Marquis.

    “The emperor and the 1st Battalion Commander are separated from the army and moving separately.”

    As he brought up the story, it seemed like laughter would burst out again. However, no one could understand why it was such pleasant news. Truyed looked around at everyone and added a brief explanation.

    “It seems that the emperor plans to join the main army near the capital.”

    “The main army? Hmph, if the emperor’s army marches into the capital, his popularity will only rise. All the bad rumors that have spread will disappear.”

    When Norhox expressed his dissatisfaction by frowning, Truyde nodded his head.

    “That’s right. So, this emperor’s move can be an opportunity for us.”

    “An opportunity? Ah, is it an opportunity to eliminate the emperor who’s moving separately?”

    When Norhox’s eyes sharpened, Truyde nodded his head.

    “Yes, an opportunity to eliminate him. Even if we fail to find him, it can also be an opportunity to stop the emperor’s main army.”

    Everyone was curious about how they would stop the emperor’s main army, but Truyde turned his gaze to his men who were nearby.

    “Divide the soldiers into several groups and send them to the vicinity of the dock near the capital. Disguise yourselves and create as much commotion as you want there.”

    The intention behind the disguise was obvious. Someone had to be framed. When his men asked who the targets were, an immediate answer came.

    “His Majesty and the 1st Battalion Commander.”

    Truyde then revealed this and laughed.

    “Make noise to spread rumors in the palace until the emperor’s army arrives. Secretly find the real one. Once found, eliminate the fake ones under the pretext of killing the fakes.”

    Truyde’s face still had a smile that didn’t disappear after a long time, indicating his anticipation for the events to come.

    ⊹˚. ♡.𖥔 ݁ ˖ ⊹˚. ♡.𖥔 ݁ ˖

    The time on the ship passed without any special problems, but it felt long and boring to everyone. Now, after two days, they could reach the capital by getting off the ship and traveling by carriage for just one day. However, despite the lack of apparent problems, except for Karas, the group had been uneasy throughout.

    The reason was the group of thugs they inevitably encountered within the confined space of the ship. Although they had only directly encountered the fake 1st Battalion Commander pretending to be drunk and intentionally entering Abel’s room on the first morning, however, everyone could sense it.

    When Abel occasionally came out of his room and walked around, there were eyes watching him from all directions, despite his attempts to conceal his face by pulling his hood low. A low chuckle always followed those gazes.

    Even if Abel’s group didn’t take it sensitively, it was evident that the troublemakers were targeting Abel as their prey. However, they seemed reluctant to cause trouble within the narrow confines of the ship. The only thing they did was intentionally bump into Abel’s shoulder and laugh when he passed by.

    However, with two days left, the group of thugs started openly staring at Abel. The sticky gaze towards Abel, as if they were planning to do something before getting off the ship. As a result, Melmond and the butler stuck even closer to Abel, practically becoming one body with him. This inadvertently irritated someone on board, though Abel remained oblivious.

    “Those d*mn b*stards are definitely up to something.”

    Melmond once again spat out curses at the thugs, as he had been doing for several days. And as always, the butler responded in the same manner.

    “They have the audacity to look at our young master with such filthy eyes.”

    The enraged butler clenched his fist and added.

    “Moreover, because of their persistent surveillance, even the mood of the Commander-in-Chief, who shares the same room with our young master, has become uncomfortable!”

    Melmond vigorously nodded his head.

    “Exactly! How uncomfortable must he be to give us such a cold look every time we come here and then leave. It’s all because of those b*stards.”

    It was natural. There was no reason for anyone other than those thugs to receive such a glance from Karas. Karas was not only someone who shared a private room with the injured Abel, but also a thoughtful person who willingly engaged in conversations to understand the sentiments of his own people.

    In the hearts of Melmond and the butler, Karas had already established himself as a wise and great emperor. Moreover, he was a wonderful person who sincerely worried about Abel’s appearance becoming a threat to the country. Abel, who had been quietly listening, asked seriously.

    “Still, since there are people who know about Duke Truyed’s matters, shouldn’t we seize the opportunity to investigate? So, um…”

    Abel cautiously continued his conversation, alternating his gaze between Melmond and the butler.

    “If they want, we can pretend to be caught…”


    “It’s not allowed!”

    As expected, both of them immediately rejected the idea. Abel sighed lightly as if he had expected this response, and looked down at the floor. However, despite his dejected appearance, Melmond struck the nail once again.

    “Don’t even dream of using yourself as bait for something. You haven’t fully recovered yet. It’s too much for a weak body like yours.”

    The butler nodded in agreement, adding that just traveling this far was already a miracle. When Abel raised his head with a faint smile, acknowledging their concerns, Melmond finally breathed a sigh of relief and changed the subject.

    “Leave the thugs to the Commander-in-Chief. He will take care of them. By the way, Abel, you’re the only one suffering because of those thugs. You were practically confined to your room because of them, and now you have to endure the Commander-in-Chief’s uncomfortable feelings.”

    Abel immediately raised his head in response to Melmond’s consolation.

    “It’s not that uncomfortable.”

    Of course, Melmond and the butler thought that Abel was just being polite. Even though he was a respected emperor, his sharp temper couldn’t be ignored. However, Abel’s following words felt sincere.

    “At first, it was a bit awkward and scary since he doesn’t speak much, but I got used to it and it’s not bad. Plus, he listens to me really well. It’s become tolerable having been crushed every time we go to sleep. Of course, I still can’t believe how huge the Commander-in-Chief’s thing is.”

    Abel narrowed his eyes, recalling Karas’ solid and sturdy presence that he felt every morning. Somehow, it felt like it was getting bigger every morning, making him suspect that he had actually put a wooden bat in his pants as a protective measure.

    In the past, Melmond must have been filled with impure thoughts, but now all he did was nod his head with a proud smile.

    The emperor even has a royal-sized manh0od!

    He couldn’t help but feel proud. Beside him, the butler covered his mouth with his hand and chuckled at the same thought. However, Abel, who misinterpreted their laughter, quickly spoke.

    “Oh, but it seems like it’s not just a bat or a dagger, it feels real. Sometimes it wriggles and it’s hot, um.”

    Not only in size but also in function!

    Melmond was about to laugh even harder with pride but then paused with a question mark.

    Wriggles? Hot?

    However, before he could address this question, Abel’s voice was heard.

    “Anyway, there still seems to be a somewhat threatening atmosphere. It’s still intimidating when our eyes meet. But still, I don’t know.”

    Abel looked at the empty space for a moment and muttered absentmindedly.

    “He doesn’t seem to dislike me.”

    In fact, he felt more than that. Especially when they talked before going to bed. Now, it had become natural for him to sit on the bed every evening and reminisce about his childhood. And Karas, listening quietly with closed eyes, would eventually fall asleep.

    At that moment, Abel felt like he had let down his guard, as if he were defenseless in front of someone he trusted. Of course, it could be just his imagination, but every time he checked Karas’ sleeping face, his heart would weigh down involuntarily.

    He had experienced this feeling before. When he became someone special to someone.

    That’s why, lately, Abel kept seeing the face of the little prince in Karas’ sleeping face. The weak child who knew nothing but rejected anyone who approached him for fear of getting hurt was completely different from Karas. At the thought of the little prince, Abel’s smile became melancholic.

    “Doesn’t it feel good that he doesn’t dislike you?”

    “Well, that too, but when I see the Commander-in-Chief, someone else comes to mind.”


    “The prince.”

    Melmond and the butler held their breath and stopped moving, but Abel didn’t notice as he looked back at the empty space.

    “It’s strange. There’s no way the Commander-in-Chief is the prince. Their eyes are different too.”

    As he paused, an awkward smile formed on his face as he turned to the two of them.

    “I think the grown-up Prince would probably be a warmer person.”


    Seeing Melmond who was still unable to speak, Abel quickly waved his hand.

    “Oh, I didn’t say that because I wanted to see the prince. I really didn’t.”


    “Mr. Melmond?”


    At Abel’s call, Melmond finally opened his mouth. His mouth felt as dry as a midsummer drought, but words somehow managed to escape his mouth.

    “If the prince is like the Commander-in-Chief, would you be disappointed?”

    “Hehe, as if that would happen….”

    “If he is someone who is so cold and would be so intimidating that you would be afraid of him?”

    The butler looked at Melmond with anxious eyes from the side, but Melmond didn’t stop speaking once he started.

    “What if he is someone who opens his heart even more difficultly than the young prince who bit you and made you bled? Even if that’s the case, you won’t meet him? Even if you were someone, he needed even more than back then?”

    Melmond’s questioning gaze finally halted as he looked at Abel’s pale face. Despite the realization dawning within him, Abel continued, as if his heart were burdened, exhaling a ragged breath as he asked,

    “How did the prince, how did he grow up?”

    “W-well, he grew up well. Haha― You don’t have to worry. Don’t take my words to heart. Hmm, it’s just idle talk.”

    “I’ve wronged the prince.”

    Abel whispered, cutting off Melmond’s words. Melmond’s heart sank with a thud as soon as he heard those words. Until now, he had believed that Abel’s thoughts about the prince were merely out of pity and a sense of responsibility as a Regas.

    But a mistake?

    “What mistake?”

    Melmond reluctantly spoke with an uneasy feeling. Abel stared straight at him.

    “I may have planted wrong thoughts in the prince’s mind just before I died.”

    Abel stared at Melmond intently.

    “Not to trust people.”


    “So, if there is a problem with His Majesty, it is all my fault.”

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