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    The slightly parted lips moved slightly with each breath. His short blond hair, which seemed to be cut haphazardly, shook in surprise at Kin’s words. The green eyes below widened roundly. Despite standing a little far away, Abel’s expression and subtle movements were so clear.

    It was especially difficult to take his eyes off his red lips. The longer he looked, the more his lower body felt a throbbing sensation. He could hear Kin saying something about him nearby, however it didn’t register in his mind. All he could see was Abel. This felt different from the sexual desire he had experienced when sharing a bed with Abel.

    A deeper desire. Something that made his heart race even more. But there was no time to confirm the difference. Just as Abel’s eyes seemed to turn elsewhere, he gasped in surprise with his mouth open. Karas finally turned his head to where everyone else’s gaze was focused.

    The fake who was facing off against Kin had made it to the end of the ship where people were lying down. He grabbed one of the people nearby and used him as a shield, threatening him with his sword.

    “Uh, don’t move! Otherwise, I’ll kill everyone here.”

    The fake’s eyes darted back and forth, seemingly contemplating jumping into the river to escape, as he shouted desperately.

    “Don’t, don’t come any closer! If you take even one step…”

    Thud, thud.

    The fake’s warning was in vain as Karas approached him. The fake shouted as he pressed the sword deeper against the hostage’s neck.

    “Stop! Stop it! Otherwise, this person will really die because of you.”

    However, the fake’s voice soon faded away. It was because Karas had moved his steps in a completely different direction. He stood in front of the people lying down, trembling.

    Why is he standing in front of them instead of me?

    The question that came to the fake’s mind soon turned into shock.

    Whoosh, thud!

    Karas swung his sword without hesitation, and the head of the person in front fell off. The people lying down all screamed in unison and stepped back. Although Karas was terrifying, they all saw him as their savior, and their eyes were filled with horror. Of course, they weren’t the only ones.

    Abel’s group, who had been watching from afar, also gasped in surprise at Karas’ sudden murder. Melmond, in particular, quickly turned to look at Abel, worried that he might have fainted from the shock. Unlike him wishing for him to faint and rather not see this sight, Abel was watching Karas’ actions with wide eyes open eyes. Karas’ sword moved quickly once more.


    This time, someone’s throat was cut off without a scream, and they writhed on the floor. It was only after the two people died that Karas turned his half-open gray eyes to the fake.


    The dry command made the fake’s breath catch in his throat. Despite the lack of anger in Karas’ gaze, unlike Kin’s furious glare, the fake was paralyzed with fear, and he couldn’t move his trembling fingertips. Rather, it was the lack of emotion that made it even more chilling.

    It dawned on the fake that this man hadn’t killed for justice. If that were the case, he wouldn’t have so nonchalantly killed innocent people. The fake, too, had killed the weak without a second thought, but always for a reason—be it for plunder or enjoyment.

    However, this man was swinging his sword without any emotion, like he was killing a mere bug. It seemed like it was a subtle difference, but it filled the fake with a chilling terror.

    “Kill him.”


    Contrary to Karas’ words, the fake dropped the sword. His hand trembled so much that he couldn’t hold the sword anymore. Then, he suddenly took a step back and opened his mouth.

    “Ugh… I’m, I’m sorry…”


    Karas looked at the fake and raised his sword.

    “Otherwise, these people will die because of you.”

    The words spoken by the fake came out of Karas’ mouth, and his sword cut through the air again.

    Swish, thud.

    The third person died, and the sword moved up to the person next to him. However, unlike the others, he pleaded with Karas.

    “Ple, please spare me. Don’t you remember? You, you talked to us on the deck….”

    The middle-aged man with a beard was the one Karas had confided in. He raised his trembling hands as if begging and pleaded again.

    “I, I have a family waiting for me in my h, hometown. Please… I will do anything you want. Please, just spare my life…”


    This time, there was not even the sound of the wind. Along with the sound of something being cut, the voice of the bearded man disappeared. Although his pleading eyes and expression remained, he couldn’t speak from the severed head that separated him from his body. Karas looked at the fake and casually spat out.

    “You caused their deaths.”

    “Ugh, th, this is absurd….”

    He shook his head wildly like a madman. The words that he had once threatened to take someone’s life as a hostage now felt chilling as they came back to him. In an instant, the courage that had remained as small as the fingernail he had tried to escape with disappeared, and he became a coward. The opponent no longer looked like a human. But then, he raised his sword again as he commanded with annoyance.


    “Oh… I, I…”

    The fear that everyone on the deck would die because of the fake’s inability to answer properly spread low. And sure enough, Karas moved his sword again. Although countless people were watching him, he felt like the only person on the ship. Until a faint voice, like a breath, was heard.


    No one heard the neutral and soft voice properly. But strangely enough, it made Karas’ sword, which had been about to cut off the neck of the person in front of him, stop. Karas turned his head. Facing a pair of green eyes amidst the corpses strewn across the deck, he asked back.


    Nod. Abel forced a smile on his pale face.

    “You, you saved the bugs. So, please save them too. They won’t do any harm.”

    Karas tilted his head to the side and dryly replied.

    “It doesn’t matter. Whether they die like bugs or not.”

    Abel was startled and quickly raised his head.

    “No, please! It’s different. If you save them, there will be many people who will be happy. Right?”

    When Abel hurriedly asked the people around, they nodded one by one with bewildered faces.

    “L-look! There are people waiting for them to stay alive. If you save them, they will be happy.”

    Yet Karas still had emotionless eyes as if he didn’t understand Abel’s words. Sensing that Karas might turn his back on him and swing the sword again, Abel quickly added.

    “O-Of course I’ll be happy too!”

    For a moment, a puzzled expression flickered in Karas’ eyes, but Abel didn’t notice and pointed his finger towards Melmond and the butler, looking for assistance.

    “And Mr. Melmond and the butler will be happy too! Right?”

    Startled, Melmond and the butler, who were suddenly pointed out, only glanced at Karas. They wanted to stop Abel from interfering and only provoke Karas’ anger, but instead, he made the problem even bigger.

    “Of course, as a reward for making everyone happy, um, I will give you a gift! Right, Mr. Melmond?”

    Shut up! Melmond suppressed his urge to shout. Feeling Karas’ cold gaze turned to him, Melmond met him with a trembling smile.

    “T-That, well, about the gift…”

    “What is it?”


    “What is the gift?”

    Karas turned his body completely towards Melmond with a sword in his hand. Melmond looked back at Abel, feeling the fear of death. Of course, Abel had said it without thinking, so he was staring at him with a bewildered look.

    What should we do, Melmond?

    Melmond replied with a strong gaze.

    It would be better if you just died and were reincarnated once again.

    However, Abel accepted Melmond’s gaze mixed with resentment as encouragement and widened his eyes, saying, “Ah!”

    “The gift is…”

    Abel smiled widely toward Karas.

    “Snake wine!”


    “I’ve tried drinking it, and it’s very good for your health.”

    The gift didn’t seem appealing at all. Karas, now seemingly bored, began to turn away again, and Abel desperately shouted out other benefits of snake wine.

    “Um, it’s also good for stamina!”


    As the silence became as still any longer, everyone looked at Abel with pitiful eyes. There was no way he would win Karas’s favor with just a snake wine…

    “Fine. I’ll spare them.”

    He had won over his favor. It took people a while to realize. The tension and fear that had weighed heavily on the deck disappeared with just a bottle of snake wine.

    The fake couldn’t understand why he was still alive. It vaguely seemed to be related to the secret of the duke’s family that he had mentioned, but he couldn’t confirm it. As they headed back home that night, he had plenty of opportunities to escape, as they hadn’t tied him up or watched him. All he had to do was run away while everyone was asleep. But an invisible fear held him back. Just seeing Karas nearby made his legs give out in fear.

    Trembling, he continued to move with them and before he knew it, they had arrived near his hometown. Now his only worry was what they would do when he returned home. Although his father constantly interfered annoyingly in his affairs, he still worried.

    Are they really trying to find out the secret of the Duke?

    What are they going to do after finding out?

    But what he was most curious about was their true identities. They seemed to be from the emperor’s army, but since he was pretending to be a fake, he couldn’t easily open his mouth.

    He finally mustered up the courage after traveling by carriage for several days and stopped at a small inn. Perhaps because this was the only inn nearby, the first-floor restaurant was almost full. After finally getting a seat and their food was served, everyone quickly swallowed the bread and hot grain porridge.

    However, the fake was too nervous to eat anything and continued to wait and seize for opportunity.

    If it wasn’t tonight, there would be no more chances.

    They were supposed to arrive at their destination soon, by tomorrow morning. He had to figure out their intentions before them. However, there was an unexpected interruption.

    “How can someone who claims to be the Commander of the 1st Battalion do such cruel things and roam around like that, seriously!”

    Everyone except Karas stopped eating when they heard a loud voice nearby. And they all looked at the fake at once.

    You, you little b*stard, how many bad things have you done while wandering around?

    The impostor raised his head vigorously in response to the reproach he felt from everyone.

    No! I’m not that famous!

     Unfortunately, before he could make an excuse, the person beside him continued to voiced out his complaints.

    “Shouldn’t we stop the King of Slaughter from turning this whole area into a sea of blood? This place is not a battlefield. But someone claiming to be the Commander of the 1st Battalion is leading the way and burning down the village.”

    As his voice grew louder, the person next to him warned him to be careful. After that, the voice of dissatisfaction was no longer heard, but except for Karas, Abel’s group could no longer continue their meal.

    “It’s strange. How can the fake be causing such a commotion?”

    When Melmond asked Kin in a low voice, he nodded briefly and turned to Karas, who had almost finished his meal.

    “Should I investigate?”

    However, Karas stood up from his seat and muttered as if he was annoyed.

    “What for?”

    He turned his body to go up to the second-floor lodging and suddenly turned his head to look at Abel. Abel had been staring at the table, lost in thought, as he worried about the fake commander and the emperor’s rumors. Then, he looked up at the sharp gaze, and he caught Karas staring at him.

    After days of feeling Karas’ eyes on him whenever he glanced up, Abel had gotten somewhat used to it, but it was still awkward. Moreover, if he didn’t respond promptly, the other person seemed to get upset. After learning a few more times, Abel quickly stood up from his seat.

    “Ah, do you have something to say?”


    “Haha, so you do.”

    Abel interpreted Karas’ silence on his own and nodded his head. What could Karas have to say to him? Then one thing flashed in his mind.

    Ah, right, I haven’t given him the gift yet.

    Abel smiled and stood up from his seat.

    “Come to think of it, I had something to give you.”

    Of course, it was Abel’s own interpretation, but Karas was satisfied that he was following him, so he quickly turned around and walked forward. For some reason, he had the ridiculous illusion that his back looked happy, but he quickly followed Karas.

    Melmond watched the two people disappear side by side with a worried look. Perhaps because they had been through a lot together on the ship, the two seemed to have gotten a little closer. It was something to be happy about. After witnessing what Karas had done on the ship and Abel not fainting, it seemed like a miracle. but, the fact that they continued to interact as usual afterward worried Melmond.

    However, on the other hand, it seemed like Abel had gotten used to Karas’ cruel side, which was concerning. Thanks to Abel’s snake wine rambling, the situation had thankfully ended at that level. But Melmond couldn’t forget the expression Abel had when he looked at Karas afterward.

    In Abel’s eyes when he looked at Karas, there was a hint of worry. But there was still fear mixed in. And so, Melmond couldn’t help but be concerned. He wondered if Abel would step back if he saw an even more ruthless side of Karas.

    He comforted himself with the fact that Abel didn’t know that he was the prince.




    T/N: Around 3 chapters more before we’ll end this volume^^

    I hope we wouldn’t get a sad volume cliffhanger🥲

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