As Dianel grew more determined to perish and lost his will to live, the Demon King found it easier to manipulate his soul.
However, the Demon King couldn’t completely relax either.

Dianel fiercely resisted, causing damage to his surroundings even though his body was being taken over by the Demon King.
Moreover, perhaps due to the incident during his previous captivity, he began to react sensitively to anything related to his vision.

On the other hand, Dianel implied that he would remain quiet as long as he didn’t attack anyone directly or touch his vision.

The situation was the same even now.
Dianel had lost control of his body, yet he showed no signs of resistance.
Judging from his recent condition, he seemed completely unaware that his body had been taken over.

The Demon King silently walked, trying not to provoke him.
Nevertheless, there were subtle signs of tension and a strangely triumphant gait, indicating the loosening of his body.

The secretaries following behind him noticed the unsettling change in Dianel and stiffened their expressions.
Whenever Dianel appeared unusually pleased, it meant he had carried out some task and returned.

Someone who had been close to Dianel since childhood cautiously spoke up.

“…I know it’s impertinent, but are you alright?”

Finally sensing their presence, Dianel quickly turned his body.
His arrogant gaze swept up and down the secretary who spoke.

The secretary unintentionally froze, overwhelmed by the chilling aura enveloping Dianel’s entire body.
From head to toe, it felt like sharp thorns were piercing through, rendering him unable to move.

Dianel coldly smiled as he observed the person begging in front of him.

“It’s fine.
Give me the documents you’re holding and all of you can leave.”


The secretary handed the documents to Dianel.
After snatching them from the secretary, Dianel took a step forward.
A twisted smile appeared on his calm face.

* * *

The sparse lighting cast flickering shadows in the darkness.
In the enclosed space without a single window, a pungent smell tickled the nostrils.

Inside, about twenty people were bound, ranging from children to the elderly.
The only commonality among them was the lack of vitality on their faces as if they had all resigned themselves to their fate.

They were all chained with their arms bound to the iron shackles fixed to the walls.
Tiny thorns protruded from the insides of the shackles, causing blood to drip down.

Groans of pain could be heard here and there as if the weak sound of whimpering animals.
Those bound and helpless looked powerless.

Soon, urgent footsteps drowned out the sounds.
As the hasty conversations continued, their voices grew louder.

“I’ve said it before, but something seems suspicious about the central movement.
Last time, the transaction was traced back.”

“It doesn’t matter.
The Escalde family will be turned upside down anyway; they have more than enough faults.”

“They seem to be accurately targeting and investigating the targets! At this rate, we might be exposed-“

“So, are you going to quit this business? Or are you afraid of trying to overturn your sins now?”

“T-That’s not what I meant, Leven.
We are a community of destiny… you know that, right?”

“Of course.” 

As the conversation ended, the door dividing the space opened eerily.
Viscount Leven, his belly full, and the gaunt Marquis Adi entered.

Leven glanced at the bound individuals with greedy eyes.
Just looking at them satisfied his appetite.

Adi had a different expression from Leven, but it was a fact that he showed no emotion towards the bound individuals.

A bright light emanated from a man who had just collapsed as if he had fainted.
It was a healing ability.
He regained his senses, looked around, and realized that nothing had changed, causing him to slump his shoulders in disappointment.

Leven chuckled as he heard him let out a sigh of regret.

“Look, geese are laying golden eggs here.
How can you just discard them?”

“Leven, it seems like you’re taking this lightly… There are rumors that His Highness Dianel is investigating this matter.”

“Huh, Dianel? Why would that person, who wouldn’t even bat an eye if the Empire were to fall, be interested?”

“I don’t know.
Anyway, it would be better to quickly deal with them and focus on other matters.
I’m not just saying it; the atmosphere feels strange.
One of the hunters who went out last time disappeared without a trace.”

“They’re blinded by money and stealing my stuff.
Anyway, it would be wise to be prepared, as you say.”

Leven stroked his sparsely bearded chin thoughtfully.

“The resistance from the Escalde family was fierce last time.
It seems like they’ve formed a firm connection with a new Duke.
Their son caught Dianel’s attention as well.
Although he has weaknesses, it might be better to be cautious for a while.”

“Indeed, Escalde was dangerous.
My sister warned you not to touch the central nobles.”

“…Tsk, where else should I go?”

Leven muttered the names of the vulnerable families while sticking out his tongue in annoyance.
Then, his eyes brightened as something came to mind.

“By the way, I heard Astita’s eldest son recently got engaged to a central noble.”

“Are you planning to target that family?”

“You said you’d be in trouble if you tangled with a central noble, so I’m going to break Astita’s engagement.”

Marquis Adi furrowed his brow, but Leven paid no attention.

“Even Pete says so.
They say the heiress of that family is tempting.”

“…Do you know the rumor about who sponsored that heiress?”

“It’s all been proven false.
Is it even plausible that a newly enlisted noble would associate with the Crown Prince? In my opinion, Erin is being used in various ways, isn’t she? She’s a girl whose name isn’t even worth mentioning.”

Leven chuckled as if something had come to mind.

“Come to think of it, they said she’s a healer too.
A healer who possesses the power of the fairy tribe.
She could be useful in many ways.
My son has an eye for people.”

Leven looked at the bound individuals with a satisfied expression on his face.

“Anyway, let’s clean up half of them within this month.”

Marquis Adi narrowed his eyes but didn’t say anything, simply nodding his head.
Then, he gently stroked his heavily shadowed under-eye area and spoke.

My informant will come soon, and we can discuss it then.”

“Haha, right.
Nothing will happen anyway.
No, should I say that you will make every effort to ensure nothing happens?”

Marquis Adi turned around without replying.
His fatigued face crumpled as soon as he left the room, and he muttered a curse under his breath.

“Damn it, if only my weaknesses weren’t exposed…”

While Leven was the one carrying out the operation, Adi silently cleaned up the aftermath.
The more the investigation targeted him, the more intense it became.

This time was different from before.
Giants were involved in the investigation, individuals who couldn’t be bought with money.

And as the investigation progressed, Marquis Adi grew more nervous.
It was clear that he would be exposed as the culprit.

Leven had cunningly manipulated Marquis Adi to cover up his sins over the years.
Ironically, it was someone who sympathized with him.
At the time, he believed there was no other way, even if it meant saving his son.

As Marquis Adi walked away, a steward approached him.

“Marquis, a guest has arrived.”

“Is it ‘him’?”

The steward nodded silently.
Marquis Adi immediately walked towards his private office.
Inside, there was a man dressed like a commoner, with his body wrapped in cloth.
He handed a document to Marquis Adi.

Marquis Adi’s expression hardened as he received the document and began reading.

“…This is…”

The document detailed all of the activities Visount Leven had been involved in, including clear evidence.
There were even many things that even Marquis Adi, his closest confidant, didn’t know.
It seemed difficult to find more accurate information than this.

Marquis Adi’s hand trembled as it turned pale.
The man grabbed his trembling hand.


“This… We’re done now.”

Marquis Adi felt as if he couldn’t breathe.
The man held his shoulders tightly as if he would collapse at any moment.

“Calm down.
The person who provided this information is His Highness Dianel.”


“He already knew that I was on Viscount Leven’s side.”

“Then we should have escaped immediately! If you’re caught, it’s a matter of life and death!”

“If they were determined to capture you, they would have done it immediately.”

Even after hearing his son’s words, Marquis Adi collapsed into his seat.
He had lost his wife long ago and had lived relying only on and trusting his one son. 

His son, whom he had raised with care, sparing no effort.
He was a brilliant talent who had risen through central politics and gained recognition for his abilities.

Marquis Adi’s sole source of pride. 

It was the day of his son’s promotion party.
He had killed people and returned.

‘Oh, Father.
I have killed someone.’

Blood was staining his son’s hands, and his clothes were the same.

Marquis Adi, who had been resting in his room during the celebration party, couldn’t find the words to speak.
Everything was confusing, unsure of what to do or how to handle the situation.

Viscount Leven entered the room where the confused Marquis was, saying, 

‘Oh, it seems there’s a problem.
Shall I help you?’

That was the beginning of the fateful connection with Viscount Leven.

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