Author: Dawn

“How did you know?”

The Emperor’s first words were directed at me. It felt quite significant.

I wondered if he was sensing my suspicions, or if something about it didn’t sit right with him.

“I saw the maid’s hesitation in her eyes.”

I repeated the same words I had told Erendil. The Emperor chuckled as if waking from a daze.

“Erendil seems to have found someone decent.”

“No need for flattery.”

“Humility aside. The weight of the world doesn’t like humility.”

I lowered my head at the Emperor’s words.

“Very well. Is there something you desire? Well, since you saved my wife, I suppose I should offer you something.”

“I have no requests.”

“People without desires are the most frightening.”

The Emperor’s words were sharp. In situations like this, it’s best to remain silent. I kept my head bowed, maintaining the silence.
“By the way, you’ve risen quite high. A person from the depths of the continent has encountered the summit.”

“It’s a tremendous honor.”

“Get rid of the nonsense. I’m getting tired of it. Didn’t I tell you the same earlier?”

The Emperor turned his head and asked Rudehrn.

“Your Majesty, Your Majesty is the Emperor of the Kaiyan Empire, ruling the continent. No matter who it is, they can’t help but speak with flattery. And earlier, you mentioned not to be humble.”

“So, does that mean I’m a problem?”

“Your Majesty, it doesn’t mean you’re a problem, but… since you hold the position of the Emperor, it’s not incorrect to say that. You’ll probably have to hear it repetitively in the future.”

“Rudehrn, please leave now. Your punishment is death.”

The Emperor waved his hand irritably, and the Sword Master, with a slightly amused smile, looked towards Rudehrn. 

It was a jest between them, but I could only feel bewildered. The Emperor’s gaze returned to me.

“I’ll give you another chance. This is your last chance. Bring me…”

Suddenly, the Emperor’s hand clutched his chest, and he coughed violently. The cough was so intense it raised suspicions of a serious illness.

I sensed a change in the atmosphere between the two Sword Masters. The Emperor motioned for them to step back.

“…Very well. Is there something you desire?”

“I have no requests.”

Tch, the sound of the Emperor’s tongue clicking was clear. It was intentional, actually. I would certainly accept anything valuable, but…

“You seem to desire something, judging by your appearance. Normally, words from a man’s mouth come at a lower price.”

Exactly. The one who waited for a gift was more valuable than the one who gave the gift in terms of what they received.

Since I had achieved a great deal, a reward was only natural. It was a matter of pride. There was no way he could refuse.

“Rudehrn, what would you like?”

The Sword Master glanced at me briefly.

“From what I saw earlier, a sword would be good. It’s a decent sword, but it’s lacking to guard the imperial bloodline.”

He saw the sword earlier?

He had keen eyes. He wasn’t just a Sword Master for show. I needed to use Winds more cautiously.

Regardless, I welcomed it. Since I had left the sword I received from the dwarf behind, I felt a slight regret. 

The Emperor probably wouldn’t give just any sword.

“Right. I’ll make sure to take care of one thing. You should go now as well.”

The Emperor issued a dismissal to the attendees. As I greeted and withdrew, I heard a voice from behind.

“Take good care of Erendil, just like you’re doing now.”

“Yes, I will keep that in mind.”

The Emperor’s gaze fixed on me was intense.

“It’s not just casual talk. She resembles me the most.”

Looking into the Emperor’s eyes directed at me, I became convinced that the Emperor orchestrated the assassination of the Empress.

It was intuition. Intuition, but it was approaching with such certainty.

‘The Emperor doesn’t seem to dislike the Princess.’

It was one of the concerns I had, but my thoughts extended to another direction.

Could it be that the Emperor wasn’t trying to provoke the Princess like the Empress did? In the process, he targeted two birds with one stone: the assassination of the Empress and the manipulation of Egni.

That thought lingered for a while.

* * *

“Exactly, what are you thinking?”

It was Erendil who spoke.

Her straightforward question was similar to the Emperor’s, and I immediately thought of how she resembled him.

“I can’t comprehend anything, neither your words nor your actions. Why do you have such expectations from me?”


“Perhaps you even have romantic feelings for me?”

“Yes? How dare I.”

Caught off guard, I blurted out a retort. My usually unshakable composure wavered.

“Answer me. Considering what I have thought about, that seems to be the only answer. If you were insane, Haisen wouldn’t have sent you, and it wouldn’t be about foreseeing the future.”

“If you mean in a rational sense, then no.”

“It’s frustrating. You’ve told me ten times, but I can’t seem to understand. If I ask again, will you tell me you still can’t?”


“Fine, I’ll take that as a yes. I can’t just drive you away either.”

As I responded with silence, Erendil let out a sigh.

“I’m curious about your thoughts on this matter. Do you really think it was the doing of Duke Egni? What about my second brother who stood by?”

Did the Princess also harbor similar doubts? Well, I didn’t know. It might just be a mere curiosity.

After a slight pause, I had no choice but to speak the truth in front of the Princess.

“To be honest, I think it might be the Emperor, Your Highness.”


Erendil frowned slightly. She seemed torn between whether to be angry at me or not.

It was a moment of hesitation due to my surprise. I quickly continued speaking.

“It might be impudent, but if we consider the perspective of removing external influences from the Princes, it seems plausible.”

“I understand the meaning behind your words. However, I’m curious if this is just your opinion or if you felt it directly from Father.”

“The latter. I had a feeling that the Emperor might be involved when I personally met him.”

The Princess paused for a moment, her gaze on me seemed to confirm the validity of my words.

“It seems Father wishes for me to participate in this war.”

I was a little surprised that she jumped to that conclusion.

I had somewhat similar thoughts as well. After all, it might be reasonable to think that she, being the Empereor’s daughter, knew him better.

“That is right. I have had a faint sense of that too.”

“I see. Father despises running away from a fight without even trying, so naturally he wouldn’t like it.”

Silence fell once again. The Princess gazed out of the window, staying quiet for quite a while.

“Schurtafen, you said that participating in this battle should be solely my decision.”


“But that won’t do. Even if it’s because of Father, I still need to participate in this war.”

I inwardly sighed. I hadn’t wanted things to go this way.

Should I disclose the secret of the Princes now?

I mentally shook my head. It was a hasty thought. I needed to calm down.

I could talk about it later. It would be strange to say it now when I already know about it.

“Well, in your opinion, does it seem possible?”

“Yes. It will be difficult, but I believe it’s higher than what Your Highness thinks.”

“Is that your judgment or Haisen’s judgment?”

The question was sharp. Given my unusual attitude towards the Princess, it was a valid question.

“It’s my judgment.”

“Do you have any basis for it?”

Erendil, who asked the question, waved her hand.

“Forget it. You probably still can’t tell me yet.”

Erendil stood up and walked to the window. Her blond hair gleamed blue in the moonlight.

“For now, let’s give it a try. If I stay still, Father will likely take action again, even if it’s not Mother. I don’t want her to let go of her person because of me.”

The Princess turned toward me, illuminated by the moonlight.

“Do you have a plan?”

“I do, but it’s not ready yet. Many eyes are watching me. You need to move according to the flow of the situation.”

“Time would be on the princes’ side.”

“Not necessarily.”

Erendil inquired with her eyes. The words had been brought up, but I couldn’t reveal them immediately.

I could only subtly indicate.

“Because of Your Highness’s identity as the Princess. Aren’t you fundamentally different from the princes? And I am here as well…”

Erendil let out a wry smile.

“You’re talking nonsense. Just leave now.”

I bid farewell and turned around. Suddenly, a voice reached me from behind. It was similar to the Emperor’s.

“…You’ve worked hard today.”

“Thank you.”

“Do you want something?”

I almost burst into laughter for a moment. It was the same statement I had just heard. The Emperor’s comment about their resemblance wasn’t just empty talk.

Well, what should I say? Erendil didn’t have material desires.

“I don’t want anything.”

Erendil let out a wry smile.

“…What did Father say he would give?”

“He said he would give a sword.”

“Hmm. You wouldn’t be after wealth. Your situation isn’t one that would satisfy you with riches, given the present state of me.”

“You don’t need to give me anything.”

It was sincere. What I wished for was for the Princess to become the Empress and drive out the devil worshippers.

“That’s not acceptable. Since there’s nothing suitable to give you immediately, let’s postpone this matter. Alright. If, as you say, I will become the Empress, then at that time, speak about what you want.”

To discuss it to this extent, I couldn’t refuse.

“Yes, I will.”

* * *

“Carl Schurtafen.”

I handed over my post and left the palace grounds, where Rudehrn was waiting for me. He held a sword in his hand.

“Sir Rudehrn.”

I greeted him with the appropriate respect for a Sword Master. Rudehrn approached and handed me the sword without hesitation.

“I hope my choice suits you. Give it a try.”

The hilt felt smooth in my hands. The sword was entirely black. Yet, the moment I received it, I sensed its extraordinary nature.

I immediately drew the sword. A sharp sound accompanied its emergence.

The sword blade glinted subtly in the sunlight. The sensation of gripping the hilt was truly exquisite.

As a former investigator before becoming a spy, a smile formed involuntarily on my face.

“Do you like it?”

“Yes, very much. This sword seems like it should have a name, am I right?”

Rudehrn extended the sword as if handing over a wooden sword, but even at a glance, it was a masterpiece.

“Wolmyeong (Moonlight).”

Rudehrn stated.

“It’s said to become more beautiful when it catches the moonlight.”

“Thank you.”

“I don’t need your thanks; this was bestowed by Your Majesty. I’ll relay to Your Majesty that you liked it very much.”

“Still, it was you, Sir Rudehrn, who personally chose the sword for me.”

Rudehrn chuckled.

“It’s alright. Unlike Your Majesty, I enjoy listening to flattery.”

His playful jest made me chuckle too.

Rudehrn. He was a good person. In an empire torn by divisions, he stood firm. Whoever became Emperor, he only faced the most dangerous places in the war against the devil worshippers.

The players referred to him as the Empire’s Sword.

“Though it may seem so superficially, I have a feeling you’re quite skilled with a sword. When shall we spar?”

It seemed I had left a favorable impression on the Sword Master. It was a good opportunity for me too.

“Of course, I’m available anytime.”

“For a while, it might be tough due to the recent events. I’ll contact you later.”


“I tend to be quite lazy, so it might be much later.”

“That’s alright. I’m rather patient.”

Rudehrn left with a satisfied expression.

When I arrived home, I could tell that a woman was waiting in front of my house.

She was one of the Empress’s ladies-in-waiting. I had seen her a couple of times coming and going.

“Carl Schurtafen.”

“What brings you here…?”

“Her Majesty the Empress sent me.”

The lady handed me a small vial. It contained an elixir. Probably a reward from the Empress herself.

“Please convey my gratitude to Her Majesty the Empress.”

“Yes. Please have a restful time.”

As I entered my house, the system message was updated.

[You have gained Stratagem experience points. You have reached Stratagem level 8. You have gained the ‘Quick-witted Interrupter’ trait.]

It was a rare level-up after a long time. The higher the level, the more experience points were needed, which was why it took longer than I expected.

Even though I had returned to Haisen and worked tirelessly on missions, I had only managed to reach level 7.

I guessed that saving the Empress yesterday was the reason for my progress.

‘Quick-witted Interrupter’ was a trait that slightly increased the probability of deciphering someone’s Stratagem. It was quite a valuable trait given the current situation within the palace.


As soon as I opened the vial, I could tell from the fragrance that the elixir was of high quality.

I had gained quite a bit today. Well, I had played a significant role to deserve it. My evaluation must have gone up as well.

I immediately swallowed the elixir and rushed to the bathroom.

Considering that the Empire’s dogs were watching closely, I was in a safer position than anyone else from certain perspectives.

Now, all I needed to do was brush my teeth and regain my energy.

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