"I can't leave them like this! They suffered because of our incompetence. I need to ensure their safety." A young woman stopped the video publicized by Havocs and bit her lip.

Even though her voice was low, it carried a regal tone and a cultivated sense of command. But her clothes were plain and her face couldn't be more ordinary. Worst of all, she's in a small inn room with a young man in the poor part of Ubiq.

"Catherine, you can't go." The young man grabbed her hand and held it tight. Staring into her eyes with lingering fear, he pleaded. "Things will go bad here. It'll be hell. This Duchy will burn. Let's just go somewhere far away."

"You always say that your Barix Province is plotting something, but you don't have any idea what's going to happen or how. Not even a clue." Catherine looked at her fiancé with a disappointed expression.

"I…" Prince Theoron of Barix lowered his head and sighed. "No one knows except a handful. But my father…he doesn't like Centaurus. If his plan comes to fruition, I can't think of any good that'll come out of it."

"Again, what's the plan you're speaking about? How did you even know it?"

"…I don't know, I can't remember." Theoron shook his head with a bitter smile. "It's just a memory lingering in my head. I should've seen something I shouldn't and my memory must've been erased."

Catherine fell silent. She liked her fiancé but this was absurd. Theoron and his father had disagreements, that was public knowledge.

But because of some disagreements, claiming a province was conspiring against her Duchy was too far-fetched.

Then what? Was the conspiracy really a reality?

That's even more impossible. No matter how low Centaurus had fallen, it's still above and beyond what a Province like Barix could match.

The Duchy had tens of thousands of celestials of rank 1s, a few hundred rank 2s and a couple dozen rank 3s. Officially, two rank 4s. Unofficially, even she doesn't know.

How could such a Duchy be conquered by a Province? They don't even have a thousand rank 1s.

So, no matter how hysterical Theoron seemed, she couldn't take his words seriously.

What she believed was that he lost bits of his memory for some reason and ended up interpreting it in the wrong way.

"Theoron, I've hidden from the public for two things. One, meet you and check your situation. Two, finish off some corrupt ministers who supported the drug lords. But now, it looks there's a third reason—find a good medical practitioner to stablize your mental state."

"Dammnit Catherine, I'm not crazy!!" Theoron held his head and said with a hysterical expression.

Catherine's crossed her arms and her voice grew impatient. "Fine, you say we should go somewhere. Go where? Go how? Vanishing in the Duchy is something but moving away? Even if we leave for the fiftieth Duchy from here, we will be found."

"We'll go far! Very far!" Theoron clenched his fists and looked out of the window. "Somewhere with no war. Where I don't have to see the bloodshed that's about to ensue."


"I know a person…he's very strong," Theoron confessed under Catherine's scrutinizing gaze. "He was seriously injured and I helped him out. He promised me a favor and told me some things. It's after meeting him, I tried to find out the truth about the conspiracy. Then…I can't remember anymore."

Catherine's eyes flickered with hesitation and doubt.

"Can I meet that pe—"

"M-Miss, your lunch is ready." The door opened after three knocks and a lizarn woman's voice sounded.

"Ah, thank you!" Catherine smiled brightly.

"Let's go eat something." She grabbed his hand but the prince shook his head. Compared to the handsome and charming self of the past, he's now thin, unkempt, and haggard. The worst part of it all was his bloodshot eyes. He wasn't getting sleep for weeks.

He looked less like a prince and more like a drug addict. Perhaps that's why no one in this area saw him as suspicious.

"I'm scared, Catherine. I don't have any appetite. I don't want to see anything bad happen to you. Please, I beg you, let's just go away."

Catherine sighed deeply and said. "Let's talk after eating, okay?"

The Inn was now bustling like never before.

"M-Mister? Ah! Mommy, Mister is back! Mister is back!" The young daughter of the Inn Owner beamed with joy as she giggled at a joke a handsome young man shared.

'Never seen him here. Is he a regular?' As Princess Catherine squinted at him with a hint of suspicion, the young man looked at up at her as if he sensed her gaze.

The two locked their eyes for a moment before Catherine broke contact. For some reason, her palms were sweating. Those eyes…they were dangerous.

"Have a g-good meal, Sir." Deigo, the inn owner's son, placed the dishes in front of Varian and greeted him with a smile.

"No more gangs, eh?" Varian asked the teenage gangster with an amused smile.

Deigo lowered his head in shame.

It's been only three days since he stopped the drugs—not because he didn't want to buy them—but because he couldn't buy them due to shortage.

The withdrawal symptoms were terrible but thankfully, an anonymous person with the name of 'Handsome Young Master' publicized a simple recipe to keep the withdrawal symptoms in check.

Deigo would still feel the pain of withdrawal every hour or two, but somehow, he's able to keep it in check.

And that's why, for the first time in years, he had a clear mind. It's no longer foggy, slow or impulsive.

Thinking back to his encounter with Varian, if the latter was a violent person, he'd have died already. In that sense, he owed Varian his life.

"I'm sorry for our first encounter. I was stupid." Deigo apologized with a humble expression.

Unexpectedly, Varian patted his shoulder and asked with a friendly smile. "What do you want to do now?"

"…Go back to school. I will be bullied again since I'm not a gangster anymore, but that's okay." Deigo's smile was mixed with happiness and fear.

He experienced severe bullying at school and ended up becoming a gangster to be 'cool'. But now that he's going to mend his ways, things would return to normal.

"Bullying, huh?" Varian's eyes flashed with memories of his own school life. It was all thanks to Sia that he wasn't bullied. She was super protective of him.

But not everyone was that lucky.

"A simple advice for you, lad. Coolness lies in strength." Varian chuckled and brought his thumb and index fingers together, pointing towards the window. Then, with another hand, he flicked in the gap.


A beam of wind shot out from the gap and exploded in the sky.

"Y-You! You are a Sovereign!" Deigo gulped his saliva and looked at Varian with reverence.

His action drew the gaze of others eating nearby, including the Prince and Princess seated not far away.

But Varian ignored them and said with a serious expression. "Bullying is not good, I know. But worse than bullying is giving up on yourself and wasting your precious youth. This isn't time to mourn, this is your chance to build yourself up and face a good future."

"Your juice!" Marin ran to the table, stood on her tiptoes, and carefully placed the juice. With an excited smile on her face, she said. "Try it! It's very tasty, my favorite!"

Varian laughed and sat her on the chair next to him and gave her the juice. "It's for you, little brat."

"M-Me?" Marin looked at him with wide eyes.


"A-All of it?"

"Drink it already or I'll snatch it from you."

When Varian said that, Marin pulled the juice back and started drinking hurriedly.

"You see," Varian smiled at Deigo. "She needs a good brother who can secure her future, your mother needs a responsible son who can share her burden, and your father…he needs someone to straighten him up."

Deigo's eyes slowly brightened and a fire burned in them. With a solemn expression, he nodded. "I'll take the best care of my family."


"You bitch! Give me some food!" A middle-aged man with bloodshot eyes entered the Inn with shaky steps.

His arms were twitching from time to time and his hands were repeatedly going into his pockets.

'Withdrawal Symptoms…' Varian squinted his eyes.

"D-Dad! Please don't make a scene here. Let's go to your room, I'll bring you the meal." Before Garcia could come to deal with her addict husband, Deigo came forward and tried to pull him away.

It was his first time confronting his father and it's a lie to say Deigo wasn't scared. But his experience as a gangster helped him stand against his father without shaky legs.

"Make a scene? You son of a…" Hernad stopped at the last moment, realizing what his words would imply.

But he wasn't any less violent and yanked his arm from Deigo's grip and strode towards the kitchen in a brisk pace. "You stupid woman, where's my food?"

"Only one guy to fix in this broken family, remaining, huh." Varian shook his head.

It's a drug-addict husband. But the problem wasn't drug addiction.


"Y-Yes?" Marin stopped drinking the juice the moment her father entered and was staring at him with teary eyes.

When Varian called her, she turned to him and tried to force on a polite smile. But maybe because she was too young or maybe because she was familiar enough with him that she didn't want to fake it anymore, she broke into tears.

"Give this to your father." Varian patted her gently and gave her a document. "It'll make him better."

"R-Really?" Marin looked at him with hopeful eyes.

"Promise." Varian smiled.

Marin jumped from her chair and ran off with such speed that everyone wondered if she'd trip and injure herself.

But she successfully completed her mission and gave the document to her irritated father.

"What's up with you, annoying girl? Who uses documents these days?" Hernad was about to throw it away when something on it caught his sight.

[Because of the mass treatments necessary for drug addiction and withdrawal symptoms, doctors are needed.

Considering that Doctor Hernad was a brilliant talent, as long as he can prove to the Council Of Ubiq that he'd overcome his addiction, he'd be eligible to retake the medical examination and gain his license to practice.

Deadline: 3 months.]

"I…" Hernad's body froze and he slumped onto the floor powerlessly. He wanted to share the good news with his family. But all he saw was a pale wife, distressed son, and scared daughter.

Hernad's breath stopped for a moment and his eyes slowly regained their brightness. As the realization of how he'd treated his family finally settled down, extreme regret filled his heart.

Pa! Pa! Pa!

Hernad slapped his cheeks so hard that they started to bleed but he didn't stop and continued to beat himself harsher than anyone would.

Gracia came to her senses and grabbed his hand. But the other hand kept slapping himself. It was his two children that held his hand and stopped him.

Feeling their warmth in a long, long time, Hernad cried like a little child. "Please give me a second chance."