1

How long had he run? He didn’t know the exact date, since he had been running to his destination without any sense of time. He was sure that he had foregone sleep on some nights, but it confused him whether that was four or five times. Perhaps he had gone through more sleepless nights than that. However, these were all menial details for Glen. The only thing he was concerned about was finding a place that could guarantee his safety. That was all.

Although he couldn’t compare to Zich who had regained all his power back, Glen was someone accepted by all to be the strongest fighter among the allied forces. It didn’t make sense for him to feel fatigued from just a couple of days of running away; that logic, however, only applied to his physical capacity, and his mental fortitude was crawling around rock bottom.

Growl! After starving for a couple of days, his stomach grumbled. No matter how high of a position they reached, a human was still a human. Even if he could endure hunger longer than an ordinary person, he still needed to eat. Glen usually carried around a magic box filled with food and water, but he had dropped it while running away from the dragon’s attack. Thus, Glen didn’t possess anything that was necessary for living right now such as money, clothes, food, and so on. All he had was Tornium in his hands.

If one considered Glen’s abilities, it was unimaginable that he could go hungry. In this instance, he could go to a city and earn a large amount of money with his skills. If that wasn’t possible, he could steal food. If there were no houses and shops to steal from, he could go hunt and cook his own food. Yet, this was all impossible for him right now because of one reason: fear.

If he went to a populated settlement and someone recognized him and exposed his location to Zich…brrrr! Glen’s body shuddered. Right now, to Glen, Zich was the embodiment of terror. Even in Zich’s glory days as the Demon Lord, when he used to turn the world into an ocean of blood, Zich had never scared Glen. After all, how scary could a puppet be? Now that Zich had thrown out the strings binding him and became a free existence, he stimulated Glen’s primal sense of fear. Zich was an existence who knew all his secrets and destroyed them. After enjoying a sense of omnipotence for the longest time, there wasn’t anyone more frightening than Zich for Glen.

Although there was a laughably low chance that Glen’s identity would be revealed if he disguised himself, entered a small, unprosperous village, and quickly stole food under people’s gazes, Glen couldn’t dare to even do that. Yet, that didn’t mean Glen was taking paths far from villages and roads either. He knew that the farther he went from human civilization, the more the number and strength of the monsters he encountered would increase. Though Glen’s skills were currently strong enough to easily beat the highest-level monsters, such as basilisks, Glen was afraid of losing his life in a single mishap. Thus, the path he took was an ambiguous one, not too close to human influence nor too far away from it.

No matter how much he valued his life, Glen could still catch a wild animal up to a rabbit, but he was afraid of making a fire to cook it. As mentioned before, the place he was at wasn’t too far away from human civilization. This, smoke from his fire could catch some people’s eyes. It was such a pathetic worry, but that prevented Glen from doing what he needed to do.

Completely indifferent to his worries, his stomach kept growling. There was only one viable method.

Crunch! With the rabbit he just caught, Glen sloppily pulled off its fur and bit into it just like that. The rabbit’s tough meat was disgusting, and hot blood seeped into his mouth.

“Umph!” He immediately spat out the meat and blood and even vomited the contents from his stomach. Nothing but acidic gastric juice came out of his completely empty stomach.

“Damn it!” Glen wiped his mouth with his sleeves and cursed. How long had it been since he ate such disgusting, dirty food? Even when his skills and achievements returned to nothing every time he regressed, he always had plenty of money because of the preparations he made beforehand. Naturally, the food he ate was always high-quality, and the only time he had ever eaten such trashy food was before he gained the regression ability. It was a time period that Glen almost forgot and didn’t even want to think about.

Yet, the pungent smell of the rabbit’s raw flesh and blood forced the memories that had fallen into oblivion in his head back out into the open. These memories made him think that he had reverted back to his very first life where he used to be nothing.

“That’s impossible!” After all his efforts, there was no way he could return back to that rubbish life. He had almost achieved the perfect life he dreamed of. He couldn’t let it turn to waste. Glen was about to aggressively throw away the dead rabbit as it pulled annoying memories out of him.

Growwwl! Yet, his stomach begged for food again. Its plea was longer than last time, and Glen stopped himself from throwing away the rabbit. His eyes wavered in conflict and lingered on the rabbit. He wanted to eat, but the fear constricting his heart prevented him from making a fire. That left him with only one option. He needed to either eat the food or starve.

Crunch! In the end, Glen succumbed to his hunger. He bit the rabbit raw and chewed it thoroughly. Once again, he wanted to curse as memories of his terrible first life rose back up. Glen also felt that his situation was miserable. There wasn’t a trace of the glorious hero known all over the world whom he had dreamed of.

“Sob!” Tears mixed with the bright, red blood on his hands and mouth. However, even then, Glen steadfastly ripped the rabbit meat. Soon after, only the rabbit’s bones, tangled with blood and skin, were thrown to the ground. Glen regained some energy, and his stomach no longer grumbled to eat some food. He felt a good amount of fullness.

However, if he relaxed for even a little bit, Glen felt as if he would vomit all the contents of his stomach again. He couldn’t ever let that happen; it was a meal that he had eaten while recalling his miserable life. He had to digest it at all costs and make it a part of his body. Glen tried to move again. He wanted to escape his misery by hiding in a safe place as soon as possible.

“Ahhh!” Suddenly, he heard a scream.

Glen’s eyes moved toward the direction of the sound. A person was looking at him with startled eyes; he was carrying a leather quiver on his back and holding a bow in his hand. He looked like a local hunter. The man looked at Glen with frightened eyes. It was natural for humans to be freaked out by the sight of a person covered by blood in a desolate forest.

‘I’ve let down my guard.’ Glen rebuked himself for neglecting to perceive his surroundings due to his hunger, mental shock, and past trauma. If he had detected the hunter first, he would have moved while avoiding the latter. However, it couldn’t be helped now; the hunter had already caught him. Since Glen couldn’t even approach a village in fear that Zich might catch him, Glen couldn’t let this hunter get away.

Swish! Glen pulled out the sinister-looking Tornium.

The hunter’s face turned pale. Soon after, blood poured out once more in the same spot that the rabbit blood was on—human blood, this time.

Like this, Glen arrived at his safe place without allowing a single witness.

* * *

“Glen Zenard is here?” the man frowned and said to his subordinates.

The subordinate, clad in a robe, replied, “Yes, I received a report that he came here looking like a beggar.”

“A beggar? He came looking like a beggar with his ability?” The man hated, despised, and looked down on Glen, but he didn’t deny that Glen had astounding abilities. Glen’s abilities were undeniable. Even though they were abilities given to him by ancient artifacts and had little to do with talent or effort, they were still his abilities. How could he come here looking like a complete beggar?

“According to the report, he’s not acting like his usual self but like a complete cowardly buffoon.”

“Tell me in detail.”

The subordinate explained in detail of Glen’s reported condition.

‘He really isn’t acting like how he used to be.’ Glen Zenard was an arrogant, uncouth, and vain person with the personality of a third-rate villain in a novel. Glen Zenard’s current attitude was far from his original personality. However, the man wasn’t surprised. He knew that Glen would change like this one day.

‘Is it about time?’ A person who went through repeated regressions was bound to feel enormous and intense fear as a side effect sooner or later. The man judged that this was most likely Glen’s current condition. The man thought, ‘Glen Zenard is useless now.’

Glen Zenard couldn’t regress anymore, but it didn’t matter. He could just retrieve the regression ability from him. “I’m going to go to the island for a bit,” the man said.

“Yes, sir!” The subordinate bowed his head.

The man slowly began moving toward his destination. After a while, the man arrived at the ruin with the original World Tree. He stood in front of the ruin’s device, and his eyes skimmed over the broken glass container for a moment. It was the glass container that Lyla used to be sleeping in.

‘It’s a shame that the Core is missing.’ This timeline was really full of unpredictable variables and events. It was the worst timeline for Glen, but the man who wanted to collect the most amount of information possible felt quite satisfied. However, these efforts were only worthwhile if he could carry them over to the next regression. Every time Glen regressed, the man’s memory naturally disappeared. By using the Brushel System’s Core, he would always know what had happened in previous timelines. However, he didn’t have the Brushel System’s Core this time.

Of course, if he took back Glen’s regression ability and regressed himself, his memory could be preserved. However, this method was less precise than storing information directly in the Core through Estellade and Tornium. Moreover, memory was volatile and likely to change easily over time.

‘I guess it can’t be helped.’ He didn’t have the Core, and there was no certainty that the events that happened in this timeline would not occur in the next timeline. He could record it in the next timeline.

‘The Core will return here if I turn back time anyway.’ Even when the Core had jumped out of the glass container and devastated the world enough to be called a Demon Lord, once he turned back time, the Core returned peacefully inside the glass container and slept quietly. The man thought it would be the same this time as well.

‘I have no idea how she escaped, but I definitely need to strengthen our monitoring on the Core.’ The man thought about plans for the future and was about to control the device to retrieve Glen’s regression ability, but—

“…What?”

His eyes widened. He kept trying to operate the device by putting more and more mana into it, but the results were the same every time.

“This… Why isn’t this working?” Cold sweat broke out on the man’s forehead.