After leaving the official residence, Annette stood still and stared at the sky.
It was a fairly sunny day.
The snow that fell yesterday had already melted.



She turned around and caught a glimpse of the official residence for a brief moment and carried on her steps.


She walked as far as her feet would take her.
It didn’t matter where she would arrive.


“If we divorce, say you’ll live.” (H)


Frankly, Annette had no intention of keeping her promise to him.
She did not lie with the intention of lying.
She just hadn’t thought anything about it.


‘Should I die?’


She didn’t care whether Heiner was angry or sad after she died.
Anyway, they got divorced and now they were strangers.


Although they weren’t so different before the divorce.


Walking aimlessly, Annette found a park bench.
She put her bag on the bench and sat down for a moment.


The air was cold, but the sun was warm.
She lowered her head, shielding her eyes from the dazzling sun.
Her gloved hand caught her eye.
The brooch and Ansgar’s business card were still clutched in her hand.


‘What should I do now?’


Annette wondered idly as she looked at the Princess- diamond-cut brooch that she had loved in the past.


Even if she wanted to die, she couldn’t figure out how to die.
It was as if she had forgotten how to think.


Suddenly a shadow fell over her head.
Annette slowly raised her head.
Her mouth opened slightly as she saw the opponent’s face.
The light returned to her pupils that had been blurry without focus.




Heiner stood by the window and watched the small figure in the distance.
Even after she had disappeared, he stood still in place for a long time.


Gradually the sun went down.
His shadow on the wall hung long.


‘Where did it all go wrong?’


Heiner thought vacantly.


At first, it was just a feeling of infatuation.
All he wanted was to touch her just once.
He dared not want her.


So, with persistence, he became the marquis’ dog.
To gain a higher position, to gain more power, to become a “suitable” person.


To get a little closer to her.


Because there was no way she would pay attention to a soldier who was an orphan and all he knew was to kill people…


Heiner looked down at his hand on the window pane.
He could still smell the blood that had long since been washed away.


He tightened his fists. 


I know that I am a dirtier and lower human being than you if I am to blame for wrongdoing.


I know that I am more of a sinner, having killed countless people and sent my colleagues to their deaths.


He didn’t want to admit it.


He wanted to put all the blame on her.


You are so happy being noble while I rolled through the mud to bring you peace.
You have no idea whose blood was shed and whose lives were sacrificed.


The hardest and saddest thing in your life is not improving your piano skills, that’s all.




I hated you for it.


A wave of every dirty, inferior emotion flooded his chest.
Heiner’s body slowly collapsed.
She alone was the reason he struggled so much, but in the end, it turned out like this.


Heiner cradled his head in his hands.
His breath came in gulps.
He eventually couldn’t hold it in and let it out.
The man crouched in the corner sobbed quietly.


From far away, the sound of a piano carried on the wind.


He cried for a very long time.




AU703, Sutherlane Island.






Dull thuds echoed in the warehouse, filled with white cigar smoke.


A group of people surrounded a boy who was lying curled up.


Seeing the boy who did not shed a single groan, one of them who had been beating him spat out.


“You damn bastard.”


“Do you like flirting with the director? Because of you f*cker, my name was put on the list.”


Still angry, he kicked the boy in the stomach with all his might.
The boy curled up his body even more from the attack.


It was outrageous.
It was not his fault that they were on the survival training list this time, despite the fact that they were in their senior year.


It was just because they were compared in ability to a boy who was only in the third grade.
The director put them on the survival training list by saying they were no better than the kids.


“Hey, we should get going.”


The woman who was smoking a cheap cigar and fooling around with her friends in a chair jumped up.


“If we’re late, we’ll be beaten.”


The woman dusted off the ashes and squatted in front of the boy.
Her brow furrowed as she checked the boy’s face.




“Oh, God! Don’t touch his face!”


“Why the hell are you again?”


“He’s handsome! Don’t hurt that face!”


“Hey, hey, shut up and come quickly.” 


The woman clicked her tongue ruefully, patted the boy lightly on the cheek, and stood up.


“Don’t you think you hit him too hard? Be nice.”


The boy lay dead with his eyes open.
The woman puffed her cigar and quickly turned around.


A voice followed, “Come.”


The warehouse door closed.
Silence crept into the dark interior.


The boy raised his upper body in a heap and dragged himself toward the wall.
He sat leaning against the wall and coughed.


His gray training suit was crumpled and dirty.
The boy struggled to sit up, and the name tag on the right side of his jacket came to his view.


‘Heiner Valdemar.’


Heiner spit out a plop of blood.
His whole body ached, but fortunately there were no broken bones.
The men didn’t want to draw the director’s attention and beat him (Heiner) to relieve their anger.



Lynchings were common here.
Groups formed among the trainees, who had various reasons to relieve their stress and eliminate their rivals.


Most of the time there was no valid or appropriate reason for the lynching.
If they just wanted to hit, they hit.
If someone died, well, it was their bad luck.


As Heiner was an excellent trainee in the eyes of the supervisors, he caught people’s attention.

Heiner checked again for any broken bones and then slowly stood up.




The groan he had been holding back for so long flowed out.
He forced himself to his feet through clenched teeth.
If he missed a class, he would lose points.


Here at the Sutherlane Island Training Institution, they had survival training every three months.
The term was “survival training,” but it was murder training.
In fact, killing was sometimes allowed in the training.


In survival training, weapons were assigned according to scores.
If your score was low, 

you would be thrown into the woods with your bare hands.


Heiner struggled with his steps.
A quick peek under his training jacket revealed a dark bruise on his stomach.


Heiner stopped to take a painkiller out of his inside pocket.


He had to learn to feel dulled by pain.


Because he was due for torture training soon.


He took a deep breath and moved quickly.
His whole body seemed to be screaming, but he didn’t show it, at least outwardly.


However, Heiner ended up having to show up late for class that day and lost his points.




The Sutherlane Island Training Institute was an institution under the Royal Military.
At the training center, spies and informants were intensively trained.


The best among them even formally joined the army.
Of course, in order to do so, they had to prove their loyalty to the royal family by overcoming the threat of death in various operations.


Those who entered the training institution were mainly teenagers and were divided into two types.
Criminals and orphans.


For more than a decade, the royal family removed the homeless and orphans for the sake of the city’s aesthetics.
The homeless disappeared out of sight and the orphans were sent to training camps.


Heiner was one of them.
He lost his parents at an early age and grew up in an orphanage with poor facilities until the age of 12.
He then boarded a ship bound for Sutherlane Island.


The children trapped on the island were brainwashed and educated to pledge allegiance to the royal family.
Then, after graduating from a six- to seven-year completion course, they worked in the shadows under the military.


The survival rate by the time of graduation was around 30%.
It was a low number, but orphans were so plentiful that the military considered even that to be a lot.




The candle flickered at the approaching opponent’s presence.
Heiner raised his head, in the middle of sorting through his royal history textbooks.


It was Ethan, who shared the same room.


“Is your body okay? The day after tomorrow is survival training.”


“…… just so so.”


In fact, Heiner wasn’t in very good shape.
The bully men had been tormenting Heiner relentlessly after that.
He could not make his usual moves during training.


“What’s the score?”


“Not high.”


“Oh, I see.
Hmmm, so what I was going to say is that if we were on a different team tomorrow ……”


Ethan hesitated to speak for a moment.
He was a year younger than Heiner.


“Let’s just keep each other alive.”




“We don’t want each other to have new roommates again who we don’t know, do we?”


The candles melted.
Heiner asked, glancing at the two empty bunks that had not yet been occupied.


“What about Hugo and Stefan?”


“I’ve made an agreement with them as well.
So are you going to do it or not?”


Heiner struggled for a moment.


He was not in a good condition, no, he was in pretty bad shape, but he was sure he was able to compete and win two or three rounds.
Of course, he assumed they had the same weapons.


But with the current score, the odds were high that he would get good weapons.
There didn’t seem to be anything wrong with accepting Ethan’s proposal.


‘…… okay.’


“Yes, good choice.
Don’t hit each other in the back?”


Ethan slapped Heiner on the shoulder with a bright face.
Heiner nodded expressionlessly.

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