1 Yet once again

In the tiny chapel, an old man sat alone, hands clasped to his face and eyes closed, muttering his prayers in a low voice. An ugly wound in his hand was exposed through his clothes, swollen; half of his arm decomposed. 

"O Sun God, I beg for your blessing!"

When even the doctors couldn't heal his illness, his last hope was a miracle from his God. Despite his continuous prayer, though, no changes occurred in his dying body. He already expected his prayers to be ignored; for ordinary people like him, this wasn't something odd. 

Heaving a breath, the old man got up to his feet, his body swaying like a fleeting breeze. This was probably his last time coming to this chapel, thus he glanced around the space with a heavy heart, the wrinkles in his face deeper than ever, eyes lifeless, akin to the falling autumn leaves.

Throughout his life, he was a devoted believer of the Sun God, yet, the diety didn't even help save his life from the unknown disease. How cruel was that God? How oblivious?

His gaze sunken and shoulders slumped, the old man staggered to the exit, leaving to spend his last days with the family he held dear. 


Just before the old man could leave, the chapel's door slammed open with a loud voice. A young man dashed into the chapel soundlessly and grabbed the old man's arms, raising them both.

The old man wasn't given the time to fathom the situation. Upon the boy's touch, a bright, golden light flashed before his eyes, forcing him to squint them and turn around. A warmth went down his body and tranquility washed away all his grief, leaving only serenity and relief.


He opened his eyes once he got ahold of himself, only to see everything dyed in gold. Bright particles, like tiny specks of dust, scattered around the chapel; and akin to tiny suns, they glowed. The old man's eyes landed on the young face, scanning his whole.

He was a young man with shoulder-length navy blue hair, so dark in color that it almost looked black, straight, and soft, like sumptuous silk, shining under the light akin to the night sky. His pupils were lighter than his hair, yet remained dark blue, deep and serene as if holding all the world's knowledge and wisdom beneath. His face was soft, lips thin, and gaze tender. Wearing a simple, loose white shirt and black pants, he appeared unremarkable, yet his face and demeanor seemed unforgettable to the old man.

"Ah...? My... my..." 

The newcomer let go of him and stepped back. The old man only just then realized something. He looked down at his hand, at his ugly-looking wound, a wound that now was a tiny scratch, and the hand that seemed healthy, fully healed from any abnormality.

"You... Ah?"

Was this a dream? Was he already dead? In between the chaos in his mind, a single thought came into his head.

"Are you... a saint?"

The young man chuckled, soft, akin to blooming blossoms.

"No! I'm not a saint!"

The old man, though, didn't believe those words. 

"...A saint, oh God, you heard my voice and sent me your blessed, oh Sun God!"

The navy-blue-haired youth moved further away from the old man, shaking his head from side to side.

"I'm not a saint, nor did I heal your wound. You had gotten infected by making contact with monster meat, so I used the tiny bit of blessing bestowed upon me to purify the wound. It's alright now."

"Ah!" The old man gasped in realization, mind whirling back to a recent memory. "I-I touched a monster's remnants in the jungle... So that was it...?" He paused a little, scanning his injured hand before heaving a sigh. His body was fine. It was just like the day before he got ill. He was healed, was saved!

"...How should I repay you?"

The youth didn't take a second to consider the question, "Don't touch monsters from now on. You won't always be so lucky to find someone to purify a wound for you."

The old man rushed to justify himself, "I... I heard they are sold for a good price so I-"

"Your family doesn't need money which costs you your life, old man."


The youngster turned around and strolled to the exit as if his job was done. Before he could leave, the old man blurted out again, "Are you sure? I'm not rich but I can pay you with everything I have!"

"Well, if you insist on paying me," the boy circled on his foot. "Then please keep everything that happened here a secret!" A finger pressed atop his smiling lips in a gesture of silence. The old man understood what he meant to imply.

"The soldiers of The Empire capture everyone in possession of the holy power..."


Just as he mumbled, the young man left the chapel as quickly as he entered, leaving its only occupant alone in a daze. 

'How can he use his power so freely when it might place him in danger? Wait, how did he even know that I touched monster meat in the jungle or that I was here in the chapel?' The old man stood staring at the closed door. 'Just... Who was he?'

No one could give him the answers he sought.


It was evening and the sun was gradually setting, so there were not many people in the streets. The young man observed the city as he walked, muttering his thoughts under his lips with no fear of anyone hearing his words.

"Of course, you'd get infected after touching a monster! How many times do I have to see you repeat the same mistake? Why would someone attempt to sell a monster corpse that they randomly found in the jungle? Alright, I get it, your pregnant daughter was left a widow and needs money, but a monster's remnants? Some are corrupted! Why did I even purify him when he'll get himself into the same problem the next round again? How many times has it been? Haaah!"

The young man nagged as he strolled down the path until he stopped in front of an inn. Opening the door, he entered the old building with a relaxed face.

"Good evening, sir!"

A maid bowed slightly and greeted the man.

'She'll probably ask for the rent if I greet her... I'll pay her later when I leave...'

Without caring about the maid, the young man walked up the stairs and headed for a specific door as he once again muttered under his lips.

"He is not here either... Where could that child have gone to? I've searched all over the state and there wasn't even a trace of him..."

The young man stood in front of the door to his room, looking for his keys.

"Did something possibly happen to him?" He immediately disregarded the thought, "No no! I'm just overthinking!" His hand gripped the handle of the door, "Nothing can possibly happen to..."

Then, he paused his words for a second as his body froze on the spot. "...That kid..."

The last part of this sentence escaped his lips dazedly, spoken out of shock, without thinking. The navy-blue-haired young man talked no more. Standing still, he bore his eyes at the scene inside the room with a blank face, his heart palpitating.

He was in a large room, so extravagant that could be considered a hall. It had snow-white walls and a high ceiling, beautifully decorated with engraved patterns. A bed was placed on the other end of the room, its fully drawn lace curtains blocking the light and noise from waking the sleeping man.

Colorful carpets covered the floor, expensive paintings hung on the walls, and luxurious chandeliers dangled from the ceiling. A few people in black and white uniforms were inside the room, going around, preparing food and clothes.


This wasn't the room he'd rented. There was no way a room in a small inn could be this spacious and luxurious, and for so many people to be in there. This was not his room, nor another room in the inn. He was in a whole other place, no longer where he was a second ago.


At that moment, someone tapped his shoulder.

"Ian, why are you so late?"


The young man, Ian, didn't respond to the question and rather, looked at the mirror on the other side of the room, which reflected his image.

Instead of his loose simple white shirt and black pants, he was now wearing a fitted white shirt with shiny buttons, a black vest, a bowtie, and ironed black pants. His hair, which looked almost black, was now lighter in shade, looking only dark blue, and its length no longer reached his shoulders. His face appeared a bit younger, somewhat sleepy, tired, and extremely confused.


Ian let out a low gasp, took a step back, and slammed the door shut, leaving the room. The hall he stood in wasn't the same where he had walked less than a minute ago. Ian, no longer confused, already knew where he was and why he was there. 

'Damn, what the hell?'

Yet, he was still bewildered. He released the handle and moved aside to lean on the wall. Brushing his face with both hands, he took deep breaths to calm his racing heart.

"What kind of regression is this???"


It was as simple as the name implied.

After years of research and not finding any explanations regarding the recurrent phenomenon, Ian decided to name it after a word he'd seen in a few of the holy texts of the major religions. He named himself a regressor, someone who regressed upon death.

Despite not managing to solve any of his problems, neither finding a cause nor the cure, the term 'Regressor' sounded glamorous, at least. Unlike the life, or lives, he'd gone through. 

Nowadays, instead of calling himself "Someone who can never experience a peaceful death, comes back to life after dying and goes back in time, starts a new life from a certain day, and has to repeat the same procedure again and again," He simply referred to himself as a "Regressor".

Similarly, he named each one of his "lives" a "round", a more suitable term for every life he's experienced. If he couldn't solve the problem, he could at least make it sound cool.

And this mister self-proclaimed regressor encountered something strange just now. He regressed without dying!

Death was a key point in his regression, the very thing that kicked the start of a new round. He'd go back in time as soon as he heaved his last breath, only to open his eyes back in this room, this very familiar room that he'd long grown to detest.

There were many ways to die, and this mister regressor was proud... or maybe not, to have experienced most of them. However, this time, he didn't die! 

'I... I just walked into the room... Did I die while opening the door?' Ian racked his brains, trying to fathom the situation. 'That's impossible. Even if it was a quick death due to some supernatural powers, the feeling of death didn't appear at all. My vision didn't even blur a bit!'

He was a professional when it came to death. There was no way he'd die without noticing it!

'Now that I think about it... The previous round was strange...'

Only now did the oddness of his last life come to his mind. As he didn't need to act smart and cautious all the time due to his, well, predictable future of dying no matter what, Ian had grown this habit of ignoring most of the bizarre events in life.

"What exactly are you doing here?"


Just then, an unexpected voice snapped Ian out of his thoughts. He raised his head to look at the person who spoke to him, facing a young man with brown hair and black eyes; the same man who'd patted Ian's shoulder a few seconds ago. He wore identical clothes to Ian and was holding a small, empty tray.

This man, Severin, was a servant in the count's manor, and he worked as a male servant for the count's only son, young master Alaric. Ian had a similar job but had different responsibilities than this man.

"Are you sick?"

Ian shook his head.


"Then hurry and wake up that man, it's already late!"

'Umm... but my regression... Nevermind.'

With a nod, Ian brushed off all his thoughts and entered the room. A regressor had a lot of time to consider the peculiarity of this regression and the previous round.

The faint noise of snoring could be heard from behind the bed's lace curtains. Ian's master was deep asleep. Alaric Poqlen, the only son of the count, was the person Ian was responsible for shaking awake in the mornings. The noble tended to be in a fury when woken up, so if anyone was to get blamed or occasionally beaten up, a worthless slave like Ian was a better choice than the attendants who got paid to work at the manor. Who cared about a slave anyway?

'Even Alaric seems to have gotten lazier today!'

Ian counted this as another anomaly of his regression round as he approached the bed.

'How should I wake him up today...'

After living this day numerous times, everything became dull and boring to him, thus, at some point, he decided to accomplish things differently than they were usually done to erase his boredom. One of the chosen actions was: Waking Alaric every morning. 

In one of his lives, Ian kicked the man to wake him up. As a result, he got kicked out of the mansion and lost his job. Ian liked it very much so he kept repeating it. At some point, messing up with his higher-ups became a habit of him. What was the worst that could happen, he'd get killed?

Once upon his many lives, his feet slipped when hitting Alaric's butt, and his kick went to a wrong spot on the young master's body. A very wrong spot. At that moment and time, Ian ended the bloodline of Count Poqlen, and the count ended Ian's life the very same day. Ian did regress again, but as a man, he could never forgive himself for giving Alaric such pain; thus since then, he stopped kicking Alaric to wake him up.

Still, there were many other ways to mess things up.

'Let's just do it normally...'

This round started strangely enough and the previous round was also abnormal, so after contemplating for a few seconds, Ian decided not to do anything extraordinary and proceed as usual.

With that in mind, he crouched down, pulled aside the lace curtains, and gently shook the sleeping young master's shoulder.

"Young master, it's time to wake up!"


Young master Alaric groaned and mumbled faintly.

"...Five more minutes..."

Alaric rolled in bed, pulled the blanket up, covered his face, and went back to sleep. After a brief pause, Ian shook the man once again.

"Young master, it's already late. You have work to do!"

"...Mmm? What work?... I don't care... Lemme sleep..."


Ian ignored the man's out-of-character words, deciding to wait for half a minute before tapping him once again. Just then, the body under the pillow twitched for a second before the pillow was pulled down in a rush. A pair of amber eyes shot open and stared directly at Ian, round and blazing as if in shock. 

"W-who are you...? What are you doing in my room...?"

His voice trailed off as his eyes rolled to look at the luxurious and spacious room behind Ian. The man's gaze froze, mouth agape.


Alaric sat up straight in a blink and looked at his surroundings with a half-open mouth and a wary gaze.

"Huh... What..."

Instead of his usual beatings or curses, Alaric was acting like a lost duck for some reason. This made not only Ian but also the other servants taken aback.

Alaric's gaze wandered the area and landed on Ian again. His stiffened body was visibly trembling.

"...Who are you? And this place..."

He clenched the blanket and pulled it up, slowly moving back on his bed.

'What's wrong with this man...'

Ian's brows twitched a little bit. Alaric normally didn't behave this way, and Ian knew that this noble wasn't someone who'd enjoy playing jokes. If he wasn't acting as usual then there was something wrong with him. Ian turned around and poured some water into a glass.

"Here! You seem to have not fully woken up yet, young master."


Alaric, whose questions were ignored, glanced at the glass of water for a few seconds before shaking his head.

"...Young master...??"

What's there to be so scared about?

"Do you need me to call the doctor?"

The other servants abandoned what they were busy with and walked closer to the bed a little bit. Seeing this, the young master's body flinched before he began to speak.

"I asked who are you? This is considered an act of abduction, you know? If you don't release me I'll..."

Alaric's wandering gaze stopped on Liam, his bodyguard, and his body stiffened once he saw the sword hanging from the guard's belt. His words came to an abrupt end. He swallowed his saliva so hard that even Ian could hear the sound. It was as if he was suppressing a scream.

A few seconds passed in tension-soaked silence before Alaric, once again, broke the stillness with a trembling voice. 

"...W-what do you want from me...?"

There were tears in his eyes.

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