In the middle of the training ground.


With a loud shout, the wooden sword struck oppressively.
Sethian easily avoided the tip of the sword that slashed in front of him, turned around, and mercilessly hit the side of the opposing knight with the wooden sword in his hand.


The massive-built knight swallowed some air due to the pain in his side, straightened his staggering posture, and gripped his wooden sword.
Even if he didn’t fall down at once, he could hear his colleagues whistle, but that wasn’t enough.

He leaned down and swung as if to cut Sethian’s abdomen with the wooden sword.
Sethian swiftly leaped back and widened the distance a little just before the wooden sword’s attack reached him.
Then, as soon as his toes touched the floor, he sprang on the ground and jumped onto the knight.


A painful hitting sound that could make one’s face cringe just by listening to it was heard.
The tip of Sethian’s blunt sword dug into the knight’s chest as if it were stabbing him, and in the aftermath, his reliable body floated a little in the air and sprawled backward.

The knight pressed his chest with both hands while missing the sword, and gasped as if he could not breathe properly.

“I, I concede.
Cough, cough!”

As soon as he spoke, the pressure on his chest made the knight heave a dry cough.

“Is everyone lacking in practice? No one’s holding up properly.”

Sethian placed the back of the wooden sword on his shoulder and raised the tip of his eyebrows in dissatisfaction.
As he looked around the knights sitting in a row, everyone got nervous and avoided his gaze.
Until just a while ago, they were so motivated that they decided to take turns requesting a match, but now that the storm has already swept away, everyone is only coldly sweating while holding onto their own respective parts that he struck.

Sethian scanned the knights with his eyes then met Lenox’s, who was standing at the end of them and was only watching.
The tip of Sethian’s wooden sword pointed at Lenox, the only knight who did not avoid his gaze, and had yet to face him.

“I haven’t been up against you lately.
Why don’t we have a round this time?”

“I’m fine with it if you don’t mind.”

Lenox answered without hesitation as if he was waiting for Sethian’s invitation from the beginning, and received a wooden sword from the knight next to him and stepped forward.

It was quite rare for Sethian to compete with a wooden sword rather than a real sword.
That is also the reason why all the knights grabbed the chance to pounce him for a session.
Usually, even if he fights with a real sword, he doesn’t show compassion, charges relentlessly and strikes mercilessly compared to what he just did earlier, so it’s nothing short of brutal.
At most, the only ones who had the courage to face him with the real sword were the Vice Commander, Kirsty, and the Knight’s Commander, Lenox, who’s in front of him.

Lenox stood face to face with Sethian, held the wooden sword in both hands, and took a deep breath.
As if waiting for him to attack first, Sethian waited with his sword pointed at him in one hand.

The pre-emptive strike was as expected, Lenox.
He rushed forward with his sword in front, and immediately launched a fast streak.
It was a gorgeous sword dance that seemed to have mastered the first-class swordsmanship style, but with just the sword held in one hand, Sethian was blocking or evading the countless successive attacks one by one.
Then at some point, the sword that was thought of only blocking and evading gradually put pressure on Lenox, and it naturally became a series of attacks and pushed him back.

Lenox already feels a chill down his spine.
If he blocked one, Sethian would aim for his next vital point with a natural movement like flowing water, and if he evaded it, an unexpected attack would come catching him off guard.

The succession was so fast that from a certain point, Lenox was busy blocking rather than aiming to attack.
The dull sounds of wooden swords hitting each other were like the tone of a lute playing a fast melody.

Lenox looked at Sethian’s face as he blocked the attacks with a tense expression.
He has such a calm face that it is impossible to think of him as the person who’s currently performing the impressive streaks.
He was also truly impressed with the thought that he was his Lord.

Immediately after, the sword that’s blocking the consecutive attacks slowed due to a momentary inattention.
Just when he felt like he was going to be stabbed in the chest, Sethian’s sword stopped right in front of Lenox’s chest.

Lenox, who thought he was going to get a good hit, only felt relieved when the tip of the wooden sword that was aiming at his chest went down.
When he raised his eyes, Sethian was staring at a place close to them.
It was in the middle of a road that there was nothing particularly noticeable to pay attention to in that direction.

Looking at the empty stone wall, Sethian threw his sword at Lenox.

“We’ll stop here for today.”

Lenox, who received the sword while being dazed, made a puzzled expression as he watched Sethian leave the training ground quite quickly.
He doesn’t think he let him off the hook, so what’s the reason for suddenly withdrawing his sword like this?

Leaving the training ground behind him, Sethian headed for his room.
To be exact, it was because what he was chasing was headed in that direction.

Sethian quickly approached the certain point in the invisible air and slowed his steps as if catching up with something.

“Didn’t you say you’d stay awake during the day?”

He asked as if there was someone in a place where no one was.
There was no one seen, so it would only be natural that no answer would be heard, but the natural voice of someone was flowing into Sethian’s head.

-Oh…, Um….
I was going to do that but….

He hesitated and then mumbles with a sigh.

-Really, how do you know….

A faint presence that was floating in the air floated around him as if testing if he could find it, and Sethian kept his eyes on the presence and never missed the mark.

“I can somehow perceive a sign of your presence.”

Is it because his five senses have developed due to the long-term threat of assassination? Though of course, his interest in Joo Yi-Gyeol could also have played a role.

-Do I have a presence?

Instead of answering, Sethian silently looked at Yi-Gyeol who was in the soul state.

The first time he noticed Yi-Gyeol’s presence in the bath was through the airflow of the water vapor, as if something stood out slightly that made him pay attention.
When he looked at that specific part and focused his attention on it, he felt a strange and faint presence that was different from the other spaces around him.
Since then, he had fully remembered the sensations at that time, so he was able to recognize the difference even without water vapor.

It was certainly a strange phenomenon for Yi-Gyeol, but Sethian could already hear his voice from a long time ago.
There are cases such as his older brother, Zair, whom they had met before, so he thought it could also be the case that he now was able to feel the presence like Zair does.

-At this rate, won’t you be able to touch souls like that person did at that time?

They were words uttered without much meaning, but Sethian’s mood changed for a brief moment.
It was an unsatisfied ripple as if a rough stone had been thrown into a calm lake.

-Oh, you’re going to your room, right?

It was only for a brief moment, but Yi-Gyeol recognized Sethian’s emotions, and quickly changed the subject and flew to the room.
While on the way, he chatted about trivial things, but Sethian followed him and quietly accepted everything he had to say.

The road to the bedroom was as complicated as a maze, but Yi-Gyeol proceeded without hesitation as he had already come to the bedroom several times as a soul.
It’s like he’s guiding the way.

Having reached the front of the bedroom, Yi-Gyeol passed through Kirsty and one of the attendants, who stood guarding the room and entered the door first.
The two of them who were waiting paid respect to the approaching Sethian.

“You’re back, Your Highness.”

“I’ll go to the bathhouse, so get ready.”


While the servant rushed to get ready for the bath, Sethian entered the bedroom.
Around that time, a faint sign stayed in front of Yi-Gyeol, who was sleeping soundly on the bed.
The presence gradually got sucked into Yi-Gyeol’s body and seeped in as if being absorbed completely.
Immediately after, Yi-Gyeol’s eyes, who had been asleep without even moving once, twitched a few times and soon lifted his eyelids.

Yi-Gyeol’s eyes blinked slowly a couple of times, then pleasantly curved as they contained Sethian within them.

“You’ve worked hard.”

They were only a few words, but Sethian didn’t hate it.
On the contrary, he felt good as if he was being tickled inside by a small feather-like thing.

Sethian approached the bed and habitually patted Yi-Gyeol’s disheveled hair.

“You can sleep some more.”

“No, you’re here, so I’ll stay up.”

Sethian gently pressed Yi-Gyeol to lay down again, who had already raised his upper body.

“I have to go to the bath anyway, so lie down for the time being.
I’ll prepare you a meal when I get back.”

Saying that, Sethian was about to let go of his hand when he caught the disappointment reflected on Yi-Gyeol’s face at first glance.
He wondered why and quickly found the answer.

Yi-Gyeol was not able to take care of his body properly yet, and could only manage to wash his face or hair with the water that the servants brought to his bedroom.
His body was only wiped with a towel soaked in warm water, so he must’ve been wanting to soak in the bath.

However, Sethian couldn’t send him to the bathroom as he wanted.
He couldn’t trust any of his servants.
Most of the time when taking care of Yi-Gyeol in the bedroom, it was done personally by Sethian himself or by the help of his close aides, Lenox and Kirsty, but in the bathroom, an attendant is needed to take care of Yi-Gyeol’s inconvenienced body.
Even when he was in the bedroom, he didn’t want to show his body enough to hide under the blanket if someone came in, but it was clear that if Sethian told him that he had to be helped by a servant, Yi-Gyeol would force himself to endure it.

Above all, Sethian didn’t want others to see Yi-Gyeol’s naked body.
It may be because Yi-Gyeol hates exposing himself, but when he thinks that someone else saw Yi-Gyeol’s body, Sethian strangely feels displeased.

Sethian’s hand stroked Yi-Gyeol’s sunken cheek.

“Would you like to go to the bath with me?”

“Can I go?”

As soon as Sethian asked, Yi-Gyeol asked back with a twinkle in his eyes.
When Sethian looked down at those eyes, the brief unpleasantness from a while ago disappeared without a trace.

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