Upon turning 18, Masain graduated from the academy.

His initiation into aura took longer than most, leading to some struggles. Fortunately, he barely managed to succeed just before graduation, enabling him to pass the imperial knight selection exam.

Part of the reason for his late success was due to the Holy Emperor’s interference. Under the pretext of helping his nephew, the Holy Emperor had merely provided nebulous explanations for a while.

– “Before perceiving the aura, one must first understand the vast void of this world.”

– “It is upon this void that intent stands, and thereafter the aura appears. This signifies that the aura goes where the mind wishes.”

– “It’s not about moving with the heart infused in the aura. If the intent materializes as a mental image, the aura will naturally follow.”

There was a limit to such nonsensical explanations.

At one point, the usually calm Masain lost his temper.

– “Uncle, please never consider teaching anyone again!”

– “……”

The Holy Emperor looked noticeably dejected.

Luckily, he was eventually able to provide critical assistance to his nephew’s training. After much contemplation, he came up with the groundbreaking idea of letting the aura flow directly into Masain’s body, allowing him to understand its movement.

Surprisingly, this method was incredibly effective. It catapulted Masain to a level difficult for even those who had trained with the aura for years to reach.

Though his initiation was late, once he got the hang of the aura, his proficiency in its use skyrocketed. As his original sword skills were already excellent, he quickly became one of the top contenders among the new knights.

Dressed in the imperial guard’s uniform for the first time, Masain entered the Blue Rose Palace with a shy expression.

“Wow! Brother! You really came to work here starting today?”

Morres, running around the garden with a red cloth draped over him, rushed over when he spotted Masain.

The boy had stopped jumping from heights as before, but he had recently become obsessed with a red tapestry.

It was an old decorative cloth stored in a corner of the warehouse, depicting the battle between the first king and the demon race. It was an antique piece, though somewhat damaged and hideous now.

Morres had taken to wearing that tapestry like a cloak. He never took it off, not even during sleep, making it impossible for anyone to intervene or even wash it.

Queen Lizabeth was disgusted, but even her hysterics couldn’t overcome the boy’s stubbornness.

“Your Highness, Prince Morres.”

When Masain greeted him formally, Morres looked puzzled.

“Why are you speaking like that all of a sudden?”

“Since I’ve become an official knight serving the imperial family, I want to remain conscious of my duties.”


Morres tilted his head, finding the explanation a bit complex for his young age. However, assuming Masain would continue acting like a knight from now on, he accepted it and chuckled, clutching Masain’s sleeve.

“So you won’t be going to the academy anymore and will stay with us here?”

“Yes, that’s correct.”

While Morres beamed and clung to his arm, another child slowly emerged from within the Blue Coral Labyrinth.

“Congratulations on your official appointment, brother.”

It was 1st Prince Logan, who, despite not yet being six years old, already had a mature demeanor.

“Thank you, Prince Logan.”


Logan seemed momentarily taken aback by Masain’s response but soon gave a faint smile. Sometimes, due to his slightly droopy eyelashes, his smile seemed a tad sorrowful.

“So we’ll see you in the palace every day now?”

“As long as there are no official duties with the knight squadron, yes.”

“That’s great. Imperial Father will be delighted.”

Logan smiled warmly, but his eyes widened upon spotting the unfamiliar sword hanging by Masain’s side.

“…A sword?”

Ah. Masain glanced at his new sword and smiled awkwardly.

“It’s a gift from His Majesty. A bit extravagant for a graduation present.”

On the day of his academy graduation, the Holy Emperor had sent Masain a sword through his chief chamberlain.

Though categorized as a long sword, it was longer and thicker than usual and slightly heavier. But it perfectly fit Masain, who was tall and sturdy. And the sword’s design felt familiar to him.

The new sword’s design, for some reason, reminded him of a well-known royal treasure.

The treasured sword, Mithtratis.

A sword of [Oath] handed down from crown prince to crown prince. 

The famed blade, which was said to remain sharp even after severing a thousand necks, was in the possession of the first Prince Cameron during the reign of the former Holy Emperor. Now, after his death, it is carefully stored back in the imperial warehouse.

Masain had seen that sword his father carried several times, and remembered it as a brilliant and gorgeous sword with delicate golden reliefs engraved on it.

This sword was somewhat similar in shape to the Mithratis. However, unlike the royal treasure sword, it had no particular decorations, and the guard and pommel were generally modest.

[T/N: Sword guard and pommel, is the hilt part of a sword]

Nevertheless, it looked quite luxurious with an overall subtle golden glow. Masain guessed it might be a practical sword made to imitate the excellent balance of the treasure sword.

However, Logan, who had been staring blankly at the sword, made a strange remark.

“Seems like Imperial Father really cherishes you, brother.”


Looking at Logan with a slightly cryptic smile, Masain blinked in confusion, not knowing what he meant.

Of course, if Masain knew what was happening in the Holy Emperor’s office now, he would never have comfortably carried that sword.

“Why not just give him the Mithratis instead?!”

The situation was explosive, with Archbishop Benitus clutching the back of his neck and Armand, the dean of the Theology Academy screaming as if having a fit.

The Holy Emperor responded with a slightly plump-looking face.

“The Mithratis symbolizes targeting the Crown Prince. I have no intention of making the child who barely saved his life after becoming a Klanos a target again.”

“But even so! That doesn’t mean……!”

“And where would you use a sword so laden with decorations.”

“Then at least give him one of the other practical treasure swords……!”

“Well, you should use good stuff if you have it. They’re all going to wear out and break someday, it’s a waste not to use them before that.”

At this, Dean Armand fell backward, foaming at the mouth, and Archbishop Benitus clutched his forehead and cried out in a scream-like voice.

“Your Majesty! What do you think sacred artifacts are?!”

That’s right.

The sword Masain received was the treasure sword Mithra, which could be said to be the origin of Mithratis. It was the Sword of [Oath] and at the same time, it was one of the few weapons recognized as a sacred artifact in the Holy Empire.

It was incomparable to the Mithratis in importance.

But even the Holy Emperor who graciously gave the treasure sword away, hadn’t anticipated it at the time.

That his nephew would seal that sword in the warehouse before long, and would not pick it up for more than a decade afterward.

A decade later, the once awkward young knight became a dignified Knight Commander of the Imperial Guards. The current Masain was older than his uncle who had taken him from the gate fortress for the first time.

And now, he was standing, holding the sword he had admired since then.

“The name of this sword is Nutcracker. Isn’t it a name that suits its purpose perfectly?”

Back then, he should have told his uncle how terrible his naming sense was.

Masain chuckled and held the slightly lighter and thinner handle compared to the sword he usually used.


As he injected aura into it, a sword cry that was slightly different from his own sword resonated softly. A clean and calm vibration, much like its usual owner. Masain enjoyed the sword cry, pushing the aura slowly until enough golden outer aura formed on the blade.

And then he started to swing the sword.

Seongjin watched silently from the corner of the training ground.

For the first time, he saw the Imperial Knight’s standard swordsmanship seamlessly flow from the first to the eighth stance. A pristine swordplay, unfolded with aura, based on the Banahas’s fluid techniques.

In the training ground, where twilight had passed and the surroundings were darkening, only the Nutcracker infused with aura faintly glowed in gold.

“Something… seems different?”

Without realizing, Seongjin muttered.

Although it was the same swordsmanship he had always seen in the training ground, what Masain now demonstrated felt different. It was different from the swords shown by the resident knights during practice, and even different from Seongjin’s own.

They were the same movements but executed differently, the same flow of the sword, yet it felt distinct.

He couldn’t understand where such differences stemmed from, even though they all practiced the same swordsmanship.

Unbeknownst to both Seongjin and Masain, Masain’s sword moves resembled those of his uncle’s swordplay of the past.

The sword trajectory that he always kept in mind during practice.

The trajectory of that beautiful sword he always aspired to emulate.

Soon, a clear golden aura began to stream from the Nutcracker.

The aura blade that shone as bright as gold. It was the same technique that effortlessly defeated Bantra’s larvae.

Although he hadn’t fully reached the realm of the Swordmaster and couldn’t maintain the sword for long, a short moment was enough for him to display the technique he had always admired and practiced.

Swoosh. A long golden line appeared in the void.

This time, Seongjin could more clearly witness the essence of this technique. The afterimage of gold, detaching from the sword and drawing a long tail against the dark sky as it flew swiftly.

A moment later, a loud “bang” echoed in the air, followed by a fierce wind that enveloped the training ground.


Facing the gust, Seongjin unconsciously mumbled, “…A crescent that splits the sky.”

Although the Holy Emperor once remarked that it was a name that could be ignored, the technique that Masain displayed indeed looked like a faint moonlight splitting the void.

Ending with that technique, Masain halted his movements and stood still for a moment, looking up at the sky.

Although it was an aura released without a specific target, it was still a slightly weak strike. He hasn’t yet reached the heights of his uncle’s skill.

The aura gradually diminished from the Nutcracker. The ringing sound of the sword also faded, soon falling silent.

After standing in the training ground for a while with his sword firmly gripped, Masain eventually turned to face Seongjin.

“It certainly doesn’t seem like the legendary sword made by a dragon. But seeing that it shows no strain even when imbued with a strong aura, the Holy Emperor’s words about its sturdiness must be true.”

Masain smirked and offered the sword to Seongjin.

“It’s well-balanced, but it doesn’t quite suit my preference for weight.”

When Seongjin took the sword, Masain hesitated as if he wanted to say something. However, he soon stiffened his expression, placed a hand on his chest, and bowed respectfully.

“Thank you for lending me the sword, Your Highness.”

His demeanor was as respectful as when they first met.

Seongjin moistened his lips for a moment, then simply nodded without uttering a word.

He had many questions, but he couldn’t bring himself to voice them. Right then, it suddenly occurred to him that, perhaps not only Queen Lizabeth wanted to forget the past.

The next morning, Masain headed to the imperial palace for the first time in a long while, seeking out the Holy Emperor’s office.

“I wish to relinquish my position as the Knight Commander of the Imperial Guards, Your Majesty.”

Although the statement was abrupt, the Holy Emperor didn’t seem to be greatly disturbed. With his usual cold face, he quietly gazed at Masain without saying a word, then slowly nodded his head.

The one who changed over the past decade or so wasn’t just Masain. Even before, the Holy Emperor had been a near-poker face, but after that incident, it became harder to find anything that could be called emotion on his face.

Occasionally, an odd glint like a curious light would appear in his gray eyes, and each time, Masain would feel greatly uneasy, as if his uncle was becoming something other than human.

For a moment, the Holy Emperor’s gaze landed on the golden sword at Masain’s hip, then met his eyes again. Masain awkwardly smiled and scratched his head.

“Well, I think there’s no sword as comfortable to wield as this one.”

“I see.”

The treasured sword Mithra.

There must have been a great deal of torment before his nephew decided to draw that sword again after such a long time. However, neither of them would ever discuss it, not now nor in the future.


Just as he was about to leave the office, the Holy Emperor stopped him. When he turned around, the Holy Emperor spoke in a seemingly indifferent yet serious tone.

“Take good care of that child.”

There was still no warmth to be found in his gaze towards Masain. However, having known his uncle for a long time, Masain could detect a faint hint of concern in his voice.

This time, Masain was able to respond with a genuine smile.

“Yes, Your Majesty.”

And that morning, Masain sought Seongjin to inform him of his new appointment as the Head of Security at the Pearl Palace.

The faces of the resident knights who saw him carrying all his luggage turned pale. It goes without saying that they weren’t exactly pleased.1