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TL: FoodieMonster007; ED: TheGreatT20 If you see this, you are at the wrong site!

Why am I even doing this… Shadow shot a glare at Baek Su-Ryong, who was now walking beside her. His hands were still filled with various shopping bags, but the number had halved since they first met…because she was now carrying the other half.

Baek Su-Ryong had asked her what she was doing when they met a moment ago, and since she wasn’t doing anything in particular, she couldn’t answer.

Then, Baek Su-Ryong suddenly handed her several bags, saying, “If you have nothing to do, help me out. I’m really busy preparing for the entrance exams.”


“I’ll buy you lunch later. For now, just help me carry these.”

“What’s this all of a sudden…”

“I need to deliver all these to the Azure Dragon Academy.”

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“…Fine, I’ll help you,” Shadow replied. If I’m with this guy, I’ll be able to enter the Azure Dragon Academy without arousing suspicion.

And that was how things had ended up this way.

“…So, the Headmaster forced me to personally purchase the supplies needed for the entrance exam.”

“I see.”

“The thing is, why do I have to run errands like this? I came here to teach martial arts, not to do odd jobs for kids, you know?”


“It’s unbelievable how much they expect from me while paying me peanuts… sigh. Maybe things will change when the semester starts…or maybe not. Regardless of our job, life is exhausting. Don’t you agree?”


Baek Su-Ryong complained on and on, and Shadow reluctantly chimed in with simple replies, but the conversation could not remain one-sided forever.

“Anyway, why were you there? What happened?”

“Well…” Eventually, Shadow found herself explaining why she was alone.

“Aha. To sum it up, you got fired from guard duty and am now homeless?” Baek Su-Ryong summarized.

Immediately regretting her actions, Shadow retorted, “Since when did I say I got fired?! It’s a day off, a day off!”

“If you weren’t fired, why did you look like you were? If you got a day off, you should enjoy it properly.”

“I don’t need day offs,” Shadow said firmly.

Wait… Why am I saying this to him? He’s someone who doesn’t know anything about me, who wouldn’t understand even if I explained. Is it because they’ve been seeing each other every day in the same space for a month? Because he’s the one who helped Gongson Su recover his health? Or…because of his peculiar gaze that’s sometimes profound but mostly inscrutable?

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Baek Su-Ryong turned and stared directly at Shadow.

Feeling like her inner thoughts were exposed, she held her breath.

“We’ve been walking for a while, aren’t your legs hurting? Shall we take a break at a nearby tea house?”

“…I’m fine. And didn’t you say you were busy earlier? Shouldn’t you hurry back to the Azure Dragon Academy…”

“Even if I finish this quickly, that geezer will just give me another task. Ah, let’s go there.”

“…As you wish.” Shadow nodded reluctantly.

The two of them entered a tea house and put down their heavy bags. As they ordered tea and stared out the window, people began to whisper around them.

With Shadow’s keen hearing, it wasn’t hard to make out what they were saying.

“Ooh, look over there…”

“Oh my, what a good-looking couple.”

“I’d strike up a conversation with them if this guy wasn’t right next to me…”

“Oh, come on. You think you could blend in with that face of yours?”

“…But honestly, isn’t the guy much better looking?”

“Y-You… Did you always swing that way?”

If there was one good thing about being with Baek Su-Ryong, it was that she no longer had to deal with annoying pests. Hearing that her looks were inferior to his, however, wasn’t exactly pleasant.

She studied Baek Su-Ryong’s face as he sipped his tea. With his fair complexion, sharp jawline, and deep, mesmerizing eyes, it was hard to believe that he was a martial artist. Even his fingers, delicately wrapped around the teacup, were longer and more refined than those of most women.

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I don’t usually pay much attention to men’s looks, but he’s remarkably handsome. Although… he doesn’t seem to realize it himself.

She kept quiet about it, but in the past month, she had to chase away many women who lingered around the outside of the White Dragon Manor, hoping to catch a glimpse of Baek Su-Ryong.

“Hmm? Is there something on my face?”

“…No, nothing,” Shadow denied, looking away.

To be honest, in order to ensure Gongson Su’s safety, she had done a background check on Baek Su-Ryong to ensure that his past was clean. Her investigations revealed that before joining the Azure Dragon Academy, he had lived in the countryside. His father, a completely unknown person in the murim, ran a martial arts academy there, while his mother died shortly after his birth. He had been frail and sickly since childhood, but after a narrow escape from death, he gained enlightenment and was now healthy.

Most importantly, since his arrival at the Azure Dragon Academy, he had done some outrageous things like proclaiming he would lead the academy to victory at the Heavenly Martial Festival and betting over whether his student or Namgoong Su’s would secure top grades for the admission exam.

Of course, she had reported all her findings to Gongson Su. However, the outcome of her report was not what she had in mind.

“Hehe! Is that so? I guess I have to work even harder for Mr. Baek!” Gongson Su laughed, even after hearing about the bet.

Shadow couldn’t understand why he was so nonchalant, but since he was fine with it, there was no need for her to be concerned.

“It’s your first day off, why don’t you enjoy it a bit more? Don’t make that grim face,” Baek Su-Ryong said leisurely, sipping his tea.

Seeing his gentle smile, several women in the teahouse giggled.

“I don’t feel the need to rest,” Shadow replied gruffly, a little irritated.

“…Hmm. Seems like you could use some counseling after all.”

“Counseling?” welcomes you.

Baek Su-Ryong sighed and pointed to Shadow’s expressionless face. “You know, whenever I see you, I get the feeling that you’re Elder Gong’s shadow, just like your name says.”

“Good, that’s exactly my role,” Shadow replied proudly.

Baek Su-Ryong shook his head in disappointment at her answer. Gently placing his teacup on the table, he asked, “Then why were you standing on the street just now, looking all lost like a discarded shadow?”

Shadow slammed her teacup down on the table and gave Baek Su-Ryong a threatening glare. “Please refrain from making such presumptuous remarks.”

“Struck a nerve, did I?” Baek Su-Ryong taunted, unfazed. “Anyway, hypothetically, if Elder Gong commanded you to commit suicide, would you do it?”

“Yes, I would.”

“What if he ordered you to kill me?”

Shadow grinned ominously. “I wouldn’t hesitate.”

To her annoyance, however, Baek Su-Ryong wasn’t the least bit intimidated. Instead, he made a face as if he had predicted all of her replies.

“One last question. How would you feel if one day Elder Gong suddenly passed away?”

“……” Shadow fell silent. She had never entertained such a notion. Though she thought she was prepared for Elder Gong’s eventual demise, imagining it left her mind blank.

Lowering his voice, Baek Su-Ryong asked gravely, “Do you still not get why Elder Gong granted you this day off?”

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“……” Shadow couldn’t answer. Until now, nothing about Gongson Su’s command had struck her as odd.

It’s as I suspected. Baek Su-Ryong clicked his tongue. After a month of observation, he realized that the relationship between Gongson Su and Shadow was very different from the usual protector-protected dynamic. Thankfully, it wasn’t the inappropriate kind of relationship, but something warmer.

“You might think you’re protecting Elder Gong, but from my perspective, you’re the one who’s more dependent on him.”

“How dare…!” Shadow snapped, but immediately fell silent at Baek Su-Ryong’s next words.

“Elder Gong sees you as a daughter.”


“Shadow, I don’t know what you think of me, but I see you as a daughter.”

She couldn’t forget the words Gongson Su had said earlier. Yet, how did this man know a fact she had just learned?

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“Of course, you also think of Elder Gong as a father.”

“H-How…” Shadow stammered, flustered.

Baek Su-Ryong chuckled, lifting his teacup. “I’m quite perceptive, while you’re kind of oblivious. I can easily tell you’re brooding over being granted a day off, thinking you’ve been discarded.”

Shadow grit her teeth. Baek Su-Ryong was right. She was an orphan, and while serving Gongson Su, thoughts like ‘If I had a father, I’d want someone like him’ often crossed her mind.

Baek Su-Ryong glanced at Shadow’s trembling fingers. I’m not surprised she’s this shaken; such emotions must be very foreign to her. All assassins are trained to kill their emotions from a young age, but over time, those feelings tend to resurface, especially if she has spent a lot of time outside that world. How long has she been Gongson Su’s personal bodyguard? Several years?

Well, even if she’s recovered a bit, emotionally she’s still like a child. Her body may be that of an adult, but mentally she’s still dependent on her father figure.

For a while, silence hung between the two.

“I… I…am I doing something wrong?” Shadow finally asked, confused. She looked at Baek Su-Ryong, then at her reflection in the teacup, then back at him again.

“No,” Baek Su-Ryong said firmly. Once, he would’ve deemed human emotions a disqualification for an assassin, but now, he didn’t want to say that. “If Elder Gong didn’t think you were doing the right thing, he would’ve fired you long ago.”

Once again, silence lingered.

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“Think about why Elder Gong gave you a day off, why he forced you to spend some time alone,” Baek Su-Ryong declared with finality, finishing his tea and rising from his seat. He had given enough advice. The rest was up to Shadow. “Let’s go. If I return too late, the headmaster will scold me.”


They left the teahouse, with Baek Su-Ryong walking ahead and Shadow quietly following behind like a puppy.

…This is fucking awkward. Did I do something unnecessary? Baek Su-Ryong wondered, but seeing Shadow’s lost expression when she was alone, he couldn’t help but talk to her.

“In the future, you’ll often see kids who have lost their way or gone astray. As a teacher, you must never ignore them.”

Mae Geuk-Lyom’s words echoed in his mind.

She may not be my student, but since Gongson Su paid me well, I’ll treat it as a bonus service.

“You…” Shadow suddenly spoke, breaking the silence. “Do you know who Elder Gong and I truly are?”

“I can make an educated guess,” Baek Su-Ryong replied. He had heard enough mentions of ‘the Imperial Palace’ and ‘the Emperor’ over the past month to deduce that Gongson Su was a powerful politician. In fact, Gongson Su let slip so often that it would be weirder if he hadn’t noticed.

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“I can’t reveal Elder Gong’s identity, but… I used to be a Royal Guardsman.”

“Mmhmm,” Baek Su-Ryong nodded. The Royal Guard served as both the Emperor’s personal bodyguards and the Empire’s secret police, and its leader was one of the top ten martial artists in the world. Given Shadow’s skills, he wasn’t surprised that she came from there.

“The Royal Guard recruited many war orphans like me and trained us from a young age. They taught me martial arts and sent me on various missions, including infiltration, assassination, and espionage. Then, a few years ago, the Emperor suddenly gave me to Elder Gong,” Shadow explained. It wasn’t a story she would normally tell, but she felt compelled to do so now.

“He ‘gave you’ to Elder Gong?”

Shadow nodded. “I’m no longer officially part of the Royal Guard, and my name was erased from their records. Right now, I’m only Elder Gong’s personal bodyguard. Thus, when Elder Gong passes away… I’ll be free.”

“…That’s quite an outrageous story.”

“You don’t seem very outraged, though.”

“…Were you trying to make a joke? You’re not very good at it,” Baek Su-Ryong chuckled. “Oh, we’re almost there!”

Without realizing it, they were already approaching the main gates of the Azure Dragon Academy. They entered the grounds, laden with baggage.


Suddenly, a loud shriek erupted from the direction of the training grounds.

“Uhm, do you think he’ll be okay here?” Shadow asked worriedly.

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“If the other students bully Elder Gong because of his age…”

“Bullying? Him? Are you serious?” Baek Su-Ryong burst into laughter. “Don’t worry, I’ve taught him well enough.”

He looked toward the source of the screams. For some reason, I just know that my disciples are over there.



Struck in the solar plexus, Cho Mak-Saeng slumped over like a cooked shrimp. For a while, he struggled to breathe, and the world around him blurred into a chaotic kaleidoscope.

“Ugh…!” When his vision finally cleared, Cho Mak-Saeng stared blankly at his opponent, dumbfounded by the ease with which they had incapacitated him.

Without a trace of remorse, Gongson Su looked down at Cho Mak-Saeng. “Oh my, I’m so sorry. I never imagined that you wouldn’t even see that coming…”

Translator’s Note: The transition to third person here is very awkward. I tried my best.

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