In the continent, there were six who dwelled within the light and five within the darkness.
The six powers, who rose up to become the radiant suns of the continent, were called the Six Kings.
Those who lurked within the underground, who spread defeat and fear, were called the Five Demons.
House Zeighart was one of the Six Kings, and ruled over the North.
Raon made eye contact with the head of House Zieghart and widened his round mouth.
‘Is this a good thing…?’
Zieghart didn’t lose out in any way to House Robert, the place that had exploited and killed him in his past life.
His day of revenge could be brought forward if he built up his strength in that environment.
“He is blonde and has red eyes, just like you and me, Father.”
Sylvia smiled gently and stroked Raon’s hair while he agonized over how to act from then on.
Glenn maintained his overwhelming pressure over the others, even as he held Raon up.
Raon’s body shuddered.
It was because a warm and gentle energy entered through his wrist the moment Glenn picked him up.
At the feel of aura, which he had not felt in a long time, he let out a noise before he even realized it.
‘What sort of aura…’
Glenn’s aura was not only warm.
It also contained an enormously high level of purity, like it came straight from nature.
‘It’s warming up my body.’
Raon was much more sensitive to the cold after his reincarnation.
At first, he assumed it was because his body was that of a young child.
Instead, there was actually a major problem with his constitution.
But the moment he received Glenn’s aura, his whole body became warmer—as if sunlight had entered his bloodstream.
Glenn used his aura to check through Raon’s body inch by inch, returning him to Sylvia afterwards.
Raon narrowed his eyes.
There was no way that a warrior like Glenn did not know there was an issue with his body, yet there was no change in his expression.
He could not understand why he maintained that expression, even after finding out his grandson was not normal.
“The child’s name shall be Raon.”
The name Raon means…”
Sylvia’s eyebrows furrowed heavily.
“It literally means that.
Quiet like a shadow.
It means to live without standing out.”
Unlike his gentle use of aura, Glenn’s voice was cold as frost.
Was it fate or something?
His name was the same as in his past life, and the meaning was also the same.
A laugh forced its way out at the absurdity of the situation.
He knew that Glenn was a cold-hearted person, but he did not know that Glenn would have no interest in his sick grandson.
“That is all.”
Glenn brushed off his dark red coat and turned his body away, as if not wanting to be there any longer.
“Wait! Father! Another name, at least…”
Sylvia followed him while carrying Raon, but Glenn did not turn back.
He promptly left the mansion.
It seemed more accurate to say that they were strangers, not father and daughter.
Raon’s lips trembled.
He wanted to stay quiet, but a moan escaped his lips at the chilly wind blowing in from outside.
Sylvia hugged Raon close and buried her face in his body.
It appeared she was barely holding back tears.
‘There is something here.
But I’m too sleepy.
I can’t think.’
Raon slowly closed his eyes, feeling both the cold wind and Sylvia’s warmth skim over his entire body.
‘A child’s body really is very inconvenient…’
* * *
The moon was floating in the middle of the sky.
Raon, who was lying down on the crib, cautiously opened his eyes.
He turned his head to the side.
Sylvia was sleeping on the bed right beside him.
It appeared she was sound asleep, since she did not wake up even when he tapped on the crib.
He let out a small sigh.
The past hundred days had been extremely suffocating.
He became terribly drowsy all the time, and he could not use mana nor train because he was with Sylvia whenever he was awake.
He couldn’t do anything, as there could be a problem if he were to be even gently nudged during his practice.
But his chance had finally arrived.
He got to sleep separately in the warm crib from that day onward, once Helen—the head maid of the bedchambers—offered her advice.
Though she was right beside him, there was no way Sylvia would wake up.
It was the perfect time to begin his practice.
‘Let’s get started…’
Raon slowly exhaled.
‘With the cultivation of the ‘Ring of Fire’.’
The method of the practice, implemented in the continent, was about accumulating aura in the abdomen by taking in mana from nature via breathing.
But the practice for the ‘Ring of Fire’, which he had obtained by fate in his past life, was different.
By rotating the spherical ring around one’s heart, as if one were a sorcerer making a magic circle, one’s physical strength and body would improve.
At the same time, it also increased one’s willpower and sensitivity to mana.
Which meant that, though it could not create aura, the ‘Ring of Fire’ was a cultivation technique that could help improve the mind and body—the perfect conditions for becoming a soldier.
‘That is not the only advantage.’
The ‘Ring of Fire’ was a practice that followed the flow of nature exactly.
Even a soldier at the highest level would not be able to determine that he had practiced the ‘Ring of Fire’.
Even Derus Robert, referred to as the greatest swordsman in the continent, did not know that Raon had acquired the ‘Ring of Fire’.
However, there was a very big issue with Raon’s body.
The mana circuit, where mana flowed through like blood in his veins, was blocked by the extreme coldness in his body.
It was not long ago that he first discovered that fact.
He had tried to use his mana for a brief moment, whilst acting as if he were asleep, but almost shrieked upon feeling the coldness blocking his mana circuit.
Raon slowly took in a breath of air until his lungs ached, and felt the mana spread out in the air.
‘It’s being dispersed.’
Perhaps it was because his basic mana affinity was poor, but he could not feel mana that well, unlike his past self.
He only barely managed to take in the mana, and settled it in his mana circuit after quite some time.
Raon suddenly stopped before he was to start practicing the ‘Ring of Fire’ with the absorbed mana.
‘I feel it, as expected.’
The mana circuit at his shoulder was half blocked by the coldness.
‘No wonder I am constantly drowsy, and so cold.’
The reason he has been sleeping more than twenty hours, and feeling the severe chilliness, was due to this coldness.
‘Is it in nine places?’
He released some mana to scan through his entire body.
There were nine places in the mana circuit that were blocked by the cold.
‘This is severe…’
Unlike that of an adult, a baby’s mana circuit was wide open.
Since the coldness filled it halfway, even while in that state, the entire mana circuit could become blocked as he grew older.
Should that moment come, he would experience cold and pain that would be incomparable to what he experienced currently—or worse, die.
He had to remove the coldness, no matter what, before that happened.
‘I should try to pierce through the coldness in my mana circuit, using the ‘Ring of Fire’.’
Though his practice with the ‘Ring of Fire’ would be considerably delayed, the priority for the moment was to survive.
Raon slowly absorbed the mana as he took a deep breath.
The absorbed mana cut into thin, sharp, awl-like pieces and pierced the coldness blocking his mana circuit.
As if it was a frozen waterfall chipped away at by a fork, a tiny bit of the coldness dropped off.
Can’t I make use of this?’
He could release the coldness as it was, but it seemed a waste—especially considering the high purity of it.
Raon guided the coldness with the natural mana, following the flow of the ‘Ring of Fire’.
The natural mana and the coldness that was blocking the mana circuit bonded together as one to circulate through the mana circuit throughout his body.
‘I did it!’
Raon clenched his fist.
It was at a much slower speed when compared to in his past life, but he could use mana via the flow of the ‘Ring of Fire’ without issue.
He felt the cold air drawn forth by the mana settling in his body.
‘It must be because it’s a child’s body.’
It was somewhat fortunate, as he would not have been able to circulate mana at all because of the coldness if it wasn’t a child’s wide-open mana circuit.
‘Next I should… Huh? Already?’
As if his body was saying it was tired after using its brain and strength a little, he started to feel sleepy.
His eyelids lowered like curtains, completely against his will.
Raon groaned angrily and closed his eyes.
As he fell asleep, and the moon hung in the sky moved to just about three fingers-width apart, a figure appeared outside the door.
The person who entered without opening the door was the head of House Zieghart, Glenn.
Glenn gazed at Raon, who was asleep, and reached out his hand.
A light as pale as the sunset bloomed out of his clenched hand.
Raon’s forehead, which was crumpled due to the coldness in his mana circuit, smoothed out like velvet.
* * *
[Translator – Lkjgh]
[Proofreader – Harley]
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* * *
Raon gave a soft sigh.
‘As expected, it isn’t easy.’
There was no time to work on the ‘Ring of Fire’ since his waking hours were short.
Even then, he was mostly around other people.
But considering the progress was delayed by the short, one- to two-hour practice time and the coldness, the outcome was surprisingly decent.
It was as if someone was helping him.
“Raon, shall we move a bit more today?”
Sylvia bent over and shook the baby rattle.
It appeared as though she thought he liked the rattle, as he continuously reacted to it.
‘Playing with her is tiring.’
Frankly speaking, it was more tiring having to play with Sylvia or the maids than it was tolerating the coldness.
Though, it couldn’t be helped.
After all, his was an adult’s consciousness inside a child’s body.
It was just as Raon bobbed his head and was about to crawl towards Sylvia…
The door opened smoothly and an unfamiliar old man with silver hair entered the room.
He was wearing frayed and shabby clothes, but his eyes were as clear as the river.
Sylvia ran to the door with a bright smile on her face, as if she recognised the old man.
“It has been a long time.”
Raon babbled in surprise before he realized it.
He recognized the old man from the title of Saint, and because of his beggar-like clothes.
‘The Ragged Saint!’
The Ragged Saint Patrick was one of the most famous healers in the continent.
Though his holy powers and medical experience extended beyond the sky, he was a vagabond and difficult to find—even when one searched for him.
Just call me ‘Uncle’, like before.”
Patrick chuckled and approached the bed Raon was lying on.
“I heard that you had a child, and popped over on my way by.
Is this the child?”
“Oho! Blonde with red eyes? Is he not the first since you?”
Isn’t he beautiful?”
Sylvia stroked Raon’s hair and beamed.
“That’s what I mean.
He is not even a year old and looks pretty.
Completely different from a wild guy like Glenn.”
Patrick chuckled and wagged his finger in front of Raon.
“What’s his name?”
His face wrinkled up at the name.
“His name can’t mean ‘shadow’?”
“Whatever is Glenn thinking, naming the child ‘shadow’?”
Patrick referred to House Zieghart’s head as just ‘Glenn’.
‘So the rumor that Glenn Zieghart and the Ragged Saint are friends is true, then.’
Raon smacked his lips as he looked at the broom that was Patrick’s hair.
Having lived as an assassin, he did have quite a bit of information regarding the affairs of the world.
It seemed that the information regarding the considerable closeness of Glenn Zieghart and the Ragged Saint was true.
“Raon, allow this old man to look at you for a bit.”
Patrick gently massaged Raon’s shoulders and arms, legs and chest area.
He chewed on his lips with a grave expression on his face, and finally spread out a white light.
Upon basking in that light, a burning energy filled up his body—if he had entered a hot spring.
Patrick turned his body after a low sigh.
“How is he? He is more sensitive to the cold, and grows slowly compared to the other children…”
Sylvia walked towards Patrick, her hands clasped together.
“It is the Curse of the Frost.”
Patrick knit his brows.
“C-curse? What do you mean by that?!”
“It is not an actual curse.
It is the constitution where an intense coldness blocks the mana circuit.”
“It is a constitution rarely seen, typically among young girls.
It is my first time seeing a young boy born with the Curse of the Frost.”
He surveyed Raon’s body with an odd look in his eyes.
“There should be no major problems as his mana circuit is open, but he may experience serious chill and pain when the mana circuit starts to close up—that is, once he reaches four years of age.”
Sylvia chewed her lips uneasily.
‘I can fix it on my own, so don’t worry.’
Raon shook his head slightly.
Though it would take some time, he would be able to remove the coldness by using the ‘Ring of Fire’.
There was no actual need to get treated.
“There are a total of nine chunks of coldness blocking the mana circuit.
That is a number that even I have not seen in the young girls that I have treated before.
And as each of the chunks of coldness are very potent, there is a possibility of mental slowness should a forceful attempt to drill through it be made.”
“Wh-what about the method to cure it?!”
Sylvia grabbed onto Patrick’s sleeve, looking as if she might faint at any minute.
“Let him drink diluted elixir, containing the properties of fire, once a day.
Let him bask under the sunlight for two hours at noon, when the sun is at its highest.”
“Will he recover if we do that?”
“As I have said, this is not an illness.
It is a matter of constitution.
He shall not return to heaven’s bosom at a young age, at the very least, if you follow my directions.
When Patrick cut his words short, everyone swallowed hard as he took his time answering.
“Because the coldness will eat at the child’s constitution and strength, it will be difficult for him to become a swordsman, even after treatment.”
“That does not matter.”
Sylvia fiercely shook her head, as if to say that it was all fine, as long as he did not die.
“It is a relief that you think that way.
Anyway, this child should…”
Just as Patrick was about to give additional advice, the door opened with a knock.
“Please excuse me.”
A middle-aged man wearing posh formal attire entered the room and bowed his head.
“My lord is looking for the Saint.”
“Let him know that I will find him later.”
“He has said to come find him immediately.”
He has such bad timing.”
Patrick clicked his tongue, and turned his head.
I shall come by again later.”
Patrick left the room with the middle-aged man after gazing at Raon for a moment longer.
‘The Curse of Frost…’
Raon rubbed his fingers.
‘I finally know.’
The identity of the coldness that had tormented him had been revealed.
Only, nothing would really change.
He would cure the Curse of Frost and develop an incomparably outstanding physical body and affinity for mana before he became an adult, and he would do it by continuing to practice the ‘Ring of Fire’ and removing the coldness at the same time.
The moment the door shut, Sylvia hugged Raon and scrubbed at her face.
It was how she acted when anxious.
“Mommy promises to save you.
Whatever it takes.”
Her eyes, which were always smiling, filled up with tears.
As Sylvia’s trembling was conveyed to him, his heart felt suffocated.
It felt as if a rough wire was scratching his heart.
Though he did not know what the emotion was, he did not want to continue feeling that tingling sensation.
Which was why—
With his small hands, Raon wiped away the tears welled up in Sylvia’s eyes.
Sylvia narrowed her eyes, and the maids gave a short shriek.
She lowered her head and caressed Raon’s hand, wet with her tears, for some time. Suddenly, she jumped to her feet.
“I must go find my father.”
The hesitation on Sylvia’s face was gone.
* * *
For the first time since Raon was born, Sylvia made her way to the place where the head of House Zieghart resided.
The way there was wide open, as the Saint had passed by earlier.
“The head of house is currently with…”
She forcefully pushed past the attendants and maids blocking her way and knocked on the door of the audience chamber.
Thump! Thump! Thump! Thump! Thump!
The enormous door started to open after five punch-like knocks.
“What is it?”
Glenn, who was sitting opposite Patrick and having tea, frowned.
“I beg you.”
Sylvia clenched her teeth hard and knelt.
“Please save Raon!”
Though there were attendants behind her, she lowered her head to the ground as if she were a slave submitting to her master.
Glenn watched Sylvia bow her head without batting an eye.
“You must have heard, yes? That it will be difficult for him to live as a soldier, even if his constitution were to be treated.”
Glenn knew of Raon’s condition, as if he had already heard of it.
“It will be fine if we do not raise him as a soldier!”
“For one with the name of Zieghart to not become a soldier? Why should I give help to a child without any value?”
“Because he is your grandson.”
“That grandson is the child you brought back after leaving the family, after saying that you were going to cut all ties with us.”
Sylvia’s trembling eyes were fixed to the floor.
“The only thing I can do for the child is give him the name of Zieghart.
Once is enough for any act of foolishness.”
Glenn’s face was cold, as if covered by a sheet of ice.
“Zieghart is a place where only the strongest survive.
It is better to not have such a weak grandson.
And won’t you be able to obtain the elixir yourself?”
“The elixir in the family repository would be much more effective than obtaining it from outside…”
“Those are for the ones that improve the family name.
There is nothing for a child who does nothing, even if he is my grandson.
Get out, now.”
Sylvia dug her fingers into her palm as if to draw blood, and hit her head against the floor again.
‘I cannot back down!’
If she were alone, she would have returned.
She would have left without turning back before, due to her pride.
But she now had a child she had to protect.
She had to hang on until the end, for Raon.
“Drag her out.”
Soldiers in black stepped out from behind the pillar at Glenn’s stern orders.
They grabbed onto both of Sylvia’s arms and dragged her to the door.
Sylvia screamed Raon’s name until the end, but Glenn turned his head away as if he wasn’t interested.
Patrick, who was observing everything, let out a sigh.
“Your acting is good, considering you were the one who called for me to check on your grandson’s condition.
Is it that hard to treat her honestly?”
“You’re being unnecessarily noisy.
Just speak of his state, in detail.”
“As I have said, the coldness is blocking the mana circuit in nine places.
Although it is fine now, it will become more dangerous as he grows older.”
Patrick sipped his tea and continued.
“But I do not think there will be a major issue, thanks to you pushing away the coldness with your aura.”
Glenn and Patrick did not know that Raon was practicing the ‘Ring of Fire’, even though they had personally checked his body.
The ‘Ring of Fire’ was a method from a thousand years ago, and did not make use of the lower abdomen.
It was difficult to identify the ‘Ring of Fire’, even if one could be said to have absolute abilities.
“Young girls with the symptoms of the Curse of Frost make use of coldness of the highest purity and can become excellent sorcerers or swordsmen, but it is different for young boys with warmer energies.
As I said, it is close to impossible for your youngest grandson to become a soldier.”
“It does not matter if he does not become a soldier.
As long as he lives.”
“You browbeat Sylvia, and now you say it does not matter? Even the Destructive King of the North must love his grandson.”
Patrick chuckled heartily.
Glenn ignored Patrick and drew his finger in the air.
As the space cracked open in a cross(十) shape, a golden dimension opened up.
Three wooden boxes popped out of the fiery space.
“I assume you know how to do it?”
He spoke as he passed the boxes over to Patrick.
“Ah… This is why I do not bother with things like Houses.”
Patrick sighed and accepted the wooden boxes.
“Take care of him.”
Glenn’s sharp voice rang low, to a strange extent.
“Don’t get me wrong, but why did you name the child Raon? There are much better names out there, and out of everything it is ‘shadow’…”
“‘Shadow’ is not the only meaning of the name ‘Raon’.”
He shook his head and watched the golden sun, floating high up in the sky.
“A thousand years ago, it meant something entirely opposite.”
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