Shall we give it our all, fighting, or something like that? I looked at the members and tilted my head.
One by one, they stood up as if their business was done.

“I’ll head back.
See you at the competition venue this Saturday.”

“I’ll see you at the Arcus Center.”

Ah… Is it already disbanding?

Everyone prepared to leave, but I didn’t particularly want to go home.
If I ran into Persis, I would feel empty.

I’m an official member, so I can sleep here if I want to, right?

“I’ll stay at Nine.”

There are no classes today, and not only Persis but Ellen, Joan, and Floa are not part of Nine, so it should be okay to stay out for the night.

When I said that, the members who were about to leave focused on me.

Diego asked in a nonchalant tone.


“Just because I feel like it.”

Instead, Isabella’s eyes sparkled.

“Then I’ll stay here and sleep too!”

Diego flatly refused.

“No, you can’t.”

“What’s the problem? I slept here before!”

“You can’t when May Flotina is here.”

What did I do… I glared at Diego.

Isabella shook her body and pleaded.

“Ah- I want to sleep! I want to be with Young Duke! Brother, let me sleep!”

Clovin, who was watching this, seemed to have had enough and intervened in a nonchalant tone.

“Princess, Sir Flotina is in a relationship.
It’s none other than Lady Stella, the beloved of Marquis Nazret.”


Isabella looked at me with sad eyes.

No, we’re not dating, right? I glared at Clovin and then turned my head to Isabella.

“No, that’s not true.
We’re not like that.”

Upon hearing this, Clovin burst into anger.

“Don’t lie! I know about your relationship with Lady Stella!”

“I’m the person involved, and I’m saying it’s not true.
Why do you keep insisting I’m right?”

But he didn’t even listen to my words.

“If you’re in a relationship with someone like Lady Stella, shouldn’t you proudly announce it? Is it right to hide your relationship to try and mess with other women?!”

“Lord Penso… What kind of imagination do you have?”

It was so absurd that I burst into laughter.

Clovin clenched his fist in anger.

“To deny it until the end… You’re such trash!”

He shouted in anger and declared.

“I’ll also stay at Nine tonight.”

Today, let’s see who will be by Lady Nazret’s side.
I was even more bewildered by Clovin’s determination.

I can’t explain that it’s not like that because Stella is with me… Isabella was still acting clingy, whether I allowed it or not.

“I want to sleep… I want to sleep.”

Diego covered his face with one hand and sighed.
Then he made a very dissatisfied expression and made a decision.

“Today, all the members will spend the night at Nine.”


Isabella happily shook her body, and Galley, Velta, and Jed unexpectedly got to stay out for the night.

* * *

Nine turned out to be a better place than I had anticipated.
If I was hungry, the chef would prepare delicious food for me, the bathroom was always clean, and they even provided personal space.
If I needed clothes, I could order them and have them delivered.

The best part is that Diego, the chairman, bears all the expenses.

But the members don’t indulge themselves.
It’s because they fear Diego.

But I am different.
I indulged in luxuries here that I couldn’t afford at home.

“Bring me pajamas to wear today and an outfit to go out in tomorrow.
The most expensive clothes made of the finest fabric.
Bring five sets, just in case.”

This should be considered modest indulgence.

“Yes, Master.”

After placing my clothes order with the butler, I thought to myself as I descended the stairs.

This place seems perfect for running away, doesn’t it?

I felt like I understood why so many noble children wanted to come to Nine.
There’s no place as mentally, physically, and financially free as Nine! It gives you a sense of belonging.

I had the urge to run away starting from today.

But as soon as I entered the main room and saw Diego, that thought vanished completely.

“How can I live with that human…?”

Diego was alone, playing billiards in the main room.
Holding the cue, he lowered his body and focused his gaze on the balls.
He lightly hit the white ball, drawing a calculated trajectory and hitting the other balls.

Clack, clack, thud…

Oh… I inwardly exclaimed.
Of course, as someone who knows nothing about billiards, I couldn’t tell if he was good or not.

Diego picked up the liquor glass on the mini table next to the billiard table and drank the tequila-based cocktail.

He didn’t even glance at me, but he knew I had entered and spoke to me first.

“Why did you come in here? I told you to stay in your room, didn’t I?”

He had ordered me to stay in my room to avoid meeting Isabella.
I casually disobeyed his orders.

“It’s boring to just stay in the room.
It’s still daylight, and I won’t be able to go home until the next morning.”

“You’re quite audacious, Young Lord.
I don’t know what you believe in to be so audacious.”

“You can trust me.”

Diego put down the cue stick.
The liquor glass was still in his hand.

“Do you know why I cornered you?”

“The reason doesn’t matter.
Any excuse for tormenting someone is just an unpleasant excuse, no matter who says it.”

“Oh, am I the perpetrator?”

He smirked for a moment and then listened to me as if my words were amusing.

“Then, did you think I was the victim?”

“If we look at it strictly, I am the victim.”

“Do you not know the meaning of ‘victim’? The term ‘victim’ refers to someone who has suffered harm.”

He took a slow step closer.
Whether his destination was May Flotina or his leather shoes, his gaze was fixed on me.

“…I suffered harm.”

What harm did he suffer? I couldn’t understand it at all.
Did I mix up my words with a drunken person? I regretted it.

“How did I harm you? Did I mistakenly accuse you of being a nonexistent thief?”

“Like that?”

“If that’s the case?”

“Do you think you have the qualities of a guardian?”

I confidently answered.


I would never just stand by and watch while a comrade is hurt.
I am ready to sacrifice myself to help my comrades, if necessary.

Is that all? Since the age of ten, I have been studying and training to become a guardian.

“One day, while the knights of the 3rd Battalion were hunting monsters, they encountered Gliu-Gon.”

As usual, the knights entrusted the task to the Crown Prince, and he ended up facing Gliu-Gon alone.

“At first, my brother suggested that we take down Gliu-Gon together because he thought it would be difficult for him alone.
It was our first time dealing with an S-class monster.”

The knights agreed, but somehow the Crown Prince found himself facing Gliu-Gon alone.

“Those damn knights were so scared that they hid from a distance and just watched.
They were knights sworn to protect the empire under the guidance of the Guardian Deity, but they cowered in front of a powerful S-class monster.
They knew very well that Gliu-Gon was an S-class monster with shape-shifting abilities, making it difficult to kill.”

I took a step back until my back hit the wall.
I couldn’t retreat any further.

“My brother thought that with his abilities, he could defeat Gliu-Gon, so he encouraged me to help him, but I could only apologize without being able to assist him.”

He slammed his hand against the wall, making a loud thud that resonated in my ears.

My ears were almost crushed by his large hand.

“They just watched as my brother’s right arm was cut off.
They didn’t come forward because they were scared of a single monster.”

Just moments before his death, the Crown Prince was saved by Marquis Nazret, a member of the 2nd Battalion who happened to be passing by.
It was infuriating as the younger brother of one of the knights who didn’t step up even when their comrade was injured.

Diego looked down at me, completely swallowed by his own shadow.

“Since then, I’ve despised the Guardian Knights.
More precisely, those who have become Guardian Knights without the qualifications.
Or those who are trying to become one.”

His brows furrowed.

“When I see those kinds of people, I want to kill them all.”

His anger flickered in his deep green eyes.
I could truly sense the rage.

“So… are you saying that you tormented me because I don’t have the qualifications to become a Guardian Knight, yet I aspired to become one?”

“And what if I did?”

“You must know whether or not I have the qualifications, Your Highness.”

“Do you think you have the qualifications?”

I confidently answered.


I would never stand by and watch as my comrades got hurt.
I am prepared to sacrifice myself to help them.

Is that all? Since I was ten years old, I have been studying and training tirelessly to become a Guardian Knight.
I have acquired knowledge and built my physical strength.
I have mastered the basics of swordsmanship.

But now, as if all of that meant nothing, Diego tightened his grip around my throat.


He lifted me off the ground in an instant.
With his tall stature, we were eye-to-eye.

“W-What are you doing…! Let go of me!”

I struggled to free myself from his grasp, but his grip on my clothes was unyielding.

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