Yi-Gyeol’s eyes shook violently, deep confusion settling within his innocent, clear eyes.
“I also know that your body is fake and was made by Sethian.”
Congruent with Yi-Gyeol’s confusion, Zair actually should’ve been impervious to his body’s secret. As the use of golden art itself is a sensitive matter, only the small number of magicians who assisted with the casting at the time knew about Yi-Gyeol’s body, including Roa, the tower master, and Eda, his successor. The fact that someone else other than them learned about it indicates that one of them has been secretly dealing with Zair, but he thought that Yi-Gyeol – who had neither knowledge of the golden art nor the magic tower – was merely confused about the current situation, and would be impossible to figure out such a thing.
Zair’s hand touched the edge of Yi-Gyeol’s exposed neck. He faintly smiled upon seeing the marks that were noticeably fewer and lighter than when he had last seen him.
“Once Sethian’s position as the Crown Prince is lifted, the imprint on the mana stone will also disappear. At that time, your body which was created with the help of the mana stone will be gone without a trace as well.”
He thought that Yi-Gyeol was already aware of this fact, but he didn’t seem to know, either Sethian was being cautious or thought that there wasn’t any need to tell him. A precarious voice leaked between his lips, which were trembling as much as his confused eyes.
“What will happen to me when my body disappears…?”
The corners of Zair’s mouth intensely rose even more.
“Like any other soul, you’ll be wandering without a body forever.”
Yi-Gyeol’s body staggered greatly, as if unable to hold out. Holding him as if to support him, Zair lightly patted him on the back, then untied the coarse rope from his wrist.
“His Majesty knew that Sethian was plotting something to deal with us one by one. I didn’t want my brothers to die in his hands, so I was helping His Majesty in investigating the matter. But I didn’t expect him to have already killed Mendel on the scheduled day of his arrest.”
Saying with a regretful tone of voice, he pulled Yi-Gyeol’s wrist which had been marred by the rope in front of him, and rubbed it. A red line, much clearer than the traces Sethian left around Yi-Gyeol’s neck, is engraved on his wrists like a handcuff. Childishly, a never been felt sense of joy came to him, thinking that he had left a deeper trace on him than Sethian.
“If I’d let things be, you would have been accused of being Sethian’s accomplice and got subjected to all kinds of torture and harsh interrogation. To the point where you’ll beg them to just kill you.”
Taking advantage of his mental weakness, he said in a grave tone, and Yi-Gyeol’s subdued eyes trembled with fear. Tears started to form and slid down the corners of Yi-Gyeol’s eyes, passed along his cheeks, and fell on the back of Zair’s hand, which was holding Yi-Gyeol’s wrist. The feeling of warm liquid spreading on his skin felt much better than he expected.
He gently wiped away Yi-Gyeol’s tears and changed his voice to a caring one.
“I’m glad I was able to get you out at the right time. Once Sethian got stripped of his title, I will do every means to create a new body for you.”
Only then did Yi-Gyeol raise his eyes and look at him. Confusion remains, but his eyes were mixed with vague expectations and conflicts.
“Then my owner… Is it going to be Zair-nim now? I’m… I don’t want to die and I don’t want to wander in the soul state as well.”
Hearing the straightforward and naive question made a laugh automatically come out of Zair inwardly. And before he knew it, the hand he was holding was now grabbing his own tightly and shaking pitifully.
Even a highly strung person who hides and cautiously guards against others will have no choice but to show their true self in the sudden face of trouble. Moreover, if that person’s life is threatened, he will have no choice but to rely entirely and cling to the person who’ll try to save him.
Joo Yi-Gyeol’s reaction, as a typical human being, is just as he predicted. A weak and vulnerable human being who can only rely on Sethian to live. Acquiescing no matter how Sethian treated him just because he was the owner of his body. And because his side is the only place he can be.
Otherwise, if he even had a certain degree of feelings for Sethian, he would have held on to him(Z) by now and asserted Sethian’s innocence or asked what his state was. However, he was more anguished about his own safety than that. It could be said to be rather selfish, but it is also very humane.
That’s why he was someone much easier to control.
Because the place he will be, is Yi-Gyeol’s biggest weakness and center of gravity.
He doesn’t know what his original body was like, but according to Eda, it could only be in an indisposed state. And as if to support their supposition, Yi-Gyeol never stepped out of Sethian’s bedroom and always greeted him like an anxious puppy eagerly waiting for his owner’s return.
He thought that he might have to change the way he dealt with him if he had any feelings for Sethian, but fortunately, he responded as expected. That being the case, all he needs to do is change the place where he is.
There are two ways to brainwash humans.
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Violence. Fear. And Trust built on affection.
He thinks that both of the first two would work well for Yi-Gyeol, but if he had to choose, then the choice where his mentality can be preserved for a long time is the much better choice. Unlike other dead souls, ‘living spirits’, or a living soul’s mentality, instead of having an enormous amount of information, tends to be delicate enough to affect the physical body. Thus, he can only be useful for a long time if he’s mentally stable.
Zair inwardly laughed at Sethian to his heart’s content.
He had even given the spirit he had taken a liking to its own body and possessively kept him in his bedroom, but in the end, the only thing that mattered to the soul is the place where he was. For Joo Yi-Gyeol, it doesn’t matter who his owner is.
Sethian’s appearance, which was conveyed in his head through the crow, was something that Zair could never have imagined. Not only was he obsessed with Yi-Gyeol to the point of leaving marks on him, but his eyes were also strangely affectionate. It’s quite thrilling to think that those eyes that have never let anyone enter before will be distorted with anger.
Joo Yi-Gyeol’s place will now be by his side.
He doesn’t think Sethian will be completely eliminated because of this. After all, he is the Crown Prince and the only child born to the Empress, the only extent would be exile at best.
‘The Crown Prince title most likely won’t be retained as well.’
Once that happens, Yi-Gyeol’s body would disappear, but before that, he would have to ascend to the throne first.
All preparations needed have already been completed by him.
Zair took Yi-Gyeol to his private chamber. It was a place that he’d never let anyone else enter, but he thought that he could give it up if it was Yi-Gyeol. It was somewhat of his competitive mentality toward Sethian but more so to make Yi-Gyeol adapt to him quickly.
The place where Yi-Gyeol stayed is the deepest room within Sethian’s private spaces and only personally permitted personnel can access it. As he was previously staying in such a place, he thought that Yi-Gyeol would be relieved if he were provided the same space here. He’s pretty sure that he still has some anxiety that he would be thrown away.
Yi-Gyeol looked around the room which has more furniture than Sethian’s bedroom and had a visibly relieved expression on his face. Zair gently stroked his shoulder and patted him lightly.
“You will stay here with me from now on. It may be inconvenient, but you might get caught and taken away if you stay somewhere else, so I hope you understand.”
With a hint of certainty in his words, he looked at him with a small smile.
“Thank you for looking after me like this….”
Rather than a bright smile, Yi-Gyeol’s innocent red eyes still caught his eye. Affectionately wiping the corners of his eyes with his fingertips, Zair turned his gaze to the white butterfly floating in the air.
“Just in case, I will leave the guards outside instead of the servants. If you need anything, tell her.”
She’s been watching him for three days, so if he does anything suspicious, she’ll notice it right away. Perhaps recognizing Zair’s innermost thoughts, the white butterfly flapped its wings vigorously as if to show it off. As soon as Yi-Gyeol said, ‘Please take care of me,’ the butterfly responded the same way.
Yi-Gyeol fixed his gaze on the white butterfly and then said with a calm expression as if he had now completely relaxed.
“It’s amazing. It used to be impossible for me to talk to them even in my soul state, but now I can see them even with my eyes open.”
“A living soul is different from normal souls. As dead souls, they cannot see or hear living souls. On the other hand, you, who is a living being, can do anything.”
Pondering over the details left by the first owner of the magic tower, Zair stared into Yi-Gyeol’s eyes.
“Not only that, but your eyes, which were made with a body based on the information from your soul, have the same vision as they had when you’re wandering around in the form of a butterfly. You can also hear their voices. Unlike dead souls, you are very… Perfect.”
He’s a soul that he covets to the point that his mouth waters. Other spirits occupied created bodies or possessed persons suitable for them but did not sustain these advantages at all. Even if a soul passes right in front of their eyes, they can’t even recognize it.
In comparison, Yi-Gyeol was the perfect specimen without a single flaw.
As long as he slowly but surely brainwashes him without being impatient….
Recalling the end of his ambition, Zair covered the bizarrely twisted smile with a hand, avoiding Yi-Gyeol’s gaze, which seemed to be burning on his own. The moment his gaze deviated, he didn’t realize that a different light settled within the gentle eyes that were boring at him.