On the third day Patt joined Reidy for morning training, he asked him, "Reidy, what's with that weird metal wheel with a chair strapped on it in the corner of the yard? Is it a toy for Alisa and Howard?"

Reidy shook his head and said, "That's not a toy. It's something I used before for my training. It's not like we don't let the kids play with it though. They simply just don't want to."

"A training equipment? I don't see how it could help with training," said Patt as he gave it another look, trying to imagine how it could be used for training.

"I used to play around in the mountains and forests a lot when I was small. There was this one time when I accidentally knocked on a bees' nest. As expected, they began to swarm around me. Swinging a branch around in a terrified manner, I managed to kill quite a few of them. Despite that, I still got stung by many more and had sores all over my body, only managing to recover after a full month. Because of that incident, I've developed a phobia of sorts. Stop laughing, that's what master told me," said Reidy, unhappy with Patt's reaction.

"Alright, sorry. My bad... Please continue your story," apologized Patt.

"Before, I used to learn swordsmanship from my father. When I came over to Morante City, I also got some lessons from Uncle Charlando, the owner of the Red Grace Inn. Don't be fooled by his limp; he's actually a gold-ranked swordsman. When I'm only practicing sword techniques, I would have no problem. However, when I actually spar with someone, the moment I see the gleaming sword coming my way, I will unconsciously be reminded of the shiny tails of the bees that gave me so much grief, causing me to uncontrollably close my eyes and swing my sword around randomly. At that point, I would have already forgotten all the techniques I learned. My father and uncle both came to the conclusion that I wasn't swordsman material..."

"But you seem to have pretty good skills now, don't you? I didn't see any sign of that behavior when I sparred with you yesterday..." Patt couldn't imagine how the current Reidy still had any of those bad habits. During the sparring match yesterday, he was surprised and quite dissatisfied with the fact that a three star iron rank like himself was evenly matched with Reidy, who was only a three star bronze rank. Additionally, instead of closing his eyes, Reidy had both of them wide open and seemed like he was paying attention to every single move Patt was making. That made Patt doubt the truth of the story he just heard from Reidy.

"Of course, it's no longer an issue for me. I've been treated by master using that training machine. The big metal wheel is called a hollow rotor, which is fitted with a metal spinning chair," explained Reidy.

"Hollow rotor? Spinning chair? These two things managed to treat that bad habit of yours? Do tell me how they managed that," said Patt curiously.

"Alright. When I first started to train with master, he discovered that bad habit of mine and asked me about how it came to be. I told him about the incident with the bees and he theorized that it a phobia had developed within my psyche that causes me to unconsciously close my eyes every time I felt threatened. He called something along the lines of 'ostrich mentality'. Don't ask me what an 'ostrich' is, I don't know that either. According to master, it's a kind of bird that lives in desert that hides its head into sand every time it detects a threat, believing that as long as it can't see the enemy, it would be safe. Do you think there's actually a stupid bird like that?"

"Then what happened after that?" asked Patt impatiently.

"Master said that it would take quite some time to treat the phobia through conventional counseling to slowly reshape my mentality. But he also said that there was a quicker method that made one feel extremely horrible, but would allow one to gain a unique visual ability that lets one see fast-moving objects as if they were moving slowly. As long as I perceive them as slow, I wouldn't feel nearly as threatened, so the instinct to close my eyes won't kick in," explained Reidy.

"So you chose the quicker way?"

"Of course. I decided to do that right away. After that, master had someone make that contraption there. All my life, I've never experienced something more dreadful than being in that chair. It took me almost two whole months to be able to get used to the sensation. After that, master said I was successfully treated and dumped honey all over my body before releasing a couple of bees for me to strike down with my sword. At first, I was terrified. But when the bees came at me, I noticed that they approached at a snail's pace. I could even see every flap of their wings clearly and managed to easily kill each and every one of them."

Initially, Reidy showed a pained expression when he talked about the treatment process, but he started to sound more eager when he reached the part where he killed the bees.

"Master said that the ability I developed was called dynamic vision. It allows me to perceive fast-moving objects at a slowed rate when I focus. When I sparred against you yesterday, I could see each and every one of your sword strikes clearly and could parry every single one of them without breaking much of a sweat. That's why a bronze rank like me was able to match up to a three star iron rank like you, bringing our sparring match to a draw," said Reidy with a satisfied expression.

Patt looked at the hollow rotor and spinning chair and was instantly moved. "Then Reidy, if I use that chair to train like you did, will I develop dynamic vision as well?"

Slightly stunned, Reidy said, "You should be able to. Master said that this equipment was built precisely for normal people to develop dynamic vision. If you want to try it out, I'll go ask master for permission. However, let me warn you that when you first start, you'll feel so horrible that you might prefer death than sitting in that chair. Are you sure that you don't want to reconsider?"

Patt shook his head and said, "I've made up my mind. As long as I can have the same ability as you, I'm sure my skills will definitely rise and I will be able to better protect master. I think I'll go ask him myself."

"No, there's no need. I'll ask for you," said Reidy excitedly as he turned and ran towards the house entrance.

Patt touched the equipment and thought, these two things look so simple. I wonder if it's really as horrible as Reidy had described... He couldn't just be trying to dissuade me from using it, could he?

Without delay, Reidy came back and said happily, "Brother Patt, master has already agreed to let you use it. But he said that you have to endure it no matter how terrible you feel and must absolutely not give up halfway."

Patt said, "I promise that I'll never give up. No, I'll even swear it."

"Alright, then would you like to start now? Master has said that as long as you train the way I did, you'll definitely be able to develop dynamic vision," said Reidy, who looked like he was about to enjoy a good show.

Maybe it's just my imagination, thought Patt.

At that time, the sound of a horse's galloping hooves could be heard near the yard. Kelly had returned from the business sector from a shopping trip.

Reidy and Patt went over to help her carry her stuff into the storeroom.

"Miss Kelly, what are we having for lunch today?" Reidy asked.

"I'm going to make steak, fish soup, salad, fruit pudding as well as Alisa's favorite chicken drumsticks."

"Alright. You should make one less portion of steak. Otherwise, it'll go to waste," said Reidy.

"Why? Is the young master not coming back for lunch?" she asked.

Reidy smiled and said, "Nope, it's not the young master. You'll know soon......"


As night descended, a veil of silence blanketed the land. Even the frequent croaking of frogs around the Moon Lake was significantly quieter.

Lorist got up and stood by the window of his room, looking straight at the night view of the Moon Lake. A chilly breeze lifted the curtains, making it seem like they were dancing under the illumination of the silver moon.

The sandglass on a table nearby showed that it was around two in the morning. Despite that, Lorist had no desire whatsoever to sleep. After pondering for a bit, he decided to go take a walk by the Moon Lake to calm himself down.

The 8th month has already passed and it was currently the 1st day of the 9th month. The academy semester break was officially here.

Few days back, President Peterson sent a box containing notes worth 30 gold coins to Lorist and thanked once again the instructors as well as the assistant instructors for their help. His son Dorsedaus has successfully managed to awaken his battleforce along with the last batch of students.

Academy Head Levins also issued the promised reward of 1000 gold Fordes to the instructor team. Coupled with President Peterson's gift, there was at least 4000 gold coins in total. As the head instructor, Lorist collected 300 gold coins. Hughes, Marlin and Anfya each had a bonus of 200. The 24 other instructors each got a hundred gold coins while the assistant instructors got 50 each. The remaining gold coins were used for a celebration at the Red Grace Inn where everyone engaged in fervent merrymaking. Lorist was forced to drink so much that he puked over three times.

As for the aftermath of the duels, Lorist finally secured his title as the Silver Undefeated the moment he got his 3000th win. When the dueling event was finally over, the academy administration had Lorist's physical proportions measured for the life-sized statue they were going to commission for him. During the next semester, his statue would be erected within the academy, forever immortalizing the legend of Iron Locke the Silver Undefeated.

In a few more days, Els finally wrapped up his betting pool. By that time, Lorist will finally receive the 26 thousand gold Fordes he was entitled to, causing him to have a grand total of almost 30 thousand gold Fordes. In Morante, a person with that kind of money could already be considered a tycoon who would be able to live in luxury for tens of years even if they stayed jobless.

When the next semester comes during the 10th month, there would be nothing for Lorist to do at the academy, meaning that he could use that time to enjoy his life at home or go adventuring with a couple of friends as he has done in the past. Even though the semester break had finally arrived, Lorist still felt a heavy burden deep within his heart, causing him to be unable to relax. He didn't have any appetite and started having sleepless nights.

The silver moonlight made the lakewater glisten. Lorist sat on a large rock by the bank and stared at the moon's reflection as he fell into deep thought...

Indeed, he was merely trying to run away. During the past few days, he could still use the dueling event and the battleforce awakening course as an excuse to postpone the decision to return to his homeland. But now that everything was settled, he had no choice but to face the facts squarely.

Why should I return to inherit the dominion? That place is completely foreign to me and I don't know anybody there at all. Also, the house is also in deep trouble, so accepting the title of the lord is equal to jumping into a pit of fire... Lorist really couldn't understand. He had lived in Morante for the past ten years and formed deep connections with the people there. He even had a stable job and was practically a living legend. Morante was where he belonged.

Very much satisfied with his life here, Lorist was really unwilling to go to the Northlands to inherit the position. As Shadekampf had remarked when he first arrived, the standard of living in Morante was far better than that of the Norton dominion; Morante was practically paradise. When it came to food and many other necessities, Lorist's homeland couldn't even compare as it was far too underdeveloped.

So, why, then did he feel a tinge of longing in his heart? It was as if a voice called out nonstop for him to leave Morante and return to his dominion. Perhaps the blood and soul of the Nortons that was ingrained within him was causing him to feel a deep desire to develop his dominion and strengthen his house. That was probably the deepest dormant instinct all descendants of the Norton family had.

Even though Lorist really wanted to stay in Morante, that conflicted with the deep imprint on his soul. His mere resistance to the idea of returning caused him to feel unsettled and bothered to the point that symptoms of insomnia and bad appetite manifested. If he continued to go on like that, who knew how bad it would become, should he choose to endure the torturous contradiction within his mind? Maybe if I continue to endure this until the 3rd month next year, the feeling will disappear when the family picks the late lord's illegitimate child as the heir, Lorist thought.

So what if that person isn't from a proper line of descent? Doesn't he also have Norton blood flowing through his veins? The moment Lorist merely thought of the notion, a sudden intense wave could be felt within the core of his being, sending chills down his spine.

"Achoo!" sneezed Lorist.

Alright, fine... Illegitimate children still have a fundamentally different statuses from the descendants with legitimate bloodline...  Oh little Locke... It truly feels like we are two people sharing one body... Now that my mind is living in your body, it wouldn't be comfortable for any of us if you continue to struggle like this... Come on, I beg you... stop making me feel so bad... After his sincere pleading, the wave in his body finally calmed down. But a barely audible sobbing could still be heard in his mind. "I want to go home... I want to go home..."

That's right. I want to go home too. Little Locke, your homeland is still within reach, but there's no way for me to return to mine...

Lorist silently teared up as he sat alone on the rock by the lake. As the first rays of dawn broke the veil of the night sky, a trail of dried tears could be seen on his face. Lorist stood up and faced the rising sun before saying, "Little Locke, let's go back home together."