The day after they climbed the mountain’s summit, Janus’s guided tour around the city began.
Furthermore, far more than Ayra had expected, Janus had taken his job as a guide seriously.
After following the mercenary for a few days and meeting various people, Ayra now realized that his walking around the city alone was nothing more than futile fluttering.

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     Janus was truly energetic and sprightly; there seemed to be no end to his stamina.
He knew people from all walks of life all throughout the city, from the ranch at the foot of the mountain range to those in random back alleys.
No matter how small the Solar territory might be, after a few days of busily walking around, the young lord’s feet became swollen.
As soon as he arrived back at the castle everyday, he would always sleep deeply, as if he had fainted.

      ‘It’s so late today–I wonder if he’s still waiting.’ After rushing to finish his meal, Ayra departed from his castle and headed to the square, doubting if Janus was truly still waiting for him.

      Surprisingly, Janus was sitting in his usual spot.
The mercenary had been passing the time, kicking stones with the tips of his shoes; as soon as he saw Ayra, he stood up while waving his hand.
No specific meeting time was established, but they didn’t meet at their usual time because Ayra had overslept; that dragged on the young lord’s conscience.
Come to think of it, Janus was always out earlier than him.

     “Since when have you been waiting?” Ayra asked.

     “Since yesterday.”

     Ayra was shocked.
No way–did that mean he’s remained in this square ever since they parted ways last night? The young lord couldn’t believe that, in this cold weather, he ate and slept outside.

     “You said you’ve lived in this place for 10 years–don’t you have a home?”

     “I’ve never had something like a house ever since I was born.”

     ‘Was he an orphan? He said he had no home and was a mercenary…Still, he didn’t smell so bad for a homeless person.’ Ayra had no idea where he did his daily wash, but his hair was soft and his skin wasn’t oily.
Did this territory have some public bathing facility?

     There’s no way he could have washed in the river every day, considering how cold it was…

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     Ayra involuntarily trembled before leading the other to some place where the young lord could at least feed him late lunch.
When steamed buns filled with meat and vegetables dunked in hot soup filled his stomach, his body was warmed a little.
After eating their fill, they walked through the street; Ayra bought some beef jerky and placed it in Janus’s hand.
There were hardly any snack stands in the streets.
It meant that commerce in this region had not been developed much.

     “So, where are we going today? If we’re going to the mountains, I’ll refuse right now.”

      “Well, let’s just see where our feet take us.” Janus replied, tearing off pieces of the jerky in his hand.
Ayra could see his canines shine white.

      “……Alright!” Ayra responded, but he thought to himself, ‘Wherever our feet take us? How far? How many hours will that take?’ He patiently endured instead of voicing his questions.
The young lord had recently realized his physical stamina was desperately low.
Once the physical stamina stat was revealed, Janus’s stat was sure to be at least twice or three times Ayra’s.

      ‘Considering how he threw me on top of that strange rocky precipice like he was tossing a marble, Janus probably has immense physical strength as well.’

     Lost in thought, Ayra dragged his already hurting feet and chased after the mercenary.

     ‘But what are the factors that determine the stamina stat anyway? First, it seems to be based on the subject’s experience level–maybe including average number of steps they can usually walk? Does this value include physical strength? How would one evaluate physical strength for those in poor health–!’

     Ayra suddenly saw stars.
When he finally returned to his senses with an exclamation, it seemed that he had hit his head on the door of the general store as they were exiting.

     Janus, who had exited first, turned around at the noise and gave the mage a ridiculing look.
“Are your eyes screwed on properly? Why do you keep bumping into things?”

     “Nngh…My eyes are screwed on properly…”

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     “I would be better off than you even if I walked around blindfolded.”

     …What? Didn’t they have a similar conversation not so long ago?

     Ayra sighed as he rubbed at the area where his forehead crashed into the door.
Even if the mage could block a sword from swinging at his neck or stop an arrow flying from afar, he unexpectedly was weak against inanimate objects that exuded no bloodthirst.

     Ayra, whose pride was slightly bruised, glared at Janus and refuted, “Even so, it makes no sense to say that you’d fare better than me if you were blindfolded.”

     “Shall we make a bet? Whether or not I bump into things.”

     Why would he suddenly propose a bet at this time?

     Even more ridiculous was the idea that he, no matter how great a mercenary he might be, would be able to navigate without bumping into obstacles while blindfolded.
However, the other seemed so relaxed; Ayra really wondered if such a thing was possible.
“What are you staking in this bet?”

     “If you win, I’ll do whatever you want.”

     He–this man dressed in shabby clothes with a weathered sword around his waist; this man who had no home–was confident that he could fulfill whatever Ayra desired.
However, from the very moment they first met, Janus held and did not lose the confidence of a man who grasped the world between his hands.

     “Then, what if I lose?” Ayra asked.

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     “Well, I guess I’ll have you play on the instrument you took previously.”

     If he’s talking about the instrument Ayra had previously taken, then he must be referring to the Lyre Janus had so carelessly thrown away.
There was no point in returning it to the mercenary, so Ayra had temporarily placed it in his dimensional inventory.
Ayra nodded, since there was nothing to lose if he lost and would only benefit if he won.
He was rather curious about how in the world the mercenary would navigate with his eyes covered.

     As soon as Ayra accepted, Janus grabbed the hem of his shirt and roughly tore it apart.
He had so refreshingly and calmly made a tear–his top now looked akin to the slit on a qipao. 1 Once could catch glimpses of his sculpted abs; they were instinctively eye-catchingly sexy.

     While Ayra had opened his mouth dumbly, Janus covered his eyes with the torn scrap of cloth.
Now that the most memorable aspect of his face was covered, the mercenary’s sharp nose bridge and the red line of his lips could be seen clearly.

     Ayra bit his lips almost involuntarily.
Though they were the same gender, he couldn’t deny facts.
This man was definitely…sexy and handsome.
In his past or present life, Ayra had never been so quickly attracted to someone.
Though he’d seen all sorts of extraordinary and beautiful beings in the Labyrinth, it’s never been like this for him before.

     “Then, shall we stop by the mercenary camp today?” After smiling refreshingly, Janus walked forward without hesitation.
Ayra nervously chased after him, but, surprisingly, he had avoided all obstacles as if he could see ahead.
When someone else approached, Janus moved to the side; he easily bounded over protruding stone fragments or fences.
He had even avoided someone’s wastewater that was discarded out of the window.

     Janus asked calmly, “Do you know what the mercenary’s headquarters does


     Territories claimed by dragons were almost invincible against foreign invasions.
Except for a few, most humans couldn’t handle dragons, even if they flocked in armies of millions.

     However, since dragons were only invested in protecting their land and didn’t care to feed the humans that populated the territory, a portion of the military troops would be dispatched to other lands as mercenaries to earn money.
The mercenary’s headquarters was where the mercenaries who wandered the world, circling around like the rising and ebbing tides, would stay.
Though there might be barren lands not owned by any lord, there were no landed territories without a mercenary’s headquarters.

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      “They’re quite useful friends to have.
Though they may cost a lot of money, they’re able to fulfill miscellaneous tasks since they’re so talented,” Janus said.

     Even as he was listening to such useful information, Ayra stared at Janus disbelievingly.
How could he travel so well with his eyes covered? It was hard to believe even though he was witnessing it with his own two eyes.
The mercenary wasn’t a mage, so it wasn’t as if he was using magic.
No, even with the use of magic, navigating blindfolded without hesitation would still be difficult.
So terribly curious, Ayra circled around Janus and purposefully blocked his way forward.

     Rather than avoiding the mage, Janus precisely caught Ayra’s hand and lightly wrapped his free arm around Ayra’s waist.

     “Ack!” As soon as the hot hand held him, Ayra’s lips turned into a tight red downturned crescent.
Try as he might, the mage couldn’t free his body; the other’s sheer physical capability was such that the grip was as strong as a beast’s bite.

     Momentarily unguarded, Ayra followed Janus.
The crowd turned their gazes towards the two men sticking close to each other while walking.
Feeling the attention, Ayra belatedly struggled to pull himself out once again, but, as expected, his effort was futile.

     As if he were dancing in a ballroom, Janus moved cheerfully, humming off-tune.

     “Stop this…” Ayra struggled, worried that his identity would be in danger of being revealed after being made a spectacle.
Janus lifted Ayra up entirely.
As he spun the mage around, the crazy man’s strength throttled Ayra’s back and made him distressed.
The mage could feel the stinging gazes of the passersby stopping to observe something so strange happening in broad daylight.

     “I said, let me go!”

     Whether or not Janus had heard Ayra’s protest, the mercenary dipped the mage back in an elegant curve.
Though a dance like the waltz didn’t officially exist in this world, Ayra had no other way to address what was happening without calling this dance a waltz.
Now that he was closer to the mercenary, Ayra felt Janus’s hard muscular planes with the entirety of his own body.
Though the other might look slim from the outside, his pectorals were quite taut and thick.

     Inevitably, the hem of Ayra’s robe and his silvery hair fluttered in the wind every time Janus mischievously twirled him around.
Janus grabbed onto the young lord’s waist hard enough for the young lord’s chest to be flush against the mercenary’s.
Compared to Ayra’s heartbeat–which beat as fast as the flaps of a hummingbird’s wing in spring–Janus’s heart, right next to Ayra’s, thumped calmly and slowly.

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