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    “Your body…”

    It seemed like he wanted to ask how he was feeling, but his words trailed off as his gaze shifted to Ha-gyeom’s center. Not stopping there, he blatantly eyed Ha-gyeom’s still exposed waist and chest.

    Ha-gyeom quickly pulled on his shirt and adjusted his clothes.

    “I’m fine.”

    Though he felt a bit sticky from the semen covering his body, it was tolerable. The energy control was evidently at an excellent level, so their task was complete.

    Receiving lecherous glances after guiding wasn’t unusual for Ha-gyeom, but he couldn’t remain cool in his relationship with Baek Sa. The shadow of Baek Seung-woo overlapping with Baek Sa made him avert his eyes instinctively, something beyond his control.

    Once he managed to calm his mind, he swiftly wiped the emotions from his face.

    “If we don’t leave soon, Dr. Cha will start nagging.”

    For both espers and guides to fully utilize their purification abilities, guiding was essential. The energy Ha-gyeom felt was top-tier, so there was no avoiding the extraction of energy. Using this as an excuse, he intentionally drew a line.

    “Why are you so…”

    Despite this, Baek Sa swiftly moved out of bed and stood face-to-face with Ha-gyeom. He softly tugged at Ha-gyeom’s waistband and added,


    Ha-gyeom flinched at the sudden sharpness in Baek Sa’s eyes. He wasn’t wrong. Being captured and forced into energy extraction, Ha-gyeom’s compliance was indeed rare.

    But Ha-gyeom had long ago resolved to do anything for Baek Seung-woo. That resolution extended even to zone 0. He was willing to throw himself into the fire if needed, and now, with Baek Seung-woo’s memory loss, it seemed all his efforts were channeled into this undeserved energy extraction.

    But invoking Dr. Cha wasn’t just because of that. He couldn’t admit that he was confused, feeling as if he had spent the night with Baek Seung-woo. So, he looked at Baek Sa with cold eyes and replied,

    “You said it yourself. Resistance is pointless. No matter how high-ranked I am, you guys hold my life in your hands. I know well what a guide’s duty is.”


    “What’s the use of feeling wronged or depressed? Nothing will change. Besides, the training at the center is quite strict and demanding. I’m well-prepared for and can handle this level of training.”

    Despite mentioning the center, Baek Sa showed no reaction. He simply lowered his gaze again, tracing the marks on Ha-gyeom’s neck.

    “Whether the guiding was efficient or not, the sex was…”


    During guiding, a guide had to focus entirely on the esper’s energy and help manage it. It wasn’t just about exchanging bodily fluids. In that sense, calling that animalistic act guiding felt uncomfortable for Ha-gyeom too, but…

    He couldn’t bear to call it purely sex. Especially not from Baek Sa, who had the visage of Baek Seung-woo.

    ‘Was I really that bad…’

    Ha-gyeom couldn’t hide his flushed face. He wasn’t easily affected by gaslighting, but with Baek Sa, he couldn’t help but care.

    Seeing Ha-gyeom’s sullen expression, Baek Sa refrained from adding any more snide remarks and instead painfully rubbed at the hickey before stepping back.

    “If I give the order, you wouldn’t have to worry about Dr. Cha or rush against time.”

    Baek Sa said, wiping off the sticky semen on his abs. Whether it was his own or Ha-gyeom’s was unclear, but it didn’t clean off easily due to the time that had passed.

    “What’s your point?”

    “You don’t have to act like I’m some one-night stand you didn’t like.”

    Baek Sa frowned, clearly displeased.

    “You reek of me, so go wash up first. I’ll handle Dr. Cha.”

    Despite himself being covered in semen, he acted like Ha-gyeom was some contamination. But Ha-gyeom had never turned down his attempts at kindness since their first meeting. If Baek Sa was offering him the privacy of a bathroom, there was no reason to refuse.

    “Changed your mind?”

    Ha-gyeom said, taking off his shirt again. Baek Sa raised an eyebrow, as if expecting an explanation.

    “You said you didn’t like keeping guides in your room like the government.”

    Baek Sa, leaning casually against the wall, shrugged indifferently and turned away as if it didn’t matter what Ha-gyeom thought.

    “Well… it doesn’t matter. I don’t care to know.”

    Ha-gyeom shot back at him and headed for the bathroom. He acted nonchalant in front of Baek Sa, but once he locked the door, his heart pounded as if it had been waiting for this moment.

    He couldn’t afford to be leisurely, so he quickly washed off the traces left on his body. Thankfully, the semen washed away with the warm water, but the marks on his body didn’t disappear.


    Every place his hand touched occasionally sent sharp pain through him. His inner thighs were no exception. Baek Sa was the first esper to leave such numerous marks on him. He had never confused sex with guiding before.

    Ha-gyeom pressed his still burning earlobe. As he closed his eyes, feeling overwhelmed, memories of last night vividly flashed through his mind.

    The conversations they exchanged were so unfamiliar that he couldn’t imagine having them with the Baek Seung-woo he knew. They had been so engrossed in the physical act that guiding had taken a back seat.

    Had Baek Sa grabbing his earlobe really startled him so much because his longing for Baek Seung-woo was too deep? Although he knew that habits could linger even after memories faded, it was clear that Baek Seung-woo wouldn’t have behaved like Baek Sa did last night. Even after such a passionate night, Baek Sa was so relaxed…

    Yeah, it was just a creepy coincidence.

    The more he thought about it, the more confused he became, so Ha-gyeom decided to accept the tragedy that had befallen him. Despite his resolute mind, he didn’t even notice the pain from his bitten lip.

    6. The Dark Side of the Moon II

    Even though the place where the abilities users stayed wasn’t much different from a detention center, it was much better than before.

    When Ha-gyeom was first kidnapped to zone 0 13 years ago, the warehouse they were kept in was like divided pigsties. The floor was a mess, there were no windows, and they couldn’t properly fulfill their basic needs like sleep, bathroom, and meals.

    The cold and stench would sometimes cause him to lose consciousness intermittently. That was almost preferable to the overwhelming anxiety and loneliness of being separated from his family.

    In the past, ability users were considered mysterious beings, treated no differently from aliens or mutants. However, once it became clear that their abilities were essential for survival, perceptions and treatment began to change.

    Even so, it seemed that the inhumane conditions of zone 0 hadn’t changed much.

    Now, there was at least some semblance of structure. Each person had their own bed and personal locker, and there were designated times for showers. This military-like lifestyle might even be more efficient for espers, who were little different from combat soldiers.

    Various ability users, ranging from A-rank to C-rank, mostly adults now, resided in this place. When their abilities first manifested, they were just children loved by their families.

    However, now, there wasn’t a single ability user who could see their family. The likelihood of their families still being alive was slim. Separating them from their families was perhaps the beginning of the atrocities committed by zone 0.

    Ha-gyeom soon realized that at least half of them were plagued by nightmares. Recognizing that, like many ability users rescued to the center, they were also victims forcibly brought here, he heard the sounds of suffering and crying every night, like screams.

    …He was adapting as best as he could. After all, if you don’t have teeth, you have to chew with your gums.

    Ha-gyeom would wake up 15 minutes before the usual wake-up time, spending 5 minutes tidying his bed and surroundings. The remaining 10 minutes were spent meditating. Three times a week, he had to go to the purification system room to have his energy extracted, but thankfully, Dr. Cha had finally come to his senses, and he no longer reached the point of energy depletion.

    Still, he had to spend the entire morning recovering on the days his energy was extracted. Since many guides would vomit, meals were only provided twice a day, for lunch and dinner. Though the food was barely edible, it was necessary to fill his stomach to endure the rest of the day.

    It was clearly not as good as the treatment at the center. However, there was no immediate threat to his life either. Being an S-rank guide with a high-matching esper meant it was more beneficial for them to use him as a mercenary.

    After finishing his routine without any issues, Ha-gyeom thought as he looked around during lights out.

    The infiltration was a success.

    Surviving… that was still uncertain.

    Moreover, Baek Seung-woo…

    Lost in thought, he suddenly felt a gaze from the side. It was the guide from the adjacent bed who had ignored the order from Baek Sa to teach Ha-gyeom the living rules.

    Ha-gyeom, annoyed from trying to understand the situation based on his observations, responded with a disgruntled look. The guide, who had been watching him closely, asked slyly,

    “You said you’re from the center, right?”

    It seemed this guide had been observing him all along. Though the guide’s gaze was still wary, the sense of unease had significantly subsided.

    Ha-gyeom nodded. Expecting some sarcastic remark, he waited quietly. At that moment, a commotion erupted in the area where the espers stayed.

    “Fuck, can’t you even do this properly?!”

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