Lifang knows that Jusenkai exists. His mother had died soon after he was born, so he had spent his childhood traveling with his father. Six years earlier, his father said he had found a certain man from Jusenkai for whom he had been searching, and when their business was finished he would tell Lifang all about it because it concerned him. However, the mysterious man killed the father, and all Lifang remembers is the sense of the man's dreadful ki.
Tuoren awakens to see Lifang sobbing in his sleep and muses that he hasn't slept so easily near another person in a long time. He decides to take off without a word, leaving only a bag of coins to cover his stay. The next day, while working, Lifang overhears a conversation between the two who had injured Tuoren. He takes them on in a fight, wondering how good a warrior Tuoren must have been to survive a match against the pair. They themselves, with their Senkaijin powers, wonder how a Chijoukai native like Lifang can keep up with them.
Just as one uses magic against him, Tuoren scoops him up and protects him. Tuoren then uses his powers to finish the fight and send the rebels to the emperor's palace. Lifang is Impressed. He follows after Tuoren to find out more about him, but his leg is injured. Tuoren agrees to tell him what's going on if he'll quit tagging along. He explains that there are two classes of warriors with magic--the Lower Army and Upper Army fighters. (The two he just defeated were Lower Army.) There are other agents for the emperor working as he is, except the others all have partners. He's the only one who works alone, because he doesn't trust anyone.
Lifang announces that, even if Tuoren doesn't realize it, he's obviously lonely. Lifang intends to accompany him. He goes on to say that he's searching for a man from Jusenkai, and he'll find the man faster if he's with Tuoren. He signs on as Tuoren's aide. Tuoren is shocked when his eagle, Hong, takes an immediate liking to Lifang. He still doesn't understand why he was able to relax enough to sleep soundly around Lifang, nor how the human could have stood against two Senkaijin for so long. Somehow he can't bring himself to refuse the company. He lets Lifang stick with him until the leg injury heals.
Lifang proves his knowledge of native plants is useful when it comes to eating. Tuoren wonders what the man Lifang is searching for is like, in case it's someone he knows, but Lifang can only say it's someone with a creepy ki. Then a man arrives from the emperor's palace, Fengyu-sama, the emperor's personal assistant. The two rebels had mentioned Tuoren's new companion, so the emperor had sent him to check on the situation. Fengyu is totally amused by how flustered Lifang makes Tuoren.
He announces that Tuoren can no longer continue without a partner. Nine agents have already been killed by the rebels--five over the past five days--and they can't afford to lose him as well. Tuoren needs someone by his side who can stop him if he gets too emotional in his battles and loses control. Fengyu conveys that the emperor wants to see how well the seventeen-year-old Lifang can work with Tuoren as his aide. Fengyu's intuition tells him the two were meant to be together.
A baby panda whose parents are dead stumbles across Lifang. Suddenly one of the rebels attacks, setting the forest on fire. While Tuoren takes care of the opponent, Lifang rescues the panda from the flames. When Lifang jumps from a high branch and lands safely, Tuoren notices the leg injury has healed. Lifang had been pretending it still hurt so that he could stay with Tuoren longer. He tells Tuoren to go on, he promises not to follow. Tuoren walks away--then comes back and hands Lifang the staff he had dropped when the panda fell on him. He says that since the injury is healed, it means they don't have to travel slowly anymore.
Fengyu reports to the emperor what he had observed about the pair. He uses a magic mirror to show Lifang's appearance, which gives the emperor a shock--he resembles someone they know. Not only that, Fengyu had sensed the faint ki of a Senkaijin about him, though Tuoren hasn't picked up on it yet. The emperor wants to see how the two fare in their travels, especially to find out whether Lifang inherited power through his mother.
Then the emperor transfers a bit of power to Fengyu. He doesn't want his assistant collapsing from overwork, particularly since Fengyu is the only one with whom he can exchange energy. After Senkaijin use their powers, they recover energy slowly over time, but a transfer between partners speeds up the process. When Fengyu hears that Tuoren sent another rebel so soon after the first two, he worries that Tuoren's energy levels will be dangerously depleted. He hopes nothing further happens until Tuoren can recover.
Back on Chijoukai, Lifang dreams about his childhood, but he can't remember his mother's face. (His father had told him he was the spitting image of her, but he can't picture his face as a woman.) He strolls off with the panda (which he named Lyui) to find Tuoren. He doesn't understand why he's going to such great lengths to stay with someone he knows virtually nothing about, yet he can't help it. For his part, Tuoren is concerned that he hasn't recovered his energy even after two days, so he must have over-exerted himself sending back the third rebel.
Lifang is concerned that Tuoren is tired. He takes Tuoren's hand and pretends to give strength to him, though he knows it won't work literally. However, just receiving Lifang's feelings of wanting to share energy is enough to lighten Tuoren's mood. Then a thick fog rolls in and obscures their path so much that Lyui falls in a narrow crevice. A young child appears and rescues the panda. He's not human, he's a spirit of the forest.
Lifang figures that an evil spirit wouldn't have saved Lyui, so the boy must be good, but Tuoren accuses the spirit of wanting something in return. The spirit, Yuushia, doesn't want any harm to come to someone who smiled at him even knowing what he is. Unfortunately, he's being coerced by a dark force that has his companions--the entire woods, actually--hostage. He's ordered to guide the humans into a trap. Tuoren doesn't want to trust him, but Lifang insists. When Lifang sympathizes with the spirit's apparent loneliness, Yuushia warns them to turn around and escape. But it's too late. Tuoren is snatched by evil tentacles.
End Volume 1